In March 2020, the Community Coordination Plan was developed by the City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto to ensure coordination and communication with more than 400 community-based organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new model of partnership implemented service coordination and hyper local solutions across ten geographic Clusters and two non-geographic Clusters to meet the needs of Toronto’s most vulnerable people.

The Community Coordination Plan is made up of ten geographic Clusters and two non-geographic Clusters. The geographic Clusters were identified with consideration given to the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (TSNS), Community Safety and Wellbeing Programs, and Toronto Police Service boundaries. The two non-geographic Clusters include a Black Resilience Cluster for African, Caribbean and Black-serving community organizations, and a Newcomer Cluster for community organizations supporting migrants, refugees and undocumented residents.

What is a Community Coordination Plan Cluster?

Each Cluster is facilitated by City staff and/or United Way Greater Toronto staff who convene community organization leadership in virtual meetings on a regular basis. Each Cluster collaborates on real time issues management, donation matching, current public health information and guidelines, and escalation of systemic challenges through identified City and United Way Greater Toronto channels.

Map of the City of Toronto that shows the boundaries of the Community Coordination Plan's 10 geographic clusters.
This City of Toronto map shows the Community Coordination Plan’s 10 geographic cluster boundaries, city wards, and Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

Cluster Collaboration

Cluster partners work together to:

  • Identify high priority issues experienced by people who are most vulnerable and develop immediate action(s) to respond in real time
  • Support community organizations delivering services for residents to remain open and operational
  • Triage urgent issues for escalation to appropriate City divisions, United Way Greater Toronto channels, advisory groups, and other initiatives identified by the leadership team
  • Track, analyze and report trends, gaps and solutions

Key Initiatives

Through the Community Coordination Plan, Cluster partners collaborate on several key initiatives that support equity-deserving groups and vulnerability-experiencing residents and community members, including:

  • Vaccine Engagement Teams
  • TO Supports: Equity Action Plan
  • Climate Action Fund
  • Community Coordination Plan Grants
  • Donations
  • Neighbourhood Pods Pilot

The Community Coordination Plan will continue to support how the City collaboratively plans, responds to issues, and engages with the non-profit sector as we move into equitable recovery and rebuild efforts. The City of Toronto and United Way Greater Toronto, in partnership with participating community organizations, are working with a consultant to complete an evaluation of the Community Coordination Plan. A public report will be shared in Fall 2022.

Find your Community Development Officer and how you might want to get involved in the Community Coordination Plan.

The work of Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) are a key component of the world-leading success and impact of the City’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign. VETs focus on supporting equity-deserving groups that are disproportionately and most negatively impacted by COVID-19, including older adults who are isolated, people experiencing homelessness, people living with disabilities and mental health trauma, newcomer populations and racialized communities including Indigenous, Black, and South Asian, that have historically experienced systemic oppression and exploitation from government and medical institutions.

VETs are made up of health, community, and faith-based organizations and are established in each of the City’s ten geographic Community Coordination Plan Clusters, and across various citywide population focuses. Indigenous organizations have been provided dedicated funding to self-determine culturally appropriate strategies for engagement among Indigenous communities. VETs have mobilized over 720 Community Ambassadors across Toronto. These trained community members are key points of contact in the neighbourhoods where they live and/or work, provide access to COVID-19 resources, build vaccine confidence, and amplify public health messaging across their networks.

Between March 2021 and June 2022, Vaccine Engagement Teams and Community Ambassadors spent over 119,000 hours building vaccine confidence by engaging with Torontonians more than 3.4 million times in over 40 different languages.

Learn more about the work of Vaccine Engagement Teams.

On June 23 and October 20, 2020 the City of Toronto announced that the TO Supports: COVID-19 Equity Action Plan would distribute $4.97 million and $1.9 million to provide a multi-dimensional emergency response plan that would focus on stopping virus spread and delivering immediate emergency support to the neighbourhoods and populations that were being most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Community Coordination Plan was leveraged to implement the Equity Action Plan as community and health service organizations were already actively engaged in emergency response coordination in the most affected parts of the City. Equity Action Plan Lead Agencies are geographically anchored and trusted among equity-deserving residents, including Newcomers, Black and Indigenous people, and focus on targeted outreach and support to identified groups, food access, mental health supports and provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) for residents.

To date, the TO Supports: Equity Action Plan investment had implemented targeted COVID-19 enhanced equity measures, including:

  • COVID-19 Testing: 49,891 individuals received COVID-19 tests from the Community Health Centres
  • Access to Food Supports: 176,518 individuals received food access support such as delivery of groceries, prepared meals, food hampers etc.
  • Supports to Families: 37,438 individuals received family supports such as prescription delivery, remote learning activities, delivery of hygiene kits, and other personal care items
  • Mental Health Supports: 15,839 individuals received informal mental health supports such as online peer support groups, wellness check-ins etc.
  • Information on COVID-19: 199,362 individuals received general COVID-19 information on prevention, self-isolation, school screening, and vaccination
  • Social Connections: 83,634 individuals received wellness check-ins and engaged in online peer support groups
  • Financial Supports: 12,546 individuals received assistance to access Federal and Provincial financial support
Community Coordination Plan Cluster or Population Group Lead Community Organization
Black Creek/Humber Summit Black Creek Community Health Centre and Delta Family Resource Centre
North Etobicoke Rexdale Community Health Centre
South Etobicoke ESS Support Services
York Weston Pelham & North York Unison Health & Community Services and Davenport Perth Neighbourhood & Community Health Centre
East York/Don Valley The Neighbourhood Group
North Scarborough TAIBU Community Health Centre & Malvern Family Resource Centre
South Scarborough Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
Downtown East Sherbourne Health
Downtown West Waterfront Neighbourhood Centre
Black Resilience TAIBU Community Health Centre
Population Specific Sistering & FCJ Refugee Centre

Learn more about the TO Supports: COVID-19 Equity Action Plan.

The Climate Action Fund supports community-led projects, activities and events that directly or indirectly reduce the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. Eligible projects will:

  • Increase awareness and engagement on climate action at the local level
  • Strengthen the efforts and capacity of local community agencies, grassroots groups, and resident leaders
  • Activate resources for local COVID-19 recovery efforts, with a focus on engaging equity-deserving groups
  • Foster collaboration and cooperation between various sectors

This funding initiative is a partnership between TransformTO and the Community Coordination Plan’s vision to activate resources and capacity building opportunities for community agencies and vulnerable community members. Learn more about eligible Climate Action Fund projects.

Through the Community Coordination Plan, Cluster community organizations identified a need to provide additional support for their collaborative efforts and partnerships. On December 18, 2020, the City invested $715,000 with 11 Community Coordination Plan lead community organizations. This investment supported each Cluster to collaboratively identify and address priority issues experienced by vulnerable residents.

Cluster Name Lead Community Organizations Project Description
Black Creek/Humber Summit Lumacare Services A partnership of nine Cluster agencies concentrated their efforts on improving access to food and coordination of services for the most vulnerable residents in their Cluster.  The project included a system analysis, client engagement to inform future developments, and sustainability plans based on a peer-led model.
Downtown West Scadding Court Community Centre Four Cluster agencies collaborated to coordinate a fresh food delivery program for food insecure households with a focus on residents who were COVID-positive, self-isolating and/or immunocompromised.
Downtown East Yonge Street Mission The project combined the efforts of eight Cluster agencies to organize a distribution of donated warm clothing items to people experiencing homelessness and precariously housed residents and create a Tech Library to offer access to internet enabled devices to vulnerable members of their community.
East York/Don Valley Flemingdon Park Ministry Seven Cluster agencies partnered to implement initiatives addressing food security, including collaborating with grassroots groups engaging in food security work in underserved geographies in the cluster, providing capacity building supports such as training or material supports such as PPE or food hampers or other needs identified, and researching and developing models to address the issue of after-hours food access for people experiencing homelessness and precariously housed community members in the Cluster.
North Etobicoke Delta Family Resource Centre The agencies in the Cluster partnered to implement the following four initiatives, including the development of a youth-directed, youth-managed website for the cluster, an Anti-Black Racism Framework for North Etobicoke, a Youth-Focused COVID-19 Awareness Campaign that supported the training and engagement of a team of youth from North Etobicoke, and an emergency food and re-distribution supports enabled the cluster to enhance and extend existing time-limited supports.
South Etobicoke Storefront Humber More than ten Cluster agencies formed a partnership to address anti-Black racism, the digital divide, and homelessness supports in their communities through an Anti-Black Racism Community of Practice (CoP) for Cluster agency partners, a Digital Fluency initiative that provided technology access for seniors and people experiencing homelessness, and a 6-week extension of the Community Support Hub to ensure that community members had access to meals, harm reduction supplies and hygiene facilities throughout the colder season.
North York Better Living Health and Community Services In partnership with more than ten agencies, the Cluster aimed to address the needs of the most vulnerable members of its community by providing mental health training and activities, food security service coordination, digital literacy training and technical support, and housing supports such as housing workshops. 
North Scarborough Agincourt Community Services Association The Cluster project addressed mental health and food security needs through mental health programming for front line staff and vulnerable residents and the coordination of food delivery and distribution to the residents who were self-isolating and/or socially isolated seniors and families.
South Scarborough Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre and Scarborough Food Security Initiative Seven community Cluster agencies conducted a strategic planning exercise to collectively address food security and mental health in communities in their geographic area. This included gathering information to inform an equitable approach to providing coordinated food distribution and mental health support to the most vulnerable residents and implementing intervention and/or supports for at least 300 unique individuals with high needs.
York Weston Pelham York Fairbank Centre for Seniors A partnership of four Cluster agencies addressed the digital divide among residents to distribute 50 electronic devices to vulnerable residents to enable them to remain connected with services and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic., provide digital literacy training to these residents, along with at least an additional 100 residents, and provide new virtual programming to at least 200 residents.
 Black Resilience Caribbean African Canadian Social Services The project developed and implemented a framework for a collective pandemic response, including conducting impact assessments among cluster agencies and developing a recommendations framework and opportunities for Cluster agencies to take action to implement aspects of the framework.

 

Strategic Partnerships and the Purchasing and Materials Management Division accept donations on behalf of the City of Toronto and distribute available items through Community Coordination Plan Clusters. Strategic Partnerships and the Purchasing and Materials Management Division typically receive donation offers through the DonateTO portal and donation items include, but are not limited to: hand sanitizer, reusable and disposable face masks, hygiene products, and antibacterial wipes.

From June 2020 to February 2022, TO Supports funding was allocated to Neighbourhood Pods TO to support hyper-local networks that would support strong and meaningful community connections by prioritizing wellbeing, mutual aid, and self-organization across the City of Toronto. Neighbourhood Pods TO helped residents support each other by leveraging, deepening and expanding existing social networks and building upon grassroots social infrastructure.

A total allocation of $615,000 was made available over two project phases to help community partner organizations support the development of Neighbourhood Pods. Neighbourhood Pods have been supported in each of the ten geographic Clusters and the Black Resilience and Newcomer Clusters. The project has engaged:

  • 133 Pods and Pod Leaders across Toronto
  • 55 community partner organizations to support Neighbourhood Pod development
  • 60 participants in Mutual Aid Community of Practice
  • 8 Resident Mutual Aid Coordinators to lead Resident Networks

Since March 2020, the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy activities have been suspended. City of Toronto Staff have begun to reconnect and reengage local residents and community-led groups with ongoing opportunities to participate in the 2022 restart. 

The Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy is the City of Toronto’s action plan for ensuring that each of our neighbourhoods can succeed and thrive. The Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy supports healthy communities across Toronto by partnering with residents, community agencies and businesses to invest in people, services, programs and facilities in 33 identified Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs). The strategy aims to activate people, resources and neighbourhood-friendly policies to deliver local impact for city-wide change.