Last updated: April 7, 2020 at 6:20 p.m.
The City of Toronto is partnering with community agencies to connect residents to resources, services, programs, and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check back often for more updates and learn about opportunities to help in your community.
Residents who need to access, or are seeking information on, social and community supports and services, should call 211 for non-emergency requests and information.
211 is a 24/7 help line and web service that connects residents to social and community services.
211 is working closely with community agencies to ensure they are continually updating their database with the most up-to-date programming and resource information.
The City of Toronto has received authorization from the Province of Ontario to open licensed child care centres to provide care for children of essential and critical service workers. Learn who is eligible and how to apply.
To ensure that the needs of vulnerable residents are met, a City-Community Response Table has been established and is comprised of 30 community agencies and many City divisions. This group is working to identify new and emerging issues affecting vulnerable Torontonians during the COVID-19 emergency and to plan city-wide responses to address and resolve these issues, for example, food security and community resource needs.
We have developed a Community Coordination Plan that will involve dedicated coordinators working at the community and neighborhood level to ensure the needs of the City’s most vulnerable and isolated residents are met. The Plan organizes the City into 10 geographic Community Clusters with an additional two Clusters focused on city-wide agencies and Indigenous-serving organizations. The coordinators will:
The City of Toronto is working closely with community and corporate partners to identify where the greatest needs are and how best to ensure that food needs of vulnerable Torontonians are being met.
The City has developed a food access strategy that includes the establishment of a group consisting of large-scale community groups that works to identify ways to prevent food banks from being closed, support those that are running, and troubleshoot issues as they arise. Members of the group include:
The group is actively working on multiple food access programs, including:
The City is working with the Red Cross and other partners to provide food hamper delivery to seniors and others in need who are unable to leave their homes. This is in response to the March 30 Province of Ontario recommendation that everyone over the age of 70 should self-isolate as part of the COVID-19 emergency measures.
With support from United Way of Greater Toronto, this service is made available for qualifying seniors and others that are in self-isolation who do not have alternative access to food (through family, friends, availability of food delivery services) and are currently not receiving such assistance from another community food program. Starting April 7, call 1-833-204-9952 for eligibility and registration information.
Four food banks are now open at multiple Toronto Public Library locations, with another two opening on April 7. The first one opened on March 25 in partnership with North York Food Harvest Food Bank. Another three opened in partnership with the Daily Bread Food Bank. Eventually 10 locations will be available.
The City is also facilitating food banks in Toronto Community Housing buildings so they can continue to be available to tenants and in specific community centres where possible.
The City is working to connect offers of free services and other resources, such as free hot meals and delivery, free spaces and equipment, to agencies and communities that need them.
The City is working with student nutrition program partners to repurpose resources to support the Food for Kids program, which is providing grocery gift cards to families of children that need them.
The City is providing support for the Toronto Aboriginal and Support Services Council to coordinate food access for Indigenous communities that are facing similar challenges created by the COVID-19 response, including increased access to food and financial support.
The City is providing requested equipment to support community food program operators to help them maintain their operations and serve residents. To date, the City has provided City-fork lift operators to Daily Bread Food Bank to assist with warehouse operations, and two trucks and drivers to help transport food.
Restaurants and businesses that sell food are asked to donate unsold, surplus food through Second Harvest Food Rescue.
St. Lawrence Market continues to work with food rescue partner Second Harvest and encourages merchants, farmers and vendors to continue to provide unsold food products to Second Harvest pickup volunteers.
Residents who can, are also encouraged to donate essentials to their local food bank. Essentials include:
The Emergency Operations Centre is developing a map of all food banks in Toronto which will help identify which food banks are open/closed and if there are locations that need support.
The best source for up-to-date information on food program availability is 211toronto.ca. The food listings are updated daily as information is received from providers. Residents can call 211 directly, or view the map on the 211 website.
To help ensure that food programs (including food banks, multi-service centres, home delivery programs, meal drop-ins) in Toronto can continue, corporate partners have stepped up with significant contributions:
Service Canada has a dedicated phone line for inquiries regarding EI claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic: 1-833-381-2725.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
There are several additional support available to assist with utilities, banking and other government programs.
Tenants should reach out to their landlords to discuss their situation – many landlords are developing payment plans for tenants on a case-by-case basis.
The City is working on enhancing and expanding financial supports to help tenants maintain their homes. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
The Province has suspended all eviction-related activity. No renter households are currently at imminent risk of eviction for non-payment of rent. Households should be able to maintain their housing for April 1, 2020.
Please note that while evictions are stopped now, the current expectation is that tenants will have to get caught up on rent in time.
If your landlord has on their own locked you out of your unit:
Learn how the eviction process has changed due to COVID-19.
The following resources provide information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant:
The following organizations can assist tenants:
The following are some tenant-led City-wide resources:
Landlords and Condo Boards are urged to adopt new health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Large residential buildings with a high number of units should adopt new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.
For your protection, Toronto Public Health recommends that if you are over 70 years of age, have a weak immune system or a medical condition, stay at home as much as possible.
Seniors and caregivers can call 211 Toronto (24/7 accessing 150+ languages) for the most up-to-date information on the status of many community and social services for seniors. 211 Toronto can refer seniors to community-based services where available.
Other resources for seniors include:
There are many agencies across the City that offer services to seniors living at home, such as:
Seniors who already receive these services should call their agency to find out if there are any changes to service because of COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors who are interested in accessing new services should call 211 to see if services are available in their area.
Visit the Affected City Services web page for updates on impacted services.
Many pharmacies/drug stores will deliver prescriptions (and in some cases, over-the-counter medicine and supplies) to your home. For example, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Well.ca and many local pharmacies, offer deliveries.
Toronto Community Housing has increased measures to support senior tenants during this time, including:
Learn who is eligible to use the TTC Wheel Trans service and how to book.
During this unusual time, patience and understanding from landlords is necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The City encourages all property owners to check in on their vulnerable residents and if necessary, connect them to the appropriate local agencies and supports.
Call 2-1-1 or visit www.211ontario.ca to see a list of services available in your area.
Landlords are entitled to collect compensation from a tenant for each day an eviction order is not enforced. However, tenants who are asked to self-isolate or who can’t work may have difficulty affording their rent.
The City of Toronto offers a range of financial supports for tenants and is working on enhancing and expanding financial supports to help tenants maintain their homes.
In the meantime, the City encourages landlords and tenants to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants in their homes, including deferring their rent or other payment arrangements (such as allowing tenants to use their last month rent cheque to cover the April 1st payment).
In response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario Government has stopped issuing any new eviction orders until further notice. Sheriff’s offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders.
Please note: Property owners are not permitted to lock-out tenants on their own. This can only be carried out by the Sheriff’s office.
Learn more about how the eviction process has changed due to COVID-19.
The City has extended the grace period for property tax payments and utility bills for both residents and businesses.
If you are experiencing homelessness call the City’s Central Intake Line at:
You will be asked about your current health and recent travel history and then referred to available shelter, respite site or isolation site.
For more information about the locations of shelters or respite sites, visit the Homeless Help web page (please note, drop in and out of the cold information is being updated). You can also get more information about housing supports, such as Access to Housing and Toronto Community Housing.
Community partners and operators can read more about changes to City-operated shelters and supports for homeless.
Many of our community and neighbourhood agencies rely on volunteers to help deliver their services.
Many Torontonians have expressed an interest in helping vulnerable, isolated residents and families during this emergency period.
Residents interested in volunteering should register with Spark Ontario and/or with Volunteer Toronto to get alerts for volunteer opportunities (some of which may be remote). Call Volunteer Toronto at 416-961-6888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with an advisor to discuss volunteer opportunities.