Last updated: December 13, 2022

Vaccine Engagement Teams (VETs) have been a key component of the world-leading success and impact of the City’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign. VETs operate through 17 geographic and population-specific consortiums made up of over 150 health, community, and faith-based organizations. VETs 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 vaccine resources, build vaccine confidence, and amplify public health messaging across their networks. Ambassadors reflect the diversity in culture, race and language of Toronto’s equity-deserving groups and facilitate targeted outreach to individuals and communities.

Between March 2021 and September 2022, Vaccine Engagement Teams and Community Ambassadors spent over 136,000 hours building vaccine confidence and providing access to COVID-19 resources by engaging with Torontonians more than 4.4 million times in over 40 different languages.

Vaccine Engagement Teams Program Evaluation

In July 2022, the City of Toronto completed an external and internal program evaluation of Vaccine Engagement Teams to assess the extent to which they have enhanced vaccine confidence and access for equity-deserving groups in Toronto. The program evaluation found that the work of VETs has resulted in increased vaccine confidence, access, and uptake among diverse communities across Toronto and reduced socioeconomic barriers to government services.

  1. Information Sheet
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Presentation

Vaccine Engagement Teams Outreach

VETs use a variety of strategies to increase vaccine confidence and access with a focus on equity-based engagement and mobilization, including:

  • Hyper-local COVID-19 vaccine clinics and testing
  • Public setting engagement sessions in parks, residential building lobbies, or shopping centres
  • Developing age-based, ethnic, or language-specific information sharing tools (posters, information sheets, multimedia products) and learnings opportunities (workshops, town halls, livestreams)
  • Direct messaging or phone engagement sessions, often cold-calling or through a phone bank
  • Building-specific engagement through door knocking, flyering, lobby outreach, or hosting information booths in common areas
  • Social media campaigns to raise awareness, share updates and information
  • Sharing pre-filled Presto cards and ridesharing vouchers to assist those facing transportation barriers
  • Supporting on-site clinic registration and the coordination of community members

Learn more about the activity and impact of the VETs across the City of Toronto below.

Lead Administrating Agency: Lumacare

Number of Active Agency Partners: 12

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 51

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Large-Scale Booster Outreach Campaign (July to September 2022): Community Ambassadors provided health education and COVID-19 vaccine clinic service navigation to community members throughout the Consortium’s catchment area in anticipation of Fall 2022 booster availability. Over 500 residents were supported in accessing vaccine clinics and 10,000 flyers were distributed.
  • Gramen Spelling Bee Francophone Outreach (June 2022): Community Ambassadors were invited to conduct outreach and engagement at the annual Gramen Spelling Bee competition for children and teens. French-language information was shared to over 250 individuals.
  • Community Outreach & Vaccine Clinics (January & March 2022): Consortium partners hosted two vaccine clinics for adults that offered goody bags and gift cards. Community Ambassadors promoted the clinics to 2,200 residents over social media. In total, 220 doses were administered.
  • Faith Community Engagement (January to March 2022): Consortium partners collaborated with a well-attended place of worship to host a vaccine clinic and provide PPE to adults and youth in a comfortable and familiar location. Over 200 doses were administered and gift cards were distributed.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Tailored COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach (September to October 2021): Community Ambassadors launched a focused and targeted outreach in communities with low vaccine uptake to increase equity and access to information. Different groups were formed to focus on specific communities, streets and buildings. The outreach covered more than 25 neighbourhoods and streets, 40 apartment buildings and more than 2,200 individuals were engaged.
  • I am Vaccinated COVID-19 Promotion Video (October 2021): Community Ambassadors created an innovative promotional COVID-19 vaccine video to increase awareness of the vaccine and encourage people to get vaccinated. The video emphasized the importance and benefits of vaccination with Community Ambassadors delivering the same message in multiple languages to reduce language barriers, and promote diversity and inclusion. The video was shared with over 6,000 clients of the 8 consortium partners, using various social media platforms that included 12 WhatsApp groups.
  • Faith & COVID-19 Vaccines (October to December 2021): Consortium partners engaged members of different faith communities through town halls and Q&A sessions, which were held in partnership with Hispanic faith leaders, Black faith leaders and households, and faith leaders from the Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim community. The key issues addressed included COVID-19 vaccine awareness and safety, vaccine passports, booster doses and debunking myths on the vaccines. Up to 74 faith leaders were engaged and over 150 households and 9,500 individuals reached through subsequent webinars and communications.
  • Parent for Child Vaccine (November to December 2021); Consortium partners facilitated multiple town halls for parents/caregivers during which information was shared and questions were answered about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children. More than 350 parents participated at the different town hall sessions.
  • COVID-19 Support Line & Social Media Campaign (Ongoing): Consortium partners launched different initiatives to improve access to COVID-19 information and vaccine resources such as: a targeted social media platform dedicated to vaccine promotion and public health information; virtual fitness and mental health services; and food access options in the community. This initiative reached over 2,000 individuals in the neighbourhoods served by consortium partners.

Lead Administrating Agency: The 519

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 46

Number of Active Agency Partners: 20

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Back to School Bash (August 2022): Community Ambassadors engaged children and families at the 6th annual Back to School Bash in Barbara Hall Park to provide information on COVID-19 and vaccination and to support access to Toronto Public Health’s onsite pop-up vaccine clinic. There were 400 people in attendance and 26 doses were administered.
  • Toronto Sri Maha Ganapathy Temple Clinic (April 2022): In partnership with the Toronto Sri Maha Ganapathy Temple, consortium partners led 2 clinics to increase confidence in and access to vaccines. In total, 60 people were engaged and 20 doses were administered, including 2 pediatric doses.
  • Moss Park Queer Wellness Festival (June 2022): In partnership with Building Roots and the Expand Partnership, consortium partners hosted a queer wellness festival featuring live music, local vendors, wellness info & more. Over 150 people attended, 7 vaccines were administered, and 100 meals were distributed.
  • Downtown East Vaccine Phoneline (January to March 2022): Downtown East Vaccine Ambassadors staffed a vaccine hotline Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide a non-judgmental space dedicated to supporting individuals in the Downtown East but open to anyone who called to get information about COVID-19 vaccines, booster eligibility, and booking appointments.
  • The 519 Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics (January to March 2022): In partnership with The Regent Park Community Health Centre, The 519 hosts weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics for 2SLGBTQ+ communities, newcomers, older adults, youth, families and those experiencing homelessness/who are underhoused. Eighty four vaccine doses have been administered.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Black Community Wellness Hubs (Spring/Summer 2021): Consortium members partnered with Black-mandated community health organizations to coordinate wellness hub events. The goal was to increase vaccination rates among Black community members in the Downtown East through culturally-specific engagement and mobile vaccine clinics. Over 100 doses were administered.
  • 2SLGBTQ+ Community Vaccine Information Gathering (Spring/Summer 2021): A survey was administered by Sherbourne Health Centre’s 2SLGBTQ+ Community Ambassadors in the Church-Wellesley Village. The purpose was to gauge vaccine comfort and vaccination rates in the community in order to help guide vaccine equity engagement in the Downtown East. Fifty five community members participated in the survey.
  • Regent Park Radio Segments (October to December 2021): Information session on Regent Park Focus Radio on COVID-19, including a segment with ‘true and false’ questions to address misinformation and concerns about vaccines to an audience of approximately 7,000 residents.
  • Fay & Fluffy’s Drag Storytime (November to December 2021): VET partners created educational videos with Drag stars Fay Slift and Fluffy Soufflé to share information on COVID-19 and vaccination with families and children 5 to 11 years old. Video content included ‘Getting my 3rd Dose’, reading of children’s book ‘COVID Vaccine’, testimonial by Fay & Fluffy and a Q&A with health care professionals.

Lead Administrating Agency: Scadding Court Community Centre

Number of Active Agency Partners: 19

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 33

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Outreach to Pregnant People & Moms (July to September 2022): In partnership with perinatal programs at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, The Stop Community Food Centre, and Regent Park Community Health Centre, monthly workshops were conducted with pregnant people and mothers of small children. Information was provided on implications of vaccination for pregnancy and newborns. More than 400 participants attended.
  • Black Health & Wellness Town Hall (January 2022): Black Resiliency Table partners, Black Scientists Task Force, Black Health Alliance and West Neighbourhood House co-hosted an online town hall to address distrust of healthcare among Black-identifying communities resulting from medical anti-Black racism. Over 80 individuals attended the online panel and Q&A.
  • Accessible Vaccine clinics (January to July 2022): Seven specialized vaccination clinics were hosted between January and March for individuals with developmental, cognitive, and/or physical disabilities and their families. Over 350 community members received vaccines or booster shots.
  • Presentation to the Immunizing Children with Confidence (ICC) Vaccination Conversations Pop-Up Event (January 2022): Consortium partners presented on “Setting Up Accessible Vaccine Clinics for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities” to agencies and community members. The presentation showcased the consortiums’ specialized approach to vaccine distribution for those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, which centers on accessible service, barrier reduction and interagency partnerships.
  • Parkdale Library Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics (December 2022): Consortium partners collaborated with the Parkdale Library, Parkdale Activity – Recreation Centre (PARC) and the Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre to deliver weekly, barrier-free, pop-up vaccine clinics in the community. Over 2,000 vaccines and booster shots were administered over 10 weeks.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Spadina-Fort York Community Outreach (Summer 2021): Consortium partners launched the Community Outreach with Vaccine Information Project in the Spadina-Fort York area. The project engaged with underhoused individuals and those living in encampments to register for local vaccine clinics. Transportation vouchers were provided to increase access. This effort reached 70,000 residents, resulting in more than 1,000 vaccine appointments.
  • Chinatown Community Member Engagement (Spring/Summer 2021): Consortium partners worked with residents and businesses in Toronto’s Chinatown area to provide culturally-specific engagement to reduce vaccine hesitancy, provide education about the COVID-19 vaccine, and help with vaccine registration. This strategy has engaged over 22,000 local community members through language-specific testing sites, pop-up vaccine clinics, and seniors-focused workshops.
  • Downtown West Region-Wide Support (Spring/Summer 2021): Consortium partners in Downtown West provided culturally competent vaccine engagement and visibility with activities that included pop-up clinics, assistance with registration for vaccine appointments, door-to-door canvassing, and spreading the word through social media. This approach resulted in 4,500 vaccine doses being administered across 9 community-specific pop-up clinics and 20 mobile micro-clinics.
  • Community Clinics (May to December 2021): Consortium partners, in collaboration with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto Public health and the Women’s College Hospital, coordinated a series of weekly vaccine clinics and one-time vaccine pop-ups in areas with high COVID-19 rates and low first dose vaccination rates. Over 6,000 people were vaccinated through the community clinics, including a special day for children and third dose administration in December 2021.
  • Vax Shack (October 2021 to present): A container at 707 Market Place was converted into a meeting place for Community Ambassadors and residents for COVID-19 educational material and information on vaccination. In collaboration with local community agencies, the supports provided also included printing and laminating over 200 vaccine receipts for residents with no access to printing and helping residents without an OHIP card access their receipts.

Lead Administrating Agencies: Access Alliance Multicultural Health & Community Services and The Neighbourhood Organization TNO

Number of Active Agency Partners: 21

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 61

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Community Event Days (August 2022): In partnership with community agencies across the region, 15 Community Ambassadors were present at the Flemingdon Health Centre youth cookout, Thorncliffe Harvest Festival, Leeward Community Fair, Flemo Farm market, Gateway Bike giveaway and the TCHC community event in Teesdale, which all took place on the same day. Ambassadors provided information on COVID-19, local pop-up clinics, and distributed PPE, rapid antigen test kits and toys for children. More than 500 residents were engaged.
  • Multilingual RAT Kit Distribution + Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic (April & May 2022): Consortium partners conducted outreach and distributed rapid antigen test kits to residents in high rise buildings with a concentration of newcomers facing language barriers. Ambassadors speaking English, Urdu, Hindi, Persian, Dari and Arabic were on-site conducting outreach. A pop-up vaccine clinic with translators was subsequently arranged in the same buildings in response to residents’ requests. In total, 648 rapid antigen test kits were distributed and 35 vaccine doses were administered.
  • Multilingual RAT Kit Distribution to Seniors (June 2022): Consortium partners distributed rapid antigen test kits in seniors’ buildings where many residents face mobility and accessibility barriers. Ambassadors conducted outreach in four non-English languages. In total, 324 rapid antigen test kits were distributed.
  • #VaxtheEast Campaign (February 2022): Consortium partners collaborated with Michael Garron Hospital, East Toronto Health Partners, and the City of Toronto to support vaccine access for children and families in Taylor Massey, Oakridge, Victoria Village and Flemingdon Park neighbourhoods. Community members were offered free TTC service to the Ontario Science Centre vaccination clinic and a free family pass to the Ontario Science Centre along with books, pencils, and certificates for children once vaccinated. More than 500 flyers were distributed in 10 buildings in Flemingdon Park. The event was promoted by 28 Ambassadors to neighbours, resulting in 1,700 doses adminstered.
  • Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee Engagement (January to March 2022): Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee organized door-to-door vaccine engagement providing fresh healthy meals to isolated seniors and families with children ages 5 to 11 to promote vaccine access. In total, 1,785 individuals were engaged and 1,052 meals were distributed.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Thorncliffe Park & Flemingdon Park Data Driven Outreach Strategy (May to December 2021): Consortium partners developed a data-driven vaccination mapping and monitoring strategy for tower communities in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park with low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. The data was used to inform a hyper-local response, and building-specific, door-to door engagement activities and vaccine clinics. This resulted in 89 building-based clinics, over 16,000 doors knocked, 138 buildings reached, 29,000 residents directly engaged, and 2,100 vaccine appointments booked in the summer and fall of 2021.
  • Community Ambassador Mobilization Series (March to August 2021): Vaccine Engagement Team partners coordinated a series of weekly capacity building sessions for Community Ambassadors. Topics included strategies for PPE distribution, a ‘Connecting with Residents’ presentation, strategies on how to address vaccine hesitancy, and approaches to providing support at pop-up vaccine clinics.
  • Crescent Town & Taylor Massey Outreach (March to December 2021): In collaboration with Woodgreen Community Services, a comprehensive outreach plan was implemented in the Crescent town and Taylor Massey neighbourhoods. The plan aimed to increase knowledge and awareness of COVID-19 public health measures, establish local pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics and register residents for vaccination appointments. Over 11,950 residents participated in the community planning initiative resulting in an engagement strategy that reached residents in 6,018 units across 22 buildings.
  • Bus Ride for Kids Vaccination Day & School-Based Clinics (September to December 2021): Collaboration with the City of Toronto to organize a free TTC bus ride for families of Taylor Massey to receive their vaccinations at Scotiabank Arena for Kids Vaccination Day. Consortium partners also partnered with local schools to support 41 clinics across Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park and Taylor Massey.
  • Lobby & Door-to-Door Clinics (September to December 2021): Collaboration with health partners to organize lobby-based/door-to-door clinics in Taylor Massey in response to low vaccine uptake amongst residents. Results included 22 building-based clinics, over 23,000 doors knocked, over 16,000 flyers distributed in Bangla, Urdu, Gujarati, and Farsi and 4,200 newcomers engaged.

Lead Administrating Agency:  Rexdale Community Health Centre

Number of Active Agency Partners: 12

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 76

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Summer of Joy Festival (July 2022): The Rexdale Community Hub partnered with PlazaPOPs and Albion-Islington Square BIA to activate underutilized neighbourhood spaces into vibrant community gathering spaces. Community Ambassadors attended and distributed information about COVID-19 vaccine clinics and booster doses available in North Etobicoke area. Over 1,000 residents were engaged.
  • Movie Night & BBQ (June 2022): Consortium partners were invited to conduct outreach at a community event led by the Toronto Police Service and Parks, Forestry and Recreation. Children and parents were engaged by Ambassadors at the event. One hundred wellness kits consisting of PPE, rapid antigen test kits and local vaccine clinic information were distributed.
  • Field Trip to the Theatre (May 2022): In partnership with the 2SLGBTQ collaborative and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, consortium partners provided youth from North Etobicoke and Rexdale with information about the COVID-19 vaccine and clinics, as well as sexual health information, a tour of the Toronto’s Gay Village, and information on programs and employment supports for careers in theatre. Thirteen youth participated.
  • Cram-a-Cruiser (April 2022): In partnership with the Toronto Police Service and Giant Tiger, consortium partners held an awareness event that collected food donations and distributed wellness kits. Community members were better informed about their options for addressing COVID 19 and about local vaccine clinics. Food donations for the local community filled 1 police cruiser and 150 wellness kits were distributed.
  • B’Well (Black Wellness Clinic) (January to March 2022): A monthly wellness clinic launched in January 2022. In partnership with the Black Vaccine Engagement Team, the Black Physicians Association of Ontario and other Black population-serving organizations, the wellness clinic was hosted on-site at an ongoing vaccine clinic. In March 2022, 45 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered, 29 residents accessed blood-glucose checks and foot care and 415 grocery store gift cards were distributed to address food insecurity.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Home Stretch Initiative (July 2021): In order to address socioeconomic barriers to vaccination such as transportation, work schedules, and child care, pop-up and smaller micro-clinics were hosted in high-traffic community spaces is areas with lower vaccination rates. More than 7,500 people were vaccinated through this approach, with 2,000 at micro-clinics and 5,500 at pop-up clinics.
  • Las Lap Caribana Event (August 2021): Designed as a local capstone to Toronto’s Caribbean Caribana Festival, a pop-up vaccine clinic was hosted alongside a neighbourhood event to celebrate and reconnect with the community. A total of 345 doses were administered at this event, and community connections strengthened.
  • Accessibility for Families (September to November 2021): Pop-up vaccine clinics were offered in spaces frequented by families, such as grocery stores and mall plaza parking lots, to reduce barriers to access. Heated tents and TTC buses were used to host over 30 micro-clinics for families completing their weekly shopping for groceries and other household needs.
  • Black Wellness Clinics (September 2021 to present): Started as a pilot in Tandridge Crescent with the support of the Black Physicians’ Association of Ontario (BPAO), vaccination clinics with a wellness component are now consistently held at the North Kipling Community Centre. Delivered in collaboration with the Black Resilience Collaborative, the wellness component to the vaccine clinics included checks on blood pressure and sugar levels, mental health supports, and any other additional resources and referrals to residents in the North Kipling areas, which has a high Black population.

Lead Administrating Agency: Lakeshore Area Multi-Service Project (LAMP)

Number of Active Agency Partners: 21

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 28

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • TD Jerk Festival (August 2022): A pop-up clinic was offered at the TD Jerk Festival. Community Ambassadors conducted outreach to vendors and community members from the Black/Caribbean community that came for the event. More than 1,000 people were engaged and 39 vaccine doses were administered.
  • Hyper-Local Clinics & Outreach (April to June 2022): Temporary vaccine clinics were held throughout the spring in a number of residential buildings to increase access for residents. Ambassadors provided outreach in advance to provide education and logistical information about the clinic. In total, 396 vaccine doses were administered.
  • MABELLEarts Vaccination Clinic (February 2022): Community Ambassadors supported two vaccine clinics in partnership with MABELLEarts at which fresh produce was distributed to low-income residents. Ambassadors promoted this clinic by attending other programs at MABELLEarts and distributing loot bags with PPE and a flyer with information about the clinics. A total of 140 doses were administered.
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre Clinic (March 2022): Community Ambassadors distributed flyers in buildings of Etobicoke areas with low vaccine uptake in advance of a March vaccination clinic. The team also conducted outreach via social media and through Toronto District School Board (TDSB) networks. A total of 66 residents were vaccinated with many identifying the flyers or the TDSB as their source of information about the clinic.
  • Faith Community Clinics & Outreach (March 2022): Consortium partners established clinics at two local churches. Ambassadors conducted outreach in the area in advance of the clinics and posted on social media. Ambassadors screened clients, hosted a children’s arts table, distributed children’s loot bags and provided gift cards to youth and adults. A total of 51 doses were administered.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • VET Central Help Line (Spring/Summer 2021): Consortium partners activated a dedicated phone line for residents to call to access assistance with arranging vaccine appointments and/or transportation to vaccine clinics. Over 1,000 vaccinations appointments and transportation arrangements were arranged for people without access to online registration systems.
  • Mobile Pop-up Vaccine Clinics (Spring/Summer 2021): A series of mobile pop-up vaccine clinics were established in the Neighbourhoods of West Mall, East Mall, New Toronto, and Long Branch where low vaccination rates persist. The targeted approach reduced transportation and other logistical barriers resulting in over 200 vaccine doses administered.
  • Vaccine Information Town Halls (July to December 2021): A series of monthly town hall meetings were hosted in partnership with Toronto Public Health to address misinformation about vaccines and build vaccine confidence in South Etobicoke. Community Ambassadors and agency partners promoted the town halls to more than 12,500 community members.
  • Monthly Mobile Clinics (September to December 2021) In collaboration with Toronto Public Health and community partners, vaccine clinics were hosted monthly throughout the fall and winter to increase access to vaccines. Over 600 vaccinations were administered and approximately $2,500-worth in Presto cards and gift cards for groceries, DoorDash and UberEats were provided as incentives.

Lead Administrating Agency: Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

Number of Active Agency Partners: 12

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 34

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • AJs Rock Your Health Event (August 2022): Youth aged 13 to 16 were invited to make and share a meal and discuss COVID-19 and the vaccines. The goal was to provide youth with knowledge and skills to help them eat healthy foods and understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and public health measures though a fun event. Thirteen youth participated.
  • Focus on Spanish-Speaking Residents (July 2022): Community Ambassadors conducted extensive outreach with Spanish-speaking residents of South Scarborough, including making a video with youth for distribution to the younger population. The consortium’s Spanish-speaking coordinator participated in an interview on a Spanish-language radio show, Radio Ondas FM, Linea Uno. Information about the COVID-19 vaccine, its importance, eligibility criteria and how to access was shared. Combined, more than 350 individuals were engaged.
  • Go-Vaxx at the Mall (April & May 2022): In partnership with RioCan Plaza and Morningside Crossing Mall, consortium partners coordinated Go-Vaxx mobile bus clinics at busy shopping centres to increase access to vaccination. Ambassadors were on hand to answer questions and to distribute PPE and rapid antigen test kits. In total, 223 vaccines were administered; 26 to children and 97 to adults.
  • Info Booths (March 2022): Consortium partners partnered with the mobile vaccination team at their info booths to help make vaccine access more convenient. At the first info booth of this kind, the team administered 5 vaccines and registered 9 people for an upcoming community vaccine clinic.
  • Mobile Vaccine Van (March 2022): A Mobile Vaccine Van was launched by consortium partners to promote vaccine uptake in convenient and familiar environments throughout Scarborough. The team administered approximately 150 vaccines per day.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Multilingual Vaccine Information Series (June & August 2021): Group vaccine information sessions were held in multiple languages with one-to-one follow-up to provide customized education to residents and assist them with booking vaccine appointments. Over 1,000 residents in isolated, non-English speaking communities were reached.
  • Data Driven Engagement (July 2021 to present): Targeted engagement in the three neighbourhoods with the highest rate of unvaccinated residents. Community Ambassadors were deployed to map out these areas and identify the most suitable locations to target for vaccine clinics and extensive engagement activities. This approach, along with other activities, has led to a decrease of nearly 28% in the number of unvaccinated residents in those three neighborhoods.
  • Vaccine Information Booths (October 2021 to present): Information booths were set up weekly in high foot traffic locations to engage with community members based on Community Ambassador’s knowledge and connections within the neighbourhood. Over 400 people were engaged through the information booths. Educational material on COVID-19, flyers on vaccine clinics in South Scarborough (that were also made widely available in the area), and masks were also distributed.
  • Engagement at Places of Worship (September 2021 to present): Collaboration with religious leaders with influence in their communities to plan vaccination clinics at mosques, churches and temples. These vaccine clinics were set up in partnership with the provincial GO-VAXX program and Toronto Public Health. Up to 97 people, including 23 children (5 to 11 years old), were vaccinated at the Salahudine Mosque in December 2021 alone.

Lead Administrating Agency:  Agincourt Community Services Association

Number of Active Agency Partners: 16

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 53

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Glendower Back-to-School Event (September 2022): Consortium members partnered with residents and agencies to host a Back-to-School event for the Glendower Toronto Community Housing Corp. community. COVID-19 information was offered, along with a meal, back-to-school resources and information. At the event, 120 attendees received a meal, 80 children received backpacks filled with back-to-school essentials, and 15 adults and children were registered for vaccine appointments.
  • Filipino Heritage Month Engagement (June 2022): In partnership with the Filipino Cultural Centre and Filipino Consulate, consortium partners set up information tables and a micro clinic at events during Filipino Heritage Month in North Scarborough. Multi-lingual engagement centered on creating awareness amongst Filipinx residents about the importance of the COVID-19 booster dose, sharing information about clinics and learning more about barriers to vaccine access in a positive, celebratory environment. Over 580 individuals participated, 10 people registered for vaccines and 15 vaccine doses were administered at the micro clinic.
  • Youth Mental Health Awareness Forum (May 2022): A mental health awareness forum targeted at Tamil youth with a range of Tamil professionals including a physician, social worker and educator. Youth shared and gained insights into the mental health impacts of isolation, the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and public health measures. Fifty youth attended.
  • Children’s Vaccine Information Sessions (February 2022): Consortium partners hosted a virtual information session on children’s COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with Toronto Public Health. The session was offered in English, Arabic and Tamil and attended by 100 parents/caregivers with many reporting subsequent increased confidence in vaccination for their children. In the lead up to each session, Ambassadors reached over 2,000 people with information about vaccine resources through community outreach efforts.
  • Booster Dose Quiz & Draw (March 2022): Ambassadors engaged community members in low uptake areas in Tam O’Shanter in a quiz about the COVID-19 booster dose to increase knowledge about and reduce barriers to accessing the vaccines. This resulted in direct engagement with over 200 people about the booster dose and information-sharing with over 2,000 people.
  • At-Home Vaccination Program (January 2022): Consortium partners offered vaccinations at home for isolated and vulnerable residents, amidst limited clinics available in the community. Over 100 residents were vaccinated at home.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • East & Southeast Asian Engagement Project (March to August 2021): Focused on supporting East and Southeast Asian youth and older adults, Community Ambassadors provided culturally-specific COVID-19 vaccine appointment registration system navigation and transportation arrangement support to individuals, one-on-one. Over six months in 2021, more than 7,000 non-English speaking community members were engaged.
  • Centennial College Outreach Plan (March to August 2021): Spearheaded by student Community Ambassadors, this outreach initiative focused on COVID-19 vaccine engagement towards newcomer students, South Asian community members, and people with disabilities. It provided avenues and resources for students to provide their peers with the education and resources needed to address vaccine hesitancy. Approximately 31,000 community members were reached.
  • Door-to-Door Outreach & Engagement (September to October 2021): Community Ambassadors connected with 1,500 to 2,000 residents weekly in underserved areas with a large portion of unvaccinated or under-vaccinated residents. Information on COVID-19 vaccines, booking appointments, obtaining vaccine certificates and contact information of Community Ambassadors for support in multiple languages was distributed in high rise buildings and homes, and feedback on barriers to access was collected.
  • Operation L’Amoreaux (October to November 2021): A tailored outreach initiative was implemented to increase vaccine uptake amongst Black and South Asian communities in L’Amoreaux, the North Scarborough neighbourhood with the highest number of unvaccinated individuals. The specific focus was on areas with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) residences within the target census tract areas. A multi-pronged outreach consisting of online workshops, vaccine clinics and information sharing through door-to-door engagement was undertaken resulting in over 3,000 residents reached and approximately 100 first or second COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.

Lead Administrating Agency: North York Community House

Number of Active Agency Partners: 21

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 26

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Community Health & Information Fair – Seniors Focus (May & June 2022): With the goal to offer a COVID-19 vaccine clinic that would feel comfortable and safe for immigrant older adults, holocaust survivors, and Ukrainian newcomers, the Bernard Betel Centre (BBC) partnered with the North York Toronto Health Partners (NYTHP) to facilitate a seniors-focused CHIF event. Information on health screenings, home care and long-term services, and nutrition and counselling services were offered along with a doctor on-site to answer questions about COVID-19 and vaccination. The event was attended by 75 people and 27 doses were administered.
  • BBC Seniors Art & Mindfulness Sessions (May & June 2022): The Bernard Betel Centre (BBC) delivered art and mindfulness activities to vulnerable seniors residing in the North York area in English, Russian and Ukrainian. These activities helped seniors to cope and recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic. During these sessions, ambassadors also provided information about COVID-19 vaccination and booster doses, the nearest vaccination clinics and distributed 80 rapid antigen test kits. In total, 72 seniors participated, including 20 seniors who were assisted with filling out government forms and registering for vaccine appointments.
  • “Our Covid Experience” Children’s Booklet (April to May 2022): A booklet was created by children for children – with the support of an Ambassador and guest artist – to inspire parents and children to follow COVID-19 health and safety measures and to get vaccinated. Two hundred copies were distributed at after-school programs.
  • NORC Vaccine Clinics (March 2022): Ambassadors partnered with North York General Hospital and VHA Home Healthcare to host door-to-door vaccination events in 10 naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs). Ambassadors promoted the events in advance to 1,800 residents resulting in 131 vaccine doses administered.
  • Afghan Refugee Engagement (January to March 2022): Ambassadors conducted linguistic and culturally appropriate outreach to Afghan refugees and newcomers in hotels. Nine hundred Afghan refugees and newcomers were provided with information about COVID-19 vaccines and clinics.
  • Vaccine Certificate Educational Video (January to March 2022) A Vibrant Healthcare Ambassador developed an educational video on the process of booking a vaccination appointment and printing vaccine certificates. The video was distributed to 50 individuals and service providers who were assisting others with vaccine and vaccine certificate access.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Latin American Community Radio Show (Summer 2021): Consortium partners hosted a radio show to engage and inform the Latin American community about vaccines. A Spanish speaking faith leader joined the Community Ambassador team in hosting the radio show. The radio show targeted issues around vaccine misinformation and low vaccination rates in the community and reached over 10,000 listeners. This outreach led to 7 vaccination clinics and over 3,000 doses administered.
  • Partnership with Toronto Public Library (September to December 2021): Consortium partners established a partnership with three branches of the Toronto Public Library to host weekly vaccine information tables. Community Ambassadors shared information on local COVID-19 vaccine clinics for adults, youth and children, webinars for parents, access to vaccine certificates and vaccine hotlines for individuals who were hesitant about getting vaccinated. This partnership resulted in 61 library outreach visits where 775 people were directly engaged.
  • Oriole COVID Outreach Centre (September to December 2021): Weekly engagement sessions were hosted for the Henry Farm neighbourhood at the Oriole Community Centre, in partnership with the Flemingdon Health Centre, North York General Hospital, Working Women Community Centre, Toronto Public Health and North York Harvest. Sessions included information on COVID-19 vaccine clinics, wraparound supports and social supports for high priority communities in North York. This partnership resulted in over 1,066 residents getting vaccinated through 23 vaccine clinics.
  • Afghan Newcomer Vaccine Engagement (September to December 2021): Consortium partners, in collaboration with the Afghan Women Organization, Toronto Public Health and the East York, Don Valley Cluster, focused vaccine engagement efforts on newly arrived Afghan refugees and newcomers. The partnership aimed to reduce language barriers and cultural barriers for access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. Community Ambassadors provided information about vaccines in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner and established links for further settlement support, resulting in direct engagement with over 500 Afghan newcomers and refugees.

Lead Administrating Agency:  Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre

Number of Active Agency Partners: 13

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 39

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • York-Weston Pelham Tenants’ Union Engagement (April to September 2022): In partnership with York-Weston Pelham Tenants’ Union, consortium partners conducted vaccine engagement at 8 tenant association meetings to combat persistently low vaccine uptake in Weston’s rental apartment communities. Ambassadors used pre-existing relationships with tenant organizers to build vaccine confidence in the neighbourhood by giving short presentations on vaccine safety and information on locations of and travel instructions to vaccine clinics. Over 400 individuals were engaged.
  • Home Bound Seniors Engagement (May to June 2022): Consortium partners conducted outreach and administered vaccines in residences of disabled older adults and seniors to ensure their access. Consortium partners administered 55 booster doses and distributed 140 COVID-19 information and PPE packages.
  • Portuguese-Language Community Vaccine Clinic (January 18, 2022): Consortium partners, in partnership with Portuguese-speaking Community Ambassadors and the Red Cross, held a vaccine clinic at the Casa das Beiras Cultural Community Centre to reduce barriers to access for the Portuguese-speaking community. A news release promoted the event to 28 Portuguese media outlets and 198 vaccines were administered.
  • March Break Camp Vaccine Clinic (March 2022): A vaccine clinic was established on the final day of March Break camp. Community Ambassadors promoted the camp and clinic in the Weston area and on social media in advance, resulting in 10 doses administered to children under the age of 13.
  • Vax Art Workshops (February to March 2022): Residents were invited to explore their vaccine hesitancy through art-based engagement. A Community Ambassador was present to answer questions about COVID-19 and share information on vaccine clinics.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Syme Woolner Bi-Weekly Micro-Clinics (March to August 2021): In collaboration with the Newcomer Collaborative, community partners established one of the first micro-clinics in York-Weston Pelham, offering an accessible and familiar place for residents to get vaccinated. This approach resulted in 492 vaccine doses administered between March to August 2021.
  • York Fairbanks Vaccine Clinics & Outreach Tables (July to August 2021): In collaboration with the Newcomer Collaborative, York-Weston Pelham consortium partners hosted outreach and information tables in busy locations throughout the community in advance of vaccine clinics. This proactive approach resulted in over 1,156 vaccine doses administered between July and August 2021.
  • Youth Spoken Poetry Video Series (December 2021): In partnership with Shakespeare in Action, a professional theatre and arts education company, youth Community Ambassadors created spoken word poetry videos about the pandemic, vaccines and the effect COVID-19 has had on youth. The videos have been used to engage youth on social media throughout December 2021 and subsequent postings on the consortium’s social media accounts.
  • Vaccine Clinics for Seniors (December 2021): A pop-up vaccine clinic was established at Abrigo Centre’s and York Fairbanks Centre throughout December 2021. The clinic was for the general eligible population but also to increase access for the local seniors population. Of the total 450 doses administered, 100 doses were administered to seniors.

The Black Vaccine Engagement Team develops agile, population-specific, culturally responsive strategies to increase COVID-19 testing, vaccine confidence and access among Black people of African and Caribbean origins. COVID-19 continues to have a disproportionately high impact on Toronto’s Black and other racialized communities. The collaborative works closely with the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity and the Black Physicians Association of Ontario (BPAO).

Lead Administrating Agency: TAIBU Community Health Centre

Number of Active Agency Partners: 12

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 36

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Centre Francophone Call Centre (July to September 2022): In partnership with the Centre Francophone of Greater Toronto, a hotline was created to promote vaccines for Francophone seniors without OHIP and other French-speakers. Callers were provided with information on COVID-19 and vaccines, and were assisted with registering for vaccine appointments. The call centre received 5,522 individual calls and 1,304 appointments were booked.
  • Street Outreach to include Youth & East African Immigrants/Refugees (April to June 2022): In partnership with Margaret’s Housing & Community Support Services, the consortium recruited a youth Ambassador in order to expand its targeted outreach efforts to engage homeless youth. The Ambassador helped broaden youth peer engagement initiatives to support East African immigrant groups with high vaccine hesitancy rates in South Etobicoke. Over 500 individuals have been engaged.
  • Weekly Senior Wellness Meetings (April to June 2022): Belka Enrichment Centre Ambassadors hosted weekly community meetings for seniors to reduce isolation and provide resources needed to access COVID-19 vaccine clinics and promote vaccine confidence. The meetings were attended by 76 individuals and 19 people were assisted with booking vaccine appointments.
  • WhatsApp Expert Engagement Sessions (January to March 2022): Monthly information and discussions sessions were held with rotating medical experts and immunologists over WhatsApp. Targeting individuals living with HIV/AIDS and Sickle Cell disease, the sessions could be accessed from home and enabled discretion for those preferring privacy. Roughly 50 individuals attended each session.
  • Hair Salon & Black Beauty Event Outreach (February to March 2022): Black Vaccine Engagement Team Ambassadors partnered with Black beauty events across the city to hold engagement sessions. These settings facilitated engagement with members of the Black community in a comfortable and familiar setting. Two events were held with more than 100 attendees engaged in total.
  • COVID-19 Online Information Hubs for Black Communities (Ongoing): Launched in January 2022 and addressing a gap in culturally appropriate COVID-19 vaccine information for the Black Community, online hubs have attracted approximately 6,000 visitors since inception. They are being translated into French for broader access amongst the Black Francophone population.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • TAIBU Vaccine Clinic Series (March to August 2021): A coordinated series of vaccine clinics hosted by TAIBU Community Health Centre, in collaboration with Toronto Public Health and other partners such as the Black Health Alliance, Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO), Belka Enrichment Centre, and Black Creek Community Health Centre. The vaccine clinics were held once a week, alongside wellness events and COVID 19-related educational activities for community members.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline (March to December 2021): Consortium partners established a hotline for information on COVID-19 and vaccines for Black communities in Toronto in March 2021. Starting in May 2021, the hotline was extended to include support for Black Francophones through a partnership with the Centre Francophone Du Grand Toronto (CFGT), Université de l’Ontario français and Conseil scolaire Viamonde. A total of 847 calls were received by the hotline from March to December 2021 alone, resulting in 837 bookings for vaccines.
  • Outreach to the Ghanaian-Canadian Community (March to October 2021): The Ghanaian-Canadian Association of Ontario (GCAO) successfully launched a COVID-19 Hotline and associated WhatsApp messaging group as a way to establish two-way communication with the Ghanaian–Canadian community. The WhatsApp messaging group was used to broadcast COVID-19 and vaccine related messaging to its 3,000 active WhatsApp contacts as well as receive inquiries and follow-up on vaccine clinic bookings. GCAO also championed outreach in Black churches through various town halls and vaccine clinics. In total, 8,052 people were engaged through GCAO’s outreach activities, not including its WhatsApp messaging group.
  • Awareness Building for the Homeless & Precariously Housed (May to December 2021): In partnership with Margaret’s Housing & Community Support Services and Inner City Health Associates (ICHA), COVID-19 prevention information was distributed to over 1,000 people experiencing homelessness and/or precarious housing. Weekly targeted COVID-19 vaccine clinics were also held with ICHA. During this time, 539 vaccinations were administered to the homeless or precariously housed population – over 50% of whom identified as Black.
  • Community Conversations & Webinars (September to December 2021): Community Ambassadors hosted conversations at local libraries, community centres, African cultural events, food banks and more to hear the concerns of Black communities on COVID-19 and vaccines. Led by the Uzima Women’s Relief Group International (UZIMA), webinars, workshops and information sessions were also held on the short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19 using scientific data. A total of 1,371 people were reached through the community conversations and 275 took part in the deeper dives led by UZIMA.

The Accessibility Collaborative builds sector capacity for outreach to people with disabilities in their communities through training sessions, community-specific webinars and by supporting vaccine clinics and mobilizing Community Ambassadors from within the disability community. The collaborative works closely with the City of Toronto’s Accessibility Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines.

Lead Administrating Agency: Centre for Independent Living Toronto (CILT)

Number of Active Agency Partners: 8

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 34

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Surrey Place Partnership (July to September 2022): A partnership was established with Surrey Place to tailor outreach and vaccine clinic implementation to youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Vaccine anxieties were reduced through the distribution of information and support materials to youth and their families. Three vaccine clinics were hosted resulting in 137 doses administered.
  • Accessible COVID Vaccine Experiences: What is Next? Webinar (May 2022): The Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario (ERDCO) hosted a webinar to provide information about the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to promote personal health through vaccines and other public health measures. Panelists shared insights on vaccine rollout, other available supports, and information on the social determinants of health for Deaf and otherwise disabled BIPOC communities. The session was supported with CART and ASL interpretation. Sixty participants attended.
  • Accessibility Clinic (January 2022): Consortium partners organized a large-scale, cross-accessible vaccine clinic located at Metro Toronto Convention Centre in partnership with Toronto Public Health and the City’s Accessibility Task Force. The clinic featured cross-accessibility supports targeted at those with mobility, vision, hearing, developmental and other intersecting accessibility needs. This initiative resulted in 212 vaccine doses administered.
  • Partnership Development (Ongoing): A partnership with the Downtown East cluster was established through the 519 Community Centre. The collaboration expands engagement opportunities with those at the intersection of disability and 2SLGBTQIA+ identities. It also builds capacity to serve disabled Queer youth and enhance the accessibility of the 519 Community Centre’s vaccine clinics.
  • Capacity Building (January to March 2022): Resource development and tailored training for Community Ambassadors to better engage the Deaf and hard of hearing communities was prioritized. These efforts have thus far resulted in outreach to 2,960 individuals throughout the year.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Accessibility Clinics (July & November 2021): Consortium partners supported two Metro Toronto Convention Centre Clinics that were run by Toronto Public Health in July 2021. These efforts resulted in 1,900 vaccine doses administered to members of the disability community. In November 2021, Toronto Public Health ran what was dubbed Super Supportive Clinics in under-resourced Toronto neighbourhoods with enhanced accessibility supports such as ASL and attendant services with the support of the Accessibility Collaborative.
  • Accessibility Webinars (August 2021): Consortium partners ran two webinars on Accessibility Best Practices. The webinars were designed for partner agencies, covering topics on the impact of the pandemic on the disability community and best practices in relation to vaccine outreach. Over 100 partner agencies from the City of Toronto’s Neighbourhood Clusters and Community Vaccine Engagement Teams were engaged in delivering the webinars.
  • Accessibility Town Hall (November 2021): In collaboration with Toronto Public Health and the Centre for Independent Living Toronto (CILT), consortium partners held a town hall on topics related to disability-inclusive vaccine outreach practices, developments in vaccine rollout, and emerging knowledge on COVID-19 vaccines. The town hall was attended by 64 people including Community Ambassadors, City of Toronto staff, and Accessibility Collaborative members. The town hall expanded awareness of equity gaps faced by disabled and Deaf populations and built participants’ capacity to accommodate their access needs and rights in vaccine engagement and vaccine clinic delivery.
  • Accessibility Resources (September to December 2021): Consortium partners developed and distributed resources to promote better service for the disability community to the City of Toronto, including Toronto Public Health. These were key activities to enable cross-disability expertise in accessibility best practices and capacity building to deliver disability-inclusive vaccine engagement and communications with the City of Toronto and community partners.
  • Advancing the Accessibility Task Force Recommendations (September to December 2021): The recommendations of the Accessibility Task Force (ATF) on intervention tools and measures to help close equity gaps for disabled and Deaf residents were shared widely among Accessibility Collaborative partners, other clusters and City of Toronto partners. This vital work was enhanced by input from cross-disability experts such as Silent Voice and Balance for Blind Adults.

Lead Administrating Agencies: FCJ Refugee Centre and Jane Finch Community and Family Centre

Number of Active Agency Partners: 18

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 27                    

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Newcomer QR Code transitions (April to June 2022): Consortium partners supported international students and newcomers daily with registering their international vaccine certificates in Ontario’s vaccination tracking system and accessing a regional QR code. Over 150 individuals were supported in total.
  • Vaccination contre la COVID-19, m’informer dans ma langue (April to June 2022): The Centre Francophone of Greater Toronto, in partnership with the Newcomer collaborative and Black Vaccine Engagment Team, provided 6 educational webinars to 154 participants, support for booking vaccine appointments to 248 individuals and 450 care kits for francophone newcomers, refugees and other vulnerable communities.
  • Borderless Voices Podcasts (February to March 2022): Consortium partners developed an ongoing podcast series in 2021 to reach English-speaking and Spanish-speaking residents with information on how to book COVID-19 booster appointments, obtain proof of vaccine certificates, and obtain vaccine QR codes. The podcasts resulted in approximately 1,000 appointments booked, 1,000 people obtaining proof of vaccine certificates and 2,000 people obtaining their vaccine QR codes.
  • Health Leader Information Sessions (January to February 2022): Medical doctors were invited to speak to residents in a large-scale public meeting as well as group sessions and one-on-one conversations. Designed to combat vaccination discouragement from family members abroad, the session contributed to an overall 91% vaccination rate in the community.
  • Domestic & Pre-Arrival Newcomer Youth & Family Vaccine Engagement Project (January to March 2022): A survey was conducted with newcomer youth to explore experiences with COVID-19 vaccination, barriers around getting vaccinated, and hesitations about the vaccine. The survey also linked participants to relevant resources. Fifty responses were collected that resulted in the production of two videos featuring newcomer youth sharing why they got vaccinated and medical professionals responding to questions about vaccination that arose in survey responses.
  • Arab Community Centre of Toronto Engagement (January to March 2022): The Arab Community Centre of Toronto launched a phone campaign to determine vaccine uptake in the Arab community and provide support to members in accessing vaccines. The campaign reached 1,215 individuals and approximately 80% reported already receiving vaccinations.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Belka Enrichment Centre Town Halls (March to August 2021): Community Ambassadors hosted town halls for youth between the ages of 12 and 18 and newcomer family members to help overcome barriers to COVID-19 vaccination in vulnerable communities. Pop-up clinics were set-up in the Black Creek and Scarborough area and advertised through door-to-door outreach, flyers and social media. Up to 6,384 vulnerable youth and newcomers were engaged.
  • Domestic & Pre-Arrival Newcomer Youth & Family Vaccine Engagement (June to August 2021): The YMCA of Greater Toronto hired newcomer youth vaccine ambassadors to engage newcomer youth and their families through focus groups, information sessions with guest speakers, newcomer youth influencers, and family engagement sessions and workshops. This outreach enabled access to information on COVID-19 and the vaccines for up to 4,854 newcomers and offered space for discussion. Given its success, the project was extended to December 2021, with outreach to an additional 4,000 registered pre-arrival newcomers through weekly newsletters from September to December 2021.
  • Vaccine Engagement with Eastern European Communities (September to December 2021): In response to the data on low vaccination rates, Community Ambassadors spent an average of 16 hours weekly conducting engagement in Russian and Polish communities. Activities included following up with past agency clients, responding to individual inquiries about COVID-19 vaccination, and providing resources on vaccination at settlement services, pharmacies and food stores. Up to 400 individuals were engaged.
  • Vaccine Engagement with Francophone Communities (September to December 2021): French-language information on COVID-19 and supports for accessing vaccines were provided to francophone communities through 11 webinars on a range of topics. Up to 1,664 newcome rresidents were engaged through the webinars, call centre and several vaccine engagement events.
  • Culturally Appropriate & Language-Specific Outreach & Support (September to December 2021): Consortium partners provided support to 12 vaccine clinics across Toronto, as well as phone and one-on-one support in Spanish, English and French for newcomers looking to book their COVID-19 booster appointment or obtain their vaccine QR code. Webinars were also created in English and Spanish to inform newcomers on how to register for out-of-province vaccine receipts for those who obtained their vaccines outside of Canada and how to obtain COVID-19 financial assistance, especially for those in shelters. Approximately 200 people were able to register for their out-of-province vaccine receipt and were informed on COVID-19 financial assistance.

The South Asian Vaccine Engagement Collaborative (SAVEC) is a community-driven initiative that works with South Asian agencies, community leaders, and media outlets to develop agile, population-specific, culturally responsive strategies to increase COVID-19 testing, vaccine confidence and access among South Asian communities in Toronto. SAVEC provides training sessions, community-specific webinars, supports vaccine clinics, and mobilizes South Asian Community Ambassadors for focused outreach.

Lead Administrating Agency: Council of Agencies Serving South Asians

Number of Active Agency Partners: 11

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 12

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Festival Outreach (August 2022): Consortium partners set up information booths and conducted outreach at three Tamil community festivals, spanning seven days of activities. Vaccine-related information for all ages was available in Tamil and English. PPE, rapid antigen test kits and gift cards were also distributed. Approximately 20,000 individuals were engaged.
  • Social Media Engagement (April to June 2022): Consortium members conducted online engagement in Bangla, Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi and Urdu on the topics of COVID-19 mandate reversal, booster shots, children’s vaccines, reopening, and variants. Over 10,000 people were engaged via social media and other online activities.
  • Consortium Capacity Building (April to June 2022): Consortium partners generated webinars, a podcast and other media in English and South Asian languages to build on training opportunities for Community Ambassadors. The goal was to overcome information fatigue and provide new ways to disseminate relevant COVID-19 information to community members.
  • Online Information Hub Re-Launch (January to March 2022): TheCouncil of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) and SAVEC partners re-launched the Online SAVEC Community Hub. The Hub provides vaccine resources and the SAVEC Illustration Campaign for 40 organizational partners to support their vaccine promotion initiatives. It also contains all COVID-19 capacity building materials provided to Community Ambassadors in English and South Asian languages.
  • In-Person Engagement (January to March 2022): SAVEC members hosted community engagement events to distribute translated flyers, rapid antigen test kits and PPE and to reduce barriers to vaccines in geographic areas with a high density of South Asian residents such as Malvern, Taylor Massey, Crescent Town, Agincourt, Dorset Park, Wexford, and the Danforth. In total, 5,000 residents were engaged and more than 500 vaccine appointments were booked.
  • Virtual and Remote Live Engagement (January to March 2022): Collaborative members organized online events such as town halls, webinars, phone calls, one-on-one meetings, and Facebook Live sessions with medical experts, public health officials, faith leaders, and community leaders to answer questions about vaccines and vaccination for residents. Conducted in English and South Asian languages, the collaborative hosted 30 events with a total of 1,000 participants.

Engagement Highlights 2021:

  • Having the Conversation Series (March 2021): Consortium partners hosted a series of town halls to support South Asian communities and fuel healthy discussions on vaccine concerns. Approximately 22,000 residents were engaged.
  • Culturally Responsive Door-to-door Outreach & Clinics (March to August 2021): Community Ambassadors conducted door-to-door outreach in places of worship. Educational materials were developed and disseminated in Punjabi, Tamil, Bangla, Urdu, and other languages appropriate to the South Asian community. In partnership with Toronto Public Health, mobile clinics geared towards South Asian communities were also held. These efforts contributed to supporting up to 83 residents for their first dose of the vaccines.
  • Direct Online Campaign (September to December 2021): Consortium partners organized online events such as town halls, webinars, phone calls to residents, one-on-one meetings, and Facebook Live sessions with medical experts, public health officials, faith leaders, and community leaders. The target audience of this strategy were residents who were actively seeking clarification about vaccines. The online events were done in English and other South Asian languages by members of the community. Over 50 collective online events were organized by SAVEC members. More than 10,000 people collectively attended live events and another 100,000 accessed recorded events.
  • Ethnic Media Outreach (September to December 2021): Consortium partners engaged with community-based media to dispel vaccine misinformation in various South Asian languages through paid advertisements, public service announcements, media interviews, and multimedia content sharing. The target audience for this strategy were members of South Asian communities with language barriers and access to technology. Media outlets included South Asian newspapers, radio, and TV channels. Over 20 media outlets were engaged, reaching over 100,000 people.

 

Lead Administrating Agencies: Lumacare

Number of Active Agency Partners: 1

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 5

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • Create Awareness for COVID-19 Vaccine Testing & Clinics (September 2022): In collaboration with the Black Creek Community Health Centre, a pop-up wellness and vaccine clinic was set up a local church. In total, 50 vaccine doses were administered and 30 individuals had wellness checks. PPE and gift bags were distributed to all participants.
  • Vaccine Clinic at Tariq Islamic Centre (March 2022): Consortium partners supported a clinic on-site at the Tariq Islamic Centre to promote uptake in the faith community. Over 250 adults and children’s COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered.
  • From Hurt to Hope Through Healing (April 2022): Consortium partners hosted a panel event with faith leaders to provide support to their communities for stress and hardships of the pandemic. Panelists shared stories of resilience and navigating challenges and emphasized the importance of vaccination to remain safe and healthy. More than 50 people attended in person and over 75 people attended virtually.
  • Faith Leaders Power Hour: Faith & Peer Support during the Pandemic (April 2022): The Faith Leaders Power Hour was an interactive session for faith leaders to share COVID-19 support strategies and safety practices with community groups and congregants. More than 12 leaders of different faith communities participated.
  • Multi-Faith Newsletter (April 2022): Consortium partners created a newsletter to shed light on the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and promote vaccination within faith communities. The newsletter also promoted different faith observances to create awareness and bring community together. Over 900 copies were shared in print and digitally.

The 2SLGBTQ+ Collaborative is a community-driven initiative that works with 2SLGBTQ+ serving community agencies citywide to develop agile, population-specific strategies to increase COVID-19 testing, vaccine confidence and access. The Collaborative provides support to and partners with geographic-based collaboratives to engage 2SLGBTQ+ communities throughout the city.

Lead Administrating Agency: The Neighbourhood Organization

Number of Active Agency Partners: 10

Number of Active & Trained Community Ambassadors: 13

Engagement Highlights 2022:

  • 2SLGBTQ+ Healthcare Needs Assessment (September 2022): Consortium partners and Community Ambassadors conducted outreach in Barbara Hall park to share up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccines and to collect information about broader healthcare concerns in the 2SLGBTQ+ population. The initiative aimed to combat COVID-19 “fatigue” and capture the ongoing and complex health needs in the community that have gone unaddressed during the pandemic. Thirteen surveys were completed.
  • LGBTQ+ Newcomers Drop-In & Wellness Clinics (July to September 2022): Consortium partners, Ambassadors and settlement workers hosted a series of monthly health and wellness discussions targeted towards LGBTQ+ newcomers, alongside vaccine clinics. The goal was to create a space where queer people could more comfortably discuss their health and access referrals to relevant services. The clinics were attended by 95 newcomers and 6 vaccine doses were administrated.
  • Community Partnerships (Ongoing): The consortium has developed partnerships to broaden the conversation around vaccine access for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The collaborations have also increased access to COVID-19 information and services for more isolated groups within the community. Partnerships with the Toronto District School Board, the Friends of Ruby Transitional Home, and 2Spirited People of the First Nations have resulted in four information sessions in community settings and the addition of a key community agency to the Collaborative.
  • Crescent Town & Taylor Massey Chai & Chat for Newcomers, Families, & 2SLGBTQ+ (May 2022): Members of the collaborative offered a low-barrier, hassle-free vaccine clinic for children and adults. Harm reduction and COVID-19 testing supplies were provided along with educational materials on how families can support 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. A voguing workshop was offered to activate and engage Queer and non-Queer community members.
  • Wellness Clinics in Rexdale & at The 519 (March, April & June 2022): Collaborative members hosted monthly wellness and COVID-19 vaccine clinics that holistically addressed aspects of physical, mental, and spiritual The aim was to build vaccine confidence and knowledge by being a one-stop shop that also offered the opportunity to get vaccinated and connect with a primary healthcare practitioner.
  • 2SLGBTQ+ Newcomers Drop-In (Ongoing): Starting in April 2022, consortium partners host a drop-in space for Queer newcomers to connect with one another, build community, and access a one-stop shop for settlement and healthcare services. Offerings included service navigation of 2SLGBTQ+-friendly vaccine clinics, primary healthcare attachment, and translation supports for non-English speaking community members.

Indigenous organizations have been provided dedicated funding to self-determine culturally appropriate strategies for engagement among Indigenous communities. These funds are allocated in coordination with the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Affairs Office and are being used to:

  • Increase the capacity of Indigenous-focused mobile and on-site COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs by hiring nurses, administrative staff and other medical support staff;
  • Support the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines while providing wrap-around services, including addressing food security needs;
  • Provide mental health and case management supports through Indigenous counsellors and Elders to 2-Spirited individuals and children and youth;
  • Provide transportation supports to and from vaccine clinics;
  • Support vaccine incentives for Indigenous community members who receive vaccinations at Auduzhe Mino Mesewinong; and,
  • Develop vaccine information packages with Indigenous-specific messaging.

Lead Agencies:

  • Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council
  • Anishnawbe Health Toronto
  • 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations
  • Na-Me-Res
  • Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
  • ENAGB Indigenous Youth Agency
  • Association for Native Development in the Performing & Visual Arts
  • Gabriel Dumont Non-Profit Homes Inc.
  • Nishnawbe Homes
  • Thunder Woman’s Healing Lodge Society
  • Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre
  • Toronto & York Region Métis Council
  • Urban Indigenous Education Centre