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Department of Family and Community Medicine and St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team

Resources in response to COVID-19

We know this is a challenging time for many. We want to keep you updated with local community resources and health information. Click/tap on the titles below for details.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Please note CERB will be ending at the end of August. There is a campaign to extend CERB and lower barriers to access EI and increase the EI amount. Campaign for $15 and Fairness will be meeting with MPs in August. If you are interesting if completing a short survey about this, click here to fill out the form by July 31, 2020.

For more information and to apply visit the Canada Emergency Response Benefit website.

If you can’t apply online, you can call: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

Please speak with your health care team to be referred to the Income Security program if you need help with this.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and support for families

The Canada child benefit (CCB) is a tax-free federal benefit paid monthly to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. You will get up to an extra $300 per child as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply. Please complete your taxes as soon as possible. If not completed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and credits will stop in October.

For more information, read here.

Those who have not yet applied can apply on the Canada Child Benefit webpage.

The Ontario Government is providing a one-time supplement to help families with children age 0-12 ($200) or 0- 21 with special needs ($250). If you have already successfully applied to the Support for Parents program (income supplement for strike days) and received payment through direct deposit, you are automatically eligible for the Support for Families program and do not need to apply.

More information and the online application can be found on the Support for Families webpage.

Please speak with your health care team to be referred to the Income Security program if you need help with this.

ODSP/OW benefits

If you are on OW or ODSP you may be eligible for extra funding to pay for food, cleaning supplies, transportation, clothing etc during COVID-19.

  • On May 1, the Emergency Benefit was extended.
  • Those eligible will receive $100 (singles) or $200 (families) per month until July 2020.
  • You may be eligible if you have additional expenses related to COVID, such as the cost of soaps, cleaners and masks; transportation costs; food costs for delivery or difficulty getting low cost products.

Please speak with your health care team to be referred to the Income Security program if you need help with this.

Legal Support

Legal Aid Ontario’s Steps to Justice has developed a resource to answer frequently asked questions about legal rights related to COVID-19: stepstojustice.ca/covid-19

For Legal Aid, contact the Legal Aid Ontario Client Service at 1-800-668-8258.

Food Resources

Up-to-date information on food banks, delivery and take-away meals is available at 211.

Daily Bread Food Bank: 191 New Toronto Street | dailybread.ca | 416-203-0050

The Friendly Neighbour Hotline offers help with delivery of grocery and household items for Toronto Seniors who live in Low-Income Housing. Support is available in 180 languages.
Phone: 1-855-581-9580 Website: uhnopenlab.ca/project/hotline

The Good Neighbour Project GTA is a Facebook Group offering delivery of supplies and groceries for elderly people, people with disabilities, people on self-isolation and single parents.
Phone: 647-873-2230 Website: facebook.com/groups/GoodNeighbourProject

Meals-on-wheels: mealsonwheels.ca - Check website for local agency

Mental health - staying well in uncertain times

During this time of uncertainty, it is natural to feel emotions such as fear, anxiety and grief as we all learn to cope during this difficult time. Our Family Health Team wants you to know that we are here to support you. If you need mental health support, please call the Family Health Team to speak with your provider so they can connect you with our mental health team.

The following mental health resources are also available to you online:

  • Canadian Mental Health Association: offers tools to help support your mental health during this time of COVID-19
  • Bounce Back Ontario: offers free skill building programs to address low mood and anxiety, stress and worry.
  • Government of Ontario: has a list of COVID-19 supports including mental health resources. If you scroll down to Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) and click on the Mind Beacon link, you can be connected to guided digital therapy with BEACON, which is now available free of charge to all residents of Ontario. This program covers a range of mental health concerns, including specific support for anxiety due to COVID-19.
These services are also available to you in the community:

Distress Centres of Greater Toronto: Provides 24-hour support, 7 days a week to people at risk. Provides emotional support and suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. To contact, call 416-408-HELP(4357) or visit www.torontodistresscentre.com

Kids Help Phone: Provides 24-hour, 7 days a week free confidential professional online and telephone counselling and volunteer-led, text-based support in English and French to youth across Canada. Kids Help Phone also provides information on how to access community support services for youth. Text CONNECT to 686868 to reach a trained volunteer Crisis Responder 24/7. Call 1-800-668-6868 to speak with one of our professional counsellors 24/7.

Tips for Staying Well from our Family Health Team Psychologist: Dr. Juliana Tobon

Set up a regular routine:

Get up, eat, get ready and dressed, and go to bed at regular times each day. Use a schedule to structure your day and include activities that bring you a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment.

Stay mentally and physically active:

When you plan your day, be sure to include activities that keep your mind and body active. Many online courses are now being offered for free, so you can learn something new, or do an online exercise class.

Stay connected:

Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Stay connected with friends and family by calling and checking in, or by use video calling to stay in touch.

Limit worry triggers:

If you notice that checking social media constantly or having the news on all day triggers worry, consider limiting the time you are exposed to the news each day. It is important to balance the urge to either over check or totally avoid news by staying informed through reputable sources.

Seniors' benefits

Seniors' benefit:

Please know there is now a one-time tax-free payment to help with the cost of living due to COVID-19. This is for seniors who quality for Old Age Security (OAS) or Guarantee Income Supplement (GIS). You need to apply in June 2020.

How much is offered?

  • $300 one time for seniors eligible for OAS or
  • $200 one time for seniors eligible for GIS or
  • $500 one time for seniors eligible for GIS and OAS

To learn more about this program click here. If you need help with this, call us to speak with your health care team or be referred to the Income Security program.

Please speak with your health care team to be referred to the Income Security program if you need help with this.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

If you are unable to work because of COVID-19 and you are in a post-secondary program between Dec. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020, or graduated from high school in 2020 and have applied to post-secondary school that begins before Feb. 1, 2021, you may qualify for CESB.

You must also be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, registered Indian or protected person to qualify.

For more information and to apply, visit the Canada Emergency Student Benefit page.

Please speak with your health care team to be referred to the Income Security program if you need help with this.

For reliable, up-to-date information on COVID-19, we recommend that you use these websites:

Stay safe, and remember we are still here to provide you with care and support. Please call our clinics if you have any questions or concerns.