Everyone is feeling the effects of COVID-19, but for those already facing significant barriers such as poverty, homelessness and food insecurity, these times are even more challenging. York Region is connecting residents to resources, services, programs and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal and Provincial supports are also available.
If you need to access or information on social and community supports and services, visit 211ontario.ca or call 211 for non-emergency requests. This includes priority services available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rapid Antigen Tests for Individuals and Organizations
York Region does not distribute rapid tests to residents. The COVID testing strategy, including the distribution of rapid antigen and PCR testing are coordinated through the Province of Ontario.
The Provincial Antigen Screening Program provides free rapid antigen test kits to high-risk communities, organizations and workplaces. Learn about rapid antigen testing and find out if your organization is eligible to access free test kits from the Province of Ontario.
What to do if you test positive for COVID-19:
- If you test positive for COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test, self-isolate immediately, visit ontario.ca/exposed and complete the COVID-19 self-assessment for more detailed instructions
- Inform all of your household members and social contacts as soon as possible
- Household members must self-isolate immediately. Other contacts may also need to self-isolate. Visit ontario.ca/exposed for more information
- If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, you do not need a confirmatory PCR test to confirm you are positive
- Complete our rapid antigen test (RAT) survey if you have tested positive with a RAT test
Financial supports for people
Financial support is available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19.
York Region Financial Supports
If you need financial assistance in order to take 10 to 14 days off work to self-isolate, you may be eligible to receive emergency financial assistance for paying rent, utilities and food by contacting Access York at 1-877-464-9675 ext. 72500 or @email from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Financial supports for businesses
Financial support is available to help businesses experiencing challenges due to COVID-19.
For more information visit Business Grants, Subsidies and Loans.
Support for those in abusive situations
While residents stay home to keep safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19, there may be added stress on relationships and family. For victims and survivors of domestic violence, including children, being home may not be a safe option. The impact of the pandemic may also cause unsafety in homes where violence may not have been an issue before. If you are in an abusive situation and need help, please call 911.
There are community resources to help you through these challenging times:
- For information and resources to support men, women or children in abusive situations, visit our COVID-19: Guidance for Individuals Experiencing Domestic Violence
- Victim Services of York Region offers 24-hour emotional support for victims of crime or tragic circumstance
- York Region Centre for Community Safety helps adult and child victims who have experienced domestic violence by coordinating support and services under one roof
- Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Care Centre provides free care for victims/survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault including emergency and follow up care and counselling
- Women’s Centre of York Region provides services to support victims of domestic violence
Resources for people in need of emergency food access
Through the partnership between York Region United Way Greater Toronto and community, an Emergency Food Access table is working to understand urgent food needs and respond as these needs change over time.
- For a list of food banks in your municipality or if you are an agency that needs food for your organization or clients, please reach out to the Food Bank of York Region
- Home Delivery service is available through the Food Bank of York Region
- You can find a map of emergency food resources available during COVID-19, including food hampers and take-away meals through the York Region Food Network
- List of food access programs and supports
- Low income seniors and people with disabilities or chronic medical conditions can access an expanded Meals on Wheels program and delivery of essential supplies.
Support for those experiencing homelessness
If you or someone you know is experiencing homeless or fleeing an abusive situation, an emergency housing facility can provide temporary housing and support.
All individuals and couples experiencing homelessness in York Region that are seeking shelter are asked to contact the Transitional Shelter Intake Line at 1-877-464-9675 ext. 76140 or email @email. Families with children are asked to contact the Family Shelter at Leeder Place at 1-888-554-5525. Both phone lines are answered 24/7 seven days a week.
You will be asked about your current health and recent travel history, and then referred to an available shelter.
You can also contact the Street Outreach Van at 1-866-553-4053 seven days a week from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information please call:
1-877-464-9675 ext. 76140
TTY: 1-866-512-6228 (for the deaf or hard of hearing)
For more information, including the locations of shelters or respite sites in York Region, visit Emergency and Transitional Housing.
Housing supports for tenants and homeowners
Homeowners facing financial stress may be eligible for a mortgage payment deferral of up to six months. Visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s COVID-19: Understanding Mortgage Payment Deferral to learn your options during the pandemic.
Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work together during this difficult time to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants in their homes. Visit the Government of Ontario’s Renting: changes during COVID-19 to learn about the temporary changes to residential rental processes, and where tenants and landlords can get help.
York Region residents may be eligible to receive financial assistance for rent, mortgage payments, utilities and other housing costs through two programs:
- COVID-19 Arrears Benefit Program is for people who are already receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits and require additional financial support to pay rent, mortgage or utility arrears due to COVID-19.
- Housing Stability Program is for people who are already receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits
- Homelessness Prevention Program is for people who are not receiving Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits
Supports for landlords and property owners
Rental processes for landlords have changed during COVID-19. Visit the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 information for landlords to learn about updates for working with the Landlord and Tenant Board, collecting rent and managing expenses.
York Region’s Homelessness Prevention Program can help with managing rental expenses.
How to access medication while remaining at home
Many pharmacies will deliver prescriptions and in some cases, over-the-counter medicine and supplies to your home. Contact your pharmacy for details on if this service is provided.
Resources for people with disabilities
COVID-19 has potentially disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities. People with disabilities with existing health conditions may be at an increased risk of developing complications from COVID-19. Access to information is an important step to staying healthy and connected through this health emergency.
York Region has resources for people with disabilities to keep them and their caregivers informed during COVID-19.
Support for newcomers
York Region is committed to keeping immigrant families, international students and entrepreneurs, as well as residents and immigrant-serving organizations, informed about COVID-19 and its impact on our communities.
York Region has resources for newcomers to support newcomers and immigrants during COVID-19.
Support for seniors
York Region is committed to connecting seniors to resources, services, programs and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the COVID-19 Community Coordination Initiative, York Region is partnering with United Way Greater Toronto, local municipal partners, community organizations and other key stakeholders to support York Region’s most vulnerable residents during COVID-19. New and enhanced programs and services are available through the collaborative efforts resulting from the many tables, including the Seniors Response Table. This Seniors Response Table was established in April 2020 to bring together organizations serving York Region seniors to explore partnerships and leverage funding opportunities to meet the needs of vulnerable, isolated, high-risk seniors as result of COVID-19.
For programs and services available to seniors during COVID-19, please visit 211 York Region or dial 2-1-1 on your phone to speak with a Community Navigator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 150 languages.
Transit for seniors
YRT's Mobility On-Request (MOR) service allows you to request transit when and where you need it, within select service areas. YRT is offering an additional pilot service for seniors within existing MOR service areas. The service is available to seniors 65 years or older who may be feeling hesitant taking regular public transit during this time. This service has been extended to April 30, 2021.
For more information, call 1-866-744-1119 or visit yrt.ca/mor65
Maintaining your mental health and well-being during a pandemic
A pandemic is a very stressful event for individuals and communities. It’s normal to feel some stress and anxiety. During the COVID-19 outbreak, there are mental health and addictions services accessible online or by phone, including:
- Telehealth Ontario offers free medical advice on all subjects relating to health. Please note that wait times may be long. Call toll-free: 1-866-797-0000 or toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007
- The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has put together resources and suggestions to help support your mental health at this time of uncertainty
- Children and youth 18 and under who need to talk to someone about their mental health can reach Kids Help Phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via phone or text from anywhere in Canada
- Adults and frontline workers who are dealing with the realities of COVID-19 can call ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 for mental health, addictions and problem gambling support
- BounceBack is a free, evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program providing guided mental health self-help supports for adults and youth over the age of 15. Call 1-866-345-0224 for more information
- Chatting to Wellness offers 1-1 Chatting Sessions over the phone to all seniors, across Canada. This free service offered by trained volunteers helps isolated seniors feel connected and reduces stress
- Wellness Together Canada recognizes the significant strain that COVID-19 has placed on individuals and families across the country. These free mental health and substance use supports include modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation and relationship issues
- Additional mental health resources are available at york.ca/mentalhealth
- Carefirst offers services and supports that are available through the Community Support Services In-take Line at 416-646-5108
- Vaughan Community Health Centre offers a variety of health promotion programs to help increase the health and wellbeing of those living in our communities — call 905-303-8490
Resources for caregivers
Whether you are caring for someone who is self-isolating or ill from COVID-19, or being a caregiver is part of your everyday routine, there are resources to help manage through these challenging times.
- Ontario Caregiver – Support groups, starter kits, video tips and other tools for caregivers
- Caring for a Person with COVID-19 – Advice for caregivers from the Government of Canada
- Psychological impacts – Caring for yourself, your family and those impacted by quarantine
- Caring for Someone with Dementia during COVID-19 – Free tips, resources, online events and videos for dementia caregivers
- Mental Health Commission of Canada – Helping families and family caregivers of loved ones living with a mental health issue
Help with essential services
The Eastern York Region North Durham Ontario Health Team (EYRND OHT) partners and other local agencies have launched a one-stop shop that provides essential services to those most in need of help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Services include grocery delivery, local transportation to medical appointments, Meals on Wheels and more. These services are offered in Markham, Stouffville, Uxbridge and Brock. The services are available to vulnerable groups, including seniors, newly discharged patients and informal caregivers overwhelmed by the additional challenges of caring for loved ones while sheltering at home. You can sign up for these services by calling 1-877-452-4287 or by visiting Eastern York Region and North Durham COVID-19
Help finding emergency financial relief
Learn about the help you can get to raise your income or lower your expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prosper Canada has developed the Financial Relief Navigator free online tool to help Canadians access critical emergency benefits and financial relief from governments, financial institutions, telecoms and internet providers, including both emergency and existing benefits.
- All COVID-19 Resources
- Guidance for Emergency Housing Service Settings (Guidance Document)
- Recommendations for PPE use for Emergency Housing Service Providers (Guidance Document)
- Guidance for Group Homes and Co-Living Settings (Guidance Document)
- York Region Public Health Recommendation for Staff Working in Group Homes (Guidance Document)
- COVID-19 Guidance for Group Homes (Webinar)
- Recommendations for PPE use for Group Homes and Co-Living Settings (Guidance Document)
- Staff use of personal protective equipment in group homes (Guidance Document)
- Guidance for Homeless Shelters (Guidance Document)
- Guidance for Individuals Experiencing Domestic Violence (Guidance Document)