This is a time when Canada must harness its community-driven resilience. We’re asking you to share examples of how Canadian communities are responding to the crisis with creativity and imagination. Collective problem-solving and collaboration will be instrumental in how Canada mitigates the local impacts of COVID-19 and creates on-the-ground solutions.

Highlighted Initiatives



Canadian Drug Policy Coalition releases COVID-19 harm reduction resources

Public health

The Coalition is collecting insights and guidance on best practices for people who use drugs and healthcare providers.

University of Alberta’s Universiade Pavilion (Butterdome) to house Alberta Health Services (AHS) secondary assessment and treatment centre

Policy leadership | Public health

The centre is being established to meet the needs of patients who may be referred to an emergency department but not urgently, and patients whose family doctors may not be seeing patients with symptoms at this time.

Canadian Urban Transit Association tracking COVID-19’s impacts on public transit industry

General: Sector resources | Mobility and transportation

CUTA is providing members with context and information on COVID-19 management, along with guidance on best practices for public transit operators during a pandemic.

Ryerson City Building Institute launches online discussion series on urban impacts of COVID-19

General: Sector resources | General: Tools for engagement

This discussion series brings together notable urbanists and Ryerson academics for insightful discussions of how the global pandemic will change the way we live.

City of Oshawa organizes COVID-19 Business Town Hall event

General: Tools for engagement | Local businesses | Policy leadership

The moderated Q&A with the Mayor and Chair of the Development Services Committee was delivered by the City in partnership with the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Oshawa BIA.

Montreal to provide more resources for the homeless, will open 5 outdoor day centres

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

The City of Montreal is opening five outdoor day centres, expanding shelter room for men and women, and adding temporary public toilets.

City of Mississauga holds Tele Town Hall amidst COVID-19 concerns

General: Tools for engagement | Policy leadership

City officials discussed city changes, recommendations issued, and precautionary hospital practices. Residents were also invited to participate in the Tele Town Hall by asking questions through a call-in hotline. The event was live streamed through the City’s website.

Residents in Belleville, Ontario encouraged to take part in #BellevilleCares initiative

Policy leadership

Each day over the next few weeks, the City will be sharing one good news story to its social media platforms to highlight some of the great things happening during such a challenging time. Residents can post to the City’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts or submit by email

Mayor of Medicine Hat asks schoolkids to draw or paint their favourite part of the city

Arts and Culture | Children | Policy leadership

In a video posted to the City of Medicine Hat’s YouTube page, the Mayor asked schoolkids to draw or paint their favourite part of the city.

Business owners find creative ways to keep operations going despite storefront shutdowns

Employment | Food | General: Online communities and networks | Learning and education | Local businesses

Some of the adaptations include live streaming of fitness classes, online health consultations, preordered restaurant meals and home delivery of everything from beer to books. For many entrepreneurs, the changes aren’t just about business survival, but also keeping themselves and their employees busy and motivated during the coronavirus crisis.

First Book Canada launches campaign to deliver 1 million books to low-income families during COVID-19 pandemic

Arts and Culture | Fundraising and volunteering

Canadian publishers who have committed books to the program include Kids Can Press, Penguin Random House Canada, HarperCollins Canada, Breakwater Books, Simon & Schuster Canada and Inhabit Media. Donations are also being made by distributors like Raincoast Books and Publishers Group Canada and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

First Policy Response highlights best economic and social policy ideas in Canada

Policy leadership

First Policy Response is a project of the Ryerson Leadership Lab, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and Matthew Mendelsohn. The goal is to bring the Canadian policy community together to highlight the best economic and social policy ideas to keep us afloat and together.

Canada’s largest Muslim youth group offering help for seniors and vulnerable residents during COVID-19 pandemic

Children | Food | General: Online communities and networks

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association announced a nationwide Neighbourhood Helper campaign, with Muslim youth offering services to Canadians who need assistance with picking up groceries and filling prescriptions. The group says volunteers will also be there to provide overall moral support.

Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation announces $300,000 to support COVID-19 assistance to Waterloo Region charities

Fundraising and volunteering

$200,000 will be directed immediately to support the health and safety of charitable sector employees and volunteers working with our most vulnerable citizens. $100,000 is being used to establish the COVID-19 Charitable Recovery Fund at KWCF.

National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health releases COVID-19 precautions for multi-unit residential buildings

General: Sector resources | Housing and homelessness

The document synthesizes available evidence and guidance regarding COVID-19 precautions for multi-unit residential housing.

Fundraising in the Time of COVID-19: A Guide for Non-Profits

General: Sector resources | Local businesses

Developed by VITREO, an organization that has helped in fundraising and communications during recessions, the Fort McMurray wildfires, Calgary flood and now COVID-19.

Vancouver-based university creates website with links and resources for COVID-19

General: Sector resources | Learning and education | Mental health | Social isolation

SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s WeGotchu contains information and resources relating to income/jobs, housing, school, food, health and mobility.

City staff, school workers proposing ways to keep themselves busy and services functioning

Frontline services | Policy leadership | Public health

In Winnipeg, library and recreation centre employees, whose jobs have become temporarily obsolete in an unexpected pandemic, are stocking shelves for Winnipeg Harvest, or filling sandbags to save homes prone to spring flooding.

Leadership Emergency Arts Network (LEAN) helping Canadian professional non-profit arts organizations

Arts and Culture | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | Income support

This national initiative has over 100 advisers signed on: sector leaders including board members, current and former arts Executive Directors, consultants, etc. from every province and territory. For those who need help with strategic decision-making, crisis response, financial analysis, board direction, relationship mediation, HR management, systems change or inspirational leadership, they should email [email protected]

Montreal public health authority promotes website to help track spread of COVID-19

Policy leadership | Public health

Montreal’s public health authority is asking citizens to participate in a web-based data-gathering project called, or, designed to track COVID-19 cases to better understand how it is spreading in the city.

Complaints pour into COVID-19 tip line

Policy leadership | Public health

In just five days, Londoners have lodged 1,250 complaints about people and businesses not following provincial COVID-19 orders. About 70 per cent of complaints filed have been through email, the remainder by telephone.Rather than issuing fines, those phone calls have focussed on educating those who may not be following provincial rules.

City of London, ON closes streets/bridges to cars to give cyclists & pedestrians more space

Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

City officials say they want to make it easier for pedestrians to follow physical distancing guidelines of at least two metres from others. The city hopes closing some streets and bridges to cars will provide more space for people walking and biking at these locations. Parks, green spaces, trails and pathways remain open for walk-through only. The city says it will be actively monitoring outdoor spaces

Waived transit fares in Timmins inadvertently leads to surge in ridership

Mobility and transportation

“Despite a notable drop in overall ridership, we have experienced a recent surge in transit use by non-regular passengers which is likely a reflection of our current free fare structure and a lack of things to do and places to go given the closure of various community facilities and programs,” said Mark Jensen, the city’s director of community and development services.

City of Winnipeg to open its four active transportation routes for pedestrians & cyclists to allow physical distancing space

Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership

The City of Winnipeg is opening up its annual active transportation routes for pedestrians and cyclists, though the routes will be monitored to ensure Winnipeggers are practising physical distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19. Routes will limit vehicle traffic to one block from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until May 3

Town of Stratford PEI celebrates 25th birthday through online Facebook event

General: Online communities and networks

An event page on the town’s Facebook page provided residents with a list of 25 ways to celebrate. Some of the suggestions included baking a birthday cake, decorating front windows with birthday messages and decorations, and writing a song, poem or fictional short story about Stratford.

Hamilton to convert rec centres into COVID-19 self-isolation shelters for homeless residents

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

The City is also working to ensure existing drop-in spots have the resources necessary to stay open. The new “backstop” self-isolation sites will only accept homeless residents who are referred by shelter officials, doctors or hospital authorities. That means the city will not publicly release the rec centre locations.

University tech business incubator launches #HACKTHECURVE to help develop solutions addressing COVID-19

Local businesses | Public health

Ryerson University’s DMZ created an online hackathon to facilitate the development of solutions to help address COVID-19. Over a two-week period, teams will develop a technology solution to help curb the virus’ spread. The winner of the challenge will receive $10,000 in cash and an expedited application for DMZ membership.

Toronto-based arts organization establishes Rent Relief Fund to provide artists with anonymous, one-time emergency grants towards their studio rent during COVID19

Arts and Culture | Income support

Akin is a Toronto-based arts organization that provides creative studio space as well as arts-based programming. The goal of the Fund is to provide short term financial aid in unexpected situations or times of financial instability.

Neighbourhood Information Post and partner agencies create Toronto Rent Bank Program

Housing and homelessness

Provides interest-free repayable loans to low-income households facing eviction due to short-term financial difficulties. NIP acts as the Central Administrative agency and local service access centre. NIP is responsible for processing all Rent Bank loans and repayments in Toronto, and providing local residents in the Downtown area with Rent Bank intake functions and a variety of housing-related services.

National League of Cities creates COVID-19 Local Action Tracker

Policy leadership

The National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to collect and share actions taken by local leaders in the US in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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