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



Three Chairs offering free service to help people of all ages stay connected

Seniors | Social isolation

Three Chairs has a simple idea: help the elderly combat loneliness by connecting them with others who share the same interests, over the phone, for a friendly chat. COVID-19 has changed everything. The next few months have lots of unanswered questions, but one certainty is that social isolation and loneliness will affect more people- the young, the old, the rich, and the poor; it will affect everyone. While our service is not finished, it is finished enough to help.

Nanaimo company encouraging social distancers to garden

Food | Local businesses

Milner Group, a construction and disposal company that runs a recycling centre west of Nanaimo, decided to offer community residents two yards of “premium” soil for free as a way of encouraging people to stay home and take up gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Face masks being produced by Brampton business, Stitch-It Clothing Alterations

Fundraising and volunteering | Local businesses | Public health

When the province of Ontario announced a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, this Brampton business stepped up to produce surgical-grade fabric masks to help in the fight against COVID-19. Their goal is to produce 78,000 masks in an attempt to bolster the country’s dwindling mask supply


Newfoundland-based charity’s social enterprise is distributing meals & training during pandemic

Food | Frontline services | Fundraising and volunteering

Stella’s Circle offers housing, counselling and employment services to people who face many barriers to fully participating in their community. One of the initiatives of the organization is through its social enterprise, the Hungry Heart Cafe, which employs Stella’s Circle participants, providing them with food services training and experience. Customers of the Cafe have been invited to add $2 to their bill which goes towards a program referred to as Meals Squared. Individual, nutritious meals are then made available at no cost for participants. During the Stella’s Circle response to the pandemic, 1000 meals have been distributed to date. Stella’s Circle is also putting tech in the hands of homeless clients, in an effort to bridge the digital divide

Neighbourhood Pods for Mutual Aid Resource Page for Toronto

Fundraising and volunteering | General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Online communities and networks | Public health | Seniors | Social isolation

Shape My City has adapted their platform to map grassroots initiatives that are responding to COVID-19.

Platform for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to maintain (metaphorical) close ties with their communities during physical distancing

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Online communities and networks | General: Tools for engagement | Seniors | Social isolation

A community-built website, features a network of neighbours organizing to check on and take care of each other by telephone, text, email, doorstep deliveries, etc. Also includes tools for starting pods.


General: Sector resources | Public health | Seniors

To support older adults and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the STAR Institute (Science and Technology for Aging Research) is compiling practical technology resources and information that the wider community may find helpful. These range from simple guides for using technology to services that can help with activities of daily living. The resources and information are organized according to a number of key areas as well as locations to help people find them easily. Please note these resources are for information purposes only and we do not specifically endorse any of the products, services or companies listed.

Brampton launching citywide gardening program in response to pandemic

Food | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

The initiative supports residents growing their own vegetables in their garden, which could help prevent person-to-person contact by allowing residents to make fewer trips to the store, as well as help social programs that are in need of donations, such as local food banks.To get started, residents can request free supplies—such as soil and seeds—by email, and those looking for tips on growing their own produce can view some tutorial videos on the City’s website.

Invest Ottawa has developed a page to equip companies and community with key information, tools and support.

Employment | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources | Local businesses

University of Toronto establishes two funds: the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund and the COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund

Children | Fundraising and volunteering | Learning and education

The Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund supports projects at UofT and its hospital partners across the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, with the potential for rapid results and direct impact on the health of individuals, communities, and on the front lines of care. The COVID-19 Emergency Student Bursary Fund helps to provide emergency bursaries for graduate and undergraduate students with urgent needs, supporting requirements for food, shelter, emergency travel, and internet access to complete their course work.

Ottawa closes stretches of Bank Street, Rideau Canal driveway to vehicles

Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership

After weeks of lobbying, and examples set in Montreal and other cities, officials are moving to “pedestrianize” some of Ottawa’s streets for people out on essential trips. That should include bikes and all sorts of active transportation.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) helping to open a 400 bed COVID-19 Recovery Site for Toronto’s homeless 

Housing and homelessness | Public health

The site is slated to launch in the near future and will offer social and medical supports for homeless COVID-19 patients, ensuring that residents are fully recovered before returning to Toronto’s shelter system. MSF will provide “consultative and supportive advice”. The provincially-funded Recovery Site marks MSF’s first-ever operation in Canada, given the organization does not typically focus on countries with well-functioning healthcare systems.

City of Toronto launches DonateTO, making it easy for businesses and residents to make direct donations of products, services, and funds

Fundraising and volunteering | General: Online communities and networks | Policy leadership | Public health

Residents and businesses can help by contributing donations of personal protective equipment, non-perishable food, other goods and services, and financial gifts. Residents can also use the DonateTO portal to find out about volunteer opportunities in their community.

Help support Calgary businesses: Use #SupportLocalYYC

Local businesses | Policy leadership | Shop Local

The City of Calgary, together with local partners, has created a “buy local” campaign to support local business. #SupportLocalYYC, is creating connections, sharing resources and tools, and highlighting positive stories to inspire the community and spark further innovations that can benefit those in need.

Public porta-potties installed as part of New Westminster’s COVID-19 response

Policy leadership

The City of New Westminster has installed porta-potties in the downtown and uptown neighbourhoods, some which are wheelchair accessible. This is to ensure access to bathrooms for vulnerable populations, who may otherwise not have them, given all of the businesses being shuttered and otherwise.

Farmers’ Markets Are Safe, Support Local Food – that’s the message from the BC government as some vendors also move online

Food | Policy leadership | Public health

The BC Centre for Disease Control currently considers farmers’ markets low risk for COVID-19 transmission because they are usually held outdoors and can limit the number of people in assigned areas. Additionally, a new public health order bans all non-food and merchandise vendors at the markets.

New Westminster drivers still have to pay for parking

Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership

All curbside regulations in New Westminster remain status quo, including paying for parking, permit parking and time regulated parking

Some New Westminster roads being reallocated to provide social distancing for pedestrians

Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership

Studying pinch points, the City is studying the situation and acting to “ensure people have safe spaces to walk and cycle – away from motor vehicles while also allowing social distancing to occur,”

Connect with Local Businesses: What’s open during the COVID-19 crisis in Calgary

Food | General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Shop Local

The Calgary Herald is compiling a local directory of businesses in Calgary and area that are continuing to serve their communities organized by sector: Food & Beverage; Health & Wellness; Business and Professional Services; Transportation; Home and Garden; Misc. The document also provides businesses an opportunity to be added to the directory

List of farmers and local food vendors delivering to Toronto

Food | General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | Local businesses

Two versions of this resources exist — a google map and a google doc

BC’s connects job seekers with non-profit housing providers

Employment | Housing and homelessness

The Housing Job Match website will connect British Columbians looking for work with non-profit housing and shelter organizations that need help.

Local Small Business Relief Grants — model

Fundraising and volunteering | General: Sector resources | Local businesses

A Phoenix-based organization is offering grants up to $10,000 to local small businesses experiencing economic distress and sudden loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relief grants are intended to help for-profit small businesses keep employees on payroll and meet other necessary operating costs. Preference is given to small businesses owned by veterans and underrepresented groups located in economically distressed areas of Phoenix.

Sounds from the global Covid-19 lockdown

Arts and Culture | General: Online communities and networks

Online platform inviting people around the world to send a sound recording about how things are in that location.  Visitors to the site can listen to sounds and read the stories collected on a clickable map

Second Harvest’s providing more than $4.5 million of new funding to community groups

Food | General: Online communities and networks

The new grants empowers local community organizations across Canada to ensure food makes its way to Canadians who need it most. The donation platform connects businesses with food surpluses to charities and non-profits in their own communities.

Halifax mainstreet BIA creates online platform for shops and services

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

The Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association launched an online version of the street’s shops and services at The site includes links to many Quinpool shops, services and restaurants that have transitioned their businesses into online sales, deliveries and arranged pickup.

Big brands asked to donate social feeds to small businesses

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

A new initiative has been created to help larger brands use their influence and social followings to lend support to small businesses. Small businesses impacted by the crisis are being asked to add the hashtag “#LikeALocal” to an Instagram post to signal that they are willing to participate. Big brands search the hashtag on Instagram or by using one of their social listening tools to find a local business they’d like to support, reposting their post and explaining why. From there, the brands are encouraged to get in touch with the small business directly to find out if there are other forms of media they might be able to donate.

City of Mississauga offering online webinars in April and May to support small business owners and entrepreneurs

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Policy leadership

Hear information and insights from business and industry experts on a variety of topics, including cyber-security, digital marketing, social media, e commerce, customer loyalty, and rethinking growth during a time of crisis. The webinars are hosted by the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC) and include digital marketing sessions that are an extension of the City of Mississauga’s Digital Main Street program.

Downtown North Bay platform for supporting local business

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses | Shop Local

Platform for supporting local businesses by purchasing gift cards to help “flatten the curve”. Gift certificates provide fast cash flow for business owners, and can help pay employees who are still working for them.

North Bay Farmers Market moves online

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

The idea to move online will reduce traffic at the market as buyers will only be able to pick up items they’ve already purchased.

The Help List curating the most relevant and meaningful resources for the Canadian tech sector during COVID19

Employment | General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Online communities and networks | General: Sector resources

The online platform helps connect Canadian tech job seeker with employers; provides industry resources to transition to tech/work from home, and serves as a place for industry supporters to share their services, sessions, resources, etc.

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