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



Older businesses in Toronto’s Kensington Market are going online

General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

Kensington Market Business Improvement Area (KMBIA) says small businesses in Kensington are finding new ways to move their business online.

Local hotel providing free rooms to frontline healthcare workers during COVID-19

Frontline services | Fundraising and volunteering | Local businesses

Comfort Inn and Suites in North Battleford will offer frontline healthcare workers free rooms to stay in for the next few weeks in order to help them protect their families.

Supporting Toronto’s Queen Street West local businesses through purchase of “goody bags”

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

Locals for Local TO is an initiatives to support Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood. People can buy “goody bags” for between $80 to $100 (plus delivery). Goody bags include items from local shops like fresh veggies, cookies, coffee and more, and are available for delivery or pick up. A portion of proceeds will go to food banks.


CBC launches Creative Relief Fund to provide support to Canadian creators

Arts and Culture | Children | Income support | Policy leadership

The new Fund will provide $2 million in development and production funding for a diverse range of innovative, original Canadian storytelling, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations and short documentaries.


Montreal closing streets to cars, but increasing policing to enforce physical distancing

Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Policy leadership | Public health

Montrealers need access to green space, but are encouraged to go to parks in their own neighbourhoods, not travelling across the city to visit other parks. Parking lots in Mount Royal Park were closed this week to limit traffic, and Île Notre-Dame has also been closed altogether. These types of measures will continue, and even more will be put in place in other, popular destinations like the Lachine Canal, which has been extremely crowded.

Manitoba First Nation enforcing community-wide curfew

Indigenous | Policy leadership

Beginning April 6 and ending on April 20, there will be a curfew in Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. It’s possible this curfew will be extended depending on whether COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and throughout the north continue to rise.

Sheridan Colleges create COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Bursary

Fundraising and volunteering | Income support

Sheridan students can now apply to a newly-launched COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Bursary, launched with $1 million provided by private donor support and funding from the Ontario provincial government. Canadian and international students can apply for up to $1,500 to help with immediate needs. The fund may also be used to offset expenses related to traveling home.

Interactive map and list of Vancouver businesses that are still open during the COVID-19 pandemic, with information on how these businesses are operating and how the public can support them

Food | General: Online communities and networks | Local businesses

Information includes location, hours, physical distancing measures, and services provided. The list is based off of the City of Vancouver’s local area boundaries and are updating it with businesses that are open in each area.

How the Toronto Public Library is transforming branches into food banks

Food | Frontline services | Policy leadership | Public health

Libraries as community hubs and librarians as public servants… Almost right away, the library decided to redirect resources to help with this critical need. There are 100 library buildings in neighbourhoods all across the city.

1500 repas seront distribués quotidiennement aux itinérants à Montréal

Food | Frontline services | Fundraising and volunteering

Des organismes-membres de la Cantine pour tous (CPT) distribueront chaque jour quelque 1500 repas pour les itinérants dans les refuges d’urgence mis en place la semaine dernière par la Ville de Montréal, alors que les besoins en sécurité alimentaire se font «de plus en plus criants» dans la foulée de la pandémie de COVID-19. is an online resource to help women and their children seeking safety from violence and abuse

Frontline services allows you to quickly identify a shelter in a specific geographic area along with its 24 hour emergency phone number. The clickable map serves as a fast resource to connect women with the nearest shelter that can offer safety, hope and support.

Online collaborative tool helps communities and city planners to improve public spaces

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space

In the era of COVID-19, this tool allows one to play with how streets are designed to allow for social distancing. Can be a way to experiment online with low cost initiatives.

Toronto Housing for Healthcare Workers

Fundraising and volunteering | Local businesses | Public health

A volunteer project designed to connect property owners with healthcare workers looking for short-term housing during the Covid-19 outbreak in Toronto. Specifically, the project is looking for property owners that have available furnished suites that can be provided to healthcare workers on a daily basis.

Hospitality union offers help as hotels considered as makeshift hospitals

Employment | Frontline services

As governments look to use hotels as makeshift hospitals for some COVID-19 patients, the union representing Canada’s hospitality workers says their members want to help. The union estimates up to 250,000 hotel workers will lose their jobs and 90 per cent of Canada’s hotels will close down amid the COVID-19 crisis. It also says the hospitality industry will be one of the last sectors to recover.

Halifax not laying off City staff amid pandemic

Employment | Policy leadership

Halifax Deputy Mayor says many employees are working from home during COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean work isn’t getting done. She notes that with the pandemic, Halifax has employees that are doing double duty, working twice as hard as they would if they were sitting at their desks

Windsor inside workers agree to redeployment, layoffs for idled city hall staff

Employment | Policy leadership

Hundreds of idled city hall staff are expected to be redeployed for needed community projects in the coming days, after CUPE Local 543 leadership off

Construction of supportive housing development that will provide critical supports to vulnerable people will continue (even on Sundays) during COVID-19

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

The City of New Westminster provided the land for the project, which is being funded by the province through its Rapid Response to Homelessness Program and will house women who have or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Construction will take place 7 days a week because of a critical shortage of construction workers due to COVID-19

Providing meals to Toronto healthcare workers & supporting the restaurant industry during the coronavirus pandemic

Food | Local businesses

People can purchase a meal to fuel the extraordinary efforts of our city’s healthcare workers and support our local restaurants and their employees with a single donation

The Coquitlam-based producer of pillows and dog beds is poised to become the first manufacturer of N95 respirators in Canada. Production of medical-grade surgical masks starts on Tuesday, and he anticipates production of N95 respirators will begin within two weeks.

Local businesses

Starting Tuesday, 100,000 medical-grade surgical masks will be rolling off the assembly line daily. Once the second machine arrives, he will be able to produce 100,000 N95 respirators a day as well.

Toronto Public Library partners with local food banks to set up food bank distribution from library branches

Food | Frontline services | Policy leadership | Public health

Since the implementation of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 transmission, there has been a dramatic decrease in access to food banks, with over a third closing in recent weeks. TPL’s efforts are in support of the City’s broader work on food security for Toronto’s vulnerable residents.

Webinar Recording: Business Continuity and Crisis Recovery

General: Sector resources | Local businesses

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ offered a free webinar on Business Continuity and Crisis Recovery on March 30, 2020.

Calgary establishes isolation spaces for homeless affected by COVID-19 at hotel and Telus Convention Centre

Housing and homelessness | Policy leadership

Calgary health officials determined that 100 units would be needed for homeless people who need a place to self-quarantine but don’t require hospitalization.The assisted self-isolation site can also be used by homeless people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or are experiencing an unrelated illness that makes them too sick to stay in a shelter. In addition to the medical staff, mental health and addiction support is on hand. Units have been retrofitted to safely house the new residents, CHF says.

Link to open Toronto restaurants that continue to prepare food and deliver it safely

Food | General: Online communities and networks

Stepping up during COVID-19: How DMZ startups are finding tangible ways to support those affected by the pandemic

Local businesses

Despite the chaos this virus has created, several DMZ companies (current and alumni) are pushing their traditional boundaries and devoting additional time, money and resources to help those in need. Some startups are cutting platform subscription fees for small businesses, while some are forming charitable partnerships within the community. Others have staff working around the clock to build new functionality to save customers millions of dollars.

Yukon to provide free cellphones to women in vulnerable situations amid COVID-19 pandemic

Frontline services | Policy leadership

Government providing 325 cellphones with 4-month service plans for free. The women eligible for the phones include those who are homeless, experiencing or fleeing violence, or in a precarious situation in regards to accessing resources

Toronto charity helps health-care workers find temporary accommodation during COVID-19 crisis

Frontline services | Housing and homelessness | Local businesses | Social isolation

StayWell, a Toronto-based charity, has since last year helped patients who travel to Toronto for medical treatments find affordable places to stay. The charity partners with Sky View Suites to make hundreds of fully furnished units available for short-term rentals at a reduced price. With COVID-19 hitting all parts of the city and the province, the charity decided to expand this service to health-care providers.

Energy utility partners with Ontario charity to launch COVID-19 emergency food box program

Food | Fundraising and volunteering

Feed Ontario has developed its COVID-19 Emergency Food Box program, which will provide pre-packed food boxes to food banks across the province. By leveraging its buying power, Feed Ontario can provide $100 worth of food for just $30. And, by combining local, provincial and national efforts, this program will help to address labour shortages at local food banks, increase physical distancing measures, and address food shortages locally – while ensuring food is getting into the hands of those who need it most during this crisis. OPG has donated $500K to this initiative.

Social media challenge to bring back smiles and memories on what you love about Toronto

General: Online communities and networks | Social isolation

Urban Mind’s Instagram (@urbanmindsTO) and Ryerson’s Twitter (@RYSURP) have put up themes such as weird things about the city, things we miss about it while in isolation, and a challenge to build a DIY CN Tower. Go to either platform to catch up, and check the #10veyourcity hashtag

Edmonton transit seeing big numbers of vulnerable people & youth riding transit all day — now looking at options to help non-destination riders while ensuring essential workers can get to where they need

Housing and homelessness | Mobility and transportation | Policy leadership | Public health

The city has created a new task force to help support “non-destination riders.” the city is working working with the Neighbourhood Empowerment Team – a partnership with the city, Edmonton police, Family Centre, the United Way and REACH – to work with these non-destination riders to make sure they can get the appropriate supports.

COVID 19 & Main Street: Supporting Local Safely (Webinar)

General: Sector resources | Learning and education | Local businesses | Policy leadership

Webinar recording. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Main Street programs have been moving rapidly to offer support to local businesses and the community as a whole. This webinar provides updates from the National Federation of Independent Businesses on the impact to the business community and current resources and guidance, followed by a panel discussion of local program directors and the work their doing to #SupportLocalSafely.

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