Coronavirus Community Update

Updated June 17

Coronavirus Community Update

State of emergency expended until June 30.

Region of Waterloo's new dashboard for COVID19 data tracking.

Persons who receive Disability Tax Credit eligible for additional emergency benefits up to $600. Advocates says in excludes majority of persons living with disabilities.

CERB available until the end of summer.

30-day limit on prescriptions in Ontario expected to end by July 1.

Tax Filing and Benefits update: It was announced that Canadians currently receiving  GST/HST and/or Canada Child Benefit  and have not filed their tax return by June 1, 2020 will continue to receive these benefits  until September.  June 1, 2020 is still the deadline for those owing taxes for 2019 and the tax payment is due September 1, 2020.

In line with our core mandate, we will open up with current local, provincial and national advocacy campaigns to create better future for all.

Local Government Updates

Community Initiatives

Food Programs


Warming centres and public washrooms

Help for Tenants


Provincial Upates

Federal Updates


Mental Health and Social Distancing



COVID Testing Sites

_ _ _

Local Government Updates

Consult the Region of Waterloo's COVID-19 Community Supports webpage for information about essential services like emergency housing, public washrooms, and food hamper programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All area municipalities closing outdoor spaces, including community gardens and condo yards. Look at the information specific to your municipality. 

Community gardens opening in regional municipalities.

Same day virtual assessments at Grand River Hospital.

Local hospitals implemented free parking during the outbreak.


Community Initiatives

  • A Better Tent City - The community is rallying around an important pilot initiative in Kitchener. Find out more and support the project. 
  • KW Mutual Aid - the goal of the website is to facilitate mutual aid efforts within small communities.
  • Mac-Waterloo-Niagara Student-Senior Isolation Prevention Partnership (Mac SSIPP) during COVID-19 matches volunteers with older adults in the community to provide regular phone check-ins for social comfort and education on COVID-19. Volunteers will be expected to call their older adult partner(s) at least once weekly for an approximately 20-minute check-in phone call, as well as liaise with a Volunteer Coordinator to track their work and progress.
  • CareMongering KW Facebook Group - direct supports in the community
  • CareMongeting Cambridge Facebook Group - direct supports in the community
  • Homeless in Waterloo - direct support and an opportunity for our community to connect with people who are experiencing homelessness
  • Food Not Bombs making and sharing food to go in place of our usual serving. They will be making brown bag lunches and containers of the usual stews. Food to go will be distributed at 4:30pm on a side of the City Hall this Saturday. 
  • Nutrition for Learning Pop Up Snacks: the website lists pop up locations daily for mobile food delivery in different neighbourhoods. Donations for school children food security during pandemic can be given at this website

Food Programs

Vitale Service Programs of the Community Food Assistance Network - check all the locations, hours of operation, eligibility and more!

Meals on Wheels programs in Waterloo Region are expanding to provide meals to people unable to cook or visit a grocery store during COVID-19. If you are sick or self-isolating and need meals delivered to you, contact one of the Meals on Wheels programs in Waterloo Region.

  • If you live in Cambridge, Kitchener, North Dumfries, or Waterloo, contact: Community Support Connections at 519.772.8787.
  • If you live in Woolwich, Wellesley or Wilmot Township, contact Community Care Concepts at: 519.664.1900 or 1.855.664.1900.

Note: Fees for this service are based on client income to ensure the service is affordable for all who need it.

  • House of Friendship Emergency Food Hamper Program, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4pm, 807 Guelph St. Kitchener 519-742-0662
    • Additional food distribution will be operating so please contact House of Friendship for more information. Note – if you are ill or have been asked to self-isolate, please call ahead to 519-742-8327 x600.


 In addition to the 7 emergency shelters serving people in Waterloo Region, an 8th temporary shelter will open tonight at A.R. Kaufman YMCA. This overnight shelter replaces the overflow space at St. Mark’s from 9pm until 8am. House of Friendship Charles Street men’s shelter was moved to Radisson Hotel. 

If you know someone in need of emergency shelter, please connect them to a housing helpline below:

  • Single adults across the region can call 519-624-9133 between 8:00 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week
  • Youth in Kitchener-Waterloo can call 519-742-6547 between 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends, please call the single adult helpline.
  • Youth in Cambridge can call 519-998-7292 between 8:00 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week
  • Families across the region can call 519-749-2450 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday


Public Washrooms 


Charles Street Bus Terminal, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. for 5 weeks in June & July
15 Charles St. W., Kitchener 

Kitchener City Hall, 24 hours (closing due to construction)
200 King St. W., Kitchener


Cambridge Churchill Park, 200 Christopher Drive, Cambridge
Daily, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cambridge Riverbluffs Park, 211 George St. N., Cambridge
Daily, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Ainslie Street Bus Terminal, 35 Ainslie St. S., Cambridge
Monday to Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Saturday: 6:15 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Sunday: 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. 

Waterloo (location closed - portapotties may be available)

Adult Recreation Centre (ARC), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
185 King St. S., Waterloo 

Spaces available for warming and basic necessities


Access to showers and laundry (for youth 16 to 25)
Contact oneROOF at 519-742-2788 at to make an appointment.

St John’s Kitchen Daytime program 

Adults 18+ years old and who are unsheltered (not connected to an emergency shelter) 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. 

All visitors will be screened for COVID-19 before entering. 

Cambridge Daytime program for Unsheltered

Region of Waterloo building, 150 Main Street in Cambridge
Friday May 15, and two days the week of May 18, and three days as of May 25.


Help for Tenants

Renting: changes during COVID-19 (coronavirus): Learn about the temporary changes to residential rental processes, and where landlords and tenants can get more help. (evictions, distancing in buildings, paying rent)


Thanks to CERA,

Tenants are encouraged to talk to their landlords to discuss options and create plans for payment of rent and/or utilities over the coming months, only if unable to pay their rent. 

If the negotiation breaks down and there is a threat of eviction or harassment, contact:

In order to access rent arrears, please get in touch with Housing Resource Centre is serving clients remotely. 519-749-2450, virtual or email.

Steps to Justice COVID-19 Updates on the law and legal services



The Government of Ontario announced on March 31 an Emergency Order to provide flexibility for nonprofits and charities. It will enable organizations to:

  • Hold meetings of directors, shareholders and members electronically or over the phone even if legislation (like Ontario’s Corporations Act) or your bylaws say you can’t. The electronic or phone system has to allow people to communicate with each other simultaneously and instantaneously. So, for example, an email chain over a few days likely would not qualify as a meeting.
  • Extend the timeframe by which corporations under the Corporations Act and Business Corporations Act must hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs). The deadline would be 90 days after the state of emergency, or if the state of emergency ends 30 before your current deadline then you have 120 days.

  Read more about the measures for the charitable organizations from Imagine Canada. 

[March 29] United Way Canada will receive $9 million to distribute to local organizations that can help seniors by delivering items to them and connecting them to other organizations, while Kids Help Phone will receive $7.5 million to bring on additional counsellors. A more comprehensive program for Canadian charities, which have warned that the pandemic could threaten their survival, is expected to be announced in the near future.

·  The Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover operating costs. Organizations should contact their financial institutions to apply for these loans. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

·  A wage subsidy of 75% of eligible salary for all employers, including charities and nonprofits, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Previously, the Government announced a 10% wage subsidy for small employers, including nonprofits and charities. Organizations must show that revenues are down 15% or more in order to qualify. The subsidy is worth up to $847 per week per employee, with no limit on how much an organization can receive.


 Social Development Centre Waterloo Region

    • All programs and activities, including Civic Hub, are closed. Staff works online and you can reach us on email.  We check phone messages two times per day. 519-579-3800 /
    • Tax Clinic started supporting residents over phone and through drop off.
    • Working on the Civic Hub On Line initiative to support grassroots initiatives during the spread of the coronavirus: Deep Breathing sessions and Unsheltered Campaign.
  • Sanguen care van is region’s first COVID-19 assessment centre for the homeless and the unsheltered. 
  • Ray of Hope
    • Youth Addiction staff by calling 519-743-2311 or emailing
    • Morning Glory at @HeffnerToyota serving Take Out Only. 
    • We have suspended all Drop-in hours, laundry, showers and extra programming
    • Only regular scheduled meals will be served (Mon-Fri 7:00-8:30 / Sat 12:00-1:30 / Sun 4:30-6:00) A max of 30 people served at a time for 30 minutes.
    • Marketplace will distribute prepackaged hampers to people at their scheduled appointment times; No new Marketplace appointments will be scheduled at this time.


  • House of Friendship 
    • Charles Street Men’s Shelter – we are continuing to provide service seven days a week, now from Radisson Hotel. 
    • House of Friendship is calling for people to apply for shelter Support Workers, having understanding of human interaction attained by life experience or experience of homelessness.
    • Addiction Treatment Services:
      • Residential Addiction Treatment – will continue;
      • Day Treatment Programs – in-person sessions are suspended; we are investigating ways to continue sessions remotely;
      • Rapid Access Addiction Clinic/Community Withdrawal Support – Clinics are closed, staff are available remotely;
      • Concurrent Supportive Housing – Residents will be supported remotely;
      • Community Counselling – counselling appointments will continue by phone;
    • Emergency Food Hampers – We are providing regular service, with our Emergency Food Hamper program open Monday to Friday, from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Note – if you are ill or have been asked to self-isolate, please call ahead to 519-742-8327 x 600.
    • Family Outreach Workers – are continuing to work, and can be reached by phone. To find a Family Outreach Worker in your community, visit
    • Community Centres-  (Sunnydale,  Centreville-Chicopee, Courtland Shelley, Kingsdale, Chandler Mowat) programs are closed. Modified community food distribution will still be happening;
    • Our Main Office at 51 Charles St. E. – will be closed to the public, but we are still receiving deliveries, and staff are available to answer phone inquiries at 519-742-8327.
  • Direct Services to Newcomers/Immigrants - update from Immigration Partnership about:
    • YMCA Immigrant Services (remote service provision) 
    • KW Multicultural Centre (remote service provision). KWMC interpreters are available via phone or videoconferencing.
    • Reception House (modified service delivery by appointment); closing its residence on David Street to the public while core services for clients will continue but be modified. The administrative office on Queen Street will continue operations, but clients and guests are asked to call or email ahead for appointments. Volunteer programs, internships and student placements at both locations are postponed, along with New Canadian Youth Connections.
    • Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre (reduction of visits, ‘phone call visits’ encouraged, emailing or sending direct messages on Facebook)
    • Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Supports (urgent meetings re Basis of Claim and work permit renewals & plans for virtual meetings)
  • Community Support Connections - safe and responsible service delivery: Meals on Wheels (Monday to Friday to the client’s doors); Grocery shopping (picked up and delivered to the door); Transportation to medical-related appointments.
  • AIDS Committee (ACCKWA) “essential activities will continue”
  • Food4Kids is extending its March Break program
  • YWCA Cambridge closures and cancellations
  • YWKWResponse and Challenges
    • Emergency Shelter– we are continuing to provide 24/7 service to women and children in our community who are experiencing homelessness
    • Supportive and Affordable housing: Request non-essential guests to refrain from visiting.
    • Early Learning and Child Care: all childcare, school age, and childminding programs closed until April 6.
    • Entrepreneur and Training Program: In Her Shoes Retail Store closed
    • Administrative office at 153 Frederick St: non-essential visits suspended until further notice. For urgent assistance, please contact 519-576-8856 ext.
  • Carizon Family and Community Services
    • While our sites are currently open at 400 Queen Street and Front Door, we are encouraging people who need mental health supports to call us to make a telephone or video appointment. Please call (519) 743-6333 to book a counselling appointment. For our Front Door intake department, please call (519) 749-2932 and press 1 when prompted.
  • KW Counselling not providing any face to face service. 
    • Walk In Counselling clinic is closed until further notice. If you are currently a client and need to speak with a counsellor, please call us at 519.884.0000 and leave a message. 
  • Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre open from 9am to 5pm. 
    • For virtual appointments call 519-745-4404
  • Immigration Waterloo Region COVID-19 Information and Resources page
  • Lutherwood 
    • Housing Resource Centre is serving clients remotely. 519-749-2450, virtual or email
    • In-home visits (Paths2home & Families in Transition clients) continue after pre-screen for COVID-19 symptoms)
    • Community Mental health, Front Door Quick Access Service continue by appointment 519-749-2932
    • Employment Services available online
    • Safe Haven Youth Service remains open. 
  • The Humane Society - Emergency Pet Food Bank: anyone who is looking for assistance with food and supplies for their pets cal 226-220-7885 and place an order. Email will also be available.
  • Virtual Interpretation Services in Waterloo Region
  • In Kitchener-Waterloo and area, KW Multicultural Centre is providing interpretation services remotely (phone or videoconferencing) in over 50 languages. Visit or email if you require an interpreter.
  • YMCA of Cambridge Immigrant Services is providing interpretation services remotely in Cambridge and area. Languages include: Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Persian, Dari, Pashto, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish. If you require an interpreter email


Provincial and Federal Service Updates

Plain language update on benefits and emergency supports during COVID-19 pandemic from Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management, Carleton University, who compiled it and published it at

Provincial and Federal Updates from

Financial Help for Canadians affected by the Coronavirus.



Government of Ontario

A framework for reopening Ontario

Ontario Non Profit Network Provincial Policy Updates

 Social Assistance during the Pandemic in Ontario



Government Canada

Ontario Nonprofit Network Federal Policy Updates

Please NOTE: change in eligibility from 30% to 15% wage drop March 2019 to March 2020; Adjustments made to the Summer Jobs program for students.

    • 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.
    • Workers and self employed taking care of family members who are sick
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, unable to earn employment income
    • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
    • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
    • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
    • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.
    • For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
  • Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19
  • Employment Insurance benefits and supports 1-833-381-2725
    • Applying for sickness benefits when you self-isolate for 14 days
    • Applying for regular benefits if laid off because of the pandemic
  • Federal Wage and Income supports
    • The federal emergency wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses hit by the new coronavirus pandemic is jumping up to 75 per cent, the prime minister announced on Friday.
  • Canada Revenue Agency is postponing the tax filing deadline until June 1st, and if you have to pay, the deadline is now the end of August.
  • Banks support for Mortgage payments and credit card payments, 6 months deferral. Do speak to your bank directly to verify specific supports for your situation.
  • Increased one time GST payments by early May 2020 - the average boost will be close to $400 individuals and $600 for a couple per month. Regular payments would probably double compared to 2019-2020, but tax returns have to be submitted. 
  • Boost maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payments by $300 per child for 2019-20. The increase will be about $550 on average for eligible families. Families will receive an extra $300 per child in their May payment.
  • Reduce minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020 immediately, recognizing the impact of market volatility on retirement savings.
  • Parks Canada, all locations closed until at least May 31.




Mental Health and Social Distancing 

Do we know enough about grief, or many faces of grief? “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief” by Scott Berinato, Harward Business Review.

Grief, Dying, and Death During a Pandemic

  • Are you experiencing sadness or grief during these stressful times of COVID-19?
  • Is someone you care about dying, or has someone recently died?
  • Are you looking for emotional or spiritual support as you grieve?

Region of Waterloo has compiled a list of Religious and Spiritual Supports: During COVID – 19 (Updated April 14, 2020 – 4:30 p.m ) 

COVD19 Information for Persons with Disabilities

  • Stay active by biking, going for walks or exercising at home





COVID-19 Testing

Covid-19 testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents is available at four assessment and testing centres in Waterloo Region:

Grand River Hospital COVID-19 Testing Centre 
835 King Street West, Kitchener 
Hours of operation: 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 7 days/week 
Self-referrals are accepted by calling 519-749-4300 ext. 6824 


St. Mary’s General Hospital COVID-19 Testing Centre 
50 Bathurst Drive, Unit 11, Waterloo 
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days/week 
Self-referrals are accepted by calling 519-885-9517  


Cambridge-North Dumfries Community Assessment Centre 
700 Coronation Boulevard, Cambridge (Cambridge Memorial Hospital, separate entrance)
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays 
Self-referrals are accepted by calling 519-621-2333 ext. 2689


KW4 Community Assessment Centre 
50 Westmount Road North, Waterloo 
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily 7 days/week