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Bolstering our region’s ability to endure the effects of the pandemic


This week, United Way will strengthen the capacity of local frontline services to deliver vital programs during the COVID-19 pandemic with investments in 18 programs across East Ontario. 

These 18 programs will provide basic needs like food and personal protective equipment; wellness checks; summer cooling; social programming in a range of different languages; resources and technology to enhance connectedness and communication; mental health supports; and capacity building to encourage collaboration between agencies, reducing the chances that people fall through the cracks.

“Our clients feel an immense sense of relief at being able to access counselling with the click of button during COVID-19,” says Simone Thibault, Executive Director at Centretown Community Health Centre, an agency involved in leading the Counselling Connect program. “Seamless access to mental health supports is vital during this time of increased anxiety, financial stress, and family challenges. The Government of Canada joining United Way to support our community means we can continue and strengthen these remote programs.”

The strategy to provide this support was a direct result of the input from the more than 70 partners that participate in the United Way-led COVID-19 Community Response Table. After ongoing conversations with social service agencies, public health authorities, municipalities, and elected officials, United Way has a strong picture of the different challenges vulnerable populations are facing across East Ontario. By collaborating with other local funders, United Way ensures the impact is targeted, and there is no duplication of efforts during this time of heightened need. 

United Way has invested approximately $1.76 million in these 18 programs, in collaboration with the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund. These programs aim to help more than 67,000 people over the course of nine months. 

A further $890,000 of the Emergency Community Support Fund will be invested by the end of July, totalling $2.65 million in new investments to support our communities during this ongoing time of crisis. This adds to the 17 programs United Way-supported in the first few months of the pandemic.

“The social challenges people face on a regular basis have not gone away because of COVID-19,” says Michael Allen, President and CEO of United Way East Ontario. “Our collaboration with the COVID-19 Community Response Table has positioned us well to respond to these needs with our investments, but also with advocacy, partnership and creative problem-solving so no one feels invisible during this extended period of uncertainty.” 

Charities and non-profit organizations are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, acting as lifelines for many vulnerable Canadians,” says The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. The Government of Canada is pleased to work with its trusted partners to support these organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund so they can continue to help those most in need during this crisis.”

“I’m proud to be a working member of United Way East Ontario’s table of community partners during COVID-19,” says Marie-France Lalonde, Member of Parliament for Orléans. “I’ve seen and been part of the collaboration at the table that has enabled United Way to act quickly in investing the federal funds into the community, making sure vulnerable people are supported during this difficult time. Across levels of government and party lines, we are all engaged in this work to help those most in need through COVID-19.”

About the Emergency Community Support Fund:

The Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) provides financial support to charities and other qualified donees adapting their frontline services to support vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECSF was announced by the Government of Canada and is administered in collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

See a breakdown of our COVID-19 related investments




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The Government of Canada tabled its 2024 budget on April 16, 2024. Read our analysis on what it means for social services and people in need across East Ontario.

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