How Red Cross is responding to Coronavirus, COVID-19 in Ontario

Red Cross worker delivering food
In the context of COVID-19, the Canadian Red Cross is adapting its practices to continue responding to emergencies and to support the various levels of government as part of their response to the pandemic.

In Ontario, the Red Cross is working in partnership with the federal government and local municipalities to provide programs and services for vulnerable individuals as well as mitigate the negative impacts being felt by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our personnel, our clients and the communities we serve is our top priority which is why we are also adapting programs and services and following guidelines as set out by the public health authorities.

Here is how the Red Cross is supporting Canadians through these challenging times:

Distributing food to those in need

In partnership with the City of Toronto, the Red Cross is assisting by delivering pre-packaged food baskets to those who are isolated at home and have no other option for food delivery or pickup services. The Red Cross is operating a call centre to identify needs and is mobilizing volunteers to deliver pre-assembled food baskets containing several days worth of shelf stable items, including canned goods, pasta, rice and other items.

For more information on the program and how to access it.

Providing comfort and care services to returning Canadians

At the request of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Red Cross is providing comfort and care services to Canadians returning to Toronto. Services include registration and information services, the provision of personal items, meal delivery service, safety and wellbeing support, and family reunification.

Friendly Calls

The Telephone Assurance Program in Simcoe County provides wellness checks and social support to individuals who may be isolated.  Staff and volunteers are increasing the number of calls to individuals in the community.

For more information on the program and to find services near you.

Door-to-door wellness checks

In partnership with the City of Ottawa and as part of  its Human Needs Task Force for COVID-19, the Red Cross is conducting door-to-door Safety and Wellness checks. This outreach is initially focused on the most vulnerable people in community housing across the city and is expected to extend to neighborhoods with high numbers of vulnerable, isolated seniors.  Trained volunteers are visiting identified residents to determine how they are managing and to ensure their basic needs are being met.

New measures implemented for the delivery of emergency relief services

With the necessity of physical distancing in mind, our Emergency Management team has mobilized a Virtual Personal Disaster Assistance team that continues to meet the needs of Ontarians who face emergencies such as house fires or floods. The virtual nature of this team allows them to continue to provide comfort and care, community referrals, and identify and meet basic needs of affected individuals from a distance.

How you can help

The Canadian Red Cross is prepared and ready to support Canadians now during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the spring and summer as we anticipate floods, wildfires and other disasters that will affect families and communities. The best way you can support our work is with a donation now to the Canadian Emergencies & COVID-19 Response Fund.

Additional Resources