Resources to help nonprofits respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
From daycares to long-term care homes, shelters to food banks, Ontario’s nonprofits and charities are on the frontlines supporting and serving communities during this unpredictable and tumultuous time of COVID-19.
We are heartened by the amazing work being done by nonprofits and charities who are stepping up in their communities to ensure everyone is taken care of. We also know this is a challenging time in terms of managing our human resources – staff and volunteers, our finances and fundraising, and ensuring critical services are still offered to those who need them.
ONN’s role will be to share information at the provincial level that might affect your workMore, to advocate to both government and other funders to make sure nonprofits and charities are supported during this time, and to share tools and resources with our network.
Update: Read about ONN’s vaccine prioritization advocacy
How ONN is advocating
Advocating to the Government of Ontario
ONN is pleased to see Ontario’s government’s announcement of a $100 million contingency fund to address COVID-19. However, we want to ensure that nonprofits are expressly included. We have sent Premier Ford a letter with four key recommendations:
- A stabilization fund for public-serving nonprofits on the front lines
- Revisiting policies regarding paid sick days and emergency leave for employees
- Flexibility in budgetary and reporting by nonprofits that are provincially-funded
- Expressly including nonprofit voices at leadership tables
Read ONN’s letter to the Government of Ontario
Labour laws are set to change, but could be better
On March 16, Premier Ford and Monte McNaughton, the Ontario Minister of Labour, Training, and Skills Development announced that the Ontario Government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or daycare closures. Employees also will not require a sick note for the leave. These measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020.
The federal government has stated that quarantined workers who qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) can apply for EI sickness benefits where the one-week waiting period will be waived for them.
- Learn more about labour law changes in Ontario.
While our provincial and federal governments have made some changes to labour legislation and programs to meet the needs of employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are not as strong as the emergency changes in the United States. On March 14, the Emergency Paid Sick leave was passed in the House which requires employers with fewer than 500 employees (including nonprofits) to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave, paid at the employee’s regular rate to quarantine or seek a diagnosis or care for COVID-19. The leave also includes additional coverage for employees who take time off to care for family members or their children because of school and childcare closures during this time, but payment will be at two-thirds of their regular rate. Employers will then receive a refundable tax credit for 100 percent of the sick leave wages paid.
- Learn more about federal support for organizations.
Advocating to funders
ONN will continue advocating to funders to support and strengthen the resiliency of our sector during this time. From removing restrictions on existing grants to mobilizing recovery funds, there are many ways that funders can support and learn with grantees.
Resources for funders:
- Dealing with COVID-19 as a Community Foundation
- Philanthropy and the Pandemic, The Philanthropist
- Six Steps for Grant Makers to Take Now to Ensure Nonprofits Recover From Coronavirus Spread, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
- COVID-19: Seven Things Philanthropy Can Do, FSG Consulting
- How philanthropy has responded to the COVID-19 crisis, Philanthropy Responds
Resources for donors:
Examples of funder support:
- United Way Greater Toronto: Increasing flexibility and working closely with front-line agencies
- The Heinz Endowment (US): Collaborating across foundations and the United Way to monitor, respond, and support community
- London Funders (UK): Statement of sector support during COVID-19
- Barr Foundation (US): Maintaining support while engaging in collective efforts
- The Russell Family Foundation (US): Adjusting expectations and learning with grantees
How you can support the sector
Advocate on behalf of your organization and our sector by:
- Writing a letter to the government and your MPP to reinforce our four recommendations to the Government of Ontario
- Sharing your sector specific and organization specific recommendations for the Government of Ontario on social media
Stories of nonprofit resilience
We’re looking to amplify stories of how nonprofits are responding to community needs in the time of COVID-19. Share yours on our social media channels or email Oveesh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also looking to hear what is most needed by nonprofits at this time. Please share with us so we can amplify and advocate alongside you. You can read several examples from across the country on our advocacy page.
For more advocacy resources, please check out our Advocacy Tool Kit and Tip Sheet.
More resources and tools
Mental health resources for your staff, family, and community
Working during COVID-19
- Communications tip sheet by communications staff working at charities and nonprofits in Canada including Azrieli Foundation, ONN and The Philanthropist
- Working from home tips and tricks to stay focused by TechSoup Canada
- Working with donors in times of crisis by Blue Sky Philanthropy
- Zoom (Nonprofits can apply for a discount through TechSoup Canada)
- Gotomeeting (To support nonprofits during the COVID-19 outbreak, LogMeIn will offer all products including Gotomeeting for free for three months in addition to providing Emergency Remote Work Kits)
- Business continuity planning considerations, ONN blog
- Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)
- Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19, World Health Organization
- Updates on law and legal services, Steps to Justice
- French-language resources for Ontario nonprofits from L’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO)
- Hub International (ONN’s insurance partner) Coronavirus Resource Centre
Event, meeting, and conference resources
- Virtual AGM Facilitation Guide, ONN
- Virtual AGM Template Script, ONN
- Virtual AGM Template Critical Path, ONN
- Virtual AGM Voting Software Options, Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society
- Virtual Meeting or AGM Software Options, Pacific Legal Education and Outreach Society
- Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19 global outbreak, Public Health Agency of Canada
- Guidance for Large Community Events/ Mass Gatherings, Toronto Public Health
- What is Involved with Changing a Physical Event to a Virtual Conference, Communiqué
- Communications example: NTEN’s statement and video about their decision to host their upcoming nonprofit technology conference, NTEN
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Implications on performance under commercial contracts, Miller Thompson Avocats | Lawyers
Public health information and resources
The Government of Canada has published an Outbreak Update web site that tracks the current situation in Canada. Nonprofit organizations may find the sections on preparing communities, workplaces, and schools and daycares helpful in reducing the spread of infection. For instance, employers are encouraged to promote good hygiene, and consider flexible work arrangements and paid sick leave options.
The federal government also provides advice for international travellers, as well as health notice updates for specific countries. The update site also provides information on Coronavirus and First Nations communities.
The Ontario government has a dedicated web page for COVID-19 updates. It offers information on the number and location of infections in Ontario, as well as specific advice for people working in the provincial healthcare sector. The Ontario government also provides information for travellers returning from affected areas.
Addressing racism and xenophobia
- A few things for nonprofits and foundations to consider in light of the Corona virus, Vu Le, Nonprofit AF
- Statement against discrimination and xenophobia, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
- COVID-19 Racial Equity and Social Justice List, Racial Equity Tools
Where to find and update services
With many programs and services closing down or offering limited services as a result of the current crisis, 211 is creating an inventory to ensure that the most up-to-date information on services being safely offered is made available to the most vulnerable in our communities. This information will also be used by Service Navigators to direct people to appropriate services.
211 is asking human service organizations across the province to let them know about any changes to your services listed on the site, especially those meeting basic needs (e.g., financial aid, food security, and shelter) and emerging COVID-19–related community supports. Fill out a form here to let 211 Ontario know of any changes or additions to your services.
Please also direct people you service to 211 Ontario for the latest information on new and changing social and community services. This will help free up 911, 311, and Telehealth Ontario so they can focus on health and municipal services inquiries.
Call 2-1-1 for urgent information for the most vulnerable.
- Information and resources for Ontario cooperatives
- RBC not-for-profit industry update by ONN Executive Director, Cathy Taylor
- COVID-19 purchasing support for the nonprofit sector (RTPS)
- Avoiding microaggressions in classrooms and online