Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and service providers: Providing services to your clients

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Focus on critical services

Until you have clear guidelines for safely reopening your offices, focus on providing critical settlement and resettlement services to your clients.

Critical Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) services include

Critical settlement services for vulnerable clients include

Whenever possible, provide these services by telephone, email or online.

Treat family and gender-based violence services as essential

Service providers in Canada and globally have seen family and gender-based violence (GBV) increase during COVID-19.

Services that give newcomers access to prevention and emergency resources are essential services. Keep providing these critical family and GBV services to newcomers so they have what they need to stay safe.

What your organization needs to keep doing:

Find more resources at

Offer your services remotely

You shouldn’t provide non-critical services in person until there are clear guidelines for safely reopening. In the meantime, you can still provide services remotely. Some remote services you can offer include

Remote language training

Offer language training online to support your clients while following health recommendations on physical distancing.

Get help with remote language training

Stay safe while offering services online

When offering services online and working remotely, your security and privacy challenges will also change.

Protect client information

Take extra security measures to protect your clients’ personal information while your employees are working from home. Make sure you and your employees follow all reasonable security practices.

Learn more about protecting your organization and employees online in your iCARE account

Be flexible when verifying your clients’ identity

When delivering services online, it can be harder to verify your clients’ identity. Try to offer more than 1 option to your clients, like calling them at their registered phone numbers, to make it easier for them to verify their identity to you. You can confirm your services were delivered to the right people when in-person service restarts.

If you must provide critical services in person

Our priority is the well-being, safety and security of your clients and employees. While we support adjusting your processes to reduce social contact with clients, it’s not always possible. You may need to offer some critical services in person.

Increase pay for staff providing critical services in person

We’ll support requests from service providers to increase pay by up to 15% for front-line employees delivering critical services in person. This increase will apply for the period between April 1 and June 30, 2020. Depending on the situation, wage increases may be extended after June 30, 2020, for some regions.

These pay increases should be funded within your existing budget. If you can’t fund them in your existing budget, contact your program officer right away.

Use protective equipment and supplies

Keep your employees and clients safe. If you have to buy protective equipment and supplies to provide services in person, contact your program officer. The cost may be an eligible claim in your contribution agreement.

If you can’t provide services

We won’t penalize you if you can’t provide the services outlined in your agreement because you’re following

If your service delivery is affected, contact your program officer to discuss your situation.

Get coverage for your clients under the Interim Federal Health Program

During COVID-19, many Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) clients were not able to access

We worked with the provinces and territories to improve access to these services. For example, we started covering new service delivery options, including appointments by phone and online.

If your client’s eligibility expired before they could get a health service

It’s possible some of your clients were approved for a service under IFHP before the pandemic started but weren’t able to access it before their IFHP eligibility expired.

If you have clients in this situation, tell them

If your clients aren’t covered by IFHP, they should contact their provincial or territorial government to learn about their coverage options.

Getting the Resettlement Assistance Program exceptional allowance

We may reimburse your clients directly if

Expenses that may qualify for direct reimbursements include

Contact your program officer to learn more about direct payments.

Share COVID-19 resources with your clients

Make sure you help your clients stay informed. Share client-focused COVID-19 information, including

Share COVID-19 information in multiple languages with your clients

You can help newcomers understand COVID-19 by sharing resources in multiple languages on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website. These include

You can find the languages of each resource under its description.

Get PHAC COVID-19 resources

Share resources, links and information from Refugee 613

Refugee 613 is maintaining a Google Docs database of COVID-19 resources. They focus on the information that newcomers and refugees need.

Called the COVID-19 Community Information Exchange (links to a Google Docs database), this resource includes

Refugee 613 has also

Share financial assistance information in multiple languages with your clients

Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency have information about financial assistance that your clients may be eligible for. Some of this information is now available in multiple languages, including details about the Canada Child Benefit and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Get financial assistance information

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