Emergency Community Support Fund

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

We have invested $350 million to improve the ability of community organizations to serve vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis.

The investment will flow through national intermediaries that have the ability to get funds quickly to community organizations that serve vulnerable populations.

As of May 19, 2020 community-based organizations from across the country will be able to apply for funding to support a variety of activities that address a pressing social inclusion or well-being need caused by COVID-19, such as:

Applications for financial support will open May 19, 2020 for qualified donees (including charities) and non-profits serving vulnerable Canadians amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To find more details on how to apply please visit:

Frequently asked questions

Delivery of funding

We are working with the United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada, national-level intermediary organizations to disburse funds. Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through these national partners or their local entities.

We are working with national intermediaries because they already have strong connections with community-based organizations. They are also sensitive to local issues and can use this local knowledge to ensure support is provided to the vulnerable groups who need it most. Finally, our partners already fund community-based qualified donees (including charities) and non-profit organizations quickly and efficiently.

Distribution of funding

The United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Community Foundations of Canada, together, reach all provinces and territories in Canada. They will allocate funding by taking into account the size of the population as well as regional and local needs.

Applying for funding

On May 19, 2020, applications for financial support for qualified donees (including charities) and non-profits serving vulnerable Canadians amidst COVID-19 pandemic will open.

Eligible community organizations will be able to apply for funds through the national partners or their local entities. Interested community organizations are encouraged to visit intermediary partner websites regularly to learn more about how and when they will be able to apply.

Canadian Red Cross

  • Intake method: National intake through the Canadian Red Cross
  • Eligible organizations: Non-profits serving vulnerable Canadians
  • Decision-making: National (with regional and local representatives)

Visit the Canadian Red Cross

Community Foundation Canada

  • Intake method: National and local intake through the Community Foundations of Canada
  • Eligible organizations: Qualified donees (including charities) serving vulnerable Canadians
  • Decision-making: Local (community foundations)

Visit the Community Foundations of Canada

United Way Centraide Canada

  • Intake method: Local intake through United Way agencies
  • Eligible organizations: Qualified donees (including charities) serving vulnerable Canadians
  • Decision-making: Local (United Way agencies)

Visit United Way Centraide Canada

Selection criteria

An intermediary will fund a community organization to deliver a project only if the project:

  • addresses a pressing social inclusion or well-being need caused by COVID-19, by supplying the necessaries of life and supporting activities of daily living, such as:
    • through education materials for children in low-income homes
    • mental health supports for people in crisis, and
    • accessibility services to persons with disabilities
  • serves one or more vulnerable populations during COVID-19
  • can be carried out in a short timeframe with a reasonable budget, and
  • Can attest to not having secured funds to cover the costs of the activities for which they have applied from another intermediary, another federal COVID-19 response program or a different source

Support for vulnerable groups and organizations serving vulnerable populations

The intermediaries will adopt a Gender Based Analysis Plus approach on grant making decisions. Through their application and selection processes, intermediaries will collect data on the vulnerable groups supported through the Fund. Data collected could provide insights on LGBTQ2-led organizations receiving funding, organizations serving rural/remote areas, and/or organizations serving specific populations, such as children, newcomers and racialized people –such as Black Canadians.

Impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable Canadians

COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations who are at a greater risk of suffering from the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic. The need for physical distancing can lead to a rise in stress, hardship and abuse, while also creating challenges for community organizations that offer the services and supports many vulnerable Canadians rely on, particularly in times of economic hardship.

These funds can be used to adapt frontline services for vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis, including:

  • seniors
  • persons with disabilities
  • veterans
  • newcomers
  • refugees
  • women
  • children and youth
  • LGBTQ2 people
  • Indigenous people
  • racialized people, such as Black Canadians
  • persons experiencing homelessness
  • persons living in remote or rural areas
  • persons from an official language minority community
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