COVID-19 information for renters

As the impact of COVID-19 has increased economic uncertainty and housing insecurity across the country, we want to make sure that renters know about all of the supports that are available to them.

This page provides information about income support, financial aid, changes to housing laws and procedures, food services, and mental health services.

Please read carefully. Some of the information on this page applies to all of Canada, and some is specific to Ontario and Toronto.


Employment Insurance

The Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary income support to unemployed workers while they look for employment or to upgrade their skills.

Changes have been made to the EI program in order to make benefits more accessible during the pandemic, including lowering the threshold of the number of working hours required to qualify for this benefit. If you are eligible for EI it is recommended to apply as soon as possible.

More information:

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and who are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

More information:

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides income support to workers unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care.

More information:

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide income support to workers who are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19, self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

More information:

Community responses to COVID-19

The Canadian Urban Institute is collecting information about current community responses to COVID-19. Check out CityShare Canada, an online platform that aggregates examples of community resilience across Canada to accelerate collective problem solving. The platform showcases tools, resources and examples of local on-the-ground action.

More information:

Mental health supports

The Hope for Wellness Helpline is a 24/7 crisis support line for all Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Support and mental health counselling is available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut. Once connected, counsellors can connect individuals to support in their area.

Kids Help Line is a 24/7 national service offering bilingual crisis support, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people. Kids Help Line has also created useful mental health and coping resources.

More information:

Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline is a peer mental health helpline for youth experiencing personal challenges. The helpline receives calls from all people but is recognized as a leader in creating safe, community space for Muslim young people. This helpline operates from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

  • Call: 1-866-627-3342

Black Youth Helpline is a multicultural helpline to help connect children, youth, families, school boards & other youth serving organizations with counsellors, coaches and supportive programs.

  • Call: 416-285-9944 -or- 1-833-294-8650

Assaulted Women’s Hotline offers an anonymous and confidential 24/7 crisis line to women who have experienced abuse. Individuals can call the Hotline for counselling, emotional support, information and referrals, with services available in 200 languages.

  • Call: 416-863-0511 -or- 1-866-863-0511
  • TTY 1-866-863-7868
  • Text: #7233

Crisis Services Canada is a 24-hour free phone service that offers suicide prevention and support counselling across Canada.

  • Call: 1-833-456-4566
  • Text: 45645


Eviction prevention

On June 2, 2021, the stay-at-home order was lifted and the enforcement of evictions in Ontario resumed.

Bill 184 “Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Communities” passed in Ontario in July 2020 and includes provisions that allow landlords to work with tenants who are in arrears to establish repayment agreements (including deferring rent or other arrangements) as a possible alternative to pursuing eviction hearings.

Counter service for the Landlord and Tenant Board is currently closed, and all applications by both landlords and tenants must currently be filed online. All proceedings at the Landlord and Tenant Board are currently taking place via video call and over the phone.

More information from CERA:

More information from the Landlord and Tenant Board:

Illegal lockouts

If a tenant has been locked out of their home or is facing illegal eviction during this time they can contact:

  • Ontario Rental Housing Enforcement Unit for immediate assistance:
    • Call: 416-585-7214 -or- 1-888-772-9277
  • Local Legal Aid Ontario Clinics for legal advice about how to address the situation in the longer term.

Rent support

Government and community leaders are encouraging tenants who are unable to pay their rent to reach out to their landlords to discuss options. They recommend that landlords and tenants look at creating payment plans for rent and utilities over the coming months when necessary. Tenants who are financially capable of paying their rent are encouraged to do so as usual.

Financial support

Workers Action Centre Hotline

Precarious workers who are having challenges navigating the government benefit websites and finding non-profit relief can contact the Workers Action Centre Hotline for referrals and support:

  • Call: 416-531-0778 or 1-855-531-0778

Legal support

Local Legal Aid Ontario Clinics provide tenants with legal advice on housing matters:

Steps to Justice is an excellent resource that explains legal rights and legal processes for tenants. They have provided answers to some common questions related to COVID-19 and housing on their website.

More information:

Utilities assistance

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

CEAP provides a one time, on-bill credit to eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers to support residential customers struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

More information:


Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP):

Low-income households may qualify to receive a monthly credit towards their electricity bills. When applying, applicants should have the following documents available: an electricity bill; the names and birthdays of every person in the household who is registered with CRA; social insurance numbers of everyone in the household above 16 years old. You can apply here.

More information:

Low-Income Energy Assistance Plan (LEAP):

The Ontario government has extended the eligibility for this electricity grant. This program is for households who have fallen behind in their utility payments. If eligible, applicants will receive a grant to cover outstanding Hydro bills. Households will find a list of agencies that provide LEAP here.

More information:

Mental health supports

Connex Ontario is an online referral service that will connect individuals with substance use, mental health and gambling issues to a helpful service in their area.

LGBT Youthline offers confidential peer support to 2SLGBTQ+ youth Sunday to Friday from 4 – 9:30 PM. Currently all services are over the phone or online.


Direct services for renters

The City of Toronto has compiled a thorough list of resources and support for tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic on their website.

More information:

The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations are keeping track of service changes at the City of Toronto.

More information:

  • Guide on eviction
  • Toronto Tenant Hotline:
    • Call: 416-413-9442
    • Email:

Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) has offered rent adjustments and rent deferrals to tenants if they have lost income due to COVID-19. Tenants whose income has not been affected are asked to pay their full rent when it’s due.

For households on Rent-geared–to-income (RGI) TCHC will reduce rent to reflect lost income. RGI tenants are asked to contact their local office.

TCHC tenants who pay market rent can apply for deferral. The application can be accessed by calling , emailing , or downloading the form here.

More information:

The Housing Help Centre assists tenants with finding affordable housing, filling out applications for subsidized housing, answering general questions about current housing, and offers mediation services between tenants and landlords and some financial assistance.

Utilities assistance

Toronto Hydro has suspended the disconnection of unpaid Hydro services until further notice and are offering more flexibility on payment options in light of COVID-19.

More information:

Emergency Energy Fund (EEF)

Low-income Toronto residents may qualify for help from the City of Toronto with energy-related emergencies to reconnect, prevent disconnection or to assist in the payment of energy arrears for hydro, gas or oil services.

More information:

Financial support

Toronto Rent Bank

The Toronto Rent Bank is currently offering interest-free grants to low-income renters who owe rent for a market-rate rental unit, or who need a rental deposit to secure their tenancy in a market-rate unit. This is a pilot program offered by Neighborhood Information Post and funded by the City of Toronto.

For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply:

  • Visit:
  • Call: 416-397-7368
  • Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • Leave a message if you can’t get through and a representative will return your call

Housing Stabilization Fund

This emergency housing fund is available for recipients of Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). This fund can help with costs associated with rent, moving, bed bugs, electricity or rent arrears. To apply for this fund, OW and ODSP recipients must talk to their caseworker.

More information:

Credit Counselling Society

This is a non-profit organization that provides credit counselling services to help get your finances back on track. They offer consultations and services for free, and offer a Debt Management Program that costs a maximum of $75/month. They can help you navigate your options and discuss the pros and cons of securing a loan from your bank.

More information:

COVID-19 Black Sex Worker Emergency Survival Fund

Maggie’s Toronto has set up a relief fund for Black sex workers who have lost their income due to a reduction in appointments in recognition that precarious workers have limited or no access to government emergency benefits.

More information:

Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers

Glad Day Bookshop has organized the Emergency Survival Fund for LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers in recognition that many queer and trans people rely on income that cannot be traced back to an employer, so government benefit packages will not cover their loss of income. Glad Day has a grant and no-interest loan relief program available for LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers. If eligible, you can apply here.

More information:

Resources for artists seeking emergency funds

Toronto Arts Council has put together a list of resources for artists who are seeking emergency funds as a result of COVID-19.

More information:

Food Banks & Meal Services

The Friendly Neighbour Hotline helps vulnerable seniors by delivering groceries and other household essentials, available in 180 languages.

More information:

The Stop has shifted its resources away from community programming and towards emergency food access services.

More information:

The 519 is providing a free takeaway meal service at 519 Church St.

More information:

Mental health supports

Distress Centres of Greater Toronto is a service agency providing 24/7 emotional support for individuals experiencing crisis. Distress Centres offers suicide prevention and intervention services. Once connected, Distress Centres can link individuals to resources and long-term support agencies.

  • Call: 416-408-4357 or 1-833-456-4566
  • Text: 45645

Gerstein Crisis Centre provides a 24/7 community-based crisis service for adults in Toronto over the age of 16 who are facing mental health or substance use issues. Individuals can contact the Gerstein team through their crisis phone line to access emotional support.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, access to the Gerstein mobile crisis team and crisis shelter has been suspended.

  • Call: 416-929-5200

Toronto’s Seniors’ Helpline provides crisis support and can connect seniors to community programs such as Meals on Wheels, nursing, personal support and caregiver resources.

  • Call: 416-217-2077

Stella’s Place offers services to young adults aged 16-29 experiencing mental health challenges through chat, phone and online platforms.

  • Call: 416-461-2345 – extension 0
  • Email:

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre / Multicultural Women Against Rape is a grassroots women-run collective offering a 24-hour crisis line with feminist peer support for survivors of sexual violence.

  • Call: 416-597-8808

All information current as of December 11, 2020.

We will update this page as new information becomes available.

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