Immigration Waterloo Region Weekly
We continue to be in this together – stay home and stay health, Waterloo Region!

March 23, 2020

Status of Immigrant services in Waterloo Region amidst COVID-19 Outbreak
University of Waterloo: FAQ's specifically for International Students Related to COVID-19
The University of Waterloo has FAQ's specifically for international students on its website. These are based on FAQ's currently coming in mostly through its immigration consultants who are supporting students via skype phone and email.

Conestoga College: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: International Students
Conestoga College has posted a FAQ for International Students related to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the College’s activities. Visit also COVID-19 Updates for a snapshot of recent changes across all college resources and information in response to COVID-19 .
Reception house has closed its office at 675 Queen Street until further notice. All clients are being served remotely. Staff have provided limited in person service to some clients with very high needs (i.e., drop off food or other items).

KW Multicultural Centre (KWMC)
KWMC is providing settlement services remotely, either through phone, email, skype etc. All services will continue, but KWMC will prioritize urgent requests and needs. 
Clients can visit  to book an appointment with staff by language, or phone 519-208-9582 and leave a message or email

YMCA Immigrant Services
The YMCA is providing services remotely until April 6, 2020. This includes Settlement, CLARS, NSP, IWF, SWIS and all of community Connection group activities, workshops and services. Alternative methods like using email and telephone will be used to provide information and referral and client support services during this time. 

To contact YMCA Immigrant Services, call 519-579-9622 or email

YMCA Employment Services
YMCA Employment Services are providing remote services to job seekers through phone, email and Zoom. Contact staff in Cambridge at 226-748-9460 or in Kitchener at 519-579-9622 ext. 241 or 244. Messages are being checked and responded to every day.

Or connect with YMCA Employment Services through the Employment Ontario Self Service portal by visiting  Request an appointment with YMCA Employment Services.
Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre
Sanctuary is open but trying to reduce the number of visits to their centre. Patients are encouraged to do more "phone call visits" than actual in-person visits.

To do so, there are several options: 1- Call: (226) 336-1321 please note that the lines may be very busy; 2- Send an email:  - please enter your name and surname, date of birth, the reason you want to speak to/see a provider; or 3- Send a direct message via our Facebook Page .

Carizon and the Counselling Collaborative of Waterloo Region have partnered with the Waterloo Wellington LHIN to provide free counselling sessions via phone or video chat until April 5th. To book a complimentary session, please call (519) 743-6333 ext. 2.
YWCA Cambridge
All YWCA Cambridge locations, including WIGG, are closed until April 5. Community members in need of support of any kind, please send an email at , or leave a voicemail at 519-267-6444.
KW Counselling
KW Counselling Services is not providing any face to face service. All counselling appointments are cancelled through April 15. Counsellors will connect with their clients to re-book as soon as possible. The Walk In Counselling Clinic is closed until further notice. Clients who need to speak with a counsellor, please call at 519 884 0000 and leave a message.
Social Development Centre Waterloo Region
All programs and activities, including Civic Hub, are closed. Staff works online and community members can reach them by email:, or by phone: 519-579-3800. Tax Clinic is postponed until April 5.

The Working Centre
The Working Centre is limiting public access spaces across its network of projects in response to growing COVID-19 concerns. They continue to monitor phones and emails. For any inquiries, please call at 519 743-1151 or email

Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support (MCRS)
MCRS has reduced client meetings to those that are urgent to facilitate meeting Basis of Claim submissions, Ontario Works applications, work permit renewal deadlines, or urgent personal needs including to mitigate the impact of isolation and ensure basic well-being.

All meetings are being held through virtual platforms. Only essential staff will be working on site. All others are working from home. In addition, MCRS has suspended all visitors (including residents' guests) and volunteers going to the MCRS Guest House on Allen Street until further notice. 

Our E.D. is managing food security for residents at the House as well as others in private homes who do not have income support through Ontario Works or employment. To contact MCRS email  or call 519-571-1912.

Community Partner Initiatives to face
COVID-19 Pandemic
In response to the Coronavirus Outbreak , United Way Waterloo Region Communities has created the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support the work of frontline organizations who are at the forefront of this issue and collectively striving to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are safe and healthy. Please consider a donation!
Due to COVID-19, hearings have been postponed adding to uncertainty, increased isolation, and limited access to various supports. Donations will guarantee groceries, access to shelter, health, income supports, continuation with refugee claim processes and much more. Please consider a donation!
The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce has created a blog to let the community members know how they can positively affect small businesses who may be struggling by closing their doors, having less staff on hand or limiting their operations. For a comprehensive list of resources for businesses, please visit the Chamber’s COVID-19 Resources For Your Business .
The YMCA has created this virtual platform to keep community members connected with their Y community. It will be used to share stories, recipes, health and wellness tips, on-demand videos, activities for children, and more.
Relevant Measures or Changes to Legislation Due to
COVID-19 Outbreak

The proposed measures announced last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau include changes that would allow people to more easily qualify for employment insurance.

The Ontario government took unprecedented action to respond to COVID-19 by convening an emergency sitting of the legislature and passing two pieces of legislation which will protect the jobs of employees who self-isolate or quarantine, help keep store shelves stocked and give municipal councils the flexibility to continue operations while maintaining social distance.

On March 16, 2020, the Prime Minister announced travel restriction measures that will restrict air travel to Canadians, permanent residents and families of Canadians to protect Canada from the outbreak of COVID-19.

Canadians will have one extra month to file their taxes to the Canada Revenue Agency. Businesses will also have more time to pay their taxes without paying any interest or penalties. 

Canada’s six largest banks yesterday announced plans to provide financial relief to Canadians impacted by the economic consequences of COVID‑19.

The Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Service Canada offices are changing how you can access their services.

No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice in Ontario due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. Additionally, the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage.

New Measures and Regulations Will Reduce In-person Visits to Help Contain Spread of COVID-19.

Ontario to Protect Workers who Take Leaves from Work.
Resources and Information
Subscribe to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage developed by Region of Waterloo with information about confirmed positive cases in the region, update to testing, returning travellers, how to self-isolate, symptoms and treatment, how to protect yourself, social distancing, resources and Frequently Asked Questions.
Find links to multi-language resources and factsheets on COVID-19 that can be shared with refugee sponsors and refugees sponsored under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR), the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR), the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) and the Government Assisted Refugees (GAR)programs that have already arrived in Canada.
With the growing public concern regarding COVID-19 and the nature of the developing situation, which is changing by the minute, Kitchener Today wants to be sure they are offering the most updated information, in an easy-to-navigate, comprehensive format.
This guide for preventing and addressing social stigma associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is intended to support governments, media and local organizations. 
Steps to Justice website has legal information related to COVID-19 including answers to common legal questions such as: Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of COVID-19? I don’t have paid sick days from my employer. What should I do? With schools and daycares closed, I can’t come to work because I have to be home to take care of my kids. What are my rights?
TechSoup Canada has put together a preliminary round up of recommendations and resources to help support the nonprofit sector during this important transition.
This webinar, organized by the Migration Policy Institute and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, will discuss the state of play around the globe and assess where migration management and enforcement tools may be useful and where they may be ill-suited to advancing public health goals.
Working Remotely: Lessons from the Tamarack Team, March 26, 1-2pm ET
Members of the Tamarack team reflect on working remotely and how this approach can work effectively, as long as people pay attention to connection and culture.
How to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 on your business, March 25, 12pm EDT
The spread of COVID-19 poses important challenges to Canadian businesses. With the situation constantly evolving, they need to be prepared for any disruptions. Join the Business Development Bank of Canada experts as they share short-term economic perspectives and advice on how to manage through the crisis.
The Latest Immigration News
Government funds 49 additional COVID-19 research projects , Municipal Information Network March 20, 2020

The Immigration Waterloo Region calendar has information about local programs and events for newcomers. Subscribe for a digest of events coming up in the next week or add your own events to share .
Feel free to send suggestions or relevant events/resources to include to the Immigration Waterlooo Region weekly by emailing  Dan Vandebelt ( ) and Alejandra Amezquita Gutierrez ( )
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