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News and Events in the Community

​​For COVID-19 Updates please see below

Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers - Multilingual Resources

​​Migrant workers in Canada on employer-specific work permits who are experiencing abuse, or who are at risk of abuse, in the context of their employment in Canada may be eligible to receive an open work permit that is exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, per section 207.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).​

Click on the following link for more information: ​https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/te​mporary-residents/foreign-workers/vulnerable-workers.html

Multilingual video resources are also available on the IRCC YouTube channel in:

Multilingual Health Resources

COVID-19 Resources

Mental Health Resources

  • The Ontario government has expanded its online and virtual mental health tools, including BounceBack (https://bouncebackontario.ca). It has developed a series of videos that contain practical tips on managing  your mood, sleeping better, building confidence, increasing activity, problem solving and healthy living. Videos are available in English, French, Arabic, Farsi, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Punjabi.​

Resources for Children:

​1- A resource on how to speak to children about COVID-19 is available in English and Spanish​.
2- UNICEF has tips on how to speak to children about COVID-19 available in English​, Fren​​ch​ and Spanish​.

What is Social Distancing?
Social Distancing.JPG

Multilingual Income Benefits, Credits and Assistance

​April 20, 2020

The Government of Canada translated Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in:

The Canadian Child Benefit (CCB)  was translated in:

 Questions and answers about CERB are also available in:

PLEASE NOTE: New information is being updated daily, so we can only confirm accuracy of this document to the last updated. It is important for readers to confirm accuracy of this information.  ​

Georgian College Career and Community Services developed helpful Resources for individuals struggling through COVID - 19. See document below:​

Income Support_BA_V3.pdf

1- Employment Insurance
To find out if you are eligible to receive EI regular benefits, you must submit an application online. It will take about 60 minutes to complete the online application. The website takes you step by step through the application process, and provides detailed instructions on how to complete the form. When you apply for Employment Insurance benefits, you will be asked for your email address. If Service Canada needs more information about your claim and cannot reach you by phone, a Service Canada agent will send you a toll-free number by email, asking you to call an agent.

2- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
The benefit will be available to workers:
  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits;
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
​For more information about CERB please see the document below:

Ontario Works - people who are already receiving social assistance:
Ontario Works provides a range of health-related discretionary benefits to those in receipt of social assistance. These benefits now include assistance with costs related to hand sanitizer, masks or additional cleaning supplies due to the need to self-
isolate or quarantine. Requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The maximum benefit available is $100 for single individuals and $200 for couples/families.
To apply for Ontario Works Assistance including Emergency Assistance and Discretionary Benefits, contact 705-722-3132.
Ontario Works - Emergency Assistance for Ontarians Ontario Works helps people who are in temporary financial need. It includes Emergency Assistance for Ontarians who are in a crisis or facing an unexpected emergency, have no access to other supports and are unable to meet basis living expenses. Access to Emergency Assistance may be available to those who are waiting for new COVID-19 support from the federal government to become available. Applicants may be eligible for up to 48 consecutive days of assistance.
To apply for Ontario Works Assistance including Emergency Assistance and Discretionary Benefits, contact 705-722-3132.

3 - Additional Support for Individuals and Families:
South Simcoe COVID-19 Community Response Fund:
If you are in need of a one time financial assistance for basic needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to receive assistance from a limited fund. To see if you qualify please see the document below:​ SouthSimcoeCOVID_EmergencyFund.pdf

One-Time Financial Assistance for Ontario Parents - The Province announced additional funding support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed. The funding will include a one-time payment of $200 per child age 0-12, and $250 for those 0-21 years of age with special needs. 
Parents must apply to receive this funding and can do so online
Parents already receiving Support for Parents payments through direct deposit will be automatically eligible for this new financial support and do not need to submit a new application. ​​​

Special GST Credit Payment - The government is providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

Extra time to File Income Tax Return - The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
For more information about Income Tax Filing please see the following document: COVID-19 Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Support for Individuals.pdf

Mortgage Support - Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This gives flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most. You are encouraged to visit your bank’s website for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

Check your local City website for additional supports such as free transit, additional garbage collection, deferred property tax payment and additional community support projects including funding for families.

Simcoe County Settlement & Language Training Services

Bradford Immigrant and Community Services (BICS):

BICS has now resumed operations after being closed for the summer.  Clients can be assisted via telephone, and email.  LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes are currently offered online.  ​

Clients requiring any assistance can call the office number (905-775-3343) or send an email to inquiries@bradfordimmigrant.ca.​

For more information please visit: http://bradfordimmigrant.ca​​

English Language Learning Classes:

The English Learning Classes want to assure you that the health and well-being of our students and staff remains a top priority for the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB). We are in regular contact with our local health authority, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), and continue to take their direction on all matters related to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). 

Adult ESL Program offers Hybrid (in-school and on-line) classes in Barrie, Bradford and Collingwood*.

Hybrid classes will have in-school sessions twice a week as well as on-line teacher-led sessions and independent work three days a week.

Classes run Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 1:30pm

* Collingwood classes run Monday through Thursday, no class on Friday.

  • ​Term 1 - September 14, 2020 - November 27, 2020
  • ​Dates for other terms will be announced later. Normally the program runs year round with breaks on Christmas and March Break.

​​Please note the delivery method and term dates may change depending on the development of the COVID-19 situation.

Part time On-line Classes - 2020/2021 

For students with CLB 4 and up. Students enrolling into on-line classes are advised to have access to a computer with camera and reliable internet.

Classes run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

  • Term 1 - September 14, 2020 - November 27, 2020
  • Dates for other terms will be announced later. Normally the program runs year round with breaks on Christmas and March Break.


​​To register for our classes and get more details please contact the Learning Centre:

  • Barrie – 705-725-8360 x 45151
  • Bradford – 905-775-4432
  • Collingwood – 705-445-9019
or email Gerry Anderson at ganderson@scdsb.on.ca

Job Finding Club for Immigrants:

In efforts to slow and prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Job Finding Club for Immigrants at Georgian Employment Services centres will be closed to walk-in traffic until further notice. However, they will continue to serve clients remotely. That means this site will not provide face-to-face services at this time.

You can access all services by connecting to them with:
TEXT: (705) 315-0393 or 705-796-2016;
EMAIL: iwantajob@georgiancollege.ca;
PHONE: (705) 722-1505 ext. 4103 or 4110

For more information please visit: https://www.georgiancollege.ca/job-finding-club-immigrants/

Occupational Specific Language Training (OSLT) Classes:

Georgian College will be offering Workplace Communications Skills for Professional Managers (focused on business and technology) from October to March, and a variety of courses for health care professionals starting at the end of September.

All courses are offered remotely, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous delivery, and are open to permanent residents and protected persons whose English skills are at an intermediate level (Canadian Language Benchmark 6 to 8.) There is no charge for students to participate in these courses and, as the courses are delivered remotely, students from across the province can participate.

See  www.GeorgianCollege.ca/oslt for more information. If you have any questions or would like to inquire about a course or to book a CLB assessment, please send an email oslt@georgiancollege.ca or call 705.728.1968, ext.5329. 



Welcome Centre - Mobile Unit:

The Mobile Unit will be serving clients virtually​ in:

- AllistonMU Alliston Gateway Flyer - Virtual Service Update.pdf​, 

Collingwood MU Collingwood Gateway Flyer - Virtual Service Update.pdf

- Orillia MU Orilla Gateway Flyer - Virtual Service Update.pdf

Wasaga Beach MU Wasaga Beach Gateway Flyer - Virtual Service Update.pdf

Staff will be maintaining their regular availability of 8am-8pm, Monday – Friday. Clients can reach the Mobile Unit at mobileunit@welcomecentre.ca or call our multilingual communication line at 1-877-761-1155.

The Mobile Unit is hosting online English Conversation Circles Mondays from 10:00-11:00 am and Thursdays from 5:00-6:00 pm ​for Simcoe County Residents. For more information please see the following flyer: Simce County English Conversation Circles - Online.pdf

For more information please visit: http://www.welcomecentre.ca/

YMCA ​of Simcoe/Muskoka - Immigrant Services​:

As of Friday March 13th YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Immigrant Services suspended their in person services.  They continue to provide settlement support services via phone, text, email and zoom.

English Language Learning services are using remote and online services and platforms to connect with students.
If you are having contact with individuals who require support please have them phone or text - 705.241.2501. 

The YMCA is hosting Virtula English Conversation Circles every Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 pm. For more information please email jessica.dinner@sm.ymca.ca.

YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka Conversation Circle.pdf

For more information please visit: https://ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca/immigrant-services/

Ontario Health Coverage

March 20, 2020

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve globally and locally, 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 cove​​ra​ge. Together, these measures will ensure that no one will be discouraged from seeking screening or treatment for COVI​D-19 for financial reasons.​

For more information, please visit: https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2020/03/ontario-expands-coverage-for-care.html​​

If you do not have health coverage

Document for Uninsured Simcoe County Residents.pdf

​Community Health Centres are mandated to provide services to people residing in Ontario who do not have Ontario Health Insurance coverage and who are considered a priority population for the purposes of Community Health Centre services.

There are 3 Community Health Centres in Simcoe County:

Barrie Community Health Centre
Address: 490 Huronia Road, Barrie, ON, L4N 6M2
Telephone: 705-734-9690
Website: www.bchc.ca​

Centre de sante communautaire Chigamik Community Health Centre
Address: 845 King Street Unit 10, Midland, ON, L4R 0B7​
Telephone: 705-527-4154 or 1-855-527-4154
Website: www.chigamik.ca

South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre
Address: 14 Ramblewood Drive Unit 202, Wasaga Beach, ON, L9Z 0C4
Telephone: 705-422-1888
Website: www.southgeorgianbaychc.ca​

Ontario and Simcoe County Healthcare Resources

April 20, 2020

Ontario Ministry of Health

For information on COVID-19 please visit the O​ntario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care website. It provides information about the virus, how people can protect themselves and what to do if they have contracted the virus.

Self-assessment tool

Ontario launched an enhanced and interactive self-assessment tool. This new tool takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19.

Contact your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 if you are experiencing symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Please do not visit an assessment centre unless a health care professional has referred you.

Simcoe County COVID-19 Assessment Centres

Please visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website to see the locations and hours of operations of the assessment centre in your area.

There are currently five assessment centres in Simcoe County:

  • Alliston
  • Barrie
  • Collingwood
  • Midland
  • Orillia ​

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources

Immigration and Travels

​June 8, 2020

The Government of Canada has implemented new travel restrictions. Below is an overview of some of the travel restrictions, exemptions and immigration impacts.

PLEASE NOTE: New information is being updated daily, so we can only confirm accuracy of this document to the last update. It is important for readers to confirm accuracy of this information.  

1.     Leaving Canada

The Government of Canada has issued an official advisory to Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. Many countries across the globe are issuing similar advisories and closing their borders to international travellers.

Click here to find out more information about travelling outside of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

2.     Entering Canada​

Travellers without symptoms:

If you have recently returned to Canada and you have no symptoms, you must quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days. This is mandatory. You are at risk of developing symptoms and infecting others.

  • ​You must quarantine (self-isolate) in a place where you will have no contact with vulnerable people, such as:
    • people 65 years or older, or
    • people with underlying medical conditions
  • You will need to confirm you have a suitable place to isolate where you will have access to basic necessities, such as food and medication.

  • You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will quarantine (self-isolate).

If you do not have an adequate place to quarantine (self-isolate), the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must remain for 14 days.​

Travel Ban Exemptions (pe​ople who can come into Canada):

  • people making necessary medical deliveries required for patient care.
  • people working in the trade and transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods and people, including:
    • truck drivers
    • crew on any plane, train or marine vessel
  • people crossing  the border regularly to go to work, including in the health care sector or critical infrastructure workers
  • people having to cross the border to provide or receive essential services, including emergency responders and personnel providing essential services to Canadians related to the COVID-19 outbreak

Canada-U.S. border restrictions:

As of May 22, 2020, the restriction on all discretionary travel at the Canada-U.S. border that was initially implemented on March 21, 2020, was extended for an additional 30 days until June 21, 2020. This applies to all foreign nationals with some exceptions for immediate family members (see section below). Potential travellers should consult the Border Information Service for information.

Examples of discretionary/optional travel include:​

  • tourism
  • recreation
  • entertainment​

If you do not have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and must cross the border for work or other non-discretionary purposes, you may continue to do so. Some examples of non-discretionary travel purposes are:

  • ​work and study
  • critical infrastructure support
  • economic services and supply chains
  • health, immerdiate medical care, safety and security

Some persons working in the health care field are considered exempt from the border prohibition. This is the case as long as they do not provide direct care for people over 65 years of age within the first 14 days of their entry into Canada.

Even if you are permitted to cross the border, mandatory quarantine measures may still apply upon your return to Canada.​​

3.     Canadians Currently Outside of Canada

While the Government of Canada advises that you avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, there may be times when travel is essential.

  • If you must travel despite the advisory or are already outside Canada, get the latest advice and information for your safety and security.

    If you do travel outside Canada, you should expect increased health screening measures at points of entry for international destinations, including airports and land borders. Local authorities may impose control measures suddenly, including movement restrictions such as quarantines.​

4.     Temporary and Permanent Residency Applications

The Government of Canada has put in special measures to help temporary and permanent residents and applicants affected by COVID-19. For more information, click here: https://www.canada.ca/en/​immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-special-measures.html

5.     Refugee Claimants

There are many changes to the procedures for those intending on claiming asylum in Canada and those who have already made claims and are awaiting their hearings: Please check out the UNHRC's website on the most up to date information: https://www.unhcr.ca/newsroom/key-information-asylum-seekers/

6. International Students

International students post-graduation work permit eligibility won't be affected if their Fall 2020 courses are only offered online due to #COVID19. Students can begin programs online from outside Canada and complete up to 50% of them outside the country. In addition, students will not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020. ​For more information, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/pgwpp-rules-covid19.html​​​

Local Volunteer Opportunities

​April 20, 2020

During this difficult time, it is more important than ever to come together and help those in need, ensuring Ontarians have access to food, medicine and basic necessities.

1- Ontario:

The Ontario government is encouraging volunteerism to support seniors, people with disabilities and other Ontarians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Please see the attached information, share with your members and visit www.sparkontar​io.ca  if your not-for-profit organization needs volunteers or someone from your community is interested in helping those impacted by COVID-19. 

2- County of Simcoe:

​​The County of Simcoe counts 8 care-mongering Facebook groups set up by county residents. The groups offer help to others within their communities, particularly those who are more at risk of health complications related to coronavirus. See the document below for more information:


3 - ​City of Barrie:

The Barrie Social Support Task Force connects business donations with social agencies. Seeking donations of non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and more​. For more information please visit the task force webpage or email connect@barrielibrary.ca or call 705-728-1010 option #4.​

4 - South Simcoe:

​​​Volunteer South Simcoe provides volunteering opportunities from local organizations. Click here​ to visit their website or call 705-435-4900 ext. 201 to learn more.


CONTACT Community Services is launching a new program to support seniors living in South Simcoe who are feeling isolated due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Seniors can sign up for a “Check in and Chat” once or twice a week and will be paired with a volunteer who will call them at a designated time to see how they are doing. The volunteers will also help navigate challenges the seniors may be having due to social distancing measures, such as getting groceries or medications.​
For more information, please see the document below: ​Check in and Chat.pdf

Employers/Employees, Landlord/Tenants rights Q&A

​​June 16, 2020

COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

Please find below the “COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada" from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in the following languages:​

The themes covered include:

  • Information about COVID-19, including how the disease spreads and individuals at an elevated risk for developing complications related to COVID-19;
  • What TFWs should know before coming to Canada;
  • Rights and Responsibilities of TFWs during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, including employer responsibilities and tips to maintain good mental health;
  • Rights and Responsibilities of TFWs during non-quarantine period, including how to access health care and health-related information;
  • Income supports for TFWs in Canada;
  • Contact information for government authorities related to health care, TFW Program compliance, Employment Standards, and Occupational Health and Safety.

Ontario Human Rights Code

​​The Ontario Human Rights Code has developed a series of questions and answers for understanding your human rights and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These questions and answers cover the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, tenants and landlords, as well as residential institutions.

Please click on the following link for more information: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/covid-19-and-ontario%E2%80%99s-human-rights-code-%E2%80%93-questions-and-answers-0

Resources for Businesses and Employers

​1 - The County of Simcoe Economic Development Office is working with partners to consistently update COVID-19 business resources. 

For more information, please visit the website: https://edo.simco​e.ca/covid-19-business-resources​​

Do not hesitate to reach out to the team at: edo@simcoe.ca ​​

2 - Georgian College Career and Employment Community Services developed a document to help support local businesses affected by COVID-19. See document below to access the resources: Support_for_local_businesses_BA_V3.pdf

Engineering and Construction Sectors Pre-arrival webinars

​Build ON: Helping you prepare to work in Ontario's Skilled Trades, Engineering and Construction Sectors before you arrive! Register today for personalized online employment consultations, access to webinars, mentorship, training workshops and more. To know more about our services, watch this video.

Build ON is offering several live webinars during the month of July about the following topics:

  • Preparing for the Canadian Workplace: Tools and Resources to help you succeed presented by FAST - July 9th, 2020 at 11:30am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
  • Learn about Pre and Post Arrival Mentorship presented by Build ON - July 13th at 11:00am (EDT)
  • Networking for Your Job Search presented by Build ON - July 16th at 11:00am (EDT)
  • Prepare for a bilingual job interview in Canada presented by Build ON - July 17 at 2:30 p.m. EDT
  • Creating an Effective Resume and Cover Letter presented by Build ON - July 20th at 11:00am (EDT)
  • Ask the Experts about Your Job Search presented by Build ON - July 27th at 11:00am (EDT)
  • Introduction to the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) presented by Andrew Couturier- July 30th at 11am

Please visit our events page for more details or to register. You can also send us an email at buildonbatit@ymcaywca.ca or call us at +1-613-608-6943.

Don't forget to share Build ON with family and friends moving to Canada. We are here to help them be prepared before they arrive!