Supports for Newcomers and Refugees

The 519 has compiled COVID-19 resources for newcomers and refugees, including updates for refugee claimants, information for Convention Refugees and Permanent Residents, and Service Ontario updates.

The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic has compiled the following resources for non-status people:


  • Anyone, whether they have OHIP or other health insurance, can be tested or treated for COVID-19. You do not need insurance.
  • If you don't have access to a family doctor, nurse, or nurse practitioner you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1 866 797 0000
  • Healthcare providers, medical clinics, and hospitals should not share your personal health or contact information with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Find more information here.
  • If you need to see a doctor about something other than COVID-19, but don’t have status in Canada, find information here

Income Supports

  • Eligibility for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is not based on immigration status, however, you must have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you do not have a SIN, you may be able to get Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Emergency Assistance.
  • CERB: You must meet certain factors to qualify. Find more information here.
  • Ontario Emergency Assistance: Emergency assistance helps people who are in a crisis or emergency situation. It covers needs such as food, rent, medicine, informal childcare, and other services. Find more information here.
  • OW or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP):
    • If you need to apply for OW, you do not need a certain kind of immigration status to be able to get OW. However, you may not qualify if you're in Canada as a tourist or visitor. If you are currently under a removal order, there may be restrictions. It is best to speak with your local community legal clinic to find out if you qualify. Find more information about qualifying here.
    • If you are already on ODSP or OW, OW workers can give extra "discretionary benefits" to people getting assistance. You can access benefits through the OW program through online applications such as MyBenefits, contacting your OW caseworker, or online at If you are on ODSP, you may also receive these benefits; contact your ODSP caseworker for more information. Find more information here.
  • Child Tax Benefit: If your spouse has status in Canada, your family can receive the Child Tax Benefit. The May 2020 Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment will be increased by up to $300 per child, for one time only. Find more information here.
  • Find more emergency income supports here.

Immigration and Refugee Questions

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has temporarily cancelled all in-person interviews. Find information here.
    • Filing documents with IRCC: IRCC officers are supposed to extend deadlines for information or documentation for permanent and temporary residence applications for 90 days. Find updates and more information here.
  • Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearings: All IRB offices are closed. All in-person hearings are postponed until further notice. Find information here.
  • Removal: Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has postponed many removals for three weeks. Find information here. 
  • Other immigration and refugee questions? Find information here.

Policing and Borders

  • The Province is under a State of Emergency, and during this time, the police are enforcing physical distancing and have more powers.
  • The police, certain municipal bylaw officers, campus officers, TTC and other transportation constables, community housing constables, public health officers, and others can require you to carry and produce identification with your correct name, date of birth, and address on request. If you do not provide identification, you can be fined. Find more information here.
  • Learn more about your rights here.

Resources for Migrants

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