FAMILY TIPSHEET: Emergency funding sources and access to basic necessities

Emergency funding sources and access to basic necessities

Please note: The information provided in this tipsheet is for reference only. It is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of organizations, agencies or private businesses, or as a comprehensive resource list. 

Based on when you are viewing this tipsheet, the information may not be the most up to date. Please refer to the date this tipsheet was last updated, at the end of the document. You can also access this tipsheet online at

This tipsheet provides a list of governmental and non-governmental emergency funds and supports for families, in situations where they may need help urgently to pay for or find basic necessities.

Government Funding

Changes to funding for special needs children, youth and adults

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is temporarily expanding the list of eligible expenses to support people and their families while community-based activities and settings are closed. These changes allow you to use your funding for goods and services that may make it easier for you to stay at home during this time and practise physical distancing.

Special Services at Home (SSAH)

Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD)


Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the OAP is extending the amount of time you have to spend your childhood budget funding and submit your expense form by up to six months, if necessary.

  • You now have up to 18 months to spend your childhood budget and submit your expense form.
  • For example, if your original 12 months to spend your funding ends on June 10, 2020, you now have until December 10, 2020 to spend your funding and submit your expense form.   
  • You do not need to contact the ministry to be eligible or to accept this extension.


Ontario government COVID-19: Learn what provincial, financial, mental health and other supports are available including social services, shelters, filing taxes, paying rent, food banks.

Funds that support the disability community

Funds that support students

  • Toronto Foundation for Student Success’ Emergency Fund: Any principal, teacher, or professional support services staff member can apply for emergency funds up to a one-time only maximum of $500 per student.
  • Angel Foundation for Learning’s Emergency Fund and Family Support Fund for Extreme Needs: Offers funding to Toronto Catholic District School Board students who need warm clothing, food, hearing aids, eyeglasses, epi-pens, and other necessities for life and for their education. Application for these funds must be initiated by the school principal or the school social worker.
  • Childcare for Essential Workers: The City of Toronto is providing emergency child care for children of essential and critical service workers. The service is provided at no costs to families, for children from birth to age 12.
  • Support for familiesWhile schools and child care centres are closed, parents can apply for direct funding to offset the cost of buying materials to support their children’s learning, while they practice self-isolation and physical distancing.

Funds that support electricity and gas bills for your home

  • Ontario Energy Board Low-income Energy Assistance Program: Low-income customers can get up to $500 in emergency assistance for their electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated electrically) and $500 for their natural gas bills. The assistance is only available if you are behind on your bill – or in arrears – and may face having your service disconnected.
  • Toronto Hydro Low-income Energy Assistance Program: LEAP is a grant program that helps those who are struggling to pay past due bills or have already received a disconnection notice. It offers a maximum grant of $500 per household per year ($600 for electrically heated homes).

Funds that support artists, musicians or tip-based workers

Financial planning tips for emergencies

  • Financial Consumer Agency of Canada: tips for managing finances during this time.
  • Woodgreen: Now offering financical counselling by phone.  Counsellors are available to speak with clients on a variety of low-income financial issues. Phone translation is available in many languages.  Contact 416-645-6000 ext. 1330 or to book an appointment. 

Community Volunteer Groups

  • Good Neighbour Project: Volunteers are willing to assist with delivering supplies and groceries to those with disabilities, compromised immune systems, accessibility barriers, and the elderly, across the GTA.
  • Caremongering Toronto: A Facebook group where people can request or offer assistance for others who are in difficult situations.
  • Chalmers: An online chatbot that can help you find food, shelter, or clothing that you can access in Toronto.
  • Ontario Community Support Association is partnering with SPARK Ontario and the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility has to provide expanded access to Meals-on-Wheels and the services they provide, which now include delivery of medication and other essential needs.

Food Services

We encourage you to visit our website to access all of our COVID-19 or Coronavirus specific family tip sheets. This tipsheet belongs to a set of specialized resources for the COVID-19 and Coronavirus outbreak period. If you are looking for other family resources that have to do with childhood disability, please visit

Created by the Family Support Specialists (Melissa Ngo, Lorraine Thomas and Meghan Toswell) at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital on April 6 2020. Updated on April 5, 2020.

If you have a question or a resource to share, please feel free to reach out to us at