COVID-19 Resources

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COVID-19 Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone in our uOttawa community as well as in the world. That is why we want to help you navigate different resources and support available for you during this difficult time. As part of our commitment to support students, we’ve created a master list of resources for students to make it easier to find the information you need. Information on this page is gathered from the University of Ottawa, the Ontario, Quebec and federal government, and the City of Ottawa.

The UOSU is working with uOttawa and all levels of government to ensure that there is support available for as many students as possible. We’ve got your back.

uOttawa Support

The University has created an emergency fund to help students directly affected by COVID-19. The eligibility criteria and process have not been widely advertised. Please email loansandawards@uottawa.ca for the application form. Make sure you keep all of your receipts pertaining to your situation. (e.g.: Your residence closed down so you had to find a new place to rent, or you had to fly home immediately.

The receipts include your plane ticket, moving fees associated with your early departure, or a copy of your new rental agreement. If you are having trouble receiving financial aid, or have been denied financial support, please email us at exec@uosu-seuo.com to share your story.

The University has stopped approving winter U-Pass reimbursements, and is not charging the U-Pass ancillary fee for the spring/summer semester. UOSU remains committed to advocating for an option in the fall that takes into account public health guidance and ensures that students who need the U-Pass will be able to get it.

No one knows. The University is reportedly exploring a variety of options, while recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it unlikely classes will return at 100% capacity in the Fall Semester. These options include a fully online semester or some form of hybrid model, where classes will be taught online or in person. We will keep you informed as soon as we hear more.

Despite a general reduction in the quality of education, the University does not currently intend to reduce tuition fees for the Fall Semester. Let them know if you believe tuition fees should be reduced by sending them an email at president@uottawa.ca.

Government Financial Support

If you have stopped working or are unable to work because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support of $2,000/month. Some of the main eligibility criteria include: being a resident of Canada; having made at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to March 2020; and having been forced to quit work (laid off). You will receive a payment within 10 days of applying every four weeks until October 2020. Find out if you are eligible by clicking here.

For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the CERB or Employment Insurance, and unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19, the Government has introduced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). This benefit is the result of students and student unions across Canada demanding help from the government.

The CESB will provide $1,250 per month for domestic students from May through August 2020, and $2,000 per month for domestic students with dependents and those with disabilities. The CESB application will launch on May 15th, 2020. To apply, click here.

Please be aware of the following:

  • The Government of Canada is saying that you must be actively looking for work to receive the CESB. Though we do not know how, if at all, this will be enforced, we encourage you to keep records of job applications, emails or any other proof you are looking for work.
  • Please note that you do not need to take the first job you get. You only need to provide some form of proof you are looking for work to the CRA if they ask for it
  • Update your information with the CRA to be sure to receive the benefit. Set up Direct Deposit in order to receive your monthly payments quickly.
  • You must re-apply for each period of one month for the CESB.

You don’t have to do anything. Effective March 30, students do not have to pay back their student loan, and the interest rate is frozen, for a period of 6 months. This applies for both federal loans and loans offered by the Government of Ontario.

The federal government is doubling Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The eligibility criteria have also been enhanced, so don’t hesitate to apply!

The Canada Student Loans program will also be enhanced. For the 2020-21 academic year, the maximum weekly amount will go up to $350, up from $210 dollars. Additional funding has been made available for provincial programs of jurisdictions that do not provide the grant (Quebec, Northwest Territories, Nunavut).

For more information on Canada Student Grants & Loans, click here.

Canada Summer Jobs is a great portal to find summer employment for people 15-30 years old. The application window has now been extended, and the end date for employment has been extended to February 2021. Information on participating employers will be available mid-May.


You may also choose to consult the Federal Government Job Bank for Youth, an ongoing federal government database.

Yes! Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) helps students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. For students who choose to volunteer, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall. More information will be provided as it is made available.

Health and Community Services

Official site for the Ontario Ministry of Health is here and Public Health Ontario is here.

The COVID-19 self-assessment tool is here.

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

Practice social distancing: Stay at least 6 feet (2m) from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places.

Wash your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your cough and sneeze with your elbows, not your hands.

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

When in public, and especially when unable to practice social distancing, consider wearing a mask or another form of face covering.

Mental Health

What are the mental health resources available for me?

In case of an emergency:

  • On-campus emergency, please call Protection Services at 613-562-5411
  • Off-campus emergency, please dial 9-1-1

Helplines and Crisis Lines:

Crisis Line

A crisis can include difficulty dealing with stress, overwhelming feelings, symptoms of depression, anxiety or psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or any concerns regarding your mental health or that of your loved ones.

Within Ottawa 24/7 Crisis Line: 613-722-6914

Outside of Ottawa 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-866-996-0991

Crisis Text Line

24/7 (bilingual). Text HOME to 686868 from anywhere in Canada

(For French, text PARLER to the same number).

Good2Talk

Good2Talk is a free 24/7, confidential helpline providing professional counselling, information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to post-secondary students in Ontario.

24/7 Helpline : 1-866-925-5454

Crisis Text Line : GOOD2TALKON (or ALLOJECOUTEON in French) to 686868

Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region

(English Only)

Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region contributes to a healthier and safer community by providing suicide prevention, crisis intervention, psychological stabilization, emotional support, information, referral and education services, without judgement, to individuals in need.

24/7 Distress Line: 613-238-3311

24/7 Crisis Line: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991

Tel-Aide Outaouais (French Only)

Ils offrent un service d’écoute téléphonique en français aux personnes qui ont besoin d’une oreille, qui nécessitent du soutien ou de références. Les bénévoles de Tel-Aide, qu’ils appellent les écoutants, offrent une écoute attentive, chaleureuse et empathique.

Website: telaideoutaouais.ca

24/7 Gatineau Helpline : 819-775-3223

24/7 Ottawa Helpline : 613-741-6433

24/7 Outside Outaouais Helpline : 1-800-567-9699

Available Virtual Counselling Services during COVID-19:

SASS Counselling Services

Counselling is a confidential service for students who are dealing with temporary life difficulties. The aim of counselling is to facilitate a timely return to normal functioning. You can book your single session in advance and meet with a counsellor either by phone or videoconference.

Email : couns@uottawa.ca 

Tel : 613-562-5200

Empower Me

Students subscribing to the University of Ottawa Student Union Student (UOSU) Health Plan automatically have access to Empower Me, a mental health and wellness service that seeks to contribute to a resilient student community. Empower Me allows students to connect for free with qualified counsellors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues. The sessions can be delivered by telephone, by video-counselling, or by e-counselling, and the service is available 365/7/24.

Tel : 1-833-851-1361

24/7 Helpline : 1-844-741-6389

The Walk-In Counselling Clinic

The Walk-In Counselling Clinic provides immediate professional counselling services to individuals, couples, and families for free. They are now offering their services by phone or video-counselling.

Contact : Based on locations on their website.

Self-Help Resources:

TAO (Therapy Assistance Online)

TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) is an online platform of tools and interactive modules that can help you manage the many stressors that come with university life and can help you bounce back from challenging times. This service is available for free to anyone with a uOttawa email account, whether you’re a student or not. 

  • Programs available: Calming Your Worry, Let Go and Be Well, Interpersonal, Relationships and Communication, Leave Your Blues Behind, and Improving your Mood.

You can anonymously complete a self-screening assessment that will ask you a few questions about common problems and then provide you with some feedback for the next steps you can take.

Ontario residents, Call TeleHealth at 1-866-797-0000 to speak directly to a nurse.

Quebec residents, Call Info-Santé by dialling 8-1-1 to speak directly to a nurse.

Empower Me

Students subscribing to the University of Ottawa Student Union Student (UOSU) Health Plan automatically have access to Empower Me, a mental health and wellness service that seeks to contribute to a resilient student community. Empower Me allows students to connect for free with qualified counsellors, consultants, and life coaches for a variety of issues. The sessions can be delivered by telephone, by video-counselling, or by e-counselling, and the service is available 365/7/24.

Tel : 1-833-851-1361

24/7 Helpline : 1-844-741-6389

The Walk-In Counselling Clinic

The Walk-In Counselling Clinic provides immediate professional counselling services to individuals, couples, and families for free. They are now offering their services by phone or video-counselling.

Contact : Based on locations on their website.

Here is a list of organizations offering COVID-19 support in Ottawa. This list includes food care, support for the elderly, people with disabilities, students, 2SLGBTQIA community, survivors of violence, newcomers, Francophone, Indigenous people, relief funds, and so on.

Yes! The hotline for questions for available social services is 211.

Ottawa Caremongering is a Facebook group where people post their needs/offers for support.

You can also access Canada’s volunteer database to see places needing volunteers in your region.

Academic Support Services

Academic Writing Help Centre (AWHC)

The goal of the Academic Writing Help Centre is to help students develop strategies and writing skills that will enable them to understand the requirements of academic writing, develop their argumentation skills, expand their critical thinking abilities, and master the written language of their choice. Services include online resources, a resource library, and individual writing appointments. They are now offering all their services online.

Email : asupp@uottawa.ca 

Tel : 613-562-5601

 

AWHC Writing Tools and Resources (Self-Help)

They have various documents, tools and instructions for academic integrity, writing process, structure of paper, types of paper and grammar.

Student Mentorship:

Faculty Mentoring Centres

Different Mentoring Centres offered by each faculty.

Service Mentoring Centres 

Different mentoring services include; the French Immersion Studies, the International Office, the Regional Mentoring Centre, the Residence Study Group Program, the Career Development Centre, the SASS – Academic Accommodations, Learning Technology, the Sports Services, the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI), and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).

Study Skills Hub (Self-Help)

A series of instructional articles on line, so you can develop your skills whenever and wherever you find most convenient. Articles include; how to concentrate, prepare for exams, take notes, conquer your stress, get motivated, memorize, work together and manage your time.

Learning & Technology Mentoring Centre

They are student mentors who focus on students’ academic success, who can teach them assistive technologies and learning strategies that work with their learning style. All students, University of Ottawa employees and community members are welcome. They offer workshops and online appointments for training in technologies to improve students’ study skills and to help them with their learning process.

Email : techmentors@uottawa.ca 

Tel : 613-562-5800 ext. 4785

Travel

A detailed list of advice and measures being introduced, as well as advice to travellers and other resources is on the Government of Canada’s Travel Restrictions. Exemption and Advice, and WHO’s Global Travel Advisory

Housing

Although the provincial and federal governments have unveiled relief for commercial renting, there is no existing relief for residential tenants. In Ontario and Quebec, governments are encouraging landlords and tenants to work together to establish arrangements. Note that in the Province of Ontario, it is illegal for your landlord to charge fees or penalties for late payments. If you are unable to pay rent, or need a reduction in your rent, reach out to your landlord and let them know. If you feel comfortable, consider reaching out to other tenants of the same landlord to ensure that the landlord is being fair and equitable.

Landlords are still permitted to give students an eviction notice & begin the eviction process. However, the Landlord and Tenant Board, which must approve evictions, has suspended all hearings indefinitely. In other words, your landlord can still begin the process to evict you, but no evictions will be happening at this time. If your landlord is trying to evict you, read this guide on eviction notices, and make use of some of the following resources. Do not sign any documents until you have community help/legal help for the process.

There have been no additional rent freezes introduced by either government at this time. In Ontario, however, your landlord can only increase your rent every 12 months, and by no more than 2.2%.

In the Province of Ontario, your landlord may only enter your rental unit in normal circumstances with a 24 hours written notice. During the pandemic, landlords are strongly discouraged to request entry, unless it is for urgent situations. You are within your rights to remind your landlord of this new provincial guidance.

International Students

If you are working in an essential service or function (health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods), you can work for more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You can find more information here.

International students wishing to return home may do so but should consider whether their home country will allow them to enter, whether they will be able to re-enter Canada in the future, and how this may affect their eligibility to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit.

The International Office’s mobility team can help incoming and outgoing exchange students that have questions or concerns about leaving the country or for those trying to come back to Canada from abroad. They can also provide information regarding your safety while abroad and appropriate documentation to exchange students returning home.

If your status as a student has expired or is about to expire, you must apply to extend it.

In order to be eligible, you must:

  • Submit your application before the original expiry date of your status;
  • Continue to meet the initial requirements of your stay;
  • Abide by all the conditions of your status (i.e. not working or studying without authorization);
  • Meet the requirements of the category under which you are currently applying to be restored as a temporary resident;

You may apply through the online portal here.

Note : If you’re an international student and have exceeded the expiry date of your status, contact the Canadian Immigration Law firm; they will guide you through the process of restoring your status and allow you to remain in Canada legally.

Student residences across the country have closed down in an effort to protect the student population and flatten the curve. Some residences may make exceptions for international students, or help you to find other accommodations.

Some hotels are reserving rooms for those who need to self-isolate. In most cases, the hotel guest must stay inside the room for 14 days without going into the hotel hall, lobby or any public spaces. Food and fresh linens are being left outside the room door.

Provinces are ramping up regulations to prevent landlords from evicting tenants during this time.

uOttawa’s International Office has a student emergency fund which you can apply for by sending an email to  uointl@uottawa.ca explaining your needs.

International Students are covered by UHIP (University Health Insurance Plan). This insurance provides coverage if you visit a doctor or hospital, including if you are infected with Covid-19.

Resources for Indigenous Students

Indigenous Resource Centre

The IRC works closely with all university faculties to develop initiatives that support and benefit Indigenous students. They are committed to helping First Nations, Inuit and Métis students by providing services that support your classroom, career and personal needs in a manner consistent with Indigenous culture and values.

Email : arc-cra@uottawa.ca                                                          

Tel : 613-562-5800 ext. 2496

The Métis Nation of Ontario

Advocates, researches and educates people about the Métis people. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) provides programs and services for education and training, healing and wellness, lands, resources and consulting, housing, intergovernmental relations, and economic development. The MNO are now offering COVID-19 Support Programs.                                                              

Tel : 613-798-1488

Information for other provinces

Canada’s Governmental Updates regarding international students:

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented special immigration measures for certain countries so we advise you to monitor their website for updates.

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship.html

University of Ottawa’s International Students Updates: