the Bulletin

March 20th 2020

1. Coronavirus and COVID-19

Many agencies and social services are closed or limiting services. Try to call ahead so you can be screened and you can get service. Find phone numbers of agencies at #211. And city services at #311.

You can also find information from the Toronto Drop-in Network is updating a list of open / closed / limited service drop-ins

Because of COVID-19 / Coronavirus Sound Times location at 280 Parliament is CLOSED until further notice. If you are a member you can contact your worker by phone: 416-979-1700

Try your best to stay healthy and safe. We miss you. 

We are updating our website as news comes in please stay tuned. 

For City Services - Check the city of Toronto website 

  • Shelters and respites are open
  • 3 employment and social services offices are open
  • Public Health, Police, Fire, Ambulance, Water, key city staff are working
  • Libraries, community centres, city services (weddings, licences etc.) 
  • Provincial offences courts, ticket courts and counters

Image of handwashing with text Please wash your hands
Survive, learn, madly! 
Navigate Below
  1. COVID-19 - Coronavirus
  2. COVID-19 Resources
  3. COVID-19 News
  4. Free Events - Social distancing - Advocacy Party!
  5. Crackdown Podcast - Recovery
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2. COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19? How to assess?

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 causes a flu like illness. The symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches and tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing
Ontario has a screening tool for COVID-19.

If you have mild symptoms call Telehealth for Medical Advice - 1866-797-0000 . Do not go directly to your doctor.

How can you help prevent the spread?

How many of these can you do if you have bad or no housing?
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at home if you are sick, which includes not visiting others in hospital or a care home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
  • If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.

Social distancing is important but impossible for many survivors

  • Key is to stay more than two metres away from other people, staying away from crowds, only making essential trips.
  • If you don't have adequate housing - staying away from crowds and keeping 2 metres away from anyone is nearly impossible
  • Even if you do have housing - isolation and loneliness can lead to lots of distress and sadness.
  • Do you have thoughts for government? See the Advocacy party below. Remind government about the social determinants of health.

People who use drugs - Toronto Public Health has prepared guides for COVID-19.


  • Clean your hands
  • Don’t share gear
  • Prep your own drugs
  • Get extra harm reduction supplies
  • Avoid putting drug baggies/wraps in your mouth, anus
  • Work with your Methadone/Suboxone/OAT Prescriber
  • Prepare for unplanned withdrawal (dealer gets sick)
  • Respond to overdose

Confirmed cases by province.

These number may go up a lot in the next two weeks because the public health testing is increasing.  

Legal Aid - Less or no direct contact with lawyers. Still working on strategy

Find updates at Legal Aid about the law, courts and more.

Laws are changing fast especially around employment and work. The federal government announced programs for people and families who do not work or who are low income or not working. 

Contact Sound Times if you are a member in need of LAO support.  

Shelters and Housing

City of Toronto: All City-operated shelters, respites and 24-hour women’s drop-ins 

remain open and support activities continue. Streets to Homes outreach is ongoing. Shelters remain open but almost all dropins are closed. 
Out of the Cold: Dixon Hall continues to operate an Out of the Cold location at 188 Carlton St. The location has 45 beds for the rest of the Out of the Cold season.

Toronto's Central intake centre is closed for walkins

Service is still available by phone at Homeless shelter intake/Central Intake Line 416-338-4766  This is a problem because many people end up sleeping there because of the lack of shelter beds. 
“Calling central intake has always been a challenge,” because you often have to be on hold for 30 minutes or more, said Jessica Hales, a nurse practioner who works with people who are homeless. She said they’re concerned it will ultimately be harder for people to access a shelter bed.

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) COVID-19 update - March 19, 2020

Tenants who are self-isolating and need emergency repairs or help with the tasks of daily living can contact the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500 or Highlights at ST site.

Reach out for a friendly ear: Isolation can be hard

You can call and text for help or to hear a warm voice!

Toronto Public Health: Residents experiencing stress or crisis and requiring emotional support related to COVID-19 can access the following community resources:

  • Distress Centre of Greater Toronto Opens in new window
    Call 416-408-4357, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    Text 45645 between 4 p.m. and midnight
    Translation is available in many languages for crisis calls only
  • Kids Help Phone Opens in new window
    Call 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    Service is available in English and French
  • Gerstein Crisis Centre Opens in new window
    416- 929-520024 hours a day, 7 days a week
    Translation is available in many languages

Centre for Independent Living (CILT) has COVID-19 resources

  • resources for folks with disabilities.
  • Plus a warm phone line. Peer Support Program / Parenting with a Disability Network (416) 599-2458 Extension 291 or Email

The 519 - Resource lists

Senior's Resources


Smart Recovery is available online

  • This is a good time to check in with someone! 
Self-Management And Recovery Training (SMART) is a global community of mutual-support groups. At meetings, participants help one another resolve problems with any addiction

Volunteer / Caremongering - Love over fear!

  • Fight back against fearmongering and panic. It is time to care and connect safely
  • This can be by phone, facebook or in person.
  • Peer support for your actual peers. 
  • Overcome fear with love!

3. COVID-19 News

Toronto has its first case of a homeless person with COVID-19.

The city says this was expected. There is not enough housing and shelter with adequate social distancing. What will the city do? And the sick paramedic may reduce the confidence of essential workers. CTV News: Toronto reports COVID-19 cases in paramedic, homeless person, long-term care home

Good news story free hand sanitizer made in downtown distillery district
  • Sanitizer will be distributed for free to those in need

Financial relief, EI and more are changing fast: updates (March 19th)
  • GST credit could increase to $400 ($600 for a couple) for low income Canadians.
  • Canada Child Benefit will increase
  • Employment Insurance may cover more employees and provide funding for people who cannot work because of COVID-19

Evictions are suspended
  • Landlord Tenant Board is not available, evictions are not supposed to be enforced. Let us know if landlords are still trying to evict. There is at least one case in west Toronto.


Police facilities shutdown for visitors

Services are available online, through the non-emergency (416-808-2222) and the emergency number (911).  


4. Events - Social Distancing

Always check before heading out to an event. Legally events of under 50 people are permitted (as of writing) but many are cancelled for safety.
  • Takeout and delivery are great options.
  • Find activities for kids and adults while stuck in your home. 

How about an advocacy party?

Advocate for tenants and low income folks with ACORN ACORN Canada Text: Urgent Action Eviction Freeze, Rent Flexibility, Loan Repayment Freeze, EI for Everyone

Send this urgent message to your Premier, Prime Minister Trudeau and your local MPs, MLAs and MPPs.q

From the Toronto Drop In Network

Resources and Open Letters

  Petitions Let us know if you have more ideas or by email

5. Crackdown podcast: Somebody Else' Problem

Recover, detox, preparation, treatment, rehabilitation, aftercare...what do these mean for drug users and anti-drug folk? This podcast discusses 4 different centres that were part of a "bureaucratic, broken patchwork of a system." 

The Bulletin

Resources for Consumer / Survivors / People who use substances / Service and Substance Users / Fun Folks in TORONTO AREA
#22 - 619 March 2020 COVID-19 edition
An oak tree comes from a single nut that stood its ground.” –Author Unknown Organizing Guide for Psychiatric Survivors MindFreedom International
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The Bulletin is published monthly by Sound Times Support Services. Funding for this Consumer/Survivor initiative has been Toronto  Central Local Health Integration Network logoprovided by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
Disclaimer: The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Toronto Central LHIN, the Government of Ontario, Sound Times Support Services Staff or Board Members.
Thanks: to survey participants, callers and emailers and the C/S Info Bulletin Team. 
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