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Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) Request for Proposals

The application period for the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund is now closed. Thank you for all those who have applied.

  1. Allocations/Allocations Process
  2. Timelines
  3. Eligibility Criteria
  4. Decision Criteria
  5. Funding Notification and Disbursement
  6. Reporting
  7. Application Process
  8. Application Form (PDF)
  9. ECSF Information Session Video
  10. FAQ 

On April 21, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a Community Support Fund that the Government of Canada is providing to strengthen the capacity of community services to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable individuals and families affected by COVID-19. Much of this Fund was distributed in the summer through an agreement between the Government and United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross. The Government is now distributing the remainder through the same partners.  

In the first round, United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) distributed over $15M to 376 community service agencies in Peel Region, the City of Toronto and York Region. In this second major RFP, UWGT will be distributing $5M.

UWGT is inviting proposals for one-time requests from community service organizations to meet the urgent needs in Peel Region, the City of Toronto and York Region arising during COVID-19. UWGT will prioritize applications that focus on services to meet the needs of individuals and families:

  • Living on low or limited income;
  • Experiencing the greatest barriers to accessing services and supports;
  • Living in neighbourhoods most affected by the pandemic;
  • Disproportionately affected by the pandemic, especially members of equity-seeking populations such as Indigenous and Black communities.

In the round, the UWGT COVID-19 Emergency Community Support Fund will support:

  • Expansion and adaptation of existing programs and services to meet the needs created by the COVID-19 emergency;
  • Implementation of new service responses to address the needs of vulnerable individuals and families;
  • Extension or expansion of programs previously funded through the first round of the Emergency Community Support Fund;
  • Short-term projects that can be completed by March 31, 2021;
  • Service delivery collaborations that demonstrate a coordinated approach to addressing needs;
  • Projects that have not secured funds from the Community Foundation or Red Cross for the same activities.

In this round, UWGT is putting a strong emphasis on applications from collaboratives of community services to meet urgent needs created by the pandemic at a neighbourhood, population or regional level. Agencies with infrastructure to deliver programs and services are encouraged to partner with other organizations to reach the most marginalized populations not currently receiving service.

Agencies that applied for funding in the first Emergency Community Support Fund RFP may also apply for funding in this round.

Applicants may apply for more than one project, however, only a limited number of subsequent applications will be approved due to the limited funding.

Allocations/Allocations Process

  • A maximum of $50,000 will be allocated for individual applications.
  • Collaborative applications will receive a maximum of $50,000 per partner (agencies may receive individual contracts within a collaborative framework if requested).
  • UWGT will coordinate with other funders, in particular Community Foundations, to avoid duplication of funding for the same activities and may share information about the application with other funders for this purpose.
  • Final approvals will be made by a Committee of the Board of UWGT.


October 5-9, 2020 Online information sessions:
Tuesday, October 6, at 2:00-3:30 PM
Friday, October 9, at 10:00-11:30 AM

Wednesday, October 7, at 10:00-11:30 AM

Tailored information sessionswill be offered in the following focus areas:
  • Collaborative projects
  • Indigenous community-led/serving specific
  • Black community-led/serving specific
  • Francophone agencies
Register at:
October 16, 2020
Collaborative Projects Information Session:
  • Guidance on completing the application
  • Tips on successful collaborations
  • Q&A
Register at:
October 5-30, 2020 Application support:
Staff will be available to reply to questions via email until Friday, October 30. Questions can be sent to:
October 30, 2020 Application deadline: Applications must be received by 5:00 PM.
By December 31, 2020 Applicants will be informed of final decisions and funds will be disbursed to successful applicants.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible Agencies:

  • Have a proven track record of delivering programs and services to the vulnerable populations identified in the application; 
  • Are incorporated;
  • Have charitable status or are trusteed by an incorporated non-profit with charitable status;
  • Provide programs and services in Peel Region, the City of Toronto and/or York Region;
  • Maintain a volunteer Board of Directors that meets regularly;
  • Host an Annual General Meeting
  • Have financial statements that have been audited or reviewed by a licensed public accountant;
  • Can provide a certificate or letter of liability insurance of not less than $2M.

Agencies that were unsuccessful in the first Emergency Community Support Fund RFP may apply for funding in this round and those that were successful may apply for an expansion of a project submitted in the first round or for a new project.

Agencies may submit as part of a collaborative and also submit an independent application, but the funding is intended to benefit a wide range of organizations and communities so it is unlikely that agencies will receive more than one grant.

Not Eligible to Apply:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit agencies
  • Government agencies, boards and/or commissions
  • Agencies that are not incorporated
  • Agencies located outside of Peel Region, the City of Toronto and/or York Region
  • Agencies whose purpose is solely related to political activity, as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Agencies without a clear separation between religious and community service
  • Agencies that could be deemed discriminatory, as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code

Eligible Activities

Funding may be used to support: food security, financial wellness, health and hygiene, home care or personal support services, information and navigation, legal supports, mental health and wellness, shelter, safety, social inclusion and learning, and transportation.

Program approaches may include:

  • Community outreach and engagement;
  • Delivering models, tools, programming, services or resources;
  • Disseminating information and knowledge;
  • Volunteer engagement and recruitment.

Ineligible Activities:

  • Services mandated by the Child and Family Services Act, (R.S.O. 1990, c. 11);
  • Residential facilities that are licensed and regulated under the Child and Family Services Act and funded by Ministry of Children and Youth Services or Ministry of Community and Social Services;
  • Residential facilities that are funded or managed by Corrections Canada;
  • Residential facilities under the Homes for Special Care Act;
  • Licensed childcare programs;
  • Religious activities
  • Activities that are funded by a Community Foundation or the Canadian Red Cross.

Eligible Expenses:

  • Wages and employment-related costs (including disability support)
  • Fees for professional services
  • Knowledge development
  • Materials and supplies (including PPE)
  • Printing and communication
  • Equipment purchase/rental/lease/maintenance directly related to the service being provided
  • Adaptation of space to enable in-person service delivery or PPE costs associated with the provision of the project
  • Travel costs
  • Administrative infrastructure, including utilities, insurance, rent/lease, project audit, administrative costs associated with the direct delivery of services (must not exceed 15% of project costs)
  • Costs of retrofitting space to allow on-site service delivery
  • Evaluation, data collection, reporting costs

Ineligible Expenses:

  • Purchase of real property (real-estate, land, buildings)
  • Costs that are not for meeting urgent needs due to COVID-19
  • Costs (e.g., grants or scholarships) that are related to direct financial assistance in the form of payments to individuals or families
  • Support of on-going agency infrastructure or operating deficits
  • Costs (staffing or program) that are already covered through other UWGT grants and funding streams
  • Costs (staffing or program) that duplicate government funding for emergency services
  • Costs (staffing or program) that occur outside of Peel Region, the City of Toronto and/or York Region

Decision Criteria

UWGT will fund a range of proposals to ensure a geographic distribution across the GTA, with a priority on neighbourhoods and populations that are particularly affected by the pandemic, including the Indigenous and Black communities, and those populations underrepresented in the distribution of the first round of funding. A strong emphasis will be put on applications submitted by collaboratives of community services seeking to meet pressing needs related to the pandemic at a neighbourhood or regional level.

Reviewers will prioritize applications for funding using the following criteria to identify projects that will best meet the objectives of this funding and address needs across the GTA:

  • Alignment with the purpose outlined in this RFP;
  • Identification of a clear target group (population or neighbourhood) with priority consideration for populations and areas most affected by COVID-19 and ability to reach a range of vulnerable population groups across the GTA;
  • Well-defined set of activities that are linked to clear objectives and indication that the response to be provided will address the needs and barriers identified;
  • Clear outcomes and deliverables (impact) of the project;
  • Ability to reach a reasonable number of people in light of the budget requested;
  • Evidence initiative can be deployed rapidly and completed by March 31, 2021;
  • Assessment of agency capacity to deliver the project based on experience with target population, evidence of ability to steward and manage funds and reporting;
  • Clarity of budget and use of funds, including evidence that there is no duplication of funding for programs and services from other funding bodies;
  • Please note that it is expected that the volume of applications will exceed the funding available. The selection process will compare impact and seek to distribute funding across the GTA to a diversity of populations and neighbourhoods most affected by COVID-19. Some applications may meet the criteria but may not be selected.

Funding Notification and Disbursement 

There will be an expedited decision-making process with efforts made to notify agencies as soon as possible after funding decisions are made. There will be no appeals, but unsuccessful applicants will be able to get feedback on their application if they wish.

  • UWGT will notify agencies of decisions via e-mail to the applicant's Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer.
  • Fund allocations will be confirmed with a funding contract.
  • UWGT will disburse funds to agencies through electronic fund transfers after the signed contract is received from the successful applicant. 
  • All funds will be disbursed to successful applicants by December 31, 2020.
  • Once the allocations are confirmed, UWGT will publicly announce the names of the agencies supported, the amount paid, the nature of the services provided, and the number of people who will benefit from these services.

Additional Considerations

Funded agencies will have a clear plan for safe provision of any in-person services during COVID-19 that reflect local public health guidelines.


  • Fund recipients must expend funds by March 31, 2021
  • Final report (numbers served/financial reporting) due April 14, 2021.

Application Process

All applicants must submit a completed application to UWGT using the Survey Monkey Apply platform. Incomplete applications will not be considered or reviewed.

Application Form (PDF)

We are making every effort to make the application process as accessible as possible. You can download a pdf of the application here to see what questions we ask. Please note you cannot use this pdf to apply.

Emergency Community Support Fund Information Session

Having issues watching the video? Watch directly.

Looking for information specific to collaboratives?


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)