COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information Page

Prime Minister announces supports for Canadians with disabilities to address challenges from COVID-19

June 5, 2020Ottawa, Ontario

We know Canadians living with disabilities are facing significant challenges during this difficult time, with some experiencing job insecurity and others seeing increased costs for personal support workers, medication, and medical supplies. As we work together to restart the economy, we must continue to protect health and safety, and ensure the right supports are in place for all Canadians.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic.

This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:


  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.  
  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments. People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.

The Government of Canada recognizes that people with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns. To help Canadians with disabilities get and maintain good jobs so they can continue to support themselves and their families, the government will:

  • Create a National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. A new investment of $15 million in 2020-21 will provide community organizations with resources to improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs in response to COVID-19, including by helping employers set up accessible and effective work-from-home arrangements. This support will also cover expanding accessible online training opportunities and helping connect Canadians with disabilities working from home with employers.
  • Invest $1.18 million in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program. With this funding, organizations will develop dynamic and affordable technology, such as accessible payment terminals for retailers and tools to make communication easier for Canadians with disabilities in the digital economy.

Quick Facts

  • The funding included in today’s announcement will benefit approximately 1.25 million Canadians with disabilities who are facing additional expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 22 per cent of Canadians 15 years of age and over identify as having a disability. That rate increases as people age, with 37.8 per cent of Canadians over 65 and 47.4 per cent of Canadians over 75 identifying as having a disability.
  • Among working-age Canadians with disabilities, more than 1.5 million, or 41 per cent, are unemployed or out of the labour market entirely. Among those with severe disabilities, this rate increases to over 60 per cent.
  • The Government of Canada is working to support people with disabilities in-line with the principles and objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Accessible Canada Act, which came into force in July 2019.

A Message from Independent Living Canada: Persons with Disabilities have more barriers to fight for lives with COVID-19

Independent Living Canada is asking all Canadians, levels of government and medical establishments within Canada to ensure people with disabilities have equitable access to healthcare supports amid COVID-19. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has also recognized that as with other vulnerable groups, the rights of people with disabilities must continue to be respected. “We are all in this together,” must include Canadians with disabilities.

Independent Living Canada also recognizes there must be additional measures taken to ensure persons with disabilities are on an equal playing field with every other Canadian citizen. As ever, the focus must be on the individual who has inalienable rights to independently live their life with the same opportunities, decision making capabilities and services that are available to everyone else.

The following are calls to action we urge government to respond to immediately to protect the rights of Canadians with disabilities:

  1. People with disabilities must have access to healthcare services and life sustaining medical interventions. Decision making for the allocation of scarce medical resources must not minimize the value of any human life, regardless of disability. The value of a human life is equal.
  2. The Canadian health care system must be responsive to persons with disabilities. This includes any accommodation needs which may involve the presence of an advocate, family member, or attendant care personnel required for people with disabilities to participate in diagnostic or medical treatment related to COVID-19.
  3. Attendant care services or other home care services must be declared essential services as they sustain life and help keep people with disabilities out of hospital. They should also have access to personal protective equipment required to continue providing services without disruption for people with disabilities.
  4. There must not be a denial of transportation or medical services involving any person with a disability who requires medical attention associated with COVID-19.

Independent Living Canada represents Canadians from coast to coast who live with a disability. Our 24 IL Centres across Canada are designed to facilitate greater independence through the involvement of persons living with any form of disability. The work that IL Canada and Centres perform ensures the inclusion of our cross-disability community across Canada. Independent Living Canada envisions an inclusive and accessible society where people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.

For more information, call IL Canada media relations at 613-563-2581.

April 7, 2020

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):

CERB information, who qualifies, and how to apply for this benefit:

CERB Questions and Answers:

Apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):

ILNS Update regarding the continuing COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation:

In keeping with current federal and provincial government protocols and standards, some of which include maintaining physical distancing and restricting non-essential travel, we will continue suspending in person meetings, work placements, and program workshops and activities for the foreseeable future. The safety and well-being of our staff and consumers will continue to be our top priority throughout the coming weeks. As this is a fluid situation, we will persist in re-evaluating and providing updates as the situation evolves; therefore, we will provide another update at the end of April.

Additionally, we will continue providing online support to program participants and their supports as well as our other services remotely via Zoom and telephone in the coming weeks. Our staff will carry on working from home, please contact them by email—see below—as this continues to be the best way to directly communicate with us. We will also carry on with checking our main telephone line (902-453-0004 or 1-877-310-4567 toll-free) within the coming weeks.

Carrie Ernst, Executive Director:

Randy Reede, Information Outreach

Kaitlyn Phillips, Program

The Next Step program (TNS) Staff:

Katherine Brown, Program

Michelle Sayers, Program

Community Access Program (CAP):

Heather Baglole, Program

We appreciate your unrelenting patience during these unprecedented circumstances. Our staff will continue providing service to you while protecting themselves at the same time.

Stay safe, stay healthy and be kind to one another,

Carrie Ernst

Executive Director

Independent Living Nova Scotia

Feed Nova Scotia COVID-19 March 24 update

As you know, the Province of Nova Scotia has declared a state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19. As part of this, social gatherings of more than 5 people are prohibited.

What this means for Feed Nova Scotia and our network:

Last night we received confirmation from the Province that Feed Nova Scotia and food banks are considered an essential service and, as such, are exempt from the 5-person gathering rule. We applaud the creative measures that member agencies are already taking to maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals–from placing food hampers in the trunks of cars rather than having people come inside the food banks, to introducing an appointment system to limit the number of people onsite at one time.

Changes to our deliveries:

Our food distributors interact with many different agencies and donors in the courage of a day. In order to maintain the physical distancing that keeps you, them, and our community safe, going forward we’ve introduced new delivery procedures:

  • All food bank deliveries will be dropped outside the food bank on their pallets. If requested, distributors will remove the pallet wrap for agencies. Distributors will not carry boxes into the food banks, and have been instructed to not enter food banks at all.

We appreciate your support with this, and all that you do.


There are thousands of mental health and addictions professionals who provide support, programs, and services to Nova Scotians across the province.
You’re not alone. We’re here to help .





You have no symptoms AND a history of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in the last 14 days.

SELF-MONITOR means to monitor yourself for 14 days for one or more symptoms of COVID-19 and to go about your day but avoid crowded places and increase your personal space from others, whenever possible.

You need to self-monitor if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 OR you are in close contact with older adults or medically vulnerable people OR you have been advised to self-monitor for any other reason by your Public Health Authority.

If you develop symptoms, isolate yourself from others immediately and contact your PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITY as soon as possible.


You have no symptoms AND a history of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus due to travel outside of Canada or close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

SELF-ISOLATE means to stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, for 14 days; avoid contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease in your home and in your community in the event you become symptomatic.

Self-isolate if you have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days OR your Public Health Authority has identified you as a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-9.

If you develop symptoms, even if mild, stay home, avoid other people and contact your PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITY as soon as possible.


You have symptoms, even if mild AND you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are waiting for the results of a lab test for COVID-19.

To be ISOLATED means to stay at home until your Public Health Authority advises you that you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others and to avoid contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease in your home and in your community, particularly people at high risk of severe illness outcomes such as older adults or medically vulnerable people.

You need to isolate if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 OR you are waiting to hear the results of a laboratory test for COVID-19 OR you have been advised to isolate at home for any other reason by your Public Health Authority.

If your symptoms get worse, immediately contact your healthcare provider or PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITY and follow their instructions.


Public Health Agency of Canada  

Government of Canada​​​​

Useful Links:

Government of Canada – Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Government of Nova Scotia – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

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