COVID-19 is top of mind for everyone and it is affecting the ways we support those who are vulnerable in our communities.  This pandemic has created an increase in demand for local services, shortages in supplies, and disruption in service.

The Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) is a $350 million investment made by the Government of Canada, through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), to support vulnerable populations as they manage the impacts of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada has partnered with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross to distribute the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) across the country.  United Way Centraides (UWCs) are working locally to support community service organizations to aid vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This document summarizes guidelines for community service organizations seeking ECSF funds through Brant United Way.

 Where Should Community Service Organizations Seek ECSF Funds?

United Way Centraides

Community Foundations

Canadian Red Cross

Local United Way Centraides will manage ECSF processes for charities and other qualified donees,

(click here for application)

A network of community foundations across Canada will accept funding applications from qualified donees.


National, regional and local partners will manage a granting stream for nonprofits. Canadian Red Cross will also manage a Preventing Disease Transmission Training & Equipment Program.



Bant United Way can provide funding to charities and other qualified donees.   

Examples of Qualified Donees include:

  • Registered charities
  • Registered Canadian Municipalities
  • Registered municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada

Organizations may seek ECSF funds acting alone, or as part of a partnership.  Organizations may also seek funds for more than one service.  Separate requests should be completed for each service. 

Community Services

The ECSF will provide financial support for community services that:

  • Address a pressing social inclusion or wellbeing need caused or worsened by COVID-19,
  • Serve one or more vulnerable groups (defined below),
  • Will be carried out with a reasonable budget before March 31st, 2021.

Community Service Organizations seeking ECSF funds will be asked to provide details including a budget, the services and activities they propose, the vulnerable populations these services will reach, and whether the services will be delivered in urban, rural, or remote communities.  

Types of Activity, as defined by ESDC, include:

  • Community outreach and engagement
  • Delivering or developing new models, tools, programming, services or resources
  • Disseminating information and knowledge
  • Volunteer engagement and recruitment
  • Other

Types of services, as defined by ESDC, include:

Food Security

prepared meals; delivery service; hampers/baskets

Financial Wellness

financial literacy or coaching; access to income supports

Home Care or Personal Support

for seniors, Elders, and persons with disabilities

Health & Hygiene

health info.; medication; personal hygiene & medical supplies

Information & Navigation

providing information; navigating supports

Legal Support

tools & resources; legal clinics, etc.

Mental Health & Wellness

peer support; crisis support


housing; crisis support

Personal Safety

info.; violence & abuse support; violence & abuse prevention

Social Inclusion & Learning

friendly conversation; social activities; learning


access to safe transport to essential appointments and errands




Vulnerable Populations, as defined by ESDC, include:

  • Marginalized Communities, including:
    • Racialized communities*
    • Indigenous peoples:  First Nations, Inuit, and Metis
    • Official Language Minority Communities
    • Other linguistic minorities
    • Newcomers: all, permanent residents (immigrants and refugees), temporary residents, and international students
    • Women and girls
    • LGBTQ2S+ communities

*South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean, Japanese, groups not otherwise specified

  • Children, Youth, and Elderly, including:
    • Children and youth: all, ageing out of care, ages 0 to 18, and ages 19 to 29
    • Post-Secondary Students
    • Seniors and Elders: not in care, and living in care
  • Workers Who are Vulnerable, including:
    • Essential Workers
    • Temporary Foreign Workers
    • Workers in the informal labour market
    • Caregivers
  • Populations Requiring Specific Care or Supports:
    • People experiencing homelessness
    • People with low income or living in poverty
    • People living with mental illness
    • People struggling with addiction
    • Persons with disabilities
    • People experiencing domestic or gender-based violence
    • People living in group homes or supportive living (under the age of 55)
    • Prison populations (detained and incarcerated)
    • Veterans

Eligible Expenses for ECSF:

All budget items must be project-related and incurred by March 31, 2021. 

Eligible expenses include wages and benefits, professional fees, travel and accommodations, materials and supplies, printing and communication, equipment rental/lease/maintenance, administration costs, capital costs, and disability support for staff.  Purchase of lands or buildings, and any expenses that are covered by another funding source, are ineligible.

ECSF Fund Commitments:

In order to seek ECSF funds, community service organizations will be asked to confirm that they:

  • are eligible to receive ECSF dollars
    • i.e. the community service organization is a qualified donee or nonprofit
  • maintain a volunteer Board of Directors that meets regularly
  • have financial statements that have been audited by a licensed public accountant or, for those with annual revenues less than $100,000, a financial review.
  • commit to providing eligible supports to one or more groups of vulnerable people, as defined by ESDC, with funding used in full by March 31, 2021
  • have not already received funding for the same activities from the Government of Canada or other source, including Community Foundations, Canadian Red Cross, or United Way Centraide
    • i.e. the same dollar of expense is not funded twice
  • will not receive funding, for the activities proposed, in excess of 100% from government sources, including the ECSF
    • i.e. combined funding from all government sources does not total more than the expenses of the community service during the eligible period
  • grant permission for application/proposal details and contact information to be shared with CFC, and CRC for funding consideration in order to coordinate funding