COVID-19 UPDATES

Fighting for Students’ During COVID19

The economic impact of COVID-19 has left many students without summer employment, and graduating students face a dismal job market as unemployment hits record highs with racialized and marginalized students experiencing these impacts most intensely.

COVID-19 adds additional stress and hardship at a time when unaffordable tuition fees and mortgage size student debts continue to disadvantage students.

The UTGSU is committed to advocating for students now while continuing to fight for accessible and affordable education for all in the post COVID-19 world.

The UTGSU is calling on the University to immediately:

  1. Actively ensure and engage in the abolishing of anti-Black racism within all university policies, procedures and practices.
  2. Provide tuition waivers for the 2020/2021 academic school year
  3. Provide more funding and increase academic extensions
  4. Provide addition bursaries and grants
  5. Ensure campus is accessible and safe before students return to class and work
  6. Invest in adequate mental health services
  7. Support international students

In addition, the UTGSU is calling on the Provincial and Federal governments to:

1. Immediately reduce tuition fees for all students
2. Provide non-repayable grants, not loans
3. Invest in students by funding post-secondary education and phasing out tuition fees over the next decade 

Members can refer to the School of Graduate Studies COVID-19 page for updates: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/covid19/.

We also recommend that members refer to the UofT COVID-19 Status page for updates from the University: https://www.utoronto.ca/message-from-the-university-regarding-the-coronavirus.

Emergency Grants and Loans

Grants are available to current students at U of T who have incurred unexpected expenses directly related to the Covid 19 pandemic, such as additional living costs, child-care, and other extraordinary and reasonable needs.

SGS Emergency Grant: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/sgs-emergency-grant/
SGS Emergency Loan: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/sgs-emergency-loan/

UTGSU Office Hours

The UTGSU Offices are closed from March 16th due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. Staff and Executives will be working remotely so members can email info@utgsu.ca  with general inquiries. 

For Health and Dental Insurance inquiries, members can email health@utgsu.ca or call 416-978-8465 with any health and dental insurance plan questions during regular office hours. 

All staff and Executives are available by email during regular office hours. You can see our hours and contact information on our website: https://utgsu.ca/contact-3/

Food Banks and Resources

Since the Food Bank at UofT is closed the UTGSU has created a list of resources available to our members:

The Scott Mission Food Bank
502 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 2H1
Hours of Operation:  9:00 am – 12:00 pm (Monday to Friday)
Contact #: 416-923-3916
No appointments needed.
Access the building at the front door.
A bag of food is being pre-packed and distributed.

Fort York Food Bank
380 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1S6
Hours of Operation: 9:00-11:00 am (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
Contact #: 416-203-3011
Pre-made 2 person hampers are being provided in a plastic bag.
For more info: http://fyfb.com/covid-19-response/

211 Central Food Services Page
211 has launched a COVID-19 portal with food access support page.
Check it out here: https://covid19.211central.ca/

You can also call 211 to check on other community resources such as:
Food Banks and Referrals:
https://211ontario.ca/211-topics/food/food-banks-and-referrals/
Food Delivery: 
https://211ontario.ca/211-topics/food/food-delivery/
Food Access for Seniors/People with Disabilities:
https://211ontario.ca/211-topics/food/food-access-for-seniors-people-with-disabilities/
Free / Low-Cost Meals:
https://211ontario.ca/211-topics/food/free-low-cost-meals/
Infant formula / Baby food:
https://211ontario.ca/211-topics/food/infant-formula-baby-food/

UTERN Food Relief:
The University of Toronto Environmental Resource Network (UTERN) is providing fresh, locally grown produce to students facing food insecurity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/2660046680894218/

Daily Bread Food Bank Referrals:
This new map-based referral tool is easy to use. You just enter your location and the map will provide you a list of the nearest food banks! View the tool here:
https://www.dailybread.ca/need-food/programs-by-location/

Studentcare Legal Protection Plan

Due to COVID-19, you may find yourself in a difficult or complicated situation with your employer, landlord, or academics which may leave you wondering about your rights.  To support you during the crisis, our Broker, Studentcare, is offering you access to a legal consultation helpline FREE for 1 month.

If you have not opted out and are a member of the UTGSU health and dental plan, Studentcare is offering you this service through their Legal Protection Plan.  You can consult with a lawyer on issues arising from the pandemic, including housing, employment, academics, immigration and many more.  This helpline is not simply a legal information line, but a tangible resource that provides students with legal opinions and advice. It is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will run through April 30, 2020.  To consult a lawyer on issues arising from the pandemic, contact the Appointment Booking Centre at 1-833-288-4620.

The Legal Protection Program aims to provide students with the tools and financial means to understand their rights for any legal issue

Tax Information

Canada Revenue Agency has recently announced that it will defer the filing due date to June 1, 2020 for the 2019 tax returns of individuals, including certain trusts. Click here to learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html#Flexibility_for_Tax-filers

UFile is offering free online tax filing services to post-secondary students:
www.ufile.ca/tips-and-tools/file-for-free#students

UTGSU Executive Committee Statements related to COVID-19

The UTGSU Executive has released a statement on COVID-19, the UofT closures, and its impact on Graduate Students. Click here to view the statement.

The UTGSU Executive has released a statement on the University of Toronto’s decision to cancel convocation due to COVID-19. Click here to view the statement.

The UTGSU has signed a Joint Letter of Optimism in solidarity with several UTEAU groups. Click here to view the letter.

International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Suspension

With the closure of the UTGSU office from March 16 in-office issuing of International Student Identity Cards (ISICs) will be suspended during these dates. Drop-in times and appointments will resume when the office re-opens. Virtual cards can be obtained from the ISIC Canada website: http://www.isiccanada.ca/cfsfcee.

Below is a list of resources and updates for our members regarding the COVID-19 Virus

SGS COVID-19 Updates

Mental Health Resources Available to Grad Students

Studentcare COVID-19 FAQs

University of Toronto Campus Status Webpage

COVID-19 Tips and Studentcare Resources

Statistics Canada Survey Results on the Impact of COVID-19 on Postsecondary Students