Find help for your financial, mental health, housing, and other needs during the pandemic.
The UVSS is proud to represent all 19,000 members at UVic, but we recognize that COVID-19 requires additional specialized supports. We’ve compiled them all in one place for you, and will add info as the provincial and federal governments release information and we become aware of great resources for students.
Questions? Or, want us to add any resources? Contact the Director of Campaigns and Community Relations, Emily, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- UVic COVID-19 Support Bursary:UVic has merged the COVID-19 Support Bursary with existing general bursaries and financial assistance programs. For the 2020/21 academic year, UVic undergraduate and graduate students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can apply for the spring session general bursary program. Applications will re-open on January 6, 2021, and close on January 26, 2021.
- Click here to see UVic Emergency Bursary Funds.[Replace] UVic COVID-19 Support Bursary: To apply, fill out the budget sheet.
- B.C. Emergency Benefit for workers – If you’re eligible for CERB and have filed a 2019 B.C. income tax return, you can apply for a one-time tax-free payment of $1000.
- ICBC – Apply to defer your monthly payment plan.
- Vancouver Island Steps Up: A community relief fund meant to help bridge the gap for residents of VI being left behind by standard government funding in the pandemic.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – For people who have lost work due to COVID-19. Note: If you qualify for CERB and are a BC-resident, you can also apply for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) – For post-secondary students who don’t qualify for CERB or EI, or are making less than $1000/month. Remember to sign up for a CRA MyAccount prior to applying for the CESB application.
- Employment Insurance (regular)
- Employment Insurance (sickness)
- Wage Boost for Low-Income Essential Workers – Details TBA
- Federal Financial Aid Eligibility Quiz: Take this short quiz to see what Federal financial aid supports you may be eligible for!
Note: Volunteering for some programs may make you eligible for the Canada Student Service Grant!
General Mutual Aid
- Want to support your community, and get help yourself? See if your community has started a COVID-19 mutual aid Facebook page. If not, consider starting one yourself! These pages allow students to offer or request goods and services, such as grocery runs and home-made masks. For Victoria locals: check out the Victoria/Lekwungen Territories Mutual Aid Facebook page
- The UVSS Food Bank & Free Store – Offering access to fresh and non-perishable foods and household items through the Food Hamper program.
- Community Food Initiative, led by UVic students. Through partnerships with the Food Distribution Warehouse, the UVic Sustainability Project and local grocery stores including Fairway Market and Peppers Foods, this group provides free food hampers for delivery to students and community members in Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. They also have a community fridge. You can volunteer!
- The Red Cedar Cafe – Offering free, healthy meals to those in need (such as seniors, folks who are unemployed, those in self-isolation) in the Victoria-area during the pandemic. Delivery and take-out options available!
Online Learning Support
Online learning can be a daunting challenge for many of us. It takes new ways of working and approaches to staying motivated, but there are also new resources to help support you!
UVic Learning Tools
- Learn Anywhere page – This is the central UVic resource page, recently created to support students taking online courses during COVID-19.
- UVic Subject librarian – Need help with your research? Contact a UVic Librarian through email at email@example.com or text 250-514-7085.
- Centre for Academic Communication – Offering online tutoring support for academic writing.
- Centre for Accessible Learning – Exists to answer your questions about academic accommodation and learning accessibility.
- Math and Stats Tutor Centre – Now offering support via email and Zoom!
- UVic library research and support tools
- Co-op + Career’s Gear up Graduate: A resource hub to support recent graduates refine their skills to enter a pandemic-influenced workforce
- Grading options for the summer session and Fall 2020 UPDATE: The grading options offered in the Spring 2020 term, as a response to the abrupt transition to online learning, will not be available for Summer and Fall terms.
Quick Articles and Resources for OnlineLearning
Housing & Monthly Bills
- B.C. has halted all new and active evictions, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns.
- A landlord can give a notice for rent increase during the state of emergency, but the rent increase will not come into effect until the state of emergency is over. For instance, if your rent was set to increase on May 1, you should continue to pay your regular, pre-increase rent amount until the state of emergency is declared over.
- Applications for a temporary rent supplement are now open on the BC Housing website.
- Eligible households with dependents can receive up to $500 per month.
- Eligible households without dependents can receive up to $300 per month.
- The supplement is paid directly to landlords.
- If your landlord isn’t respecting the new tenancy regulations, first have an open conversation with them, and try to discuss the changes to tenancy regulations.
- If they refuse to comply, contact the Residential Tenancy Branch.
Additional Tenant Resources
- Vancouver Tenants Union Tool Kit – includes an email template to start a conversation with your landlord about rent.
- Learn more about our UVSS Rent with Rights campaign!
- BC Hydro Bill Financial Relief: COVID-19 Relief Fund Program is now CLOSED, but if you are behind on payments due to COVID-19 or experiencing financial crisis, you might be eligible for the Customer Crisis Fund. Click here to apply and learn more.
- ICBC monthly payment– If you’re on an ICBC monthly payment plan and experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19 you can defer your payment for up to 90 days with NO penalty (note: you will still have to pay the deferred amounts).
Crisis & Violence Support Services
- UVic Equity and Human Rights Sexualized Violence Resource Office: If you wish to make a disclosure and/or report, please call the sexualized violence resource office– 250-721-8021 or email Leah Shumka.
- Anti-Violence Project (AVP) – Still here to support you, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (778-400-5007) from Monday to Thursday, 11 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm. If you are in need of immediate assistance outside of our listed hours click here for emergency information and crisis lines.
- VictimLink BC – Call 1.800.563.0808 if you’re a victim of family and sexual violence and need immediate crisis support or referral services. They are here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This telephone service is toll-free, confidential, multilingual, and available for BC and Yukon residents.
- Ending Violence Canada – A Canada-wide service hub, which connects you to appropriate support based on your location in Canada.
- All transit is free until June 1. Fare collection will resume on June 1, 2020.
- Standard entrance through the front bus doors will resume on June 1.
- Summer Bus Pass: Staying in Victoria over the summer? Grab a summer bus pass for as little as $81! Go to our U-Pass page to see if you’re eligible.
- Enter the bus through the rear doors, to help keep bus drivers safe. The front door is still available for those requiring accessibility infrastructure, such as the ramp. Standard entrance through the front bus doors will resume on June 1.
- Leave plenty of time for your transit journey to practice proper physical distancing.
- Stand behind the red line to give your driver space.
- Avoid transit and stay home if you feel unwell.
- If you feel unwell, or have questions about COVID-19, the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is the best source for COVID-19 health information.
- Think you may have COVID-19? Take a self-assessment here.
- Find regular updates from the BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry here.
Local Health Resources
- UVic Health Services – Please do not come in person to make appointments; instead, call (250-721-8492) to book an in-person appointment. The Health Services phone line will be answered from 8:30 am-4:00 pm (doors are locked and phones are off from 12-1 pm). Health has moved to the Health and Wellness Building, together with Counselling. Health will be closed July 8-13 and will reopen July 14. Counselling will be closed July 14-17 and will reopen July 20.
- On-campus Pharmacy – Check their website for updated hours of service and delivery options.
- Victoria Cool Aid Society – Their Health Centre and pharmacy is open 9-4:30 Monday to Thursday and Fridays from 9-3 until further notice. Call 250-385-1466 to address your medical concern. Closed Saturdays.
- Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program – This federal youth job placement program was recently expanded by $153.7 million, generating over 6,000 additional job placements in high-demand sectors (e.g. agriculture, technology, health and essential services).
- Student Work Placement program – The funding for this program was recently increased by $80 million to provide post-secondary students with summer jobs relevant to their area of study.
Safely Re-entering the Work Force
Your main resource to ensure your safety at work is WorkSafeBC (visit their website or or call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 1-888-621-7233) and the BC Provincial Employment Standards website.
- According to BC provincial law, employers will be required to:
- Review the new Health and Safety Guidelines, best practices and other resources from WorkSafeBC.
- Adapt these materials into appropriate COVID-19 safe plans for your workplace.
- Sectors that have operated during the pandemic may need to update their COVID-19 safe plans to fit with updated health and safety guidelines, best practices and resources.
Mental Health Support
- Peer Support Centre: Open for drop-in sessions online in Zoom. Visit the centre Monday-Wednesday 11:00-2:00 pm and Thursdays 6:00-10:00 pm for emotional support and resource recommendations.
- UVic Health– UVic Health is open and offering services mainly by phone/video. Please make all appointments by phone (250-721-8492). In-person appointments are available when necessary. The Health phone line will be answered from 8:30 am-4:00 pm (doors are locked and phones are off from 12-1 pm).
- UVic Counselling– Offering pre-booked and same-day appointments by phone. Please call to book an appointment (250-721-8341). Same day sessions are available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the morning and afternoon, and in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday.
- UVic Student Mental Health Blog– A place for UVic students to share their stories and tips for maintaining wellness.
- UVic Student Mental Health Facebook Group
- The Great Indoors– A collection of UVic’s latest research, student blog posts and entertaining pandemic-pastimes.
- Self-help Resources – Includes free meditation apps and services.
- Coronavirus anxiety workbook (PDF workbook, from The Wellness Society).
- Mind control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19
- UVic Multifaith– The Multifaith Centre is closed to visitors. Multifaith is offering virtual events such as “learning to meditate,” as well as weekly live stream service offerings.
Virtual Mental Health Services
- COVID-19 Psychological Support Service – Offers free psychological first aid via phone for all B.C. residents aged 19 and over who are experiencing stress, anxiety, or uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fill out a form online through the BC Psychological Association. If you don’t have internet access, call 1-604-827-0847.
- Foundry BC – offers drop-in counselling services by voice, video and chat to young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers! The Foundry has limited their in-person service offerings. Hours of service differ across locations; find a centre near you.
- Here2Talk – All registered post-secondary students can get confidential, free counselling and referral services through Here2Talk by app, phone (1-877-857-3397) or online chat. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- LGBTQ2S+ – Gender and sexuality support meetings have transitioned to online and over the phone.
- Vancouver Island Crisis Line 1‑888-494-3888
- Youthspace Emotional Support and Crisis Chat
Virtual Mental Health Supports for Indigenous Peoples
- Click here for a Mental and Cultural Resource Guide – Offering phone and online counselling, support programs, and treatment and healing centres in BC and Canada.
- First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day – This program offers access to primary and mental health care, and is intended for Indigenous peoples and their family members who have limited or no access to doctors.
International Student Support & Updates
- UVic’s International Student Services (ISS) has posted a helpful resource page. You also can get fast, direct help from the ISS by email email@example.com or phoning 250-721-6361.
- Feeling isolated? Join the Global Community Facebook Page! Online events are posted on an ongoing basis.
- If you’re planning a trip, remember to check Canadian travel advisories as well as your country’s embassy and consulate for new regulations and travel advisories. Also, please review your health insurance plans here.
- Request Emergency Temporary Child Care (BC residents) – This service is for essential service workers who are in need of child care for children aged infant to 5 years. Child care services for school aged children (5-12 years old) can be obtained through their school directly. Complete the request form here.
- Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents – For parents with children who require care/supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, regardless of whether you qualify for EI or not. To apply for this benefit, select one of two channels:
- CRA MyAccount secure portal
- My Service Canada Account
- BC Restart Plan for Reopening Child Care Summer Camps – More childcare centres and summer camps will begin to reopen mid-May onwards. For more information on protective measures that will be required of day cares and summer camps, please refer to the BC COVID-19 Go-Forward Management Strategy.
- Community-based supports for parents – This Canada-wide resource guide is categorized by province/territory.
- Parenting during COVID-19 – This is a federal document with helpful links and suggestions on adapting to a new schedule as a parent. See also BC provincial guide on child care supports during COVID-19.
- BC Ministry of Child & Family Development – Offers updates and resources related to COVID-19.
- Family Caregivers of BC – Offers a Caregiver Support Line (1-877-520-3267) from Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 7pm.
- The United Way website – Great hub for resources and options supporting the delivery of items and personal outreach.
- New Horizons for Seniors Program – Opportunities for community-based grants and other volunteer aid during COVID times. Volunteers and funding are available to help seniors with essential tasks, such as the delivery of food, visits to the doctor, and tech-support to stay connected with their community.
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) – Reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.
- Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL): Are you a student with a learning disability, ADHD, mental health issue or long-term recurring physical or sensory disability? Do you have chronic health issues? If you do, and you want to be part of our programs, or need academic accommodations to address barriers to your education, you need to register with the Centre for Accessible Learning. Register with CAL as soon as possible!
- Service Update: Please call or email the CAL Front Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-472-4947) to book an Advising appointment.
- Society for Students with a Disability: SSD continues to offer online services during COVID-19. Want to get involved? Join their Slack page or send them an email at email@example.com.