Resources for Individuals and Families
Explore this page to see what resources are available to individuals and families in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Compiled List of Federal & Provincial Benefits
- Federal Resources
- Provincial Resources
- Town of Sidney Resources
- Library Resources
- Mental Health Resources
- Food Security Resources
- Gardening Resources
- Resources for BC First Nations and Indigenous Peoples
- Resources for People with Disabilities
- Resources for Strata Residents
The Government of British Columbia has compiled and is regularly updating a list of federal and provincial benefits available to individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan - Supports for Individuals page to explore a number of federal programs and subsidies for Canadian individuals and families. Supports include:
- Temporary salary top-up for low-income essential workers
- Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
- Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
- Extra time to file income tax returns
- Mortgage support
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- Additional supports for indigenous peoples, seniors, youth, post-secondary students & recent graduates, and people who need support most.
Visit the B.C. Government's BC's Restart Plan page to learn more about the province's phased approach to ease restrictions.
Visit the Provincial Health Officer's COVID-19 page to access Provincial Health Orders.
Visit the B.C. Government's Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19 page to explore a wide-range of supports for individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Supports include:
- B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
- Climate Action Tax Credit
- Funding for housing supports for renters & people experiencing homelessness
- Freezing BC student loan payments for 6 months
- Support for monthly bill payments, including BC Hydro, ICBC and FortisBC
Additional information and resources can be found on the B.C. Government’s COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information page.
- In order to provide some financial relief to Sidney residents, the Town extended the payment deadline for the January 1 - March 31 quarterly utility bill by two months. The payment due date for this billing has been set to Friday, July 31st, rather than the end of May.
- Town of Sidney Council amended the 2020-2024 Financial Plan to reflect a 0% general tax increase for Residential properties.
- The Town of Sidney Emergency Operations Centre's IT Section has created a series of interactive maps that illustrate COVID-19 information and local response initiatives.
- The Sidney Business Improvement Area has been compiling service updates from Sidney businesses. These updates can be accessed as a list or an interactive map. The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has also been tracking business updates from Peninsula businesses - click here to view their map.
Our local library branch may be temporarily closed as a result of COVID-19, but Vancouver Island Regional Library’s eLibrary is always open. Digital resources include ebooks, audiobooks, music, TV and movie streaming platforms, online magazines and newspapers, education and homeschooling resources, and more.
VIRL is now offering online registration for library cards for Sidney residents who want to take advantage of their online resources. Visit their website to register for a library card and take advantage of all the entertainment and learning opportunities available to you.
Tips and Resources for Managing COVID-19 Stress & Anxiety
It’s normal to be worried about COVID-19 and what the future may hold. Stress, anxiety, and sadness are common responses to the disruption and isolation that many of us are experiencing. The Government of British Columbia has put together a list of tips and resources regarding mental health management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the key things we can all do to manage stress and anxiety include:
- Reach out to friends and family
Social distancing is critical to help control the spread of the virus. But at the same time it can also create even greater feelings of isolation, loneliness and sometimes depression. Therefore use safe ways to connect, including picking up the phone and calling friends and family, connect with friends on-line and offer support to those who need it.
- Have calm conversations – especially when talking to children
- Practice self-care
All things that you can do to manage your stress, whether it’s going for walk in your neighbourhood, exercising, meditating or practicing deep breathing, will better prepare you to take care of yourself and others.
- Seek help when needed
You know your body and its signs of stress. If you are having trouble managing your mental health, call your healthcare provider or a support phone line and encourage those you love to do the same.
Virtual Mental Health Supports
The B.C. Government has expanded existing virtual mental health programs and launched new virtual services for B.C. seniors, adults, youth and frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
Other Mental Health Resources
- HealthLink BC
Provides 24/7, confidential health information and advice.
Call 8-1-1 or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca.
- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre:
Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide.
Call toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit: www.crisiscentre.bc.ca.
- Kids Help Phone:
Provides 24/7 national support service that offers professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French.
Call 1-800-668-6868, text CONNECT to 686868, or visit: www.kidshelpphone.ca.
- The KUU-US Crisis Response Service:
Provides 24/7 culturally-aware crisis support to Indigenous people in B.C.
Call 1-800-588-8717 or visit: www.kuu-uscrisisline.ca.
- Mental Health Digital Hub:
A provincial website that provides information, services and education and awareness about mental health and substance use for adults, youth and children.
- Bounce Back:
A free evidence-based program designed to help youth and adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Bounce Back teaches effective skills to help people improve their mental health.
Call toll-free: 1 866 639-0522 or visit: www.bouncebackbc.ca.
Provides a detailed online directory of evidence based resources that includes mental health and substance use information, self-help resources and online programs, local support groups for patients and for friends and family members, and community health services suited to an individual's specific needs.
Provides information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking.
- Anxiety Canada:
Provides free online, self-help, and evidence-based resources on anxiety.
Island Farm Fresh - Saanich Peninsula Farms
Island Farm Fresh is a guide to local farmers, from the Saanich Peninsula all the way to the Gulf Islands. Visit Island Farm Fresh for a list of farms on the Saanich Peninsula and links to their websites.
Food Eco District - Local Farms & Nurseries
The Food Eco District has compiled information about our region's local farms and nurseries, and how you can support them. Visit their website for more details.
South Island FarmHub
The South Island FarmHub is a farmer driven produce distributor. They are launching an online sales platform to make local produce accessible to our community at large: wholesale purchasers, charities feeding the vulnerable, and local residents who want to increase the region’s food resilience by purchasing from their neighbourhood farms. In early June, the South Island FarmHub online store goes live. You will be able to browse our local, fresh and organic produce, view seasonally curated produce boxes, learn about local farm suppliers in the CRD, and shop for your very first order. Visit their website at www.sifarmhub.ca for more information.
Good Food Box
Good Food Box is a non-profit alternative fruit and vegetable distribution system. Boxes are available for pick-up or delivery every Wednesday. They purchase the highest quality produce and ensure variety, freshness and affordability. They prioritize locally grown, unsprayed produce with a focus on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Visit their website at www.thegoodfoodbox.ca for more information.
The SHOAL Centre (10030 Resthaven Drive) will reopen as a contactless pick up location for the Good Food Box program beginning Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank
The Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank runs a food hamper program on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, and they are currently open for extra food pick-ups on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Visit their website at www.splfoodbank.com for more information.
For anyone who is able, donations to the food bank can be made online at www.splfoodbank.com/donate or by phone 250-655-0679.
Saanich School District (SD#63) Food Provision Program
The Saanich School District is supporting local families in need by providing additional food on a weekly basis through their Food Provision Program. Meal delivery is organized regionally in the district with south zone on Monday, central zone on Wednesday, and north zone on Thursday. The school district is working together with Beacon Community Services and the District Parent Advisory Council to continue to expand and sustain this service throughout the time that there is a suspension of in-class instruction. Any families that are in need and are not currently registered for this program can reach out to their child's school principal or contact the District Parent Advisory Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beacon Community Services Meal Program
Beacon Community Services is delivering three free meals a week to isolated seniors in the region. To find out more about this program, please contact Beacon Community Services at 250-656-5537.
- Food Eco District's list of local farms & nurseries
- Growing Together's list of local growing suppliers
Growing Together is a group of organizations from across the Victoria capital region - Coast Salish territories that have come together share resources that can help folks grow their own food. Visit their Learn to Grow page to access videos, courses, weekly garden guidance, links to local suppliers, and more.
Compost Education Centre
The Compost Education Centre is a non-profit organization providing composting and ecological gardening education to CRD residents. Visit their website to learn more.
CRD Natural Gardening Resources
The Capital Regional District has compiled tips and resources for growing native plants that are drought-tolerant or drought-resistant and can survive with little to no irrigation once established. Native plants flourish in our ecosystem, which is characterized by hot, dry summers and wet, mild winters. Visit their website to learn more.
Vancouver Island Regional Library
- VIRL provides access to a wide range of ebooks, videos, and audiobooks on gardening topics. Search their catalogue for a variety of online gardening resources.
- VIRL cardholders also have access Creativebug, an art and craft education resource with thousands of online video classes taught by leading instructors. Classes include introductions to canning vegetables and making preserves. Visit VIRL's website to learn more about Creativebug.
- To sign up for a library card online, visit the Vancouver Island Regional Library's website.
Food Eco District – My FED Farm Initiative
During these unprecedented times, the Food Eco District (FED) is looking to support community members by assisting Greater Victoria residents with developing their own food gardens. They are looking to support families and laid off workers by providing home-based start up food gardens using simple and affordable supplies. At this time, they are seeking Greater Victoria residents who have been impacted by COVID-19 who could benefit from a growing their own food. Their goal is to provide 500 homes with food gardens. Visit their website to learn more.
If you are interested in donating to this project, visit: www.get-fed.ca.
LifeCycles improves community health by bringing people together to grow, harvest, and share local foods. Working in urban gardens and orchards, they are reimagining the way that we live and eat in cities. In addition to a number of ongoing projects, they have resources that include:
Plant Something BC started in 2016 is a BC Buy Local initiative that promotes the benefits of buying locally grown plants to aspiring and experienced gardeners of all ages. Plant Something BC promotes the use and sale of BC grown plants by supporting BC Landscape and Nursery Association members and non-members in the horticulture industry from the grower to the landscaper and garden centre. Visit their website to find local garden centres, growing information and additional resources.
- First Nations Health Authority - COVID-19 page
- First Nations Public Service Secretariat - Resources for All BC First Nation Individuals
- First Nations Public Service Secretariat - Financial Supports & Benefits
- BC Government - COVID-19: Information for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples in B.C.
- Compiled COVID-19 Provincial & Federal Benefits for Indigenous Peoples - Follow the link and click on the "Indigenous Peoples tab"
- Government of Canada - Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities
- BC Government - COVID-19 Supports for People with Disabilities
- BC Government - COVID-19 Support for Income & Disability Assistance