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Update on COVID-19 Measures at CLTO
COVID-19 Safety Measures Have been extended to January 11, 2021
Over the past few months, Community Living Toronto (CLTO) has taken rapid and necessary steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these changes came about as a result of information from public health authorities that have been updated or amended as we have adapted to the crisis. We have extended many of these measures a number of times since March.
We enjoyed significant progress in battling COVID-19 throughout the summer months both at CLTO and across Canada. With the second wave of the pandemic upon us, our elected officials and Public Health authorities have enacted new measures to reduce case numbers and keep people safe. Over the past week, the provincial government declared Toronto a Red-Control zone due to escalating case counts and infection rates. These restrictions have been supplemented by measures from Toronto Public Health. Today, we are extending current measures to keep the people we support and our staff safe.
We have focused our efforts on keeping the people we support and our staff safe from COVID-19. Active screening measures are in place in all our sites and staff have been required to limit their employment in the vulnerable person sector to CLTO and school boards. Our staff are trained and continuously supported in infection prevention and control, cleaning, and disinfection protocols.
Individuals living in CLTO residential programs have been receiving meaningful virtual and in- person day supports in their homes.
In keeping with recent provincial guidelines, all visits to CLTO sites must be scheduled with as much notice as possible. Indoor visits to CLTO residential sites are limited to “essential visitors” only.
Essential visitors may include family members providing care, healthcare providers, and maintenance staff. Where possible and practical, essential family visits should be conducted outdoors while observing physical distancing, hand hygiene, and active screening measures. CLTO will provide masks and any other personal protective equipment necessary to keep these visits safe. All other visits must be conducted outside. Essential overnight absences will continue as they have been since the summer. Outings from CLTO residential sites are limited to essential trips, such as medical appointments or school.
Specific CLTO sites may be subject to further restrictions beyond these guidelines. Please consult with the site supervisor or manager with questions regarding site-specific restrictions.
These measures remain in effect until January 11, 2021. We will update these restrictions prior to January 11 if permitted to do so by the provincial government.
We remain unable to reopen large-scale congregate day programs due to provincial and local public health restrictions. Our small-scale day programs pilot has been paused due to escalating case numbers and public health restrictions. This program will remain paused until January 11, 2021.
While we cannot say exactly what will happen next, we know that reopening our services as we knew them is not an option. This is an opportunity to redesign our services in a way that furthers our core mission of supporting the rights and choices of the community we support through smaller, more individualized program offerings.
Our Passport staff have been supporting individuals throughout the pandemic with accessing technology and through virtual supports. We have resumed intake for community supports funded by the Passport program. Where possible, we will continue to support Passport-funded activities for people living in the community.
We continue to offer virtual day supports as part of our menu of options at CLTO. These programs are offered via Zoom from 10AM to 3PM every day by trained CLTO facilitators. Activities include exercise classes, karaoke, and movie screenings. We also host fun activities on Facebook Live from our Community Living Toronto page. Highlights include sing-alongs, painting demonstrations, and accessible yoga. Beyond these measures, we are ensuring that all our group homes have the technology they need to keep the people we support happy and connected to their families and friends. Please contact your supervisor to arrange phone calls, Facetime chats, or other virtual connections with your family member.
We have opened after-school respite programs at three locations for a small number of participants. This program is operating at significantly reduced capacity due to public health restrictions. All participants in after-school respite programs are subject to active screening requirements and appropriate guidelines regarding physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other public health measures. The program is capped at current participants in accordance with public health guidelines.
Overnight respite programs remain closed across CLTO until January 11, 2021. This includes programs at Lawson, McMillan, TREADD, and Ennerdale.
CLTO has taken steps to significantly limit the number of people entering our administrative offices across the city, including our Head Office at 20 Spadina and all regional offices. Only essential staff are permitted entry to our offices, and anyone entering must wear a mask and be actively screened before proceeding into the building. All in-person training remains suspended across the Association and required and mandatory training is being provided online. These measures will remain in effect until January 11, 2021.
Individualized Supports, LIGHTS, APSW, Family Supports, Home Management, and Supported Independent Living
Many individuals supported or affiliated with CLTO live independently in the community with some or infrequent services from CLTO. We continue to reach out and support new and existing families with children and adults living at home remotely or through safe drop-offs of necessary items. We have recommended that people living independently take measures to limit the number of visitors entering their homes and that they practice physical distancing as much as possible. We have provided PPE to households or visiting staff where physical distancing is not possible.
Events Across CLTO
On the advice of Public Health authorities and in compliance with City of Toronto restrictions on gatherings and permitted events, we have cancelled all scheduled in-person events across the organization. Our flagship event, Community Rocks, has been postponed from November 2020 to November 2021.
As much as possible, our employment supports continue to match individuals seeking work. We also continue to support individuals who are working in a CLTO-facilitated placement.
Shadow Lake Centre
After a very successful summer of virtual camp and Facebook Live events, we were able to offer some in-person trial sessions at Shadow Lake in September. All activities were conducted in accordance with provincial and public health guidelines, including active screening, physical distancing, and proper hand hygiene. Looking toward next year, we will begin accepting applications for summer 2021 on December 1, 2020. We continue to accept registrations for Shadow Lake Virtual Camp on MyCommunityHub.ca. Shadow Lake staff are also offering online programming via Facebook Live every Tuesday and Thursday. Please consult the Shadow Lake Facebook page for further information.
With the second wave upon us, we must all do our best to keep each other and our communities safe. Basic public health measures like physical distancing and hand washing have never been more important. We remain laser-focused on keeping the people we support and our staff safe. Community Living Toronto staff are trained and experienced in the measures required to meet this challenge.
We will keep you informed as the situation unfolds. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Click here for all past COVID-19 Updates
Passport and SSAH Flexibility During COVID-19 April 27, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis continues to impact our lives in many ways. In response to the pandemic, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) announced yesterday that they are temporarily expanding the list of eligible expenses under both the Passport and Special Services at Home (SSAH) programs to support people and their families while community-based activities and programs are closed.
These temporary changes will allow individuals to use their funding for goods and services that may make it easier for them to stay at home during this time and practice physical distancing.
The list of changes includes:
- New eligible expenses such as new technology, sensory items, personal protective equipment, activities and items to support home-based recreation and fitness activities, and other expenses that support the health, safety and wellbeing of individuals as they stay at home during the crisis.
- Individuals will receive 25 percent of their funding for this year in advance to make it easier for them to take advantage of these changes quickly.
- The deadline to file claims is being waived, though individuals are reminded to continue to save their receipts, invoices and supporting documents with proof of payment for these expenses.
For more information on these temporary changes and a full list of new eligible expenses for:
This is a very welcome step from our provincial government. It will help many people connected to CLTO and all over the province to manage through this very difficult time.
Community Living Toronto is committed to doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of our individuals, their families, our staff, and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We belong to a partnership of Ontario’s developmental service agencies called the Sector Pandemic Plan Initiative to help understand needs, advocate for resources and create strategies to best manage the COVID-19 pandemic for our sector.
This partnership’s Research and Education working group has created a survey which I would appreciate Community Living Toronto families participating in. It has 18 questions with check-off boxes or open response areas for your opinions to be shared. They would like to learn:
- The needs of families during this time
- The impact of COVID-19 on your family member who has a developmental disability
- The impact of COVID-19 on you as a caregiver
- What resources, if any, have you found helpful?
- What supports are needed in terms of health and safety, developmental services (for example, access to behaviour services by phone or facetime), or technology (for example, to use in submitting for Passport reimbursements.
Your participation in this survey is voluntary. All responses are anonymous and confidential. The working group will gather the confidential responses and create a list of priorities. This can then be used to help with advocacy and the creation of resources to support families and people with developmental disabilities during times like these.
The survey can be completed in about 10 minutes. You can go back and edit your responses as long as you have the survey open. Once you click the ‘Done’ button and submit the survey, you will not be able to edit your responses.
Please click on the following link to complete the survey: https://bit.ly/2XVViJ5
The survey will remain open with no defined deadline, to allow families to provide their input as they find the time to do it. The working group will be continuously looking at the input they’ve received and will start prioritizing items. So please make an effort to complete the survey in the next 2 weeks, if possible.
I hope you will take the time to participate in the survey. I appreciate your support and partnership. All the best to you and your family, during this challenging time.
Thank you for sharing your valuable input!
A Message from Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives significantly over a very short period of time. Despite all these changes, one thing remains constant: the dedication of our frontline workers to supporting people in the community.
Todd Smith, our Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services, sent us this message recognizing the hard work of our staff. The hard work of our frontline workers is making a real difference in a difficult time. Thank you for all that you’re doing.
Brad Saunders, Chief Executive Officer, Community Living Toronto
The Toronto Star: “The Forgotten Sector in the COVID-19 Fight”
Thank you to The Toronto Star and Columnist Bob Hepburn for shining some light on the effects of COVID-19 on the developmental services sector. Our incredible employees continue to work tirelessly to keep our community safe and healthy. Read the article here.