Visit Connectability.ca for a list of resources on COVID-19 and activities to do at home!
Click here for information about COVID-19 one-time payment for people with disabilities.
For all past webinar updates, click here.
Update on COVID-19 Measures at CLTO
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 that has been updated or amended as we have adapted to the crisis. We have extended these measures a number of times since March.
The progress we have made so far both as a province and as an organization is very impressive. Case numbers and testing capacity show that our efforts are working. Despite our success to date, news reports confirm that the fight is far from over. This is especially true in congregate living settings, such as group homes and long-term care facilities. So far, we have managed to keep COVID-19 out of most of our sites. The measures we put in place and the hard work of our staff have produced this result.
As the pandemic evolves, it has become apparent that we cannot safely reopen our supports and services as we knew them all at once. Since our last update, we have begun to gradually reopen some of the services that were closed in March. While some services have reopened, others will remain closed until October 12, 2020 under provincial emergency orders and in accordance with public health guidelines. This update outlines the status of the services we have begun to reopen and those services which will remain closed until October 12.
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. Our staff are trained and continuously supported in infection control, cleaning, and disinfection protocols. Individuals living in CLTO residential programs have been receiving meaningful virtual and in-person day supports in their homes.
Thanks to our success, we are now able to offer outdoor visits, indoor visits, outings, and essential overnight absences at CLTO sites. Families are invited to reach-out to schedule these opportunities. Please give CLTO staff as much notice as possible to ensure proper staffing and safety procedures in advance of your scheduled visit. These measures remain in effect until October 12, 2020. We will update these restrictions prior to October 12 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. Fortunately, we will shortly pilot small-scale Community Participation Supports (day programs) in three sites across the city. Up to 30 participants will be invited to join small cohorts and enjoy a new program model that is both more individualized in nature and safer from a public health perspective. This program was designed in accordance with guidelines from the provincial government and public health restrictions. Active screening, physical distancing, and proper hand hygiene will be critical to the successful implementation of this model.
The pilot team will prepare for the launch during the week of September 8, 2020 and we will welcome participants starting on September 14, 2020. Participants are being selected from those who do not receive residential support from CLTO and are unable to access virtual day supports. They have already been contacted to begin preparation for this new initiative. We are starting small now while working toward extending our Community Participation Supports through providing a range of options for those who had been involved in our day programs prior to the pandemic.
Our Passport staff have been supporting individuals throughout the pandemic through virtual supports and access to technology. We have resumed intake for community supports funded by the Passport program. We have also resumed 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 stretching sessions, cooking classes, and movie of the week recommendations. 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 will open after-school respite programs at three locations later this month for a small number of participants. This program will operate at significantly reduced capacity due to public health restrictions. Impacted families will hear from CLTO shortly about how to access this smaller-scale program. All participants in after-school respite programs will be subject to active screening requirements and appropriate guidelines regarding physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other public health measures.
Overnight respite programs remain closed across CLTO until October 12, 2020. This includes programs at Lawson, McMillan, TREADD, and Ennerdale. We will reopen these programs at reduced capacity before October 12 if possible under provincial guidelines and Public Health restrictions.
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 October 12, 2020.
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. We look forward to hosting our first virtual Annual General Meeting via Zoom on September 22, 2020.
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 look forward to offering some in-person trial sessions at Shadow Lake in September. We are also offering respite weekends at Shadow Lake in October. Weekends will run from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and will cost $600 per guest. All activities will be conducted in accordance with provincial and public health guidelines, including active screening, physical distancing, and proper hand hygiene. Applications will open soon on MyCommunityHub.ca. More details will be available on Shadow Lake social media pages.
We must remain vigilant and cautious as our province continues to reopen. The safety of the people we support and our staff remains our top priority. We expect that many of the government-ordered restrictions on the size and design of our services will continue as many regions and sectors across the province reopen and relax restrictions.
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.
We will update you frequently over the coming weeks. 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.