Update on COVID-19 Measures at CLTO
Over the past year and a half, 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 has been updated or amended as we have adapted to the crisis. We have extended many of these measures a number of times since March 2020. We are fortunate to begin to remove some of these restrictions as COVID-19 case counts drop and vaccine take-up grows. To enable careful planning, reopening, and safe removal of restrictions, we are extending our various measures to September 13, 2021. We hope to be able to lift some restrictions gradually prior to this date, subject to directives and guidelines from Public Health and government authorities.
Web-based 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 in CLTO residential programs have been receiving meaningful virtual and in-person day supports in their homes. Our vaccination drive continues for both staff and individuals in support.
Per recent guidelines, visitors to CLTO sites are now able to enjoy outings in the community, such as a park visit or a meal on a patio. We are also pleased to announce that hugs can now be safely enjoyed during a visit.
In keeping with recent provincial guidelines, all visits to CLTO sites must be pre-scheduled with as much notice as possible. Indoor visits to CLTO residential sites are limited to “essential visitors” only. All other visits must be conducted outside. 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, face shields, and any other personal protective equipment necessary to keep these visits safe. Essential overnight absences will continue as they have been since summer 2020.
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 September 13, 2021. We will update these restrictions prior to September 13 if permitted to do so by the provincial government.
Community Participation Supports (Day Programs)
Community Participation Supports will restart on a small scale the week of July 12, 2021. Our initial roll-out will feature small cohorts at a few sites across CLTO. As pandemic restrictions ease, we hope to grow the number of cohorts and locations so we can welcome more individuals into our programs.
While we cannot say exactly what will happen over the next few months, we know that restarting 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 our community through smaller, more individualized program offerings.
Individualized Passport Supports
The Passport Team has continued to support individuals with their Passport funding throughout the pandemic. With the help of technology, staff have been providing virtual supports to many. Staff have also been providing in-person supports when possible while following public health guidelines. Passport Intake is ongoing, and we continue to meet with individuals from both the community and from CLTO residential services. As our communities begin to re-open and activities become available, we will resume community participation supports as possible.
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 Zumba, 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 will begin to restart some daytime respite programming on a small scale starting the week of July 5, 2021. As with Community Participation Supports, we are starting with small cohorts in accordance with Public Health guidelines and government restrictions. Overnight respite will restart at a later date. We hope to safely grow our programs over the summer and welcome more participants as pandemic restrictions ease.
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 Rd 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. Staff entering our Head Office or Regional Offices are required to wear facial protection (eye protection and a mask) during their workday. In some cases, a physical barrier can replace the need for wearing eye protection. 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 September 13, 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 heed Public Health advice around indoor visits, masking, and vaccination. 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.
As much as possible, our employment supports continue to match individuals seeking work to opportunities. We also continue to support individuals who are working in CLTO-facilitated placements.
Shadow Lake Centre
Shadow Lake will reopen for in-person camp on July 4, 2021. We expect to run the camp through the summer and are exploring adding another week in September. To help meet demand, we have increased capacity at the camp to 25 guests per session. We have consulted various Public Health and Infection Prevention and Control authorities in preparation for reopening Shadow Lake to overnight guests in a safe and sustainable manner. In addition, we are hoping to offer Shadow Lake weekends starting in October and some week-long session over the coming year.
Virtual camp continues to provide fun and interesting activities from the comfort of your home. Please visit MyCommunityHub.ca to register for virtual Shadow Lake camp sessions. Beyond these offerings, Shadow Lake staff are also offering free drop-in online programing via Facebook Live every Tuesday and Thursday. Please consult the Shadow Lake Facebook page for further information.
We must all continue to do our best to keep each other and our communities safe. Every day we see encouraging news regarding the distribution of life-saving vaccines across the country. Our CLTO vaccine roll-out is proceeding very well for both staff and individuals in support.
Community Living Toronto continues to monitor restrictions and the province-wide situation closely. As COVID-19 case counts and vaccination rates improve, we hope to be able to ease some of the restrictions listed above prior to September 13, 2021. Adhering to Public Health directives remains essential to maintaining and building-upon on the success we have all worked so hard to achieve. Please remain vigilant.
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.
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.
As of October 1, 2020, workers who provide personal support services are eligible for a temporary wage increase.
We are offering temporary support to cover this wage increase for people and families who pay for services from eligible direct support workers with funding from Passport. These changes apply to support workers who provide:
· direct assistance with personal care
· respite care
· community activity participation
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.
Family survey on the impact of COVID-19
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.
Click here for information about COVID-19 one-time payment for people with disabilities.