Visit Connectability.ca for a great list of resources on COVID-19 and what to do while in isolation.
Click here for all past webinar updates
Extension of COVID-19 Measures to September 8, 2020
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 provincial government is preparing to allow emergency orders to continue beyond the Declaration of Emergency, which is scheduled to end on July 24. CLTO and the rest of the developmental services sector is subject to a number of these orders. To continue to ensure the safety of the people we support and our staff, we are extending our COVID-19 measures to September 8, 2020.
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, such that Toronto has joined much of the province in Stage Two of the reopening plan. 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 and have ensured people are as safe as possible. The measures we have put in place since March and the hard work of our staff have produced this result.
We also know that we are living and operating in a highly dynamic environment, with frequent updates from the government and public health authorities. While we are extending our measures to September 8, we will adapt measures prior to September if able or needed to better support our community.
We have realigned our work to focus all 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 people sector to CLTO.
and park visits began on June 18, 2020. We are preparing to allow visitors to
also visit inside our sites and take their loved ones home for essential
overnight absences. These visits are guided by detailed Government of Ontario
restrictions around self-isolation, physical distancing, and cleaning. Visits
will continue under the current restrictions until we are instructed otherwise
by the province.
Day programs across CLTO were suspended in accordance with Public Health guidance around physical distancing and limiting journeys outside the home to essential needs only. This measure is extended until September 8, 2020.
Our respite programs have been suspended to protect both individuals in support and staff from exposure to COVID-19. This closure has been applied across CLTO respite programs, including Lawson, McMillan, TREADD, and Ennerdale. This was necessary to protect the health of everyone involved. In accordance with advice from Public Health authorities, respite services across the Association will remain closed until September 8, 2020.
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. These measures will remain in effect until September 8, 2020.
Individualized Supports, LIGHTS, APSW, and Supported Independent Living
Many individuals supported or affiliated with CLTO live independently in the community with some or infrequent services from CLTO. 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
In accordance with provincial direction and public health guidance, all Shadow Lake sessions scheduled for this summer are cancelled. Refunds for those who have already registered will be issued automatically. The Shadow Lake team is offering virtual camp until the end of August, which includes small and large group programming and kits that will be mailed home with camp gear such as a t-shirt and activities. Please consult the Shadow Lake Centre Facebook page for the latest.
We are working hard to develop online offerings to help ease the pain of social isolation at home during the pandemic. Every day, we host fun activities on Facebook Live from our Community Living Toronto page. Highlights include yoga sessions, cooking classes, and magic shows! We are also hosting virtual programming to help fill the void left by our closed day programs. 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 must remain vigilant and cautious as our province begins to reopen. The safety of the population we support and our staff remains our top priority. We expect many of the Emergency Orders governing our work to continue well past the end of the Declaration of Emergency due to the vulnerabilities of the community we support. In practical terms, this means that many of the government-ordered restrictions on our services will continue as many regions and sectors across the province reopen and relax restrictions.
While we cannot say exactly what will happen beyond September 8, we know that we will not be able to reopen our services as we know them right away. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine exactly when that will be possible. We are working on a staged plan to loosen some restrictions when the time is right. We enacted the first stage of this plan last month by starting to schedule backyard and porch visits on June 18. We will shortly allow indoor visits in our homes and essential overnight absences from our sites. We will update you frequently over the coming weeks.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Download the PDF version here: July 24/20 COVID-19 Update
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.