OCL’s approach in response to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

OCL’s Approach in response to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus):

Proactive leadership at OCL has ensured the health and safety of the individuals we support and our staff.

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On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our goal has been to keep everyone – supported individuals and employees – safe and healthy. In March 2020, we closed our Day Support Program and Saturday Day Program and restricted access to our group homes. Everyone who could work from home, was sent home to work with all of the equipment and support they needed to remain productive and connected to their colleagues and OCL.

We’ve procured large quantities of PPE. Working closely with the academic community, we secured 3-D printed face shields for all staff. A generous donation from an OCL family led to another source of 3-D printed face shields. A squadron of volunteers donated time and material to make cloth masks for our employees. When staff asked for goggles, our Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee quickly evaluated a number of models and OCL distributed the recommended goggles to all employees.

We developed an in-house PPE Central Inventory System to ensure we had sufficient PPE to keep everyone safe. The system makes weekly orders by managers seamless and it makes it easy for OCL to track PPE usage and place orders when additional supplies are needed.

We ensured employees had access to the latest COVID-19 information. We issued agency policies and frequently asked questions in response to numerous MCCSS and MOH guidance documents. The latest webinars featuring up-to-the minute COVID-19 information were available to all employees.

We experienced amazing moments of gratitude and appreciation from inside OCL and from the community. Gifts of gratitude were distributed by OCL’s ENACT team, the Union, our Admin,/Management teams and our Board of Directors. Dr. Gurprit Kindra, who helped OCL secure essential PPE, provided a free lunch for all of our frontline employees through Langar for Hunger. David Burns & Associates (our insurance provider) very generously donated an “Unlikely Pairing” – an in-home four course meal and wine pairing experience, a Christie Lake Kids Fund Raiser. One lucky DSP’s name was drawn from all of our full-time, part-time and casual DSPs.

As vaccines became available in 2021, OCL mobilized supported individuals and employees to get vaccinated. We launched an education campaign on how vaccinations save lives. We arranged for an exclusive Direct Support Professionals (DSP) only webinar with Dr. Tara Moriarty from COVID-19 Resources Canada and opened it up to all DSPs in the Ottawa region. We are fortunate to have a high rate vaccination rate of first dose vaccinations.

As rapid antigen tests became available, we secured antigen test kits for all employees to protect the health of our supported individuals and employees and to ensure we are compliant with the latest directives from MCCSS and MOH.

OCL continues to work hard to protect the individuals we serve and our employees as we move through the pandemic. We look forward to the day where we can put aside all of our PPE, open up our programs without restrictions and return to community activities for all of the individuals we support.