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 and on March 17, 2020, the Ontario Government declared an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Facing a global pandemic, OCL took early and decisive action to protect the health and safety of the individuals we support and our staff.

OCL immediately communicated the gravity of the pandemic to all staff, and developed and delivered just in time messages for staff and families. We closed our Community Participation Support program (CPS) and our Saturday Day program. We restricted access to our group homes to staff and essential visitors only. We instituted a screening process for access to our homes and strengthened it by adding the requirement of taking and recording of temperatures.

OCL and CUPE 3826 came together immediately to protect the health of our individuals and our staff. We moved fast to secure sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for regular daily care and in response to a potential outbreak. We lobbied, with our partners, the Ontario Government for PPE for the Developmental Services (DS) Sector, and we networked in the community to secure PPE from a variety of suppliers: industry, academia and community volunteers. We created an in-house real-time Centralized PPE Inventory System that other DS agencies are looking at.

We rapidly mobilized to comply with the Ontario Government’s emergency order of a single-employer model and we moved quickly to on implement the Pandemic Pay Premium announced by Premier Ford in April 2020 for front line workers. In November, we quickly applied for the Ontario Government’s Temporary Wage Enhancement, retroactive to October 1, 2020.

As Ontario began to reopen and lift restrictions for congregate living, OCL moved quickly to put measures in place for families to visit their loved ones residing in our homes in both indoor and outdoor settings. When the Ontario Government gave the green light for day visits and overnight stays, OCL pivoted quickly so families could plan visits with their loved ones away from our residences on the September long weekend.

The Pandemic will continue to challenge us. As winter arrived and the numbers climbed, OCL pivoted again to meet the tighter restrictions because of the groundwork we did in the spring. OCL will continue to monitor the situation, consult with Ottawa Public Health and the Government of Ontario on how to safely deliver services while protecting the health of our individuals and staff.