Empower Simcoe Coronavirus Updates

This page is intended to share continued communication regarding Empower Simcoe’s preventative measures regarding COVID-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infections to employees, people and families we support.

A list of all closures for Empower Simcoe
A list of cancelled events due to covid-19
online resources for kids parents during covid pandemic
COVID-19 Update July 9, 2021 - Step 3 Roadmap to Reopen

With key public health and health care indicators continue to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the Roadmap to Reopen, the Government of Ontario has announced Step will begin on Friday, July 16th at 12:01 a.m.

Step 3 of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. Outdoor gatherings are expanded to 100 people and indoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. For more details please refer to Reopening Ontario.

At this time, all Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. Currently prearranged indoor/outdoor family visits are permitted in congregate care settings, with prearranged short stay/overnight absences continuing. All current Covid–19 protocols remain in place. Please contact the location Supervisor for more information regarding visits and related protocols.

Empower Simcoe cannot stress enough the importance of everyone continuing to adhere to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update July 2nd, 2021 – Family Visits

New

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has informed Empower Simcoe that family visits within our congregate settings are now permitted.

* Visits must be scheduled in advance through the Supervisor
* Masking/eye protection and physical distancing are required
* Brief physical contact is permitted (use of surgical/ procedure mask and eye protection is required)

Continuing

Please continue to arrange short-stay and overnight absences through the Supervisor. COVID-19 protocols remain in place.

COVID-19 Update June 25th, 2021 – Step 2 – Roadmap to Reopen

The Government of Ontario has announced Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen Plan will begin on Wednesday, June 30th at 12:01 a.m., as more than 70% of the population in Ontario has received their first dose and more than 20% have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In Step 2, outdoor gatherings are expanded to 25 people and indoor gatherings of up to 5 people are permitted. More businesses will be able to open and some restrictions currently in place will be removed. For more details please refer to Reopening Ontario.

At this time, all Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

Empower Simcoe cannot stress enough the importance of everyone continuing to adhere to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update May 26th, 2021 – COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective May 26, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. At this time Public Health is not deeming this an outbreak as due to the infectious period identified through contact tracing. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update May 25th, 2021 – Three-Step Roadmap to Reopen

The Government of Ontario has released a three-step plan to safety and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures. The Roadmap to Reopen is a three-step plan based on:

* The province-wide vaccination rate;
* Improvements in key public health and health care indicators.

Until we move to Step 1 of the roadmap, we must all continue to follow the rules and public health measures under the provincewide emergency brake (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions) .

The province will remain at each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on public health and health system indicators. If trends in key public health and health system indicators are positive, the province will move to the next step two weeks after the following vaccination thresholds have been met:

* Step 1: 60% of adults vaccinated with one dose
* Step 2: 70% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20% vaccinated with two doses
* Step 3: 70 to 80% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25% vaccinated with two doses

Based on current trends, including the provincial vaccination rate, we expect the Government to announce the province to enter into step one of the roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. For more information regarding the three-step Roadmap please refer to https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario.

At this time, all Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone continuing to adhere to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update May 7th, 2021 – Covid-19 Subsequent Outbreak Declared Over

Effective April 24 2021, Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations.

As of May 7, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared the subsequent outbreak over. The outbreak consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe continues to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update May 3rd, 2021 – Covid-19 Outbreak Declared Over

Effective April 23, 2021, Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations.

As of May 3, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared the outbreak over. The outbreak consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent.  It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

We will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 24th, 2021 – Covid-19 Positive Case

Effective April 24, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a subsequent confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Everyone who may have been in contact with the person who tested positive has been notified.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 24th, 2021 – Covid-19 Positive Case

Effective April 23rd, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Everyone who may have been in contact with the person who tested positive has been notified.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 21st, 2021 – Covid-19 “Enhanced Surveillance” Declared Over

Effective April 10, 2021 Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of Covid-19. At that time Simcoe Muskoka District Heath Unit declared this an “Enhanced Surveillance” situation.

As of April 21, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared that the “Enhanced Surveillance” has ended. This consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 10th, 2021 – COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective April 10, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health. Anyone who may have been impacted by this has been contacted.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 1, 2021 – Shutdown Zone

Due to a record number of Covid-19 patients in Ontario’s intensive care units and highest-ever rate of new cases in schools, the Government of Ontario has announced the province will be moving into the “Shutdown” zone effective Saturday April 3, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The Shutdown zone consists of widescale measures and restrictions, including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission of Covid-19.

All Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not yet received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As Empower Simcoe receives further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 public health measures and advice website.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements and Empower Simcoe health and safety measures for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection. Shutdown Zone measures include:

* It is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with;
* You should only go out for necessitates, such as, work, school, groceries/supplies, helping vulnerable people, exercise and physical activity;
* You must stay at least two meters apart from everyone else and wear a mask;
* Indoor gatherings are not allowed, except with members of your household (or one other household if you live alone).

COVID-19 Update February 27, 2021 - GREY/LOCKDOWN LEVEL

The Simcoe Muskoka District is moving back into the grey-lockdown zone effective Monday March 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The lockdown zone consists of widescale measures and restrictions, including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission of Covid-19.

All Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements and Empower Simcoe health and safety measures for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update February 16, 2021 - RED/CONTROL LEVEL

The Simcoe Muskoka District is transitioning from the Stay-at-Home level classification to the province’s “red/control” level effective today, February 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The red/control level consists of stringent measures and restrictions, across multiple sectors, to control transmission of COVID-19.

All Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures, please access the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

Even though there is no longer a stay-at-home order, staying home is still the best way to protect yourself and others. The fewer people you have contact with the lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements and Empower Simcoe health and safety measures for COVID-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update February 16, 2021 - COVID-19 Vaccine Resources and Information

Empower Simcoe is pleased to share these informative COVID-19 Vaccine Resources to better educate everyone with practical tips, combined with the very latest information and evidence so that we can all talk reliably about vaccines, constructively challenge associated myths and allay fears.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook is a practical guide for improving vaccine communication and fighting misinformation.

What You Need To Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Update February 12, 2021 - MCSS Wave 2 Enhanced Congregate Care Update

The zones in the Province’s COVID Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open and the levels in the Guidance on Enhanced Measures in Congregate Care Settings (Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services document) use the same weekly incidence rate as the threshold to move between levels. However, the MCCSS precautions are in addition to the restrictions for the general public and are specific to MCCSS congregate care settings. They have been developed to safeguard the health and well-being of residents and staff while mitigating risk to the highest degree possible.

MCCSS will resume issuing MCCSS-specific Wave 2 enhanced precautions guidance via memos to congregate care service providers in accordance with the levels of risk of community transmission.

When Empower Simcoe receives this information from MCCSS, we will respond accordingly, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of the people we support and staff as our top priority.

COVID-19 Update January 28, 2021 - COVID-19 Vaccine Information Fact Sheet

As the hard work continues to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, the approval of vaccines and the beginning of COVID-19 immunization in Ontario provides a more optimistic picture for the future.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, in partnership with key community stakeholders is leading the efforts to immunize residents in Simcoe Muskoka. Information around this topic is changing quickly. Read this COVID-19 Vaccine Information Fact Sheet for more information and check back often for updates.

COVID-19 Update January 12, 2021 - COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over

This is a follow up to our communication on December 19, 2020 regarding a subsequent confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in one of our Empower Simcoe congregate care locations. As of January 11, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared this outbreak over.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and the practice of Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update January 2, 2021 - COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over

This is a follow up to our communication on December 29, 2020 regarding a subsequent confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in one of our congregate care locations. As of January 2, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared this outbreak over.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and the practice of Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

We will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 29, 2020 - COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective December 29, 2020, Empower Simcoe has a subsequent confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations.  The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required.  We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 22, 2020 - Grey/Lockdown Level

The Government of Ontario has announced effective 12:01am December 26, 2020 the province is moving into the “grey/lockdown” level which includes further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s new colour-coded Covid-19 response framework, regions of the province are ranked by colour, according to local case numbers and trends. Each colour corresponds with a set of public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update December 19, 2020 - COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective December 19, 2020, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 14, 2020 - COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over

Effective December 2, 2020, Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of COVID-19, at one of our Group Living locations.

As of December 14, 2020, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared the outbreak over. The outbreak consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 11, 2020 - COVID-19 Levels By Region

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is moving our region into the province’s red “control” level on December 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. which includes further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s new colour-coded Covid-19 response framework, regions of the province are ranked by colour, according to local case numbers and trends. Each colour corresponds with a set of public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

Empower Simcoe cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update December 2, 2020 - COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective December 2, 2020, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our Group Living locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

Individuals, their families and staff who were directly or potentially impacted by the positive case of COVID-19 have been contacted directly.

COVID-19 Update December 1, 2020 – SMDHU moved into the orange 'restrict' level

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit moved into the province’s orange “restrict” level on Monday, November 23, 2020 which includes further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s new colour-coded Covid-19 response framework, regions of the provide are ranked by colour, according to local case numbers and trends. Each colour corresponds with a set of public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website .

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update November 21, 2020 – MCCSS Wave 2 Congregate Care Notice of Enhanced Precautions

Empower Simcoe has received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services that effective Sunday November 22, 2020 at 2:00pm all Empower Simcoe congregate care settings will be under enhanced precautions.

The following enhanced precautions will be implemented:

  1. Non-essential indoor visits are suspended;
  2. Limited, supervised, non-essential outdoor visits with physical distancing;
  3. Outdoor visits must be scheduled in advance;
  4. Essential visits and essential overnight visits only;
  5. Short-stay absences limited to activities that enable health and important life activities i.e.: family day outings, school, work, doctors’ appointments, etc.;
  6. Recreational activities outside the residence are suspended. For any activities outside congregate care requires supervisor’s approval pending a risk assessment of the activity;
  7. Maximum groups of 5 for all outdoor Community Support Program activities.

While at this time, Empower Simcoe remains able to support short-stay absences and essential overnight absences with families we stress the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will move into the province’s orange “restrict” level on Monday, Nov. 23, with further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We recognize the vital role families play in contributing to the quality of life for people residing in our Group Living locations and we understand the current restrictions are difficult for both families and their loved ones. Empower Simcoe will continue to support virtual access to services and virtual connections with family and friends.

Management will continue to stay in touch with all employees, families, people we support, and stakeholders to provide new or additional information related to family visits in our congregate care locations. Families are to connect with the location Supervisor for more information regarding the enhanced precautions.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

COVID-19 Update: August 31, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening congregate care settings

On Aug 28, 2020 Ministry of Children Community and Social Services released revised Guidelines: Re-Opening of Congregate Living Settings: Short-Stay Absences and Outings and Essential Overnight Absences for congregate care living settings. (LINK)

Please contact the Supervisor of the location to get more information about the guidelines and to pre-arrange visits with your loved one.

As well, please continue to watch the Empower Simcoe Website for updates.

COVID-19 Update: August 21, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening congregate care settings

As this pandemic was and continues to be a quickly evolving situation, Empower Simcoe’s policies are continuously being revised to ensure compliance with the most up to date instructions from the Government of Ontario and Ontario Public Health.

Empower Simcoe makes its decisions in collaboration with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. We recognize the vital role families play in contributing to the quality of life for people residing in our Group Living locations and we understand the current restrictions are difficult for both families and their loved ones.

At this time, Empower Simcoe does not have the support to deviate from the existing guidelines and is awaiting further review and recommendations from Public Health. To that end, we continue to work closely with our local Public Health representatives to ensure all Infection Prevention and Control Measures are in place at all times. Through this collaborative partnership, we are actively advocating for updated guidelines to support a risk-based approach to transition people back home from their families and for additional contact during family visits.

This will include detailed protocols to support further family contact for people living in Group Living and a transition plan for people we support back into their homes who have been staying with their families since the onset of the Pandemic.

Management will be in touch with all employees, families, people we support, and stakeholders to provide further details in the coming weeks, once available.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

Download Memo

COVID-19 Update: August 13, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening Congregate Care Settings

Empower Simcoe continues to actively manage our operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario has entered Phase 3 of reopening, Empower Simcoe is actively planning for the next phase of reopening. This will include measures to support further family contact for people living in Group Living, a plan to transition people we support back into their homes who have been staying with their families since the onset of the pandemic, and accessing the community.

Empower Simcoe recognizes the important role families play in contributing to the quality of life of people residing in our Group Living locations. We continue to work closely with our local Public Health Unit and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. In the coming weeks, we will provide further details regarding our transition
plan and our next steps for reopening as we anticipate further amendments to the current MCCSS Visitor Guidelines Services: ReOpening Congregate Care Settings. Management will be in touch with all employees, families, people we support, and stakeholders to provide further details in the coming weeks, once available.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

Download Memo

COVID-19 Update: August 7, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening

Empower Simcoe continues to actively manage our operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario has entered Phase 3 of reopening, Empower Simcoe is actively planning for the next phase of reopening. This will include transitioning employees to the office who are working remotely, reopening our administrative sites, and expanding our service delivery models.

In the coming weeks, we will provide further details regarding our transition plan and the next steps for reopening. Management will be in touch with all employees, families, and people we support, and stakeholders to provide further details.

Recently Empower Simcoe received guidelines from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the County of Simcoe to assist us as we proceed with our reopening strategies within our Community Support Services and EarlyON Child and Family Centres. Within the next couple of weeks, communication will be going out to individuals and families who access these services.

There is updated information from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; Resuming Visits in Congregate Care Settings, allowing prearranged indoor and outdoor personal visits. For more information regarding preparation for and arranging of visits with loved ones, please contact the Program Supervisor.

As we begin to transition into the next phase, and before any return to work onsite or resumption of face to face services, all employees will be provided with COVID-19 Health and Safety Orientation. Empower Simcoe will continue to ensure the appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures are in place at all times by completing risk assessments and developing safety protocols for our employees. Empower Simcoe continues to work in collaboration with Public Health Professionals, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Labour.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

Download Memo

COVID-19 Update: June 30, 2020 - Update on our Supports and Services

The latest update from Empower Simcoe on our supports and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you are aware, Empower Simcoe continues to actively manage our operations in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Empower Simcoe continues to plan, looking at options for ongoing service delivery. During transition and planning phases, wherever possible, employees will continue to work remotely to support physical distancing and reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Community Supports Services (CSS) and EarlyOn Child and Family Centre sites remain closed; however, employees of CSS continue to be redeployed to support the staffing levels within our Accommodations program. Both programs continue to provide virtual supports and services. Please check our website at empowersimcoe.ca for information and updates.

Our buildings at 39 and 40 Fraser Court, and 129 Ferris Lane (Barrie), 35 West Street, and 4 King Street (Orillia), and 118 Bradford Street (Bradford) will continue to remain locked and only accessible for essential employees and contractors when needed. Empower Simcoe will continue to suspend all home and family visits to and from our group living locations at this time. There is updated information from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; Resuming Visits in Congregate Care Settings, allowing outdoor personal visits at a pre-designated area. For more information regarding preparation for and arranging of visits with loved ones, please contact the Program Supervisor.

As we begin to transition into future phases and before any return to work onsite or resumption of face to face services, all employees will be provided a Covid-19 Health and Safety Orientation. Empower Simcoe will continue to ensure the appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures are in place at all times by completing risk assessments and developing safety protocols for our employees. Empower Simcoe continues to work in collaboration with Public Health Professionals, Ministry of Children Community and Social Services, Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Labour.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional wellbeing of people we support and staff as the priority.

We thank you for your understanding and we will continue to provide updates as we move forward.

COVID-19 Update: April 27, 2020 - Essential Services Only

Over the past month, Empower Simcoe has taken rapid and necessary steps to address the COVID-19 Pandemic. Effective, April 1, 2020, Empower Simcoe transitioned to Essential Services only. Essential Services are those that must remain in place to ensure the health and safety of the people we support and our Empower Simcoe employees to preserve the continuity of our organization.

On Monday April 20, the government released new modelling projections regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This information illustrated that Ontario is now trending positively and the province has likely avoided a significant surge in cases. Additional information provided by Public Health Ontario shows a recent decrease in the province-wide reproduction rate of virus transmission, which means that Ontarians’ collective efforts to implement the public health measures recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health have helped reduce the spread of the virus.

While the community rate of transmission is dropping at the provincial level, outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a significant concern. Tremendous efforts are being taken across the health system to protect vulnerable people in these settings. As the provincial government has extended the state of emergency until May 12, Empower Simcoe will continue with our active Pandemic Plan under essential services only until such time.

We continue to monitor updates from all levels of government and public health to guide our decision making. Empower Simcoe is committed to ongoing communication with you as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic together.
Non-essential Empower Simcoe programs and services are maintaining core functions utilizing a key contact approach. All parents and caregivers have been provided with a contact person to address their support needs. As well, regular
weekly communication is sent to all parents and caregivers with updated information and resources. An online resource library has been created for easy access to resources and information for children, youth, parents and caregivers. You
can access this resource at any time here. We thank-you for your understanding during this unprecedented time and we will continue to provide updates as we move forward.

COVID-19 Update: April 24, 2020 - EMCPA Order: Congregate Care Settings

On April 24, 2020, the Ontario government amended the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act –under subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Act -Congregate Care Settings as part of the government’s measures to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Ontario workers from COVID-19. This order is specific to frontline workers in Ontario only working in one service agency in the same sector.

This Order applies to any staff member of a congregate care setting service agency who performs work in a residence operated by one agency shall not also perform work as a staff member of a different congregate care setting service agency in the same sector in a residence operated by the different agency. A “staff member” of a congregate care setting service agency includes a person who performs work for the agency as an employee or as temporary staff, including a person hired through an employment agency or other third party to perform work directly at a residence operated by the agency.
The requirements of this Order do not apply with respect to a staff member who can perform all of their work for congregate care setting service agencies by working or providing services remotely. Any person to whom this applies shall inform each agency of whom they are a staff member they are subject to this Order. A copy of this Order will be posted in all work locations.

The Order supports Empower Simcoe’s decision to institute a one employer restriction as communicated in the memo dated April 22, 2020. Empower Simcoe’s single employer restriction will come into effect on Tuesday April 28, 2020.
We will continue to monitor all developments related to this Order and all previously issued orders under the EMCPA and communicate any changes to our clients. Thank you to our Empower Simcoe employees for their hard work and dedication. We will continue to provide updates as we move forward.

COVID-19 Update: April 17, 2020 - Update from CEO Claudine Cousins on COVID-19

Please See the newest update from Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Update July 9, 2021 - Step 3 Roadmap to Reopen

With key public health and health care indicators continue to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the Roadmap to Reopen, the Government of Ontario has announced Step will begin on Friday, July 16th at 12:01 a.m.

Step 3 of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. Outdoor gatherings are expanded to 100 people and indoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. For more details please refer to Reopening Ontario.

At this time, all Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. Currently prearranged indoor/outdoor family visits are permitted in congregate care settings, with prearranged short stay/overnight absences continuing. All current Covid–19 protocols remain in place. Please contact the location Supervisor for more information regarding visits and related protocols.

Empower Simcoe cannot stress enough the importance of everyone continuing to adhere to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update June 25th, 2021 – Step 2 – Roadmap to Reopen

The Government of Ontario has announced Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen Plan will begin on Wednesday, June 30th at 12:01 a.m., as more than 70% of the population in Ontario has received their first dose and more than 20% have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In Step 2, outdoor gatherings are expanded to 25 people and indoor gatherings of up to 5 people are permitted. More businesses will be able to open and some restrictions currently in place will be removed. For more details please refer to Reopening Ontario.

At this time, all Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

Empower Simcoe cannot stress enough the importance of everyone continuing to adhere to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update May 26th, 2021 – COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective May 26, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. At this time Public Health is not deeming this an outbreak as due to the infectious period identified through contact tracing. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update May 25th, 2021 – Three-Step Roadmap to Reopen

The Government of Ontario has released a three-step plan to safety and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures. The Roadmap to Reopen is a three-step plan based on:

* The province-wide vaccination rate;
* Improvements in key public health and health care indicators.

Until we move to Step 1 of the roadmap, we must all continue to follow the rules and public health measures under the provincewide emergency brake (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions) .

The province will remain at each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on public health and health system indicators. If trends in key public health and health system indicators are positive, the province will move to the next step two weeks after the following vaccination thresholds have been met:

* Step 1: 60% of adults vaccinated with one dose
* Step 2: 70% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20% vaccinated with two doses
* Step 3: 70 to 80% of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25% vaccinated with two doses

Based on current trends, including the provincial vaccination rate, we expect the Government to announce the province to enter into step one of the roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. For more information regarding the three-step Roadmap please refer to https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario.

At this time, all Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone continuing to adhere to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update May 7th, 2021 – Covid-19 Subsequent Outbreak Declared Over

Effective April 24 2021, Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations.

As of May 7, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared the subsequent outbreak over. The outbreak consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe continues to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update May 3rd, 2021 – Covid-19 Outbreak Declared Over

Effective April 23, 2021, Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations.

As of May 3, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared the outbreak over. The outbreak consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent.  It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

We will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 24th, 2021 – Covid-19 Positive Case

Effective April 24, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a subsequent confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Everyone who may have been in contact with the person who tested positive has been notified.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 24th, 2021 – Covid-19 Positive Case

Effective April 23rd, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Everyone who may have been in contact with the person who tested positive has been notified.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 21st, 2021 – Covid-19 “Enhanced Surveillance” Declared Over

Effective April 10, 2021 Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of Covid-19. At that time Simcoe Muskoka District Heath Unit declared this an “Enhanced Surveillance” situation.

As of April 21, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared that the “Enhanced Surveillance” has ended. This consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 10th, 2021 – COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective April 10, 2021, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health. Anyone who may have been impacted by this has been contacted.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update April 1, 2021 – Shutdown Zone

Due to a record number of Covid-19 patients in Ontario’s intensive care units and highest-ever rate of new cases in schools, the Government of Ontario has announced the province will be moving into the “Shutdown” zone effective Saturday April 3, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The Shutdown zone consists of widescale measures and restrictions, including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission of Covid-19.

All Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not yet received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As Empower Simcoe receives further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 public health measures and advice website.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements and Empower Simcoe health and safety measures for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection. Shutdown Zone measures include:

* It is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with;
* You should only go out for necessitates, such as, work, school, groceries/supplies, helping vulnerable people, exercise and physical activity;
* You must stay at least two meters apart from everyone else and wear a mask;
* Indoor gatherings are not allowed, except with members of your household (or one other household if you live alone).

COVID-19 Update February 27, 2021 - GREY/LOCKDOWN LEVEL

The Simcoe Muskoka District is moving back into the grey-lockdown zone effective Monday March 1, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The lockdown zone consists of widescale measures and restrictions, including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission of Covid-19.

All Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements and Empower Simcoe health and safety measures for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update February 16, 2021 - RED/CONTROL LEVEL

The Simcoe Muskoka District is transitioning from the Stay-at-Home level classification to the province’s “red/control” level effective today, February 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The red/control level consists of stringent measures and restrictions, across multiple sectors, to control transmission of COVID-19.

All Empower Simcoe programs and departments will continue to operate in the current capacity with a combined approach of virtual supports, work and meetings, where possible. We have not received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regarding updates to family visiting practices. As we receive further information we will communicate changes as appropriate.

For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures, please access the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

Even though there is no longer a stay-at-home order, staying home is still the best way to protect yourself and others. The fewer people you have contact with the lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements and Empower Simcoe health and safety measures for COVID-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update February 16, 2021 - COVID-19 Vaccine Resources and Information

Empower Simcoe is pleased to share these informative COVID-19 Vaccine Resources to better educate everyone with practical tips, combined with the very latest information and evidence so that we can all talk reliably about vaccines, constructively challenge associated myths and allay fears.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook is a practical guide for improving vaccine communication and fighting misinformation.

What You Need To Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Update February 12, 2021 - MCSS Wave 2 Enhanced Congregate Care Update

The zones in the Province’s COVID Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open and the levels in the Guidance on Enhanced Measures in Congregate Care Settings (Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services document) use the same weekly incidence rate as the threshold to move between levels. However, the MCCSS precautions are in addition to the restrictions for the general public and are specific to MCCSS congregate care settings. They have been developed to safeguard the health and well-being of residents and staff while mitigating risk to the highest degree possible.

MCCSS will resume issuing MCCSS-specific Wave 2 enhanced precautions guidance via memos to congregate care service providers in accordance with the levels of risk of community transmission.

When Empower Simcoe receives this information from MCCSS, we will respond accordingly, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of the people we support and staff as our top priority.

COVID-19 Update January 28, 2021 - COVID-19 Vaccine Information Fact Sheet

As the hard work continues to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, the approval of vaccines and the beginning of COVID-19 immunization in Ontario provides a more optimistic picture for the future.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, in partnership with key community stakeholders is leading the efforts to immunize residents in Simcoe Muskoka. Information around this topic is changing quickly. Read this COVID-19 Vaccine Information Fact Sheet for more information and check back often for updates.

COVID-19 Update January 12, 2021 - COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over

This is a follow up to our communication on December 19, 2020 regarding a subsequent confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in one of our Empower Simcoe congregate care locations. As of January 11, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared this outbreak over.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and the practice of Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update January 2, 2021 - COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over

This is a follow up to our communication on December 29, 2020 regarding a subsequent confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in one of our congregate care locations. As of January 2, 2021, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared this outbreak over.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and the practice of Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

We will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 29, 2020 - COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective December 29, 2020, Empower Simcoe has a subsequent confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our congregate care locations.  The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required.  We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 22, 2020 - Grey/Lockdown Level

The Government of Ontario has announced effective 12:01am December 26, 2020 the province is moving into the “grey/lockdown” level which includes further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s new colour-coded Covid-19 response framework, regions of the province are ranked by colour, according to local case numbers and trends. Each colour corresponds with a set of public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update December 19, 2020 - COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective December 19, 2020, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, at one of our congregate care locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 14, 2020 - COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over

Effective December 2, 2020, Empower Simcoe confirmed a positive case of COVID-19, at one of our Group Living locations.

As of December 14, 2020, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has declared the outbreak over. The outbreak consisted of one positive case only.

During the investigation, Public Health noted our processes, screenings and Infection Prevention and Control Measure were excellent. It is evident that with these measures in place combined with the commitment and due diligence of our employees in adhering to these measures, served to contain the outbreak.

Empower Simcoe will continue to place the health and safety of the people we support and our employees as our highest priority.

COVID-19 Update December 11, 2020 - COVID-19 Levels By Region

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is moving our region into the province’s red “control” level on December 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. which includes further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s new colour-coded Covid-19 response framework, regions of the province are ranked by colour, according to local case numbers and trends. Each colour corresponds with a set of public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website.

Empower Simcoe cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update December 2, 2020 - COVID-19 Positive Case

Effective December 2, 2020, Empower Simcoe has a confirmed positive case of Covid-19, at one of our Group Living locations. The positive person is self-isolating and following direction from Public Health.

Empower Simcoe is working in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and will continue to closely monitor the situation, follow the guidance of the health unit staff, and provide updates as required. We are grateful for the guidance and support provided by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The health and safety of the people we support and our employees continue to be our highest priority.

Individuals, their families and staff who were directly or potentially impacted by the positive case of COVID-19 have been contacted directly.

COVID-19 Update December 1, 2020 – SMDHU moved into the orange 'restrict' level

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit moved into the province’s orange “restrict” level on Monday, November 23, 2020 which includes further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s new colour-coded Covid-19 response framework, regions of the provide are ranked by colour, according to local case numbers and trends. Each colour corresponds with a set of public health measures designed to contain the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable members of the community. For current information regarding each region and the level of public health measures please access the Covid-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open website .

We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

COVID-19 Update November 21, 2020 – MCCSS Wave 2 Congregate Care Notice of Enhanced Precautions

Empower Simcoe has received notification from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services that effective Sunday November 22, 2020 at 2:00pm all Empower Simcoe congregate care settings will be under enhanced precautions.

The following enhanced precautions will be implemented:

  1. Non-essential indoor visits are suspended;
  2. Limited, supervised, non-essential outdoor visits with physical distancing;
  3. Outdoor visits must be scheduled in advance;
  4. Essential visits and essential overnight visits only;
  5. Short-stay absences limited to activities that enable health and important life activities i.e.: family day outings, school, work, doctors’ appointments, etc.;
  6. Recreational activities outside the residence are suspended. For any activities outside congregate care requires supervisor’s approval pending a risk assessment of the activity;
  7. Maximum groups of 5 for all outdoor Community Support Program activities.

While at this time, Empower Simcoe remains able to support short-stay absences and essential overnight absences with families we stress the importance of everyone adhering to all current local public health unit requirements for Covid-19. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will move into the province’s orange “restrict” level on Monday, Nov. 23, with further control measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We recognize the vital role families play in contributing to the quality of life for people residing in our Group Living locations and we understand the current restrictions are difficult for both families and their loved ones. Empower Simcoe will continue to support virtual access to services and virtual connections with family and friends.

Management will continue to stay in touch with all employees, families, people we support, and stakeholders to provide new or additional information related to family visits in our congregate care locations. Families are to connect with the location Supervisor for more information regarding the enhanced precautions.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

COVID-19 Update: August 31, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening congregate care settings

On Aug 28, 2020 Ministry of Children Community and Social Services released revised Guidelines: Re-Opening of Congregate Living Settings: Short-Stay Absences and Outings and Essential Overnight Absences for congregate care living settings. (LINK)

Please contact the Supervisor of the location to get more information about the guidelines and to pre-arrange visits with your loved one.

As well, please continue to watch the Empower Simcoe Website for updates.

COVID-19 Update: August 21, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening congregate care settings

As this pandemic was and continues to be a quickly evolving situation, Empower Simcoe’s policies are continuously being revised to ensure compliance with the most up to date instructions from the Government of Ontario and Ontario Public Health.

Empower Simcoe makes its decisions in collaboration with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. We recognize the vital role families play in contributing to the quality of life for people residing in our Group Living locations and we understand the current restrictions are difficult for both families and their loved ones.

At this time, Empower Simcoe does not have the support to deviate from the existing guidelines and is awaiting further review and recommendations from Public Health. To that end, we continue to work closely with our local Public Health representatives to ensure all Infection Prevention and Control Measures are in place at all times. Through this collaborative partnership, we are actively advocating for updated guidelines to support a risk-based approach to transition people back home from their families and for additional contact during family visits.

This will include detailed protocols to support further family contact for people living in Group Living and a transition plan for people we support back into their homes who have been staying with their families since the onset of the Pandemic.

Management will be in touch with all employees, families, people we support, and stakeholders to provide further details in the coming weeks, once available.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

Download Memo

COVID-19 Update: August 13, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening Congregate Care Settings

Empower Simcoe continues to actively manage our operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario has entered Phase 3 of reopening, Empower Simcoe is actively planning for the next phase of reopening. This will include measures to support further family contact for people living in Group Living, a plan to transition people we support back into their homes who have been staying with their families since the onset of the pandemic, and accessing the community.

Empower Simcoe recognizes the important role families play in contributing to the quality of life of people residing in our Group Living locations. We continue to work closely with our local Public Health Unit and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. In the coming weeks, we will provide further details regarding our transition
plan and our next steps for reopening as we anticipate further amendments to the current MCCSS Visitor Guidelines Services: ReOpening Congregate Care Settings. Management will be in touch with all employees, families, people we support, and stakeholders to provide further details in the coming weeks, once available.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

Download Memo

COVID-19 Update: August 7, 2020 - Next Phase of Reopening

Empower Simcoe continues to actively manage our operations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario has entered Phase 3 of reopening, Empower Simcoe is actively planning for the next phase of reopening. This will include transitioning employees to the office who are working remotely, reopening our administrative sites, and expanding our service delivery models.

In the coming weeks, we will provide further details regarding our transition plan and the next steps for reopening. Management will be in touch with all employees, families, and people we support, and stakeholders to provide further details.

Recently Empower Simcoe received guidelines from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the County of Simcoe to assist us as we proceed with our reopening strategies within our Community Support Services and EarlyON Child and Family Centres. Within the next couple of weeks, communication will be going out to individuals and families who access these services.

There is updated information from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; Resuming Visits in Congregate Care Settings, allowing prearranged indoor and outdoor personal visits. For more information regarding preparation for and arranging of visits with loved ones, please contact the Program Supervisor.

As we begin to transition into the next phase, and before any return to work onsite or resumption of face to face services, all employees will be provided with COVID-19 Health and Safety Orientation. Empower Simcoe will continue to ensure the appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures are in place at all times by completing risk assessments and developing safety protocols for our employees. Empower Simcoe continues to work in collaboration with Public Health Professionals, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Labour.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional well-being of people we support and staff as the priority.

Download Memo

COVID-19 Update: June 30, 2020 - Update on our Supports and Services

The latest update from Empower Simcoe on our supports and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you are aware, Empower Simcoe continues to actively manage our operations in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Empower Simcoe continues to plan, looking at options for ongoing service delivery. During transition and planning phases, wherever possible, employees will continue to work remotely to support physical distancing and reduce the risk of spreading infection.

Community Supports Services (CSS) and EarlyOn Child and Family Centre sites remain closed; however, employees of CSS continue to be redeployed to support the staffing levels within our Accommodations program. Both programs continue to provide virtual supports and services. Please check our website at empowersimcoe.ca for information and updates.

Our buildings at 39 and 40 Fraser Court, and 129 Ferris Lane (Barrie), 35 West Street, and 4 King Street (Orillia), and 118 Bradford Street (Bradford) will continue to remain locked and only accessible for essential employees and contractors when needed. Empower Simcoe will continue to suspend all home and family visits to and from our group living locations at this time. There is updated information from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services; Resuming Visits in Congregate Care Settings, allowing outdoor personal visits at a pre-designated area. For more information regarding preparation for and arranging of visits with loved ones, please contact the Program Supervisor.

As we begin to transition into future phases and before any return to work onsite or resumption of face to face services, all employees will be provided a Covid-19 Health and Safety Orientation. Empower Simcoe will continue to ensure the appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures are in place at all times by completing risk assessments and developing safety protocols for our employees. Empower Simcoe continues to work in collaboration with Public Health Professionals, Ministry of Children Community and Social Services, Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Labour.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves across the province, and in our community, the direction regarding service delivery will be revised as appropriate, keeping the safety, health, and emotional wellbeing of people we support and staff as the priority.

We thank you for your understanding and we will continue to provide updates as we move forward.

COVID-19 Update: April 27, 2020 - Essential Services Only

Over the past month, Empower Simcoe has taken rapid and necessary steps to address the COVID-19 Pandemic. Effective, April 1, 2020, Empower Simcoe transitioned to Essential Services only. Essential Services are those that must remain in place to ensure the health and safety of the people we support and our Empower Simcoe employees to preserve the continuity of our organization.

On Monday April 20, the government released new modelling projections regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. This information illustrated that Ontario is now trending positively and the province has likely avoided a significant surge in cases. Additional information provided by Public Health Ontario shows a recent decrease in the province-wide reproduction rate of virus transmission, which means that Ontarians’ collective efforts to implement the public health measures recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health have helped reduce the spread of the virus.

While the community rate of transmission is dropping at the provincial level, outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a significant concern. Tremendous efforts are being taken across the health system to protect vulnerable people in these settings. As the provincial government has extended the state of emergency until May 12, Empower Simcoe will continue with our active Pandemic Plan under essential services only until such time.

We continue to monitor updates from all levels of government and public health to guide our decision making. Empower Simcoe is committed to ongoing communication with you as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic together.
Non-essential Empower Simcoe programs and services are maintaining core functions utilizing a key contact approach. All parents and caregivers have been provided with a contact person to address their support needs. As well, regular
weekly communication is sent to all parents and caregivers with updated information and resources. An online resource library has been created for easy access to resources and information for children, youth, parents and caregivers. You
can access this resource at any time here. We thank-you for your understanding during this unprecedented time and we will continue to provide updates as we move forward.

COVID-19 Update: April 24, 2020 - EMCPA Order: Congregate Care Settings

On April 24, 2020, the Ontario government amended the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act –under subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Act -Congregate Care Settings as part of the government’s measures to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Ontario workers from COVID-19. This order is specific to frontline workers in Ontario only working in one service agency in the same sector.

This Order applies to any staff member of a congregate care setting service agency who performs work in a residence operated by one agency shall not also perform work as a staff member of a different congregate care setting service agency in the same sector in a residence operated by the different agency. A “staff member” of a congregate care setting service agency includes a person who performs work for the agency as an employee or as temporary staff, including a person hired through an employment agency or other third party to perform work directly at a residence operated by the agency.
The requirements of this Order do not apply with respect to a staff member who can perform all of their work for congregate care setting service agencies by working or providing services remotely. Any person to whom this applies shall inform each agency of whom they are a staff member they are subject to this Order. A copy of this Order will be posted in all work locations.

The Order supports Empower Simcoe’s decision to institute a one employer restriction as communicated in the memo dated April 22, 2020. Empower Simcoe’s single employer restriction will come into effect on Tuesday April 28, 2020.
We will continue to monitor all developments related to this Order and all previously issued orders under the EMCPA and communicate any changes to our clients. Thank you to our Empower Simcoe employees for their hard work and dedication. We will continue to provide updates as we move forward.

COVID-19 Update: April 17, 2020 - Update from CEO Claudine Cousins on COVID-19

Please See the newest update from Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Useful External Links

Government of Canada COVID Page
World Health Organization COVID Page
Public Health Ontario COVID Page
COVID-19 Prevention Fund
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