July 16 2020 | Memo to Families PDF
Dear Ongwanada Family Members,
As the province of Ontario moves forward with Stage 3 of reopening this week, we have had many inquiries about
what this means for Ongwanada’s programs and services. We understand this interest and the desire to bring back
some normalcy to all our lives, but we also take our responsibility for maintaining the safety and well-being of the
individuals we support and our staff very seriously.
Since we support a very vulnerable population we will only reopen programs and services and implement changes
to current operations when we believe it is safe to do so and upon the advice of public health. This means that
change will be gradual as we watch what happens in the community and see what others are doing in our sector.
Ongwanada has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and planning for what our new normal may look
like. We are in the process of cautiously reopening our day program (albeit with reduced capacity) for individuals
who are living in the community with their families. For individuals who reside in our community residences, we
are re-introducing community outings and therapeutic activities such as hydrotherapy.
You will recall that we resumed family visits outside with physical distancing several weeks ago; for the most part
these visits have gone very well with everyone respecting the established guidelines; they will continue in their
current format. Yesterday we received new guidelines outlining changes and additions to criteria for family visits
from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, which we will need to take time to review and plan.
We would ask for patience while we do so and will communicate the plans to accommodate these changes when
Finally, visitors will no longer be required to provide an attestation that they have had a negative COVID test prior
to a visit although they must pass screening at the time of the visit and wear a mask at all times. Ongwanada is
amending its visitor agreement to incorporate the updated guidelines and will share it in the near future.
Please understand that our approach to implementing these changes will be done in a manner that ensures the
safety and wellbeing of all our supported individuals and our staff and we will take the time required and make the
necessary steps to ensure that is the case.
I realize that COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone and I look forward to further easing of restrictions
once it is deemed safe to do so. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding and please
accept my best wishes.