The ministry is providing guidance to congregate care settings to protect the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors across the province. Specific direction for youth justice open and secure facilities has also been provided to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When a congregate care setting is in a community that is beginning to see increased community spread, the ministry will contact them to apply further precautions. These could include:

  • Enhanced implementation of infection prevention and control protocols
  • Enhanced visitor and home visit restrictions, where applicable
  • Increased restrictions for client participation in community/day programs, where applicable

Wherever possible, essential visits such as those necessary to maintain the health, wellness and safety of a resident will be permitted to continue unless the local public health unit directs otherwise as part of outbreak management. An essential visitor may include, but is not limited to a parent or guardian, a social service worker or a health care provider.

Enhanced precautions

At this time, all congregate care settings in all public health unit regions across the province are to follow enhanced precautions.

Enhanced precautions will remain in place until the setting has been notified by the ministry that the community's level of COVID-related risk has changed.

Recent changes to enhanced precautions

Effective June 9, 2021, the following activities to support social connection for residents are permitted to resume:

  • brief physical contact between residents and visitors regardless of vaccination status (e.g. a hug)
  • recreational activities in the community for residents (following the parameters in the Re-Opening Ontario Act and related orders).

Non-essential visits and reintegration leaves continue to be restricted in youth justice facilities until further notice.

The ministry's number one priority is to protect the health and safety of those in our congregate care settings, as well as those who care for them. Specific measures will be implemented on a location-by-location basis, following public health guidance.

Table: Summary of visitor and recreational activities by precaution level

Visits

Note: In addition to the guidelines below, all indoor and outdoor visitors must always wear a minimum of a surgical/procedure mask and eye protection (e.g. face shield, goggles, safety glasses with side shields) when entering a congregate living setting.

 

Normal Precautions Additional Precautions Enhanced Precautions Outbreak/ Comprehensive Precautions

Essential

An essential visitor is generally a person who:

  • Performs essential services to support the ongoing operation of a service agency (including a contractor); and/or
  • Considered necessary to maintain the health, wellness and safety, or any applicable legal rights, of a congregate living resident.

An essential visitor may include but is not limited to the following:

  • A parent/guardian
  • Social service workers (e.g. child welfare workers, day program operators etc.)
  • Health care providers (e.g. doctor, nurse, personal)

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Essential visitors who meet the requirements for visitation in outbreak/ comprehensive conditions must wear full PPE required for outbreak conditions.

Designated

A resident and/or substitute decision maker may designate up to 2 people at a time as “designated visitors”.

Designated Visitors:

  • Are not required to schedule an appointment to visit a congregate living setting within provided that their visit is within the site's permitted visitation hours.
  • May be required to wait outside of the congregate living setting if the site is at its maximum visitor capacity.
  • While appointments are not required it is advised that to schedule an appointment to avoid wait times.

Permitted including:

  • Unsupervised
  • Brief physical contact permitted (e.g. hug)
  • Indoor
  • Outdoor

Designated visitor privileges suspended.

  • See Essential or non-essential visitor privileges as appropriate for alternate options.

Designated visitor privileges suspended.

  • See Essential or non-essential visitor privileges as appropriate for alternate options.

Designated visitor privileges suspended.

  • See Essential or non-essential visitor privileges as appropriate for alternate options.

Non-essential

A non- essential visitor is generally a person who:

  • Provides non-essential services, who may or may not be hired by the site or the resident and/or their substitute decision maker; and/or
  • For social reasons (e.g. family members or friends).

Non-essential visits must be scheduled in advance.

Permitted, including:

  • Unsupervised
  • Brief physical contact permitted (e.g. hug)
  • Indoor
  • Outdoor

Permitted with limitations:

  • Supervised only
  • Brief physical contact permitted (e.g. hug)
  • Indoor
  • Outdoor

Permitted, with limitations:

  • Supervised only
  • Brief physical contact permitted (e.g. hug)
  • Outdoor visits only
  • Indoor visits suspended

Non-essential visitor privileges suspended.

 

Short-term outings or absences

 

Normal Precautions Additional Precautions Enhanced Precautions Outbreak/ Comprehensive Precautions

Health and well-being activities outside of residence (e.g. doctor's appointments, work, school etc.).

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted, when:

  • authorized by screening for activity and/or public health advice; or
  • essential for medical purposes only and virtual care is not possible.

Recreational activities outside of residence

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Suspended

Day supports

Permitted.
Max group size (including staff) is 10 people.

Permitted.
Max group size (including staff) is 10 people.

Permitted, when:
Max group size (including staff) is 5 people.

Suspended

 

Essential overnight absences

 

Normal Precautions Additional Precautions Enhanced Precautions Outbreak/ Comprehensive Precautions

Essential overnight absences

  • An essential overnight absence (e.g. to a family home) considered necessary to maintain the health, wellness and safety, or any applicable legal rights, of a resident.

Permitted

Permitted

Permitted

Suspended