News & Updates
Get the latest news and updates.
Get the latest news and updates.
As I’m sure everyone knows, Kingston and the surrounding area have become Canada’s “hot spot” for COVID-19. It’s a distinction that nobody wants, however it requires us to adjust in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the individuals and families we support. Beginning immediately, CLKD will scale back or suspend those services considered to be less critical and re-deploy staff members to our most intensive, 24/7 support settings. This is intended to accomplish two primary objectives: first, it will prevent unnecessary contact with others in the community at a time when the threat of COVID transmission is so high and second, it will bolster our residential staff teams to prevent the depletion of staffing resources within our most essential programs. The new protocols introduced by the KFLA Public Health Unit raise the likelihood of employees being off for self-isolation due to close contact with someone who has tested positive or in cases where symptoms have emerged.
The two programs that will be most affected by this shift are Community Inclusion (CIP) and Respite Services. CLKD does not take these decisions lightly. We need to balance our commitment to supporting individuals and families in all of our programs and services with the reality of increasingly threatening conditions in our community. A few critical supports will remain in place within programs that are scaling back so that nobody in desperate need will go without. We have taken an individualized approach to the suspension of programs, understanding that those “non-essential” services for many individuals and families are, in fact, very essential. The same approach has been taken for staff re-deployments in which we have carefully matched employees with programs where there is an alignment of skills, familiarity and established relationships. None of this is arbitrary.
Within our most intensive support settings (primarily residential), we encourage all families to be mindful of the steps we must take for protecting against the spread of infection. These include vaccinations, active screening and the introduction of Rapid Antigen Testing for visitors consistent with advice from Public Health. With that in mind, I encourage all families to refrain from visiting while we navigate through the worst of this fourth wave of the pandemic. I know that connections with loved ones are important for many reasons, including mental health challenges people may be facing, and we would like to work together to ensure that family members can stay connected in alternate, safe ways. Wherever possible, please consider virtual visits or telephone calls in recognition of the rising threat level of COVID. As we work together to keep both your loved ones and our staff teams safe, we appreciate your consideration and understanding.
Our hope is that this pivot will be very temporary and that we will resume normal operations within a couple of months, however this will depend on the conditions we face locally. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will open up all of our programs and services once again albeit in a careful and deliberate way and under the advice and direction of Public Health and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. We understand that this is disruptive and inconvenient for individuals, families, volunteers and employees. However, we will opt for inconvenience over COVID infection every time. Our commitment to health and safety will always be our primary motivation.
I will keep everyone updated with the latest developments related to our management of this situation as it evolves. Please stay safe and stay healthy.
December 15, 2021
COVID remains a large part of our world. And unfortunately, our local communities of Kingston and Gananoque have seen rising numbers of infections over the past few weeks, signifying a worrying trend that we hope will be reversed soon while still reminding us that the threat for all of us continues. Thankfully, the large number of people we employ and support are fully vaccinated. More than 98% of Community Living Kingston and District employees are fully vaccinated, having received two doses of an approved COVID vaccine. Uptake among those in our communities has also been impressive, with more than 90% of those living in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington area having received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. This offers a degree of protection against the worst effects of the virus and gives us greater confidence in the continued health and safety of the vulnerable individuals we support.
Third dose booster shots are now available. Eligibility begins with those who live and work in “congregate care” and will be soon opened up to others. CLKD will take an active role in supporting employees, persons served, families and volunteers to book their appointments for the vaccine booster shot as eligibility is expanded. Stay tuned for more news on this as it becomes available.
The supports and services we were forced to suspend when the pandemic hit are now opening up, albeit slowly and cautiously. We continue to balance the pressure to serve individuals and families and respond to their needs while maintaining vigilance by exercising all required and recommended precautions related to COVID. The result is a person by person, case by case approach to providing respite and community inclusion supports that deliver the outcomes that people want in a healthy and safe manner. We appreciate everyone’s determination and contributions as we work through this process together.
It’s very difficult to predict the next few weeks and months. We are hopeful that conditions will improve and the threat level will decline, allowing us to open up our supports and services to those who desperately need them. That said, we cannot become complacent in our approach to COVID. We all desperately want to live normal lives again, connect with each other in person, and participate in events that bring us joy and satisfaction. We will continue to work towards that but will not take our eyes off the threat that lingers with this pandemic. Please continue to be patient as we progress in the right direction, safely and strategically.
November 19, 2021
NEW: Virtual Information Sessions aimed at helping families navigate funding applications and submissions.
Updates from the Spring 2021 Community Living Kingston and District Newsletter.
COVID-19 Vaccinations have started for CLKD stakeholders. Based on criteria and directives from the Public Health Units (Kingston, Frontenac, L&A as well as Leeds and Grenville), staff members who were considered a “very high priority” have been encouraged to get the vaccine. This included employees working in “congregate care” (residential group living) as well as in Supported Independent Living, Community Inclusion, Child Care Resource Consultant Services, Family Support, Employment Supports and Family Home. Almost two hundred employees have now received the first dose of the COVID vaccine.
For persons served, the vaccination process started today. We expect significant numbers of individuals to be vaccinated over the next two weeks. CLKD has been working closely with Ongwanada and other community partner organizations, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and Public Health to provide background information to individuals and families and obtain their consent for vaccine administration. Uptake has been impressive, and almost everyone is eager and excited to receive the vaccination.
CLKD has also been advocating for individuals served in other programs as well as family members. Many of those we support live at home with their families and are vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID if they become infected. Likewise, family members as essential caregivers are also at risk and are looking to the vaccine to achieve a level of protection that will be needed before life can begin returning to normal. As an organization, we are doing all that we can to see that family members are considered a priority for the vaccine. This includes information sharing as well as offering other resources and, in some cases, support arrangements and transportation to enable everyone to book their appointments when they become available.
Below is a link to a short video from Dr. Moore, the Medical Officer of Health for the KFL&A Public Health Unit in which he offers a description of what to expect from the COVID vaccine:
We will begin to open up our non-essential programs and services as conditions permit. In doing so, services will be delivered on an individual basis in order to follow all health and safety guidelines, exercising caution in order to limit any risk of exposure to persons served, families, volunteers and employees. Information on expanded service delivery will be posted on the website as it takes shape. Stay safe and stay healthy.
Peter Sproul, Executive Director
On both a local and provincial level, Community Living Kingston and District has been advocating for early COVID-19 vaccinations for persons served, families and employees. Many of those we support are vulnerable and put them at high risk of experiencing the worst effects of the virus, if contracted. Likewise, staff members who work directly with individuals, particularly in congregate care settings such as group living arrangements, are at higher risk of infection and are therefore considered a priority group. We’ve been generally successful in our efforts to engage with public health authorities including our local KFLA Public Health Unit to ensure that, as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine become available in our area, our stakeholders are considered a high priority for receiving the vaccine. In short, those in the developmental services sector appear to be lined up right behind long term care (nursing homes) and acute care settings (hospitals) as the vaccine is rolled out.
We expect the vaccine to be available beginning in Kingston and Gananoque as early as late February. In anticipation of, and preparation for vaccinations at CLKD, we will be gauging the interest among stakeholders, particularly those we support, and obtaining their consent for accepting the vaccine. In many cases, this will involve connecting with families as substitute decision makers in cases where individuals do not have the capacity to provide informed consent. Please be prepared for that by reviewing information on the vaccines and raising any questions you may have with your contact at CLKD and/or with the Public Health Unit. Helpful information on COVID-19 and the vaccines is available on their website that can be accessed by clicking on the link below. Another good resource entitled COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sheet is provided below and was developed by HCARDD (Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities). We will continue to make other resource material available for your information and reference as we move towards a process of widespread vaccinations in the coming weeks and months.
As we come to the end of a tumultuous and challenging year, we all look forward to better days ahead in 2021. The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is well underway and it is the hope and expectation that the majority of Canadians will be vaccinated by the summer. Work has started at a provincial level to have the individuals we support and the staff members we employ considered a high priority for inoculation. If we are successful in pushing that forward, those groups will be among the first to receive the vaccine.
At the time of writing this update, the province of Ontario is in the early stages of a lockdown, one that will stretch for four weeks in the southern regions. This was considered necessary in order to contain and control the spread of infection. While the numbers in the Kingston and Gananoque areas had been rising, they have since leveled off and actually declined quite a bit recently in terms of active cases. We hope that there is no post-Christmas spike that would raise the risk level locally. The rest of the province, particularly in hot spots like the Greater Toronto Area, Durham Region, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Windsor-Essex have seen an exponential growth in the number of positive cases. Infection is all around us and not far away, underscoring the importance of exercising precautions as dictated by public health. Despite the COVID fatigue we are all experiencing, this is not the time to become complacent or careless if we want to protect our health and safety and that of our families and friends.
At CLKD, our offices continue to be closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Staff members who can work from home have been asked to do so and only essential visitors are allowed into office and program locations, consistent with lockdown directives. Screening upon entry, monitoring of any symptoms, following testing protocols, and observing the precautions of social distancing, masking and sanitizing remain in place and will continue throughout the course of the winter, in the very least. CLKD employees are available for any questions or concerns and will respond to emails and phone calls in a prompt way. The business of the organization, although uniquely different during these challenging times, continues.
However, as many of you know, our services have been adjusted to respond to the COVID threat and the public health and provincial orders that have been handed down. Following the suspension of many of our non-essential services in March such as Respite, Options, Employment, and Child Care and the switch to offering many outreach services on a virtual basis such as Family Support and Family Home, we were able to slowly resume some of those operations in the fall. The second wave put us back into “retreat” mode, something we were prepared for and positioned to do.
Currently, we continue to operate our essential services in the safest way possible and are waiting for the risk level to go down before opening up non-essential services again. Based upon expert projections and the time delay in receiving the vaccine, we anticipate a rough January and February but are hopeful that the spring will deliver a noticeable measure of relief. If that speculation is true, you can expect to see our day support, respite and other services open up again gradually once the warmer weather hits. In other words, it will be the conditions and, specifically, the threat level that will determine our strategy moving forward.
The health and safety of the individuals we serve, families, volunteers, staff, and community partners is our primary focus and concern. The disruption and inconvenience are unfortunate by-products of the measures we must implement to keep everyone safe. We will escape the grip of COVID in the coming months and will return to doing what we love and believe in – serving our primary stakeholders and communities to advance our mission: “To provide support for individuals with an intellectual disability and advocate alongside them so they are welcome, included, and have every opportunity to participate fully in their community with dignity and independence.”
I will continue to keep everyone updated as we make our way through these troubling times. Stay safe and stay healthy.
December 30, 2020
We continue to navigate through very challenging times, although we in the Kingston and Gananoque areas have been relatively fortunate in that the number of reported positive cases of the coronavirus has remained low. Our staff members, families, persons served and other stakeholders have been healthy and safe, due in large part to everyone’s collective efforts to adhere to the precautions recommended by Public Health to limit the spread of infection. I know that this has resulted in many individuals and families going without service, and for those essential services that have been maintained, staff redeployments, screening measures, and lack of community participation have been disruptive. However, we will always follow the advice of the public health experts and comply with the provincial guidelines to ensure that health and safety remains our top priority.
Supports and Services
In mid-March when the pandemic hit, CLKD suspended activity in most non-essential programs and implemented strict screening measures in our essential services such as residential. Further restrictions were employed that limited visitation of non-essential visitors and personal protective equipment was secured in preparation for an outbreak. Thankfully, unlike other areas of the province, we did not experience any outbreaks. Still, we remain vigilant with respect to social distancing, hand washing, and sanitizing. We continue to require masks to be worn at all times at all program and office locations, again as a precautionary measure and in the interest of health and safety.
We have started the process of opening up non-essential services such as day supports and respite, although this will occur in a measured and cautious way and in compliance with provincial guidelines. Program Managers, in collaboration with Coordinators, other staff members, and families, will strategically begin delivering services on an individualized basis although small group activity in some programs may be considered as it is now within the parameters of the province’s “phase three” reopening. Correspondence related to the expanded delivery of non-essential programs will be shared by Managers and Coordinators.
Family Home, Family Support and Child Care Resource Consultant Services (CCRCS) that were never completely suspended will ramp up in conjunction with the province’s phased reopening. For CCRCS, much of the support offered through that program will depend upon the operations at child care centres. Planning, communication, and consultation with families will be maintained as we monitor activities in the community that will, in large part, dictate the level and type of service we can offer in these programs.
Kwik Shred and Employment supports also continue to operate, although volume has been adjusted due to the pandemic. We anticipate these programs operating at higher levels going forward, again depending upon the conditions we face in our community and the subsequent demand for service.
Residential Services and much of Supported Independent Living Services, Essential Services (Bayswater and Compass), and Lyons Street have been maintained throughout. Guidelines restricting family visits in residential services have been adjusted and now make it easier for families to see their loved ones and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during times of tight restrictions. Strict adherence to public health and provincial guidelines will remain in place, particularly for our 24 hour support homes in the hopes that we will soon be able to slowly shift back to normal operations in the coming months.
Our offices on Days Road, Gardiners Road and in Gananoque were closed to the public early on in the pandemic. Steps to protect health and safety such as sanitizing, universal masking, social distancing, and frequent hand washing were implemented and have been successful in preventing infection. Staff members who could work from home, particularly those in administration, were instructed to do so. As a result, we have utilized technology to stay connected and complete all tasks and responsibilities in a safe manner. We anticipate opening our offices again in October, albeit in a limited way and with precautions in place that will reflect the conditions at the time and with the best advice of Public Health.
As we have been, we will continue to work in close partnership with government, Public Health and other local officials to maneuver through these unprecedented times in ways that protect the health and safety of all stakeholders to the greatest extent possible. My thanks to all of you – persons served, families, employees, volunteers, community partners – for your strength, determination and perseverance. We have taken care of ourselves and each other in very selfless and admirable ways. As a result, we are in a good position to expand our services and address the needs and interests of those we support. I will provide further updates as the situation evolves, and in the meantime please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the management team if you have questions or require further information. Take care.
First, I would like to personally thank everyone for your patience and understanding as we have proceeded through these uncertain and unsettling times. The threat of COVID-19 necessitated implementing decisions such as program closures and restrictions on family visits that are entirely inconsistent with our values and goals but were necessary to keep everyone healthy and safe. As we look ahead, I can provide the following updates:
We fully understand and appreciate the imposition and disruption that our organization’s adjustments have had on persons served, families, employees, volunteers and other stakeholders of CLKD and will work to limit those going forward. Please do not hesitate to connect directly with me or any member of the management team if you have any questions or concerns. I will continue providing updates as things evolve. Thank you.
Update on COVID-19
We continue to make our way through very anxious and unsettling times in our community, province and well beyond. The decisions we have made as an organization undoubtedly inconvenience many and put others in even more stressful and challenging situations. We understand that and are working to limit the disruption as much as we can. The core objective in every decision we make is to keep individuals, families, employees, volunteers and others healthy and safe. We are taking the advice of public health experts and implementing measures that will position us to achieve our goal – that no person or family served, employee or volunteer gets sick. Some say that this goal is unrealistic given the contagious nature of this virus, yet that will remain our primary objective. I’m pleased to report that, as of today, we have no known cases of coronavirus for persons served or employees.
Below is information related to the changes that have been made in response to the threat of the coronavirus. I hope you find this helpful. Further updates will be provided on our website as this situation unfolds. Currently, we are assuming that we will be able to begin returning to normal operations in the middle of June. This timeframe will obviously be adjusted as conditions dictate. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the management team if you have questions or require further clarification.
Day Supports: Our Options program at 1292 Bath Road, CO2 Program at 1440 Princess Street, and Milestones Program at 400 Elliott Avenue have been suspended until further notice.
Respite Services: All respite services, including trip respite and weekend respite from our home on Arbour Crescent have been suspended until further notice.
Kwik Shred and Employment Supports: Our Kwik Shred operation on Fortune Crescent is maintaining operations although Employment Supports have been suspended until further notice.
Volunteer Services: All volunteer services have been discontinued until further notice.
Child Care Resource Consultant Services: CCRCS has suspended all activity apart from maintaining contact with families and providing resources to assist with children who are now staying at home.
Family Support: Family Support services have been scaled back and now include only remote check-ins with families and individuals to provide support, information and resources as needed.
Supported Independent Living: SIL has been scaled back as well and is providing only the most basic service to those who are able to function with a high degree of independence while maintaining intensive service to those who require it for their own health and safety.
Family Home and In-Home Supports: Some individualized supports to families have been maintained while others have been suspended. A determination, in consultation with families, was made based on circumstances, health and safety factors, and availability of natural supports in order to reduce services and ensure that those considered essential were uninterrupted.
Residential Services: All 24 hour group living arrangements are continuing as usual with the exception of strict rules on visitation and screening and with staff teams that are now “siloed” to prevent employees from working in more than one program.
Staff members who are able to work from home are doing that. For those who work in programs, we have redeployed more than 100 employees. There have been no layoffs and none are anticipated, although there will be a temporary dip in the number of scheduled hours that part time employees are accustomed to. Redeployments were executed individually and were based on existing relationships, familiarity with programs, and suitability of skills to program needs. Most staff members were reassigned to residential services, providing a built-in buffer (extra staffing) in case staffing resources become depleted as this pandemic continues. At the same time, we have been careful not to introduce too many new people to any one home in order to avoid disruption and unnecessary traffic. Despite the challenging logistics in implementing this strategy, staff members have been generally pleased that their jobs are safe and that their reassignment was done thoughtfully, not arbitrarily. Other staff members continue to work in programs with adjusted hours and activities as described above. Staff members in the scheduling department worked (and continue to work) exceptionally long hours without complaint in order to complete this monumental task. They are true champions.
Our offices at 541 Days Road, 645 Gardiners Road, and 26 Mill Street in Gananoque are closed to all visitors. Any deliveries to those locations must be arranged in advance.
Anyone entering any CLKD program location or office must complete a screening checklist prior to entry. This screening includes temperature taking with a forehead scan type thermometer that is provided.
As described above, locations have been closed to all visitors including families, strict screening procedures are in place at all sites, and staff members have be “siloed” to eliminate crossover traffic between homes. Additionally, CLKD has been very successful at securing personal protective equipment (PPE) during a time when this is extremely difficult. We are now well stocked with thermometers, gowns, gloves, masks, goggles, hand sanitizer and other disinfectants. Procedures for additional cleaning of all locations have been implemented, particularly related to high touch surfaces. The use of drive thru and take out options at all restaurants is now prohibited within any CLKD service. This also include home delivery, with the exception of groceries.
Our Options day program on Bath Road is being converted to an alternative residential location where up to three individuals can be quarantined if the need arises. This can be done with modest changes to the space, the most significant being the installation of a temporary shower. Of course, this will only be used in circumstances where an individual cannot, for whatever reason, self-isolate in their own room in a home or for someone in another program or with a family where exercising this option is prudent. We are also looking at equipping the lower level of one of our homes into a self-isolation location.
The management team meets every afternoon at 3:00, typically for 90 minutes or two hours to discuss emerging issues, preventative measures, and scenarios that may present themselves in the days and weeks ahead. I distribute an update to all employees daily to keep everyone informed of the steps that we are taking as an employer and service provider, to issue directives and instructions, to share helpful resources such as videos and articles, and to offer support, encouragement and thanks for everyone’s patience and dedication during such trying times.
I attend Provincial Network meetings twice per week that also serves to link CLKD with developments provincially, all of which have some level of impact on our organization and community. As well, we now hold weekly meetings of the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Focus Group (service providers) to establish frequent lines of communication and support collaboration locally as we navigate through this crisis. Lastly, I am part of the Mayor’s Task Force that meets twice weekly, is chaired by Mayor Bryan Paterson and involves community and civic leaders in health, education, social services, municipal services, Queen’s, St. Lawrence College, hospitals, public health, businesses and tourism in an attempt to coordinate activity and resources in support of our community.
Of course, all meetings described above are by either video or teleconference. Our skills in using technology to connect have improved dramatically!
We have created a Morale Task Force that is now split into three teams, each with a focus on ideas to support persons served, employees, or families. The purpose of the group is to implement creative strategies to address the stress, emotional toll, and compromised mental health that can accompany prolonged isolation. The groups have hatched a number of ideas that they are initiating including the use of technology to link people together.
As I’ve expressed repeatedly to all agency stakeholders, the health and safety of persons served, staff members, families and other stakeholders is paramount and drives all of our decisions. The resulting inconvenience and disruption, while considered carefully and addressed accordingly, is quite frankly secondary. My singular objective, as it is for the entire management team, is to protect everyone from getting sick. We will implement all necessary precautions and utilize any and all of the resources at our disposal in an attempt to achieve this goal. And yet, if someone contracts COVID-19 which may very well happen, we feel adequately prepared to respond as needed. Members of the management and administrative team have all done exceptional, selfless, hard work in preparing for, and responding to the threat of this pandemic. I’m proud to be part of this team and work alongside each and every one of them.
Letter re Community Inclusion Program (CIP) closure from Sheri Scott, Director of Operations for Community Living Kingston and District.
Updates from the Fall 2020 Community Living Kingston and District Newsletter.
Updates from the Spring 2019 Community Living Kingston and District Newsletter.
Updates from the Fall 2019 Community Living Kingston and District Newsletter.
Updates from the Spring 2018 Community Living Kingston and District Newsletter.
Updates from the Fall 2018 Community Living Kingston and District Newsletter.