Statement from the Ontario Government on the Social Services Sector’s Response to COVID-19

From the Government of Ontario – Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, provided an update on the measures being put into place across the social services and youth justice sectors:

“Protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians, including the staff and clients in Ontario’s social services and youth justice sectors, is our government’s number one priority.

In line with the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and to ensure a safe and secure environment for all, the province is recommending that, where feasible, our service providers consider only allowing essential visitors until further notice. We are also asking that they undertake a screening process at all locations. We have prepared a toolkit including a screening checklist and signage to aid in ensuring these measures can be implemented.

The following measures have been put into place in provincially operated youth justice centres:

  • Suspending all personal visitors and cancelling volunteer activities. Professional visits including legal counsel will continue however, though consideration should be given to alternative options such as the use of teleconferences.
  • Approved personal visitors will be able to continue to maintain contact with youth by phone. Enhanced technology, such as video calling, where operationally available and operationally feasible, can be used to allow virtual visits with family.
  • All non-essential reintegration leaves will be restricted until further notice. Reintegration leaves help youth in custody to reintegrate back into the community and support their rehabilitation by allowing them to leave a facility for medical, humanitarian/compassionate, employment and/or educational reasons for a specified time while following set terms and conditions, including staff escorts.

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