The Ontario government recently announced a province-wide shutdown which will take effect on December 26, 2020, in response to the continued rise in COVID-19 cases across the province and to ensure the health and safety of all Ontarians. The province-wide lockdown takes effect as follows:
- Two weeks (14 days) for the entire province until Saturday, January 9, 2021
- Four weeks (28 days) for Southern Ontario until Saturday, January 23, 2021
As we have done on numerous occasions throughout the pandemic, the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) is providing the following update as to how these ongoing developments may impact members and other stakeholders.
The College recognizes that these new measures – particularly as they coincide with the holiday season – may add to what is already an extremely challenging time for members on a number of levels. We continue to take our cues from government and public health authorities and we remind members to do the same.
While some members may be permitted to provide in-person services because of the nature of the services they provide, the College strongly advises all members to continue, wherever reasonably possible, to provide services by electronic means.
As noted in an October 2, 2020 eBulletin, a November 6, 2020 eBulletin and a November 23, 2020 eBulletin, members should ensure that they are up to date with respect to information and guidance from government and public health authorities and familiar with previous College communications regarding:
- safety and infection control measures;
- considerations for members regarding in-person practice; and
- key considerations for members in private practice.
Members are also advised to consult the College’s practice resources regularly, including:
- COVID-19 Updates webpage
- Top 6 considerations for virtual services
- FAQs on cross-jurisdictional practice
- ETHICSàA: Ethical Decision-Making Tool
The College will continue to monitor ongoing developments very closely and to provide further communications regarding new provincial updates which may impact members as they become available.
We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season, however you may celebrate, and thank you for your ongoing dedication and service.
Keep well and stay safe.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO