Yesterday, the Ontario government announced that it had declared a third provincial emergency in response to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, the threat on the province’s hospital system capacity and the alarming risk posed to the public by the COVID-19 variants. The stay-at-home order takes effect April 8, 2021.
As Registrar and CEO, I recognize that the most recent stay-at-home order adds to our collective anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the personal and professional challenges faced by members and other stakeholders.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind College members of the various factors that they should consider in relation to their practice as the Ontario government moves into this latest stay-at-home order.
Reminder – Practice considerations
Members may wish to refer to Regulation 82/20 which provides information related to services or businesses that may open, including professionals or organizations that provide in-person counselling services. It is very important to note that there are a number of requirements set out in the Regulation with which all businesses that may open must comply.
It should also be emphasized once again that 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.
We continue to take our cues from government and public health authorities and we remind members to do the same. Members should also ensure that they are 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
- ETHICS->A: Ethical Decision-Making Tool
The College is monitoring the situation closely and will provide further communications regarding provincial updates which may impact members and other stakeholders, as they become available.
Members can visit the College’s centralized webpage to access practice support, as well as other COVID-19 resources, links to government and public health authorities, and eBulletins which have been sent to members and other stakeholders throughout the pandemic.
Thank you for your service. As these difficult times continue, I urge you to remain vigilant as each of us does our part.
Keep well and stay safe.
Lise Betteridge, MSW, RSW
Registrar and CEO