The Ottawa Rotary Home Q & A
Ottawa Public Health and Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services are the main
government bodies helping us do our work safely right now during the pandemic. However, as
we are an agency with employees, we must follow all labour laws and provincial directions,
such as “Emergency Orders”.
There are very clear Ministry Guidelines on what is allowed in “congregate care settings”. As we have
three individuals who live permanently on the adult respite side of our building, we are not allowed to
bring in a rotation of new people into that mix. The funding for staffing that we receive to support these
individuals residentially, helps us to fund adult respite when it is operational. Our goal is to return to
offering respite on both sides of the building but we must follow Ottawa Public Health and Ministry
guidelines in order to do so safely. Rest assured that our IPAC team is following all new developments and
guidelines daily so that we can make informed and timely decisions.
Two primary reasons: Safety and security of individuals we support and staffing challenges.
A) Safety and Security: When there were so many unknows about the virus, we created a cohort model
for offering respite which had to be approved by Public Health and the ministry. Fortunately that model
was approved but we were kept under 5 people and staffing was 1:1. This was due to the need for
everyone to have their own space (room/bathroom/living room, etc)
B) Staffing Challenges: There are multiple reasons for this. As we are under Emergency Orders, the
regulations are preventing workers from working at multiple agencies. Due to the flexible nature of our
services, we lost casual and part-time staff to other employers. We are hoping that with vaccinations,
these regulations will shift. Agencies and families alike, across the province are facing this challenge. We
are participating in regional and provincial initiatives to attract people to our field.
We have taken an “all hands-on deck” approach to make respite happen but as an employer, itis also our
responsibility to manage the mental health needs of our existing employees.
In addition, some families who used us infrequently because they had other resources, are now using us
exclusively. We are doing our best to distribute respite to all families equally.
All programs have been impacted in one way or another. We have continued to operate respite on a
reduced schedule since July 6, 2020 where many other agencies have fully suspended any overnight
respite they offered. Due to space limitations, we have been unable to support our adult day program
clients since the start of the pandemic. Once we tackle our recruitment challenges, we have a plan to re-
open day services and increase our respite capacity and change the staff to client ratios.
The province has a framework that has been made public to everyone in terms of how individuals are
offered their second dose. We are working under Ottawa Public Health and are being cued as to when
we can proceed with second doses. As of right now, we are following the same prioritization schedule
that was set out for first dose so we will be completing the congregate care sites first and then reaching
out in order of vaccination date for all of our other programs. We are optimistic that we be contacting
you before end of July to discuss our second dose clinics. We will be in touch and rest assured that we
are tracking all first doses so no one will be forgotten.
We love it when we get this question .
Please continue to communicate with us and let us know how you are doing. June is hiring month and we
hope to have more staff onboard in July for training. Vaccinations are rolling out quickly so please reach
out if you have questions or are concerns about vaccines. Vaccinations and other screening tools (like the
Rapid Antigen Testing program) are key for us to move forward with further re-opening.
At this moment, securing two doses will not change the amount of respite being offered to your
family/loved one as decisions about expanding respite are contingent on staffing and a re-opening model)
If you know of anyone who is looking for employment, and trust their abilities, please feel free to refer
them to our Human Resources department.
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New Playground Is Completed!
We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). OTF has committed $50,000 towards an all-abilities playground at our Leitrim Campus.
This donation, combined with funds received in memory of Rotarian Keith Halpenny, means hours of fun and activity for the children and youth who come to visit Rotary Home.
Photos to come soon!
Our tremendous thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and to the Halpenny family for making this project possible.
To all of our families, staff, donors and supporters, thank you for making it another great year at Rotary Home!