Ontario Commences  Reopening of Province and Health Care Services

While government has  extended the Declaration of Emergency to June 2nd, on May 14th Premier Ford announced planning for re-opening of the province and announced additional workplaces that can begin to open effective May 19, 2020.  View the detailed list of  Stage 1 Openings, including health services.

Government has announced a staged and gradual opening of services and supports as detailed in their 4 staged plan, Reopening Ontario after COVID-19 .

The Premier introduced Stage 1 health and medical services able to to resume.  These include;

Further detail about Stage 1 is available in A Framework for Opening our Province – Stage 1 .  Note that all services to be delivered will need to be compliant with 

OSOT positions that this communication regarding health services is unclear at best and has written to secure clarifying information which will be posted as soon as available.  Members who reviewed press releases on May 14, 2020 will note that changes have been made to remove confusing references to professional services like Children's Treatment Centres.  We recognize that members will require further clarification as Directive 2 is still in place is the guidance of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario regarding provision of all essential services by telepractice, limiting in-person treatment for urgent care.  We understand that the Ministry is working to address Directive 2 which gives some indication that circumstances could begin to change slowly soon.

OSOT has communicated our concerns that access to occupational therapy services across all sectors of practice must be addressed in a timely manner to assure public access to necessary OT services.  We have advocated to participate actively as a stakeholder in planning and implementation tables.   View  OSOT communication to Emergency Operations Committee Leads.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists in all sectors of practice have been limited in their practice as a result of the pandemic restrictions.  As the province moves to re-open it is critical that OTs carefully monitor directions and guidance.   The College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario has advised that they have been directed to develop return to work guidance for the profession and are presently developing these to be available soon.  

Occupational therapists are advised to prepare to resume services, recognizing that that there will be strict guidance re in-person care and that virtual care models will likely be emphasized for some time.  Monitor the Government, COTO and OSOT Covid-19 webpages for frequent updates.  OSOT will post sector relevant information in the Practice Sector section of the COVID-19 webpages.

Members are encouraged to forward their questions and issues relating to reopening of services to osot@osot.on.ca.  Understanding your practice experience helps us serve you better!