September 1, 2020

Announcing: Essential Overnight Absences, Short-Stay Absences, Outings…

Dear Families:

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has provided updated guidance for the continued re-opening of our residential homes. This guidance includes updating the requirements for Essential Overnight Absences, and the resumption of Short-Stay Absences, Outings and Community Engagement.

When considering Short-Stay Absences and Day Absences, families should take into account, in cooperation with Kerry’s Place, appropriate outings consistent with a loved one’s preferences. Families should also take into careful consideration the balancing of risk levels associated with this outing, as well as the ease in adhering to public health measures.

An essential overnight absence is to be considered on a case by case basis, in consultation with families and management. An overnight absence is considered essential when it is truly vital to maintain the health, wellness and safety of a person supported, where risks and benefits are duly assessed. All parties should consider whether the support or care to be provided during the absence could be reasonably, safely, and fully assumed by our direct support staff, or by the family members providing the support and care at our residential homes, instead of through an overnight absence. If an overnight absence is agreed to, please also consider that upon return from an overnight absence, residents will no longer require a 14 day self-isolation period, but will follow enhanced precautions for the 14 days following the absence.

Although many of us have been waiting for this news, the protocols from the Ministry are comprehensive and require careful consideration before arranging outings or overnight absences. Available below are the Checklist documents that will be used by our staff when considering either an Overnight Absence or Short-Stay and Day Absences. I ask that you carefully review this document to ensure that the best decisions are made in partnership with our staff, and that the safety of your family is priority.

Best regards,
Susan VanDeVelde-Coke RN MBA PhD

For more information and to read our CHECKLIST document on Overnight Absence or Short-Stay and Day Absences, please click here…

July 22, 2020

Dear Families:

Re: Revised Visitor Guidelines – Protocol for visitors

We are so pleased to announce we have received updated visitor guidelines from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. We want to highlight the key changes identified in the MCCSS Visitor’s Guidelines: Re-opening of Congregate Living Setting:

  1. As of July 22, 2020, visitors are no longer required to be tested for COVID-19 to visit their loved ones.
  2. Resumption of indoor visits, while continuing outdoor visits. (Outdoor visits are encouraged over indoor)
  3. Essential overnight absences (e.g. to a family home) where it is considered necessary.

Revised protocol for residential site visits:

Prior to your visit:

  • COVID-19 testing no longer required to visit KP sites. Note, all visitors will still be required to complete an active screening, including temperature checks prior to entering the site.
  • A phone conversation with the staff at the residential site will occur prior to the visit to ensure visitors fully understand the revised protocol that must be followed during the visit.
  • Visits will be scheduled in advance at designated dates and times, to allow time for staff to adequately plan, ensure no conflict with other visits and prepare the visit area.
  • At this time, only 2 visitors per person supported are permitted at a time. Depending on availability, visits will have a maximum duration of 2 hours at a time and will not be limited to less than 30 min.
  • Consider if visit will be planned for outdoor or indoor. Outdoor visits are encouraged over indoor visits to reduce potential exposure risk to others in the home as well as to our visitors.
  • Visitors should consider their personal health and susceptibility to the virus in determining whether visiting is appropriate.
  • Review the posters on COVID-19 and Infection Prevention and Control measures, sent with our previous letter on resuming visits. If you need a copy, please contact us and we will be glad to send another copy to you.
  • We encourage families to be familiar with public washrooms in the area should you need it. Visitors are not able to use the washroom at the site during your visit other than for handwashing purposes.

Day of your visit:

  • All visitors MUST complete an active screening, have their temperature checked, agree to adhere to Kerry’s Place protocol for visits and sign-in before entering the site. Please note, any visitor that fails the active screening will not be allowed to enter the site.
  • Visitors must wear a mask at all times, for both indoor and outdoor visits. We encourage you to bring your own medical mask, but will have medical masks available at the site if needed.
  • Visitors are required to perform hand hygiene using alcohol-based hand sanitizer provided by KP, upon entrance to the site and exit. While not recommended, if the visitor’s mask will be temporarily removed during the visit for necessary reasons such as to consume a drink, hand hygiene should be performed before removing the mask and after putting the mask back on. Temporary removal of the mask should not occur longer than 2 min at a time.
  • Visits will occur in a designated area for both outdoor and indoor visits. Visitors must remain in their designated area for the duration of their visit, and will not have access to common areas other than washrooms for handwashing purposes only.
  • Visitors will be escorted by assigned staff to the designated area where visit will occur. Staff will need to maintain visual contact of the person supported and ensure protocol is followed. For indoor visits, doors must remain open.
  • While we understand families like to embrace and physically connect, staff will be required to ensure 6 feet of distance is maintained as per the directives of the Ministry. Bringing of gifts or other items is permitted providing it is easy-to-clean and in its original packaging. At this time, if you are bring food items only pre-packaged food products in their original packaging are permitted.
  • Visitors may bring their own drinks with a re-sealable lid to consume during the visit. Appropriate putting on and removing of masks as well as hand hygiene must be performed. Food consumption will not be allowed during the visit at this time.

*Please note: Further communication about how Essential Overnight Absences will happen at Kerry’s Place will be sent in the coming week. An essential overnight absence is considered in consultation with the families and manager when it is considered truly vital to maintain the health, wellness and safety of a person supported, where risks and benefits are assessed together.  Kerry’s Place continues to design measures with the highest standard and consideration ensuring the safety and well-being of our persons supported, families and staff.

Please do not hesitate to contact the manager of your loved ones home to inquire further.

Thank you,

Kerry’s Place Autism Services

July 16, 2020


We have recently received information from the Ministry outlining updated guidelines regarding visitation in congregate living settings, such as our residential homes. We are currently reviewing this information to best decide how to safely implement the updated guidelines, and how to communicate these new guidelines to our families.

We hope to have this information to our families as quickly as possible so we can improve the process for our community to visit with their loved ones.


June 15, 2020

Weather it’s a hobby, interest or even a life style; most of us will admit there is just something about gardening that cannot be explained by words alone. The feeling you get watching something start so small and grow into something beautiful can be hard to describe.

Over the past few months, residents all across Kerry’s Place have picked up there shovels, grabbed their watering cans and have started hitting the gardens and flower beds full force. The Home Garden Project is a fun and enjoyable way to try, reignite or even continue the “thirst” for gardening.

Weather it was a single plant in a pot, a small raised flower bed or even massive vegetable gardens, our residents have been “busy bee’s” creating, building and maintaining their Home Gardens.

Here is a look at our Wellington Treatment facility who decided to go big with raised vegetable and herb gardens. The residents had their hands full with this one and even had to build a fence to keep the wildlife from eating all their vegetables and herbs. Great job everyone, we cannot wait for the harvest!

We would like to thank Home Hardware (Grand Valley and Arthur), Fairway Lumber and Bellamy Contracting Services for supplying us with the material for this massive project.




June 3, 2020


On May 31, 2020 Mitchell completed one of his Person Directed Plan goals of planting a vegetable garden. He had so much fun and just kept wanting to do more!!

On June 1, 2020 Mitchell then completed another PDP goal and planted his 2 flower pots that sit outside his bedroom window.

Mitchell has been so proud and tells everyone who comes into the house about his plants and flowers. He waters them every night after dinner!

May 28, 2020


An inspiration and the inspiration for all of us at Kerry’s Place!

May 24, 2020

Aidan from our home at College Manor received an email from his sister in England.

They made him a video from their backyard. Normally his family would come visit but during COVID 19 they will not be able to make the trip.

We have been helping Aidan on using e-mail and video chat during this difficult time and thought it might inspire other talented families to do similar messages to loved ones!


A Million Dreams by Jamsie, Sarah and James. A lockdown music family project and the first time we’ve ever sung together. We loved The Greatest Showman and we dedicate our little tribute to the NHS and all the key workers working so blooming hard just now.

May 22, 2020


👕☀️☀️👕Karen and Katherine from East Luther wearing their new tie-dye t-shirts – created and died themselves! A great look for summer and fun way to pass some time outside in the sunshine! 👕☀️☀️👕

May 14, 2020


Our homes CHAL and RING started some spring clean up and gardening today!



May 11, 2020


Masks and Headbands (and the best presentation!) from The Village Sewists of Guelph!


May 5, 2020


A donation of Ear Savers (or face mask extensions) was made by Dianne Pearce to Kerry’s Place today.

This is a clever solution for ear irritation caused by the face mask elastic band worn around the ears.


April 28, 2020


This is our amazing Manager Tanya leading the charge to get clearance tests for the people we support at Homestead!

The staff has been nothing short of incredible through all of this!

I don’t have words beyond “thank you” and…


I started working at Kerry’s Place 21 years ago. I was a PT assistant that worked as many shifts as I could. I was very new to the field but was eager and wanted to learn. One of my challenges at that time was Y2K. I was working the overnight when the new year changed to 2000. It was a huge and stressful shift, but we got through it. Now… 21 years later, this has been the biggest challenge for me personally and professionally. We’ll get through this too… it’s about working together as a team and being able to reach out. It’s all in a day’s work and taking each day one day at time. Some days will be awesome and others will be not so great, but I always think about why I do what I do… it’s because of the people that I support. I wouldn’t do anything differently.

April 24, 2020

Temporary changes to eligible expenses

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is temporarily expanding the list of eligible expenses under the Special Services at Home program to support people and their families while community-based activities and settings are closed. These changes allow you to use your funding for goods and services that may make it easier for you to stay at home during this time and practise physical distancing.

New eligible expenses include:

  1. Sensory Items
    • To support recipients who rely on sensory items to alleviate anxiety/stress and/or support any clinical or behavioural plans.
      • multi-sensory related products and technologies.
  1. Technology
    • Provide program participants the means and ability to stay safe, connected, and occupied and engaged at home, including in virtual and online learning and skill development activities:
      • Laptops and tablets;
      • Online educational and e-learning activities and resources;
      • Videogames and videogame systems;
      • Webcams and microphones;
      • Media service subscriptions and platforms (e.g. Netflix, Xbox Live, Disney+);
      • E-readers (e.g. Kindle or Kobo); and
      • Remote monitoring devices and medical alert services and devices (e.g. to support people living in SIL or independently).
    • The approval of technology will also support the virtual engagement of people with disabilities and connections for families, providing some relief from caregiving requirements and alleviating some of the impacts of physical distancing.
  2. Activities and items to support home-based recreation and fitness activities that would otherwise be accessed through day programs, school and other community-based programs:
    • Supplies to support home-based hobbies and activities. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
      • Arts and craft supplies;
      • Hobby supplies;
      • Puzzles and games; and
      • Books for leisure/learning.
    • Supplies to support home-based physical activity and fitness.This may include but is not limited to:
      • Indoor items and equipment (e.g. skipping rope, yoga mat, resistance bands); and
      • fitness/sport equipment and supplies that may be used on the individual’s property (e.g. basketball net, trampoline, frisbee, badminton set)
  1. Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies, When Available
    • This is intended to enable program participants and their support workers to be supported more safely at home or as required, in the community, which may be of heightened importance to children/adults who are immunocompromised:
      • Gloves;
      • Masks;
      • Gowns;
      • Cleaning supplies (disinfectant wipes, sprays, and hand sanitizer); and
      • Where required, goggles and face shields.
  1. Essential Service Delivery Fees
    • Families caring for people with physical and/or developmental disabilities, particularly families caring for family members who are medically fragile, may not be able to leave their homes for groceries or pharmacy needs because of the vulnerability of their family member and/or because of their care requirements.
    • If necessary, service delivery fees for essential items such as groceries and medication will be an admissible expense.
      • g. Instacart by Loblaws, pharmacy deliveries
  1. Behavioural Support Plans and Related Interventions
    • Development of behavioural support plans and recommended interventions (delivered in person or remotely/virtually) and/or support strategies to reduce challenging behaviours or potential crisis situations intended to assist families to more safely support their family member at home.

For more information, please click on the following link: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/specialservices.aspx

April 20, 2020


Much appreciated (and needed) N-95 masks and gloves delivered by TSN’s James Duthie this morning.

Conquer COVID-19 is comprised of physicians, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and other volunteers who are working together to ensure front-line workers responsible for the health and well-being of Canadians have access to masks, gloves, and other supplies that are essential in treating patients and minimizing the spread of the virus.



April 17, 2020


#THANKYOU to the Georgina Fire Department for a generous donation to our Georgina location. Much needed masks & face shields!

April 10, 2020


#THANKYOU to Spirit of York for your generous donation of 50 bottles of hand sanitize. Your tireless efforts and contribution is not only supporting us, but everyone in need, is so greatly appreciated by all of us here at Kerry’s Place!

April 3, 2020



March 30, 2020


OAP staff in York and Simcoe are providing behavioural services through video for many different skills. This one in particular was for a modified PEERS® program to enhance social skills. Slides were shared with the family prior to the session and reviewed through FaceTime. The session included teaching new material, modeling and role playing.



March 24, 2020

Kerry’s Place Autism Services continues to be available to support your family during these unprecedented times.  While our offices remain closed to the public, we continue to offer individualized supports by telephone and email, and select services via web-conferencing platforms.  Our knowledgeable and supportive staff are here to help. Email us at OAP.Intake@nullkerrysplace.org, or feel free to connect with a familiar service professional at Kerry’s Place Autism Services.


March 23, 2020


We have made it through the first week of what will continue to be a very difficult and challenging time.  The changes to our lives have been unprecedented!

We have had to become familiar and practice the ‘new normal’: screening processes, self-isolation, self-monitoring, social distancing, and keeping your hands and environment clean, etc.  In addition, some of you may have children or grandchildren who have had their education disrupted or maybe a spouse/significant other who have had their employment negatively impacted.

We are all living with increased anxiety and concern for our own health and that of our loved ones, and the heath of the people we support.  I wish we knew the best way to alleviate those fears.

My message is to THANK YOU!  Thank you for the dedication, flexibility and commitment to providing quality supports for all those individuals and families that Kerry’s Place serves.  So far staffing has been manageable in our homes, thanks to the help of our community and clinical staff who are assisting with keeping our individuals engaged when outings are not permitted.  I have to also thank our finance, HR, IT, and office staff who are working under restricted environments.

I’m starting “Virtual Town Hall” teleconferences for all regions and offices, for staff to ask questions of myself, HR, Betti Assefa, our Nurse Practitioner, and the Regional Executive Director of the particular region.

The “all staff” memos, the ever updating website and these town halls, are all communication strategies that Kerry’s Place is employing to keep you healthy, safe and informed.  If you have questions that have not been answered or suggestions on how we might improve our approach to the pandemic, please do not hesitate to use the info@nullkerrysplace.org.

Again thanks to all of you.  Working together we will make it through these challenging times, and come out a stronger organization on the other side.

With sincere appreciation,

Sue VanDeVelde-Coke, RN, MBA, PhD
President and CEO, Kerry’s Place


March 19, 2020


March 18, 2020

We have heard from many of you in the Kerry’s Place Community are looking for additional information about COVID-19.


March 17, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concern about the vulnerable individuals in our care, Kerry’s Place has closed its clinical sites serving individuals and families, to help reduce the spread and transmission of the virus within our communities. Effective since end of day Saturday, March 14, our community and clinical services and our non-essential sites have been closed. All services, camps, appointments and workshops have also been cancelled, and we have reached out to our families with information, and rescheduling and refund options.

At our Residential Homes we remain vigilant with our active screening measures, and with the distribution of information, and implementation, of our infection prevention and control practices.  We have taken measures to ensure procurement of essential supplies, or have set up systems to redistribute supplies so that every home is well equipped and safe during this period.

We have created safer work environments for our non-essential staff, by implementing additional infection prevention processes, social-distancing, shift-scheduling alternatives, and remote working options.

Please visit this page for the latest information, or email info@nullkerrysplace.org with any questions.


March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Travel Advisory

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, as well as self-isolation for any person returning from outside Canada within the past 14 days.

This means self-isolation for a total of 14 days from arrival to Canada. For example, if a person returned to Canada 10 days ago, they should be in self-isolation for 4 more days, for a total of 14 days.

For any visitor or staff, who has returned from travel outside of Canada, including the USA, we ask that you self-isolate and not visit our facilities.


March 14, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concern about the vulnerable individuals in our care, Kerry’s Place is closing its clinical sites serving individuals and families, to help reduce the spread and transmission of the virus within our communities.

Effective end of day, Saturday, March 14, our community and clinical services and our non-essential sites will be closed indefinitely. However we will continue to monitor the situation pertaining to COVID-19, and will provide updates as government and community recommendations are shared.  While our offices remain closed to the public, we continue to offer individualized supports by telephone and email, and select services via web-conferencing platforms.  Our knowledgeable and supportive staff are here to help.

  • Email us at intake@nullkerrysplace.org, or feel free to connect with a familiar service professional at Kerry’s Place Autism Services.

Appointments will be rescheduled after our sites re-open and families who have purchased services during the closure period will not be charged for those services.

Please visit this page for the latest information, or email info@nullkerrysplace.org with any questions.


March 13, 2020

Due to numerous province wide community centres closures, Kerry’s Place will no longer be able to run our March Break Camps and many of our Adult Day Supports. We are currently reaching out to families that have enrolled in these options.


March 13, 2020

We at Kerry’s Place Autism Services are meeting regularly to address specific questions with respect to operations. We aim to remain comprehensive in our handling of the outbreak, providing clarity to the Kerry’s Place Community.

Below are some questions and answers that you may find informative and helpful!

What has changed now that the status has been elevated to pandemic?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has made their assessment to characterize COVID-19 as a pandemic due to the degree of spread and severity of COVID-19. A pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. WHO emphasize that containment continues to be a top priority.

What precautions are being taken for persons supported in our homes?

  • We have pre-existing pandemic plans, both centralized for across Kerry’s Place and for every Region for specific local challenges. These fulsome plans are being reviewed and adapted based on the latest information as it becomes available.

Who is at most risk?

  • While the virus infects all ages, those at higher risk of severe case of COVID-19 infection include the elderly (over 60 years old) and those with underlying chronic conditions (including heart disease, diabetes, lung disease such as COPD, and cancer). About 80% of people who contract COVID-19 recover without needing special treatment, yet some can go on to develop severe disease.

Are we screening for COVID-19 at Kerry’s Place?

  • We will be pre-screening visitors (over the phone when possible) and before walking into our Kerry’s Place facilities.
    1. We are providing visitors signage over all our residences and community services sites to be visibly placed at the front entrance of homes and offices. All visitors will need to sign in at each of the residential sites and community services.
    2. Our staff are self-screening before arriving to work.

Thank you for reading. Kerry’s Place Autism Services will continue to provide regular updates to our staff and our community on the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.


March 5, 2020

With increased reports of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections worldwide, Kerry’s Place Autism Services want to continue to remind our families and community partners of the role we all play to contain the transmission of the virus.  At present, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the current public health risk for Canadians to be low for the coronavirus, COVID-19.  As the situation is evolving, PHAC continues to reassess risk and provide updates as new information becomes available. We will continue to monitor the Public Health Agency of Canada website for the updates.

To prevent the spread of transmission of any respiratory illness, including COVID-19, we recommend the following precautionary measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alternatively, an alcohol based hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water not available.
    • Carry alcohol based hand sanitizers when at outings and use frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, by using your sleeve or a tissue that is to be disposed immediately into a closed trash bin.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting touched objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs, will be important to prevent transmission, as it is yet unknown how long this virus can live on surfaces.
  • If you are sick, stay home until you no longer have symptoms.

We want to continue to reassure our families and community partners that our highly skilled teams, providing support to your loved ones, have been trained on infection, prevention and control, and respiratory protection best practices. We also want to encourage our families and community partners to follow the guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada on prevention and risks as well as measures you can take to be prepared.


January 31, 2020

Kerry’s Place Autism Services is actively monitoring the recent Coronavirus outbreak in addition to our regular monitoring of Influenza and other infectious diseases. At this time, we would like to reassure our families and community partners that our highly skilled teams, providing support to your loved ones, have been trained on infection, prevention and control and respiratory protection best practices.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has deemed the public health risk of the novel Coronavirus to be low for Canadians, and the risk continues to be reassessed. We encourage you to also stay informed with updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as washing your hands often and remaining home when feeling ill.