Minister Todd Smith visits Safehaven

Toronto, ON – On June 16th, Minister Todd Smith of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) visited Safehaven to learn about the work the organization has been leading to support their clients and the Developmental Sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. During his visit, Minister Smith and his team received a tour of their facilities while discussing the organization’s current priorities for Safehaven and the broader sector.


Their discussion highlighted the knowledge gaps that exist within the sector when it comes to Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC). Safehaven was able to highlight their work and was pleased to share insights into an IPAC program they have designed and are currently delivering, aligned to support agencies in the Toronto Developmental Service Alliance (TDSA). The program includes four learning modules that disseminates critical information around health and safety precautions. As well, a fifth module has been developed, specifically for the creation of IPAC Champions who will be leading their own infection control practices at their respective organizations. This leadership approach is important in creating a basic IPAC program for sustainability in a sector that has limited exposure to managing infectious diseases in a congregate setting. In addition to the learning modules, the team with IPAC expertise is providing on-site environmental assessments, mask fit testing and swab testing for COVID that is commencing imminently. 


This work is supporting the gaps that exist in the community and has expanded to support needs from vulnerable individuals in community based agencies involved in health, Women Against Violence and vulnerable children.


Minister Smith and Safehaven also discussed future projects for the organization that centre around its unique positioning in delivering safe, high quality care to individuals who live with both medical complexities and developmental disabilities. The goal of these projects is to break down barriers and develop innovative cross-sector integrations that are client centered. 


Throughout, Minister Smith and Safehaven discussed critical priorities for the organization that will have a profound impact not only on Safehaven’s clients but the Developmental Sector as a whole. In addition to actively participating in Safehaven’s screening process for essential visitors for infectious symptoms upon entry, Minister Smith also received a mask-fit test to gain a deeper understanding of the full reality of what proper N-95 precautions require.


Safehaven applauds Minister Smith and MCCSS for their support of this program, in part by funds received from the COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund. The program is also aligned with the standards from Ontario Public Health congregate settings as well as Accreditation Canada for community-based settings. Minister Smith is a dedicated advocate for children and frontline workers across the sector and his support of Safehaven and their clients has been deeply appreciated. 


To see highlights from the tour and mask-fit testing, head to Minister Smith’s social media channels at @44toddsmith or Safehaven’s at @SafehavenTO.


About Safehaven: Safehaven works hard every day to provide an exceptional place for their clients and families so that they can thrive in place from childhood through to adulthood. Their unique approach provides day programming, respite and residential care in a warm, loving, stimulating environment – an environment that allows medically complex, technology dependent children, youth and adults to live a full and vibrant life in a community setting – one of the only model of its kind across Ontario – potentially the country..