We're Getting Ready For You!
Issued: July 17, 2020
On July 13th the Ontario government announced that nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the provinces reopening framework. This stage will include the eventual reopening of our YMCA facilities.
We appreciate there are some positive steps forward with this announcement, however at this time an opening date for your YMCA has not been determined. We know it will take several weeks to put plans in place for a safe reopening, once we receive clarity on the provincial guidelines.
The first step in doing so will be recalling our YMCA Staff Team and ensuring everyone is appropriately trained on new health and safety protocols. Facilities will be retrofitted with dividers, signage and other health measures where appropriate and pools will require public health inspection.
We are as excited to eventually welcome you back just as much as many of you have shared you are to return. We have received some incredibly supportive notes from many members and we thank you.
We also recognize that not everyone will be ready to return upon reopening. If you wish to extend the current hold on your membership, you may do so by completing a Membership Hold Form
We will continue to keep you updated on the measures we’re taking to keep everyone safe and once a reopening date has been determined, you will be the first to know.
Senior Regional Manager, Health, Fitness & Aquatics
We're Getting Ready For You!
Issued: July 9, 2020
Dear YMCA Members...
We miss you! It's been hard being away from the people we care about and who make up the YMCA. We know many of you are eager to get back to your YMCA and wonder when you can return.
Once we get the green light from our Province and move to Phase 3 we will be able to begin re-opening our Health & Fitness Centres in a phased approach. Across all of our YMCA progras, we're following some important principles to guide our re-opening plans; among these is a commitment to put people first - both our valued YMCA members and employees. We want to welcome you back as safely as possible.
In the meantime, we’re busy getting ready and doing everything possible to ensure our facilities meet the highest standards of health and safety and modifying our policies and programs to ensure proper physical distancing practices can be maintained. Each of our Health & Fitness Centres has undergone a thorough deep cleaning during our closure and we’ve modified spaces, access points, traffic flow through our facilities and more.
Here are just a few of the safety measures you’ll see when you visit the Y:
- Glass barriers at Membership Desks
- Health screenings upon entry
- Contactless scan-in stations
- Single one-way directional entry and exit
- Physical distancing measures to maintain 2 metres between other people
- Increased sanitization and disinfection
- Increased hand-sanitizing stations
- Controlled building access and class sizes to support physical distancing
We all have a shared responsibility to support the safety of ourselves and those around us as we continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Over the coming weeks, we will slowly reopen spaces and programs within your YMCA as it becomes safe to do so. This may mean you will have to vary your workout routine through a combination of programs at the YMCA, virtual fitness
at home or outdoors, as we all adjust to changes in the YMCA environment.
For the convenience of members, we’re also investing in new technology solutions to help you pre-book and manage your workouts online. We’re committed to supporting access to this new technology and keeping members informed about re-opening plans. To ensure we have the most up-to-date contact information for you and your family, we encourage you to complete our Member Communications Information Form
, where you can also subscribe to our Member newsletter. Please stay tuned to our website
and social media channels as we await further provincial announcements.
Finally, as we plan for a safe return to YMCA programs, we know more children, youth and families will need the support of our YMCA. The needs of our community will be greater than ever. If you can help, at any level, please do so by visiting: www.ymcahbb.ca/donate
Although the ways we’ll interact with one another may look different, you’ll always be able to connect with people, improve your health and wellness, nurture your children’s potential, and help strengthen our community. We can’t wait to see you soon!
YMCA Child Care Family Reactivation Update #1
Issued: June 9, 2020 | 5:00pm
Dear YMCA Families…
We know many parents have heard today’s provincial announcement that child care centres could reopen as early as this Friday June 12th.
We look forward to welcoming our YMCA families back soon.
Our first priority is to ensure the safety of YMCA families and staff. One of the key requirements we have prior to initiating any reopening will be the new health and safety child care guidelines provided by both local and provincial health authorities, which will inform our operational processes.
As we await the local and provincial health guidelines, we continue to prepare for the reopening of our centres including:
- Understanding our ability to access locations in school or other facilities
- Understanding of new operational requirements related to health and safety
- Recalling YMCA educators back to work
- Beginning preparedness and training efforts for educators
- Ensuring adequate supplies are in place
We appreciate the feedback that we’ve received from our recent child care survey from families. We know that health and safety, staffing models, and how child care spaces will be managed are top of mind for families. We expect the new guidelines to provide clarity on these areas.
We are committed to keeping you updated in a timely way as new information emerges. We will provide an update to families no later than Wednesday, June 17th.
Thank you for your support and patience as we navigate centre reopenings.
Chief Operating Officer
Important Update About YMCA Day Camp
Update: May 22, 2020 | 1:30pm
With this week’s announcements that schools would remain closed for the balance of the school year, we know families need clarity on what our approach will be to YMCA Day Camps this summer.
Our number one priority in delivering camp programs has always been the health, safety and protection of our campers, staff and volunteers. Last week, we shared that we would need to adjust our original plan.
Based on the safety guidelines that will be required to deliver a safe day camp program, we have decided that we will be cancelling our planned YMCA Day Camp program this summer. Registered families will be refunded for the full balance of their YMCA Day Camp fees over the next four weeks.
We know that as our communities and local economies continue to re-open this summer, families will need our help.
We are examining opportunities to deliver an alternate summer program that can effectively incorporate public health measures to reduce the risk of virus spread, including physical distancing, smaller group sizes, daily health assessments with enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.
Registration and more details about this alternate YMCA summer program will be announced once the Province is able to safely remove restrictions on day camps, and the YMCA is adequately prepared for opening. Preparations will include identifying locations, readying facilities, examining possible timing of program, hiring and training of staff, and implementing any site-specific modifications. Registration for any alternate YMCA summer programs will be shared via our YMCA website ymcahbb.ca and our social media channels later next month.
We know how much children look forward to their summer camp experience and how important this support is to families. We appreciate your understanding as we make these changes and we will share information about revised summer program plans with families as soon as they are finalized.
An Important to Update to YMCA Wanakita Campers About Summer Programs
Issued: May 14, 2020 | 10:15am
Dear YMCA Wanakita Campers…
I hope this letter finds you and your families well, safe and healthy. And I hope that among the challenges that the current pandemic situation has brought, that you've also found opportunities to embrace an old hobby, build a new skill and connect with others in different ways as we all practice physical distancing. It is these connections to our self and others that are so vital to our overall well-being.
We know Wanakita is an important place for you to build these connections. We've received many questions about whether summer programs will be impacted by government and public health direction, physical distancing measures and more.
Our number one priority in delivering camp programs has always been the health, safety and protection of our campers, staff and volunteers and COVID-19 has raised many questions and uncertainties about how to deliver programs safely this summer in a camp environment.
I'm saddened to share that we've made the difficult decision to cancel all YMCA Wanakita programs for Summer 2020.
This will be the first summer ever in our 67 year history that Wanakita and Koshlong Lake will not come alive with campers. We know this news will be hard for many of you, your children and families, who live for their Wanakita summer. We feel it too.
However, we will not operate camp programs if we cannot be confident that we can ensure the health of our campers and staff.
We know camp can be a significant investment for families each year and to that end, we'd like to provide you with some options for your fees paid to date. You can read more about each option at the link below. The simplest thing we can do to get you ready for our 2021 season is to carry your fees forward as a credit so that all you need to do is finalize your 2021 registration. Should you choose to carry your fees forward, you will receive Priority Registration between June 8 - July 8, 2020.
It's with our heartfelt thanks for your understanding and patience as we've worked through this situation. We know it's not the outcome anyone hoped but it is the reality that we are living in at this time. We cannot wait to see you again on the shores of Koshlong. Be well.
Yours in camping,
General Manager, YMCA Wanakita
COVID-19 Update to our YMCA Members
Update: March 31 - 9am
Staying connected with our members is vitally important to the YMCA particularly during this challenging time.
Based on the advice and directives of Canada’s health authorities, our YMCA Health, Fitness & Aquatics Centres will not be in the position to re-open on April 6th
as previously anticipated and will remain closed at this time.
Your membership will remain on hold and payments will not be processed throughout the duration of the closure. Over the coming weeks, to help keep you connected to your Y, we’ll be expanding our free online YThrive Home
We know our YMCA members understand that as part of the YMCA, you’re part of a broad network of YMCA programs and services which support our communities.
Although we have closed and cancelled a number of vital programs and services in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, some remain operational. YMCA Employment Services and Immigrant Services programs continue to provide remote support to those seeking employment and those settling in our communities. While our physical offices are closed our teams continue to work with clients through phone and web access.
Additionally, our transitional housing for over 170 men, located in Downtown Hamilton, remains open and available and we continue to support these individuals as we manage through this Pandemic. Working closely with local health authorities, we have taken precautionary measures to protect residents during this community health crisis.
As a charity, the YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford is propelled by our mission and values to support those in need in our communities. Our values of belonging, caring, honesty, respect and responsibility, guide the work we do both within our communities and across our teams.
We appreciate you being part of our YMCA family and wish you and our community good health. If you wish to provide support, please visit ymcahbb.ca/donate
We look forward to opening our doors and welcoming you back when we are able.
COVID-19 Update to YMCA Community
Update: March 17th – 12:00pm
As we’ve previously shared our centres and programs are temporarily closed.
We ask for your patience as we begin to process large numbers of payment adjustments. We are aware that some automatic payments may have already been processed earlier this week. For your convenience, we have placed all payments on hold. No payments will come out for the remainder of this month. Should we reopen April 6, a credit will be applied to your account. If we do not reopen at that time, we will automatically extend the hold.
If you need to reach us or have any questions about your account, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
or complete the form below.
COVID-19 Update - March 15, 2020
Updated: March 15, 2020 | 5:00pm
The YMCA of Hamilton|Burlington|Brantford offers a range of programs and services, including Child Care, Employment Services, Camps, Health, Fitness & Aquatics programs, Immigrant Settlement Services, as well as a Men’s Residence based out of the Hamilton Downtown Family YMCA.
Our charity is responding to COVID-19 across all of these programs. The health of our staff, volunteers, participants, and broader community members is our priority. We are following the advice of public health agencies and continue to pay close attention to their evolving updates. We will update our Y community as soon as we can and post updates regularly to this page. We thank everyone for your patience and understanding as we all respond together to this unprecedented situation.
YMCA Child Care, YMCA Beyond the Bell & EarlyON Programs
In alignment with the current closure of schools across Ontario, all of our child care centres and and all of our Child and Family development programs are cancelled until April 6, 2020. This includes Child Care, YMCA Beyond the Bell, and Early ON Centres. Full refunds will be provided for YMCA Child Care families. At this point, programs will resume on April 6.
March Break Camps
Following the advice of public health authorities, we have cancelled all of our March Break Camps. Full refunds will be provided.
Health, Fitness & Aquatics Centres
We are taking the situation very seriously, and based on advice from local public health units over the past 24 hours, we have decided to close all of our Health, Fitness & Aquatics centres and cancel all of our programs and services in these centres until April 5, 2020 or as otherwise advised by health authorities. These closures and cancellations take effect as of closing this evening at 6:00pm.
This means the following YMCA Health, Fitness & Aquatics Centres are closed:
- Laurier Brantford YMCA
- Flamborough Family YMCA
- Hamillton Downtown Family YMCA*
- Les Chater Family YMCA [Hamilton]
- Ron Edwards Family YMCA [Burlington]
We will be making arrangements to credit you for your membership and programs for the three weeks that we will be closed (March 16 to April 5, 2020.) As of now, we are planning to re-open at our regular hours on April 6. We will be in touch with you again with the details of your payments in the coming days. We will also be providing ongoing updates on our re-opening date. If your children are in registered programs, we will hold your spot for you. You will not need to re-apply or be placed on a waitlist to secure your child’s spot in registered programs again.
*Men's Residence - Hamilton Downtown Family YMCA
Located within the Hamilton Downtown Family YMCA is a Men’s Residence, a transitional living residence for more than 170 men in the Hamilton community. While we will be closing the building to the broader community and cancelling YMCA programs and services at this time, the building will remain open for the men living at the YMCA. We are working with local health units to ensure necessary resources and enhanced infection prevention protocols are in place to support the men during this community health situation.
Employment & Immigrant Services Centres
We will shift our services to online delivery to promote social distancing. Clients will be able to access resources directly through YtoWork.ca
. As of March 16th, our physical centres will be closed to walk-in service and appointments.
YMCA Wanakita will continue to operate March Break programs throughout the week. We have implemented infection surveillance protocols. We have implemented all public health directions to protect the health and safety of everyone on site. As of the end of March Break Programs, YMCA Wanakita will be closing until April 5th.
What We're Doing:
- Monitoring the situation closely and adjusting program delivery, guided by public health authrities
- Cleaning and disinfecting shared surfaces regularly
- Posting information in high traffic areas
- What You Can Do
- Stay home if you're not feeling well
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water (or hand sanitizer if not available)
- Visit Health Canada for evolving information about risk factors adn symptoms
- Call your local public health department or Telehealth Ontario at 1 (866) 797-0000 for direction if you have symptoms or current risk factors apply to you, or if you have questions
- Practice cough and sneeze hygiene
We appreciate how difficult this evolving situation is for our members, participants, staff and volunteers and thank you for your understanding and patience. We will continue to provide updates here.
COVID-19 Update - March 13, 2020
Updated: March 13, 2020 | 4:00pm
Please note: This is an evolving situation and we will continue to update this page as necessary.
Yesterday the provincial government announced the closure of all publicly-funded schools from March 14 to April 5, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
As a result, all 72 school boards across the province have made the decision to cancel all permits and leases including those held for EarlyON, birth to 3.8 years full day child care programs, March Break programs, authorized recreation and skill-building and before and after school programs for the period of March 14 - April 5, 2020.
What does this mean for YMCA Child Care?
We support the direction of the Ministry of Education and our school board partners across the region. As a result, all YMCA full day child care centres, before and after school programs, March Break programs, YMCA Beyond the Bell and Westwood EarlyON Centre will be closed from March 14 - April 5, 2020. We will be reimbursing families impacted by these closures.
At the YMCA, the health and safety of our participants, staff and families is our number one priority. We continue to monitor the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) situation in conjunction with local and federal health authorities.
We know this situation has created a great deal of concern for many people. We are committed to keeping our YMCA community updated on the impact to YMCA programs as the situation evolves and changes.
How We're Responding to COVID-19
Updated: March 13, 2020 | 12:00pm
At the YMCA, the health and safety of our participants, staff and families is our number one priority. We continue to monitor the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) situation in conjunction with local and federal health authorities. The YMCA is prepared to protect all those we serve through appropriate control measures.
What Are We Doing
In our ongoing effort to prevent the spread of illness within our facilities, we want to share what we are doing in our programs and buildings.
A YMCA Pandemic Response Team of senior leadership staff has been formed, who monitor the situation closely and will be guided by the Public Health Agency of Canada as we make decisions about YMCA programs and services.
Increased the availability of accessible hand sanitizer and hand washing stations.
We are and always have been vigilant in our cleaning practices in program areas. In our child care facilities, staff are increasing the number of times that toys and high use surfaces are sanitized throughout the day. In our fitness areas, participants are encouraged to wipe down fitness equipment before and after use. Staff will also increase the number of times that high use surfaces are sanitized.
Our cleaning personnel already use antiviral cleaning agents to disinfect our facilities on a daily basis. Our teams will be increasing the number of times that they clean and disinfect common surfaces throughout the day.
Recommended Preventative Measures
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoide touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you or your children have symptoms of illness or are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Coughing into your arm is an alternative.
Practice proper gym etiquette, including using sanitizing spray or wipes for disinfecting surfaces before and after each use.
We are following the guidance of our local public health agencies as the situation continues to evolve. We are committed to keeping you informed about YMCA programs and measures being taken to minimize impact to our YMCA community.
Your health and well-being remains a top priority of our YMCA. Thank you for helping to ensure the health of our YMCA community.