Caring for You, Our Family of Churches, During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has created many challenges for our family of churches. We continue to make every effort to keep you informed about how to best mitigate its impact on your church. To that end, we will continue updating resources for you as we develop them.
As you read through the resources below, if you don’t find what you need assistance with, please email Kristi Pollard with your question or concern. Be sure to include your church name and role at your church.

Resources for your Church during COVID-19

Toronto Public Health Introduces Enhanced Measures

On November 11, the Province accepted the Toronto Medical Officer of Health’s (MOH) recommendation to place the city in the Red–Control category of its colour-coded system for COVID-19 restrictions beginning Saturday, November 14. The MOH is implementing further protections for the public and businesses to reduce COVID-19 activity. You can access the additional measures the Toronto Public Health unit is putting in place here.

Ontario and Peel Public Health Unit Introduce New Criteria and Directives

On November 3, the government of Ontario introduced a new set of criteria for imposing anti-COVID-19 measures in different regions. You can access the document here.

In addition, the Peel Public Health Unit introduced directives for its region that take effect Monday, November 9. This public health unit is imposing rules that are stricter than those required for the new Red-Control zone as outlined in the province’s new set of criteria. The new restrictions for the Peel region include the following: Religious services, rites or ceremonies should be virtual. When that is not possible, in-person religious events, including weddings and funerals, must reduce indoor capacity to 30 per cent capacity to a maximum of 50 people per facility, and must seat households together, at least two metres from other groups. You can read more about the Peel region directives here.

Screening Protocol Requirement for Organizations in Ontario

Today the Ontario Premier announced a new measure that requires workplaces to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19 and released a COVID-19 screening tool workplaces. The new measure is effective September 26. You can read the full news release here.

Changes in Gathering Limits in Ontario

Wondering what the recent changes in gathering limits in Ontario mean for your church? You can read the details from the Ontario government webpage here. Still have questions? We recommend you reach out to your local public health unit and/or local MP for further guidance, as needed.

Ontario Moving to Stage 3 for Re-opening

As of August 12, all regions in Ontario are in Stage 3. You can read more about what that means here. Public health and workplace safety restrictions remain in place. People gathering indoors for religious services, rites or ceremonies, and wedding ceremonies or funeral services, can continue to fill up to 30% of the capacity of the particular room, as introduced in Stage 2. While the link above contains lots of helpful information and guidelines, we also encourage you to contact your local public health unit to learn about restrictions and safety measures in place for your specific area.

Stage 2 for Re-Opening in Ontario

On Tuesday, June 16, the Ontario government released a new general workplace guide to help workplaces develop a safety plan to protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.

On Monday, June 8, the Ontario government announced a regional approach to moving on to stage 2 for re-opening the province. The document also indicates that effective Friday, June 12, all regions across Ontario may increase social and public gatherings from five to 10 as long as they continue to follow existing public health restrictions and may reopen their places of worship with a restriction to limit attendance to 30% of building capacity and practicing physical distancing. To reopen their buildings safely, churches need to review the workplace health and safety guidance document and the COVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies provided by the government and ensure that appropriate measures are in place. Churches must also meet all existing occupational health and safety requirements.

Resources for Charities and Not-for-Profits

The Carters September Charity and Not-for-Profit law update provides information on recent legal developments and risk management considerations that may be helpful to the operations and management of your church.

For additional Carters resources on COVID-19 for Charities and NFPs, click here.

For information on annual meetings of federal corporations, visit the Corporations Canada webpage.

Church Finances

Today you are leading through unprecedented times. During times of crisis, congregations need to be even wiser in stewarding their financial resources. To help you, we have created a guide of four conversations you can have with key people to help your church build its leadership capacity as you tackle new financial realities.

Join CBOQ this fall for a new webinar series especially designed with you in mind. Each month we’ll guide you through topical discussions with practical next steps and resources that will help you navigate the COVID reality.

Sign up below and spend an hour each month in the company of leaders and churches like yours who want to navigate well the challenges and opportunities before us.

Leadership that Navigates Uncharted Waters – November 12 at 10 am

How do you lead when you don’t know what’s coming next?

Self Care Essentials – December 10 at 10 am

How do pastors and leaders practice self care when there are so many demands?

Join the Conversation

Or contact us for the Zoom link

CBOQ recognizes that COVID-19 has put significant pressure on churches to figure out alternative ways to provide spiritual care for communities. To assist, we have created the 2020 Communications Enhancement Grant. Your CBOQ member church is eligible if:

  • As part of your church’s COVID-response plan, your church incurred additional communications costs in 2020
  • Your church needs help with rising video and hosting production costs

Being faithful to God and others during this COVID-19 crisis isn’t easy, is it? Navigating your financial challenges, difficult HR decisions and leadership opportunities is difficult, but we are people of hope. This crisis is an opportunity for your church to continue to build disciples of Jesus that are engaged in mission.

But how do you do this when your ways of gathering and worship have been disrupted? How do you lead through high emotion, high stakes critical conversations? And how do you lead with pressing new financial realities?

Need some ideas for ministry during the pandemic? Download 100+ Ideas for Pastors and Churches.

CBOQ Pastors are invited to join us via Zoom for an online prayer experience. We gather each Tuesday at 11 am for about a 25 minute prayer experience. The format will depend on the number of participants. Please join us on Zoom as follows:

Meeting ID: 274 732 250
Password: 483985

For assistance with your church’s next generation ministry, CBOQ recommends the following resources:

Youth Ministry
Children’s Ministry

If your church is considering running a day camp this summer, we encourage you to be in touch with your legal council and local public health unit as well as to read the guidance documents provided by the government to ensure you are in compliance with all necessary requirements and have the necessary procedures, policies and waivers in place. You can read the documents below:

Additional Children’s Ministry Resources

Parent Resources

If you need suggestions regarding tools to help your church get online, the following have free options that may help you plan video or phone conferencing opportunities.

Government Resources

The Public Guardian Trustee (Ontario) has developed temporary guidelines to allow charities that are in danger of closing to access the income and capital of restricted purpose trust funds when necessary to enable them to continue their day-to-day operations. You can read the full statement here.

The government has announced an extension of CEWS to August 29. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers retroactive from March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020. You can read further details on this program here, including how to apply and eligibility criteria.

In addition, you may find this overview of CEWS for charities from Carters helpful.

On March 19, the Ontario legislature passed the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Diseases Emergencies), 2020 to provide job-protected leave for employees in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A page with a list of ways the Canadian government is supporting businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

As part of government actions taken in dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Charities Directorate is extending the filing deadline to December 31, 2020, for all charities with a Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Charities are encouraged to register for online services. You will find more information here.

The government is allowing small businesses to remit 10% lower on employer income tax remittance for a period up to June 20. The maximum amount allowed is $1,375 per employee to a maximum organizational amount of $25,000. You can find more information on the government website.

Ontario and Quebec Government Actions Concerning COVID-19

You can access information about government actions concerning COVID-19 in our two provinces here:

For Ontario

Our churches in Ontario that have have questions about temporary measures including closures and essential workplaces, can call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Moving Forward

As your church responds to these new updates from the government, we encourage you to use the resource document, Starting the Next Phase, which we created to help prepare your church for the next phase.

You can access the full reopening plan for Ontario here: “A Framework for Re-Opening our Province” (ON) and for Quebec here: “Gradual resumption of activities under the COVID-19-related pause” (QC).

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