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COVID 19 Options

Respite Options and Recreation Resources

The following information has been compiled from various sources including parent recommendations. This list is not exhaustive and further research may be required to meet your individual needs. 

Please be advised that the following options are not endorsed by, Catulpa Community Support Services or Empower Simcoe.  The user (parents/guardians and other supports) acknowledges that, while Catulpa Community Support Services & Empower Simcoe may have provided information with respect to services and supports available in the community, the final decisions with respect to the manner in which services and supports are to be provided as well as decisions to hire, contract with or engage any persons, agencies or companies or other entities to provide said services and supports have been made by the Service user (parents/guardians and other supports).


Simcoe County Parent Survey Feedback:  June 2020

Empower Simcoe issued a survey to families living in Simcoe County to inquire about how families have been receiving respite and what activities they have been doing during the pandemic.  Here are some of the responses:

How are parents getting respite?

Respite has been a challenge for parents/caregivers during this pandemic.  With physical distancing, isolation for those immune compromised, respite providers, schools and businesses being closed, getting a break has been tough.  The top 3 ways parents shared on how they are getting some respite were:

  • Virtual visits with family/friends/respite/direct support providers
  • Continue to use a respite/direct support provider you hired/contracted previously
  • Received respite/direct support from a family member or friend

What has been your most positive experience regarding respite or recreation in the past few months?  Here are some of the responses:

  • My son adapted very well to all the restrictions and didn’t insist at all to go to his favourite places, though he tried them all. But when I explained him that is quarantine he asked me for something else.
  • Nice to use funding for alternatives during this time
  • How well my sons are looking after their sister
  • Having horseback riding
  • Spending quality time together. Not having the “rushed “feeling
  • Now that the weather is on our side, getting outside for the whole family has been critical to our mental health. Switching up what trail we explore has been fun.
  • Lots of time together
  • I worked most of the days during the pandemic. So a respite worker was a big help.
  • Just finally being able to get outside. My sons are wheelchair bound. Walks in the neighbourhood or sitting outside and just observing nature and neighbours
  • When a classmate dropped off a surprise gift for my child. Dropping off surprise gifts for some friends.
  • Getting the bike from school was imperative and we are thankful we have it
  • Our support team has started taking him out for drives, etc.

What has been your greatest challenge in the past few months?  Here are some responses we received to this question. 

  • The financial crisis
  • Not having respite from family or respite worker. Keeping children engaged in learning and finding things to do.
  • Keeping my child interested in school work
  • Not being able to spend time with my child and help her with her school work as I am still working full- time
  • home schooling
  • We got a puppy! :)
  • The lack of social interaction for our son has been detrimental and we are hoping that once he returns to school that we won’t be facing a regression.
  • Handling things when i was sick.
  • Keeping my son busy was the biggest challenge. He likes to be outside.
  • Our daughter has had her routine thrown out the window. She has had no interaction with anyone outside our house. She understands there is a "sickness" but wants to get back to normal. Sleeping and eating patterns have changed because of this as well
  • The stress and worry over everyone's health......and not being able to have siblings visit.
  • Our daughter’s behaviour
  • Lack of activity and resources. very limited social
  • Lack of all services and social contact most of which was through school has been very challenging. A very clear indication of what 21 will look like and we aren’t ready
  • Balancing work and family life. Keeping my family safe. Frontline health care worker
  • Never having the chance to "decompress" or have any alone time. My child's behaviours have escalates, significantly! And I am more tired now than ever before, so it is harder to manage them. 

In terms of respite and recreation, what information would you like more of?  What can we research for you?

  • About Water parks. Where are all of them anywhere in Ontario and their websites.

Click here to find water parks across Ontario

  • What we should know, prepare, discuss with respite worker when thinking of having someone come into our house. Concern over spreading of COVID

Click here to find out more information about COVID 19 safety measures when using a respite provider.

  • Summer camps are closed this year. My child needs so much more socializing with her peers or in fact anyone. Events to participate in that occur on weekends

See information listed below for activities and ideas

  • Live websites that are interactive to hold a child’s attention. Online dance/exercise groups Driveable /drive thru exhibit Virtual church summer camps

See information listed below for activities and ideas

  • How we can have respite during quarantine or isolation

Respite can be provided by family or friends that you have included in your 10 person bubble.  Some families have brought back their respite provider and made a contract/agreement  to have them in their 10 person bubble.  Having conversations around COVID 19 safety measures and following government guidelines can assist with receiving respite.  Click here for more information.  Some families and respite providers have made arrangements for virtual visits. This can include fun activities and social conversations that can occur between the respite provider and the person requiring support. 

  • I would love for my son to be able to go somewhere during the day so I can go back to work

Some camps are re-opening.  Please see this information provided below.  1:1 support will need to be provided by the family if required. 

  • Options for those specifically with physical disabilities that need 1:1 support is what we need

While 1:1 options are still limited, many funding streams have added temporary expenses that families may use their funding towards.  These temporary expenses may allow families to purchase items that would assist a person with a physical disability to engage in recreational activities.   For more information click the following funding links.

Passport Funding

Special Services at Home

Enhanced Respite Program  

Some families have chosen to use respite providers and created contracts/agreements to include them in their 10 person bubble.  Having conversations around COVID 19 safety measures and following government guidelines can assist with receiving respite.  Click here for more information.

Information and Resources from our Agencies and Network Partners 

There are some great ideas here for staying entertained and active, learning something new, and accessing supports if you need them. If you are looking for additional information to support your child or youth, please reach out to us. We can work on solutions together.

The constant gathering and sharing of community, mental health and government resources from far and wide with individuals and families, and on Catulpa website’s Partner Links page and our Catulpa and CAPC Facebook pages.

Our commitment is to keep you updated with what’s happening to support the children, youth and families that we, along with our network partners, collectively serve.

CTN events page 

Welcome to your Autism Ontario Simcoe County Chapter! Our goal is to be a reliable source of information and support for all Simcoe County citizens who have a connection to autism, including families, children, and adults on the spectrum, caregivers, support workers, and teachers.

Events Calendar

Mental Health Resources in Simcoe County 

ARE YOU IN CRISIS? Please call Crisis helpline: 1-888-893-8333

Everyone experiences periods of positive and negative mental health throughout the duration of their life. Some people live with mental health conditions like anxiety and mood disorders and experience periods of wellness and periods of poor mental health. Other individuals may not be living with a mental health condition, but can still experience periods of wellness mixed with periods of mental wellness.

Whether living with a mental health condition or experiencing periods of poor mental health, there is a wide range of services and programs available for the adults in Ontario to improve their mental health. Services available at CMHA Simcoe County may include talk therapy, case management, supportive housing, employment support programs, addictions and gambling services.

New Path offers a range of free child and youth mental health services.  At this time, we are offering virtual, online and call-in, mental health services only. Call today. Get help today. 705.725.7656 or 1.866.566.7656 or email: and a counsellor will contact you to book an appointment.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call:
  • The mental health crisis line at: 705.728.5044, or in South Simcoe 905.310.COPE (2673). Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-893-8333
  • Kids Help Line: 1-800-668-6868 or
  • Crisis Service (For Bradford Only): 1-855-310-2673

Mental Health & Addiction Program
  • Child & Youth Mental Health Services
  • Adult Mental Health Services
    • Mental Health Day Program
    • Crisis Services
    • Inpatient Services
    • Medication Clinic
    • Community Treatment Order Coordinator for Simcoe County
    • Emergency Mental Health Suites
  • Adult Addiction Services
  • Psychiatry

* Referrals for Inpatient services should be submitted through your county’s Single Point of Access Agency. ACCESS at 1-866-377-0286

Child and Parent Resource Institute is a provincially operated regional resource centre located in London, Ontario, Canada. CPRI provides highly specialized (tertiary) diagnostic assessment, consultation, education, research, and short term treatment services for children/youth (0–18 years) with complex emotional and behavioural disorders, and mental health issues for families who require an integrated, clinical, highly specialized interdisciplinary approach. CPRI services the province of Ontario.

Finding a respite/direct support worker: is a provincially driven program that provides a free service to families who have a family member with an intellectual and/or physical disability who are looking to connect with a respite/direct support provider.  CHAP assist children and adults to be more independent, access their community and provide more opportunities to reach their potential.  is the website you would need to go to and apply as a family.  There is an online application under the “family registration” tab.  The Coordinator of this program will be able to provide profiles (similar to a resume) of CHAP who are advertising their services.  The service to connect families is free of charge and there are a variety of skilled CHAP to choose from. Generally CHAP set their fees between $15 - $25/hr. depending on the person’s support needs, the duties required and the CHAP’s skills and experience.  You do not need to be receiving a specific funding to use the service.   It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to interview, select, negotiate wage, hours and support details with the CHAP.  The parent/guardian is also responsible to oversee that the service provided meets their expectations.  CHAP are not employees of or Empower Simcoe.  Payments for services of the CHAP are paid directly by the family who selected the CHAP.  It is the responsibility of the family and the CHAP to determine if they are entering an employer/employee relationship or a contracted service arrangement. 

Information about CHAP:

CHAP Registration Process: 

To be eligible to advertise within this program, registrants are required to provide (2) professional CHAP references (on the forms provided) – (one must be a current or most recent employer), a current resume and a current Criminal Police Records Check & Vulnerable Persons Check (no older than six months).    All registrants are also required to attend a CHAP program introduction session. 

Once the registration process is complete:

The CHAP registrant’s profile is then made active on the website database allowing them to advertise through a profile and classified ad they may post.  Families choose who they would like to contact for an interview.   CHAP negotiate their days, hours of availability and fees with the family at the interview. Should a family wish to purchase service from a CHAP after the interview, we recommend that both agree to a “training/probation period” – one or two hours for a day or two to be sure of a good match. It is also recommended to complete a written contract/agreement that would state the negotiated start date, rate of pay, and duties etc.  CHAP are not employees of the CHAP program or of Empower Simcoe.  It is the responsibility of the family and the CHAP to determine if they are entering an employer/employee relationship or a contracted service arrangement. 

**COVID-19 Notice** will provide CHAP profiles to your family account. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we advise you to use extreme caution if you choose to bring someone new into your household or in contact with your family. While information about COVID-19 is changing every day we are acting with an abundance of caution to keep everyone safe. We urge you to follow the advice of the Province’s Chief Medical Officer found on this link to keep your family members and the CHAP registered with this program, healthy and safe.  The Simcoe County site has created a page with useful links to COVID-19 information, recommendations and resources.  Click here for further information. 

Private Respite Options

Please note:, Catulpa Community Support Services and Empower Simcoe does not recommend or endorse any private/fee for service businesses.  Families must investigate the company and the service they offer and select who they feel are a good fit for their family member. 

Camphill  Communities Ontario

Community Living South Simcoe – Fee for service 1:1 support   Phone: (705) 435-4792 Ext. 229

Dorvict Home & Health Care Services – 705-727-0287 for more information. 

Bartimaeus –  Margaret Lindsay 705-431-2999 Toll Free 1-877-431-2999

Improving Lives –

A Helping Hands Always – (Alpha Camp and Retreat)

Solicitudes - (705) 719-7241  or  (705) 331-2541 Email:

Georgian Respite -

RecRespite -  1-877-855-7070  Amy MacFarlane  

Genesis Developmental Services - Linda Westlake 705-716-0902

ABE Supports - 1-866-996-1256   

Williams, Marijan & Associates  (wm+a) -   Toll Free 866-367-5968

Virtual/Online Opportunities

Click on the logos for more information.

GoNoodle® engages 14 million kids every month with movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts. Available for free at school, home, and everywhere kids are!  

If you’re self-isolating or stuck with the kids at home and looking for something exciting to do, we thought we’d offer up the rides at Canada’s Wonderland and bring the amusement park to you!

You can take a virtual ride on 16 coasters, 11 thrill rides and seven family rides with our first-person ‘point-of-view’ (POV) videos on Youtube. The kids will love that they can experience some of the grown-up rides virtually, even though they may not, technically, be tall enough to ride in person. Or maybe you can convince your non-ride-loving significant other to give it a try!

Want to enjoy your favorite Disney rides from the comfort of your own home? Experience these virtual viewings of your favorite Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort’s rides!

We've missed your laughter and your screams. We've missed the way your face lights up when you walk through our gates. With our new safety guidelines, we’re so glad to be back—and we can’t wait until you are too. Until then, here’s some #UniversalAtHome fun for you to enjoy whenever you like.

Universal Studios YouTube channel – virtual rides and tours

Recreate Your Favorite Rides! Cast these views to your TV, hold on tight and feel the wind in your hair (with the help of some strategically placed fans).  Check out our YouTube channel for even more virtual rides and roller coaster POVs.



We've been working with our partner athletes to create more fun and exciting activities for you to do at home! Check out our Jumpstart Resources page for fun activity ideas and guided videos featuring Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Calling all Canadian kids! Jumpstart Summer Camp launches Monday June 29, 2020.

At our nine-week virtual camp, you can expect awesome counsellors - some of Canada's most amazing athletes! - and cool weekly themes. The best part?  No extensive packing list here! Kids won’t need anything except themselves and maybe a few simple things from around the house to participate.

Check in weekdays at 8:30 a.m. EST for details on the day's events and activities. It all kicks off with Speed Week, hosted by Canadian Paralympic swimmer, Benoit Huot . No sign-up needed! Camp activities are best suited for kids between the ages of 5 and 12 - but of course, all are welcome. See you there!

Ultimate Steaming Destination for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars & National Geographic. Start Streaming now for just $8.99/mo. Or $89.99/yr. Download and Go. Classic Favourites. Stream Anywhere, Anytime. Exclusive Originals. New Releases. Brands: Marvel, Pixar.

The groundbreaking game that makes learning to read fun

  • Covers everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences.
  • Designed in collaboration with leading academics.
  • Complements all synthetic phonics programmes used in schools.
  • Computer version is 100% free.

We have delivered over 10 million crates of fun around the world! Subscribe to get yours. KiwiCo empowers kids to explore, create, and learn with hands-on kits delivered monthly. Services: Safety tested, Research backed, Designed by experts, Montessori inspired.

Virtual Dance Classes - click here for a listing of dance studios in Simcoe County 

Video Games - contact your local stores or online for popular games that may be perfect for you and your family!

Outdoor/Backyard Activities

Please note that these activity suggestions are compiled from a parent feedback survey.  Parents/caregivers are responsible for the selection of a suitable/appropriate activity, style, level of difficulty for their family member.  This item can be purchased at a number of stores in multiple varieties.  No specific brand is being endorsed.