Knowles Centre Statement Regarding COVID-19

March 27, 2020

The health and safety of our clients, staff, and other stakeholders is a priority for Knowles Centre, especially as we are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. To this end, we want to update you about the precautions and other actions we are taking.

Prevention Measures

Currently, action is taking place within Knowles Centre to help to prevent the virus from affecting our organization. This includes strengthening the first line of defense:

  • educating staff and clients about the importance of hand washing
  • increasing our cleaning efforts in our buildings, vehicles, and equipment
  • making additional supplies available for sanitizing program areas
  • implementing "social distancing" when possible, including limiting visitors in our facilities
  • where possible, staff are working from home to further limit person-to-person contact
  • conducting meetings by telephone if this is an option (we know it is not always a viable option for our frontline staff)
  • canceling group meetings when a telephone conference is not a viable option
  • requiring staff who have been out of the province to advise their immediate supervisor and to self-isolate for 14 days after returning
  • requiring staff to stay at home if they are showing symptoms

Maintaining Staffing

We are following the advice of the Province of Manitoba and altering our day-to-day activities while still offering all our services. We will continue to make updates as conditions change, but we are working hard to ensure all our clients can continue to receive the support they depend on.

Knowles Centre has identified the key functions for which staff are required and we are planning to ensure that we can meet minimum requirements in the event of a quarantine.

Staff are being asked to identify if they are capable of filling key positions in an emergency or in the absence of the regular staff. Ideally, these staff will be at lower risk (younger, healthy with no pre-existing conditions, no small children at home who will need care, or no regular contact with vulnerable people).

Similarly, staff who feel they are at higher risk will be encouraged to self-identify and may be reassigned duties or self-isolate at home if the risk of transmission becomes high.

Staff essential to our Group Care Treatment and Independent Living programs also have access to the emergency child care service being coordinated by the Province.

We are working in cooperation with the unions representing our frontline staff so that staff may be redeployed within Knowles Centre, if necessary. As well, we are coordinating with the Department of Families to ensure coverage of our essential programs in a crisis.

Client Care

Our staff has consistently demonstrated their care and concern for our clients, many of who depend on us 24-hours per day. We will continue to serve the interests of our clients, including accepting new clients to our programs. Together, we can do our best to keep everyone safe.

Like other families across Manitoba, our foster parents will help their children to continue their studies at home while the schools remain closed, and as always, provide them with the best of care.

Staff will closely monitor clients in our Group Care and SAIL Independent Living programs for symptoms such as fever, coughing or trouble breathing, etc. Similarly, our foster parents will continue to care for children in our Treatment Foster Care Program. Immediate action will be taken as required.

When seeing clients from any program in person, clinical therapists and case managers will implement preventative measures for the well-being of all. This includes:

  • keeping a safe distance or moving to a larger space or even outdoors depending on the weather
  • practicing hand-washing or hand-sanitizing before and after the appointment
  • zero-contact and no sharing of any items
  • discussing the importance of safety measures for all

Clients in our Day Treatment and Sexual Abuse Treatment programs will continue to have access to their clinical therapists by telephone. Therapists will make arrangements directly with each client and their family.

Supporting a community of effort

The safety of all our clients and staff is very important to us, but we also have an important role to play to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the broader community.

External visitors to our facilities are being restricted; even staff movement between buildings and individual offices are limited to essential business reasons. Anyone on Knowles Centre premises who is not well will be asked to go home immediately.

We are working hard to educate our clients about the importance of the various preventative and containment precautions. We know that some travels away from our facilities are unavoidable; staff are working with clients to limit unnecessary leaves.

Knowles Centre is a critical service in our community. We hope that together we are able to contain COVID-19 so that we can continue to provide our clients and caregivers with the level of service they have come to expect.

For links to more information, visit the Province of Manitoba and the Government of Canada websites. These sites are being updated regularly with up-to-date, accurate information.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (204) 339-1951 or email us at

We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation daily. The procedures outlined in this plan may change at any time.

Please click here review the Province of Manitoba COVID-19 Practice Guide

Knowles Centre Staff FAQs


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