Update on CIQS National and Chapter Events

Notice to all CIQS members,

It is amazing how quickly things change in regard to COVID-19. In the last week alone, cases have been confirmed in every province and it has even impacted 24 Sussex. The WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, several countries (including Canada) have closed their borders, sports events have been cancelled, schools and daycares have been closed, and there is a general directive to implement social distancing. This means cancelling or postponing large gatherings such as concerts and conferences and limiting one’s exposure to large groups by staying out of bars, nightclubs and crowded restaurants. Many restaurants and bars now only offer take-out or delivery services.

Prime Minister Trudeau has addressed the nation twice in the same number of days. Yesterday he announced that Canada is closing its borders to all non-Canadian citizens or permanent residents, with a few exceptions. During his media conference, he said that “all Canadians, as much as possible, should stay home. By staying home, you can not only protect your health and that of those around you, but ensure that our health care professionals and our health care system can focus on those who need their help”. This morning, Premier Ford declared Ontario under a State of Emergency. Other provinces across the country have implemented various bans and restrictions on business closures and the acceptable size of gatherings.

Learn more about the COVID-19 actions in your province:

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the COVID-19 presents a risk of severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • 65 and over
  • With compromised immune systems
  • With underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart conditions
  • Canadians returning from international travel

It is important for all returning travelers to:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days after returning from travel outside Canada
  • Monitor for fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • Practice good hygiene (wash hands for 20 seconds) and take care not to cough or sneeze into their hands

PHAC are continually monitoring the situation across the country and updating their information as new statistics become available. Click here for their latest information.

It is important to get ahead of this virus and flatten the curve of COVID-19 to try and avoid a huge spike of patients requiring hospital care at the same time. It is imperative that we all do our part to stay healthy so that we do not overwhelm the hospitals. We do not want to find ourselves in a situation where we simply do not have the medical equipment needed to help everyone in need.

With this in mind, CIQS has created a directive for all chapters to suspend their meetings and events until May 1, 2020. National will work with our chapters to reschedule any events that are planned within the period to a future date, where possible, once it is deemed safe to do so.

We understand that this may cause your chapter and its members some inconvenience, but we believe that the safety of our members and the community as a whole need to be our priority as we deal with this pandemic. We all must do our part to safeguard the more vulnerable in our community and to curb the virus so that we can all go back to business as usual as fast as possible.

COVID-19 and CIQS CONGRESS

As CIQS Congress is scheduled for July 9-11, 2020, we are at this time proceeding with our conference as planned. With that said, CIQS wants to assure everyone involved (delegates, sponsors, guests and staff) that the CIQS management and Congress committee are monitoring the developments of COVID-19 closely and any potential impact it may have on our event. We are hoping that all safety measures implemented by countries worldwide will mitigate the severity of this virus and that life as we know it will be back to normal by July. Registrations and sponsorship sales are therefore going ahead for the time being. In the event that we are still under strict measures closer to the event, the Committee is creating a plan to deal with a cancellation or postponement of our event, including a refund and/or deferral policy for all registrations and sponsorship dollars.

Sincerely,

Sheila Lennon, CAE
Executive Director, CIQS