STC Framework for Recovery: Our Path Forward

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Our community will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact on our residents, businesses and City operations will be felt for years to come. Even as we continue to grapple with the continued presence of the virus in our community, we are charting a course forward, a shared path to recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and its impacts on our community will continue for months. The STC Framework for Recovery charts the course the City will take to ensure we keep our residents and employees safe, while returning to a full level of services, programs and operations. We are working to reintroduce services, reopen facilities and support both residents and businesses as they adapt to a new post-COVID-19 context. Advancing through the framework will depend on numerous factors, including the local risk of COVID-19 transmission, the advice of Niagara Region Public Health, direction from the Province of Ontario and continued public cooperation in efforts to slow the local spread of the virus.

A Broad Foundation

The STC Framework for Recovery is built on three pillars: Health and Wellness, Organizational and Economic. Each focuses on several core principals / questions to guide the recovery process both internally and externally. These pillars set the foundation of our framework.

Health and WellnessPillar 1: Health and Wellness


OrganizationalPillar 2: Organizational


EconomicPillar 3: Economic

Focused on the physical and mental well-being of citizens and staff.
How do we support and protect the health of our community and staff?

Focused on the operations necessary to provide services to citizens.
How do we open facilities and deliver services in a way that is safe for both residents and staff?
How do we keep our residents, and staff, informed?

Focused on the financial well-being of the City and its citizens.
How do we mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19 on the City, businesses and residents, and support them during recovery?

A Balanced Approach

Under the STC Framework for Recovery the City is using a risk-based approach to guide decisions for resumption of services and reopening of facilities. Each City service has been assessed based on the criteria of safety, feasibility and community impact.

  • Safety: Can the service be delivered safely? Can the service be modified to achieve safety in delivery?
  • Feasibility: What is the cost associated with safely delivering the service? Is it fiscally responsible to expend those financial resources?
  • Community Impact: How does this service and related cost fit in the larger context of recovery for the community? Will it serve a broad section of the community? Is the service available through other partners?

Based on these criteria some facilities will not reopen to the public and some services may not resume until the risk of COVID-19 has been completely eliminated. Safety concerns, such as the necessity to use shared surfaces and limitations on the ability to provide for physical distancing, pose challenges for reopening facilities during the pandemic. Others may be delayed due to the costs associated with reopening, and how those costs compare with the community impact delivered by the facility.

Stages of Recovery

Aligning with the Province of Ontario, and guided by the recommendations of Niagara Region Public Health, recovery efforts will roll out across three initial stages while the risk of COVID-19 remains in our community. The fourth, and final stage, represents a time when a vaccine has been administered or COVID-19 is deemed to no longer pose a risk.

Stage 1

Stage 1 of Recovery Plan


Stage 1 focuses on continued delivery of the most important City services, and reintroduces some ─ like marriage licencing ─ in an altered format. A small number of facilities, such as the Farmers Market, reopen to the public.

Stage 2

Stage 2 of Recovery Plan


Stage 2 is focused on safely expanding the municipal services available to residents, while returning more staff to work. Some recreational facilities like splash pads and beaches, reopen.

Stage 3

Stage 3 of Recovery Plan


Stage 3 is focused on continuing to deliver municipal services in a safe and responsible manner while the risk of COVID-19 remains in our community. More facilities, including City Hall, Older Adult Centres and the Kiwanis Aquatics Centre, open to the public under a phased approach.

Stage 4

Stage 4 of Recovery Plan


The final stage will initiate once vaccination has been completed or the risk of COVID-19 is deemed to no longer exist. During Stage 4 all programs and services can be resumed. Buildings that posed the greatest challenges for reopening safely and feasibly, like the Lakeside Park Carousel, reopen.


Our community will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact on our residents, businesses and City operations will be felt for years to come. Even as we continue to grapple with the continued presence of the virus in our community, we are charting a course forward, a shared path to recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and its impacts on our community will continue for months. The STC Framework for Recovery charts the course the City will take to ensure we keep our residents and employees safe, while returning to a full level of services, programs and operations. We are working to reintroduce services, reopen facilities and support both residents and businesses as they adapt to a new post-COVID-19 context. Advancing through the framework will depend on numerous factors, including the local risk of COVID-19 transmission, the advice of Niagara Region Public Health, direction from the Province of Ontario and continued public cooperation in efforts to slow the local spread of the virus.

A Broad Foundation

The STC Framework for Recovery is built on three pillars: Health and Wellness, Organizational and Economic. Each focuses on several core principals / questions to guide the recovery process both internally and externally. These pillars set the foundation of our framework.

Health and WellnessPillar 1: Health and Wellness


OrganizationalPillar 2: Organizational


EconomicPillar 3: Economic

Focused on the physical and mental well-being of citizens and staff.
How do we support and protect the health of our community and staff?

Focused on the operations necessary to provide services to citizens.
How do we open facilities and deliver services in a way that is safe for both residents and staff?
How do we keep our residents, and staff, informed?

Focused on the financial well-being of the City and its citizens.
How do we mitigate the financial impacts of COVID-19 on the City, businesses and residents, and support them during recovery?

A Balanced Approach

Under the STC Framework for Recovery the City is using a risk-based approach to guide decisions for resumption of services and reopening of facilities. Each City service has been assessed based on the criteria of safety, feasibility and community impact.

  • Safety: Can the service be delivered safely? Can the service be modified to achieve safety in delivery?
  • Feasibility: What is the cost associated with safely delivering the service? Is it fiscally responsible to expend those financial resources?
  • Community Impact: How does this service and related cost fit in the larger context of recovery for the community? Will it serve a broad section of the community? Is the service available through other partners?

Based on these criteria some facilities will not reopen to the public and some services may not resume until the risk of COVID-19 has been completely eliminated. Safety concerns, such as the necessity to use shared surfaces and limitations on the ability to provide for physical distancing, pose challenges for reopening facilities during the pandemic. Others may be delayed due to the costs associated with reopening, and how those costs compare with the community impact delivered by the facility.

Stages of Recovery

Aligning with the Province of Ontario, and guided by the recommendations of Niagara Region Public Health, recovery efforts will roll out across three initial stages while the risk of COVID-19 remains in our community. The fourth, and final stage, represents a time when a vaccine has been administered or COVID-19 is deemed to no longer pose a risk.

Stage 1

Stage 1 of Recovery Plan


Stage 1 focuses on continued delivery of the most important City services, and reintroduces some ─ like marriage licencing ─ in an altered format. A small number of facilities, such as the Farmers Market, reopen to the public.

Stage 2

Stage 2 of Recovery Plan


Stage 2 is focused on safely expanding the municipal services available to residents, while returning more staff to work. Some recreational facilities like splash pads and beaches, reopen.

Stage 3

Stage 3 of Recovery Plan


Stage 3 is focused on continuing to deliver municipal services in a safe and responsible manner while the risk of COVID-19 remains in our community. More facilities, including City Hall, Older Adult Centres and the Kiwanis Aquatics Centre, open to the public under a phased approach.

Stage 4

Stage 4 of Recovery Plan


The final stage will initiate once vaccination has been completed or the risk of COVID-19 is deemed to no longer exist. During Stage 4 all programs and services can be resumed. Buildings that posed the greatest challenges for reopening safely and feasibly, like the Lakeside Park Carousel, reopen.


  • Cooling centre open during heat alert

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    16 June, 2020

    June 9, 2020 – The St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre will open as a cooling station Wednesday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    The centre will open the lobby solely as a place for residents to escape the heat. There will be no customer service, food or beverages available, except water, and a list of safety protocols will be in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

    “While social distancing guidelines are firmly in effect for the Niagara region, it is important our residents have a place to cool off during the current heat alert,” said Director of Community, Recreation and Culture Services Phil Cristi. “We will take every precaution to ensure safety of staff and those attending.”

    Requirements and safety actions for customers include:
    • Self-assessment for COVID-19 exposure and symptoms
    • Requiring of customers to sanitize their hands on entry and exit
    • All staff and attendees must wear a face mask or covering. People are encouraged to bring their own from home, however, if they do not have a face mask, one will be provided.
    • Maintaining a safe physical separation of two metres from others excluding those within their household group, including in the entry line


    Safety tips from Niagara Region Public Health to follow during excessive heat alerts are listed below.
    • Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be outside, plan your activities during cooler parts of the day. Rest frequently in shady areas, and drink plenty of fluids (unless fluid is restricted by one’s physician).
    • Never leave infants or young children in a parked car. Dress them in cool, loose clothing, and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella. Ensure infants and children are protected with sunscreen.
    • People over 65 years of age may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
    • Stay in cool areas and use air conditioning. When the temperature is in the high thirties or higher, a fan will not prevent heat-related illness. A cool shower or bath is more effective.
    • Any health condition that causes dehydration makes the body more susceptible to heat sickness. Consult your doctor if you feel signs of confusion, dizziness, nausea, muscle swelling, heart disturbances, and/or a headache.

    For more information on staying cool during a heat alert, visit our Heat Advisory page.

  • City mapping a path forward for COVID-19 recovery

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    04 June, 2020
    supporting image

    While efforts continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 the City of St. Catharines is mapping a path forward towards recovery from the impacts of the virus on the City, its residents and its economy.

    This week City Council endorsed the STC Framework for Recovery, the strategic document that will guide the City in its efforts to reintroduce services; reopen facilities; and support both residents and businesses as they adapt to a new post-COVID-19 context. The framework outlines dozens of action items across all City departments, all focussed on a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of service where possible, while maintaining best practices to slow the spread of the virus and prevent a local resurgence.

    “This is a completely new exercise for us as a City,” said Chief Administrative Officer Shelley Chemnitz, adding, “first and foremost we need to prioritize the health and safety of residents and staff while balancing the financial impacts on both the City and our community with the importance of City services and facilities. It’s great to be looking toward a post-COVID future, but we must move cautiously to ensure we emerge from the pandemic healthy and prosperous.”

    The STC Framework for Recovery is built on health and well-being; organizational; and economic pillars. All balance the criteria of safety, community impact and feasibility in the planned restoration of services and reopening of facilities. The framework outlines four total stages of recovery, the first three mirroring the Provincial recovery plan, with a fourth added to present efforts after a vaccine has been administered or the risk of COVID-19 is deemed to no longer exist.

    “The fight against COVID-19 has been unprecedented for our City. Our residents and businesses have risen to the challenge, and we have done everything possible to slow the spread of COVID-19, but it has come at an enormous cost,” explained Mayor Walter Sendzik. “While there is no blueprint for recovery, City staff have created a roadmap for our community to recover that I believe will guide us towards a stronger, more resilient and sustainable future. These are unsteady times – but we have a Council and staff who are more than ready for the challenges ahead of us.”

    While the framework lays out four stages, their advancement will depend on continued success in the fight against COVID-19, direction from the Province of Ontario and guidance from Niagara Region Public Health. Sendzik was quick to note it is important the City and residents alike continue to follow the advice of Public Health — such as continued physical distancing and regular hand washing — to ensure the City moves forward, rather than taking a step back.

    As part of the framework the City will investigate how to best support residents and local businesses hard hit by the pandemic, including an ancillary plan from the City’s Economic Development and Tourism Services Department. The plan outlines numerous steps to help businesses adapt to the new economic and operational contexts introduced by COVID-19, building local economic resiliency, with coordinated efforts based on directives from the federal and provincial governments. Actions items range from establishing new public spaces for pedestrians and business that allow for greater physical distancing; training assistance for businesses dealing with new operational restrictions; promotional efforts to bring visitors back to the city; and advocacy with upper-tier governments for financial and information support.

    “While the COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly shifted the direction of our work, this new recovery strategy builds on the vision of our 2017-2022 Economic Development Strategy in a new, comprehensive context,” said Brian York, the City’s director of economic development and government relations. “By redefining how to utilize corporate expertise, existing assets, capacities, partnerships, strengths and resources, change can be directed in a way that will ensure the economy is more resilient and adaptive to future challenges.”

    For more information on the City’s recovery efforts visit www.engageSTC.ca.

    STC Framework for Recovery highlights

    Stage 1:

    • Reopening of the St. Catharines Farmers Market
    • Opening of parks for passive use
    • Resumption of all Planning and Building Services with the exception of inspections of occupied dwellings

    Stage 2:

    • Reopening of City splash pads, the Garden City Golf Course and beaches
    • Full use of City Parks permitted
    • Restoring use of City sports fields to user groups
    • Reopening of City Hall and its in-person public service desk, with protective barriers and physical distancing guidelines in place
    • Restoration of some City Hall services — such as issuing of business licences — in altered formats

    Stage 3:

    • Reopening of City arenas; St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canal Centre; St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre; community centres and older adult centres
    • Reopening of the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre

    Stage 4:

    • Reopening of the Lakeside Park Carousel, outdoor pools, Morningstar Mill buildings, and Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm