It is a new Guiding year: Learn how we are welcoming girls back

Updates for Girls and Families

Updated September 22, 2020

Return to In-Person Guiding

We’re excited to welcome your daughter back this September for a fun and safe Guiding year. You can be confident that no matter what the year ahead looks like, she’ll have a full and meaningful Guiding year building skills and friendships. Girl Guides will be there for girls, with exciting new in-person, anytime, and virtual experiences.

Girl Guides of Canada has always been a leader in safety. Our Return to In-Person Guiding protocols are informed by recommendations from Ministries of Public Health across the country and other experts, including recommendations from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

We know that families have questions about what fall 2020 will look like at Girl Guides, and we’ll continue to provide you with the answers you need as the situation evolves. Our FAQ page will be updated regularly throughout the year – please continue to check back often.

Quick link: COVID-19 Self-Assessment Check List

Please complete the check list before every weekly unit meeting. You do not need to bring a paper copy to the meeting.


Quick link: COVID-19 Waiver

Please complete the waiver before your daughter's first in-person activity of the year, and bring a copy to the activity.

Your Provincial Stage

For detailed information see the Return to In-Person Guiding protocols.

Province Stage
AB Outdoor 2 for all regions
NT Outdoor 2 for all regions
YT Outdoor 2 for all regions
BC Outdoor 1 for units in Vancouver Coastal, Interior and Fraser Health regions - Map of Health regions
Outdoor 2 for units in Vancouver Island and Northern Health regions - Map of Health regions
MB Outdoor 1 for units in the Prairie Mountain Health region - Map of Health regions

Outdoor 2 for all the rest of Manitoba
NB Outdoor 2 for all regions
PE Outdoor 2 for all regions
NS Outdoor 2 for all regions
NL Outdoor 2 for all regions
ON Outdoor 1 with a maximum of 25 people at any activity or meeting
  Outdoor 1 for Ontario units in AC 29 operating in Québec
NU Outdoor 1 for all regions
QC Outdoor 1 with a maximum of 25 people at any activity or meeting in régions sociosanitaires Capitale-Nationale, Montréal, Chaudiere-Appalaches, Laval and Outaouais  - Map of the régions sociosanitaires
Outdoor 1 for units in the régions sociosanitaires Bas-Saint-Laurent, Estrie, Lanaudière, Laurentides, and Montérégie
Outdoor 2 for the rest of Québec
SK Outdoor 2 for all regions

Unit meetings

Will my unit be meeting in person in the fall?

We’re excited to say that we anticipate all units across Canada will be able to meet in person, outdoors, as of September 1, 2020.

While we expect to start off the Guiding year in person, no provinces will have indoor meetings prior to mid-October. Outdoor activities will be prioritized for the duration of the fall, even if indoor activities become permitted in your province/region.

If my unit is meeting outdoors, how will I find out the location?

You’ll receive an email from Girl Guides of Canada with unit details by the first week of September. Many Unit Guiders will also reach out to families in their units by phone and email directly. As locations are confirmed, the Unit Finder will also be updated, as well as your family dashboard.

What girls will do in Guiding

What will girls do in Girl Guide unit meetings?

This Guiding year, girls will continue to make new friends and explore their interests in all the ways they love, whether that’s through hands-on experiments, getting outside, playing games, or trying new challenges.

Girl Guides is working with our volunteer Guiders to provide a wide range of activity options, so the fun and skill-building won’t stop, no matter what the year brings!

Unit meetings may look a little different than usual, depending on the current protocols in place in your region, but our online program platform allows us to respond quickly to changing protocols and turn them into new opportunities for fun and learning – just like we did with the creation of our virtual campfire events and Guiding @ Home series during the 2019-2020 Guiding year.

Adaptability is the name of the game this year. We’ll have fun options available for three different Guiding formats:

  • Virtual Guiding: Girl connect in real time using online meeting platforms
  • Anytime Guiding: Girls connect through email, mail, telephone or social media
  • In-person Guiding: Girls connect in person, using outdoor spaces and/or physical distancing, as required

Are options for virtual Guiding available?

All units will be deciding how to hold meetings that work best for the members in their community. Some might opt for virtual and/or anytime Guiding for part of the Guiding year, where girls can connect in real time using online meeting platforms, or through email, mail, telephone or social media. We're preparing our amazing volunteer Guiders to deliver engaging virtual meetings with new training and supports.

If you have further questions about different Guiding opportunities, reach out to our Customer Care Centre at info@girlguides.ca.

When will special experiences like events, camps, and travel be available again?

All special girl events, camps, and trips are cancelled until the end of 2020. Given the current uncertainty, no dates are confirmed for when camps, sleepovers, events, and travel will be allowed in different provinces/regions in 2021 and beyond. Our reopening guidelines are being reviewed on a quarterly basis (at a minimum) to ensure we are capturing the latest information.

Safety

What is Girl Guides of Canada doing to prepare units to meet in person?

We created the Return to In-Person Guiding protocols to provide a framework for Guiders, girls, members and families to return to in-person activities. These protocols were developed based on learnings from provincial day care and day camp guidelines, Ministries of Public Health, the Hospital for Sick Children’s Recommendations for School Reopening, and other published scientific opinions, studies and reviews.

The Return to In-Person Guiding protocols provide a flexible framework for units, using a regional approach. Based on the realities in your region, your daughter’s unit will progress through these stages:

COVID-19 stages: virtual anytime, outdoor, indoor, camping and sleepover, multi-unit activities, travel over 72hrs

The stages are grouped in broad categories, depending on the type of activities that are allowed in each stage. This allows units in different provinces or regions of the country to welcome girls back to Guiding using protocols that are most in-line with their public health guidelines.

Girl Guides’ protocols rely on current scientific and public health understanding that COVID-19 transmission is less likely to occur outdoors, and that masks and physical distancing are effective in decreasing the rate of transmission.

Will the same safety guidelines be in place across Canada, or will there be a specific approach for my region?

We are focused on a regional approach to safety that allows girls to experience the fun, friendship and connection of Guiding all year long. Girl Guides of Canada’s national office will assign a stage to different provinces or regions of the country, by taking into account feedback from our provincial representatives, the different COVID-19 risks, community transmission rates, and public health guidelines across the country.

How will I know what stage my unit is in?

We’ll make sure that you’re informed every step of the way. You’ll be able to find what stage your unit is in in two ways:

  • Online: each provincial/regional stage is posted at the top of this page for families to see.
  • Email: an email will be sent to each unit’s Contact Guider when or if a region’s stage changes, who will then communicate this information to families in the unit.

When possible, we’ll make sure that units have two weeks’ notice of a change to their provincial/regional stage so that they can prepare. But, in some circumstances, a unit may have to move to a more restrictive stage quickly; for example, if their province enters a lockdown period.

What if changes in public health guidelines impact my unit?

While Girl Guides of Canada has announced our reopening approach, in all cases, public health guidelines will take precedent over Girl Guide protocols. No unit may operate activities that violate public health orders or guidelines for their location. This could mean that some units will need to temporarily suspend in-person meetings at times. You will be notified in advance of any changes to protocols for your unit.

In true Guiding tradition, we are prepared for whatever 2020 brings. We are very excited to resume in-person unit meetings and are committed to ensuring every girl in Guiding enjoys her membership all year long. In case of any interruptions to in-person meetings, Guiding will still be available through virtual and anytime methods to ensure that girls can enjoy their full year of Guiding.

Will girls need to wear face masks for unit meetings?

In some cases, girls and Guiders will be required to wear masks to Guiding meetings. It will depend on the Return to In-Person Guiding stage your province/region is in. In all cases, we’ll make sure you have advance notice of which stage your unit is in and what the protocols are for this stage.

Non-medical masks are not recommended for people who suffer from an illness or disabilities that make it difficult to put on or take off a mask, those who have difficulty breathing, people who are unable to take off the masks themselves or children under the age of 2. Members who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are not excluded from participating in GGC activities.

Even if your unit is not in a stage that requires masks, girls and Guiders are always welcome to wear masks if it makes them or their families more comfortable to do so.

If you have questions about GGC’s mask guidelines, please email safeguide@girlguides.ca.

What if a member of the unit is unable to wear a mask?

Non-medical masks are not recommended for people who suffer from an illness or disabilities that make it difficult to put on or take off a mask, those who have difficulty breathing, people who are unable to take off the masks themselves or children under the age of 2. Members who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are not excluded from participating in GGC activities.

Members who are exempt from wearing a mask based on the Return to In Person Guiding protocols do not have to share the reason or provide proof as to why they are unable to wear a mask.

While face shields are NOT a replacement for masks, they may be worn by people who are exempt from wearing a mask under the Return to In-Person Guiding protocols.

Why do girls need to wear masks outdoors in the Outdoor 1 stage?

Wearing masks outdoors has been encouraged by Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. Girls may not be experts at physical distancing and adding mask wearing helps to mitigate some of the risk. We are adding this layer of protection on top of physical distancing because we know that adding multiple layers of protection is the best practice to help keep our members safe and healthy.

Can a face shield be used instead of a face mask?

No. Face shields do not provide the same protections as face masks. The virus travels through the air in droplets that can reach the mouth and nose around the edges of face shields. However, using a face shield is an options for individuals who are not required to wear according to the Return to In-Person Guiding protocols (individuals who have an illness or disabilities that make it difficult to put on or take off a mask, who have difficulty breathing or who are unable to take the mask off by themselves).

Will girls need to physically distance during unit meetings?

In some cases, girls and Guiders will need to physically distance (maintain a distance of 2m or more) during unit meetings. It will depend on the Return to In-Person Guiding stage your province/region is in. We’ll make sure you have advance notice of which stage your unit is in and what the protocols are for this stage.

Guiding activities will have easy modifications for units that need to physically distance. We’re working with our amazing Guider volunteers to prepare for running modified activities.

How will it work if my unit requires girls to stay in “pods” (i.e. small groups of girls who distance from each other)?

Pods are groups of 8 girls or less, where each group of girls physically distances from other groups. Pods will be required in some Return to In-Person Guiding stages, in order to decrease the amount of close contact girls have with others and assist with contact tracing if needed. We’ll make sure you have advance notice of which stage your daughter’s unit is in and what the protocols are for this stage.

What hand hygiene practices will units be following?

Handwashing or hand-sanitizing is important for health and safety. We’ll make sure that all girls, Guiders, volunteers and families are provided with information about proper hand hygiene.

For in-person meetings, all participants (both girls and adults) will need to wash or sanitize their hands, at minimum, when they arrive at the meeting, before leaving the meeting, before and after eating or drinking, before and after touching their face, and after using the washroom. Our outstanding Guider volunteers will have the information and resources they need to ensure they can support girls with proper hand hygiene.

How will transportation to/from activities work?

Transportation will be carefully considered depending on what stage your unit is in. Girls should not travel in a private car with other girls who are not in their household or social bubble/circle. If travelling by bus, physical distancing between girls and Guiders will be practiced. Please note that siblings or members of the same household do not need to physically distance.

What will happen if someone in my unit has symptoms of COVID-19?

Our first priority is the health and safety of our members and the greater community. No one may attend an in-person activity if they are sick and/or present symptoms similar to COVID-19.

All girls, Guiders, volunteers and adult members attending activities are required to complete Girl Guides’ COVID-19 self-assessment prior to each in-person activity. If anyone who has tested positive or has been told to self-isolate has attended an in-person meeting in the previous 14 days, then the entire unit will move to the Virtual and Anytime stage for 14 days, after which they can re-join the same stage as their province/region.

How will self-assessments work?

To prioritize the health and safety of our members, all girls and volunteers attending unit activities are required to complete Girl Guides’ COVID-19 self-assessment prior to each in-person activity. Guiders will confirm that your family has completed the self-assessment prior to each in-person activity when your girl is dropped off. Any girl who has not completed the self-assessment or had the self-assessment indicate that they need to be tested or to self-isolate, will not be able to attend in-person activities.

All girls, Guiders and/or adult volunteers MAY NOT attend in-person activities if:

  • They, or a close contact (family member or a member of their social bubble), test positive for COVID-19
  • They or a close contact is told to self-isolate by Public Health
  • They or a close contact are awaiting COVID-19 test results

Do I need to bring a copy of my girl’s self-assessment to each meeting?

No. You are required to complete the self-assessment with your girl prior to each in-person activity but do not need to bring a copy to the meeting. When your girl arrives at an in-person activity, a Guider will confirm that they completed the self-assessment and will then clear them to attend the meeting.

Can frontline workers who work with people who are suffering from a respiratory illness or symptoms still participate in Guiding? (For example, healthcare workers, paramedics, shelter workers, etc.)

Yes. Members who work with or who have family members who work with people who have respiratory illnesses or symptoms of an illness may participate fully in Guiding, provided that they wear full PPE at their workplace and take all the precautions deemed necessary by their employer.

What other safety measures will be in place?

Commonly used hard surfaces such as light switches, tables, door handles etc. will be wiped down at the beginning and end of each in-person meeting. Shared equipment like markers or balls will also be wiped down before and after use.

For more information about Girl Guides’ safety measures, please see the Return to In-Person Guiding protocols.

Registration

Is registration open for 2020-2021?

Registration for 2020-2021 is now open for all girls. Register now.

Are unit start dates and meeting locations finalized?

We know that so much is up in the air right now so not everything can be confirmed just yet. We’re working to firm up these details as soon as possible. We’ll be communicating with you more frequently as we solidify information, including confirming unit details once they are finalized – these details will be visible on your family dashboard and the Unit Finder.

Does Girl Guides offer membership fee assistance?

We want every girl to have the chance to be part of Guiding – Girl Guides of Canada is proud to offer a membership fee subsidy program to help make Guiding accessible to more girls. You can apply for financial assistance with the membership fees directly through our girl registration system! (Look for the “Apply for Subsidy” button).

You will be asked a few short questions and the system will instantly let you know if you are approved. All approved subsidy amounts will be deducted automatically from your daughter/ward’s membership fee at checkout. You’ll be prompted to pay the remaining balance using Visa, Mastercard, or PayPal to finalize the registration.

How can I get support with registration issues?

Our Customer Care Centre staff are ready to answer all your questions. We know how important it is to support parents through the registration process – whether you have technical or Guiding-related questions. Our teams are ready to support you, no matter what the year ahead brings. We look forward to hearing from you.

All online, email and phone inquiries will be centrally managed through our Customer Care Centre team. Get in touch with them at info@girlguides.ca. We also have a new chat feature on the registration site for real-time support.

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