CASC COVID-19 Update: Redoubling our Efforts to serve our Communities

Thursday, April 23, 2020 4:13 PM | Deleted user

April 23, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Canadian Science Centre sector we are redoubling our efforts to serve our communities even while our facilities are closed. You are the science champions reaching Canadians in their homes each day during this crisis.


> Culture and heritage groups seek targeted COVID-19 support

Associations representing Canada’s museums, science centres, zoos, aquaria, public and botanical gardens and historic places have all joined forces and today issued the following open letter to the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

An open letter sent on April 22, 2020, highlighted the critical risk to the safety and security of collections across the country and asked for the government’s increased attention in three key areas: immediate financial relief, an investment in digitization and considerations for the sector in a post-COVID-19 world. 

The letter follows a panel discussion which took place last week, at an online conference organized by the Canadian Museums Association, in which organizations shared common concerns and challenges and explored what can be done by working together. Moving forward, the group will be working collaboratively on issues of common concern.

Read the letter here.


> Support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19 

Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced comprehensive support of nearly $9 billion for post-secondary students and recent graduates. These measures include launching the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.  

> Prime Minister announces new support to protect Canadian jobs

$500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes. 

> Prime Minister announces additional support for small businesses

Announced its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

> Temporary changes to Canada Summer Jobs program

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services. The Government of Canada is making temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to allow employers to:

  • receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 percent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
  • adapt their projects and job activities;
  • hire staff on a part-time basis.

> Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan Details on support for individuals and businesses.


> Video Discussion Groups

Topic: Supporting Teachers/School Closures Chat

April 24, 2020 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

An invitation to join the scheduled Friday calls has been extended to all CASC member staff working in programs, education, outreach, camps and childcare. An email with an invitation will be sent via email. Please contact if you did not receive an invitation and would like to join.

Topic: CEO Discussion Forum

April 24, 2020 2:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

CASC will continue coordinating a "CASC COVID-19 Response Discussion" for CASC Member CEOs and Executive Directors. Invitations are sent via email. Please contact if you did not receive an invitation and would like to join.

As we all continue to navigate this rapidly-evolving global situation, CASC is here to help, support, and connect our community during these challenging times. Please contact us at if you have ideas for how we can further support your organization.


    > CASC Members Helping to Plank the Curve

    We want to acknowledge and thank CASC members who are supporting health care providers face this global pandemic. A few examples of science centres and museums stepping up include:

    Aurora Research Institute: The Inuvik Robotics Club, with help from ACTMC2 produced over 200 ear guards to distribute to Northwest Territories health care staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in the works are specialized handle covers to allow people to open door handles without using their hands. A number of prototypes are currently being tested at Aurora college to ensure they’re up to the stress load.

    Ontario Science Centre: On April 25 at 4 p.m., join an online conversation Mindfulness in Stressful times,  presented in partnership with The Ontario Brain Institute . CAMH experts who teach mindfulness to autistic adults and their caregivers provide coping strategies for managing the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    TELUS Spark: Shows their appreciation for everyday heroes and a salute to scientists everywhere.

      > CASC Members Sharing Online Educational Content

      Canadian science centres and science museums are supporting families by offering free online educational content. The "Science at Home" page on the CASC website is updated on a regular basis so that CASC members can see what each other are doing. We encourage you to share on your social media platforms and with your network using the following #AtHomeWithCASC  #ScienceChampions #LookForTheHelpers #ScienceAtHome. Here a just a few examples of what our members are doing:

      Discovery Centre: Moved their Little Learners Program online. Engaging tots and toddlers with interactive activities that introduce basic science concepts, kick-start cognitive thinking and encourage dynamic play. 

      Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium: Are adding episodes to their series À la découverte de l'univers (Discovering the universe), an astronomy training program for teachers and educators. (in french)

      Science North: Their Thunder Bay ON satellite location has partnered with a local urban farm youth organization to distribute pre-maid hands-on science kits with food packages


      ASTC Webinar on Virtual Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

      Wed, May 6, 2020 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

      *ASTC has extended this invitation to ALL CASC members.

      Come together with your peers in science and technology centers and museums for Virtual Engagement, Digital Experiences, and Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic webinar. This event is an opportunity to discuss approaches you have been using to virtually engage your communities, develop new digital experiences, and design and scale online learning while your museums are closed to the public due to the pandemic. Register now*. 

      > Canadian Museum Association (CMA) Survey

      To support the development of their strategic plan, along with other community engagement activities, the CMA is conducting a survey of museum professionals — CMA members and non-members — from across Canada. Learn more.

      It will be open until April 24, 2020, end of day. As an additional incentive, respondents who consent will be placed into a draw for one of five complimentary passes to their next National Conference.

      NSERC Science Communication Skills Grant Deadline: May 15, 2020