Last updated: April 16, 2021
First posted: March 16th, 2020
Hope this finds you safe and well. NCF was founded to connect our community and we understand that access to the Internet, while always crucial, is especially important now as a connection to family, friends and work, as well as critical news and health information.
At this time, we are taking the following steps to protect the health and safety of NCF members, staff, volunteers and our suppliers, while also ensuring a continued high quality of service.
The latest updates to NCF’s COVID-19 response will be posted on this page.
1) Starting on 12:01am on Saturday, April 17th Ontario is introducing a strengthened and enhanced provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. This reflects the growing community spread of COVID-19 variants of concern that are more transmissible.
During the Stay-at-Home Order, "retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service... may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support."
The NCF office continues to be open by appointment only until further notice. Appointments can be made Monday to Friday 10am-5pm, not including statutory holidays. Check our hours on our contact page.
As we are not allowed to accept appointments for in-office payments by cash and debit card, please contact the HelpDesk to arrange other payment options.
To make an appointment, please call the HelpDesk at (613) 721-1773 ext. 0 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also continue to offer remote HelpDesk support Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and Saturdays 10am-5pm.
2) Symptom screening, masks and hand sanitizer
All staff working in the office complete daily symptom screenings shared with management. We also ask members to check their own symptoms: we have information posters at all entrances. If you have any symptoms, please do not come into the office.
We ask everyone to wear masks, in accordance with Ontario and Ottawa Public Health recommendations. Staff wear three-ply masks while in the office and we also have disposable three-ply surgical masks available to members who require them.
We also have hand sanitizer available on the front counter.
3) Office cleaning and social distancing
At this time we are allowing one member or group of related members into the office at a time, by appointment. We have established socially-distant waiting spaces in the hallway.
We are regularly wiping down the lobby and the rest of the office and have posted signs about hand washing and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
We respect Ottawa Public Health’s requirements for maintaining two metres space between people whenever possible. We have marked these distances in our office and for members waiting in the hallway. We have face shields available to staff who may want or need them.
We have also set-up a plexiglass barrier on the front counter. Please stand behind the barrier and respect social distancing.
4) Office hours and remote work
The office is open by appointment, Monday to Friday 10am-5pm. The HelpDesk is also available remotely Monday to Friday 10am-7pm and Saturdays from 10am – 7pm. Please contact the HelpDesk at email@example.com or by calling 613-721-1773 ext. 0. We remain very busy and ask for your patience at this time. We always prioritize members who are out of service but are getting through all our tickets as quickly as possible.
5) Modem testing and loaner modems: drop-off and delivery
We have extended the period for all our loaner modems from two weeks to a month. If you have a loaner modem that you wish to buy, please arrange payment with the HelpDesk.
If you need to drop-off your modem for testing or configuration, please make an appointment to come to the office or drop it off in the lockbox in the lobby stairwell of our offices at 1305 Richmond Road. It will be checked and emptied regularly, Monday to Friday.
We wipe down modems before and after testing and configuration, and encourage you to do the same before you drop them off and after you pick them up.
If you make an appointment to drop off a modem to be tested or reconfigured before 1pm, it should be ready for pick-up by appointment by 4pm the same day. We ask that members do not wait in the NCF office while their modems are being tested or reconfigured.
If you are not able to drop off your modem or can drop it off but not pick it up, we can ship it using using Canada Post Expedited delivery, which takes 1-3 business days. There is a cost of $10 for this service. We will send the tracking information, but cannot guarantee delivery timing.
If you wish to purchase a new modem at this time, you can pick it up by appointment during office hours or we can ship it to you for $10.
6) Payment options
We can not currently make appointments for in-office payment by cash and debit. We continue to accept VISA and Mastercard credit and debit, e-transfers, cheques, money orders and pre-authorized debit as remote payment options. There are more details here: help.ncf.ca/Payments_and_Donations
You can also drop off cash or cheque payments in an envelope in the lockbox in the lobby stairwell of our offices at 1305 Richmond Road. It will be checked and emptied regularly, Monday to Friday.
7) Unlimited usage
We're happy to say we have offered our members unlimited bandwidth since 2017, ensuring no one feels they need to limit their internet usage or risk being charged for overages.
8) Continued investment in our network
It has always been a priority for NCF to ensure there is no congestion on our network and as such, we have invested in bandwidth that supports members’ collective usage during peak periods. We are watching network usage daily and anticipate there may be increased usage or a shift in the times of day people are online. Please know we will increase our bandwidth as necessary. If you wish to troubleshoot your current speed or upgrade to a higher speed, please contact the HelpDesk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-721-1773 ext. 0.
9) Digital literacy work
We have a number of digital literacy workshops in the pipeline but have decided to postpone all workshops and other public events for the time being.
We are also looking into ways to ensure that our past and future public education work can be shared online from now on, whether it’s access to a video stream of a workshop or handbooks and worksheets.
Please take care and feel free to contact us if you have any questions.