June 7, 2013

Dear OMSSA delegates and friends: 

I am pleased to let you know about some exciting updates to our June Learning Symposium in Ottawa starting on Sunday the 16th, detailed in the OMSSA Highlights section at the end of this letter.  Here are a few key highlights:

Dear OMSSA delegates and friends: 

I am pleased to let you know about some exciting updates to our June Learning Symposium in Ottawa starting on Sunday the 16th, detailed in the OMSSA Highlights section at the end of this letter.  Here are a few key highlights:

  • A brand new session has been added:  Transforming Service Delivery and Improving Outcomes for Children and At-risk Youth with Speaker Susan Clanton from IBM Cúram.  This session addresses Ontario’s period of transition in thinking about the best way to help our most vulnerable, including moving away from siloed and program oriented thinking to a more integrated and holistic approach.
  • We have confirmed an exciting set of speakers for our Tuesday morning plenary, Building Communities in the Current Fiscal Environment, including:
    • Alex Himelfarb, Director, Glendon School of Public and International Affairs and Centre for Global Challenges, York University who will discuss the immediate and long term impact of the global shift towards austerity measures on building capacities of individuals, communities and societies.
    • Allison Bramwell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems (PROGRIS) at the Munk School of Global Affairs who will talk about the importance of strong local workforce development strategies in creating strong and socially and economically sustainable communities.
    • Carmen, Jacob and Kaydeen - Staff and Residents from Lawrence Heights, a Toronto Community Housing Project undergoing revitalization.  They will showcase the importance of empowering local – and youth - leadership to build communities from within impacts the outcomes for individuals and families in the community.
    • Symposium delegates now have the opportunity to hear from and talk with senior Ministry officials in three sectors at three different, concurrent Tuesday morning Spilling the Beans breakfasts:  Early Learning and Childcare, Housing and Homelessness and Social Assistance.

It is also my pleasure today to thank, and draw your attention to, the sponsoring partners for our Symposium this year.  A full list is below.  There is no doubt that the generous and enthusiastic support of our partners leads to a better program and experience for OMSSA delegates – thank you! 

Finally, if you are coming to the Symposium please be aware that Via Rail passengers may experience service disruptions as the Canadian Autoworkers Union, which represents Via Rail employees, has served notice that it could strike at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 14. 

In the event of a strike or if you would like to make alternate arrangements please note that Porter Airlines is offering a 15% discount on available base fares (with the exception of the lowest class fare during a public seat sale) for travel to and from the OMSSA 2013 Learning Symposium and Annual General Meeting. The discounted fares are available for booking from March 14, 2013 to June 22, 2013 and available for travel to and from Ottawa from anywhere in Canada or the US. 

Please book online at www.flyporter.com or through your travel agent using the promo code: OMSSA.  

The promo code is intended for use by conference attendees and organizers and is not meant for distribution outside of authorized channels. Porter’s fare rules and conditions apply. For any questions regarding Porter’s services or any pre-travel concerns, contact us at 1-888-619-8622. 

Needless to say I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the Symposium and the AGM.  

My best until then, Kira


OMSSA is Going Digital! 

OMSSA is going digital – at our upcoming Learning Symposium and all year round.  

Stay connected with us through social media. Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theOMSSA and “Like” us to receive updates, and follow us on Twitter


During the symposium, we’ll be using the @theOMSSA Twitter account to provide updates, spark discussion and extend the impact of the conference beyond the conference venue.  Delegates will be using Twitter to share their ‘a-ha’ moments, engage in conference wide discussion, and share resources and best practices with OMSSA’s wider online community. 

Follow along or join in by using the #OMSSALS hashtag, and don’t forget to follow OMSSA on

Twitter (@theOMSSA) for live updates and information.  

Not on Twitter yet? Visit the Twitter HelpCentre for tools and resources to help you get started. 

Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ (MCYS) New Regional Structure 

Over the past year, the ministries engaged in a joint review of the regional structures in the MCSS Operations Division, MCYS’ Service Delivery Division, and Youth Justice Services Division in order to determine a more effective and efficient approach.   As a result of the review, the ministries will be implementing a new integrated regional structure across the three divisions by combining the existing regions to create five (5) new regions across the province: North, West, Central, East, and Toronto. 

List of new MCSS & MCYS Regions

New MCSS & MCYS Regional Map

FLS Commissioner Releases the 2012-2013 Annual Report 

As a follow up to an item in a recent E.D. Letter, know that French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau recommends that the Ontario government develop an action plan to ensure that disadvantaged populations — such as seniors, children and newcomers — have genuine access to French-language services, in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the French Language Services Act. This issue is the subject of the first recommendation in the Commissioner’s 2012-2013 Annual Report, entitled A New Approach, which was submitted yesterday to the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. 

The FLS Commission have also launched their new website at www.csf.gouv.on.ca

 Ontario Celebrates Seniors' Month 

As Ontario marks the beginning of Seniors' Month, the Office of the Premier announced the government’s current work to ensure men and women across the province are healthy, active and cared for at every age. 

The 2013 Budget outlines new investments that are focused on providing more home care options to seniors, automatic sprinklers were made mandatory in care homes, and launched a Wandering Prevention Program in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. 

The government has also released a new edition of the Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors in Ontario, which features up-to-date information on provincial and federal services available to seniors, in a smaller, easier to handle format.  The guide is now available in 16 languages in recognition of Ontario's diverse communities.

June Callwood Children’s Day  

Earlier this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne renewed the declaration made five years ago to  officially declare June Callwood’s  birthday, June 2, “this year and every year” as June Callwood Children’s Day, in memory of her tireless efforts to achieve social justice.  

In response to Premier Wynne’s comments, both Opposition parties commented.  NDP member France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) recalled June’s work with homeless youth as far back as the early 1970s in addition to her work with young mothers.  Remembering June’s pioneering work on HIV-AIDS, PC member Ted Arnott (Wellington – Halton Hills) added how the founding of Casey House as the first freestanding HIV-AIDS facility in Canada in 1988 was exceptional. 


Annual Report on Private-Sector Privacy Issues Expected to be Tabled in Parliament Yesterday 

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2012 Annual Report on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) was tabled in Parliament yesterday. 

This is the last PIPEDA annual report before the end of Jennifer Stoddart’s mandate as Commissioner and is entitled Privacy and Your Reputation: Who Shapes Your Identity Online? The report also examines other major privacy issues and recent activities of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. 


Accord on Early Learning and Early Childhood Education 

The Accord on Early Learning and Early Childhood Education by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) seeks to address the uneven provision of quality early learning experiences by highlighting practices that focus on the learning and care of all children; promoting improved, better connected education for preschool and elementary children; and recognizing educator knowledge as vital to effective education for early learners and their families. It was launched at the Canadian Society for Studies in Education Conference, Victoria, B.C. on June 2.


63rd Annual OMSSA Learning Symposium: Program Updates and New Additions 

New Session:  Wednesday, June 19 – 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Speaker:  Susan Clanton, IBM Cúram Product Manager 

Session 5.6 - Transforming Service Delivery and Improving Outcomes for Children and At-risk Youth
Ontario is in an important period of transition in thinking about the best way to help our most vulnerable. This includes moving away from siloed and program oriented thinking to a more integrated and holistic approach. For example, to help children, youth and families at risk to thrive: organizations can holistically assess the child or youth and their family's situation, and move towards an outcomes focused approach that considers all elements of the family’s life.

In this workshop learn how the IBM Cúram Outcome Management Solutions for Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice provide a case management system that enables caseworkers to put together a plan that best meets the goals of the children, youth and families in their care.  It allows them to collaborate with courts, law enforcement, schools, family and other agencies to provide a holistic outcome plan for families with complex and on-going needs and guide them towards successful and sustainable outcomes. 

If you would like to attend this session and have already registered please email Meagan Shepherd at mshepherd@omssa.com 

Networking Opportunity:  Tuesday June 18 - 8:00am – 9:00am

Spilling the Beans
Coffee, Breakfast and Networking

Join your provincial colleagues for a cup of coffee to hear the latest updates on key provincial initiatives in the worlds of:

- Early Learning and Childcare
- Housing and Homelessness
- Social Assistance

These one hour sessions, held concurrently on Tuesday, June 18th (8:00am - 9:00am) will not only provide breakfast but also an opportunity to dialogue with Ministry representatives and your provincial colleagues on emerging policies and programs in each area. 

Click here to learn more. 

Plenary Session:   Tuesday, June 18 - 9:00am – 10:30am

The Bigger Picture: Building Communities in the Current Fiscal Environment 

In recent years, governments have implemented austerity measures to address fiscal challenges. What does this mean for human services and the clients that we serve? Designed as OMSSA’s version of Ted Talks, this panel brings together speakers approaching from different angles, the question of the impact of what we (as government/service delivery organizations) do on the clients that we serve.


There is still time to register for the conference!  Click here to access the conference website and mobile program, including registration forms. 


Thank you to our conference Partners 

Presenting Partner


Host Partner:
City of Ottawa


Education Level 1 Partner:
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


Education Level 2 Partners:
Housing Services Corporation
City of Greater Sudbury
District of Cochrane
Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA)
Regional Municipality of York
United Counties of Prescott Russell


Networking Level 1 Partner:
Region of Peel


Networking Level 2 Partner:
City of Hamilton
County of Simcoe
Region of Durham
City of Toronto


Social Media Partner:
Redbrick Communications


Technology Partner:



Best Start Resource Centre
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Housing Services Corporation
Home Trust Company
Compassion for You
Non-Smokers Rights Association
Ontario Municipal Social Services Association
Parks and Recreation Ontario
Regional Municipality of Peel
Supportive Approaches through Innovative Learning 

Click here to find more information about our partners

Other Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities!         


Developing your Social Media Strategy

June 25, 2013 – Sudbury

September 19, 2013 - Toronto

Click here to Register 

How can social media help staff connect with partners to better integrate their service delivery? Attend this webinar to learn how social media can be used to engage the community to develop and refine social programs, and how to start developing a strategy to integrate social media into human services departments and organizations.

Additional Information


Leading and Managing Projects

Toronto - July 2 - 3, 2013

Sault Ste. Marie September 10 – 11, 2013

Click here to Register 

Leading and managing projects is both a technical and a people management task. This workshop gives you the tools and techniques to accomplish the technical aspects of project management as well as the softer skills of managing teams – skills that are needed for successful project completion.  This workshop will be useful for anyone who needs the tools to manage single or multiple projects.

Additional Information