May 9, 2013

I am pleased today to welcome Lilian Cheung to our staff team.  Lilian will be working with us in the role of Executive Assistant to myself and Petra Wolfbeiss, Director of Policy and Public Affairs.  Lilian can be reached at or 416-646-0513.  You will start to see emails from Lilian regarding policy department logistics as well.  Welcome Lilian!

May 9, 2013


Hello to all OMSSA members and friends,

I am pleased today to welcome Lilian Cheung to our staff team.  Lilian will be working with us in the role of Executive Assistant to myself and Petra Wolfbeiss, Director of Policy and Public Affairs.  Lilian can be reached at or 416-646-0513.  You will start to see emails from Lilian regarding policy department logistics as well.  Welcome Lilian!

I am also pleased to draw your attention to a report from Petra on last week’s Ontario budget and what it means for the current context of OMSSA’s work and for our members as service system managers.  It is the first item below, and after it comes informational updates on initiatives stemming from the budget that were announced this week.

Finally, I am delighted to let you know that registration opens for our June Learning Symposium tomorrow – details are at the end of this letter.


My best to all, Kira

Changing Tomorrow

By Petra Wolfbeiss, Director, Policy and Public Affairs


For OMSSA members, Ontario’s 2013 budget may not have delivered the larger scale transformation we have been anticipating.  It did, however, make a down payment on future change.

The budget is a careful study in balancing interests, the most difficult of which includes holding spending to 1% or below while still aiming to maintain public services and in the interest of a fairer society, improving them in some areas.

By now OMSSA members will be familiar with some of the key budget items that affect the work you do. The government continued to recognize the municipal sector as an important and key partner in making Ontario work. Continuing the social assistance upload, addressing youth unemployment and First Nation’s needs and providing infrastructure and transit commitments, to name a few measures, will help ease local pressures.  Of course we also recognize that in some areas the reduction of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund will have a negative impact and work against the easement of pressures.

The government’s interest in a fairer society was reflected in a number of changes to Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program, that are intended to ease efforts to gain and sustain employment. There are implications on the municipal bottom line to these good and important changes and as we go forward it will be important that the shifts in social assistance programs and policy in one area do not impede CMSMs and DSSABs from responding to need in other areas. This is particularly important as you continue to implement funding and program changes in housing and homelessness and early learning and child care. We hope to avoid change that is unaffordable.

OMSSA and its members often find themselves in this challenging position. Recognizing how important the policy changes found in the 2013 budget are for people in our communities, at the same time as understanding the limited capacity to raise much needed funding at the local level to address emerging and growing needs.

That is why the commitments found in the budget to work with the municipal sector, as well as other key stakeholders, to determine the path forward on transformative change, while perhaps knocking some of the wind out of our sails around immediate and tangible change, is a critical signal. We all understand that the price of doing nothing is far higher than negotiating a path forward. We also understand that being at the table informing policy development is invaluable.

Since the days of the Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR) OMSSA and its members have continued to establish themselves as trusted advisors and partners in Ontario’s shifting social policy landscape. We understand, and our provincial partners do as well, for programs to work on the ground, we need to be at the table, we need to guide the development of policy, funding, guidelines and agreements so that while we see good change on one hand, we aren’t paying for it from the other. In the end, we want to see the lives of the people we serve every day improve. And, we want this to happen not at the expense of others. We also understand however, that sometimes government decisions happen, as we have seen, that do not always reflect our good advice.

Like the provincial government and the 2013 budget, CMSMs and DSSABs are balancing and negotiating interests for a better future. This will continue as we wait for the way forward to become clearer. The difference is that OMSSA and its members are changing lives and doing the work now.

OMSSA’s recent meeting of the 47 senior leaders in each CMSM and DSSAB focused on the value and opportunities in the service system management role and leading the province from this position. OMSSA promoted this in our recent provincial pre-budget submission. The OMSSA Strategic Housing Table and Children’s Service Tables are being assembled with a social assistance and employment table to follow shortly. We continue to work closely with the Ministries of Education, Municipal Affairs and Housing, Community and Social Services and others in many areas representing the interests of our members. We also continue our partnership with AMO to push ahead on good policy changes.

OMSSA’s new five year strategic plan provides solid markers for the path to the change we want to see. The important thing is that we aren’t waiting for change, we are making change. We will be ready when we get to the table to talk about tomorrow.


Ontario Government Announces Ministers Milloy and Sousa to Take on New Responsibilities


Yesterday, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced changes to her cabinet and government following the resignation of Harinder Takhar due to medical issues.  He will continue to serve as Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale.

John Milloy will become Minister of Government Services in addition to his role as Government House Leader.   Finance Minister Charles Sousa will take on the responsibility as Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet.

The ministers were sworn-in yesterday afternoon.

Ontario Government Proposes Increase in Child Benefit

Earlier this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne highlighted the 2013 Budget's proposed increases to the Ontario Child Benefit.

The Ontario government is proposing to increase the Ontario Child Benefit's annual maximum payment by up to $210 over the next two years. This would raise the maximum payment from $1,100 to $1,310 per year for each child.

In order for parents to receive this year's proposed increase of $110 this July, the Budget 2013 bill would have to be passed and proclaimed before July 1, 2013.

Ontario Government Commits to Supporting Youth


The Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced that the Ontario government is adding 35 new youth outreach workers in nine communities across the province.  The province is partnering with 16 additional community agencies to deliver the expanded Youth Outreach Worker program.   Expanding the Youth Outreach Worker program is part of Ontario's Youth Action Plan.

Ontario Government Intends to Create Jobs and Help Small Communities


The Ontario government unveiled a series of new initiatives intended to help small urban municipalities create jobs and grow their economies.  Ontario's Budget 2013 commits a dedicated fund for municipal roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure in small, rural and Northern municipalities.  Small urban municipalities would also continue to receive provincial gas tax money by dedicating 2 cents per litre to fund public transit in municipalities across Ontario. The province will also continue to honour its commitment to upload the municipal share of social assistance benefit program costs, as well as court security and transportation costs.

Government Mandating Sprinklers in Care Homes for Seniors and People with Disabilities

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services announced that Ontario is making automatic sprinklers mandatory in care homes for seniors, homes for people with disabilities, and vulnerable Ontarians.

Mandatory sprinklers are part of amendments to the Fire Code and Building Code that will improve fire safety in these occupancies. Other improvements include self-closing doors, enhanced fire inspections and staff training and annual validation of fire safety plans by local fire services.

The amendments are based on recommendations made by the Technical Advisory Committee led by the Office of the Fire Marshal and public consultation.


First data from 2011 National Household Survey Released


StatsCan released its first set of reports and data on the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) yesterday.  This is the first release of data from the NHS. The second release will be on June 26 and the third release on August 14.  Related materials and links to this important release for your reference are: May 1st StatsCan Media Advisory and May 8th StatsCan Daily.

HRSDC Releases Report on the Power of Social Finance


The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, has announced the release of the report on the results of last year’s National Call for Concepts for Social Finance.

The report, Harnessing the Power of Social Finance, highlights the use of social finance and social innovation in creating new financial tools and partnerships to try and broaden the impact of existing programs or to support new initiatives. The report profiles 15 concepts that represent a wide range of the proposals received and includes information on national and international perspectives.  Many of the proposals support at‑risk youth, the unemployed, people with disabilities and seniors. Various financial tools were suggested, including social impact bonds, pay-for-performance contracts, investment funds and social enterprises.


CUI's Urban Leadership Series Explores Lessons Learned From the First 10 Years of Regent Park


The Canadian Urban Institute is hosting a forum on Lessons Learned from the First 10 Years:  Can Regent Park Inspire Revitalization Elsewhere Friday, May 24, 2013 from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM in

Toronto.  Discussions will explore the lessons that can be learned after a decade of rebuilding and if they are transferable to other parts of the city and region.

Breakfast and registration open at 7:30 am, speaking starts at 8:00 am.  Deadline for registration is end of day Wednesday, May 22nd,2013.

CCPA Presents on Income Inequality to the Standing Committee on Finance


Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Senior Economist and past OMSSA Champion of Human Services Award winner Armine Yalnizyan was among the witnesses who testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance as part of the committee’s ongoing study of income inequality.  Armine discussed income inequality—giving cause to consider what inaction could mean—and shares some recommendations on how the federal government can play an important role in offsetting growing income inequality and the problems it unleashes.

Watch video of the hearing, here.







Delta Ottawa City Centre

June 16-19, 2013

Registration Opens

Friday May 10!





The theme of the 2013 OMSSA Learning Symposium, Whole Child = Whole Community, advances the vision that an environment that supports the healthy development and well-being of children is also one that supports all community members.  Through plenary sessions, workshops and interactive methods, this conference will highlight how addressing and integrating issues of poverty, housing, early learning and child care, and employment for the whole community is critical to providing an environment conducive to the healthy growth of children.


With over twenty workshop sessions, three educational tours, networking breakfasts with provincial colleagues, engaging networking opportunities and the Mardi Gras themed awards banquet, this conference offers something for everyone. 


Here is just a sample of some of the sector specific workshops being offered:


Children’s Services:

  • No Data, No Problem, No Action: The Early Development Instrument in Action
  • The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth: Understanding the Data
  • Improving Quality in Licensed Child Care in Rural Ontario



Housing and Homelessness:

  • Good Spaces:  Using Good Design Principles to Create Safe Places for At Risk Communities.
  • Investing in Housing and Homelessness Through Municipal-Community Collaboration: The case of Ottawa
  • Building Families' Futures & Opportunities Through Habitat Ownership


Income and Employment:

  • Generation Green: Youth Synergy for Building Efficiency
  • Unlocking the Potential of our Youth
  • Movement to Improvement: Developing Skills for Employability in At Risk Clients


Front Line Staff:

  • Understanding the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS) World
  • Building your Leadership Energy
  • Compassion for You: Compassion Fatigue Support for Human Service Providers


Other sessions include:

  • Poster session offering over 20 projects and initiatives celebrating successes in human services
  • Impact of Changes to the French Language Services Act on Third Party Providers: Putting Action into Words
  • Looking Beyond the Food Bank the Transformation to a Community Food Centre
  • Impact Investing and New Funding Models 
  • Working with Rural Partners
  • No Wrong Door
  • Building your Leadership Energy
  • The Other Side Of Austerity
  • Social Determinants of Health: a Life Course Perspective
  • New Directions in Child Welfare
  • Making Public Engagement Accessible      
  • And many more!


Registration opens soon!  In the meantime, here are some actions for you to consider:

  • Mark the conference dates in your calendar to make sure you can attend!
  • Book your accommodation – see below for hotel information.
  • Consider partnership and sponsorship opportunities


Partnership and Tradeshow:

OMSSA offers a wide variety of partnership levels.  Each level has its own unique benefits, and we can customize options to suit your needs and budget.  We also have an exhibit hall to showcase your product, program or service to over 250 conference delegates.  Click here to download the Partner and Exhibitor brochures and registration forms.


For information about partnership and exhibit opportunities please contact Christie Abramovic, Coordinator, Events and Sponsorship at (647) 385-9285 or          



Conference Hotel:

Delta Ottawa City Centre

101 Lyon Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 5T9


A block of rooms have been arranged at the conference hotel for the group rate of $172.00/night plus applicable taxes.  Book on or before May 23, 2013 by calling 1-855-330-5360 or 613-237-3600, ext. 6200 and reference the OMSSA Learning Symposium or click here to book on-line.


Getting there:


Porter Airlines is proud to offer 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:


Location:                                                                           Dates of Travel:

From: Anywhere in Canada or US

To: Ottawa

From: June 13, 2013

To: June 19, 2013

From: Ottawa

To: Anywhere in Canada or US

From: June 16, 2013

To: June 22, 2013


Please book online at or through your travel agent using promo code OMSSA.

Porter offers complimentary in-flight snacks and beverages (including beer and wine), GatePorter service for carry-on and access to the Porter Lounge in Toronto and Ottawa, where free Wi-Fi and comfortable, leather seating is available.


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.

Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities!

Time Management Strategies: Webinar

May 15, 2013 (10 am – 11:30am)

Click here to Register

Attend this webinar to gain the essential tips and strategies you need to manage your time more effectively. You will learn how to recognize your time style, identify time wasters and develop strategies to help you generate more time.

Additional information


Effective Risk Based Decision Making: Managing Risk in Working with Community Human Services

May 16 - 17, 2013 - Barrie

June 5 - 6, 2013 - North Bay

September 26 – 27 - Toronto

Click here to Register

Understand how risk management principles apply to human services, and how to apply risk management concepts to improve and support your decision making process. Attend this workshop to learn how to incorporate risk mitigation strategies into your organizational systems, strategies, and decision making practices.

Additional information


Ontario Works Directives

London – May 27 – 29, 2013

Toronto - September 17 - 19, 2013

Click here to Register

This interactive 3 day course will provide you the opportunity to research and apply the new Directives to real life case studies. Refresh your knowledge of the Directives in preparation for the roll out of your SAMS later in 2013!

Additional Information


Email and other Electronic Communications: The new rules for writing and getting action

Webinar - June 4, 2013 (10:00am – 11:30pm)

Click here to Register

E‐mail is fast and easy for senders, but can be stressful for receivers.  Understanding this imbalance is key to making effective use of e‐mail. Attend this webinar to gain skills and tips to ensure your messages get attention and action.

Additional Information