July 12, 2013

As you know, OMSSA will be publishing its ED Letter every two weeks over the summer months. And, while we have moved into the middle of summer and vacation time, work at OMSSA certainly has not taken on the pace of the lazy hazy days of summer.

July 12, 2013

Dear OMSSA members and friends,

As you know, OMSSA will be publishing its ED Letter every two weeks over the summer months. And, while we have moved into the middle of summer and vacation time, work at OMSSA certainly has not taken on the pace of the lazy hazy days of summer.

OMSSA staff is already planning the 2013 Human Services Integration Policy Conference being held December 3rd and 4th at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre. This year the Conference will focus on the emergence and future of the service system manager role.

We are also continuing to develop the Early Learning and Child Care Capacity Building Resource Centre to support you in the implementation of the new child care funding model.

And, on an important note, in our continued commitment to support our members through the many changes we are experiencing in all sectors, I am pleased to welcome Rachael Walisser to OMSSA.

Rachael joined OMSSA on July 3rd as our new Policy Advisor. Rachael comes to us from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, where she worked as a Policy Analyst with the Child Welfare Secretariat. Previously, she held policy positions with the City of Toronto, including with the Office the Ombudsman and Employment & Social Services. Rachael was also part of the prestigious Toronto Urban Fellows Program. Before joining the public sector, Rachael worked in the HIV/AIDS field in the areas of research, advocacy and community development. Rachael holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto.

Rachael is an important addition to the OMSSA team and will play a key role in supporting OMSSA in moving our Five Year Strategic Plan forward and working with members to support and further your important work.

Please join me in welcoming Rachael. Wishing you the best of summer.

Petra Wolfbeiss

Director of Policy and Public Affairs 


Provincial Byelections Called in Five Ontario Ridings

The Office of the Premier has announced byelections for five Ontario ridings will be held on August 1, 2013. The byelections will fill seats in the provincial parliament left vacant by the resignations of Liberal MPPs in the ridings of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, London West, Ottawa South, Scarborough-Guildwood and Windsor-Tecumseh. 

Nominated candidates include:


  • P.C. Choo - New Democrat
  • Doug Holyday - Progressive Conservative
  • Peter Milczyn - Liberal
  • Angela Salewsky - Green


  • Adam Giambrone - New Democrat
  • Mitzie Hunter - Liberal
  • Ken Kirupa - Progressive Conservative
  • Nick Leeson - Green

London West

  • Gary Brown - Green
  • Ali Chahbar - Progressive Conservative
  • Ken Coran - Liberal
  • Peggy Sattler- New Democrat


  • Jeewen Gill - Liberal
  • Percy Hatfield - New Democrat
  • Robert de Verteuil - Progressive Conservative
  • Adam Wright - Green

Ottawa South

  • Bronwyn Funiciello - New Democrat
  • John Fraser - Liberal
  • Taylor Howarth - Green
  • Matt Young - Progressive Conservative

Province Appoints New Accessibility Council

The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment has announced the appointment of members to the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standards Development Committee

The 13 newly appointed members of the Advisory Council include a cross-section of leaders from Ontario's disability community and organizations that have to comply with Ontario's accessibility laws. Jim Sanders, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Institute for the Blind, was appointed as Chair of the council in January 2013.

The immediate mandate of the new Advisory Council will be to:

  • Review Ontario's existing accessibility standards, which with the introduction of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) have been implemented in the areas of customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and the design of public spaces.
  • Develop new accessibility standards based on the advice and feedback received from stakeholders. 

Work Experience for Young People

Over 4,300 young people are expected to gain work experience through Ontario’s Jobs for Youth program and Youth in Policing Initiative this summer. Both programs provide young people ages 15-18 with training, a six to eight week paid placement and job search training for future employment opportunities.

The programs are part of Ontario’s Youth Opportunities Strategy, a Ministry of Children and Youth Services initiative which, in turn, is a key part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Changes to the Application Form for Special Diet Allowance

According to a memo jointly released by Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Programs, the Application for Special Diet Allowance form (English form #3111; French form #3112) has now been updated to reflect the addition of the new medical conditions, Chronic Hepatitis C (BMI <25), Prader-Willi Syndrome and Unintended Weight Loss due to Renal Failure (GFR <30), added to the Special Diets Schedule.

The revised Application for Special Diet Allowance form (edition date 2013/05) can be used immediately upon availability, which is expected to be mid-August 2013. 

Once the new version of the application form is made available, previous versions of the form should no longer be accepted by caseworkers. Any existing forms currently in stock within the local offices or the warehouse, including the application inserts and information sheets listing the new medical conditions should be destroyed.

The updated directives will be reflected on the ministry’s extranet site as soon as possible.


Anticipated Cabinet Shuffle on Hold?

As reported by Canadian Press, it appears that a cabinet reconfiguration, anticipated due to a number of recent Conservative MP retirements, has been put on hold. Five cabinet ministers have already announced their departure, including Diane Ablonczy, Keith Ashfield, Peter Kent, Ted Menzies and Vic Toews.

Speculation is that a cabinet shuffle is now unlikely before next week at the earliest, and possibly not until later this month. OMSSA will keep members apprised of any new developments. 


Study: Changing Labour Market Conditions for Young Canadians

According to new research from Statistics Canada, the employment outcomes of young Canadians aged 15 to 34, has evolved differently across periods, gender, age groups and provinces over the past three decades. 

Women aged 25 to 34 had more favourable employment outcomes in 2012 than did their counterparts in 1981. They had lower unemployment rates, greater rates of full-time employment and higher wages.

Men aged 25 to 34 had mixed results. In oil-producing provinces, they had lower full-time employment rates in 2012 than in 1981, but wages were higher, and unemployment rates were relatively low in both years. By contrast, in non-oil-producing provinces, men aged 25 to 34 had lower employment outcomes in 2012 than in 1981 across all three indicators.

For both men and women under 25, employment conditions deteriorated between 1981 and 2012. The deterioration was less pronounced in oil-producing provinces.

Most of the deterioration in full-time employment rates and wages of young Canadians took place during the 1980s and 1990s. These labour market indicators improved during most of the 2000s, but not enough to fully offset previous declines.

Lessons from Ontario’s Campaign to Cut Child Poverty

Child poverty in Ontario has dropped for a third consecutive year. According to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada, Ontario’s child poverty rate of 13.8 per cent in 2011 was down from 15.2 per cent three years earlier. 

In an editorial published in the Toronto Star, Greg deGroot-Maggetti of the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, Margaret Hancock of Family Service Toronto and Heather McGregor of YWCA Toronto argue that, as Ontario sets out to consult regarding its next five-year anti-poverty strategy, the past strategy provides five important lessons:

  • setting targets matters;
  • public engagement matters;
  • there are no silver bullets when it comes to complex issues such as poverty;
  • good social policy makes all the difference; and
  • when it comes to investments, you only get out of it as much as you put in.

The Caledon Institute’s Canada Social Report

The Caledon Institute is introducing a Canada Social Report, details of which can be found in the document The Case for a Canada Social Report.

The Canada Social Report will house key social program and policy information, and socioeconomic data, and will track major developments in social policy in various domains. These include federal and provincial/territorial income security programs and provincial/territorial services such as early learning and child care, disability, mental health, home care and affordable housing.

A Closer Look at the Canada Job Grant

In its March 2013 Budget, the federal government proposed a new skills training program called the Canada Job Grant.  The program would provide up to $15,000 per trainee for employer-sponsored training, of which the federal government would pay one third – if each of the sponsoring employer and the province or territory contribute matching funds.  

In The Training Wheels Are Off: A Closer Look at the Canada Job Grant, the Caledon Institute assesses the Canada Job Grant proposal. They outline a number of flaws, including:

  • it would put further pressure on provincial budgets by requiring them to come up with new funding – a further $300 million – to match federal contributions;
  • significant administrative costs would be need to be borne by provinces to facilitate the implementation of the new program;
  • the program is likely to deliver inferior results at higher costs compared to the programs under the current Labour Market Agreements that it would displace; and
  • the program would be unlikely to address the needs of employers and sectors unable to hire the skilled workers they need.

For OMSSA’s analysis of the Federal Budget and the Canada Job Grant, click here.

Save the Date: Conference on Quality Assurance in Early Childhood Education

The Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, the City of Toronto and George Brown College, together, are hosting the following conference for systems managers, policy makers, program administrators, and researchers:


Defining, Using and Evaluating Quality Assurance in Early Childhood Education

Thursday, October 10, 2013

8:00 a.m. To 5:00 p.m.


Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

252 Bloor Street West, Main Floor Library


Registration details to follow. Please direct any question to institut@georgebrown.ca 


OMSSA to Respond to the Early Childhood Educators Act Review

The Ministry of Education is conducting a review of the Early Childhood Educators Act (2007), and is seeking public and stakeholder feedback to inform the review process. 

The purpose of the review, outlined in the Review of the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007 Discussion Paper, is to determine if the Act, which established the College of Early Childhood Educators, is achieving its objectives, and to identify any legislative barriers to the effective implementation of the College's responsibilities.

OMSSA will be consulting with members on an appropriate response to the discussion paper. 

OMSSA’s 2013 Human Services Integration Policy Conference

Municipal Human Service System Management, 15 years after Local Services Realignment

December 3 - 4, 2013

Toronto, Ontario


Join us this December to explore the present and future of municipal service system management. The 2013 OMSSA Policy Conference acknowledges that it has been 15 years since Local Services Realignment and that much has changed in the social policy landscape since then. Through plenaries, workshops and panel discussions, the conference will examine service system management from different perspectives, including:

  • Exploring the history of municipal service system management and understand how it has shaped the current landscape – a critical discussion especially for those newer to the human services sector in Ontario.
  • Understanding how service system management has helped focus on people centered outcomes.
  • Discussing current and emerging opportunities and challenges in moving to the next step in furthering municipal service system management.
  • Modeling the future of Service System Management, exploring best practices from our own and other jurisdictions to understand the best conditions needed to maximize the capacity of service system management.


More details on this over the coming months – stay tuned.

Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities

Leading and Managing Projects

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


Developing your Social Media Strategy

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 session 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