September 12, 2013

Welcome to our new edition of the E.D. Letter. We are back on our regular weekly schedule now that the summer is over and hope that you enjoy it each and every week.

September 12, 2013


Dear OMSSA members and friends,

Welcome to our new edition of the E.D. Letter. We are back on our regular weekly schedule now that the summer is over and hope that you enjoy it each and every week.

As you know, our Ontario Legislature returned to sitting this week, and readers will find many of their activities highlighted below.  Our federal government has of course been prorogued, and we await a Throne Speech for a new session sometime in October.  We will write more about this and what to expect in next week’s E.D. Letter.

A highlight this week for local service system management and human services integration is the launch of a new Community Services Hub in Dufferin County. The Edelbrock Centre is made up of seven community service delivery agencies providing a vast range of services including education, employment, grief counselling, mental health and crisis intervention. In addition, the County will continue to provide social assistance, social housing, and children’s programming and the heart of the hub is the Employment Resource Centre which is now jointly run by the County and Georgian College Employment Services. More information will be available soon on the Dufferin County website. At left you can see the ribbon cutting that took place yesterday with County mayors, the Warden, community leaders and our very own OMSSA Secretary Treasurer, and Director of Community Services in Dufferin, Keith Palmer (4th from the right.)

Congratulations to all in Dufferin County, and please send me news of initiatives supporting integration and local service system management in your CMSM or DSSAB so I can highlight them in E.D. Letters to come – thank you, and all my best, Kira


Three Ontario MPPs Take on New Roles

As the Ontario Legislature resumed this week, three Ontario MPPs are taking on new portfolios as parliamentary assistants:

  • Joe Dickson – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Mitzie Hunter – Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community and Social Services
  • John Fraser – Parliamentary Assistant to both the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.

Bill to Establish a Financial Accountability Officer Passes Second Reading

Today, Bill 95, the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, passed second reading after debate in the Ontario legislature. If passed, the bill would establish a Financial Accountability Officer as an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly.  Introducing this bill is part of the government’s commitment to the NDP made during budget deliberations earlier this year.

If the legislation is passed, the Financial Accountability Officer would provide independent analysis to all MPPs about the state of the province's finances, including the Ontario Budget, as well as trends in the provincial and national economies, and cost-benefit analyses of public bills.

Ontario Expanding Sport and Recreation Opportunities for Children and Youth

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has announced an additional 650 children and youth will have access to Ontario's After School Program this year at 436 sites across the province. In total, over 20,000 kids will be served.

The programs, such as sports, arts and crafts, nutrition, personal health and wellness education programs, are located in schools, community centers or First Nation communities and delivered by non-profit organizations.

Enhancing Supports for Children and Youth with Special Needs in Northern Ontario

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced that it will be expanding the family-centred Children's Rehabilitation Information System to children's treatment centres in northern Ontario as part of an effort to reduce wait times and improve access to services for families of children and youth with special needs in northern Ontario. The northern treatment centres are located in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, North Bay and Sudbury.

These new supports are the first step in responding to recommendations from Tracy MacCharles, the former Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, on how to improve families’ experiences finding information, navigating the system and transitioning from child and youth to adult services. While OMSSA did not contribute to MacCharles’ work directly, many of our submissions relating to integration, early learning and child care and the Best Start Child and Family Centres over the last few years have supported addressing this important issue.

Dean Mayo Moran to Review Ontario’s Accessibility Laws

The government of Ontario has announced the appointment of Mayo Moran, Dean and James Marshall Tory Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, to lead a review of the province's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). 

The Act requires that within four years of coming into force, a reviewer be appointed to undertake a review of its effectiveness, and that subsequent reviewers be appointed within three years of the previous report being tabled.

Ontario Continues to Reduce Deficit

Newly released figures show Ontario's 2012-13 deficit is $9.2 billion, $5.6 billion lower than projected in the 2012 Budget, and $0.6 billion lower than projected since the 2013 Budget. In addition, for the first time in more than a decade, total government reported spending, due in part to one-time savings, fell from the previous year.


Government Introduces Three-Year Freeze of Employment Insurance Premium Rates

The Government of Canada announced that it will freeze the Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate for employees at the 2013 level for 2014, and additionally that the rate will be set no higher for 2015 and 2016.

Falling unemployment over the recovery means the EI Operating Account is on track to return to balance, a priority of this federal government, and the premium rate increases previously projected are no longer necessary.

Starting in 2017, as announced in the Economic Action Plan 2012, the EI premium rate will be set annually at a seven-year break-even rate.


2011 National Household Survey data now available

The last data set from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) is now available. This third NHS release includes data on income and earnings, as well as housing and shelter costs.

Among the findings related to shelter costs and affordability, the new NHS data shows that, in 2011, one-quarter (3.3 million) of Canadian households spent 30% or more of their total income on shelter – a threshold used by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the provinces to assess housing affordability.

Following the NHS release, Claude Dauphin, the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, made a statement calling for sustained investment by the federal government in affordable housing, as one of the most effective ways to both create jobs and boost economic activity in Canada. 

Municipal Information Access and Privacy Forum

The Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario is presenting the following forum:

Access and Privacy in the Municipal Sector: Emerging Issues and Hot Topics

November 26, 2013

Hilton Garden Airport

Mississauga, ON


Click here for more information or to register. 

Conflict Resolution through Courageous Conversation

Community Partners for Applied Research and Consultation (CPARC), University of Windsor, is offering Conflict Resolution through Courageous Conversations facilitated by leadership consultant Ronna Warsh. 

Participants will learn to be more effective in managing your approach to conflict and acquire new techniques for engaging in courageous conversations with less fear and more confidence.

This session is being held:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

from 8:30 am to noon

at the Caboto Club of Windsor

For more information, contact or visit the CPARC website.




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 opportunitiesand 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.

Registration will open in early October.

Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities

Better Beginnings, Better Futures

September 27, 2013 – In Brantford

October 18, 2013 – In Ottawa

Click here to Register

Started in 1991 in 3 pilot communities by the Government of Ontario, the Better Beginnings, Better Futures (BBBF) project is an innovative, community-based project designed to support the development of young children and their families living in disadvantaged communities. It is a flexible, ecological model that addresses the needs of children in low-income communities beginning from JK to Grade 2 through family, school, and community programs. It is not a “one size fits all”, top-down package, but rather a collection of strategies that can be shaped by communities to address their unique needs.

Additional Information


Webinar: Changes to the Non-profit Corporations Act

September 23 (2pm – 3:30pm)

October 15 (3:30pm – 5:00pm)

Click here to Register

Bill 65, which is expected to be proclaimed in January 2014, will replace the Ontario Corporations Act (OCA) with the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act (ONCA). This new legislation will provide a modern legal framework that is intended to address the needs of today's not-for-profit corporations in Ontario. It will simplify some business practices and create greater accountability in other areas to allow for more effective governance of not-for-profit organizations. Attend this webinar to hear more about these changes. Additional Information


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

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


Working Effectively with the Media

October 8, 2013 in Toronto

Click here to Register

Working with the media is an essential part of communicating with the public – but when it comes to social services, it seems like it is only bad news that gets covered by the media. Municipal communicators and staff must be able to understand the needs of the media, share information, and sell ideas. Messages should be easy to understand, and easy to remember. This session will help you to succeed in promoting the good work you do, while better managing issues while under the media spotlight. Additional Information


Leading and Managing Projects

October 15 – 16, 2013 in Toronto

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


ERO Core Training

October 23 - 25, 2013 in Barrie

November 6 - 8, 2013 in Toronto

Click here to Register

 The eligibility review process is a series of detailed steps and procedures that must be followed in order to assess and investigate Ontario Works eligibility and referrals. This 3-day workshop will provide you with guides and tips to conducting an investigation, reviewing the differences between civil, provincial offences and criminal prosecutions, the use of discretion when deciding upon the pursuit of a judicial outcome and many other facets of the ERO world. This is your opportunity to work with the Ontario Works legislation, applying it to case studies in preparation for carrying out an investigation from the initial receipt of the tip/information to the final outcome. Additional Information

Interested in the topics, but unable to attend the session?

Consider bringing any of these topics or other OMSSA workshops in-house in 2013. Contact Christie Abramovic, Senior Coordinator of Education, at to make custom arrangements for bringing any OMSSA workshop to your staff and community.