April 15, 2013

Ontario Investing in Settlement Services, Strengthening Communities 

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration announced that Ontario is increasing support for settlement programs and helping more than 80,000 newcomers get the services they need to settle and find jobs. Through the government's Newcomer Settlement Program, 98 organizations across the province will receive support over the next two years to help connect new immigrants with language and job training, and other community services. Details of the resources that support this effort are being confirmed.

Ontario Investing in Settlement Services, Strengthening Communities 

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration announced that Ontario is increasing support for settlement programs and helping more than 80,000 newcomers get the services they need to settle and find jobs.  Through the government's Newcomer Settlement Program, 98 organizations across the province will receive support over the next two years to help connect new immigrants with language and job training, and other community services.  Details of the resources that support this effort are being confirmed.  

Enhancing newcomer settlement services is part of the province's Immigration Strategy.

 Enhancing the Role of Ontario Nurses 

The Office of the Premier announced that as part of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care the province is enhancing the role of Ontario nurses to deliver more services that will improve the care of their patients.  The provincial government will work with the College of Nurses of Ontario to expand the scope of Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses so they can dispense medication in specific circumstances - for example, when patients do not have quick access to a pharmacy.  The government is also working with the nursing community and will identify additional opportunities to expand their scope of practice. Potential changes could include allowing Registered Nurses to prescribe certain medications and Nurse Practitioners prescribing controlled substances.


New UNICEF Report Card Compares Child Well-Being in Canada with Other Nations 

UNICEF’s Report Card 11, Child Well-Being in Rich Countries: A comparative overview, compares the level of child well-being across the world’s twenty-nine richest nations. It records the standards achieved by the highest-performing nations and contributes to debate in Canada about how such standards can be achieved for children in material well-being, health, education, risks and behaviours, and housing and environment. According to the report, Canada ranks 17th out of 29 for the well-being of children and also scored below average grades for child poverty, obesity and children’s life satisfaction. 

For more on how Canada compares on these and other childhood conditions, visit the UNICEF website at www.unicef.ca/irc11 or read this related article in yesterday’s Toronto Star.

 Housing Services Corporation Announces New CEO


The Housing Services Corporation Board announced that Howie Wong has been selected to replace Lindsey Reed as HSC’s new Chief Executive Officer effective May 1, 2013.  

Since 2011, Howie has served as HSC’s Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he has led the redesign of HSC’s gas program for local housing corporations and has spearheaded HSC’s recent outreach efforts – having met so far with all 47 local housing corporations, regional CAOs, regional treasurers, urban commissioners as well as many service manager and housing provider staff from across the Province. 

A lawyer by training, Howie joined HSC in 2007, serving in a dual role as both HSC’s part-time General Counsel and the General Counsel of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Through his work on TCHC’s executive team as well as his work as HSC’s COO, he has developed a deep understanding of Ontario’s housing system and the key issues for providers and Service Managers.

 Report on the Pay Gap between Men and Women in Ontario 

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a report on the pay gap between men and women in Ontario.  , 10 Ways To Close Ontario’s Gender Pay Gap finds that women in Ontario still earn 28 per cent less than men – despite increased levels of education and workforce participation, and challenges the Ontario government to take 10 steps to close the province’s persistent pay gap between men and women. It builds on the work in the CCPA-Ontario report, A Living Wage As A Human Right


Government of Canada launches Call for Concepts to Improve Literacy and Essential Skills 

The Government of Canada launched a national Call for Concepts to identify organizations who are interested in forming a pan-Canadian network focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of Canadians. 

The announcement by Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour who also spoke to new measures in the Economic Action Plan 2013 to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups such as persons with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal peoples and newcomers. 

The Call for Concept papers is open until May 24, 2013. More detailed information can be found on the HRSDC website.

 New Employment Insurance Rate Calculation Takes Effect 

The Variable Best Weeks measure for the calculation of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, introduced in April 2012 under the Government’s Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, came into force last week as announced by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.  The new Variable Best Weeks measure aligns the calculation of weekly benefits with the local labour market conditions in each region. 

More information is available at www.servicecanada.gc.ca 


Notice of OMSSA Annual General Meeting and Slate of Board Nominees 

Please find below information regarding the 2013 OMSSA Annual General Meeting and the slate of delegates who are standing for election to the OMSSA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term. 


The OMSSA Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, June 17, 2013 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Delta Ottawa City Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.  

We invite you to join us for lunch before the meeting and hope that you will attend and take the opportunity to offer your input and meet the candidates standing for election to the 2013 - 2015 OMSSA Board of Directors. 

To date, the following individuals have been nominated to the Board of Directors for a two-year term:

  • Kerry Lubrick, Director of Employment and Income Support, City of Hamilton
  • Catherine Matheson,  General Manager of Community Development, City of Greater Sudbury
  • Janet Menard, Commissioner, Human Services, Regional Municipality of Peel
  • Keith Palmer, Director of Community Services, County of Dufferin 

Given the range of challenges facing Ontario communities, it is important to have a strong association and a strong Board of Directors. This year’s Nominations Committee was pleased with the commitment to our association demonstrated by each of these nominees. 

As you may know, our Board of Directors provides for continuity by having up to one half of its members stand for election each year for a two-year term. The outgoing President automatically assumes the position of Immediate Past President for a one-year term.  The following Board members will continue on the Board for the second year of their two-year term:

  • Cordelia Abankwa, General Manager of Social Services, Region of York
  • Greg Bishop, Director of Children and Community Services, County of Simcoe
  • Anne Comtois-Lalonde, Administrator of Social Services, U/C Prescott Russell
  • Dave Landers, Chief Administrative Officer, Cochrane DSSAB
  • Anne Longair, Director, Hostel Services, Shelter Support and Housing Administration Division, City of Toronto
  • Nancy MacLean, Director Children’s Services, District of Algoma (ADSAB) 

Pending any further nominations, the above slate of four (4) nominees proposed to fill the four (4) vacant positions on the Board of Directors will be acclaimed and there will not be an election at this year’s AGM. 

Please note that nominations may also be put forward any time prior to the Annual General Meeting and will also be accepted from the floor during the AGM.  In such a case, elections for the 2013-2015 OMSSA Board of Directors would follow the Annual General Meeting. 

The new OMSSA Board of Directors will be introduced at the Awards Gala on June 18, 2013. 

Nominee profiles will be available on the OMSSA website.  Those attending this year’s Annual General Meeting will have an opportunity to hear each nominee speak and address the OMSSA membership.  We will keep you informed of any changes to the slate of nominees and please contact us if you any questions with respect to the nominations process or expectations of Board members. 

Thank you and look forward to seeing you in June!

OMSSA Gears up for SAMS Training

The Social Assistance Modernization System (SAMS) is scheduled for launch this fall and will require extensive training for staff using and working with the new system. OMSSA is pulling together several resources to support our members through this initiative.

This includes developing a team of trainers to support and augment member SAMS training plans including:

  • A partnership with the Region of Peel to ensure trainers will be available and on call to support training needs of other service managers across the province. When requested, these trainers will travel to your organizations to support your SAMS training efforts.
  • Regional sessions, based on demand, to be held where staff can join colleagues from other CMSMs and DSSABs and have the opportunity to network and discuss common strategies.
  • A partnership with the provincial SAIL trainers to address the supplementary training that will also be necessary as the new system is implemented.   Topics such as change management, workflow changes to implement SAMS, policy and procedure changes are being considered for development. 

Please contact OMSSA for further information and to help us develop an education plan that supports your needs. Please direct your comments and inquiries to Diya Gill, Manager of Education, at dgill@omssa.com

Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities!


Developing Your Social Media Strategy

April 26, 2013 - Kingston

April 30, 2013 - Stratford 

Sept 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 


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


Narrative Interventions Workshop

May 8 – 9, 2013 in Toronto

Click here to Register 

The Narrative Interventions approach provides strategies for better engaging people and assisting them in problem-solving. It uses an informed, question-centred strategy that deconstructs meaning and works to re-author a positive, results-focused narrative, building on individual strengths and assets.  This two-day workshop will provide workshop participants with an understanding of Narrative Interventions and strategies and tips for applying them in working with clients, tenants/residents, families, colleagues and communities.

Further information