September 19, 2013

In today’s issue it is my pleasure to draw your attention to a number of interesting items. One is an opportunity for OMSSA delegates to share your input into OMSSA’s response to the Ontario government’s current consultations on poverty reduction – details are below.

Dear OMSSA delegates and friends,

In today’s issue it is my pleasure to draw your attention to a number of interesting items. One is an opportunity for OMSSA delegates to share your input into OMSSA’s response to the Ontario government’s current consultations on poverty reduction – details are below. 

Another is the exciting news from our Housing and Homelessness Resource Centre that over a third of service managers have already shared their housing and homeless plans with MMAH and received comments in return. An increasing number of service managers continue to share their plans with ministry partners and we expect that most, if not all, plans will be completed by the end of the year.  See our HHRC pages on for more information and contact Patrick Roulstone at anytime.

Finally, I want to thank again all exhibitors who joined OMSSA at our June Learning Symposium in Ottawa this year. Starting today, I will highlight each over the next few weeks as a way of showing our appreciation. We are trying to build an informative and interesting trade show for OMSSA conference delegates and are particularly thankful to those jumping in at the beginning with us.  See OMSSA highlights section below to read more about the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, including about their database of smoke-free Canadian laws.

My best to all, Kira


Bill 88 to Amend the Child and Family Services Act Receives Second Reading

Bill 88: Child and Family Services Amendment Act (Children 16 Years of Age and Older) will be debated at Second Reading and voted on by all parties at the Provincial Legislature today at 1:00pm.

The Bill would make it possible for 16 and 17 year olds to voluntarily access child welfare support services. The Bill would also incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Ontario’s child welfare legislation.

Premier Announces Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel

Premier Wynne announced yesterday that the government has appointed a new advisory panel to review Metrolinx's Investment Strategy. The Strategy recommends ways to fund public transit across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

The Advisory Panel will meet with stakeholders and residents in the GTHA to get input on Metrolinx's recommendations. It will also consider other options to fund public transit and will report its findings to the government. 

The Advisory Panel is composed of 13 members and will be chaired by Dr. Anne Golden.

Appointment of Chair, Social Benefits Tribunal

Beverly Moore has been appointed as the new Associate Chair of the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT), effective September 16, 2013.

Ms. Moore has extensive leadership experience in the administrative tribunal sector including Vice Chair positions at SBT and the former Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, where she also acted as Interim Chair. 


House of Commons Prorogued Until October 16, 2013

The House of Commons, originally scheduled to resume sitting on September 16th, will now come back one month late, after the Harper Government received approval Friday, from the Governor General, to prorogue parliament until October 16th

Prime Minister Harper had earlier signalled the move to prorogue Parliament this fall. Readers may be interested in the results of a Forum Research poll conducted at the time.

When parliament reconvenes, the Prime Minister is expected to deliver a Speech from the Throne, which will lay out his government’s vision for the final two years of its mandate. A continued focus on jobs and the economy is expected. There is also speculation that it will offer details of a “consumer’s first agenda”, with specific initiatives to include an airline passenger bill of rights, measures to limit cellphone price disparities between Canada and the U.S., and a new financial consumer code.


A Forum of Interest to Municipal Administrators and Policy Makers:  Moving forward in Early Learning

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

9:00 a.m. To 4:00 p.m.


Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

252 Bloor Street West, Main Floor Library

The sessions will include:

  • Why Measure Quality? Miho Taguma, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Directorate, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • State Level Quality Measures. What Can They Tell Us?  Gail Zellman, Senior Research Psychologist, RAND Corporation
  • The State of Quality Measures in Canada. Kathleen Flanagan, Child & Family Policy/Early Childhood Education & Care Specialist
  • Measuring for Quality and Accountability. Michal Perlman, Associate Professor, Ontario Institute Studies in Education, University of Toronto

The cost is $75 per person. To register, please email

GrandParenting – TVO documentary Explores When Grandparents Parent Their Grandchildren

On Wednesday, October 16 at 9 pm, TVO will premiere the one-hour documentary, GrandParenting. The film takes an intimate look at the lives of grandparents who become the primary caregivers of their grandchildren, and some of the difficulties they face in with their unexpected return to parenting.

Across Ontario and throughout Canada, this is the story of thousands of families. According to CanGrands, a national support organization for kinship families, approximately 62,500 children are being raised by kin (grandparents or other extended family members) in Canada.

GrandParenting will be available for streaming at the day after its broadcast premiere.

Social Well-being in Canada: How do the Provinces Measure Up?

A new Broadbent Institute report Social Well-being in Canada: How do the Provinces Measure Up?  ranks the social well-being of the Canadian provinces, measured by the following indicators: life expectancy, student achievement, infant mortality, homicide, incarceration, teenage pregnancy, trust in others, obesity, and mental health.

Overall, the provinces share similar well-being outcomes, with the exception of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which performed poorly in comparison. Proportionately high Aboriginal populations in the provinces, and their comparatively poor performance on a number of wellbeing indicators (e.g. incarceration rates, infant mortality) compared to Non-Aboriginal populations, is offered as a contributing factor. The authors suggest a need for policies that will increase the opportunity for more equal social and health outcomes among Aboriginal populations.


Consulting OMSSA Members on Poverty Reduction

In the 2013 Budget, the government of Ontario committed to renewing its efforts to reduce poverty. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is now in the process of conducting province-wide consultations in support of the development of a new five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario. This will replace 2008’s Breaking the Cycle: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy.

We want to ensure that a broad range of OMSSA members’ perspectives, recommendations and feedback are provided to government on the next steps in poverty reduction. To assist in this effort we are asking you to provide feedback through a survey link.

Please provide your responses by Wednesday, September 25th, 2013.

Your input will help to ensure that your local issues, needs and insights will inform OMSSA’s message to government about priorities for the renewed Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Thank you to OMSSA Learning Symposium Exhibitor Non-Smokers’ Rights Association

The NSRA is a voluntary non-profit health organization that has worked exclusively in the field of tobacco control for almost 40 years. Its mission is to promote public health by eliminating illness and death caused by tobacco, including second-hand smoke.  On their main website readers can find their database of smoke-free Canadian laws.

The NSRA has also created a website dedicated to smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke in multi-unit housing. They call it (and their coalition of public health units) Smoke-Free Housing Ontario.

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.

Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities

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

September 26 – 27, 2013 in 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


Webinar: Changes to the Non-profit Corporations Act

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


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


Better Beginnings, Better Futures

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


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.