July 26, 2013

Premiers to Discuss Jobs, Affordable and Social Housing, at Council of the Federation Meeting

Provincial and territorial Premiers will meet in Niagara-on-the-Lake from July 24-26, 2013 for the Council of the Federation summer meeting.

July 26, 2013


News from Queen's Park and Ontario

Premiers to Discuss Jobs, Affordable and Social Housing, at Council of the Federation Meeting

Provincial and territorial Premiers are meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake from July 24-26, 2013 for the Council of the Federation summer meeting.

At the meeting, Premiers will discuss a number of key priorities including the economy, the Canadian Energy Strategy, affordable and social housing, bullying, and health care innovation. As host, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will Chair.

Council meetings provide a forum for Premiers to work collaboratively, form closer ties, foster constructive relationships between governments, and show leadership on shared issues.

Ontario Ombudsman to Investigate Monitoring of Unlicensed Child Care

In light of recent events involving the death of a child in a home based daycare, the Ontario Ombudsman announced he will conduct an investigation into how the Ministry of Education responds to complaints and concerns relating to unlicensed child care providers. 

The investigation will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team, responsible for conducting systemic investigations into issues affecting large numbers of Ontario residents. The fact-finding stage of the investigation is to be completed within the next 90 days. 

At the same time, the Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, committed to responding to all future complaints relating to unlicensed child care in a statement issued on July 19, 2013.

An internal review of complaints received by the ministry over the past year relating to unlicensed child care revealed that, in some instances, complaints had not been fully responded to. These complaints have since been investigated and the providers have been found to be in compliance with current ministry policies. 

A Consultation on Ontario's Minimum Wage

The Ministry of Labour has announced the appointment of a Minimum Wage Advisory Panel. The 6-person panel, chaired by Anil Verma, Professor of Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, includes representatives from business, worker, and youth groups.

The panel will examine the province's current minimum wage policy and provide advice on determining the minimum wage in the future. Currently, there is no formal mechanism for calculating the minimum wage in Ontario. It has been frozen at $10.25 an hour since 2010. 

The panel is looking for public and stakeholder input to inform their thinking on this issue and their advice to government. To participate, or for more information, refer to: A Consultation Paper on Ontario’s Minimum Wage.


Province-Wide Consultations to be Held on a New Poverty Reduction Strategy

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has announced the launch of province-wide consultations in support of the development of a new five-year Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario. The previous five-year plan, Breaking the Cycle: Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy, was launched in 2008.

Government-led community consultations will begin in early August and continue into October. Individuals and organizations will also have the opportunity to conduct consultations in their communities and provide feedback.

More information and online consultations will be online on August 6, 2013. OMSSA will provide more details as they become available.

Province Expanding Summer Learning Programs

The Ontario government has announced that it is expanding its summer learning programs to 1,000 more elementary students across the province.

Through a mix of classroom learning and recreation programming, the summer learning programs aim to improve the reading, writing and math skills of students who may be struggling, while boosting their self-confidence. With the expansion, a total of about 2,500 elementary students in Ontario will take part in the summer learning programs this year.

The Ontario 2013 Budget committed to doubling funding for summer learning programs to almost $3 million in 2013-14. The programs support Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.  


News from Ottawa

Canada’s New Cabinet

On July 15, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a cabinet shuffle. In total 8 new ministers were named to cabinet. While the faces in cabinet may be new, the Prime Minister restated the government’s commitment to economic growth and prosperity, low taxes, sustainable finances and safe streets and communities.

Of interest to OMSSA members is the change of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to the Ministry of Employment and Social Development. The former minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, has been appointed to this new post.

It is anticipated that a first order of business for the new Minister will be negotiating the government’s proposed Canada Job Grant with provinces and territories. It is also anticipated that the federal government’s ongoing work in the area of social enterprise and innovation will figure prominently in the Minister’s mandate.

Canada’s Crime Rate Lowest Since 1972

According to newly released Statistics Canada figures, the police-reported crime rate, which measures the overall volume of crime that came to the attention of police, continued a long-term decline in 2012, falling 3% from 2011 to reach its lowest level since 1972.

Canadian police services reported almost 2 million criminal incidents in 2012, about 36,000 fewer than in the previous year.

The decline in the crime rate in 2012 was driven by decreases in some of the most common offences, including mischief, break and enter, disturbing the peace, motor vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.


Resource Corner

Exploring the Employment Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities

The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, and the Status Of Persons with Disabilities has released a new study: Exploring the Employment Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities.

The testimonies of organizations representing persons with disabilities, businesses, service delivery and front-line staff, researchers and persons with disabilities, among others, was heard as part of the study process.  

The Committee found that, although some progress has been made on improving access to employment for persons with disabilities, numerous barriers still make it difficult for persons with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment in Canada. They concluded that:

  • it is critical to focus on youth with disabilities during their transition from high school to post-secondary education and/or employment;
  • employers are overlooking hiring persons with disabilities because of misconceptions and negative beliefs about their work capacity and the cost of accommodations;
  • partnerships, better communication, coordination and cooperation between service providers, community organizations, persons with disabilities and employers will play a critical role in helping people to see the abilities in job seekers; and
  • a strategic plan to address the employment needs of persons with disabilities and increase their opportunities for employment, is needed.  

Report: The Impact of Nova Scotia’s changes to Special Needs Allowances

The Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released the report Cornerstone Compromised: A critical analysis of changes to Special Needs Assistance in Nova Scotia, profiling the impact of the province’s 2011 changes to special needs allowances.

In Nova Scotia, 65% of people on income assistance receive special needs allowances, many of which are persons with disabilities, for costs not covered by the basic benefit. A key change was the removal of the ability for people to appeal for support for ‘special needs’ items not explicitly identified in the policy.

CCPA makes a number of recommendations to reverse the effect of the changes on Nova Scotians living in poverty, including:

  • Removing barriers to access to special needs;
  • Implementing meaningful stakeholder engagement;
  • Incorporating a human rights perspective into income assistance legislation;
  • Making transformational reform of the Income Assistance Program a top priority; and
  • Implementing a Poverty Reduction Action Plan as part of healthy public policy.

Conference: Public Sector Social Media

The Conference Board of Canada is hosting the following conference for public servants who are looking to use social media internally and externally to enhance or replace existing communications channels.


Public Sector Social Media 2013: Making Connections Getting Results

Nov 5-6, 2013

Fairmount Chateau Laurier



The full agenda and registration information are available here



OMSSA Highlights

Housing and Homelessness Resource Centre Update

Many Service Managers have begun to submit their 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plans to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the Ministers review. The process has been established so that the Minister’s comments can be incorporated into the final plans, which in most cases will go before Municipal Councils and District Social Services Advisory Boards in the fall of 2013. The Housing and Homelessness Resource Centre (HHRC) is helping facilitate the reviews through trouble shooting, although is not directly involved in the reviews themselves. The Plans will come into effect December 31, 2103.

The HHRC is also helping Service Manager staff with many of the challenges associated with implementing the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative. The increased flexibility which comes with the new program means many Service Managers have the opportunity to explore new options for addressing homelessness. To explore these opportunities they have increased their networking activities, with more frequent teleconferences coordinated through OMSSA. These calls have been invaluable for Service Managers to share experiences, develop new ideas, and create new strategies that will be important elements in the Housing and Homelessness Plans.

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


Ontario Works Directives

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


Developing your Social Media Strategy

September 19, 2013 - Toronto

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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


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

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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