September 26, 2013

As you know, since our 2012 Learning Symposium in Mississauga, we’ve been committed to embracing all things technology. And since we last saw our members and delegates in Ottawa, we’ve really amplified our presence on social media.

Dear OMSSA member delegates and friends,

As you know, since our 2012 Learning Symposium in Mississauga, we’ve been committed to embracing all things technology. And since we last saw our members and delegates in Ottawa, we’ve really amplified our presence on social media.  

We’re getting more likes, shares, follows and retweets – but more importantly, we’re expanding OMSSA’s voice in the online sphere.   Not only are we sharing updates about OMSSA events, services and policy positions – we’re also seeking out and sharing news and resources that are of interest to our members. We plan to build on this success to make OMSSA’s social media channels an interactive place for interaction and discussion between our members.

If you haven’t come around in a while, visit our pages again to see what you’ve been missing and add to the conversation at Facebook and Twitter. And please don’t forget to ‘like’ us or follow us to receive our updates all year round.

Speaking of our Ottawa Learning Symposium a few months ago, I am pleased to draw your attention this week to our exhibitor Christa Dales Donnelly.  Christa is a certified Compassion Fatigue educator and has built a practice that includes workshops and supports for human service providers in a number of contexts.  You can read more below.

And, as always, my best to all of you, Kira


Applications Open for Province’s Youth Employment Fund

Businesses and eligible youth aged 15 to 29 can now apply to Ontario's Youth Employment Fund by making an appointment with a local Employment Ontario service provider. The fund helps employers offer four- to six-month job and training placements for young people looking for employment.

Ontario is providing up to $7,800 to cover a range of supports and services for each eligible young worker under the fund. That includes up to $6,800 to help cover wage and training costs, and up to $1,000 to help young workers pay for job-related costs like tools and transportation to work.

The fund is part of the new Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy.

Co-op Dispute Resolution Reforms Pass Third Reading

On September 24th, Bill 14, the Non-profit Housing Co-operatives Statute Law Amendment Act, 2013, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature. When it comes into force, the bill will amend the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, and the Co-operative Corporations Act to enable co-ops to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to resolve tenure disputes.

Niagara Falls Byelection on the Horizon

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the resignation of Kim Craitor, MPP for Niagara Falls, Tuesday, effective immediately.

MPP Craitor was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003. Over the last ten years, he has served as Parliamentary Assistant in various portfolios, including Community and Social Services, Energy and Infrastructure, Tourism and Culture, and Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Premier Wynne intends to call a byelection within the next six months, to fill the vacant seat.

Family Caregivers Bill Passes Second Reading

Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013, passed second reading on Wednesday after debate in the Ontario legislature.

If passed, the act would build on the existing Family Medical Leave by creating three new job-protected leaves:

  • Family Caregiver Leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care and support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
  • Critically Ill Child Care Leave: up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.
  • Crime-Related Child Death and Disappearance Leave: up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a child that has died as a result of a crime.

Lieutenant Governor Launches Student Challenge to Redesign Wheelchair Symbol

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and OCAD University have launched an international student design challenge to replace the traditional symbol of accessibility – the wheelchair sign.

Nearly forty years after the introduction of the International Symbol of Access in 1968, the Reimagining Accessibility contest seeks to replace or augment the wheelchair sign with a more inclusive symbol symbol (or symbols) of accessibility, emphasizing the multifaceted reality of disability. Less than three per cent of persons with disabilities in Ontario use a wheelchair or electric scooter for mobility purposes.

Legislation to Enhance the Independence of the French Language Services Commissioner Introduced

Ontario is introducing legislation to make Ontario's French Language Services (FLS) Commissioner an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

If passed, the legislation would: 

  • Change the FLS Commissioner's reporting relationship from the Minister of Francophone Affairs to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
  • Set a five-year term of office for the commissioner with opportunity for reappointment.
  • Allow the current commissioner to serve until reconfirmed in the position or a new commissioner is appointed. 

Financial Accountability Officer Act Passes Third Reading

Bill 95, the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, passed third reading in the Ontario legislature today, to establish a Financial Accountability Officer as an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly.

The Financial Accountability Officer will provide independent analysis to all MPPs about the state of the province's finances, including the Ontario Budget, as well as look at trends in the provincial and national economies.


Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health Findings Released

The findings from Statistics Canada’s 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health were released last week.

In 2012, approximately 2.8 million people, or 10% of Canadians aged 15 and older, reported symptoms consistent with mental health and/or substance use disorders in the past 12 months.

Roughly 17% of the population 15 or older reported having had a mental health care need in the past 12 months. Of these, one-third reported their needs were unmet or only partially met. The need for mental health care was mainly for counselling, the survey suggests. Other mental health care needs were for medication and information.


A Symposium of Interest to Municipal Administrators and Policy Makers

The Institute for Research on Public Policy is hosting the following symposium, which may be of interest to OMSSA members:

Age-Friendly Communities in Ontario: Multi-Level Governance, Coordination Challenges and Policy Implications  

November 4, 2013, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm:

Dinner and keynote speaker Stephen M. Golant, University of Florida


November 5, 2013, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm:


Chestnut Residence and Conference Centre, University of Toronto

89 Chestnut Street, Toronto

For more information, or to receive an invitation, contact Suzanne Lambert at


Thank you to OMSSA 2013 Learning Symposium Exhibitor

Compassion for You is a consulting practice based on Christa Dales Donnelly’s professional experience, her experience with Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma and her experience with other agencies.  Christa believes that the needs of professionals in human services are often considered secondary to those of clients and the communities served.  Through her practice and website Christa provides supports and information to address these issues.

OMSSA Guides for Accessible Public Engagement

OMSSA has developed two new resources to help public sector, non-profit as well as private sector organizations make their public or stakeholder engagement accessible. These resources have been developed through the financial support and expertise provide by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario’s EnAbling Change Partnership Program.

Under this project, two guides have been developed:

  • Guide to Accessible Public Engagement - This guide provides tips and strategies on how to engage with people with disabilities in an accessible and inclusive community consultation process of public decision-making.
  • Guide to Conducting Accessible Meetings - This guide provides checklists and tips on how to make the process and mechanics of meetings accessible.

Printable as well as accessible electronic versions of both guides are also available here in English and French.

Upcoming OMSSA Education Opportunities

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.