Person-Centric Strategies

What is Person-Centric Strategies Series?

Person-Centric Strategies (PCS) is a comprehensive, strategic series of targeted professional development programs designed to prepare staff, teams, organizations, related service systems and those they serve to respond effectively to wholesale provincial changes to social assistance and employment services. 

Known formerly as Client-Centric Strategies, the PCS Series has been retitled from 'client-centric' to 'person-centric.' This change captures the important fact that the PCS Series’ concepts, principles, practices, competencies and tools are applicable to working not only with clients, but also with co-workers, community service providers, tenants, families, program participants and any other individual or group engaging with professional human services staff. 

Person-Centric Strategies is a Copyright (2020) of Labour Market Partners Inc. and Collaborative Strategies Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Let's Talk About Your Professional Development Needs

Contact OMSSA's Director of Education, Christie Herrington, to learn how we can develop and deliver a professional development program tailored to your team's needs. 
Email Christie or call 647-385-9285 to get started.


Learn more about how this professional development program can be customized for different sectors:

Why PCS?

The many large-scale, foundational changes that are so affecting our sector are outlined in the provincial Social Assistance Renewal initiative, including Employment Services Transformation (EST). Changes directed specifically towards child care and social housing are further outlined in provincial Community Housing Renewal and Child Care Modernization documents.

Current and imminently forthcoming changes in our sector constitute a major and unprecedented culture shift in income redistribution programs that are funded, planned and delivered at the municipal level.

How Does PCS Address the Culture Shift That is Underway?

There are five programs in the PCS Series. These programs are designed to complement one another and contribute to the success of the whole service system. Each program is designed to address the needs of the key stakeholders in the local service system arising from the culture shift: 

  1. PCS for Staff 1 (Understanding Behaviour, The 3-D MicroCoaching Model™, MicroCoaching Competencies)
  2. PCS for Staff 2: Advanced Applications 
  3. PCS for Trainers and Champions*
  4. PCS for Service Users*
  5. PCS for Service System Integration*  

*These programs are still being developed. More information will be available in the coming months. Please view our Program Description Guide to better understand these programs. 

Who is a Service User?

We define service user as any person seeking or receiving service from the organization or individual staff, such as applicant, client, tenant, resident and family.

Program Objectives

  • Provide a review of current research and thinking about human behaviour that includes the rapidly emerging and vital concept of intersectionality as well as the psychological and behavioural outcomes associated with socio-economic conditions of poverty, social exclusion, trauma and scarcity
  • Establish the service user as the central focus of every interaction through the staff application of knowledge, skills and supporting behaviours (competencies) that promote service users' awareness and understanding
  • Analyze this research to determine and apply strategic staff competencies and workplace tools to produce the best possible outcomes
  • Supply workplace tools that bring person-centric theories and practices to life in the workplace
  • Develop a common language to capture person-centric thinking and applications
  • Normalize person-centric strategies across the sectors providing services to this group
  • Support service integration at the local level by establishing evidence-based competency standards in service delivery across programs
  • Enrich service users' outcomes using the Three-Dimensional MicroCoaching Model as a foundation for a person-centric service
  • Ensure competency in 3-D MicroCoaching for staff in all roles, including administrative and other support roles where only brief staff-service user interactions occur ('thin-slice' situations) 
  • Identify and expand upon the competencies necessary for effective MicroCoaching
  • Use these competencies to level power through increasing the engagement of service users in the coaching process
  • Strengthen intra- and inter-organizational relationships for more effective service delivery and results

Program Roadmap

Organizations may choose to deliver some or all of the following modules. The duration of each module can be adapted to the needs of the learning group.


PCS for Staff 1


PCS for Staff 2: Advanced Applications


PCS for Trainers and Champions*


PCS for Service Users*


PCS for Service System Integration*


*These programs are still being developed. More information will be available in the coming months. Please view our Program Description Guide to better understand these programs. 


Workplace Supports for PCS

There is an emphasis in PCS on applying in the workplace the theories, competencies, principles and practices found in the curriculum. Workplace implementation - the true measure of learning effectiveness - is supported through:

The PCS Learners Workbook

Each learner is provided with a workbook containing all of the learning material to support learners in their webinar participation. The workbook also serves as a post-learning event resource in the workplace.

The workbook also contains a detailed Learning Resource Guide, which is a bibliography of topically-relevant books, websites, videos and articles which were used to create the program and are organized according to the topics in the curriculum. The Guide may be of interest to learners who seek to expand their knowledge of the topics covered in the program. It also supports management in their role in normalizing person-centric practices and creating an ongoing learning culture in the workplace.

Learners are invited to share their own contributions, which allows the Guide to become a living document.

Pre- and Post-Learning Self-Assessment

Learners complete a self-assessment questionnaire before and after the program to record their self-assessed competencies in coaching and problem-solving, and track their progress and desire for further development in each of the topics covered in the curriculum. 

Workplace Tools

Learners receive modernized job aids which provide a ’mind map‘ or guide for using each person-centric competency effectively. Each tool contains a summary of the competency and prompting questions that illustrate how the skill may be used in staff roles.

Skills Applications in the Workplace (SAW)

Skills Application in the Workplace is a document for learners to reflect on how they will use the competencies covered in the workshop within their individual workplace roles.


Program Authors and Facilitators

Marianne Seaton, President
Collaborative Strategies Inc.

John G. Howley, President
Labour Market Partners Inc.


John Howley and Marianne Seaton are the pre-eminent designers and deliverers of professional development curricula in Ontario Works and related social services programs and agencies throughout the province, and beyond. Marianne has been consulting in the social services sector as the principal of Collaborative Strategies Inc. since 2008 and John through his company, Labour Market Partners Inc., since 1997. Their work encompasses many Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Services Administration Boards, from the largest urban municipalities to the most rural and remote.

Following their careers as social assistance and employment program front-line workers and managers, each achieved subsequent success and recognition as a leader in program development and change. Marianne is the former Acting Executive Director and Director of Professional Development for the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA). John is the former Director of Employment and Training for the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, Social Services Division (now the City of Toronto).

Their work in helping multi-barriered Ontario Works clients achieve success in the world of work includes the design and delivery of SAIL for Clients, a competency-based program that they have delivered in various areas of the province, often in association with community colleges, including Sault College, Confederation College and St. Clair College. John and Marianne also collaborate on designing and delivering employment programs for social assistance clients in a range of other programs, including Movement to Employment (employability profiling); Movement to Improvement (life skills development), and Movement to Learning (literacy and skills training preparation).