After changing our year end from June 30 to March 31 to reduce costs associated with financial reporting to the provincial government, we also needed to move up our AGM from September to June. But our Welcome Back Family Feast event (a dinner combined with AGM) has always been so popular – what to do? Easy! Keep the September event, and host a simply AGM in June.
This year we also introduced a new voting membership, comprised of a maximum of 35 members drawn from the board, volunteers, family members, supported individuals, community partners, and members at large. About twice that number turned out for the meeting to take in reports from the board, operations, and communications, as well as a briefing by the independent auditor. The annual report, updated to reflect the strategic directions announced at AGM 2018, was made available prior to the meeting in PDF and limited print copies were also distributed, but the report is now available as a “flip book” for your reading pleasure!
The meeting featured a series of concise reports from the independent auditor (Ross Holmes), Director of Operations (Julie Kingstone), Director of Communications (Keenan Wellar), and the Report from the Board of Directors provided by the Chair, Cathy Velazquez. Mr. Holmes reported a “clean audit” and an improved financial position, and mentioned that the organizational controls and oversight were of high quality.
Within the context of the strategic directions of our Vision 2020 (click diagram) Julie discussed the focus on diversification of leadership roles within the staff team and the simplification of our processes and communications so that supported individuals, family members, and the community can more easily understand our work. She also mentioned that LiveWorkPlay has just finished initial filming with Affinity Productions for a video that will help explain our “Just Enough Support” approach to our Community Connecting efforts (for helping people pursue their quality of life aspirations at home an din the community). Our employment supports are now funded by the Ontario Disability Support Program, and this is a fee-for-performance arrangement that has afforded us the opportunity to match many more workers and employers that before, but also brings with it certain limits that individuals or family members might not understand. We will work on better communicating this process as well.
Keenan talked about an effort to publish more e-news and blogs, and in particular to provide more content about issues that not only have meaning for LiveWorkPlay constituents, but also have a wider interest that includes individuals, families, and organizations in other communities. Some examples included joining the awareness campaign about the potential closure of the Storefront School (an Ottawa-Carleton District School Board program with an excellent track record of support school to work transitions), joining with many others to champion the importance of minimum wage laws that protect all workers including those with intellectual disabilities, and joining with two international
commemorations, World Down Syndrome Day and International Day of Persons with Disabilities, by sharing our own stories and videos in the context of worldwide human and disability rights movements.
Cathy referred to the Annual Report for more information, but touched on some key board activities in 2017-2018, which included the work of the Stewardship Committee in developing an investment policy for reserve funds and making the important decision that staff will be receiving 2% annual increases to ensure that their wages can keep pace with inflation.
The Governance Committee worked on recruitment and development of future additions to the board, and researched and recommended the new voting membership structure. The Communications Committee worked on communications about these changes, as well as the reorganization of the Annual Report.
Cathy was pleased to announce that the current board members were all standing for re-election. Brigid FitzPatrick could not attend due to a meeting in Toronto, but Cathy presented her biographical information, and each of the candidates in turn made a brief speech about their qualifications and their passion for the LiveWorkPlay mission. They were re-elected by the membership, and the meeting was adjourned!