Table of Contents
Report from the Chair of the Board of Directors
Greetings to all LiveWorkPlay members, families, and community partners!
Preparing for the 2021 LiveWorkPlay Annual General Meeting (AGM), five of our current board members (including myself) confirmed their intention to return for 2020-2021. This included Kate Sherwood, Robin McIntyre, Andrea Saldhana, and Carole Shephard. Our two incoming members are Jon Doody (first-time Board member) and Cathy Velazquez, a name many of you will recognize from her prior service with the Board. All seven candidates were elected by unanimous vote of the membership on June 21. Board member biographies are available at the end of this report.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this this opportunity to extend a sincere thank you to Michelle O’Doherty and Christine Felteau, who are stepping down this year after many years of service.
Among her many contributions, Michelle has been a critical link between two strategic plans, and implementation of important changes led by the Governance Committee with respect to supporting Executive Staff and strengthening our evaluation and feedback processes.
Christine has been a driving force behind the current practices of the Stewardship Committee, and among her many contributions, she led a process of streamlining our policies and building an efficient work plan to keep on top of our many oversight responsibilities.
Over the course of 2020-2021, the Board convened 11 times for monthly Board meetings and a strategic planning retreat. Each Board member is assigned to either the Stewardship or Governance committee, each of which typically met the week before Board meetings. Members of those committees also partook in various additional meetings or events, both internal and external. More information about the work of our committees can be found later in this report.
Speaking of meetings, it has of course been a quite different year for all of us, including the Board of Directors. As of AGM 2020, we had already pivoted to online meetings, albeit with much to learn. However, I must congratulate my peers as well as the Executive Staff for making this work, and give a special nod to our newest Board members Carole and Andrea, who have basically spent their entire tenure with us in a digital Zoom box! It can be difficult to build trust and camaraderie in an exclusively virtual environment, but I can say that despite some technical aggravations, everyone rose to the occasion, and we were there for each other when the impact of the pandemic came into our personal and professional lives.
This Board has worked together to be a future-thinking body for LiveWorkPlay, while ensuring we are diligent in meeting our fiduciary responsibilities. We have ensured that our board meetings have focused on a combination of fiduciary, generative and strategic discussions.
We had to juggle the agenda with great frequency this year, to make way for COVID-19 updates that were coming at us fast and furious, particularly in the first half of our 2020-2021 mandate. This certainly increased our meeting preparation work and took us to some unfamiliar places in attempting to interpret federal, local, and provincial recommendations and directives. We relied on our Executive Staff (Julie Kingstone and Keenan Wellar) for frequent updates, and they in turn relied on professional input from lawyers and other third parties to ensure that decisions at the Board table were based on a solid foundation of facts and counsel.
In last year’s Annual Report, I mentioned our efforts to understand the pending changes to Ontario’s employment support services, which impacts the entire system including the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Ontario Disability Support Program, through which LiveWorkPlay’s employment efforts are currently funded. That relationship will effectively end as we transition to a new system, and we are working closely with the Executive Staff to anticipate different scenarios and work towards the best possible outcome for the jobseekers and employers who count on us.
Just a few days ahead of AGM 2021, the process and timelines for these changes were announced by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who now oversee all employment services. The selection of the Service System Manager for our area, and the functioning of that system (such as how the funding model impacts on the populations we serve) will impact dramatically on our ability to continue our incredibly important work of matching jobseekers with intellectual disabilities and inclusive local employers in both the private and public sector.
Last year I enjoyed remarking on our Best Ottawa Business Award from 2019 as well as our spectacular 25th anniversary online celebration in May 2020. This year I happily look back at our 26th anniversary, as well as our online family gatherings, full of comedy, music, celebrations, and online free-for-alls that wrapped up each event. Through necessity comes innovation, and the emergence of The LiveWorkPlay News has certainly been a highlight, including the content such as a surprise United Way East Ontario Community Builder Award for Federal Employment Strategy Group volunteer chair Mary Gusella, and our Employment Ontario Ottawa Network Investing in your Workplace Award.
I would like to draw particular attention to the contributions of members like Analisa Kiskis, Brent Manuel, David Young, Jennifer Harris, and Caroline Matte (apologies if I left anyone out) who served as co-anchors of the news or delivered announcements for special occasions.
It was also a joy to return to our own Make A Buzz Ottawa award presentations that we put on hold for 2020. Congratulations to Emily Menard for the My Own Home bursary, to Frances Laube and Martin Couture for their Rob More Good Life Award, and to the Ottawa Developmental Services Network for the Partnership Award. We also enjoyed staff member milestone recognition for Shaya Grey, Roberta McKenna, Wendy MacEwan, and Jen Soucy. I had the pleasure of working closely with Jen through the development of the Employment Task Force and the Federal Employment Strategy Group, and I wish her all the best in her new role with Employment and Social Development Canada.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the LiveWorkPlay staff team for the dedication and energy each of you bring to your work every day. Throughout the year, but especially during the times of COVID-19, you have demonstrated a commitment to LiveWorkPlay and its members to ensure that everyone is safe and feels supported. The Supported Independent Living team did their best to support people in their own homes, moving back in with family, moving back out after living with family, you name it, it happened! The Employment Supports team found jobs for people when none seemed available, helped others pivot to working from home, and supported people who lost their jobs to prepare for future opportunities.
To our Executive Staff, we thank you for your commitment to continuous improvement, willingness, and curiosity to learn and your proven record of adapting to challenging situations.
To our volunteers, thank you for staying connecting, whether it is joining our Zoom room parties or safely distanced hikes and all other manner of creative ways of staying in touch that you came up with this year.
To all community partners, members, and families, a big thank you for this year and for all that you do every day to carry out the vision of LiveWorkPlay. I cannot say enough about your kindness and generosity, and I know that it made a huge impact on the staff team, who were practically in tears every time they had to announce yet another change in response to public health directives or other pandemic pressures that impacted your lives – but you responded with such grace and understanding, it was just incredible to behold.
We are looking forward to another fulfilling year. Even with some uncertainty of what that may look like, we are excited to continue our work as a Board to serve LiveWorkPlay!
Chair of the Board of Directors, LiveWorkPlay
Report from the Stewardship Committee
The 2020-2021 Stewardship Committee (SC) was comprised of Board members Robin McIntyre (Chair), Christine Felteau, Daniel Spagnolo, and Carole Sheppard with Executive Staff member Julie Kingstone (Co-Leader and Director of Operations). The Committee met monthly to fulfill federal not-for-profit incorporation and registered charity obligations related to regulatory and financial reporting, and to support Board oversight in the areas of finance, audit, investment, and risk management.
This past year of the COVID-19 pandemic was of course an unusual one for LiveWorkPlay, the Developmental Services sector, and indeed every person and organization in the world. LiveWorkPlay had to adapt to a changing landscape, while remaining focused on safety for our members and employees. Thanks to effective planning and establishment of reserves in previous years, LiveWorkPlay was able to respond to unexpected expenses as well as move forward with confidence that we would be there for the individuals, families, and partners that count on us. The organization also responded to the realities of COVID-19 and was able to reduce our office space, resulting in financial savings that did not impact on services.
Additional cost improvements have been identified for further investigation in the next reporting period, however, our focus has always been and will continue to be on delivering the quality services and supports to our members.
In 2020-2021, the Stewardship Committee provided oversight in the following areas:
- reviewed and recommended the annual budget to the Board.
- reviewed and recommended quarterly financial reports to the Board.
- monitored key performance indicators.
- reviewed budget variances and year over year comparatives.
- reviewed Executive Staff reports on funding proposals.
- ensured compliance with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) modified Risk Assessment process.
- ensured compliance with the annual Transfer Payment Agency Reconciliation (TPAR) process.
- prepared for and reviewed the results of the annual financial audit.
The Stewardship Committee continues to build on the strategic priorities set out at the 2020 Annual General Meeting (see presentation that starts at 31:30 of the video below), while striving to improve our ongoing practices related to governance, financial management, and risk management.
In response to the pandemic MCCSS chose to forgo some of their routine practices, such as the QAM Audit and the Annual Risk Assessment process. Concurrently, some new practices were implemented, including a pandemic pay premium for community staff, and an on-line portal to support budget agreements.
In response to Developmental Services and public health guidance, LiveWorkPlay instituted a remote work model and established pandemic working procedures, and a detailed review with our legal team at Gowlings to update employment contracts. The SC would like to note that in the face of rapid changes on every front, the leadership of LiveWorkPlay and indeed the entire staff and volunteer team, rose to meet these challenges. The Stewardship Committee was kept abreast of these changes, and noted the spirit of kindness and generosity in which they were received from the individuals we served and their families.
During the past year, Julie Kingstone completed a 6-week Finance Masterclass for Non-Profit Leaders. Through this program, she identified many improvements for adoption by LiveWorkPlay during the next reporting period. A “Leaderful Organization” is created when employees are motivated to sharpen their skills and introduce fresh approaches to workplace challenges, and we would like to recognize Julie’s contributions to building a stronger practice in this area, which contributes to the ability of the SC to provide effective oversight as well as long-term planning.
Key Performance Indicators
With an eye to both revenues and expenses, the SC identified two key performance indicators (KPI) to be reviewed quarterly. One KPI measures the adequacy of resources through a savings indicator (annual revenue less expenses) and the second KPI monitors liquid funds (dollar value of unrestricted net assets) tracking the number of months an organization can operate while continuing to meet its current obligations. As anticipated, the Stewardship Committee observed minimal variability in these metrics from quarter to quarter, but as a best practice we will continue to monitor and build on this information as an essential routine.
Risk Identification and Management
As part of our ongoing Stewardship Committee processes, risk dashboards are updated and reviewed quarterly to actively monitor external and operational risks, including a 120-180-day view of key risks, change initiatives, and the associated risk mitigation plans. This tool has been particularly helpful in communicating and actioning risks related to the pandemic.
Initiatives in Progress
The Stewardship Committee has identified an opportunity to better align the strategic plan, the annual budget, and new projects. In the upcoming year, the financial reporting process will now be delivered monthly, as opposed to quarterly. Two new tools, a signing authority matrix and an investment checklist, have been developed to make it easier to follow the established financial practices. The SC will continue to support efforts to streamline reporting procedures and related processes through the use of new digital tools, software, and third party services. The less time our staff team spends on manual reporting processes, the more time they have to serve members and do their work of building a more inclusive community, and the more effectively the organization is in utilizing its resources.
Due to the pandemic, our policy review focus was directed to changes required in response to shifting directives from MCCSS and/or public health. The scheduled full policy review by the SC was deferred to 2021-2022.
Our governance model reflects a solid foundation of fiscal responsibility and risk management that will continue to evolve. As we move forward, our 2020-2025 strategic plan continues to build on past progress, and meet the changing landscape of our sector. Strong organizations are created when each function collaborates, adapts, and actively responds to new challenges, and this flexibility was showcased in dramatic fashion throughout this pandemic year. No one asks for a challenge like dealing with a pandemic as a means of testing their competencies, but the Stewardship Committee was put to the test this year, and looking back we are proud of the collective contributions from each SC member, the board as a whole including the Executive Staff, and the entire staff team – we do not supervise their work directly, but in addition to the reports we receive we all share connections to the broader LiveWorkPlay community and we see the unwavering level of commitment in the face of a myriad of challenges.
We are humbled by the kind response of members and families in the face of the many confusing announcements that came their way, as we all struggled to interpret federal, provincial, and local policies and recommendations. This has been a year like no other, and the silver lining has been the demonstration that “in this together” is not a meaningless phrase to the LiveWorkPlay community.
Chair, Stewardship Committee, LiveWorkPlay
Report from the Governance Committee
The Governance Committee (GC) was comprised of Board members Andrea Saldanha, Kate Sherwood (Chair), and Michelle O’Doherty, as well as Executive Staff Keenan Wellar (Co-Leader and Director of Communications) who also serves as Secretary to the Board. The committee met monthly throughout the 2020-2021 Board term and we have detailed some of our highlights below.
Executive Staff Performance Evaluation
The Governance Committee continued the Executive Staff performance evaluation through quarterly coaching sessions. The GC, Keenan, and Julie agree that the setting provides for robust discussions and an opportunity to provide updates on day to day considerations, which allows for important conversations beyond the focus of regular Board meeting interactions. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic moved the sessions online via Zoom. Going forward we have determined the sessions will continue three times per Board year, and they are planned for April, September, and January.
As a committee we engaged with David Chalmers of Nexus Human Capital to further develop the framework for Executive Staff evaluation and feedback, and brought the concept to the full Board, which approved our process going forward. David has worked with dozens of organizations in our sector, as well as with the private sector, so he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our efforts. We are focused on building a transparent, purposeful, and user-friendly process that is not only suited to our current Board and Executive Staff, but will be sustainable and viable for the future of the organization. The focus is therefore on alignment with the budget, strategic plan, and annual workplan, in addition to the identification of purposeful professional development, and how it contributes to the betterment of the organization and its mission.
Ongoing Board Recruitment
This year the Governance Committee continued its work on how best to recruit new members. Taking a cue from a familiar standard of late night television, we created a one page “Top 10” list of most frequently asked questions as succinct method for introducing the basics to prospective Board members. It was developed as a tool for all Board members when speaking with their networks to help with ongoing recruitment.
With Michelle O’Doherty and Christine Felteau retiring from the Board this year, we are pleased to introduce Jon Doody, and re-introduce Cathy Velazquez (former Board member), who agreed to stand for election at AGM 2021. We express our thanks and gratitude to Michelle and Christine, who have both left an impressive legacy in their work with the GC and SC, respectively, and as key contributors to the Board and the entire organization. We know that this is only goodbye from the Board, and we look forward to your ongoing support through other avenues of contribution.
Board Effectiveness Feedback
The GC continues to oversee the Board effectiveness feedback process. This includes a survey that follows every Board meeting, as well as a more thorough semi-annual survey. The information from these processes helps inform the agenda for our annual Board retreat, typically held in November, as well as to make any immediate adjustments that will improve Board or committee processes.
Supporting New Board Members
The governance committee “buddy system” continues to be positively received as a means of welcoming and supporting new members. In 2020-2021 we had two new Board members, each matched with a more tenured representative as an additional resource to help with any questions or concerns that they might have outside of the support available to them through the Chair and their committee assignment. In speaking with both colleagues throughout the year, they had connected with their buddy as needed, were appreciative of the process, and felt appropriately supported.
Supporting Board of Directors Development
Each year the governance committee recommends learning and development activities for the Board. This year we looked to our “Leaderful Organization” pillar and identified opportunities to deepen relationships across the sector. This included making linkages with several partner organizations, both within Developmental Services, and the bigger picture of the non-profit community. This included spending time with representatives of the From Presence To Citizenship collaborative (Ontario-based Developmental Services organizations) and learning more about the work of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) and Inclusion International. ONN has offered a pathway to further developing our diversity, equity, inclusion strategy, and Inclusion International helps connect our local work with the bigger picture of national and international commitments to human rights, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
It has been a year like no other. As Chair of the Governance Committee, I want to thank all members for your support, advice, candor, and collaboration. I have enjoyed the challenge of contributing to our innovative online events, and I appreciate the kind words that have come my way personally, as well as the generosity of our members and families towards the entire LiveWorkPlay organization.
Chair, Governance Committee. LiveWorkPlay
Report on Operations, Including Strategic Directions Update
This time last year I was already sharing with our membership that it had been too long since we had spent time together in person. Well, after another whole year has gone by, I cannot even find the words to describe how much I miss seeing you and spending time with you! Following this introduction, it is my pleasure to provide for you an update on our collective work in the pursuit of our strategic directions, as well as additional operational updates for the year, and a bit of a look ahead to 2021-2022.
The pandemic has impacted on everything we do, and I wanted to start by thanking members and their families (siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more). You have all been so resilient and generous through these challenging times. We have all learned together and gone through the changes and uncertainty. We know it has not been easy for any of you and I wanted to recognize your efforts: you have been kind, understanding, patient, and persistent over the last year.
The staff team has always been dependable and reliable, and has always aspired to learn and improve, and that was certainly the case for 2020-2021. Be it professional or personal, our team members all found a way to navigate high levels of anxiety, sadness, and frustration. Your continued resolve and determination to be creative and find ways to support people to be safe, healthy, and connected has been appreciated and has exceeded any reasonable expectations.
Thank you to our Board of Directors! Danny, Christine, Robin, Carole, Kate, Andrea and Michelle, you have all had to deal with the challenges of the pandemic and have continued to provide consistent support and leadership, helping LiveWorkPlay to successfully navigate through this pandemic. Thank you for sticking by us, you have somehow found extra time from your own personal and professional lives to support LiveWorkPlay, and it is greatly appreciated.
And to the volunteers: your flexibility, adaptability, and availability to continue deepening relationships with our members by offering the gift of connection through daily virtual meetups (and socially distanced interactions where possible) has been a true gift. This has not only benefited the individuals you spend time with, but it has also offered reassurances and a true representation of “in this together” for families and staff alike.
To all our community partners: we have been able to spend a bit of collaborative time with some of you online, but certainly it is not enough. We are looking forward to more time with you and engaging in our shared objectives for building a more inclusive Ottawa.
The Basics: Operational Update
During the past year we supported over 200 individuals, and some with more than one type of service. That’s why adding up the numbers below will give you a total of more than 300.
60 of the individuals we support received help to live successfully in homes of their own, and with community connecting. Supports have been provided in-person as well as remotely, so everyone has gotten more comfortable using technology which will hopefully serve us well post-pandemic, as a back-up when freezing rain or snowstorms make things hard. And for some people we support, they prefer a hybrid of in-person and off-site support year-round, and we can of course make that happen too.
We have supported 87 individuals with community connecting with over 90 one-to-one matches and virtual sessions, offered daily instead of weekly, to try to keep people connected over the last year. We could not do this work without the dedication and commitment of over 150 volunteers and the addition of 20 new volunteers this year.
The Employment team has supported over 150 individuals in various stages of employment, securing 20 new jobs that have lasted 13 weeks or longer and supported the retention of over 100 jobs.
We know that with the end of the pandemic in sight that everyone we support is looking for get back to more normal ways of living their lives and we all look forward to supporting you to get out in the community as the reopening continues.
LiveWorkPlay downsized and moved our offices, within the same building, to a smaller footprint allowing for a private meeting space, PPE pickup station, and two workstations for staff who need a place to work in between appointments (or when the home environment is less than ideal). We also realized significant savings on internet and phone in addition to rent.
We look forward to the post pandemic world when we can take advantage of the large meeting space available for hourly rentals on the lower floor of the building for larger in-person staff and/or board meetings, or meetings where one of our members brings a large group of supporters. We will not let a smaller office get in the way of whatever works best for people, and that includes the flexibility to meet off-site as we have always done before. But for now, we will carry on with meetings over Zoom!
Strategic Directions and Actions Update
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the entire 2020-2021 mandate, the organization has been heavily invested in the safety and support of members, families, staff, and volunteers. Many of the activities related to strategic work, in terms of governance as well as operations, were postponed, delayed, or reduced. We look forward to re-engaging more fully with our strategic plan in 2021-2022. However, some progress was made, and below are some relevant updates.
Strategic Direction 1 – JUST ENOUGH SUPPORT – Scale up living and community supports using “just enough support” approach.
Much of this work was put on hold, but there were some accomplishments in the following areas:
- Just Enough Support has become better defined through the addition of the 7th principle (Honouring Personal Autonomy) and a new video that summarizes all 7 principles in 8 minutes.
- Computer and technology-related interventions: by necessity these increased dramatically with remote support in the pandemic, but now it is time to better understand their impact (see below in future planning).
- Plans are already underway to make progress on this Just Enough Support strategic direction with the help of David Chalmers and Al Condeluci, starting in in the fall.
Examples of some issues and opportunities that will be addressed include:
- Supporting increased access for our members to mainstream health services, especially mental health services.
- Ensuring the Just Enough Support model has documented evidence of efficacy/impact.
- Develop evaluation framework for Just Enough Support (“Just Enough Evaluation”).
- Computer and technological-based interventions; research, explore, experiment and document different forms of computer and technological interventions.
- Evaluate the impact of individual computer and technology-based interventions to determine recommendations/tips/resources.
- Stronger organizational capacity to advocate for and demonstrate the effectiveness, value for money, and impact of the Just Enough Support model.
Strategic Direction 2 – EMPLOYMENT – Scale up participation in inclusive labour market development.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was significant progress in this area:
- We were able to better define the LiveWorkPlay Employment Support Model and published a Case Study summarizing the progress to date supporting hires with the Federal Public Service.
- This Case Study has led to further interest by the Federal Government of Canada including invitation to participate and contribute to the National Internship Program.
- With our federal government partners, we developed an opportunity for a staff Interchange (like a secondment) between LiveWorkPlay and a large department (details to come).
- Secured additional senior Public Service champions who will be instrumental in helping to develop and endorse a sanctioned mechanism for recruitment and hiring of job seekers with intellectual disabilities and autistics into the public service.
- Developed a national coalition of service providers across Canada that can replicate LiveWorkPlay’s Employment Support Model and approach to be able to meet the scale and scope of the Federal Government when a national recruitment and hiring process is established (for employment outside of the National Capital Region).
- Redesigned and refined the Inclusion Workshop that is offered to employers. This workshop has also been adapted and offered virtually during the pandemic. We have been exploring ways for this workshop to be also offered through the Canada School of Public Service which would widen the audience and reach and help all federal government employees to contribute to a more inclusive workplace.
- Supporting workplaces and employees with the use of technology and strategies on how to successfully support employees with intellectual disabilities and autistic persons to work from home. This was a necessity during the pandemic and will likely continue for some. Our team has documented successful practices and will be presenting at the Canadian Association for Supported Employment in the fall. We are also working closely with the Ontario Disability Employment Network on projects of mutual interest, with more news to come in 2021-2022!
- Private sector employers were hit hard by the pandemic. The team has worked closely with private sector employers and employees during this challenging time. We have taken this time to also evaluate our activities to recruiting and developing new private sector partnerships and recognized that we needed help to find new private sector employer champions to scale up hiring in the private sector. This led to securing the services of Purpose by W and will be led by a familiar face to many of you, Wendy Mitchell, a long-time friend of LiveWorkPlay as a former representative of a private sector partner, former board chair, and more.
We look forward to further progress in the above areas and we also will continue:
- Employment Support Model has documented evidence of efficacy/impact.
- More Individuals experience a good life because they have meaningful jobs that pay them a living wage.
- Labour force involvement/rates of employment for people with intellectual disabilities have moved closer to the general population.
- Stronger organizational capacity to deliver employment support and consulting/training.
- The “go to” organization for employers.
Strategic Direction 3 – KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER – Create and share practical knowledge regarding just enough support, person-centered support, person-centered organization development, employment outcomes, and partnerships.
This includes two sub-headings, the first is fee-for-service consulting and training as revenue generating social enterprise that supports the organization’s mission.
This is an area of development that has been put on hold, but our partnership with the From Presence To Citizenship collaborative included a well-attended webinar that drew hundreds of attendees across the province, and we have also contributed to some community of practice work led by Community Living Ontario, and also engaged in the work of Inclusion International. Our 2021-2022 plans include:
- Identify training areas related to organizational development that can be replicated and a training curriculum developed.
- Documentation of processes and evaluation/impact of training areas based on tested approaches with quantifiable results and outcomes.
- Develop proof of concept and business plans as appropriate.
The second sub-heading in priority three is to continue to grow as a Leaderful Organization. Even if we do not end up with significant fee-for-service training as an outcome (this is one of the hardest types of revenues to generate) this process is helpful for developing internal training and knowledge transfer related to:
- Succession planning and staff retention.
- Continuing to be leaders in staff support and leadership development.
David Chalmers will be presenting at the Annual General Meeting to provide an overview of the leadership development (training modules) he has delivered to date with our staff team via Nexus Human Capital (see video below).
- Through a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation, LiveWorkPlay has brought together Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) and Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) to strengthen linkages and working relationships, and to learn from each other on how to make rental communities more inclusive of all tenants, including tenants with intellectual disabilities. The pandemic has limited the in-person work of bringing together tenants, but the project has allowed for the sharing of best practices as well as supporting virtual engagement sessions.
- Learn and adopt new strategies, including virtual and computer-based interventions to increase, engage, and sustain relationships for both 1:1 matches and meetups that can occur any time, replacing weekly Friday meetups.
- As mentioned in direction three, strengthening the reputation and influence of the From Presence To Citizenship collaborative, which has now been invited by name (as opposed to individual members being invited to represent their individual organizations) to several MCCSS consultations, and certainly there are hopes that we can make a collective contribution to the development of the new reform plan for Developmental Services.
Some future planning includes:
- Looking at diversified strategies of engagement and social capital approaches including the continuation and advancement of social capital learning with Al Condeluci.
- Looking at how engagement with national and international movements can help strengthen guidance at the local and provincial level in terms of a human rights lens, as well as evidence-based information about the benefits of a community-based approach.
Looking ahead: 2021-2022
Employment Transformation is moving ahead with Government of Ontario plans for changes to all employment services in Ontario. A Services Systems Manager (SSM) will be chosen for the Eastern Region by December 2021 and in April 2022 we will transition from working with MCCSS/ODSP to working with the new SSM.
We have been meeting with a variety of potential organizations who may become the SSM (these can be nonprofit or for-profit, including multinational corporations who are fully eligible to bid) to make sure the labour market barriers that people with intellectual disabilities face are well understood. As soon as we have more details on how this might impact on our supports and services, you will all be the first to know.
In the fall of 2020, MCCSS held stakeholder engagement sessions for families, family associations and service providers to share and collect information about Developmental Services Transformation. Last month, MCCSS released Developmental Services Reform Framework titled Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion.
This is an 8-10-year reform plan with changes to the DS system that will reportedly make the application and receiving of supports easier. Other goals include a more needs-based funding approach, and there will be efforts to make it easier to access other community services like housing, health, transportation, and employment. Talking about DS reform would require a full conference presentation with expert panelists, so rest assured, this is just a quick “for your information” and you will be hearing more about this in the months and years ahead.
In closing it has been quite a year for us all, lots of learning and ups and downs. We are hopeful that as COVID-19 rates continue to decrease and vaccination rates increase, and the community starts to reopen we can all come together for a celebration to mark being able together in person again.
Co-Leader and Director of Operations, LiveWorkPlay
Report on Communications
Social Media, Website, and E-News Update
There were 28 published articles on the LiveWorkPlay.ca website news feed over the past year (essentially, blog posts) so we average a post about every two weeks. We get 1000 unique visitors to our website each month, they visit about 20000 times, and total page views come in at about 45000. What are they doing there? They are reading our news stories and getting contact information, which makes sense. A lot of our website visitors arrive on our website after seeing posts on social media.
Speaking of what matters, in many ways, the content on our website is part of our social media strategy – most people do not see our news stories first by visiting our website, they are clicking on a link in social media and ending up there because they want more information. But we do also have some website visitors that are downloading important documents like our federal public service employment case study, or they just want the full story about plogging.
Our Mailchimp electronic newsletter has 700 subscribers to The LiveWorkPlay News and 300 for LiveWorkPlay Family & Supporters. A little over 50% of subscribers read their newsletter, this is actually quite high, the average open rate for organizations similar to ours is below 40%. We post about once a month to TLN and about once every 3 weeks to LFS. There is also a Mailchimp just for volunteers managed by Alex Darling, she posts about once a month, and she is also starting to post every two weeks on social media, so watch for that!
We now have 7000 followers on Twitter, we send 15-20 original tweets each month, plus 2-5 replies or retweets daily, for an additional 75-100 actions. We typically get 500-2000 views of our Tweets, with about 3 likes and 3 retweets per day.
We are slowly adding to our Instagram presence, we are up to almost 1000 followers, and posting about 2-3 times a week. We get about 500 views a month, and about 50% of those give us a like, and about 10% make a comment.
We have almost 750 followers of our company page on LinkedIn, where we have seen a lot of growth, with more than 200 new followers this year. We have 1-2 posts a week, about 50 unique visitors per month, and they look at our page for a total of about 250 views per month. It’s a goal for this year to ensure that our staff team has up to date LinkedIn profiles but perhaps most exciting of all, we want to start supporting our members to have LinkedIn profiles. Whether they have a job right now or not, if they are interested in being on LinkedIn we would like to help them, and of course we want them to join our company page, and speak for themselves on issues and topics of interest.
The LiveWorkPlay Facebook page has over 3600 likes (followers) and about 350 people a month come directly to our page. About 6000 people see posts from our page, and about half of them engage in some way, such as sharing, commenting, or reactions, such as like, love, laugh. Our Facebook group, which is private and therefore has a limited membership, has 400 members now, of which 250 are active, with about 100 comments and 650 reactions per month. The video below features our amazing Top 12 social media stories of 2020-2021!
Our YouTube channel now has over 200,000 video views, which sounds like a lot, but most of our videos get about 50 views a year and it all just adds up over time. We added 30 videos over the past year, about half of those are segments from our online events. We have over 400 subscribers and we got over 13000 views this year We mostly use YouTube as a type of library for our videos, and also embed them in blog posts on our website.
Last year we were having our first online AGM after our first online Make A Buzz, and of course we ended up with online gatherings in September, December, and March, and our 26th anniversary Make A Buzz on May 6th. See below: you can feel the enthusiasm right through the screen!
Sometimes necessity is the mother of wonderful inventions, or another way to say it, the kick in the pants to get moving on an idea that has been around for a while, and certainly the emergence of The LiveWorkPlay News broadcasts is one of those things that might not have happened without the pandemic. I take responsibility for that because I was always too worried about how to do it and making it perfect, and instead we just launched into it.
And so, I want to thank my various co-hosts and contributors, Caroline Matte from the Fall Family Gathering, and of course Dave Kalil for multiple appearances (see video below), I want to thank David Young and Jennifer Harris, also multiple appearances, Mary Gusella, and Kelly Mertl for the Festive Family Gathering, Barry Wellar for multiple appearances awarding the My Own Home bursary and thanks to Laura Gulick and Daniel Pinsonneault for receiving that news live, and of course the Payette family with their holiday songs, then we have Analisa Kiskis (see video below) and Brent Manuel at the March Family Gathering, along with Kate Sherwood, Jen Soucy, and Marie Stanfield, also Michelle O’Doherty and Alex Darling, and finally to Shaya Grey, David Young, Alastair McAlastair Ghartey, Julie Kingstone, and Laura Lobay for supporting my sometimes ill-conceived but well intentioned comedy skits (see below).
Finally, Ivan Harris recently reached out to me to express the obvious, but it does bear repeating: LiveWorkPlay communications are greatly improved when our members are in leadership roles, whether it is being a part of The LiveWorkPlay News or making a presentation to a United Nations committee (see video in the next section below). I totally agree, and the challenge to me now is how to not only continue that, but continue to grow it.
From Presence To Citizenship and Community Living Ontario remain our busiest partners in terms of reciprocal sharing of information as well as shared advocacy work. Community Living Ontario hosted multiple sessions of a Community of Practice on individualized support, with LiveWorkPlay contributing as committee members and sometimes breakout session facilitation.
From Presence To Citizenship hosted two online events with attendance of more than 300 persons, the first was an online learning exchange (see below), with all organizations making a shared presentation on topics of housing, employment, and belonging, and more recently, a session about resiliency featuring Joe Roberts.
You might recall last AGM that we started off with a welcome message from Connie Laurin-Bowie, Executive Director of Inclusion International. It was a bit of a steep learning curve trying to understand how to engage, but by end of 2020-2021 we were starting to hit our stride, with LiveWorkPlay making important contributions to a presentation made by an Inclusion International delegate regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as relates to Article 27 on employment, and probably many of you saw Jennifer Harris making a statement about Article 19 which is living independently and being included in the community.
Our mainstream media interactions were limited this year, and that was mainly by choice. Media were very focused on news related to the pandemic, and many of the stories they covered were related to organizations in crisis. While it was certainly not an easy year for LiveWorkPlay or our constituents, certainly many organizations were in much greater need of public support, so we chose our spots carefully, and when we did talk about the pandemic on CFRA in August (see below), we were sure to reference the needs of other organizations as well. A media highlight of the year was definitely the Ottawa Business Journal coverage of our partnership with Viral Clean.
Since 2018 our staff team has mostly done away with internal email, and we use a communications hub called Slack to keep in touch as individuals and as support teams. On a monthly basis our team of 25 communicates about 11,000 times, just on Slack, which does not include phone calls of any kind, or email of any kind, or web conferencing of any kind. I don’t have stats on phone calls and emails, but I do know that on average, LiveWorkPlay staff and volunteers host about 400 Zoom meetings a month, and they also use Microsoft Teams and Skype for some meetings. I don’t have data on all of those platforms, but really, the point is that if for any reason over the past year, you felt that we failed in our communications with you, it wasn’t because of avoidance, the most likely issue was simply being overwhelmed, an experience that is not unique to LiveWorkPlay staff, but we certainly aren’t immune to it either.
And it is really on that note that I want to wrap up this brief report, it has already been said by others, but as someone who was personally behind the writing of pandemic communications, agonizing over what Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario government, and the federal government were trying to tell us, going over multiple drafts, sending an announcement in the evening about how it would impact the ability of LiveWorkPlay to support our members, and then finding out the next morning that most of the announcement no longer applies.
I had to ask myself, how much does everyone despise me right now? Well, if that was how you were feeling, you didn’t let it show, because all I got from you was support and lots of understanding, and of course I know that your relationships with the rest of our team played a big part in that. The trust and experience we all share together served us very well, and I don’t intend to forget about the importance of continuing to value those relationships.
Co-Leader and Director of Communications, LiveWorkPlay
Report from the Independent Auditor, Ross Holmes
The video below is the unedited commentary of the independent auditor at AGM 2021. Below the video are key pages from the audit. The entire audited financial report is available for download.
Board Member Biographies
Daniel Spagnolo is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and graduate of the University of Western Ontario (B.A.C.S. – Finance and Administration and Economics). Since 2008, Daniel has worked at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada in the development of audit methodology and as an auditor specializing in the performance of special examinations of Crown Corporations. Prior to his work in the federal government Daniel was a financial audit manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto and Ottawa. In that capacity, Daniel developed industry knowledge and expertise in the Mining, Manufacturing, Software and Technology, Health Care, First Nations and Not-for-Profit sectors.
Kate Sherwood holds Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Maine in International Affairs and French, including time studying in France and the French West Indies. Kate has spent over 20 years working in both corporate and non-profit arenas, primarily in business development and marketing roles. Her experience ranges from banking and financial services to the voluntary and social support sectors. The brands and organizations Kate has partnered with through her professional roles include: some of the most recognizable names in professional sports in the US and Canada; colleges and universities across the US Northeast; major financial institutions; numerous corporate foundations; as well as international and regional non-profit agencies. Throughout her career Kate has excelled at developing rapport with her clients, understanding their goals for the partnership, aligning strategies and initiatives to achieve them and drive value for both parties. Kate has been a lifelong volunteer, and is proud to have been involved with LiveWorkPlay since 2015 as a member of the Employment Task Force and as a member of the board starting in 2019.
Robin McIntyre is a management consultant specializing in the area of service transformation and the implementation of large programs and projects. She is currently on an Interchange Assignment with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). In this position, she develops program and project management strategies in several functional areas, including risk management. She also supports the planning and delivery of complex transformation programmes to modernize services and IT systems for Canadians. Robin graduated from the University of Waterloo and holds a US/European patent. In 2010, she received her ICD designation. Robin has been a corporate director, board chair and president in the not for profit sector. She dedicates her time to causes that promote healthy living and inclusion to build stronger and more vibrant communities.
In 2013, Carole Sheppard was matched with a LiveWorkPlay member. They have been meeting regularly ever since for rousing games of Scrabble, joke-telling and visits to the local Lebanese pie bakery. She considers herself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to become friends with her match who is sweet, sensitive and very funny. When not having fun with her LWP match, Carole is a lawyer with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada where she’s worked for a very long time. Carole previously served on the Board of Directors of Service Coordination Support (SCS), the agency that is the initial point of contact for people with developmental disabilities or autism in the Ottawa and Eastern Regions who are seeking services. SCS helps people find the resources available in the community that they need to assist them in their daily lives. Laterally, she chaired the Governance Committee of SCS. Prior to that, she was a member of the Board of WaterCan (now WaterAid), a charitable organization devoted to bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene education to communities in the developing world. Carole was thrilled to travel to Kenya to see some of the funded projects and meet people in the communities served.
Andrea Saldanha (MSc) is a manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada, where she has deepened her training in facilitation and communication. She uses this toolkit to engage with Indigenous organizations across the country on complex issues such as biodiversity, climate change, and culturally appropriate education and economic opportunities. She has worked in community-driven environmental initiatives for 20 years. Andrea first became involved with LiveWorkPlay in 2007, where she participated in the Friday Night Meetups. She has also fundraised for LiveWorkPlay in her workplace and helped spur member and volunteer participation in the Ottawa Race Weekend. She considers it a great privilege to contribute to this great organization.
Jon Doody is a lawyer. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor law school in 2013. He has spent his whole career working at Bayne, Sellar, Ertel, Carter doing criminal defence. He represents clients at all levels of court in the province, doing trials in the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice; and doing appeals in the Court of Appeal. Jon represents clients from all socio-economic backgrounds and is passionate about ensuring that everyone enjoys their Charter-protected rights. Jon first became connected with LiveWorkPlay when his firm became an employer partner.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2021 MINUTES – JUNE 21, 5:30 PM, ONLINE (ZOOM)
(STATUS IS DRAFT UNTIL APPROVED AT AGM 2022)
5:30 Call to order and opening remarks from Secretary to the Board, Keenan Wellar.
Approval of the agenda by voting members (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Joshua Balanaser, Seconded: Mary Ann Wilcox Carried.
Proposal for remote voting procedure (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Cooper Gage, Seconded: Michelle O’Doherty Carried.
Approval of minutes from 2020 (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Carole Sheppard, Seconded: Kaye Kwok Carried.
Report from the independent auditor Ross Holmes.
A question was posted in the chat box that was addressed later in the meeting (see below).
Appointment of the auditor for 2021-2022 (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Charlie Cox, Seconded: Kent Siebrasse Carried. The firm of Mitchell & Holmes was approved as auditor for 2021-2022.
Message from the Chair (Daniel Spagnolo).
Report from the Governance Committee (Kate Sherwood).
Report from the Stewardship Committee (Christine Felteau).
Question by Kent Siebrasse to Independent Auditor Ross Holmes:
Regarding the return on investment on reserve funds of .4%: can some of the funds be used for investments that pay a higher rate of return?
Ross Holmes responded that the current Board policy is to ensure the reserve funds are 100% secure, so it is more of a policy issue than an auditing issue, and he would defer to the Board for comment.
Christine Felteau and Daniel Spagnolo from the Stewardship Committee responded to affirm Ross’s comment, explaining that it is current policy for reserve funds to be protected from risk.
Daniel mentioned that when LiveWorkPlay learns more about the changes with employment transformation, we will know more about the risks that we face as an organization, and it might be possible to look at our reserve funds differently.
Christine affirmed that with the current status as reserve funds, the policy that the Board adopted after careful deliberation is that they must be risk-free and available to use for their intended purpose. It is a reality with the current rate of inflation and other factors that the return on GIC and related fixed investments is very low.
Guest Presenter: David Chalmers from Nexus Human Capital.
Report on Operations (Julie Kingstone).
Report on Communications (Keenan Wellar).
Proposal for election of candidates as a slate (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Mary Ann Wilcox Seconded: Cooper Gage Carried.
Meet the candidates: Daniel Spagnolo, Robin McIntyre, Kate Sherwood, Andrea Saldhana, Carole Sheppard, Jon Doody, Cathy Velazquez introduced themselves – Christine Felteau spoke for Robin McIntyre who was sorry to miss the meeting but was very happy to be attending her daughter’s graduation where she is receiving her PhD.
Election of candidate slate (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Michelle O’Doherty, Seconded: Nancy Brodie Carried. All seven candidates were declared elected.
7:00 Adjournment (Keenan Wellar).
Motion: Barry Wellar, Seconded: David Hernandez Carried.
[End of Report]