Report from the Chair of the Board of Directors (Text Follows Video)
Greetings to all LiveWorkPlay members, families, and community partners! I’m Daniel Spagnolo, Chair of the Board of Directors.
Preparing for the 2022 LiveWorkPlay Annual General Meeting, six of our current board members, including myself, have confirmed their intention to return for 2021-2022. This includes Kate Sherwood, Robin McIntyre, Andrea Saldhana, Jon Doody, and Cathy Velazquez. We have one new candidate, Judith Eigenbrod, and her biography is included in your AGM package along with all the returning candidates.
On behalf of the Board, we would like to take this this opportunity to extend a sincere thank you to Carole Sheppard, who took a leave from the board mid-term, but has indicated she would look forward to serving again in the future.
As a returning member of the Stewardship Committee, Carole contributed to some of the most significant transitions in our financial reporting and oversight practices.
Over the course of 2021-2022, 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 our Board meetings. Members of those committees also partook in various additional meetings or events, both internal and external, through online venues. We look forward to getting back to more in-person opportunities in 2022-2023. More information about the work of both committees can be found in the annual report.
Speaking of meetings and gatherings, it has been yet another interesting year for all of us, including the Board of Directors. Carole, Jon, Andrea, and Cathy have yet to attend an in-person meeting during their current tenure. Only Kate, Robin, and I can remember being together in the same room, but that is a distant 2020 memory.
It can be difficult to build trust and camaraderie in an exclusively virtual environment, but I can say that we were there for each other when the impact of the pandemic came into our personal and professional lives. I obviously can’t speak to the entire history of governance at LiveWorkPlay, but it is also my understanding that the significant changes that we oversaw in 2021-2022 rank up there with other notable years in our 27-year history.
I would also add that there have been benefits to the adaptations we have made during the pandemic. We have board members who are parents of young children, who have jobs with varying hours and/or responsibilities that take them out of Ottawa from time to time, or who live in parts of the city that are not always the easiest drive into the core.
Pre-pandemic, this might have meant they would not have been able to consider serving or continue serving on the board, so even as conditions change, we will most certainly be working as a team to come up with a formula that works for everyone. We will not be rushing back into our old patterns, where everyone drives from all corners of the city for committee and board meetings every month. We’ve been very effective with our current setup, so whatever we do next needs to be focused on what makes us even stronger.
For the content of our meetings as well as our text-based discussions between meetings, the Board has worked together to be a future-thinking body for LiveWorkPlay, while still meeting its fiduciary responsibilities. We have ensured that our board meetings have focused on fiduciary, generative and strategic discussions at different junctures. We also track each board member and executive staff member experience of the meetings to ensure that an appropriate balance is being maintained.
We had to juggle the agenda with great frequency this year, to make way for COVID-19 updates that were still coming at us fast and furious, particularly in the first half of our 2021-2022 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 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 two previous annual reports, 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.
LiveWorkPlay is a member of a coalition led by the Youth Services Bureau that remains in the running to be the employment supports Service Systems Manager (SSM) for our region. YSB has done an incredible job leading this coalition through the bidding process, but we must also be prepared that another bidder could be chosen, and this could mean working with a for-profit entity, possibly even a global corporation. This will present any number of new challenges, but LiveWorkPlay is, objectively, one of the best employment providers in the province in serving people with intellectual disabilities and autistics persons, and we believe that any future SSM will want us to be a part of their team to support continued success for jobseekers in Ottawa.
Last year I enjoyed looking 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. Our 2021-2022 events including our 27th anniversary was no less spectacular, with a hectic online auction, an epic edition of The LiveWorkPlay News, and a top 12 countdown of the news stories for the year, and live entertainment with Kenny Hayes. As an original member of our Federal Employment Strategy Group, I must say I was excited and moved to see that LiveWorkPlay’s national award from the Canadian Association for Supported Employment was the top news story of the year!
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 worked tirelessly to assist 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, which are now in relative abundance. The most challenging issue has simply been to keep up with demand, as employers are appreciating that LiveWorkPlay jobseekers and the effective matching strategies utilized by LiveWorkPlay can be the answer to their human resources challenges.
To our Executive Staff, Keenan and Julie, 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. Your grace and understanding throughout these challenging times was a truly inspirational.
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 in service to LiveWorkPlay!
Chair of the Board of Directors, LiveWorkPlay
Report from the Stewardship Committee (Text Follows Video)
The 2021-2022 Stewardship Committee (SC) was comprised of Board members Robin McIntyre (Chair), Daniel Spagnolo, Carole Sheppard and Cathy Velazquez with the Executive Staff member Julie Kingstone (Co-Leader and Director of Operations). The Committee met monthly to fulfill the obligations related to federal not-for-profit incorporations and registered charities. The scope of the SC included monitoring regulatory and financial reporting and providing oversight on behalf of the Board in the areas of finance, audit, investment and risk management.
Over the years, LiveWorkPlay has built a solid and sustainable foundation to deliver services to our members, families and the community. The SC supports the Executive Team in evolving programming for member services, new revenue streams and partnerships within the Developmental Services sector, with an eye to building on the established strengths of LiveWorkPlay. Members of the SC support these efforts by sharing their knowledge and expertise and challenging the status quo. Although we are continually investigating ways to strengthen LiveWorkPlay, the importance of delivering for our members and their families is always top of mind.
In 2021-2022, the SC provided oversight through the following activities:
- reviewed and recommended the annual budget to the Board;
- reviewed and recommended monthly financial reports to the Board;
- monitored key performance indicators;
- reviewed budget variances and year over year comparatives;
- reviewed Executive Staff reports and 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; and
- prepared for and reviewed the results of the annual financial audit.
Financial Reporting and Key Performance Indicators
In the previous year, the SC moved to monthly reviews of financial information. It soon became apparent that variances in the monthly financial reports were largely related to the timing of revenues received and invoice payment, as opposed to significant changes in LiveWorkPlay’s financial position or financial exposure. The SC recommends that on a go-forward basis the Committee and the Board return to quarterly reviews of the financial statements and KPIs. This change will provide Executive Staff with time to respond to emerging pressures while minimizing the reporting burden. The SC believes there is no significant risk associated with this practice.
The SC continued to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) on a quarterly basis, as these metrics are early indicators of potential areas for concern. As noted in the prior year, the SC observed minimal variances in these metrics through the year. KPIs will continue to be monitored, as an established financial reporting best practice.
Risk Identification and Management
The SC reviews LiveWorkPlay’s risk management processes and the risk register quarterly to ensure the accuracy of the LiveWorkPlay risk profile. The risk register includes a 120-180-day view of key risks including, new change initiatives and the associated risk mitigation plans and controls. This tool has been particularly helpful in communicating and actioning risks related to the pandemic and is now fully integrated in the SC Annual Workplan.
In the prior year, MCCSS chose to forgo some of the typical regulatory practices, such as the QAM Audit and the Annual Risk Assessment process due to ongoing pressures related to COVID-19. LiveWorkPlay continued to meet any interim requirements established by MCCSS during this time.
The Stewardship Committee has continued to monitor trends in the attraction and retention of staff within the Developmental Services sector and where necessary supported the implementation of reviews, salary adjustments and contractual obligations to keep pace with ongoing market forces. A pandemic pay premium implemented for community staff continued throughout the fiscal year and was eventually adopted as a permanent component of the compensation plan in April 2022.
In response to Developmental Services and public health guidance, LiveWorkPlay continued with a remote or hybrid work model and responded to evolving pandemic working procedures, including the monitoring of staff, volunteer and Board members vaccination status, as required.
The SC were notified of pandemic procedural changes and risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of established controls. This activity was monitored through our Quarterly Risk Register reviews.
Activities related to the Policy Review have been delegated to the Governance Committee.
Initiatives in Progress
To better align the strategic plan and the annual budget, new projects and initiatives are identified and funded for implementation with the support of the SC. One initiative implemented in the prior year was related to the digitization and outsourcing of the collection and reporting of financial information. This initiative included the conversion all financial information into an online system to improve accuracy and facilitate monitoring and standard and ad-hoc reporting activities. At the same time, activities associated with monitoring and preparing financial reports were outsourced to a third-party service provider. This service provider, Charity acCounts will ensure LiveWorkPlay leverages the financial best practices of other non-profit organizations of similar size and scope and considers new opportunities to streamline and improve operations. The Executive Staff of LiveWorkPlay remain accountable for the review and accuracy of financial information produced through this contract.
The activities of the SC have continued to evolve and will be further strengthened, as the Committee members build on LiveWorkPlay’s prior financial position. We will remain focused on prudent financial management, risk management and fulfilling our regulatory requirements while we push forward with the implementation of new initiatives that leverage emerging technology and approaches that may be considered more innovative for our sector. However, the most important asset LiveWorkPlay has to share is our people power. This includes our exceptional staff, volunteers and Executive Team who prioritize our members’ and their families’ needs at the heart of their work each and eery day. We are thankful that as Committee members we have the opportunity to contribute to such a tremendous organization and building the LiveWorkPlay community in a truly meaningful way.
Chair, Stewardship Committee, LiveWorkPlay
Report from the Governance Committee (Text Follows Video)
The Governance Committee (GC) was comprised of Board members Andrea Saldanha, Jon Doody, and Kate Sherwood (Chair), 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 2021-2022 Board term, and we have detailed some of our highlights below.
Supporting Executive Staff Performance
The Governance Committee continued with our role in supporting Executive Staff performance through individual coaching sessions which occur three times each board year. The GC has determined that this approach is valuable, provides space for open dialogue, and provides time for our co-leaders to engage in robust discussions of challenges and opportunities in ways that would not be possible during our scheduled Board meetings. With the management of the COVID-19 pandemic as a key challenge over the past year, both Keenan and Julie needed additional time with us to talk about day-to-day pandemic concerns and reported that this was very helpful.
While a basic background document is utilized and updated in the coaching process, the Governance Committee wishes to make certain that our membership understands that along with the Stewardship Committee and the Board of Directors as a whole, we receive substantial information related to the performance of the organization as well as the specific work of the co-leaders. This ranges from a monthly Executive Staff Report which includes, as a matter of routine, the disclosure of any complaints or serious occurrences. You will also note the financial oversight of the Stewardship Committee, which includes external parties ranging from the independent auditor Ross Holmes to Quality Assurance Measures auditing and risk registry reporting for the Ministry of Children Community, and Social Services.
We can confirm that the coaching sessions will proceed at the interval of three times per Board year, in April, September, and January, and that there are no significant changes planned with respect to the overall performance management process.
This process was developed with the assistance of David Chalmers from Nexus Human Capital, renowned for his work in performance management. 2021-2022 was our first full board year of utilizing this system of coaching and monitoring, which is already working well, but we will continue to look for any opportunity to improve it for the future.
Ongoing Board Recruitment
This year the Governance Committee continued its work on how best to recruit new members, and we were able to put to use tools developed last Board year to fill one vacancy. Having completed an interview and reference checks, we are very pleased to have a strong candidate to put forward at the AGM, and to see how her interests and experience connect to our conversations at this year’s Board retreat (see below).
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 review. The information from these processes is an opportunity for the Governance Committee to provide the Board with an annual update on how we are doing as individuals and as a collective – according to our own individual assessments of meeting efficiency and effectiveness.
Supporting New Board Members
The governance committee “buddy system” continues to be positively received as a means of welcoming and supporting new members. Being connected with a tenured board member provides an additional resource for new members outside of the support available to them through the Chair and their committee assignment. In 2021-2022 we had one new Board member, or in this case a returning former board member, Cathy Velazquez. In speaking with colleagues throughout this year and past years, new board members have always indicated that they 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, the most significant of these activities being a day-long retreat in November. This year GC as a team, reflecting on the world around us, deliberately and thoughtfully planned a day-long retreat around the central theme of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We aimed to create a space for learning and generative discussion, not to complete a specific project or scope of work, which is a challenge for another day. The retreat provided an opportunity to for a focused dialogue about what DEI looks like for LiveWorkPlay – as an organization, and as a Board.
We were fortunate to have two presentations from partner organizations, Community Living Ontario and British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) which is a lead organizer of Indigenous Disability Awareness Month. These presentations provided a wealth of information as well as honest conversations that will help us in our next steps.
The retreat discussion contributed to our board development activities for the remainder of the year. We invited additional speakers, including Deb Cavers from Community Living Brant and we will continue our outreach to partners to understand and learn from their approaches. The GC anticipates that this work will lead directly to a future pillar of our next strategic plan for LiveWorkPlay.
It has been another 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 continue to be thankful for the generosity of our members and families towards the entire LiveWorkPlay organization.
Chair, Governance Committee
Report on Operations, Including Strategic Directions Update (Text Follows Video)
It was great to see some of you in person at the Welcome To Summer Barbecue, and for those of you who were unable to attend it is hard to believe that it will be our 3rd virtual AGM, which has some benefits, but overall it has been another year where we all miss being together in the same room.
It is my pleasure to provide for a few operational updates for the year, progress on our collective work in the pursuit of our strategic directions, as well as a brief look ahead to 2022-2023.
The pandemic continues to impact 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. We know the pandemic is not over, but we hope that the coming year we will all be able to return to more normal times. But if whether it is tornadoes, derechos, or pandemics, we know that we will be there for each other!
The staff team has always been dependable and reliable, and continues to learn and improve, even under the challenging circumstances throughout 2021-2022. 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.
We have had several staffing changes over the year. We said goodbye to Liam Pignat and Carolyn Mills as well as long-serving Senior staff member Allison Moores. We have welcomed Roberta McKenna back to the team supporting Intake and providing administrative support. On the Employment team we have welcomed Sarah, Richard, Neil, and Katie. Maggie, Sydney, Tianna, Karyann, Roberto, and Mikayla are all great additions to the Supported Independent Living team. Congratulations to Rebecca Coxon who has replaced Allison in a Team Lead role.
Thank you to our Board of Directors! Danny, Kate, Robin, Carole, Andrea and Jon, you have all had to navigate 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. We hope to gather in person so you can all meet each other in person!
And to the volunteers: your flexibility, adaptability, and availability to continue deepening relationships with our members by offering connection through virtual and in-person meetups 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 being “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. Supports have been provided in-person as well as remotely.
Over the last year, we have supported 87 individuals with community connecting with over 80 one-to-one matches, virtual meetups offered 3 times a week, and a return to weekly in-person Friday night meetups as restrictions lifted, all with the aim of keeping people connected. We could not do this work without the dedication and commitment of over 140 volunteers and the addition of 15 new volunteers this year.
The Employment team has supported over 200 individuals in various stages of employment, securing 40 new jobs that have lasted 13 weeks or longer and supporting the retention of over 140 jobs.
We know that with the end of the pandemic in sight that everyone we support is looking to get back to more normal ways of living their lives, and we all look forward to supporting you to safely get out in the community as the reopening continues.
Supporting Our Staff and Sustainability
This time last year I was reporting on the downsizing of our office space! This decision has served us well. We continue to have a dedicated office space at 2197 Riverside, where staff can drop in to work between appointments, pick up supplies, and host small meetings.
This year we have made two significant investments in how we operate internally. LiveWorkPlay hired CHARITYacCOUNTS! to take over day to day bookkeeping and accounting duties, previously delivered by Co-Leader Julie Kingstone. We started this transition in the summer of 2021 and as part of the process we were able to digitize financial processes, making it paperless and more streamlined for staff to submit mileage and expense remittances. This transition has also strengthened internal control procedures and enabled the auditor to complete the audit remotely, as all documentation is now easily available in the QuickBooks Cloud. The outsourcing and digitization of processes supported a more sustainable workload for Julie so she can focus more on other important work. This transition also helps the organization with overall future sustainability, by ensuring that the Director of Operations position a more realistic set of duties.
The second investment LiveWorkPlay made this year was streamlining and strengthening our virtual office for staff, which includes 24-7 technology support to ensure technology is never a barrier to getting their work done. We are also working with CHARITYacCOUNTS! for our IT needs, and they created an integrated communication hub and shared document library using MS Teams for phone, video, and messaging channels, and SharePoint as our secure cloud.
All staff were trained and had a 1:1 session with CHARITYacCOUNTS! to ensure that all elements were understood and working properly for them. In addition to this all staff now have access to 24-7 tech support should their devices, computers, or phone need attention, updates, or any troubleshooting that is needed.
Keenan was previously providing tech support to staff and given the size of the current staff team this had become unsustainable alongside his other duties. The contract with CHARITYacCOUNTS! for technology support ensures that staff receive timely and individualized support, this allows Keenan to attend to other priorities and have peace of mind that he does not need to be prepared to troubleshoot technology problems on a daily basis.
In January 2022 the City of Ottawa announced a 5-year contribution agreement of $75,000 per year to cover expenses related to the central administration of the LiveWorkPlay organization. This will be used to pay for the on-going annual expenses related to the outsourcing of Finance and Technology supports.
Strategic Directions and Actions Update
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the entire 2021-2022 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 2022-2023. However, progress was made, and below are some relevant updates.
Strategic Direction 1 – JUST ENOUGH SUPPORT – Scale up living and community supports using our “just enough support” approach.
Much of our work this year with our performance coach David Chalmers was learning how to articulate and formalizing how the Just Enough Support approach is implemented, and how to document and evaluate service excellence. We hope that in the fall we will be able to test what David calls the “look fors” – the outcomes that it important to look for – in areas related to support for health, safety, security, community, and natural relationships, as well as overall service excellence. By this time next year we hope to share the completed framework.
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!
Ready, Willing and Able (RWA), a national employment initiative led by Inclusion Canada and Community Living Ontario, has added additional resources in Ottawa as of February 2022 and this has led to 4 jobs (so far) for jobseekers supported by LiveWorkPlay. LiveWorkPlay has also secured funding from RWA to support youth jobseekers to obtain summer employment
LiveWorkPlay continues to prepare for the provincial Employment Transformation. In the fall the new Employment Service System Manager (SSM) for the Ottawa area will be chosen. We have been actively contributing to the Youth Services Bureau bid to become the SSM, as well as meeting with other potential applicants to ensure that no matter who becomes the SSM, LiveWorkPlay will be a valued employment supports provider for the future.
LiveWorkPlay provided 6 training sessions to the Government of New Brunswick, which is looking to replicate LiveWorkPlay’s Employment Support Model used so successfully with the Public Service of Canada.
We have been engaged in on-going discussions with Treasury Board of Canada to scale up hiring and necessary supports to recruit, hire, and include employees with intellectual disabilities and autistic job seekers across the federal public service.
The Employment team has redesigned and refined the Inclusion Workshop that is offered to employers. This workshop has also been adapted and offered virtually during the pandemic.
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 has also been a success worthy of note.
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 fee-for-service consulting and training as a revenue-generating social enterprise that supports the organization’s mission.
The activities under this Strategic Direction have taken a back seat due to the pandemic. But we are excited to report that we have received a $75,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop training modules and an e-earning platform. These modules will be used to enhance our internal training needs as well as for use with external audiences. We have started mapping out the modules and content and will work this upcoming year to have the training sessions produced and available via an on-line learning platform.
Strategic Direction 4 – COMMUNITY FIRST – Provide Leadership in building engaged and inclusive communities.
During this pandemic year, the team has initiated and supported community development in a variety of ways, including the following:
LiveWorkPlay is a partner in the newly announced residential rental community being developed by DREAM and Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) at LeBreton Flats. A total of 601 rental units are being built. MHI is responsible for 130 affordable units, as well as providing community animation for the entire development, and LiveWorkPlay will support 8 individuals with intellectual disabilities to live in this new community. Estimated occupancy is 2025.
LiveWorkPlay has been working closely with colleagues of Ottawa Developmental Services Network (ODSN) to leverage resources and collaborate more, which led to a year of joint training initiatives. We hope organizations will be able to work on a few joint projects that will reduce barriers to accessing health and mental health supports, increased access to affordable housing, and better outcomes in recreation and leisure activities.
Looking ahead: 2022-2023
MCCSS continues to provide updates on the Developmental Services Reform Framework entitled Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion. The Province of Ontario has contracted KPMG to conduct a Costing Study that will help inform MCCSS on the per unit costs of supports and services which will be used, in part, to inform the development of a new funding model, which is part of Developmental Service Reform. LiveWorkPlay is actively participating in these processes, as well as engaging with partner networks such as Community Living Ontario and From Presence To Citizenship.
In closing, it has been quite a year for us all, with lots of learning and ups and downs. We are hopeful that COVID-19 will continue to recede and that the fall and winter will continue without significant disruptions. If that is the case, we hope to see you all in person at the Welcome Back Family Feast in the fall.
Co-Leader and Director of Operations
Report on Communications (Text Follows Video)
Website, Social Media, E-News, and Mainstream Media Update
There were 16 published articles on the LiveWorkPlay.ca website news feed over the past year (essentially, blog posts) so we averaged a post about every three weeks. That represents less posts than last year, which was skewed upwards by our special multiple features on individual staff anniversaries.
2021-2022 was consistent with last year in terms of website visitors, with 1000 unique visitors to our website each month, visiting about 20000 times, and total page views coming in at about 45000. What are they doing there? They are primarily reading LiveWorkPlay 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, they are accessing our Just Enough Support vides and transcripts, or in some cases, doing some serious background work.
A great example of this is the work we are doing now to support the Government of New Brunswick to hire and retain workers with intellectual disabilities. When investigating potential partners to assist them in that important endeavor, we were told that they found the LiveWorkPlay website to be a wealth of useful information that prompted direct conversations, and in the end, a formal agreement.
Our Mailchimp electronic newsletter has just under 700 subscribers to The LiveWorkPlay News and just over 300 for LiveWorkPlay Family & Supporters. We posted about once every two months to TLN and about once every month to LFS. This is down from last year when we needed to provide multiple COVID-19 updates. There is also a Mailchimp just for volunteers, managed by Alex Darling, which posts about once a month, and is now just under 140 subscribers, meaning pretty close to 100% of our volunteers are on board.
We have just under 7000 followers on Twitter, and between or original tweets, retweets, and replies, it is not unusual to have upwards of 100 interactions a month. When we engage in external events this often sparks increased activity, for example, in June our participation at the Canadian Association for Supported Employment resulted in more than 50 tweets and retweets.
LiveWorkPlay has continued to slowly add to our Instagram presence, we are now over 950 followers, and posting about 2-3 times a week. As with Twitter, we are not present just to broadcast about ourselves, we support our informal and formal allies by liking and sharing their posts. Of note this year, the once-a-day National Volunteer Week posted by Alex in April brought in 60 likes, which isn’t going to break the internet, but it demonstrated that we do have an audience on the platform.
We have added more than 100 new followers of our company page on LinkedIn, which should soon pass 900 on our way to 1000, perhaps before next year’s AGM. Page views are up over 275% from last year, and this is due at least in part to a more than doubling of posts, up from 1-2 per week to 4-5 per week. As identified last year, LinkedIn was prioritized because it demonstrated the most potential for growth and mission-oriented connections. It’s asking a lot of our busy staff team to be formally engaged with our social media networks, but we are working on achieving a baseline with the entire staff team with respect to LinkedIn profiles, given that we are seeing the importance of this platform for an organization’s reputational growth.
Our YouTube channel now has over 210,000 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 over 40 videos over the past year, about half of those are segments from our online events. We have over 440 subscribers and we got over 10000 views this year. A lot of effort went into organizing our videos into playlists, for example, there is an employment playlist that brings together all of our employment-related videos. This many be of interest to external audiences, for example, those who want to view all of our Just Enough Support videos in one place but is also useful for internal purposes when building presentations or providing video references at meetings and conferences.
Last but not least, the LiveWorkPlay Facebook page has over 3700 likes (followers) and about 350 people a month come directly to our page. Over 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 410 members now, with about 1 post per day and between 15-20 likes or comments per day.
Let’s round out this social media section by reviewing the video of amazing Top 12 social media stories of 2021-2022, as determined by Facebook analytics.
Our mainstream media interactions were once again quite limited, and as with last year, 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. Keenan did accept an invitation to discuss the pandemic with Derick Fage on Rogers Daytime TV, but the conversation also left plenty of room for uplifting news.
Speaking of uplifting news, we all enjoyed the wonderful segment about Paul Knoll’s artistry on Accessibility Media television, which include Ron Kok, a member of Paul’s Community Connector staff team at LiveWorkPlay. Last year’s report mentioned coverage of the LiveWorkPlay partnership with employer Viral Clean in the Ottawa Business Journal, and this carried into the current year when national inclusive employment advocacy website Hire for Talent produced a 6-minute video about our partnership. It was so well done we wanted to share a brief series of clips as a teaser for the entire production, which you can view at hirefortalent.ca.
Community Living Ontario continues to support LiveWorkPlay and other member organizations with the Update Friday weekly e-news, and they carried numerous LiveWorkPlay stories in 2021-2022. Additionally, LiveWorkPlay participated in and occasionally facilitated breakout sessions for the Community of Practice for individualized and inclusive supports, as well as the new Communications Network, with Keenan Wellar presenting at one of the monthly sessions and also joining the planning committee.
Keenan was also invited to join the Provincial Developmental Services Workforce Initiative Recruitment-Focused Marketing Sub-Committee. He was not given the opportunity to bring his skills to bear in the naming of the committee, but once the group was up and running, Keenan reports that they did excellent work crafting modern and inclusive messaging to promote the opportunities and benefits of working in the Developmental Services Sector.
The From Presence To Citizenship (FPTC) provincial advocacy collaborative, of which LiveWorkPlay is a founding member, made the difficult decision not to attempt an annual conference this year, after a wonderful run of six years of sold out gatherings in Toronto. Instead, they decided to deliver online events focused on the wellness of front-line workers, with inspiring stories and guest speakers, as well as advocacy work on committees and consultations related to the Government of Ontario Developmental Services reform process known as Journey to Belonging.
FPTC members continue to support each other with some of the unique challenges of delivering truly person-centred and community-focused outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities. Of particular concern is the increasing presence of for-profit operators in the sector, as well as a resurgence in congregated and segregated housing and programs, by both for-profit and nonprofit operators.
The consequences of involving profit motive in the care sector have been seen (and well documented) with devastating consequences in Long-Term Care. An expansion of privatized developmental services in other countries, including the United Kingdom, has resulted in catastrophic systemic failures, and it is important for advocates, family members, and community agencies to work together to ensure that Ontario does not head down this same dangerous path.
On a more positive note, our nearest geographical FTPC member is Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley, and we are very pleased to be providing some support to their employment team and are also looking forward to discussions in 2022-2023 about how we might partner on mutually beneficial communications initiatives.
We carried on with our online gatherings in September, December, and March, and our 27th anniversary Make A Buzz Ottawa event on May 5th. At the core of these events is the ongoing production of The LiveWorkPlay News, live entertainment, and a real-time online auction that raised more than $5000.
LiveWorkPlay wants to thank the various co-hosts and contributors, of which we will name just a few: Ryan McBride, Janet Balcome, and Allison Moores who co-hosted The LiveWorkPlay News, Dave Kalil, Tyler Kealey, and Kenny Hayes for your live performances, and David Young, Jennifer Harris, Daniel Pinsonneault, Alex Darling, Julie Kingstone, Chris Beesley, Barry Wellar, Andrea Saldhana, Daniel Spagnolo, Kate Sherwood, and other contributors who helped out with special commemorations, presentations, and announcements.
Make A Buzz 2022 saw the return of our community partner awards, and it was wonderful to hear from representatives of the recipients, David Chalmers of Nexux Human Capital, Cheryl Pooran from PooranLaw, and Zach Dryman from Charity acCOUNTS. In many ways their work in supporting organization like LiveWorkPlay takes place behind the scenes. It felt right and it felt good to showcase our public appreciation of their efforts, which in all cases goes beyond a routine business relationship. We know that they would agree with us that together we have also driven improvements that have helped and benefited other organizations and communities.
I mentioned the CASE conference of June 2022 in the social media update, that was our one and only in-person conference since way back in March 2020. While such in-person gatherings are very important, we continued and expect to continue finding value in online conferences, which open a door to different presenters and audiences, when costs for meals and travel are eliminated from the equation. A case in point – no pun intended – at the previous CASE conference in September 2021, LiveWorkPlay received the Sean Wiltshire Award of Excellent in Supported Employment, and although receiving an award on a screen is an odd experience, it was also very special that our membership could tune in and watch the proceedings together.
The Disability and Work in Canada conference, which backed nicely onto International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd, was a standout online experience for 2021-2022. Keenan Wellar had the honour of serving as the panel host with our Director of Employment Supports Anna Nelson, our volunteer chair of the Federal Employment Strategy Group Mary Gusella, public service employee Rose-Marie Rivard, and Elizabeth Desjardins, a human resources manager from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. This panel was a resounding success, with huge attendance and a question-and-answer period that went overtime. Closing off the engaged audience was challenging to the event organizers, but this is always a happy problem.
On a final note, if you joined us early for the 2022 Annual General Meeting, you saw two videos from the June 15 welcome to summer barbecue at TD Place. It was absolutely amazing being back together with about 150 members of the LiveWorkPlay community. We just want you to know that your enthusiasm for this was heard loud and clear, and we will definitely look into the possibilities for a similar event in the fall.
Co-Leader and Director of Communications
Report from the Independent Auditor (Text Follows Video)
There is no text version of this report, however, the audited financial statements are publicly available in their entirety by clicking here.
Board Member Biographies (Text Follows Video)
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.
Andrea Saldanha is a Senior Advisor at Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat at the Centre for Greening Government. She has deepened her training in facilitation and communication. She uses this toolkit to engage with large public sector buyers across the country on green procurement. Andrea has worked on community-driven environmental initiatives for 20 years. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Masters of Science in Rural Planning.
Andrea first became involved with LiveWorkPlay in 2007, where she participated in the Friday Night Activities. She has also fundraised for LiveWorkPlay in her workplace and supported member and volunteer participation in the Ottawa Race Weekend. She considers it a great privilege to contribute to this great organization.
Cathy Velazquez brings more than 30 years management experience spanning 3 highly regulated and competitive industries. A dynamic people leader and customer advocate, she has successfully led teams through significant business change and transformations. Cathy brings a positive approach to problem solving, creating win-win situations, strengthening relationships and enhancing the brand.
Cathy has built a solid reputation as a champion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the community. She first learned about LiveWorkPlay in 1998 through work placement initiatives, and first joined the Board of Directors in 2013, serving a six-year term, including time as the Chair.
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. She is currently a consultant with Rise Up Strategies in Ottawa.
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 from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Robin dedicates her time to causes that promote healthy living and inclusion to build stronger and more vibrant communities.
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.
Judith Eigenbrod brings a passion for public health, equity and inclusion, and an interdisciplinary lens to the board of Live Work Play. Judith was born in Germany and grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She lives on the on traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband and two children.
She works as the Director of Programs at the First Nations Health Managers Association, working to support capacity development and training for First Nations health leaders across Turtle Island. She has spent the past 8 years working for and with First Nations health leaders in Ottawa and BC and continues to learn and challenge herself throughout her work. Prior to her work in First Nations health, she worked as an environmental consultant as an aquatic biologist and project coordinator and is still happiest in a canoe. She holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Science.
DRAFT MINUTES ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2022 – JUNE 20, 6:00 PM (VIA ZOOM)
The minutes are not official until adopted by members at AGM 2023.
Call to order and opening remarks from Secretary to the Board, Keenan Wellar.
Approval of the agenda by voting members (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Cathy Velazquez
Seconded by: Many Ann Wilcox
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
The agenda was adopted as presented.
Proposal for remote voting procedure (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Daniel Spagnolo
Seconded by: Jon Doody
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
Voting members will vote via Zoom.
Approval of the Minutes from 2021 (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Cathy Velazquez
Seconded by: Jon Doody
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
The minutes were approved as presented.
Report from the independent auditor (Ross Holmes).
Ross Holmes reviewed the audited financial statements. Mr. Holmes answered one question from Mary Ann Wilcox with details about a revenue item related to an interchange contract with the federal government.
Appointment of the auditor for 2022-2023 (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Jon Doody
Seconded by: Robin McIntyre
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
Ross and Holmes were appointed as the auditing firm for 2022-2023.
Message from the Chair (Daniel Spagnolo).
The report was delivered via video.
Report from the Governance Committee (Kate Sherwood).
The report was delivered via video.
Report from the Stewardship Committee (Robyn McIntyre).
The report was delivered via video.
Report on operations (Julie Kingstone).
The report was delivered via video.
Report on communications (Keenan Wellar).
The report was delivered via video.
Proposal for election of candidates as a slate (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Cooper Gage
Seconded by: Mary Ann Wilcox
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
Voting members will vote to elect the candidates as a slate.
Meet the candidates:
Daniel Spagnolo, Robin McIntyre, Kate Sherwood, Andrea Saldhana,
Jon Doody, Cathy Velazquez, Judith Eigenbrod.
Each candidate provided a live introduction.
Election of candidate slate (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Barry Wellar
Seconded by: Kaye Kwok
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
All candidates were declared elected.
Adjournment (Keenan Wellar).
Moved by: Robin McIntyre
Seconded by: Cooper Gage
Carried with none opposed and no abstentions.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:20pm.