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LiveWorkPlay Annual Report 2023-2024, from the Annual General Meeting, June 17, 2024

CONTENTS: LiveWorkPlay Annual Report 2023-2024

Report from the Chair of the Board of Directors

Report from the Stewardship Committee

Report from the Governance Committee

Report on Operations, Including Strategic Directions Update

Report on Communications, Including Partnerships in Advocacy Update

Update on Strategic Directions

Report from the Independent Auditor

Board Member Biographies

AGM 2024 Draft Minutes

Report from the Chair of the Board of Directors
Robin McIntyre, Chair
June 17, 2024

Greetings to all LiveWorkPlay members, families, volunteers, staff, and community partners.

Preparing for the 2024 LiveWorkPlay Annual General Meeting, six of our current Board members, including myself, have confirmed their intention to return for 2024-2025. This includes Kate Sherwood, Jon Doody, Danny Spagnolo, Carole Sheppard, and Kaye Kwok.

Cathy Velazquez has served on the Board for the past 3 years and has also served many years in the past, including as Chair. She is going to be spending more time with her grandchildren and will not be standing for re-election. The Board will be recruiting her replacement over the summer. The biographies of the six candidates interested in returning to serve on the Board are in your AGM package.

Over the course of 2023-2024, there were twelve Board meetings and a Board learning retreat. Additionally, each Board member serves on either the Stewardship or Governance committee. Each committee would typically meet one week before our Board meetings. The Governance Committee and Stewardship Committee have both provided summaries of their activities for the annual report. As Vice-Chair, Kate Sherwood joined me and our Co-Leaders for an additional monthly planning meeting one week prior to our Board meetings.

During the 2023-2024 Board year, the Board met for a social gathering over dinner. Board members also agreed to participate at organizational events, including Family Feast gatherings, Make A Buzz, and systems-related meetings where Board representation provided additional value more fully.

In addition to the usual governance processes and oversight, the Board focused additional attention on the two major but separate reform processes underway within the Government of Ontario. One process has already had an impact on our employment program and the second process could eventually impact our community support programs.

As you will hear from the Stewardship Committee report, the Board has been gaining a better understanding of the systems transformation of employment services across Ontario. Considerable time and effort were dedicated to completing an environmental assessment and discussing the potential impact of the Integrated Employment Ontario funding framework on LiveWorkPlay’s ability to sustainably deliver employment services on a go-forward basis.

The LiveWorkPlay organization is concerned that the Integrated Employment Ontario program does  not provide adequate funds to support employment outcomes for individuals furthest from the labour market. We also have serious concerns that specialist providers across Ontario, including LiveWorkPlay, will not be financially sustainable under the current funding framework. Over the course of 2024-2025, the Board has agreed that LiveWorkPlay will continue to explore, gather, and validate learnings from this new framework. Some internal resources will be applied to offset the immediate financial pressures, while simultaneously engaging in advocacy efforts to improve the funding framework across the province, seeking additional funding sources, and working in partnership and collaboration with other employment supports providers.

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced Journey to Belonging: Choice and Inclusion back in 2021. This is a reform plan that MCCSS describes as “a long-term vision for developmental services.” Although there continues to be few details available related to the implementation of Journey to Belonging, the Board is engaged in opportunities to better understand this vision, and the outcomes the plan expects to deliver.

In September 2023, several Board members attended an evening with Community Living Ontario. This session was organized with local Developmental Service agencies and family members to discuss the publicly available information on the Journey to Belonging program and potential impacts, as well as key messages for MCCSS. The LiveWorkPlay Board of Directors wants to ensure that the voices of LiveWorkPlay and people we support are heard and included in communications to MCCSS. This will ensure that Ontario moves forward in advancing the citizenship and inclusion of autistic persons and individuals with intellectual disabilities in a meaningful way.

This year the Board reviewed the organization’s progress on the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. We are pleased to share that most of the strategic planning activities have been accomplished and completed. A summary has been included below:

Strategic Direction 1 – JUST ENOUGH SUPPORT: Scale up living and community supports using “just enough support”. LiveWorkPlay has developed an annual checklist to track outcomes of individuals accessing supported independent living. On an annual basis, we are compiling themes and stories from staff and individuals to illustrate the 7 principles of Just Enough Support.

Strategic Direction 2 – EMPLOYMENT: Scale up participation in inclusive labour market programs, with specific attention to increasing the number of hires within the Federal Government of Canada. Since 2015, over 170 individuals have been hired across 48 departments.  Currently, there are 70 active employees, of which 41 employees are in indeterminant positions. We increased our funding sources by adding consulting and training services, completing 3 paid trainings to other service organizations, increasing the number of contracts with federal government departments to assist with recruitment services, supporting new hires, developing an Inclusion Workshop, and securing time-limited project funding to deliver employment supports.

Strategic Direction 3 – KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER: Create content and share practical knowledge regarding just enough support, person-centred support, and person-centred organization development. We created over 50 modules of readily accessible content for onboarding new employees and volunteers. After completing an environmental scan of available on-line training content, we revised our plan and decided to offer customized paid trainings to other organizations on a periodic basis.

Strategic Direction 4 – COMMUNITY FIRST: Provide leadership in building engaged and inclusive communities. We continue to invest in partnerships and collaborations that create overall changes in service delivery that focus on person-centred and community-first practices that lead to the inclusion and recognition of people with intellectual disabilities. To support this effort, we participate in From Presence to Citizenship (FPTC) organization, a coalition of like-minded teams that provide individualized, and community first supports. This year, FPTC hosted an Inclusion Symposium for organizations to come together and share learnings, challenges, and opportunities. Although the day was a success with almost 300 participants, FPTC is looking at alternative methods of hosting events by partnering with the Community Living Ontario annual conference and/or HSA Person-Centred Gathering.

In March 2024, the Board recognized that the 2020-2023 Strategic Planning activities were largely complete, and it should initiate work on the more immediate strategic issues facing the organization. Michael Coxon from Third Sector Consulting was hired to assist in identifying key areas of consideration for 2024-2027 Strategic Plan.

In April and May, the Board and Committee meetings were repurposed as strategic planning sessions. Mike Coxon and the Board met and developed 3 key strategic areas for consideration, including 1) the overall sustainability of LiveWorkPlay Employment Supports, 2) the scale and scope of Supported Independent Living and Community Supports, and 3) Succession Planning for the Executive Staff. More details are available about these three strategic areas later in this report.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the LiveWorkPlay team for the dedication and energy you each bring to your work every day. The Community Support team has supported individuals through the pandemic and slowly back to a community that is slowly returning to a new normal. The Employment Supports team has been working to learn and adapt to the new Integrated Employment Ontario model and continue to match job seekers to jobs.

To our 130+ volunteers, we celebrate you for the 340 Friday Night Meetups conducted this year. We congratulate you on 70 1:1 matches to create meaningful connections and enjoy what the City of Ottawa has to offer.

To our Executive Staff team Keenan and Julie, we thank you for your energy and commitment to continuous improvement. We know this year has continued to bring new challenges and we are all committed to finding solutions during these uncertain times.

To all community partners, members, and families, a big thank you for your efforts this year and for all that you do every day to deliver the vision of LiveWorkPlay. We look forward to another fulfilling year. We continue to believe in the LiveWorkPlay mission for our members and feel grateful to be part of such a great organization.

Robin McIntyre
Chair, Board of Directors

Report from the LiveWorkPlay Stewardship Committee 2023-2024 

Daniel Spagnolo, Chair, Stewardship Committee
June 17, 2024

Summary of Activity

The 2023-2024 Stewardship Committee (SC) was comprised of Board of Directors (BOD) members Daniel Spagnolo (Chair), Robin McIntyre and Cathy Velazquez with Executive Staff member Julie Kingstone (Co-Leader and Director of Operations).

The Committee met 7 times during the year to support the Board’s fiduciary obligations related to our federal incorporation under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA), our status as a Canada Revenue Agency registered charity, our regulatory requirements as an Ontario Transfer Payment Resource (an agency funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services), and other oversight obligations. The scope of work for the SC included monitoring regulatory and financial reporting, providing oversight on behalf of the Board in the areas of finance, audit, investment, and risk management.

LiveWorkPlay has built a solid and sustainable foundation that enabled it to meet its mission and deliver services to our members, families, and the community for the last 27 years. The SC supports the Executive Team in managing the organization’s resources, including the maintenance of current revenue streams, as well as the development of new short-term and long-term funding opportunities, be it with government funders, foundations, or the private sector, and approve use of financial reserves when required.

Members of the SC support these efforts by sharing their knowledge and expertise and challenging the status quo by exploring opportunities for efficiencies or expanded revenues and providing financial guidance and direction in response to financial challenges. We continually investigate ways to strengthen LiveWorkPlay’s financial ability to achieve its mission and vision, with the interests of our members and their families being top of mind.

In 2023-2024, the SC provided oversight through the following activities:

  • Reviewed and recommended quarterly financial reports to the Board.
  • Received and monitored Quarterly Risk Register
  • Monitored key performance indicators.
  • Reviewed budget variances and year-over-year comparatives.
  • Reviewed funding proposals by monitoring funding pipeline report.
  • Reviewed and recommended the 2024-2025 annual budget to the Board.
  • Ensured compliance with the annual Transfer Payment Agency Reconciliation (TPAR) process.
  • Prepared for and reviewed the results of the annual financial audit.

Employment Transformation

The Stewardship Committee has been following the systems transformation of employment services across Ontario very closely. In Ottawa from May 1 to December 31, 2023, LiveWorkPlay began an 8-month transition period from delivering employment supports under the ODSP Employment Supports program, to becoming a service provider under the new Integrated Employment Ontario service delivery model and funding framework under the Service System Manager (SSM) known as WCG, as of January 2024. The Stewardship Committee invested significant time and effort to supporting Executive Staff by listening and exploring the impact of the Integrated Employment Ontario funding framework on the ability of LiveWorkPlay to deliver and sustain employment support services.

Thanks to LiveWorkPlay’s leadership and legacy of excellent employment support outcomes, WCG offered LiveWorkPlay a contract to deliver specialized employment supports as an EO Employment Supports provider. While being offered the contract was a positive outcome, the terms are very different from how we operated as an ODSP Employment Supports provider. To receive the same level of funding earned under ODSP- Employment Supports as an EO provider, we now need to support 200% more job seekers and experienced a significant increase of administrative obligations which has required LiveWorkPlay to hire additional staff to complete the work which has increased expenses producing a significant project program deficit.

Everyone at LiveWorkPlay is concerned that the Integrated Employment Ontario program is not providing adequate funding to support employment outcomes for individuals furthest from the labour market, and we have serious concerns that specialist providers across Ontario, including LiveWorkPlay, will not be financially sustainable under the current funding framework.

The Stewardship Committee recommended to the full Board that LiveWorkPlay will use 2024-2025 to learn the new system and will allocate some internal resources to offset financial pressures, while simultaneously engaging in advocacy efforts to improve the funding framework, secure other funding sources, and work in partnership and collaboration with other employment supports providers.

Providers in Toronto and parts of the North region have yet to fully join the new EO system. When they come on board in January, the full province will be operating under similar conditions (there are small variations within regions depending on which SSM has the contract) and this should help with ensuring that the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) better understands the significant errors and problems in the new system. This is not an issue of small inconveniences to service providers, but rather this is about a denial of appropriate service and systems capacity for people with intellectual disabilities and other jobseekers furthest from the labour market.

Through direct communication with other providers, recent dialogue with the Ministry of Labour, and surveys facilitated by the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) and Community Living Ontario, we are cautiously optimistic about the impact of these advocacy efforts.


The activities of the SC remain focused on prudent fiscal management, risk management, and fulfilling our regulatory requirements while we support Executive Staff with the implementation of new initiatives and innovative approaches to challenges old and new. We are thankful that our committee members can contribute to such a tremendous organization and building the LiveWorkPlay community in a truly meaningful way.

We have much to celebrate again this year, especially our exceptional staff, volunteers and Executive Staff team who prioritize the needs of our members and their families in all aspects of their work.

Daniel Spagnolo 
Chair, Stewardship Committee

Report from the LiveWorkPlay Governance Committee 2023-2024

Jon Doody, Chair, Governance Committee
June 17, 2024

Summary of Activity

The Governance Committee (GC) was comprised of Board members Kate Sherwood, Carole Sheppard, Kaye Kwok, and Jon Doody (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 2023-2024 Board term. Some of our activities are explained in greater detail in the sections below, but here is a brief overview of some of our routine work:

  • Ensuring regulatory reporting requirements are filed and updated as needed by the Secretary (example: Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act form 4006, which provides an accurate record of current Board members).
  • Supporting Executive Staff performance.
  • Managing the board-building cycle (recruitment, onboarding, support).
  • Ensuring completion of the Executive Staff Certificate of Compliance (signed annually).
  • Ensuring the Annual General Meeting is held and that all proper notifications are sent to voting members of the organization within the required timeframes.
  • Completing an annual review of the Governance Committee mandate and workplan.
  • Completing an annual review of organization By-Laws and LiveWorkPlay Corporate Purposes.
  • Completing an annual review of Governance Policies.
  • Supporting Board development activities, including a yearly retreat, and planning for internal and external guests, typically at least one meeting that includes a presentation from LiveWorkPlay front line and/or supervisory staff.

Board Education and Learning

Looking back to the 2022 Board retreat, the Board identified the importance of adding certain learning activities to the Board agenda. Topics generated at the 2022 Retreat included:

  • additional learning about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • understanding Local, Provincial, Federal “Community Services Map”
  • Ontario’s Employment Transformation
  • Ontario’s Developmental Services Reform, Journey to Belonging
  • LiveWorkPlay initiatives with volunteers
  • LiveWorkPlay Supported Independent Living services

In response, the 2023 retreat included guest trainer David Chalmers who has been working with the LiveWorkPlay staff team to better understand foundational concepts related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion both in the workplace and as part of Governance. The day included gaining a greater understanding of personal biases, where they originate from and how to change them; reflection on person privilege and understanding how privilege can often be invisible to oneself; and practicing skills related to cooperative reasoning and conditional trust, by having productive conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Governance Committee also wanted to explore and learn ways to include individuals with intellectual disabilities in organizational communications including work of the Board. As a first step, they invited Jennifer Harris from Inclusion International who shared about Listen Include Respect, which are guidelines developed by Inclusion International, explaining how organizations can, and should, include people with intellectual disabilities in different parts of their work. Jennifer was part of a committee that reviewed the Listen Include Respect website.

The Governance Committee also arranged for Alex Darling, LiveWorkPlay’s People Connector and Manager of Volunteers, to make a presentation to the full board about how we recruit, engage, utilize, and support volunteers. An additional invite was accepted by Grace Hudson, Team Lead, to present about Supported Independent Living and Friday Night Meetups. Both presentations gave board members valuable insights into the positive outcomes and impact of these supports and how they impact on individuals we support, volunteers, and the broader community. It also helped board members understand some of the significant challenges that individuals and the organization are facing when it comes to availability of affordable housing, accessible mental health supports, issues related to health and aging, and the continued impact of COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and the community.

Ongoing Board Recruitment

Current and continuing, as well as outgoing Board members, are often critical contributors to building our Board pipeline, and at the GC we certainly appreciate that it is part of our culture to utilize personal and professional networks for our board-building needs. The GC recognizes that this should not be our only means of recruitment, and that what the Board and the organization needs might not always be available to us through these networks. In consideration of our planned work on our updated strategic directions as well as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility considerations, we will need to consider an expansion of our recruitment efforts and are looking forward to evolving our efforts.

Board member Andrea Saldhana made the difficult decision to leave the Board shortly before AGM 2023, and we were very pleased to recruit Kaye Kwok, who brings abundant personal and professional experience as well as her connection as a Friday Night Meetup Volunteer. Kaye joined the Board in October to fill the vacancy resulting from Andrea’s departure.

For AGM 2024 we have to say goodbye to Cathy Velazquez who has, mostly received, served for three years, after many previous years of Board service when she finished out a term as Chair in 2019.  We are so appreciative of her contributions and support of LiveWorkPlay especially during such challenging times through the pandemic and employment systems transformation. We wish you all the best Cathy, and we look forward to seeing you at future LiveWorkPlay events!

Board Effectiveness and Feedback

The GC continues to oversee the Board effectiveness and feedback process. This has traditionally included a survey that follows every Board meeting and 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. After several discussions within the committee and then with the full Board, for 2023-24 we have decided on a more comprehensive annual survey to be completed each spring, allowing time for reflection before the new Board year gets underway each September.


As Chair of the Governance Committee, I want to thank all members for your support, advice, candor, and collaboration. I am thankful for the opportunities we had this year to be together more often in person, and I continue to appreciate the generosity of our members and families towards the entire LiveWorkPlay organization.

Jon Doody
Chair, Governance Committee 

Report on Operations

Julie Kingstone, Director of Operations
June 17, 2024


It was great to see so many of you in person at Make a Buzz on May 10! It is hard to believe that another year has gone by. It is my pleasure to provide you with a selection of operational updates for the year.

The Basics

During the past year we supported over 368 individuals, and some with more than one type of service. That is why adding up the numbers of people served in different ways, as detailed below, will give you a different total.

Live: Supported Independent Living (SIL)

62 of the individuals we support received help to live successfully in homes of their own. Supports are individualized and based on priorities identified by the person. What the supports look like, and the number of hours involved with direct and indirect support depends on many varied factors, but all supports are delivered according to the same set of person-centred principles. This year we are happy to report that 88% of goals identified by individuals accessing SIL were accomplished. As part of annual support reviews with individuals accessing living supports there were several themes that emerged this year including:

  • A renewed interest in organizing social gatherings.
  • A renewed interest in organizing trips and travel.
  • Increases in the number of people we support requesting help with accessing mental health supports such as individual and group therapy.
  • Increases in the number of people we are supporting who need different living situations and/or more or different supports related to changing needs, as people are aging or going through other life situations.
  • High levels of interest in securing employment.
  • Impact of the pandemic continues, with individuals slowly becoming more comfortable to re-engage in pre-covid activities and routines.

LiveWorkPlay continues to have strong working relationships with non-profit landlords, including Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC), Nepean Housing, and Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI). CCOC has been instrumental in welcoming 3 individuals to age in place with accessible affordable units. We are excited for 2025 when MHI’s Lebreton Flats community will open and LiveWorkPlay will support 6 individuals in this new community.

As the community has slowly re-opened there are more in-person volunteering opportunities. We have been able to re-establish working relationships with Meals on Wheels, Parkdale Food Centre, and the Tool Library to name a few.

Work: Employment Supports

We are happy to report that 106 jobseekers completed the Employment Discovery process, which involves a series of meetings over 2-3 months, totaling 30 hours. Meetings take place in the community with the goal to learn about the jobseeker, their skills and personality, what kind of work interests them, and what types of work and work environments might be a good fit.

This year we were able to match 47 jobseekers to a job, with 65% of jobs in Federal Government departments and 35% of jobs in the private sector. For an additional 100 individuals and employers who were matched to jobs between 2020-2023, we continued providing supports to both employees and employers to help with job retention and/or job advancement.

The most challenging news we must share is that there are over 100 individuals who have completed Discovery and are waiting to be matched to a job where they can contribute their gifts and talents. While we are celebrating the amazing outcome of 47 new jobs, at the same time as we are disappointed that so many others are waiting and it continues to be reality that in many sectors, jobs are now much scarcer.

We are still seeing the impact of the pandemic, especially when it comes to the private sector. Small to medium sized businesses are still struggling to stabilize and they continue to face issues related to attracting managers. Inflation and other economic factors are also negatively impacting private sector employers.

Before the pandemic, LiveWorkPlay had a very successful Private Sector Employer Champions Task Force bringing together employers who have helped LiveWorkPlay open doors to new employers and opportunities. We are excited to share that the Employment Team has successfully recruited new task force members and have begun to revitalize this initiative, with the hope of reaching more potential private sector employers which will lead to more private sector jobs to match to individuals who are waiting for jobs. If you know of a business owner or someone who manages hiring for a private sector employer, please contact Jennifer Broad

As you have already heard in previous reports, as of January 1, 2024 LiveWorkPlay’s funding for our employment support program has changed. The funding framework under IEO provides 50% less funds to specialist providers under ODSP-Employment Supports and has significantly more administration requirements. The results of this systems change has required LiveWorkPlay to serve 200 % more jobseekers to receive the same level of funding we earned under ODSP-ES. We will work over the coming year to advocate for changes, diversify our funding and continue to evaluate our ability to operate under this new model

Play: Friday Night Meetups and 1:1 Matches

Over the last year, we have supported 340 Friday Night Meetups (yes, three hundred and forty!) supporting over 80 individuals with the help of 70 volunteers. There are 8-10 different Friday Night Meetups each week, where over a shared interest, 6-8 people get together to enjoy such things as going out to dinner, attend a sporting event, take in a festival, theatre production, or hit the movie theatre.

On Tuesdays and Thursday each week we also have continued to offer virtual meetups. Virtual meetups support individuals to connect with each other and chat and hang out; this is beneficial for those who find it difficult to attend in person on Friday nights, but also helps those who enjoy Friday nights connect and stay connected with other people they might not see very often in person.

This year we have also supported 80 one-to-one matches. The purpose of 1:1 matching is to support the development of friendships. Based on shared interests we match individuals we support with a volunteer who wants to connect over a shared hobby or activity. This year volunteers have contributed over 9100 hours of their time, and we could not do this work without the dedication and commitment of over 130 volunteers!

Staffing News

Over the last year we have had 15% staff turnover, which is an improvement over last year of 30% and the year before of 50% turnover of staff. Every employer experienced very unusual staffing issues in the pandemic era, and we are all in a process of recovery. It is encouraging to see the return of this stability.

This year we have an amazing team of 32 full-time and 2 part-time staff and 2 paid student positions over the summer, as well as post-secondary placement students. We all work together all the time, but here is a breakdown that helps explain it in the context of our two service areas: community and employment.

Community Team (18 total)

  • 15 community staff who support individuals to build a life of their choosing in the community, plus one Volunteer Coordinator and two Team Lead positions.

Employment Team (12 total)

  • 10 full-time employment staff who work with jobseekers and employers, plus two Team Lead positions.

We also had 2 summer students (paid positions) who helped support the team to take time away from work over the summer.

Other (2 total)

  • 1x Co-Leader and Director of Communications
  • 1x Co-Leader and Director of Operations

This year we also wanted to understand a little more about our staff complement and diversity, and one of the meaningful discoveries is that 27% of our staff identify as being neurodivergent, and 17% report they have a family member, sibling and/or child that is neurodivergent (this means for example, autism, an intellectual or developmental disability, ADHD, and others).

We also heard from staff why they continue to work for LiveWorkPlay and here are the themes that emerged:

  • Respect and enjoy the individuals we support.
  • Engaged in meaningful work.
  • Engaged in important work.
  • Supportive co-workers and team.
  • Working in an organizational culture that values my growth, development, and contributions.

The team also engaged in a variety of skill development and training over the course of the year, and they include:

  • I Belong, You Belong, We Belong – Leadership Training, Diversity of Thought by David Chalmers
  • Bruce Anderson: Pathways to Belonging
  • Bruce Anderson: Hope and Resiliency in the Workplace
  • The SHIFT Training (an evidence-based approach to working with individuals with developmental disabilities whose needs are not being met)
  • Approaches to Managing Hoarding
  • 4x Staff Development Days focusing on a variety of topics identified by staff.


It has been a year full of recovering from the disruptions and trauma of living through the pandemic as well as making our way back to a more normal life in community. LiveWorkPlay has also undergone changes to funding for our employment program which has been challenging, and we will continue to advocate for changes and find ways to continue bring jobseekers and employers together. We are excited to see what the upcoming year brings. Life is one big adventure, and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Welcome Back BBQ and Staff Recognition at TD Place August 28, 2024. Get your tickets now, the summer will fly by, and you do not want to miss it.

Julie Kingstone
Director of Operations

Report on Communications, Partners, Events 

Keenan Wellar, Co-Leader and Director of Communications 
June 17, 2024


I can never say it enough: without people with intellectual disabilities and autistic persons and their family members honouring us with the opportunity to support them, and allowing us to share parts of their lives with the world, most of what I will be discussing below would be impossible. Thank you. 

Website, Social Media, E-News, and Mainstream Media Update 

Our website publishes about two blogs per month (timely news stories and updates) and several pages (relatively static content that provides information about our work) have undergone significant updates, including the volunteer page and our employment supports information for jobseekers and employers. 

Our MailChimp general audience and family newsletters continue as usual, although the formatting has been updated. Joshua Gray, project leader from the employment team, was supported to establish a quarterly MailChimp newsletter to promote the Federal Employment Strategy Group and Canadian Network Supporting Inclusive Public Sector Employment. Alex Darling was also supported to update the formatting of the volunteer newsletter to the latest version of MailChimp. 

Facebook remains our most important social media platform for LiveWorkPlay but increased posting on Instagram has shown significant results. Our Twitter/X account continues, but the audience has become more limited since the major changes in the company. An account was established on Threads, with limited results, but it shows promise with a local audience. Our YouTube channel had a spike of interest due to a #5toSurvive campaign radio interview which was circulated widely by third parties. LinkedIn is now arguably our second-most important platform after Facebook, as the interactions often include meaningful conversation, and it is now common for individuals and partner organizations to share and comment on our content. 

Visits to our website were up significantly for the second straight year, adding about 7000 unique visits to our website each month (as compared to 4000 last year) visiting about 16000 times, and total page views coming in at about 62,000, up from 50,000 last year. 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. 

Aside from the home page, the top-ranked page is now the explanation of how to access services. This is great news as we have been working on making this information easier to find from the website itself, as well as for those connecting via social media. 

The news 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, accessing our Just Enough Support videos and transcripts, viewing conference presentation materials, and they even like reading our annual reports. It’s true! 

Our Mailchimp electronic newsletter has jumped by about 200 subscriptions, with over 1000 members on the public e-news and just over 400 for the insider e-news (for members and families). We post 1-2 times a month to these lists. There is also a Mailchimp just for volunteers, managed by the Volunteer Coordinator, which posts every 1-2 months, and is now over 160 subscribers, meaning close to 100% of our volunteers are subscribers, and this includes some who are no longer active but wish to remain in touch. The new Federal Employment Strategy Group list has two editions so far with over 280 subscribers. 

We have added more about 200 new followers to our company page on LinkedIn, with a total of 1361 as of May 2024. There has been an increase in conversational activity to be found on our company page, and given our partnership with employers, it is important that we are on this platform so businesses can see our results and celebrate good news. There is also interest in our person-centred community work related to our Just Enough Support model. 

Our YouTube channel now has over 271,000 lifetime 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 did have a spike of more than 50,000 views (a more than 400% increase) this past year, but it turns out most of this can be attributed to a short clip from the Big Bang Theory that was incorporated into one of our community presentations. We did end up with a modest increase of 50 subscribers to our channel, bringing the total to over 500. There is almost no interaction on our YouTube site, and we generally use it for the convenience of embedding our videos in blog posts and ease of sharing with others who may not want to use other platforms. It’s like a video library of LiveWorkPlay history and it can be a fun walk down memory lane. 

Finally, the LiveWorkPlay Facebook page has over 4100 followers and over 16000 people (individual accounts) that viewed our content over the past year. Facebook is still the dominant favourite of the LiveWorkPlay community). 

Our mainstream media interactions were limited but included a popular Rogers Daytime TV interview with Julie Kingstone and host Derick Fage in March, Keenan Wellar’s radio interview with 580 CFRA in February, and via partner United Way East Ontario, a United Way Minute with member Graham Armstrong, Laura Lobay from the employment team, and employer Levy TD Place which aired for several weeks on CTV Ottawa. 

Special Project: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

In addition to internal DEI work with the staff and Board, as one of his priority learning goals identified with GC coaching and discussed throughout the year, Keenan Wellar engaged with 50-30 Challenge activities, directly and in support of Rebecca Coxon, including the production of blog posts and social media communications. A statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at LiveWorkPlay has been added to the “About” section of the LiveWorkPlay website. 

A significant investment of 6 hours (direct) was made in UN Global Compact Network Canada and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion training sessions on DEI Fundamentals and Unconscious Bias, Respect, Workplace Wellbeing, and Intercultural Competence. While none of the topics were new, it was an opportunity for Keenan to interact with the content in the context of a very diverse cohort outside of the Developmental Services silo. 

The goal of joining the provincial Developmental Services EDI Community of Practice was achieved, with Keenan becoming a member of the communications sub-committee for the group. 

Continuing as a member of the core leadership group of From Presence To Citizenship, Keenan had a unique opportunity to help in developing a partnership under the Community Living Ontario umbrella for a two-day Inclusion Symposium. The first day was organized by FPTC, and the second day by the EDI-CoP.  There is follow-up work to be done in terms of future events. 

Keenan is hopeful of driving a stronger connection between EDI initiatives in the sector and the rights of people with intellectual disabilities, as both Rebecca and Keenan’s participation in various relevant activities has confirmed a concern that EDI is often focused almost exclusively on issues of racial bias and LGBTQ2IA+, to the exclusion of other issues, including people with disabilities. 

Partners In Advocacy Update 

Community Living Ontario continues to support LiveWorkPlay and other member organizations with the Update Friday weekly e-news and of note this year, engaged with LiveWorkPlay and other members agencies who provide employment supports to develop a comprehensive survey and advocacy efforts that are currently in development. 

Keenan also continued with the Ontario Developmental Services Workforce Initiative Recruitment-Focused Marketing Sub-Committee (a reminder that he was not given the opportunity to bring his skills to bear in the naming of the committee) and also joined the Developmental Services Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Community of Practice. 

The From Presence To Citizenship (FPTC) provincial advocacy collaborative, of which LiveWorkPlay is a founding member, has seen numerous changes in leadership, added new members, and under the Community Living Ontario umbrella provided the first day of a two day Inclusion Symposium, with day two hosted by the EDI Community of Practice. The Toronto-based conference drew about 300 attendees despite a very short registration period due to the partnership coming together very close to the date. 

After an unprecedented four-year term as Chair of the Ottawa Developmental Services Network, Julie Kingstone retired from that role but continues as our representative. 

LiveWorkPlay is a member of many different advocacy organizations with mandates from housing to employment to human rights, and with jurisdictions that are local, provincial, national, and international scope. 

LiveWorkPlay’s Director of Employment Supports, Anna Nelson, continues to chair the Inclusive Employment Policy Working Group. The committee has been developing a position statement on inclusive employment to be ratified by Inclusion International’s global membership and adopted as the official position of the network. For those unfamiliar with Inclusion International, their policy papers are very influential, and often find their way into United Nations statements, conventions, and policy forums. 

Anna has also been recruited to the Board of Directors for the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN). 

Julie, Keenan, Josh and Anna will be attending and presenting at the Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE) conference in June. It is hosted in Regina for 2024, and the team will be delivering a new presentation around the theme of career advancement for people with intellectual disabilities. 

On the local scene, both the employment team and community team have been engaging with schools and other community information fairs more frequently than we have done since prior to the pandemic. From volunteer recruitment to engaging with potential employers to helping individuals and family members with systems navigation and understanding what LiveWorkPlay has to offer, these have been very positive interactions, even if it can be difficult to explain the systems barriers that are often in the way of people getting the help they need.  

Finally, we were thrilled to have the Helen Sanderson and Associates Person-Centred Gathering hosted in Ottawa this year. LiveWorkPlay was a very active presence as session presenters, panelists, and attendees with Grace Hudson, Batoul Auf, Keenan Wellar, and Alex Darling (via video), Keenan Wellar, and Julie Kingstone taking on various roles and engaging in conversations with HSA leaders and other delegates. We share a long history with HSA and continue to benefit from, and contribute to, the ongoing important work of person-centred thinking and support. 

Events Update 

In-person events are all the way back! We got started in September with the Family BBQ at TD Place, the returned to St. Anthony’s (now known as the Preston Event Centre) for our Festive Family Gathering in December, and then moved our usual spring event to our new home at Bayview Yards for an Open House in April. Last but not least, we had a spectacular Make A Buzz Ottawa 29th Anniversary and Community Recognition event at Preston Event Centre in May. 

Looking ahead, we plan on repeating that pattern, with the BBQ moved up to August 28th, and other dates for December, March/April, and May are in the works (and the AGM in June). 

After our 30th anniversary Make A Buzz in May 2025, there is a lot of thinking to be done about future events. Costs are up dramatically for both food and venues, but for many of our members and families, higher ticket prices make the events less accessible or inaccessible. We have been offering discounted ticket categories as a temporary fix, but this means we are running deficit budgets on the events. Everyone in the LiveWorkPlay community understands the value of our events for community-building as well as championing our mission, so we need to balance this with financial realities and look for a path forward, and this can include changing some of our current events to low cost or no cost alternatives (basically, dinners are expensive, and there is nothing cheaper than what we already do). 

Reflecting on Make A Buzz 2024 is the perfect way to finish this section. With a raucous audience of 200 that sounded like 500, we launched the evening with another live edition of The LiveWorkPlay News and a top ten countdown where “Cooper Gage revs up the Ottawa 67s” came in at #1. 

Congratulations to this year’s award recipients, who as always, are examples of the greatness in our community, where everyone brings value and makes their own important contributions. 

Here are the recipients: 

  • Cooper Gage: Top News Story of 2023-2024 
  • Costco Wholesale Canada: Inclusive Employer Award (Private Sector) 
  • Levy TD Place: Inclusive Employer Award (Private Sector) 
  • Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada: Inclusive Employer Award (Public Sector) 
  • Jessica La Rue (Volunteer Leadership Award) 
  • Stephanie Seguin and Alex Seguin, Josh Balanaser and Janet Balcome (Match-Up) 
  • Déménagement Outaouais Moving (Community Partner Award) 
  • Stephen Mullins and Mickel Delorme (My Own Home Bursary) 
  • Graham Armstrong (Community Ambassador Award) 
  • Fred Dixon (Rob More Good Life Award) 

The standing ovation for Fred was the perfect ending to a beautiful evening. 

Keenan Wellar
Director of Communications

Update on Strategic Directions

Mike Coxon, Third Sector Consulting
June 17, 2024

The update was given verbally at the AGM, but you can view the slide presentation.

Report from the Independent Auditor

Eric Wilson, CPA, CA, from Ouseley Hanvey Clipsham Deep LLP (OHCD)

The report was given verbally at the AGM ib June 17, but the audited statements are availabe here.

Board Member Biographies

Board member biographies are available here.


The draft minutes will not be official until adopted by members at AGM 2025.

1) Call to Order and Opening Remarks from Secretary to the Board, Keenan Wellar.

2) Approval of the Agenda by Voting Members (Keenan Wellar). 

First: Brent Manuel

Second: Jon Doody


3) Proposal for Remote Voting Procedure (Keenan Wellar).

Voting to be conducted by a show of hands via Zoom.

First: Jon Doody

Second: Mary Ann Wilcox


4) Approval of the Minutes from 2023 (Keenan Wellar).

First: Kate Sherwood

Second: Stephen MacPhee


5) Report from the Independent Auditor (Eric Wilson)

Mr. Wilson reviewed the audited statements which are available online.

6) Approval of the Audited Financial Statements (Keenan Wellar). 

First: Brent Manuel

Second: Mary Ann Wilcox


7) Appointment of the auditor for 2024-2025 (Keenan Wellar).

First: Stephen MacPhee

Second: Robin McIntyre


8) Message from the Chair (Robin McIntyre).

For items 8-13, each presenter made brief comments drawn from the detailed reports provided in the AGM package.

9) Report from the Stewardship Committee (Daniel Spagnolo).

10) Report from the Governance Committee (Jon Doody).

11) Report on Operations (Julie Kingstone).

12) Report on Communications (Keenan Wellar).

13) Strategic Planning Update (Mike Coxon, Third Sector Consulting)

14) Proposal for election of candidates as a slate (Keenan Wellar).

There are 6 candidates standing for election with a maximum of 7 board members. This motion is to allow for the election of all 6 candidates as a slate.

First: Paul Knoll

Second: Kate Sherwood


15) Meet the candidates:

Robin McIntyre, Kate Sherwood, Daniel Spagnolo, Jon Doody, Kaye Kwok, and Carole Sheppard shared brief comments about their desire to serve in 2024-2025.

16) Election of candidate slate (Keenan Wellar).

First: Jon Doody

Second: Mary Ann Wilcox


Robin McIntyre, Kate Sherwood, Daniel Spagnolo, Jon Doody, Kaye Kwok, and Carole Sheppard were declared elected.

17) Adjournment (Keenan Wellar).

First: Robin McIntyre

Second: Paul Knoll