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What's New at the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team

Fall 2021 Newsletter

Your South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team (SGB OHT) 

Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) are a new way of delivering health care. They enable patients, families, communities, providers, and system leaders to work together, innovate, and build on what is best in Ontario’s health care system, including here in South Georgian Bay.

Through this model, health and social care providers in South Georgian Bay collaborate in developing local programming to deliver coordinated care for patients and their families. As a team, we work together to achieve common goals to improve health outcomes, patient and provider experience, and value. 

In our local community, a lot of work has already been achieved through your South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team! We are working together with our patients, families, caregivers, and community to co-design an innovative and equitable system that provides the best possible care for our region.

We strive to be the healthiest community in Canada.

Learn more about the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team

Getting Involved in Our Community


Patient, Family/Caregiver Advisory Council (PFAC)
Co-Designing Health Care in South Georgian Bay

The PFAC is the Patient, Family/Caregiver Advisory Council, which consists of former or current patients, clients, and family members/caregivers that have accessed health care in South Georgian Bay. The group works together as a team and uses their lived experience and the feedback they get from the community to advise the SGB OHT. They also work as partners of the SGB OHT to improve health care within the community.

The PFAC is important because it enables members to give feedback on their experience and generate ideas on making the health care system better for everyone.  

Our SGB OHT has collaborated and co-designed our work with patients, family members, caregivers, and members of our community since we first began our work as the SGB OHT in 2019. Since then, we have formally engaged and established the SGB OHT patient, family, and caregiver advisory council to co-design our work and strategic direction. This group has met monthly since March 2021 and continues to be engaged and informed members of the SGB OHT. 

To continue to co-design our work as an OHT with our PFAC members, we are using a distributed leadership structure. The Chair of our PFAC is a member of the SGB OHT Collaboration Council and Mental Health Collaborative meetings, and other members of our PFAC sit on various action teams to inform the work from the patient/family/caregiver perspective. 

The PFAC is currently leading the development of the following initiatives:

  • Local Patient-Reported Experience Survey
    • This survey evaluates your experience accessing and receiving health and social care in South Georgian Bay and is being released shortly in the community.
  • Patient Declaration of Values
    • We have adapted the Ontario patient declaration of values for our community. This states the values that are important to patients, families, and caregivers when accessing care.
  • Patient, Family and Caregiver Partnership and Engagement Strategy
    • This strategy ensures that the OHTs work is driven by the needs of patients and communities. Partnership, co-design, and engagement with patients, families, and caregivers are at the core of our OHT.
Each of these initiatives has a measurement and evaluation structure to track their success and community engagement.

To date, members of the SGB OHT PFAC have expressed their gratitude for being a part of the OHT work, as illustrated in the quote below: 

“I feel that living in a community is more fulfilling if you are able to help other members of the community live healthy, enriched lives.”  
- Member on being a part of the SGB OHT PFAC 

Learn more about the work of the PFAC

Meet the residents informing healthcare in South Georgian Bay. These are the members of the PFAC.

Anyone can join, and all are welcome.

Meet PFAC Chair, Abbie Devnick

Abbie is the chair of the SGB OHT PFAC. In this role, she participates in monthly meetings with members of the group. She also brings the PFAC member voice and perspective to others in the SBG OHT, including the bi-weekly Collaboration Council meetings, where OHT partners work collaboratively on the shared priorities of the SGB OHT and the Mental Health Collaborative meetings.

Abbie is very passionate about bringing forward lived experience and seeing the systemic changes this creates in improving patient, family, and caregiver experiences. She is also very passionate about bringing more awareness to gaps in supports for Mental Health and Addictions Services and advocating for the importance of the voices of those with lived experience in anything health care-related. 

“It’s so important that health care professionals work collaboratively with people with lived experience to find areas of improvement and to co-design solutions to improve the health care system more broadly,” says Abbie. “I feel that it’s necessary to share my voice and the voices of others and bring up the importance of inclusion of our PFAC in everything that the SGB OHT does.”  

What excites Abbie most about this group is that PFAC member voices are heard.

“Everyone can share and discuss their experiences openly and bring up any of their concerns,” says Abbie. “We have a lot of diversity in the group, which allows for rich conversations.” 

Meet PFAC Member, Kathryn Bloomfield

Kathryn Bloomfield is a member of the SGB OHT PFAC.Kathryn Bloomfield has been with the SGB OHT PFAC since it began. She joined on behalf of Breaking Down Barriers, where she was the Executive Director and then a Board Member. Mostly though, she says she joined because she “has a real thing about health care not understanding people with disabilities and specifically people who use wheelchairs.” She wants to educate those who work in healthcare and advocate for those with disabilities so that everyone in the community feels comfortable accessing care.

“I think it’s important on both sides. I think that the medical profession needs to understand the patient view, and the patients need to understand the medical view. It’s a two-way street,” says Kathryn.

She encourages others to join the group as well so that there are different voices at the table.

“It’s important because we all have different experiences, like me growing up with my disability versus someone who has a spinal cord injury, we’re both in wheelchairs, but the experience is different,” says Kathryn. “The PFAC group is very positive. Everyone is open to listening to everyone else. I really like that. I think it’s important that if you’re in that person's shoes a little more, it makes their point of view easier to understand.”

Meet PFAC Member, Candy Milczynski 

Candy Milczynski has been involved with the SGB OHT PFAC since the group was formed. Since then, she says there has been a lot of learning about the expectations and mandates for Ontario Health Teams. It has also meant learning how we, as residents in South Georgian Bay, can take that direction and make it relevant to healthcare in our area while recognizing diverse populations and their specific needs.

Candy believes that working on current and future healthcare is critical as our population ages, and the government decides where to spend their healthcare resources.

“With the shortage of doctors and diagnostic and rehab facilities in our area, we need to maximize the potential of the resources that we have and identify where additional resources are required to meet the health needs of the people in South Georgian Bay," says Candy. “I would encourage others to get involved in the PFAC because if we do not work together to build the new vision of healthcare, we have no right to complain.”  

For Candy, it’s essential to be informed because it helps you make better decisions related to healthcare for yourself, your family, and your neighbours.  

“We have to work our way from where we are now to where we want to be in the future. And the more diversity of opinions that are considered, the better that future will be,” she adds.

She says her favourite part of being a member of the PFAC is working with people dedicated to making things better in the future.   

Meet PFAC Member, Sheila Koss 

Sheila is a member of the PFAC. She joined the group because she feels that all citizens have a right to voice their opinion regarding health and wellness for themselves and their community. 

“Since the development of the Ontario Health Teams, I feel that we, as a group, have made valuable suggestions that have been well received,” says Sheila. “I look forward to participating in discussing future innovative possibilities that could further enhance the health and wellness of all residents of South Georgian Bay.” 

Sheila and other members of the PFAC have been meeting via Zoom due to COVID restrictions, and she looks forward to meeting again in person when possible.

Community Response to COVID-19

Ontario Now Requires Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
  • Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
  • Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
  • Sporting events;
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments;
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres, and cinemas;
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs;
  • Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).

Individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

South Georgian Bay OHT News

Seniors Survey First Step in Project Connecting Seniors to Social and Community Supports

Seniors and their caregivers are encouraged to participate in a survey to help inform a project across the county that aims to connect people to resources and supports to combat social isolation and allow them to become or stay involved in their communities in meaningful ways.
A Collaboration between Service Providers in the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team Aims to Reduce the Impact of Poverty 

Thanks to a 3-year, $233,742 grant from United Way Simcoe Muskoka, the SGB OHT is beginning to work on a collaborative project to expand the community’s ability to more easily connect people who are struggling to meet their basic needs, to the services and supports they need.

Pictured is Dr. James Lane, Digital Health Lead for the SGB OHT.

Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics in Collingwood Make COVID-19 Vaccine Accessible to Residents

Partners and supporters of the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team (SGB OHT), including the County of Simcoe, South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, and the Collingwood Fire Department, went door-to-door in Collingwood to make the COVID-19 vaccine as accessible as possible to those not yet vaccinated and to those needing their second dose.
Learn more

Have questions? Want to get involved? 

We'd love to hear from you. Please send us a message by filling out the contact form (link below), and we will get back to you shortly. 

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About the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team 

The SGB OHT is a new model of organizing and delivering health care that better connects patients and providers in their communities to improve patient outcomes. We are comprised of eleven anchor partners and a strong network of supporting community organizations. SGB OHT members collaborate with patients, families, caregivers, and the community to co-design the best possible care for our region. To learn more about SGB OHT or get involved, please visit or follow us on social media.

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