Showcasing our successes during a busy October!
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view in a browser.
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Forward To A Friend
October 2016


Welcome to another issue of the OCSA Bulletin - the last month has absolutely flown by!

October was a busy month for OCSA, as we celebrated Community Support Month and hosted two back-to-back conferences. What has tied it all together is learning about and recognizing the achievements of our sector -  you will read about some of them in this newsletter.

These achievements - and the progress we have made strengthening our own sector and the health system as a whole - will be key as we move forward in the next few months. By showcasing our success, we can demonstrate the value of continued interest and investment in the sector.

- Deborah Simon, CEO

Congratulations to our 2016 OCSA Commitment to Care Award Winners!

All too often, OCSA Members are the unsung heroes of Ontario’s health care system – you all do such excellent work, but you don’t spend a lot of time in the spotlight! That’s why, last year, we held our first annual OCSA Commitment to Care Awards. Thanks to the support of our awards sponsor, Lough Barnes Consulting Group, we’re proud to be recognizing another amazing set of winners again this year. Thanks to all of the OCSA members who submitted nominations, and to our independent, volunteer selection committee of health system leaders.

2016 OCSA Award for Commitment to Volunteer Service
Ted Forrest

Ted Forrest has been working with his nominating organization, East Wellington Community Services, for over 10 years, and has also contributed to other organizations in his community. His crowning achievement is championing a unique wheelchair bicycle program which allows clients and volunteers to ride together, and spend time outside in nature. Not only did he raise funds to purchase two of these specialized bikes, he enjoys taking clients out on rides himself, and dreams of expanding the program so that participants’ family and friends can do the same.

2016 OCSA Award for Commitment to Quality Improvement
Cheshire London Transitions Project

Cheshire's quality improvement journey began when they identified an increased risk to both clients and staff when supporting individuals with needs beyond the scope of the organization’s programs. They realized they needed to reduce the transition time from the recognition of need for alternate services to time of discharge, and to improve that experience for clients. Through the use of quality improvement tools and processes, and with the support of OCSA’s Quality Advantage Program, they were able to drop the average transition time from over 14 months to just 1.6 months. Notably, the project was designed to be inclusive of front line staff, and the voices of clients.

Angela McMillan accepted the award on behalf of the team.

2016 OCSA Award for Commitment to Exceptional Client and Family Care
VON SMILE program team

The VON SMILE program served over 2500 clients last year, and makes it possible for seniors at risk of premature dependency to remain independent in their own homes. By providing flexible access to a variety of traditional and non-traditional services that assist with activities of daily living, the program, it serves clients with needs comparable to those waitlisted for long-term care.

In one memorable instance, the program coordinator received a call from a senior in a desperate situation - his spouse had been admitted to hospital in another city, and he was unable to care for himself. He had no food in the house, and no one else to turn to for support. Fortunately, the client was admitted to the program, received a visit from a CSS agency that very afternoon, and began receiving meals and housekeeping services immediately. That was three years ago, and the client and his spouse continue to live independently.

2016 OCSA Award for Commitment to Leadership
Helen Leung, CEO of Carefirst Seniors and Community Services Association

Helen has been CEO of her organization for 22 years, and has seen it grow from a single-service agency, to a multi-service, multi-site agency supporting more than 10,000 clients through the hard work of 550 staff and 2000 volunteers. She has achieved this growth through catalyzing partnerships both within and beyond the home and community support sector, and her trailblazing models are being emulated in other regions. Our selection committee were impressed by her ability to “walk the talk” in terms of the values and benefits of home and community care.

OCSA Members Recognized for Excellence in Quality and Safety

At late October's HQO Health Quality Transformation Conference, several OCSA members were recognized for excellence in quality and safety.  Congratulations to all!

Team Medal Award Winner
Weaving a Mosaic of Support - Caregiver Respite Program from the Mississauga Halton LHIN 

Caregiver Respite Program Improvement Team

Day Programs: Special thanks to Alison Price, Links2Care, and Lisa Gammage, Nucleus Independent Living, for the workshop presentation on this program at the 2016 OCSA conference.

Individual Champion Medal – Honour Roll Team Medal – Honour Roll

To read more, click here.

Thanks for another great conference!

We had a great time at the 2016 OCSA Conference: Prepare, Adapt, Thrive! and we hope you did too.

We'd like to thank all of our delegates for the valuable insights, questions and conversations they contributed to the conference. We'd also like to thank our keynote speakers, workshop and poster presenters, tradeshow exhibitors and sponsors. In particular, many thanks to patron sponsor Lough Barnes Consulting Group.

Highlights and speaker slides are available to delegates on the conference website. See you next year!

UPDATE: Patients First Act

On October 6, the government re-introduced the Patients First Act (now Bill 41). 

Significant changes were made to the revised bill. OCSA has been working with health lawyer Kathy O'Brien, and her intial analysis can be found here.

The bill has passed second reading and been referred to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly for debate and public hearings. OCSA has applied to present to the committee and will be also be submitting a written response to provide feedback and advocate for amendments or clarifications.

We will also be preparing a member toolkit that will provide you with key messages and instructions on how to contact and connect with your local MPP to amplify our sector’s voice, concerns and priorities. Stay tuned!

PSW Training Conference A Smash Success!

On Thursday, October 20, we held our 10th annual PSW & PSW Supervisor Training Conference.  Approximately 400 PSWs from across Ontario (plus one from Nova Scotia!) came together to enhance their training in five areas of focus: Dementia Care, Falls Management, Mental Health, Palliative Care and Person-Centered Care. The Conference Centre was abuzz with engaged delegates taking advantage of the opportunity to learn, meet new people and celebrate the personal support profession.   

Here's what delegates are saying about the conference:
“What I learned today makes me better able to support both clients and staff.”
“I can easily explain and apply what I learned to my clients in the right way.”
“It was great to talk in detail about the support I provide.  The information gives understanding and new perspectives.”

Thanks to all those who attended - we look forward to seeing you next year!

Congratulations to Delrose Armstrong, PSW of the Year!

We are pleased to announce the winner of this year's PSNO PSW of the Year Award - Delrose Armstrong!

Over her 17 year career with ESS Support Services, Delrose has provided care to clients in Assisted Living Services.  After two years with the organization, she rose to Team Leader, where she provides strong leadership to her team, as well as providing dedication and consistency in meeting the highest quality standards of service.  She is able to provide professional and compassionate services while maintaining a client’s respect and dignity, particularly with clients facing complex medical and mental health histories. She was nominated by the ESS Nomination Committee, who write “Delrose is truly a pleasure to work with.  She brings positivity and warmth to her job and to everyone she works with every day.” She truly is a hero of health care!

Runners-up for this award were Coleen Gordon and Patricia Orchard.

Congratulations also go our to the winner of the PSW Professional Development Scholarship, generously sponsored by Saint Elizabeth Health Care for the 9th year.

Denise Jackson currently works in respite care and will be using the scholarship to enhance her skills in Working with Dementia and Aged Clients at Mohawk College.   Denise believes that being a PSW is a rewarding job because she enjoys helping others and having the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients. 

Ontario Launching Consultations to Improve Dementia Care 

Ontario is launching consultations across the province to help develop a new dementia strategy, which will improve access to quality care for people living with dementia and boost support for those who care for them. Click here for more information.

OCSA has developed key messages to support our members' participation in these consultations. Check your inboxes or our Members Only website for more.

If your organization isn't an OCSA member, you're missing out. To learn about the many benefits of membership, contact


Events and programs hosted by OCSA members. Are you an OCSA Member who would like to promote an event or program in our next issue? E-mail a link and one-sentence description to

Upcoming Training from Capacity Builders:

Build your organizational capacity to conduct quality interRAI CHA assessments!

interRAI Community Health Assessment Workshop
November 22, 23 & 24, 2016 in Toronto
This comprehensive three-day workshop will equip new assessors with the skills and confidence they need to conduct assessments, and use the information to inform and evaluate personalized care plans. In a supportive and engaging environment, participants will learn the general principles of conducting a competent interRAI assessment and learn how to accurately document client information through the interRAI CHA system.  

For full workshop information and registration link, please click here. Special reduced pricing for OCSA Members! 

Did you know that we deliver interRAI CHA training all across Ontario?  If you’d like more information about how we can bring this workshop to your organization, community or Network, please call us at 800-267-6272 or 416-256-3010 ext 229 or email

OCSA Hosts Strategic Forum on Meals on Wheels

OCSA Conference week kicked off on Monday, October 17 with a strategic forum on Meals on Wheels.  Thanks to the representatives from the 50+ programs from across the province that participated and to Sarah Campbell, ED, London Meals on Wheels, and Geoffrey Reekie, ED, Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre, for stepping forward to lead the discussion. 

The goal of the forum was to identify challenges currently facing MoW programs across the province and to begin a conversation about how programs could work more collaboratively to address those challenges.  Challenges identified by most providers at the forum included:

  • Lack of system attention or recognition on the role that food plays in health and specifically on decreasing emergency room and hospital visits.  
  • Cost pressures due to food sourcing issues and increasing food costs.
  • Increasing competition with private providers who are using advanced technology/ webtools.
  • Fragmentation of MoW Services across the province – every provider has their “home grown” process, systems and challenges. There is a lack of networking between these providers.

A number possible solutions based on stronger collaboration between MoW programs emerged from the forum. OCSA and a team of providers led by Geoff and Sarah through the MoW Advisory Committee will meet in late November to discuss next steps.  

Ontario Establishing Patient and Family Advisory Council

Ontario is creating a Patient and Family Advisory Council to advise government on health policy priorities that have an impact on patient care and patient experiences in Ontario. 

The council will involve patients, families, and caregivers in the policy development process, ensuring that their needs and concerns are fully understood, and will help the health system become more responsive, transparent and accountable. Members of the council will be chosen through a public process that includes opportunities to nominate suitable candidates.

We encourage members to look into the opportunity to nominate individuals from their community to ensure a strong voice for our sector. Click here to learn more.


Quick links from around the sector.

HQO releases 10th Annual Measuring Up Report

The Measuring Up Report outlines how Ontario’s health system is performing. Composed of the 45 performance indicators of the Common Quality Agenda, the report measures population health, hospital care, home care, long-term care, primary care, palliative care and mental health care. 

The report found that a vast majority of Ontarians, 92%,  reported positive patient experiences with home care services. 

The report also highlighted areas for improvements in the home care sector, including: supporting palliative care to avoid unplanned Emergency Department visits, increasing the number of people accessing personal support services within the five day target, and addressing the increasing challenge of caregiver distress. 

The increase in caregiver distress - from 21% in 2010/11 to 35% in 2014/2015 - is a clear indication of a need that could be addressed in part through improving access to home and community support services. 

To read the full report, click here.

Copyright © 2016 Ontario Community Support Association, All rights reserved.

The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) champions a strong, sustainable home and community support sector for all Ontarians. Our not-for-profit, community-based member organizations provide a wide variety of health and wellness services which help a full range of clients, including seniors and people with disabilities, remain independent in their own homes and communities. For more information, visit 

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please click here.