Celebrating our 2020 Award Recipients

After being delayed due to COVID-19, OMSSA is excited to be moving forward with recognizing our 2020 Award Recipients at our upcoming OMSSA Exchange Conference, happening May 11-14 online. Learn more about the outstanding individuals and teams we'll be recognizing below:
Champion of Human Services Award | Dr. Gary Bloch
Patti Moore Human Services Integration Award | Douglas Bartholomew-Saunders
Young Leader Award | Phillip Mock
Lifetime Achievement Award | Rick Farrell
Local Municipal Champion Awards:

Dr. Gary Bloch | St. Michael's Hospital

Champion of Human Services Award

Dr. Gary Bloch has been a champion in the human services sector, displaying extraordinary leadership and contributions, and is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Bloch is a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital and co-founded the Inner City Health Associates, a group of over 90 physicians working in homeless service settings across the Greater Toronto Area, and also co-founded the advocacy group Health Providers Against Poverty. His work focuses on the intersection between social risks to health and front-line health care. He was the inaugural Chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Committee on Poverty and Health, and chair of the St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team’s Social Determinants of Health Committee. He has developed internationally recognized clinical tools, including a Clinical Tool on Poverty. He is a recognized social policy expert, and recently served on a working group on income security reform for the Government of Ontario. He currently serves as a Phoenix Fellow for the AMS Foundation.

OMSSA's Champion of Human Services Award recognizes a champion who has displayed extraordinary leadership and made an exceptional contribution to human services.

Douglas Bartholomew-Saunders | Region of Waterloo
Patti Moore Human Services Integration Award

Douglas Bartholomew-Saunders has displayed extraordinary leadership in the human services sector and has made exceptional contribution to human services throughout his long career. Bartholomew-Saunders has participated on OMMA’s Board of Directors as both its President and Past President and has sat on various advisory groups and committees. He chaired the Urban Commissioners group for three years, and actively engages around provincial advisory tables. He has been in leadership roles in Niagara Region, Halton Region, Waterloo Region and has been Commissioner in Waterloo since November 2012. In Waterloo Region, under his leadership the department has implemented an integrated model of client service including “Welcome Spaces” that house integrated services of employment, housing, child care and income support, and created a Strategic and Quality Initiatives division at the Region of Waterloo to enhance data collection and evaluation services to promote integration of services. He spearheaded the Housing Master Plan to develop 600 affordable housing units, leveraging partnerships with developers and the community, and also established the Child and Youth Planning Table. Bartholow-Saunders implemented a new model of care at Sunnyside Long Term Care and partnered with Region of Waterloo Transportation services to redesign a subsidized transit program.

OMSSA's Patti Moore Human Services Integration Award recognizes an OMSSA member who has displayed extraordinary leadership and made an exceptional contribution to human services.

Phillip Mock | CK Prosperity Roundtable, Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Young Leader Award

Phillip Mock, Project Coordinator for the Prosperity Roundtable in Chatham-Kent, has engaged the community into taking action to end poverty in the municipality. Mock’s work included recruiting a lived experience group to be involved in advocacy, education, and implementation of actions; creating community-wide poverty awareness through consultations with all communities of Chatham-Kent; developing an action plan and task forces to end poverty with 130+ community leaders; establishing two task forces to effectively tackle housing and homelessness issues such as promotion of tenant rights and transportation issues; bringing in Federal funding for new initiatives to strengthen at-risk and vulnerable youth in the community to complete their secondary education and transition to post-secondary or employment opportunities. Mock’s success has been guided by his engagement of non-traditional stakeholders which has created change and strengthened leadership. He has guided and empowered people with lived experience to be involved in community committees and task forces, as well as increased their capacity to be advocates and educators to reduce the stigma and increase awareness of systemic barriers to exiting poverty.

OMSSA's Young Leader Award honours an individual 30 years or younger who has been recognized as a leader, created change, and strengthened leadership in their community.

Rick Farrell | York Region (retired)
Lifetime Achievement Award

With over 40 years of experience in the municipal sector, Rick Farrell made significant contributions to the housing field through his career. Farrell served on the OMSSA Board of Directors in the early 2000's and was engaged in OMSSA's Housing and Homelessness Network and numerous taskforces related to housing. He represented the housing sector through his participation on various boards throughout his career, including the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, Housing Services Corporation and most recently served as the Vice Chair of Housing Partnership Canada prior to his retirement. With his knowledge being highly valued across the province, he represented York Region at confidential provincial meetings such as the Social Housing Modernization Table and the Community Housing Renewal Reference Group providing key input from a Service Manager perspective. During his time with York Region's Housing Services, he contributed greatly to promoting the development and sustainability of the Region's housing corporation, Housing York Inc. (HYI), as well as all the other non-profit housing providers. Under his direction, HYI completed the construction of the Richmond Hill Hub, a 202-unit affordable housing project that includes agency space for 360" Kids, a much-needed multi-service agency for youth in the south of the Region. Farrell was also instrumental in securing approvals and federal-provincial funding to advance the development of three new housing locations in the cities of Markham and Vaughan.

OMSSA's Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the long-standing contribution of exceptional OMSSA members who have recently retired or who plan on retiring in the year that the award is given.

Local Municipal Champion Awards

OMSSA's Local Municipal Champion Awards recognize the great work done in advancing excellence in human services integration and service system management by teams from CMSMs and DSSABs across the province. Teams may include CMSM and DSSAB staff in partnership with community organizations and/or initiatives where CMSM and DSSAB staff work together with their communities.

City of Brantford: Seniors' Studio Team

In 2018, the City of Brantford launched “Seniors’ Studio”, a unique program that emphasizes partnership building and senior volunteerism to address social isolation and housing instability. Senior’s Studio offers place-based programming in both City-owned and private apartment buildings. The program has successfully connected thousands of participants with key services and resources, such as Falls Prevention, Alzheimer’s Awareness, physical activity workshops, and Elder Abuse Awareness. The second phase of the Seniors’ Studio project will focus on empowering seniors to take on leadership roles through the development of peer-to-peer mentorship programs. The City has accessed grant funding from the Ministry of Senior’s Affairs to provide skills training for senior volunteers with the goal of transitioning project leadership to the program participants themselves. Further locations and partisanships are currently in development, most notably with community faith groups and Settlement Services agencies, with a goal of reaching racialized or culturally excluded seniors that may be at greater risk of social isolation. The goal of Seniors’ Studio is to leverage partnerships and connect to older adults in their own housing communities as a preventative measure, in hopes that these programs can support health and housing stability. In this work, the Service Manager is improving quality of life for older adults and positioning the Health and Human Services Department as a key contributor to the City’s Healthy Aging Plan. 

City of London: Integrated EarlyON and Family-Centred Service System Model

The Integrated London EarlyON and Family-Centred Service System Model is a notable example of London’s ongoing commitment to advancing local service system management. The nominated team was instrumental in leading transformative change to advance human services integration through the new EarlyON and Family-Centred Service System (FCSS) model. This sustainable and responsive model builds on existing FCSS infrastructure, as well as strong community partner commitment to the FCSS vision. The service system is driven to achieve five outcomes: Families are connected and engaged in their neighbourhood; Families experience reduced storytelling; Families have a better and more consistent experience when accessing services; Families can easily access a full range of services; and, Families experience shorter wait times. The City of London now has a system of school-based Family Centres that offer identifiable, accessible, single access points; where programs and services are developed, coordinated, and delivered in a cohesive manner in collaboration with broader community and human services. Findings from the 2015 formal independent assessment indicated strong evidence of a cultural shift through the commitment to neighbourhood-focused service planning and delivery, and a greater willingness to work together to improve outcomes for families.

City of Toronto: Electronic Document Management (EDM) System 

The Electronic Document Management (EDM) system is one of the most innovative, environment-friendly (paperless), client-centric, geographically neutral solutions in Ontario, changing how social service providers and recipients of social assistance can interact with each other. Successful implementation of an innovative technology solution at ODSP and City of Toronto for Ontario Works (OW) has reshaped delivery of social services and put in place the cornerstone for the Social Assistance Modernization Strategy and advancing Human Services Integration. The team drew on the experiences of ODSP & OW clients and the expertise of front-line staff. Services were designed, developed, tested, and piloted directly with front-line staff. The EDM team has worked closely with their Policy counterparts to ensure that policies are updated, align with automation, and facilitate change. EDM provides the technical foundation for enhanced Integration between SAMS and MyBenefits to further empower clients to manage benefits and self-serve options. The use of technology combined with efficient processes has helped case workers make smarter and faster decisions through improved access to client information. EDM has reduced overhead costs related to storage, paper, file-folders and other stationery items. These have been replaced with digital files. So far over 250,000 client related pdf documents have been created. These savings are being reinvested to Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens.

Bruce County: Journey Through the Ages and Stages Initiative

Bruce County's Journey Through the Ages and Stages initiative provides parents with the opportunity to understand their child’s developmental milestones through completing the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) and the additional social-emotional screen (ASQ-SE-2) earlier on and throughout their child's development. A task team was developed with staff members from Bruce County's EarlyON Child and Family Centres, Special Needs Resourcing Team, and Licensed Home Child Care Team. Bruce County's Data Analysis Coordinator and Special Needs Resource Supervisor were selected as the project's leads. The pilot was recently completed with success. A total of 673 children received the ASQ package and over 50% of questionnaires were completed and returned to Bruce County Children’s Services for scoring – a return rate that surpassed expectations for the first round. A total of 106 children met the referral criteria and Bruce County Children's Service staff have followed up with each of these parents and caregivers to support them in accessing services for their child. Key outcomes of the?Journey Through the Ages and Stages has been the ability to utilize aggregate ASQ data to assist the child care and early years community to plan, implement and evaluate programs that support the needs of the children in Bruce County.

County of Simcoe: Collingwood Social and Community Services HUB

In 2019, the County of Simcoe completed a new Social and Community Services HUB in Collingwood, ON. The HUB comprises two separate community housing buildings, which are home to a total of 147 units. Opened in May 2019, the first building includes single and family units, along with an EarlyON Child and Family Centre. The second building, completed in July 2019, consists of senior housing units, together with community agency space located on the ground floor. The HUB is home to Ontario Works, Children’s Services, the Simcoe County District School Board (adult learning programs), Empower Simcoe, along with drop-in/satellite office space for various community agencies and partners including CMHA, ODSP, and various health services. The collaboration between partners has led to increased access to services, which directly corresponds to increased client outcomes, tenant quality of life, and increased accessibility to supports and services for individuals and families within the Collingwood area. The County of Simcoe recognized unique community needs and identified pre-existing gaps and barriers to access these supports and services. The site was previously home to 30 social housing town-home units, which following demolition, and additional land donated by the town of Collingwood, led to 147 new units across the two buildings, an overall addition of 117 affordable housing units.  This maximization of land use further supported the County of Simcoe's 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy.

Halton Region: Integrated System Navigation (ISN) Initiative

Halton Region’s Integrated System Navigation (ISN) is a front-line service model achieving greater collaboration and integration by providing system navigation to vulnerable populations. The service provides a platform to bring together the efforts of various Social and Community Services (SCS) programs and community partners to reduce barriers to accessing services and increase communication between service providers. This results in enhanced service integration and increased response to complex barriers faced by vulnerable populations. The ISN supports a number of service outcomes including increased client access to core programs, coordination of supports internally and externally in the community, as well as improved life stability and well-being. In the two years the ISN service has been operation, it is advancing human service integration by providing individualized navigation support for individuals and families.

York Region: Ontario Works (OW) Service Delivery Model

The Regional Municipality of York recently changed their Ontario Works (OW) service delivery model to a model that puts the customer at the forefront. The new integrated approach supports life stability and future success through a holistic trust-based approach that results in better customer outcomes. The traditional caseworker roles have moved into Integrated Benefits Caseworkers (manage customer financial eligibility and access to benefits); Integrated Wraparound Caseworkers (develop trusting relationships, and support service navigation); and Program Support Representative (administrative and additional support). Integration begins right from application through Access York (Contact Centre). The customer provides their story, which is captured using the Customer Service Flow tool, so that the OW staff have information available to them and they can come prepared with resources to the first appointment. This ensures that staff can support customers with resources that are available based on their needs. Another key feature of this new model is Case Conferences, where OW teams bring in internal and external partners to collaborate and strategize to support customers. In order to develop and implement a new Ontario Works service delivery model at York Region, an Ontario Works Transformation (OWT) Team was established. The OWT Team consisted of the Director, lead Managers, Supervisors, Policy, Human Resources, and Communications. Through this new model, York Region continues to evolve services based on Key Performance Indicators and tracking customer outcomes to monitor success.

Congratulations to all of our 2020 Award Recipients!

OMSSA looks forward to recognizing this impressive slate of individuals and teams at OMSSA Exchange, happening May 11-14 online. Nominations for OMSSA's 2021 Awards will open in June, and you can learn more about our awards program here on our website