Announcing our 2022 Award Recipients

OMSSA is excited to announce our slate of 2022 Award Recipients. This impressive group of individuals and teams will be recognized at our upcoming 2022 Policy Conference in Toronto and 2023 Exchange Conference in Ottawa. Learn more about the outstanding individuals and teams we will recognize below:
Champion of Human Services Award | Karly Church
Patti Moore Human Services Integration Award | Mellissa Morgan
Young Leader Award | Joseph Friedman Burley
Lifetime Achievement Award | Greg Bishop & Debbie Cercone
Local Municipal Champion Awards:

Karly Church | Victim Services of Durham Region
Champion of Human Services Award

Karly Church is an anti-trafficking advocate, crisis counsellor and well-known speaker. She is known for her work on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking and has been a leader in helping shift the perception of trafficked girls from criminals to victims and now to survivors and leaders. Karly is a graduate of two college programs including Social Service Worker Program as well as the Addictions Counsellor Program. She harnesses her lived experience, extensive knowledge of trauma-informed care and harm reduction, along with her passion to engage and work with survivors. Karly is a TED X speaker and has trained thousands of individuals globally on the issue of domestic sex trafficking. Karly is also the recipient of the Jennifer O‘Connell Women of Distinction Award for her dedication to supporting marginalized women and girls.

OMSSA's Champion of Human Services Award recognizes a champion who has displayed extraordinary leadership and made an exceptional contribution to human services. Our Champion of Human Services Award recipient will be recognized at our 2022 Policy Conference.

Mellissa Morgan | City of Cornwall
Patti Moore Human Services Integration Award

Mellissa Morgan has had a varied career, across many sectors, within the City of Cornwall’s Human Services Department. With more than 28 years experience, this has also provided her with many opportunities to expand her leadership skills throughout that time. 
As the current General Manager of Human Services and Long-term Care for the City of Cornwall, she oversees the operations, transformation and modernization of Ontario Works, Children‘s Services and Housing Services and believes that life stabilization is a fundamental and core principle within each of those areas. She been instrumental in the introduction and promotion of cross training within the three divisions. Most recently, under her leadership, the city completed a merger of the Local Housing Corporation into the Human Services Department and will extend those leadership skills to the operations of Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge (municipally owned long-term care facility), which is new to her portfolio. In addition, Mellissa has spearheaded the Housing Revitalization Plan which targets 741 new affordable housing units within the region, in the next 10 years, of which 104 will be available for occupancy in 2023.
Mellissa has a BScSoc. from the University of Ottawa and has completed the AMCTO Executive Municipal Leadership Program from the Ivey Business School. Mellissa has also been a member of several committees and non-profit organizations, including the Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing and the City’s new Corporate Leadership Development Program. Mellissa’s leadership is inspired by the underlying premise of helping to improve the lives of other people and improve the system that they live under.

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. Our Patti Moore Human Services Integration Award recipient will be recognized at our 2022 Policy Conference.

Joseph Friedman Burley | City of Toronto
Young Leader Award

Joseph Friedman Burley is a public health professional with a background in 2SLGBTQI+ health research and policy. He holds a BA&Sc from McGill University and an MPH in Health Promotion from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. 

Joseph entered the City of Toronto as an Urban Fellow and has since established himself as a champion for equity and excellence in service. In his current role as a management consultant with the division of Seniors Services and Long-Term Care (SSLTC), Joseph leads a number of files focused on improving services for marginalized seniors across the care continuum, including the Toronto Seniors Strategy and the Leading & Learning with Pride Tool Kit.  

Joseph’s work has been covered by local media, profiled at national and provincial conferences, and recognized by sector leaders like AdvantAge Ontario and the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research, and Innovation in Long-Term Care. 

A driven community-builder with a passion for social justice, Joseph looks forward to a career in which he can create a better and brighter Toronto through inclusive, accountable, and equitable public service. 

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. Our Young Leader Award recipients will be recognized at our 2023 Exchange Conference.

Greg Bishop | County of Simcoe
Lifetime Achievement Award

Greg Bishop has been the General Manager, Social and Community Services Division at the County of Simcoe since 2015. This role includes leadership and oversight to the Social Housing, Community Services, Ontario Works and Children Services Departments. 

Since joining the County in 1991, Greg has held a number of positions within the Social and Community Services Division, including Director of Children and Community Services. Greg has played an integral role in the development of many County initiatives and programs, including Our Community 10-Year Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Strategy, Local Immigration Partnership, and Simcoe County Positive Aging Strategy.

Greg is dedicated to providing the very best services to the residents of Simcoe County and shares his strengths in community development, capacity building, and policy analysis. Greg has served on several boards and committees, including the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association Board of Directors and several Provincial-Municipal Policy Advisory and Reference Groups.

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. Our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be recognized at our 2023 Exchange Conference.

Debbie Cercone | City of Windsor
Lifetime Achievement Award

Debbie began her career in 1990 with the Ministry of Community and Social Services where she held the positions of Team Social Worker, Program Analyst, Project Manager and Program Supervisor supporting individuals and families with disabilities, child and youth mental health, young offenders violence against women and children’s treatment centres.
In 2006, Debbie started in the role of Executive Director of Housing and Children’s Services with the City of Windsor responsible for housing, homelessness, child care and early years and emergency social services and held this position for over 15 years until her retirement in 2022. She lead a small but mighty team whose work included many major accomplishments including but not limited to the implementation of a housing first program for people experiencing chronic homelessness; the creation of the Home Together, Windsor Essex’s 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Master Plan; expansion of EarlyOn programs to ensure that families/caregivers in each Best Start Neighbourhood have access to an EarlyOn program in their community; and expansion of supportive housing for youth experiencing homelessness. 
Debbie is grateful to have been part of leading an amazing team and support people in need in Windsor and Essex County for almost 16 years.

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. Our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be recognized at our 2023 Exchange Conference.

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. Our Local Municipal Champion Award recipients will be recognized at our 2023 Exchange Conference.

City of Ottawa: Outreach and Mobile Services Team

In the fall of 2020, as non-essential services were being scaled back, essential human services were needed more than ever; COVID-19 was creating new and exacerbating existing inequities in our community.  A team of Employment and Social Services staff at the City of Ottawa developed an innovative solution to bring wholistic, wraparound services and supports directly to residents who were living in poverty, socially isolated, experiencing homelessness or precariously housed and at greatest risk during the pandemic. The Outreach and Mobile Services Team (OMST) initiated their outreach services to individuals and families accessing the City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Physical Distancing and Respite Centres. Not only did the team provide streamlined and simplified access to employment, financial, childcare and stability supports, they provided system navigation by leveraging their experience, knowledge, and relationships with community partners to connect residents to other needed services and supports. In their work the OMST fosters a sense of safety, inclusion, and respect for the diversity and worth of every individual. Their client-centric approach and unwavering commitment to working together across programs and services is breaking down barriers and helping people when and where it is needed the most. Positive feedback from residents, community partners and the team themselves has resulted in the OMST’s continued expansion and effective work into our community.

City of Windsor: Housing Hub

At the beginning of COVID, the closure (for day programming and limited numbers) at local homeless shelters, created a situation whereby the City of Windsor's Homelessness team created in very short order the H4 Centre (Housing and Homelessness Help Hub). The purpose of this program was to create a safe, low barrier place for the homelessness population to access multiple support services in one location during daytime hours.  Partnerships included CMHA, Income Supports (OW/ODSP), Housing First support, justice involvement and addiction resources. The H4 Centre was able to build trust with the population being served which has led to positive outcomes in housing, health, addictions, and mental health. Even with the lifting of many Covid restrictions, the H4 Centre has still been seeing a significant amount of clients on a daily basis, 7 days per week. H4 has seen a steady increase in the volume of program participants accessing the service. As of June 2022, H4 has welcomed over 2,200 unique clients, with 59,654 visits. The program averages attendance between 110-150 unique visitors per day on most days, and often reaches capacity shortly after opening the doors. The Housing Hub model is rooted in best practices for reducing community homelessness by focusing on both housing loss prevention, creating pathways to housing and other support services, and serving those that are actively experiencing homelessness. As new people use the service, it helps to inform and validate the region's By Name List for homeless individuals. Due to the success achieved in providing this ad hoc model, Windsor City Council has authorized the exploration of creating a new permanent Housing Hub model, that will include permanent supportive housing, and the support services identified in the H4 model.  If a permanent center is created, this will become a regional asset that will help support homelessness efforts in our community. 

County of Lambton: Integrated Homelessness Prevention Team

To support integration efforts and meet the needs of the increasing number of Individuals and Families experiencing homelessness due to the Pandemic, the County of Lambton developed an Integrated Homelessness Prevention Team. Made up of staff from both the Ontario Works and Homelessness Prevention Departments, the integrated team utilizes an intensive case management model to assist people in exiting the emergency shelter system, provide stability supports and secure housing. Individuals and Families are being linked to numerous support services within the community including but not limited to primary health care, harm reduction services and mental health supports. The Integrated team has been successful at developing a quality By-Name List using HIFIS and in supporting Community Partners in using these valuable tools as well. Relationships and communications were enhanced both internally and with key Community Partners, and the integrated team was successful in transitioning over 230 people into safe, affordable, and permanent housing.  The creation of this integrated team not only resulted in a significant reduction in those experiencing homelessness but was part of a catalyst in working to make tremendous gains in the service system that supports the homelessness sector. This successful initiative has demonstrated that an integrated approach to Service System Management can improve the lives of the Individuals and Families we provide services to within our communities. 

Halton Region, Region of Peel, Durham Region, City of Toronto: GTA ECE Recruitment and Retention

Recruitment and retention of Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) has been a long-standing provincial issue. Staff at the City of Toronto, Region of Peel, Regional Municipality of Durham, and the Regional Municipality of Halton worked together with seven Greater Toronto Area (GTA) post-secondary institutions, George Brown College, Durham College, Centennial College, Sheridan College, Mothercraft College of Early Childhood Education, Seneca College and Humber College, to increase the number of ECEs across the GTA. Through a collaborative effort, staff worked with the colleges to implement a fully funded fast-tracked ECE program for 210 additional graduates by 2023. Staff also worked with the post-secondary institutions to implement stabilization grants to fund additional expenses for almost 1,900 students in the accelerated and existing ECE programs. The partnership also allows for individualized local community characteristics of the post-secondary institutions to ensure the diversity of students is incorporated and respected in the program choices. This will directly address the recruitment and retention issues identified by local child care operators across the four municipalities, and support increased child care spaces, and high-quality care for families. The initiative was based on existing relationships but has sparked further collaboration between municipal partners and post-secondary institutions across the GTA in support of addressing the sector-wide recruitment and retention issues. The relationships can be leveraged to support collaborative opportunities in other sectors e.g. Social Assistance stability supports, employment services, etc. 

Region of Peel: Youth Caseworker Teams

In 2019, the Region of Peel created a dedicated team within the Ontario Works portfolio to provide integrated services for youth. The Peel Youth Caseworker Team serves people 14 to 29 years old who are experiencing complex barriers and living in poverty. Through this passionate and committed team, youth receive specialized case management and access to community services, housing support, mental health support, life skills developmental, education, and employment opportunities. There’s also a streamlined intake process for young people who are victims of human sex trafficking, ensuring they receive appropriate and compassionate services. The Youth Caseworker Team works in partnership with community agencies, housing providers, health services, school boards, trusteeship programs, and others to ensure youth get the specific wrap-around care services they need. Youth receive specialized and flexible case management and stability support to increase their employment opportunities and help them move out of poverty and towards greater independence and self-sufficiency.

County of Simcoe: Community Services Department

The County of Simcoe identified and accelerated opportunities for transformational human services integration practices through pandemic driven interventions involving a broad range of internal and external stakeholders. Highlights include a partnership between Community Services and Ontario Works combining service system management with direct Ontario Works service delivery in shelter settings to connect homeless individuals and families to a range of services and supports including financial benefits to improve life stability. This integrated approach fosters improved outcomes and contributes to further informing service system management through early identification of successful outcomes driven strategies and; the successful outcomes of County of Simcoe Paramedicine Services, deployed on site at shelter based settings as a pandemic response, resulting in a successful funding application for the continuation of on-site services within the shelter system to support the needs of the vulnerable, at-risk homeless population. Examining post-pandemic system needs, the County of Simcoe Community Services Department is embarked on a review of the funded system of homelessness prevention services and supports in the fall of 2022 to identify needs and action further opportunities for system transformation to improve outcomes for homeless individuals and families. 

Stratford-Bruce Peninsula: Employment Service System Manager

Bruce, Grey, Huron, and Stratford partnered as a consortium to successfully apply to be the Employment Service System Manager for the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula catchment area. Through this application, leadership and staff from human services from each member municipality collaborated to develop an application that would see the Service System Manager focus on improving the integration of Ontario Works, ODSP, local employment services providers, and the needs of local employers. Working together across traditional silos, the consortium will support the creation of an integrated human services model that does not leave people behind. The Employment Service System Manager for the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula took a truly local approach to service system management. Within the Employment Service Transformation, the Bruce, Grey, Huron, and Stratford consortium is the only Service System Manager that formally brought together the four CMSMs into an integrated model to delivery employment services to the catchment area. 

The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board: Community Resource Centres

Over the past five years TBDSSAB has worked to create community resource centres for tenant and clients, creating centralized access for neighbourhood enhancement. The resource centre is a dedicated unit within the neighbourhood that provides a variety of services and supports to the households in the area. On a scheduled basis, staff from the Integrated Social Services team--including Social Assistance, Housing, and Child Care--attend at the resource centres and meet with clients/tenants with the goal of delivering integrated supports to tenants close to home. Additional services include life skills sessions, community kitchens, community gardens, access to computers, printers and the internet,  and provision of space for community partner organizations to offer services. Other services offered through community partners include medical access via a nurse practitioner, local health unit support, healthy kids sites, harm reduction supplies and support referrals for mental health and addictions programming, cultural programming opportunities and employment supports. Feedback from individuals accessing the resource centres has been overwhelmingly positive, with many stating they appreciate the convenience of being able to access supports without needing to travel to the TBDSSAB office. 

York Region: Children Services Portal

In April 2022, the York Region Ontario Child Care Management System (OCCMS) team in partnership with the York Region EarlyON Child and Family programs team implemented a system-wide, centralized online registration platform for EarlyON programs. The platform was developed in collaboration with EarlyON agencies and other Consolidated Municipal Service Managers/District Social Service Administration Boards (CMSMs/DSSABs), to increase access to available programs, make it easier for families to find and register for programs across the Region (which expanded parent choice), and enable data collection and integration, which will support future program planning. The platform was first launched in the Regional Municipality of York (York Region) and is now being used by seven CMSMs/DSSABs across the province. From April 1 to October 30, 2022, a total of 6,913 families have used the registration portal in York Region.

Congratulations to all of our 2022 Award Recipients!

OMSSA looks forward to recognizing this impressive slate of individuals and teams at our upcoming 2022 Policy Conference and 2023 OMSSA Exchange. Stay tuned for information about nominations for OMSSA's 2023 Awards. You can learn more about our awards program here on our website