CEO’s Report (November, 2017)
The following is Chris Beesley’s CEO Report to Community Living Ontario’s Board of Directors for November, 2017:
Here are some of the areas with which I’ve been involved since our last board meeting seven weeks ago. I’ve indicated to which strategic priority each piece of work relates so that you can easily tie in my work to the strategic plan of Community Living Ontario. Click here to view the plan in its entirety and the goals associated with each priority.
Over the past seven weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with the following organizations (Priority 1):
- Community Living Trent Highlands (grand re-launch, which amalgamates member organizations Community Living Peterborough, Haliburton and Kawartha Lakes. Minister Jaczek also attended);
- Community Living Elmira (toured their Snowgoose and Shared Dreams homes and met with board members);
- Community Living Thunder Bay (met with the ED, board, staff and self-advocates they support);
- Community Living Superior Greenstone (met with the ED, board and staff);
- Community Living Atikoken (met with the ED, board and staff);
- Community Living Fort Frances (met with the ED);
- Community Living Dryden-Sioux Lookout (met with the ED, board and staff);
- Kenora Association for Community Living (met with the ED); and
- Community Living York South (attended a member event they hosted regarding Bill 148)
With my provincial and territorial counterparts, we’ve been working with the Canadian Association for Community Living on a collaborative federal housing project called My Home, My Community, which will seek to develop supportive, inclusive residential choices for people across Canada utilizing funding through the federal housing initiative. Funded projects are expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2018. (Priority 3)
On October 23rd, I had the opportunity to present to the Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) network, about our work on family engagement and how the DSO network might support the expansion of this initiative and how they could refer families to this work if it was scaled up and available in every area of the province. The group was very supportive at the initial conversation and I’ll be following up with more information for them. (Priority 1 & 2)
I’ve been working with our sector colleagues at the Provincial Network to distill the key messages of a sector in crisis so that politicians, bureaucrats and the public all understand how people require adequate supports to live good lives in our communities. Interminable wait lists and lack of organizational core funding are gutting families and local associations’ abilities to support people properly. We’ve connected with a PR firm with whom we’ve worked with in the past and who has offered services pro bono, but have not thus far been successful in receiving any tools to help us communicate our messages. As the June 7th, 2018 provincial election draws nearer, we’ll be developing resources for our members to use in engaging with all candidates. The sector will be meeting on November 22nd to work on a strategy. In the meantime, we continue to meet with the Ministry of Community and Social Services and government (including the Conservative and NDP Critics for MCSS) to articulate our position. (Priority 2)
I’ve Joined an Advisory Group on an IRIS (part of CACL) project titled Family Violence & People with Disabilities: Strengthening Access and Response to the Justice System. The objective is to support and enhance the credibility of people with intellectual, developmental and psycho-social disorders when dealing with the law and legal systems. (Priority 3)
On October 25th, I was excited to play a small role in our A Million Possibilities kick-off event at the Centre for Social Innovation in downtown Toronto. Board members Sara Singh and Michael Jacques were instrumental in making the night a success along with the Honourable John Baird, our Strategic Advisor, and Colin Sanders who will be leaving for the Canary Islands on November 17th in preparation for his solo Atlantic crossing. Both money and awareness were raised. (Priority 1 & 2)
On October 23rd, in conjunction with OASIS and the Provincial Network, we issued a media release detailing the sector’s concerns about proposed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. Here’s my quote from the release:
“Agencies in the Developmental Services sector exist to help people. When that ability is threatened or compromised, they are compelled to speak out. Clearly, the government’s intention with Bill 148 is to enhance the quality of people’s lives by providing fair employment and a living wage. We are simply bringing attention to the unintended consequences of this legislation, as it will have the exact opposite effect on both the people who rely on these supports every day and the people who provide them,” added Chris Beesley, CEO of Community Living Ontario.
As a result of the media release, I was contacted and interviewed on November 7th on Kelly and Company, a current affairs show through Accessible Media Inc. I spoke about the Community Living movement, how we value people and their contributions, and how Bill 148 will compromise everyone’s ability to support people. Click here to listen to the interview. (Priority 2)
On October 13th, I had a meeting with a gentleman in Saskatchewan who is acting as a consultant on the proposed Angel Oaks residential project in Guelph. He had heard about the objections to the project that Community Living Ontario has raised and was looking for more information. We had a frank conversation about our issues with the project, so we’ll see what happens. (Priority 2 & 3)
As always, I’m happy to discuss and/or provide more information on any of the items above.
Chris Beesley, CEO