Just an update on what OHSNA has been working on and some clarifications. The President Connie Evans and Director Brad Rye continue to sit on the implementation committee and meet with the Ministry of Health for the new HSC program every two weeks, as well as with the Lawyers reviewing the contracts. There was a 3% increase which was supposed to be effective January 1, however there was an error and it didn’t start until February 1st. The retroactive pay will be seen on your March payments. They had a pre-budget consultation meeting with the Finance Minister, Charles Soussa on February 6 2018. There is a focus group for the policy framework for the Supportive Housing, Central Access Centre. We have an upcoming meeting with Janet Hope, Assistant Deputy Minister of Housing to discuss minimum wage issues and to review the program as it will soon undergo a similar modernization like the HSC Program. OHSNA executive have had an ongoing media blitz with articles in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Observer, BC Ottawa, as well as multiple radio news broadcasts and CBC Toronto interview regarding the impact of the Minimum wage hike on our homes. This will all be reviewed at the next meeting as well as our lawyers’ comments on the contracts, ammendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (please look under key issues and links for more information), the services and issues that require extra funding( please click link at the very end to see a list of some of what we are asking the Ministry to provide under extra funding with contracts). Connie discussed the Fire rating and regulations with the Fire Marshall, and as some of you know not all inspectors have a clear understanding and may give incorrect information. If your home has all clients with the ability to evacuate your home unassisted and within the required time frame, you do not need to have sprinklers. Likewise if your home has any clients who are immobile or have mobility issues and need assistance to evacuate you will class differently and need to have sprinklers installed. For more information please click the links below.
A reminder that your regional directors should be holding their region meeting very soon, please contact your director for more information. The AGM will be held at the same location, Sheraton Parkway North on May 10 and 11. Please mark these days on your calendar and do your best to attend. There are so many changes in progress it really is important for you to attend and stay current and have your voice heard. Invitations will be sent my mail and email so keep your eye out. Please remember to sign up to be a party member so you can vote on this upcoming elections leadership race and final election. We are working with both sides for any possible outcome but as you know the PC party has been very understanding of our needs and issues and have represented us well and promise to continue to do so.
Now, for the new HSC Program which will be renamed “Community Homes for Opportunity”. I will try to clarify a little bit of this process and what to expect. We had many long and often times, heated meetings with the Policy mangers from the Ministry of Health to develop what this new program will look like. What we know so far and some changes going forward will be… The program will begin in the London area first with a gradual roll-out across all other regions. Each home will receive a one-time funding of $2500.00 to assist with any program change costs. You will no longer receive a “Per Diem” as you do now, you will be provided block funding based on your homes occupancy. There will be “evergreen” contracts with no term or end date unlike the yearly permits you now get. These contracts will have a standard contract across the board but each home will have appendices individualized to that home and client needs with specific “extra funding” (again please see the link at the bottom to see what we have asked to be included in extra funding). Clients will have care plans and have an assessment when starting a new home, most likely with preset review times. The clients will receive more funding individually and have more control over these finances, however we have been assured that the rent will be paid, most likely through the community agency who distributes and oversees the funds, directly to the homeowner. This community agency will also have a contract with the Ministry of Health on how to distribute funds with accountability and according to how the contract allows them to do so. We have asked for a neutral third party and resolution process for any disagreements between this agency and the homeowners to avoid any conflicts, bias and unfair treatment or funding practices like we have seen with some of the municipalities in other programs who were given too much control regarding funding. This will not be the case with this new program, as they assure us, the Ministry will still be hands on in oversight and conflicts. Your regions’ hospitals will no longer be as involved or have as much power as they currently have and will not be doing inspections of homes anymore. The Ministry also heard us and recognized the fact that we get inspection overkill and multiple inspections are overlapping and redundant. They are addressing this issue and agree we should have reduced inspection especially for dual licensed homes. We have lawyers reviewing the standard contracts which is what is holding this process up right now, but OHSNA is not willing to move forward until we know we have a fair and concrete contract for all homeowners and clients needs being met. The placement process should be easier and less biased going forward with a client having more control and opportunity to seek out housing on their own without referrals. We have asked for a homeowner CHECKLIST so each homeowner knows exactly what they will need to do to begin this program change. We have also discussed at length ways to assist and help clients with any increased control of their finances and budgeting and we all expressed a lot of concern over spending habits and the health and safety of our clients in this respect and want a back up plan in place for those clients who can not manage this responsibility without increased harm to themselves and stability. There are many factors we discussed regarding funding and where homeowners need to be compensated to provide adequate housing, supervision, care and diet for clients. The link below provides a look at some of the things we are requesting regarding funding. As well, please read the key issues tab to find more information and links to review.
Please call or email if you have any questions,
OHSNA office co-ordinator
Dear Ms. Evans:
Thank you for providing me with a copy of your organization’s submissions to the Minister of Finance. I have noted your comment with respect to the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.
Our government recognizes the value of the community and developmental services sector, and the staff who work tirelessly to provide high quality services to some of the province’s most vulnerable individuals.
The need for better worker protections, improved wages and compensation for the not-for-profit sector was a recurring theme heard through the provincewide consultation on Bill 148. We appreciate the opportunity for continued dialogue with agencies and community partners as we work together on strategies to assist in addressing ongoing pressures. We are confident that working together we will find innovative and effective solutions.
My colleagues in the Ontario government and I remain committed to improving incomes, promoting better employment opportunities and increasing fairness.
Thanks again for contacting me. Please accept my best wishes.
Premier of Ontario