City of Ottawa “Human Task Force” … COVID 19 initiated and our neighborhood responses are key

We now have neighborhood based approaches emerging along with broader system planning and coordination to address the health and social realities of COVID 19.

How our formal services will bridge and cooperate with the local neighborhoods and organizations/people requires us to take the time to value the local context the people we work with have surrounding them. I’m looking forward to us all moving between our sectors, organizations to cooperation in everyday practice.

One example – Sandy Hill community:

Sandy Hill Community Response Team / L’équipe d’aide de la communauté de la Côte de Sable

 posted in: Uncategorized |

I’m sure many of you are feeling anxious about coronavirus. The Sandy Hill Community Response Team is here to help. Our team can introduce you to a neighbour who can help you get groceries, medication, or other basic necessities. We can also connect you with a friend if you need someone to talk to.
To request help or volunteer, please call us at 613-454-5633 or email . A member of our team will get
back to you within 24 hours.

We will get through this together as a community.

See their website:

  Here is an update from the City’s social services department.

…  o Plan for future scenarios, with considerations related to food security and vulnerable population needs, including housing, shelter and psychosocial supports.

o Coordinate service sector information related to services being provided, changes to services and emerging issues and needs.

o Raise issues, service gaps and community concerns to staff within Community and Social Services, other City departments and community partners for resolution. Partner and Stakeholder Initiatives staff are reaching out to the City’s 81 funded community agencies to obtain service delivery updates, assess needs and identify concerns for escalation to the Human Needs Tasks Force.

… A Human Needs Task Force has been struck as part of the City’s Emergency Management Plan and emergency response to COVID-19, ensuring we are responsive to the emerging needs of the community. This task force consolidates partners from all sectors, including United Way Eastern Ontario, Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, Ottawa Community Housing, Ottawa Food Bank, The Good Companions, Canadian Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Ottawa Inner City Health, in addition to representatives from City departments, including Ottawa Public Health.

The scope of the task force is to: …

Please follow the rest of the post here:

Here is link to City of Ottawa page that is attempting to centralize information:



A few resources on use of ICT and teamwork that can help mental health workers teams, with practice changes

With the immediate shift for many of us out of our offices much less, the limits on our community and organizational based everyday work, these resources are meant to help us step back, reflect on our approach to work and then apply to practice.

Please share your own resources, ideas, stumbled upon, ICT resources, that help us in recovery recovery practices.

For me In this crisis, I’m trying to see how to bridge the medical measures, with these Recovery measures: “social connectedness; hope about one’s future, positive identity, meaningful goals and social roles and empowerment.” I think it is a great opportunity to work in this crisis, a crisis for both the clients and providers and keep learning about the recovery process.


With thanks to Stephen Downes website  for sharing resources on use of the internet for learning.

Virtual Teams: So you’ve just become a remote team leader … what next? Tips on adjusting

by Martin Hawksey

“… Whilst as a manager you’ll be able to use much of your existing expertise it is worth acknowledging that there are aspects of leading virtual teams that are different. In terms of change management having a week or less notice that you are becoming a distributed team is far from ideal. As such allowing your team to find their feet within a new environment is very important. You yourself will probably be in a similar position of working out some of the practicalities particularly if you are suddenly using new tools. You can use this to your benefit acknowledging your current limitations and inviting members of your team to share their own expertise. …”

Here is the link to the article:

Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All

by Daniel Stanford

“When we try to replicate classroom experiences in an online environment, it’s easy to think of video conferencing as our go-to tool for all sorts of learning objectives—and for good reason. Most of us have participated in a video conference at work or had a video chat with friends or family at some point. We like the idea of being able to see and hear our students while interacting with them in real time just like we do when teaching face to face. But there are two key factors that make this approach problematic. …”

Here is link to article:

… What can managers and HR professionals do to support employees?

by Center for Workplace Mental Health

With many organizations requiring employees to stay out of the office, it’s more important than ever to encourage and facilitate regular communication with employees. Here are tips for managers and human resource professionals in supporting employees in staying connected to the workplace and each other:

  • Show empathy and be available: Understand that employees are likely feeling overwhelmed and anxious about circumstances related to the virus. Make yourself available to your staff to talk about fears, to answer questions and to reassure them about work and other issues that might come up.
  • Stay connected with communication and meeting tools: Use virtual meeting options with video, like Zoom or JoinMe, for regular check-ins and to allow teams to connect with one another “face-to-face.”
  • Recognize the impact of isolation and loneliness: Working remotely can cause people to feel isolated, making it more important to routinely check in with your team, not only about their work product, but also to see how they are doing. Loneliness can lead to depression and other mental health issues. Be aware of significant changes you may see in your team member’s personality or work product, because it may be a sign that a person is struggling.
  • Encourage online training: This is a great time to encourage employees to sharpen their skills with online training. It is also a good distraction to focus on learning rather than worrying about other issues. Find online trainings and new learning opportunities to recommend to employees.
  • Check in with your EAP and Health Plan: Check in with your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to confirm their availability and to coordinate support for employees. Remind the staff that the EAP is there if they need support and can connect employees with behavioral health support, if needed. Also, connect with the organization’s health plan(s) to learn what they are offering to support plan members and pass that information onto employees. Be sure to include all relevant website links and phone numbers for both the EAP and health plan in communicating with employees.”

Here is the link to the article:


Interview on the neuroscience and art of aging leads us to ponder on “power and potential”

A down to earth talk that provides a summative integration of the social and biological approaches to aging, but much more, an attitude.  Levitin’s approach is relevant to where ever we stand and making our way in society.

See the video of the interview with Steve Pakin -here

The Dynamics of Disability: Progressive, Recurrent or Fluctuating Limitations

I think this report from Statistic’s Canada framing the dynamics of disability is a pivotal foundation in our efforts to: frame plan, understand and approach how we ensure continuity of care and transitions with systems, care planning, along with our welfare policies.

…“Continuous” is the conventional definition of disability, and is the most commonly considered definition in government social assistance programs, but the report shows that three in five people with disabilities don’t fit that conventional view. Mental health disorders, for instance, may be episodic in nature and wouldn’t fall into the traditional “continuous” definition, but could often be considered progressive, recurrent or fluctuating. …

Thanks to CMHA Ontario for advancing this, see their post here:…ics-of-disabilities/

Discussion on basic guaranteed income @ City Hall: how would it work? Learning from the Dauphin experience

Ontario Association of Social Workers – Eastern branch discussion and sharing the experience of the Dauphin Manitoba Guaranteed Income Experiment via: screening of the documentary, followed by a discussion with a panel of experts.

A Town Without Poverty; Canada’s Experiment in Guaranteed Income”

Wednesday March 4 at noon, Ottawa City Hall in the Councillors Lounge.

Ron Hikel:  Former Executive Director, Dauphin Manitoba income Experiment

Hugh Shewell: MSW, PhD Associate Professor, School of Social Work Carleton University

Linda Lalonde:  Chair of  the Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network

Our Objective:  

  • Provide information about Basic Guaranteed Income
  • Share ideas 
  • Encourage discussion about strategies for implementation of basic income

FREE SOUP KITCHEN –  bring your own mug

This event is part of our celebration of Social Work Week.

The Ottawa Basic Income Network will have an information table.

For further information contact:

 Ontario Association of Social Workers – Eastern Branch /

L’association des travailleuses et travailleurs sociaux de l’Ontario – Section de l’Est 

Heartwood House 404 McArthur Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1K 1G8

Here is the poster for the event, please share widely: OASW Poster March 4 final (1)

Petition that “declares an affordable housing and homelessness emergency in Ottawa,” moves us beyond the “city’s” silo

I know petitions are … iffy, but strategically this could be a step to increase the focus on housing policy at various levels of government.  Useful to remember that the national homelessness strategy in the late 90’s got the political kick from people on the ground, in the cities.

  • So please consider signing the 2 minute wonder and… share with others.
  • This Ottawa campaign has had organizations endorse it as well.   Please consider nudging your organization to step forward.


(Beaver Barracks image above from the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness)


The City of Ottawa prides itself as being a caring and compassionate city and continually strives to be a place where people want to live, work and play; and providing access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing for everyone is fundamental to achieving that goal.

We call on Ottawa City Council to adopt Councillor McKenney’s Housing Emergency motion which:

  • declares an affordable housing and homelessness emergency in Ottawa;
  • acknowledges that we do not possess the resources to manage this crisis alone and that we must call on the Provincial and Federal governments to assist us by providing the City with an immediate increase in emergency funding for housing, housing supports and housing allowances as well as a long-term financial plan to meet the needs of the community;
  • resolves that the update to the ten-year housing and homelessness plan includes aggressive targets to:
    • preserve and increase the affordable housing supply;
    • increase access to housing affordability;
    • prevent the occurrence of homelessness and eliminate by 100 per cent chronic homelessness by 2024; and
    • ensure people are supported to achieve housing stability and long-term housing retention.

Please go to the petition here:


Canada’s era of reconciliation meets Indigenous People’s subconscious in “Our Northern Citizen”

For a glimpse of Canada’s planning and governance in play for Indigenous Peoples – useful right now take a look at this half hour documentary by the NFB in 1956 – and consider how policy development echoes and more to the point rings out to us today.

“…  subconscious sense of security in the new ways…;
…changing the Eskimo…;
… imitative skills….”

Our Northern Citizen, John Howe, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Please see the documentary Here:

The film helps us understand the current Indigenous Peoples governance atmosphere and structure in play in Canada’s era of reconciliation as described in this post: