Category: Uncategorized

Promising Practices in long term residential care – public presentation, April 3rd

Pat Armstrong will be outlining approaches to reform Long Term Care (nursing homes), April 3rd @ 4:30pm at the Ottawa Public Library  main branch.

Please see the research report which informs the talk hereExercising Choice 2017_final (1)  

A Panel Discussion will then ensue!  

Please RSVP and/or contact

PDF of poster here: Apr 3 Event Poster – Exercising Choice in Long-Term Residential Care (1)


Webinar – Families, Clients and PHIPA (health information sharing) in Mental Health

Webinar -Useful and indepth, grounded in actual practice – with case examples.

… “It was clear that both caregivers and providers could benefit from a resource that would set the record straight about how Ontario’s privacy and consent rules apply to them. In this report, The Change Foundation set out to address these concerns …”

See the site with background documents…/

 See the webinar

SWAG talk and Celebration – “So you think care work is easy?…

From Beverlee McIntosh – To celebrate Social Work Week, SWAG is being fêted this month by Revera etirement Living 

Photo of Monique Lanoix SPEAKER: Professor Monique Lanoix, Faculty of Philosophy, Saint Paul University

TOPIC:  So you think care work is easy? Reflections on the misperception of care work

Our speaker has developed an expertise in issues of women’s work in health care as well as ethical issues in the Long Term Care System in Ontario.  She has authored studies in bioethics, feminist philosophy and social political philosophy.
You can refer to her extensive research at

Thursday March 22nd      Speaker starts sharp at 3:30

LOCATION: Colonel By Retirement Residence, 3rd floor Look Out Lounge
43 Aylmer Avenue ( parallel to Sunnyside Avenue near Bank Street- 3 hr on street parking)

To ensure that catering services have an idea of numbers could you please RSVP to Beverlee McIntosh if you will be coming

Presentation by speaker will start at 3:30 to 4:30 and we can stay-on to socialize until 5PM ( and polish off the food)

Practice based commentary on the pitfalls of sorting the worthy and unworthy – in social assistance reform

Reuel Amdur shares his critic of the most recent report on income security reform in Ontario.  For background, please see this earlier post on the report Here:

Roadmap into a Swamp

On September 1, a working group headed by Judge George Thomson produced a report for the Ontario government on social assistance reform entitled “Roadmap for Change.” While it would take a very long essay to go over the report in detail, I will address a few matters-the proposed increase in Ontario Works rates, changes in the policy regarding so-called dependent and independent adults, and continuation of two programs for social assistance, one for employables, Ontario Works (OW), and the other for the disabled, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

The report calls for an increase in Ontario Works rates by 22% over three years.  Premier Mike Harris cut the rate by 21.6% in 1997. Since then, the Liberals have not put the money back.  Harris cut the money all at once, but the Thomson report proposes to repair the damage over three years.  It’s been a long wait.

Harris also introduced the distinction between dependent and independent adults.  This applies to adults living with a parent or parents.  Dependent adults, as defined in the complex regulation, are included in a payment to the family, not individually.  The amount paid is less.  How do we determine if a person is independent and entitled in his own right?  He must, during his lifetime, have been self-supporting for a cumulative 12-month period.  However, if the family had ever rented out the room where he was living, the distinction did not apply.  There are other complications.  You get the idea.  The whole thing is a dog’s breakfast, difficult and time-consuming to administer.  The Thomson report calls for a revision of the regulation.

An earlier report headed by Thomson in 1988 called “Transitions” pointed to the complexity of social assistance as a major problem.  Right on!  Would Thomson 1988 take one look at the dependent-independent adult mess and simply have said to scrap the whole thing?  And the distinction applies only for OW, not for ODSP recipients living with family.

Now to our third bone to pick with “Roadmap for Change.”  The report justifies different rates of assistance for OW and ODSP because, it claims, it is more expensive to live with a disability. No evidence whatever is provided for the claim.  In fact, there are separate additional amounts provided for special needs, beyond the rates for social assistance as such.  It would have made more sense if the report had called for a determination of what it costs to live in conditions of dignity and decency.  Talking about the costs of living with a disability as such makes no sense.  Which disability requiring what supports?  The current system does provide extra funds for special needs. Ontario governments of all stripes have refused to base assistance on cost of living, preferring instead to act on whim.  Contrary to Thomson, in 2012 Senators Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh issued a report for the Ministry of Community and Social Services in which they recommended a single system of social assistance.  It was not evident to them that there were additional costs across the board.

An additional argument has been made that OW is only short term.  But in fiscal 2014-15, average time on OW was 27 months.  The Toronto Star, in an article on the Thomson report, featured a woman who has been on OW for nine years.  Getting on ODSP is a matter of luck of the draw.  Anyone who has worked in or around the system can easily cite examples of unjustified rejections.  Some are reversed on appeal.  Other applications make it the second or third time around.

Having lived through changes in Ontario social assistance, I take a different explanation for the discrepancy in rates for OW and ODSP.  Over the years names and coverage have changed, so I will refer to the programs as municipal and provincial.  The current provincially administered program is ODSP, with OW being operated municipally.

When I came to Canada in 1969 to take a position with the Social Planning Council of Hamilton and District, the rates for the two programs were almost the same, although they were calculated using somewhat different building blocks.  However, under Premier Bill Davis the province chose to increase provincial rates preferentially.  The differential has increased constantly to the point where the provincial rate comes close to doubling that municipally for a single person.

Then in 1985 I was employed as a welfare worker in Toronto.  At that time, single parent families were part of the provincial program, no longer the case unless the woman is disabled.  However, there was a waiting period on the municipal program for single parents.  That is, unless the woman was a widow, in which case provincial eligibility was immediate.

You are probably getting the picture.  The worthy poor versus the unworthy.  Then Mike Harris made it explicit.  He complained that welfare recipients were a bunch of beer-swilling pregnant women.

Judge Thomson’s committee missed the boat.

“Developing a framework to evaluate knowledge into action interventions”

A logic model to help think and measure knowledge mobilization for practice change from BMC Health Services Research 18:133Cite as


There are many challenges in delivering and evaluating knowledge for healthcare, but the lack of clear routes from knowledge to practice is a root cause of failures in safety within healthcare. Various types and sources of knowledge are relevant at different levels within the healthcare system. These need to be delivered in a timely way that is useful and actionable for those providing services or developing policies. How knowledge is taken up and used through networks and relationships, and the difficulties in attributing change to knowledge-based interventions, present challenges to understanding how knowledge into action (K2A) work influences healthcare outcomes. …

See the article here:

Ontario poverty reduction and the elephant in the room, the provincial election

TVO’s, The Agenda provides a useful overview of the current status of the Ontario provincial poverty reduction strategy and relevance to the Social Determinants of Health, that touches on:

  • the historical failed efforts of 30 years ago – where it went wrong
  • the racialization of poverty currently happening
  •  anecdotal early gains identified from Ontario’s basic income pilots, so far
  • “trickle up” components of whole system approach, including the federal child benefit increases

What haunts the discussion is how will the Ontario government’s effective policy change efforts manage the storm of the May election. 

The reportIncome Security: A Roadmap for Change, is a useful anchor in the storm, see it here:

See the panel discussion here:

“…learning does not fall from the sky or emanate from the professor: it is crafted as the student becomes aware of both the complexity of the issues and the potential of individuals”

School of Social Work’s- University of Ottawa, Neree St-Amand speaks about how he advances professional training to be embedded in community practice through the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement  supporting students/learners to “… say what they dare not say in class.”

… “It changes people, that’s what it does. I realized that the best way for me to understand people is by reading the journals– in them, (the students) can say what they dare not say in class. It still affects me. (…) And afterwards, what kind of society does it create? A society that thinks about poverty, the environment, social inequality, racial inequality, et cetera.”

Nérée St-Amand text books in front of a billboard

See the article here