April 1, 2020-March 31, 2021
It is with mixed feelings that I write this my final Executive Director’s report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. The past fiscal year has been, without exaggeration, one of the most challenging ones for those of us who work and live at New Leaf. Not only have we had to deal with the continuing pandemic which is now into its third year. We have also had to deal with tragedy and loss, as in the accidental death of one of our staff on February 12, 2021.
Many of our staff and residents have also had to deal with personal health matters that have impacted their lives at a time when the healthcare system is overburdened and fractured. In spite of the health system challenges our staff have done an outstanding job ensuring that the ongoing needs of the people we support are met regardless of the challenges. We should be very proud of the dedication and support of our teams that advocate daily for the people they support, ensuring that their needs are not lost in a system that can be overwhelming at the best of times.
Since 2019 we have been working to develop a new home to replace our Pines Residence. This has turned out to be one of our most challenging infrastructure projects, due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the supply of materials, and delays in schedule related to asbestos abatement. The project has now reached substantial completion, and we hope to have people moved in by the end of October.
Fiscally we ended the year with a balanced budget. This is no small accomplishment as our Finance staff have had to deal with late ministry budgets, changing requirements, and an ongoing lack of information from government. During this past fiscal year, and in spite of the information challenges referenced above, we have been able to accomplish a number of very important upgrades to our buildings and properties.
It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that as I leave New Leaf I leave it in a strong fiscal position.
I am also very proud of the way the agency has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. At this point all but two of our residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as are the majority of our staff. It is my sincere hope that we will have full compliance with our vaccination policy over the next month so that we can continue to meet the needs of our people in as safe an environment as possible.
The COVID crisis is not over, and now the biggest challenge facing our agency is how we can reopen our day program, and get back to a new sense of normalcy. We owe it to the people we support to ensure that we work diligently to develop future programming that is meaningful, safe and consistent. We have learned a great deal through our response to COVID-19, and this will go a long way to ensuring that our future “new normal” will be as safe and meaningful as possible.
I would also like to point out that the MCCSS Quality Assurance Measures (QAM) inspection has resulted in a perfect score. There were no recommendations or orders coming out of the inspection. This is something we should all be very proud of. We have also recently completed the mandated MCCSS risk assessment and once again New Leaf has been assessed as a low risk agency.
Finally, I want to welcome Colleen to her new role as Executive Director of one of the most unique agencies in Ontario. I wish her, our staff, management and the board success as they work toward a renewed strategic plan and focus for New Leaf. This is a strong well positioned agency that with a fresh strategic focus will continue to be a leader in the sector. I wish the agency continued success as you seek to provide the best possible residential and day support programs for our families and residents.
In closing I would once again like to thank the board of directors who provided much needed support and encouragement throughout the year, and thank you to our management team and staff who when called upon to deal with difficult times were there for the agency and for the people we support.