2022-23 Annual Report

Annual Report

April 1, 2022-March 31, 2023

The last few years have been difficult years for New Leaf in a number of ways, but also years when some threatening forces for New Leaf were handled with success.

While there has developed the perception among many people that we are past the Covid-19 pandemic, this is clearly not the case. Covid-19 continues to have significant impact, even while it evolves to become part of normalcy now. New Leaf staff and management continue to work very hard to keep everyone safe, while running in a manner that preserves the quality of life for people at New Leaf. This success arises from the deep commitment of very many staff and managers to the principles that make New Leaf a unique community, along with the measures that keep our people protected to the maximal possible extent from Covid-19. We are most appreciative of the extraordinary efforts of so many of our New Leaf staff and management for their strong efforts to handle this difficult situation.

The Covid-19 situation brought abnormal pressures on personnel at New Leaf, and renewed awareness of the importance of carefully following all policy and procedures in all areas, particularly where it involves the safety of clients and staff. Review of policy and procedures must be an ongoing process to ensure that evolution of the environment at New Leaf is always part of the review process.

Following the retirement of our previous Executive Director, Ron McCauley, after fourteen years as ED at New Leaf, the Board undertook a search for a new ED. An open recruitment search for the new ED was initiated by the Board, with help from recruitment consultants familiar with the sector. This led to the appointment of our new Executive Director, Ms. Colleen Ashmore-Miehm. Colleen joined us in September 2021 and has quickly become engaged in all New Leaf activities. We welcome Colleen to the New Leaf family, and hope she will be with us for many years to come.

With a new ED in place, many things are being considered to move New Leaf forward on many fronts with the support from Colleen and her staff and from the Board. Among others, we have to consider upgrades and redesign of functions at New Leaf, such as information systems for example. The Board also has to complete the ONCA process to ensure that our bylaws comply with most up-to-date requirements.

Owing to the resignation of two Board members in the previous year, the Board has moved to bring new members to the Board. This year we have appointed a new Board member, Aubrey Basdeo. We welcome Aubrey to the Board and look forward to his participation on the Board for many years.

So from the Board of Directors, I want our staff and management to know just how much we admire the job you have done, and continue to do, in what have been very difficult times.

Charles C. Dyer

2022- 2023 was a year of both resilience and optimism. Resilience as New Leaf continued to manage into the 3rd year of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that the people we support and our staff were kept safe; optimism as we looked forward to a life that comes closer to the world we left in March 2020.

We celebrated the completion of our new Strategic Plan. The goal of this project was to develop a business strategy with a clear and cohesive vision for the future of New Leaf that would be understood, accepted, and championed by key stakeholders of the organization. I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone who engaged in the process to develop this plan and provide us with a roadmap for the coming years.

With its launch in January, we embrace a new vision of: A home and community where people learn and experience life together, and a new mission to: Provide a safe home to, and enrich the lives of, individuals with developmental disabilities in a unique sensory and natural environment.

New Leaf has continued to value its relationship with our community to create new opportunities and grow.

  • This spring, the greenhouse program will be planting and selling over 3,000 seedlings to Reena to support their urban farm facilities. We engaged the employment program at Community Living Central York (CLCY) to support us with job coaching for individuals supported who have secured part-time roles with this project.
  • We joined the Intentional Community Consortium (ICC) a provincial group of developmental service partners who seek to build or create affordable housing opportunities in communities across the province. On March 27, I was proud to represent New Leaf as I joined our ICC partners in Ottawa for a “Day on the Hill” to advocate for the growing demands of accessible and affordable housing.
  • We are grateful for a generous grant, in the amount of $133,500, from the Ontario Trillium Foundation that will go towards the costs necessary to upgrade and renovate the woodshop. This project, will improve and re-organize the existing facility to broaden its functional capacity and create opportunities for inclusive learning and community partnership.

Post-pandemic, we acknowledge that the developmental services sector is facing significant human resource challenges. New Leaf has supported both local and provincial strategies to address our own recruitment needs. The York-Simcoe Collective (which consists of New Leaf and 8 other community partners) supported the development of a high-quality recruitment campaign that included the launch of an amazing video inviting people to consider working in social services. This project aims to promote our collective agency brands with colleges and universities in across Central Ontario. New Leaf supports the implementation of provincial recruitment and retention strategies, including the implementation of the new core competencies for the developmental services sector in Ontario. In August, we welcomed Kerri Tomlinson, Director of Services and look forward to her contributions to the great work we do.

We must continue to create opportunities for employee development and growth to support our human resources needs for both today and tomorrow. Over the course of this year we:
  • Launched our new Strategic Plan by bringing the entire Leadership Team – Directors, Managers and Supervisors – together to develop a common understanding of New Leaf’s new Mission, Vision and Values. Further we spent time exploring change leadership and our roles in facilitating and supporting change.
  • Supported two supervisors to complete a 4-part pilot leadership training project that was sponsored by Toronto region partners and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS).
  • Recognized the value of creating a positive culture where employees feel supported, nurtured and empowered in their The Director of HR and Director of Services participated in a two-day course on “Cultural Transformation – How to Become a “People Centric” Employer of Choice”. This will inform our employee engagement strategy over the next several years.

Throughout the year, we continued to advocate with our community and provincial partners for increased investments in the developmental services sector. We are very grateful for the decision to make the wage enhancement permanent for direct support workers and will continue to advocate for continued investments to meet increased operational costs and the growing needs of the individuals we support. We are thankful for our continued strong partnership with the MCCSS, and look forward to continuing to collaborate on key initiatives, including their long-term vision for developmental services in Ontario, Journey to Belonging.

I want to thank all employees for their dedication, tireless effort and unwavering commitment to providing care and support for individuals this past year – it has continued, at times, to be nothing short of remarkable.

For individuals supported, families, loved ones and our Board of Directors, as we enter our 40th year, I look forward to our continued successes living and learning together.

Colleen Ashmore-Miehm
Executive Director

2022-23 Financial Statements