On behalf of the Board of Directors of Brockville and District Association for Community Involvement, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. The New Year always makes me reflect and think about what the year ahead will bring for my family and our Association. The New Year is a chance to start fresh, a time to set new goals, but also gives us the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the previous year’s accomplishments.

2018 was a very busy year for BDACI- Just to recap some of the year’s highlights;

  • We secured a grant that allowed us to host the “Family and Friends Dinner” series with speakers, Al Condeluci, Michael Kendrick and Darcy Elks. And in celebrating the success of that series, we launched a second series this past fall with the intent on building a network of Education Champions and Allies.

  • We participated as a partner in a research project on the experiences of families navigating the education system and together with our partners from Brock University, Western University, ARCH Disability Law Center and Inclusive Education Canada we produced a document called “If Inclusion Means All Why Not Me?" That document got the attention of the Ontario Human Rights Commission who have since consulted and are in the midst of developing an Inclusive Education Standard.

  • We applied for and received a grant from the Ministry of Community and Social Services Employment and Modernization Fund, a research and development project looking at Employment through the family lens.

  • Our project funded through the class action settlement began; establishing the advisory group, mapping out the intent and work, we hired a project lead and are looking forward to the activity of the project this year.

  • We developed and strengthened community partnerships, looked for ways of bringing families together to be strengthened by one another and we stood alongside supporting people to take their rightful place in our community as active contributing members.

  • We participated in local, provincial and national conversations and advocacy efforts.

  • We saw changes to our core staff team. We enter the new 2019 welcoming facilitators Joy Allen, Elise Sauve, John MacDonald ,Cassandra Hull and Manager of Finance and Administration, Bob Jurkewycz.

  • We were challenged by policy and system changes. Including the passing of Bill 148, changes to the Employment Standard Act, implementation of PassportONE and others. They forced us to make a number of changes including; adjustments to the salary grid, hours of support and the way support is managed, flexibility in funds available, our hiring processes and in some situations accommodating people who lost support from other programs and services who are part of our BDACI association. Some of those adjustments were quite difficult but necessary.

I have listed just a few of the highlights of 2018 so it is easy for me to be able to say, I am immensely proud of all that we achieved in what was a very busy year for our Association.

But, rest assured, we won’t rest on our laurels in 2019. Make no mistake, families and people with disabilities will need us to be a strong, well connected and clear minded Association. 

In times of change; with a new provincial government, a blending of the ministries with the new Ministry of Community, Children and Social Services, funding uncertainty and growing need, along with the increasing pressure on families, the work we do in our community with you and on your behalf, is more relevant than ever. 

As always, we’ll approach the challenges that 2019 brings with the same determination, focus, and willingness to innovate and advocate that has served us well in the past. We enter 2019 with determination, optimism, and gratitude.

We are incredibly fortunate to have this unique Association and one another. As always, the Board of Directors thanks you for your support and we look forward to the upcoming year.

I welcome any input you may have to offer or the participation of any who are interested in our many committees or work you may be interested in being a part of.

Happy New Year, everyone.

 

Sincerely,

Cathie Blair, President of the Board

 

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