Delivering High-Quality, Client Centred Care
2021/22 in Review
Our COVID-19 Response
Throughout the fiscal year, the safety and well-being of our staff and clients remained our number one priority. As part of our COVID-19 support, we provided educational resources and connected clients, families and caregivers with access to a COVID-19 vaccine clinic that best met their needs. We hosted 19 vaccination clinics for people with developmental disabilities, their caregivers, and families, vaccinating 927 individuals. We also completed targeted outreach that led to specialized clinics for Chinese populations and individuals in Scarborough with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The success of our vaccine clinics led to other organizations adopting our clinic process to further support the community.
We partnered with University Health Network to host vaccine clinics in downtown Toronto and Scarborough. We also worked closely with SickKids to refer clients who would be better served by their clinic and with Toronto Paramedic Services to refer individuals needing homebound vaccinations.
New Leadership for Toronto Programs
This fiscal year, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services selected Surrey Place as the new lead agency of the Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program, the Infant Hearing Program, and the Preschool Speech and Language Program for the Toronto Region. The change was to have these services led by a single, community-based, multi-service agency specializing in clinical rehabilitative services. As a result, the Ministry selected Surrey Place as the lead agency to deliver these essential clinical early identification and intervention services to children and their families beginning April 1, 2022.
As a long-standing agency delivering the Preschool Speech and Language Program and the Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program, we have existing support and administrative efficiencies enabling our capacity to integrate these services seamlessly. We also created a dedicated project team, built our capacity, and added new roles to support the needs of these new and expanded services. This new programming will allow for a streamlined service navigation pathway between clinical service providers, a reduction in wait times, and improved child health outcomes through earlier identification and intervention for children experiencing vision loss, hearing impairments and delays in their speech and language development.
At Surrey Place, we are committed to increasing Indigenous inclusivity, indigenizing our practices, and building Indigenous partnerships to better work with and serve Indigenous people and communities. We strongly believe in the value of building knowledge and understanding of Indigenous perspectives, worldviews, histories, cultures, and belief systems. It is essential to enable steps towards true reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
In 2018, Surrey Place committed to ongoing Indigenous education for employees to provide greater Indigenous inclusion, access, and reconciliatory efforts in alignment with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action and Surrey Place’s strategic direction. This year, we offered two live training sessions for staff presented by our Indigenous Advisor, Lindsay Kretschmer. Last fiscal year, 170 Surrey Place staff, partners and board members were trained in Indigenous Cultural Awareness, which aims to provide critical insights into the past, present and future toward greater awareness, empathy and understanding of Indigenous issues.
On our journey with Truth and Reconciliation, stressing the importance of providing a truthful account of the abuses suffered in residential schools and other harms towards Indigenous peoples is paramount. On June 2, 2021, we held an online candlelight ceremony to acknowledge the mass grave of 215 Indigenous children discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School within the unceded lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory. Surrey Place staff and the broader community came together to honour the lives that were lost and to show support for the grieving and healing of families and community members. The discovery reminds us of the horrific reality of residential schools and the work required to build stronger relations with Indigenous peoples as part of the path to reconciliation.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day
To acknowledge and pay respect to the residential school children’s lives taken and to show our firm belief that every child matters, we used this important day to share educational resources with staff and created a video for our social channels about how Surrey Place is taking continuous steps toward building stronger relations with Indigenous communities.
MMW Webinar Series
In February 2022, the Surrey Place Mashkikiiwininiwag Mazinaatesijigan Wichiiwewin (MMW) Clinical Videoconferencing Program hosted Aging Matters: Indigenous Perspectives, a three-part webinar series presented by Bi pi maadzing zaagidwin teg jichaaming (Circle of Life in the Spirit of Love Project). This project was funded by a one-year grant from AIDE Canada and presented the unique needs, challenges and strengths of Indigenous adults aging with intellectual or developmental disabilities in Northern Ontario.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action
In July 2021, Surrey Place issued a letter to our local Member of Parliament, The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, requesting advocacy and support for adopting The Truth and Reconciliation Committee Calls to Action in the area of Health. By sending this letter, we hope to receive support from our government to join us in this vital work.