Empower Simcoe
2019-2020 Annual Report

Be • Belong • Thrive

(From left to right) Deborah Wall-Armstrong, Doug Mein, Brian Young, Craig Lilley, Vice-President Valerie Scott, CEO Claudine Cousins, Jacob McNamara, President Jim McNamara, Annie St. Louis and Roma Czech. (Absent, Treasurer Tim Berry, Carla Kostiak and Miriam Villamil-Pallister)

Vision

We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to live a self-fulfilling life.

Vision

We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to live a self-fulfilling life.

Mission

Empowering people to lead a meaningful and inclusive life.

Mission

Empowering people to lead a meaningful and inclusive life.

Driven

Identified in the Strategic Priority: People Experience Services as a Result of Building our Capacities to Serve, and tying into our Person Centered Excellence Work Plan, Empower Simcoe is now well underway with the implementation of workplace competencies intended to enhance and sustain our quality workforce, one that will continue to deliver a very high standard of service to the people and families we support.

What are core competencies? They are the values, traits, and behaviours that a person demonstrates in supporting people to live more inclusive and dignified lives in the community. People with highly developed core competencies exemplify the best quality of support in the sector.

The Empower Simcoe Competency Implementation Team has worked hard over the last year to create a structure and training timeline for every employee at Empower Simcoe.  As our agency continues to progress towards a learning culture, this journey will enhance and sustain our quality workforce, act as a guide for performance management and assist in the recruitment process.  Ultimately, it will provide for the opportunity for every employee to thrive in their roles at Empower Simcoe. 

Core Competency Training Seminar

322 employees have completed Core Competency training - 60% of Empower Simcoe’s workforce.

Accountable

April Lillie, Empower Simcoe Accommodations Support Worker

As an accountable organization during the COVID - 19 outbreak, Empower Simcoe’s top priority has been first and foremost the safety, health, and emotional well - being of its staff and the people and families it supports. At the outset of the pandemic, Empower Simcoe’s Personal Protective management was creative and tenacious, sourcing PPE through cold calls, internet searches, tracking down multiple vendors, donations from the public, coordinating bulk orders with other agencies, and even ordering from non - traditional vendors like a distillery.

Health and safety measures now include mandatory assessment centres at all Empower Simcoe locations, weekly wellness resources to assist employees with their emotional well - being, and staggered work schedules to reduce building capacity and physical distancing.

Accountability allows Empower Simcoe to reimagine and rethink how it will deliver services in the community post - COVID - 19, ensuring we live and work mindfully to empower every individual’s goals in a safe environment.

111,800

disposable (nitrile) gloves purchased

95,161

Surgical Masks Purchased

51,000 allocated to other developmental service agencies in Simcoe County area.

1,408

tubs of sanitizing wipes purchased

5,620

cloth masks purchased

800 donated to community partners like area shelters

1,252

bottles of hand sanitizer purchased

18,366

disposable medical gowns purchase

9,750 allocated to other developmental service agencies in Simcoe County area.

Respect

Gary Black and his 'stache are on a mission every Movember to raise money and awareness for men's health issues. Thanks to donations and proceeds from his annual cupcake and coffee party, Gary can significantly contribute to a cause close to his heart and his whiskers. Respecting Gary's ongoing commitment to change the face of men's health is a link to a greater world of reaching one's personal goals and dreams and aspirations for the future for all people supported by Empower Simcoe. 

Respect is also measured through continual data analysis that demonstrates Empower Simcoe’s commitment to the people we support: the gathering of Personal Outcome Measures data and assessments, incident reports, access to the Empower Simcoe Complaints and Feedback hotline, confidentiality and consent policies and processes, and ongoing training for employees and the people we support, help ensure we are providing respectful supports and services.

Empower Simcoe recognizes everyone has their own path in life.  By listening and responding, we can treat others as we would want to be treated, with dignity, deserving of our full attention and commitment. 

Community

Sit back, buckle up, and have a safe flight. Talie Sheridan and Sharlene Fountain now know what it's like to soar above the clouds, having represented Empower Simcoe at the 2019 Pathway to Empowerment Community Living Ontario Conference in Thunder Bay. Supported by the Empower Simcoe Accommodations program, one of the trip highlights for Sharlene was the people she met, "I met some very empowering people, and I especially liked the information about building a self-care toolbox." Talie, who is supported by Empower Simcoe's Supported Independent Living program, added, "It was exciting and inspirational. I loved meeting many like-minded individuals at the Conference." Another bonus; flying on a plane for the first time! Thank you to the Porter Airlines crew for making it such a great experience.

Whether it's in the air, or on the ground, by accepting all people and giving each a voice, Empower Simcoe supports full access to the greater community to contribute and participate in meaningful and productive ways. This capacity to live, learn, volunteer, work, and participate in all aspects of life makes our community vibrant and healthy.

Like Talie and Sharlene, let your dreams take flight. 

Empower Simcoe supports  193 people in Group Living and 150 people through Supported Independent Living.

Driven

Core Competency Training Seminar

Identified in the Strategic Priority: People Experience Services as a Result of Building our Capacities to Serve, and tying into our Person Centered Excellence Work Plan, Empower Simcoe is now well underway with the implementation of workplace competencies intended to enhance and sustain our quality workforce, one that will continue to deliver a very high standard of service to the people and families we support.

Accountable

April Lillie, Empower Simcoe Accommodations Support Worker

As an accountable organization during the COVID - 19 outbreak, Empower Simcoe’s top priority has been first and foremost the safety, health, and emotional well - being of its staff and the people and families it supports. At the outset of the pandemic, Empower Simcoe’s Personal Protective management was creative and tenacious, sourcing PPE through cold calls, internet searches, tracking down multiple vendors, donations from the public, coordinating bulk orders with other agencies, and even ordering from non - traditional vendors like a distillery.

Respect

Gary Black and his 'stache are on a mission every Movember to raise money and awareness for men's health issues. Thanks to donations and proceeds from his annual cupcake and coffee party, Gary can significantly contribute to a cause close to his heart and his whiskers. Respecting Gary's ongoing commitment to change the face of men's health is a link to a greater world of reaching one's personal goals and dreams and aspirations for the future for all people supported by Empower Simcoe. 

Community

Empower Simcoe supports  193 people in Group Living and 150 people through Supported Independent Living.

Where We're At

The second year of our strategic plan took a bit of a detour with the occurrence of COVID - 19 in the last quarter of 2019. Our three priority areas: People Receive Excellent Services, People Experience Services as an Extension of Our Community Reach and Connections, and People Experience Services as a Result of Building Our Capacities to Serve, have progressed significantly as our employees focused on tangible strategies.

In the first three quarters we worked hard at embedding our new brand and refreshed values into the organizational culture. One tangible achievement to date is the progress towards a learning culture. All employees at all levels are involved in learning and development initiatives aimed at educating, equipping, and enabling them to deliver excellent service and supports. Our community partners continue to collaborate with us on our numerous programs which allowed us to align our work with our strategic plan.

Our final quarter of 2019 was impacted by the pandemic and as a result, the strategic plan priorities were paused to respond to the immediate needs of the environment. As the response to the pandemic evolved, and the new normal stabilizes , the focus will once again turn to the strategic priorities.

I continue to be impressed and proud of the work accomplished by the team and although the horizon ahead is a bit uncertain, I know the team’s resilience will win out.

– Claudine Cousins, Empower Simcoe CEO

2019/2020 Update

Digital Signage

Installed at 39 Fraser and 35 West to provide ongoing information.

Report Card

Developed to measure strategic plan impact on services.

Brochure

Advertising fee for service options developed for distribution in early 2020.

Snoezelen
Room

129 Ferris Lane is now available as a fee for service item.

Live Well,
Work Well
Committee

To provide voluntary health and wellness sessions on a monthly basis.

Compassion Fatigue Seminars

Access to Compassion Fatigue seminars provided to employees.

Employment & Transition Courses

Material has been developed for two fee-for-service 6 week long courses.

Essential Skills for Todays Learners

Offered to qualified employees as part of our succession planning.

iMpactful Results

Stories of Success

Children & Families

Ariella's Smile

Andrea and Jeff Hembruff and their daughter Ariella are supported by the Simcoe County Infant and Child Development Program at Empower Simcoe. Thanks to the generous contributions from the Barrie Fire Fighters, the Children’s Treatment Network of York - Simcoe, and our Empower Simcoe Foundation, a new Rifton Activity Chair has become a reality, greatly assisting two-year-old Ariella in her development. “With the proper support this chair offers, Ariella now has the opportunity to focus on other skills instead of having to put all her energy towards just trying to sit upright,” says Andrea. “It’s truly been a blessing to her and our family.”

Congratulations, Ariella. Your happy smile says it all!

Ariella's Smile

To read about the other impacts we’ve made on our community,
Download our PDF

There are currently 38 individuals receiving support from the Empower Simcoe Family Home Program.

Children & Families

Happy Birthday Country Style

Travis, supported by the Empower Simcoe Family Home Program, loves his country music. There’s nothing he enjoys more than attending the many outdoor music festivals that take place in Simcoe County every year. With the music blaring, and people dancing on a dirt - covered farm field, Travis loves catching a glimpse of his favourite artists as they get down under the burning summer sun. Sadly, for this year anyway, the impact of COVID - 19 has silenced events like Boots and Hearts and the Big Sky Music Festival. What can’t be silenced is Travis’ passion for live country music. So, when Pure Country 106 Morning Hosts Jason McCoy, and Carey Moran found out about Travis’ birthday, they were delighted to reach out with an autographed Road Hammers CD and poster, along with a Pure Country t-shirt, bandana, hat and an invitation for an upcoming visit to the Pure Country studios and tour of the radio station. Yes, this was a memorable birthday. For Travis, country roads take him home.

For more information on how to become an Empower Simcoe Family Home provider, contact Supports and Services Manager Michele Kapteyn at mkapteyn@empowersimcoe.ca.

Where We Call Home

A Decade of Homelessness

Raised in foster care, Michael frequently moved between homes throughout southern Ontario. By the age of 15, he found himself in Toronto living in temporary shelter accommodation. Over two years ago, Michael moved to the Midland area to be close to his daughter, but found himself couch surfing and accessing a transitional shelter.

After trying unsuccessfully for over a year with his housing search, Michael sought out assistance. When the Housing Access Worker met with Michael, it was determined that he would be a good candidate for the Housing First Program through Empower Simcoe . After the initial application process, Michael was assigned to a caseworker from the Rapid Re-Housing Program. Through advocacy and calls to multiple landlords, Michael was able to find an apartment with a rental subsidy to eliminate the financial barrier that was holding him back from being successful.

Michael is very grateful for all the support he received from the community. His focus is now on personal goals like getting his Ontario Secondary School Graduation Diploma, full-time employment, and being the best parent possible to his two-year-old daughter Olivia.

Empower Simcoe provided case management support to 110 people through Housing Resource Centres and another 147 people through the Regional Housing First program.

15,836 housing inquiries over the last year to the Empower Simcoe Regional Housing Support Services program.

In the Community

Visionary Award

Congratulations to Empower Simcoe CEO Claudine Cousins on being named the 2020 Woman of the Year – Visionary category, by the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. Thank you, Claudine, for leading the Empower Simcoe team to continually innovate, inspire, and move forward in the work we do to empower people to lead a meaningful and inclusive life.

“We want the community to know that we’re a community agency. This is about all people. It’s about people living their best lives.”

Empower Simcoe

Foundation

Raising funds to improve the quality of life for people of all abilities and foster an inclusive society.

Logan Schram, 2019 Celebrating Community
Champions Fashion Show participant

Christopher's Next Steps

In his full-length gown and a beaming smile on his face, Christopher Lehmann proudly celebrated with fellow high school graduates this year by earning his diploma from the Learning Centre at Nantyr Shores Secondary School. As Christopher’s family cheered him on from the graduation sidelines, so did his friends at Empower Simcoe. From his first steps as an infant to those adult steps across the graduation stage, Empower Simcoe has been a part of Christopher’s journey since birth. First, the Simcoe County Infant Development program, then the Empower Simcoe Family Support Services Program, to Empower Simcoe’s Youth Services, Christopher, has reached one milestone after another. For his family, supporting the Empower Simcoe Foundation has been a way to give back. According to Christopher’s mom Sandy, “I can think of no better agency to support. You’ve truly been there every step of the way with the most caring staff. It’s our pleasure to donate to an amazing organization.”

We can’t wait to see Christopher take his next steps in life.

Christopher's Next Steps

(Left) Christopher Lehmann age 3
(Right) Christopher Lehmann Graduation Photo)

Gift of the Heart Award

For giving selflessly to improve the quality of life for people supported by Empower Simcoe, the 2019 Gift of the Heart recipients: (left to right)Community Partner of the Year, Rob Hilton from AG Secure PropertyManagement; Self Advocate Brant Mawdsley, Empower Simcoe Accommodations Support Worker Matt Jeffries, and volunteer Annie St.Louis.

Gift of the Heart Award

Donors & Sponsors

  • A.K. Enterprises
  • Tom Aikins
  • Arner and Nancy Armstrong
  • Barrie KIA
  • Sheldon C. Barris
  • Kim Benner
  • Tim Berry
  • Dave Blow
  • BMO Bank of Montreal
  • Boston Pizza - Barrie North
  • Karl Cadera
  • Coleman Residents Council
  • Kelsey Collins
  • Comfort Keepers
  • Compu-SOLVE Technologies Inc.
  • ComVida Corporation
  • Brandon and Ashley Cordua
  • Cowan Insurance Group
  • Desjardins Insurance
  • Alissa DiBella
  • Andrea Dickins
  • Barbara Dorey
  • Dress for Success - Barrie/Orillia
  • David and Julia Elliott
  • Empower Simcoe Employees
  • Equitable Life of Canada
  • Essa Painting
  • Bonnie Firth
  • Muriel Flynn
  • Carol Forget
  • Linda Forrest
  • Devora Galper
  • Margaret Good
  • Janice Griffith
  • Michael Hesson
  • Charles Hofley
  • Tamara Hopkins
  • Agnes Hopper
  • Christopher Hummel
  • Huronia Alarm & Fire Security
  • IBEW - Local 636
  • Invesco Canada Ltd.
  • J Plumbing
  • Joe's No Frills
  • Daniel and Ann Johnston
  • Just Junk
  • Kempenfelt Imaging Systems Inc.
  • Kempenfelt Rotary Club
  • Kempenfelt Windows & Doors
  • Manuela Kerr
  • Rose Mary and Thomas King
  • Kiwanis Club of Barrie
  • Knights of Columbus, Council #10370 St. John Vianney
  • Clarence and Joyce Laing
  • Lake Country Office Solutions Inc.
  • Craig Lilley
  • Mackenzie Investments
  • Essa Kathy Malinowski
  • J. Marlatt
  • Bonnie Martino
  • Donald Matheson
  • Frank Matys
  • Brant Mawdsley
  • May Court Club of Barrie
  • Chuck and Dorothy McIlravey
  • Mary Jo McKinney
  • John McNabb
  • Jim McNamara
  • Doug Mein
  • Michael E. Reed Professional Corporation
  • Anne and Alvin Moore
  • NEXIM Healthcare Consultants Inc.
  • Alex Nuttall
  • S. Patrick
  • Russ and Lynne Perry
  • Professionals in Partnership
  • Ron Ptasiuk
  • Victoria Ptasiuk
  • PT Landscaping Inc.
  • RBC Dominion Securities Inc
  • RBC Foundation
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • Linda Reid
  • Denise Remus
  • Gale Reynolds
  • Anna Rinaldi
  • RMF Vending Services Inc.
  • Roderick H. Young Architect
  • Alexandra Roth
  • Royal Canadian Legion - Barrie Branch 147
  • Royal LePage - First Contact Realty, Brokerage
  • Scholastic Canada Ltd.
  • Scotiabank Barrie Financial Centre
  • Silver Birch Contracting Ltd.
  • Greg Smith
  • Sherry Smith-Ross
  • Wendy Stephens
  • Cynthia Straughan
  • Superior Home Health Care
  • The D.H. Gordon Foundation
  • The Fry Guy
  • The Oakville Foundation for Intellectually Handicapped People
  • The Tonglen Foundation
  • John Theakston
  • Helen Thompson
  • Tom Richardson Electric (Stroud) Ltd.
  • Angela Valyear
  • Kyla Vavala
  • Arnold and Grace Veen
  • Miriam Villamil-Pallister
  • Viper Club of Ontario
  • Wall-Armstrong & Green
  • Deborah Wall-Armstrong
  • Wardle-Harris Auto Service
  • Water Depot Essa
  • Blair White
  • The Whyne Family
  • Wild Wing Barrie
  • Wild Wing Brechin
  • Winmar Barrie and Orillia

Milestones

Jerry Johnson Supported Independent Living Worker 35 years
Jody Crompton Accommodations Support Worker 35 years
Donna Penton Supports and Services Resource Advisor 30 years
Stephanie Boyes Accommodations Support Worker 30 years
Loretta Maloney Accommodations Support Worker 30 years
Lorri Bowers Community Support Worker 30 years
Tania Cole Community Support Worker 30 years
Melanie Smith Community Support Worker 30 years
Kim Breske Community Support Worker 25 years
Cindy Hayes Supported Independent Living Worker 25 years
Meaghan Kelly Community Support Worker 25 years
Lynn Stewart Community Support Worker 25 years
Tammy Gagne Community Support Worker 20 years
Brenda Kopp Community Support Worker 20 years
Melissa Ellis Community Support Worker 20 years
Terri Rodda Accommodations Support Worker 20 years
Judy Hubert EarlyON Child and Family Centre Program Facilitator 20 years
Tami Holt-Burman Accommodations Support Worker 20 years
Laurie Straughan Supports and Services Manager 20 years
Laura Stevens EarlyON Child and Family Centre Program Facilitator 20 years
Heather Hauck Community Support Worker 20 years
Julie Gillanders Supported Independent Living Worker 15 years
Mary Ann Ramos Accommodations Support Worker 15 years
Kim Marion EarlyON Child and Family Centre Program Facilitator 15 years
Amy Angus Accommodations Support Worker 15 years
Mandy Moniz Community Support Worker 15 years
Lindsey Clements Accommodations Support Worker 15 years
Nancy Smith Accommodations Support Worker 15 years
Sheri Leppard Accommodations Support Worker 15 years
Christina Horne Accommodations Support Worker 15 years
Krista Leigh Community Support Worker 15 years
Tina Billings Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Leah Desormeaux Family Support Worker 10 years
Erica Makivirta Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Jessica Miller Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Michelle Bernier Supported Independent Living Worker 10 years
Lea Ward Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Mike Nicholson Community Support Worker 10 years
Ashley Roe Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Karen Hilton Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Elizabeth Oliver Supports and Services Supervisor 10 years
Wendy Kielly Community Support Worker 10 years
Mallory Gutterson Accommodations Support Worker 10 years
Paige Johnston Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Alexandra Duncan Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Samantha Quartermain Community Support Worker 5 years
Debbie Degagner Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Caitlin Hunt Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Michelle Rose Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Shawna Reynolds Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Miriam Mittler-Barbieri Scheduling and Operations Supervisor 5 years
Cory Pecor Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Hayley Vandervoort Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Jennifer Carver Supported Independent Living Worker 5 years
Jamie Hall Marketing and Communications Manager 5 years
Courtney Drury Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Amanda Archibald Accommodations Support Worker 5 years
Abhilash Nair Accommodations Support Worker 5 years

Our Donors

Our thanks to all of our supporters! You make it possible for the Empower Simcoe Foundation to continue fulfilling our mission to support people of all abilities to live a self-fulfilling life and to foster an inclusive society.

To read about the other impacts we’ve made on our community,
Download our PDF

Legacy Gift

Our deepest gratitude to the Estates of Dorothy Wieder and Pearl S. Williams for your legacy gifts, ensuring the continuation of Empower Simcoe’s work for as long as it’s needed.

Have you considered making Empower Simcoe part of your legacy? Naming the Empower Simcoe Foundation in your will is one of many thoughtful legacy gifts you could make; including gift options that can help reduce your tax burden now. Whatever option you choose, your gift could empower Simcoe County residents to lead meaningful and inclusive lives for generations to come. Find more information here, or contact Donor Relations Coordinator, Doug Cleverley at dcleverley@empowersimcoe.ca.

Supporting Organizations