While writing this message in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging, as our response has consumed much of our attention these past few months, it also provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on all the impactful work that took place before and how it continues today.
If 2019-2020 had a theme, it would be collaboration. The commitment to collaboration to best serve Ottawa’s residents is a strength of Ottawa’s Community Health Centres (CHCs). Last year, this commitment led to the successful application and creation of The Ottawa Health Team – Équipe Santé Ottawa (OHT–ESO). OHT–ESO is creating the conditions for people to lead healthy lives and get care and support when they need it, right in the communities where they live. OHT-ESO’s efforts are facilitated by CHCs and shaped by the people who use and rely on local health services to ensure our approach to promoting health and wellbeing is truly community-based.
Collaboration and exploring new ways of working also took place across the organization at the program level. Our Employment Services team, for example, is responding to the province-wide transformation of employment supports. We engaged 13 community employment organizations representing the regions of Ottawa, Prescott-Russell, Cornwall, Lanark and Leeds and Grenville to explore a community-driven model which collaborates with local service providers to leverage the expertise of each geographical region. Our goal is to ensure service delivery meets the needs of each community, and we will continue to work with our partner to redesign services using an evidence-informed approach that ties service delivery to the best possible client outcome.
Finally, the essential collaboration is that which occurs each and every day between our employees and individual clients, families and communities. Our strong relationships with our clients and communities allowed us to very quickly adapt to the emerging needs COVID-19 presented and continue our services and programs in new, creative, and often virtual ways. For this, we are grateful for the commitment and dedication of our employees and volunteers, and for the trust, resiliency, and the flexibility our clients and communities have shown.
So far, 2020 has been a challenging year, but also one of significant change and innovation. At this time, we do not know exactly what the future holds. Still, we remain positive that together, we will address whatever comes our way while delivering quality and impactful supports and services.