2021: ONPHA’s Year in Review
This year has been another challenging yet transformative one for Ontarians. Over the past several months we as a province have experienced lockdown protocols, vaccine rollouts/mandates, and a federal election. In the community housing sector specifically, we also saw the creation of a new stand-alone federal ministry dedicated to housing, diversity and inclusion!
Throughout the many happenings this year, ONPHA has continued to stay diligent in informing and supporting our members by offering updates, advice, resources and learning opportunities, as well as through our continuous government advocacy. As the year comes to a close, we are outlining some of our biggest accomplishments from 2021.
Practical solutions for the day-to-day
Operations run more smoothly and efficiently with easy-to-find solutions to the everyday challenges of operating housing. That is why we work hard to bring our members the resources they need as housing providers. We are proud to host a suite of over 200 member resources and counting on our website!
This year, we also released a new Governance Essentials Resource Suite, designed to help community housing providers build great governance practices. Tailored specifically to non-profit and housing legislation in Ontario, our members can use these resources to help set up their current and future boards for success. The suite includes everything from a strategic planning toolkit, to a board orientation handbook, to a succession planning toolkit, and more!
Professional development opportunities
Our online courses ran throughout the year during the winter, spring/summer and fall seasons. This year, we re-launched our Governance Essentials course and resources with new and updated content to better support learners in effective leadership and stewardship. We also launched The new simplified administration of RGI Toronto, a custom course based on the City of Toronto’s local rules required by the service manager for all new RGI administrators.
Missed out on our online courses this year or want a refresher? Registration is now open for our Winter 2022 online courses, starting January 11, 2022. Check out our online courses page to see what we’re offering and to register.
With the help of ONPHA members, sponsors and housing experts across the country, we were able to host new webinars and workshops this year on topics that members told us they needed most. Some of these topics included transformation through data and technology and how to save energy and money and developing community housing. We look forward to offering you even more quality and valuable professional development opportunities in 2022.
Saving members time & money
This year, we welcomed five new partners to offer exclusive deals that are helping members operate more efficiently and save time and money through our ONPHA Select group purchasing program:
- HUB: employee group benefits program
- Hytec: water management solutions for multi-residential buildings
- Enliven HR: human resources consulting & services
- Humanscale Consulting: certified ergonomics professionals
- The Neighbourhood Group: conflict resolution and training
We brought back our virtual Regional Meetings. More than 400 members from across Ontario joined us to hear updates from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), and the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC). For those who couldn’t attend, we introduced a new perk for members and made the sessions available on-demand.
ONPHA Events Platform
The new ONPHA Events platform (powered by EventMobi) is a community hub where members can view sessions live or on demand, connect with other event attendees, sponsors, and speakers, and find event-related documents. We recently introduced a new feature so members can view recordings of past events and download accompanying resources at any time when they attend one of our events.
For our 2021 Conference: Opening doors through housing we resumed our 3-day programming format and adapted it for a virtual setting which brought together almost 700 members, partners, stakeholders and government leaders.
Through our exciting keynotes, panels and sessions we were able to share best practices, learn from housing experts, hear important updates, and plan for the future of community housing.
This year, each day of our three days of programming looked at the conference theme, Opening doors through housing, through a different lens based on the strategic objectives outlined in ONPHA’s 2022-2023 Strategic Plan:
Overall, this year’s conference proved to be a success and we are so excited to welcome everyone to our 2022 Conference happening live in Toronto and virtually November 3-5. Stay tuned for a Call for Submissions and registration launch in the New Year.
Scholarship and award winners
This year, we rewarded and honoured a few dedicated and hardworking individuals/groups within the community housing sector.
Kathleen Blinkhorn Aboriginal Student Scholarship
The Kathleen Blinkhorn Aboriginal Student Scholarship supports Indigneous students living in non-profit housing in Ontario.
Each scholarship winner receives $2,000 for use towards their post-secondary education costs, like tuition, books, technology and transportation.
- Christina Da Costa
- Lisa Contin
- Vicki Monague
- Stephanie Thompson
- Destiny Southwind
2021 ONPHA Awards
Each year, we recognize the achievements of outstanding organizations, individuals and teams that contribute to the vibrancy of the non-profit housing sector through the ONPHA Awards.
- Award for Excellence – Houses Opening Today Toronto (HOTT)
- ONPHA Innovation Award – Blue Door
- Sybil Frenette Outstanding Leadership Award – Margie Carlson
- Tenant Achievement Award – Somerset Towers Tenant Circle, tenant group, Ottawa Community Housing
- Lifetime of Service Award – Bill Beaty, Victor T. Buzak, Ken Holder, Andy Manahan, Selene Commerford, Rick Dumas, Hope Lee, Sheerin Sheikh
2021-2022 ONPHA Board of Directors
After holding our board election process with our members, we announced our new board of directors for 2021-2022 at our Annual General Meeting in November. This term, we’re pleased to welcome ONPHA’s new board members Lisa Keys and Catharine Vandelinde, and our new executive committee:
- President: Lori Trumper
- Vice-President: Alain Cadieux
- Treasurer: Veronica Fowler
- Secretary: Karen Henze
- Past-President: Suzanne Le
We’d also like to thank our board members who completed their terms, Tom Belanger and Arnold May, for their contributions.
Policy and advocacy roundup and key wins
Urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing
ONPHA continues to prioritize advocacy for Indigenous-led housing solutions following the release of the Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Plan for Ontario in May 2020, including in our submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee study on urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing.
We are now finalizing work on a community-led implementation strategy for Indigenous-led housing solutions in Ontario, based directly on feedback from Indigenous housing providers across the province.
Community housing renewal
ONPHA responded to Ontario’s initial consultation on regulation development under the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act related to income and asset limits. We are awaiting forthcoming consultations on other regulatory areas, including service and exit agreements, service levels, and access.
*NEW* Solutions lab
Our newly launched Solutions Lab, Community housing for the future: Taking collective action toward resiliency brings together key stakeholders from across Ontario’s community housing sector, including housing providers, service managers, and sector associations to develop and test creative business models and policy recommendations to ensure the sustainability, growth, and resilience of community housing in Ontario, while addressing the critical end of mortgages issue.
ONPHA partnered with some of our Housing Sector Leadership Table partners (the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, and Habitat for Humanity – Ontario Caucus) to call for increased provincial support along the housing continuum.
ONPHA also established a new table to bring together representatives from community housing and tenant advocacy organizations, including CHF Canada, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation to explore opportunities for alignment.
Vote Housing campaign
In the recent federal election, ONPHA supported the national, non-partisan Vote Housing campaign, designed to engage and mobilize Canadians to rally public and political support for ending homelessness and housing need in Canada.
Following the release of this campaign, all major federal parties adopted aspects of the Vote Housing Campaign recommendations in their election platforms – notably all parties included commitments to implement a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing strategy.
ONPHA prepared submissions for both the provincial and federal 2021 budgets. Track our housing sector “wins” in the budget commitments, and find the top five takeaways for community housing in the provincial and federal 2021 budgets.
Dedicated bulk utility rate
ONPHA shared a submission to the Ministry of Energy calling for a dedicated bulk utility rate for the community housing sector, which would help deliver immediate returns and safeguard the sector’s sustainability.
Ongoing engagement with government
ONPHA has regular touch points with staff from both the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, where we continue to advance our advocacy recommendations, and socialize ideas and critical issues impacting community housing.
We’re continuing strong advocacy efforts to make an impact, with a focus on influencing decision-makers, reaching our goal of 99,000 new affordable units (under the National Housing Strategy) and achieving long-term sustainability for our sector.
We’ve had a great year and opened the door to so many new and exciting initiatives and opportunities! For a more detailed look into our work throughout the 2020-2021 fiscal year, check out our Annual Report. We look forward to serving our members and the community housing sector further in 2022.