There are a set of premises that are fundamental to the work of The Federation. You can read them on our website or in our strategic plan. They are the core ideas that guide us: access to social care is a human right; social services organizations are critical to a healthy community; the inclusion of many voices creates lasting change. There are nine in total.
They keep us oriented and provide a rationale for the work we do as a federation. They are there when we bring forward concerns and solutions on behalf of you, your clients, and the broader community services sector. They guide the way we engage in collaborative action with our allies and partners to address issues and improve programs and policies.
Premise: The best community services come from local knowledge and relationships
Our members rely on us to provide accurate, current, and useful information. And we are often asked about The Federation’s position on a particular issue or topic. Because we have a strong vision and those core values, our answer is often the same. Our goal—what we are working toward—is a strong and sustainable community social services sector that values and prioritizes meaningful reconciliation. That objective guides us when we are asked to meet or engage or consult or partner.
In order to achieve that goal, we do our very best to get your voices, experiences, and ideas into the room and onto the agenda. We believe that the best social services are informed by local knowledge and enhanced by local relationships; organizations that are embedded in local communities understand best the needs of that community and the approaches that would work best.
Sometimes that looks like an invitation for members to participate in planning sessions with decision-makers (like the Specialized Homes and Support Services engagement). Sometimes that looks like the board of directors bringing forward stories and examples and lived experiences to meetings with ministers (like when we met with the Minister for Mental Health and Addictions last year). And sometimes it looks like The Federation staff team asking members for their thoughts and ideas so that we can incorporate them into our advocacy and engagement efforts (like the recent MCFD engagement survey).
Premise: We really are better together
The entire Federation team works to represent your interests, advocate on your behalf, and amplify your voices on a daily basis. But it can be just as important for you, our members, to feel empowered and supported in representing and advocating for each other and our sector. Whether it be at local planning tables, meetings with municipal leaders, conversations with your donors, or even sharing data and information with your board members—supporting our membership in contributing to the collective voice of The Federation has always been a central part of our philosophy and approach.
As you may have noticed, we eased off on this call to action over the past few years. We heard you when you said you had no time or just needed to prioritize your own organization’s messaging. And we understand how stretched you are with the added impacts of the ongoing toxic drug crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, our support is always available to you. Our team is here to help you when you need us. And it really does make a difference when we stand together and work toward our collective goals with a unified voice. The Federation staff team (in particular Rick, Rebecca, Michelle, Catherine, and Marshall) are always available to help you with labour market data, key messages, strategic communication, media contacts, or resources and we are just a phone call or email away.
We understand that you may not have the time to delve into the details of the Social Services Labour Market Research Project Final Report or the Residential Review Final Report, but we can tell you what you need to know and provide you with quotes or charts or talking points. (And yes, 10 years later, the Residential Review Final Report still serves as our guide for an improved system of care!)
We are happy to talk on the phone when you are planning a meeting or event to share our approach to reconciliation or how we are building a strong and sustainable community social services sector (or child care or recruitment and retention or compensation) so you can use the same wording and language and speak to our accomplishments and objectives.
Premise: Social services organizations are critical to a healthy community
Is your local MLA coming to tour your new child care space? Call Rebecca for some talking points. Is your board’s strategic planning event coming up? Are they worried about staff turnover? Call Rick to talk about recruitment and retention issues. Are you thinking of presenting to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services? Email Marshall for key messages and past submissions The Federation has made and set up a time to talk.
If you need anything from us, just say so. Questions about government legislation? More PPE? An update on sector issues? A relaxing conversation over lunch? Links to online courses on anti-oppressive practice? A new template for press releases? If there is anything we can provide or create or offer to support you and your staff, please let us know.
The strength of this federation comes from you, our members, and we want to make sure you remain supported, included, and informed.
We look forward to speaking with you!
Rebecca Ataya Lang
Associate Executive Director