Over the past year, Community Living Toronto (CLTO) has been tested and challenged in many ways. In an unprecedented time, CLTO staff have shown incredible dedication to the families we support.
Over the past year, Community Living Toronto (CLTO) has been tested and challenged in many ways. In an unprecedented time, CLTO staff have shown incredible dedication to the families we support. Our organization could not have accomplished all we have without our staff, who sacrificed so much to get us through this past year.
We have continued to strengthen our relationship with CUPE Local 2191 to meet the changing needs of the communities we support. Our staff, leadership, union members, donors, volunteers, members of the Board of Directors, Association members, and government partners have all worked tirelessly to keep the people we support safe and engaged in their communities.
In such an uncertain time, we continued to be guided by our Strategic Plan, moving toward our goals of Organizational Strength, Innovation, and Leadership & Advocacy. You will read in this report the many ways our organization has gone above and beyond to support our communities throughout the pandemic. We also share community stories featuring CLTO’s move to virtual supports, activity boxes, and wellness bags. We were able to conduct accessible vaccination clinics across the agency through coordinated efforts with our partner agencies and health care providers. To address vaccine hesitancy, we launched our Sleeves Up! campaign, featuring personal stories from staff members about their own vaccination journeys to show our community that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Our volunteers and members generously donated personal protective equipment (PPE), technology, activities, funds, and time to support CLTO during the pandemic. We are so grateful to these valued members of our community. Our engagement with government and relationships with elected officials remains strong. We are especially thankful to former Minister Todd Smith and our partners at the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) for their ongoing support. In June 2021 we welcomed Minister Merrilee Fullerton to the portfolio and are working productively with her and her team on a variety of issues.
Early 2021 was especially challenging for CLTO. We experienced a devastating loss of four cherished members of our CLTO family to the pandemic. The weight of their passing is immense, and they will not be forgotten. As well, many staff and people we support have become ill and had to take the necessary time to recover.
We restarted in-person Respite and Community Participation Supports on a small scale in fall 2020. Our initial rollout supported small groups at a few sites across CLTO. While this reopening was short-lived due to the second wave of COVID-19, we updated this work to launch pilots in summer 2021. As pandemic restrictions ease, we hope to grow the number of groups and sites so we can welcome more individuals into our programs.
This is an opportunity to redesign our services in a way that further supports our community through smaller, more individualized program offerings. Affordable housing, too, remains a priority: we are progressing our plans to re-develop CLTO’s Lawson site into a new, inclusive community of hundreds of market price and affordable units.
Anti-racism came to the fore of global consciousness with the murder of George Floyd by police in May 2020. Last summer, we established an Anti-Racism Committee, which has been guiding the important and necessary work of anti-racism, anti-Black racism, and anti-Indigenous racism within CLTO. This Committee is dedicated to measurable, transparent change across all levels of the organization, and its work will evolve based on engagement with stakeholders, such as community members, family members, caregivers, and people receiving supports and services. Members from both CLTO leadership and CUPE Local 2191 are leading the collective work of this Committee.
The strength, resilience, and collective efforts of all those connected to CLTO have helped keep us going every day of this past year. We mourn those we have lost, while knowing we have done our best. Reflecting on this past year, we also look ahead to brighter days. In the face of adversity, we continue advocating for the rights and choices of people with intellectual disabilities, with a hopeful eye on what’s to come in the years ahead.
President of the Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer