Family Service Ontario represents 44 not-for-profit member agencies from across the province, serving more than 250,000 individuals, couples and families in communities and workplaces every year. Our agencies provide a wide range of mental health, trauma and wellness services throughout Ontario. Together, we are here for families to get help, be well and live better today.
All relevant policy makers, stakeholders and funders value and count on Family Service Ontario for advice, direction and responsive leadership to changing community needs.
Family Service Agencies are well supported and resourced so that Ontarians have responsive community-based services that support healthy relationships and resilient individuals and families.
Family Service Ontario strives to:
- Strengthen and support member agencies through meaningful connections to each other
- Ensure timely access to relevant information and opportunities for knowledge exchange
- Increase value to member agencies through support and education activities
- Develop and support new entrepreneurial initiatives for members
- Act as a voice for Family Service agencies with policy makers, funders and other stakeholders
- Advocate with funders for resources
- Broaden the membership base and expand relationships to strengthen our voice
- Foster growth of new initiatives
Who are we?
Family Service Ontario is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of a minimum of six (6) and not more than ten (10) Directors. Directors must be over the age of eighteen (18), and be an active Executive Director of a member agency or an active or past Board member of a member agency. Directors are elected by the voting membership at the Annual General Meeting for a term of three (3) years. Directors are eligible to serve two (2) consecutive terms.
What do we do?
The Board of Directors is responsible for transacting the business on behalf of the Corporation. It operates under a modified Carver Model of Governance. Our mission is to provide a voice, to build capacity and to add value to member agencies.
How do we operate?
The Board provides direction and strategic planning to the Executive Director through the development of ends statements.
The Board operates with a selection of governance committees including: Management/Financial, By-Law review, Board Recruitment, Public Affairs, Member Services and Retreat Planning.
The Board meets once a month except during the summer, and for The Annual General Meeting, which takes place in May of each year.
How can you become involved?
The Board welcomes new members and makes every effort to fill vacancies on an annual basis.
If you know of anyone who meets the criteria for membership or are interesting in becoming a Director yourself, simply contact the Family Service Ontario office and request an application form. This is a great opportunity for individuals to provide leadership in the development, enhancement, growth and support of Family Service Ontario member agencies.
Family Service Ontario provides value to its members through:
Family Service Ontario provides value to its members through:
- Training programs, including:
- Clinical supervision
- Strategic planning
- Planning the Annual Conference
- Coordination of Family Service Day and onsite support
- Creating regular communication materials for distribution to the members
- Communicating with volunteer board members of the members
There continues to be a greater emphasis on communications to increase the sphere of influence of Family Service Ontario, particularly in the realm of government, with specific interest in expanding Family Service Ontario’s ability to influence government policy and its funding decisions.
Following consultations with the Communications and Government Relations Committees’ chairs, the board approved the decision to create one new Public Affairs Committee to capture all the activities of Family Service Ontario’s public affairs, while saving members’ time and reducing duplication of effort for those involved.
Public Affairs activities include:
- writing briefs
- participating in pre-budget consultations
- meetings with senior elected officials and bureaucrats and inviting them to attend our events
- providing political analysis
- creating election strategy and information packages for members to use in local campaigns
- participating in coalitions and partnerships
- developing news releases and holding press conferences
- advising and supporting member agencies on local political action
Family Service Ontario also keeps in constant contact with members through email, individual phone calls and site visits including:
- a weekly email update (Family Service Ontario This Week)
- bi-monthly email Member Update
- Queen’s Park Analysis
- knowledge sharing initiated by Family Service Ontario or by members through conference calls and emails for example, the Partner Assault Response Program, Canada Pension Plan enhancement, Ten-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy
- social media support using sample tweets to bring attention to key issues
- keeping members in contact with each other, sharing information and getting advice from each other
We strive to have our member agencies informed and engaged by:
- coordinating other special interest round tables on key topics such as the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Plan, FSO Demo Pilot Project, Social Assistance Pilot Project, Structured Psychotherapy and Employment Supports Project and Ontario Health Teams
- supporting and participating in Regional Directors Meetings
- coordinating an ongoing Best Practice Committee
- engaging members in planning the Annual Conference
- assisting members to identify and apply for grants
- providing information and support to members who are developing new services
- conducting regular member surveys on important topics and generating summary reports for the members e.g.: the bi-annual compensation survey, survey on violence against women services
- offering consultation and information to agencies developing new services
- assisting with creating collaborations
- writing support letters for members
Family Service Ontario relies on an incredible team of dedicated leaders in their professions to help strengthen families each and every day across Ontario. They dedicate their time to help govern Family Service Ontario with insight, vision and passion.
Board of Directors 2019-2020:
Alan McQuarrie – Chair
Alan was Executive Director of the Family Life Centre (now the Counselling Centre of East Algoma) in Elliot Lake for 4 years and is presently the Executive Director of the Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing. He brings expertise in the areas of Social Service Delivery, Governance, and Clinical Social Work. His belief in the potential of Family Service agencies to improve the well-being of vulnerable populations and to reduce the long term costs of health care can be enhanced through the provincial association.
Janet Irvine – Vice Chair
Janet Irvine is the Executive Director of the Northumberland Community Counselling Centre, serving a primarily rural population with its central office located in Cobourg, ON. Janet assumed this position four years ago with an extensive and varied career background in education, advocacy consultation, and business management. She has always been an avid and effective enthusiast for meeting the needs of children and youth and a consistent and passionate promoter of positive change.
Janet has served on the Family Service Ontario Board of Directors for two years, bringing to this position a substantial history of board and volunteer responsibilities, from Special Education Councils to Police Services Board Chair accountabilities. Janet is interested in government decision-making in the mental health area. Always an advocate of optimistic realism, she envisions employing the research-informed, highly professional, relatively infrastructure-free psychotherapeutic services of FSO agencies as the most common-sense, fiscally responsible method of expansion of mental health services across Ontario.
Sharon Mayne Devine
Sharon is the Executive Director of Catholic Family Services Peel-Dufferin.
She is a registered social worker and a member of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Sharon holds a BSW degree and a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Guelph respectively.
In addition to her private practice in social work, Sharon has been a member of the Graduate Faculty of Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Guelph for the past 15 years.
Shelley McCarthy – Secretary
In 2018, Shelley retired after fifteen years as the Executive Director of Family Counselling Centre of Brant. Prior to that, she held management positions at Catholic Family Services of Hamilton & and as a counsellor at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton.
Shelley brings leadership skills in change management, a sound knowledge of government expectations and operations, and a collaborative style to her work. She is interested in contributing to the continued development of the Board’s strategic priorities and in helping to build a strong association that is responsive to its members’ needs.
Brad Davis worked as a counsellor at Family Service Kent from 2003-2009, and as Executive Director from 2009 to the present. Brad’s volunteer experience includes the Canadian Mental Health Association and he currently sits of the Board of Directors of Restorative Justice Chatham-Kent. Brad is now ready to make a contribution to some of the larger issues that affect family service agencies from a provincial perspective.
Michelle Bergin is the Executive Director of Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County. Michelle has been working in the social service sector for over 25 years. She began her career in Social Work at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene and moved on to Hamilton for a few years providing counselling and group programs at a francophone community health centre. In 1995, she returned to Simcoe County and worked as a Family Counsellor and Family Life Education Coordinator for 9 years at the former North Simcoe Catholic Family Life Centre in Midland. She has been with Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County (CFSSC) since 2008, beginning as the Intake Coordinator and becoming Manager of Client Services in 2011. In May 2015 Michelle was appointed Executive Director.
Michelle is a passionate supporter of Family Service Ontario and has experienced first-hand the benefits of membership while at CFSSC. She is energized by the opportunities being presented currently for Family Service Ontario and would like to be part of the “next wave” of the association. As a board member Michelle brings substantial experience in all levels of the social service and an expertise in managing the rural and urban challenges of service delivery and organizational management.
Chondrena Vieira-Martin is the Executive Director of Thrive Counselling (Halton). Chondrena earned a M.A. in Criminology at the University of Toronto, B.A. in Sociology and Economics from the University of Western Ontario and is a registered social worker. She has been dedicated to the social service, mental health and addiction sectors throughout her career.
She is committed to supporting individuals and families and to strengthening the services that provide these important supports.
Joanne Young Evans
Joanne Young Evans is the Executive Director of Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington and has led non-profit agencies for two decades.Her vast array of expertise includes: organizational/staff development, change management, marketing and communications, stakeholder/government relations, capacity building and negotiations. She is a proud board member of FSO and her second career is acting and voiceover work.
Joanne has been honoured with the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in Africa and the Outstanding International Volunteer Contribution Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities also for her work in Africa.