Building resilient communities through the Ontario Trillium Foundation

ESS PSW working on a computer at a desk in a new office space
The global pandemic has impacted and affected how we all live, work and conduct business, with ESS being no exception.

COVID-19 resulted in the closure of our main office, our home of 10 years, due to its location within a long-term care facility experiencing outbreaks. This was a space used by over 25 staff including our business operations, administrative, and client service teams.

Staff shifted to working remotely from home, and took on the challenging task of coordinating care and delivering our in-person group programs in a virtual format.  This operational change also uncovered the limits of our existing client management software in providing us with the necessary communication and real-time information systems needed to effectively and efficiently operate in the setting of a pandemic.

Staying equipped and up to date with infection prevention and control best practices in an ever-changing environment of heightened measures, and with the necessary training and supplies (such as PPE), to safely provide essential community care and support to our most vulnerable was crucial.

In 2021 we received funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Resilient Communities Fund to help us recover and rebuild through these challenges. This funding was critical in helping us meet the changing needs of our agency and delivery of service and client care.

Through this fund we were successfully able to:

–> Redesign a new main office space and 3 satellite offices to create shared spaces that were both comfortable and safe, where staff feel protected coming in to work in a new hybrid work model. The spaces have been physically designed and retrofitted to support all public health protocols including distanced work stations, barriers and sanitization supplies to keep a healthy work environment. This allows staff to work remotely and come together safely as needed for client care coordination and program delivery.

–> Adopt and begin the implementation of a new client care software system that enables us to continue providing quality client service, important real-time care coordination information, meet privacy standards and maintain accurate records in this new way of working during current times.

–> Be properly equipped with the necessary supplies, equipment and expertise through our Nurse Lead, to guide us through the pandemic and the safe delivery of care to our clients and caregivers. Our on staff Nurse Lead is instrumental in providing staff and volunteer training on infection prevention and control best practices, proper handling and disposal of PPE, in developing COVID-19 safety protocols and plans, and ensuring our spaces are properly equipped and set up to meet current healthy and safety guidelines.


The financial support received through this fund gave us the resources to operate safely; to adapt to this new normal way of working and operating; and to help us grow stronger by making improvements to existing systems.

We wish to extend our thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for helping us continue to keep our commitment of providing compassionate and high-quality care our clients and community have come to trust us with, and know us for.

Learn more about the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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