We are pleased to present our 2022-2023 Annual Report highlighting our achievements and agency activities over our 2022-2023 fiscal year.
2023 marks a very important milestone in the life of the agency. This year, ESS is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. Though the scope and focus of the agency has changed as circumstances evolved, our mission has remained clear. Our goal is to support seniors and adults with disabilities to remain independent in their homes and community.
Although the past year presented some challenges, the year was filled with significant events and activities.
The threat of COVID-19 began to diminish, which meant we were able to reopen our in-person programs, something that had been put on hold since 2020. Undoubtedly, our virtual programs were very successful in allowing us to stay connected with clients who were isolated from friends and family due to the pandemic. However, the benefits to our clientele of being able to “come together” virtually in our Adult Day, Social Dining, Exercise and Wellness programs were achieved. People need people and especially after so many had been alone for such a long period of time.
The second major event in the past fiscal year was the Accreditation Canada review that ESS had undertaken. Independent experts came to the agency to assess the quality of the services and supports we offer clients. They met with our Board, staff, clients and partners and visited each of our programs. The outcome was Accreditation with Exemplary Standing as ESS achieved 100% of all standards used to assess community support services agencies across Canada.
Not surprisingly, there were also a few challenges. As we moved back to in-person programs difficult decisions had to be made. The resources that had been redirected from our in-person programs to virtual offerings had to be shifted again to allow us to bring our congregate programs back to life. COVID-19 taught us how critically important it is to stay in touch with seniors who are isolated and alone. We know this is a challenge facing many older adults in our community. Our goal is to find new sources of funding to allow ESS to continue to offer virtual options, so that connections with our clients remain strong.
Recruitment to allow us to reopen our programs was also problematic. In 2022-2023, we found it difficult to bring back long-standing volunteers and recruit new people critical to our capacity to support our clients in their programs. Similarly, the shortages of health human resources being felt by the health and social services sectors across Canada, also impacted ESS. Hiring has been a real challenge. Fortunately, we are delighted to report that we are back to full pre-pandemic staffing levels. Now we will turn our attention to attracting community members to volunteer at ESS once again.
Overall, it was a very successful year. We send our sincere appreciation to everyone who continued to support us so generously. We are especially grateful to our Board, clients, volunteers, donors and funders, partner agencies and committed staff.