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2017-18 Annual Report

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Message from the Board Chair & Executive Director

First and foremost, to everyone involved with ASYR – staff, clients, board members, community members – Happy 35th Anniversary!

When ASYR was established in 1983 its purpose was to provide supportive services to people affected by addictions. This work continues today and we are proud to be celebrating 35 years serving individuals, their families and communities in York Region and beyond.

We believe in the ability of the people we serve to make choices that are right for them and are committed to honouring their life experiences. We believe in the right of all persons to choose programs and services that are consistent and meaningful to them, and that are sensitive to their social and lived experiences. We recognize that individuals who may have been historically disadvantaged by mainstream systems, structures, and ideologies should have full access to the services they need. We are working hard to serve everyone with the best programs and services.

2017-2018 was a very busy year. Our collective commitment to serving individuals affected by addictions, is reflected in a number of different ways by our board, staff, community partners and funders.

During the past year, the Board has worked hard to consider changes in the legislative and environmental landscape and how those changes might impact the work of ASYR. The Board is committed to continuing these discussions as it looks to the future. In its commitment to provide sound oversight, the Board embarked upon its own governance training. This work was invaluable and will strengthen its governance role moving forward.

The work of our staff is the element in the success of the agency. We value the staff at ASYR, their expertise and ability. The integrity demonstrated by each staff member, daily, with each client is critically valued. We are committed to doing our best to support staff in their work, and to ensure a safe and supportive working environment for everyone.

Led by the ASYR Cultural Responsiveness, Equity and Inclusivity Committee, a consultant was engaged to work with ASYR to deepen the commitment of the agency to Anti-Oppression and Anti-Racism (AOAR). Earlier this year, staff came together to increase awareness and knowledge of AOAR and its impact on structures, laws, policies and culture, and to increase understanding of the value of implementing a change process to enhance equity in the organization.

ASYR has re-committed to an important and essential AOAR journey. The work that has been accomplished thus far is important. As part of its commitment to AOAR, ASYR will continue to collaborate with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) to provide Indigenous Cultural Competency training to health service providers in York Region, South Simcoe and beyond.

During the past year, funding for ASYR from the Central LHIN increased by approximately 26%. As part of its enhanced role, ASYR was designated the lead agency by the LHIN. ASYR brought together five other agencies to collaborate and develop a suite of programs and services for individuals affected by addictions. The Wellness Collaborative includes Across Boundaries, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Caritas School of Life, the Krasman Centre, Vitanova Foundation and ASYR. Using a harm reduction approach, the Wellness Collaborative has successfully expanded case management, peer support and counselling services across the Central LHIN. We are grateful to the Wellness Collaborative agencies for their commitment and leadership in reaching out to individuals and communities, and for their support of our collective work to increase program and service capacity for those affected by addictions.

During the past year, ASYR and OPSEU negotiated a first Collective Agreement. We wish to thank both bargaining teams for their commitment to building a fair and reasonable agreement for everyone.

Thank you to the members of our board. Your leadership and commitment has enabled the agency to continue its work to provide important programs and services to individuals affected by addictions.

A very special thank you to all ASYR staff. Your hard work is critical to individuals who seek us out and you inspire our efforts to ensure you have the necessary resources to provide the best possible care.

Without the support of our funders, we would not be able to do our work. Thank you to the Central Local Health Integration Network, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Municipality of York Region for your continued financial support.

We also want to thank our community partners. You are an essential ingredient in our work and we are grateful for your partnerships.

As we pause a moment to celebrate our  35th anniversary, it is essential that we spend that time recognizing the hard work and commitment of
those that have come before us. Let’s all recognize those individuals that have been involved in the growth and development of ASYR over the years. Thank you for your vision and hard work. You built the foundation on which ASYR continues to grow and serve more and more people. We will continue to build on that foundation to serve people affected by addictions.

As we look to the next 35 years, we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. We remain committed to serving all people affected by addictions.

Again, Happy 35th Anniversary ASYR!

Allan Hoyle – Chair, Board of Directors   |     Penny Marrett – Executive Director

Revenue – $6,357,891

Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care (86%)
Ministry of Children & Youth Services (1%)
Strategic Partnerships (12%)
Other Income (1%)

Expenses – $6,340,698

Program Investments (86%)
Professional Development (2%)
Operations (11%)
Amortization (<1%)

2018 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)

For the year ending March 31, 2018

  • Total Client Visits – 30,055 *
  • Total Individuals Served – 5,671 *
  • Gender – 61% Male | 39% Female
  • Total Cities & Towns Served in 2018 – Newmarket – 17%  |  Aurora – 12%  |  City of Vaughan – 12%  |  Richmond Hill – 10%  |  Markham – 8%  |  Keswick – 6%  |  Toronto – 3%  |  Stouffville – 3%
  • Total Group Sessions – 1,053 *
  • Total Group Participants – 11,671 *
  • Top 3 Substances Used in the Last 12 Months – Alcohol, Cannabis & Cocaine

* The client numbers are from April 2017 to March 2018 and reflect total participants across all programs offered including specialized partnership programs such as Housing First and Back on Track.

T.I.’s Story

In October 2017, I walked away from my job; a job I have known for 30 years. I was deep into substance abuse, depression, anxiety and I felt hopelessly lost. I thought if I asked for help, there would be help readily available. It took me a while to get into a rehabilitation facility. I was there for two months, but it didn’t work well for me. I was in a bad state of mind – depressed, anxious – my life was in disarray. I wasn’t working, my marriage was falling apart; I was a mess. After searching for help, I found ASYR. My counsellors were compassionate and professional from the start. They were knowledgeable, respectful and caring. I felt they truly cared for me. My counsellor was able to suggest groups which gave me the tools to get back on track. From men’s groups, CBT, DBT, education sessions and one-on-one counselling. All of it has helped me in my journey. I now have hope, my wife and I have reconnected, my kids have their father back and life is special to me again. Thank you, ASYR, with all of my heart.

S.P.’s Story

When I came to the family and friends support group, I felt alone and broken watching my beloved child struggle with addiction and mental health challenges. It wasn’t easy walking into the room, however, the counsellors quickly made me, and the other participants, feel safe, heard, and accepted. They created a space of non-judgement and support, where I no longer felt isolated and struggling alone. Here was a group of people who all had loved ones struggling with addictions and who knew exactly what I was going through and feeling. This realization was comforting. Participating in this group provided insights, validation and support as I navigated my child’s addiction, mental health and legal challenges.

W.D.’s Story

I have been very fortunate to be part of the men’s aftercare group for a little over a year. The care, concern and support that the counsellors offer and coordinate is extraordinary. Everyone in the group has their own story, but to have such a safe and supportive environment that allows for an anxious, introverted person to be grounded, calm and focussed is worth the “inconvenience” of not being home or out-and-about on Tuesday evenings. I am truly grateful that such a program exists, and that ASYR clearly takes great care in making sure the program is run by professionals (dare I say, friends) in such a fashion that exudes nothing but compassion and integrity.

ASYR is proud to be working with the partners of the Wellness Collaborative to expand programs and services for people affected by addictions. Together, we are committed to making a difference in people’s lives.

On August 29, 2017, the then Minister of Health & Long-Term Care (Ontario), Eric Hoskins, announced that $222 Million would be invested in addictions over the next three years. In the fall of 2017, the Ministry announced that it was committed to investing in the community and that $70 Million of the $222 Million would be invested in long-term support for individuals affected by addictions.

The Central LHIN, as the funder, identified Addiction Services for York Region as the lead agency and a group of addiction service providers funded by the LHIN came together to discuss programs and services that should be offered to individuals affected by addictions within the Central LHIN.

A number of areas were identified as priority areas that supported the provincial opioid strategy and addictions more generally:

  • Case Management
  • Peer Support
  • Outreach/Street Outreach
  • Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinics (RAAM)

The target population for the programs and services include:

  • Individuals living with addictions
  • Families, loved ones and friends of individuals living with addictions
  • Primary Care

The Goals and Objectives of our work include:

  • More equitable access to appropriate health services including addiction and mental health services and supports leading to better outcomes
  • A better understanding of existing resources available in the community by marginalized populations leading to reduced use of emergency departments and a reduction in the number of visits to emergency departments within 30 days
  • Increased ability for people affected by addictions and mental health issues to access needed services in a timely way
  • Increased awareness of health care options, coordination and ease of navigation leading to a reduction in visits to emergency departments


  • Task force struck to develop a community-based treatment system for individuals affected by alcohol and drug use


  • Proposal to establish an “assessment/referral primary care” program co-written by ASYR, Addiction Research Foundation and York Central Hospital. Services begin to be offered during the week; operations based at York General Hospital.
  • Letters patent approved in June 1983. ASYR is funded by the Ministry of Health. ASYR moves out of York General Hospital to Newmarket. Formal two-year program development period begins.


  • Program and Client Objectives negotiated with the Ministry of Health and MOU is developed. ASYR agrees to:
    • Conduct detailed assessments of those persons experiencing problems related to alcohol/drug abuse and refer these clients to appropriate treatment;
    • Assist assessed clients to carry out treatment plans and provide on-going support;
    • Provide information and assistance to family members of substance abusers.
  • Interim evaluation conducted toward the end of the year. Satellite office operations in Georgina recommended by Ministry of Health.


  • Final evaluation conducted, on-going status awarded and a recommendation made for an additional staff person.


  • New drug and alcohol treatment and counselling program for young people announced by the Ministry of Health. Expansion at ASYR is intended to make addictions treatment more responsive and accessible to young people as well as others accessing the addiction treatment system.


  • Planning is undertaken with Addictions Research Foundation (Barrie) and Simcoe Outreach Services (SOS) to develop a program for individuals living with concurrent disorders.
  • Additional funding received for expansion of the assessment/referral system.


  • Brief Outpatient Treatment model introduced at ASYR.
  • Formal inter-agency network established between ASYR and the two largest community mental health service providers: York Support Services Network (YSSN) and York Region Mental Health Services.


  • ASYR expands the Community Withdrawal Management Services program


  • Expansion of Concurrent Disorders, Court Diversion and Outreach programs. Expansion of satellite offices in York Region


  • Funding for Addictions Supportive Housing (ASH) confirmed.


  • Funding for Community Opioid Treatment Program confirmed.


  • Full-service Community Opioid Treatment Program offered to the community.


  • On behalf of the Drug Strategy Committee York Region, ASYR appointed lead agency to consider youth’s attitudes towards drug use. 11-month initiative funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
  • ASYR develops an Addictions Strategy, based on the Central LHIN’s 2916-2019 Integrated Health Services Plan (IHSP), and in consultation with ASYR staff, community stakeholders, key informants and people with lived experience.
  • ASYR involved as lead agency in the development of the Wellness Collaborative within the Central LHIN to provide more comprehensive programs and services for individuals affected by addictions.

ASYR would like to recognize clients who have lost their lives in the last year. Our sincere condolences to their loved ones. May you treasure the memories of the good times you spent together.

ASYR also lost one of its staff. Margy Hay was a long-standing employee who was committed to the people we served. For over 20 years, Margy provided hope to individuals who came to ASYR for services. Margy was also very supportive of her colleagues. Her smile, encouragement and support was an inspiration to so many. We miss Margy and extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

ASYR is grateful to its funders:

  • Central Local Health Integration Network/Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care
  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
  • Regional Municipality of York

ASYR values the partnerships it has with other agencies and organizations. Thank you to each and every organization that partners with us. Together, we can make a difference in people’s lives.

  • The Wellness Collaborative
    • Across Boundaries
    • Black Creek Community Health Centre
    • Caritas School of Life
    • Krasman Centre
    • Vitanova Foundation
  • RAAM Clinic Partnerships
    • Enhanced Care
    • True North Clinics
    • Humber River Hospital
    • Markham-Stouffville Hospital
    • Mackenzie Health Hospital
    • North York General Hospital
    • Southlake Regional Health Centre
    • Stevenson Memorial Hospital
  • Community WithdrawalManagement Clinics
    • Enhanced Care
    • True North Clinics
    • Keswick Pharmacy & Medical
  • Community Partners
    • 360º Kids
    • ADAPT
    • Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
    • Belinda’s Place
    • Blue Door Shelters – Porter Place, Leader Place & Kevin’s Place Youth Shelter
    • Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto
    • Canadian Mental Health Association,York Region & South Simcoe
    • Catholic Community Services of York Region
    • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Community Drug Strategy for York Region
    • COMPASS (Community Partners with Schools)
    • ConnexOntario
    • Family Services York Region
    • LOFT-Crosslinks Housing & Support Services
    • Nottawasaga Opioid Advisory Committee
    • Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres (OATC)
    • Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario
    • Royal Victoria Hospital
    • Simcoe Muskoka Public Health
    • Steps to Recovery
    • Sutton Youth Shelter
    • Toronto Public Health
    • United Way Greater Toronto
    • Welcome Centre Immigrant Services – Markham North, Markham South, Newmarket & Richmond Hill
    • York Catholic District School Board
    • York Region Children’s Aid Society
    • York Region District School Board
    • York Region Opioid Education Response Group
    • York Regional Police
    • York Region Public Health
    • York Support Services Network

To Receive a Hard Copy of Our Annual Report

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the 2018 Annual Report, please send us an email with your contact details and the name of the document you are requesting. We will provide you with a PDF copy by return email.

Please note, our hard copy version is not fully accessible.