Everyday Heroes Kids: How Canadian Families are Fighting to Get Healthcare for their Children

There are many challenges and disparities faced by families when accessing care in our fragmented system.  In order to create a more seamless experience, innovative solutions must continue to be supported by the Government of Canada and ecosystem collaborators.

Children’s Healthcare Canada states that, “If we could transform the system of health and services to be more accessible and easier to navigate, that would be the most profound change we could make.”

The problems we have today are not cyclical in nature and what we are going to see in the coming years are things we have never seen before: mental health challenges rising at epidemic rates, one in five children have a learning disability, Autism diagnoses increased by 70% over last decade and an estimated 1.5M new immigrants to Canada in the next 3 years.

As Canadians, we need to think in a pre-emptive manner, not in a reactive manner – this is the cost-effective way. Everyday Heroes Kids (EHKids), a free online community, is trying to accomplish a transformational change to our healthcare system – right injustices and improve access to care for even the most remote populations or those with the least access to care.

“Although these providers are exceptional performers, boundaries and barriers to proper care are created by a lack of integration, and children and families are left to integrate their care on their own.” – SickKids 5 Year Strategy 2015-2020

women helping children in school

Finding the Right Professional at the Right Time Can be Life Changing for a Child

Tammany Petrie is a mom of 2 sons, one born profoundly deaf and her other son diagnosed with ADHD.  As a former SickKids parent mentor volunteer and the advocate for her own children, Tammany experienced first-hand the challenges

Tammany founded Everyday Heroes Kids after frustrations trying to find professionals to help her kids. Searching online gave the same few names over and over across Canada. More resources existed but couldn’t be found!

Knowing families deserved better, Tammany’s team spent 2 years developing a solution at St. Michael’s Hospital’s accelerator.

In 2020, they launched EHKids. It connects families to profiles of health and mental health professionals and organizations. EHKids improves access to all the resources parents need, even ones unknown. The goal is earlier intervention, saving time, money and stress.

The Sector began assisting EHK in 2020 through its Investment Readiness Program. This enabled EHK to expand its platform, generate revenue and access social finance. The Sector provided expert guidance on EHK’s Theory of Change and impact measurement.

The Sector sees EHK’s potential for significant medical impact on children. It could positively transform Canada’s healthcare system as a social enterprise.

Connecting Care, Canada-Wide with Everyday Heroes Kids

Currently, parents/caregivers struggle to find professionals, especially for the first time. The process is slow, heightening concern, stress, unknowns, and fear.

Everyday Heroes Kids solves access to kids’ care and accessibility for professionals. It reduces time to connect children who need care with the right professional. Faster connections improve outcomes for all.

Their current roadmap priorities are to increase the number of professionals and organizations on the platform, raise awareness among families and to improve on their existing desktop application (before investing in an app) in order to  extend their reach and impact across Canada.

The Bottom Line

EHK makes an innovative request for your support to transform healthcare in a way many NPOs desire. This sends a message of real change that people can feel – not just talk about.

Since its launch, Everyday Heroes Kids gained support from the Government of Canada, pediatric hospitals, NPOs, professionals, sponsors like Rogers Communications and Cochlear Canada, and national features. The platform now includes over 1,000 professionals and organizations. Users have performed over 140,000 searches.

Everyday Heroes Kids, supported by The Sector has been able to get past the proof of concept stage and establish a strong foundation to support the pediatric community.  However, they are looking for ecosystem partners to help prove the impact EHKids is capable of on a national scale and ensure they can continue to deliver this free service to families across Canada and break through to that higher level.

Their team has done the leg work and have taken it to this point. We all know it is a problem, and now they need the right ecosystem collaborators/change agents around them to make this come to fruition so that we can ensure kids in need of care receive the care they need.

“Canada ranks the poorest for Children’s health and well-being outcomes of the countries with strong economic, environment and social systems.” – UNICEF Canada

co-operative care alliance photo

The Sector is grateful to support Simon Berge at Karma Co-op. Our partnership is growing because we share the same mission – to create positive change for the good of people. By working together, we can transform senior care through new cooperative models that empower workers and improve quality. Our alliance is committed to building an equitable, compassionate care sector that leaves no one behind.

The Need for Innovative Elder Care Models

elderly people having fun together

The way our society cares for its elders is undergoing an exciting shift, thanks to innovative organizations like the Co-operative Care Alliance (CCA). CCA is pioneering a new, community-based co-operative model for senior care that aims to keep seniors independent and empower care workers.

Founded in 2019, CCA is a non-profit cooperative association seeking to transform the senior care sector. It acts as an incubator that helps home care workers convert their individual businesses into co-operatives. This shift gives workers more control, better wages and benefits, and a real say in care decisions.

For example, CCA has supported the launch of the Home Care Workers Co-op, which enables personal support workers to manage their own co-operative. This allows workers to focus on providing quality care rather than maximizing corporate profits.

Advocating for Policy Changes for Co-operative Home Care

home care is accessible to elders easily

In addition to incubating worker-owned co-operatives, CCA advocates for policy changes to make co-operative home care more accessible. It also acts as a care provider itself – hiring personal support workers directly and connecting them to clients.

The goal is to scale the cooperative model to offer families an empowering alternative to nursing homes and for-profit home care agencies. With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, innovations like CCA will be essential to meet the growing need for dignified, community-based senior care.

By taking care of care workers first, CCA helps build an equitable and sustainable care sector that treats both seniors and caregivers as valued human beings. The cooperative approach represents an inspiring evolution in how we care for our aging population. It puts people over profits and quality care over corporate bottom lines. CCA offers an exciting glimpse into the future of senior care.

Read the full article, here

new regent park sewing studio for neighborhood women

Supporting the Centre of Learning & Development’s Programming and Initiatives 

The Sector has been supporting the great work of the Centre of Learning & Development (CL&D) for over two years through various initiatives centered around employment readiness and social incubation. Led by Alfred Jean-Baptiste, Executive Director at CL&D & Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work, CL&D, formerly known as East End Literacy, was founded in 1979 as a community-based literacy organization serving downtown east Toronto. In 2006, the organization changed its name to reflect its growing initiatives and on-going commitment to community development and social inclusion. Today, CL&D delivers programs in: Adult Literacy, Leadership Development, Immigrant Integration, Civic Engagement, and Skills Development. 

Research to Adapt CL&D’s Immigrant Women Integration Program 

The collaboration most recently finished a project focused on conducting research pertaining to CL&D’s Immigrant Women Integration Program (IWIP), a free training program for newcomer women offering certifications, classroom instruction, community research, mentorship and placement. The Sector’s research centered around adapting the program to the changing post-pandemic world and ensuring program offerings are responsive to employer needs and market trends and take advantage of current high-demand skills gaps. This research also intertwined with The Sector’s support of CL&D in putting together their application for Career College status to offer more training, reach new audiences and provide recognized certification to increase participants’ employability.

Fostering the Regent Park Sewing Studio Social Enterprise 

The newest endeavor of the collaboration includes The Sector’s support of CL&D’s social enterprise, the Regent Park Sewing Studio (RPSS), a group of neighborhood women who design and sew unique pieces, partner on large orders, host community classes and attend local markets. The social enterprise has a long-standing relationship with OCAD’s DesignWITH, a hub focused on upcycling materials to design, create and sell sustainable products. With the Sector’s support, RPSS and DesignWITH will formalize as a business partnership, develop plans for sustainable operation and investment readiness, and grow their audience. The Sector’s work is essential in the partnership’s creativity, innovation, and social impact. The Sector team is deeply honored to be supporting the continual social innovation of this community anchoring organization as well as the incredible team and visionary leader at the centre of CL&D’s commendable and inspiring impact. 

The Bottom Line: 

Through research, advising, and fostering social enterprise, The Sector has been honored to support the Centre of Learning & Development’s continual innovation and inspiring work empowering individuals and strengthening community. CL&D exemplifies anchoring community leadership. We look forward to our continued collaboration and are excited to see what’s next for this visionary organization creating real social change in downtown east Toronto and beyond.