Fall 2011
The Yorke Report – Fall 2011

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, I live in downtown Toronto and, on a day-to-day basis, work with my health and human services management consulting firm - Liz Yorke and Associates. At the same time, I own and manage The Beach House on Hatfield Road in Nova Scotia.

Like everyone else, LY&A has had to accommodate to current economic realities and to shifts in policy directives about the provision of external consulting services in Ontario. I feel very fortunate that LY&A has been able to keep on moving ahead and, in fact, been involved with some very interesting projects in recent months.

Good reading and let me know if we can help you!

In This Issue: Fun Stuff:

Next Issue

The next issue of The Yorke Report will feature an article highlighting the ways in which businesses can begin to easily integrate social media as an important part of their strategic communications efforts. This article will be written by Clare O'Connor, President of Full Picture Public Affairs Inc. Clare, one of our Atlantic Canada associates, is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia – her business offers professional writing, strategic communications, and training services to clients across the country. You can learn more about their services at www.fullpicture.ca

Providing Public Policy Advice

Most of the services which LY&A offers share the common base of public policy analysis – whether there is a direct connection such as working with the regulation of health professions or a more indirect link, such as evaluations of health and human services programs and services.

It is very gratifying to see some of our work contribute to significant change in the broader public sector - for example, in 2005 we worked with Ontario’s Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) on the background work related to assessment of the potential for the regulation of pharmacy technicians in the province. Eventually, Pharmacy Technicians officially become recognized as a new class of registrant with the Ontario College of Pharmacists when its new Registration Regulation, made under the Pharmacy Act, was proclaimed on December 3, 2010. Providing authority for the College to register qualified Pharmacy Technicians as a separate class of registrants enables pharmacists to take on an enhanced role in the provision of comprehensive patient care services to the public.

In 2009-10, we again worked with HPRAC on a project concerning the non-physician prescribing and use of drugs, and this project also resulted in changes in legislation. More recently, we worked with the Registration Committee of one of Ontario’s transitional Councils (Councils set up to prepare for the regulatory Councils) and are also working with one of the long-standing health regulatory Colleges. Our work with the regulation of health professions has convinced us that making progressive changes to the regulation of health professions – so that trained and qualified people can fully practice what they have learned how to do - is as important for access to fair and equitable health care, as dealing with wait times and other issues which receive constant media attention.

In June 2011, Ontario’s minister of Health and Long-Term Care, the Honourable Deb Matthews, referred two new items to HPRAC:

  • Treatment of spouses by regulated health professionals: advise on possible alternatives to the mandatory revocation provisions now set out in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 for treatment of spouses. HPRAC’s recommendation on this issue is due by June 1, 2012
  • Physician Assistants: advise on whether public safety and quality of care will be sufficiently upheld in the long-term via the current delegation model or if a new formal regulatory structure should be put in place through which Physician Assistants would be regulated. HPRAC recommendation on this issue is due August 31, 2012.

Previously, on March 26, 2010, the Minister had informed HPRAC that she requires advice on the regulation of Diagnostic Sonographers, Dental Assistants and Paramedics/Emergency Medical Attendants by December 31, 2013. Have a look at HPRAC’s web site for copies of these 2 letters.

Our interest in public policy development and analysis underlies our support for program and service evaluations and organizational reviews in the broader public sector. Recent evaluative work has included working with Steve Lough and Associates on the evaluation of the Ontario Child and Youth Telepsychiatry Program and our work with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute on the Evaluation of CMIRPS (Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System) Coordination, Communication and Development of Knowledge Transfer Concepts.

If our services could be helpful to you in public policy consultation, contact me at 416-481-4096 (Toronto) or lizyorke@rogers.com.

Making good decisions about selecting external consultants

Over the last 20 years, we’ve been attending bid information sessions, searching for RFPs to respond to, writing proposals, presenting proposals, dealing with both losing and winning contracts, and providing external consultative advice for clients. We’ve also had some experience with seeing the results of organizations having made not only excellent decisions about the selection of external consultants but also, unfortunate decisions about awarding projects. All this has led to our belief that there are many individuals and firms that can do the actual work required for external consulting projects, but that not everyone can really do a good job. So, we’ve identified some best practices for selecting external consultants:

  • Assess how clear prospective external consultants are when they describe what they have to offer your organization & what they realistically can achieve for you
  • Assess how competent the external consulting team is, including verification from references – don’t be fooled by glitzy proposals
  • Place high priority on the firm’s generally recognized skill in relationship management with clients and with stakeholders – ensure that:
    • One person is in charge of the work
    • That person is competent, knowledgeable about your work, recognized as dependable, and has demonstrated integrity with other assignments
    • Lead and team members have demonstrated skill in listening to client requirements and expectations.
    Watch the next issue of The Yorke Report for more information about relationship management
  • Assess whether or not the firm understands how to select the right RFPs to respond to and whether or not it is able to present a team with the appropriate skills, experience, and right mix of people to support and enhance in-house strengths (money, people & time); make sure that the proposed team includes no unnecessary people – put there just to fluff out the proposal.

Let me know if you use other best practices for making good decisions about selecting external consultants – I’ll do a follow-up in the next issue of The Yorke Report.

Visit the LY&A website for more information about our services and experiences.


Invite me connect with you through LinkedIn – please use lizyorke@rogers.com for my email address – and I’ll accept! Watch the next issue of The Yorke Report to find out how many links this invitation generated.

Via Salzburg 2011/12

Mayumi Seiler, Artistic Director of Via Salzburg lives across the street from me in Toronto. I think it would be fun to organize a group of people who live in Toronto to attend their performances. If you’re interested in being part of this group, let me know by email at lizyorke@rogers.com or call me at 416-481-4096. Click here for information about group prices.

The Beach House on Hatfield Road

Beach House

The Beach House is moving ahead nicely, although visitors have decreased in line with the decrease of tourism in Canada.

(Major hint – contact me for special rates)

In recent months, I have had 3 great experiences associated with the Beach House that I’d like to share with you.

Four Fathers of Confederation were from Cumberland County, Nova Scotia

Although I have had a life-long interested in public issues and the political process, I found out only last fall that four Fathers of Confederation were from Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, where the Beach House is located – here they are:

Edward Barron Chandler - born in Amherst in 1800, lived in New Brunswick, attended all 3 Confederation conferences, served as Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick

Robert Barry Dickey - born in Amherst, Nova Scotia delegate to the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, appointed to the new Senate of Canada in 1867, after Confederation

Sir Charles Tupper (whom I knew about, as he bought Ottawa House By-the-Sea in 1872 as his cottage) - born in Amherst, attended all 3 Confederation conferences, first president of the Canadian Medical Association, became Prime Minister in May, 1896

Jonathan McCully - born on a farm in Maccan, Cumberland County, taught Sir Charles Tupper in a local school, became a lawyer, attended all 3 Confederation conferences, appointed to the new Senate of Canada in 1867, after Confederation.

Have a look at these guys at http://www3.sympatico.ca/goweezer/canada/canfoc.htm

Tysons’ Fine Minerals Inc.

Helen Tyson uses glass, pearls, wire, and minerals, including Nova Scotia quartz, to make absolutely gorgeous sculptures and jewelry. Helen’s studio and gallery are on the main floor of a magnificent house on the Parrsboro harbour that she and her husband, Rod, have restored. As an added point of interest, the studio and gallery are on the road that leads to Ottawa House – so, when you visit, you’ll know that you’re on the exact same road that Sir Charles Tupper took when he went back and forth to his cottage. Helen’s place is about a 15 minute drive from the Beach House.

Building the Hiram D. MacLean in 1919

A couple of years ago my aunt gave me a box of old family photos. When Conrad Byers, internationally recognized expert on the Age of Sail, was helping me to sort out the pictures he noticed 5 that tracked the building and launching of the Hiram D. MacLean in 1919 at the MacLean & McKay Shipyard in Economy, Colchester County, Nova Scotia.

The Hiram D. MacLean measured 152 feet in length, 12.8 feet in width and 35.5 feet in height. Its maximum tonnage was 447. The ship was sold to purchasers in St. Pierre and Miquelon in 1921 and renamed the St. Pierraise. Unfortunately, it sank in the early 1920s.

Conrad tells me that it is rare to find a sequence of pictures for the building of wooden hull ships. When I visited Tysons’ Fine Minerals last fall, I happened to mention to Helen Tyson that we were working on a collage of these pictures. During our chat, Helen suggested that we use them to make a poster. So, guess what? The next time I am in Nova Scotia, I am going to tackle this project – watch the next issue of The Yorke Report to see if I’ve been able to pull this together. If it works out, I have other old photos that would also make great posters.

Finding these pictures was very special to me, as I have wonderful memories of attending loads of ship launchings at the Port Greville ship yard, as a child – it was always very exciting!

Thanks to both Conrad and Helen for sharing their creativity with me!

Copyright © 2011 - Liz Yorke and Associates, 96 Sherwood Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M4P 2A7.

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