I am a Vocational Rehab (VR) Team Leader (TL), and although I do work in an office – in Minden – I work virtually with the VR Staff and team in many areas and offices. How does that work, you might ask? Lots of emails, phone calls and we work at building lots of trust!

As most team leaders probably do, I take home my laptop each night – sometimes to catch up on work, but also, just in case there is something that comes up unexpectedly and I have to go out of town or work on something early in the morning. I get into the office between 8 and 8:30, open emails and a number of websites that will be needed throughout the day. I’m usually in the office until 5pm each day but a day out of the office can be a regular occurrence as well to meet with staff in other areas.

As a Team Leader, I am responsible for one or more projects and mine are the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Employment Supports (ES) program, and Fee for Service. Most days I am talking to customers to provide information on our Fee for Service programs. Listening and assessing our customers’ needs are one of my most important skills. Customers present a variety of situations involving their clients and I am able to help provide them with solutions to assist in moving their client forward in their vocational plan. It also requires me to use my problem solving, sales and negotiation skills! Once a referral is received I’ll assign to a staff and process the referral so they have all the necessary information to complete the program and meet the objectives of our customer. All VR TL’s are available to staff to provide resourcing and support while working with our Fee for Service clients.  Reports are completed for each service and because reports are our product documenting our service, they undergo a strict editing process to ensure the final product is professional and clear. Days often include editing one or two reports. Other duties include invoicing, follow-up with customers, and financial reviews.

For the ODSP project, I would be involved in each region’s negotiation for each year. For each region we have a number of targets to be met and I need to ensure that they are. My day might involve supporting and resourcing staff as they work with candidates through the ODSP ES program, reviewing case notes and documentation on files, review outcomes and target numbers, process funding requests, reconcile and report numbers to ODSP, and review financial statements. My day might include completing any one or more of these tasks.

My day also includes reviewing and processing WSIB Employment Placement Service reports and billing for Barrie, Orillia, and Peterborough area. I track timelines to ensure reports are received on time. Resourcing and supporting staff as they work with all candidates are an integral part of what I d, and being available to staff when needed is important.

Throughout each day I need to interrupt and switch tasks constantly to respond to staff and customers. I sometimes joke that my day is like a day in the ER or the stock exchange. It’s always busy, changing and exciting.

by Jennifer Ketner, VR Team Leader at Northern Lights Canada


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