Safehaven Annual Report 2023-2024 Accessible



What a year it has been!

This year has been busy – full of growth, resilience, and inspiration! We are excited to share highlights of our remarkable achievements in this report.

Our clients showed incredible resilience as they face challenges far greater than anyone should have to deal with. Despite their challenges, they have great capacity to experience joy and lead fulfilling lives. From first haircuts, to first steps, to first grown-up apartments, it was incredible to witness their strength and optimism this year. Our staff were there with them every step of the way to share in their progress.

Speaking of staff, we welcomed over 60 new members to the team this year. As we have experienced exponential growth over the past few years, including the addition of 14 pediatric beds and the opening of our new Transitional Care for Medically Complex Children program, we have needed to attract new staff to keep up with the pace of our growth. Like many service providers, recruiting health human resources remains a challenge. This past year, we emphasized recruitment and retention by implementing digital systems to streamline and enhance workflow for current and new staff. We hope to continue to attract the best and the brightest talent in the years to come.

Building on the move of our adult program to our location in Thornhill last year, we now have 19 clients in this program who are thriving in this environment. These clients are part of a community in a large apartment-style building where they have a better quality of life that supports their medical and social needs.

Quality and Safety was a large focus of our work this past year and will continue to be in the years to come as we take in more complex clients than ever before. We have undertaken new measures to ensure quality care including integrating continuous learning into our staff culture, advancing our practices alignment to new legislation from our Ministry and integrating the Canadian Quality and Patient Safety Framework. In addition, Safehaven also appointed a Medical Director in July 2023, Dr. Ronik Kanani, who will help us advance our model of care to fully support our clients.

As we look to the future, we are acutely aware that there are thousands more children, youth, and adults who would benefit from Safehaven’s services. We are taking steps to increase our capacity and with our planned expansion, the role of philanthropy in our work has become even more important. We will continue to rely on donors and caring community members to help us reach our goals.

Our achievements this year were made possible because of our staff, clients, funders, volunteers, and other stakeholders. Thank you for believing in us, supporting us, and rooting for us as we change and grow. We hope you’ll continue along the journey with us in 2024 and beyond.

Susan Bisaillon, President and CEO & Mary Peterson, Chair.




We are dedicated to building an inclusive environment for people with complex care needs, so they can live a life with dignity & respect.


To create a more inclusive world for people with complex care needs.


Our Board of Directors have been instrumental in creating a community defined by care, drive, and passion. Throughout challenging times at Safehaven, their unwavering support has been invaluable. These talented and generous individuals have dedicated their time, skills, advice, and resources to our vision. They are deeply committed to our shared mission of delivering high-quality, family-centered, and community-based care for individuals with complex care needs and disabilities.


Lorella Zanchetta

Gaby Bourbara

Laurel Brazill

Mary Peterson — Chair

Renee Blomme — Vice Chair

Connie Lombardi — Secretary

Marelize Konig — Treasurer

Noela Fowler

Sandra Smith

Julie Castle

Janet Gillespie




This past year, we have experienced the irreplaceable loss of several cherished members of our Safehaven community. We would like to honour and remember the clients and staff who have touched our hearts, our lives, and significantly contributed to the spirit and mission of Safehaven.

As we remember these extraordinary individuals, we are reminded of the precious moments we shared. Though they are no longer with us, their influence continues to inspire us. We are forever grateful for the time they spent with us, and they are missed dearly.



Our volunteers share their time and talents, and friendship with our clients. From storytelling and playing music, to art tutorials and more, our volunteers showed the true meaning of community. The generosity and creative spirit of our volunteers are a testament to their commitment to showing our clients that they belong.


In 2018, we were approached about children who had been living at the hospital for a decade, because there was nowhere else for them to go. There was no community organization with the model of care or staffing to support this level of complexity. Safehaven worked with the hospital to create one, supported by nurses, so these two clients could finally leave the hospital. Nurses were hired by Safehaven, going through rigorous training with Holland Bloorview to ensure the seamless transfer of these clients into our care. This became the start of our now successful Chronic Vent Program.

Unlike a hospital, children at Safehaven are integrated into the community in an environment that is as close to a home as possible while still providing medical care. Clients attend local schools, participate in activities, go to the movies and everything else children should do. We support them to live a full life and reach their highest potential.

Since its implementation, the Chronic Vent Program has grown, now providing an environment for eight clients with specialized needs. Safehaven’s commitment to excellence and innovation has not only transformed the lives of these individuals but has set a new standard of care in the community as Safehaven is the only organization in Ontario to offer this program. This program model demonstrates what innovative care for complex ventilated kids in the community can achieve. Its success means there is an opportunity for expansion into other communities as well.


Quote – “I couldn’t explain how happy I was when all of this was done to save my son’s life. This didn’t just save Ahmed, but it saved our family.”

Meet Ahmed, a resilient five-year-old boy from Turkey, whose entire family’s lives changed forever when Ahmed was born.

Ahmed was born with a genetic condition that causes muscle weakness and atrophy which affects his ability to walk, talk, eat, and breathe. He’s dependent on a trach and vent to breathe, and a feeding tube to eat. His condition meant every breath and every meal was a battle, but Ahmed’s spirit remained undaunted. In fact, he’s already beaten the odds and outlived the typical life expectancy of those with his condition.

His parents desperately wanted to give him a good quality of life, filled with joy and laughter and hope. This led them to come to Canada in order to access better treatment and services for Ahmed.

Ahmed found a new home at Safehaven, and he leads a full life, even if it is a little different than other kids his age. Remarkably, he has learned to communicate through eye gaze technology. This cutting-edge system allows him to interact with a screen using only his eyes, allowing him to express his thoughts, needs, and desires despite his physical limitations. He especially loves to call over his favourite staff members with this system when he wants them to play with him.

Despite his differences, Ahmed is a typical child in many ways. He attends public school on weekdays, and he absolutely loves the show Paw Patrol. In fact, his 5th birthday party had a Paw Patrol theme and he dressed up as his favourite character.

Perhaps the most heartwarming measure of his progress is that he now has a best friend! Initially at odds with his Safehaven roommate, Greyson, their bond has grown over the years, and they now want to do everything together. They look out for each other, too. When Ahmed got a haircut, Greyson tried to protect him as he feared the scissors would hurt him.

Ahmed’s family has shared that they are beyond grateful for all that Safehaven has done for them, but also for the Canadian government’s intervention that not only saved Ahmed’s life but also their own. After a very difficult start to his life, Safehaven was the first place Ahmed could call home.


In 2022, we launched our new Transitional Care for Medically Complex Children (TCMCC) program in partnership with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. This program facilitates the transition of children from prolonged hospital stays to home and community life, alleviating hospital burdens and helping families prepare for this major life change.

With the stresses of hospital stays and facing the unknown of what comes next, Safehaven bridges that gap and provides two necessary things for families – opportunity and time. Safehaven’s care team works together with each family to determine what their next steps are, while their child is in a safe, home-like environment. Children in this program can stay with us for up to four months, providing the time needed to develop a plan.

The program reached full capacity this year and also expanded beyond Toronto to other communities so more children can access this one-of-a-kind program. We are thrilled to announce that the Ministry of Health has renewed funding for this program for an additional two years, recognizing the value this program provides to families with medically complex children.


Safehaven continues to identify partnerships with other health care organizations that will advance our current programs and services.

This collaborative approach not only enhances the quality of care but also optimizes resources, ensuring that every child receives the level of support they require, no matter their level of complexity.

We are proud to be at the forefront of providing exceptional care and support for medically complex children and their families, in a home-like setting where families can take a much-needed break, knowing their child is in safe hands.


While Kyle’s journey has been long and difficult, he found relief at Safehaven.

Kyle was diagnosed with La Noua Gusto Syndrome – a rare and progressive form of epilepsy that has affected his ability walk, talk, and participate in normal childhood activities.

As his condition evolved, so did his health care journey. He found his home at Safehaven in 2022 as one of the first clients welcomed into the TCMCC program. The best decision for Kyle was to transition him into one of our permanent homes where he could continue to receive 24/7 support. He now lives with his new friends in our Etobicoke location. His parents, Mary and Rachelle, and his beloved dog, Cooper, are frequent visitors.

Despite his challenging seizure condition, Kyle remains kind-hearted and has a great sense of humour. Staff know he’s happy when he gives his signature double thumbs up approval. He continues to go to school and his comprehension is stronger than his ability to vocally communicate. He’s able to communicate with his family, staff, and friends in English, American Sign Language, and his trademark sarcasm.

In Kyle’s life, there were no simple solutions, no easy fixes. But amidst the challenges, there was hope and determination by his family and Safehaven to help him live the best life possible.


Beyond our exceptional programs for children with complex care needs, we deeply value our community. With six sites across Toronto, we are closely connected to our neighborhoods. It’s important to us that our neighbors know who we are and embrace our clients. We believe in the power of community to foster connections, spread awareness, and create meaningful impact.

We actively participate in local initiatives that align with our mission. By immersing ourselves in our community, we share our story and advocate for our most vulnerable members.

Community events offer opportunities to celebrate the resilience of our clients and their families, showcase the dedication of our staff, and invite the community to join us in making a difference. Together, we build bridges of understanding and support, strengthening the compassion that binds us all. Let’s take a look at some of the events Safehaven participated in over the last year.


Every year, the Davenport community in Toronto comes alive with the exciting Big on Bloor street festival, a joyous and event-filled weekend in July. Every year, Safehaven ensures we have a presence right outside our Bloor location so we can chat with our neighbours and community members. Each year, we connect with people who want to learn more. This is what drives us! Our client population is small and many people had no idea faciliities like ours even existed. Through events like these, we aim to shine a light on our mission of fostering inclusivity and building a brighter future for those with medical complexities and disabilities.


Over the past few years, Safehaven has been a proud participant in the annual TSC Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In September, our team of clients and staff joined in the 5km walk. The outpouring of support from the community was nothing short of remarkable, with cheers and encouragement propelling our team forward along the route, all the way to the finish line. The impact of our presence was truly heartening, and we believe our participation does just as much good for our clients as it does for spectators.


In December, the Knights of Columbus Cardinal Carter Assembly Woodbridge, one of our cherished supporters, organized a Christmas brunch for our clients and their families. Every year, their generosity in supporting this event astounds us. They meticulously plan every detail, ensuring that each client’s wish list is fulfilled, along with surprises for their siblings. With Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and their elves, the event showcases how festivities can be inclusive and filled with joy for all. This annual tradition has woven its way into the hearts of Safehaven families and staff alike, and we all eagerly anticipate this event year after year. To the Knights of Columbus, we extend our deepest gratitude for their generosity and commitment to spreading joy and warmth during the holiday season and ensuring that our clients always experience the magic of the season.


For the third consecutive year, the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Seven View Chrysler Marlies under the leadership of Coach Paolo Di Zazzo organized an unforgettable skating day. Paolo’s team welcomed Safehaven clients onto their ice rink and took turns taking the clients for a spin around the rink. Each year, they demonstrate to our clients that their physical limitations are surmountable, and they can still experience the thrill of gliding around the ice. Paolo’s team went above and beyond to ensure their inclusion and enjoyment throughout the event. Last year, we were thrilled to honour the team by presenting them with Safehaven’s Youth Leadership Award.


A big thank you to our generous donors for their unwavering support this year. Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to expand our programs, reach more individuals, and create lasting memories for the children, youth, and adults who rely on our services.

Donations received from April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024

$30,000 +

Angels From Heaven Youth Foundation Inc.

$10,000 +

LiUNA! Local 183

The Harold E. Ballard Foundation

$5,000 TO $9,999

James and Karen Forward

Perkell Family

Susan and Jean Bisaillon

$1,000 TO $4,999

Brian Nelson

Brigus Learning

Guarav Singh

Heather Stockton

Jennifer Gordon

Judy Costello

Marelize Konig

Mark Bayko

Mary Peterson

Noela Fowler

Peter & Greg Walker Contracting Inc.

Queen of the Holy Rosary Shrine

Spec Furniture Inc.

The Knights of Columbus – St. Padre Pio Council #13443


UP TO $999

Andrew Robertson

Ada Gradascevic

Adam Kramer

Adel Majd

Adelfunke Ibironke

Ahran Cho

Alvaro Membreno

Amineta Lukac

Andrew Iacobelli

Ann Mowat

Anna Onorati-Cristofaro

Armindo Brasil

Ashley Pettifer

Bernadette Gallagher

Bernard A Chung

Brad Tigwell

Brian Whittaker

Catherine Fitzpatrick

Charene Gillies

Chelsea Russell

Corey Smith

Danielle Millar

Danielle Peters

David Poley

Dawn McGoldrick

Debi Archinoff

Deborah Fowler

Dianne Basnicki

Dragana & Merim Gradascevic

Dr Caitlin Gallagher Inc

Ema Gradascevic

Filomena Celio

Gaby Bourbar

Gaurav Vashishtha

Georgina Hajjar

Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

Humber Valley United Church Women

Int’l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, L.U. 353

Ivona Ilic

Janet Gillespie

Jessica Wiersma

Josephine Garrity

Josephine Rockman

Judy Litwack-Goldman

Julie Castle

Karen Cordes Woods

Karen Lasky

Karen Phillips

Keith Sequeira

Kelly Noussis

Larissa Smit

Larissa Smit

Laurel Brazill

Len Hummel

Linda Stevenson

Linda Wright

Lorella Zanchetta

Lorraine Pigulski

Marg Kennedy

Marta Hargrove

Martin Geffen

Martin Geffen & Cathy Mallove

Mata Family

Melissa Walasek

Montu Gupta

Nick Milum

Nikola Milosevic

Neda Saniei

Nicholas Milum

Noela Sequeira-Fowler

Omudhohwo Oshobe

Queeny Tran

Rabishaw Advisory Services

Rachel Truant

Renee Blomme

Richard Woods

Sacha Kennedy

Sandra Smith

Shashank Sharma

SMART Local 285

Tania Azad

Tara Keane

Una Pizza – 17th Ave

Una Pizza – Bridgeland

Una Pizza – Broadcast

Una Pizza Banff

Vincenzo Carinci


Dani Peters, Magnet Strategy Group

Melanie Paradis, Texture Communications

The Knights of Columbus Cardinal Carter Assembly Woodbridge


We are absolutely thrilled to have the support of so many caring community members. Thank you for helping our kids, youth, and adults thrive! Here are some of the many ways donors have helped us this year.


Dave is one of our monthly donors whose consistent support is essential in providing stability to our programs. Originally an IT contractor, Dave got involved in Safehaven during the pandemic. After seeing our work firsthand and learning more about the challenges in our sector, he was inspired to give back. A big thank you to Dave and all of our monthly donors!


The children, youth, and adults in our programs often have significant challenges with their

daily lives. Despite this, they have great capacity to have fun and experience joy. Thank you to the Angels From Heaven Youth Foundation for bringing joy to their lives by contributing to recreational programs such as therapeutic clowning and community outings. To date, they have donated nearly $450,000 to support Safehaven clients.


Technology helps drive our work forward and is also an important communication tool for our clients who cannot speak. Thank you to the Harold E. Ballard Foundation for providing iPads for staff and clients at all of our sites.


The children, youth, and adults in our programs often have significant challenges with their daily lives. Despite this, they have great capacity to have fun and experience joy. Thank you to the Angels From Heaven Youth Foundation for bringing joy to their lives by contributing to recreational programs such as therapeutic clowning and community outings.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved, please contact:

Assets 2024 2023
Current assets 11,795,989 13,109,771
Long term lease 971,325 746,550
Capital assets 4,605,788 3,568,843
Intangible assets 229,486 219,861
Total Assets 17,602,588 17,645,025
Liabilities and Fund Balances
Current liabilities 1,397,767 1,418,845
Deferred revenue related to capital assets 883,369 972,466
Fund balances 15,321,452 15,253,714
Total Liabilities and Fund Balances 17,602,588 17,645,025
REVENUES 2024 2023
MCCSS subsidy 8,813,194 5,943,320
COVID-19 revenue 89,037 1,394,168
ODSP, CSA, and Agency contributions 3,274,822 2,770,804
Fundraising 222,101 166,528
Gifts in Kind 5,669 158,844
Other 449,210 685,538
Total Revenue 12,854,033 11,119,202
Staffing 9,994,037 6,179,644
Professional fees 907,666 767,163
Occupancy 765,326 554,729
Personal needs 420,560 227,438
Amortization 338,006 390,310
Supplies and equipment 319,936 343,005
Advertising and recruitment 275,551 305,995
Transportation 228,781 131,077
Office and general 160,638 261,198
COVID-19 expense 138,877 1,402,859
Projects 94,320 451,258
Investment management fees 74,604 69,595
Gifts-in-kind 5,669 158,844
Total expenses 13,723,971 11,243,115
Excess of Revenue over Expenses before undernot­ed item -869,938 -123,913
Investment income (loss) 937,676 -6,320
Surplus (Deficit) 67,738 -130,233