History

History

VHA Home HealthCare has a long and vibrant history of providing community health and support services to people of all ages and cultural backgrounds when, where and how they want it.

1925

The Visiting Housekeepers Centre is founded by Miss Barbara Blackstock to provide homemaking services to families where the mother is ill. By the end of its first year, 14 housekeepers are trained and in service. The Canadian Red Cross, Toronto Branch, provides a building and temporary financial support for the service.

1935

The Visiting Homemakers Association (V.H.A.) incorporates.

A handout with two children looking up at a woman with the text "introducing your visiting homemaker"Visiting Housekeepers Centre brochure

1937

V.H.A. administers a fund to provide parental relief for polio victims.

1951

Homemaker services extended to care for sick children of working mothers of single-parent families.

Black and white photo of VHA staff feeding a child beside a mother in bedBlack and white photo of VHA employee bringing food to 6 children around a dinner tableBlack and white photo of VHA employee with three childrenBlack and white photo of VHA employee with three children

1957

A three-year pilot project begins to determine needs for home care of the aged.

1958

Home care initiated under a federal health grant. V.H.A. is a participating agency. Provincial legislation means the province now provides financial assistance to municipalities for homemaker.

1964

V.H.A. receives grant from the Rotary Club to ensure pilot project with the elderly continues. V.H.A. provides service to Home Care Program. The Borough of East York begins providing senior services.

Sepia photo pf PSW with two of her elderly clientsSepia photo of a PSW reading to her elderly clientSepia image of PSW and her two elderly clients

1969

V.H.A. moves to 170 Merton Street—a building donated by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation in memory of Mrs. Garfield Weston, a V.H.A. client.

Black and white photo of man standing in front of a sign that says "visiting homemakers association"

1974

Parental Relief Program is financed by United Community Fund.

Family Support Service begins offering homemaking to families with a physically handicapped mother or one-parent families with a physically handicapped father.

1976

V.H.A. is accredited by the National (U.S.) Council for Homemaker-Home Health Aide Service Inc.

1977

Parental Relief Program receives subsidy from Metro Department of Social Services.

Sepia photo of a nurse and her clientBlack and white photo of a VHA employee and 3 babies in a crib

1980

V.H.A.’s Executive Director becomes the first President of the newly incorporated Canadian Council on Homemaker Services.

1981 to 1985

Increasing demand for homemakers and growing provincial government awareness means by 1985, 355,000 hours of service are provided.

PSW with a client and their caregiverPSW doing her client's hairVHA PSW and her client

1998

Nursing and health services programs are developed to complement the home and community support services. Complex nursing and medical procedures are increasingly performed in a client’s home. V.H.A. Registered Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses work in private homes as well as hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Nurse and her wheelchair bound clientPSW with a client, smiling

2000

V.H.A.’s 75th anniversary year.

Three-year accreditation status is awarded by the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation. United Way, along with the City of Toronto’s Homeless Initiative Fund, support V.H.A.’s Extreme Cleaning Program.

The service helps people—often suffering from mental health challenges—facing eviction because their home does not meet public health standards.

Hoarding support employee doing cleanup

2001 to 2002

Our name officially changes from Visiting Homemakers Association to VHA Home HealthCare, reflecting our growing continuum of health and home support services.

More than one million hours of care are delivered to over 9,500 clients and their families across all VHA programs.

Owned by VHA, Adams House, a supportive housing complex for tenants with severe mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, opens in downtown Toronto.

VHA staff with his clientVHA staff, young client, and the client's mother smiling

2003 to 2005

Our long-serving CEO/President David Wright retires and VHA welcomes Carol Annett as its CEO.

VHA wins breakthrough CCAC nursing contracts with Durham Access to Care, North York, Chatham-Kent and Sarnia Lambton CCACs growing our nursing program by over 100,000 service units.

VHA is accredited for a second three-year term.

To commemorate our 80th anniversary, VHA launched the Heroes in the Home Award as a way to recognize and honour unpaid caregivers in the health care industry - family members and friends who provide extraordinary home care to their loved ones.

Carol AnnettWoman and senior smilingVHA staff with young child

2009

COTA Health’s Rehabilitation Services – which includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, social work services and diet and nutritional services – joins the VHA family to become VHA Rehab Solutions.

VHA earns accreditation status from Accreditation Canada for a third time.

Physiotherapist and his client doing leg lift

2010

VHA celebrates its 85th anniversary.

2011

VHA moves its head office to 30 Soudan Avenue, Suite 600.

Its tagline is changed to “Creating More Independence” to better reflect what we provide to clients. After an in-depth analysis of our history and future aspirations as an organization, VHA revitalizes its Vision, Mission and Core Beliefs.

Front of Thirty Soudan, VHA's head office

2012

Accredited with Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada for a second consecutive time.

2014

VHA introduces the Client and Family Voice, including creation of a Client and Carer Advisory Council. As a community care trailblazer in incorporating client and family insights, VHA begins speaking on the experience at conferences and, in 2015, is asked to advise other home care organizations on creating similar programs.

Group of VHA partners posing in a groupA nurse with a young client

2015

VHA celebrates the 90th anniversary of the organization and the 10th anniversary of its Heart of Home Care Award!

After three years as a candidate, VHA becomes a Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) Best Practice Spotlight Organization® (BPSO) designate.

A group of VHA staff posing with an award

2016

Accredited with Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada for a third consecutive time.

Electronic Medical Records Initiative (EMRI) is rolled out province-wide, beginning with adult nursing program service providers.

2017

VHA receives Anchor Partner status with the United Way Toronto and York Region.

VHA expands Nursing and Dietetic teams in the Greater Toronto Area and discontinues service in Erie St. Clair.

2018

VHA continues partnership with University Health Network and Sunnybrook Hospital for two research fellowships for VHA staff and service providers.

2019

VHA’s new and inspiring Strategic Plan 2020-2025: CARE to Transform was developed, setting the organization on a strong path to continued success in an evolving health care system.

VHA is once again named a Best Practice Spotlight Organization® (BPSO) designate by the Registered Nurse Association of Ontario (RNAO).

VHA plays a key role in five of the first Ontario Health Teams that are announced in November 2019.

2020

VHA is once again accredited with Exemplary Standing from Accreditation Canada.

VHA enhances its integrated care partnership with University Health Network and is named their lead home care agency.

2021

Dr. Kathryn Nichol is welcomed as VHA’s new President and CEO following the retirement of longtime CEO Carol Annett.

VHA is re-designated as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) for a further two year term.

2022

Expanding our involvement in integrated care initiatives across Ontario, VHA joins its 18th Ontario Health Team.