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Park Encampments: Outreach & Response - One Day Workshop

Instructed by: 

Esther Afriat, Parks Encampment Lead

City of Toronto

Grant Drygas, PF&R Encampment Lead

City of Toronto

Our new One Day In-Person Workshop!

OPA is happy to announce that, in partnership with the City of Toronto, we are able to introduce our Parks Encampments: Outreach & Response One Day Workshop to our members.

Park Encampments:  Outreach and Response is a full day workshop designed to provide information to Parks and municipal staff dealing with encampments; exploring best practices, safe operating procedures and sharing experiences.  The workshop will provide an overview on understanding the scope of this complex issue, contributing factors to homelessness and the need for creating a coordinated response team.  Participants will learn about tools to track encampments, provide outreach and engage with clients.  The workshop focuses on staff roles and responsibilities, best practices in staff training for both hard and soft skills and shares information about tools and equipment needed to work on all types of terrain and park areas.  This course also covers strategic thinking and innovative ideas as well as ideas to keep parks spaces open, safe and accessible for all.  This workshop encourages information and idea sharing, as well as group discussion around shared concerns to help all participants gain a deeper understanding of how to offer outreach and respond to encampments in public greenspace.

Our Instructors: 

Esther Afriat has been working for the City of Toronto for 23 year with the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. She has a diploma in Recreation and Leisure Service from Centennial College and the PRO Parks and Recreation Management Certificate from the Executive Education Centre at Schulich. 

Esther has worked with Parks and Recreation in various capacities, including supervisor of issues management, recreation supervisor, policy offer and parks general supervisor.  Esther became involved in the encampment file in early Covid and has proven herself as a problem solver and leader.  She is compassionate and innovative in her approach and firm in her resolve to make a difference. 

Grant Drygas as over 25 years experience working in parks, snow removal and landscaping field. Grant has over 25 years' experience in private landscaping and snow removal businesses and working for local governments including the City of Brampton and the City of Toronto.   He has more than 14 years experience at the City in Solid Waste and Parks.  He has been with PF&R for 10 years and was seconded to the Encampment team after a "trial by fire".  He leads PF&R Encampment Unit – a unique unit at the City that is empowered by Grant’s attitude to go over and above as it relates to encampment cleaning.  Grant's work and dedication has been a crucial part of the City of Toronto's encampment story, and it’s successes are a direct result of his leadership.

This course is worth .5 credit towards your Parks Practitioner Designation.

    Want to host this session? 

    For this session we require a classroom that can accommodate 40 people, has a projector & screen, a white board with means of writing tools, and an extension cord/power bar available for use. 

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    Upcoming events

      • 14 Dec 2023
      • 8:00 AM
      • 15 Dec 2023
      • 4:30 PM
      • Online
      • 12

      Parks Operations & Maintenance Webinar


      Working safely in a parks environment requires a comprehensive understanding of the tasks at hand and the equipment designed to effectively and efficiently perform the work. Today’s parks and open space practitioners must be able to function in various capacities. 

      This two-day course is designed to help enhance the competencies of both new and seasoned employees, while setting the right foundation blocks for those being introduced to the world of green space maintenance and management. Participants will be introduced to industry best practices, equipment, health and safety in the workplace and liability of the employee or municipality. Participants will also practice documentation and learn legislative requirements for protecting the municipality.

      This course will cover:

      • Legislation (OH&S, Bill C-45, WHMIS)
      • Personal Safety (potential hazards, PPE)
      • Accident Investigation & Documentation *Case Study and Assignment*
      • Invasive Species
      • Best Practices
      • Equipment Types & Operation
      • CVOR
      • Fuel Handling

      DATE: Dec 14th & 15th, 2023

      TIME: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

      LOCATION: Online

      OPA Member: $416.00
      OPA Potential Member: $653.00

      This course counts as 2 credits towards your Parks Practitioner Designation.

      Register above online. An invoice will be sent to you within 24hrs of registering. Payment can be made online through the invoice you will receive or via cheque (made payable to Ontario Parks Association).

      Click here to read our registration policies.

    For more information, please send an email, referencing the course title, to

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