Organizations are asked to meet a common set of Organizational Standards, as well as standards specific to their programs and services.
The Organizational Standards look at the whole agency, and cover things like governance, management, planning, quality improvement, and important risk management functions. The standards also look for person-centred services, a strength-based approach, accessibility of services, and engagement and responsiveness to the communities served.
Program- and service-focused standards apply to the organization's community-based support and social services, that may be provided in community settings, group living situations or in the home of persons receiving services. The standards emphasize the promotion of individual autonomy, wellness and social inclusion.
They assess areas such as community outreach, service planning, service coordination, client advocacy and group program delivery, and look for a pro-active approach to client safety and management of service-related risks. The standards push organizations to plan their services in response to the needs of the communities and people they serve.
There are also standards specific to certain services, people served and settings. They include standards specific to day programs for adults, services for children and youth, respite services, personal support and home-based services, meal preparation, supportive counselling, and shelters including women’s shelters, group homes and other short-term and long-term residential situations.