Annual Report 2020-2021



A vibrant, growing community where people care for themselves and each other.


Agence Ometz is a Jewish human services agency offering social, employment and immigration services to help people fulfill their potential and to secure the growth and vibrancy of the Montreal community.


For over 150 years, Ometz has been serving the needs of the Jewish community of Montreal. Beginning as three separate agencies, Jewish Employment Montreal (JEM), Jewish Family Services (JFS) and Jewish Immigration Aid Services (JIAS) joined together in 2008 to form the organization that we know as Ometz, or “Courage” in English. Our mission is to deliver accessible, confidential, personalized, and culturally sensitive community services based on Jewish values. Our staff members are responsive, compassionate, engaged and inspiring—and sensitive to the cultural and language needs of our diverse community. Our vision is to build a vibrant, growing community where people care for themselves and each other.
Looking ahead, our goal at Ometz is to continue to be a source of strength and help our clients find the courage to reach their full potential.
We are guided by the words of Maimonides: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."



Ometz is the Hebrew word for courage and is a reflection of the courage of those who seek our support in transforming their lives. Our work is guided by the following core values:

  • Self-Sufficiency: By engaging our clients—whether individuals or families—to actively participate in the choices that lead to a more productive, meaningful life.
  • Inclusivity: By welcoming and embracing everyone, without regard to race, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other factor.
  • Human Dignity: By appreciating the uniqueness of each individual and interacting with sensitivity, empathy and non-judgment.
  • Caring Communities: By creating social, emotional and cultural links, often with community partners, to engage those who might otherwise be isolated or feel disconnected.
  • Excellence: By upholding the highest professional standards and committing to life-long learning, renewal and innovation.


13,023 individuals benefited from Ometz services, programs and activities in 2020-2021.

371 virtual workshops, webinars, conferences and events organized by Ometz were attended by 1,931 people.

7,924 people received our support to improve their quality of life, reduce social isolation, achieve financial autonomy and develop a positive outlook of their future.

1,728 children and families benefited from material and financial assistance to meet essential needs and secure a decent standard of living.

367 individuals, couples and families used our counselling services to improve relationships, cope with crisis and develop confidence.

365 people living with mental health challenges, intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder received support to advance their quality of life, personal well-being and employment status.

52% of our Mental Health clients reached out for psychosocial support related to increased feelings of severe anxiety and/or depression during the first wave of the pandemic.

25% overall increase in interventions for clients of our Mental Health Support Services and a 53% increase in interventions for clients in our Counselling Services during this one-year period.

904 young adults aged 18 to 35 at risk of social and economic exclusion received support and guidance to set personal goals, improve their quality of life and maximize their potential.

1,138  job seekers used our services online to navigate the job market, update their skills, attend virtual workshops and find suitable employment opportunities.

274 people with mental health related disabilities received support navigating the job market, finding, securing and maintaining employment.

232 people participated in virtual workshops, trainings and peer support groups to learn techniques and gain confidence for successful job search.

835 newcomer families received information and support at every step of their immigration and integration to their new lives in Quebec.

434 adults and children learned more regarding their new home and connected with the community through our virtual integration activities.

177 virtual sessions of our Learning & Enrichment Afterschool Program (LEAP) provided mentoring, academic and emotional support to 60 youth.

1,775 children, parents and school personnel participated in discussions about relationships, sexuality, Internet safety, prevention of bullying, conflict resolution and resilience.

241 parents received support from their peers and child development specialists through our parenting groups.

150 people participated in the ABCs of starting a business – a series of free public and virtual workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs.

100 startups received business plan coaching, help with accessing financial resources and technical support through our accelerator program.


Ometz has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in numerous ways, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to help the community recover from this crisis.

The importance of food security meant that not a single day of service to our community was interrupted and food assistance continued to be delivered to clients.

Leveraging data to respond in timely manner thanks to developing and implementing a Crisis Monitoring and Evaluation Framework which helped to identify emerging needs.

Employment and entrepreneurship services responded to the needs of job seekers laid off or terminated during the pandemic, small business owners hard hit by the crisis, and new graduates facing unexpected barriers upon their entrance to the job market.

Employment Services offered a peer support group for mature workers ages 45+ with a focus on managing the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic while looking for a job. Each session explored mindfulness and resilience strategies to manage the job search process and stress brought on by these unprecedented times. Enrollment to the group doubled during this period.

L’Annexe workers quickly shifted to a virtual format and continued to work online with our young clients to provide special events, job coaching, life-skills training and mentorship through one-on-one sessions and group workshops.

The Helpline, staffed by Ometz and The Cummings Centre, responded to over 3,800 calls in the first 6 months of the pandemic, averaging close to 100 calls per day in the first 3 months.

Ometz partnered with Federation CJA’s Gesher– the Bridge–an initiative to ensure that impacted families can get the support they need to cope through this crisis.

Immigration Services created a successful Virtual Ometz Newcomers Club to help newcomers feel less isolated during the pandemic. With few opportunities to network in their new home and cut off from their families abroad, this program helped newcomers better integrate into the Jewish community by providing virtual opportunities to meet with other families, such as cooking classes, physical activity workshops, gardening and painting classes.

Changes to newcomer status, citizenship and residency during the pandemic led Immigration Services to hold special sessions on Canadian Immigration Law with an Immigration Advisor. These sessions focused on permanent residency, temporary work and study permits, Citizenship applications, special measures related to foreign workers, special processing measures, travel restrictions for residents and non-residents.

Virtual one-on-one and online group programming supported our mental health clients in overcoming isolation, reducing anxiety and building life skills. We quickly transitioned all of our individual and group sessions with clients from in person to virtual/telehealth format and continue to develop this model of working with clients.

To enhance and support digital empowerment, our staff distributed computers, laptops and tablets to clients who were isolated, looking for employment, studying in high school and university—and worked with volunteers to help with training and tech support. Free internet access was provided to those who could not afford it.

School services increased academic after-school programs and provided support accessing available and safe activities to over 100 families who did not send their children to summer camp.


Ometz is proud of our many partnerships and we are especially grateful of the relationships we have built and strengthened during the crisis and challenges of COVID-19. Each year, we work with public, private and community organizations and contribute our voice and expertise to numerous local networks, professional alliances, roundtables and citizen groups, including:


    As members of the Table de concertation en santé mentale et dépendence, we are official community partners of the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest on all matters concerning mental health services in this territory. We have become a significant voice in defining and advocating for the housing needs of those living with mental health issues through our participation in the sub-committee on housing.


    In partnership with GenMTL, we created and implemented an innovative training program for young adults willing to develop their leadership potential and create positive change in the community. Program graduates will have the opportunity to become members of the Peer Advisory Committee of l’Annexe, our Centre for Youth and Young Adults.

    In March 2020, we partnered with Cummings Centre to organize the COVID-19 Community Helpline. This community-wide response was accessible to the thousands who were looking for information, support and services in the crisis. In the first weeks of helpline operation, our colleagues were receiving over 100 calls per day.




Michael Aronovici

Joel Shalit

Jeffrey Berkowitz

Bill Itovitch
Secretary | Treasurer

Saul Carliner
Past President

Yvonne Bensimon

Ruth Bensimon Choueke

Igor Bernadski

Geneviève Busbib

Rob Fainer

Amy Fish

David Martz

Viviana Mauas

Linda Schachter

Karen Sigman




Dominique McCaughey
Chief Executive Officer


Allan Ptack
Chief Operating Officer

Susan Karpman
Chief Program Officer

Barbara Victor
Chief Clinical Officer




None of the work that Ometz is doing would have been possible without the faithful support of our funders and donors. From a transformational gift to an occasional cheque, every dollar allows us to create positive change in the lives of thousands of members of our community. In 2020-2021 over 400 individuals, foundations and corporations supported Ometz through their donations. We sincerely thank each one of them.









The Arlene Fels Trust

ECHO Foundation

Gross, Stephen & Saryl

Gustav Levinschi Foundation

Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal

King, Marlene & Joel & Family

The Leonard Albert Family Foundation

Nachshen, Larry

Peter Harasty Memorial Fund

Ruth & David Steinberg Family Foundation

Small, David

Small, Sarah

Steven & Sophie Lewar JIAS Canada Endowment Fund

$5,000 - $9,999

Bernadski, Igor

Dekhter, Alex

Finnie, Shaun

Fraiberg, William

Hecht, Robert

Kolber, Leo

Lazare, Dawna

Mendel, Leonard

Second Harvest

The Richter Charitable Foundation


See the full list




(1) The pension expense represents a liability due to Federation CJA in conjunction with the wind-up of a multi-employer defined benefit plan held and administered by Federation CJA on April 30, 2021.

(2) Poverty response through the community financial assistance program amounting to $605,440 is not included in our statement of operations, but is included as an expense on this chart.

(1) In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Agence Ometz qualified as an eligible employer for the CEWS in demonstrating that it has observed the predetermined decrease in revenues required during the program eligibility period.

(2) Federation CJA also contributes $605,440 for community financial assistance directed to clients. This amount is not included in our statement of operations, but included as a source of revenue in this chart.


Download 2020-2021 Financial Statements

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Download 2020-2021 Annual Report