October’s Poverty Task Force meeting was held in the morning of the Imposium organized by the Income Security Action Group.  Deidre Pike joined us for the morning and was the keynote speaker for our event.

Deidre Pike’s fascination for sharing stories drives who she is and what she does as both a Senior Social Planner for the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC) and columnist for The Hamilton Spectator. In both roles, Pike sees it as her responsibility to facilitate conversation and to improve community engagement.

In her role at the SPRC, Pike identifies “social trends and issues in Hamilton and finds collaborative ways to address them”. Her work focuses primarily on poverty elimination, healthy development of children and youth, housing and homelessness, equity and inclusion and anti-oppression for the LGBTQ community.

The Steering Committee, Community Voices and all 4 Action Groups reported out on activities:

  • Bruce and Grey County Councils have received a budget request to support coordination of PTF in the 2015 budget. Budget approval in January 2015.
  •  The Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance and Healthy Communities Partnership are exploring a Grey Bruce Data Consortium for both counties. 
  • The Children’s Alliance is developing a website. PTF  will have a page and link on the website under Grey Bruce Initiatives.
  • Grey County Transportation Study report presented by Lough Barnes. The Transportation Action Group members participated in a stakeholders meeting with Grey County staff and consultants.   Proposed next steps have been budgeted and will need to be approved in January.  Rural Transportation Study Presentation
  • The Housing Action Group’s proposal to the Homelessness Partnership Strategy Fund was not successful. They will be looking for other resources their Above Standards Housing Project.
  • The Income Security Action Group has been very busy organizing today’s Imposium.
  • The Food Security Action Group is reaching out through the community to engage with them on the draft Grey Bruce Food Charter.
  • Recommendations from Diedre Pike presentation and discussion:
  • Canada is the only G8 country to not have a national Poverty Reduction Strategy. Today the Chew On This campaign advocates for this strategy. www.chewonthis.ca
  • Challenge with current Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy is that no targets have been set in the new strategy and therefore very difficult to measure progress. Engage with ongoing regional, provincial and national campaigns/organizations such as Worker’s Action Centre, 25 in 5, Living Wage Canada.
  • Seek out funding for the work of the Poverty Task Force through funders such as Atkinson Decent Work Fund. http://atkinsonfoundation.ca/grants/atkinson-decent-work-fund/
  • Engage with organizations such as Freedom 90 that call for Food Banks to close and the Ontario government to find better solutions to address Food Security.  http://www.freedom90.ca/index.html
  • Evaluate the membership of your Poverty Task Force – how do we have interest groups join us? In Hamilton, the Resolution Advocates invited candidates to discuss challenges for people with disabilities in a meeting held at the City Council.  They sought partnership to finding solutions to accessibility in the city.
  • Popularize your data. Access the tax data to find the data that is no longer available from the census.
  • Engage with media on developing Living Wage campaign.  Do our local Not-For-Profits pay a living wage? Examine ourselves first. How many small businesses will sign up?  Use boiler plate bylaws developed by larger Ontario-based groups. We have way more influence over municipalities than province.  Hold forums in City Council with people with lived experience. Regularly write correspondence to provincial government and respond to consultations.
  • Develop an Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program Operations Table which involves advocates with lived experience at the table.
  • Poverty Task Force Minutes 17 Oct 2014

Next meeting is December 12th in Port Elgin.

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