Dear Colleagues, 

Yesterday, the Federal government announced that our borders will remain closed and our Provincial government announced that schools will also remain closed. Everyone is discussing what the “new normal” will look like for our students, for service agencies and for our staff moving forward. 

In this Community Update, we share about two upcoming webinars examining approaches for the “new normal” and we have listed some new funding opportunities that will support our respective agencies to adapt our frontline services to better support the most vulnerable people in Grey Bruce. 

  • Re-Opening Workplaces Post-COVID: Maytree’s upcoming webinar, on Thursday, May 21 at 1 p.m., will explore strategies and approaches for organizations to implement as we adjust to the “new normal,” including addressing crisis management, re-examining how we work, and implementing lessons learned over the course of this crisis that will become best practices going forward.
  • Living the Future, Today: Tamarack Institute’s upcoming webinar  on Tuesday, May 28th, 1pm, will use an inquiry-based problem-solving approach to understand and unravel the complexity of the incredible shifts we are experiencing in our work and home lives as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Members of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force continue to engage in regional and cross-Canada discussions via Tamarack Institute, Feed Ontario, Sustain OntarioCampaign 2000OMSSAmunicipalities and other networks on the need to enhance our social safety nets. 

  • One string is not a safety net – it’s a tightrope: this opinion piece from Maytree warns against the risks of focusing on a single program or solution, arguing that building an adequate social safety net in response to COVID-19 requires building and strengthening public services, systems, and income supports at the same time. Read it here.  


  • Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF): The United Way of Bruce Grey and the Community Foundation Grey Bruce are now accepting funding applications.
  • The fund provides financial support to charities and other qualified donees adapting their frontline services to support vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes, including to cover staffing or resource needs, purchase assistance and more. Funding will be for programming starting in July 2020 to March 2021.
  • Funding will be issued on an ongoing basis through July 2020, as funds permit. First Nation and Indigenous communities are eligible to apply.
  • Visit Community Foundation Grey Bruce and United Way of Bruce Grey or contact Stuart Reid, Executive Director CFGB, 519-371-7203 and Francesca Dobbyn, Executive Director UWBG, 519-376-1560
  • The Canadian Red Cross is also managing a portion of the Emergency Community Support Fund. The deadline to apply is June 21, 2020. All activities and expenditures must take place between April 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020. Read more on granting program.
  • ODSP Emergency Fund: ODSP clients who have additional expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak and who don’t receive Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) income (with some exceptions) are eligible for monthly payments of $100 for a single person or $200 for a family until July 2020.
  • Families with a youth under 18 receiving the CERB or a family member in full-time school attendance receiving the CERB may still be eligible for the benefit. If you received this benefit in March or April and meet the eligibility criteria, you will automatically receive the benefit in May, June and July.
  • For new requests, please email or call 1-888-444-2412 with your name, member ID and your additional expenses. 
  • Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA):provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.  Changes to the eligibilty to CEBA were made yesterday. 
  • Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).  
  • Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy:  helps businesses keep employees on the payroll and encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and better positions businesses to bounce back following the crisis. 
  • As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020 to August 29, 2020
  • Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF): Employers who could not get support through CEWS or CEBA can apply to the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), where funding is provided in the form of loans through 6 regional development agencies.  
  • Ontario Pandemic Pay: The temporary pandemic pay and lump sum payments do not impact the eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • As of May 15, ministries have contacted all eligible employers, service delivery partners or employer associations.
  • Eligible employees will receive temporary pandemic pay on hourly wages and those working over 100 hours in a designated four-week period will receive monthly lump sum payments. This pay will be provided retroactively to April 24, 2020


  • For all ODSP applicants and recipients, CERB payments are treated like employment income. The first $200, and 50 per cent of each additional dollar received, is exempt. 
  • If you are receiving the CERB, you should report this income. You can do this using phone, fax, mail, secure email or the general ODSP office email address.
  • If you become financially ineligible for ODSP income support while receiving the CERB, you will NOT lose access to health benefits. You will remain on social assistance, at a nominal amount, to ensure continued access to benefits and case management supports.
  • Please do not contact ODSP to apply for the CERB. For information on eligibility for CERB or to apply visit: Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • Return paymentThe CRA needs to ensure that the CERB is paid to and kept only by those individuals who are eligible. You must repay the CERB if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements for the 4-week period in question. This could happen if: 
    • you earned employment or self-employment income earlier than expected 
    • you applied for the CERB but later realized you’re not eligible 
    • you received a CERB payment from both Service Canada and the CRA for the same period. 
  • The CERB is taxable. You will receive a T4A tax slip on the amount of CERB you receive. 
  • If you repay the CERB, the CRA won’t issue a T4A for that payment. To ensure that we don’t issue slips improperly, you need to repay your CERB before December 31, 2020.

Ontario Disability Support Program and COVID 19 

  • MCCSS has announced temporary changes to ODSP. ODSP office hours are now 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday with reduced staff. Please be patient as they do their best to assist you, answer calls and respond to inquiries. For everyone’s health and well-being, please avoid going to an ODSP office unless asked to do so.


  • The United Way of Bruce Grey has received a grant to hire a full time Financial Literacy Co-ordinator to assist Bruce Grey residents navigate various income supports during the Covid 19 Pandemic. See attached posting. Application closes 22 May 2020
  • If aTrillium Drug Programhousehold has experienced an income change in 2019 or 2020 of 10% or more compared to their 2018 income, they can apply to have their deductible recalculated  by completing and submitting the Annual Deductible Re-Assessment Form
  • Eligible households who are not currently enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program and have high prescription costs can also complete and submit an application and re-assessment form by e-mail or fax.  

Stay well, Jill 

One thought on “Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 14

  1. Hi Jill.

    This is really great. Thank you. The webinars from Maytree and Tamarack look especially interesting. It looks like anyone can attend those so I might join in.

    Thanks for doing such an amazing job of keeping everyone informed.

    Have a great day.


    On Wed, May 20, 2020 at 6:45 AM Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force wrote:

    > Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force posted: ” Dear Colleagues, Yesterday, the > Federal government announced that our borders will remain closed and our > Provincial government announced that schools will also remain closed. > Everyone is discussing what the “new normal” will look like for our st” >

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