Dear Colleagues, 

Inclusion, equality, and equity are fundamental to the work we do at the Poverty Task Force. We believe that everyone deserves to live free of systematic oppression or racialized violence. 

It’s not enough to “not be racist”, we must be actively anti-racist. The Canadian Human Rights Commission released  Anti-Black racism in Canada: time to face the truth stating that anti-Black racism is pervasive in Canada. In fact, the belief that there is little to no racism in Canada is in itself a barrier to addressing it. 

We believe that acknowledging this is a crucial part of standing in solidarity with our Black, Indigneous and minority colleagues, partners, members, and community.   

Together we can keep learning, keep listening, and stand up to all forms of racial injustice.  

On our COVID19 Resource Page we have expanded our list of Inclusion and Equity resources to include: 

  • Inclusive Community Engagement: in a time of physical distancing, Capire, May 2020
  • Our Grey Bruce Health Equity Tool takes a system perspective and was developed collaboratively with system leaders, service providers and community stakeholders across sectors and agencies within Grey Bruce
  • Our Moving Forward on Health Equity Working Group has developed this tool and videos for organizations striving for equity and to make changes to systems within their control.  
  • Most recently the Chatham-Kent Public Health has requested the use of our Health Equity Tool for post-COVID19 planning. The Moving Forward on Health Equity working group shall be coming together in June to discuss the role of this tool under COVID19 for organizations in Grey Bruce. 
  • M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre’s June newsletter includes an introduction to staff and services in their new space as well descriptions of ongoing programs under COVID19. 
  • The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and its final report have brought the issues of violence against First Nation, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and LGBTQ2S people to the forefront, and together we must continue the momentum for change.  
  • The report’s Calls for Justice requires that we work in partnership with Indigenous leaders, justice partners, community groups, service providers and others to enhance violence prevention and access to services. 
  • The Federal Government announced new funding for Indigenous communities, including $285.1 million for the COVID-19 public health response, $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program, and $44.8 million to build shelters for Indigenous women and girls experiencing violence, along with ongoing operating funding.   
  • The Rural Pathways for Newcomer Women in Grey Bruce project has created an online COVID 19 Resources & Supports for Newcomers &  Immigrants and another one for employers of newcomers, Covid-19 Resources for Employers Who Employ Newcomers in Bruce and Grey Counties 
  • Since March, the Rural Pathways project has been recruiting volunteer translators to help newcomers with language barriers to access Covid-19 resources. Presently, the translators can provide these languages: Hindi, Gujarati, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Nepali. Urdu, Arabic, Ukrainian, Russian, German, Dutch, Farsi, Cantonese and Mandarin. To connect with a translator, contact newcomer@unitedwaybg.com 
  • In July and August, the Rural Pathways project will be offering a series of free online skill-building workshops to visible minority newcomer women in the region. These workshops address several employment and pre-employment barriers: bias, discrimination and cultural barriers, language barriers, and the lack of Canadian education, skills and work experience. For more information contact newcomer@unitedwaybg.com 
  • The YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce is now providing settlement and language services to eligible newcomers and immigrants in the region. They will offer a variety of workshops, as well as LINC English classes. Settlement Services include: completing forms, applications and other documents, navigating local systems such as health care and public school, recreation services, education, income assistance, taxes and more, sourcing programs and services within the community, referrals to programs and services including: counselling, employment services, language assessments, children and youth services, legal issues and refugee other specialized services, communicating with employers, landlords, social and government services, legal services and more, Canadian life and culture, assistance and referral for licensing and accreditation. Contact settlement@osgb.ymca.ca or 519-379-5535.

As the province launches into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, a number of local plans are being put into place. This will include a gradual, staged approach to reopening businesses, services and public spaces. 

  • The Recovery Phase section of Grey Bruce Health Unit COVID19 page will be updated as details emerge from the province and as local information becomes available. A new Infographic and videos have been developed to assist in understanding. 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

  • The United Way of Bruce Grey and Community Foundation Grey Bruce continue to accept applications for funding through the Emergency Community Support Fund.  Applications will be due every Thursday at 4 pm and reviewed weekly. $500,000 in funds are available for charities and nonprofits in Grey Bruce for programming from July 2020 to March 2021. 

INCOME SUPPORTS

  • Seniors Supplement: The Federal government announced today that seniors can expect in the week of July 5th, to receive a tax-free, one-time payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the OAS and an additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS. 
  • In April, the federal government spent $1.3 billion to provide seniors with a one-time special payment through the goods and services tax credit, worth an average of $375 for each single senior and $510 for couples.

YOUTH SUPPORTS

  • The Ontario government announced the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.  
  • A recent Sun Times interview with the Poverty Task Force and community partners highlighted child/youth programming support. 
    • The YMCA Youth & Justice program continues to provide free Social Distancing workshops – Mon, Wed and Fri at 1pm via Zoom. Call/text: 519-373-1016 or email justice@osgb.ymca.ca to register. 
    • The YMCA is offering virtual workshops and launched YMCA at Home providing free content for mental health and wellbeing, family and children’s activities, and fitness programming. 
    • The Youth Job Connection program started this week for people between the ages of 15 and 29. VPI Inc and the YMCA run the program which provides pre-placement training, job opportunities and mentorship for teens and young adults. 
    • Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services teamed up with the Scenic City Order of Good Cheer, The Rocking Horse, and Martin School Transit – who donated $15,000 to kickstart the project – to distribute toys to isolated children.The program has now provided toys to more than 550 children throughout Grey and Bruce counties. Members of the Scenic City Order of Good Cheer have travelled more than 6,000-kilometres delivering the toys to families in need.
    • Many libraries are offering virtual activities for children and youth. The Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library is providing daily programs such as Toddler Story Time, and the Tea & Title book club through their Facebook page.  Read more of their activities in their latest newsletter. 
  • But we also raised the challenge many families have with accessing free activities that are closed during the hot temperatures  – playgrounds, splash pads, public pools and family-friendly cooling stations. 
  • The challenge for parents to return to work without childcare has been raised to the Federal government.     

Stay well, Jill 

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