Dear Colleagues, 

Staying connected, informed and accessing services is critical for our rural community.  Today is February 11th – 211 Day! 

211 provides resources and referrals to community, social, government and health programs in Grey Bruce as well as other regions. 

  • As of February 4th, the largest number of calls to 211 in Bruce and Grey Counties were people seeking assistance for housing, health and income/employment services.
  • The top 3 reasons for Unmet Needs were due to: no resource to meet the need, ineligible for service and inquirer was unable to connect with agency/program. 211 keeps detailed information on all the requests if organizations want to do a deeper analysis. 
  • You can search the 211 database online at Information Bruce Grey or call 211 for information. 
  • As part of 211 Day we are asking you to increase the use of 211 so that people can be connected to critical services. 
  • Add the 211 Facebook profile frame to your profile pic to remind your friends that help starts with 211: 
  • Tweet out using #211DayCanada and #HelpStartsHere 


A  2019 study found nearly one in five Ontario communities was found to have extremely poor quality internet access, where connection speeds average 5 Mbps or below.  

  • On July 9, 2020, the province launched the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program, a multi-year program that aims to support approved broadband and cellular projects as early as Spring 2021. 
  • In November 2020, the government announced additional funding which will support the Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This funding is expected to be used for shovel-ready projects starting in 2019-20, create jobs, and connect unserved and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond. 
  • On February 4th, 2021, the government announced it is investing more than $4.8 million to upgrade broadband at public libraries in unserved and underserved communities.  The Internet Connectivity Grant that is demonstrating how libraries can provide a WiFi lending program   
    • The Meaford library has a program to provide wifi access in two week blocks. They also have an equipment program to help youth access a variety of equipment to support learning, this includes cameras, laptops, digital and video equipment.  
  • Our public libraries and public spaces are providing free wifi near their buildings. These are located on the Grey County Resiliency Map and the Bruce County Resiliency Map, which are updated regularly.    
  • Bruce County Income & Support Services and Grey County Ontario Works can provide support for electronic devices for Ontario Works clients, based on an assessment of individual circumstances, for OW clients who are actively engaged in employment-related activities.


  • The Ontario government is once again extending electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms.  The government will continue to hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour until February 22, 2021. This lower rate is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for Time-Of-Use and tiered customers.
  • Starting February 22nd, some free income tax filing services will start processing 2020 returns. 
  • CERB Repayment: Canadians who received any of the 5 pandemic benefits will have until April 30, 2022 to pay back any debt from those benefits or outstanding income tax debt without interest. 
  • The Canada Revenue Agency is expected to announce it won’t claw back monthly or quarterly benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit or the GST/HST tax credit, to pay down outstanding debts.
  • Personal Income Tax debt: If a phone call or letter is received indicating that money owing and payment in full is not possible, call the CRA 1-833-966-2099 to work together on a payment arrangement.   
  • The CRA has withheld 10% per cent at the source to go toward taxes for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) , Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB).   


  • The Meeting Place – Tobermory is offering transportation support to residents in all of the Northern Bruce Peninsula communities for essential trips. This funding from the United Way of Bruce Grey supports people who are facing financial barriers or are driving to help out family/ friends. Contact The Meeting Place at 519-586-2313 and leave a message or email us at
  • Owen Sound Transit has added a fifth bus route to take people on essential trips during the pandemic to some of the busier locations, such as to Walmart, work and medical appointments.


  • Due to COVID-19, City facilities that are typically available as Warming Centre’s during cold temperatures are not available for public use at this time.  Residents requiring assistance are also reminded to call 211 for additional warming centre or emergency shelter information. 211 is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Recognizing the importance of residents having a safe place to seek shelter, the City of Owen Sound has partnered with Safe n’ Sound to extend operating hours from January 29-31. Safe n’ Sound will now operate on Friday from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. 
  • Emergency shelter services are provided by the County of Grey and Bruce County through YMCA Housing Services. Those seeking emergency shelter are encouraged to contact YMCA Housing Services at 519-371-9230. Safe’n Sound also provides emergency shelter services. Those requiring support may call 519-470-2222 between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. 


  • Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy’s Peer Advisory Committee now up and running. The committee is currently accepting requests for consultation from local agencies who are looking to start or change any program, policy or initiative that affects people who experience addiction.Please contact Alison Govier if you (or someone from your agency) would like to book a consultation session with the committee. 


  • The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, ONWA has  expanded the Aakode’ewin – Courage for Change Program across Ontario to address the unique needs of the disproportionate number of Indigenous women and girls affected by human trafficking.
  • The Hope for Wellness Helpline offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Counselling is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. 1-855-242-3310 
  • Native Women’s Association C’s team of in-house Elders are here to support and build resiliency. They are available Monday–Friday, from 9–11 a.m. EST and 1–3 p.m. EST. Toll Free: 888-664-7808 
  • Talk4Healing provides 24/7 culturally sensitive counselling, advice and support to Indigenous women in Ojibway, OjiCree, Cree, English, and French 1-855-554-4325 
  • Kids Help Phone provides 24/7 anonymous and non-judgemental support to youth and teens in both English and French. 1-800-668-6868

SAVE THE DATE – Our next Poverty Task Force meeting is Friday, February 26th at 10am. 

Stay well, Jill 

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