Dear Colleagues, 

Today, the Province announced a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge  in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021 and the government intends to keep this in place for at least 4 weeks.   

Most community food programs and income/housing supports remain in place with many of them offering curbside services and by appointment in-person services. Please remember to update your services on 211 or to let 211 know that you are remaining the same services. 


  • Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Visibility. We stand with Transgender persons, recognizing the struggle for equality they still face. Everyone should feel safe being who they are, but sadly that still isn’t the reality many members of the Transgender community face. With more visibility comes more understanding. 
    • The Gender, Violence and Resource Access Survey found that 50% of trans people have been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner. 
    • Trans people of colour are 6 times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police than white cisgender survivors of violence. 
  • Launchpad YTC has created a What’s Your 9 to 5 Podcast featuring M’Wikwedong Building Gender Diverse Communities and Grey Bruce Pride. They interview Karen Houle, who shared about the M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Center and about being Indigenous and Queer. 
  • Accessing vaccination bookings has been challenging for many vulnerable community members due to lack of internet/data plans/email address or ability to navigate the current online/telephone booking system.. 
    • Public Health has been working with community partners to reach targeted vulnerable populations – those in emergency shelters, congregate settings, Indigenous people, CMHA and those in precarious housing situations or street involved – to ensure that they are supported to access vaccination services. 


  • A big THANK YOU to John McLaughlin of Habitat for Humanity for all his delivery and transportation support in the past year!  
    • John has been on the road and delivering pandemic supplies, equipment and food to partners. When Habitat closed their stores doors, John stepped up with the use of their trucks! John has also been delivering surplus food to community food partners and the Meals2Motels program for people sheltered in motels.  It has been an incredible year and John has been an essential part of the machine that has supported food banks, community meal programs and homelessness response programs. 
    • Paul Wagenaar has replaced John for delivery support to community meal programs and the Meals2Motel program. 
  • Despite the snow today, many Community Gardeners are still planning for spring starts. We anticipate that there will be new Public Health regulations around the safe management of community gardens but anticipate they will be open for 2021. 
  • The Meaford Community Gardens have entered in the Gardens for Good Contest with Nature’s Path this year and we are reaching out to our community and friends to support us by sending us a humble vote for our gardens. You can find the garden profile by using the search function (type Meaford in search window) on this website followed by an email validation. 


  • Income Tax Filing for Newcomers: because COVID19 has affected how many newcomers manage their taxes, the Canada Revenue Agency has made available different resources to guide immigrants through the process. To learn about filing a tax return, go to To understand the benefits and credits for newcomers, watch this video:   
  • Precarious Employment Report: 4 County Labour Market Planning Board has released a new Report and is seeking your feedback. .Please complete the Report Survey and Partnership Survey
  • Four County Labour Market Planning Board reported in January 2021 the job classification with the highest demand included home support workers, personal care aides, personal home support and more. The government has announced a total of $709,893 in SkillsAdvance program training dollars for Grey Bruce. For more information contact YMCA Owen Sound Grey Bruce Employment Services at 519-371-9222 and press 6.
  • A second Grey Bruce Virtual Job Fair has been announced  In March, more than 1,200 job seekers and 125 employers connected through the Grey Bruce Virtual Job Fair to explore 1,500 local job opportunities. As a response to this high demand, a second Grey Bruce Virtual Job Fair focused on student and seasonal opportunities will take place Wednesday, April 7 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • The Student and Seasonal Edition is a partnership between YMCA Employment Services, Grey County, Bruce County, VPI Solutions, the Four County Labour Market Planning Board, Georgian College, the City of Owen Sound and the Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership.


  • The Meeting Place and the SPARKS Housing Initiative has released an investigative report on long term housing rental housing for seasonal workers. The report digs into the issues and identifies the challenges and possible next steps. 
  • Grey County has recommended the elimination of  the Vacant Unit Rebate Program as one strategy to encourage more development. 
  • Housing and utility support requests remain the highest calls to 211 this month. See the attached latest 211 Bruce Grey Needs Summary. 
  • The By-Name List has 50 people on the list at the end of March 2021. 31 are chronically homeless, 22 full data sets exist and people range from 16-67 years of age. 
  • Safe ‘N Sound‘s transitional housing is full. They will be moving to curbside service for food and reduced the number of people in their space under the lockdown order. 
  • Evictions are still happening. The Landlord-Tenant Board is meeting and Sheriffs are acting on very recent notices issued in March 2021. Steps to Justice has issued a COVID19 Evictions Q&A on the current eviction ban lifted in January 2021. 
  • Suite Meter disconnects are happening. Suite meters are not regulated like other utility services. A disconnection fee can be $237.00. Contact the United Way for advocacy support.  
  • The Y Housing Stability Workers remains in the office servicing people during the lockdown. 
    • The Y Youth in Transition Worker Program (16-17 years old) has been working with partners (BGCFS, OW & Grey County) to address the issues of more timely support funds to youth.  Challenges exist for youth to access trustees, Voluntary Service Youth Agreements (VSYA)  
    • If you have any questions about the program or would like to refer a youth to the program please contact us at 519-371-9230 ext. 233 or e-mail
  • Indigenous youth are also challenged with finding landlords to rent to youth under 25 without a cosigner. M’Wikwedong housing support staff are also seeing a lot of queer youth living at home and seeking althernative housing. 


  • The Province has announced new funding through the Safe Restart Agreement.for SMART, City of Owen Sound and Meaford transit systems. 


  • Grey Bruce Harm Reduction Program: In 2019, 139,807 needles were given out as part of Public Health’s needle syringe program, available at 16 sites in Grey-Bruce. Nearly 32,000 used needles were returned. in 2020, the number of needles given out dropped slightly – to 136,283 – but the number of used sharps returned increased by about 55% to 49,025. Several initiatives with community partners – Safe ‘N Sound, the United Way of Bruce Grey, the City of Owen Sound and Public Health have supported this program.  
    • Safe ‘n Sound has seen an “influx of people” bringing full sharps containers to the centre. About 8,000 sharps were returned last month alone – nearly 5 times more than in the previous month.
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit, United Way of Bruce Grey and Safe ‘n Sound came together Saturday at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market to share information on the local opioid crisis and available harm reduction services. 50 naloxone kits were distributed and a memorial was held for lives lost. The Health Unit has confirmed a 4th death last week. 


  • CARE Project Grey-Bruce is continually growing and learning how they can best serve our community. They are developing a Volunteer Team that will help when they engage in projects or events, as well as assist with training and educational information sessions that they will be hosting in the future.


Stay well, Jill

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