The Poverty Task Force continues to build its resource page – Poverty, Voting and Elections and is engaging in education opportunities with candidates and the public.
- Voter Registration: It is important for people to ensure they are registered to vote by Sept 1st, 2022 since many municipalities have shifted to online voting.
- Visit VoterLookup.ca or call 1‑866‑296‑6722 to make sure people are on the Voters’ List.
The visit of Pope Francis from July 24 to 29, 2022 has left Indigenous communities wanting more from the Catholic Church and the government. There continue to be more cries for justice and addressing the injustice of justice for Indigenous Peoples.
- Mi’kmaw Language Act: will take effect on Oct 1st, 2022 and recognizes the Mi’kmaw language as the original language of Nova Scotia. The province will take further steps to invest in the promotion and revitalization of the language.
COVID 19 SUPPORT
We continue to see an increase in COVID cases and hospitalization. Low income people still remain at higher risk of death.
- Free Rapid Antigen Tests: Ontario will continue to provide free rapid antigen tests to the general public through existing channels like grocery stores, pharmacies, workplaces, schools, hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes.
- Vaccine Update: anyone aged 18 year & older is eligible to receive a 2nd COVID19 Vaccine booster dose. You can receive it 5 months after your 1st booster dose. Parents and caregivers of children aged 6 months to under 5 years will be able to book appointments for the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Grey Bruce Health unit has updated their vaccine schedule information.
- COVID-19 paid sick days are extended to March 31, 2023. For workers, the maximum number of days remains 3 days and are not additional days. If you have used your 3 days in the past 2 years, no additional days are covered by the government.
- Plan to Catch Up: the Ministry of Education has released a new health and education plan to keep schools open and for students to improve their learning experience this year.
- Grey Bruce By-Name List: as of July 31st, there are 262 households active on the list. Of these 262 households, 215 of them are experiencing chronic homelessness. Over 82% of the Grey Bruce community members experiencing homelessness have been homeless for at least 6 months of the last 12 months (Canada-wide average is 23% of households on the By-Name Lists are experiencing chronic homelessness. Source: Homeless Hub). Of the 262, there are 50 households that are high acuity, 106 households mid acuity and 71 households low acuity. (Acuity levels are measured through questions on health experience and household demographics.)
- Grey County Emergency Shelter and Diversion Program: the YMCA Emergency Housing Program is shifting over to Grey County as of October 1st. YMCA will cease to operate Community Delivered Rent Supplements, Access to Motels for Emergency Shelter and associated Outreach Support for Grey County.
- The YMCA‘s Youth In Transition Housing Stability Program, Justice Programs and Bruce County Emergency Shelter will remain with the YMCA.
- BEFORE October 1st: people experiencing homelessness continue to call YMCA at 519-371-9230 x 5, Mon-Fri and call 211 after hours and weekends for information on available services.
- AFTER October 1st: call 211 for intake process and program information.
- International Overdose Awareness Day: grassroot events will be held on August 31st, 2022 across Grey Bruce. Events will remember people we have lost and also be opportunities to raise awareness. Some events have been posted already for Owen Sound; and more information will follow in a joint poster.
- Overdose Reporting Tool: Grey Bruce Health Unit is encouraging the use of an important overdose reporting tool, which members of the public, community organizations, and others can either fill out online or submit verbally by calling 211. All reports are completely anonymous and no personal information is collected.
- Grey County Mental Health and Addiction Task Force: has presented a preliminary report on recommendations from consultations. The Task Force recognizes that “People need a basic income, stable housing, food, and access to health care for counselling or other treatments to succeed.” The report also includes the submission to the Ministry of Health from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) on an Integrated Approach to of Mental Health and Addictions.
- Retreated Workers Survey: In 2020, 6,000 more workers within the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula Economic Region left the workforce compared to 2019. These are persons who left the workforce and are not actively looking for work. This leaves Grey Bruce in a critical labour shortage.
- The Four County Labour Market Planning Board has launched a survey to evaluate the extent and causes of this worker retreat.
- South West Frail Senior Strategy: is seeking input from seniors on digital access through a Seniors Digital Access SURVEY. Contact Brad Hiebert at the South West Frail Senior Strategy with any questions.
- Community Fridge Project Meaford: The Grey Bruce Community Gardens Network/The Sustainability Project Inc. with support from the United Way of Bruce Grey have opened up a community fridge that offers free food Monday to Friday during business hours. The fridge bridges the gap between reducing food waste and offering a “no questions asked” accessible food source for all.
- The fridge is located at Eat Local Grey Bruce, 278 Cook Street in Meaford (old Meaford Factory Outlet).
- FOODBRUCEGREY.COM NPX has made several improvements to the site, including a new dashboard for The Good Food Box Program, modifications to allow sorting by county, an easier-to-use drop menu for each of the dashboards, and a new graph showing the amount of grocery gift cards that are being distributed by food banks.
- Food Banks Canada: reports hunger and food insecurity are increasing across the country, with lower-income Canadians hit hardest by inflation. 1 in 5 Canadians reported going hungry at least once between March 2020 and March 2022. Statistics Canada says consumers paid 9.7% more for food at stores in April compared with a year ago, the largest increase since September 1981.
INCOME AND EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT
- New census data released by Statistics Canada shows that “After-tax income growth was faster for households with lower incomes, reflecting greater contributions of the Canada Child Benefit and pandemic relief benefits to the incomes of lower-income families”.
- Bank of Canada Survey (July 2022) reports that “workers do not anticipate their wage gains will keep up with inflation … adding that those in the private sector think their wages will increase this year by more than those in the public sector will.” On the employment front, on average, business owners expect their labour costs to increase by 5.8% in 2022.
- Old Age Security Pension: is being raised by 10% for seniors who are 75 and older. Full pensioners will get more than $800 extra over the first year. Eligible seniors will receive this increase automatically, with the first payment going out today. Other payments can be expected on August 29th, September 27th, October 27th, November 28th, and December 21st.
- Childcare: Grey County is working to enroll Childcare Operators In the New Fee Reduction Program. Tthe timeline moving forward would see fees decrease by 50% of current rates by Jan 1st, 2023. Parents at registered childcare spaces could see their retroactive rebates (retroactive to April 1) within 60 days once agreements are in place.
- Grey County currently has just over 2,500 licensed childcare spaces. These are operating at about 85% capacity which is up from 70% capacity in 2021. However, in the first quarter of 2022, there were still about 850 kids on the childcare waitlists.
- United Way Backpack Program: has been launched for this season. Parents and agencies can call 211 for the intake application process and bulk orders up until 25 Aug 2022. Pick up depots will be set up in 2 counties in late August. After 25 Aug 2022 contact the United Way of Bruce Grey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership (GBLIP) has launched an online resource for supporting Ukrainian newcomers. Contact May Ip, Outreach Specialist (May.Ip@grey.ca) to share community resources and support.
- Contact Deepikaa Gupta GBLIP coordinator (Deepikaa.Gupta@grey.ca) if any community members would like to host a Ukrainian family or provide accommodation.
- Grey Bruce Airbus: after 35 years, the service closed on July 8th. A statement put out by the company indicated that it was too difficult to bring back the shared ride/cost effective method without government subsidies.
- Grey Transit Route: recently released a staff report. The inter-community transportation service is seeing its ridership continue to rise, but along with the success come some challenges including future sustainability and high fuel prices. Significant growth has been seen on the Dundalk-Orangeville route.
- Lion’s Head Shuttle: Northern Bruce Peninsula council has entered into an agreement with the Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home for free public shuttle services in Lion’s Head from July 1st to Oct 16th, 2022.
Stay well, Jill