Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 104

Election Education # 6

This week is Truth and Reconciliation Week and Sept 30th is Orange Shirt Day and National Day of Truth & Reconciliation. Our municipal leaders are responsible for taking leadership on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. 

  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission: we encourage you to take the time to reflect, listen, and learn about the Calls to Action 
  • The Nawash Ezhiwebag has a listing of Truth and Reconciliation Day ceremonies and activities happening at Neyaashiinigming First Nation. 
  • Saugeen First Nation also has a full day of events planned in partnership with GC Huston Public School including a  Zgaa-biig-ni-gaan renewal ceremony (11am) and events with various programs in the afternoon.  They will have booths on site during the day. Their focus of the day is “Our Children – Past, Present and Future”.  They are looking at what is needed today and moving into the next 7 generations to ensure the safety, protection, good health and wellbeing of their children and further, the support of the families.
  • M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre will be supporting a ceremony at the Giichi-Name-Wiiwedong Reconciliation Gardens. 
  • Many municipalities, towns, schools and libraries are holding events this week and on Friday.

Housing remains a critical municipal election issue as municipalities play an important role in facilitating the development of affordable rental housing. We have updated the Poverty, Voting and Election page with recent reports and questions for candidates and voters to consider: 

  • The Municipal Role in Housing studies (Munk School, 2022) emphasizes the role of municipalities in setting zoning policies and approval processes that can help meet the need for housing in their regions.
  • Grey County has announced updates to its official plan.  Some of the changes include allowing for more Additional Residential Units (ARUs) in existing dwellings, as well as a separate structure on a property. Currently, you can have one or the other, not both. This would allow for tiny homes, employee housing and co-housing.
  • Bruce County Housing announced a new Municipal Housing Allowance program that enhances housing security and helps vulnerable residents maintain their rental units.
  • Grey County Affordable Housing Task Force September report on surplus public land available for housing. 
  • Grey County Housing launched its new Short Term Shelter Program effective Sept 21st, 2022. Contact 211 for intake if someone is or at risk of being homeless. 
  • Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce poses 5 questions for candidates and voters to consider. Municipal councils can ensure their local policies and programs do not discriminate against people with diverse backgrounds and can set the tone through welcoming and inclusive policy initiatives.

What is your candidates’ strategy to address housing & homelessness? 

Councils play a role in the public messaging on how to show respect and compassion for people who are experiencing homelessness. We encourage you to look up candidates in your municipality and ask about their position on housing & homelessness. 

  • 34 Mayoral candidates are running and 4 have been acclaimed. Many candidates are publishing their housing plans as part of their platform.  For example, Ottawa Mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney proposes building vibrant, mixed-income neighbourhoods that offer affordable housing in her Plan for Housing Affordability. https://www.mckenney2022.ca/housing
  • Rebound Owen Sound and NDP party members took action in front of the City Hall of Owen Sound and posed questions to the current council on their housing strategy.  
  • Grey County Life/Rogers TV: we recently spoke with Grey County Life about housing & homelessness as an election issue and the launch of the RentSafe Tenant Survey.  Go to the 10 minute mark for the interview. As of Sept 26th, 547 people have completed the survey. 

Representation on the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force

The Poverty Task Force has been coming together for 10 years to collectively address poverty-related issues across Bruce County and Grey County. We have benefited from the leadership and core support of both Counties. We have had many Wardens, Mayors and Councillors actively involved. Recently the City of Owen Sound passed a motion to have a permanent representative to the Poverty Task Force. This is another way for our discussions to be formally reported to the Council and the public. 

When complex issues such as homelessness are very visible in our communities, we must work together to reduce the Not-In-My-Backyard approach and look at our local responsibilities. Everyone deserves a safe home and access to services where they choose to live. 

ALL CANDIDATE DEBATES

Some debates have already taken place in communities such as Kincardine, Lion’s Head, Meaford and Wiarton but here are more coming up! 

  • Ayton – Thurs, Sept.29, 7 pm,  Normanby Arena Auditorium, Ayton hosted by
  • Kemble – Wed, Sept 28, 7pm, Kemble United Church
  • Mennonite Corners – Oct 4th, 7pm, Canadian Reformed Church 
  • Meaford – Thurs, Sept 29,  7pm, (for Mayor, School Board Trustees),  Bognor Hall,  Bognor 
  • Owen Sound – Thurs, Sept 29, 6pm – Meet the Candidates, 7pm – Debate, Bayshore Community Centre, Owen Sound
  • Shallow Lake – Oct 12, 7pm, Shallow Lake United Church – hosted by Georgian Bluffs Climate Change Action Team
  • Tobermory – Thurs, Oct  6, 7pm,. Tobermory Community Centre, Tobermory
  • Walkerton – Wed, Sept 28,  7:30 pm, Victoria Jubilee Hall, Walkerton

VOTING INFORMATION

Many libraries and other outreach services are offering support to voters:

  • The SOS Mobile Outreach will be at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market on Oct 5th, 1-4pm.  The City Elections team will be attending to assist people to register to vote. 
  • Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library: offers computers to vote online. Staff will take a confidentiality oath to allow them to assist people to vote online. 
  • Simply Voting has released an instructional video for those municipalities voting by phone or online. 
  • Date of birth is critical to register to vote. If a voter gets a letter with a warning of an incomplete date of birth they will need to contact their election help desk. 

Stay well, Jill

Media Release: RentSafe Owen Sound Collaborative Launches Survey of Tenants

Do you live in rental housing in Owen Sound? Share your experiences via the #RentSafe Owen Sound tenant survey: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/RentSafe_TenantSurvey

Use the QR Code

Fill out a paper copy at:

  • Owen Sound Library and Adult Learning Centre
  • United Way of Bruce Grey
  • M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre
  • YMCA Employment office
  • Grey Bruce Legal Clinic
  • Grey Bruce Public Health
  • Grey County Housing office
  • Owen Sound Municipal Non-Profit Housing office
  • SOS mobile outreach at the Owen Sound farmers’ market (Sept 21, Oct 5, Oct 19)

Let’s start a conversation about what’s needed to better support rental housing in our city.

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 103

Dear Colleagues, 

Truth and Reconciliation Week is Sept 26th to 30th. This is a time to reflect on hard truths but I challenge you and myself to reflect on how reconciliation can be a daily action.  

The Poverty Task Force and members have been working hard to build relations with Indigenous partners, communities and Nations. With the leadership of Giiwe, Indigenous-led Sharing Circles focus on housing & homelessness and youth issues.  

Diane Giroux has said that “the Giiwe process is so much more than reconciliation, it is a healing journey. The treaties signed between nations belong to all of us. We are on a healing journey for both sides. Colonialism is all of our past. We need to honour this. We need to honour the best side of all of us.”  

Reconciliation is alive and happening! Giiwe work is expanding its Sharing Circles and Cultural Mindfulness workshops. 

  • With an Agents of Change grant, Giiwe Sharing Circles are being organized with government councils, doctors and nurses, housing services, youth services from Sept to Dec 2022.  There are a few retreats being organized on Oct 9th and Dec 2nd at Silver Lake Camp/Sauble Beach. 
  • Giiwe is delivering Cultural Mindfulness with First Responders, City of Owen Sound Managers and other senior managers/leaders. 
  • Giiwe is also part of an international collaboration on A Shared Future and  the Gikinoo’amaagewin Wiigwaam project on Indigenous land stewardship. 
  • Reach out to Diane Giroux, giiwe.home@gmail.com, 519-271-1147, to connect on how to join the Giiwe in building relations and positive change in community. 
  • ‘Gidinawendimin – “We are all related’ shares the culture, language, music, dance, and stories from across the regions. Register today to view the live stream here.  

INCOME SUPPORT

Federal Affordability Inflation Measures: the government has announced new measures to address inflation to target low and modest income earners.  

  • Canada Dental Benefit: for children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance. Low- and middle-income families with a combined income of under $90,000 can access up to $650 per year for the next two years for dental services. The next step will be to extend dental care to under 18s, seniors and people with disabilities by the end of 2023, before full implementation of the program by 2025.
  • GST Tax Credit: doubled for six months. Singles without children will get up to $234 more from the credit, couples with children will get up to $467 more and seniors can expect an average boost of $225 this year.
  • Canada Housing Benefit: a one-time increase to the Canada Housing Benefit, providing up to $500 to 1.8 million Canadian renters struggling with housing needs. The federal government said the benefit will be available to families with an adjusted net income below $35,000 — or to singles with incomes below $20,000 — who pay at least 30% of their income on rent. 

Challenges still exist for any additional dollars reaching people that have not filed their taxes, people without homes and those who are couch surfing. Income solutions are needed to address such as a guaranteed basic income and living wage but these must be accessible to everyone as well.

  • YMCA Webinar: Basics on Tax Benefits: Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 at 1:30pm – General Tax Awareness (30 mins):Join the CVITP and Benefits Outreach Officer with the CRA to ask questions and find out more on the basics of taxes. Register here.  
  • Ontario Photo, OHIP, Driver’s Licenses Cards and license plates: you can now sign up for free digital reminders by email, text, or phone call 60 and 30 days before it is time to renew. These are critical to access services and avoid fines for expired license and plates.
  • Retreated Workers’ Survey: the survey released by the Four County Labour Planning Board is still open until Sept 30th. The response has been good and is providing insights into barriers to employment, which age groups are not returning to the workforce and what retention & attraction strategies need to be used to meet the demand for employees.  Find the survey here

HOUSING SUPPORT

  • Home Takeover Project: has released its findings, recommendations and guidelines which can be found at this Grey Bruce Public Health link.
    • This project is focused on Rent Geared to Income/Grey County Housing in Owen Sound for the pilot since they initially raised the issue to be addressed. 
    • Community Partners Survey Results and Interviews with People with Lived Experience have been summarized and posted. Key resources including education posters, flyers, postcards and checklists are also posted. 
    • A Response Framework, Guidebook and Response Pathway for Organizations and Service Providers are being developed. For presentations and more information contact Lisa Alguire at Grey Bruce Health Unit (519-376-9420). 
  • The Long-term Landlord Housing Initiative is underway, and The Meeting Place is accepting applications until September 14th, 2022. Potential applicants can reach out to housing@tobermorymeetingplace.com, or download the Application Guide and Form at this website link
  • Wiarton Propeller Club has announced it is donating land for affordable housing in partnership with South Bruce Peninsula Municipality.  

NEWCOMER SUPPORT 

TRANSPORTATION SUPPORT

  • GTR route between Owen Sound and Sauble Beach was closed on Sept 5th. Regular Route 5 service will resume on Tuesday, September 6 between Owen Sound and Wiarton. Learn more at www.grey.ca/gtr
  • The Salvation Army Wiarton: is offering transportation support for medical or grocery rides. We mourn the loss of Kim Chegano who passed recently. She gave so much to the community. She will be very missed. Contact Roni Delleman at: 519-534-0353 x 100. 

FOOD SUPPORT

  • Grey Bruce Good Food Box has updated its schedule at its 20 pickup locations. Please note that several locations will start up only in October and others have changed pickup days and times. For a complete list of locations, order and pick ups times, check the 211 listing.  
  • The Ontario School Nutrition Programs (OSNP) Grey Bruce is welcoming volunteers back into schools but is still  facing challenges with the rising cost of food.  The OSNP provides funding and support to 61 schools in Grey and Bruce Counties. 
  • The Meaford Community Gardens is celebrating 12 years of gardening and reported they shared 300-400 lbs of food monthly this harvest. 

FUNDING SUPPORT 

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update #102

Election Education # 5

Dear Colleagues, 

Sometimes it is all about capturing the eye of new voters. Élections Québec launched a  corny TikTok campaign to encourage youth vote. Is anyone in your municipality connecting with the youth vote? 

Poverty, Voting and Elections 

We are continuously updating our Poverty, Voting and Election Resource Page to include more municipal resources and voter information.  Please check it out and share the link widely to all candidates. 

Candidate Lists have been confirmed and posted on each municipality website. 
ElectHerNow Grey Bruce reports that as of September 6th, 80 women have registered to run for municipal office in Grey Bruce.  Visit your local municipality’s website for all who are running in your area and then learn more about them. 

All Candidate Debates and candidate meeting opportunities have started. Please share with Jill Umbach (povertytaskforce@unitedwaybg.com) what is happening in your municipality. 

Georgian Bluffs 

  • 27 Sept – Kemble-Sarawak United Church, 7pm. 

Grey Highlands

  • 8 Oct  – Flesherton Kinplex
  • 13 Oct.– Osprey Hall

Questions for Candidates: the Poverty Task Force and its members are submitting questions for debates and posing questions at forums.  We recommend the following questions to start: 

  • How would you address affordable housing and homelessness in your municipality? 
  • Do you support income solutions (living wage, basic guaranteed income, increase to social assistance) to address food insecurity and housing affordability? 

Voter registration deadlines have passed. Voterlookup.ca is no longer collecting or confirming information for the 2022 municipal and school board elections. 

  • People should access the Election Help Desks of each municipality to register.
  • Voters will need to have a Voter Information Letter in order to vote. The letter will be mailed to everyone on the Voters’ List in October. 
  • The letter will have voting instructions and a unique Personal Identification Number that will be used to log into the internet election site or onto the telephone election platform. 
  • Find your Election Help Desks on your municipality website. Call or visit them in-person to register.  

A person with no fixed address or no internet/phone can be added to the voters’ list. An affidavit for the individual needs to be completed to be added to the voter list, if they don’t have any identification with a qualifying address.

  • Go to an Election Help Centre before or during the voting period (Oct 14-24) to fill out an affidavit, get added to the voter list and be issued the voter information letter (includes the PIN). 
  • If they have no internet access or phone they would be able to vote at the Election Help Centre.

Living Wage Campaign

  • In time for the Labour Day Weekend, the NDP Party raised a Living Wage billboard in Owen Sound by the downtown Tim Hortons.  The billboard reads “If you’re working for a living, you need a living wage.” 
  • David McLaren explains “It’s a message intended for workers who find themselves short of cash at the end of the month, and for employers who can afford to pay their workers more. It’s for politicians who refuse to make a living wage a policy for their own staff and a requirement for contractors who want to do business with the City (as other cities in Canada have already done).”

 In the news: 

Stay well, Jill