The federal government has released its 2022 budget. There was continued and new funding for affordable housing; and advancements in dental care, pharmacare, National School Food Policy, National Childcare Program and a new national pilot to address period poverty. Here are a few highlights:
Housing and Homelessness
- $475 million in 2022-23 to provide a one-time $500 payment to those facing housing affordability challenges through the Canada Housing Benefit.
- $562.2 million to enhance the Reaching Home program that prevents and reduces homelessness.
- $62.2 million to launch a new Veteran Homelessness Program that will provide services and rent supplements to veterans experiencing homelessness.
- $1.5 billion over 2 years, starting in 2022-23, to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative. This new funding is expected to create at least 6,000 new affordable housing units, with at least 25% of funding going towards women-focused housing projects.
- Introduces a Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, which would provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in 2023.
- $5.3 billion set aside for dental care over the next 5 years and $1.7 billion ongoing, to provide dental care for low-income Canadians. This would double public dental spending.
- Canadians can access a new dental care coverage plan before the end of the year – if their income is less than $70,000 annually. The program will provide care to those under 12 years of age and expand to under 18-year-olds, seniors, and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation by 2025
- Families with incomes less than $90,000 would be eligible for a portion of their dental costs being covered
- Families earning less than $70,000 would be fully covered
Pharmacare and Addressing Period Poverty
- The government committed to establishing a National Pharmacare Program with a clear timeline of tabling legislation by the end of 2023.
- $25 million to Women and Gender Equality to start a 2 year national pilot project aimed at making menstrual products available to Canadians in need.
National Child Care Program and National School Food Policy
- $30 billion over five years to implement the National Childcare Program, and as of now, all provinces have signed on
- The government commits to working with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners, and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to explore how more Canadian children can access nutritious food at school.
What more needs to be done?
- There is still more work to be done to guarantee income for people living below the poverty line. This includes single working-age adults and people with disabilities.
- While the Canada Housing Benefit helps those at immediate risk of homelessness or to exit homelessness, with no increase in income and rising housing costs, people who are renting are still struggling.
- The Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC) has recently identified the following key priorities for the coming year:
- Affordable and Attainable Housing in Rural Areas
- Workforce Development through the Implementation of the Western Ontario Workforce Strategy
- Continued Broadband Infrastructure Investment and Advocacy
- Mental Health and Addictions
INCOME SECURITY SUPPORT
- The Ontario government has announced it is making the Birth Certificate Fee Waiver Program permanent, eliminating the $35 fee for birth certificates. Access to government identification is important for people to access vital supports such as housing and social assistance.
- Ontario’s general minimum wage is set to increase to $15.50/hr, as of Oct 1, 2022.
- The federal government is announcing a new phase of the Connecting Families initiative program that provides high-speed internet at $20 per month to low-income families and seniors across Canada. This will improve the internet speed for seniors who currently are paying $10/month. Further subsidies will exist for families receiving the full Child Tax Benefit and Seniors Guaranteed Income Supplement.
- South East Grey Community Health Centre: 2 Income Tax clinics remain – April 21st in Dundalk and April 26th in Markdale.
- M’Wikwedong Indigenous Housing Support Program: currently serving 78 households, 100 people (56% chronically homeless, 35% youth led families and 25% discharged from institutions), 18 people were sex trafficked.
- Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce has created a Truth and Reconciliation in Action video. In 2022, they will be building 7 new homes will be built in Saugeen First Nation #29.
- The YMCA Emergency Housing program is reporting the numbers of people being sheltered are high! It is increasingly difficult to find affordable rental housing and this is only going to get more difficult as we move into the summer tourism season when we see motels booked up.
FOOD SECURITY SUPPORT
- United Way of Bruce Grey supported the donation of over 700 lbs of beef from Courtney Miller, local farmer to 5 local community meal programs.
- FoodBruceGrey.com: Since January 2020, over 350,000 community meals have been prepared.
- No Matter What Tailgate Soup Kitchen: have served 1,060 meals this winter season.
- Tobermory Food Bank spoke to the impact of rising costs, inflation and challenges for families in their area.
Stay well, Jill