Behind the Scenes: Poverty Task Force Cover Photo

Image Source: Jill Umbach

At first glance, when people look at our cover photo they often see a rich lifestyle – the expensive sailboat moored in the Owen Sound Harbour with cheerful sunflowers in the foreground. Life looks nice and easy! So, how is this related to the Poverty Task Force?

It Takes A Crew 

In fact, the sailboat you see in the cover photo is the Playfair, a Toronto Brigantine Tall Ship, home to a Youth Empowerment Program.  They believe:

“It takes a crew to run a boat. No one person can sail these great ships. It takes a community, working together. Trainees learn quickly that their shipmates depend on them, and that they can rely on their shipmates too. This is how they build community, camaraderie, respect and bonding.”

Toronto Brigantine Tall Ship Adventures for Youth

This is how we approach our analysis and work at the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force.  Our collective community efforts are needed if we are to have an impact on poverty in our community.

Gardening for Food and Mental Health

Let It Grow TP
Image Source: Let It Grow

The sunflowers along the Owen Sound Harbour are edible and part of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Grey Bruce’s Let It Grow program. The flowers are grown and cared for by community members with a greater purpose than making us smile.

Gardening is a way to help build a sense of community, promote active living and encourage people to work outdoors. For consumers, gardening can reduce stress and improve mental health, increase social interaction and help to break down stigma.

We’re looking for local photographers!

Do you have a passion for photography, your own DSLR camera and experience with photo editing? We could use your help!

We are looking for volunteers to help make a difference by harnessing the power of photography to advocate for poverty reform and social change in Bruce and Grey Counties.

Learn more…

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Meaford Newsmaker of the Year: councillor Jaden Calvert

We don’t normally feature politicians on our blog. However, we want to congratulate Jaden Calvert who has worked hard as a part of our Food Security Action Group. He has been named Meaford Newsmaker of the Year. At 25 years old, he is the youngest Councillor to be elected in Meaford. Jaden has been a big contributor to the work on our Grey Bruce Food Charter. His idea of a Youth Advisory Committee to the Council is one we hope he succeeds in putting into place! Our Congrats Jaden!

To see the full story: http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/5214632-meaford-newsmaker-of-the-year-councillor-jaden-calvert/

Meaford Newsmaker of the Year: councillor Jaden Calvert

Poverty Task Force Meeting Minutes_17 October 2014

October’s Poverty Task Force meeting was held in the morning of the Imposium organized by the Income Security Action Group.  Deidre Pike joined us for the morning and was the keynote speaker for our event.

Deidre Pike’s fascination for sharing stories drives who she is and what she does as both a Senior Social Planner for the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC) and columnist for The Hamilton Spectator. In both roles, Pike sees it as her responsibility to facilitate conversation and to improve community engagement.

In her role at the SPRC, Pike identifies “social trends and issues in Hamilton and finds collaborative ways to address them”. Her work focuses primarily on poverty elimination, healthy development of children and youth, housing and homelessness, equity and inclusion and anti-oppression for the LGBTQ community.

The Steering Committee, Community Voices and all 4 Action Groups reported out on activities:

  • Bruce and Grey County Councils have received a budget request to support coordination of PTF in the 2015 budget. Budget approval in January 2015.
  •  The Grey Bruce Children’s Alliance and Healthy Communities Partnership are exploring a Grey Bruce Data Consortium for both counties. 
  • The Children’s Alliance is developing a website. PTF  will have a page and link on the website under Grey Bruce Initiatives.
  • Grey County Transportation Study report presented by Lough Barnes. The Transportation Action Group members participated in a stakeholders meeting with Grey County staff and consultants.   Proposed next steps have been budgeted and will need to be approved in January.  Rural Transportation Study Presentation
  • The Housing Action Group’s proposal to the Homelessness Partnership Strategy Fund was not successful. They will be looking for other resources their Above Standards Housing Project.
  • The Income Security Action Group has been very busy organizing today’s Imposium.
  • The Food Security Action Group is reaching out through the community to engage with them on the draft Grey Bruce Food Charter.
  • Recommendations from Diedre Pike presentation and discussion:
  • Canada is the only G8 country to not have a national Poverty Reduction Strategy. Today the Chew On This campaign advocates for this strategy. www.chewonthis.ca
  • Challenge with current Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy is that no targets have been set in the new strategy and therefore very difficult to measure progress. Engage with ongoing regional, provincial and national campaigns/organizations such as Worker’s Action Centre, 25 in 5, Living Wage Canada.
  • Seek out funding for the work of the Poverty Task Force through funders such as Atkinson Decent Work Fund. http://atkinsonfoundation.ca/grants/atkinson-decent-work-fund/
  • Engage with organizations such as Freedom 90 that call for Food Banks to close and the Ontario government to find better solutions to address Food Security.  http://www.freedom90.ca/index.html
  • Evaluate the membership of your Poverty Task Force – how do we have interest groups join us? In Hamilton, the Resolution Advocates invited candidates to discuss challenges for people with disabilities in a meeting held at the City Council.  They sought partnership to finding solutions to accessibility in the city.
  • Popularize your data. Access the tax data to find the data that is no longer available from the census.
  • Engage with media on developing Living Wage campaign.  Do our local Not-For-Profits pay a living wage? Examine ourselves first. How many small businesses will sign up?  Use boiler plate bylaws developed by larger Ontario-based groups. We have way more influence over municipalities than province.  Hold forums in City Council with people with lived experience. Regularly write correspondence to provincial government and respond to consultations.
  • Develop an Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program Operations Table which involves advocates with lived experience at the table.
  • Poverty Task Force Minutes 17 Oct 2014

Next meeting is December 12th in Port Elgin.