Free Tax Filing Services Can Help Grey Bruce residents with Low Income to Boost Their Income

The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) is a community-based volunteer program that offers tax preparation services to citizens of Bruce and Grey Counties that meet specific income guidelines. The program is free and is intended to provide service to those who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

The income guidelines for the program are as follows:

  • Individual: $35,000 or less
  • Married or Common law couple: $45,000 or less
  • Single Parent with 1 child: $40,000 or less — Add $2,500 per additional child
  • Interest income limited to under $1,000

Alex Ruff, MP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, is encouraging eligible residents of Grey and Bruce Counties to take advantage of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Across both counties, there are some 24 listings in 19 cities/towns that offer free services.

“The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program provides families and individuals who may be struggling financially, with a service to file their income tax,” said Ruff. “I would like to thank all volunteers for their hard work on this program, and all of the organizations and businesses that have donated to make these clinics possible.”

Community partnerships are important. For over 25 years, volunteers at the Grey Bruce CVITP have been offering clinics in Owen Sound. These clinics are offered by appointment only. Interested individuals should contact Alex Ruff’s office at 519-371-1059, leave your name and phone number with the office staff and a volunteer will contact you after 5:00 p.m. to set up an appointment.

Other CVITP volunteers work in partnership with libraries, community health centres, employment services, etc. across Bruce County and Grey County. Some volunteers support people throughout the year to file their taxes in Grey Bruce.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force works with 211 to annually list all free clinics for eligible customers; to identify barriers experienced locally and to engage with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), community partners and volunteers to overcome those barriers.

“With the trend of the government flowing more income to low income households through tax benefits and credits it is so important for people to file their taxes,” said Jill Umbach, Poverty Task Force Coordinator. “We want to see people increasing their income. The CRA uses the information from your income tax and benefit return to calculate your GST credit, Ontario Trillium Benefit and Canada Child Benefits.”

The Ontario Childcare Tax Credit and the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit assists with making life more affordable. Families can now receive up to 75% of their eligible child care expenses. And the Low-Income workers tax credit can get up to $850 in Ontario Personal Income Tax relief (or up to $1,700 for couples).

Other social agencies use an income tax return statement to support applications to other benefits such as the Ontario Seniors Dental Program or the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP).

How to access services:

Visit Ontario.ca/TaxReturn to learn how to get Ontario tax credits and benefits.

Call 2-1-1 for help finding a free tax clinic close to you.

Access the Free Community Income Tax Listing online at: https://brucegreycommunityinfo.cioc.ca/record/GRE0364

CC 211 Grey Bruce

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Food Security Hub Project Wraps up for 2019

In 2019, 5 Food Security Conversations were held across Grey Bruce facilitated by Kimberly Edwards with the Grey Bruce Sustainability Network. This was a partnership between the Poverty Task Force’s Food Security Action Group and the Grey Bruce Health Unit. It was funded by the United Way of Bruce Grey.  

Local conversations were hosted by food banks and engaged a wide range of community members to discuss their local food systems and envision changes for their community. The project observed a variety of community opportunities to respond to food insecurity.  Read more about these in the Full Project Report or individual community conversations:  

Southgate Conversation

Kincardine Conversation

Town of Blue Mountains Conversation

South Bruce Peninsula Conversation 

Saugeen Shores and Saugeen First Nation Conversation 

The Food Security Hub Project wrapped up on September 25th with community members from across Grey Bruce joining us for our Fall Food Gathering 2019.

At the Fall Food Gathering we advanced our Second Harvest Grey Bruce program with a new partnership with FoodRescue.ca Many local food banks are signing up to the program and the Owen Sound Zehrs has joined as a new donor. 

We formalized a Community Gardens Network between community gardeners in Grey Bruce which will exchange more technical expertise under the leadership of Simona Freibergova.  

And we facilitated more food banks to sign up to the Good Food Organizations initiative – a project of Community Food Centres Canada.  The initiative supports food security organizations by increasing their capacity to offer healthy and dignified food programs. 

Band-aids to Bridges: Putting Community into Food Security

It was great to have members of the Poverty Task Force deliver a Tamarack webinar: from Band-aids to Bridges: Putting Community into Food Security. Jill Umbach, Planning Network Coordinator of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force with Laura Needham, Dietitian and chair of the Food Security Action Group discussed how they have transformed approaches to promote food security in the area.  

The webinar powerpoint and recording are now available.

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