Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 108

Dear Colleagues, 

This week COP27 Conference has started with strong language around climate change and our survival on this planet. The head of the United Nations declaring a lack of progress that has the world speeding down a “highway to climate hell” in a “cooperate or perish” situation. 

There’s an increasingly well-established link between climate and issues of poverty/equity. Governments must address this problem by enacting transformative policies that address the root causes of climate change and income insecurity.

  • Green Resilience Project: released a 2022 Canadian report Conversations on climate change, income security and community resilience  From these conversations, people in Canada, especially those experiencing income insecurity or other forms of financial instability, stated that they are increasingly exposed to climate impacts but are often unable to participate in climate solutions due to systemic barriers. The project team developed 4 recommendations:
    1. Incorporate basic income into Canada’s plan for a just transition.
    2. Design income security and climate policy solutions to focus on improving individual and collective quality of life.
    3. Empower people and communities with the tools and resources they need to build or strengthen resilience 
    4. Ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share
  • Recently the North Bruce Peninsula Climate Action Plan team evaluated the potential equity impacts of their Climate Action Plan in North Bruce Peninsula.
  • Tamarack Institute has formed a Community Climate Transitions network around the themes of resident-led and partnership-based approaches to climate transition, centering equity and justice in climate work. Organizations and individuals can join their network. 
  • Voices at COP27 include Canadian Indigenous Youth who are real superheroes. They have a place at the negotiation table with heads of governments and an opportunity to speak their demands.
  • Canada’s Changing Climate Report 2019 chapter about the Prairies notes that climate change may exacerbate social inequities, specifically identifying Indigenous people as one of the groups that may be more vulnerable. The Prairie section also says that Indigenous knowledge is of “tremendous value” for climate science and adaptation planning.
  • Other subsequent reports include Health in a Changing Climate 2022 with a chapter on Climate Change and Health Equity.
  • More Homes Built Faster Act, Bill 23was introduced as part of the province’s plan to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. Opposition to the Bill says it will greatly reduce environmental protection for wetlands, woodlands and other sensitive green spaces, and prohibit conservation authorities from protecting these areas. It is argued that what is needed to address the housing and climate change crisis is well-designed, low-cost family homes and climate friendly communities supported by transit.


  • Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership: is seeking volunteers to take part in a study on experiences of discrimination in Grey and Bruce Counties. The results of this survey will aim to inform programs to help the community become more inclusive. Learn more and register at https://lnkd.in/gx4m5dqK
  • Food Secure Canada, the People’s Food Institute (PFI) and the Walmart Foundation have launched the Indigenous and Black Peoples’ Food Sovereignty Planning Initiative (IBPFS). This initiative hopes to contribute to shifting power dynamics and learning on how to address structural and systemic barriers that undermine and prevent Black and Indigenous communities from realizing improved health, well-being and food sovereignty. For more info: contact Afua Asantewaa, Project Lead, communitiesconvenor@foodsecurecanada.org


  • Living Wage Week: The United Way of Bruce Grey and the Ontario Living Wage Network will release the 2022 rate on November 14th. We shall be discussing the calculation at our next Poverty Task Force meeting on Friday, November 18th. 
  • Student Loan Interest: the federal government has announced it will extend its pandemic pause on federal student loan interest in an effort to reduce some of the current financial pressures on young Canadians as the cost of living rises. Interest rates will still apply on the provincial portion of a student’s loan.
  • Tax Increase Relief Program: Grey County passed a bylaw in May 2021 to provide relief from tax increases to relieve financial hardship for seniors with low-income and disabled people. Each municipality has forms to make applications. 


  • Safe N Sound Winter Hours: will be extended until 10pm and be open on weekends thanks to funding from the City of Owen Sound and Grey County Housing effective November 20th. 
  • Grey Bruce Community Garden Network: Simona Freiburg presented a growing season year end report to members of the Food Security Action Group. Tremendous contributions of fresh produce were donated to community meal programs, food banks and the Meaford Community Fridge.
  • FoodBruceGrey.com continues to track the increase in numbers of people using community meal programs and food banks as well as foodrescue and community gardens contributions.

On this Remembrance Day, November 11th, 2022 we remember those who have fought for peace and the protection of our country.

Stay well, Jill

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 101

Election Education # 4

Dear Colleagues, 

Affordable housing is a key municipal election issue. The trend of urban out migration to rural Ontario has made the available housing stock in our communities much more expensive and harder to find. 

We have added the following reports from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to BruceGreyVotes.com and other municipal resources: 

Seniors and Homelessness

  • Grey Bruce By-Name List: is delving into the plight of seniors who are homeless. At present, 42 seniors are on the list (age 62-84). Of those, 11 are deemed actively engaged. Most recently an 83 year old was housed by Bruce County Housing.   
  • Homeless Hub: according to a National Shelter study, over 8.3% of shelter users are 55 and over and tend to have longer shelter stays compared to younger adults.  According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, seniors will be the group that experiences the highest rate of mental illness in Canada by 2041.
  • Seniors experience homelessness for a variety of reasons, including the lack of income to pay for housing (low government assistance, insufficient pensions, low wages and/or savings), the shortage of affordable and secure housing, deteriorating physical and mental health, a relationship breakdown and/or suffering from violence and abuse. (Source: Homeless Hub)
  • The risk of homelessness for seniors can also be increased by the death of a spouse, social isolation, discrimination, or a lack of awareness of available benefits and services.(Source: Homeless Hub) 
  • Senior citizens are twice as likely to access a food bank long-term than those under 65. (Source: Feed Ontario)    

BruceGreyVotes.com In the News

How Do People Know about the Change in Voting method?  

This municipal election people will need to vote online or via phone. We included the links for each municipality’s voter information on our website. 

  • Voting Period is Oct 14th-24th. 
  • We know each municipality will mail out Voter Information Letters – most are scheduled to go out at the end of September or beginning of October. 
  • The Voter Information Letters will also contain the location and hours of Voter Help Centres or Desks that will be available during the voting period.
  • Municipalities are mandated to set up Voter Help Desks (in-person and by phone) to assist people to vote online or by phone. 
  • People can be directed to their municipality link on BruceGreyVotes.com

Basic Income Campaign 

CERB and other basic income-like emergency benefits contributed to the largest 1-year reduction in poverty in nearly 50 years. Meanwhile, poverty costs Canadian taxpayers over $80B/year. 

  • Recent surveys from the UK and Europe showed an increase in support for a universal basic income.  
  • Halifax Regional Council has voted to urge the federal government to move forward with a guaranteed livable basic income in this country.
  • We have updated our postcards to be more accessible for readers. Please find them attached. 

PTF Election Education Outreach

  • Getting the Word Out: we ask that our partner organizations spread the information of the content from BruceGreyVotes.com to the community they serve via newsletters, emails and phone calls/wellness checks, etc. and especially to those people who have challenges accessing online or phone voting systems. 
  • Tamarack Institute Roundtable on Getting Equity on the Political Agenda: will explore examples from across Canada on what local roundtables and equity-seeking groups are doing to get their voices heard and bring equity/social justice to the forefront as part of the democratic process. Register here for the Sept 28th online event. 

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 91

2022 Election Education Update # 2

Dear Colleagues, 

Thank you to everyone who has written or spoken with your local candidates to support a Basic Income. Please continue to ask MPP Candidates to take the Basic Income Now pledge. You can check which MPP candidates have pledged to support a Basic Income. 

The concept of a universal basic income in Canada has earned more attention over the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). According to a study by the Angus Reid Institute earlier this year, 59% of Canadians support proposals for universal basic income programs for people earning under $30,000. 

  • Elections Ontario is mailing out voter information cards between May 12th and 20th. If you don’t receive a card, you can add or update your information to the list by May23rd and still get a card. You can support people to register here.  
  • Ways to Vote. Cyndy Wheeler, Elections ON Public Relations Officer is available to support agencies to register people. Any questions can be directed to: cyndyswheeler@gmail.com


  • Several communities are facing a very conservative voter base, including those who mistrust government
  • Plain language education/awareness-raising of party platforms and implications for low-income voters is an essential tactic along with engaging low-income residents to vote; challenge: capacity to synthesize all platforms
  • Centring people with lived/living experience – Bruce Grey’s Community Voices previously researched the platforms and brought candidates one-by-one to their table to discuss poverty-related issues with the group; Cornwall, SDG & Akwesasne’s LEAG will craft three of the all-candidate debate questions, co-hosted with the Chamber of Commerce
  • Huron County P2P and Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force are focusing on income security as the best solution to poverty-related issues, such as housing and food. Poverty Task Force shared their Basic Income Postcards.


Here are just a few opportunities, please let us know of other opportunities! 

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Riding

  • All Candidates Debate, May 18, 6:30 p.m., Kinplex in Flesherton
  • All Candidates Debate  May 19, 7 to 9:30 p.m., Keady Community Centre
  • 12-17 May 2022 – virtual All Candidate Debates hosted by justrecoverysimcoe.ca/elementor-1455

Information Session for potential municipal election candidates

  • Bruce County Municipal Election Hybrid Information Session: Bruce County Municipalities at a free information session virtually provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Find out everything you need to know about running for municipal office.  Thursday, June 23, 2022 – 7-9pm,in-person and virtual meeting.
  • The municipal role in housing: The four papers in this series, produced by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance and the Urban Policy Lab, look at affordable housing, rental housing, social housing, and homelessness. They identify the ideal role of municipalities in housing policy, where municipalities currently face constraints, how other orders of government can support municipalities, and where intergovernmental cooperation is needed. Read the papers


Stay well, Jill