Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 119

Dear Colleagues, 

Last week our Income & Employment Security Action Group heard from Natasha Pei/Tamarack Institute and Misty Schonauer/United Way BG about the Business Reducing Poverty Project.

The project is a multi-sector collaboration – TD Bank, non-profits (Prosper Canada, Momentum, etc.) and people with lived experience – with the aim to increase bankability. A human first and co-design approach has been taken. Read more about the co-design approach at Liberatory Design or human-centered design at IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit 2nd Ed.pdf (hubspot.net)

This approach puts people with low income in charge of defining and diagnosing their own unique, multidimensional poverty—who by owning the problem, own the solution.  Who owns poverty? (povertystoplight.org) The project has come up with 6 personas and scenarios to create protypes and has come up with 70 ideas in its first year. The next 2 years of the project will unpack those ideas and check in with people with lived experience. Watch the Tamarack webinar – Tamarack Institute Webinar: Businesses Reducing Poverty (2023) – YouTube

We have seen an increase in hate activity in our communities during and after Pride Month. A new grant provides funding for physical security but we still need to do more to address the action.  


  • ODSP: was increased by 6.5% on July 1, 2023. The basic ODSP rate for a single person with the maximum shelter allowance is now $1,308 a month. This is up from $1,228. The 6.5% raise applies only to the core amounts like: basic needs for singles and families, shelter maximums for singles and families, board and lodge amounts for singles and families the maximum amount provided for a couple where both have disabilities.
    • The 6.5% increase does not apply to several other benefits that ODSP recipients often get. This includes the Remote Communities Allowance, Special Diet Allowance, and the Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Nutritional Allowance. ODSP rates are now indexed to the annual inflation rate. If there’s no change to inflation or if inflation rates go down, ODSP rates stay the same. Inflation is calculated using the Consumer Price Index for Ontario, which measures how much the cost of things like food and housing have gone up or down.
  • There are no increases to Ontario Works (OW). If people have questions about their OW benefits, they should contact their caseworker. If they’re having problems getting benefits, they can contact their local community legal clinic.
  • Licence Plate Stickers: Service Ontario no longer issue licence plate stickers for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles and mopeds. However, you must continue to renew your licence plate every 1 to 2 years, usually before your birthday. Eliminating renewal fees saves vehicle owners $120 a year in Southern Ontario. Get a refund or credit for your licence plate sticker or driver’s licence | ontario.ca
  • The Auditor General reported in 2022 that pandemic supports for individuals and businesses totalled $211 billion. While $4.6 billion went to ineligible individuals, more than $15 billion went to businesses whose revenue ultimately didn’t decline enough to qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. 1,046 individuals have filed court challenges over pandemic benefits, including cases that have been closed and those still pending. CRA loses sometimes in court over COVID-19 relief | CTV News  
  • United Way Backpack Program:  registration for school backpacks is open. To apply, call 2-1-from June 14th through to August 25th. Outside of these dates, call the United Way of Bruce Grey office at 519-376-1560. Backpack Program – United Way of Bruce Grey
  • The United Way has assembled more than 32,800 backpacks over the past 18 years and saved families more than $2.25 million in school supply expenses. Annual backpack program shifting into high gear in Grey-Bruce | Owen Sound Sun Times


  Stay well, Jill