Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 111

Dear Colleagues, 

It feels like the Grinch is affecting this year’s holiday celebrations with housing/ rental prices rising along with food and other basic needs. Economists are predicting a recession that will continue to impact vulnerable families and our local partners are gearing up to provide emergency support throughout the holiday season.  

  • Rentals.ca reports the average rent in October across Canada was $1,976, across all types of properties, from bachelor apartments to three-bedrooms. That’s an increase of 11.9%, higher than Canada’s inflation rate of 6.9%.
  • Atlantic Canada has seen rents rise at 32.2% and Ontario at 17.7% in the past year. 
  • For most tenants covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), there’s a maximum amount the landlord can increase the rent by each year. The rent increase guideline for 2023 is 2.5%. Read more on the CLEO: Steps to Justice website to learn the guidelines, understand the exceptions and how a landlord has approval to raise it more. 

Statistic Canada has released its latest income inequality data of how well tax filers did in 2020. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives‘ report analysis of this data stated “the pandemic’s economic crisis affected Canadians very differently depending on their income level. The lower the income, the harder the hit—and conversely, the higher the income, the softer the landing.” 

  • The bottom 50% of tax filers saw their market income (income before taxes and government transfers) drop by 14%, due to the substantial job losses, most heavily among minimum wage workers
  • However, thanks to pandemic income supports, such as CERB, the bottom 50% of tax filers saw a 20% increase in their total income and the bottom 90% of tax filers—the vast majority of Canadians—saw an 9% increase in total income. 

Feed Ontario Hunger Report 2022 has found that that there more people are visiting in 2022 over 2021:  

  • 20% increase in food banks usage is 20% in 2022 over 2021 
  • 56% increase over the monthly average leading up to the pandemic
  • 64% increase of first-time use of food banks compared to 2021.
  • 47% increase in people with employment accessing food banks since 2018.  

Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act

Bill 23 was passed on November 28th, with many organizations and municipalities expressing great concerns that it was introduced without full consultation. A recent Maytree article challenges the government and readers to think differently about the problem to lead us to different solutions. 

“Defining this as a crisis of affordable housing and homelessness, rather than simply a crisis of supply, will clarify our goals: who we need to target most urgently (people living in poverty), what their needs are (long-term, affordable, and adequate housing), and who is responsible for delivering (all levels of government).” 

Organizations continue to submit feedback to the government: 

  • The Poverty Task Force published a Bill 23 response blog post and carried out media interviews
  • The Ontario United WaysTower Renewal Partnership, and Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership submitted feedback to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on municipal rental replacement by-laws under the Municipal Act, 2001 and City of Toronto Act, 2006. 
  • The Association of Municipalities of Ontario submitted feedback on proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Act to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  
  • The government is still accepting public feedback on its proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Act. 


  • Christmas Food Hampers, Meals and Supports: 211 is the best way to call and go to: https://www.informationbrucegrey.ca/ 
  • Good Food Box: prices will increase in January 2023 to $22/box, but the United Way has received funding to keep the current $20/box price for customers through the winter season. Expect to see a price increase in the Spring. 
  • Farmer Wellness Initiative: Ontario farmers and their families can access free counselling sessions. Accessible 24 hrs, 7 days/week, 365 days/year, in English & French, farmers can call 1-866-267-6255 to speak to a counsellor. www.farmerwellnessinitiative.ca
  • Food for Fines: all Bruce County and many Grey County libraries including Owen Sound are allowing people to bring in non-perishable food items and receive dollars to put towards your fines. The program runs until December 11th, for every non-perishable food item you donate, you will receive $5 put towards your fines.  
  • West Grey Library: has done away with all fines but is still supporting the food banks by offering a Gift Wrapping Station with proceeds to the food bank today. 
  • Safe N Sound: Laundry services are closed while renovations are underway. Clothing is still available along with other supports. 
  • SOS Mobile Outreach Services and Clinics shall run throughout the holidays.  


  • M’Wikwedong IFC – Renaissance Outpatient Treatment Program: starts Mon, Dec 12th, M-Thurs 12-2:30 for 12 weeks. Registration starts in-person on Monday. Contact Dave Lewis, M’Wikedong IFC Addictions Counsellor, iaaw@mwikwedong.com, 519-371-1147 ext 236.
  • Grey Bruce Health Services Wellness & Treatment Centre Community Education Drop-in Session: will take place at TheXchange (825 2nd Ave. E., Owen Sound) on Dec 15th, 4 -7pm. Questions about the session can be sent to communityquestions@gbhs.on.ca.
  • Grey Bruce Crisis Support Program: The Province has announced one-time funding of $500,000 to Grey Bruce Health Services to help expand its Crisis Support Program in 2022-2023. This funding will help sustain and enhance capacity in mental health and addictions services and supports, specifically within the mental health, addictions, eating disorders, complex mental illness sectors.


  • National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women was marked on December 6th with vigils throughout Grey and Bruce Counties.  Between November 26, 2021 and November 2022, 34 femicides have been reported in Ontario. Making up less than 5% of Canada’s population, Indigenous women make up 16% of femicide victims.Human Rights Day will be marked on December 10th. 
  • Community Voices: changing the narrative regarding vulnerable populations is a letter to the editor written by Jacob Morris-Wheeler.
  • Owen Sound Police Services Board, in collaboration with the Owen Sound Police Service, is carrying out a survey on community perceptions of crime, neighbourhood concerns, and satisfaction with police services and public safety in the City of Owen Sound. Survey closes on 31 December 2022. 


  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grey Bruce in partnership with Arran Elderslie Youth Council and Trinity Theatre launched the Grey Bruce Youth Council. Monthly groups will be taking place every last Wednesday of the month.  To learn more email tianna.krampien@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca or call 519.376.4449
  • The Well Community Collective held a stakeholder workshop at Keystone on Nov 29th, 2022 to discuss and promote Youth Wellness Hubs. They seek to collaborate, co-design and partner with youth and communities to create equitable, accessible and low-barrier youth wellness services in Bruce, Grey, Huron and Perth counties. 
  • Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks: the Federal government and health partners announced up to $18 million for a Canada wide Integrated Youth Services Network of Networks (IYS-Net) and the development of a Integrated Youth Services National Data Framework and Infrastructure. 


  • Reaching Home Rural and Remote Funding: United Way Simcoe Muskoka has announced that the 2023-2024 call for proposals is now open. Visit their website to learn more. Application deadline is Jan 18th, 2023 at 5:00pm.
  • Canadian Women’s Foundation Community Needs Grants: is now accepting proposals to support gender justice work, with a focus on small grassroots organizations. Visit their website to learn more. Application deadline is Jan 26th, 2023, 5pm. 

Stay well, Jill