Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 77

Dear Colleagues,

Truth and Reconciliation Week might be over, but the work of reconciliation happens every day. To hear more truths from Survivors, Elders and Knowledge Keepers about the residential school system and its effects, visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website and listen to the testimonials collected.  

Take further reflection on Indigenous Perspectives on Poverty Reduction (Tamarack Institute webinar recording) and “Ending Poverty Pathways: Indigenous Poverty” (Tamarack Institute podcast episode) which feature several national and local Indigenous leaders, including Giiwe’s Diane Giroux and Carlos Sanchez-Pimienta. These recordings highlight the imperative of addressing racism and building Indigenous self-determination to reduce poverty. 


  • The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund have launched  a video series called Reconciliation Begins With You featuring young Indigenous artists who remind us of the importance of reconciliation.    
  • Grey Bruce Community Legal Clinic: Joss Ann Johnston is offering assistance with Indian Day School Settlement Applications.It can be very helpful to have someone with a legal background assist you.  Appointments can be arranged through phone at 519-534-0373.
  • SOAHAC‘s mental health team is also available to provide support during these applications and hold space for you after you have completed them as well. Contact them at (519) 376-5508. 


The Ontario government has released A Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Termwhich outlines the province’s gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022. The plan will be guided by the ongoing assessment of key public health and health care indicators and supported by local or regional tailored responses to COVID-19.

  • Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will expire on October 23rd and will be replaced by a new targeted benefit known as the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit that will run until May 7, 2022 (retroactive to October 24, 2021).  
  • Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit will be for those whose work is directly impacted by government-imposed lockdowns and will provide $300 a week to eligible workers.
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit will remain in place until the same time and are being extended by two weeks – moving the sickness benefit from 4 to 6 weeks and the caregiving benefit from 42 to 44 weeks.
  • Community Legal Aid Ontario (CLEO):CLEO has updated and new information about the law and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • GIS/CERB Clawback for Seniors: clarification has been received from the government on why some seniors are experiencing clawback. Seniors who were employed by a company and claimed CERB through Service Canada will not be subject to clawback. However, those who were independently employed and filed through the CRA directly are subject to clawback. We have seen the impact of the clawback resulting in loss of GIS and portable housing benefits for seniors. 
  • The Poverty Task Force has joined over 100 organizations and the Income Security Advocacy Centre in sending a joint letter to the government requesting GIS be restored to low income seniors. 
  • The government has proposed new legislation for workers. Ontario may become the first jurisdiction in Canada to require employers with 25 employees or more to develop disconnecting from work policies.  
  • These workplace policies could include, for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working.
  • Measures proposed earlier this month will also be part of this legislation. This includes making it easier for internationally-trained individuals to practice in regulated professions, protecting vulnerable workers by establishing a licensing framework for recruiters and temporary help agenciesensuring washroom access for delivery workers by requiring business owners to allow them to use the washrooms at the businesses they serve, and supporting businesses who continue to suffer from the impacts of COVID-19. 
  • Many of the proposed changes were informed by the recommendations made by the experts of the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee, based on their consultations with workers, employers, and unions. 
  • Internet Access: The Ontario government is providing nearly $1.5 million to help bring high-speed internet access to more than 900 homes and businesses across the province  The funding is being delivered through the Improving Connectivity for Ontario (ICON) program and will help bring high-speed internet access to several areas including Saugeen Shores and Kincardine.
  • West Grey Public Library is working with It’s Personal.Period. to offer menstrual products without charge at our branches in Durham, Ayton and Neustadt.  They are also working with the Durham Foodland, to set up a donation box there, and with the Durham Food Bank, to arrange delivery of any excess product donations by our patrons and visitors.


  • Indigenous Housing Support Program: on Thursdays staff from M’Wikwedong IFC will be based out of 854 2nd Ave East aka the Housing Outreach Wellness (HOW) Centre (everyone just calls it “854”). to provide access and support. Contact the IHSP team at 519-375-1468. 
  • Other services at HOW/854 include the CMHA Outreach Team that are on site daily and Grey Bruce Health Services Mental Health Team who run a drop-in clinic on Mondays from 1-3pm.
  • YMCA Housing: 140 people are housed in motels in October for a total cost of 600 nights. 6,500 nights were paid for in the first 6 months of this year. The YMCA has now dedicated 1 full-time staff person to be a Landlord Outreach Worker.  
  • Bruce County and Grey County Homelessness Enumeration: chronic homelessness was high amongst the people interviewed during the survey this year. Some 200 people were interviewed and the numbers are still to be confirmed. A report will go to both County councils in 2022.  
  • The Women’s Centre and Women’s House areback to full capacity under the government’s COVID guidelines. However, the Women’s House is full and people are on wait lists. But people should still call and will be helped or housed elsewhere. The Women’s Centre has opened up some new space with renovations happening to accomodate more people. 
  • The Ontario Energy Board has announced no changes to electricity prices for households and small businesses.  
  • Electricity and gas distributors are banned from disconnecting residential customers for non-payment from November 15 to April 30. Electricity and gas distributors have until December 1 to reconnect residential customers who were disconnected for non-payment before November 15. 
  • Housing partners have seen very high hydro bills in arrears. This may be a result of disconnection bans which have allowed for accumulation for those who have not contributed to bill payments. 
  • Winter Community Emergency Shelter information is being updated but the main contact information from 2020 is valid. Please note the following change for 2021: 
    • Safe N Sound will be offering an evening (5pm-9:30pm) warming station Monday to Saturday with peer support/life skills programming. 
    • Hanover Missionary Church will be offering a warming station on Thursdays, 11:30am-1:30pm.
  • Rentsafe Landlord Survey has been extended to November 15th. Please share out widely with landlords you work with and encourage them to complete this survey. https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/NCLWY3M


  • Eat Local Grey Bruce is currently researching product price comparison. We would like to further investigate this topic and are calling on volunteers from all of our member regions to gather pricing data. If you’re interested, please contact Jeannine Kralt, elgbwarehouse@gmail.com.


  • The Health Outreach C.A.R.E. has begun in Owen Sound and continues in Hanover on alternative weeks. Posters are issued weekly. Please post. 

Stay well, Jill