Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 35

Dear Colleagues, 

National Child Day is Friday November 20, 2020. 

National Child Day is celebrated in recognition of Canada’s commitment to upholding the rights of children and two historic events: the 1959 signing of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.  

It is appropriate that in 2020 the Grey Bruce We C.A.R.E Project launches their COVID19sucks.ca “Let’s Talk About It” series of virtual talks.   COVIDsucks has been designed to help process losses and challenges experienced by students under COVID19. The goal of this new initiative is to:  

  • Provide a safe space to reflect and express
  • Offer a variety of verbal and nonverbal ways to interact
  • Learn new strategies to develop personal resilience and self leadership
  • Increase personal wellness
  • Build stronger social connections.

This initiative is possible through funding by the United Way of Bruce Grey and is facilitated by Ledge Leadership. To learn more, please visit covid19sucks.ca, follow on Instagram or Facebook.  

  • The Grey Bruce ‘We C.A.R.E’ Project is an initiative of community agencies and school boards who recognize the importance of working together toward the common goal of increasing and enhancing community capacity and mobilization around the promotion of youth mental health and prevention of youth suicide.  A 2018 Report Mental Health Challenges Amongst Youth in Grey Bruce is even more relevant under the pandemic. 
  • The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute is hosting a free webinar, Child Anxiety During a Pandemic- Helping Them Cope on Friday, November 20th from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dr. Madhav Sarda is a Child Psychiatrist based in Saskatoon. Dr. Sarda speaks about child anxiety in a way that we all can relate to and understand. 
  • There is no fee for this webinar. Registration required. For more information and/or to register, please visit: https://skprevention.ca/event/child-anxiety-during-a-pandemic-helping-them-cope/ 
  • The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health  hosted a webinar with Children’s Mental Health Ontario discussing the province-wide virtual care evaluation conducted to find out what’s working, what’s not and how agencies and service providers can improve virtual services. The recording is now available: https://bit.ly/3lagi7Q 
  • COVID 19 IMPACT Survey: The Four County Labour Market Planning Board serving Bruce, Grey, Huron and Perth survey is open until 30 November 2020. We are encouraging organizations to have their customers complete this online survey. surveymonkey.com/R/FCLMPBCOVIDIMPACT  


  • The Winter Disconnection Ban started 15 Nov 2020.  
    • 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 1st to reconnect residential customers who were disconnected for non-payment before November 15. 
    • Electricity distributors may not install load control devices (devices that limit how much electricity is supplied to a home) on homes from November 15 to April 30. 
    • Electricity and gas distributors can continue to charge late payment fees on past due amounts during the winter disconnection ban period. 
    • It’s your responsibility to pay your electricity or natural gas bill on time.  We recommend making regular payments throughout the ban.   If you can’t, the most important thing to do is to stay in contact with your electricity or gas distributor and make payment arrangements, or see if you qualify for financial assistance. 
    • For more information on assistance programs for low income families, please visit: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/help-low-income-consumers  
    • For more information about the United Way of Bruce Grey Utility Assistance program, please visit: https://unitedwayofbrucegrey.com/services-offered/utility-assistance-program/ 
    • To learn more about energy savings and upgrades that may help reduce high energy bills, please visit: ttps://unitedwayofbrucegrey.com/services-offered/energy-assistance-pilot-project/ 
    • For all other utility related assistance programs, please call 211 to learn about programs that may be available in your area. 



  • Community Food Programs experienced their highest numbers in October and numbers are increasing at food banks and meal programs as we move into winter.  Close to 100,000 meals have been distributed. 
  • Contact 211 for the latest plans for Christmas hampers, toy drives and Christmas meals. Most programs require advance registration. 
  • Keeping Not-For-Profits Connected During COVID19 have been actively distributing foodrescue.ca donated food via OSHaRE and emergency boxes from Feed Ontario via The Salvation Army Owen Sound. 
  • The Grey Bruce School Nutrition Program continues to seek funding and food donations for “Grab & Go” bags. Contact Bev Gateman, 519-364-5820 x 191.
  • The Food Policy Council of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington is seeking support to  endorse Bill 216 Amendment to Food Literacy for Students Act  Currently it is optional for schools to consider school gardens and food literacy programs. This bill would make it mandatory for schools to create garden programs and offer food literacy in Grades 1-12. Our Food Security Action Group reviewed this request and felt this was something we supported.  Individual organizations are asked to send letters of support to the Food Policy Council, Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force and your MPP. 

Stay well, Jill