Food inflation is rising at 9.7% right now. There has been a 43% increase of food bank visits in Ontario and 1 in 4 children are living in a food insecure home (Stats Can 2021).
- Statistics Canada released the 2021 Canadian Income Survey results and updated the Dimensions of Poverty Hub with 2021 data.
- PROOF released Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2021.
The United Way of Bruce Grey works with community food programs to collect local data on Food Bruce Grey.
- Usage is not going down after the pandemic but increasing. Local food banks have reported the fastest growing population attending food banks are people who are employed.
- Meaford Food Bank reported, in the first quarter of 2023, food bank usage has increased by 47% compared to the same quarter last year. The pounds of food distributed has increased by 56%, and the number of first time users of the food bank has increased 200%.
We know that food banks are a last resort. A recent TVO debate spoke to our social safety net being outsourced to food banks.
We know that the Federal Funding for a National School Lunch Program was not in the 2023 budget. We know that schools are one conduit for food support to students and their families.
- Across Canada, school food programs are speaking about their struggles to make ends meet right now. With the high price of food, it’s costing some programs as much as 25% more than previous years to keep running. And they’re seeing higher demand too – more children in need of a balanced meal.
We are concerned that this summer food banks and schools shall need to continue to support families. While support is provided for basic food needs, we need to advocate for “transformational change” that invests in income security such as a basic income.
- Basic Income: Bill S-233 has been sent to the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance. The next step is to encourage our elected representatives to follow the example of the Senate.
- Follow the progress of Bill S-233 – the National Framework for a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income Act – HERE
- Click on this link to add to the UBIWorks.ca petition and send an email to your MP.
- End of Life Guide: the United Way of Bruce Grey has updated this financial guidebook for people with low income planning for end of life expenditures.
- Grocery Rebate: a one-time payment was announced by the Federal government under Bill C-46, the Cost of Living Act. The rebate will be issued automatically by CRA to households with an income of $38,000 or less, and individuals who make $32,000 or less.
- There is no need to apply for the grocery rebate. It will be delivered along with the July GST Credit payment. To receive the payment it is required that recipients have filed their 2021 tax return.
- The rebate will be up to $467 for eligible couples with two children, $234 for single Canadians without children, and $225 for seniors.
Grey County SOS Mobile Outreach team: recently presented to Grey County council on health equity challenges they have seen working with people experiencing homelessness:
- Identification: obtaining or maintaining government-issued identification is a challenge which has an impact on those attempting to receive healthcare services.
- Insurance: during COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health established temporary funding for healthcare providers to treat those without coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
- This program improved health outcomes and reduced financial hardship or barriers to healthcare for those without insurance or with lost or expired health cards in Ontario before the Ministry rescinded it as of April 1, 2023
- The Ontario Medical Association has voiced its concern that ending this program without consultation or a better solution for Ontario’s uninsured would be detrimental to those in marginalized communities, such as people experiencing homelessness, those facing language barriers or mobility issues, or newcomers, migrant workers, and international students without coverage.
- Call to Action: the Council of the County of Grey calls on the Ministry of Health to a) extend this program by the 6 months requested by the Ontario Medical Association to provide the opportunity for fulsome consultation with healthcare stakeholders; and b) utilize this program’s experience and insight to introduce a new policy that similarly reduces stigma and barriers for those without insurance to access Ontario healthcare and obtain or maintain a health card
- Grey Transit Route (GTR): has announced free weekend rides on all Grey Transit Route (GTR) buses from May 20th and until Sept. 3.
- GTR travels between Owen Sound and Wiarton, Owen Sound and Orangeville and Owen Sound and The Blue Mountains. It also partners with Shelburne to offer weekend service between Dundalk and Shelburne from April 29 to Jan. 28, 2024, and with South Bruce Peninsula and Bruce County to offer service to Sauble Beach from May 20 to Sept. 4, 2023.
- Adult fares cost between $3 and $5. People are encouraged to book their rides by calling 1-226-910-1001 or book online. Walk-ons are permitted if there’s room.
Stay Well, Jill