Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 96

Dear Colleagues, 

On June 24, Premier Doug Ford and his Cabinet were sworn in and the government also announced parliamentary assistants that will support the cabinet. Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Rick Byers has been named Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson has been named Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Both the provincial and federal governments are dealing with inflation rates and the rising cost of living. 

Statistics Canada says consumers paid 9.7% more for food at stores in April compared with a year ago, the largest increase since September 1981. We know the impact is hardest on those who are on fixed incomes. Social assistance rates have not risen to meet the costs and questions are being raised by many community groups. 
Many articles are being written pushing for a post-election focus on poverty related issues. 

Some new measures have been announced to deal with inflation: 

  • Ontario’s rent increase guideline for 2023 has been released at 2.5%, below current rates of inflation. The rent increase guideline is the maximum amount a landlord can increase rent during the year for most tenants without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board. Based on Ontario’s Consumer Price Index this should have been 5.3%, however the guideline is capped to help protect tenants from significant rent increases.
  • Gas Tax Rate: effective July 1 until December 31, 2022, the Ontario government announced the gas tax rate will be cut from 14.7 cents/litre to 9 cents/litre, representing a cut of 5.7 cents/litre. 
  • Federal Affordability Plan: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, announced the Federal Government’s $9 Billion Affordability Plan in mid-June. 

INCOME AND EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

  • Ontario’s temporary paid sick days and provision of free rapid tests will expire on July 31st, 2022. 
  • 10 – A Guide for Navigating the Future of Work for Youth and Employers:  Tamarack has developed this new guide from a youth perspective to help navigate employment. explores assessing readiness, trending ideas, stories from youth and employers, and provides resources.
  • Launchpad Hanover: has new summer drop-in hours M-F, 10am-5pm, starting July 4th. Summer programs can be found here
  • Library Youth and Children’s Programs 2022: check out each library in Grey Bruce for free summer programs, including West Grey’s Program
  • Grey-Bruce Community Legal Clinic has created a short video which summarizes the Human Rights Code of Ontario and how it applies to sexual harassment in the workplace. 

HEALTH SUPPORTS 

  • Renascent – M’Wikwedong IFC Virtual Intensive Treatment Program: a new hybrid pilot has been successful in delivering an addiction treatment to Indigenous clients in an in-person community based setting at M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre (MIFC).The virtual program includes core aspects of Indigenous culture and spirituality, creating a holistic and authentic approach to each person’s recovery.  For more details contact: Conrad Ritchie, iaaw@mwikwedong.com, 519-371-1147 ex 236.  
  • Supportive Outreach Supports (SOS): has been extended until March 2023. More than 20 partners such as the Grey Bruce Health Unit and local hospitals, county services like paramedic services, social services and housing, local municipalities and other non-governmental organizations such as CMHA, OSHaRE, United Way, Salvation Army and M’Wikwedong IFC have been providing mobile services in Grey County. They are providing a “no-barrier, one-stop shop” to those who need their help.
  • Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey 2021 findings have been released and local school board surveys reflect similar findings amongst Grey Bruce students (Healthy Communities Partnership meeting, June 24th). The pandemic has had a major impact on the health of students and this video outlines the key findings.

 HOUSING SUPPORT

  • By Name List: as of June 29th there have been 421 people added to the BNL and 209 of them continue to be engaged with the homelessness system.
  • Youth Rapid Rehousing Project:  a partnership between the M’Wikwedong, YMCA, CMHA, Grey and Bruce Counties is engaging in a Rapid Rehousing Project focused on low acuity youth (16-24) between July and October 2022. The goal of this program is to support 10 youth in being housed over the summer and early fall by using available resources. Staff involved in this project will be working to engage potential landlords, secure subsidies when available and offer skill development workshops with the youth. 
  • If you are working with a youth that you believe would be eligible for this project please refer them to the by-name list and write Youth RRH in the additional comments section. By referring a client to this program you are agreeing to be involved in supporting the youth in maintaining their housing (in varying capacities). Participation is limited to 10-15 individuals and a referral to this project will not guarantee participation. If you have any questions please email Caitlin.currie@Grey.ca
  • Federal Housing Advocate’s office is seeking submissions from anyone in Canada who has faced inadequate housing or homelessness with the aim of assisting in system-wide change and advancing the right to housing in Canada. 

FOOD SUPPORTS 

  • Food is Our Medicine: is a free online Action Learning Series (15 hours) that focuses on getting more traditional Indigenous food into health care settings as a part of moving forward with TRC Calls to Action.  
  • Grub Hub: The Salvation Army Wiarton is offering free lunch and goodies at Bluewater Park in Wiarton for kids and teens every Tuesday and Thursday,  11:30am-1pm starting July 5th. 
  • Food Rescue: from January 2020 to the end of May 2022 more than 152,000 kg of food has been diverted to help alleviate the symptoms of food insecurity.  That is more than 9500 16 kg or 35 lb bags of groceries; almost 9 fully-loaded Greyhound buses, or the equivalent of 213 cows.
  • Grey Bruce Good Food Box: is expanding its program into summer months. While the program traditionally is not offered through the summer months, several locations will operate in the summer – Saugeen First Nation, Lucknow, Kincardine, Meaford and Markdale. 
  • The current buyer/supplier, Brad McFadden of Paisley, is retiring, and the new buyer/supplier, Justin Hill of Wroxeter, will officially take over in September. The two will be working together, picking up the produce and bringing it for distribution, for July and August.A  211 listing of all 19 locations is available or contact Laura Needham, l.needham@publichealthgreybruce.ca for more details. 

Stay well, Jill