Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update #102

Election Education # 5

Dear Colleagues, 

Sometimes it is all about capturing the eye of new voters. Élections Québec launched a  corny TikTok campaign to encourage youth vote. Is anyone in your municipality connecting with the youth vote? 

Poverty, Voting and Elections 

We are continuously updating our Poverty, Voting and Election Resource Page to include more municipal resources and voter information.  Please check it out and share the link widely to all candidates. 

Candidate Lists have been confirmed and posted on each municipality website. 
ElectHerNow Grey Bruce reports that as of September 6th, 80 women have registered to run for municipal office in Grey Bruce.  Visit your local municipality’s website for all who are running in your area and then learn more about them. 

All Candidate Debates and candidate meeting opportunities have started. Please share with Jill Umbach (povertytaskforce@unitedwaybg.com) what is happening in your municipality. 

Georgian Bluffs 

  • 27 Sept – Kemble-Sarawak United Church, 7pm. 

Grey Highlands

  • 8 Oct  – Flesherton Kinplex
  • 13 Oct.– Osprey Hall

Questions for Candidates: the Poverty Task Force and its members are submitting questions for debates and posing questions at forums.  We recommend the following questions to start: 

  • How would you address affordable housing and homelessness in your municipality? 
  • Do you support income solutions (living wage, basic guaranteed income, increase to social assistance) to address food insecurity and housing affordability? 

Voter registration deadlines have passed. Voterlookup.ca is no longer collecting or confirming information for the 2022 municipal and school board elections. 

  • People should access the Election Help Desks of each municipality to register.
  • Voters will need to have a Voter Information Letter in order to vote. The letter will be mailed to everyone on the Voters’ List in October. 
  • The letter will have voting instructions and a unique Personal Identification Number that will be used to log into the internet election site or onto the telephone election platform. 
  • Find your Election Help Desks on your municipality website. Call or visit them in-person to register.  

A person with no fixed address or no internet/phone can be added to the voters’ list. An affidavit for the individual needs to be completed to be added to the voter list, if they don’t have any identification with a qualifying address.

  • Go to an Election Help Centre before or during the voting period (Oct 14-24) to fill out an affidavit, get added to the voter list and be issued the voter information letter (includes the PIN). 
  • If they have no internet access or phone they would be able to vote at the Election Help Centre.

Living Wage Campaign

  • In time for the Labour Day Weekend, the NDP Party raised a Living Wage billboard in Owen Sound by the downtown Tim Hortons.  The billboard reads “If you’re working for a living, you need a living wage.” 
  • David McLaren explains “It’s a message intended for workers who find themselves short of cash at the end of the month, and for employers who can afford to pay their workers more. It’s for politicians who refuse to make a living wage a policy for their own staff and a requirement for contractors who want to do business with the City (as other cities in Canada have already done).”

 In the news: 

Stay well, Jill  

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 101

Election Education # 4

Dear Colleagues, 

Affordable housing is a key municipal election issue. The trend of urban out migration to rural Ontario has made the available housing stock in our communities much more expensive and harder to find. 

We have added the following reports from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to BruceGreyVotes.com and other municipal resources: 

Seniors and Homelessness

  • Grey Bruce By-Name List: is delving into the plight of seniors who are homeless. At present, 42 seniors are on the list (age 62-84). Of those, 11 are deemed actively engaged. Most recently an 83 year old was housed by Bruce County Housing.   
  • Homeless Hub: according to a National Shelter study, over 8.3% of shelter users are 55 and over and tend to have longer shelter stays compared to younger adults.  According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, seniors will be the group that experiences the highest rate of mental illness in Canada by 2041.
  • Seniors experience homelessness for a variety of reasons, including the lack of income to pay for housing (low government assistance, insufficient pensions, low wages and/or savings), the shortage of affordable and secure housing, deteriorating physical and mental health, a relationship breakdown and/or suffering from violence and abuse. (Source: Homeless Hub)
  • The risk of homelessness for seniors can also be increased by the death of a spouse, social isolation, discrimination, or a lack of awareness of available benefits and services.(Source: Homeless Hub) 
  • Senior citizens are twice as likely to access a food bank long-term than those under 65. (Source: Feed Ontario)    

BruceGreyVotes.com In the News

How Do People Know about the Change in Voting method?  

This municipal election people will need to vote online or via phone. We included the links for each municipality’s voter information on our website. 

  • Voting Period is Oct 14th-24th. 
  • We know each municipality will mail out Voter Information Letters – most are scheduled to go out at the end of September or beginning of October. 
  • The Voter Information Letters will also contain the location and hours of Voter Help Centres or Desks that will be available during the voting period.
  • Municipalities are mandated to set up Voter Help Desks (in-person and by phone) to assist people to vote online or by phone. 
  • People can be directed to their municipality link on BruceGreyVotes.com

Basic Income Campaign 

CERB and other basic income-like emergency benefits contributed to the largest 1-year reduction in poverty in nearly 50 years. Meanwhile, poverty costs Canadian taxpayers over $80B/year. 

  • Recent surveys from the UK and Europe showed an increase in support for a universal basic income.  
  • Halifax Regional Council has voted to urge the federal government to move forward with a guaranteed livable basic income in this country.
  • We have updated our postcards to be more accessible for readers. Please find them attached. 

PTF Election Education Outreach

  • Getting the Word Out: we ask that our partner organizations spread the information of the content from BruceGreyVotes.com to the community they serve via newsletters, emails and phone calls/wellness checks, etc. and especially to those people who have challenges accessing online or phone voting systems. 
  • Tamarack Institute Roundtable on Getting Equity on the Political Agenda: will explore examples from across Canada on what local roundtables and equity-seeking groups are doing to get their voices heard and bring equity/social justice to the forefront as part of the democratic process. Register here for the Sept 28th online event. 

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 98

Dear Colleagues, 

The Poverty Task Force continues to build its resource page – Poverty, Voting and Elections and is engaging in education opportunities with candidates and the public.  

  • Voter Registration: It is important for people to ensure they are registered to vote by Sept 1st, 2022 since many municipalities have shifted to online voting. 
  • Visit VoterLookup.ca or call 1‑866‑296‑6722 to make sure people are on the Voters’ List.

The visit of Pope Francis from July 24 to 29, 2022 has left Indigenous communities wanting more from the Catholic Church and the government. There continue to be more cries for justice and addressing the injustice of justice for Indigenous Peoples.

  • Mi’kmaw Language Act: will take effect on Oct 1st, 2022 and recognizes the Mi’kmaw language as the original language of Nova Scotia.  The province will take further steps to invest in the promotion and revitalization of the language.


We continue to see an increase in COVID cases and hospitalization. Low income people still remain at higher risk of death. 

  • Free Rapid Antigen Tests: Ontario will continue to provide free rapid antigen tests to the general public through existing channels like grocery stores, pharmacies, workplaces, schools, hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes.
  • Vaccine Update: anyone aged 18 year & older is eligible to receive a 2nd COVID19 Vaccine booster dose. You can receive it 5 months after your 1st booster dose. Parents and caregivers of children aged 6 months to under 5 years will be able to book appointments for the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine. Grey Bruce Health unit has updated their vaccine schedule information
  • COVID-19 paid sick days are extended to March 31, 2023. For workers, the maximum number of days remains 3 days and are not additional days. If you have used your 3 days in the past 2 years, no additional days are covered by the government.
  • Plan to Catch Up: the Ministry of Education has released a new health and education plan to keep schools open and for students to improve their learning experience this year. 


  • Grey Bruce By-Name List: as of July 31st, there are 262 households active on the list. Of these 262 households, 215 of them are experiencing chronic homelessness.  Over 82% of the Grey Bruce community members experiencing homelessness have been homeless for at least 6 months of the last 12 months (Canada-wide average is 23% of households on the By-Name Lists are experiencing chronic homelessness. Source: Homeless Hub).  Of the 262, there are 50 households that are high acuity, 106 households mid acuity and 71 households low acuity. (Acuity levels are measured through questions on health experience and household demographics.)
  • Grey County Emergency Shelter and Diversion Program: the YMCA Emergency Housing Program is shifting over to Grey County as of October 1st.  YMCA will cease to operate Community Delivered Rent Supplements, Access to Motels for Emergency Shelter and associated Outreach Support for Grey County. 
  • The YMCA‘s Youth In Transition Housing Stability Program, Justice Programs and Bruce County Emergency Shelter will remain with the YMCA. 
  • BEFORE October 1st: people experiencing homelessness continue to call YMCA at 519-371-9230 x 5, Mon-Fri and call 211 after hours and weekends for information on available services.  
  • AFTER October 1st: call 211 for intake process and program information. 


  • International Overdose Awareness Day: grassroot events will be held on August 31st, 2022 across Grey Bruce. Events will remember people we have lost and also be opportunities to raise awareness. Some events have been posted already for Owen Sound; and more information will follow in a joint poster.
  • Overdose Reporting Tool: Grey Bruce Health Unit is encouraging the use of an important overdose reporting tool, which members of the public, community organizations, and others can either fill out online or submit verbally by calling 211. All reports are completely anonymous and no personal information is collected.
  • Grey County Mental Health and Addiction Task Force: has presented a preliminary report on recommendations from consultations. The Task Force recognizes that “People need a basic income, stable housing, food, and access to health care for counselling or other treatments to succeed.” The report also includes the submission to the Ministry of Health from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) on an Integrated Approach to of Mental Health and Addictions.


  • Retreated Workers Survey: In 2020, 6,000 more workers within the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula Economic Region left the workforce compared to 2019. These are persons who left the workforce and are not actively looking for work. This leaves Grey Bruce in a critical labour shortage.
  • The Four County Labour Market Planning Board has launched a survey to evaluate the extent and causes of this worker retreat.
  • South West Frail Senior Strategy: is seeking input from seniors on digital access through a Seniors Digital Access SURVEY. Contact Brad Hiebert at the South West Frail Senior Strategy with any questions.


  • Community Fridge Project Meaford: The Grey Bruce Community Gardens Network/The Sustainability Project Inc. with support from the United Way of Bruce Grey have opened up a community fridge that offers free food Monday to Friday during business hours. The fridge bridges the gap between reducing food waste and offering a “no questions asked” accessible food source for all. 
  • The fridge is located at Eat Local Grey Bruce, 278 Cook Street in Meaford (old Meaford Factory Outlet). 
  • FOODBRUCEGREY.COM  NPX has made several improvements to the site, including a new dashboard for The Good Food Box Program, modifications to allow sorting by county, an easier-to-use drop menu for each of the dashboards, and a new graph showing the amount of grocery gift cards that are being distributed by food banks.  
  • Food Banks Canada:  reports hunger and food insecurity are increasing across the country, with lower-income Canadians hit hardest by inflation. 1 in 5 Canadians reported going hungry at least once between March 2020 and March 2022. 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.


  • New census data released by Statistics Canada shows that “After-tax income growth was faster for households with lower incomes, reflecting greater contributions of the Canada Child Benefit and pandemic relief benefits to the incomes of lower-income families”. 
  • Bank of Canada Survey (July 2022) reports that “workers do not anticipate their wage gains will keep up with inflation … adding that those in the private sector think their wages will increase this year by more than those in the public sector will.” On the employment front, on average, business owners expect their labour costs to increase by 5.8% in 2022.
  • Old Age Security Pension: is being raised by 10% for seniors who are 75 and older. Full pensioners will get more than $800 extra over the first year. Eligible seniors will receive this increase automatically, with the first payment going out today. Other payments can be expected on August 29th, September 27th, October 27th, November 28th, and December 21st.
  • Childcare: Grey County is working to enroll Childcare Operators In the New Fee Reduction Program. Tthe timeline moving forward would see fees decrease by 50% of current rates by Jan 1st, 2023. Parents at registered childcare spaces could see their retroactive rebates (retroactive to April 1) within 60 days once agreements are in place.
  • Grey County currently has just over 2,500 licensed childcare spaces. These are operating at about 85% capacity which is up from 70% capacity in 2021.  However, in the first quarter of 2022, there were still about 850 kids on the childcare waitlists. 
  • United Way Backpack Program: has been launched for this season. Parents and agencies can call 211 for the intake application process and bulk orders up until 25 Aug 2022.  Pick up depots will be set up in 2 counties in late August.  After 25 Aug 2022 contact the United Way of Bruce Grey at:  backpacks@unitedwaybg.com



  • Grey Bruce Airbus: after 35 years, the service closed on July 8th. A statement put out by the company indicated that it was too difficult to bring back the shared ride/cost effective method without government subsidies.  
  • Grey Transit Route: recently released a staff report. The inter-community transportation service is seeing its ridership continue to rise, but along with the success come some challenges including future sustainability and high fuel prices. Significant growth has been seen on the Dundalk-Orangeville route. 
  • Lion’s Head Shuttle:  Northern Bruce Peninsula council has entered into an agreement with the Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home for free public shuttle services in Lion’s Head from July 1st to Oct 16th, 2022. 

Stay well, Jill