Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 85

Dear Colleagues, 

As we begin to open up again, “Public Health trends support COVID-19 becoming more manageable and predictable as we navigate the recovery stage of the pandemic. As we begin to have conversations about transitioning from pandemic to endemic, we’d like to remind everyone that it may take time and will require help from all around the globe.” Grey Bruce Health Unit

  • Grey Bruce Public Health recommends: the best way to move forward and deal with COVID-19 as we begin to talk about this important transition stage is to mask when necessary, get vaccinated, sanitize whenever possible, and practice good public health measures.


  • Vaccine passports are no longer required as of March 1st, 2022. However, we recognize the incredible role that Public Libraries played in ensuring people had them printed out and available.  
    • As of March 2nd, 2022 Bruce County Libraries printed over 26,000 receipts. Southampton, Kincardine, and Port Elgin branches all had weeks where they printed over 1,000 vaccine receipts. 
    • During their busiest week, the Kincardine Branch printed 1,751 receipts which translates to 35 every hour they were open. 
  • Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) /KN95 Masks: The United Way Bruce Grey has distributed 1,000s of tests through community partners starting December 22nd. Additional RAT tests and KN95 masks have been provided by Health Canada/Canadian Red Cross and by Bruce Power for distribution by the United Way Bruce Grey.   
  • The United Way is offering them at:  
    • Owen Sound Transit Terminal March 4th, 10 am – 2 pm. Bus riders can pick up a free kit of 5 QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests and a box of 20 KN95 masks.
    • Bus riders can not social distance while riding and therefore are more vulnerable than people with private transportation. Recipients will need to show a bus pass or a bus ticket to get the items. 
    • Heritage Mall Shopping Centre March 5th, 10 am – 4 pm or until the tests are gone. These kits are boxes of 30 tests, provided by Bruce Power. A limited number of 3 ply medical masks will also be offered with each box. One box per household at this time.
    • There is no cost for any of these items but the United Way invites attendees to make a donation to help cover United Way related costs.



  • License Plate Renewal: The provincial government has waived the renewal fee. A refund will be paid to eligible individual owners of vehicles for any licence plate renewal fees paid since March 2020. 
  • Vehicle owners will receive a cheque in the mail starting at the end of March and throughout the month of April.
  • Vehicle owners will still be required to renew their licence plate every one or two years at no cost to confirm their automobile insurance is valid and pay any outstanding Highway 407 tolls and other municipal fines


  • SOS Mobile Clinic Pilot: supportive outreach has proven to be a more effective way to access support services for more street involved people. Every other week the drop-in clinics create a touch point for intervention and support for critical health needs that may otherwise go unmet.
    • Approximately 36 individuals attended the January 5th clinic in Hanover. 90 individuals attended the January 12 clinic in Owen Sound. The mobile team assists up to 30 people per day.
  • GB Works Needle Syringe Program has 16 locations in Grey-Bruce and announced it is reopening its site at the Grey Bruce Health Unit. 


  • Grey Bruce By Name List: Since the creation of the By Name List in Grey and Bruce 29 individuals on the list have been connected to housing. 
    • 158 Individuals/Families Active on the BNL
    • 95 Individuals/Families Inactive on the BNL (this means there has been at least 90 days with no contact)
  • In January, 22 people referred to the BNL reported that they were either sleeping rough or not sleeping throughout the night due to not having a safe place to sleep. In February 17 individuals referred, reported the same.

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update #83

Dear Colleagues,

It is the season for budgets and taxes!


  • Ontario budget consultations 2022: the Poverty Task Force participated in a virtual consultation hosted by our respective MPPs Lisa Thompson and Bill Walker with the Ministry of Finance. We were able to advocate for a living wage, sick days, basic income, a full range of housing including transition and supportive housing.  Read our submission here
  • Organizations/individuals have until Feb 11th, 2022 to take a survey here  or submit written submissions to submissions@ontario.ca
  • Federal pre-budget consultations 2022: the federal government is asking for individuals to complete a survey to highlight their priorities and ideas; and organizations to complete a formal submission online or by uploading a submission here by Feb 25th, 2022.
  • GIS Claw back for Seniors: seniors on low income who receive the Guaranteed Income Support (GIS) and collected CERB are now at risk of losing their housing due to GIS claw backs. The Federal government has announced it will provide a lump sum payment in May 2022. But for many seniors, May will be too late and they may be evicted due to inability to pay rent. 
  • We are asking you to write to the federal government to consider an earlier payment to assist seniors in Grey County and Bruce County. Read our submission here
  • National Advisory Council on Poverty: In April 2021, the Poverty Task Force joined a Tamarack Institute engagement with the National Advisory Council to provide feedback on its first report Building Understanding
  • Tamarack Institute is hosting a virtual event with the Council on Feb 16th, 12 noon–1pm to explore the rising cost of living; the widening inequality gap; and recommendations from their latest report, Understanding Systems: The 2021 report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty.


  • Community Volunteer Income Tax Programs in Grey Bruce:  Our Income & Employment Security Action Group is working with 211 to update the list of free income tax programs across Grey and Bruce County. You can call 211 or go to: freetaxclinics.ca  to find the most up-to-date listing on 211. 


  • ID Clinics: a critical component of filing your taxes has been having proof of address and proof of identity.  
  • In addition, libraries require both for library card applications and they require OHIP cards & ID to print out a vaccine passport. 
  • Creative solutions are being found amongst various social service partners to find ways to provide addresses, store ID and support applications for IDs.. 
    • Challenges exist with the lack of knowledgeable staff being available to support people to apply for documents.  
    • Challenges exist with lack of funding to pay for applications, even when human resources are available to navigate the paperwork. Online payments must be paid using credit cards. 
  • The United Way and the Income & Employment Security Group are reaching out for ideas around ID clinics and application funding. Let us know what your organization is doing! 

Stay well, Jill