Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 201

Dear Colleagues,

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day.  Many events are being held today to honour and remember those who have passed. This day is an annual global event that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths.

  • City of Owen Sound Hall will be illuminated with purple lights in honour of International Overdose Awareness Day from August 30-31
  • Safe N Sound and partners will host an event at the Farmers Market on from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre will hold a community vigil and full moon ceremony from 7-8:30pm.
  • In Hanover, a candlelight vigil will take place at the Heritage Square Gazebo from 6:30-8pm.
  • In Port Elgin, the Harm Reduction Team of the Grey Bruce Public Health will hold a candlelight vigil at the Coulter Parkette from 6 – 7:30pm.  

Rainbow Registration: Saugeen Shores has made history by being Canada’s first Rainbow Registered municipality. The Town meets standards that ensure 2SLGBTQI+ customers feel safe, welcomed, and accepted. The Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce also received this accreditation. Saugeen Shores: Rainbow Registered Accreditation – Saugeen Shores



  • Children First Canada: has released its Raising Canada 2023 report.  The report highlights how children and youth have compounded, complex, and urgent needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data also reveals that equity-deserving children and youth are disproportionately impacted by the top 10 threats – including young First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, people from racialized communities, 2SLGBTQIA+ youth and young people with disabilities. Raising-Canada-2023_V1d.pdf (childrenfirstcanada.org)
  • Ontario School Nutrition Program: Canadian school food program operators are seeing the highest demand ever as children prepare to go back to school. They say it points to the urgent need for a national school food policy.
  • Data from Statistics Canada found that in 2022, 1.8 million households reported experiencing some level of food insecurity, compared to 1.1 million in 2021. Higher rates of food insecurity were found in households with children. As cost of living soars, school food programs struggle to fill growing need | Globalnews.ca


  • Student loan interest cancellation:  Federal government has permanently eliminated interest on the Canada Student Loan and the Canada Apprentice Loan. Interest accrual on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans was temporarily paused beginning in 2020 and become permanent April 1, 2023.
  • Free Income Tax Services: are still offered year-round in Grey Bruce. Go to freetaxclinics.ca, Free Income Tax Services Grey Bruce or call 211 for available services.  


  • Bruce County has been conducting a Transit Demand and Feasibility Study to get input on the need and demand for transit solutions for County residents, workers, students, and visitors. Input from the public through the Phase 1 survey, combined with valuable consultation with municipal partners and stakeholders, has identified key transportation needs across Bruce County.
  • The County is now looking for public feedback on the transportation needs identified across Bruce County in Phase 1 of the study, and to help prioritize those needs. Phase 2 Survey will help shape the kinds of services and solutions that will be considered for our region. Submit the Phase 2 Online Survey by Friday, September 1, 2023. www.brucecounty.on.ca/TransitStudy

Stay well, Jill  

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 200

Dear Colleagues, There were positive announcements in July with the recognition of the harm towards First Nations children, youth and families. 

August is Overdose Awareness Month and reminds us of the work to be done in response to the opioid crisis. Overdose touches people and communities in many ways. It is a complex issue involving stigma, discrimination and various misunderstandings about drugs and people who use drugs. Our collective response to overdose prevention demands a comprehensive response from governments, organisations within and beyond health sectors, and a compassionate and informed community.

  • International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) 2023: is a global event held on August 31st each year. It aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.  It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. The 2023 theme is “Recognizing those people who go unseen”. Campaign Resources 2023 – International Overdose Awareness Day (overdoseday.com)
  • Grey Bruce Events: Families and friends of those affected are planning memorial ceremonies in many communities.
    • In Owen Sound, Safe N Sound will be hosting a barbecue and ceremony starting at 10:30am at the Farmer’s Market. More information to follow. In Hanover, the Overdose Awareness Group are planning a casual gathering at the Heritage Square Park at the gazebo. Concentrating more on support for those who have lost people to overdose, or living in fear with someone struggling. People are welcome to share or just embrace the support. More information to follow.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) continue to call for a multi-level response to end the drug poisoning crisis. These recommendations involve emergency management and policy reform that acknowledges the root causes of addiction, such as housing related factors, poverty, unemployment, and trauma.


  • Bruce County Housing Report: was presented to the Human Services Committee meeting with the following data:
    • the number of applicants as of June 30th of this year was 1093, up from 843 at the same time in 2022.
    • the largest increase was for the number of applications for rent-geared-to-income housing, which increased by 32%, from 790 applications in 2022 to 1046 in 2023.
    • over the same time frame, the number of family applications increased by 32%, while the number of adults applying for housing went up by 29%.
    • the number of senior applications saw a smaller increase of 13%.
  • Grey County Housing Report: and update to the Housing Action Plan (HAP) was presented to the Committee of the Whole.
    • The County is expected to grow by more than 12,000 households through 2046.
    • Policy targets aim for 30% of new development at an ‘affordable’ price point to low- and moderate-income households.


  • The Salvation Army Owen Sound: recently reported they are helping close to 1,000 people/month with food and clothing.
    • Annual food bank usage is up 20%.
    • Food bank feeds 750-780 people/month; 22-24% higher average than last year (600/month).
    • $60,000 spend on groceries in the last 2-3 months; with a significant increase in food for the Supportive Outreach Program (SOS).
    • The Salvation Army Port Elgin: food bank is now open 3 days/week due to demand and may go up to being open 4 days/week in September.


  • Community Foundation Grey Bruce: Applications are now open for Fall grants up to $3,000 and being accepted through our online granting portal. The deadline is September 15, 2023.

Stay well, Jill