Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update #97

Dear Colleagues, 

Healing is different for everyone. Healing and reconciliation is a long journey for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. For many Elders, an apology from the Catholic Church is following through on the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action # 58. 

The Honourable Murray Sinclair has said that Truth & Reconciliation is “not just a part of who we are as Survivors, it’s a part of who we are as a Nation.” For all, it is a painful reminder of human rights abuses committed by the Church and by Canada. The Papal visit is just one piece, one step in the healing and reconciliation journey. 

  • Truth & Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #58 specifically calls upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.  
  • Pope Francis delivered this apology on the unceded territory at the former Erminesikin Residential School in Maskwascis, Alberta on July 25th, 2022.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement spoke to reconciliation as a responsibility of all Canadians. “It is our responsibility to be open, to listen, and to share. It is our responsibility to see our differences not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to learn, to better understand one another, and to take action.”    
  • Walking Together provides details on the Pope’s visit this week. Translations of events are being provided in 12 Indigenous languages. CBC News provided coverage of Monday’s event. 
  • Many First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people are advocating for the Pope to go beyond the apology – to release residential school records, artifacts and renounce the Document of Discovery.  As Canadians we must recognize the genocide that has taken place – not only through the residential schools but the day schools as well. 

Indigenous people hold up a banner of the names of children who died in residential schools for Pope Francis during his visit.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • If you need someone to talk to, the National Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school Survivors and their families. Call the toll-free Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line also offers support to all Indigenous Peoples. Counsellors are available by phone or online chat. This service is available in English and French, and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

Connect with people at M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre at their monthly Community Fires or attend upcoming summer Pow Wows at Saugeen First Nation or Neyaashiingmiing First Nation.  

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 87

Dear Colleagues,

Waiting for an apology can be a thorn in a healing process. More than 6 years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published Call to Action # 58, there is an apology from the Pope. And while the Pope has apologized for the “deplorable conduct” of members of the Catholic Church, there remains a lot of work to be done to heal. Calls from Indigenous leaders, including the Honourable Murray Sinclair say that stories of residential school Survivors must be integrated into Church services and Sunday schools. It was a great injustice that all people must learn from.

  • Education on Residential Schools funding: The Ontario government is providing $412,500 to support the Anishinabek Nation with a range of initiatives to educate and inform the public about the history and legacy of the Indian Residential School (IRS) System in its territory, and to help Survivors living in the 39 Anishinabek Nation member First Nations share their stories.
  • M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre: is offering monthly Community Fires for teachings, community and a meal.


  • Grey Bruce Bayview Wellness Centre: the Ontario government announced on Friday, April 1st it is investing $6 million through the new Addictions Recovery Fund to immediately enhance access to addictions treatment support in Grey Bruce. This investment will fund 14 addiction treatment beds, 12 withdrawal management beds and 10 supportive treatment beds at GBHS. This funding will support the addition of immediate new beds and the creation of a new regional wellness centre.
  • SHARPS Pilot Program:  Since June 2020, over 65,600 sharps have been returned to Safe N Sound.  The United Way provided gift cards to participants for returning full containers. In January 2022, the program expanded to Saugeen First Nation.  


  • Tuition freeze: The Ontario government has announced it is extending the current tuition freeze for colleges and universities by an additional year, through 2022-2023, providing financial relief and predictability for students and families seeking access to affordable postsecondary education.  Students enrolled in a university undergraduate arts and science degree will pay an average of $660 less in tuition. 
  • Affordable Child Care Agreement:  Ontario and Canada have signed a $13.2 billion agreement that will lower fees for families and deliver an average of $10 a day child care by September 2025. Parent rebates, retroactive to April 1, will begin in May.
  • The government will maintain the Ontario Child Care Tax Credit program for expenses for licensed and unlicensed child care. 
  • Challenges still remain for Grey Bruce to hire new early childhood educators. The government announced it will support improved compensation for all Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) working in licensed child care.


  • High Speed Internet: The governments of Canada and Ontario announced funding to support construction of new broadband infrastructure for 4,300 homes, farms and businesses in Bruce County by December 2022 and 1,800 in Grey County by November 2022. 
  • Free Wireless: the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library announced it will loan wireless hot-spot sticks, which provide free Internet access, to library members in April 2022. The Library also  has Amazon Fire Tablets and Chrome books for borrowing. Other libraries, including Meaford and Thornbury libraries have wifi lending programs which include equipment and wifi sticks. 


  • Safe N Sound new hours: Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri 9am to 3pm, Tues- 9 am – 2pm, Sat 10am – 5:30pm, Sun – CLOSED. No evenings until November 2022. But now it is open on Saturdays. 
  • Bruce Power Housing Advocacy:  a letter has been sent to the Honourable Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen speaking to the need to address urgent issues for rural communities.  They asked to accelerate policy and financial commitments to address rural housing affordability by partnering with our region to accelerate these investments beginning in Budget 2022. 
  • Grey Bruce Coordinated Access/By Names List:  As of March 31st, 2022 there were 153 active individuals on the list. In March, 9 people moved to inactive (they left the area, passed away or lost contact), 11 people returned from inactive and 45 new individuals were identified. Numbers continue to grow as partners get more comfortable working within a coordinated system. 
  • The Future of Housing in Huron Perth: the Social Research and Planning Council of Huron-Perth and United Way of Huron Perth released a new report The Future of Housing


  • Portable Benefits Advisory Consultation: The Ontario government announced it is examining how to expand benefits (health, dental and vision care) to more workers, even if they change jobs. Members of the Portable Benefits Advisory Panel will conduct research and consultations to recommend the design and implementation of a new plan that will cover millions of precarious workers in various sectors. A final report is expected by Summer 2023.
  • Coalition for Dentalcare has created a new series of posters to raise awareness for access to dental care during April – Oral Health Month.  


  • Love You No Matter What Tailgate Soup Kitchen will close at the end of April and resume in the fall of 2022. It will operate throughout the winter of 2023. This week they served 45 meals. 

Stay well, Jill