Rural housing, rural opioid poisoning, rural workers and reconciliation have all been in the news lately and discussed at almost every Grey Bruce planning table.
TVO’s The Agenda has been covering many of these topics featuring interviews with local colleagues:
- Rural Housing – Why is Rural Ontario Housing So Expensive? | TVO.org
- Rural Ontario Opioids Emergency – Rural Ontario’s Opioids Emergency | TVO.org
- Rural Ontario Attracting Workers – How Can Rural Ontario Attract Workers? | TVO.org (Features Gemma Mendez-Smith – Four County Labour Market Planning Board and Ashleigh Weeden)
- Reconciliation Rural Ontario – https://www.tvo.org/video/advancing-reconciliation-across-rural-ontario
Responses have included:
- a Call to Action at Grey County Council on the drug poisoning crisis in Grey Bruce made by the Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy Grey Bruce,
- Grey County Council endorsed the Call to Action and formed a Mental Health and Addictions Task Force. Review the TORs.
- MP Alex Ruff spoke to rural concerns during a debate on the “Opioid Crisis in Canada” issue in Parliament on February 8th, 2022 and highlighted the work of the SOS Pilot Project,
- the SOS Project provides fixed outreach services in Hanover and Owen Sound bi-weekly and has launched a new mobile outreach pilot with 10 partners for 12 weeks. An Interim Report is being prepared,
- the Poverty Task Force speaking to an Equitable Recovery = A Better Normal in our Annual Report 2021, on Rogers TV and in consultation with all levels of government,
- the Ontario government has launched a new intake of the Rural Economic Development (RED) program targeting labour attraction and retention. Applications will be accepted up to March 7, 2022.
INDIGENOUS YOUTH/CHILDREN SUPPORTS
- In Canada, 7.7% of all children under 14 are Indigenous. 38% of Indigenous children live in poverty compared to 7% of non-Indigenous children. 52.2% of children in foster care under 14 are Indigenous. (Stats Can 2016)
- Indigenous Youth & Community Futures Fund (IYCFF) invests in opportunities for Indigenous youth (First Nation, Metis, and Inuit) to connect with their land, languages, culture, and each other. Laidlaw Foundation is granting up to $30,000 to Indigenous youth-led groups (under the age of 35) that are based in remote, rural, and urban territories across Ontario. Applications are due February 24, 2022 @ 5pm.
- A new Indigenous students scholarship was announced by Bruce Power in the name of Greg Nadjiwon. The scholarship will provide youth from Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) with $1,500 to support their education in the field of health and wellness.
- In partnership with Indspire, Bruce Power provides scholarships to local Indigenous youth through the Building Brighter Futures Indigenous Post-Secondary Award, which provides $4,000 to local Indigenous students who have completed at least on year of post-secondary education or apprenticeship programs.
- GIS Clawback: the Federal government has passed Bill C-12 that will see seniors compensated for full, annualized loss amounts as early as mid-April 2022. Thank you to everyone that wrote or called the Ministry of Seniors on this issue.
- Seniors do not need to take action to receive this one-time payment. The government also announced that MP offices will support seniors in dire financial situations. However, the MP offices are still awaiting direction from the Ministry of Seniors on what criteria will be used to define those situations.
- The temporary rate relief to help customers who were spending more time at home in Ontario due to the surge in COVID cases has ended. All time-of-use and tiered electricity usage was billed 8.2 cents per kWh from Jan 18 to Feb 7, 2022. In addition, providers are now requiring arrears to be paid before any new deliveries of propane/gas.
- Ontario Tax credits and benefits: Ontario residents should file their 2021 Income Tax and Benefit Return to get tax credits and benefits, even if they have no taxable income to report. Read more about extended and new benefits here.
- Connected for Success: Rogers is offering a reduced cost for internet ($9.99/month) to customers who are on OW, ODSP or seniors receiving GIS. This gives people 25 Mbps download/5 Mbps upload, No credit checks, Free installation, Free modem rental, Unlimited Data. Apply at https://about.rogers.com/stories/ontario/
- Bruce County Indigenous Reconciliation Planning Initiative: Bruce County has passed a recommendation to commit $150,000 for the Indigenous Reconciliation Planning Initiative over the next 2 years. Read the Report here.
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) announced their partnership on a national research program to advance understanding of reconciliation.
- Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC): is seeking input on its strategic plan and future directions in a client survey or community partner survey. Any questions can be directed to Marissa Bauldry, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOOD SECURITY SUPPORT
- Its Personal Period is working with community food banks to carry out a survey to understand the needs of its customers.
- The Poverty Task Force submitted a letter to the Ministry of Finance/Ontario Budget 2022 consultation regarding the need to mandate menstrual products for all girls in schools and women in the workplace.
- OSNP Grey Bruce Hot Pot Kettle learning project: St Mary’s, Grey Highlands, Walkerton Community and John Diefenbaker offered cooking classes with Hot Pot Kettles. Over 70 students created meals and took kettles home. This was made possible with a grant from Community Foundation of Grey Bruce through the United Way of Bruce Grey to OSNP Grey Bruce.
- Foodbrucegrey.com presentations have been made at all Grey County municipalities as well as Grey County as a Whole Committee on food insecurity and the need for income solutions.
- Human Trafficking: The Ontario government announced an additional $3.6 million to rural frontline agencies that support survivors of human trafficking and women who have experienced violence. The additional investment will provide agencies with more resources, strengthen culturally responsive supports for Indigenous women, and reduce geographic and transportation barriers which will significantly improve access to quality care and services to victims in rural and remote communities.
- Grey Transit Route will be bringing back the Stone Tree bus stops, both northbound and southbound, on April 1,2022. To book a trip for April 1 or later, people may call 226-910-1001, or book their trips online at https://driverseatinc.com/greytransitroute/.