Task Force Blog

Media Release: RentSafe Owen Sound Collaborative Launches Survey of Tenants

Do you live in rental housing in Owen Sound? Share your experiences via the #RentSafe Owen Sound tenant survey: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/r/RentSafe_TenantSurvey

Use the QR Code

Fill out a paper copy at:

  • Owen Sound Library and Adult Learning Centre
  • United Way of Bruce Grey
  • M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre
  • YMCA Employment office
  • Grey Bruce Legal Clinic
  • Grey Bruce Public Health
  • Grey County Housing office
  • Owen Sound Municipal Non-Profit Housing office
  • SOS mobile outreach at the Owen Sound farmers’ market (Sept 21, Oct 5, Oct 19)

Let’s start a conversation about what’s needed to better support rental housing in our city.

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 103

Dear Colleagues, 

Truth and Reconciliation Week is Sept 26th to 30th. This is a time to reflect on hard truths but I challenge you and myself to reflect on how reconciliation can be a daily action.  

The Poverty Task Force and members have been working hard to build relations with Indigenous partners, communities and Nations. With the leadership of Giiwe, Indigenous-led Sharing Circles focus on housing & homelessness and youth issues.  

Diane Giroux has said that “the Giiwe process is so much more than reconciliation, it is a healing journey. The treaties signed between nations belong to all of us. We are on a healing journey for both sides. Colonialism is all of our past. We need to honour this. We need to honour the best side of all of us.”  

Reconciliation is alive and happening! Giiwe work is expanding its Sharing Circles and Cultural Mindfulness workshops. 

  • With an Agents of Change grant, Giiwe Sharing Circles are being organized with government councils, doctors and nurses, housing services, youth services from Sept to Dec 2022.  There are a few retreats being organized on Oct 9th and Dec 2nd at Silver Lake Camp/Sauble Beach. 
  • Giiwe is delivering Cultural Mindfulness with First Responders, City of Owen Sound Managers and other senior managers/leaders. 
  • Giiwe is also part of an international collaboration on A Shared Future and  the Gikinoo’amaagewin Wiigwaam project on Indigenous land stewardship. 
  • Reach out to Diane Giroux, giiwe.home@gmail.com, 519-271-1147, to connect on how to join the Giiwe in building relations and positive change in community. 
  • ‘Gidinawendimin – “We are all related’ shares the culture, language, music, dance, and stories from across the regions. Register today to view the live stream here.  

INCOME SUPPORT

Federal Affordability Inflation Measures: the government has announced new measures to address inflation to target low and modest income earners.  

  • Canada Dental Benefit: for children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance. Low- and middle-income families with a combined income of under $90,000 can access up to $650 per year for the next two years for dental services. The next step will be to extend dental care to under 18s, seniors and people with disabilities by the end of 2023, before full implementation of the program by 2025.
  • GST Tax Credit: doubled for six months. Singles without children will get up to $234 more from the credit, couples with children will get up to $467 more and seniors can expect an average boost of $225 this year.
  • Canada Housing Benefit: a one-time increase to the Canada Housing Benefit, providing up to $500 to 1.8 million Canadian renters struggling with housing needs. The federal government said the benefit will be available to families with an adjusted net income below $35,000 — or to singles with incomes below $20,000 — who pay at least 30% of their income on rent. 

Challenges still exist for any additional dollars reaching people that have not filed their taxes, people without homes and those who are couch surfing. Income solutions are needed to address such as a guaranteed basic income and living wage but these must be accessible to everyone as well.

  • YMCA Webinar: Basics on Tax Benefits: Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 at 1:30pm – General Tax Awareness (30 mins):Join the CVITP and Benefits Outreach Officer with the CRA to ask questions and find out more on the basics of taxes. Register here.  
  • Ontario Photo, OHIP, Driver’s Licenses Cards and license plates: you can now sign up for free digital reminders by email, text, or phone call 60 and 30 days before it is time to renew. These are critical to access services and avoid fines for expired license and plates.
  • Retreated Workers’ Survey: the survey released by the Four County Labour Planning Board is still open until Sept 30th. The response has been good and is providing insights into barriers to employment, which age groups are not returning to the workforce and what retention & attraction strategies need to be used to meet the demand for employees.  Find the survey here

HOUSING SUPPORT

  • Home Takeover Project: has released its findings, recommendations and guidelines which can be found at this Grey Bruce Public Health link.
    • This project is focused on Rent Geared to Income/Grey County Housing in Owen Sound for the pilot since they initially raised the issue to be addressed. 
    • Community Partners Survey Results and Interviews with People with Lived Experience have been summarized and posted. Key resources including education posters, flyers, postcards and checklists are also posted. 
    • A Response Framework, Guidebook and Response Pathway for Organizations and Service Providers are being developed. For presentations and more information contact Lisa Alguire at Grey Bruce Health Unit (519-376-9420). 
  • The Long-term Landlord Housing Initiative is underway, and The Meeting Place is accepting applications until September 14th, 2022. Potential applicants can reach out to housing@tobermorymeetingplace.com, or download the Application Guide and Form at this website link
  • Wiarton Propeller Club has announced it is donating land for affordable housing in partnership with South Bruce Peninsula Municipality.  

NEWCOMER SUPPORT 

TRANSPORTATION SUPPORT

  • GTR route between Owen Sound and Sauble Beach was closed on Sept 5th. Regular Route 5 service will resume on Tuesday, September 6 between Owen Sound and Wiarton. Learn more at www.grey.ca/gtr
  • The Salvation Army Wiarton: is offering transportation support for medical or grocery rides. We mourn the loss of Kim Chegano who passed recently. She gave so much to the community. She will be very missed. Contact Roni Delleman at: 519-534-0353 x 100. 

FOOD SUPPORT

  • Grey Bruce Good Food Box has updated its schedule at its 20 pickup locations. Please note that several locations will start up only in October and others have changed pickup days and times. For a complete list of locations, order and pick ups times, check the 211 listing.  
  • The Ontario School Nutrition Programs (OSNP) Grey Bruce is welcoming volunteers back into schools but is still  facing challenges with the rising cost of food.  The OSNP provides funding and support to 61 schools in Grey and Bruce Counties. 
  • The Meaford Community Gardens is celebrating 12 years of gardening and reported they shared 300-400 lbs of food monthly this harvest. 

FUNDING SUPPORT 

Stay well, Jill 

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