April 2021: Information Sharing Edition
 In this edition: 

  • Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty
  • Canadian Income Survey, 2019
  • Affordable Virtual Spring Day Camp Starts Next Week
  • Province Doubles Support for Parents With New Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit
  • City Provides Free Transit for Mass-Vaccination Rides
  • Mission Accomplished at Temporary Emergency Shelter Aquatic Centre
  • CPA Ontario and WEST of Windsor Information Session
  • Addressing Language Barriers for Clients through We Speak
  • COVID-19 Impact on the 2021 Tax Season: CRA Resources
  • The End of Poverty Virtual Gathering
  • In the News
  • Local COVID-19 Information & Resources
Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty
In August 2018, the Government of Canada announced Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Strategy included a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal's target of reducing poverty by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030. 

Opportunity for All included the adoption of the Market Basket Measure (MBM) as Canada's Official Poverty Line and the creation of the National Advisory Council on Poverty (Council) to report on progress made toward the poverty reduction targets.

This is the first report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty. It continues Canada's discussion on poverty by bringing forward the voices of individuals with lived expertise of poverty. It details progress toward our poverty targets and recommends improvements to our poverty reduction efforts.

Statistics Canada reports other indicators of poverty on Canada's Poverty Dashboard in addition to the Market Based Measure. This includes food insecurity, housing and the percentage of people in deep poverty.

Despite improvements in the overall poverty rates in 2018, some of the other indicators of poverty, including food insecurity, unmet housing needs and the average poverty gap ratio, stayed the same or worsened.
Canadian Income Survey, 2019
Data from the Canadian Income Survey, 2019 were released by Statistics Canada in March 2021. The median after-tax income of Canadian families and unattached individuals was $62,900 in 2019. This was virtually unchanged from the previous year. Canada's official poverty rate fell to 10.1% in 2019, down 0.9 percentage points. While these estimates are for 2019, emerging evidence for 2020 suggests that COVID-related pandemic benefits may have offset increases in low income for many Canadian families.

The poverty rate continued to decline in 2019

The market basket measure (MBM) was adopted as Canada's Official Poverty Line in June 2019. According to the MBM, a family lives in poverty if it does not have enough income to purchase a specific basket of goods and services in its community. About 3.7 million Canadians, or 10.1% of the population, lived below Canada's Official Poverty Line in 2019, down from 11.0% in 2018.

Unattached individuals and lone-parent families are more vulnerable to poverty

Individuals in certain groups are often more vulnerable to being in poverty. For example, in 2019, persons not in an economic family or unattached (26.2%) or those living in lone-parent families (23.1%) were more likely to be below the poverty line than persons in other family types.

  • Children in female lone-parent families also remain more vulnerable to poverty. In 2019, close to one-third (29.8%) of those living in female lone-parent families were in poverty, compared with less than one-tenth (7.2%) of those living in couple families.

Historically, marginalized groups such as Indigenous peoples, recent immigrants and persons with a disability were more likely to live below the poverty line.

  • In 2019, about 127,000, or 18.0% of Indigenous peoples aged 16 and older living off-reserve were below the poverty line. Among Indigenous peoples, 22.1% of First Nations peoples and 13.0% of Métis lived in poverty in 2019.
  • Among recent immigrants aged 16 and older, that is those who arrived in Canada within the last 10 years, approximately 411,000 or 17.4% lived below the poverty line in 2019.
  • Approximately 1.1 million, or 13.5%, of persons with a disability lived below the poverty line in 2019.

As with the national poverty rate, the poverty rate among many of these groups has also declined in recent years.
Affordable Virtual Spring Day Camp Starts Next Week
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has confirmed the current provincial guidelines, which advise against the City of Windsor offering any form of “day camp” programming during the school break scheduled for next week. As a result, the City of Windsor will now offer virtual programing to support parents in need of creative outlets for students during the school break.

Virtual Spring Day Camp – Monday April 12, 2021, through Friday, April 16, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Talented day camp staff will offer online opportunities for children ages 5 through 14, including crafts, games, and special activities.

Virtual Spring Programming – The City of Windsor is also offering a variety of online programming including the “Home Alone” Program (8 to 12 years), “Learn to Babysit” (ages 12 and up) and Dance Class for all ages. Programs will be offered in the evening beginning the week of April 19, 2021. Residents are required to register in advance to be able to participate.

Registration for Virtual Spring Day Camp is now available, and Spring Programming registration will begin the week of April 12, 2021. All of our staff are certified in the High Five Principles of Healthy Child Development. To register please, visit www.ActiveWindsor.ca.

These virtual programs will serve as a pilot to this format, and, should community response warrant, additional youth and adult programs will be considered in the weeks ahead.

Visit the City of Windsor Newsroom for the full announcement.
Province Doubles Support for Parents With New Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit
The Ontario government is providing parents with $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit.

Under this new round of funding, payments will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for a child with special needs to help offset additional learning costs. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy.

The government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and they can expect money to begin flowing on April 26, 2021.

Parents who did not apply for or receive the Support for Learners program can apply for the new funding starting May 3 with a deadline of May 17.

Parents will receive $400 for each child aged 0 to Grade 12 and $500 for children and youth 21 years old or younger with special needs, doubling the $200 and $250 received in the last round. This brings the government's direct support to parents since the start of the pandemic to more than $1.8 billion.  

Read full details in the Ontario Newsroom.
City Provides Free Transit for Mass-Vaccination Rides
The City of Windsor is waiving the fare costs on Transit Windsor buses for anyone travelling to or from a COVID-19 mass-vaccination clinic appointment.

The free service to and from a mass-vaccination clinic area includes the county municipalities serviced by Transit Windsor.

Visit the City of Windsor website for more information.
Mission Accomplished at Temporary Emergency Shelter Aquatic Centre
The City of Windsor and partners operating the Temporary Emergency Shelter in the Aquatic Centre (TESAC) are pleased to support the transition of residents back to the Downtown Mission.

As the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has lifted the previous closure order against the Downtown Mission, and the quarantine period is now complete, the transition of COVID-free residents from the temporary emergency shelter began Thursday, March 25, 2021.

The transformation of the facility began on Sunday, February 21, 2021, and the first guests were welcomed into TESAC on Thursday, February 25, 2021. During that time, over 160 emergency shelter residents across all sites were provided shelter and meals and tested for COVID-19, and over 150 residents received a COVID-19 vaccination

Read the full update on the City of Windsor website.
Addressing Language Barriers for Clients through We Speak
Health equity is a core value in Ontario’s health care system, as it is recognized that people belonging to certain groups may experience disparities in their health status, access to services and the quality of care they receive.

Contributing to this issue are language barriers that can have a major impact on health care provision, with research indicating that patients with limited English proficiency may be excluded from or experience delays or denials in receiving health care services.

In response to this, organizational partners have come together to develop We Speak, giving providers the ability to gain access to scheduled or on demand professional interpreting services in-person, by phone or video.
As part of developing this initiative, partners formed a temporary task group focused on effectively addressing language barriers for clients. Task group members include: The University of Windsor Faculty of Nursing; The Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County; Windsor-Essex County Health Unit; Windsor Family Health Team; Windsor Essex Community Health Centre; the Erie St. Clair and South West LHINs and the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP).

Provision of direct services in the language of the patient remains the preferred option. However, when this is not possible, using professional interpretation services is the next best, most effective solution to ensure quality communication and patient safety. While in-person options are available, the service also leverages other technologies, tools and best practice approaches to reduce language barriers.

Providers can register and access the service by dialing 1-866-4-WE-SPEAK (1-866-493-7732) or visiting wespeak.ca. Services for health service providers are part of a group purchase plan, allowing them to be accessed at a highly discounted rate based on group usage. Registrants also only pay for the services used.

Download a PDF of the full news release here.
CPA Ontario and WEST of Windsor Information Session
Information sharing on behalf of Women's Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc:

CPA Ontario and WEST of Windsor invite you to join an online information session providing an overview of the CPA certification program, admission requirements and practical experience competencies.

The event will take place on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 from 10:30am to 11:30am.
To learn how to transition your international education and experience into the CPA designation please register at no cost. Registration is on-going and take the first step towards a rewarding future as a CPA!

For more information, contact gtajeddine@cpaontario.ca or download the event flyer.
COVID-19 Impact on the 2021 Tax Season: CRA Resources
Information sharing on behalf of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada:

The CRA understands that COVID-19 has affected the usual ways that many Canadians, permanent and temporary residents manage their taxes. The CRA is here to guide newcomers through the process and answer questions they may have.

To learn everything newcomers need to know about filing their return, go to canada.ca/taxes-newcomers where they can find more information on:
  • residency status
  • completing an income tax and benefit return
  • filing your tax return electronically
  • when and how to apply for benefits and credits
  • claiming credits and deductions
  • contacting the CRA for help

Newcomers can also watch a CRA video available in 12 different languages: Benefits and Credits for Newcomers to Canada.

Do your clients need more help filing taxes?

There are many community organizations that are hosting free virtual tax clinics. Volunteers from the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program may be able to help newcomers complete and file their taxes for free by videoconference, phone, or through a document drop-off arrangement. To find a clinic, please check the national directory.

Please share this information with any of your clients that could benefit from the assistance provided by the CRA.

A friendly reminder that most taxpayers must file their income tax by April 30, 2021.
The End of Poverty Virtual Gathering
The End Poverty
Calgary, AB | May 5-6, 2021

Join Tamarack’s Vibrant Communities online for two amazing days to explore The End of Poverty.

Listen to keynote speakers like Melody Barnes, who worked directly with Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House, and Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who has been named the second-most influential person in Canada. The End of Poverty gathering will bring together government, business, community and lived/living experience leaders from across Canada to celebrate our successes and co-generate solutions.

This event will feature engaging panels and workshops and daily small group discussions, each serving to help collectively advance ideas for ending poverty.

For more information about the curriculum, registration and logistics, please visit: https://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/the-end-of-poverty.

Event contact: elle@tamarackcommunity.ca 
Calls for Amnesty on CERB Repayment for Low-Income Families
Brian Masse NDP M.P. (Windsor West) and Lisa Gretzky M.P.P (Windsor West) were joined by Legal Assistance of Windsor Staff Lawyer, Laura Stairs and Contract Lawyer, Sarah Voegeli, to respond to the Trudeau Liberals clawback on CERB repayments for low income families.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant economic strain on Canadians and CERB repayment will undoubtedly increase the helplessness of those already struggling financially, due to unclear messaging from the federal government on eligibility.

Because there were no checks in place to ensure applicants were eligible, many of these individuals could be faced with having to repay thousands of dollars causing dire financial hardship.

Read the full news release for further details.
Essex County Improves Access to Tax Supports for Low-Income Residents
Essex County council adopted a package of tax policy recommendations that includes more help for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.

An existing property tax relief program for low-income seniors and those with disabilities has been in place since 1998, but to apply for such relief the property owner cannot be in tax arrears and must have paid all penalties. The amendment, adopted in mid-February, removes that stipulation.

“We found last year applications were being denied because of that one particular criteria,” director of financial services Sandra Zwiers said in explaining the change. “In recognition of the hardships being faced we’ve recommended it be eliminated.”

Visit the Windsor Star website to read the full article.
ACS Keeping Seniors Connected through Telephone Chat Line
As reported by the Windsor Star, Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is organizing group chats as a way to help seniors combat isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The non-profit charitable organization offers help for the community’s most vulnerable, through Meals on Wheels, a food bank and accessible transportation to get residents to medical appointments. All the usual face-to-face programming, however, has been suspended by the pandemic. So the organization does individual check-in calls with seniors, and now the group chats are a safe way for seniors to connect virtually and engage with other seniors.

The ACS chat line opened up for the first time in February thanks to a grant from the Older Adults Centres’ Association of Ontario. Zoom calls are planned to be added to the mix for seniors in April.

Seniors from the Amherstburg area wishing to participate in the group chat must first register with Amherstburg Community Services by calling 519-736-5471.
Volunteers Driving Seniors to COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments
Dozens of volunteers across Windsor-Essex are ready to ensure all seniors have a ride to their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

It’s a joint initiative made possible by two groups including Windsor Frontline Health Care Workers and Windsor Essex Seniors/High Risk Needing Necessities, a seniors advocacy group that began at the onset of the global pandemic.

Any senior in need of transportation to a vaccination appointment is encouraged to make arrangements online, through the group's Facebook page.

Read the full article by CTV News Windsor.
Statistics Canada Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the daily lives of most Canadians. There has been ongoing concern that the impacts of the pandemic, such as increases in social isolation, job and income loss, and difficulties meeting financial obligations, could be affecting mental health. 

Findings, released in mid-March, from the Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health indicate that about one in five (21%) Canadian adults aged 18 and older screened positive for at least one of three mental disorders that were assessed: major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

This survey was developed by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada to better understand the mental health of Canadian adults in the context of the pandemic. Data were collected from September to December 2020.

Key findings include:

  • Of those who screened positive for a disorder, 68% reported that their mental health had worsened since the start of the pandemic.
  • Young adults aged 18 to 24 most likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • One in four women (24%) screened positive for at least one disorder, compared with 17% of men.
  • Prevalence of mental disorders more than four times higher among those who experienced feelings of loneliness or isolation as an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than 40% of Canadians who reported difficulty meeting financial obligations or essential needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic screened positive for one of the three mental disorders.
Association between Food Insecurity and Stressful Life Events
A new study, "Association between Food Insecurity and Stressful Life Events among Canadian Adults," looks at the characteristics of food insecure Canadians, focusing on how losing a job, suffering an injury or illness, or a combination of events can increase the risk of food insecurity.

The data in this release are from the fourth wave (2018) of the Longitudinal and International Study of Adults. Although the data were collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these findings are especially relevant today, as food insecurity has increased during the pandemic.

Stressful life events related to income are more frequently associated with food insecurity:
  • Canadian adults who had experienced a worsening financial situation from 2016 to 2018 were about nine times more likely to be food insecure than those who had not.
  • In 2018, almost one-third (30.2%) of adults whose financial situation worsened over the previous two years were food insecure, compared with 3.4% of those whose situation remained stable.

Read the full summary by Statistics Canada reported in The Daily.
Household Economic Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Over the first three quarters of 2020, disposable income for the lowest-income households increased 36.8%, more than for any other households. At the same time, the youngest households recorded the largest gain in their net worth (+9.8%).

These changes were driven by unprecedented increases in transfers to households, as the value of government COVID-19 support measures exceeded losses in wages and salaries and self-employment income.

As the pandemic unfolded in Canada, households experienced extraordinary changes in their economic well-being. New experimental sub-annual distributions of household economic accounts (DHEA) provide insight into how the pandemic and the associated government support measures have affected the economic well-being of different groups of households in Canada.

Some of the highlights from this research include the following:
  • Gap between lowest- and highest-income households declines in 2020;
  • Lowest-income and youngest households experience largest decline in wages and salaries;
  • COVID-19 support measures have largest impact on lower-income and younger households.

Read full details as reported in The Daily by Statistics Canada.
Local COVID-19 Information & Resources
Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government issued a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.

Visit the Ontario Newsroom to read full details on the Stay-at-Home order.
Drive-Thru/Walk-Up Food Hub Locations:
Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor Inc.
6955 Cantelon Dr., Windsor, ON
P: 519-944-4900
Monday, Wednesday, & Friday
9:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex
1551 Wyandotte St. W., Windsor, ON

Tuesday & Thursday
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
For food hamper deliveries/referrals call UHC's Food Assistance Helpline:
519-944-4900 ext. 3

For more information about Drive-thru/Walk-up Food Hubs and Food Banks, please visit the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association website.
Municipal Social Investment Efforts
City of Windsor
Stephen Lynn
519-255-5200 ext. 5302
Teresa Falsetta Aflak
519-255-5200 ext. 6809
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