The Federal Poverty Reduction Strategy needs your help to define the “market basket”

Linda Lalonde updates us on first reading on legislation to create their Poverty Reduction Strategy in the House and Market Basket Measure consultation with Statistics Canada.

…The bill includes targets for poverty reduction from 2015 figures of 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030. Of course, that means that 50% of Canadians living in poverty will still be there twelve years from now. Hopefully, there will be some kind of hearings or other ways to have input on the legislation.

Poverty Reduction Act – passed first reading Nov 6th

Market Basket Measures program identifier

Online consultation with Stat’s Can- (survey) of: what matters in our Market Basket? here:

(Stats Can consult on MBM open to Jan 31st)

The Strategy includes the creation of the first official poverty line for Canada, the Market Basket Measure (MBM), and Statistics Canada is doing a consultation on the MBM asking about the adequacy of the levels of expenditure they consider would pull you out of poverty. It gives 5 groupings of expenses, i.e food, clothing & footwear, transportation, shelter and other necessities.

Market Basket Measure figures from StatsCan survey
Item Family of 2 Family of 4
Food  $            670  $             950
Clothes/footwear  $            110  $             160
Transportation  $            220  $             320
Shelter  $            790  $         1,110
Other necessities  $            590  $             840
Monthly Total  $        2,380  $         3,380
Annual total  $      28,560  $       40,560

… There are also several questions about specific items such as use of cabs/uber and whether a smart phone is a necessity. The numbers they are suggesting add up to $28,560 for a family of two and $40,560 for a family of four.

I find it odd that they only ask you for the number of people in your family but not their ages to get to those numbers. The expenses of a family of one adult and three kids will be different from one with four adults. Things like child care and medical expenses have to be included in ‘other necessities’ because there’s no other place to put them. One non-subsidized day care space would wipe out the whole amount they’ve allowed.  I’ve attached a chart with the amounts they give for each category. If you are familiar with the current social assistance rates, you’ll see the figures are a bit different.

Linda Lalonde for further details here:


Capacity Assessment, and How it Relates to LTC Decisions and Applications

From SWAG, SPEAKER: Catherine Butler BA, BScN, MHA Vice-President, Home & Community Care, Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)

(Picture from

Speaker will address these issues are they are relevant to social work scope of practice

  • How capacity is assessed in home & community care
  • Developing skilled capacity assessors in home care – education, ongoing learning & support
  • Impacts of poor assessments – what are the barriers & enablers to an effective assessment
  • Dispute mechanisms


Time: 3:30 to 5PM

Location: Colonel By Retirement Home, 42 Aylmer Avenue

( parallel to Sunnyside near Bank street and canal)

Contact Beverlee McIntosh for further information:

Public meeting with an expert panel on long term care to explore ways to rebuild public capacity, improve quality and accountability

From SWAG, please share and encourage others to join in this event

Long Term Care is a Municipal Issue!

You are invited to an open public meeting with an expert panel on long term care to explore ways to rebuild public capacity, improve quality and accountability for seniors’ care in the Ottawa Area.

Monday, September 17th , 7pm-9pm

McNabb Community Centre, 180 Percy St.  Assembly Hall

Visit or email

We have seen many stories of abuse, lack of safety and not enough care or accountability in long term care homes in our city. 
How can our municipality be part of the solution for these problems? 
Albert Banerjee
 – PhD, Research Associate, Trent University Centre for Ageing and Society

·         Susan Braedley – Associate professor at Carleton University whose research projects include: Re-Imagining Long-Term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices and Healthy Ageing in Residential Places

·         Doreen Roque – Executive member of the Champlain Region Family Council Network , which advocates for the needs, rights and interests of residents living in long term care homes and supports family councils in long term care homes

·         Joanne Waddell – Works as a cook for over 30 years at Madonna Care Community, a long term care facility in Orleans. Joanne represents Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) health care workers in Eastern Ontario on the health care workers coordinating committee of CUPE Ontario.

Les soins de longue durée : une problématique municipale !

Vous êtes invités à une assemblée publique en compagnie d’un groupe d’experts en soins de longue durée afin d’explorer des solutions pour rebâtir les capacités du système public, améliorer la qualité des soins aux aînés et accroître la responsabilité des établissements de la région d’Ottawa.

Lundi 17 septembre de 19h à 21h

Centre communautaire McNabb, 180, rue Percy Assembly Hall

Visitez ou écrivez à

Les médias sont pleins d’histoires de maltraitance, de manque de sécurité et de manque de soins ou de responsabilité dans les établissements de soins de longue durée de notre ville. Comment notre municipalité peut-elle faire partie de la solution à ces problèmes ? 

·         Albert Banerjee, Ph. D., associé de recherche au Centre universitaire pour le vieillissement et la société de l’Université Trent.

·         Susan Braedley, professeure agrégée à l’Université Carleton. L’un de ses projets de recherche s’intitule Réimaginer les soins à long terme en établissement : une étude internationale sur les pratiques prometteuses et le vieillissement en santé en établissement.

·         Doreen Roque, membre de l’exécutif du Champlain Region Family Council Network qui plaide en faveur des besoins, des droits et des intérêts des pensionnaires des établissements de soins de longue durée et qui aide les conseils de famille dans ces établissements.

·         Joanne Waddellcuisinière depuis plus de 30 ans chez Madonna Care Community, un établissement de soins de longue durée d’Orleans. Joanne représente les travailleurs de la santé du SCFP dans l’est de la province au sein du comité de coordination des travailleurs de la santé du SCFP-Ontario.


ISAC Report/Guide on how to support people with a severe mental illness to access ODSP

From Income Security Advocacy Centre

ISAC logo

Helping people with mental health disabilities access ODSP: An expert report on the complexity of mental health treatment in Ontario

… The report explains why many people with mental health conditions do not seek treatment and, if they do, are mainly managed by primary care health care providers (such as family doctors) who are trained to treat a broad range of mental health conditions. The report notes, for example, that the absence of a specialist referral does not reflect the severity of a patient’s mental health condition.

The report also explains why treatment history can be an unreliable predictor of the severity of a person’s disability. The treatment of mental illness and addictions is complex and influenced by many factors such as: limited availability and access to specialized treatment and outpatient care, especially for those who are low income and disadvantaged; the stigma of treatment; intolerance to the side effects of medication; limits to the effectiveness of medication; and variations in prescribing medication. …

See the report here:…reatment-in-ontario/

Politics and Care Practices, “How the Salvation Army shelter could change this election”

This story about the Ottawa municipal election was retweeted by Tim Aubry  (University of Ottawa) who has been an international leader on research with the Mental Health Commission on At Home/Chez Soi  (housing first).  

While the article itself is about nitty gritty politics, Tim’s point about the critical need to integrate housing into actual care, and what I would suggest  thinking of: “patient flow,” community integration and recovery, continuity of care; is useful for us to at least pause as front line mental health workers and consider how evidence informed practice, our organizational policies and practices mix with … politics. 

“Thankfully, a decision that will set the course on how we address #homelessness among men in Ottawa for years to come will get some attention in the upcoming municipal election #HousingFirst #RighttoHousing #Endhomelessness

Adam: How the Salvation Army shelter could change this election

Photograph is from the Ottawa Citizen article.

“Inside the battle to modernize 1960s-era mental health housing in Ontario” from This Magazine

A thoughtful article by Megan Marrelli from This Magazine 

It would be easy to simply slam down how things are in domiciliary hostels (Homes for Special Care (HSC) and other municipal residences, now called Residential Support Services).  Instead it brings to light the complexity, including the dynamics of a business that can sometimes impact on the directions residents are able to go to advance in their recovery, participation in community, along with owners/carer’s daily efforts of care along with the role of mental health service providers outside of the residence.


On a rainy Thursday in April, I arrive at a yellow brick, split-level house in London, Ont. People are doing word searches at a large dining table. Some help themselves to a container of freshly baked peanut butter cookies, and CBC News is playing on a television in the living room. This house, tucked away in a quiet, tree-lined neighbourhood a few kilometres from London’s gritty city centre, feels almost like a family home. “You’ve come right in time for morning break,” says Sarah Dutsch, the homeowner, as I take off my shoes. This is one of Ontario’s Homes for Special Care: a controversial custodial housing program for people living with severe psychiatric challenges. Sarah and dozens of other Homes for Special Care operators are now in talks with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care about the future of mental health housing in Ontario. …

See the Article here:

I hope that local communities and mental health planners bridge the issue to our broader directions in mental health reform, guided by the Recovery Model/Housing First.

The Mental Health Commission’s foundational report on housing and mental illness “Turning the Key” is a useful guide for us. https://www.mentalhealthcom…


National views of factors in child welfare: community, organization and individual, for social workers providing care

This Canadian Association of Social Worker’s report is shared by Lynn Sherwood. “CASW is asking for changes to federal funding for social services such that the provinces would be accountable for ensuring that funding for social services is used for social services.” She is seeking to work with local organizations such as the Ontario Association of Social Workers Eastern Branch to bring focus on the report’s recommendations. 


Putting Children First: Social Workers and Child Welfare in Canada

At the outset, it is critical to acknowledge that we recognize the profession of social work’s very specific role and responsibility in supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

“We now have the concrete research that something needs to be done about overwhelming caseloads and increasing austerity-driven managerialism that robs social workers of time better spent forming relationships in their communities and helping families.”

Read about our next steps to help social workers:

Please Contact Lynn if you are interested to help in any way to encourage community focus on the report.