One In Eight Halton Seniors Live In Poverty

Retirement is not the golden age for many seniors, writes Sabihuddin.

Do you know Mrs. Jackson? She is an 86-year-old widow, living alone in a downtown area rental apartment. She has minimal income derived from Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and relies on a local food bank to supplement her weekly meals.

Mrs. Jackson struggles to pay her monthly utility bills, especially in the summer and winter months. She does not have access to a vehicle and depends on community volunteers to take her to free programming for seniors in her community.

Everyone gets older and unanticipated life changes can happen. Our population continues to age rapidly and many seniors face financial challenges as they age in our community. Seniors in Halton make up 27 per cent of the region’s overall population. One in eight of these seniors live in poverty.

There is a long held assumption that all seniors in Halton are financially comfortable, however, seniors living in Halton often struggle with precarious employment, lack of health and pension plans, inflated housing costs and expensive food options. Many seniors over the age of 65 are forced to take on paid work in grocery, hardware and fast food locations. For them, retirement is simply not an optiion

It should come as no surprise that many free community meals provided by local faith and community groups are consistently provided to Halton seniors. It is also quite clear that Halton seniors comprise a growing number of food bank users, representing 17 per cent of all food bank clients.

Locally, the average monthly rent is $1,405 making living on a fixed income challenging. Since one in five of our senior neighbours live alone, housing can quickly become unaffordable. The combination of being in poverty and living alone sets the stage for social, emotional and psychological isolation which will, overtime, have negative effects on overall well-being and life expectancy.

If we are to have legitimate pride in Halton Region being one of the top places to live in Ontario, it must equally apply to low-income residents, including our seniors, now and in the future. Retirement is not the golden age for many of our seniors.

If you, or someone you know, wants to become involved in achieving our vision of No Neighbour in Need follow us on on Twitter @HaltonPovertyRT.

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HPRT’s Response to Canada’s First National Poverty Strategy

Media Release:

Yesterday, the federal government announced details of its first Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy – a national poverty plan that many in the non-for-profit and social services sector alongside people with lived experience have called for.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable, a regional organization, welcomes the launch of the CPRS and calls for the strategy to serve as a platform for further development of significantly stronger poverty elimination measures, policies, and programs at the federal level. In Halton, more than 13,500 children live in low income households, representing one in ten children. Many in our community have to decide between paying their rent, buying fresh food for their children, and paying for necessary medication.

The release of this strategy is a good start, although it does not allocate new funding nor did it announce any new initiatives. However, the CPRS provides a solid starting point as it introduces Canada’s official measure of poverty; concrete poverty reduction targets; and a National Advisory Council on Poverty.
If the CPRS strategy is going to work for those in our community, it must have full provincial support.

More importantly, we will only see measureable and long lasting results if municipalities and regional levels of government are engaged in the national conversation. All levels of government need to come together to create supports dedicated to addressing the underlying issues of poverty such as: mental and physical health, affordable housing, food security and a robust income security program, such as a basic income.

We are certainly excited that the vision of this strategy includes working towards a substantial reduction in poverty in Canada and recognizes the role that systemic discrimination plays as a barrier to people living in poverty. We are looking forward to participating and continuing the push for full elimination of poverty in our communities.

About Halton Poverty Roundtable:
The Halton Poverty Roundtable (HPRT) is a local non-profit and registered charity; a leader in connecting, educating and acting on issues related to poverty in Halton. For the past 7 years, we have been dedicated to shifting the conversation in Halton towards acknowledgment that poverty exists in our community, increasing education and awareness of poverty and then creating opportunity for community action

For more information or interview requests, please contact:
Sarah Sabihuddin
Halton Poverty Roundtable, Director Community Engagement
Phone: 905-635-3131 ex 303 | Email:

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Letter to Hon. Lisa MacLeod re: Basic Income

Dear Minister MacLeod:

We are writing in response to your government’s decision to end the Basic Income Pilot Program
in Ontario. We strongly disagree with your decision to end this Pilot prematurely and without
regard for the demonstrably positive impact that this program was having upon the lives of
people living in poverty in our Province. As such, we respectfully urge you to reconsider a
policy decision that will only serve to deepen the experience of poverty for millions of Ontario’s
children, families and seniors.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable is a registered charity who is a leader in connecting, educating,
and acting on issues related to poverty in Halton. In our community, 1 in 10 of our neighbours
do not know where their next meal will come from and 1 in 3 seniors are living below the
poverty line. Our communities of Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills have over thirtyseven
thousand individuals who struggle daily to survive on low incomes, or who live in poverty.
Minister MacLeod, the conclusion of the first phase of the Basic Income Pilot in April of this
year, brought with it an abundance of first-hand accounts of the difference that Basic Income had
made to people’s lives. The decision to abandon the Pilot will cause needless difficulties for the
participants struggling to escape poverty. Given the initial success of the program, we cannot
understand the immediate need for cancelation. Surely, it would have been prudent to conclude
the Pilot and use the resulting data in the development of social policy.

We are hopeful that your government’s announcement to reform Social Assistance in the next
100 days includes an inclusive and transparent process, collaboration across all sectors, and a
fulsome consultation process including those living with the challenges of poverty. As you may
know, having a 100 day timeline to reform the entire social assistance program will be met with
challenges including: the potential for increases of punitive and ineffective approaches and
models being implemented, the reduction of supports under the guise of decreasing resource
costs and a lack of understanding of the lived experience of being on Ontario Works (OW) and
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

As you embark on this reform, we would like to draw your attention to the living wage in Halton
Region. In order for a family in Halton to cover their basic living expenses, a family of four
would have to have both adults working 37.5 hours per week making $17.95 per hour. Clearly,
minimum wage, Ontario Works and ODSP do not come close to affording recipients a basic
standard of living in Halton. Your government’s proposed 1.5% increase in social assistance
will do little to assist the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable respectfully requests that the Government of Ontario continue
the Basic Income Pilot through to its conclusion before making a final decision as to the efficacy,
both socially and financially, of the basic income concept.
In light of the current economic climate in Ontario, the low Canadian dollar, the ongoing trade
tariff situation with the United States, combined with the cost of living, this is driving
uncertainty for the most vulnerable. Bottom line, you know that it is harder for families to
survive and the cancelation of the basic income pilot and the cut to our current social assistance
program puts far too many at even greater risk.


Sarah Sabihuddin
Director, Community Engagement
Halton Poverty Roundtable

CC to: Halton Region MPP’s
The Hon. Ted Arnott, M.P.P.
Mr. Stephen Crawford, M.P.P.
Ms. Jane McKenna, M.P.P.
Mr. Parm Gill, M.P.P.
Ms. Effie Triantafilopoulos, M.P.P.
4210 South Service Road, Suite 101, Burlington, ON L7L 4XS

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Volunteer with HPRT at Burlington’s RibFest 2018!

The Halton Poverty Roundtable is seeking volunteers to help us raise money for local charities and support the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore. We are planning to be “out in force” over the Labour Day weekend at Canada’s largest Ribfest. Our volunteers will have the opportunity to double their impact, by not only supporting Rotary, but will also have the chance to “donate” their volunteer hours to raise money for HPRT!

If you would like to help make a difference by raising funds for deserving local charities, while enjoying beautiful summer weather, great music and some of the best ribs anywhere, then come out and join the Halton Poverty Roundtable team!

RibFest 2018 will take place from August 31st to September 3rd at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available that we are sure will make this an enjoyable event!

For more information and to volunteer please email If you are interested in a security volunteer position, please email

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at RibFest!

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Poverty Is A Reality Here In Halton

More than 13,500 children live in low-income households writes Sarah Sabihuddin.

Imagine having to choose between buying diapers and food or paying the rent and hydro bill.

In Halton, there are more than 13,500 children living in low income households, representing 10.5 per cent of all children in our community. That is one in 10 kids living in poverty right here in our neighbourhoods.

This is why organizations like the Halton Poverty Roundtable (HPRT) are so important. Our members are regional change-makers who are challenging the complexity of poverty in our community. We work to shed light on all aspects of poverty and highlight the reality of poverty in our neighbourhoods. Through connecting, educating and acting together, we aim to reach the ultimate goal of eliminating poverty in Halton.

Over the course of the past eight years, the HPRT has been involved in raising public awareness on issues ranging from social assistance reform, to increasing awareness on available housing supports, to the successful inclusion of community benefits in publicly-funded infrastructure projects directly impacting low-income residents.

Poverty looks different in every community, and Halton is no exception.

Poverty is a complicated topic to define, but even harder to solve. Halton residents living in poverty often have unstable employment, insecure and unaffordable housing, are food insecure, face chronic health issues, experience financial barriers to post-secondary education, and face social exclusion due to the gap that exists between the highest and lowest income earners in our community. A family of four with two adults working full time must earn a minimum of $17.95 an hour to pay for the basic necessities of life so they can live with dignity and participate as active citizens in our society. Many in our community have to decide between paying their rent, buying fresh food for their children, and paying for necessary medication.

Halton Poverty Roundtable believes that everyone in our community should be adequately housed, with enough income to meet the most basic standard of living, allowing everyone to eat properly, live with less stress and engage with community supports.

If you, or someone you know, want to become more involved in achieving our vision of ‘No Neighbour in Need’ please check out our website at or on twitter@HaltonPovertyRT.

Sarah Sabihuddin is the Halton Poverty Roundtable director of community engagement.

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Your Support Can Make A Difference In Halton

Match Challenge

With the financial support of the community, the Halton Poverty Roundtable has
been able to undertake a number of successful initiatives.

We are a community funded charity and we depend on your support. Together, we can improve the
lives of the one in ten residents in Halton who live in poverty.

We Need You! Please consider becoming a Supporter

Your Support Can Make A Difference

The Halton Sport Leadership Program has provided at-risk youth an opportunity to
gain confidence, leadership and experience through free training in nationally
recognized recreation certification programs.

Over 70% of participants reported going for a job interview with 60% of
participants securing employment within the community

Our Smart Start Halton campaign has increased the take-up rate of the
federally funded Canada Learning Bond (CLB) from 28% to 42%. We
have brought in over $30 million in post-secondary education
savings for children from low-income families in Halton.

Together we can continue to make a difference.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable has been challenged to raise
$25,000 by June 25th, 2018 and Amarna will match your
donation dollar for dollar.
Be a Corporate Sponsor
Be an Individual Donor
Be a champion for equality and prosperity in Halton. Make the Halton
Poverty Roundtable a charity of choice and partner with us to
eliminate poverty.

Did you know?
1 in 5 Youth are
unemployed in Halton
1 in 10 people in Halton
experience hunger
Over 3,460 Halton
families are on the wait list
for affordable housing

To learn more contact us:
Sarah Sabihuddin: Director, Community Engagement
Tel: 905-635-3131 ext. 303 or

Please Donate Now
Charitable Registration Number: 81276 5121 RR0001
Donation Link:

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HPRT Board Of Directors Volunteer Positions

1. Director 2. Treasurer – As a local nonprofit and registered charity, the Halton Poverty Roundtable (HPRT) is a leader in connecting, educating and acting on issues related to poverty in Halton. For the past 8 years, we have brought together key partners to drive the conversation towards action and measurable impact. We believe that we have the most comprehensive understanding of the resources required to eradicate poverty; and the best network to ensure people in poverty are reached. By leveraging our expertise of available resources and our strong network we can reach our ultimate goal: the eradication of poverty in Halton.

The Halton Poverty Roundtable is seeking applicants from Halton Region for two upcoming openings on the Board of Directors. The Halton Poverty Roundtable is especially interested in applicants from diverse backgrounds, including individuals with lived experience in poverty. We are also looking for individuals with senior leadership experience in any of the following areas: Fundraising, Finance, and Organizational Transformation Projects. If you are interested in serving your community through the HPRT, consider getting involved as an HPRT Director.

Directors will be interviewed by the Co-Chairs and the Director, Community Engagement and successful candidates will govern the association on behalf of the community. This is a volunteer position that will involve approximately five to eight hours each month. Directors meet monthly for board meetings and are required to participate on board committees. Board members are also encouraged to attend HPRT events.

The Board of Directors is ultimately accountable for all matters relating to the HPRT. However, its primary responsibilities are as follows:
1. Provide a link and liaison with the community.
2. Ensure that the HPRT By-Laws remain current and relevant.
3. Ensure that the HPRT vision and strategic plan are consistent with the organization’s values and mission.
4. Ensure that the annual operating plan is consistent with the HPRT long-term vision and strategic plan. 5. Support and assist philanthropic and fundraising efforts such as, donor thank yous and speaking engagements.
6. Monitor Director, Community Engagement performance. Recruit and hire, and terminate if necessary.
7. Report to the community, HPRT members, volunteers and participants at the Annual General Meeting.
8. Board members are responsible for acting in the best long-term interests of the HPRT and will bring to the task of informed decision-making a broad knowledge and an inclusive perspective.

Treasurer Position:
Key Duties
 Be aware of CRA policies/regulatory requirements with respect to financial compliance.
 Assume a leadership role on board committee or initiatives related to financial matters
 Oversee, and present budgets, accounts, management accounts and financial statements to the board of directors
 Liaise with the Director of Community Engagement (or other designated individual), where applicable, to ensure that the charity’s annual accounts are compliant with the CRA guidelines
 Ensure that proper accounts and records are kept; ensuring financial resources are spent and invested in line with the charity’s policies, good governance, legal and regulatory requirements
 Liaise with the charity’s auditors or independent examiner, where appropriate
 Ensure the financial components of the T3010B Information Return are completed in an accurate and timely manner
 Advise on the financial implications of the charity’s strategic plan
 Maintain sound financial management of the charity’s resources, ensuring expenditure is in line with the charity’s objectives
 Contribute to the fundraising strategy of the organization
 Act as a counter‐signatory on charity cheques and any applications for funds Qualifications

The following are considered key job qualifications:
• Must have an Accounting Designation or equivalent financial background
• Identify, support, and share funding/donor development opportunities
• Knowledge of the community
• Experience in community collaboration/collective impact
• Commitment to the Halton Poverty Roundtable’s mission and strategic directions
• A commitment to social and economic justice

If you are interested in this volunteer position, please submit your resume and a cover letter stating how you can contribute to our board to

We thank all applicants, however, only those considered for an interview will be contacted. Accessibility The HPRT is committed to creating an inclusive environment that accommodates all individuals, including those with disabilities.

We support the goals of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Acts (AODA) and have established policies, procedures and practices which adhere to the accessibility standards set out in the AODA.

Should you require any accommodation throughout the recruitment process please do not hesitate contacting our office at 905-635-3131 ext. 303.

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Job Posting: Office Assistant (Summer Student)

This position is advertised under the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) initiative. To be eligible for this position, you must be between 15 and 30 years of age on the start date of the job, been a full-time student during the previous academic year and be intending to return to full-time studies in the next academic year. You also must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a refugee under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. You must also be legally entitled to work according to relevant provincial legislation and regulations.
Are you someone who is passionate about eliminating poverty and wanting to put your skills into action while gaining first-hand experience in the community? We’re looking for an energetic and community minded individual who will be able to contribute to the mission and vision of the Halton Poverty Roundtable.

 Create and deliver written communications and marketing material
 Conduct research to understand local context around poverty, manipulate data and create infographics and presentations around what poverty looks like in Halton
 Provide database support and administration for all fundraising and volunteer relations
 Lead the development of a records management strategy
 Provide social media support through assisting with creation and implementation of social medial strategy
 Provide support to the staff of Halton Poverty Roundtable on other office related issues that may arise
 A proven record working collaboratively on a team
 Demonstrated ability to learn quickly and willingness to take direction and collaborate with others
 Excellent written and oral communication skills
 Proficiency with Microsoft Office, Mailchimp and Canva or similar tools
 Strong attention to detail and organizational skills
 Ability to work independently and as part of a team
 Ability to problem-solve and think creatively
 Enthusiasm and flexibility

Application Deadline: May 21, 2018
Job Type: Temporary
Pay Rate: $18.00/hour – 31 hours/week – Term: 7 weeks
How to apply:

Please submit via email your resume and a cover letter to Sarah Sabihuddin: Director, Community Engagement at

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