Our daily blog offers selected news of interest to SmartSAVER’s stakeholders and shines a light on the creative ways that communities are promoting the Canada Learning Bond. Stay up to date, read what others are doing and share your own story.
We hope our blog will create conversation and support the exchange of ideas.
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The Leeds Grenville Poverty Reduction Alliance and partners have been working to promote the Canada Learning Bond for families in Leeds and Grenville to help reduce economic barriers to higher education.
As part of our promotion, local organizations hosted a Financial Empowerment Day at the Employment and Education Centre (www.eecentre.com ) in Brockville. It included representatives from Service Canada who provided social insurance numbers and volunteers who staffed a bank of computers to help families sign into the Leeds Grenville Start My RESP url. Additional partners included Community Income Tax (www.volunteercentre.ca), Credit Counselling and Employment Services.
We will continue to promote the Canada Learning Bond at community events and festivals in the summer. The Brockville Police host weekly free movies (brockvillepolice.com/news/) in a downtown park during the summer months and along with movies and popcorn, families will also be provided with information on the Canada Learning Bond.
We know there is a correlation between education saving and education outcomes and we want all the children in Leeds and Grenville to have the opportunity to be the best that they can be. Our goal is to ensure that the over 8000 eligible children in Leeds and Grenville receive the Canada Learning Bond and build a bright future through higher education.
Chair, Leeds Grenville Poverty Reduction Alliance
In early April I had the pleasure of presenting on a Living Wage panel at Tamarack’s Cities Reducing Poverty Summit hosted this year in Hamilton, Ontario.
The Prosperity Roundtable from Chatham-Kent, Ontario was participating to talk about the unique challenges that may be experienced in rural communities when engaging in Living Wage conversations. Framing the conversation in a way that leads to successful outcomes was incredibly important for our organizing committee; in our community that meant using our local Living Wage number as an opportunity to dialogue about the important policy considerations that can be used to help build a more prosperous community.
We know in our community that the stumbling blocks for our model family (2 parents, 2 children, 1 school-aged and 1 in full-time daycare) are: access to alternative, licensed childcare; finding affordable and practical housing; and transportation. Our community is geographically large and predominantly rural so each of these issues are nuanced and challenging to solve, but the Living Wage campaign has allowed us to speak openly and transparently with community leaders about these topics.
It’s very important that we engage businesses in these conversations and encourage them to consider Living Wage as an opportunity to ensure their own workforce has the potential to live an inclusive life in the community that they call home. We have signed up fourteen businesses and are on track to sign up over twenty businesses in our first year. It is exciting work and fulfilling work!
Do remember and know however, that there’s so much more to a Living Wage than simply a number shared with a community; it’s a springboard for important and necessary community conversations. I know, especially in rural communities, there’s fear and hesitancy around the Living Wage conversation but trust that organizations and individuals are more open to the conversation than you realize. Look for allies, build a roster of community leaders who understand the intrinsic business value of treating their employees well and hit the ground running! I’m sure you will be met with success!
By: Kate do Forno
Project Coordinator, Prosperity Roundtable Chatham-Kent