To our members: By the end of February, and will be integrated into the Tamarack website at This is a more accessible platform, where you will easily find more engaging content and resources on poverty reduction and community change.

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Recent Publications

November 2014 Federal Policy Monitor

Monthly roundup of social-policy related announcements by the federal government
Of particular note this month is the federal government's Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections that details a series of tax benefits for families, and the Auditor General's Fall report. Previous editions of the Federal Monitor are searchable on the Caledon website.

Time for a Declaration on Decent Work and Basic Incomes for All

Community Development Halton shares this piece from the Social Planning Network of Ontario that explores where to go with the poverty eradication agenda under the new political reality. Time for a Declaration on Decent Work and Basic Incomes for All

Welcome to the Financial Mainstream?

The hazards facing low-income people when navigating the financial world
Welcome to the Finanical Mainstream? has two purposes. The first is to document some of the lessons learned from conducting a financial literacy course on behalf of Houselink Community Homes over the winter of 2013/14. The response to the course was overwhelmingly positive. Participants spoke eloquently about the impact of financial problems on mental health. Much of what they said confirmed observations that I have been making over many years about what motivates the financial behavior of marginalized people. We want to share these insights with others who work with consumer survivors and low-income people. The second purpose is to shine some light on issues we are often unaware of when we design financial literacy courses. Not all of these issues can be resolved by teaching yet more financial literacy. Some of them will require us to become advocates on a new front. That’s because consumer protection in the world of banks and financial products is woefully inadequate—especially if you are poor. As financial literacy educators in marginalized communities, we need to retool ourselves, so that we know how to champion people dealing with issues like debt, fraud, and “coercive tied selling” (more about that later). We also need to be talking to government and financial agencies about
the realities of accessing mainstream financial services, and what needs to change. The ‘meat’ of this report divides into four parts: 1. The outright barriers that marginalized people face when attempting to access mainstream financial services, such as banks 2. The invisible, lurking dangers of going mainstream, especially for people with debt histories 3. The useless, expensive frills they will hear far too much about when they go shopping for financial products 4. The valuable financial products and government benefits they will hear far too little about. In each of these sections, I describe the issues we’ve encountered and the information we gave participants that they found really useful. I talk about what is teachable. But I also put forward some recommendations for protecting consumers from what is realistically beyond the scope of financial education for most Canadians—especially vulnerable Canadians.

Hunger Count 2014

Annual report finds food bank use up 25% since 2008
Food Banks Canada released its annual report on food bank use in Canada that offers a snapshot of the people helped by food banks and other charitable food programs, looks at the causes of hunger and food insecurity, and offers recommendations to reduce hunger. Hunger Count reports that: 841,191 people use food banks each month, one third of them are children 4 million Canadians live in a state of food insecurity, or 10 per cent of the population Food bank use has increased 25 per cent since 2008 One in six food bank users are currently or recently employed    

October 2014

Caledon Institute Provincial/Territorial Policy Monitor
New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia all report a lot of social-policy related activity this month.  October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month; four jurisdictions release disability-related announcements.  To search previous Monitors by subject and province/territory, visit the Caledon website.

October 2014

Caledon Institute Federal Policy Monitor
October saw the federal government announce details of its plan to introduce income splitting for families as well as planned increases to the Universal Child Care Benefit and Child Care Expense Deduction limits.  That and much more covered in this month's Federal Monitor.  See the Caledon website for previous editions and to search material by subject area.

Simcoe County's Vital Signs

Simcoe County completed its first Vital Signs® report, presented by the Huronia Community Foundation and United Way Greater Simcoe County. 2014 Victoria's Vital Signs® report

Poverty Costs Saskatchewan

A new approach to prosperity for all
Poverty Costs Saskatchewan: A new approach to prosperity for all was produced as part of the Poverty Costs campaign, an initiative involving several community-based organizations including representatives from the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre, the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Upstream, and Unite Digital Marketing Co-op, as well as representatives from the Saskatoon Health Region, and the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership. Poverty Costs is a campaign to raise awareness about the economic cost of Poverty in Saskatchewan, recently calculated to be $3.8 billion each year in heightened service use and missed economic opportunities, and to mobilize the Saskatchewan community to call for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan. The campaign was developed as an initiative of a working group of the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership.

Victoria Foundation releases Vital Signs report

Victoria Foundation released its 2014 Victoria's Vital Signs® report, their ninth annual check-up of the Greater Victoria region as a place to live, work, play and grow.