Media Releases

An archive of Community Development Halton media releases dating back to 1999.

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Burlington, March 1, 2007 - Community Development Halton (CDH) has released Pushing the Limits: Challenges of Halton’s Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Labour Force.

CDH Executive Director Joey Edwardh comments:

“As a community, we ask much of this sector and have high expectations: that it provide us with much-needed social supports, act as an engine for citizen engagement, represent and articulate the interests of citizens, and continue to make an important contribution to the economic prosperity of Halton."

She warns us, "Pushing the Limits finds that the pulse of the sector is erratic and weakening and that our nonprofit human services are in distress, threatened and unstable.”

In 2006, Community Development Halton researched the economic contribution and human resource base of Halton’s nonprofit human services sector. Conducted in conjunction with the Regional Chairman’s Roundtable on the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector, the study examined nonprofit organizations in areas such as children, youth, family and women’s services; support for seniors and people living with disabilities; shelter and housing; immigrant settlement and refugee assistance; and aid to people on low incomes.

Pushing the Limits highlights a dedicated, skilled and vital component of our local communities, which also adds $188 million annually to the regional economy plus volunteer time valued at an additional $52 million, employing about 5,000 people and engaging over 20,000 volunteers.

However, Peter Clutterbuck, Principal Investigator for the study, says:

“The sector’s human capital is the basis for this economic contribution; the stability and quality of its human resource base are critical to the sector’s capacity to continue performing both its social and economic roles effectively. Alarmingly, the study shows that the sector is pushed to the limits of its human resource capacity, and precariously balanced between sustainability and disaster.”

Pushing the Limits identifies five challenges to the strength and vitality of the sector’s paid and volunteer labour force, including: gender equity; competing in a tighter labour market; planning for the workforce of the future; supporting volunteers; and assuring a diverse base of organizations to provide a wide mix of essential social supports.

The report also suggests innovative and cooperative strategies within the sector to address these challenges, including: improved salaries and benefits and family and education leave programs ; a region-wide human resources development strategy; support for employee training and innovation; proactive strategies to attract young graduates and newcomers, such as student debt relief in exchange for a commitment to work in the sector; and volunteer support.

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Media Contacts:

Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Peter Clutterbuck, Principal Investigator
(905) 632-1975 (905) 878-0955

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Key Findings:
Challenges to the Halton Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector

Gender Equity and Balance

Women constitute 90% of employees and 73% of volunteers in the sector, but are not proportionately represented at executive leadership positions. Low wages and poor benefits in the sector may reflect an undervaluing of the caring functions, performed by a predominantly female labour force, in the nonprofit human services sector.

Capacity to Compete for the Best

According to the most recent available Census data on income (2000), the annual average income for Halton residents was $46,200. However, the average income of nonprofit human services employees fell far below at $26,400. Halton human services agencies of all sizes indicate that low salary and benefits levels and a lack of permanent full-time jobs hinder recruitment and retention of a stable workforce

Engaging the Workforce of the Future

The engagement of young people and more racially and culturally diverse populations within Halton is critical to the vitality of the sector’s human resource base. However, in Halton’s nonprofit human services labour force, young workers under 25 are represented at less than half the rate (7.1%) than is found in the Halton workforce as a whole (15.8%). This suggests that the sector may need to make a concerted effort to rejuvenate its employee base.

Nurturing Volunteers as a Valuable Asset

Volunteers bring added value to the work of the nonprofit human service sector, but volunteer recruitment and retention are often taken for granted rather than strategically addressed in human resource development planning for the sector.

The Risk of Concentration and Consolidation

The diverse base of nonprofit human services plays an important complementary role to the public sector in providing a wider mix of essential social supports. Yet small and medium sized agencies must compete with each other and with larger agencies for government funding. Large agencies with revenue of $2 million and more comprised only 13% of the survey sample, but receive half of the total government funding available to the sector. Consequently, smaller agencies are at a distinct competitive disadvantage in the labour market.

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Burlington, May 11, 2005 - Last week during Youth Week the energy, capacities and achievements of children and youth were highlighted and celebrated. However, President Dick Stewart of Community Development Halton explains, "some children are denied recreation and social opportunities because of poverty. The capacity of these children and youth to excel is curtailed, which not only affects them as individuals but also influences their contribution to social and economic development."

"Poverty is like a disease it affects every aspect of your being," says Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton. "In order for the communities of Halton to be truly inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has, at the very least, the opportunity to fully participate in society and poverty deters participation."

The widespread affluence of the Halton community often overshadows the reality of poverty and as a result many Halton residents are insensitive to the fact that there are low income people living in their communities. For example, in Halton, 5,830 children aged 0-14 and 3,785 youth aged 15-24 belong to low income families. This translates to:

  • 7.6% of children living in poverty
  • 8.3% of youth living in poverty

Also, the percentage of children living in poverty differs greatly by where they live in Halton. Indeed, there are certain areas in both Oakville and Burlington where the percentage of children aged 0-14 living in poverty falls between 23% and 45 % of the entire 0-14 age population. This concentration of poverty in certain areas is indicative of the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
Children are poor because their families are poor; families are poor because of inadequate income. "That there are many children living in poverty is not a function of unchangeable economic laws," adds Dr. Edwardh. "Instead, the child poverty rate is determined by the political will and corresponding social policies of governments. This is one of the reasons why child poverty rates fluctuate in different countries, provinces and cities."

This Report Card discusses what individuals and groups can do to end child and youth poverty; among them are some of the following:

  • support social assistance and disability insurance rates that do not place people and their families in poverty
  • support a minimum wage that is a living wage
  • no to the claw back of the National Child Benefit Supplement - get money into the hands of families
  • build affordable housing
  • create educational and training opportunities for all
  • develop food co-ops
  • support advocacy efforts of low income people so their situation can be heard
  • end stereotypes of poor and low income people

The Report Card on Child Poverty 2005 can be found online at www.cdhalton.ca


For more information, contact:
Ted Hildebrandt
Senior Social Planner
(905) 632-1975

Report Card on Child Poverty 2005

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Burlington, March 23, 2005 - Community Development Halton today released a report containing findings and recommendations on social inclusion in Burlington. Inclusive Cities Canada - Burlington: Community Voices, Perspectives and Priorities was prepared by Community Development Halton (CDH) for a Civic Panel of community leaders from human service agencies, municipal and regional organizations, and community groups in Burlington and Halton Region. The Civic Panel is co-chaired by Mayor Rob MacIsaac and CDH Executive Director Dr. Joey Edwardh.

The report is based on findings from focus groups, small group discussions, interviews and a survey that together involved nearly 250 members of the community. Burlington is one of five cities across Canada participating in the federally-funded Inclusive Cities Canada initiative. The others are Saint John, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver/North Vancouver. All five cities released their reports today.

Inclusive Cities Canada is a unique participatory research initiative examining social inclusion as a framework for building people-friendly cities, promoting good urban governance and developing strategies to support urban diversity. The aim of Inclusive Cities Canada is to strengthen the capacity of cities across Canada to create and sustain inclusive communities for the mutual benefit of all people.

"The composition of Burlington's Civic Panel, and the participation of so many local individuals and organizations, speaks highly of our community's commitment and leadership in helping Burlington, and communities across Canada, build social inclusion," says Mayor Rob MacIsaac.

An inclusive city is one that strives to reduce inequality and addresses the concerns of those who are vulnerable for reasons of poverty, racism or fear of difference, age or mental or physical disabilities. It provides opportunities for the optimal well-being and healthy development of all children, youth and adults.

The report is a first step in ongoing work. "We are discovering that, as communities change, we need to engage in a conscious process to continually monitor and foster social inclusion," says Dr. Edwardh. "A key recommendation is the establishment of an ongoing Inclusive Burlington Civic Panel to continue this work. Burlington participants recognized many programs and services in the community that already contribute to social inclusion. They have also suggested many positive changes that can be made to policies and practices at various levels of government, by organizations and the community at large, which informed the Civic Panel as it developed its recommendations."

The report can be found online at www.cdhalton.ca  and www.inclusivecities.ca


Media contacts:

Mayor Rob MacIsaac (905) 335-7600 ext. 7703

Dr. Joey Edwardh (905) 632-1975

Media Release - PDF Version
Full Report
Executive Summary and Recommendations
Burlington Civic Panel Members
Inclusive Cities Canada - Backgrounder
Inclusive Cities Canada - Question and Answer

National Media Release
Civic Panel Members by City


SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS

Burlington participants overwhelmingly support the building of social inclusion and identified core building blocks of social inclusion, including:

  • Investment and re-investment in social infrastructure
  • Poverty reduction
  • Secure and adequate employment
  • Alleviating shortages of affordable, accessible and supportive housing
  • Effective, affordable, accessible mass transit
  • Affordable, appropriate child care
  • Developing in the community at large, awareness and attitudes which foster social inclusion and civic engagement
  • Improving the social inclusion of groups identified as vulnerable, such as youth, seniors, newcomers, those living in poverty and those living with mental or physical disabilities
  • A wide variety of free and low-cost activities
  • Physical accessibility of public and private buildings, amenities and spaces

SUMMARY OF KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

Priority Recommendation

Pertains to the establishment of an ongoing Inclusive Burlington Civic Panel

  • To include municipal and regional government, human service agencies, community groups, and representatives of various diversities in Burlington.
  • Mandate to monitor and evaluate the state of social inclusion and to recommend and advocate policies and practices, to all levels of government and to the public, that continue to ensure a socially inclusive Burlington

Communication, Awareness and Knowledge

Recommendations include measures related to:

  • Enhancing awareness of the city�s growth and changing socio-demographic characteristics
  • Integrating or continuing to integrate diversity-competence training into existing learning programs for staff of local authorities
  • Developing partnerships to orient and assist newcomers to Burlington
  • Federal initiatives to assist in the settlement of newcomers
  • Fostering civic engagement and awareness
  • Fostering community awareness of programs and services through 211 and 311 services

Social Development and Infrastructure

Recommendations include measures related to:

  • Reduction of poverty
  • Funding for social, educational, recreational and transit programs and services
  • A National Early Learning and Child Care and Development strategy
  • Economic development to provide adequate income and working conditions
  • Affordable, accessible and supportive housing
  • Social assistance
  • Minimum wage
  • A National Housing Strategy
  • Partnerships to address gaps in human services, including shelter needs, services for those with mental illness, affordable supportive housing, accessible housing and funding for home care
  • Reinvestment in social infrastructure by Federal and Provincial governments
  • Public transit within Burlington, the Region of Halton and the Greater Golden Horseshoe area
  • Life and employment skills training
  • Employment opportunities through economic development strategies
  • Recreation and arts programs
  • City planning for social inclusion

Civic Engagement and Community Problem-Solving

Recommendations include measures related to:

  • Enhancing local awareness of community issues
  • Advisory committees to local government
  • Incorporating social inclusion as a �lens� in decision-making
  • Enhancing resident engagement in local government
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Burlington, November 21, 2003 - On November 25th, 2003, 150 representatives of nonprofit and voluntary sector agencies, governments and funders will meet in Oakville to discuss the restructuring of this important economic and social sector. How we care for the most vulnerable in our communities is an issue. How present funding arrangements affect the existing social infrastructure of caring and its capacity to build and maintain human services in our community is central to the deliberations. The role of the social sector in the economy of our community will also be addressed. The event is hosted by Community Development Halton in partnership with the Ontario Social Development Council, the Canadian Council on Social Development and the Halton Learning Foundation.

Regional Chairman Joyce Savoline welcomes the representatives. The issues arising from the seminal cross Canadian study, Funding Matters: The Impact of Canada's New Funding Regime on Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, is presented by senior policy associate Katherine Scott. A panel of community leaders comment on the impact of these findings on the structure of caring for our communities of Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills. Participants will deliberate on the days discussion to create opportunities to strengthen our nonprofit and voluntary organizations. Community members trust these organizations and view their work favourably. They want them to be vibrant and to contribute to the growth, development and well being of the community.

Funding Matters: A Warning and An Opportunity
Tuesday November 25, 2003 8:30 am- 4 pm
Holiday Inn Oakville Centre
590 Argus Road
Oakville


For further information, please contact:
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Halton Social Planning Council & Volunteer Halton
Email: Joey Edwardh
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955

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Burlington, February 13, 2002 - The Halton Social Planning Council is pleased to announce that Ann Coburn has joined the Council as the Director of Volunteer Halton. Ann comes to our community from Volunteer Hamilton where she has many years of experience as a manager of volunteer services. Of particular importance is her work in integrating diverse communities and youth into the volunteer experience. Also, she is a member of the Canadian Volunteer Centre Training Network where her experience as a trainer brings important insights about volunteer screening, a necessity given the complex times in which we live. Her knowledge of the sector and her passion for volunteerism will be an important asset to the Council and our community as we respond to the fact that one million fewer Canadians are volunteering today than in 1997. This is a worrisome trend when the quality of life in our community is based on the thousands of hours of time given generously by men and women, young and old, to the many types of activities and social and health services that make us a prosperous and caring community. Ann's knowledge of the non-profit sector and the challenges facing it as it attempts to nurture and maintain this important Canadian tradition of volunteerism will contribute much to our community.

 


For further information, please contact:
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Halton Social Planning Council & Volunteer Halton
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955