Media Releases

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


Burlington, September 6, 2001 - An opportunity exists for Halton's voluntary sector to have a voice in shaping the future directions of volunteerism in Halton. The Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre will host a one day strategic planning conference of interest to area Executive Directors, Manager and volunteers working for non-profit or voluntary organizations.

According to Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of the Council: "Our job as the Council is to support Halton's volunteer community, research issues of social consequence and act as advocates for positive change." In describing the conference, she said: "We need the active participation of members of the voluntary sector. Collectively we know a great deal about volunteerism, much has been experienced over the years as the sector and its volunteers have built community, as we know it and live it today in Halton. This conference will tap into all of this knowledge to explore, make recommendations and develop a plan which address where to go from here for volunteerism in Halton."

The conference entitled "The Voluntary Sector and Volunteers: Building Our Future Together" will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2001. Following the day long conference, delegates are invited to join the corporate sector and stay for dinner and a presentation from the Provincial Government on Ontario's Promise. In attendance will be MPP Cam Jackson and Halton Regional Chairman Joyce Savoline.

Registration kits for the conference are available from the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre.

Conference Information and Registration

For further information, please contact:
Darlene Edmonds
Community Development Halton
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955


Burlington, June 18, 2001 - The Hidden Faces of Poverty is the name of the aptly titled report that documents the facts about poverty in Halton as well as the testimonies of fifteen people living in poverty in Halton.

Issues brought forward in the report include:

  • Income Security - Gillian's Story "I make $400.00 a month working. Social Assistance gives me $740.00 per month... My family's needs are not being met. I have to say 'no' to my kids... We have used food banks and you feel degraded going into one... My kids have not done anything to deserve this."
  • Affordable housing - Anna's Story "Affordable housing in Halton is the big issue for us... We have had to live in places that are in bad condition... I pay $890 a month for rent. We have difficulty paying for a lot of things, just meeting the basic needs..."
  • Child care - Helen's Story "I'm on the waiting list for a child care subsidy. I can't even get day care right now... I want to get a good job... I need my day care."

Mary, one participant in the study explains: "I think what we are doing right now is a positive step because to share our stories is getting the real facts out. The government is very good at distorting the picture, so we really need to work hard to let people know about the reality."

A video, based on the report, featuring five of the participants telling their personal story is also available. To obtain a copy of the report and/or video please contact the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre at (905) 632-1975.

For further information, please contact:
Lynne Russell, Social Planner or Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Community Development Halton


Burlington, May 10, 2001 - They are three young women, bright, outgoing and enthusiastic with a lot more than that in common. All three women have a desire to help other people and were chosen as Coordinators for the Youth Volunteering Works in Halton program, piloted by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre. The program, funded by Human Resources Development Canada, supports these women in their work with local agencies to create and support opportunities for youth volunteerism. It is also an International Year of Volunteers initiative.

Ann Coburn, Manager of the Program explains, It's a new initiative, and one that we are very excited about! This pilot is for a one year period, and each Coordinator works with two or three agencies for whom they must recruit at least nine youth volunteers while developing a comprehensive youth program!"

A university graduate with a major in psychology, Andrea Neilson didn't know what she wanted to do. But she did know that she wanted to help people and felt that the Youth Volunteering Works in Halton would be a great way to do that! "I heard about the program from a friend and then saw it advertised in the local paper and on the net," says Andrea. "I thought it would be a great opportunity and I was right!"

Andrea works with the Halton Hills Recreation and Parks Department interviewing their summer staff and handling all related training. In the fall she will focus on developing a comprehensive youth volunteer manual which will include policies, procedures, orientation and evaluation methods. Andrea also works with the Halton Hills Community Support and Information Centre in Acton. Here, her role is to recruit and develop a youth committee to assist with the expansion of the existing drop-in centre. Faced with multiple demands, she finds that her greatest challenge is finding the time to accomplish everything that she wants to get done!

A heavy workload is a sentiment shared by Darlene Shaw who is working with three organizations: Youth Aiding Youth, Ireland House and Joseph Brant Museums and the Burlington Community Foundation. "There is so much that can be done, so many opportunities," says Darlene. "The workload truly is overwhelming but that's also part of what makes it so exciting!"

Previously employed for five years as a Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator, Darlene spends a lot of her time on recruitment. The Burlington Community Foundation is utilizing her services to establish a youth committee while Youth Aiding Youth, needs her expertise to support their existing program that partners younger children with older ones. "We currently have 55 children on a list waiting to be paired up," says Darlene. Next week she will interview over 30 people with the hopes of being able to provide relief for some of the children wishing for a teen mentor. The challenge with the Burlington Museums is different. Here, Darlene is busy revamping the entire program in order to make it youth friendly. This means not only changing materials, but changing people's attitudes and perceptions as well.

It's a positive attitude that helps keep Michelle MacKellar grounded as she works tirelessly for her three organizations: the Oakville Red Cross, Bronte Creek Provincial Park and the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department. Youth recruitment is her number one priority for all three organizations and the demand seems endless. The Red Cross needs assistance recruiting for their youth council, Bronte Park offers
a multitude of volunteer opportunities in their camps and parks programs and the city's recreation department is seeking volunteers to work one-on-one with people with special needs. The organizations are a good fit with Michelle who has background in recreation and leisure though the job has its challenges. "There is so much work to be done since most places don't have a person dedicated to youth volunteerism. The challenge is tremendous but I am really enjoying working with so many different people."

Based on the current success and associated community benefits, it is anticipated that Youth Volunteering Works in Halton will become a permanent program offered by the Halton Volunteer Centre. For further information please contact the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre at 905-632-1975.

For further information, please contact:
Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Community Development Halton
Phone: 905-632-1975


Burlington, April 27, 2001 - Each year, the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre holds a provocative forum to educate and promote discussion. This year is no exception! On May 31st at 7:00 pm, award winning Globe and Mail journalist Andre Picard will speak at Indigo Books and Music. The site is particularly appropriate, as Picard has authored several books, most recently, Critical Care, an insightful look at the nursing crisis.

It is not by chance that Picard was asked to be the keynote speaker for the upcoming event. In keeping with the United Nations declaration that this is the "International Year of Volunteers", Picard will share with the audience, his experiences and reflections on the challenges endured by those who give selflessly of their time and talents. The upcoming forum entitled "Building Civil Society: The Contribution of the Voluntary Sector" sets the tone for Picard's talk which will focus on his experiences during his year of research in 1997 when he won the Atkinson Fellowship Award. Picard travelled across the country, interviewing hundreds of charitable agencies and published an eight part series "A Call To Alms -- The New Face of Charities In Canada".

Picard's address promises to spark discussion as he challenges the voluntary sector to tell their own stories of experiences and rewards for the purposes of promoting the value and contributions of today's non-profit agencies.

Admission to the forum is free but RSVP's are requested. Please contact the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre at 905-632-1975.

For further information, please contact:
Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Community Development Halton
at 905-632-1975


February 14, 2001 - The Halton Social Planning Council has released a new report, A Social Profile of the Halton Visible Minority Population. The purpose of this report is to provide information that can be used by a range of interested parties to develop the capacity of visible minority workers to find and keep jobs. The report identifies and specifies the socio-economic and labour market characteristics of the visible minority population in Halton using 1996 Census data and describes some of the barriers that visible minorities experience in finding employment.

The visible minority population living in Halton is well educated, likely to be employed and to have adequate income, as is the majority of Halton residents. Compared to Ontario visible minorities Halton visible minorities are likely to have been in Canada for a longer period of time and more likely to speak English at home. Employment and income outcomes are good. However, median employment income is less for visible minorities than that of non-visible minorities in Halton, which raises important human rights questions as to why. Significantly, Halton visible minorities have better employment incomes than Ontario visible minorities. South Asians are the largest visible minority group in Halton while Chinese and Blacks make up slightly less.

The primary barriers to finding employment for visible minorities in Halton are those faced by many recent immigrants, although most recent immigrants to Canada do not first come to Halton. These include barriers such as the limited ability to speak fluent English, lack of Canadian experience, transportation, limited or no recognition/acceptance of work experience outside Canada, difficulty in getting accreditation for trades certificates and university degrees earned outside Canada and lack of knowledge on how to deal with racism and sexism, especially in the workplace.

The full report is available by contacting the Council.

For More Information Contact:

Ted Hildebrandt, Senior Social Planner
Halton Social Planning Council
860 Harrington Court
Tel: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955
FAX: 905-632-0778