Media Releases

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


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


Report Card 2000 Child Poverty in Halton

November 20, 2000 - Today is the official release date of Campaign 2000's National Report Card 2000: Child Poverty in Canada. Child poverty now affects 1 in 5 Canadian children.

On November 24, 1989 the House of Commons passed a resolution "To seek to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000." A decade later, the number of poor children in Canada has increased by 402,000.

Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan, Canada-wide network of national, provincial and local community partners. Each year Campaign 2000 releases a national Report Card as part of its declaration "committed to promoting and securing the full implementation of the House of Common's Resolution."

The National Report Card documents what has happened in Canada since 1989: In 1989, 936,000 children, or about 1 in 7, were poor; by 1998, 1,338,000 children, or 1 in 5 was poor. National Report Card highlights include:

  • poor children - up by 43%
  • children in working poor families - up by 55%
  • children in families with incomes less than $20,000 - up by 27%
  • children in families receiving social assistance - up by 18%
  • children in families experiencing long-term unemployment - down by 7% 
  • poor children in two parent families - up by 35% 
  • poor children in single parent families - up by 49%

As a community partner of Campaign 2000, the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre releases: Report Card 2000 Child Poverty in Halton.

The Halton Report Card documents that despite the growth in the economy and a decrease in unemployment child poverty levels are high.

In Halton, 7,675 children aged 0-14 and 4,585 youth aged 15-24 are poor. This translates to 11% of children and 11% of youth living in poverty.

Children are poor because their families are poor. In Halton, 7,140 families are poor, which translates to 8% of all families living in poverty and 21% of single parents living in poverty.

(The definition of poverty used in this report is Statistics Canada's low income cut-offs. The most current Statistics Canada Census Data is 1996.)

A copy of the full Halton Report Card is available online and a copy of the National Report Card is available at

For More Information Contact:

Lynne Russell, Social Planner
Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court, Burlington, ON L7N 3N4
Tel: 905-632-1975, 905-878-0955
FAX: 905-632-0778