Media Releases

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

"Demography, the study of human populations, is the most powerful and most underutilized tool we have to understand the past and to foretell the future.  Demographics play a pivotal role in the economic and social life of our country...

Anyone involved in planning for the future needs to understand demographics. Thats true whether youre planning your own personal future or that of a school system, a hospital, a chain of restaurants, or a multinational corporation. It is simply not possible to do any competent planning without a knowledge of demographics..." (Foot and Stoffman, Boom Bust and Echo 2000, 1999, pp.8-9)

September 29, 1999 = The Halton Social Profile 1999 provides an extensive demographic description of Halton and its four municipalities. This information is essential to the strategic planning purposes of all agencies and groups throughout Halton. It is a tool that allows an agency to view demographic and socio-economic shifts through past decades, to the present and into the future. The shifts influence needs and demands. To be conscious of these changes allows for the development or evaluation of effective and appropriate programs and actions that will enhance human well-being. The profile is very useful to service providers, funders, planners, the not-for-profit sector and the private sector.

Did you know?

  • Haltons population grew 25% from 271,390 in 1986 to 339,880 in 1996. Compared with Ontario, which grew 18% over the same ten-year period, Haltons population expanded at a faster rate.
  • The population of Halton Region is expected to grow to 538,000 persons by the year 2016. This is a 58% increase, 198,125 more persons than in 1996.  Predicted new urban development on the fringe of existing areas is expected to cause a rapid increase in the population.
  • Similar to the rest of the country, the population in Halton is aging. Over two decades between 1996 and 2016, the number of Halton residents who are 65 or older is expected to increase 125%. By 2016, it is expected that 16% of Haltons population will be within this age group compared to 11% in 1996.
  • The average family income in Halton increased from $51,321 in 1985 to $79,930 in 1995. The average family income in Halton is much higher than that of Ontario, where the average family income in 1995 is $59,830.
  • The percentage of low income families in Halton rose from 5.3% in 1990 to 7.5% in 1995. This figure is lower than the 14.8% of low income families in the Province of Ontario in 1995. The number of low income families in Halton increased by 3,165 families over the ten-year period from 3,975 families in 1985 to 7,140 families in 1995 an increase of 125.6%
  • The immigrant population increased from 62,320 persons in 1986 to 76,290 in 1996. This is an increase of 22.4%. However, the total population in Halton increased at a faster rate of 25.2%. Therefore, the proportion of immigrants within the total population decreased slightly over the ten years from 23.1% in 1986 to 22.6% in 1996.


To order a copy of the profile or for more information please contact the Council at (905) 632-1975 or 878-0955.


Our quality of life has still not returned to that of 1990

June 30, 1999 -- The Quality of Life in Halton has improved in 1998 over previous years, but it has not fully recovered from the difficulties of the early 1990s. This is a result of a growing "social deficit." This deficit reflects the failure of our community and society to care for its vulnerable populations. It refers to not only the immediate consequences of unmet basic needs, such as hunger and homelessness, but also the long-term damage it inflicts, especially on the life chances of children. This is the trend revealed by the Halton Quality of Life Index of 1998.

This report is the second in the series on The Quality of Life in Halton, which is published by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre as part of a province-wide initiative. The Council is using the Quality of Life Index (QLI) as a tool to measure and monitor changes in living and working conditions that affect the quality of life in our communities. The QLI is also a tool to contribute to community dialogue about important issues. There are twenty community partners across Ontario involved in the Quality of Life Index project, using the QLI to measure changes in their local communities. The most recent provincial report was released on June 9, 1999, which shows a provincial score of 99.9, but the Halton QLI still remains 12 points below the 1990 benchmark with a score of 88.

Moving beyond the 1990 benchmark, Halton's main areas of progress are the environmental indicators, one health indicator, one social indicator and one economic indicator. There are setbacks where we have yet to reach our 1990 QLI in important areas such as social assistance caseloads, child welfare, long term care, new cancer cases, and bankruptcies.

A social deficit has emerged in the '90s because of changes in public policies and the effects of the globalization of the economy. "The short term fiscal gains made by governments through cuts in public services have dramatically influenced the well-being of the vulnerable groups most affected by these negative social trends -- children, the elderly, and the poor, who are mainly women and children. The gradual economic recovery is not being matched by a social recovery," says Ted Hildebrandt, author of the Halton report.

Our quality of life has been the subject of public debate from many different points of view this spring. The trends and issues we have identified through the Quality of Life Index provide a basis for raising issues of public policy for attention by the newly elected provincial government.

The full report is available by contacting the office.

For More Information Contact:


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


Day of Caring for Burlington, Hamilton-Wentworth

May 20, 1999 -- Wednesday, June 2, 1999 is a DAY OF CARING. This event is proudly presented by the United Way of Burlington, Hamilton-Wentworth in partnership with the Volunteer Centre of Hamilton and District, Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre, Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police Service and Halton Regional Police Service.

DAY OF CARING is a unique opportunity for people to demonstrate their commitment to the community and to give a little back! The goal of DAY OF CARING is to help build caring, healthier and safer communities through volunteer experiences.

Teams of volunteers throughout the community will be participating in a wide range of full or half-day hands-on projects: park clean-up, painting, cataloguing of library materials, visiting for in-house residents, preparation of food and toy hampers, assistance with recreational activities and special events for seniors.

DAY OF CARING will be launched June 2, 1999, 8:00 a.m. with special kick-off ceremonies and continental breakfasts hosted by Fortinos at their Main & Dundurn location in Hamilton and Appleby & New Street location in Burlington.

Representatives from The United Way; Hamilton-Wentworth and Halton Regional Polices Services; the Volunteer Centres of Hamilton & Halton, and participating agencies will be present to welcome and thank volunteers and supporters. The public is also invited to attend.

To date, a number of community agencies have submitted requests for volunteers: Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys' and Girls' Club, Hamilton Family Network, Tele-Touch (Seniors), Children's Assessment & Treatment Centre in Milton, Burlington Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, Halton Rape Crisis Centre, Big Sister Youth Services, and the Canadian Mental Health Association, Hamilton-Wentworth Branch.

Anyone wishing to volunteer a full or half-day project at a participating community agency is asked to contact Ann Coburn at 523-4444 (Hamilton) or Deborah Klassen at 632-1975 (Halton). For more information about the event, contact Joan Haxton at The United Way, 527-4576, ext. 222.

For More Information Contact:


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


New Report on Food Banks in Halton

March 25, 1999 - Halton Social Planning Council releases Halton Food Bank Study: Alternatives to Dependency. Concern about food security in our community evoked a series of questions about the role of food banks in resolving peoples food needs. The Halton Social Planning Council believes this study provides important insights into food banks and their contribution to peoples food security in our community. It describes the transformation of food banks from an emergency response to organizations providing food over significant time periods to those without. It also identifies, through the voices and written comments of study participants, the root causes of food insecurity. Important findings are:

  • Although Canada produces plenty of food, sufficient nutritious food remains inaccessible to many residents. By 1992, food banks in Canada outnumbered McDonalds franchises three to one. By 1994, the number of food banks in Canada had risen dramatically to 457.
  • A direct correspondence can be seen between the increased number of food banks in Canada and Statistics Canadas figures on the increased number of people living in poverty. Although Halton is a more affluent region than others in Ontario, many people in Halton are poor and are not able to meet basic food needs. In 1991, 4,590 families in Halton were poor, compared to 7,140 in 1996, an increase of 52%.

Who uses food banks in Halton?

  • The majority of recipients of Halton food banks are families with children. The number of recipients using food banks increased from a monthly average of 1,015 families in 1994 to 1,495 in 1997.
  • Many food banks report some noticeable changes in the profile of recipients including:

i) an increase in the number of the working poor as recipients
ii) an increase in the number of unemployed people between the ages of 45 and 65 lacking current employment skills as recipients
iii) an increase in the number of people with disabilities as recipients

The study also reveals that of 102 Halton food bank recipients studied

  • 80% have children,
  • 34% live in a household with an adult who has a disability,
  • 27% have a college diploma or certificate or a university degree,
  • over 40% have monthly household incomes between $500 and $999,
  • 56% have gone without food sometimes so their children can have food,
  • 45% do not own a car,
  • 70% receive social assistance,
  • 91% live in rented accommodation,
  • 26% are on the subsidized housing waiting list,
  • 34% went without food for one day or more before going to the food bank, and
  • 85% indicated that they or their partner would be able to work if affordable quality child care was available.

Do Food Banks Meet the Needs of Those Depending on Them?

In general, food bank recipients think food banks are very helpful and are very grateful they exist, asserting that they and others would be in a worse situation without them.

"Were very grateful, extremely grateful, we wouldnt be this far... they really helped us."

Food bank recipients agree that food banks assist them, but feel several improvements can be made. The following comment reflects the view of participants:

"I think they are doing a good job and they are doing a tough job, so they might as well complete this and ask the people... find out the exact needs. Not the exact needs - the necessities."

"I think they are doing a good job and they are doing a tough job, so they might as well complete this and ask the people... find out the exact needs. Not the exact needs - the necessities."

Recommendations for improvements include that food banks, service providers, concerned citizens, the private sector and government collaborate to:


  • Develop consistent policies and procedures to better serve food bank recipients such as eligibility requirements, frequency of visits, food quality, including expiry dates, availability of food vouchers, and provision of non-food items.

"Sometimes some of the stuff is really old . . . past its expiry date."

  • Improve the opportunity for recipients to exchange items that are unsuitable or personally unacceptable.

"If the food banks allowed you to go in there and pick what you used. You know what I mean, theres not much sense in giving you a can of pork and beans... because I cant eat it. I would be better off if they let me pick something that I can use myself."

  • Educate the public on the need for basic staple foods that recipients identify as essential as well as processed foods.

"Dont give me another can of brown beans, give me a package of barley that I can make beef barley soup

. Brown beans and canned spaghetti, Im sorry Im getting so sick of receiving it because I can only eat so much ... but if you gave me a bag of flour, a bag of sugar, a bag of powdered milk ...."

"How can I cook? I need oil. Give me some tomato paste, give me some oil

!" !"
  • Create a food security action body to i) advocate for those who need food banks, ii) coordinate food bank services, and iii) to develop additional complementary or alternative programs.

"Whenever you see an ad for a drive for the food bank, you know on the bag or in the paper they always ask for the same things. They ask for canned fish and they ask for macaroni and cheese... people [food bank recipients] are getting the same things but is this what we are asking for?

  • Increase employment opportunities and develop strategies to provide more jobs that pay adequate wages and ensure that relevant skills training programs and education programs are available to those that need them.

"I get angry when I think about it because I worked all my life... its not my fault."

  • Increase the minimum wage to reflect a basic cost of living.

"Its something thats more than just a job...people that are just getting jobs are not necessarily out of the food bank syndrome... their jobs arent affording them a life style that they can stop using the food bank... $6.85 an hour minimum wage isnt going to do it."

  • Increase the Maximum Basic Needs Allowance of social assistance so that it is adequate to cover monthly expenses.

" You know its really ridiculous and when you talk to these people and say listen how the hell am I going to pay $500 in rent and feed a growing boy, eighteen years old... he eats like a horse...and help with the clothing and stuff like this on $600, can anybody tell me how to do that, I would greatly appreciate it."

  • Increase funding for new social housing programs.

"We were compelled to rent a very high apartment. Its $1,000 per month for rent, which is very high, but we couldnt find an alternative. We applied to subsidized housing but subsidized housing says they have a long waiting list and that is the reason why we depend completely now on the food bank."

Study participants express hope that this study would increase public awareness about the need for food bank services in Halton and address some of the reasons for food bank dependency. Participants believe that the community has little understanding of poverty and how it drives one to seek help from food banks. People donate food but do not question why they need to give food or why there is a need for food banks.

The Council trusts that this report will serve as a blueprint for action to build food security across Halton.