Winter Newsletter 2019
The Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries is a recognized leader in promoting greater social and economic equity through research, planning and community development.

Solutions to Poverty Waterloo Region

Over the last year, Solutions to Poverty has completed phase one of its collective impact initiative. Diverse stakeholders have come together in this initiative from across the Region, engaged in research and data analysis, and come to an understanding of the landscape for older adults. As a result of this work, Solutions to Poverty has identified the top issues reported by older adults; explored service gaps for older adults; and developed a preliminary theory of change.

Based on the evidence gathered, this initiative has developed a theory of change that identifies three focus areas/big ideas as the most effective ways of alleviating and preventing poverty among older adults in Waterloo Region. Potential actions are also being explored for addressing each big idea. Please click here for more information, or see below for each of Solutions to Poverty's big ideas and the action(s) being explored to address them.

Over the next year, Solutions to Poverty will continue to advance these big ideas and further explore and implement the proposed actions. The focus will be on finalizing and operationalizing the initiative's theory of change. One key activity in this next phase will be consulting with local older adults to ensure that the theory of change and proposed actions resonate with this population and will adequately meet their needs. 

Big Idea #1: Older adults in Waterloo Region have access to the resources they need.

Proposed action: Solutions to Poverty is exploring ways to better inform older adults on local services and discounts, such as the creation of a Facebook page or an online database on services for older adults.

Big Idea #2: Older adults in Waterloo Region have greater financial security.

Proposed action: We're exploring ways to get more older adults filing taxes and benefiting from tax-dependent programs (i.e. government programs), such as encouraging/supporting older adults in using local tax clinics.

Big Idea #3: Older adults in Waterloo Region are less socially isolated and can have a greater sense of belonging.

Proposed action: We're exploring ways to reduce transportation barriers among older adults, such as helping to increase public transit ridership among local older adults.


Rural Realities Network

The Rural Realities Network had a successful year working across the four township in Waterloo Region.

In 2018, a Rural Youth and Young Adult Wellbeing Assessment for North Dumfries, Wilmot, Wellesley and Woolwich Townships was produced. This report was prepared by Woolwich Community Health Centre in partnership with Wilmot Family Resource Centre, Langs, Woolwich Community Services and the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries.   

In May 2018, we held a Make Change Youth Action Workshop in partnership with UNICEF Canada One Youth on issues that matter to rural youth in Waterloo Region.  The workshop brought together a group of 23 rural youth from ages 14-20, including youth from the Low-German Mennonite community.   The youth responded to a set of themes that emerged from a wellbeing assessment. Both the themes and the responses from youth were incorporated into the interconnected problem map that the Child and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region and Overlap Associates_ developed to explore ways to move the needle on child and youth wellbeing in our region.  We are excited to be part of this community-wide process. 

An outcome of our Rural Forum was to bring together the four youth leadership committees from the townships and they have developed the Rural Youth Leaders Alliance for Waterloo Region.  The Alliance will meet four times a years to discuss issues and needs and look for ways to formally connect and build on the knowledge and experience of each other.   

The Rural Realities Network continues to build a comprehensive resource of all the agencies service rural Waterloo and identifying areas of need and success. Through our regular meetings we have presentations from various agencies to answer a set of questions to address local challenges and opportunities we face is delivering service to the rural townships.  This information will also help inform our strategic plan moving forward. 

Municipal Election Voter Turnout

There was a voter turnout of 33% in the municipal elections in Cambridge this year, with 54% of votes cast online and 46% in-person. This represents a 3.2% increase in voter turnout in Cambridge since the previous municipal elections in 2014. In North Dumfries, voter turnout was 37.5% this year, representing a decease of 2% in voter turnout in the township since 2014. However, voting options in North Dumfries were limited to online polls or over-the-phone voting. Many cities and townships within Waterloo Region also struggled with the online voting system and experienced technical difficulties. 

In Cambridge, ranked ballots received enough votes to be implemented for future elections with 13,488 people being in favor of this voting method. Cambridge City Council will now decide whether or not to implement ranked ballots in future elections. Council has this responsibility because only 27.3% of eligible voters chose to vote on the ranked ballot question, and a voter turnout of 50% or greater was required for the community to make the overall decision.

If council chooses to implement ranked ballots it will be used in the next election in 2022. With this voting system, you will be asked to rank candidates based on your preferences. If your first-choice candidate receives the fewest overall votes then they are eliminated, and the votes are redistributed to your second-ranked candidate. This continues until there are only two candidates left. Whoever has the most combined primary and redirected votes will win. If chosen, this method will replace the current voting method of selecting one candidate on your ballot.

Cambridge Social Services Map

SPCCND and the City of Cambridge have created an interactive social services map for Cambridge.

The map includes information about services such as:

Accessibility and inclusion

Newcomers services

Bereavement support

Adult education

Youth services


Employment services

Dental/Eye/Feet/Hearing services

Neighbourhood associations

Basic needs

Heath teams and walk-in clinics

Religious organizations

Food programs

Hospital and labs

Service clubs


Medical devices

Arts and culture


Mental health

Special interest groups

Child care

Prenatal care

Sports and recreation

Children and family

Support services


Early years

Addictions services

Senior services

Literacy services

Assault services


To access the interactive map and search for services near you, please click here. is a one stop shop for information on a wide range of local community services including basic needs, crisis, legal, education, health, immigration, recreation, individual/family support, youth, seniors, childcare, and much more!

Managing Substance Abuse Use
Do you want to know more about older adults managing substance use?  The Cambridge Council on Aging will be exploring this topic with speakers and opportunities to engage with this timely subject.

Location: The Bowman Room at Cambridge City Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019

Time: 1:00 - 4:00pm

More information about the event can be found here: Cambridge Council on Aging

Cambridge city council approves 2017 annual report; focus on community engagement

The 2017 Annual Report was approved by Cambridge City Council on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018. The report offers an overview of major projects and initiatives, as well as a financial picture of the city and how resources are being used.  It presents an open and transparent look at the city’s net worth, total revenue, expenses and reserves. Key highlights also include 39 initiatives undertaken by city departments and their partners last year. 

(Source: Cambridge Times)

Region’s supervised consumption sites still in limbo

Many questions remain for Waterloo Region, which is looking to find suitable sites for supervised consumption. Currently, there are four possible sites that have been shortlisted for supervised consumption sites: 150 Duke St. W. and 115 Water St. N. in Kitchener, and 149 Ainslie St. N. and 150 Main St. in Cambridge. Both Cambridge locations are within the area included in an interim city control bylaw adopted in April, which bans supervised injection sites in the city’s three cores. Should these sites be selected, a council amendment would be necessary for the region to continue with an application. Regional Chair Ken Seiling put forward a motion in mid-August to pause the selection process for a supervised consumption site, following the provincial government's announcement it was undergoing a review of the sites.

(Source: Cambridge Times)


Homelessness and Addiction Public Meeting

A crowd of over 300 residents packed City Hall on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018, to listen and learn from 6 panelists: Cameron Dearlove (Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, Dr. Chris Steingart (Sanguen Health Centre), Lynn Perry (Cambridge Shelter Corp (Bridges)), John Neufeld (House of Friendship), and Lynn Macauley (Lutherwood Housing). Many of the community's questions and concerns were directed at the panelists, specifically around how social agencies are serving marginalized groups in areas, such as: homelessness and addiction, mental health, and food insecurity. The panelist’s presentations from the meeting can be found here: For a Better Cambridge

(Source: For a Better Cambridge)

For more information on the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries please visit our website at

Bill 47 is a Step Back for Ontario’s Workers

On October 23, Ontario’s government tabled Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The legislation will repeal portions of Bill 148. Some of the more notable changes in Bill 47 include the following: the elimination of 10 personal emergency days, any increases to  minimum wage will be indexed to inflation starting in 2020, the ending of the fair scheduling provision, the requirement that part-time employees be paid the same as full-time employees if they do the same work,​ and the elimination of rules that make it easier to join and keep a union​. Bill 47 is currently still being debated at Queen’s Park. 

(Source: Income Security Advocacy Centre)

New federal law creates official definition of poverty line

Until recently, discussions of poverty reduction have focused on three different ways of measuring poverty: the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO), the Low Income Measure (LIM), and the Market Basket Measure (MBM). New federal legislation selects one of those – the market-basket measure – as Canada’s official poverty line. While the legislation does not include any measures for reducing poverty, targets and definitions are part of a larger strategy that includes increases to the Canada child benefit and other programs aimed at reducing poverty.

(Source: The Globe and Mail)

Municipal All Candidates Meetings

In October, 2018, SPCCND hosted Municipal All Candidates Meetings for Cambridge and North Dumfries. The Cambridge meeting was hosted on October 4th at Langs. Over 200 community members attended the Cambridge meeting to ask their own questions of regional chair and mayoral candidates for the upcoming municipal elections and to hear candidates' views about important social issues. The North Dumfries meeting followed a similar format and was hosted on October 10 at North Dumfries Community Complex. Approximately 75 community members attended the North Dumfries meeting which included mayoral and ward councillor candidates. 

(Source: City of Cambridge)

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Board Members
Jake Kiefer, President
Alex Chunaco, Past President
Robbie Campbell, Director
Rob Heintz, Director
Sandor Illes, Director
Jeremy Turner, Director
Keith Parkinson, Director
Brittany Kelly, Director
Kemesha Clayton-Alli, Director

Phone: (519) 623-1713
Fax: (519) 267-4016
Staff Members
Linda Terry, Executive Director
Kristine Allison, Senior Social Planner
Melissa Dunbar, Information and Referral Coordinator
Jason McLaughlin, Social Planner
Amanda Sanichar, Student Intern
Madison Goode, Student Intern

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