Summer 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.

We are celebrating our 30th Anniversary as a Social Planning Council. We would like to thank our community for the opportunities to bring positive social change through research, engagement, and referral. 

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 past year, Solutions to Poverty has moved to advance these big ideas by implementing the proposed actions. The focus has been on finalizing and operationalizing the initiative's theory of change

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

Solutions to Poverty has introduced an initiative 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.

We have made connections with local tax clinics and advertised their services; through this we were able to have 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.

We have introduced a new way to reduce transportation barriers among older adults. This involved a Ride-A-Bus program that educated older adults about the GRT and the new LRT. This helps to reduce barriers by helping to increase public transit ridership among local older adults.



Seniors Discounts Facebook Page

On behalf of Solutions to Poverty Waterloo Region's Resource group there has been a Seniors Discounts Facebook page created which shares discounts available for seniors in Waterloo Region. 
Ageing Well Directory 
As well as creating a Facebook page, we have compiled a directory of resources for seniors in Cambridge and North Dumfries which can be accessed below.


Rural Realities Network

On May 9, 2019 The Rural Realities Network met with Regional Chair Karen Redman to discuss the work that has been done by the network, and the issues that the rural townships are facing that differ from the cities. The Rural Realities Network understands how broad regional planning can lose site of the important issues in rural communities. We would like to work with the Region to maintain a unique blend of rural and urban and promote our strengths as a Network.

The Rural Realities Network continues to build a comprehensive resource of all the agencies servicing rural Waterloo Region 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. 

For more information about this network contact Kristine Allison (co-chair):

All Candidate Meetings 

Prior to the federal elections this October, the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries will be holding two All Candidate Meetings in both Cambridge ridings. These will provide residents the opportunity to ask their local candidates questions regarding social issues in particular. 

Cambridge Riding
Location: Langs 
                1145 Concession Rd,
                Cambridge, ON
                 N3H 4L5
Date: October 10th, 2019
Time: 7-9 p.m.

Kitchener South-Hespeler Riding
Date: October 3rd, 2019
Time: 7-9 p.m.

 Poverty Symposium
Perils of Social Isolation and Poverty

We are currently in the planning process for our 14th annual Poverty Symposium where we will be discussing the Perils of Social Isolation and Poverty.. This symposium will feature panelists and keynote speakers discussing the implications of poverty and social isolation.

Date: November 28th, 2019

Location: Sunbridge Hotel and Conference Centre 
                 200 Holiday Inn Dr,
                 Cambridge, ON
                 N3C 1Z4 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!
Cambridge Ride-A-Bus Event 
On June 1st 2019, Solutions to Poverty Waterloo Region held a free Ride-A-Bus educational event. This provided older adults in Cambridge the opportunity to learn about the bus, the LRT, and ask any questions they may have. This event offered older adults free bus riding training sessions to encourage them to use public transit. By encouraging older adults to use public transportation, we hope this will reduce social isolation among the community’s senior population.

For more information on the event: Cambridge Ride-a-Bus event educates seniors on public transit

Council on Aging Holds Mindfulness and Music Creative Aging Event

On June 18, 2019 The Cambridge Council on Aging hosted the fifth Creative Aging where the Blue Grass Boys and Dr. Mitch Abrams led us through the mindfulness and music day at City Hall. The council is grateful to their sponsors City of Cambridge, SPCCND, Chartwell and Housing Cambridge. About 100 people arrived for the event and were able to hear the educational and entertaining information and music presented.

Successful aging through creative aging allows us to disrupt our aging by participating in arts programs that also allow us to engage with others while we master new skills. Creative aging is about possibilities and embracing the fact that as we age we continue to grow, learn and contribute to our communities.


How the City of Cambridge Hopes to Pay for More Affordable Housing

Currently, Cambridge is facing a very scarce rental market and long wait lists for affordable housing. As the city looks at tackling these issues, there has been a plan recommended for approval, looking to use a reserve fund to help pay for the development of affordable housing.  Developers would negotiate with the city to designate money per every new unit they build into the reserve fund. They would also negotiate bonusing arrangements if they wish to build outside of zoning laws. There is a significant need and this reserve fund will help the city to increase affordable housing options.

(Source: CBC)

Former Director Back on Board to Restore Faith in Cambridge Shelter

One of the founders and former executive directors of the Bridges in Cambridge was recently asked to return to her previous position. Anne Tinker has established a reputation for navigating issues of homelessness in our community, while also maintaining respect and building meaningful relationships along the way. While this will not be an easy task to bring the Bridges back to its original roots, they will continue to provide programs for the vulnerable while also creating new partnerships within the community. There is a lot of work to be done, but with the reputation of Anne Tinker, and her past experience as Executive Director, there is hope for what is to come in terms of improving perceptions about the shelter, and regaining the trust of the community. 

(Source: Cambridge Times)

LRT Launch June 21st

Many questions remain for the launch of the LRT system on June 21st. As there have been a number of accidents, there are also a number of steps the region must take before the launch. As the region looks to fic issues with the railway gate arms at some crossings, and maintaining vehicle inspections, the launch is coming soon. As there has been completed infrastructure in K-W, we will see Phase 2 begin in Cambridge. There will be consultations with the community about the design of the route before it is approved by council.

(Source: CBC)


Cambridge Council Approves Moving Forward with Search for SCS Site

On June 19th 2019 City Council approved moving forward with considering where to put a supervised consumption and treatment site within Cambridge. This included a 7-2 vote on the site itself, with discussion about wraparound services located outside of the core area, and setting up a community welbeing advisory committee. This motion was supported by Mayor Kathryn McGarry who emphasized the treatment aspect of these services. 

(Source: CBC)

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2019 Provincial Budget Released 

The 2019 Ontario budget released by the Conservative government had announced many cuts to health care, child care, ambulances, and to municipalities. This budget showed many cuts to social services overall, which will have a lasting impact on residents across Ontario. Due to public opposition, the government has cancelled cuts to municipalities, public health, and paramedic services, but the cuts to many social services like Legal Aid remain intact. 

(Source: The Globe and Mail)

Legal Aid Cuts are Attack on Poor and Marginalized, Kitchener MPP says

In April, the Ontario government released their budget detailing a $122 million dollar cut to Legal Aid across Ontario. The local Waterloo Region Community Legal Services is estimating a financial cut of about 16% to the overall budget. This means that the most marginalized people will be deeply impacted, particularly with a focus on refugee and immigration cases, and tenants who have issues with landlords. Legal aid clients are determined based on financial eligibility and their cases vary from family law, and criminal matters to eviction.

(Source: CBC)

Expert Panel Recommends Single-Payer Pharmacare Plan for Canada

The Canadian government has been recommended to take up a public pharmacare system which would act much like the public health care system. The chair of the expert panel who had been tasked with integrating a pharmacare system, says the government needs to work together to move towards a transformation such as this. The report also mentioned that individuals should still have access to outside insurance options, either privately or through benefit programs.

(Source: CTV News)

Become an SPCCND Supporter

In our 30th year as a Social Planning Council we would like to thank our community for their support. Without your generous contributions we would be unable to continue building and strengthening our community through research, analysis, facilitation and education. With help from our supporters we continue to foster innovation and strive for positive social change. 

Board Members
Jake Kiefer, President
Alex Chunaco, Past President
Robbie Campbell, Director
Sandor Illes, 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
Brittany Evans, Social Planning Assistant
Lee Barich, Information and Referral Assistant

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

Copyright © 2019 Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries, All rights reserved.

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