211 on Social Services Newsletter November 2015

New OEB Program Offers Electricity Bill Relief for Low-Income Households
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is helping make electricity more affordable for low-income households. The Ontario Electricity Support Program, or OESP, will provide ongoing assistance directly on the bills of eligible low-income electricity consumers.

Low-income households that apply and qualify will receive an OESP credit on electricity bills. The credit amount will be based on the number of people living in the home and their total household income. For some consumers, the need to use more electricity is unavoidable. They may receive a higher level of assistance. These are people who rely on electric heat or medical devices as well as First Nation and Métis consumers.

The program, designed and implemented by the OEB, will come into effect on January 1, 2016. Applications will be accepted beginning Fall 2015. Consumers can apply online or with the assistance of local intake agency partners, including Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Emergency Financial Assistance intake agencies. Visit www.OntarioElectricitySupport.ca for more information and to sign up to receive OESP updates by email. The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) is open and ready to accept applications.

Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada expands wishes for children with other serious conditions
Children’s Wish is expanding their reach to grant more wishes. Children with serious neurological and genetic diagnoses, like severe cerebral palsy, are now eligible for their most heartfelt wish. These are children with complex care and mobility challenges who are often largely or fully dependent on their families for their day-to-day activities. Visit www.childrenswish.ca for more info.

Ontario launching new Employment Ontario program to help more youth
Starting this month, there is a new Employment Ontario program to help more youth who face barriers to employment find and keep jobs. Youth Job Connection will provide youth between 15 and 29 who are not in work, school or training with:

  • a minimum 60 hours of paid training to prepare them for the workplace
  • job matching and paid work placements of up to six months, with support and incentives for employers
  • mentorship, coaching and help with school and work transitions after the program ends.

A second part of the program will provide summer and part-time after-school job opportunities to high school students between 15 and 18 who are facing challenging life circumstances and who need help transitioning between school and work. Click here for more information.

New tool to bridge the employment gap for people with disabilities
The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with the Government of Ontario’s EnAbling Change program, has created the Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities to help employers of all sizes implement simple changes to make their workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities. By January 1, 2016 private and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees must be in compliance with Ontario’s new standard on employment of people with disabilities.

BroTalkTM encourages young men to access mental health support
Young men going through a difficult time now have access to a new support zone designed specifically for guys aged 14 to 18. Kids Help Phone has launched BroTalkTM, which includes professional counselling, a mobile-friendly website and a downloadable chat app. Developed and tested with teenage guys, it is the first collection of support services in Canada focused specifically on addressing male mental health issues.

Canadians are encouraged to help young guys get over the stigma associated with mental health issues. To help Kids Help Phone start the conversation, share the BroTalkTM website and the #BroTalk social media conversation with a young male in your life. Visit BroTalk to learn more.

Concussion Handbook for Children and Youth
Scientists in the Concussion Centre at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital have launched the Concussion & You handbook for children and youth. The handbook provides a real-world approach to help Canadians make educated decisions about their own brain health. To download your copy of the Concussion & You handbook, please visit: www.hollandbloorview.ca/concussionhandbook

Children’s vision program, Eye See…Eye Learn®, now available across Ontario
Eye See…Eye Learn, a free program administered by the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is designed to detect, diagnose and treat children with vision problems. Children starting Junior Kindergarten are eligible for one complimentary pair of glasses with their annual OHIP eye exam, if prescribed, through participating optometrists. Every child in Ontario who has a valid Ontario Health Card is entitled to an annual OHIP-insured eye exam by a Doctor of Optometry, up until age 19. More information is available at www.EyeSeeEyeLearn.ca.

Ontario Supporting Community Efforts to Prevent Youth Suicide
The province of Ontario is investing $1.9 million to support youth through its Youth Suicide Prevention Plan. Now in its third year, the plan is helping more families and youth access the supports they need in crisis situations by helping 33 communities across Ontario enhance their local youth suicide prevention efforts. Find out how to mobilize your community at Together to Live.

Canadian Hearing Society creates teacher’s guide for the mental health of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
The Canadian Hearing Society has produced a guide for teachers in Ontario’s schools to support children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and the child’s mental health. Download the PDF document here: Mental Health Guide.

Family Service Ontario to launch couples counselling for those who experience abuse
Family Service Ontario has received funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to launch a pilot project to help couples prevent the escalation of violence and conflict in their relationships. The “Conjoint Counselling for Intimate Partner Abuse” pilot project will focus on couples who struggle with developing healthy attachments in relationships. Family Service Ontario is a network of 44 agencies in communities throughout the province that provide mental health and wellness counselling services to strengthen and promote the health, safety and well-being of more than 250,000 individuals, couples and families every year. Call 2-1-1 to find Family Service Programs or visit: http://www.familyserviceontario.org/

Government of Canada Launches Seniors’ Mental Health Initiative
The Government of Canada with representatives from Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH), launched an initiative to provide resources and support for seniors living with mental health issues. This initiative will provide continuing education to pharmacists so they can support and guide seniors that have depression. Seniors and their families will have access to current mental health information and to frontline health professionals who can help.

Ontario Expands Support for Survivors of Sexual Violence
Ontario is increasing the base funding for all 42 sexual assault centres across Ontario by $1.75 million per year so they can enhance their services for survivors of sexual violence. Community-based sexual assault centres across Ontario will use the expanded funding to improve the free and confidential services they provide to survivors of sexual violence. These services include: crisis helplines, peer support, individual and group counselling services, referrals to other community services, accompaniment to a court, hospital or police station, sexual violence education and training for professionals and members of the public.

New Global Online Education Initiative for Social Sector
Philanthropy University an online education initiative for people working in the social sector providing specialized learning and resources to deepen their impact. These are free non-credit courses taught by world-class instructors and powered by the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Learn more at philanthropyu.org

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