The 211 on Social Services March 2015

Applications for Community-based mental health initiatives from Bell Let’s Talk
Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund for 2015 is accepting grant applications from $5,000 up to $50,000 for community-based mental health initiatives. Applications are open to registered not-for profit organizations and charities to fund localized mental health programs. Mental health experts from across Canada participate in the selection process. The 2015 application period is open until March 31 and all 2015 Fund grants will be disbursed before December 31, 2015. To apply for 2015 funding, please visit

New online application helps lower-income families access free savings for post-secondary education, launched a new online application form specifically created to help lower-income families open RESPs and access the Canada Learning Bond. The Bond is a contribution of up to $2,000 to kick start the savings for a lower-income child’s future education. In a joint initiative, BMO, Meridian, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, TD and Vancity have come together to support SmartSAVER, committing to establish RESPs for lower-income families with no fees and no minimum contribution to help them access the federal government’s Canada Learning Bond. Families can apply for the Canada Learning Bond through SmartSAVER’s online application form in less than 10 minutes and choose any of the six participating credit unions and banks to establish their RESP with $0. The user-friendly application is supported in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Punjabi). The Canada Learning Bond, available to families with a net family income of $44,701 or less, can provide the first contribution into an eligible child’s RESP. Research shows that this modest seed-money can be an enormous boost for both children and their families.

The Canada Learning Bond is a federally-funded education savings grant for children of lower-income families receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement. The Canada Learning Bond offers up to $2,000 in RESP contributions, with no family contribution required, to children born after December 31, 2003. Once an eligible family opens an RESP the Government makes an initial deposit of $500, plus an additional $100 each year until the child reaches the age of 15, up to a maximum of $2,000. To learn more about the Canada Learning Bond visit

Cisco Canada Launches I CAN Learn Curriculum for 101,000 Students
Cisco Canada announced that over 1,100 teachers, representing 101,000 elementary school students from across Ontario and Canada, are now able to access a unique new resource — Cisco® I CAN Learn: Discover Math and Science Through Sport — to bring a fresh approach to learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts into their classrooms.

I CAN Learn is a free, dynamic classroom program that utilizes athletes, experts, technology and the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to bring to life a curriculum that teaches STEM concepts through sport. Aimed at grade seven students and aligned to Ontario curriculum, the program is designed to get students excited about math and science and expose them to careers in the field of STEM.

Teachers will have access to an array of resources that will enable their students to benefit from engaging directly with the experts that are tasked with bringing the Games to life, from architects and engineers to sports medicine experts, and the inspiring athletes that are striving to achieve their highest potential. Students will also get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating one of the world’s largest international multi-sport games and explore, through video, the important role math and science play in sport and sport performance; all while developing a key set of skills that are crucial to addressing Canada’s significant skills gap in the field of STEM. Teachers can sign up to participate in the I CAN Learn program by visiting

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Hockey Canada Foundation launch The Big Play, a program to help kids access minor hockey
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (Jumpstart) and the Hockey Canada Foundation (HCF) launched The Big Play, a new program that will give more kids across Canada the opportunity to get into minor hockey.

For the next three years, Jumpstart and HCF will bring approximately 10,000 kids per year, ages four to 18, into the game of hockey. The Big Play will assist kids from financially disadvantaged families with the costs associated with registration and equipment. Families can get more information about how to apply for funding assistance by calling 1-844-YES-PLAY or visiting Parents or guardians of players will receive information when the application process opens in mid-2015 for the 2015-2016 season.

OPHEA and TD Bank Group launch Wallet Wellness – Financial Wellness for Healthy Living
Ophea and TD Bank Group announced the launch of Wallet Wellness — Financial Literacy for Healthy Living. Ophea’s new bilingual Wallet Wellness resource supports Ontario’s teachers in instructing elementary students with opportunities to apply the skills they are learning for healthy living — like critical thinking, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills — to situations involving financial decisions. This new resource will help students develop financial literacy skills and contribute to their overall well-being.

Wallet Wellness gives educators ready-to-go activity cards that integrate financial literacy into the Grade 4-8 Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum. Lessons link to concepts like setting personal goals for saving and budgeting, as well as to other concepts within the Healthy Living part of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to consider costs and different circumstances when making healthy eating choices. They also learn to make connections and think about the financial implications of substance use, abuse and related behaviours. The resource builds upon the research presented in the Ontario Working Group on Financial Literacy’s document A Sound Investment: Financial Literacy Education in Ontario Schools, 2010. To learn more about Ophea visit To access Wallet Wellness visit

30,000 Canadian youth in the care of government need permanent loving homes
Until the Last Child (UTLC) works alongside child welfare agencies, encouraging and supporting innovation. It provides funding and other necessary resources to enable enhanced, stable outcomes for children in foster care. In many cases, child welfare agencies already have the creativity and best practice models they need, but lack the funding to implement. Until the Last Child has already engaged in a number of pilot projects in Ontario. They are also calling on Corporate Canada to step up to the plate and support this agenda. UTLC is supported by corporate and individual donors, a premier panel of business experts, and some of North America’s most respected experts in child welfare.

UTLC launched the website as a resource to raise awareness of the issue and to share research and progress toward resolving this major but solvable problem.

First private sector-sponsored housing program for abused women set to expand
Across Toronto, women who have experienced abuse are finding it increasingly difficult to access safe, affordable housing after they leave an emergency shelter like Interval House. With over 90,000 families on the waiting list it can take 6-8 years to obtain subsidized housing in Toronto.

To supplement the subsidized housing model and help more women, Interval House developed an innovative solution that brought private-sector landlords and women’s shelters together with the expansion of this trailblazing program to Ottawa and Hamilton.

How does the Interval House Her Home Housing Project work?

  • Housing units are offered by private landlords to Interval House clients at rent-geared-to-income rates for up to one year
  • Interval House supports these women as they transition into their new homes, careers, and lives
  • Women participate in an employment program with the goal of affording market rent after the one-year lease expires.
  • Interval House Toronto has invested in training, capacity building and partnership coordination to share the Her Home Housing Project with other cities. Now women who access support from Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre and Interval House Hamilton will have the opportunity to benefit from this supplemental housing option.

Canada Company Initiative Leads to Major New Program to Help Reservists
Canada Company is supporting a new Government of Canada program announced that is designed to provide financial support to employers of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserve members who deploy on operations.

Known as the Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program, this initiative will provide compensation to employers of CAF Reserve members who grant their Reservist-employees leave to deploy on operational duty. The program will be delivered jointly by the Department of National Defence and Employment and Social Development Canada, and will offset the costs incurred by employers when Reservists deploy on operations. Working in cooperation with Canada Company, the C.D. Howe Institute produced a report in 2010 titled “Supporting Employees Who Deploy: The Case for Financial Assistance to Employers of Military Reservists,” which proved to be a driving force behind this new program. For more information on the C.D. Howe Report, please visit

About Canada Company
Canada Company is a federally registered charity created in 2006 which brings business and community leaders from across Canada together to support members of our Military in the work that they do at home and abroad. The organization is non-partisan and is an advocate for Canadians who serve, or wish to serve, in the Canadian Forces – regular and reserve – and their families, ensuring that they receive the widest possible support, recognition and care. Canada Company’s motto is Many Ways to Serve. Visit

TD announces $3 million gift to support Prosper Canada’s Centre for Financial Literacy
TD Bank Group announced a new commitment of $3 million to support the Prosper Canada Centre for Financial Literacy. Provided over the next three years, the gift will help the Centre to reach its goal of building the financial capability of 1 million vulnerable Canadians by 2020.

TD’s initial investment in the Centre for Financial Literacy and TD Financial Literacy Grant Fund from 2009 to 2014 played a critical role in building what is now a vibrant and growing national field of community-based financial education. The new $3 million gift to the Centre will help embed financial education into other services for vulnerable groups, support the piloting and roll out of free financial coaching services nationally, and increase financial literacy research and knowledge exchange. A number of activities will also mobilize TD volunteers seeking opportunities to give back in their communities.

Prosper Canada
Prosper Canada, is a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. As Canada’s leading champion of financial empowerment, we work with government, business and community partners to develop and promote financial policies, programs and resources that transform lives and foster the prosperity of all Canadians. To learn more about Prosper Canada and the Prosper Canada Centre for Financial Literacy, please visit

AMI launches first accessible online media player in North America
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today the launch of the AMI-player, the first fully accessible online media player in North America. Available exclusively on, the AMI-player provides an accessible broadcast experience and allows audience members to access AMI-tv original content in an on demand format.

The AMI-player is built to be structurally accessible and designed to function with a variety of assistive technologies. The player controls can be read aloud with additional methods to interact with the video including a separate fast forward and rewind button, a feature that is not commonly included in media players. The AMI-player provides content created for broadcast that includes open described video, eliminating the need for a separate audio track, and optional closed captioning and transcript features. Popular AMI-tv programs including Sports Access, Four Senses and Canada in Perspective will be available through the player for the audience to watch at their convenience. To check out the AMI-player or for further information on AMI and its programs and initiatives, please visit Any feedback regarding the AMI-player is welcome at or 1-800-567-6755.

Tide Loads of Hope program arrives in Canada
The Tide Loads of Hope program has come to Canada, expanding its efforts to help families in need by partnering with Canadian charities to facilitate laundry services. For its first collaboration, Tide will work with Toronto-based organization, The Children’s Breakfast Club to launder winter coats in a donation drive for children in the Greater Toronto Area.

Although the Loads of Hope program remains committed to reactive assistance in times of disaster relief immediate crisis, Tide recognizes there are families across the country that require help and support – even when no natural disaster has struck. For the first time since its inception, the Loads of Hope program will proactively work to offer laundry services to charitable organizations that provide ongoing support in their local communities.

Tide Loads of Hope was created in 2005 to provide much needed free laundry services to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Inspired by the resilience and spirit of the people of New Orleans, Tide was driven to expand the Loads of Hope program and has since assisted families in need across North America. The Loads of Hope truck came to Canada for the first time in 2013, to aid those affected by flooding in Southern Alberta. Collectively, Tide has washed over 55,000 loads for more than 40,000 families since the program launched.

CPA Canada offers guidance to help not-for-profit directors operate a social enterprise
Charities and not-for-profits organizations (NFPs) can turn to a new publication from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) for guidance if they are considering or already conducting activities through a social enterprise.

20 Questions Directors of Not-for-Profits Should Ask About Social Enterprise identifies key concepts in the burgeoning sector. The term “social enterprise” encompasses a wide range of meanings but the basic requirement is that the organization, operation, activity or program must have a socially beneficial purpose that is achieved through commercial or business like-activities.

Authored by Andrew Valentine, LLB and partner, Miller Thomson LLP, the publication notes that historically, there has been a high failure rate associated with social enterprises.

“Therefore, it is important for the board to perform appropriate due diligence,” explains Valentine. “Considerations such as determining operational goals and priorities, funding requirements and sources, a business plan and budget, and a control structure are all vital to establishing a financially sustainable organization.”

Some of the issues addressed in the CPA Canada publication include measuring success, the qualifications and skills desired in social enterprise board members and the pros and cons of having paid or volunteer staff.

20 Questions Directors of Not-for-Profits Should Ask About Social Enterprise is available for download at

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