Minister MacLeod’s announcement to cut social assistance rates by 1.5 per cent will take approximately $150 million out of the hands of people who are among the most vulnerable in Ontario.

“People on social assistance continue to live well below the poverty line and would have used the additional much-needed money to pay for basic necessities,” says Jackie Esmonde, Staff Lawyer at the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC).

Important reforms to meet the unique needs of Indigenous communities have also been put on hold. Ending these changes will have a very negative impact on people experiencing the deepest poverty in our province and demonstrates a profound disrespect for the needs of Indigenous people in Ontario.

The Ontario basic income pilot project is coming to an end, says Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod.

MacLeod said Tuesday that the project was expensive, and “clearly not the answer for Ontario families.”

She said the ministry would have “more details at a later date” about how the government would end the project.

I am beyond disappointed in City Council’s recent decision to ban shopping carts in public places.

I am in fact, outright ashamed that this is coming from my city council.

Those shopping carts contain what little possessions these folks own, and it’s appallingly mean-spirited that you would deny them even that. I would remind you of a recent survey regarding the “shopping cart” problem in the downtown core whereby it was determined that some of the worst offenders of the shopping cart issue, were seniors taking the carts to carry their groceries home, so the question begs to be asked if our seniors will also be patrolled by the bylaw officers for their shopping cart transgressions once this ban is enacted?

Tonight, an increasing number of Canadians face the prospect of sleeping in a tent — not to welcome the summer camping season, but as a last resort. Unlike regulated campgrounds, “tent cities” are without electricity, water and often bathrooms. These makeshift encampments appear to be on the rise with Winnipeg and Nanaimo being two recent examples of desperate people sharing large outdoor spaces that lack basic amenities.

These camps, as well as others in Canada and the United States, have drawn increased media and political attention, perhaps in part due to their prominent locations. For Winnipeg, the tent city is on the grounds of a church near the Provincial Legislature. In Nanaimo, the prospect of passenger ships welcomed by “homeless” campers appeared to raise eyebrows and ire in local media stories.

More important are pressing questions about what to do with such camps, including concerns over their legality — and the outright safety of inhabitants.

Homeless people in particular are feeling the effects of the extreme heat and smoke from forest fires burning in the Okanagan.

While most of us can escape to air-conditioned homes, offices and cars, many of the homeless are out in the elements, where they’re suffering dehydration, severe sunburn, difficulty breathing, headaches and sore eyes.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission has extended daytime hours at its downtown shelter to help those in need from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The mission has air-conditioned indoor space, cold water and serves meals three times a day.

The mission is also handing out hats and sunscreen.

It also has a 90-bed shelter for men and women overnight.

Grey County has completed its first study to better quantify homelessness in the area.

Director of Housing Anne Marie Shaw shared the results of a homelessness enumeration conducted in April to county councillors at Thursday’s meeting.

Shaw says the survey period was from April 23-27 and evaluators chose the end of the month as it’s when homeless people tend to use more services.

The survey identified 33 people experiencing homelessness in the area, although Shaw cautions it is not a fulsome number and the actual amount is higher.