Community Advocacy Office

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COVID19 Update:

Remote options for LEAP and OESP applications are still available. Navigators are available onsite on Mon (2-5pm), Tues. (12 - 3:30pm), Wed. (2-5pm), & Fri. (2-5pm). To meet with a Navigator in our Advocacy Office, we are still requiring masks. If that is not possible, please contact us and we can arrange an alternative space or remote option.


The Community Advocacy Office is located downstairs at The Table on the same floor as the Good Food Bank. The office is run by community members with lived experience of living on low-incomes and navigating government programs and other resources in our local area.

Community Navigators are available to offer resources, referrals, and support on a wide array of issues from applying for help with utility bills, to replacing lost identification, to helping fill out paperwork, to conducting a housing search, to discussing your options in a difficult situation. The office is open to all community members and no appointment is needed.

In some cases, your interaction with us may be like asking for directions, and just need to be pointed in the right direction. In other cases, it may be more like visiting an information centre when arriving at a new place, where you have some understanding of what your needs are, but may need some more detailed conversations and perhaps a map or two to figure out where you need to go. 

In other cases, you may be dealing with a more complex situation, or be stuck waiting for the help you need, and you may find us helpful as companions on your journey to help read the map, check in regularly, and maybe make some calls on your behalf while you focus on the road ahead. 

No matter what, you are the one in the “driver’s seat”. We are here to help you get where you’re going.

Monday, 2 - 5pm; Tuesday, 12 - 3:30pm; Wednesday, 2 - 5pm; Friday, 2 - 5pm

613-267-6428 x111, 

Advocacy Initiatives

"Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind, these subtle flecks of life are the source of all existence. Like tiny time capsules, they contain the songs, sustenance, memories, and medicines of entire cultures. They feed us, clothe us, and provide the raw materials for our everyday lives. In a very real sense, they are life itself."

"Yet in our modern world, these precious gifts of nature are in grave danger. In less than a century of industrial agriculture, our once abundant seed diversity—painstakingly created by ancient farmers and gardeners over countless millennia—has been drastically winnowed down to a handful of mass-produced varieties. Under the spell of industrial “progress” and a lust for profit, our quaint family farmsteads have given way to mechanized agribusinesses sowing genetically identical crops on a monstrous scale. Recent news headlines suggest that Irish history may already be repeating in our globalized food system. Articles in the New York Times and other mainstream sources report the impending collapse of the world’s supplies of bananas, oranges, coffee and coconuts—all due to a shortsighted over-reliance on a single, fragile variety. Without seed diversity, crop diseases rise and empires fall.

More than a cautionary tale of “man against nature,” the remarkable story of seeds is an epic “good-versus-evil” saga playing out in our modern lives. For eons, cultures around the world have believed seeds to be our birthright: a covenant with the earth shared by all and passed down across generations. But today, our seeds are increasingly private property held in corporate hands. A cadre of ten agrichemical companies (including Syngenta, Bayer, and Monsanto) now controls more than two-thirds of the global seed market, reaping unprecedented profits. Genetically modified crops (GMOs) engineered in their sterile laboratories dominate farmers’ fields and dinner tables in the United States and countries around the world. Farmers from Minnesota to Madhya Pradesh, India toil in economic thrall to the “Gene Giants,” paying hefty licensing fees to plant their patented crops. If they attempt to save their own seed at the end of a season, following a tradition practiced by humans for over 12,000 years, they face ruthless prosecution. (Suffering under this indentured servitude, over 250,000 farmers in India have committed suicide in the last 20 years.)

People everywhere are waking up to the vital importance of seeds for our future. In recent months, March Against Monsanto protests have rallied millions in more than 400 cities and 50 countries to the cause of seed freedom. Ballot initiatives to label genetically modified foods have been proposed in U.S. cities from California to Connecticut—a direct threat to the profits of the Gene Giants and their Big Food cronies. Seed libraries, community gardens, and a new generation of passionate young farmers are cropping up to shift the balance toward a more sustainable and sovereign seed paradigm. A David and Goliath battle is underway, and the stakes couldn’t be higher."

 Check out the trailer here:





The Table to Host Second “Sleep A Night Under My Roof” Training Day for Social Service Workers

On November 22nd, the Table Community Food Centre will be hosting a freen all-day workshop for frontline workers and service providers called “Sleep A Night Under My Roof”.  The event takes place from 8:30-3:30 at Lion’s Hall and will include yummy healthy snacks and a delicious luncheon with gluten free vegan and nut free options prepared by the Twisted Fork. We held a similar event back in May of this year, and received such positive feedback that we have decided to run it again, so that those who missed it the first time might have a chance to participate. This time, in addition to service organizations from Lanark County, we are also opening up admission to those in Leeds and Grenville and Ottawa. We are also inviting our local members of parliament and town councils.


This initiative is funded through the Law Foundation of Ontario, and is a Connecting Communities program designed to help raise awareness of and educate frontline workers on tenant and housing rights under the law. The training is based in an experiential learning activity that gives participants firsthand knowledge of the kinds of issues that lower income community members face related to housing.  Event coordinators Vicki MacMillan and Tracey Parker have developed the program based on the popular Homelessness Maze, first created by the Canadian Mental Health Association and further adapted by local Health Units and Algonquin College Perth for use across Ontario. To ensure the relevance and accuracy of the training, the Table is working with people with lived experience to get their input on the scenarios.  Event partners - the Legal Clinic, Lanark County Interval House, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit and YAK - will also be providing input. Armed with this input, participants will know that all the stories and information shared are based on real lived experiences that could happen here in Lanark County. Participants will receive a local resource booklet that they can take back to their agencies after the workshop. The booklet will be formatted in a way that is easy to share with co-workers and is easy to replicate so the resource can be widely shared.


The morning portion of the workshop will give participants the opportunity to not only learn but experience directly the kinds of housing issues that many low-income community members face.  The frontline workers participating in the training will be put into small groups and each group will be assigned a character and given ahis/ her background story.  The participants will then proceed to  work their way through ‘the system’ by visiting relevant agencies, set up in kiosks around the room, as they try to try find assistance and support in order to meet their needs. After this experience in trying to get information and help, the group is brought back together to discuss and reflect on the experience by exploring how their character felt and identifying the issues, obstacles and challenges that they confronted during the morning exercise. The afternoon portion of the workshop will provide important, basic information about housing law and the Residential Tenancies Act including such topics as: evictions, maintenance and repairs, harassment and discrimination, rent increases, moving out, tenant belongings and more. The framework for learning about the law will be the issues and challenges that were identified in the morning activity and will respond to resolving the housing problems that the various characters tried to work through in the morning.  The workshop session will end with participants having a chance to debrief both about the full experience of the day, as well as providing feedback about how they think they can best use the training materials and the resource booklet. Participants will have the chance to get to know about the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Legal Clinic throughout the day and there will be some opportunity for open discussion with the clinic staff where participants can ask questions and discuss future collaboration and partnership opportunities with the clinic.


To make the day as authentic as possible we would love to have as many services represented as we can. The service representative would need to bring any pamphlets or handouts explaining what their service does, along with your intake forms and so on. People will come to their table and they are to give the referrals that you would on a normal day. 


The Sleep a Night initiative will also bring participants of the first event in May back to a second half-day session on November 23rd, at the Perth library, to talk about the successes that they have had in using the new legal information that they gained through the training.  This meeting will be a unique opportunity to get feedback on the impact of the training, input as to the usefulness of the training materials and to find out about any other related issues that can be addressed by local resources.  Reconvening the group will also provide an opportunity for participants to further network and collaborate in relation to a range of issues including housing related community action initiatives, further training opportunities and building professional supports.


If you are a frontline worker and service provider who is interested in attending please register at Eventbrite.

If you are interested, please contact us at, and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.

The following information provides background information to a statement developed for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2017. The statement and this backgrounder were developed by:  North Hastings Community TrustCommunity Development Council of QuinteRural Frontenac Community ServicesThe Table Community Food Centre, and Poverty Round Table Hastings, Prince Edward
Many poor people in rural communities have lived independent lives and been resilient in many ways. Aging and changes in the labour market—plant and business closings, increased precarity of work—have made them more dependent. People in rural communities are perhaps more reluctant to display their poverty. If the degree of their poverty is made public, they risk losing their housing—as inadequate as it may be. 
In an effort to attract new people to their region and boost tourism, rural municipal governments focus on the scenic and attractive aspects of rural reality—rarely do they reveal the hidden poverty that exists. Many rural people who live in poverty
have limited access to the basics of life. Organizations that provide community services in the counties of Prince Edward, Hastings, Frontenac and Lanark report the following:
Housing is a major issue. Rental housing is expensive and becoming scarcer. In Prince Edward County, for example, some long-term rental housing is being converted to Airbnb accommodation for tourists visiting local vineyards. 
Many rural people own their homes and land through inheritance or lack of rental options. Some live in cottages or other housing that needs repair; they may have nowhere to go. Some live in housing with dirt floors. The federal loan program to repair and rehabilitate rural housing was recently downloaded to provinces and then to municipalities—who do not have moneyto meet the existing need.
In more extreme cases, people live in hunting camps with no heat, plumbing or septic systems. Some do not want service providers to visit them at homes for fear that their property will be condemned. Agency staff working in urban communities
who decide on their eligibility have tight guidelines and little understanding of this reality. For example, Ontario’s homelessness prevention program assists residents to pay for oil, electricity or propane but not necessarily wood as a fuel. Poor people often heat with wood because it is free if they can cut and split it themselves. However, when they become ill or elderly they may need cash to buy wood.
Homelessness in rural communities is not as visible as in urban communities. For example, in North Hastings some people reportedly live in their cars and
go to the local library to use the Internet and to wash. Individuals eligible for social housing must wait six to eight years.
Utility costs
Utility costs are still high, despite recent reforms and subsidies introduced by the province, and often range from $800 to $1000 a month. Many people struggle
to pay their utility bills—necessary to keep their house. The delivery fee hurts rural residents. Electricity, often used for heating, may also be required to operate water and septic systems. In north, central and south Frontenac, only one town has a municipal water system.
North Hastings Community Trust reports that calls for help to get wood for stoves and heating have doubled.
Food Insecurity
Rent and utility bills must be paid to avoid becoming homeless, so food may become optional in a household budget. Food insecurity rates are high in rural communities. Many people live in “food deserts”—5 km or more from a store thatmay be just a gas station or convenience store. Food is more expensive and of poorer quality when only one store is within a half-hour drive. 
Demand at food banks has increased from people with minimum-wage jobs and those relying on social assistance or on a fixed income. Many communities have no local access to food—let alone fruit and vegetables.
Many people do hunt, fish and grow their own food. However if they are ill or elderly, they may need cash to buy food.
Getting to a food bank from many rural communities is difficult, as bus transportation is limited or non-existent. So most people need to use cars—and become desperate if their vehicle breaks down and they can’t afford to repair it. Some people hitchhike to get to the food bank or rely on their neighbours.
There is no ODSP office in North Hastings, and the Ontario Works office is 2.5 km from Bancroft. ODSP pays for rides only to medical appointments; stops at grocery stores are not allowed. One agency provides a volunteer transportation program that costs the agency 50 cents a kilometre—cheaper than taxis and Uber—but a ride to a doctor can cost the agency $100. The new Ontario Seniors Public Transit Tax credit of up to $3,000 is available only for public transit services operated by the province or a municipality, which is not viable in many rural communities.
The population of seniors living in poverty in rural communities is increasing. They may have lived there all their lives, downsized or moved from the city to their cottage. An increasing number of widowed seniors now find their single income is not enough to pay for the basics: housing, utilities and food. The increasing stress of this poverty can cause or mask mental health problems, which may go unnoticed by service providers due to the clients’ isolation. When they are noticed, multiple health conditions often require expensive treatment and sometimes hospitalization.
Social Assistance Rates
Provincial social assistance rates are inadequate to cover the costs of housing, utilities, food and transportation for rural people. For instance, a single person on Ontario Works in Hastings or Prince Edward County receives $798 a month. But the monthly rent average is $700 month, which leaves $98 for food, transportation and all other costs.”
Municipal Services
Municipalities do not have the money to support the services that people with low incomes require, because full-time residents and cottage owners pressure them to keep taxes low. Municipalities use a significant portion of their funding to keep roads safe and bridges repaired. The townships are as “poor” as their residents. Bancroft recently increased its water/sewage rates by 53%.

Come Join us and share in creating local community. All types of performances welcome: music, poetry, drama, spoken word, dance, story telling….if you do it and want to share it this is a good place to start.

Hosted by b!WILDer  Free Snacks, Tea and Coffee



Come join us to discuss the latest information about sugar and our helath and join a conversation led by Dr. Stephanie Gauthier.