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Community Summary Report: Haliburton / City of Kawartha Lakes / Brock

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Joli Scheidler

December 2021 to February 2022

A. Introduction 

With municipal election coming October 2022, we need to hold candidates to account in their campaigns and vote for those who make commitments to take appropriate action

Those with political power use the money to solidify their political power. Cynical but true. Environmental degradation falls on the poor and the disenfranchised, primarily, but not exclusively Indigenous nations, allowing those with money and power to say, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Best practices such as The Great Lakes Protection Act are available, but not implemented by the government because the act doesn’t serve the stated prime objectives of money and power. I see nowhere that best practices are being implemented.

Those with low income can’t afford to take personal measures to mitigate their carbon footprint without government programs and are not as likely to have climate action as a priority when focused on meeting everyday basic needs.  Those who are concerned and want to do the right thing i.e.. energy retrofit their homes, are inhibited by costs.

Conversely, there is a concern that greater affluence leads to excess consumption which is the cause of the problems to begin with. 

This is where public education and government policies/programs are necessary to help change behaviours. 

This leads into politics and what the various Parties have on their agenda.  

There was frustration and cynicism expressed about how governments at all levels are responding to the issues of socio-economic status and the climate crisis. 

Clearly, no one feels that the municipalities are doing enough about actually protecting the environment, while there are contradicting views/understandings about whether climate change is having much of an impact in our area. 

Lack of public understanding about the scope of the climate crisis is evident in some comments , while others have a comprehensive knowledge. 

I imagine that in some ways people who already care about the climate situation would be more likely to respond to the survey questions than those who don’t care or don’t know much about it. Likewise with the issue of Basic Income. 

 I think resilience in a community comes from either wealth or solidarity.  For me, the concept of resiliency refers to the ability of a community or individual to overcome disasters which are discrete events. For example, Indigenous communities have been living the disaster of colonization for generations, I don’t consider this resilience but resistance. Resilience is coping, resistance is struggle.

It is well known that the impact of climate change falls most heavily on the poor. Economic security such as a basic income would allow the poor to adopt some individual strategies to counter climate change, although the effective action requires the governments and powerful to shut down fossil fuels. From the CCHC work in the fall, it was clear that there is support for a basic income

There is no current safety net to assist those to live in dignity and be resilient. There is no ‘real political will’ in governments to create a National Basic Income to achieve this despite many pilot projects, such as the one Lindsay On participated in. There is much research, but it only leads to talk! Food banks and groups like Heat Bank and SIRCH provide amazing support but they are only a Band-Aid solution and place, individuals and families, in a position of begging and not able to provide for themselves. Violence and mental health issues continue to increase because of this.

There is an absence of comments about industrial pollution in the area which is minimal, or the impact of agricultural practices, farm income and health. When there were more factories in the Lindsay area, pollution was greater and so was employment income. A catch-22.

A. How are the changes to our community’s environment and economy discussed in the introduction affecting you, your family or the community as a whole?

In our area, the municipal Healthy Environment Plan was developed in 2019 by a working group from concerned local people in the City of Kawartha lakes. The vision states, “We will be leaders in addressing our changing climate to ensure a healthy environment and a prosperous community.” The report contains an 80+ page plan to balance these objectives and all local residents should become familiar with the document found here: Residents should hold City Council accountable by measuring results on each recommendation because there have been no discernible changes to date regarding levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these recommendations would apply to Haliburton County and Brock Township as well.

Money has been invested in creating the plan?

Most respondents think income and one’s ability to respond to the climate crisis are definitely linked. the wealthier you are, the less environmental changes impact your quality of life; rich people can just move elsewhere or build more expensive buildings to protect themselves and what matters to them personally; there also seems to be a greed factor where wealth can drive people to compulsive investment and money hoarding rather than returning excess funds to environmental and community betterment projects

Poor people are more concerned with getting through each month, each week or each day, the constant burden of which destroys hope and personal fortitude, and often compounds itself with added issues of mental and physical health, so in essence, contributing to high social costs and resources to maintain them at even a subsistence level; people who are fed, housed, independent and mentally enriched have a better chance of being contributing members of society, reducing costs to health care, social housing and income maintenance programs to name a few.

The environmental changes I see are longer ice free days, more periods of draught and more intense rainfalls, more ice less snow. At present the consequences of climate change seem rather benign in the county.

The intersectionality of transportation, housing, income and employment opportunities, accessibility and ability to address energy consumption, food security, education is evident throughout the comments.

Extreme heat, flooding and more intense storms present risks both financially and for health and wellbeing in the community Rising temperatures are impacting people with disabilities who do not have the resources (AC)

Environment and economy have always been the same subject. They are both part of the bigger issue of who we are and how we treat all

  1. Transportation

For those living outside urban areas, a vehicle is a necessity as there is no public transit system to rely on. Currently purchasing gasoline sees taxation on tax (gasoline tax and then HST on the subtotal) which is morally reprehensible. People who simply cannot afford to operate a motor vehicle will be unable to do errands such as grocery shopping or attending medical appointments. 

ISSUES: Transportation – metrolinks – Stop at 35 and 115 – Go Bus – Lindsay station at Colbourne?

Also, commonly recognized measures such as accessible, convenient, low-cost (to users) transit; well-maintained and safe bike lanes could encourage more cycling for transportation 

automobile dependence

2. Housing (those on housing, market rent, own homes, farms) – differences to address responding to climate objectives “Every heritage structure is under attack” including related expenses.

  • Rising insurance costs and lack of coverage (flooding and other acts of nature)

Increasing energy prices making daily life less affordable

  • Hamilton housing has a community greenhouse
  • Many energy efficiency retrofit programs (such as Greener Homes Grant) require upfront investments by homeowners and therefore leave out low income households. Others (such as the Ontario Renovates fund) are oversubscribed and under-funded.
  • Rural households – such as Haliburton County – are much more likely to experience energy poverty than urban households (29.3% vs 16.7%, taken from Energy Poverty in Canada: a CUSP Backgrounder)  
  • HOWEVER, energy conservation programming only offers free home insulation & weatherstripping upgrades to low-income homes primarily heated with electricity or natural gas, excluding homes that are heated with oil/furnace fuel, propane, wood or generators (and more likely to be rural).

For these reasons, our agency joined the 122+ other organizations in calling for a national strategy to eliminate energy poverty through investments in evidence-based energy retrofit programs for lower-income Canadians.

The rising costs of home heating fuel are having huge impacts on our poorest households.  There just simply isn’t enough money in the budget – particularly for people on fixed incomes – to afford to heat their homes to suitable temperatures. The Canadian Urban Sustainability Practitioners (CUSP) Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer – using 2016 census data – shows Haliburton County’s median home energy expenditure to be $3,895. With the inflation, we have seen recently that number is now likely much higher. Compare that to the $12,828 yearly maximum income for an adult on a disability pension.

  • Rising temperatures and extreme weather as the result of climate change will have further impacts on the most vulnerable low-income residents, including a growing need for air conditioning which will further increase home energy costs. 

Further thought: with NRCAN reporting that 18% of Canada’s Greenhouse Gas emissions are coming from homes and buildings, it would make sense to direct further resources (investments) into the improvement of the draftiest. 

The lack of affordable rental spaces or homes that are ‘small’, akin to a tiny home for veterans as in Calgary and Edmonton AB, with bed on same floor of 300 square foot unit; resistance by municipalities to address homelessness, favouring developers; corralling the poor into one massive complex rife condensing poverty, social issues, drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness, rather than treat all as equal, and creating housing for a variety of income levels and abilities in a mixed setting).

Those who are homeless, live in poor-quality homes, or cannot afford their energy bills or a backup generator, are more vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate. Flooding, extreme heat, and more intense storms will hit these people the hardest.

Increased density of housing in areas already serviced are affecting the community by encouraging more greenhouse gas emissions. 

Most personal steps are hampered by income. I would have liked to make more environmentally sound choices for a recent renovation. While it was geared to improving insulation of our home and roof, I certainly couldn’t afford the materials that I would have liked. We tried to be as mindful as we could where possible. 

2.4 Farms

Environmental changes are causing additional costs to farmers in order to maintain the status quo and resulting in additional work.  People are frustrated in general about extremes – the amount of damage due to high winds and violent storms, droughts and prolonged rain. I don’t know of any best practices that are helping with these specific things.  There are a lot of grants etc for downtown small business but none that I am aware of for small farms.

  We were hit with a tornado this year that did a lot of tree damage and some damage to our farm *(such as our hay shelter) that the insurance would not cover.  Certainly, a learning experience (not in a good way) about insurance. The never-ending spring rain ruined our first cut hay.  The increasing summer heat is hard on our animals so we bought an air conditioner for our livestock dogs and lots of fans and hosing down for the alpacas in order to stave off heat stress. Water supply is always a concern with a well and the stress of shortages prompts many proactive actions to obtain water, just-in-case.  Extremes are tiring causing difficult and costly situations and decisions.

They have had no effect on us.  Our garden and farm make us almost self-sufficient. 

Adverse weather conditions, even in Canada, are seeing agricultural lands unable to sustain reliable food production through drought etc. That production may be intended for human consumption or alternative crops intended to feed other agri-food sectors. I note some recent news stories advising that certain cereals may be in short supply or even not available on store shelves. Likewise, farmers are concerned that they may not be able to obtain – and afford if it is available – suitable feed for their animals which could result in mass culling of perfectly healthy animals intended for food at a later date. That will have a multi-year ripple effect if animals culled now are not allowed to mature and reproduce future young for subsequent years. The added consequence is shortage of certain food in future years which will drive prices up based on supply-demand thereby making those commodities unaffordable for those living on fixed or low incomes. 

 “On our telephone call I stated that farmers are generally not satisfied with just maintaining the status quo, but they are seeking to improve the environment , animal welfare and overall wellbeing.  

 I outlined examples of several best management practices (BMP) that are being utilized. A few of what I mentioned were;

 – no-till and min-till cultivation that reduces fuel and herbicide use. 

 – utilization of cover crops to build soil fertility and organic matter to better aid infiltration and holding of moisture. 

-wind breaks & buffers strips that reduce wind or water erosion, and provide habitat for wild life. 

These and many other BMP’s assist to reduce impacts of weather variability and improve sustainability. .  

Contrary to your statement that governments are not assisting, the federal and provincial governments are contributing with research and providing significant cost share grants toward the BMP’s mentioned above and many others too. This equates to millions of dollars per year.”

  1. Additional Rural Considerations


  1. Develop housing condominiums with tiny home units interspersed with larger size units so that young adults starting out, seniors and the disabled may be able to afford clean, safe, warm housing but at a smaller size i.e. 300 to 400 square feet; convert white elephant and oversized houses into one and two bedroom units within a complex; and charge ongoing exorbitant taxes to people who build gigantic oversized houses, a wasteful, environmentally damaging practice that is shameful in our current world on moral, ethical, financial and ecological grounds. Ensure every human being in the region has a place to call home and let go of the 1950s mentality that people need large houses to live. They do not; they need dignity, independence and personal satisfaction that they can have a home of their own and afford it. Smaller units (300 to 600 sq feet) mean cheaper rent (and purchase price).
  2. Consider uses or current vacant industry, schools (eg. Omemee), properties and expanded farm usage and off-grid allowances.
  3. Unpredictable extreme weather events often cause power outages in our forested region, with few of our poorer neighbours having backup power, funds for the fuel to run generators nor money to replace food lost.  
  4. Legislation to protect the environment.  It doesn’t receive the urgent attention it should.  In the short-term grants or funding for small farms, agrotourism are needed and fighting hard to protect what we still have before it is destroyed forever.
  5. Industrial Agri-farms in the area have been directed to put in drainage ponds to keep the water from flowing back into the lake unfiltered. This has partially helped the issue, but the sludge from these farms is still on the lakebed and makes for an unpleasant walk into the water.

3. Income and Employment (lack of industry, part-time, contract, seasonal, hard to find living-wage jobs) Tourism is a common and important industry across our riding.

To the point of income security itself, the blunt reality is that our social fabric has changed in the last 50 years. At one time most people retiring has OAS, CPP and an employer funded pension on which to live. Company pensions are all be gone except in some major corporations and the public service. Some larger employers who do provide a retirement benefit have long converted their defined benefit plans to an RRSP which does not provide near the same level of income. Most employees are lucky to stay with the same employer for more than five years, even if there is an RRSP or pension scheme, meaning the majority of baby boomers (and younger) will be relying on OAS/CPP to live. How many younger people have actually had the disposable income to contribute to an RSP. How many Canadians have not maximized their RSP contribution level because of a lack of disposable income to make those contributions? It is great to encourage people to donate but if they do not have the disposable money to do so, it is a case of the dog chasing their tail. A basic minimum income, to the poverty line, will be essential to the health of the country. Likewise, as the baby boomers age, besides affordable childcare which is a hot election topic right now, the government will need to look at affordable dignified long-term care for seniors. Many who only have OAS/CPP as an income could not afford to be taken into care in an institutional setting if their spouse/partner deceases, and with the sharp reduction in births, many of the current and future seniors will not have children to rely on to take them in when they become infirmed.

ISSUES: Employment – sustainable employment opportinities – huge issue for CAS – mandated and can’t have a “wait” list like agencies and service oranizations

  • Farming and tourism are the big industries in this area. If tourists do not come to the area, our main street – full of shops that feature local artisans – will dry up, our restaurants will not succeed, and our B&B’s will close. Recently our downtown grocery store closed it’s doors, and so without competition, the large grocery chain on the highway has increased their prices… making necessities even more expensive for local residents – many of whom are seniors on a fixed income.

Fluctuations in tourism and the ability to cancel reservations if the weather doesn’t suit their expectations. Some businesses are forced to close during the shoulder seasons and may not have enough activity to re-open in the “tourist” seasons. C-19?? CERB? and difficulty finding staff Government funding for C-19 has reduced those seeking work but not supported others in need. We need a living wage or even easier to calculate, monitor, oversee to promote equity.

  • Farming and tourism are the big industries in this area. 
  • Intersectionality-  Finding employees for all types of businesses and the general public is difficult. Young people are leaving the community as there is no affordable housing. Older people wanting to downsize are also in the same boat. Contractors are booked two years in advance if you can afford to build. We have wealthy cottage owners and extreme poverty.
  • If tourists do not come to the area, our main street – full of shops that feature local artisans – will dry up, our restaurants will not succeed, and our B&B’s will close. Recently our downtown grocery store closed its doors, and so without competition, the large grocery chain on the highway has increased their prices… making necessities even more expensive for local residents – many of whom are seniors on a fixed income.
  • The natural environment in general draws visitors to this area and since we are close to large urban centers and due to the need to travel “close to home” both during this pandemic but also more sustainably our County is instrumental in providing outdoor recreation opportunities. The economic spin off of visitors to our area in all seasons is critical to the local economy. 
  • In summer, locals, tourists and cottagers enjoy the many beautiful lakes that make this area a unique destination. The health of the lakes therefore is paramount. Climate change has affected the quality of the lakes to some extent with warmer temperatures causing changes to the lake ecology. More frequent toxic algal blooms, fish die offs, and aquatic species decline are some of the negative impacts of climate change on freshwater lakes.  

Brock: The town I live in is an ice fishing mecca. Even in the last 10 years I have seen the effects of climate change on this very important industry. Last year the ice wasn’t solid enough to support ice huts until well into the new year. Ten years ago, people were fishing before Christmas. That is 2 weeks or more of visitors to the area, renting huts from various providers, staying at local accommodation, eating in local restaurants, and taking home souvenirs. 

Each year this area gets more rain. In recent years there has been so much run-off from the farms that the pollution levels in the lake have sometimes made swimming impossible. Crops are growing on beaches, and beaches have been closed due to the pollution level. Property values along the lakeshore are impacted and tourism has dropped – because who wants to swim in a lake that looks like chocolate milk?  

A positive note: There are a number of committees in the township working on bringing more tourists to the area.  One committee is investigating the possibility of designating the area as the small mouth bass capital of Ontario to attract not just winter visitors by summer fishing as well. 

Burnt River As to the overarching question as to how I am being affected, the blunt answer is that I am coping because I am currently employed and able to survive with some astute shopping skills. I panic at the idea of becoming unemployed on even the maximum EI rate which would not cover my mortgage let alone housing, food, gasoline, etc. Right now I have no vision of ever being able to retire as OAS and CPP will not even come close to providing an adequate income. I will have to move into a subsidised apartment somewhere in a less than pristine neighbourhood.

Haliburton: I live in an area in which the tourism sector is a significant piece of the local economy. Now in winter, x-c skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dogsledding and ice fishing are activities that both visitors and locals enjoy.  These activities are dependent on a cold, snowy and long winter. Tourism operators, motels and other types of accommodation rely on income from visitors to this region throughout the seasons but if winters continue to be milder, shorter and with less snow then tourism as a livelihood is threatened.  Along with my family I look forward to x-c skiing and snowshoeing. We have an excellent volunteer run x-c ski club that grooms and sets tracks in 3 separate areas of Haliburton County. Snow is essential. 

First the changes: the biggest change I see in my community of Haliburton is the narrowing of the economy. Where there once was an economy based on natural resource extraction and cottaging, now the base is cottaging creating a rather feudal economy. There is a gradual diminishing of services accompanying this economic contracting which has a tiny impact on myself, a retired person. There is a greater impact on the community due to the loss of jobs and services.

Cameron: impacts of having excess income (i.e. proliferation of gas toys and other vehicles; oversized monster houses that sit empty most hours; wealthy lifestyle of being too busy and comfortable to waste time looking at climate change; lack of municipal land controls to prevent development on i.e. shorelines and steep grades, favouring high end developments; the regressive nature and ecological demise of living in a consistently Conservative riding where climate change isn’t even acknowledged as a concept by the federal and likely provincial party), as well as having low to poverty level income (substandard or no housing; can’t afford to change heating system from oil/gas/wood to heat pump and high-efficiency electricity; destroying natural environment by homeless living and defecating in municipal parks, ruining quality of life for other residents; too poor or stressed by low income to get involved in or feel empowered to participate in environmentally beneficial activities and organizations; 

Fenelon: We are very lucky in this part of the world. Through little effort on our part as a local community, we can take for granted that sheer landmass, numerous lakes and rivers, and temperate climate, cushion us from the impact of climate change other regions experience. So, people keep chopping down trees, raking leaves instead of leaving them for soil build-up, spraying pesticides, sticking with mono-agriculture, using lakes and air as dumping ground for pollution of all kinds, etc. Indigenous people who know this land over millennia and centuries have seen the losses, but the settler culture that dominates here is oblivious to those losses of a lush environment and ample food. As for me and my family, I go to Sobeys and seek out local produce (scarce), worry about municipal water (but refuse to buy bottled), and try to use the car as little as absolutely necessary (well, we try)…all the while taking for granted that I don’t actually suffer scarcity here. We own our home, which provides stability. Even with Covid affecting our household livelihood, we have benefitted from the social safety net provided and can always get what we need.

Greater income security would result in more money in the hands of lower-income individuals and families and potentially result in more money being spent locally. With more money circulating in the local economy, some businesses could possibly stay open throughout the year thus providing more stable employment. 

4. Agency and ability to mitigate carbon footprint “Less of everything for everyone”

As a non-profit working with households living in poverty/with low income, we are growing increasingly concerned about the impact that climate change is having on a population that has the least amount of capacity to insulate themselves. 

Those with low income can’t afford to take personal measures to mitigate their carbon footprint without government programs and are not as likely to have climate action as a priority when focused on meeting everyday basic needs.  Those who are concerned and want to do the right thing ie. energy retrofit their homes, are inhibited by costs.

Conversely, there is a concern that greater affluence leads to excess consumption which is the cause of the problems to begin with. 

Also important is the impact of greater economic security on participation in the life of the community. With a less stressful life, and more energy or time to look beyond their own situation, people might join a group that is working on positive community projects and initiatives. 

With greater economic security, we might find that people feel more connected to their community. We know that economic insecurity leads to marginalization. Without the need for charity, people are perhaps more inclined to feel equal to others and empowered by the dignity that comes from economic security.  

Likewise, when it comes to clothing, someone on a low income is not able to buy good quality, Canadian-made, clothing that would last, opting for ubiquitous cheaply made imports. At least in Fenelon Falls we have a good recycled clothing store, but even that is based on donations of clothing rooted in throw-away culture. form of recycling

Things already being done:

In terms of a general response to the environmental question, I think one strategy which is already taking place but needs a more concerted effort is recycling and the re-use of containers. It is almost like turning the clock back one hundred years before we had all the disposable packaging and containers. I noticed recently that Bulk Barn, for example, will let you take your own containers into their store. You weigh them empty and then fill them with the product you wish. The cashier takes the weight of the full container minus the starting empty weight and charges you for the difference. You do not even need a plastic bag or throw-away container to take the product home. In contrast, several grocery stores are offering reusable mess bags for fresh fruit and vegetables but at a $5-6 price tag. I will use the free disposable plastic bag (which I actually use as a liner in my bathroom waste basket) instead of spending that kind of money for something I need to wash and maintain.

On a positive note, I applaud the CKL for having a more comprehensive list of items to be recycled than say Toronto or some other municipalities. That needs to be expanded province-wide so less and less goes in “gray garbage”. Some countries in Europe apparently have almost zero waste as virtually everything can be recycled in one way or another. More investigation needs to take place in that regard. For ourselves, and maybe because of our rural mindset, the two of us produce basically a Sobey’s bag of garbage per week. We have a composter in the yard, we use a wheeled garbage bin for our “blue box” and “green box” because the municipal-supplied boxes are not large enough and items need to be covered with animals in the area. We have a wood-burning fireplace in the winter months so some items that would otherwise go in gray garbage get tossed on the fire and burnt. Downtown Toronto does not have the same resources but more recycling and even deposits for items to be returned could help motivate people to participate (not comply).

Things you can do: “Logic can only take you from A to B, but imagination can take you everywhere” – Albert Einstein

Calls for peace and love back home were overturned in favor of the military industrial complex and its plans for our country outside the constraints of government. People will always stand up for what is right in adverse times! For generations we have blindly let things pass without contemplation or debate of the long term outcomes. We are at a very critical and crucial juncture in the history of our people and land. It is now time to ask, what can we do? The choices we make today will affect the world now for generations.

  1. Get informed. Awareness and understanding of energy poverty is still in its infancy in Canada but it’s an issue that is becoming more and more urgent. One great resource is Efficiency Canada’s December 13, 2021 blog by Abhi Kantamneni and Brendan Haley (copy attached or visit Another great resource is
  2. Message your local MP indicating your support for a national strategy and investments to address energy poverty (form letter and easy to use tool can be found here:
  3. Sign On: Ask your agency or group to sign on to the open letter (copy attached) calling for an inclusive energy efficiency program in Budget 2022 (  or email Kirstin Pulles at Efficiency Canada NOTE: This letter will be submitted this Thursday (Feb 3rd), however, will remain open for signing for two weeks after that. If there is a significant increase in signatures, they will re-submit so it’s still worthwhile to sign on!)
  4. Share!  Please circulate and consider sharing on social media. Efficiency Canada has a social media kit available here ( or you can quickly share from our Facebook post here:

5. Food Security  “We cannot undo this!!!!  Where is the urgency??”

The changes to the environment may not currently affect myself as we are able to go with the flow as we are retired, afford changes in more inflated prices, grow much of our own food and live on 90 acres with clean fresh air. High temperatures are affecting those who grow produce even with a longer growing season. 

Crop disruption is causing rising costs of food with no room to wiggle in existing budgets. 

Issues: Waste – producers have full control modelled after circular economy approach  – privatized through a bidding process – recommend more local responsibility for waste? area composting – managing blue boxes? Donation of Food Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, c. 19

Rising food and fuel prices disproportionately affect low-income people.  There is a belief that food is more expensive in our village grocery stores and some drive to larger urban centres to take advantage of lower food prices. Meanwhile, the local business leaders are encouraging everyone to “Buy Local”. You can buy local if you have the necessary discretionary income; if not, it may be worth your while to drive an hour or more to stock our current up in a larger town or city. 

More and more people will become reliant on food banks and basically turn Canada into a third world country. Poor eating and nutrition lead to chronic health issues which will impact the health care system.

   It makes the issue of food security even more critical when the government’s mindset is to slap on user fees and taxes as a way to achieve compliance.

On the back end to this situation with food shortages and rising consumer prices is the (Myths) deliberate destruction of food where over-production has occurred. While I will not debate the value of marketing boards in this country, the reality is that excess milk production for example results in either monetary fines to the dairy farmer or the willful dumping of perfectly drinkable milk onto the ground. You cannot stop a cow from producing milk. Why is this surplus not distributed through food banks or even powdered and sent overseas through the UN World Food Program to famine-ravaged countries where thousands are dying from starvation?

6. EducationMillennials are not going to buy china cabinets”

Educate people at all levels – not just children, but trade schools, MBAs, aesthetics, the health sectors and all levels – about ecosystems, environmental systems, wildlife, nature, the importance of wetlands and such.

Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.

They are also a population that is often disengaged from environmental activism, perhaps due to feelings of lacking political clout & general disengagement from “the System”, perhaps due to having the constant struggle to heat/eat/survive taking precedence over longer-term changes.   

So, with the growing inequality in Canada mirrored by our local situation, it is difficult to generate the kind of interest in climate change when some people and businesses are struggling to make ends meet. When you are preoccupied with survival whether a business or a family you are unlikely to engage in community initiatives, educational opportunities and groups that could build greater resilience. There is little energy or time for getting involved. 

Young people and the elderly and young families struggle to put food on the table and to keep going every day, while living in poverty. There could be opportunities to learn the skills to cook inexpensive nutritious meals, grow produce and freeze when in abundance in summer. They could spend more time learning about how to minimize food waste, recycle and compost if they weren’t so overwhelmed and had the energy.

We need to involve young people in problem solving as it is their future. More presentations to Rotary clubs (and similar) and re-approach the High School.

Even to get people to composting like so many other jurisdictions is a challenge. I can’t even get my own daughter to recycle properly, change her purchase habits, or give Climate change a thought, even though she was steeped in such consciousness from the day she was born. . I believe this is because she relates to her peers and social media generally in all these areas, and the ethos there is consumerism. 


  • Fund research and development to improve scientific and technical expertise with regard to wind, solar, hydro and thermal power sources, improvements to recycling materials, ensuring products can be dismantled for re-use or recycling, banning waste and products that must be thrown away, and developing systemic food distribution systems use to avoid waste. 3 -D printer potentials
  • A concerted effort to raise awareness by educating people on the dangers of many projects proposed by the Ford government is critical.  Highways being fast-tracked without environmental assessments is disgraceful and dangerous.  Water quality needs to be protected first and foremost as well as species at risk and sensitive environmental areas.

This is an election year and there is no better time than now to begin to educate our community about what we care about and need from them as our elected officials.

6.1: Resources:

Mark Carney’s book, Values: Building a Better World for All.

Stuffed and Starved



Tackling Health Inequalities

Health Policy in Canada

Check out CUSP’s for more details on the impact of energy costs on lower income households.

Parent Guide to Climate Rebellion Free link:

7. Thoughts about Government – who is responsible?

Community resilience is “understood here as a community’s ability to meet, respond to and recover from major challenges like the ones brought on by climate change” 

We are all responsible, but most people don’t see a role for themselves. Resilience develops with multiple strategies at multiple levels. We need a groundswell of public opinion to churn up ideas, so that anyone and everyone sees their particular responsibility, from

being less wasteful to agitating for good policy.

  • Grassroots activism – connecting people to people – and ensuring that there is a place at this table for the quieter voices to be heard. 
  • Invest, support and nurture a shift back to local community economies – community gardens, biomass fuel projects, local jobs

 Community Resources:

Bridges Program – community hubs for women to access multiple services

Revitalization committee?

Urban Canopy Group (Bartlett pears, northern spy apples, indigenous berries) planting in conjunction with Flemming students

Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition

Active Transportation Plan

Healthy Environment Plan

Pollinator Plan

Bee City

Community Drug Strategy

Poverty Reduction Roundtable

7.1 Individuals – Neighbors 

The transition town movement strikes me as a fruitful strategy as it is based on building community organizations and groups who meet to address real on-the ground needs. This is a way of building resilience through solidarity.

Climate change demands an “all hands on deck” approach; a sense of solidarity that “we’re all in this together”. In reality, as the pandemic has shown, we are not all equal when it comes to a crisis. Our county has been in the past and continues to be one of the poorest counties in Ontario. The cost of living is high, e.g. the living wage in Haliburton County is $19.42, the third highest in Ontario, and $18.52 in City of Kawartha Lakes. Contrasted with those living on low and limited incomes are those who are affluent retired residents and seasonal residents who own a cottage or second home. 

Very little is done through government, local economies and a sense of community are built through community groups

Groups like CCHC need to partner with our governments as CCHC is doing with our County Council to support their overall goals, to build resilience and support goals such as reducing food waste and to advocate with the broader governments to support landfill site composting facilities in smaller communities. This is only one example.

We need to continue to advocate with our local governments to up their ante in reaching the CO2 level of 1.5C by 2030.

In its response to the 2 most recent floods the Minden community has demonstrated great resiliency as you find with most communities dealing with catastrophes. However overcoming disasters is a different kettle of fish from addressing climate change. It is the powerful, governments of all levels who are responsible along with about 100 companies. They must save our world and if they do not act, it is up to we the people. There is a role for local governments in addressing climate change.

We have an incredible resource so nearby, in the Curve Lake First Nation. Their people have lived here for thousands of years, and hold precious knowledge about living with the land, this exact land that Kawartha Lakes communities are on. Wouldn’t it be smart to listen to

them for a change? To receive a far more holistic understanding of all of this? How economics and climate and sustainability actually belong together in order to work as intended? I don’t know we make this happen. But the survival of this community, not to mention the human race, depend on it. Understanding interrelatedness is critical to finding solutions. How about a travelling symposium (small towns), to hear from indigenous people (PAY them for their environmental knowledge and shared practices) -other jurisdictions might follow our lead.

While community groups and individuals have a role in supporting the measures, the leadership should come from government. 

7.1.1 Things we can all do:

Composting and reducing food waste are necessary to reduce production methane which happens in landfills, when organic matter decomposes anaerobically.. Composters and biodigesters available at cost at Highlands East and Dysart et al. Please contact municipal offices to arrange pick up.

Traveling: fly less often, consider the carbon footprint of your vacation plans, plan car trips to reduce traveling, check tire pressure, accelerate more gradually, drive at speed limit

Idling is hard on your engine, produces GHGs, pollutants. 

Eat a plant based diet, industrial scale livestock production produces enormous amounts of GHGs, consumes vast amounts of water, results in deforestation, water pollution and soil erosion. Buy locally grown produce if possible. Grow a vegetable garden if you have enough sun on your property. Shop wisely, waste less food.

Consume less: buy from thrift stores, reject fast fashion. The fashion industry is very harmful to the environment and is socially unjust. buy quality, donate clothes that are still in good condition. Buy local, buy locally made or grown products, recycle properly, ie clean out containers, check to see what is recyclable and what is garbage. 

Conserve heat: weather stripping, insulation, improve windows. Check out Kawartha Haliburton Renovates funding at

Consider carbon footprint of building materials:

Consider installing a heat pump, make sure your furnace or wood stove is running as efficiently as possible, change furnace filters frequently.

Consider installing solar panels: they produce 4 to 5 times the energy it takes to produce them. They have become much more affordable.

Consider buying an electric car, or one that is fuel-efficient.

Plant trees for shade, carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, provision of habitat for birds and wildlife.

Conserve trees: intact, mature, natural forests provide better habitat, absorb more CO2.

Protect wetlands: protect turtles; they keep our wetlands healthy. Wetlands purify the water that drains into our lakes, sequester carbon, provide habitat for many endangered species, and mitigate floods. Keep ATVs etc out of wetlands.

Save energy: LED light bulbs, turn off appliances when not in use to avoid “phantom energy”, turn thermostat down at night and when away at work etc.

 Wash clothes in cold water, use a clothes line or rack.

 Road salt is harmful to plants, aquatic organisms that keep our lakes clean and clear: Reduce use of road salt on walkways, driveways, parking lots by shoveling more often, using eco-friendly salt substitutes.

 Gift giving: consider giving an experience rather than “stuff”. Consider the carbon footprint of your gift: eg. the distance it traveled to get to you, eg. roses that come from another continent.

Reject bottled water, drink tap water from reusable containers. Reject plastic packaging whenever possible. Use reusable shopping containers/bags.

Plant native plants in your garden, consider having a smaller lawn. Lawnmowers emit more GHGs than cars. Keep your property as natural as possible (mimic nature) Avoid gas powered leaf blowers.

Consider a low carbon style of recreation: walk/hike/bike/ebike/kayak/canoe/paddleboard

Avoid use of pesticides, wear a bug jacket. 

Meet virtually rather than in person if long trips are involved.

Combat eco-anxiety: Join an environmental organization! Become informed, get involved, spend time in nature.

Use batteries. Need to replace your chainsaw? Buy an electric one with rechargeable batteries.

Divest from fossil fuels. 

Reject fireworks.

Have an emergency kit ready. The weather will be wilder, wetter and warmer. 

 Be ready to help your neighbours in case of widespread power outage or storm damage.

Buy a generator if you can afford one. (To use only in case of emergency!)

Recycle your electronics and batteries.

7.2 City council and staff (accomplishments and recommendations) “City of Silos”constellation of rules, each of which made sense to someone at some time but together are problematic. and about institutions beginning from the outset to act in their own interests rather than to achieve the purpose for which they were created. the natural consequence, this construct would say, of siloization.  

Several years ago, the Province of Ontario had a programme through which gas tax went out to municipalities who were moving their communities towards climate friendly solutions. The city put out a call for any interested citizens to participate with a consultant on a panel that would examine what we were doing in the rural community and how we could operate in a more friendly environmental manner. I sent my name in as a potential participant, was accepted and given a date for our first meeting. Along with the date came a note hoping we could move forward on a consensus model. I was quite pleased to see that. I like consensus. Then, a week before the meeting, we got the minutes of the first meeting. Our first meeting was really the second meeting. The first meeting involved city planners, members of the drainage board, business leaders and representatives of local farming organizations. At the first meeting both ground rules and existing accepted practices had been determined and locked in by consensus. I had to notify the consultant of my resignation from the panel. He called me and we had a long chat during which I told him that his panel would not be able to move off the first meeting if I were there. Several of the “givens” that had been accepted were not true. Although the practices described in the minutes were exactly what the province wanted to see, they were not actually true statements of what was happening. He agreed that I would be a block to consensus. Now, your survey is dragging me back into the same area in which the city lies about what is actually happening to water, trees, habitat, wildlife and farm animals on industrial farms within the city. It happens across the road, down the road in both directions… The city is not into best practices. It is into the appearance of best practices for the public eye. This survey will take me some time to complete.

I believe the connections need to be made locally, and publicized and promoted by our municipality, in order to raise awareness across the board about Climate Change. (It doesn’t help that we have a member of the Flat Earth Society on Council!) In the past year the local municipality has started a Tourism Advisory Council, staffed with volunteers from local businesses, that is working with the municipal government to find ways to bring more tourism to the area. They are working on a web site, newsletters, “cool experiences”, trail maps etc. Unfortunately, the provincial government has downloaded so much onto the municipalities there is little money to finance a lot of the initiatives the group has already brainstormed. In this area, we have so many seniors and those on fixed incomes.  

City of Kawartha Lakes is already a Bee City, make the area a jewel of environmental conditions – for example promoting the City as the one that achieved the greatest reduction in ghg emissions in year. We would be healthier for it and the tourists and new residents attracted to this location would be motivated to work to increase improvements.  

through planning decisions, infrastructure adaptations etc. Haliburton County however tends to undertake new initiatives when so mandated. At the provincial level we have a government of apparently secret climate change deniers and at the federal level we have truly duplicitous politicians, who claim to be fighting climate change while building a pipeline! This is behaviour not limited to Canada.

The introduction of a Climate Change Coordinator in our region as well as the development of a Climate Change Plan lends hope, as well, however, the success of that role and plan will greatly depend on public buy-in. It also needs to be informed and evaluated by diverse input.

Now, just as we invest in measures to prevent disease, we need to invest in measures to prevent environmental catastrophe. We need councillors and staff who understand this and are committed to acting accordingly.

7.3 Province and Federal Government (Laws and Policies)

7.3.1 Laws

Ensure environmental protections are written into law such as the Criminal Code and adopted at the federal level, so that they can be administered in every province, region, town and city, with stiff penalties of confiscation of assets, costly fines and substantial prison terms when broken. It would require serious administration and application.

Within those laws, include immediate removal of leaders and parties in power that do not abide by those environmental protections and initiatives.

In terms of forcing a change, I do not agree that taxation is the answer – such as the current carbon tax – as a way to modify behaviour. The few meagre dollars given back at income tax time do not help a person survive day to day when purchases are being made. 

7.3.2 Policies and Political Will

The city is no different than the province. Those with political power sell it to those with money. Those with money use it to buy power. Having money and having brains rarely go together. Those with money see their goal as gaining more money. Those with political power use the money to solidify their political power. Cynical but true. Environmental degradation  falls on the poor and the disenfranchised, primarily, but not exclusively Indigenous nations, allowing those with money and power to say, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Best practices such as The Great Lakes Protection Act are available, but not implemented by government because the act doesn’t serve the stated prime objectives of money and power. I see nowhere that best practices are being implemented.

Best Practices already happening. Governments pay little attentions to climate change, destroy environmental legislation and create get wealth schemes for their cohorts. Scientific and ecological knowledge principles do not guide them, hence they cannot govern people with the people’s, aka the community’s, best long term interest in their actions and goals. Seeing Canada overtaken by the increasingly far right is a major source of ecodepression, as we all know it is based in greed related to the fossil fuel industries and their spinoffs. When they would rather destroy the world than leave oil, coal and gas in the ground, and they are in political power, it is difficult to have hope for this earth. Best Practices, therefore, do little good when we know that a change in politics to a regressive conservative party means destruction and erasure of those Best Practices. It is difficult to feel hope in a world where politics and corporate greed dictate our actions as a species on this earth.

  • ecoanxiety; sense of futility; ecodepression; all from living in an era when greed at corporate and government levels usurp serious action on climate change and ecosystem protection, when human overpopulation continues with no efforts to control it, and when political will in regressive conservative regions roll back environmental protections and initiatives in favour of short term profit (i.e. Doug Ford provincial government’s myriad of attacks on environmentally sound laws that had been giving the populace some peace of mind about protection and wise use of nature, plus his scrapping of a subsidy to help us buy electric vehicles, plus his cancellation of raising the minimum wage and of legislating two paltry sick days for workers that had just been brought in by the prior provincial government, to name one level of government)

We see, too, that energy conservation program efforts such as Ontario’s Energy Affordability Program and Canada’s Greener Home’s Grant leaving low-income rural homeowners at a disadvantage: Our region is not served by natural gas, leaving many homes (particularly lower-income homes) still heated with furnace fuel and thus, not eligible for free insulation through the Energy Affordability Program. And the Greener Home’s Grant requires an upfront investment that household’s with low income can’t afford.

A mix, of course! Passionate, committee and informed people make things happen within communities and they need opportunities to inform the government (at all levels) and avenues to be truly heard.

However, in years to come our community and the world could and will be devastated by the effects of climate change- drought, high temperatures, flood and air and water quality if governments do not make the necessary changes to lower CO2 emissions to 1.5C NOW! We need to commit to the Paris Agreement and other global plans. We need to vote for those who will act on our climate crisis. We need a County Strategic Plan!

8.0 Recommendations and Solutions

Involving the most vulnerable in the decision-making process

Creating vulnerability/risk maps

Funding for housing upgrades and retrofitting

Creating public cooling/warming/evacuation centres

Grassroots activism – connecting people to people – and ensuring that there is a place at this table for the quieter voices to be heard. 

Investments in appropriate energy conservation efforts in rural regions (where people living in poverty are more likely to be homeowners) need to be deeper: Reinvent the Energy Affordability Program to extend the home insulation support to people who heat with oil and propane, not just those heating with electricity.  Flood the Ontario Renovates program with more funding to support the transition of lower income homeowners away from fossil fuels. 

Investments in appropriate energy conservation efforts in rural regions (where people living in poverty are more likely to be homeowners) need to be deeper: Reinvent the Energy Affordability Program to extend the home insulation support to people who heat with oil and propane, not just those heating with electricity.  Flood the Ontario Renovates program with more funding to support the transition of lower income homeowners away from fossil fuels. 

Consultation across sectors is also needed in further development of energy conservation initiatives & climate change mitigation and response, including the establishment of ongoing consultation with key stakeholders including the IESO, the Minister Responsible for Poverty Reduction Strategy, anti-poverty advocates and sector experts in policy development for climate change responses.

Introduce a Guaranteed Income Supplement to, at the very least, offer some support for rural people living in poverty who are heavily impacted by the rising costs of home heating fuels on top of increasing costs of food and other necessities (rises caused, in part, by added carbon tax that is offloaded to consumers, regardless of income – partially offset by the Carbon Action Initiatives Rebate which is also not reflective of income levels)

Invest, support and nurture a shift back to local community economies – community gardens, biomass fuel projects, local jobs

Underlying barriers need to be addressed

Governments to prioritize funding for this in their budgets

Community groups who already work with the most vulnerable need to be involved

Not fair to place the burden only on individuals

Table 1


Lack of public transportation EV Carshare E-Bike Loans or Employee Cost Sharing Program Ridesharing program
Landfills filling up waste transported to other part of OntarioHome Composting Blitz Become a Zero Waste CommunityAdvocate with County Council for governments to provide funding for smaller municipalities to acquire large scale composting facilities (import waste to make money)
Shoreline Preservation Strict shoreline bylaw Advocacy/make developers and Council accountable 
Wetland Preservation Advocacy, education Enforcement of official plan to reject housing or other developments on wetlands Make developers and Council accountable
Affordable Housing New builds completed to passive house standards Retrofitting for low-income homeowners: insulation, triple glazed windows, etc..
Local Food Production Sustainable greenhouses to grow local produceEncourage individuals to provide vacant land for community gardens. Offer hands on classes.

Table 2

Challenge Solutions

Bikes as an alternative to cars.Employers provide their staff with E bikes on cost-sharing basis, e.g.  employees are deducted a certain fee from their pay to use the bike and have the option to purchase the bike at a reduced price.Business owners and organizations employing seasonal staff.
E-Bike Loan Project People can try out E-bikes to see if they will work for their purposes without having to buy one.Local Library or Non-profit organization.
Backyard Composting Project Hire university students to visit residents and help them get started with composting. Municipal government made a video of many locals composting. It was lost. Redo and put online.
Affordable Local Produce      Abbey Gardens has a greenhouse* and could supply local grocery stores.Farmers markets could be more affordableIncrease the number of community gardensFreeze when excess produce in seasonCreate groups lead by young people and families.Abbey Gardens with funding from provincial government to offset costs so that produce is affordable for all.Provide incentivesRetirees can share knowledge and skills Residents involved and funding to fund this as a train the trainer modelEncourage healthy eating
Retrofit Homes for Greater Fuel Efficiency Tradespeople use their skills to increase insulation, upgrade windows and doors and switch over to more efficient heat sources.Municipalities do this for ALL buildings. Local non-profit “Fuel for Warmth or Heat Bank with funding from federal government. Use ‘The Train the Trainer Model’ to provide employment co-sponsored by municipal government.
Wetland Preservation Purchase local wetlands to act as carbon sinks and other climate change adaptation measures.The Land Trust (local land preservation non-profit) to fundraise with matching funds from federal government.
Promote the Positive Value of a Low Carbon Lifestyle Highlight the ways in which living a low carbon lifestyle is less stressful, healthier, more meaningful with more time for friends, family and leisure. Write support letters for funding, Letter to the editors, articlesVoluntary organizations, “Concerned Citizens of Haliburton County” in partnership with “Environment  Haliburton” andHire people to write grants on behalf of the CityPartner and advocate with our Climate Change Coordinator and municipalities Engage all ages such as Rotaract, CCHC, EH!


The people who have been the least responsible for climate change seem to be paying the highest price for its impacts. Locally, I am buoyed by the dedication of local youth and supporters for continuing to persevere with Fridays for Future, rising awareness and keeping climate action in the forefront. The fight for climate justice must include and involve the fight for equitability for all. We must not lose sight of that.   

As for global warming, the time is now to stop talking and actually do something. We are experiencing a loss of wildlife habitat and rising extinction rates among some species. Increasing extreme weather patterns is negatively affecting the planet including the economic impact to people and businesses from property damage from hurricanes/tornadoes and of course flooding.

All that being said, the principle of Universal Basic Income should be a priority. It would save millions in social service administration, not to mention the personal dignity of clients and the other benefits already mentioned. Let’s be honest: small business cannot afford the hourly rate it costs for a human being to survive in 2021. It has been this way for many years. Either businesses, corporations and governments give people more money to survive, which I figure is about $24,000 a year in 2021 for the simplest of lives, or we continue wasting money on social programs, medical care, corrections systems and other facets of a stressed, underpaid society. These problems will not disappear, but they needn’t be acceptable ways of life in 2021.

B. About the Green Resilience Project

This community conversation was part of the Green Resilience Project, a Canada-wide series of conversations exploring and documenting the links between community resilience, income security and the shift to a low-carbon economy. Working with a designated partner organization from each community, the Green Resilience Project aims to create spaces in which a wide range of participants can talk through the links between climate change and income security, and identify possible next steps to build or maintain community resilience in the face of these challenges.

This  Community Summary Report  reflects what we heard and learned in our community’s conversation. Each Project partner organization across Canada will be producing a similar report. In March 2022, the Green Resilience Project will produce a final report summarizing findings across conversations, which will be available to the public and shared with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Funding for the Green Resilience Project is generously provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund. The Project is is managed and delivered by Energy Mix Productions, Basic Income Canada Network, Coalition Canada Basic Income – Revenu de base, Basic Income Canada Youth Network, national experts and local partners

C. About the Community Partner organization

I am an independent citizen situated in the above riding since Fall of 2017 through a previous relationship with the Lindsay Advocate. The Advocate is a publication for the City of Kawartha Lakes that focused on community wellness and tackling related social justice issues. Through this association I met many others advocates in Haliburton-City of Kawartha Lakes-Brock due to my role in distribution. I also joined several committees to involve myself as personally as possible with other citizens who cared about making our community the best place that could for ourselves and future generations. I was approached to complete this report through my long time association with BICN (Basic Income Canada Network) and my passionate interest in bringing basic income to all Canadians. When the basic income pilot was announced, I moved and immersed myself in the pilot site of Lindsay, ON. I am a PhD Candidate from York University the department of Health Policy and Equity. Basic Income and community resilience effects became my focus in order to earn my degree, which should be completed in 2023. This report was completed with the discussions with of many community members, the local health department, service organizations across our local election riding. The report was compiled along with me by three environmentally wise women, Judi Forbes, Deborah Pearson, and Ginny Colling (in no particular order). Then my university student, Sandra Da ponte formatted everything and removed the highlighted portions. I am grateful for all who helped and participated by sharing their voices and ideas – I would not have finished this without everyone.