EPCOR’s Breakfast at Bissell Project – Nourishing Children

EPCOR-Bissell Centre Childcare Event March 25th, 2014
Thank you to EPCOR for providing much needed funding for Bissell Centre’s Early Childhood Development Program and for serving breakfast to the children in our Childcare Facility on Tuesday, March 25th. EPCOR’s Breakfast at Bissell Project will provide $20,000 in funding that will enable us to purchase fresh food, produce, and arts & crafts supplies to ensure healthy eating and positive development for the children in our care.

EPCOR continues to be a strong supporter of Bissell Centre’s vision of eliminating poverty in our community through funding initiatives, volunteering, and providing donations to those who need them most. The Breakfast at Bissell Project is another initiative that aligns with both Bissell Centre’s core values of eliminating poverty and EPCOR’s investment pillars that support food, shelter, safety, and educational programs.

Bissell Centre’s Early Childhood Development Program supports families living in poverty with free temporary childcare for newborns to children upwards to five years of age. This is an accredited centre allowing children to play and learn in a safe, supportive, and educational environment. The program gives parents time to access other Bissell Centre services, look for housing, secure employment, or attend medical  appointments. Bissell Centre’s Food Services Program also provides a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack every day for the 1,400 children that rely on our childcare facility every year.

For more information about Bissell Centre’s Early Childhood Program and other Family Support Services, please visit:  bissellcentre.org/programs/child-and-family-resources/  

Our 2014-15 Business Plan

Mark Holmgren, CEO
Our Business Plan is structured to reflect our long-term plan which we call our strategic touchstone. I believe each business plan should include a quick report of progress made to date and then outline what deliberate strategic actions we intend to undertake in the new plan. Our business plan will  then used as the basis for creating the CEO’s work plan for the year as well as the work plans for each officer, director, and manager in the organization.

While this business plan outlines Bissell Centre’s priorities for the upcoming year, it is true that there are some strategic objectives we are seeking to emphasize, as follows:

  • Grow our capacity to excel at addressing homelessness  within and beyond the Housing First model.
  • Increase efforts to help clients achieve financial stability by  developing a continuum of employment services, from  casual labour to permanent employment.
  • Continue to expand our hours of services, where  appropriate, to ensure we are appropriately present and  active in the lives of our diverse client population.
  • Continue to move towards an integrated service delivery  model that is client-centred and inclusive of case  management across all programs.
  • Continue on with our partnerships to operate 24/7/365  crisis diversion services through assertive outreach
  • Through our review of Drop-in programming, identify improved ways to engage and help street involved people break out of their cycle of poverty and homelessness.
  • Expand our Inner City Victims Services, as funding arrives, to increase our capacity to serve victims and to launch crime prevention services.
  • Launch our Community Bridge Pilot, which will focus on preventing homelessness for those who have never before been faced with the prospect of losing their home.
  • Seek out partnerships and resources to increase our capacity to serve and support low income families, especially young single parents trying to become effective parents while developing their careers.
  • Seek out partnerships and resources to increase our capacity to support adults with FASD.
  • Increase our organization’s awareness of Aboriginal culture while exploring new opportunities to offer culturally-relevant services.
  • Continue to operate as a fiscally sound organization while we also continue to grow our operations.
  • Become an employer of choice

Business Plan


Click the image above to download our business plan (PDF)

Sexual Awareness Exploitation Week April 6th-11th

The Sexual Exploitation Working Group (SEWG) is pleased to announce their Annual Week of Awareness events to take place April 6th -11th that is set within the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. They have great keynote speakers and interesting workshops focused on ending sexual exploitation.
Proclamation  SEWG-Banner-2014-option-1
Monday, April 7, 2014
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
CBC Stage, City Centre Mall

All the other events take place at Santa Maria Goretti Centre located at 11050-90th Street (evening events are free).

For full information, check out www.dlsfilm.com and for details about the seminars, please click on the links below.

Register for one or two days for the SEWG Seminar, April 10th-11th (No Cost for the Seminar):
Wednesday, April 9th (7pm – 10 pm)   – Free Public Event: Hard Talk Panel on Rape Culture and Sexual Exploitation:
Thursday, April 10th (7pm – 10 pm) – Free Public Event:   Screening of “Buying Sex”, with guest presenter, Trisha Baptie:
Friday, April 11th (6pm – 10 pm) – Free Public Event:   Screening of “Whistleblower” with guest presenter, Kathryn Bolkavac:

Can a Buss Pass Change a Life? *

In 2011, Guelph City Council took steps to make public transportation affordable to low income families. This two year pilot allowed for the purchase of a bus pass for half the normal rate. Taylor and Newbury Consulting were contracted to evaluate the pilot and to assess if it should be permanent program. Here is a summary from the consulting firm’s website:
”  We found that the pass had been well used. Over two years, almost 2200 people (or about 17% of all people living below the poverty line in Guelph) have used the pass. We heard from users that the pass had made a real difference in their lives. We also learned a great deal about the challenges that a municipality can face in the process of launching and managing this kind of program.

“Our report offered suggestions about making the program more accessible and more cost-effective. At the end of the day, we concluded that the success of the Affordable Bus Pass in Guelph really relied on three key factors; 1) the willingness of municipal staff from different departments to work together, 2) the ongoing support of key community allies and 3) the commitment of the steering committee to ongoing measurement and reporting of progress.

“In October of 2013, TNC was very pleased to be present in council chambers when the social services committee forwarded the proposal for ongoing funding of the Affordable Bus Pass to council. On November 25th, the program became permanent.”

Here’s hoping Edmonton can learn from the good folks in Guelph and we can craft our own version of a program that works to eliminate transportation as a barrier to employment, health care, access to day care and so on.

If you want to read a summary of the evaluation, go here.

Thanks to Andrew Taylor for posting info about this program on the Tamarack CCI website.

$2 Grand Slam Event at Downtown Denny’s Restaurant a Success!

Denny's Grand Slam Event March 4th, 2014

Approximately one thousand Grand Slam breakfasts were sold during a seven hour time span at the downtown Denny’s Restaurant on Tuesday, March 4th! A special thanks to the staff and management at the Downtown Denny’s Restaurant for hosting the event and to everyone who came out to support the cause.

Over $2,500 (including generous donations) was raised to support Bissell Centre’s vision of eliminating poverty in our community. This was a great opportunity to connect with the surrounding community to spread awareness about issues facing impoverished individuals and families living in the inner-city.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a picture of your Grand Slam for the $100 Denny’s Gift Card prize!

View all the great photos of the event >

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