Unlocking Opportunities

Social Finance strategies being proposed, GoEV Funding, Call for Local Artists, and Community Engagement in Meaford!

In this newsletter:

  • 4 Social Finance Strategies for Affordable Housing in Southern Georgian Bay
  • RTO7 Launches GoEV Funding Program
  • The Blue Mountain Film + Media Festival: Call for Local Artists
  • Meaford Council Advisory Committee Recruitment 2024-2026

4 Social Finance Strategies for Affordable Housing in Southern Georgian Bay


By Marilyn Struthers, Volunteer Facilitator and Co-lead, TISGB Social Finance & Affordable Housing Group



Next steps in social finance: The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, February 2024.

In November of 2023, the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay held a community forum entitled New Ways to Finance the Housing Affordability Gap. It was a chance for a large cross-sectoral group to learn from experts in a number of rural communities across Canada on how they are using social finance tools to reach for solutions in the housing affordability crisis. These communities, like ours, are particularly concerned about solutions for affordable rental housing for people who work in lower waged sectors vital to our community economies such as health care, retail and hospitality and tourism. Video from these sessions can be viewed here.

Seven municipalities were represented in the Deeper Dive Workshop that followed presentations at the forum. In November, participants held discussions on a range of ideas that could be individually or collaboratively implemented to ease the developing situation. Several collaborative initiatives have emerged including: 

  • regional data planning to support housing planning at the municipal level; 
  • discussions on the development of a nonprofit land trust to hold municipal and county lands for affordable non-market development and 
  • a range of suggestions on municipal collaboration on social finance mechanisms, in addition to the list of municipal development strategies previously published.

Four financial strategies are proposed

What is required now is the financial modeling to support the implementation of these mechanisms and attract investment.

  1. Municipal underwriting of community bonds held by local affordable housing developers or by the municipality itself. This strategy provides a vehicle for local investment in affordable real estate and is starting to be widely used in Canadian communities.
  2. The development of a collaborative revolving fund across several municipalities that cohere as an informal region. This recognizes that affordable development – or the lack of – in one community affects those other communities at reasonable commuting distance. A collaborative approach shares risk, creates financial scale, and allows for collaborative decision-making on the best development opportunities.
  3. Municipal affordable housing funds were a third mechanism proposed.  These funds, earmarked to support capacity building of the nonmarket sector, allow municipalities to build development capacity and operational ownership outside of municipal operations, through organizations such as co-ops, nonprofits, and social enterprises. Several municipalities have these funds now or have them under discussion. Fund raising strategies such as developer goodwill contributions or higher fees levied against very large single-family units were proposed. Municipalities are considered “non-qualified donees” under Canadian tax legislation. This often unexploited status creates the ability to provide tax receipts in return for community/stakeholder donations and then grant these funds or use them to offset development fees for nonprofit developments.
  4. Beyond-community level scale, tax exemption or deferral policies by federal and provincial governments would support small municipalities in attracting local investment in local housing solutions and help strengthen the bonds of community, particularly where there has been a substantial in-migration of urban dwellers due to the pandemic or retirement.

Read more about the pre work the Social Finance and Affordable Housing Group has drawn from to land on the above-mentioned 4 strategies…


RTO7 Launches GoEV Funding Program

Photo of Alex Hogan.


By Alex Hogan, Project & Administration Manager, RTO7



In the spirit of making it easier to travel sustainably in and around the region (known to tourists as BruceGreySimcoe), RTO7 has recently launched a program for tourism operators and organizations within the region, to provide up to 50% funding towards the purchase and installation of eligible Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

Lady standing next to electric car while charging.

Eligible entities span a diverse spectrum, including accommodators, restaurants, attractions, public venues such as downtown street parking, golf and ski resorts, museums, spas, retail, movie theatres, etc. While other businesses/organizations may be eligible, priority will go to tourism installations with the potential to foster economic growth while also addressing environmental concerns.

To qualify for the program, applicants must be incorporated or registered organizations, whether for-profit or not-for-profit. Private residences, including home-based businesses, are ineligible. More information on eligibility criteria, the application process, Frequently Asked Questions and contact info can be found at RTO GoEV. Connect today to find out how you can not only reduce carbon footprints but also enhance your visitor’s experience!


Blue Mountain Film and Media Festival: 2024 Poster Design Content

BMFF logo


By Alexx Bilodeau, Marketing Manager, Events for the Blue Mountain Village Association



The Blue Mountain Film + Media Festival is scheduled from May 30 to June 2 this year. We believe hosting a poster contest will foster excellent community involvement. The aim of the contest is to invite local artists to showcase their creativity and talent by submitting artwork for the festival’s official poster. The winner will receive a $1000 cash prize and tickets to our Opening Film & Party.

BMFF Poster Contest details


  • Contest period: February 23rd – April 21st, 2024
  • Winner announcement: April 30th, 2024
  • Who can enter: Participants must be Canadian and aged 18 years or older
  • Entry fee: There is no cost to enter


  • 11 inches wide x 17 inches tall, with an additional 0.25 inch bleed, CMYK, 300 dpi
  • 20% free space on the bottom of the poster to overlay additional content and logos
  • Fonts must be noted and rasterized in submissions
  • For submission, please upload a PNG or JPG
  • 100% original artwork only 
  • Submitter must create any images or photos used (no stock photos or elements pulled from the internet)
  • File Name: Name of Artist (as it appears on the entrance form)_Title of Entry
  • The winner will be asked to provide a print-ready PDF


Submit Your Entry Today!


Meaford Council Advisory Committee Recruitment 2024-2026

Council of the Municipality of Meaford values input and participation from its residents. Are you looking for a way to participate in your community by providing your expertise and experience to advise Council? If you have been looking for a way to engage with your community in a positive way, we encourage you to apply! The Municipality would like to recruit committee members with a wide variety of background, experience and interests, to fully represent the community as a whole.

The Municipality of Meaford is seeking volunteers to participate on 7 advisory committees, to be established in March of 2024, and to operate until the end of Council’s term in 2026. The deadline for applying to an advisory committee has been extended to March 15, 2024!

Below is the current list of available positions. The committee summaries are designed to be a guide – each committee will see a wider range of topics over the term, and many subjects will be discussed by multiple committees.

  • Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Heritage Advisory Committee
  • Ensuring Sustainability Advisory Committee
  • Growing our Economy Advisory Committee
  • Investing in Infrastructure Advisory Committee
  • Strengthening our Community Advisory Committee
  • Pumped Storage Advisory Committee

Learn more and find the application form here!