Want to give back this holiday season?

As the living wage soars, 1 in 11 families in Greater Victoria are considered low-income. Even more alarming is the fact that over 14% of local children are living in poverty, according to a recent study by the CSPC.

We believe that an equitable, sustainable, and affordable Greater Victoria is in reach, but is only achievable when we collectively work together to support underserved populations.

This holiday season, we are asking you to please consider supporting a local non-profit, family, or anyone who could use a helping hand.


Check out this list from Victoria Buzz which includes numerous charities and non-profits you could support this giving season.

The Mustard Seed 

The Mustard Seed Street Church has helped fight hunger and restore faith to people living in harsh conditions in greater Victoria since 1975.

The Mustard Seed accepts food, clothing and Christmas hamper donations.

  • Where: The Mustard Seed, 625 Queens Avenue
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Food bank hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Victoria Community Fridge 

The fridge operates on a “take what you need, leave what you can” basis, as an exciting way to strengthen the community.

Everyone is welcome to take whatever they need from the fridge, whenever.

The fridge is open 24/7 and directly accessible from the sidewalk.

Acceptable donations to the community fridge and pantry items include:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Unopened or bulk dry goods (pasta, rice, legumes, baking supplies)
  • Sealed hygiene items (diapers, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, tampons, pads, and soaps)
  • Sealed pet food, and snacks (granola bars, crackers, etc.)

Accepted products with labelled expiry dates:

  • Bread and pastries
  • Fresh eggs
  • Dairy products or alternatives
  • Soy products and meat alternatives

What the community fridge does not accept:

  • Open or used items
  • Raw meat or seafood
  • Opened or half-eaten food (unless individually packaged)
  • Alcohol
  • Mouldy or seriously damaged bread or produce
  • Frozen food
  • Leftovers or premade meals*
  • Where: Victoria Community Fridge, 2725 Rock Bay Avenue
  • When: Open 24/7

The Rainbow Kitchen

Founded in 2010, Rainbow Kitchen is a family-friendly community kitchen that specializes in providing delicious meals and connecting the community to resources.

Everyone is welcome, no questions asked.

If you or someone you know needs food, Rainbow Kitchen can help. With a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, Rainbow Kitchen serves 10,000 meals every month.

The Rainbow Kitchen accepts pasta, rice, tomatoes, beans, canned vegetables, toiletries, cooking oils/sprays, coffees and teas, flour and sugar on a regular basis.

For those looking to donate fresh food products, the Rainbow Kitchen encourages people to contact them before dropping off items.

  • Where: Victoria Rainbow Kitchen, 500 Admirals Road
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sandy Merriman House

Sandy Merriman provides emergency shelter for 25 women who are homeless. We welcome trans women, gender fluid and non-binary people.

Due to staff shortages and limited space, the staff at the Merriman House are only able to receive donations on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

After the New Year donations will go back to being accepted on a daily basis.

  • Where: Sandy Merriman House, 809 Burdett Avenue
  • When: Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank 

The Lions Food Bank accepts a variety of food donations and food hampers.

December donation hours include Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food hamper donations can be accepted Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Where: Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, 9586 Fifth Street
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anawim House

The Anawim house is a drop-in and transition house for the homeless and those living on the margins in Victoria.

The Anawim House is able to accept donations of perishable as well as non-perishable food items. Dry food goods as well as maintenance supplies are also gratefully accepted.

If you have any questions about donations, please contact House Director Terry Edison Brown at (250) 382-0283 or e-mail info@anawimhouse.com.

  • Where: Anawim House, 973 Caledonia Avenue
  • When: Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. With the exception of Wednesdays. 

The Soup Kitchen

The Soup Kitchen is staffed by volunteers and funded by community donations, for 40 years the Soup Kitchen has fed those in need.

The kitchen’s brown bagged meals are given out to over 30,000 diners annually. For many, this is their only meal of the day.

The Soup Kitchen gladly accepts sealed and fresh food donations, warm clothes and personal care products. Those donating are encouraged to call 778-440-7687 if you have any questions.

  • Where: The Soup Kitchen, 740 View Street
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Our Place Society

Our Place Society has grown from a unique inner-city community centre to nine locations serving Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable, including people struggling with homelessness, mental health challenges, substance use issues, the working poor, and the impoverished elderly.

From community meals that rely on public donations, to Christmas gifts and warm clothing these are 13 ways our place society accepts donations from the public.

  • Where: Our Place Society919 Pandora Avenue
  • When: Monday to Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (food bank)

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul seeks, in a spirit of justice and charity, helps those who are poor, in need, or living with disabilities.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul accepts anything from food donations, clothes, household items, electronics including TV’s and game consoles, to furniture, antique merchandise, and hundred-year-old literature!

All donations are now being accepted at the societies, 1010 Craflower Road, Esquimalt and 2784 Claude Road, Langford locations.

  • Where:

    • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, 1010 Craigflower Road
      • Monday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, 2784 Claude Road
      • Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Living Edge

After moving to Victoria from South Africa in 2011, Pastor Neil noticed a lot of people in downtown Victoria were in need of food.

In an effort to support the community, Neil began gathering food once a week from grocery stores to hand it out to people from the trunk of his car.

Years later, his efforts have now formed Living Edge, a Victoria-based charity that is dependent on funding from individuals, groups, businesses, and churches.

The Living Edge’s focus is providing fresh food – not just canned goods – to local residents.

Living Edge accepts donations of surplus food from businesses and paid donations from the public.

Donations to Living Edge go directly to pay the expenses of operating their programs.

  • Where: Living Edge, 510 Constance Avenue
  • When:  The following donation drop-off locations include:
    • Monday 2:30-3:45 p.m. UVic Family Circle – 2375 Lam Circle
    • Monday 5- 6 p.m. Central Baptist Church – 833 Pandora Ave., Victoria
    • Tuesday 4:30-6 p.m. Gateway Baptist Church – 898 Royal Oak Ave., Victoria
    • Thursday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Quadra Village Community Centre – 901 Kings Rd., Victoria
    • Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saanich Baptist Church – 7577 Wallace Dr., Victoria
    • Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Open Gate Church – 679 Goldstream Ave., Langford
    • Saturday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Harbourview Church – 511 Constance Ave., Esquimalt

BC SPCA Victoria Pet Food Bank Program

The Victoria BC SPCA has a pet food bank- it’s free, confidential, and judgment-free. We don’t ask for identifying information.

Folks can take what they need: pet food, treats, and an assortment of other gently used items like leashes, litter pans, dog bowls, etc.

If you are interested in supporting the Victoria BC SPCA Pet Food Bank program, the initiative accepts donations of unopened pet food and treats, gently used items, beds and carriers!

Drop-off is available at reception during reception hours Tuesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Where: Victoria BC SPCA, 3150 Napier Lane
  • When: Every Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Full credit goes to Victoria Buzz for this list, view the original article here.

Living Wage Report 2022 Event

The Living Wage is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children must each earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child-care, medical needs, food, and transportation), once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account. The Living Wage for our region is calculated annually by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC).

As those in the region can attest, the cost of living continues to soar.

Join us on November 17, 2022, from 12-1pm to discuss the living wage, and ways in which we can make life more affordable in our region.

Guest speakers at the event will consist of a panel of Living Wage advocates, community members, and local business owners.

This event is part of the CSPC's continuing dialogue on affordability and is in partnership with the United Way.

The CSPC acknowledges the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIḴEM, Tsawout/SȾÁUTW, Pauquachin/BOḰEĆEN, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new and Pacheedaht Nations who have a historical and ongoing relationship to the land where our offices and work are based. We commit to active listening and humility in working with Indigenous Peoples.

Making Affordable Housing Happen: Non-profit Solutions for Cities

What is affordable? What can municipalities and the non-profit sector do to help achieve affordability?

Housing affordability has been out of reach for many people living in our communities for a substantial period of time. A change to the status quo is necessary in order to develop a healthy economy where housing serves as a home and a place of shelter, not just an asset.

Join us from 12:30-2pm PST on November 16th as municipal leaders in the non-profit field discuss non-market solutions to the housing crisis. Past reports and webinars such as the Housing Needs Assessment, Drivers of Homelessness, and Tenant Displacement Protection will provide a base for much of the conversation.

Stick around for the last 30 minutes of the webinar for the Community Social Planning Council's AGM.

Speakers at the event will include:

  • Jill Atkey, CEO of BC Non-profit Housing Association
  • Kathy Stinson, CEO, Cool Aid Society
  • Carolina Ibarra, CEO, Pacifica Housing
  • Corinne Saad, Executive Director, Gorge View Society

This event is part of the CSPC's continuing dialogue on housing affordability, learn about our initiatives here.

Watch the recording here

The CSPC acknowledges the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIḴEM, Tsawout/SȾÁUTW, Pauquachin/BOḰEĆEN, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new and Pacheedaht Nations who have a historical and ongoing relationship to the land where our offices and work are based. We commit to active listening and humility in working with Indigenous Peoples.

Recording: Policy + Protection Event

WATCH THE RECORDING HERE

In a push to increase housing supply, tenant displacement, increased rental costs, and decreased access are often unintended consequences. However, local governments can implement policies that help to minimize these negative effects.

This event was part of the CSPC's continuing dialogue on Housing Affordability and was co-hosted by Livable Victoria.

The following guest speakers were present at the event:

- Julian West, Missing Middle Housing & Sustainable Transportation
- Doug King, Together Against Poverty Society
- Aleida Blandford, Tenant Protections & Community Engagement
- Jordan Milne, Urban Land Economics, Rental Housing, & Mixed-Use Development
- Jenna Hrechka, Tenant perspectives/experiences

Curious about some of the language used during the session? Check out the definitions below and view the City of Victoria's Tenant Assistance Policy.

TAP: Tenant Assistance Policy.

First-Right-of-Refusal: As part of the TAP, the right of qualifying tenants who were displaced by redevelopment the option to return to a unit at the new building, generally at a below market rate (currently 20% below market rents in the City of Victoria).

FSR: Floor Space Ratio. A measure of density, measured by gross building floor area to lot size.

Policy + Protection: How municipalities can increase density while protecting tenants

In a push to increase housing supply, tenant displacement, increased rental costs, and decreased access are often unintended consequences. However, local governments can implement policies that help to minimize these negative effects.

Join us from 12-1:30pm PST on September 28th for a solutions-based conversation.

This is a chance for you to have your ideas heard and share in dialogue on an important issue facing our community. The objective of this conversation is to identify ways in which we can

  • Provide strong tenant protections/displacement supports while
  • Increasing housing supply and thereby addressing the systemic shortage of housing.

Speakers at this event will include

  • Julian West, Missing Middle Housing & Sustainable Transportation
  • Doug King, Together Against Poverty Society
  • Aleida Blandford, Tenant Protections & Community Engagement
  • Jordan Milne, Urban Land Economics, Rental Housing, & Mixed-Use Development
  • Person with lived experience of renting in Greater Victoria

This event is part of the CSPC’s continuing dialogue on Housing Affordability and is co-hosted by Livable Victoria.

Register here: bit.ly/DisplacementProtectionEvent

Drivers of Homelessness Event Video

On June 22, local, provincial, and national experts on housing and homelessness discussed “Drivers of Homelessness: Findings for Action” – a new report authored by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC) and funded by SPARC-BC.

The report shows how structural factors and systems failures interact with personal crises to drive people towards homelessness. The risk of entering homelessness is widespread; and many households are just one personal crisis away from entering homelessness due to the prevailing structural and systemic conditions. Other key findings show that homelessness prevention works. The large majority of individuals who accessed CSPC programs were at imminent risk of homelessness and would have likely entered homelessness without support.

Watch the full video to learn more!

Infographic: CSPC_Drivers-of-Homelessness-ExecSumm.pdf

View the full report: CSPC_Drivers of Homelessness Report_2022_R3

Press Release: Event Press Release.docx

Video: Drivers of Homelessness Recording

Drivers of Homelessness event & report launch

On June 22, 2022 local, provincial, and national experts on housing and homelessness discussed the CSPC's new report, Drivers of Homelessness: Findings for Action.

Speakers at the event included

  • Esther de Vos, Executive Director of Research for BC Housing;
  • Erin Dej, Assistant Professor at Wilfred Laurier University and researcher with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness;
  • Hannah Mang-Wooley, Tenant Legal Advocate at Together Against Poverty Society.

Drivers of Homelessness answers key questions and dissolves persistent myths regarding the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis in Greater Victoria:

  • What are the most important structural and systemic factors that contribute to homelessness?
  • How can we prevent homelessness by addressing these structural and systemic factors?
  • How does early intervention fit into a broader homelessness prevention framework?

This event will include the launch of a SPARC BC funded report that examines the drivers of homelessness in Greater Victoria through the analysis of CSPC’s homelessness prevention program. The report will inform evidence-based conversations in the public and the media and support local policymakers in preventing and ending homelessness in our region.

View the full report: Drivers of Homelessness Report

New personal ID service helps people move out of homelessness

The Community Social Planning Council announces a new service for people in need and those supporting them. The Greater Victoria Coordinated ID Services offer assistance applying for ID, coverage of application fees, and safe ID storage. More details are available at communitycouncil.ca/Id-service and in the full release below.

Launch Press Release

Women’s Day 2022 – the gender wage gap in the CRD

Women in the Capital Regional District continue to earn less than men. The gap is larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 75 cents for each dollar a white man earns.

Where does this gap come from?

Various intersecting factors feed into these income gaps—wage inequity, gender and culture specific norms, lack of childcare and caregiving responsibilities are just some examples. Women, and particularly visible minority women:

  • Are more likely to be part-time, temporary and contract workers.
  • Are more likely to do lower paying work, and conversely, compensation is traditionally lower for sectors in which the workers are mostly women.
  • Earn less per hour on average for similar work to men.

COVID-19 has widened the gap. The lack of adequate childcare, school aged children at home, and the high impacts on tourism, retail, food and hospitality and other sectors where women and particularly visible minority women were hit hardest.

In response, the Canadian Human Right Commission states:

“If we are to restore momentum in our efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada, social and economic recovery efforts must take a feminist approach. Closing the gender pay gap and improving social services for women in vulnerable circumstances are a must.”

How can we narrow the gaps in the Capital Region?

Conduct pay audits in your organization. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit. While it’s specific to the Pay Equity Act in Quebec, the questions can be adapted to other jurisdictions.

Support flexible work requirements. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help.

Publish wage/salary information in job postings. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process. Publishing a range allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places.

Write your MLA and encourage them to pass provincial legislation that outline protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage (See the CSPC’s annual calculation for the living wage).


About the data

Note: Gender earnings gaps were calculated from median annual incomes.

Data Tables: CPP-5a: Aboriginal identity (7), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census

CPP-5b: Visible minority status (14), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census

Definitions for various demographic groups are included in the Stats Canada data tables listed.

References