As recently noted by my colleague Rachel Campbell, last fall’s Point-in-Time (PiT) Count of persons experiencing homelessness across Alberta yielded interesting findings pertaining to social assistance. The report found that a mere 7% of persons experiencing homelessness in Calgary indicated that “welfare/income assistance” was one of their sources of income; across the rest of Alberta, meanwhile, the average was 29%.

On April 20, Calgary Homeless Foundation convened a community panel discussion in the hope of uncovering potential reasons for this discrepancy. Panel members were Andrew Joo (Calgary Drop-In), Simon Lai (Woods Homes) and Ellie Hall (Calgary Legal Guidance).

Here are 10 things to know.

While the Ontario government has proposed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, a new report pegs the living wage in Grey-Bruce at more than $22 an hour.

The United Way of Bruce Grey updated its living wage rate on Thursday. It found that in 2017, a family of three consisting of a single parent, a 15-year-old and an eight-year-old would need the sole earner to work 40 hours a week making $22.02 an hour to get by.

“I updated everything today and it was just a little surprising,” said United Way executive director Francesca Dobbyn. “I knew the cost of housing was going to have an impact because there is no housing to find for people, but everything is making a significant jump.”

The living wage increased almost $5 from the last time it was calculated using 2014 figures, when it came in at $17.10 per hour. In 2012 the living wage for Grey-Bruce was $15.11.

Watching the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs hearings on the Liberal government’s Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act this week you can see the louder parts of the business community time and again push a narrative that if the minimum wage goes up to $15 by January 1, 2019, and if the ESA is strengthened, the economy will be in shambles.

They paint a picture of major job losses, a tidal wave of business closures, impending automation, young workers unable to get jobs, old workers left out in the cold, and an economy in ruins. It is a grim picture. The Chamber of Commerce, Restaurants Canada and other business organizations, along with the Tories, are asking for an economic impact study. They want the process to be slowed down, because this is, as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Patrick Brown have said, “too much, too soon”, a talking point that is actually recycled from the Canadian Restaurant Association’s effort in 1963 to halt the minimum wage increase and expansion to cover men.

They don’t seem to care that workers are living in poverty and need a raise and improved working conditions now, not later. They seem oblivious that this step towards better working conditions for all has been years in the making and it has the backing of economists.

Eyes turned to Finland at the beginning of the year, when the government initiated a national test run for universal basic income. As a rich country in the European Union, with one of the highest rates of social spending in the world, Finland seemed like an ideal testing ground for a state-of-the-art social welfare experiment.

In reality, the Finnish trial was poorly designed, and is little more than a publicity stunt.

The $543,700 will be used to fund two positions for the next three years. The positions will assist those who need to find immediate accommodations.

Kathy Fortier, executive director at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre said everyone has the right to safe and affordable housing.

“This is an excellent program. We really don’t realize how much homelessness is out there within our community.”

“North Bay doesn’t have enough affordable housing.”

The word Suswin in Ojibway means “nest” and Kathy Fortin, Executive Director of the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre believes everyone has the right to a safe home or nest.

A funding announcement of $543,700 is hoping to make that happen in North Bay as the provincial government handed out the money at the Indian Friendship Centre on Cassells Street this morning.

The majority of the money will go towards two paid jobs for Suswin housing navigators whose job will be to find aboriginal people or families who are in need and match them with facilities that are available.

“They will locate places,” stated Fortin.

It will also go towards starting and running the entire program for three years.

Chicken Little should be getting royalties from Thursday’s Hamilton stop on the minimum wage travelling road show that Queen’s Park is touring through Ontario.

“The sky is falling” was the operative idiom, in an impassioned, sometimes testy debate, as the circuit version of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs heard submissions at the Sheraton Hotel.

Poverty groups, small business associations, union delegations, manufacturers, equal pay advocates and others weighed in: Can Ontario afford to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019 (as per the Wynne government’s proposed Bill 148)? Can it afford not to?