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Start: Apr/22/2016 - 1:30 pm Start: Apr/22/2016 - 1:30 pm
April 22, 2016
April 22, 2016
Federal Liberal HQ (10 St Mary Street - Yonge & Charles)
Join us on Friday, April 22 at 1:30pm at 10 St Mary Street (Yonge & Charles) for a demonstration of rage, music, art, grief, and remembrance, and with a message loud and clear to the Liberal Government. Immigration detention is indefinite, unjust, and deadly. It must end.
April 22 will mark exactly one month since the family of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga, a Chilean man who died in immigration detention, issued an open letter asking for help in finding out how Francisco died. They are still waiting for answers. Read their open letter here.
No One Is Illegal - Toronto condemns the Trudeau government's continuation of Canada’s colonial violence towards Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island. Indigenous communities have time and time again proven their resilience and strength, finding ways to resist and reassert their sovereignty in the face of ongoing displacement, dispossession, and cultural genocide. This violence has occurred for centuries and remains integral to Canada’s policies and practices today. Lack of drinkable water, housing, adequate health and social services, and a continual mismanagement of funds by the Canadian government has left Attawapiskat First Nation and countless other Indigenous communities across Turtle Island without adequate supports to thrive and exist with dignity.
Start: Apr/14/2016 - 2:57 pm Start: Apr/14/2016 - 2:57 pm
WHEN: Sunday, May 1 at 1 PM
– Indigenous Sovereignty and Self-determination
WHEN: Sunday, May 1 at 1 PM
WHERE: Yonge-Dundas Square
WHAT: Every year on May 1st grassroots organizations in Toronto rally and march to mark International Worker’s Day, for migrant and worker’s rights and in support of Indigenous people’s struggles. Themed around the most pressing issues of the day and committed to people’s struggles against oppression and exploitation, May Day unites people’s struggles for self-determination and liberation. We continue this tradition in 2016, rallying and marching against colonial and capitalist attacks on our communities here and Canadian imperialism’s plunder and attacks on peoples across the world.
This year, May Day organizing seeks to highlight the struggles of resistance to anti-black racism, police brutality, and issues deeply affecting black communities. All themes will center these struggles (with the exception of the first):
– Indigenous Sovereignty and Self-determination
– Migrant workers’ struggle against border imperialism
Image description: Black and white photo of two signs. Both have a silhouette of a house on them and read SHELTER NOW
March 23, 2016
To the Members of Toronto City Council:
We are concerned agencies, organizations and individuals that work directly with people experiencing homelessness and who struggle to access safe and adequate shelter on a nightly basis. We are writing with regards to the city’s lack of response to the homelessness crisis and the dangerous, overcrowded and unacceptable state of the emergency shelters in the city.
Recently the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) released a report, entitled Out in the Cold: The Crisis in Toronto’s Shelter System, that details the experiences of over 100 service users in shelters and Out of the Cold programs. The report highlights concerns about unsafe conditions and difficulties with access. It also confirms that despite a promise made by city council to keep occupancy rates at 90%, shelters across all sectors continue to operate well above that each and every night.
Let us explain. First, 64 year old Burundian refugee Melkioro Gahungu committed suicide in immigration detention where he had been jailed without charges or trial for at least a year, possibly more.
Then four days later, on March 13th, we heard of the death of Francisco Javier Romero Astorga. All we knew at that time was his name.
Image description: The lower third of a Canadian hundred dollar bill, broken up into puzzle pieces
Both the Federal Government and the Wynne Regime in Ontario have been making noises of late about the notion of introducing a system of Basic Income. The Provincial Budget even suggests that a pilot project will be set in motion in a community to be determined. Clearly, a significant development in the area of social policy is possible and we must ask ourselves how we should view this.
At first glance, especially as the impact of austerity and social cutbacks throws ever more people into poverty, the idea that everyone should be guaranteed a certain minimum level of income that lifts them out of poverty is enormously appealing. If that was all we were considering here, the matter would be very clear cut and Basic Income would have our unqualified support. Sadly, however, things are less straightforward and the issue raises some alarm bells. In this regard, there are several questions to consider.
Image description: Black and white photo of two people walking past a grocery store window. Signs in the window say "INFLATION SALE!" "ALL PRICES 4% HIGHER" "ALL VEGGIES INCREASED BY 18%", "OW/ODSP RECIPIENTS NOT WELCOME" "FOOD BANK USE UP 12%" and "THE RICH GET RICHER, THE POOR GO HUNGRY"
Rally for Food Security and a Raise in Social Assistance Rates!
Saturday, April 9
Meet outside Food Basics at 238 Wellesley Street East (between Parliament and Sherbourne)
Image description: Map from 1890, yellowed with age. At the corner of Elm and Elizabeth Streets, there is a large building occupying 8 blocks labeled "POOR HOUSE"; this is the House of Industry mentioned below
The warehousing of homeless people in Toronto in overcrowded and vile conditions has a long history, as this collection from the past shows. Under the impact of austerity and redevelopment, the situation in 2016 is especially dreadful. The appalling levels of overcrowding are lethal at the moment and constitute an assault on health and dignity. OCAP is demanding that the Federal Armouries be opened to provide emergency shelter, as they were at various times in the 1990s and again in 2004. Pressure must be take off the system and we and our allies are working hard to prevail up Mayor John Tory and the City Council to act immediately.
Image description: Infographic titled "Rising Canadian Food Prices". Text includes: onions - +17%, carrots - +14%, potatoes - +14%, beef - +14%, celery - +46%, apples - +12%, macaroni - +13%, soup - +11%, grapefruit - +23%. Image courtesy of Calgary Food Bank; data from Statistics Canada
The 2016 Ontario Budget provides an increase for those on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) that is pegged below even the official rate of inflation, let alone the real cost of living increases that poor people are experiencing.
The Budget provides a wretched 1.5% increase to those on social assistance, with an extra pittance for those with the lowest incomes of all, single people without children on OW, that will provide them with a total additional payment of $25 a month. At present, they are seeking to survive on a maximum of $681 a month. These increases will not even kick in until September and October.
Image description: Cover of the Out in the Cold report: A picture of a gymnasium full of sleeping mats and chairs, along with backpacks, sleeping bags and garbage bags. Above the picture on an orange background are the words "Out in the Cold: The Crisis in Toronto's Shelter System"
A survey and study of Toronto's shelter system backup, the volunteer-run Out of the Cold (OOTC) program, conducted last month by members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has been publicly released today and is already driving discussion around the ongoing implosion of the emergency shelter system.
11th Annual Strawberry Ceremony for Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans and Two-Spirits
Sunday, February 14
Toronto Police Headquarters (40 College Street)
Image description: Graffiti on a white wall in black letters that reads REFUGEES WELCOME!
Over the last few weeks, the OCAP office has taken a lot of calls from people living in poverty who question whether refugees should be allowed into Canada when so many are experiencing homelessness and hard times. An expression we keep hearing is that 'we should take care of our own first'. This is our response to such ideas and to those who want us to blame the refugees rather than look at the real reasons why there is poverty and homelessness.
Canada has, of course, been shaped by immigration and the history of the people who have come here is hardly a picture of easy times and luxurious treatment. Those fleeing persecution and poverty have always experienced discrimination and super exploitation. At the same time, immigrants have always faced the lie that they were somehow 'queue jumpers' enjoying special treatment. Refugees coming here today from Syria and other countries face the same slanders. Lots of hateful and false claims of refugees getting special treatment are all over the internet. One widely circulated offering, for example, suggested that refugees are provided with $2,470 per month when this figure included a one time start up payment and presented it as monthly payment. Those who are privately sponsored, moreover, don't get government assistance. The free ride for the refugees is a racist myth you should take with a whole salt mine.
As 2016 begins, we take stock of the past year to celebrate our victories (victories always won by a movement much greater than ourselves) and recognize our mistakes (mistakes we alone are accountable for). Taking stock gives a snapshot of where we as an organization stand within a struggle that began the day the first colonial flag was staked, the first treaty was broken, the first slave ship sailed. It’s a struggle to end colonialism and capitalism, to destroy its illegitimate borders, to support anti-racism, indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation, for gender justice and against homophobia and to build cities and communities of solidarity. The few-dozen members of No One Is Illegal - Toronto (NOII-TO) are a small part of that enormous struggle, but we’re accountable to thousands of allies and a movement of millions.
MARCH ON CITY HALL! OPEN NEW EMERGENCY SHELTERS NOW! Wednesday, February 17, 11AM, Queen & Sherbourne
Image description: A black and white depiction of a bus shelter. On the side is written "City of Toronto Official Bus Shelter". The word bus is crossed out and replaced with the word 'homeless'. A picture of John Tory with his fingers making a V-sign is below the writing, next to the words "Brought to you by Mayor John Tory"
TORONTO'S HOMELESS SHELTERS ARE BURSTING AT THE SEAMS
March on City Hall
Wednesday, February 17
Assemble: Queen and Sherbourne, 11.00 AM
Image description: A stylized drawing of a green bus shelter on a black background. The outline of a figure wrapped in a sleeping bag lies on the ground. A red sign flashes "NEXT BUS 45 MIN, NEXT EXPOSURE DEATH 30 MIN
Urgent Action Needed: No More Homeless Deaths
Demand Funding for Warming Centres and Shelters in the 2016 City Budget!
The City of Toronto is currently going through the budget process for 2016. Despite rhetoric about 'poverty reduction', there is no funding to keep vital Warming Centres open in the future or reduce overcrowding in the homeless shelter system.
Shelters are maxed out, operating over 90% every night (against the City's own policy), Out of the Colds - a charity based system that runs on fumes - is also maxed out, and Warming Centers are packed when they are open. Last winter we saw two homeless deaths in the City in the span of 24 hours before Warming Centers were even open. In 2013 and 2014, OCAP and many allies fought long and hard to see Warming Centers opened as an emergency measure amidst this crisis. Now the City is refusing to continue funding or to face the crisis of overcrowding in the shelter system by increasing overall shelter space.