A 16 year old woman is sexually assaulted. When she goes to the Toronto Police, they arrest her and schedule her deportation for the same day as she is to testify against her assailant. An 18 year old Mexican boy is walking down the street in Parkdale, the police card him, and call immigration enforcement because he has an accent. He is unaware that he’s lost his immigration status, so they arrest him and hand him over to be deported before he can get adequate legal defence. A mid-twenties Caribbean father sees a shooting in Jane Finch. He goes to make a statement with the Police, and they decide to just call immigration enforcement. When they find out he doesn’t have immigration status, they arrest him and he’s in jail for two and half months.
These are just three of our friends who have been racially profiled by the Toronto Police Service who choose to do federal immigration enforcement’s dirty work.
At the beginning of September, Toronto Social Services adopted a new policy with regard to the ID that would be required of people who are not Canadian citizens.
Image description: OCAP members occupy the rotunda of Toronto City Hall, draping a pink banner reading WE WILL NOT BE PUSHED OUT over the side of the railing
OCAP Members Occupy Rotunda at City Hall as Council Approves George Street "Revitalization"
We live in a constant “migrant crisis” in times of boats sinking in the Mediterranean, overcrowded refugee camps, mass incarceration of immigrants, racial profiling, and police brutality. But within in this global crisis, Black/Afrikan migrants are disproportionately targeted by criminalization, border enforcement, and immigration policies in Canada -- this “crisis” is built on anti-Black racism. As an organization that fights for justice and dignity of all migrant peoples, No One is Illegal - Toronto (NOII-Toronto) has failed to centre anti-Black racism in our political work and to build Black leadership within our organization. As a result, we have been responsible for perpetuating anti-Black racism. This statement comes as a result of the labour that Black-led organizations and Black organizers have put in over the years to hold NOII-Toronto accountable.
On behalf of No One is Illegal - Toronto and the End Immigration Detention Network, we are writing to express our solidarity with the wave of hunger strikes by immigration detainees in the U.S. over the past two weeks.
As an organization of migrants and allies, we fight for the rights of all migrants to live with dignity and respect. We firmly oppose all detentions and deportations. We condemn immigration and border policies rooted in colonialism and racism, designed to exploit and scapegoat migrants, and we acknowledge that both Canada and United States are colonial states founded on stolen Indigenous lands. We also recognize the complicity of the Canadian government and corporations in the displacement of millions across the global south due to militarism, climate catastrophe, and resource extraction.
We are in solidarity with #ElPaso54: On October 14, 54 South Asian long-term detainees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan detained at the El Paso Detention Center started a hunger strike, who lasted 7 days without food and water.
We are in solidarity with #LaSalle14: Today is day 12 of the hunger strike at La Salle Detention Center in Louisiana, which began after some of the detainees were transferred from El Paso Detention Center.
We are in solidarity with #Hutto27: On October 28, at least 27 women began their hunger strike at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. 18 of the women have released public statements, please read and share: http://bit.ly/1HdxVso
"I am a woman fleeing a country where women are given few rights, all of which are violated, and land in this place where the people of immigration condemn us to a process with little or no security, since this process will ultimately end with our deportation. With no objection to a lack of defense, condemning us to an assured death upon being deported back to our countries, then where are our rights?"
Image description: Picture of bus shelter at Yonge and Dundas, where a man froze to death in the winter of 2015. Flowers are laid across the bench and a sign reading "HOW MANY MORE?"is propped against the glass wall
October 27, 2015
To the Members of Toronto City Council:
The meeting of City Council on November 3rd and 4th will deal with the proposal to clear out the homeless from George Street. You will be dealing with a recommendation from the Executive Committee to pass this measure.
The ‘revitalization’ process that you seem ready to set in motion constitutes a reckless and brutal attack on the homeless. It’s far from clear just how your Administration imagines it’s going to be able to relocate the hundreds of men that will be removed but we may be sure that the intention is to push them to the fringes of the City in the interests of an agenda of upscale redevelopment.
On October 6, we sent each of you a letter asking you to tell us who among you would be ready to accept a homeless shelter in your wards and how you would propose to ensure that transportation and services would be provided to those being relocated. Not one of you replied.
Image description: Black and white picture of sign from an OCAP protest. Both signs depict simple drawings of houses and feature the slogan SHELTER NOW
Toronto City Council is preparing to remove hundreds of homeless shelter beds from George Street in the downtown east. This is part of a drive to dismantle the shelter system in the central area and drive the homeless out to suburban locations. Without providing an adequate service network and access to transit, this plan would impose hardship and danger on homeless people. However, it’s far from certain that it’s even possible for the City to do this. The 124 bed Hope Shelter at College and McCaul closed in April and no replacement facility has been found to date. The risk is that the City will proceed with the closing down of the shelters on George Street without being able to provide any kind of viable alternative.
More than 68%, or over 16 million Canadian citizens voted in yesterday’s election, the highest voter turnout since at least 1997. The result: Stephen Harper’s decade of conservative, anti-immigrant, and racist rule comes to an end, and the Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau is now Prime Minister.
While many rejoice at the end of the Harper government, we also know that the new Liberal government must be met with radical, collective, strategic organizations, and mobilizations if we are to improve the lives of our communities.
Saturday, Nov. 28
Steelworkers' Hall - 25 Cecil (South of College, East of Spadina)
Pay what you can
On November 28,the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty will mark 25 years of challenging those who impose poverty on our communities. Twenty five years is a long time but we're not putting on a party to mark the end of OCAP. Just the opposite, the need for community based resistance in the face of mounting austerity is greater than ever. We'll be having a major celebration to look back on the actions we've taken, the victories we've won, the lives we've impacted and the enemies we've made.
Image description: Black and white photo of OCAP member sitting down in front of the Mayor's Office at City Hall. One member holds a sign reading SHELTER NOW with a drawing of a building on it
October 6, 2015
To Mayor John Tory and the Members of Toronto City Council:
The Daily Shelter Census continues to show that the policy you have adopted of keeping shelter occupancy at a level of 90% or less is simply being disregarded. City figures also show that an alarming spike in the number of deaths among those in shelters has taken place this year, with 23 deaths reported in the first five months, compared to 30 during all of last year.
In this context of worsening and lethal crisis, we are also dealing with the appalling situation where existing shelter space is threatened. The 124 bed Hope Shelter at College and McCaul closed in April and no replacement has been found. The 60 bed Second Base Youth Shelter, close to Kennedy and Eglington, is set to close.
RALLY TO STOP THE SOCIAL CLEANSING OF TORONTO'S HOMELESS! Tuesday, Nov. 3, 12:30PM, City Hall (Bay and Queen)
Image description: OCAP members drape a red and yellow banner reading "WE WILL NOT BE PUSHED OUT: More Shelter and Housing Now!" across the roof of the old Hope Shelter. Below them, at street level, other OCAP members hold a yellow OCAP banner
STOP THE SOCIAL CLEANSING OF TORONTO'S HOMELESS!
Tuesday, November 3
Toronto City Hall (Bay and Queen)
Food will be provided
Image description: OCAP members hold a red and yellow banner reading "WE WILL NOT BE PUSHED OUT: More Shelter and Housing Now!" across an intersection crosswalk. To their right, a woman holds a black sign reading GENTRIFICATION above her head and to their left, a streetlight with a blue Yonge Street sign atop it
OCAP Shuts Down Yonge & Dundas, Demanding Immediate Action to End Toronto's Shelter Crisis!
Earlier today (September 21), members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) blocked traffic for over 40 minutes at Canada's busiest intersection, during the lunch hour rush. Earlier in the day, we staged a rally and meal at Toronto City Hall and marched up to Yonge and Dundas as it concluded. Upon reaching Yonge-Dundas Square, a few dozen activists, allies and supporters rushed into the street and began laying flowers and memorial signs around the perimeter of the intersection, preventing traffic from moving by blocking lanes. Speeches were made and banners unfurled mere meters away from the bus shelter where a man froze to death in January of this year.
Image description: A chain link fence in the foreground has a banner hung on it saying "NO MORE HOMELESS DEATHS", while in the background a large red brick building has a banner hung from its roof reading "HOUSING NOW"
September 18, 2015
You will doubtless remember the homeless deaths that happened in this City at the beginning of the year. At the time, promises were made to reduce the level of overcrowding but nothing of the kind has happened. If we look at the latest Daily Shelter Census, issued by the City, we see an (understated) overall occupancy figure of 95%, with the men’s system running at 96% and the women’s at 97%. We must presume there is simply no intention of complying with the 90% policy that Council has adopted.
Image description: 3 OCAP members in orange safety vests stand on the roof of a brick building after hanging a banner reading "WE WON'T BE PUSHED OUT: More Shelter and Housing Now!"
OCAP MEMBERS OCCUPY ROOF OF FORMER HOPE SHELTER
Today, September 18, OCAP members occupied the roof of the former Hope Shelter at College and McCaul Street, to protest the loss of 124 shelter beds due to Hope's closure and to draw attention to the ongoing crisis in the city's shelter system.
Aylan, Galip and Rehan should be here.
We want safety and welcome for all.
Freedom to move, stay and return.
Friday, September 4th, 7pm
Sep 4 - 7. A cross-country weekend of mobilization.
Actions taking place across the country, find one near you or organize your own: www.facebook.com/events/1703064886579884/
Let us know by emailing refugeeswelcomeCA@gmail.com so we can help promote it.
This is a last minute call-out, and we need your help to spread the word. Share this website, and use the hashtag #refugeeswelcome #freedomtomove on Twitter and Facebook.
Cross-Canada actions endorsed by:
No One Is Illegal - Toronto
Solidarity Across Borders - Montreal
No One Is Illegal - Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
Justice for Migrant Workers
Afghans United for Justice
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Council of Canadians
Image description: Signs and banners bearing the names of people who have died on the streets of Toronto are attached to a red brick building during an OCAP action in November, 2014
OCAP Needs Support and Solidarity in its September Action to Challenge Social Cleansing of Toronto's Homeless
The Executive Committee of Toronto City Council is being asked to endorse a plan to move hundreds of homeless beds out of the City's downtown east. If they go ahead and close the shelters on George Street, the chances are overwhelming that such replacements as are found will be located in outlying areas. The 124 bed Hope Shelter at College and McCaul closed in April and no replacement has yet been found.
Image description: black and white image of a shelter bed and a park bench with an OCAP logo positioned between the two, with text reading RALLY FOR SHELTERS beneath it
RALLY AND MEAL TO DEFEND SHELTER SPACE!
Monday, September 21
12:00PM, City Hall (Bay & Queen)
Transportation from Dundas and Sherbourne at 11:30AM
Accessibility van & ASL interpretation provided