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
Seaton House on George Street is the City’s largest men’s shelter. In 2013, over 3,000 men used one of the 540 beds there.
Immigration detention petition delivery to Ontario Corrections Minister, Yasir Naqvi, on Prisoner Justice Day
August 10, 2015, 10am, Prisoner's Justice Day
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
25 Grosvenor Street (Close to Wellesley Station)
It's been two months since Abdurrahman Ibrahim Hassan (Abdi) died in immigration detention custody after being 'restrained' by police and border officials - and still no Coroner's Inquest has been called in to his death. Join us on August 10th, Prisoner's Justice Day to demand justice for Abdi, and an end to immigration detention in Ontario and across the country.
We will be delivering this petition initiated by 88 immigration detainees in the Central East Corrections Centre in Lindsay and
No One Is Illegal-Toronto calling on members, allies and supporters to participate in Aamjiwnaang Toxic Tour
GET ON THE BUS!
September 5th LABOUR DAY WEEKEND
REGISTER NOW: http://bit.ly/ToxicTourTO
It's been a decade since reports surfaced of the impacts of Chemical Valley's toxic pollution on the people of the Aamjiwnaag First Nations, where the Valley processes nearly 1 million barrels of tar sands each day, and where fracking and spills cause health and environmental devastation. Despite its devastating impacts, refineries and pipelines continue to operate in the region with zero accountability or reparations to the community. Chemical Valley operates and reaps profits off of stolen land, and the lack of accountability is a living example of environmental racism.
AUSTERITY WEARS ITS ‘POVERTY REDUCTION’ MASK
OCAP members picket the Liberal poverty reduction consultation in 2013. In the foreground, a person holds a sign reading "Talk is Cheap - Yours is Worthless"
‘Poverty reduction’ is, of course, nothing new to any of us. The Provincial Liberals have kept this farce up for a truly astounding number of years, even as they imposed great levels of poverty, inequality and austerity on communities throughout the Province.
There is really no need to engage in any major examination of the City’s document for the simple reason that it is fluff. It lays out a ‘strategy’ that consists of pious hopes and meaningless statements of intent while,at the same time, carefully avoiding the very issues that could and should be addressed at the municipal level in order to challenge poverty. It proposes, for example, to work to ‘enhance investments in repairs to existing social housing’. The last federal and provincial budgets set aside not one penny for this purpose. What strategy is suggested to overcome this scandalous state of affairs? None at all because no one seriously expects this ‘goal’ to pursued.
Today we marched through the Downtown East End. We got to the Distillery District and were told it was closed. We made our way inside anyways to find hundreds of rich people hanging out, eating dinner and shopping. The police continue to protect the rich while poor people go hungry and die in the streets.
More updates to come.
We marched because we believe:
- all of us should have decent, affordable, accessible housing.
- the massive expenditure of public resources for the Pan Am Games when we are told that there is no money for housing, shelters or social assistance shows that governments can find resources if they want to.
- the targeted policing of poor people and communities of colour is wrong and that social cleansing and police brutality must end.
- if $3.8 million can be spent on lighting a bridge for the Pan Am Games, money can be found to replace the 124 beds lost by the closure of the Hope Shelter.
- sports provide fun and rewarding experiences for people of all ages and athletic resources should go to recreation programs rather than elite level competitions.
- if 10,000 people can be housed in the athlete’s village, more than 243 units can be turned into affordable housing after the Games.
- in social justice and fighting to win.
Thanks to everyone who made #RiseUpTO such a big success! We got up early, we warmed up our voices and we hit the streets to the sound of "We believe that we will win!".
Lowdown: We split into teams and blocked the intersections of Front & York and Wellington and Bay for up to an hour and despite police barricades we blocked the front entrance to the Royal York Hotel, letting no one in and no one out. In effect, we shut out all car traffic in to the hotel and forced the delegates to scurry in the underground path system while being escorted by the police.
We then marched up Bay street, occupying King and Bay, declaring "We hold them accountable! We know who's responsible!". We said we would give those attending the Pan American Economic and Climate Summits a different sort of welcome and that we did.
July 8, 7am.
Meet at Berczy Park.
Surround the Royal York. March up Bay Street
On July 8th, the Pan American Economic and Climate Summits will meet at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. That morning, the elites in this city will welcome with open arms some of the people most responsible for destroying our planet, pushing communities out of their homes, and making us poor. We will be there to give them a different sort of ‘welcome.'
On the morning of July 8th, we will come together rise like the swell of the ocean; and surround the Royal York Hotel. Together, we will assert our dreams of better worlds.
Some of the leaders of destruction that will be in attendance at the summits:
*Shell's CEO, head of Precision Frac (leading Fracking Company), head of CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, head of corporate Cap and Trade groups..
*US, EU, Canada and Ontario Chambers of Commerce, Tony Clement, HSBC CEO, E.L. Rothschild, BNP Paribas, TD Group..
*Head of OECD, David Johnson (Canada's Governor General), the Inter-American Development Bank, Felipe Calderon..
* Shimon Perez, Garda..
We need to move quickly! We must spread the word and get organized. Please do these three things right away:
* Invite people to this facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/562140067258155/
* Share this image on facebook: https://goo.gl/qa68e7
* Download posters, flyers, and social media below and share them widely. Click here for materials.
The Mayor’s Office in Toronto is today occupied by a much slicker operation than it was during the years of dysfunctional, bigoted buffoonery that unfolded under Rob Ford. Mayor John Tory has resumed the drive toward a fully fledged neoliberal city but has the basic political skills to frame his twin agendas of austerity and upscale redevelopment in the language of inclusiveness. He has been sufficiently proficient at this to rapidly create what Michael Laxer has termed an “austerity consensus” supported by the overwhelming majority of the Council, including its left wing.
The agenda of the developers with regard to the central part of Toronto is to complete the creation of an interwoven hive of business, commerce, upscale recreation and high end housing. Standing in the way of this are enduring pockets of housed poverty and a considerable and growing homeless population. Those without housing, very understandably, have tended to gravitate toward the centre of the city and, over many years, shelters and other services have developed in this area. This situation is resented by those working for upscale redevelopment and not only because visible destitution impacts property values and ‘quality of life’ for those with the money to pay for it. It is also the case that the shelters, drop-ins and service agencies that homeless people turn to are located in areas that the forces of gentrification are laying claim to.
As the Pan Am Games approach, the cops are watching. BUT SO ARE WE.
The Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto from July 10-26, and all levels of government have committed billions of dollars to ensure they go off without a hitch. Unfortunately for the people of the Downtown East End, we are considered the “hitches”, and the Toronto Police will be out in force to harrass, intimidate and arrest the people of this neighbourhood to make certain rich tourists and sports bureaucrats can have a pleasant Games experience, at the expense of our quality of life.
Come out on Sunday, July 5, 1 p.m., Queen's Park (with march to Allan Gardens).
Join us at the front in the justice section (red). Meet at 12:45 at the North East Corner of University and College to help us flyer for the upcoming demonstrations during the Pan Am Games.