On Wednesday, June 15, a mass OCAP delegation visited Mayor John Tory and Councillor James Pasternak as we escalated the fight to get Laura Bardeau and her kids the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) they are entitled to.
The Fight Continues at City Hall | Bay and Queen | Wednesday, June 15 | 11.00 am #HSFJustice | Meet by giant Toronto sign in the square
On the 16th anniversary of OCAP’s powerful protests against austerity at Queen’s Park, help us deliver a clear and strong message to the City that we want justice for Laura Bardeau and everyone trying to get the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). There is money to pay Pan Am Games executives lavish bonuses but poor families are denied basic furniture.
On Wednesday, come help us force City officials to:
- Grant Laura Bardeau the maximum HSF amount
- Make the HSF policy public
- End discrimination against parents and disabled people
Update: Laura Bardeau Still Waiting on HSF, Councillor Pasternak Tries to Cover Up Inadequate and Discriminatory Policy
Thank you to everyone who responded to OCAP's call/write campaign yesterday to demand that the City release the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) amount that Laura Bardeau, a single mum on ODSP, and her two disabled kids are entitled to. Within a day city politicians and bureaucrats, namely Mayor John Tory, Councillor James Pasternak, and Toronto Employment and Social Services General Manager, Patricia Walcott received many emails and phone calls demanding justice for Laura and her kids.
You have helped make this an issue they need to deal with, and we now need to make sure we use the momentum to ensure a victory for Laura and justice for all families applying for HSF.
Laura Bardeau and her two young sons all have disabilities and are living
on social assistance. After a long struggle with bed bugs, they had to get
rid of all of their furniture
While the City has a Housing Stabilization Fund to help people in this
exact situation buy furniture, they are refusing to help this family. The
City says that Laura’s “combined ODSP and Child Tax income is in excess
and precludes eligibility for HSF.” The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
can’t understand how a person whose sole sources of income are ODSP and
Child Tax Benefit has income “in excess.” In excess of what? People on
disability social assistance (ODSP) live well below the poverty line and
frequently struggle to meet their basic needs including food and shelter.
Currently Laura is sleeping with one son on a mattress on the floor (where
they also eat their meals) and the other son is sleeping on a separate
mattress on the floor but the City won’t help.
Friday May 27
Meet @ Toronto City Hall Square
Bay and Queen
Solidarity march on the financial district with CUPE-Ontario
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)- Ontario are marching on the banks at Bay and King to challenge their agenda of privatization and austerity and OCAP will be marching with them. Ontario Hydro, health care, public housing, the delivery of social services - governments are preparing to try and sell all of these off to the banks and corporations. This means increased costs, reduced services and deeper poverty.
Thursday, June 23, 5:30pm, Regent Park Community Health Centre
Downtown East Women Rally & March to End Violence Against Women &
Gender Based Violence
In memory of women who have died on the streets - Stop the violence, Reclaim the Streets!
Welcome to the No One Is Illegal - Toronto is a grassroots migrant justice organization. We fight for the freedom to move, return and stay. If you are here us for the first time, visit the About section which will give you an overview of our work, and campaigns.
If you're an undocumented person needing support in your fight against deportations, or because you need to access services, please send us a quick email.
Visit the campaign website for End Immigration Detention Network to learn about our struggle against detentions: www.endimmigrationdetention.com
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.
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
WHEN: Thursday, June 2 at 12 PM
WHERE: Queen's Park, Toronto
WHAT: In Spring of 2016 Grassy Narrows people will travel 1,700 km to Toronto to call on Premier Wynne to finally clean up the 9,000 kg of mercury that were dumped in our river in the 1960’s. Join us as we demand justice for our people and protection for the waters and forests that give life.
To all land defenders and people in struggle for indigenous liberation,
Please join us in Toronto on June 2nd, 2016 at noon at Queen's Park, for a rally to force Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government to take action.
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)
3rd Thursday of every month
St. Luke's Church (Education Centre)
353 Sherbourne Street
Free Event with: Dinner, Childcare, Wheelchair Access, Tokens
Once a month, join OCAP for a new, free speaking series on a bunch of topics central to organizing around poor people's issues! A new topic will be presented every month and all events are open to the public. Come on out, invite your friends and please share widely!
May 19th - Organizing and Disruption
Speakers: Chanteal-lee Winchester and John Clarke
- What are examples of people winning what they need?
- Why is disruption important?
- How do we fight to win?
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.