Available now! Click the "attachments" link to download and print the poster and flyer.
March 22nd Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Conference!
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Assemble at Metro Hall, King and John, 1.00 PM
Meal, rally and march
Our Pots and pans are empty, bring yours to bang!!!!!!!!!!
*Buses coming in from Sudbury, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo and more -
Stay Tuned for More Info!
February 28, 2014
Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre, Border Agency HQ, 6900 Airport Road
1:45pm. Buses leave Bloor & St George at 12:30pm, Kipling Station Parking at 1pm
February 28th marks the two-month anniversary of Lucia Vega Jimenez’s attempted suicide while in immigration enforcement custody awaiting deportation. She died 8 days later. February also marks the five-month anniversary of the historic migrant strike in Lindsay ON against endless detentions, maximum security incarceration and a broken detention review system.
Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Convention
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Assemble at Metro Hall, King and John, 1.00 PM
Meal, rally and march
*Buses coming in from Sudbury, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo and more -
Stay Tuned for More Info!
Kathleen Wynne is every inch a Liberal. She talks about poverty reduction while imposing deeper poverty on communities. She has been a leading member of the Government all along while social assistance (OW and ODSP) rates have lost even more of their spending power. She was a cabinet minister while the minimum wage was frozen, while the Special Diet was slashed and while the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit was being eliminated. There is no question that the Liberals added their own misery to the brutal cuts that the Harris Tories imposed in 1995. Today a single person on Ontario Works is expected to survive on just $626 a month, while rent and cost of living continues to rise beyond reach.
As we head into another round of provincial elections in the spring, we will not be swayed by fake gestures and empty rhetoric from any politicians.
Shawn Brant Gives Harper Until The End of February for an Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Dear Stephen Harper,
I am writing in regards to a mandate issued from the Mohawk Community of Tyendinaga, dated October 27th 2013, requiring your cooperation for the facilitation of a national inquiry into the circumstances of murdered and missing First Nations Women.
Strawberry Ceremony with Wanda Whitebird begins at
40 College Street at Bay, Toronto
Community Feast catered by NaMeRes at the 519 Church Street Community Centre; 519 Church Street following the rally.
Please leave your agency banners and organization signs at home and make some in honour of women who have died instead.
Tokens will be available at the rally.
Dr. Roland Wong's patients, medical allies and community supporters gathered outside the College of Physicians and Surgeons
Dr. Roland Wong's patients, medical allies and community supporters gathered outside the College of Physicians and Surgeons to challenge his unjust suspension for helping low income people obtain the Special Diet. Despite the driving snow, his patients, many of them injured workers, came out to show solidarity. Following the rally, a delegation accompanied Dr Wong and one of his patients to the offices of the Minister and Community and Social Services where her application for the Special Diet was left with McMeekin's staff.
John Bonnar was also there to document the event. Please contact John before using any of his pictures.
College of Physicians and Surgeons, 80 College Street, (West of Bay),
Wednesday, February 5, at Noon
On February 5, a six month suspension of Dr. Roland Wong’s licence to practice medicine in Ontario will begin. He is also saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs and penalties.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons has imposed these measures on Dr. Wong because he helped large numbers of his patients, living in poverty on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), obtain the Special Diet so that they and their families could have some chance of staying healthy.
CUTS COST LIVES: Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) Must Be Saved!
*OCAP takes action at City Council Budget Debate
*See pictures here: https://twitter.com/OCAPtoronto
When: Wednesday, January 29th, 10am
Where: Toronto City Council
OCAP has come to the Council Chambers at Toronto City Hall to demand that plans to gut the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) in the 2014 budget be overturned. A cut of $4.3 million has been proposed which means cutting the fund by virtually two thirds.
The HSF, the City’s replacement to the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) that the Ontario Liberal Government eliminated, plays a vital role in our communities. Through it, people who are homeless, people who are coming out of institutions, or women leaving situations of domestic violence, are able to obtain
housing. By accessing this fund, people facing the loss of their housing are able to save themselves from being dumped on the streets. Individuals and families who have suffered fires and floods or who lack basic household items are able to access the HSF.
Mr De Souza, a Toronto resident for 25 years, passed away on Saturday, January 18th but is yet to have a funeral, because the family is unable to afford the costs associated and the City of Toronto will not pay simply because Mr De Souza was undocumented. The City has asked Mr. De Souza’s family to declare the body abandoned after which they will put it in a box, and burn it instead of following their internal processes and subsidizing the funeral. If this happens, Mr De Souza's children will be unable to say their last goodbyes.
This morning at 10am, Family, friends and supporters of Rogerio Marques De Souza including members of No One Is Illegal Toronto, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and other community organizations were outside Toronto Metro Hall, ready to demand that the City of Toronto provide him with a funeral subsidy like any other low-income Toronto resident so that his family can carry out his last rites.
However, a private organization stepped in to pay for the funeral which is now happening later today as a result of the Toronto Star story this morning. We postponed our action this morning but the family have resolved to make sure this never happens to anyone else in the city. We will be taking joint actions in the coming week. We cannot rely on the charity of individuals to step up each time while allowing laws and policies to continue to discriminate against undocumented people.
WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Tell them that in Feburary 2012, Toronto promised undocumented residents that they could live here without fear. Now, the city staff tells us that our communities can't even die with dignity. Undocumented people in Toronto deserve the same services as everyone else. Insist that this must never happen again. Let them know that neither municipal or provincial laws must shut out undocumented families. More information below.
To City of Toronto Council Members:
cc. Shelter Support and Housing Administration
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014. In the lead up to the 2014 Budget.
We, the undersigned represent community agencies and organizations in the City of Toronto who are concerned with the ongoing homelessness crisis in our city. We are writing to you to urge you to take action now.
As you are aware, City Council voted to bring shelter occupancy rates down to 90% more than 9 months ago, but have failed to keep their promise. Capacity for all shelters remains well over 90% in almost all sectors, even with the use of the flex beds, and the overall overcrowding or worsening conditions have not been adequately addressed.
We call on you as City Councilors to support the motions and directions set at the December 4, 2013 Community Development and Recreation Committee.
OCAP went down to the Metro Hall warming centre when it reopened at 3.00
PM on January 20. Some definite progress has been made in creating a
place of basic comfort and dignity for the homeless people forced to use
this service. 40 thick mats and blankets were available for people to
sleep on that had not been provided the first time the centre opened and
hot soup had also been laid on. We will have to keep up the pressure to
ensure proper hot meals are provided and that the number of people that
can be sheltered is increased by opening new locations. However, it is
also clear that the City is having to respond and improvements are being
Many thanks to people who offered materials, if we can all please spread
the word for people to go down there if they are in need of a warm place!
Important update: series of assaults, lack of police response, fighting for - and winning - shelter and drop-in space.
Over the recent December holidays, there were multiple sexual assaults against women reported to police in the Downtown East, allegedly done by one man. Once again, like the case earlier in the fall (http://update.ocap.ca/node/1115), there has been no media attention and no public warnings to women. So once again, OCAP women organized a community based response. We made and put up over 300 posters, canvassed, and talked directly to many people in the neighborhood. (See Here for a copy of the more recent poster - please feel free to print and post).
We know that when women live in low income communities the response for our safety is of even less importance. There are multiple ways in which women can be alerted to sexual assaults in their neighbourhoods and these continue to not be utilized. We are already vigilant, we are forced to be, and when we know there is a predator in our neighbourhoods, and especially when there is an image and description of them, we can be even more so. Police over-police our neighbourhoods when it comes to drugs or ways that they criminalize us - they have a billion dollar budget and can't find the "resources" to canvass our neighbourhoods? Can't find the resources to alert women and agencies in the neighborhood when sexual assaults are occurring? They don't care about our safety and they demonstrate this every time sexual assaults occur and they do nothing to alert us.
Friends and Allies,
As you may be aware, OCAP has recently had a small victory in forcing the
City of Toronto to open Metro Hall as a Warming Centre for people during
cold alerts (see here: http://ocap.ca/node/1123). However, it appears the City is, so far, not willing to make the Warming Centre as warm and welcoming as it should be.
Last week as temperatures dipped close to -40, the Warming centre was
nothing more than a roped off area with a few hard chairs and no signs, no
cots or mats, and no screens for privacy. Only after pressure did the City
provide some blankets, but they did not allow hot food to be donated by
individuals or organizations, let alone provide it themselves. The city is
apparently afraid to let homeless people sleep with comfort at Metro Hall
for what that says about the overcrowded shelter system. In the mean time,
people were using backpacks and blankets to lie on under florescent lights
and in clear view of anyone walking by, eating cold granola bars and tea.
This Warming Centre for the homeless is drastically different than the
Warming Centres opened for those who lost power during the ice storm where
cots, blankets, showers and hot food were provided. This shows a massive
disparity and view of 'comfort' for those who are homeless and all around
lack of fair treatment.
During the next cold alert, OCAP intends to push the city on this matter
and as such we will be bringing these necessities to people who are using
the Warming Centre at Metro Hall.
Communique from DPAC:
Last Monday, 6th of January the first episode of a new "Reality TV" show was broadcast in the UK called "Benefits Street". This is the latest in a long line of TV shows which are designed to demonize Social Security Claimants and paint them as scroungers of "hard working people's tax money".
This is deliberate misinformation and is very much in line with the UK government propaganda that unemployed people are to blame for unemployment, not the government's own austerity economics, and that people claiming out of work and disability benefits are just too lazy to earn their own money, and that people who live on benefits are doing so as a "lifestyle choice".
You can view the trailer for the series or if you wish the entire first episode . And here is some of the media fallout from the show 1 , 2, 3, 4.
We at DPAC and other campaigning organizations in the UK have had enough of this propaganda and we're going to fight back.
A Demonstration has been organized at the offices of the television production company that is responsible for making this series. Ironically they call themselves "Love Productions" – they are on twitter as @LoveProdHouse
The Demonstration has been set for 3pm GMT on Monday 13th Jan, that is 10am EST. You can read the announcement here and here.
As well as a demo outside the production offices, we're going to be making a noise on twitter and we would really appreciate support from you. It would add to our numbers and let activists in the UK know that we are not alone.
We will be tweeting to the production company @LoveProdHouse and the TV Broadcaster @Channel4 to let them know that these programs are not acceptable, and we would really appreciate it if you could join with us in this. If you are not a twitter user you can Email the broadcaster Channel 4- HERE.
We are preparing a web-page with pre-prepared tweets that you may wish to use which will be up on Monday HERE or you are welcome to tweet them your own tweets.
Please use the hashtags #BenefitsStreet and the hashtags #DPAC #OCAP so that we in the UK can see that you are with us.
As well as the demonstration in the afternoon, the second episode airs on TV at 9pm GMT – 4pm EST.
We will be out tweeting in force to try to get our message across about the poison spread by this sort of programme. Once again we would really appreciate you joining us in this.
The second episode of this program focuses on immigration, which means its likely to be just as toxic as the first episode – if not even more so.
We just received confirmation that the City of Toronto will be opening a Warming Centre this evening, Monday, January 6th, at Metro Hall at 55 John St.
We are told that Metro Hall will be open 24 hours until the cold alert is off, people are welcome to bring pets, there will be hot drinks and TTC tokens. This small but important victory that comes after much pressure from the community and supportive Councillors.
Over the next 24 hours, the temperature in Toronto is expected to drop dramatically with an extreme cold weather alert having already been issued. For those without a safe and warm place to go, extreme weather is especially dangerous, and often times, deadly. Warming centres were opened up in the after math of the ice storm for those who lost power in their homes - the City failed until today to provide warming centres for people that are homeless.
Warming centres are a very simple stop-gap measure in a sea of inadequacies for the City to put in place to ensure some respite from the cold and to take actual concrete measures against the risk of freezing deaths on our streets.
The turning of the calendar gives us an opportunity to reflect on our struggles, and prepare for the work ahead. Here is a brief report of our activities.
Toronto Declared A Sanctuary City
On February 21st, 2013, after over a decade of work involving organizations acrosss the city, No One Is Illegal – Toronto made a major breakthrough as Toronto was declared Canada’s first Sanctuary City. See a partial history of that struggle by clicking here. Check out a report by the Solidarity City Network on the next steps that Toronto must take.
Canada’s largest immigration detainee strike
Since September 17, 2013, nearly 200 migrants have been on strike in Lindsay, ON. Though strike participants have faced deportation, segregation and violence, their actions have continued. Over 2,500 people have signed petitions, hundreds of us have protested, and the mainstream media has begun to question the unfairness of immigration detention. See the campaign website at www.endimmigrationdetention.com
Open Letter sent to: Shelter Support and Housing Administration and
Members of Community Development and Recreation Committee, City of Toronto
We are contacting you about the urgent need for Warming Centres and
adequate resources to be made available immediately for those who are
homeless in the face of the extreme cold weather that is hitting the City.
At the December 4th meeting of CDRC, it was unanimously agreed upon that
Warming Centres should be opened up especially in the cases of extreme
weather. Today there is a a wind-chill warning, and by Tuesday it is
expected to dip down to -27. The City opened up Warming Centres very
quickly after the ice storm for those who lost power. The same should be
done now for the homeless to prevent any further injury or deaths.
Peter St Referral Centre is not a sufficient space for a warming
centre - we need places that are large enough for people to lie down, and
in locations that are accessible to the most amount of people as was the
case during the ice storm. For example, in the east-end a key location
would be John Innes Community Centre at Queen and Sherbourne - this would
be most easily accessible to people in the community.
Monday, December 30th
Carlton/Church (outside of the Loblaws)
On Monday, December 23rd, around noon, a homeless man named Richard was found dead at the busy corner of Carlton and Church outside of the Loblaws. Richard was a part of the Downtown East Community. He was in his early 50s, was homeless and stayed at a local shelter.
While we do not know what Richard's last day looked like, we do know that he was lying dead at a busy intersection of the City during the middle of the day. We know for a fact that on a busy shopping day just before Christmas many people must have walked by him and did what is all too common place - they chose to ignore a person lying on the ground. We also know that Loblaws raked in an exorbitant amount of money that day, while a man with nothing material to speak of, died just out front of their flagship store.
We also know that winter is a deadly season for many people who are homeless and that there are not enough resources and safe warm places for people to go during the day or at night.
DEAR TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR:
At this time of year, of celebration and alleged good will to others, it seems fitting to point out to you that the homeless shelters in this City are overcrowded and in crisis.
In order to respond to this situation, the 2014 City Budget must include measures to ensure that the policy of keeping shelter capacity at no more than 90% is actually enforced.
We call on you to make sure this happens.
THE ONTARIO COALITION AGAINST POVERTY
Friday, December 20th, 2013
"From our home to yours" in this holiday season...too many people in our City don’t have homes or a safe place to sleep. The City of Toronto must act to make sure shelters and services are available for all those who need it.
Today, as part of a campaign for increased shelter and services for the homeless in the City of Toronto, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty delivered ‘holiday cards’ to Budget Committee members. The cards include messages from those on the streets, and the text message above.