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.
Image description: A shopping cart full of bags and clothing is parked in front of the skating rink at Toronto City Hall. In the background, a person walks across the square.
OCAP statement released on the occasion of the City of Toronto's first extreme cold weather alert of 2016. On January 4, overnight temperatures went below -25C in parts of the city
Now that the first extreme cold weather alert has been called in Toronto, it is necessary to stress that the present inadequate measures to try and stave off the risk of freezing deaths can in no way be considered a reasonable or adequate response.
The extreme and disgraceful levels of overcrowding in the shelters create a situation where shelters are impossible to access for many and the conditions in them are an assault on the health and dignity of homeless people. This places lives at risk at all times and, certainly, during cold weather deemed less than 'extreme'.
3rd Thursday of every month
St. Lukes Church
353 Sherbourne St.
Free Event with: Snacks, Childcare, Wheelchair Access, Tokens
Click here to download the flyer
Click here to download the poster
January 21st - Welfare and ODSP
Speakers: AJ Withers and John Clarke
- Why is social assistance designed the way it is?
- Why do we need to raise the rates?
- How can you get everything you can out of OW and ODSP?
February 18th - Gentrification
Speakers: Pat Fiefeld and TBA
- What is gentrification?
- What is wrong with gentrification?
- How and why are poor people pushed out of the neighbourhood?
This year, OCAP hit a rare milestone in anti-capitalist community organizing: we turned 25 years old! Over the years we have learned a lot about organizing and some of that has been compiled into an online course so we can share what we know with others.
Below is the interview Justin Podur did with course instructors John Clarke and A.J. Withers about the course which was published in The Bullet.
We have proof that Toronto Police are doing immigration’s dirty work. You can help stop them.
SIGN THIS PLEDGE:
JOIN US on December 17th at Toronto Police Headquarters.
We have evidence that Toronto Police calls Canada Border Services Agency 100 times per week, that is more than police forces in Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa combined.
Four out of the five times these calls are made for people without an immigration warrant!
That means that Toronto Police look at witnesses or victims of crime, or just every days residents that they stop and quiz for no reason, and based on the colour of their skin, and their accent, call Border Services to see if that person has immigration status or not.
This is racist policing at it's worst. And it must stop.
Image description: Picture of DPAC logo (4 fists of different colors grabbing the sides of a circle with a black triangle reading DPAC in the middle) banner on a fence outside the Royal Court of Justice. The banner reads DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST CUTS "RIGHTS NOT CHARITY"
In these bleak times of austerity, pleasurable duties are rare, but the sending of birthday congratulations to our friends and allies in Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is one to enjoy and savour.
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.