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
Soup Provided

11th Annual Strawberry Ceremony for Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans and Two-Spirits

11th Annual Strawberry Ceremony for Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans and Two-Spirits
Sunday, February 14
12:30-1:30
Toronto Police Headquarters (40 College Street)

Why Poor & Homeless People Should Welcome The Refugees


Image description: Graffiti on a white wall in black letters that reads REFUGEES WELCOME!

Over the last few weeks, the OCAP office has taken a lot of calls from people living in poverty who question whether refugees should be allowed into Canada when so many are experiencing homelessness and hard times. An expression we keep hearing is that 'we should take care of our own first'. This is our response to such ideas and to those who want us to blame the refugees rather than look at the real reasons why there is poverty and homelessness.

Canada has, of course, been shaped by immigration and the history of the people who have come here is hardly a picture of easy times and luxurious treatment. Those fleeing persecution and poverty have always experienced discrimination and super exploitation. At the same time, immigrants have always faced the lie that they were somehow 'queue jumpers' enjoying special treatment. Refugees coming here today from Syria and other countries face the same slanders. Lots of hateful and false claims of refugees getting special treatment are all over the internet. One widely circulated offering, for example, suggested that refugees are provided with $2,470 per month when this figure included a one time start up payment and presented it as monthly payment. Those who are privately sponsored, moreover, don't get government assistance. The free ride for the refugees is a racist myth you should take with a whole salt mine.

Urgent Action Needed: No More Homeless Deaths!

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.

Extreme Cold Weather and the Toronto Homeless Shelter System: January 2016


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'.

Talking About Social Justice: OCAP Speaking Series


3rd Thursday of every month (starting Jan. 21)
6:00PM
St. Luke's Church
353 Sherbourne Street

Free Event with: Snacks, Childcare, Wheelchair Access, Tokens

Starting January 21st, 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!

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?

OCAP Launches Online Community Organizing Course: Community Resistance to the War on the Poor

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.

FAQ:

  • How long is it? 8 weeks
  • When is it? It begins the week of January 1-7. It is self guided so you can do it on your own schedule for each week
  • How much time a week will it take? This will vary depending on the week but each week has about a 10 minute video by John and A.J. about the week. Each week also has course materials. These usually take the form of relatively accessible readings but also may be additional videos, audio recordings and comics. You can also participate in the discussion boards with other students and the instructors if you want. So, it depends on how much discussion you want to participate in and how long it takes you to read the articles. We’d guess that you should plan for 2-3 hours a week. There won’t be assignments beyond going over the materials.
  • How much is it? Sliding scale - $25/50
  • What do I need for it? All of the readings and video connections are online so the only thing you need is access to a computer with an internet connection.
  • How do I sign up? Click here.

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.

City of Toronto Welfare ID Policy Hurting Immigrants Defeated!

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.

OCAP Occupies Second Floor of City Hall to Protest Loss of Shelter Beds in Downtown East!


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"

Open Letter to Toronto City Council: Shelter Closures Threaten Deadly Winter!


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.

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