On Saturday, December 12, OCAP members and supporters gathered at City Hall to confront and resist the impending fare increase by the TTC. After several speeches that drove home the message that this increase will massively affect poor communities, dozens of people, carrying signs and chanting slogans, moved to board a Queen Street streetcar. As the driver smiled and passengers expressed support, the OCAP supporters moved onto the vehicle, showing slips of paper stating that they could not pay the high fares being demanded. These bore a striking resemblance to regular TTC transfers.
Having travelled some distance, we got off together and lined upon the other side of the street for the return journey. The first streetcar heading back downtown was, unfortunately, driven by a worker whose sense of solidarity was a little weak and he drove past us. We, therefore, took the precaution of blocking the path of the next vehicle and we were than allowed to board again and pay what every passenger on a public transit system should pay nothing.
Our action on the 12th was not intended just as a symbol of defiance but as a pointing of the way forward. The TTC is already massively expensive compared to other major North American cities and there is every chance that a series of yearly increases will, over the next few years, take the cost of riding the Rocket up far beyond the already outrageous $3.00 coming into effect in January. For poor people and their communities, access to public transit is simply a necessity and, if it is made unaffordable, it must still be accessed.
The OCAP transfers we used at the recent action will be used on a bigger scale and we will build as much support and participation as we can among passengers and workers who operate the system. People have to get to work, to go to food banks and welfare offices and take their children to school. The TTC can't charge fares that force them to walk or that rob them of their rent and groceries. As a public service, it must be affordable and adequate. Ottawa puts nothing into the TTC, Queen's Park neglects it and the City politicians do the dirty work of imposing increases on us. They are all guilty and we have to challenge them.
Refuse to pay the fare hike and fight for the right to public transit!
December 8th, 2009 - Today, starting at 11:30am, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and more than 150, to at times 250 people, who are struggling to survive on Ontario Works and ODSP occupied the 12th floor and main lobby of Toronto's Metro Hall - the head of Welfare bureaucracy in Toronto.
Despite intimidation, the group refused to leave and instead demanded the right to have their Special Diet forms properly processed. The group was loud and determined - chanting "We won't be quiet 'till we get the special diet!". Social Services responded by vaguely telling the group that they are waiting on 'clarification' from the Province on policy around the Special Diet. They then issued an ultimatum and sent in a large team of police, including ETF, who were preparing to mass arrest and physically remove people from the building. After almost 4 hours, the group was forced to exit the building. But this fight is not over - the group from today has vowed to return with an even larger number of supporters.
Angry About The TTC Fare Hike?
Against Transit Fare Hikes
(Queen and Bay)
On November 17th, the Commission ignored community outrage, and instead voted for a TTC fare hike. For poor and working people in this city transit costs are already too high and often unaffordable. The TTC deficit should not be loaded on the backs of people who need transit. It should not be paid for by poor and working people and it should not be paid for by the workers who run the buses, streetcars. Public transit in this city should be federally funded and affordable and accessible to all! They created this crisis, they ran up these deficits and we refuse to pay for it.
TCHC caves on tenant’s 30% rent increase!
Today, one day after OCAP’s public call-out to help Edmundo DeSousa make his rent after TCHC increased it by 30%, the City’s Largest Slumlord has caved: TCHC has apologized to Edmundo, and set his rent back to the original amount!
So, there’s no longer need for Friday’s protest/rent party at TCHC head office on this case. However, those who miss this notice and still show up on Friday will find some Victory Muffins.
While this is yet another victory for TCHC tenants fighting back, it’s still not known how many other poor tenants around the city could be facing such egregious rent increases as TCHC exploits a legal loophole to avoid even the lowest private market standards of social responsibility.
The money budgeted to be spent on the Pan Am Games in Toronto could repair every unit in TCHC, raise social assistance rates for everyone in the province and have money left over for other important social spending. In addition to being a waste of money, the City will use the games as an excuse to speed up gentrification and socially cleanse our neighborhoods. Vancouver has seen the displacement and/or criminalization of thousands of poor people because of the Olympics. We will fight to make sure the same doesn't happen here!
OCAP is calling on our members and supporters to join in this coalition action against the games.
*No Games Toronto - Stop the bid for the 2015 Games!*
*Pan Am Sports Organization (PASO) coming to town to decide on bid*
No Games Flying Squad Bus
Sunday, August 30th
11 a.m. to evening
we will visit a few of the venues
Meet 11 a.m. @ APUS
100 Devonshire Place (across from the UofT Varsity Stadium)
*RALLY to stop the Games!*
Monday August 31, 11:00 a.m.
100 Devonshire Place
across from the UofT Varsity Stadium