The Raise the Rates Campaign is excited to announce an Ontario-wide speaking tour this coming May 2014 of Ellen Clifford from Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) UK.
Who is DPAC: The Cameron Government in the UK has implemented brutal cuts to programs for unemployed and disabled people. This includes a system called the Work Capability Assessment that has been used to deny benefits to thousands of people. Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) is an organization in the UK that has been at the forefront of challenging this situation. It has mobilized disabled people to fight back and formed alliances with community organizations and unions in resisting the austerity measures of the Cameron Government. The hated private company, Atos, that was carrying out the assessments of sick and disabled people has been forced to quit as a result of the powerful resistance DPAC and others have taken up.
Wynne Government Backs Away From Plans To Merge ODSP and OW
On Thursday April 3, 2014 The Minister of Community and Social Services told the Ontario Legislature that his Government would not be merging the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW). ‘We’ve heard loud and clear that this is not the way to go’, he said, in grudging recognition of the outpouring of community outrage and action that met this proposal of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario.
That the Wynne Liberals have thought better of merging ODSP and OW is a considerable victory that we should take heart from. However, it would be a mistake to think that the threat to ODSP is now removed. First of all, the future of the Liberal Government is somewhat shaky. Should they go down to electoral defeat in the near future, the merger might reappear as a threat and certainly would if the Hudak Tories were in power. Even more to the point, an attack on disability benefits could still be carried out without combining the two benefit systems. The above-mentioned report calls for increased reviews of ODSP claims and assessments, such as we’ve seen in the UK, remain as the main threat to the rights and income of disabled people. Forcing a huge chunk of people who presently qualify for ODSP to scramble for the lowest paying jobs on offer is in line with the plans for austerity based ‘reform’ that is unfolding in a whole number of countries, including this one.
The Ontario Liberal party’s annual lavish fundraising dinner was disrupted
this evening in Toronto by members of the Ontario Coalition Against
Poverty. In the face of grinding poverty across the province as a result
of Liberal policies, a dinner that boasts of $1500 a plate is a slap in
the face to people struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table.
Disrupters unfurled a banner demanding a raise in social assistance rates
and littering the floor with macaroni.
This action is in the lead-up to a mass mobilization this coming Saturday,
March 22nd with people coming from across the province to protest the
‘Liberal War on the Poor’ at the OLP annual meeting. The Liberals have not
only solidified the 1995 Harris government cuts, but brought down their
own brutal form of austerity. Since 2005, this government has hacked away
at the Special Diet Benefit – a food benefit – making it almost impossible
Then in 2012 the Liberals announced the cut to Community Start-Up and
Maintenance Benefit – a benefit to get people housed, used often by those
who are homeless, in the shelter system, leaving an institution, or women
escaping domestic violence. This is on top of failing to raise the rates
of social assistance to any livable amount let alone keep up with
inflation. Today people are living on social assistance rates that are at
least 55% below where they should be. Wynne talks about social justice,
but few across the province have seen any evidence of that.
“We will not let the rich dine at our expense or at least not dine in
peace. The poor will not suffer in silence and we are fighting back!”
Join the March 22nd mobilization – no matter who is in power this spring –
Stop the War on the Poor, Raise the Rates NOW! http://ocap.ca/node/1137
The City of Toronto wants to destroy the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) that enables people on Ontario Works or ODSP to obtain or retain housing. They have systematically restricted access to it and turned applicants away in droves, causing great hardship and increasing homelessness.
Email your thoughts, experiences with the HSF or Community Start-Up to Toronto Emplyment and Social Services firstname.lastname@example.org by March 24th
Available now! Click the "attachments" link to download and print the poster and flyer.