By: Delbert Francis
The Ontario government has announced that it will end the Community-Start Up and Maintenance benefit (CSUMB) for recipients of Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) on December 31, 2012. Considering the real value of a welfare cheque has declined by nearly 60 percent since the mid-nineties, doing away with community start-up amounts to kicking the poor while they’re already down. To stop this cut poor people and public sector workers in Ontario will need to fight back together.
By Gerard Lefebvre
In 1995, Mike Harris was elected Premier of Ontario, bringing an end to Bob Rae's five year NDP government. The province was ailing under a deep recession, which had seen many manufacturing and public service jobs threatened by what the governing NDP had referred to as “a new economic reality”. Elected into office by a population thoroughly dissatisfied with status quo responses to these economic maladies, the NDPs crafted a wholly inadequate response to the situation: a meld of traditional Keynesian anti-recession spending mechanisms and hard-line cuts to programs and services; Rae instituted a "welfare fraud" policing task force and new policies on student loans that ensured students would be saddled with debt years after completing their education. They also began what amounted to an attack on unionized public sector workers, demanding rollbacks and wage freezes.
by Bruce 'the Bruiser' Darden
Before the Lockout
In the spring of 2011, during the rotating strikes and subsequent lockout of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), anarchists living in southern Ontario attempted to organize support and solidarity for their working class brothers and sisters. Specifically, members of Common Cause took an active role organizing community solidarity and fightback in Toronto and Hamilton. These members did not organize under the banner of Common Cause, but participated in the activities planned by the mass organizations that these members are a part of—especially Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP); the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly (GTWA); Steel City Solidarity (a solidarity network in Hamilton); and CUPE Locals 3902 & 3907.
Issue 13 of Linchpin, the newspaper of Common Cause, is now available online.
In it you will find articles on OCAP's campaign to fight the recent cuts to the OW/ODSP Special Diet Allowance, the deportation of Daniel Garcia, Anti-police brutality marches in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, and much more!
By Claire Voltarin
On April 1, members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), people on social assistance and their allies took to the streets of downtown Toronto to protest the slashing of the Special Diet Allowance supplement to Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Demonstrators converged on Nathan Phillip’s Square to mingle and enjoy a free meal before crossing the street to rally outside the Sheraton Hotel, where Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan was speaking at a $90-a-seat luncheon. The inherent hypocrisy between cutting vital financial support required for poor people to eat, while on the same day hosting an expensive fundraising lunch, was pointed out by OCAP organizer John Clarke as he addressed the crowd under a large banner emblazoned with the 1930’s-era workers’ slogan: United we eat, divided we starve.
Friday, April 1st, 2011
@ 12:00 Noon, Nathan Phillips Square
Join the Fightback to Raise the Rates!
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty Gets Ready to Confront New Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Eight years of the progressive Mayor David Miller has meant little for the poorest people in Toronto. The former City Council and David Miller are responsible for 312 shelter beds for the homeless being cut with only 60 ever replaced. Promises of new shelters have been empty rhetoric, with people waiting years for any new spaces to open up. Gentrification has continued at high speed, Toronto Community Housing is looking to sell off properties, while the waiting list for housing is almost 10 years long. Transit fares have gone up and accessibility was one of the first things to be cut from the budget. Welfare rates are shamefully inadequate, while city administrators willfully deny people access to vital benefits such as the Special Diet Allowance. Poverty in Toronto has continued to grow under a so-called progressive Mayor. The City of Toronto is increasingly divided between the rich and the poor.
Audio from panel discussion on economic justice in Ontario, recorded at the Toronto vs. the G20 teach-in, Saturday, 5 June 2010
Rekha Sharma, Unite Here Local 75;
Ajamu Nangwaya, CUPE Ontario;
AJ Withers, DAMN/OCAP
Recorded by Anabel, and edited by Candace, CHRY 105.5 FM
Gaetan Heroux holds up a copy of the program of the unemployed council movement of 1933 as he addresses a meeting of poor people on Friday, March 26. PHOTO: Mick Sweetman
By Mick Sweetman
Toronto — Over 75 poor and working people held a rowdy public meeting Friday evening at St. Luke's church at Sherbourne and Carlton. The meeting followed the Ontario budget announcement that cut the Special Diet supplement for people on social assistance.
A.J. Withers from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) kicked the night off by calling for an immediate 40 per cent increase to social assistance. Withers said, “Right now a single person on welfare gets a shamefully low $364 a month for rent. A person on ODSP gets $464 for rent. Yet for a one-bedroom in this city, the average price is $927 a month. No matter how you do the math, social assistance rates never add up.”
By Mick Sweetman
TORONTO — At a streetcar stop at Queen and Bay streets Saturday about 50 anti-poverty activists boarded a westbound streetcar after showing the driver protest “transfers” made by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in what they called a “pilot program” for fighting the fare hike.
Driver and passengers seemed in good spirits as protesters chanted “Hey, Hey, TTC! Public transit should be free!” Protestors distributed OCAP “transfers” to passengers and hung a banner out the window reading “Fair rates not fare hikes” as the streetcar headed toward Spadina Avenue.
The rolling protest was against the TTC increasing fares to $3 starting on Jan. 3. The price hike is 25 cents a trip and an increase of over 10% for a monthly pass. Advocates of poor and working people say transit costs are already too high. The fare hike comes at a time of economic recession and job losses, growing poverty, and dangerously low social assistance rates.