March to Raise Social Assistance Rates

raisetherates_stickerThe Time Is Now:
Raise Social Assistance Rates!
Rally & March
Tuesday, Oct 17 | 12 Noon

Toronto City Hall

Facebook Event | Lunch Provided | Accessibility Van On-site.

On October 17, the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty, the Raise the Rates Coalition is calling everyone out on the streets for a march to demand an immediate raise to social assistance rates and an end to the punitive system of surveillance and degradation that shrouds the provision of income support.

After 14 years of Liberal rule, poor people in Ontario are worse off now than they were in the mid-nineties. Nearly a million unemployed and under-employed people are forced to eke out an existence on sub-poverty social assistance rates that forces on us the impossible choice between food, shelter, and caring for our families.

The record is telling. After refusing to reverse the Mike Harris cuts of the mid-1990s, the Liberals announced a “Poverty Reduction Strategy,” in 2008 which, after 5 years, failed miserably at meeting its targets. In 2014, they followed it up with another 5 year strategy to meet the same targets, but this time with no timelines attached. Meanwhile they initiated a ceaseless merry-go-round of social assistance reform commissions, reports, studies, consultations and, this year, a 3-year Basic Income Pilot, with even more studies, and consultations to follow. It’s clear that the only strategy being employed is one of deferring action, while dangling the promise of poverty reduction.

In addition to allowing inflation to eat into the meagre income of people on social assistance, the Liberals have cut millions of dollars in benefits. The elimination of the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit in 2013 alone resulted in a claw-back of at-least $275 million ($55m * 4) over the last 4 years. Left in the wake of that crucial benefit, used by thousands to meet emergency housing and health-related needs, is a mess of municipal funds – such as the Housing Stabilization Fund in Toronto – that have drastically reduced access to emergency funds and fueled homelessness.

History demonstrates that gains can only be won by poor people with political agitation and a threat to undo the status quo. Waiting for the Liberals to “reduce,” let alone end, poverty is more futile than rearranging the deck chair on the Titanic. We are willing to wait no longer and on October 17, we will build a fight that will win an immediate raise to social assistance. Join us!

Launch: Maximum Income Project to Raise the Rates

Sticker

Campaign Launch @
Royal Bank of Canada AGM
Thursday, April 6 | 9am
Sony Centre for Performing Arts
1 Front St. East
| Facebook Event

Download Flyer & Info-graphic

The Maximum Income Project is a satirical campaign that mocks provincial hypocrisy on poverty while making serious demands for an Immediate raise to social assistance rates.

On Thursday, April 6, members of the Raise the Rates Coalition, which includes anti-poverty organizations and public sector unions, will launch the satirical ‘Maximum Income Pilot Project’ campaign taking aim at the provincial government’s sorry record on poverty. The Liberals have now spent nearly 10 years talking about poverty reduction – all the while cutting real incomes of people on social assistance vis-a-vis inflation. Endless cycles of consultations, studies, a Commission to Review Social Assistance, and a recent proposal to pilot a Basic Income Project have been used to defer the most logical action – raising social assistance rates. While poor people are told to keep consulting, successive budgets have provided billions of dollars worth of tax breaks to corporations and the rich.

The ‘Maximum Income Project’ proposes the most obvious action to decrease poverty – take away the excess wealth the Liberals have helped the rich accumulate and redistribute it. In his discussion paper on the proposed Basic Income Pilot, which the Liberals commissioned, former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal proposes providing small sampling of poor people $1320 with no strings attached for three years ($1820 for those on disability), bringing people up to 75% of the poverty line. The Raise the Rates Coalition argues there is no reason to wait, the results are obvious, poor people will be better off on every measure imaginable. Instead of delaying action, everyone currently on social assistance must be brought up to these ‘Segal rates’ immediately, an endeavour that will cost the province an additional $4 billion. The Maximum Income Pilot Project will provide the means to raise that revenue by reversing corporate tax cuts and instituting a truly redistributive taxation system.

Since the Liberals and their rich backers are such believers in the efficacy of public consultations, the campaign will organize consultations with the corporations and the rich who’ve benefited from the Liberal legacy, on the best ways to tax them. In a flipping of the pathologizing terminology typically reserved for the poor, we will seek out people with “lived experience of wealth,” and ask for their opinions on ways to help them deal with their “hoarding problem.”

The campaign launch will take place at the Royal Bank of Canada Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, April 6 at the Sony Centre for Performing Arts. The bank was deemed as the appropriate target for the launch given the profits it has reaped through its various collaborations with the Social Assistance bureaucracy in Ontario. Members of the Coalition will attempt to get the Maximum Income Pilot Project tabled for discussion on the AGM agenda, following the launch celebration at 9am. Join Us!

If you are interested in getting involved in the campaign to raise the rates email us at raisetheratescampaign[at]gmail.com.
#RaisetheRates

 

Ontario-Wide Raise the Rates Week of Action!

The Raise the Rates Campaign is calling on local communities to challenge MPPs during the week of May 18. During that week, they will be in their constituency offices and this is an ideal time to challenge the austerity and growing poverty that is being imposed in this Province.

Please find below a schedule of events across Ontario and come out to any events in your area! Raise the rates now!

Toronto: Rally at MPP Glen Murray’s office, May 21 (https://www.facebook.com/events/815237728560292/)

London: Rally at Deb Matthews’ office, May 21 (https://www.facebook.com/events/411712415620477/)

Windsor: Public Meeting All Saints Church, 330 City Hall Sq W. 2.00 PM. Rally City Hall 4.00 PM, May 22. John Clarke from OCAP will speak. Organized by Voices Against Poverty and the Windsor Downtown Panhandlers and Buskers Union.

Kitchener-Waterloo: Picket outside the Kitchener Center Liberal Office, May 22 (https://www.facebook.com/events/421742714665321/)

Kingston: Distributing the Invisible Austerity comic (May 20), Film screening of We Challenge You – Stories Of Desperation And Deception (May 21), Free the People radio special on the Raise the Rates campaign (May 22) (https://www.facebook.com/events/995754047110209/)

Thunder Bay: Raise the Rates public meeting at Waverly Park Library 3.30 to 5.30 PM May 20
Maddie Ritts from OCAP will speak.

Join the Raise the Rates Provincial Week of Action to Confront Poverty in Ontario: Raise Welfare and Disability Rates Now!

Wynne Government Talks About Justice But Delivers Poverty

Raise the Rates Provincial Week of Action: October 13 – 20th

 List of Events Below

Raise the Rates banner

MPPs will be going back to Queen’s Park on October 20 but, during the week before, they will be in their local communities and in their constituency offices. Doubtless Liberal MPP’s will be feeling quite smug after their election win and telling people about how committed to ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’ they are.

Communities living in poverty know from bitter experience that the reality they face is very different:

  • The minimum wage has been set at a level that leaves people in poverty
  • People on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP are living on incomes that leave them unable to feed themselves and pay the rent
  • The real value of social assistance payments has fallen by 55% since 1994 and people have continued to get poorer during the years the Liberals have been in office
  • The vital Community Start Up benefit that kept people housed has been taken away
  • The Special Diet benefit that put food on the table for thousands has been slashed
  • People on ODSP are now facing medical reviews that threaten to take away their income

The Raise the Rates Campaign, a coalition of poor people fighting back along with community and union allies, is not buying into Kathleen Wynne’s ‘social justice austerity’. We are demanding living wages, decent income, the reversing of cutbacks and adequate and secure ODSP benefits.

From October 13-20th, we’ll be going to MPP’s and provincial offices and Liberal events with our demands and holding events throughout Ontario. The Wynne Government is going to have to understand that people in poverty are fighting back.

**Announcing Raise the Rates Week of Action Events!** 

 Toronto:

 Join community members in Weston-King

Tuesday, October 14th, 5:30pm

Weston-King Neighborhood Centre: 2017 Weston Rd (at King St)

Meal and Discussion on Raise the Rates

 

Join Educators for Peace and Justice

Wednesday, October 15th, 5:00pm

Ministry of Education, Bay and Wellsley

Poverty is an Education Issue: installation / street theatre and flyering

 

Join the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Thursday, October 16th 12:00PM

George St. South of Gerrard

Meal then March to Glen Murrays office

ocap@tao.ca /www.ocap.ca / 416-925-6939

 

Join Jane Finch Action Against Poverty

Friday, October 17th 4-7PM

Southeast corner of Jane and Finch

Dancing, food, Rally

https://www.facebook.com/events/1508544179384461/

janefinchactionagainstpoverty@gmail.com

 

Ottawa:

Join Poverty Makes Us Sick Ottawa

Friday, October 17th 12:00 PM

Cdn Museum of Nature park (O’Connor and Argyle)

Meal and Rally and March

raisetheratesottawa@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/599647510147620/

Sudbury:

Join Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty

Thursday, October 16th  1:30PM

Memorial Park

March to provincial building Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty:https://www.facebook.com/groups/257339454351403/

Kitchener-Waterloo: 

Join Poverty Makes Us Sick KW

Thursday, October 16th 5:00 PM

Food and MARCH

Kitchener City Hall

200 King Street West, Kitchener

https://www.facebook.com/events/535255453285044/

Guelph:

Join OPIRG Guelph and the Raise the Rates Campaign

Thursday, October 16th, 7pm

Panel and Discussion: Poverty in Guelph, Raise the Rates of Welfare and Disability Now!

Then join the Raise the Rates Gue;ph Rally
Friday, October 17th, 1pm
Liz Sandals’ office, 173 Woolwich Street
Contact: volunteer@opirgguelph.org
______10 Carden St, Downtown

Cobourg:

Join the Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty

Tuesday, October 14th, 7:00PM

Delegation to City Council on Homelessness

https://www.facebook.com/groups/northumberland.cap/

For more updates visit raisetherates.ca or like Raise the Rates on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RaiseTheRates

If you want to be part of an action in your community during October or want to help build one, email raisetheratescampaign@gmail.com, call OCAP at 416 925 6939

Raise the Rates Week of Action October 13-17

Week of Action 2014Wynne Government Talks About Justice But Delivers Poverty

Liberal MPPs will be going back to Queen’s Park on October 20 but, during the week before, they will be in their local communities and in their constituency offices. Doubtless they will be feeling quite smug after their election win and telling people about how committed to ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’ they are.

Communities living in poverty know from bitter experience that the reality they face is very different:

  • The minimum wage has been set at a level that leaves people in poverty
  • Those on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP are living on incomes that leave them unable to feed themselves and pay the rent
  • The real value of social assistance payments has fallen by some 55% since 1994 and people have continued to get poorer during the years the Liberals have been in office
  • The vital Community Start Up benefit that kept people housed has been taken away
  • Many people on ODSP are now facing medical reviews that threaten to take away their income

The Raise the Rates Campaign, a coalition of poor people fighting back along with community and union allies, is not buying into Kathleen Wynne’s ‘social justice austerity’. We are demanding living wages, decent income, the reversing of cutbacks and adequate and secure ODSP benefits.

From October 13-17, we’ll be going to MPP’s and provincial offices throughout Ontario with our demands. The Wynne Government is going to have to understand that people in poverty are ready to fight back.

For updates visit raisetherates.ca or like Raise the Rates on facebook

Download the Raise the Rates Week of Action Poster here: Week of Action 2014

If you want to be part of an action in your community during October or want to help build one, email raisetheratescampaign@gmail.com, call OCAP at 416 925 6939

Liberal Party’s Party Disrupted in Toronto

This evening, Thursday, May 22nd, a group of OCAP members found their way into an exclusive Liberal Party event with Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau in attendance. We dropped a banner and had the following to say with a speech and flyers distributed through the air

Lib party banner:

ATTENTION: No Cause for Celebration
Ontario Liberal Party: Making Life Harder for Poor People

As you celebrate the Liberal Party tonight, let us remind you of why poor people are suffering in this Province…

  • After elected in 2003, on the heels of the devastating Conservative reign, the Liberals failed to reverse the Harris cuts including the 21.6% slash to welfare rates in 1995
  • Since that time, social assistance rates have continued to drop. Token increases of 1% a year do not even match inflation. Today, welfare rates are 55% below where they should be with that initial Harris cut and 19 years of skyrocketing costs to housing, food, and basic necessities of life
  • The Ontario Liberals have also slashed vital benefits such as the Special Diet – literally a benefit for food , and the Community Start-Up – a benefit to combat homelessness, and for women to re-locate from situations of domestic violence. These cuts are putting poor people’s health and lives at risk.
  • Not one party in this election is even talking about poverty – in fact, all three parties are looking to cut social spending which would see our incomes continue to decline.

Poor people in this Province refuse to be treated like dirt. We have been organizing and fighting back. We will disrupt your fancy parties, your election campaigns, and your public events – we will not be silent or invisible.

We demand:
Raise the Rates of social assistance 55% now!

Lib party blurry Justin

Justin Trudeau up front and centre

Lib party outside banner

Making it clear outside the event

RaisetheRates.ca
https://www.facebook.com/RaiseTheRates
#RaisetheRates

Fighting Back Against Cuts to Disability Benefits – from U.K to Ontario *DPAC Speaking Tour*


Austerity is Global – so is our resistance.dpac poster general tourn (2)

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 Cuts (DPAC) UK.  OnFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/383847668424188/

DATES & LOCATIONS 

• May 6: Sudbury
Details: Tuesday, May 6th, 7pm, at Kinsmen Room A of the Parkside Older Adult Centre on Durham St https://www.facebook.com/events/1427609067493788/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

•May 7: North Bay meeting with Organizers

• May 7: Ottawa
Details: Evening Town Hall Wednesday, May 7th, 6:30pm, at Somerset West Community Health Centre (55 Eccles St) https://www.facebook.com/events/685486958164060/

• May 8: Montreal                                                                                        Details: Thursday, May 8th, 6:30pm – Accessibility, Disability and Resisting Austerity at CÉDA, 2515 rue Delisle (Métro lionel groulx). Organized by: Comité d’action solidaire contre l’austerité – CASA. QPIRG concordia, Endorsed by: Movement Action Chomage. Comite Chomage Est

• May 12: Kingston Coalition Against Poverty
Details: Monday, May 12th, 6pm at Kingston Public Library Central Branch (130 Johnson St), Delahaye Room.
https://www.facebook.com/events/616944901716629/

• May 13: Kitchener-Waterloo
Details:Tuesday, May 13th, 6:30pm at Queen Street Commons Cafe (43 Queen St South)https://www.facebook.com/events/225928060937800/?ref_newsfeed_story_type…

• May 14: Toronto
Details: Wednesday, May 14th, 6pm at St. Luke’s Church, 353 Sherbourne Street (at Carlton). Accessible space. ASL available. Free meal provided. https://www.facebook.com/events/618128368277697/

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.

Here in Ontario, we also face major attacks. Ontario Works (Welfare) and ODSP (Disability) rates are too low to enable people to pay their rent and eat properly. The Special Diet and Community Start Up have been slashed by the Ontario Liberal government. Under huge pressure from ongoing community action, the Liberals have promised not to merge OW and ODSP but the danger remains that they will bring in a UK style assessment system that would pose a huge threat to disabled people on ODSP. We need to understand what is happening elsewhere and how people are fighting back and winning against the attacks.

From May 4-15th, Ellen Clifford from DPAC will be visiting Toronto, Kitchener, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa. She has been campaigning with the disabled people’s movement for 15 years and, since 2011, has sat on the National Steering Committee of DPAC. She is also a member of Unite the Union and works to build solidarity between workers in unions and those forced to live on social benefits.

Visit: raisetherates.ca for the full schedule & for more information call the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty at (416) 925-6939

Join the Raise the Rates Campaign Today!

Raise the Rates is a campaign to fight poverty by raising social assistance rates in Ontario. Jointly organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP), Kingston Coalition

Against Poverty (K-CAP), Poverty Makes Us Sick Waterloo Region, Poverty Makes Us Sick Ottawa, OPSEU and other grassroots anti-poverty organizers and trade union allies from across Ontario. We are a growing movement united in fighting for:

        Raise Social Assistance Rates 55%: reverse the cuts, raise the rates!

•        Restore Special Diet and Community Start-Up Benefits

•        Stop the Attack on Disability Benefits

•        Living wage for all: Raise the Minimum wage above poverty wages

Visit: RaisetheRates.ca              https://www.facebook.com/RaiseTheRates                 #RaisetheRates