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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!

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

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
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