Category Archives: Uncategorized

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!

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