May 1: Honour Communities - Fight Capitalism

May Day 2014
Honour our Communities - Fight Capitalism!
Thursday, May 1st
5:30pm
Allan Gardens Park (Carlton/Sherbourne)
Meal, Rally and March

*ASL provided
*Accessible march
*Child friendly

Download the poster here

On May 1st, International Workers Day, we will march to reclaim May Day
for just people's struggles and to Honour Our Communities. We are unified in our fight against poverty and capitalism. We oppose attacks on rights and income of workers, irrespective of status. We demand an end to immigration detention because no one is illegal. We will continue our support for Indigenous peoples' movements for elf-determination. We oppose colonialism. We are in solidarity with struggles against Canadian imperialism. We insist on an end to environmental destruction. We resist patriarchy, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia both in our day-to-day work and as larger systems of oppression. Join Us!

Fighting Back Against Cuts to Disability Benefits – from U.K to Ontario

Download the Poster Here!
Download the Flyer Here!

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

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.

Raise the Rates March Confronts Ontario Liberal Annual Gathering

Raise the Rates March Confronts Ontario Liberal Annual Gathering

Kathleen Wynne wanted to use the Ontario Liberal AGM at Toronto's Metro Convention Centre to push the message that her Party and Government represent a 'progressive' alternative to the Hudak Conservatives.

Unfortunately for the 'Social Justice Premier', hundreds of people facing poverty, joined by their community and union allies, organized a loud and spirited March on the Convention. The Liberals had to stand behind a line of cops to pretend they stood for social progress instead of austerity and poverty.

Twitterstorm to support #RaisetheRates Protest on Liberal AGM in Ontario

http://dftr.org.uk/RaiseTheRates

Saturday 22nd March

Kathleen Wynne's Liberals are a Government of austerity and poverty that hides behind a facade of 'poverty reduction'. People are poorer to day on Ontario Works and ODSP than they were when the Liberals took over from the Tories. Vital programmes like the Community Start Up and the Special Diet have been slashed and a UK style attack on disability benefits is being prepared.

As the Liberals gather in Ontario for their AGM and prepare for further austerity measures, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and its community and union allies in the Raise the Rates Campaign are marching on them.

Please send in these tweets or others you may wish to compose at 2.30 PM, Toronto time this Saturday, March 22 and help us fight back against Wynne's war on the poor

from 2.30pm EST in solidarity with the demonstration
from 10.30am GMT for those who want to tweet in support from the UK

Hashtags: #RaisetheRates #onpoli
Tweet targets are @Kathleen_Wynne and @OntLiberal
Follow twitter account @OCAPToronto for more information

- See more at: http://dftr.org.uk/RaiseTheRates/songbird.php#sthash.peG34EJY.dpuf
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

OCAP disrupts Liberal ‘Heritage Dinner’ – Stop the Liberal War on the Poor!


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
to access.

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

Cuts Cost Lives: OCAP Action at City Council 2014 Budget

CUTS COST LIVES: Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) Must Be Saved!
*OCAP takes action at City Council Budget Debate

*See pictures here: https://twitter.com/OCAPtoronto

When: Wednesday, January 29th, 10am
Where: Toronto City Council

OCAP has come to the Council Chambers at Toronto City Hall to demand that plans to gut the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) in the 2014 budget be overturned. A cut of $4.3 million has been proposed.

The HSF, the City’s replacement to the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) that the Ontario Liberal Government eliminated, plays a vital role in our communities. Through it, people who are homeless, people who are coming out of institutions, or women leaving situations of domestic violence, are able to obtain
housing. By accessing this fund, people facing the loss of their housing are able to save themselves from being dumped on the streets. Individuals and families who have suffered fires and floods or who lack basic household items are able to access the HSF.

Stop Violence Against Women in Toronto’s Downtown East


Important update: series of assaults, lack of police response, fighting for - and winning - shelter and drop-in space.

Over the recent December holidays, there were multiple sexual assaults against women reported to police in the Downtown East, allegedly done by one man. Once again, like the case earlier in the fall (http://update.ocap.ca/node/1115), there has been no media attention and no public warnings to women. So once again, OCAP women organized a community based response. We made and put up over 300 posters, canvassed, and talked directly to many people in the neighborhood. (See Here for a copy of the more recent poster - please feel free to print and post).

We know that when women live in low income communities the response for our safety is of even less importance. There are multiple ways in which women can be alerted to sexual assaults in their neighbourhoods and these continue to not be utilized. We are already vigilant, we are forced to be, and when we know there is a predator in our neighbourhoods, and especially when there is an image and description of them, we can be even more so. Police over-police our neighbourhoods when it comes to drugs or ways that they criminalize us - they have a billion dollar budget and can't find the "resources" to canvass our neighbourhoods? Can't find the resources to alert women and agencies in the neighborhood when sexual assaults are occurring? They don't care about our safety and they demonstrate this every time sexual assaults occur and they do nothing to alert us.

Join the Raise the Rates Campaign TODAY!



__________________________________________________________________
OPSEU (Ontario Public Service Employees Union) Joins on to the Raise the Rates Campaign!
http://www.opseu.org/notices/raisetheminimumwage/raise-the-rates-campaig...
__________________________________________________________________

The Raise the Rates Campaign represents a broad and growing consensus amongst community groups, unions and anti-poverty activists about social assistance in this province. Together we reject attempts to divide poor people on assistance between those on Ontario Works and those on Ontario Disability Support Program.  We are united in this fight and building alliances with all those living in poverty, people working low-wage precarious jobs, and unionized workers.

Support The Struggle And Become An OCAP Sustainer

As little as $10 a month can help us maintain our work across this city and it just got easier to give.

For close to 20 years the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has been at the forefront of community based resistance to regressive social policy from all levels of government. We have helped inspire numerous groups across this country and continent, been studied in universities and college programs and most importantly we have time after time organized poor communities to stand up and take what’s theirs. To fight for their dignity and for justice.

Today we are engaged day to day in the fight against City Hall, Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill. Making sure that repairs are done in community housing, fighting for each and every entitlement on welfare and disability and working to win fundamental changes that will mean better housing, more to eat and better social programs.

All of this continues to be carried out on a shoestring budget. Year after year we scrape by on the generosity of our members and supporters, primarily by those who answer our emergency appeals for cash when we are on the brink of laying off staff or closing our office. Our monthly expenses are by no means outrageous. We pay our staff what we can, cover basic bills and operate a small office. Every month we are thousands of dollars short of covering our expenses.

Our goal is to change all of that by the end of this year. We are looking for all supporters of our work to pitch in and help support the struggle by becoming a part of our monthly sustainers program. Please only donate what you can. Five dollars helps. Ten dollars helps. And if you can afford to give more please do.

To become a monthly sustainer, send a void cheque with amount and which date of the month you'd prefer it to be processed to:

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
157 Carlton, # 206,
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2K3

For more information call us at 416-925-6939 or email ocap@tao.ca.

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