City of Toronto Welfare ID Policy Hurting Immigrants Defeated!
At the beginning of September, Toronto Social Services adopted a new policy with regard to the ID that would be required of people who are not Canadian citizens. The past practice of accepting the Verification of Status (VOS) document, which is relatively easy to obtain, was replaced with a demand for much less readily available types of ID.
It was clear immediately that such a move would have the most severe implications. A wave of homelessness among immigrants, unable to obtain basis income, was threatened. OCAP rapidly joined forces with No One is Illegal (NOII) and we brought a delegation to the head offices of Social Services. This was followed up with action at the Mayor's office, which included people directly affected by this measure.
We are very pleased to be able to announce that the challenge we took up resulted in an important win. VOS documents, along with a health card, will now be accepted. If VOS is not available, Social Services will confirm status and they will even grant a month's income where a health card is not immediately available. The regressive change has been turned back and the new policy is actually better than the one that existed before.