OCAP | Doug Ford
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is a direct action anti-poverty organization that fights for more shelter beds, social housing, and a raise in social assistance rates.
poverty, homelessness, housing, social assistance, ontario works, odsp, anti-poverty. ocap. ontario coalition against poverty, shelters,
126
archive,tag,tag-doug-ford,tag-126,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,select-theme-ver-4.5,menu-animation-underline,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.5.2,vc_responsive

Response to Ford’s Cancellation of the TCB Cuts

The Ford government has backed down from its plan to eliminate the Transition Child Benefit. The benefit, which provides food and clothing allowance for 32,000 of Ontario’s poorest children, was scheduled to be cut on November 1. Families surviving on social assistance and struggling to put food on the table were set to lose up to 30% of their income. The attempted cut was widely condemned by municipalities, faced a legal challenge, and triggered a community mobilization.

The government’s last minute decision to cancel the cut is a welcome reprieve, but it comes after months of subjecting poor families to brutal anxiety over their ability to take care of their children. The government is reportedly also cancelling its plan to increase the clawback of the earned income of people on social assistance, and is fuelling speculation about whether it will go through with its promised tightening of the definition of disability in January.

Ford is following a troubling pattern with changes to social assistance. Upon coming to power, the Conservatives immediately cut a planned increase in rates by half, cancelled a series of scheduled positive reforms, and announced a 100-day review of social assistance. The move sent chills through poor communities. The distressing months that followed were full of wild speculations about the extent of cuts that could be implemented.

More than 400 days later, the government still hasn’t revealed the results of its review. Instead, in late 2018, it signalled that social assistance would increasingly become more restrictive, but offered few details, and said changes would be implemented over an 18 month period. The move offered short-term relief to some, but prolonged the agony for most. A year later, he has suddenly cancelled two planned regressive changes, but has effectively shifted attention away from the fact that for the first time in years, people on social assistance will not receive any increase to their sub-poverty incomes this year.

Ford’s record makes clear he intends to gut income and social services further and create a climate of desperation where people scramble for the lowest paid jobs. But the populist premier’s approval ratings have plummeted and he has become a liability for the federal Conservatives vying for power. In this context, the rollback of some of the cuts to social assistance is evidence that his austerity measures can be beaten back. But given there won’t always be the spectre of a federal election in the background, we must build a serious social mobilization capable of haunting his administration and grinding its austerity measures to a halt. We are committed to doing so and fighting to raise social assistance rates, join us.

No Food For You: Ford’s Attack On Ontario’s Children

Thursday, September 26 | 6pm-8pm | CRC, 40 Oak Street
[Free event with meal, childminding, wheelchair access, and tokens]
Facebook Event

On November 1, Doug Ford’s government will eliminate food and clothing allowance for 32,000 of Ontario’s poorest children. The cut is a result of the cancellation of the Transition Child Benefit, which provides parents on social assistance up to $230 per month per child to take care of their kids. For a single parent with two kids on Ontario Works, the cut represents a loss of 30% of their already sub-poverty income.

Ford says he’s cutting the benefit because only people on social assistance get it. That’s like closing soup kitchens because only the poor use them. The cut is about scaling back Ontario’s social safety net and expanding the pool of workers in vulnerable situations who are forced to accept rock bottom wages and bad working conditions created by Ford’s corporate pals. It will also strip children seeking refuge in Canada of critical income support.

This government is prepared to subject Ontario’s poorest parents and children to hunger and destitution to further its goals. Ford’s viciousness will only escalate unless it met with serious opposition. Let’s build it, join us.

Speaker: Jackie Esmonde, Income Security Advocacy Centre

Jackie Esmonde is a staff lawyer at the Income Security Advocacy Centre, a member of OPSEU Local 5118, and a member of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

No Freedom to Hate: Resisting Racism

Thursday, July 18 | 6pm – 8pm | CRC, 40 Oak St.
[Free event with meal, childminding, wheelchair access and tokens]
Facebook event

The resurgence of the far-right has intensified existing racism in society. Violence and hate crimes against Jews and Muslims have been particularly notable in their brazenness. The perpetrators of this hatred draw inspiration from, and in turn form the enthusiastic base of, politicians like Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, Andrew Scheer, Maxime Bernier and others.

Such politicians favour dog-whistles over explicit racism to signal their support for racist ideas while trying to remain acceptable to the broader public. The result is a bizarre reversal where the incitement of hate is justified as free speech and opposition to it is panned as intolerance.

Our best shot at defeating the escalating attacks on everything from our income, housing, to our very existence lies in unity. But in order to build it, we must understand how hate is being mobilized to grow division, recognize how it infiltrates our lives, and learn to challenge it effectively.

Speakers: Azeezah Kanji, Daniel Karasik and Cedar

Azeezah is a legal analyst and writer based in Toronto. She is also the director of programming at the Noor Cultural Centre.

Daniel is an organizer with IfNotNow Toronto, a writer, and co-facilitator of the new network Artists For Climate & Migrant Justice and Indigenous Sovereignty.

Cedar is a Hamilton-based activist who was recently arrested for speaking out about police complicity in enabling far-right violence.

This event is part of OCAP’s monthly Speakers Series. It’s where we discuss issues critical to the success of poor people’s movements.

Doug Ford’s War On The Poor

Thursday, April 18 | 6pm – 8pm | CRC, 40 Oak St.
[Free event with meal, childcare, wheelchair access and tokens]
Facebook event | Audio/Video Archive

The Ford government’s first budget came out on Thursday, April 11. It is bad news for the people. But the populist Premiere knows that bad news must be delivered with a smile, and confusing rhetoric.

So join us to make sense of how the budget will impact our lives, from education to healthcare to legal representation, to social assistance, and more.

Then let’s figure out how to build a resistance movement that can become Dougie’s worst nightmare.

Speakers:

Natalie Mehra, Ontario Health Coalition
Amina Vance, Students Say No
Jackie Esmonde, Income Security Advocacy Centre
Shelagh Pizey-Allen, TTC Riders
Kelly White, Street Health Overdose Prevention Site
John Clarke, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Natalie Mehra is the executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition.

Amina Vance is a high school student and one of the lead organizers of the Ontario-wide student walkouts.

Jackie Esmonde is a staff lawyer with a legal aid clinic, the Income Security Advocacy Centre and a member of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

Shelagh Pizey-Allen is the executive direction of TTC Riders.

Kelly White volunteered with the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society and now serves as Coordinator of the Overdose Prevention Site at Street Health.

John Clarke has been active in anti-poverty struggles for over 40 years, and is a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

Townhall: Ford’s Attack on Social Assistance

Wednesday, December 5 | 6pm-8pm | St.Luke’s Church, 353 Sherbourne St.
Dinner Provided. Wheelchair Accessible Space
Facebook Event

The Ford government has announced its planned changes to social assistance. It is clear they intend to use social assistance as a weapon in their war on the poor. OCAP’s analysis of the announcement can be read here.

Join us to help make sense of the cuts being proposed, and to talk about how we’re going to fight back.

Response to Ford’s Social Assistance Reforms

Ford Government intensifies attack on Ontario’s poorest people

The social assistance reforms that the Ford Government announced today can well be described as the new Doug Ford Poor Laws. As expected, they’re making Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) significantly more restrictive and precarious.

The basic intention is to refine the system as a tool to push people into the lowest paying and most exploitative jobs on offer. It is entirely in line with the attack they have already carried on the minimum wage, workers’ rights, and job protections. Forcing people off social assistance while depressing working conditions in the midst of a housing crisis won’t move people out of poverty but will make the Progressive Conservative’s bankrolling base of business executives and owners even richer.

The reforms will divide people on social assistance into those deemed the most severely disabled and those who must join the scramble for jobs. The kind of “compassion” that severely disabled can expect from this Government is made clear from the fact that the social services Minister, Lisa McLeod, would offer no comment on whether any increases in social assistance rates can be expected over the next three years.

Those presently on ODSP will be grand-parented into the new system but new eligibility rules will use the more narrow federal definition of disability. Many who could get onto ODSP under the existing rules will be forced to try to live on OW, including having to look for work even when they are too unwell to do so.

All those who are deemed capable of working will be expected to comply with “individual action plans” and the Government’s “Open for Business” website will draw the most unscrupulous employers directly into the process. Local municipalities will be encouraged to compete with each other in the development of punitive and intrusive practices designed to hound people into scrambling for the worst jobs. The door is certainly open to the privatization of delivery and services.

The government also signalled that supplementary benefits accessed by people on social assistance will be moved from being mandatory to discretionary. These benefits will likely differ from municipality to municipality. So we’ll be left with a patchwork of benefits with no access to the Social Benefits Tribunal to appeal denials. Outright elimination of particular existing benefits remains a possibility.

People on OW will only be able to earn $300 monthly without claw backs, up from the current $200, but less than the $400 it was supposed to go up to this December. Earnings above $300 will be subject to a 75% claw back, which is worse than the current 50%. The earning exemption for ODSP changes to $6000 annually, but is again subject to the increased 75% claw back beyond that limit.

Over the next eighteen months the full viciousness of the Doug Ford Poor Laws will emerge but it is already clear that, for the Tories, social assistance is a weapon in their war on the poor.

Townhall on OW & ODSP Cuts

Wednesday, November 14 | 6pm-8pm | St.Luke’s Church (353 Sherbourne St.)
Dinner Provided. Wheelchair Accessible Space
Facebook Event

The Ford government is getting ready to announce a series of changes to social assistance. The announcement was originally due by November 8 but has been delayed to November 22. It is widely expected to introduce sweeping cuts to OW and ODSP.
 
Since coming to power, Doug Ford has already cut the rate increase to OW and ODSP in half and suspended a series of positive changes that were scheduled to come in this fall.
 
Join us to break the isolation and talk about how we’re going to fight back.

Stick It To Ford: Defend Our Communities

Saturday, November 17 | 1pm | Deco Labels & Tags (28 Greensboro Drive)
Lunch Provided. Register for Buses Here.
Facebook Event

On November 17, the Ford Conservatives will further their gruesome vision for Ontario at their party convention. Their government “for the (rich) people” has already attacked social assistance, job protections, minimum wage, healthcare, education, and environmental safeguards. They’re not finished. In two weeks, they’ll announce a series of sweeping cuts to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program.

Ford’s vision for Ontario is a grim one for ordinary people: where we are paid less but must pay more for services; where business executives and owners get richer by forcing the rest of us to work with fewer job and unemployment protections; where the rich unite in their quest to exploit and pit the rest of us against each other in a struggle to survive.

On November 17, we will demonstrate that attempts to “open Ontario for business” on this basis will be blocked. To make sure Ford gets the message, we’ll start with an action at Ford’s own business: Deco Labels and Tags.

It’s time to defend our communities. Join us.