Toronto: Support Needed: City denies family beds

March 24, 2007


Please Contact Joe Mihevc and the Members of the Community Development and Recreation Committee of City Council and Demand this Situation be Resolved.

Khalton Mohammed is a mother of five children who are forced to live on sub poverty welfare payments. They lack many basic household items, including beds and bedding. Provincial regulations permit the City to give Community Start Up payments in such situations but Toronto has decided to only refer people to corporate charity and not give any assistance with beds.

When Khalton applied, she was sent to a Sleep Country Canada outlet.

They did not have enough beds for her family, she was expected to cover costs of transporting them and the beds were dirty and covered in dust. A couple of her kids having breathing problems and, not wanting her children to sleep on dirty mattresses, Khalton could not take them.

David Miller’s City Council has called on the Province to raise welfare rates by 40% and passed a resolution saying that Toronto Social Services staff should ensure that all legitimate Special Diet benefits are given by his City’s welfare offices. These stands were taken on the initiative of Joe Mihevc and his Committee. Yet Toronto welfare offices hold back that which the Province allows them to provide. In this case, a City policy is established to limit entitlement in a very cruel manner.

How, you might ask, does this contradiction arise? The answer is that the politicians refuse to seriously look into how the Administration delivers welfare (or not) to poor people. Mihevc may pass ‘progressive’ resolutions but he won’t challenge the conduct of the bureaucrats who run the show. Their restrictive, petty and vindictive persecution of poor people goes on as an ugly covert operation that the ‘reform minded’ majority on Council pretend not to see. The dog is happy to let the tail wag it.

Not this time. A family is sleeping on the floor and a policy designed and implemented by bureaucrats are keeping them there. City Council can overturn this policy any time it wants to. Local policies that limit entitlement have to be replaced with those that provide all that the Provincial rules permit.

Please contact Mihevc and the members of his Committee and let them know their lofty resolutions to Queen’s Park have to be complemented by measures that ensure City welfare practices are taken out of the 19th Century. Tell them you want Khalton and her children to have beds and people like them to have their rights and dignity respected.


Joe Mihevc

ph: 416-392-0208

fx: 392-7466

Maria Augimeri



Janet Davis



Norm Kelly, Frances Nunziata and David Shiner are also on the Committee. It does no harm to contact them if you wish but they are part of the overtly reactionary wing of Council. As such, they don’t have the same political appearances to keep up as the majority and we would suggest not wasting too much time on them.

Please report on contacts you make with Committee members by phoning the OCAP office (416) 925-6939 or by e mail at

Thanks for all your help and please look out for upcoming public actions on this case.


Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6