With the growing gap between rich and poor is in the news again, the upcoming Ontario Coalition for Social Justice (OCSJ) assembly and the meetings of allies in other coalitions are timely! If you live in GTA, southern Ontario or the Ottawa area, please look for an event nearby to attend. Be sure to check out the news, updates and calendar below:
1) OCSJ ASSEMBLY
Please join us, if you are able to do so, to plan how we shall advocate that Ontario embrace economic security, rather than allow poverty to continue!
FROM POVERTY TO ECONOMIC SECURITY
A Forum to Reduce Poverty in Ontario
Saturday, May 10, 10 am – 4 pm — at Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St, Toronto (south of College St — 2 blocks west of the College stop on University subway)
* Recommend ways to reduce poverty and increase social justice
* Organize to increase our power
* Free university and child care
* Recognize the rights of the First Nations
* Learn about the Provincial Government’s plans for poverty reduction
* Mobilize for public input into the process
* Organize among workers, tenants, women, students, and others
dedicated to ending poverty in Ontario
* Wayne Samuelson (President) and Terry Downey (Executive VP), Ontario
Federation of Labour
* Jen Hassum (Chair), Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario
* Denise Stonefish (Grand Chief), Association of Iroquois & Allied
* Cheri DiNovo (MPP), Parkdale-High Park
* Representative of the Provincial Government’s Cabinet Committee for
Poverty Reduction (invited)
Open at no cost to all activists interested in social justice – aboriginals, ethno-racial persons, immigrants and refugees, labour activists, persons with disabilities, students, women, and other
10:00 a.m. Opening & welcome
10:15 a.m. Co-operating among sectors to end poverty:
*Aboriginals: Grand Chief Denise Stonefish
*Labour Wayne Samuelson
*Colour of Poverty Representative of its Steering Committee
*Students Jen Hassum,
10:45 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. OCSJ recommendations & strategy to end poverty
12:00 p.m. LUNCH & networking
1:00 p.m. OCSJ report & steering committee election
1:15 p.m. Ontario Poverty Reduction:
*Government spokesperson [invited]
*Opposition spokesperson Cheri DiNovo, MPP (Parkdale-High Park)
2:00 p.m. How we deliver OCSJ strategy & co-operate with allies
3:30 p.m. Conclusion
For info, contact John Argue, OCSJ Coordinator (416) 441-3714 email@example.com
2) ONTARIO GOVERNMENT & POVERTY
The Ontario Government has not announced its entire consultation schedule, but it did say last week that the Cabinet Committee chaired by Deb Matthews will meet people in 3 communities next week to talk about poverty reduction. The Toronto Star’s Kerry Gillespie also reported that the committee will visit Hamilton, Kingston, and Toronto, but there are no dates yet for those roundtable meetings.
a) Peterborough – May 5
Today, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., a government roundtable will take place at Evinrude Arena’s Multi-purpose room. It is not clear who has been invited there.
Outside the arena, however, anti-poverty activists and local CUPE members are leading community and union demands that the Government “Raise the rates!” for persons who receive financial assistance, but not enough to meet their costs.
b) Northumberland – May 6
There’s no obvious public information about where this meeting will be, nor who has been invited. However, community members are frustrated that the Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty asked to participate, but was refused permission.
c) SPNO conference – May 7 & 8
The third meeting relevant to the public discussion of what should be done to end poverty will be the annual conference of Social Planning Councils in Ontario, and Deb Matthews has been invited to discuss her committee’s plans with the conference delegates. At least, with this meeting, the SPNO will inform the public off what had been discussed there, and how prepared the Minister is to make future roundtables open to the public.
3) LABOUR & COMMUNITY CONCERNS ABOUT POVERTY
***25 in 5 Network
The day after the Government announced that Deb Matthews will participate in the above 3 meetings, a number of representatives of groups participating in the 25 in 5 network met and issued a media release to emphasize that:
· The Government focus on all persons who live in poverty.
· Meetings be open and accessible to the public, and especially those who
are live in poverty.
· Consultations be properly funded and resourced.
· Consultations be recorded and these reports be made public in a timely
This media release and the results of other discussions by groups in the 25 in 5 network are available at http://www.25in5.ca/ .
***Racialization of Poverty
The Colour of Poverty campaign hosted a well-attended forum at Ryerson University to discuss and develop further how to collaborate on ways, tools and strategies for people to work toward equity and inclusion in Ontario. Fact sheets about this campaign are available at
The Ontario Premier and the Minister of Northern Development & Mines, Michael Gravelle, MPP (Thunder Bay-Superior North), have both said that Ontario’s aboriginals will be consulted about mining companies staking claims on “Crown land”, also claimed by aboriginal bands, because the century-old, provincial Mining Act offers clear protection to mining companies but neglects to affirm the rights of aboriginals. In the meantime, however, aboriginals remain imprisoned, merely for stating that they do have claims on land where mining companies are proceeding with
***People with Disabilities
The Ontario Government has stressed that it’s concerned with child poverty as a priority in developing its poverty reduction strategy, but it’s not yet clear how the needs of persons who live with disabilities, and are challenged by poverty, will be assisted.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has worked with part-time college instructors to advocate that they have the right to be represented by a union in bargaining with their employers. The success of this campaign was recognized finally at a lobby day at Queen’s Park for these workers a week ago, when 14 Liberal MPPs talked to the people who turned out for this lobby and promised that the Ontario Government will introduce legislation this spring to allow them to join a union to help represent their workplace concerns. The workers are pleased, but of course, they remain cautious until they see what form the legislation will take.
4) SOME LOCAL EXAMPLES OF ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
The United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) have been supporting migrant farm workers in southwest Ontario for a number of years, and yesterday there was a local, annual celebration at the centre which the UFCW has provided in Leamington, about its worthwhile support. The Friends of Farmworkers, associated strongly with the Chatham-Kent Coalition for Social Justice, provide important support from the community.
The Guelph-Wellington Coalition for Social Justice will meet with its MPP, Liz Sandals on May 23, and present a paper to her outlining its participant groups’ views about how to end poverty in Guelph region.
Opportunities Waterloo Region (OWR) is motivating people there to urge Government action by writing local MPPs. OWR has posted links at its website http://www.owr.ca/ to assist residents of the region to send messages to the MPPs that it’s vital for the Government to take serious and immediate action to end poverty.
May 7 – 8: The Social Planning Network of Ontario (SPNO)’s regular Spring Conference will be held in Ottawa this year on May 7 and 8 and will focus on a poverty reduction strategy for Ontario. Minister Deb Matthews has accepted an invitation to attend a roundtable discussion there. This year’s SPNO Conference is combined with the 80th anniversary of the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, which will hold a dinner the evening of May 7.
Contact: Dianne Urquhart, Social Planning Council of Ottawa, firstname.lastname@example.org and (613) 236-9300, or Peter Clutterbuck, at SPNO, email@example.com (416) 653-7947 for information.
May 10: The OCSJ spring assembly and AGM will take place from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. in Toronto at the Steelworkers’ Hall at 25 Cecil St., near the Queen’s Park subway stop. For information, contact John Argue at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 441-3714.
May 10: The London and District Labour Council is hosting a joint activist forum from 10:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m., in the common room of the Tolpuddle Housing Co-op at 380 Adelaide St. N. The forum title is “Turning globalization around with grass-roots activists”, with a Latin American focus because of concerns in London about what’s happening in Colombia, in particular, and incidentally, the city’s increasing Spanish-speaking population. Information about the forum is available from (519) 645-3108.
May 12: The Centre for Public Justice is initiating its Envisioning Canada Without Poverty campaign with a workshop in Ottawa at the Bronson Centre’s Rideau Room, 211 Bronson Ave. from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. Information is available at email@example.com and (613) 232-0275.
May 15: The Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) will be organizing a community forum to brief various community leaders and local ethnic media within the diverse communities in the GTA about the details of C-50 (proposed changes to Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) and its implications and potential impact on all of us. The forum will be held from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at Armadale Community Centre located in Markham (2401 Denison St – close to the intersection on McCowan and Dension – North of Steeles). Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org . If organizations would like to become supporters of this event, e-mail email@example.com .
May 21 – 24: CUPE Ont. 45th annual convention in Niagara Falls.
May 24: The Centre for Public Justice’s Envisioning Canada Without Poverty campaign will host a workshop in London at the London District Christian Secondary School, 24 Braesyde Ave. from 10:00 a.m. to 12;30 p.m.
Information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org and 1 (800) 667-8046.
May 26 – 30 Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention at Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
May 28 The Annual General Meeting of the Lakehead Social Planning Council in Thunder Bay will feature Peter Clutterbuck, SPNO Coordinator, as the guest speaker on the policy framework for a poverty reduction strategy in Ontario.
For information, contact: Marie Klassen, Lakehead SPC, email@example.com or (807) 624-2330
May 29 Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine has called upon all Canadians to support and join First Nations in challenging the Government of Canada to implement lasting solutions based on equality and respect. A peaceful rally will happen in Ottawa, and more information
May 31: The 7th AGM of Fair Vote Canada will take place at Ryerson University in Toronto, 80 Gould St. (at the corner of Church St.), Room RCC204, from 9:15 a.m. till 5:15 p.m. One panel will feature Olivia Chow, NDP M.P., Martha Hall Findlay, Liberal M.P., and Carolyn Law, Green Party of Ontario executive member. Information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 410-4034.
June 10: The Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) Annual Conference is taking place from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Oakham House, Ryerson University, in Toronto. This is a gathering for anti-poverty, affordable housing and environmental advocates to share experiences and engage in an action agenda on low-income energy issues. One of the main themes will be how Ontario’s poverty reduction plan and its long-term affordable housing strategy must both address energy poverty. More information, including registration and agenda, will be available soon, from Zee Bhanji, Coordinator, at email@example.com or Tel: (416) 597-5855 ext. 5167 or 1 (866) 245-4182 x 5167.
John Argue, Co-ordinator
Ontario Coalition for Social Justice
15 Gervais Dr., #305
Toronto, Ont., M3C 1Y8