Raise The Rates

UPDATED WITH SCHEDULE! ~ Raise the Rates 2014 Week of Action October 13-17

Wynne Government Talks About Justice, But Delivers Poverty!

Liberal MPPs will be going back to Queen’s Park on October 20 but, during the week before, they will be in their local communities and in their constituency offices. Doubtless they will be feeling quite smug after their election win and telling people about how committed to ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’ they are.

Communities living in poverty know from bitter experience that the reality they face is very different:

  • The minimum wage has been set at a level that leaves people in poverty
  • Those on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP are living on incomes that leave them unable to feed themselves and pay the rent
  • The real value of social assistance payments has fallen by some 55% since 1994 and people have continued to get poorer during the years the Liberals have been in office
  • The vital Community Start Up benefit that kept people housed has been taken away
  • The Special Diet benefit that put food on the table for thousands has been slashed
  • Many people on ODSP are now facing medical reviews that threaten to take away their income

Raise The Rates: The Campaign So Far

Every month in Ontario, hundreds of thousands of people receive welfare and ODSP cheques that are far too small for them to pay the rent and eat properly.

Ontario Liberal Budget Maps Out the Way to ‘Social Justice’ Austerity

During the recent Provincial Election, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals distanced themselves from the crude right wing ideas of the Hudak Tories by pointing to their ‘progressive’ Provincial Budget over which the election was fought. In fact, this document is not quite the road map to ‘social justice’ it claims to be.

What the Liberals actually set out in their Budget plan is a multi-year blueprint to cut the spending for government programs in Ontario. If you take into account inflation and population increases, the Budget actually represents a commitment to shrink services and reduce deficits on the backs of those least able to afford the cost. Those on Ontario Works (OW) and ODSP will receive a 1% increase below the rate of inflation that will see them fall deeper into poverty. The vital Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit, that people used to obtain or retain housing, will not be restored. Low wage workers will see the minimum wage indexed to inflation but kept at a level that condemns them to working poverty. While the poor fall further behind, landlords are allowed to increase their rents at or above the rate of inflation and billions of dollars that the ‘cash strapped’ Government could use to reduce its deficit are handed to wealthy corporations in the form of tax breaks.

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

Email Action! Tell the City not to cut the HSF!!!!

The City of Toronto wants to destroy the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) that enables people on Ontario Works or ODSP to obtain or retain housing. They have systematically restricted access to it and turned applicants away in droves, causing great hardship and increasing homelessness.
Email your thoughts, experiences with the HSF or Community Start-Up to Toronto Emplyment and Social Services cchowen@toronto.ca by March 24th

*Updated with Accessibility info!* March 22nd Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Convention

Download the Poster for March 22 HERE,
And Download the Flyer for March 22 HERE!


March 22nd Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Conference!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Assemble at Metro Hall, King and John, 1.00 PM

Meal, rally and march

Our Pots and pans are empty, bring yours to bang!!!!!!!!!!

Accessibility Info:

· We have an accessible van with room for one chair and 4 passengers to follow the march for folks who aren't able to march

- ASL Interpretation available

· Closest wheelchair accessible subway station: St.Andrew Station
(approx 2mins away)

· Transportation from out of town: accessible transport available
(alternative to buses), contact each city for more info.

Stop the Liberal War on The Poor

Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Convention

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Assemble at Metro Hall, King and John, 1.00 PM

Meal, rally and march

Our Pots and pans are empty, bring yours to bang!!!!!!!!!!

*Buses coming in from Sudbury, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo and more -
_______________________
Stay Tuned for More Info!

Kathleen Wynne is every inch a Liberal. She talks about poverty reduction while imposing deeper poverty on communities. She has been a leading member of the Government all along while social assistance (OW and ODSP) rates have lost even more of their spending power. She was a cabinet minister while the minimum wage was frozen, while the Special Diet was slashed and while the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit was being eliminated. There is no question that the Liberals added their own misery to the brutal cuts that the Harris Tories imposed in 1995. Today a single person on Ontario Works is expected to survive on just $626 a month, while rent and cost of living continues to rise beyond reach.

As we head into another round of provincial elections in the spring, we will not be swayed by fake gestures and empty rhetoric from any politicians.

Demand That Your MPP oppose Merger of ODSP with OW!

Below is an attachment of a letter & cover letter for MPPs asking for them to oppose any merger of ODSP and OW as proposed by the Lankin Sheikh Report. There is also a pledge for them to sign saying they would vote against any such a move if it were brought forward as a bill in the Ontario Legislature.

The Raise the Rates Campaign is building opposition to any attack on ODSP and the people in this Province that rely on it. We say the program should be improved not reduced or eliminated. If you would be interested in taking this letter to your local MPP, whichever party they belong to, please let us know so that we can add your initiative to the list of local events.

Go to this web site for contact info for all MPPs:
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_current.do

If you would like further information or to discuss this further you can call the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) at (416) 925-6939

Download the Declaration Here:

Download the Cover Letter Here:

Apply for the Housing Stabilization Fund ~ East End Application Clinic

November 11, 2013
From : 1-3pm

South Riverdale Community Health Centre
955 Queen Street East

The Housing Stabilization Fund was created in the city of Toronto to replace the loss of the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). The Housing Stabilization Fund is for people on social assistance, ODSP or OW. It can help with first and last month’s rent to get housing, rental arrears, furniture and household items, moving expenses, hydro arrears and more. We will be hosting an application clinic in the east end at South Riverdale Community Health Centre. People applying should bring (if they have), ID and worker information,
and any supporting documents like bills, eviction notice, promise to rent.

For more information call 416-461-1925 ext 247 or email zdodd@srchc.com

Raise the Rates! Restore CSUMB!

Report Back: Raise the Rates Week of Action and Provincial Assembly

Communities united in fighting attack on Disability Benefits!

*See the Resolution to fight the ODSP/OW merger, Adopted by the Raise the Rates assembly, here: http://ocap.ca/node/1107

*See the joint Statement with Mamaweswen here: http://ocap.ca/node/1108

OCAP was proud to participate in the Raise the Rates Week of Action with a range of community and union allies. Linking up with the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, we held actions in a range of Ontario cities and towns. People mobilized to demand living wages, decent income, a Raise in the Rates of Social Assistance, and the reversal of austerity based cuts like the elimination of the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). Through determined community mobilization last year, we forced $42 million out of the government in what was meant to be CSUMB funding. That funding runs out at the end of this year, and so the call to restore CSUMB is timely and vital.

Above all, we challenged impending measures to attack disabled people on ODSP through the government’s proposal to merge ODSP with Ontario Works (OW).

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