Archive for September, 2013

Raise the Rates Week of Action – Local Actions


Take the Power Back!  Demand Justice!  Disrupt Business as Usual!
October 12-20, 2013

Last year our mobilization and province-wide week of action (launched with a bang in Kitchener on December 7th) succeeded in restoring $42 million for homelessness prevention benefits!  This year we take it all!

Provincial Convergence
October 19th –
Get on the Bus!  Convergence in Sudbury.

Free bus from downtown Kitchener and back.  Sign up for your seat today!  Join allies  from across the province in Sudbury for a major rally to win the demands of the Raise the Rates Campaign.  Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP) has been fighting successfully in their Region and it is fitting that we should culminate the week of action with them.  The ride itself won’t be without highlights either! See details below.

Actions in Kitchener:
October 14thCampaign to Raise the Minimum Wage action
As some celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ we ask:  Where is our food coming from? We demand justice and dignity for agricultural migrant workers, shipper/receivers/transporters, restaurant/fast-food workers and grocery store workers!
Action:  Community Meal, Rally and Outreach
Location: Kitchener City Hall Courtyard
Time:  5:30pm
Endorsed by the Waterloo Region Labour Council

October 15th
– All Out!
  Kitchener-Waterloo’s Main Event!
Calling all poor people, allies and anti-capitalists!  Mobilization to Win the Demands of the Raise the Rates Campaign!  No OW/ODSP Merger! Fully Restore the CSUMB and Special Diet Allowance!  55% Increase Now!
Action:   Community Meal, Rally, March, Disruption
Location: OW Office and Regional Health Building; 99 Regina, Uptown Waterloo
Time: 3:30-5:30pm

October 19th:  Kitchener joins major action in Sudbury!  Get on the Bus!

S-CAP has been fighting successfully in their Region and it is fitting that we should all culminate our week of action there.  Restore CSUMB! No OW/ODSP Merger!
Action:  Provincial Convergence in Sudbury
Location:  Buses leaving from Downtown Kitchener – Duke St, behind City Hall – at 9am.
Time:  Event in Sudbury at 2pm.  Returning to Kitchener in late evening.
Reserve your seat today.  Space is limited!

October 20th:  We Remember Ashley Smith Campaign hosts vigil

As a community we will come together to mark the 6th anniversary of Ashley Smith’s death inside Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women.
Action:  Candlelight Vigil and Speakers
Location:  Speakers Corner (corner of King and Benton), Kitchener
Time: 8pm

Plans are being made in communities across the province to hold local actions during the week of October 14th to challenge plans to merge Ontario Works and ODSP and to demand real action on poverty from the Wynne Government. We will be demanding the full restoration of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB), supporting the right of First Nations communities to control the delivery of social assistance programs and calling for a raise of the minimum wage in Ontario to $14 an hour and of social assistance rates by at least 55%. In place of the endless talk of this government about ‘poverty reduction,’ we will be taking action.

Last year’s province-wide week of action report back

More details to come!
Facebook:  Poverty Makes Us Sick!
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty –  (416) 925-6939
CUPE Ontario Raise the Rates Campaign:


Coming in October: Crash the Consultations event and Provincial Raise the Rates Week of Action




Raise the Rates to Respond to Liberal Round of Talk on Poverty with Week of Community Action

Anti-poverty organizations, community groups and trade unions working together in the Raise the Rates Campaign refuse to participate in yet another round of Liberal consultations on ‘poverty’ reduction’.  Instead, we will work for the mobilization of poor communities and their allies that can win real action on the disgrace of poverty that exists in Ontario.

The Liberals have had more than a decade to show they are serious about dealing with the sub-poverty social assistance system.  We heard no end of talk and have been asked time and again to participate in their consultation process.  Despite this, people are poorer under the present ‘Social Justice Premier’ than they were under Mike Harris.

Even worse that this, we fully understand that this Government has embraced an austerity agenda.  We fully expect that, in keeping with this, the Liberals intend to merge Ontario Works and ODSP and attack the rights of disabled people in the Province.

In a situation like this, participating in their present consultations would be more than buying into a stalling tactic.  It would enable the Liberals to prepare the greatest attack on the poor since the 21.6% cut to social assistance that was initiated by the Harris Tories, with community opposition silenced.

Raise the Rates will respond to the Liberal diversionary tour of empty talk and fake assurances with a week of action.  Between October 14th and 20th, communities across Ontario will hold marches, rallies, pickets, occupations and other actions to demand the Government keep its hands off ODSP and raises social assistance rates to the levels that existed prior to the Harris cutback of 1995.

Full details of all upcoming actions will be released in due course and we ask unions, community based organizations and people directly affected by poverty and austerity to join with us in fighting for an Ontario where the right to living wages and decent income is respected.




CRASH THE CONSULTATIONS – Friday October 4th, 8:30am
A.R. Kaufman Family YMCA (333 Carwood Avenue, Kitchener)
Come out and let John Milloy and Ted McMeekin know that their empty promises are not fooling anyone here in Kitchener. 
Enough Talk!  Raise the Rates Now!  Hands off ODSP!


WEEK OF ACTION EVENTS (details to follow):

October 14th, $14 Now!  Raise the Minimum Wage.
October 15th, Raise the Rates! Hands off ODSP!  Community meal and rally
October 19th, Get on the Bus!  Provincial Convergence in Sudbury
October 20th, We Remember Ashley Smith, Candlelight Vigil












September 17th Raise the Rate Rally and Court Support Report-Back


Our Community Responds to Attempts to Demobilize Resistance

MPP John Milloy’s office partnered with provincial prosecutors in Kitchener in an abuse of power aimed at disrupting our successful and ongoing mobilizing around the Raise the Rates campaign (see background).  With an amazing community response, a rally and court support event demonstrated that when it comes to disruption, our skills far exceed those of the local powers.

Following an uplifting meal and concert at Speakers Corner and a lively march to Regional Council and the police station, a sizable group marched right on into the tiny court house.  A large contingent of police, soft-tops, private security and detectives barred the mobs entry into the courtroom itself but disruption, speeches and chants could be heard by Ian and Julian throughout the closed door session.  The courtroom reverberated with resistance.

Julian Ichim of the SPOT Collective and Ian Stumpf of Poverty Makes Us Sick brought legal proceedings to a close in a manner of their own choosing.  There will be no trial, no fine and no inclusion of the irresponsible and ridiculous claims of hostage taking in the record of the proceedings.

Thanks to all who attended and gave energy to this day of action.  We are honoured to have received statements of support from Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, Ontario Federation of Labour, Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance, Alliance Against Poverty and Common Cause KW.

We look forward to the Raise the Rates week of action, October 14-22!

Our Allies in Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty face two upcoming court dates for ‘trespassing’ tickets received during our joint struggle to save the CSUMB.  The S-CAP 11 are due in court October 28 and 31st.  More to come on this situation.

More photos from the September 17th Raise the Rates Rally and Court Support Action:



Janice Lee, Singer/Songwriter, Poet, Activist :




Encouraging Regional Council to Resist the Downloading of the Responsibilities of CSUMB


Julian speaking at the police station (division one)



At the Court House – the old County Gaol.  Behind those doors disorder reclaimed the foyer.



125 folks shared in a meal and concert.  Approximately 45 marched.  Our contributions are but a small piece of the amazing resistance taking place across Ontario.  We stand by Dr Wong and celebrate him for the enormous sacrifice he has made to improve the lives of so many suffering the injustices of social assistance in Ontario.

As Julian mentioned on the steps of the courthouse after the hearing, he is in court again on Monday, September 30th, facing serious charges based on his blog posts reflecting on the pre-G20 infiltration of KW activist networks.  Here is a brief video about Julian and his upcoming trial:

Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage, Province-wide Day of Action!

Fair Wages Now!

Saturday, September 14th, 5-6pm
On Sidewalk In front of McDonald’s
600 King St W, at corner of Breithaupt Ave

Rally and Community Outreach

Kid-Friendly, Non-Intrusive, Community-Positive

We will display placards and creative props while
distributing leaflets about the Campaign to Raise the
Minimum Wage.  We have postcards addressed to Ontario
Premiere Kathleen Wynne that we will have supporters sign.
There will be province-wide actions on the 14th of every month
until we win our demand of an increase to $14/hr.
Together we can win an increase in the minimum wage to get
workers out of poverty!
See the round-up of August 14th actions here

Prices are going up, but wages are not.
The minimum wage has been frozen for 3 years at $10.25.
It is time for an increase.
The current minimum wage drives workers 19% below the poverty line.
We need fair wages, not poverty wages.  Increasing the minimum wage
to $14 will bring workers 10% above the poverty line in Ontario.
A raise in the minimum wage makes economic sense.  Research shows
minimum wage increases get invested back into communities and do not
cause job loss.
The Ontario Government has said it will have a panel study minimum wage.
The Ontario Liberals have shown a strong pattern of stalling through the
commissioning of panels. People in Ontario can’t wait, we need an
increase now!

Why McDonald’s?
McDonalds is a member of a lobby group that opposes an increase in minimum
wage.  McDonald’s USA has even gone so far as to create a budget for their
minimum wage employees – it supposes that they have at least two jobs!
On September 14th, communities across the province will hold rallies that highlight
the membership of McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, Loblaws Family of Companies and Toy’s R Us in this lobby group.

Upcoming Locally:

Tuesday September 24th, Poverty Makes Us Sick is pleased to be hosting
Toronto’s Workers Action Centre for an evening of education and mobilization
around the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage.  This is an important event!
Hope to see you there!  Find out more here.

For more information and to sign up for email alerts about the local campaign,
contact Poverty Makes Us Sick at

Check out the province-wide campaign, and find out how to use social media in this
struggle at:
#fairwagesnow, #14now

Court Support and Raise the Rates Rally

Restore the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit
Protect the Freedom to Protest
Tuesday September 17, 2013




12 noon:  Speakers Corner, King and Benton, Kitchener – Meal                                    

                with music by Janice Lee and Richard Garvey!

1pm:        March to Regional Council Chambers, demand that council fights

                for the Province to Restore the CSUMB

2pm:        Rally in front of Regional Courthouse; 77 Queen Street N

2-4pm:     Court Support


On November 15, 2012, Ian Stumpf of Poverty Makes Us Sick and Julian Ichim of the SPOT Collective took part in an occupation of, then Minister of Community and Social Services, MPP John Milloy’s Kithchener constituency office.  They were there to demand the full restoration of the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB) – a vital homelessness prevention benefit that was accessed by 13 000 folks in Ontario, each month prior to it’s cancellation.

This event was part of a series of successful actions that disrupted Milloy’s nasty work on several occasions.  Julian and Ian were arrested, issued tickets and driven to a location of their choosing. Ian wasn’t even cuffed and was dropped off at a coffee shop, before rejoining the protest at Milloy’s.
What started with a simple trespassing ticket has snowballed into an aggressive campaign of attempted intimidation with the police and prosecutors abusing their power to accuse Ian and Julian of more significant charges.  This is just the pretrial.  It follows two previous hearings. The prosecution has indicated that the trial will be at least one full day.  That date will be determined at the pre-judiciary hearing on September 17th.
The cancellation of the CSUMB is not mere austerity, but rather an escalation in the attack on the poor. Similarly, these legal proceedings are not the regular course of action for trespassing tickets, but an attempt to intimidate and disrupt mobilization.


Actions took place across the province to fight the cuts.  Our allies in the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP) were treated brutally by the arresting officers when they occupied MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office.  11 S-CAPers were arrested.  A member of the local media was also arrested, but their charges were later dropped.  S-CAP also joined with the North Shore Tribal Council in successfully shutting down the Trans-Canada highway, demanding the full restoration of the CSUMB.  The S-CAP 11 have two court dates in October.  We stand in solidarity with them.  Resistance Continues.




Learn more about the necessity of the CSUMB in this report by the Wellesley Institute, entitled The Real Cost of Cutting CSUMB.

Read Poverty Makes Us Sick’s presentation to Waterloo Regional Council here.
Learn more about the action at Milloy’s on November 15th here.

Learn more background about these court proceedings and their meaning here.
Learn more about the week of action that was launched in Kitchener, following these occupations.
Province wide resistance with OCAP, S-CAP, CUPE, KCAP, OFL, PMUS, The SPOT and many, many others led to a partial and temporary victory, when on December 27, 2012, the Liberals announced they would restore half of the monies for one year.  See here.
Join us on September 17 to Celebrate Resistance and Community.  Restore the CSUMB!

Accessibility:  There will be both tempeh burgers and hot dogs at the community meal.  The rally and concert at noon will be kid-friendly, the march is low key and folks can use their own discretion regarding involving kids.  The march is a relatively short distance.  At the courthouse, there is no searching or regulation of any kind.  You may easily come and go without any interaction with security (not sure that there even is security – never seen ’em).  There are about 30 seats in the court room.  It’s booked just forus.  We’d like to fill the place!

For more info and to deliver statements of solidarity, contact:

@kwpmus, #savecsumb, #raisetherates



Ian Stumpf of Poverty Makes Us Sick                   Julian Ichim of the SPOT Collective




Minimum Wage Info Night with the Workers Action Centre

Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage:
An Evening of Education and Mobilization
Presented by Workers Action Centre and Poverty Makes Us Sick

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Queen Street Commons, 43 Queen South, Kitchener
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Building a strong $14 Minimum Wage Campaign
Come and Join Us!  Fair Wages Now!

We are inviting all interested community members to join us for an information and mobilization workshop to learn about the need for a livable $14 minimum wage, to dispel myths, and to build support for local contributions to the provincial fight.


The provincial government recently announced the creation of a panel to look at future minimum wage increases and report back within 6 months.  Our communities need an immediate increase. This is a critical moment to ramp up our organizing through creative actions, and make our voices heard!

Join us on Tuesday, September 24th at 7pm for an evening of knowledge-sharing from the Workers Action Centre and strategizing on how to contribute locally to the provincial campaign.

The Campaign celebrated its public launch on March 21st, 2013, with a series of successful Melt the Freeze actions on March 21st and 22nd.  Beginning in August, monthly actions across the province have been launched on the 14th of each month. For a provincial round-up of actions to date, go to:

Learn about local actions here: August 14th and March 22nd


The evening will include light refreshments, and speakers from the Workers Action Centre and Poverty Makes Us Sick.  Come be a part of this important and growing campaign!

Childcare available.  Please let us know ahead of time if you’d like childcare.

The Queen Street Commons is located near the main bus terminal.  It is baby and kid friendly, wheelchair accessible and alcohol-free.  Vegan and gluten-free options are available. There is one, single-occupancy washroom that is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, contact Poverty Makes Us Sick at

The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90, Mennonite New Life Centre, OCAP, Ontario Campaign 2000, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Put Food in the Budget, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council and Workers’ Action Centre.

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