Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Ottawa – Leafleting at ODSP Office

Wednesday October 15, 2014;  As part of the Province-Wide Raise the Rates Week of Action, Poverty Makes Us Sick Ottawa partnered with Raise the Rates Ottawa, Poor Peoples Action Group (SAA) and community allies to offer information about the attacks on ODSP via the new Medical Review process.  The outreach took place in front of the ODSP office in Ottawa and was successful in growing a strong response to bring an end to this blatant attack on the income of already vulnerable people.

oct15medrev

Dreams dashed:  “Wait, not the Wynne Liberals?!” said a sympathetic former shelter worker.   The outrage and support was widespread.  There are 13 communities participating in the week of action across Ontario.  Join us for upcoming events in Ottawa and Kitchener:

Ottawa: Friday October 17th, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
12 noon: Community Meal and Rally with speaker and music by the Raging Grannies
1pm March to MPP Yasir Naqvi constituency office
www.facebook.com/events/599647510147620

Kitchener: Thursday October 16th:
5pm:  Community Meal, Rally and March
www.facebook.com/events/535255453285044

 

IMG_0684

Stop the attacks on ODSP!  Stop the new Medical Review Process!

Advertisements

Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) Speaking Tour coming to Kitchener and Ottawa this May!

 

Image

 

From May 4-15th, Ellen Clifford from DPAC will be on a provincial speaking tour, visiting Toronto, Kitchener, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa. Ellen has been campaigning with the disabled people’s movement for 15 years and, since 2011, has sat on the National Steering Committee of DPAC. She is also a member of Unite the Union and works to build solidarity between workers in unions and those forced to live on social benefits.

The Cameron Government in the UK has implemented brutal cuts to programs for unemployed and disabled people. This includes a system called the Work Capability Assessment that has been used to deny benefits to thousands of people.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) is an organization in the UK that has been at the forefront of challenging this situation.  It has mobilized disabled people to fight back and formed alliances with community organizations and unions in resisting the austerity measures of the Cameron Government. The hated private company, Atos, that was carrying out the assessments of sick and disabled people has been forced to quit as a result of the powerful resistance DPAC and others have take up.

Here in Ontario, we also face major attacks. Ontario Works and ODSP rates are too low to enable people to pay their rent and eat properly. The Special Diet and Community Start Up have been slashed. There is a very real threat that the Government here will merge OW and ODSP and bring in a UK style assessment system. We need to understand what is happening in that country and how people are fighting back against the attacks.

Poverty Makes Us Sick is very excited to host stops in both Kitchener and Ottawa as a part of the provincial tour.

The Ottawa stop of the tour will be on Wednesday, May 7th, at 6:30pm. This event, with local speakers, Raise the Rates Campaign founders from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and Ellen Clifford of DPAC, will also serve as the public re-launch of the Raise the Rates Campaign in Ottawa.  Space has been provided by the Somerset West Community Health Centre (55 Eccles St) and is fully accessible. A meal will be included and bus tickets will be available. Childcare, ASL and French whisper interpretation will be provided as needed (please confirm by May 1st).

The Kitchener stop of the tour will be on Tuesday, May 13th, at 7pm.  It will be held at the Queen Street Commons (43 Queen St S).  A light meal will be provided.  The Commons is wheelchair accessible and has one single-occupancy washroom.  It is a kid-friendly space. Vegan and gluten-free foods will be available.

For more information call Poverty Makes Us Sick, (613) 220-0554 or email forspecialdiet@gmail.com.
Facebook events –
Kitchener: http://www.facebook.com/events/225928060937800
Ottawa: http://www.facebook.com/events/685486958164060

Fair Wages Now Takes On Temp Agencies!

Monday April 14, 2014, 11am: As part of the monthly Fair Wages Now province-wide day of action, PMUS and allies toured downtown Kitchener, distributing literature on the streets and making stops at a few of the temp agencies.  

The temp agency industry made $11.5 billion in revenues across Canada in 2012.  The majority of those revenues were made in Ontario (50% of the industry).  Ontario’s temp agency industry had revenues of $5.7 billion in 2012. The Canadian temp industry made just under $1 billion in profits in 2012 by exploiting the precarious income security of workers. 

Temp workers get paid 40% lower than permanent workers doing the same job, often at minimum wage jobs. A recent Labour Ministry labour enforcement blitz showed that 3 out of 4 temp agencies were violating basic employment standards. Ontario workers need decent wages, working conditions and a decent minimum wage!  With this is in mind, we took our demands directly to the offices.

Image

Stops included Express Employment Professionals, Pivotal Action Fare, Adecco and Liberty Staffing. Participants sought to speak with management but were not given that courtesy and instead read a statement denouncing the exploitation of temp workers. Responses varied at the temp agencies from hostility and dismissal through to the disclosure that one employee was involved in campaigning for an increase in the minimum wage. 

Image
Community response, both in the waiting rooms and on the streets, was very positive.

 

See a full province-wide round-up of events and learn more about the campaign at www.raisetheminimumwage.ca

 
 
Image
In Waterloo Region, join Poverty Makes Us Sick and allies to demand an end to poverty wages!
 
@kwpmus
 
The KW mobilization of the Fair Wages Now campaign is facilitated by Poverty Makes Us Sick with the support and endorsement of Waterloo Region Labour Council and KOALA, and the coordination of Workers Action Centre (Toronto)
 
Source: Statistics Canada (2012) Employment Services Service bulletin Catalogue no. 63-252-X online:http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/63-252-x/63-252-x2014001-eng.pdf
 
Source: Statistics Canada, (2005) Study: Earnings of temporary versus permanent employees, The Daily, Wednesday January 26, 2005. online: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/050126/dq050126b-eng.htm
 
 

 

Ontario Liberal Convention, 2014

Image

                                   When Our Pots Are Empty, They Become A Weapon

March 22, 2014:  Raise the Rates organizations from across the province converged on Toronto to march on the Ontario Liberal Convention.  Joined by No One Is Illegal, Fair Wages Now and Labour allies, the messaging of the day emphasized the need for solidarity between poor people, migrants and other working people.  Poverty Makes Us Sick organized free buses from both Kitchener and Ottawa.  PMUS is thrilled to now be operating in both cities. The Ottawa bus also joined our friends and allies in Kingston Coalition Against Poverty for the trip. The march and rally was attended by a few hundred people, who banged their empty pots and pans – and the windows of the convention centre – to the beats of Rhythms of Resistance.

Jointly, we demand an immediate increase in social assistance rate by 55%, the full restoration of the Specials Diet Allowance and CSUMB, no OW/ODSP merger, access to services and access to a living income – beginning with an immediate increase in minimum wage to $14.      In the case of ‘failed’ Refugee Claimants, seeking acceptance on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, we demand access to income itself. 

The Ontario Liberals, under “social justice” Premier Kathleen Wynne, have continued escalating their attack on the poor, overseeing the further degradation of and already inadequate social assistance regime and leaving full time workers below the poverty line.  We resist their assault.  This march and rally, along with OCAPs disruption of the Liberals $1500 a plate gala earlier in the week, serve as but one public front in a daily struggle to end this injustice.  We choose to survive the death sentence of their welfare.  We will endure their indignities and their beatings and we will win our just demands.

In addition to PMUS’s new work in Ottawa, where a re-energized Raise the Rates mobilization is rapidly taking shape, organizers with PMUS Waterloo Region have been bottom-lining work with the Community Coalition On Refugee and Immigrant Concerns, the Sanctuary City Network and members of No One Is Illegal (Toronto), to build a Sanctuary City campaign in Kitchener.  Initiated by PMUS, the work has been ongoing for some time and is about to have a public launch including the formation of a community steering committee.

Poverty Makes Us Sick remains committed to economic justice for all. 

Check out this video of the march and rally, disrupting the Ontario Liberal Convention!
Posted on Toronto Media Co-op by our friends and allies at the Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance:
http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/video/anti-poverty-march-disrupts-liberal-convention-tor/22267

 

OCAP Disrupts Liberal Dinner

Leading up to our Provincial mobilization this Saturday, allies in the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty disrupted a Liberal fundraising gala.  The following is a press release from OCAP.  See you in the streets!

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

(end of OCAP release)

See photo, here: http://t.co/26YCD19kEz

For details for free buses leaving from Kitchener and Ottawa, see:https://povertymakesussick.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/raise-the-rates-march-on-liberal-convention-get-on-the-bus/

Raise the Rates March on Liberal Convention – GET ON THE BUS!!

Image

Poverty Makes Us Sick is organizing free buses from both Kitchener AND Ottawa!

STOP THE LIBERAL WAR ON THE POOR
Raise the Rates March to the Ontario Liberal Party Convention

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Metro Hall, Toronto
Meal, rally and march (beginning at 1pm)

Free bus leaving from Kitchener City Hall (Duke & College) at 11am sharp, returning by 7pm*

Free bus leaving Ottawa from Bronson Centre (211 Bronson Ave.) at 8am sharp, returning by 9pm*

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.

We’re going to march on the Convention to demand from all parties:
– Raise OW and ODSP 55% to restore the spending power lost since 1995!
– Provide a $14 an hour minimum wage fully indexed to inflation!
– Fully restore the Special Diet and Community Start Up Benefits!
– No merger of OW and ODSP, stop the attack on Disability benefits!

*Bagged lunches provided on the bus.  Ensuring this event is accessible to all is a priority – contact us to discuss details.

For more Information or to get on the bus, email forspecialdiet@gmail.com or find us at www.facebook.com/groups/PovertyMakesUsSick/.

 

Organized and Endorsed by: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, Poverty Makes Us Sick Waterloo Region, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Parkdale Against Poverty, CUPE – Ontario, OPSEU, and more!

 

PMUS on Line 9

February 21, 2014:  NEB Line 9 hearings report; Not Worth The Risk, released in KW. The report, compiled by Rising Tide Toronto and Toronto West End Against Line 9, showcases a staggering range of injustices associated with Enbridge’s Tar Sand proposal for Line 9. Poverty Makes Us Sick member Mark Corbiere presented a statement speaking to issues of poverty brought forward in the report. Thank you to our friends and allies at Waterloo Region Against Line 9 and Grand River Indigenous Solidarity for inviting us to speak at the press conference for the KW launch of this important report.  See link below for more details and to read the report.

Poverty Makes Us Sick’s statement:

Poverty Makes Us Sick is pleased to offer our voice to highlight the release of this important report.  We thank Waterloo Region Against Line 9 for inviting us and offer our support to all those fighting against this dangerous venture.

Moreover, as an organization struggling for justice against the exploits of capitalism and colonialism, we know that this struggle is our struggle.  Within this well cited and widely endorsed report we can see clearly the intersections of our work.

Our organization’s name, Poverty Makes Us Sick, is a reference to the fact that poverty is the number one social determinant of poor health.  We see in this report that the reversal of Line 9, pumping dilbit, is perhaps the number one commercial determinant of poor health – one that affects the land and all living things.

The risks posed to the watershed and to agriculture are great.  This project threatens our ability to produce healthy foods and have a safe habitat for ourselves and other life.  Poor people are already barred access to such things and this proposal seeks to escalate that denial of access while casting the net to include all non-elites of the area. 

The dangers of this pipeline will have a disproportionate impact on First Peoples. As the report shows us, Line 9 passes within 50 km of 18 First Nation communities, and impacts the watersheds of several more.  First Peoples also experience poverty at higher rates than the wider population. The deadly practices of capitalism and colonialism are left exposed by this report.

So, what are the promises of the proposal for Line 9?  Jobs?  The report brings forward a quote from Mike Harris piece in the Financial Post suggesting, “Ontario will gain 3,250 person years of direct and indirect employment, and Quebec will gain 1,969 person-years [over three decades].” The report then points out that this calculation amounts to merely 200 jobs a year in Ontario. Mike Harris is no friend of the worker, the poor or First Peoples.  We cannot take his word:  he is the one who gutted social assistance in 1995, leaving many more to suffer in deeper and deeper poverty.  Mike Harris conspired in Ipperwash and played no small role in the murder of Dudley George.  If he says ‘as low as 200 jobs’, it might mean more like 50.

Not only is there little guarantee of any significant employment stemming from this project but, in fact, it is likely to be a huge burden on taxpayers in Ontario, with the province on the hook to pay for large parts of any clean up efforts and healthcare costs associated with a leak or other disaster.  The Ontario Liberals have, since taking power, continued scrapping and gutting needed benefits for the poor in Ontario.  Social assistance rates remain woefully inadequate.  As active members of the provincial Raise the Rates campaign, we demand an immediate increase of 55%.  Instead of keeping all Ontarians healthy, the Ontario Liberals would rather offer taxpayer dollars as subsidies for wealthy industries to commit ecocide.

Finally, we will close our statement by speaking to the tar sands contribution to climate change.  Climate change has lead to a whole new type of refugee – the climate refugee.  Though not recognized by the Harper government, this reality is but another example of how marginalized and overwhelmingly racialized people are disproportionately affected by the devastation of the energy industry. Climate refugees are threatened with deep poverty as displaced peoples.

Whether through ecocide or direct attacks on the poor, Poverty Makes Us Sick opposes the deadly exploits of our current, unsustainable, economic order.

See the KW press release and link to the National Energy Board Line 9 Hearing Report; Not Worth The Risk, here

%d bloggers like this: