Keep Affordable Housing in the Federal Budget

Let’s not let affordable housing be another broken promise from Trudeau.

  • 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year.
  • 1 in 5 renters spend more than half their income on housing.
  • 1.5 million households can’t find decent housing they can afford.
  • The affordability of housing for low-income families living in social and co‑operative housing is uncertain, as federal funding agreements will expire. In the absence of a new federal commitment, by 2020, 175,000 fewer low-income households will be assisted compared to 2010.
  • Indigenous households living in cities and communities experience higher rates of homelessness and are more likely to be living in precarious housing than non-Indigenous Canadians.

In an effort to keep housing on the agenda, Acorn Canada has come up with the following template email that you can copy and paste and send to your Member of Parliament.

How to Find Your MP.

Sample Email:

Subject: We need affordable and livable housing now!

Dear Honorable [YOUR MP],

As a resident of [YOUR CITY] we need the federal government to make affordable and livable housing a major priority in the upcoming budget. The housing situation across the country is a crisis, with hundreds and thousands of people living in sub-standard housing. CMHC reports that about 3.3 million Canadians (about 1.5 million households) are in core housing need at any given time.

Please ensure that resources from every ministry are added to the lump some of money being given to housing. Poor and unaffordable housing affects every aspect of people’s lives from physical to mental health and more.

Thank you,


Did you email your Member of Parliament? Let us know in the comments below.

Solidarity rally for Caterpillar workers in London, ON – Sat Jan 21

Electro-Motive, a subsidiary of U.S. industrial giant Caterpillar Inc., wants to strong-arm workers at its London plant into a pay cut of over 50 percent, dropping hourly wages from $35 to $16.50. It is also imposing devastating cuts to benefits and pensions on members of CAW Local 27 at a time when the company has enjoyed multi-billion-dollar profits and a 20 percent boost to production over last year.

A day of action has been called by the OFL in solidarity with these workers:

Rally to save City Services and Good Jobs ~ January 17th

City Council will be voting on January 17, 18 and 19 on the 2012 City budget.  At present, there are $85 million in cuts on the table, as well as, a TTC fare hike and increases to recreation user fees.  The budget includes elimination of hundreds of good City jobs – jobs that employ people who deliver vital services in our communities.  As well, the budget includes a 9.8% cut to community grants that enable nonprofit community organizations to provide much-needed programs and services across Toronto.  We need to protect our communities from these harmful cuts.
Please come out to the rally on Tuesday, January 17th at 5:30 p.m.  If you are available at any time on January 17 and 18, please come down to City Hall in Council Chambers to support our city.

For more information about the City budget:

Understanding and Fighting Austerity: November 12th

Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly Day School, Saturday, November 12th

 What are some of the forces that are driving the current crisis? How is it pushing forward the agenda of  business and governments to get working people and our organizations to tighten our belts and accept their calls for austerity? What forms is resistance taking around the world –what are the strengths and limitations of that resistance and what can we learn from it?

With the Ford administration’s plans to cut social services, dramatically increase privatization and attack the rights of municipal workers, what do we have to do to resist? How must we change the way we have been doing things in our communities and unions in order to prevent our isolation and loss of our livelihoods and key services?

Let’s collectively address these questions in an afternoon of information and critical discussion.

Day School Features:

  • Panel on the crisis with Sam Gindin, Stefan Kipfer and others;
  • Workshops on Community Action; Building Union Resistance and Challenging right-wing populist ideas and opinions;
  • Lunch
  • Panel and collective discussion about how we can strategize and resist coming attacks on worker rights and services with Mark Ferguson of CUPE Local 416; John Weatherup from CUPE 4400 and a speaker from Toronto Stop the Cuts.

Saturday, November 12, Ryerson Student Union, 63 Gould Street Toronto, 10:30 AM – 4:15 PM

Organized by the GTWA Public Sector Defence Campaign Committee.

Further Information:

This Monday: Free Social Assistance Review hosted by ERDCO | #Disabilities #Toronto #li

Ethno-racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario

Invites you to attend a community meeting to talk about the Social Assistance Review in Ontario on:

Monday August 22, 2011

1:00 – 4:00 P.M.

Ryerson University, 99 Gerrard St. East, Room EPH 222

AT THE COMMUNITY MEETING: You will learn about the commission the provincial government has set up to review all social assistance programs in Ontario. We will talk about the review and ask you to share your views on how these programs can be improved. The feedback you provide will be included in a report that will be sent to the commission. All identifying information will remain confidential. If you are an ODSP/OW receipt or a community member who is concerned about the future of these programs, we would like to hear from you!

WHO WE ARE: ERDCO is a small non-profit organization working to promote the rights and interests of ethno-racial people with disabilities. We work with other agencies in the community, sit on advisory committees, write briefs, organize events, undertake specific projects, etc. We receive funding from the City of Toronto and through Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

RSVP by August 19 to: coordinator [at] erdco [dot] ca 

Light refreshments, attendant care and TTC tokens will be provided

Some follow up to the post I made earlier about the #disabled man who stood up for #student rights in the #UK

Following the interview I posted earlier this week, complaints have been made to the BBC. McIntyre has posted his thoughts on the interview to his blog, and says he finds the whole situation not that surprising. As for me, the whole situation has inspired me to keep tabs on how austerity measures are impacting people with disabilities, so look forward to more on that soon.

#Disabled Man w #CP gives #BBC a reality check! #solidarity @jodymcintyre


This video made my morning.  Setting aside some CP solidarity bias, this guy is awesome.  The BBC clearly wanted to seek public support against the protests against this video, but McIntyre did not let that happen.  I wish I could shake your hand man.


Here in Canada, we experienced similar incidents during and after the G20 where many people with disabilities were mistreated and the hands of police, and though people did fight back, the issues did not recieve nearly this much public attention.  People with disabilities were allegidly abused by police, or police accused other protesters of being mislead into attending.  We do have a mainstream disability movement, but where were they to support the victims of violence and seek the solidarity of others during the G20? (crickets chirping)

I’m starting to believe that the mainstream disability movement in Canada is happy to play victim, or stand by as a silent bystander while individuals fight for their rights.  Occasionally you might see a letter or two, but it seems like people are really afraid to make disability issues into public issues.  That is a shameful slap in the face to our history.  I congratulate McIntyre for taking the step to connect his issue, which could have easily become isolated as a disability issue, into a call for broader struggle. I hope someday we can fight beside you.

#Blind Canadians Demand Halt to the Attack on #Employment Equity

News Release August 5, 2010

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) is calling on the Federal Government to stop its attacks on Employment Equity.

“All fair minded Canadians object to recent insinuations that unmerited candidates from equity-seeking groups are taking over all the jobs of ‘qualified white candidates’, thanks to Federal Employment Equity measures”, says John Rae, 1st Vice President of AEBC, a nationwide organization of blind and partially sighted Canadians. “If this were true, statistics would tell us that whites are no longer being hired by the federal public service, but no one has had the gall to suggest this,” adds Rae.

The AEBC Board points to recent statements from two government cabinet ministers. “Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board, has insinuated that the Federal Employment Equity program is barring qualified Canadians from job opportunities in the federal public service. And Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, recently stated that all Canadians should have an ‘equal opportunity to work for their government based on merit, regardless of race or ethnicity’”, says V.P. Rae.

“Employment equity programs are designed to foster merit-based hiring by helping to remove barriers to employment,” states the AEBC Vice President. “They were put in place because all too often, qualified candidates from racialized and disability communities were not being hired because of race or ethnicity. Even today the representation rate for persons with disabilities remains far, far below our percentage of the population.”

The government’s own latest figures show that more women, First Nations peoples and visible minorities worked in the public service last year than the year before, while the low proportion of employed people with disabilities stayed the same.

As of March 2009, women made up 54.7 per cent of the federal workforce, First Nations peoples made up 4.5 per cent, visible minorities made up 9.8 per cent, and people with disabilities made up 5.9 per cent. Yet the percentage of people with disabilities in the population as a whole, is about 14%.

“Employment equity has helped, contrary to the Ministers’ assertions”, Rae continues, “but much more effort is needed to bring more persons with disabilities into the public service of Canada and other workplaces across the country”.

“Rather than attacking programs that have helped, we need a government that puts time and resources into developing new programs aimed at increasing our level of representation in the federal public service and in all other workplaces across Canada”.

For further information, contact:
John Rae, 1st Vice President, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians:

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians is a nationwide organization of Canadians who are blind and partially sighted, whose work focuses on improving public attitudes and providing input on issues of public policy that affect our lives.

#Poverty Elimination Bill Introduced

From Dignity for All: The Campaign for a poverty-free Canada

On Thursday, June 17, NDP MP Tony Martin tabled private member’s Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada. Not only does this bill speak to a tremendous need in this country, it also reflects significant civil society consultation and multi-party collaboration. Congratulations to Mr. Martin, and thanks to MPs Mike Savage (Liberal) and Yves Lessard (Bloc) for their support of this legislative initiative.

Built on a strong human rights framework, the bill emphasizes income security, housing and social inclusion as core priorities. “The purpose of this Act is to impose on the federal government the obligation to eliminate poverty and promote social inclusion by establishing and implementing a strategy for poverty elimination in consultation with the provincial, territorial, municipal and Aboriginal governments and with civil society organizations.”

The introduction of Bill C-545 marks a significant step towards fulfilling the second goal of the Dignity Campaign (a federal poverty elimination act). The campaign and all of its supporters now have the summer to begin rallying public awareness of and support for the Bill, prior to its reading in the fall legislative session!

DfA support continues to grow. 350 groups and over 5500 individual Canadians have endorsed the campaign. Among these supporters are 57 MPs and 12 Senators, representing 17% of all Parliamentarians. Special thanks to Alderman Joe Ceci and the City of Calgary for leading the effort to secure the recent endorsement of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities!

For more information on DfA please follow this link:

Open Letter to Minister Deb Matthews On principles for the Ontario Nutritional Supplement Program

From 25 in 5, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and the ODSP Action Coalition

Dear Minister Matthews,

The decision the McGuinty government has taken to end the Special Diet Allowance for people on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program has been interpreted as a disturbing signal about the degree to which government is committed to the goals of poverty reduction and the importance of protecting the human rights of people with disabilities.

However, it also presents you with the opportunity to create a new program that will address the acknowledged shortcomings of the Special Diet Allowance program, while ensuring continuation of the important financial support it provides to people with documented health challenges.

In light of the government’s announcement that the Ministry of Health will be creating a replacement program for the Special Diet Allowance, we are writing to forward our proposal for Five Principles that should form the basis for this new program.

Read the entire letter.

Read the story in the Toronto Star about the Five Principles and what the loss of Special Diet could mean for many people currently on ODSP.