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Today is the Day of Action for a Poverty-Free Ontario

jasmine rezaee

Students, faculty, workers and community members will march today, November 5th, as part of the Campaign for a Poverty-Free Ontario. Organized by the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and allied groups, this Day of Action calls on the McGuinty government to take concrete steps to eliminate poverty in Ontario by adequately funding social services and equity measures.

A CFS press release states that:

In the wake of high job-loss and other effects caused by the recession, Ontarians are calling on the McGuinty government to recognise the important role that social services play in mitigating hardship and equalising opportunity. Record-high student unemployment coupled with record-high tuition fees have placed students in a particularly precarious position….In response, students are adding their voices to broad-based demands for Employment Insurance and social assistance reform, a liveable minimum wage, affordable childcare and housing, good jobs for all and reduced tuition fees.

Furthermore, according to the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union:

This year is a critical year to lobby as the province is currently revising all of its funding policies to institute a new multi-year agreement for funding schemes to post-secondary education.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), an allied community organization participating in the march, is demanding:

  • Affordable and accessible housing: increased social housing and access to proper shelter supports
  • Decent income: increase social assistance by 40%, increased (Un) Employment Insurance and minimum wage
  • Status for all immigrants and refugees: access to services without fear
  • Justice for First Nations: stop economic warfare and recognize sovereignty

Currently 1.3 million people in Ontario live in poverty and the province is facing a $24.7 billion deficit. Since deficits usually mean greater cuts for education and social services, it’s crucial that people gather today to express their concern.

Marches are taking place in thirteen communities across Ontario. To learn more visit dropfees.ca.

(For those in Toronto, action is taking place at U of T at 1 p.m. at Sidney Smith Hall, at 2 p.m. for a city-wide march starting at U of T’s Convocation Hall, and at 4 p.m. at the Queen’s Park Legislature.)

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