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Click on the small yellow box below to access the YR Social Audit - Behind The Masks...testimonials from those marginalized by income in York Region.

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Free Money for your kids! Canada Learning Bond

Oct 17 pictovideo - Int Day for Erad Poverty

PACC Channels latest -

PACC News TP Entertainment ISARC Media Release - Humour -

Sent by PACCer Fred - FREE STUFF!
Free stuff!!/freecycle

Latest PACC news article

Tom Pearson letter to the Editor Toronto Star Aug 2010 - RE: Special Diet / welfare rates[]=187655

PAccer Mark - guest columnist tor Star Mar 6 2010


Mar 2010- There is a current campaign urging people to call their MPP’s and advocate to have this benefit stayed. Please see the following link for more information on this and other activities around reform to Ontario Disability Support Program.

Tell Premier Mcguinty your thoughts!

Posting - Feb 2010

God bless you for what you are doing for other people who want to speak but they don't know how?
We are doing fine, I went for the seasonal and thanks be to God they kept me, so now I am limited part time, in (withheld) that is a level before becoming a part time employee.

Tom I know that in the world whoever has more money has more power, but is it true that customer has right to hurt you and insult you in this country no matter what. My family and I have lots of respects for people for they are precious, and we believe that no one has right to put anybody down for everybody has dignity. We chose to live in this country for it was built on Bible, love your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

I believe no one has right to hurt the person who is serving them. If the person who is serving the customer makes mistake or steal from him/her there is a way to deal with it, but if customer is served properly s/he has no right to be rude to the one who is serving them. At (withheld)I have met people who are racist and they hate me to touch their stuff at(withheld), I have seen customers who were swearing at the employee, the man who was doing his job professionally. With this recession those who have money are getting more power for they know no matter what they tell to the customer server s/he has to say nothing for s/he will lose her job.

Tom, I want to stand against this pressure, the customer and the one who pays money has no right to discriminate, insult and put down the one who is serving them properly. When the customers hurt me I keep it in myself, thanks be to God I have good co-workers that I can talk to them and they will tell me that it is ok (name withheld)we are experiencing this insult everyday but we have to let it go.

I am a very patient person Tom, since we were kids we learned how to survive during revolution, war and persecution. In age 15 we learned how to use gun to protect ourselves and we learned that we have to survive. I love this country for it was built on Bible, the slavery was destroyed in this country, that's why I can not keep quiet. I can't see that a single mother who has lots of problem with court and house comes to work to provide for their family and then one person with no dignity and manner insults her for s/he has money and s/he knows that the employees are s/her slaves.

Tom, this is not right in Canada, or anywhere else. Everybody is worthy and has to be respected, this is the rule of Canada, am I right?
Brother please tell me is Canada moving to become Iran, India or China?

You and your colleagues are always in my prayer.

Thanks for your time

Name withheld to protect her job

Posting: My passion for giving to others less fortunate hit me like a tonne of bricks just a couple years back. There was a show played on Much More Music called The Fabulous Life of….and it would talk about a particular celebrity and describe all their riches; the size of their home was fit for 5 families, they had at least 3 vehicles and never mind the countless designer clothes and accessories. It hit me that all these people, whether they are movie stars, singers or professional athletes had so much useless stuff while so many people in our world have absolutely nothing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I have many things that are not necessary to my survival and plenty of my own little luxuries that are completely unnecessary but to think of the millions and millions of dollars that these celebrities have while so many had nothing my brain just couldn’t unwrap itself from the idea that with all the money in the world not one person should ever have nothing to eat or no clothes on their backs or even a house to live in. I wanted so much to do something to turn this around and though I know I can not change any of this with just a wish or a prayer I knew I could start somewhere….but where? Being a student I, myself, barley had enough money to pay my bills and didn’t know where to begin to even make a difference for someone else when I could barely get by for myself. I had no means, I felt, to do anything so unfortunately it remained a dream for the next couple years.
Triggered by a reality show where one of the contestants had a clothing line that donated a portion of its proceeds to a charity my passion quickly reignited. I am now a Registered Massage Therapist with my own business and although I am still working to build my business I definitely have more than before and I have a means to do something. If some semi celebrity can do something to make a difference then so can I and so began my research on which charity to donate to.

Remembering Make Poverty History as a charity I chose to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of a t-shirt I purchased a couple years back I decided to look it up and become amazed by the similarities of what the charity stood for and what my passions are for the world. Debt cancellation really struck a chord with me as well as transparency. I knew this was the charity for me. So began my work. I discussed with my fellow therapists my ideas and gathered those who would like to participate in my event. I decided to choose one particular day where we would donate a portion of our earnings from treating our clients. In order to raise further funds someone suggested a silent auction so my brain started working, I got on the phone and internet to look for retailers who were willing to donate things to our event. With all items donated and a bunch of practitioners on board we were ready to go. We had our silent auction items out for 2 weeks prior to the day itself and slowly I saw the bids accumulating. Everyday as soon as I got to the clinic I would check the bids and they kept getting higher and higher, I was so excited!!!!

On September 6 2008 we had our event day, although the clinic was only mildly busy we were still able to gather together enough from the practitioners and silent auction items to raise a total of $1123.00, not bad for my first time putting together a charity event, if I do say so myself, but not nearly enough for my liking!! So, now my mind is already working for what can be done next year and I know the magnitude of next year’s event will squash that of this years seeing as now I have a year to plan rather than the measly month and a half that I had for this event.

Marina Battaglia RMT

Submitted Poem read at Oct 17 Fairy Lake Park Newmarket
by Christos Hambides

In despair we walk our heads downcast,
The world walks by and looks away,
May help if they see us not, we'll go away,
In this way they feel no remorse nor any need to help,

They do not know our pain or despair,
Nor do they feel compelled to share,
So on we go each weary day, not knowing if we'll eat today,
The lack of food is not our only plague,
For many are without a home, thus in a cardboard box we sleep alone,

Our clothes are torn and worn threadbare,
And the affluent around us still don't care,
In a world of plenty and so much excess,
We, the hungry, are the world's dispossessed,

The poor they say are with us always,
But being poor is not our greatest bane,
It's an empty stomach and hunger that causes pain,
We see that others waste so much,
They seem not to care that we could give thanks for just a crust,

Hunger knows no boundaries,
It knows no creed or race,
And the only food we'll eat today,
Is from your money and good grace,

And so my friends search your hearts
and feel our pain and despair,
Then into your pockets dig deep,
Then we the hungry you will feed.

Story submission:

The Pursuit of Happyness

A true story

I was grateful to attend a pre-release of Will Smith's movie about a homeless Dad's journey (based on true story) through struggles called, The Pursuit of Happyiness, at Silver City in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. Myself being a single Dad, thought this a perfect fit for a night out. Tickets were allotted to various homeless advocates for distribution, and as luck would have it, I happened upon 16 on the day of. I assured Jane (Wedlock) of the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness that I would do my best to find appreciative recipients, and being schooled in film I also promised a review.

The first call made, was to someone whose life has been dealt more than it's share of cruelty, a cancer survivor who is additionally a single mom and a crime victim. I also knew her reality (Ontario Disability Support Plan budget) was that she'd have to bring all her kids in order to be able to go - just fine this night! I'd wager she'd not been out with three of her boys at once to a movie in some time.

The second call was to a similarly budgeted blind "Buddy" of mine (ours), who to my ignorant surprise loves movies - despite not being able to see. Another invitee was an immigrant couple that was, ironically enough, being evicted at the time. I told " Pedro" we'd help him fight it as best we could... he said his wife was ashamed...stigma.. but still they came along.

My son Tim went too, as did a second single mom (of 4), a victim of domestic violence who's experienced the shelter system, and her friend who also happened to be a volunteer at the Inn From The Cold Shelter where she told me they needed people to volunteer desperately. "Steve" wanted to come, but didn't, what with local transit service being infrequent and difficult for him. He's in a (motorized) wheelchair. Too far (from home) he said. Steve doesn't like being helped into/out cars either, it's called pride.. Parents-in-law- to- be came instead, but at any rate, what a motley crew we made!

I seated my visually impaired pal, and floated in and out to unload the last pairs of tickets & scoop some popcorn, barely having time to acknowledge event Hosts, former Mayor (Newmarket) Tom Taylor and Inn From The Cold V.P. (and now Councillor) Victor Woodhouse before scampering back to my seat.

Afterwards, as we nonchalantly made our way to the cars discussing the flick, one of our crew, we'll call her "Lucy", dropped her car (house, locker, etc) keys into the sewer grate. This is where a fun evening turned bizarre.

I knew the grates could, so I pulled it open but it was dark with no stairs, and the murky water was too far to reach.
" What about my umbrella" said Lucy? Too short.
" What about my Cane" said my blind buddy? It reached, barely.

Now it was raining, with no light.

"Theatres always have Flashlights", said I!.. A flash of brilliance having suddenly surged through my feeble brain... We swooped inside.

Upon returning, I found Councillor Woodhouse had caught wind and had also offered help. As I lay there, flashlight in one hand and cane in another, I realized I could maximize my reach lying on my back. Too bad I was wearing my "good" jacket. It began to look bleak as time marched on and now back inside the theatre, Buddy literally prayed (and 'Lucy" I found out later) that I'd snag them. No one left though. Victor (Councillor Woodhouse) had just offered to go home and retrieve a metal magnet when I spied a brief glimpse of the rope key-chain! All I had to do was turn the cane slowly to trap it!

"Steady" called the Woodster! "I got it!" shrieked the Tomster, "Yay!" we all yelled, "What a team!" We thanked Victor as he exited to his vehicle, everyone laughing. It was an absolutely bizarre ending to the night. Lucy erupted in elation upon hearing the news! Alas, another PACC coupe! A rare, victorious, cooperative effort, between a politician and a poverty group! Ha.

..... Oh yea, the movie. My son liked it... I thought it was more hype than substance. I had desperately wanted to be moved (by it) but, alas, was not. Sniff.. But that parking lot deal, now that was powerful stuff! We capped the night off with Pizza betweens fits of laughter, as "Lucy' stayed true to form by spilling her pop all over the take-out pizza-parlour floor!

PS: That family lost their eviction fight and were kicked out on the 1st blizzard of the year 2007. Shameful.

Merry X-mas & Happy New Year (Premier) Mcguinty et al, I'm sure your new 25% raises, more than an entire years income for those mentioned above, will assist with that!

'Tis The season, so pick one!

Tom Pearson
PACC (Poverty Action for Change Coalition) Chair

Letter from Tom/PACC in Toronto Star April 31 2007
Please visit link:

Operation Sparrow

PACC currently involved in assisting the creation of organizing accessibility to sports and other kids / youths activities via participating a new committee (project sparrow) being set up by concerned community residents and organizational reps. PACC's comitted to ensuring the marginalized kids/families would get full opportunity with the least stigma inducing encounters as possible built in to the application process. The "Operation Sparrow" Committee members would ensure it is done fairly and define its eligibility criteria. PACC members can decide pACCs positions on this prior to each new step taken with the project. Essentially it has started via one Karate school offering up $100,000 dollars worth of karate lessons and outfits (possibly bus passes)for those who couldn't otherwise afford to. The idea essentially is to create criteria and boundaries via a mission statement etc and then to challenge other organizations/sports groups to participate. Watch for an announcement on Oct 17 at newmarkets Fairy Lake Park!

Submission: I recently read about free books for children every month from their birthdate until age 5. Imagination Library- a joint partnership between Canada's Invest in the Kids and Dollywood Foundation. To register open
to all kids in all communities that can secure funding for the purchase and mailing of books. visit or call 1-866-658-1254.
This could help those without money for books. S. Rodgers

Vent Today! Gone Tomorrow!(poverty that is!)
Send your letter directly to the Editor here!

or to the Prime Minister
E-mail Address

Email Premier Mcguinty ttp://

Read below and rant!
Link to recent Welfare report 2006

This article appeared in the Toronto Star - relates to the
ncbs clawback.

Children bear scars of clawback
Nov. 2, 2006.

MPPs wore purple ribbons in the Ontario
Legislature on Oct. 2 to recognize Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.

A pressing question was asked about child poverty âEUR" a major social risk factor in child-protection cases âEUR" and the province's practice of clawing back federal child-income benefits.

The federal government provides a National

Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) to low-income families to reduce child poverty. The province of Ontario deducts, or claws back, up to $1,463 a year of the NCBS from every child on social assistance.

Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to end
the clawback of the NCBS in 2003. So his government was asked: When is it going to honour its promise?

Because of the NCBS clawback, families with children on social assistance are as poor as ever. This is of great concern in child welfare because poverty debilitates families. Consider these typical case scenarios:


single parent's children go to school regularly with little to eat, holes in their shoes, and ripped and tattered clothes. Mom(or Dad) is quite isolated, relies on social assistance, much of which goes for rent, and relies on
food banks.

· A landlord calls the police about a mother and children screaming in their basement apartment. Father, who has addictions, is charged with assault.

Mother leaves with her children to a shelter. She qualifies for welfare but, unable to find affordable housing, returns to an abusive relationship.

B· Grandparents consider taking in a grandchild whose parents cannot provide care. Social assistance provides $221 a month to look after a child in financial
need. But $122 a month in federal child benefits is deducted. The grandparents have small pensions and wonder how they can afford to help.

A decade of inflation and social assistance cuts has deepened poverty and sapped the purchasing power of benefits by about 40 per cent. At the same time, poverty among families on social assistance has been established as one of a number of contributing factors, independent of changes to child welfare policy, to increased referrals and
admissions to Children's Aid Societies.

A University of Western Ontario study of London-area child protection cases found that families on social
assistance are now having much greater trouble coping. Between 1995 (when welfare rates were cut dramatically) and 2001, the rate of children in the London area being admitted into Children's Aid Society care among families
relying on social assistance almost doubled. In addition, the proportion of cases of child neglect where mothers were relying social assistance mushroomed to 86 per cent of cases.

Why deduct federal child income benefits targeted to poor children from families who rely on social assistance?

Apparently it is to lower a "welfare wall," the "wall" arising when social assistance benefits are marginally better than low-paid employment. Notably, single
able-bodied adults are better off if employed full-time than on $536 a month in social assistance.

In reality, the "wall" is about children and the real additional costs and responsibilities of their
daily care. Using child benefits to reduce welfare leaves unemployed parents and their children no better off and at a standard of living that is too low. Do we really want to reduce a "welfare wall" so low-paid work appears more attractive and raise a "child welfare wall" within which children are at a higher degree of risk? What's on the
other side of the "wall" for children? Does employment guarantee children escape poverty? No.

As Campaign 2000 To End Child Poverty reports,
since 1995, the proportion of children living in poverty who have a parent working full-time has doubled to 33 per cent. Indeed, many families living in poverty cycle between welfare and precarious low-paying jobs.

Poverty is the problem. We must reduce poverty overall so parents can raise children in decent and dignified living
conditions, and so children get a good start in life, whether their parents are employed or unemployed. Investing in the next generation is important.

The experiences children have in their formative years have lifelong consequences. Society benefits socially and economically when families raise healthy children.

Our social policies must respond to the presence of children by investing in them, not by neglecting them.
McGuinty should act on promises to end the NCBS clawback and invest in more child care and affordable housing. That would lay the foundation for developing a multi-year, made-in-Ontario poverty reduction strategy, which could
include a new Ontario Child Benefit, to ensure that low-income parents are better off whether they are in the workforce or on social assistance.

Ontario's children deserve no less.

PACC is now a member of the new "Neighbourhood Network" for Aurora and Newmarket. The organzation assists groups to connect with volunteers. You can visit them at

PACC joins ATD Fourth World’s Pan-Canadian Evaluation

After waiting in minus 20 degrees temperatures for over half an hour, I gladly borded the bus to Union Station earlier having met with MP Belinda Stronach. Myself, other PACC members as well representatives of York Region Food Network, and from York Region Alliance to End Homelessness, had all been there to voice concerns and to push forward an idea regarding a “conference” on poverty.

Previously, in a phone call to me, Ms. Stronach had conveyed an interest to participate in such a forum, providing it lead to change - which served PACC’s interests for sure.I left the meeting feeling very upbeat about its outcome and the direction in which we were going.

Upon entering the GO bus it was nice to see the familiar face of Caroline, who would be accompanying me on the long trip to Montreal by train. We had coordinated things that she would board in Newmarket and I in Aurora, so I would have panicked had she not been there.

“Do you have the tickets?” Caroline asked

“ Yup” I managed to gasp, still stiff from the brutal air.

“ How’d it go?” she enquired while stuffing a soft- drink in my hand and a cookie in my mouth.

I’m sure I babbled on for half the bus ride, spewing out enthusiasm with every word.Heck, we had momentum going, a national TV audience interview for PACC on CBC with Andrew Nichol on the day of our event on Oct 17(The International Day for The Eradication of Poverty)sent us into overdrive, using the opportunity to draw attention to domestic poverty and to the square-table forum to find solutions to eradicate/ reduce poverty. This idea/discussion continued on into our Oct 17 event, and included church leaders, marginalized persons, politicians, candidates and others, speaking on the front lawn of York Region headquarters that cold, rainy day, and it had now made its way to the attention of the MP.

We made our way to the VIA departure area and in short order, were en-route. Neither of us had been to Montreal in some time and excitedly looked forward to thrill of being in another province; but we also knew we were there for a reason which was to share and learn from other similar organizations from across Canada at The ATD Fourth World International Day annual evaluation. We were one of only 3 groups representing Ontario and the only one representing any townships in Southern Ontario.

It suddenly dawned on me after arriving at Montreal’s main train depot, that not only were we not 100% clear on who we would be staying with, but that I also had no idea of what the person looked like who was meeting us. After a few uneasy moments, I locked eyes with someone who turned out to be our greeter from ATD Fourth World Movement Canada. Diego, originally from Columbia, smiled wide with a friendly cheshire grin and offered in accented English not typical of French Canadian, that he thought he recognized me from the website picture. Laughing, we collected up our bags as we all made our way into the ‘metro” and after a “short walk”, we were greeted (en francais) with open arms and a hot meal at ATD Fourth World Canada ‘headquarters’ located in an older house near Beaubien “metro’ station. Here we also began crude attempts at conversing en francais, failing miserably. Ha. Passez moi une roll de dinner!

Caroline seemed to attract an instant “admirer” after sketching a dinner guest in one of her famous caricature drawings, and funny enough he babbled on to her non-stop in french,as if she knew what he was saying, long after he was told she didn’t. He was a harmless older fella and likely one taken in from the cold that night. Caroline was absolutely hilarious in her attempts to converse with what little french she remembered from school with him, but her pictures spoke an international language and were well received by all!

After eating, Diego and now others we’d met, informed us of where we’d be staying. I knew we were being billeted, but was unsure of with who or where. I suppose I had thought that we’d likely be staying with some ‘rich’ local volunteers. Maybe someone who could show me the town for one evening, which was all I’d have free. Staying with nuns was not exactly what I had envisioned. Ha!

We were spirited away at 10 PM halfway again back across town (thank god in a car this time! Ha!) to "Nun Central", at a place called "Maison Orleans", which is I believe a type of shelter with self contained units and located in a poorer section of Montreal. It was beautiful! 5 star! Ha! And the sisters were fantastic with offerings of toast and eggs and cheese, cereal, coffee etc in the morning! Merci! Sister Lisette spoke a little English, and would translate our words during conversations to the other elderly but spry sister (who’s name escapes me). Regardless they were fantastic and welcomed us back anytime!

Next morning, we trudged off to the subway, sorry metro, on our own, PACC display materials in tow. After a rocky start (our bus was half an hour late.. Montrealers have likely heard English cussing now!) and another ‘short walk”, we arrived at the location for the Canada- wide International Day evaluation.

The Oct 17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was first recognized by The ATD Fourth World out of France, prior even to the U.N. recognizing it. ATD Fourth World was founded in 1957 in a camp for homeless families and now has movements running in 24 countries with correspondents in over 100. They use the national evaluation as a means for groups to aid each other by sharing what is working for them and what isn’t.

Many ideas were floated evaluation day that we hope to bring back and implement, mostly ideas regarding the International Day. For example we heard that municipalities have had the whole week leading up to Oct 17 declared Poverty Week, this way awareness is created/extended. Another idea used was from Sherbrooke. Quebec where they managed to arrange free local bus service on the International Day. Multi-routed marches were also mentioned wherein everyone arrives at a central location. There were many interesting ideas (with interpreters) discussed, and most were impressed with PACC and what we’ve accomplished and our “day”. Some were particularly taken with our ability to get press coverage at a higher than local level, and at our actions -including our proposed ‘square-table” conference and our self published book, “Voices From The Edge”. In fact we also proposed at that time that such a conference would make for a good annual event something PACC, Stronach and others had all mentioned being a good idea as far as having an annual, so we figured why not on the International Day!? Perfect!

Anyway, I do believe that our enthusiasm was infectious as we got numerous compliments in this regard. We (via Caroline) also revealed our banner made for our International Day event by elementary school kids, as we had been asked to bring an object that exemplified some meaning to us from Oct 17. I chose a glass of water, representative of a basic need for the impoverished and to highlight our rain soaked International Day affair.. and poured it over my head! This broke the ice before my 3 minutes about PACC, which had to be instantly converted into french. Ha

Afterwards we (Caroline & I) left at separate times for the “short walk” to ADT World headquarters and somehow both managed to get lost. We made it back though, and laughed at our similar experiences. One person told Caroline it was too cold to stop to tell her how to get back but then another was quick to help! Me? I’m a man, we have a hard time asking for directions at the best of times, and so Caroline arrived back before me!

The Sisters had arranged for us to have dinner at the famous Resto Pop, a “communitarian” restaurant. It became known worldwide from a documentary that won many awards, about the old converted church which now serves up gourmet meals for 25 cents per dish. Resto Pop also gives jobs to people no one else would, and receives its food from discards from Hotels and the like. This place reeked of history, which I could sense while gazing around the impressive old high ceilinged cathedral convert - and as Sister Lisette told me,

“It is more of a church now than it ever was as an actual church”

I was introduced to Pierre , a former “worker’ at Resto Pop. Pierre too is a great guy, who I think had preconceived notions about “English’ Canada, and whom I also can say is now a friend. He was “assigned” by the nuns to show me around for my one night out (nice or what!), but we just ended up mostly walking around the streets shooting the breeze all night - while Caroline and the Nuns watched TV! Caroline really took to the sisters, and if not for her ‘bum’ knee flaring up, I’m sure might even have described the stay as therapeutic!

The biggest systems difference I noticed immediately is that rent there for a one-bedroom apartment could be found in the city for $195 per month, and this wasn’t subsidized! It also includes heat/hydro! Mind you they are paid less in wages in Quebec I’m told.
Pierre also informed me that the building he lives in does not charge rent at all in January to give people a break! Ooh-la-la! Never in Ontario! Surprisingly, I don’t even recall seeing one homeless person on the streets while there. Mind you it was cold.

I also met Dennis Howlett from Make Poverty History (national) campaign there among others, an ally who has offered us an opportunity (possibly) to utilize Stephen Lewis should we be so inclined to have him as a guest speaker. All in all it was a short but great stay that accomplished a lot for PACC as an organization and for us as individuals.

The ride back was filled with vigorous discussions as you can imagine, particularly with two opinionated chatterboxes like us. By the way Caroline you still owe me 5 bucks because as I said Kim Mitchell was not knighted!.. and I still say that Tim Horton’s is owned mostly by Canadians because it is now a publicly traded company!!!
Is not! Is so! Not! So!

(Sigh) Oohh laa-la!

Tom Pearson

2006 International Day PACC Crew

Picture Picture

PACC Youth Speaks Out!

PACC Council Address(from Matt)

I would first like to say first that I was asked to be here by some of my friends and peers and I will do my best to represent those people. They chose me because they believe I have a strong voice and will speak from the heart. I will keep them informed of what is said here today and get their feedback, and in turn bring, that information to you(The PACC Council). I also would like to say that I truly feel honored to be the voice of my friends and peers on this council.

As a person who has been personally victimized by the negligence on the cities part of both poverty and homelessness I feel that I am very well educated on what this group is trying to fight and by being here today I hope to articulate my views and stand points on the issues this council is out to address. I also believe that we as a united group need to take a stand against the terrible things that are happening to our fellow man and woman.

In Newmarket there is ONE shelter for women and to my understanding you can only stay in there if you have been beaten by your BF/GF not your parents or for any other reason. This in itself is complete lunacy for this kind of blatant discrimination to be allowed its completely absurd

The ONE male shelter is in poor care, believe me I lived there. The staff are AMAZING but are under-paid and over worked, sometimes have to work 12 hour shifts with only 4 hours in between, They cannot afford milk for the(shelter) house, and even things like eggs are also rare; once again a total and blatant disregard for the sanity of life.

The(Newmarket) Youth Center is a great place for youth to hang out and relax in a safe environment get some help with jobs, clothing, food etc but it’s NOT a shelter at all. They cannot keep youth over night, however to keep things clear this is not an attack on the Youth Center I whole heartedly support their staff, programs, and the center itself but we need more shelters, food programs, more places like the Youth Center and in general HELP lots more help for the homeless and impoverished.

The point of this is that people are suffering in great numbers, greater then I can fathom and some with their foolish ignorance are living out their lives blissfully, in a fairy tale world, ignoring the problems. Even worse than this, much worse, is that some in their great ignorance don't think homelessness or poverty is even real! The fact that this type of ignorance and negligence is tolerated is disgusting, and should outrage any descent person. This group(PACC) must act NOW today if possible, to change the publics view as well as the Cities’. We need to shout what's on the tip of everyone's tongue, we need to expose what is being ignored, we need to show people there is poverty and we need to show that homelessness is REAL By protest, marches, talking with the press, post flyers, even working out some sort of program with the Youth Center, have a music show as once was planned anything!! We must take action NOW the longer we wait the more people suffer and I simply cannot bear to witness suffering any longer.

About what Matt said and beyond...

The preceding excerpt is taken from June 2006 PACC’s Coordinating Committee meeting from Youth PACC member Matt.The same meeting resulted in the decision to further "discuss" action in the form of a “walk” from Newmarket to Georgina( which has been identified as York Region’s most impoverished sector).

Help Links

Access Links for York Region

Operation Sparrow for low income families in Newmarket and Aurora - Join your kids into karate, theatre school, other physical/cultural activities /possible transportation to/from. 905-716-1447

York Region Winter warmth programs - having trouble paying gas ? They may cover you! -

Neighbourhood Network - Connecting organizations with volunteers -

Newmarket Connection Community Information & Volunteer Centre.

Newmarket Connections is located in the Newmarket Public Library.Newmarket Connections has up-to-date information on a wide variety of local groups and services, including: Counselling & Support Services,Childcare, Health Services, Job Search Guides, Education, Information for Newcomers, Seniors Services, Sports Clubs, Drug or Alcohol Rehab, Government Services,Transportation, Recreation Clubs, Hobby Clubs, Literacy Programs & Language Training, Women’s & Men’s Groups, Youth Groups, Theatre, Service Clubs. Newmarket Connections offers you an opportunity to talk one-on-one with a Volunteer Services Coordinator about prospects in the community that fit with your interests. Ask one of our representatives for an application, fill it out and we will contact you. High school students are encouraged to register with Newmarket Connections to help them fulfill their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) community involvement requirements. Contact us at 905-953-5110, ext. 4700.

The library has also just launched a new program called Pathfinders:Connections to Employment and Resources.The website is

Pathfinders is a central access point to direct people to the resources and services offered by community-based not-for-profit organizations that will help them with employment transitions, job searches, skills upgrading and career networking opportunities. Contact Pathfinders by calling Newmarket Connections Community Information & Volunteer Centre at the Newmarket Public Library, 905-953-5110, ext. 4700.

Food Access Programs and Services

This listing provides an overview of food access programs and services in York Region. Please note that hours and days of operation may change, so please phone ahead. The information is current as of April 2005. For up-to-date information and/or directions, please call the phone number listed.
General Contact Information
Description:Health Connection
Public health nurses, dietitians and inspectors with York Region Health Services provide counselling on health issues. Provides a central access point to link to other health services.

Helpmate Community Info and Volunteer Bureau
905-884-3000 or
Information and volunteer bureau provide region-wide information on community resources such as housing, counselling, education and health care.

YorkLink icon located at top of web page
This online and hard-copy directory connects York Region residents with over 700 community service providers and government agencies in the Region.

York Region Food Network
905-967-0428 or
A charitable organization that works to improve food security and access to affordable healthy food for York Region residents. Initiatives include community gardens, community kitchens, regional food drive coordination, public education programs, awareness campaigns and volunteer and referral services.

Youth Food Programs
Contact Information
Food 4 Thought…
Stone Soup Supper Club
(Youth Recreation Centre)
56 Charles St
A supper club for youth who want to learn about cooking and meal planning. Youth enjoy a sit-down meal that they have helped prepare. The program is held on Tuesday nights from 4-6 pm.
10944 Yonge St
Richmond Hill
(N of Elgin Mills near Bernard)
A youth drop-in recreational centre providing food and clothing as well as assistance to find shelter / housing. Help with job search, support groups and counselling is available. Open Monday to Thursday from 1-8 pm and Friday from 1-7 pm.
York Region Youth Shelter
835 Gorham St
An emergency shelter for homeless young men, ages 16-25. Assistance with housing, referrals and counselling is available. Meals are provided to all residents.

York Region- Street Outreach Van
Markham, Woodbridge
Aurora, Newmarket Richmond Hill, & Sutton
Program designed to assist homeless, or those at risk, to find shelter, food, clothing and health care. Needle exchange is provided. The van is on the streets Monday to Thursday from 2-9 pm and on Fridays from 10 am - 4 pm.

Women’s Services
Contact Information
ABC All Babies Count
Keswick and Newmarket
Richmond Hill and Woodbridge
A program for moms-to-be. Provides snacks, a small meal, groceries and grocery certificate for clients. Programs run on:
Mondays – Newmarket
Tuesdays – Woodbridge

  • , Richmond Hill, Keswick
  • Thursdays – Markham
  • moving to Wednesdays in Fall 05
  • Rose of Sharon Services for Young Mothers
    905-853-5514 or
    Programs designed to meet specific needs and interests of young mothers and their infant to preschool-aged children. Provides educational and support services to clients. Food bank and donation room available for clients. Open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.

    Sandgate Women's Shelter of Georgina
    905-722-3220 or
    An emergency shelter for abused women and their children. Equitable organization equipped to serve all women. Community kitchen is held for Sandgate clients. Outreach support provided though the Keswick office at 905-476-8992.

    Umbrellas Program
    (Addiction Services for York Region)
    905-841-7007 or
    Ext 322
    Mon-Thurs 9 am -5 pm
    Friday 9 am - 4:30 pm
    Supports pregnant and parenting women (with child up to 6 months old) involved with alcohol and/or drugs. Offers appointments for free, confidential assessments, counselling, information, support and referrals to other community resources. Appointments available at a variety of locations. Support with food, transportation and child supervision available for clients.

    Yellow Brick House
    Provides shelter, counselling and support services to abused women and their children. Services also include parenting, children's program and follow-up. Public education provided to the community on issues of violence against women.

    Women’s Centre of York Region
    Offers individual counselling and group programs to women in transition and needing support. Also provides a program to low income women wanting to start their own business. Onsite food room and clothing exchange are available to clients.

    Men's Services
    Coming soon when there are any!

    Food Banks

    Contact Information
    Aurora Food Pantry
    15213 Yonge St
    (Yonge & Wellington)
    Open: Saturdays 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

    Georgina Community Food Pantry
    915 Lake Dr
    Jackson's Point
    Open: Fridays 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

    King Township Food Bank
    St Mary Magdalene Church 116 Church St Schomberg
    905 859-0843
    St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church 575 King Rd Nobleton
    All Saint’s Anglican Church 12935 Keele St King City
    Pre-packaged food hampers are distributed the last Saturday of each month from 9-11 am.

    Markham Food Bank
    70 Main St North
    (behind Village Shoppes)
    Open: Tuesdays 6:30 - 8:30 pm
    Thursdays 1:00 - 3:00 pm
    Saturdays 10:00 am -2:00 pm

    Newmarket Food Pantry
    Old Town Hall (back door)
    460 Botsford St
    Open: Mondays 9:30 am to 11:30 am
    Wednesdays 9:00 am to 11:00 am
    Fridays 9:30 am to 11:30 am
    Richmond Hill Community Food Bank

    Richmond Hill United Church
    Enter from church parking lot
    10201 Yonge St
    (N of Major Mackenzie)
    Open: Monday - Friday 9:00 -11:45 am

    Vaughan Food Bank
    71 Marycroft Ave, Unit 8 Woodbridge (Hwy 7 & 400)
    Open: Thursdays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Fridays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Whitchurch/Stouffville Food Bank

    Churchill Community Church (Aurora Rd and 9th Line)
    Open: Tuesdays 9:30 - 11:00 am 3

    Community Meals
    Contact Information
    Community Bread on Main
    St. John Chrysostom Church 432 Ontario St (at Main St)
    A drop-in meal program for community members in need. Held in the Parish Hall, with entrance on Main Street. Program held on Mondays, beginning at 5 pm with dinner served from 5:30 - 6:30 pm.

    Crosslands Community Dinner
    Kinsmen’s Club Hall
    Water and Main St (W of Newmarket Hydro Building)
    A drop-in program to provide social support and a meal for those in need. Held on Thursdays from 5-6 pm from September to June.

    Newmarket - Fri night supper - 5-7PM
    210 Penrose, Newmarket - Inn from The Cold Building

    Dinner Club
    Richmond Hill
    45 Crosby Ave
    (N of Yonge and Major Mackenzie)
    Provides affordable dining and entertainment on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. A full course meal including soup, salad, entrée and dessert costs $6.00 per person. Please call ahead to reserve a seat and to confirm details.
    Friday Lunch Club
    Jackson’s Point

    Georgina Salvation Army
    1816 Metro Rd
    Offers free food, fun, fellowship and friendship every Friday from 11:30 am -12:30 pm.

    Lunch with Grace
    Grace Church, 19 Parkway Ave
    (Near GO Station & E of Hwy 48)
    This meal program is open to anyone who would like to attend. It is held at 12:00 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month (except July, August and December).

    Lunch at my Place (LAMP)
    Trinity United Church
    461 Park Ave (at Main)
    A drop-in hot lunch program for those in need. Held on Tuesdays from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. Program closed in July and August.

    The Gathering Place
    Cornerstone Pentecostal Church
    180 Church St
    An opportunity for people to gather for fellowship and a relaxed meal. Program runs on Thursdays from 5:00 - 6:30 pm.

    Welcome Table
    Trinity Anglican Church
    79 Victoria St
    (E of Yonge, near Aurora Library)
    Offers a warm meal, friendship and community spirit. The church’s clothing outlet for women and children opens at this time. Held on Wednesdays from 5:30 - 7:00 pm.

    Aurora United Church Yonge St Aurora
    Sat breaKFAST 9:30 - 11:30 am

    Shelter Programs
    Contact Information
    Transitional and Supportive Housing Services of York Region
    905-898-1658 (24 Hr)
    905-898-1015 (Admin)
    18838 Yonge St
    East Gwillimbury
    Provides supportive and emergency housing services to homeless people or to people at risk of becoming homeless. Offers referrals, informal counselling and supports to enable individuals and families to resolve their immediate housing needs. Meals provided to all residents.

    Out of the Cold Program
    Street Helpline
    A program to help homeless and isolated people during the winter months. Overnight shelter and a hot meal are provided as well as warm clothing as available. Program runs from November to April and is hosted by different religious organizations on different nights. Call for information on times, locations and potential transportation.

    Other Meal Programs
    Contact Information
    Canadian Mental Health Association
    New Directions Social Recreation Program
    Bradford Community Meal Program
    Aurora, Markham, Keswick and Bradford
    Weekly meal programs are available through the New Directions Social Recreation Program across the Region. Call for details as times and locations vary. Cost is typically $1 to $3 per meal.
    Other programs and services are available; call for details.
    CMHA also sponsors the Community Meal in Bradford, Fridays from 5 – 6:30 pm at Trinity Anglican Church, 56 Church St, Bradford.

    Meals on Wheels
    (Community Home Assistance To Seniors
    [CHATS] )
    1-877-452-4287 or
    Messages- ext 7021
    Client Services- ext 6037
    Meals are available to assist seniors to remain independent in their own homes. The average cost is under $5. Entrees, soups and desserts arrive frozen for final heating at the client's home. Meals are delivered once a week and must be ordered in advance. Special diets (health and ethnic versions) available on request.

    York Region Food For Learning
    905-895-4512 or
    ext 4397
    Food for Learning supports breakfast, snack and lunch programs in York Region schools for students who wish to attend. Please call for program locations.

    Gardening and Fresh Produce Programs

    Backyard Gardening-
    (York Region Food Network)
    905-967-0428 or 1-800-454-9736
    Kits are provided with seeds and/or plants, a trowel and "how to" instructions for backyard gardening on a referral basis for low income residents.

    Community Gardens (York Region Food Network)
    Aurora, Markham and Newmarket
    905-967-0428 or 1-800-454-9736
    Small plots of land are available free to residents who want to grow their own food. Open to all gardeners.

    St. Paul’s Community Garden 905-884-6915
    c/o St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 10131 Bayview Ave
    Richmond Hill
    Hosted by St Paul’s but managed separately. Open to all gardeners. Plot availability varies and gardening fees may apply. Individuals are asked to grow one row of food for community members in need. When calling, please ask for Marg and leave daytime and evening phone numbers.

    Fresh Food Partners
    Gleaning Program
    905-895-4512 or
    ext 4339
    The gleaning program allows community members living on a limited income to pick fresh vegetables and fruit at no cost. Program runs from June to November and picking times are determined by crop availability.

    Faith Organizations
    Contact Information
    Salvation Army
    Newmarket, Aurora and area
    (Bradford, East Gwillimbury, Mount Albert, Queensville,

    Richmond Hill
    1816 Metro Rd
    Jackson’s Point
    Northridge Services
    415 Pickering Cres
    9329 McCowan Rd
    300 Major Mackenzie Dr W
    Provides a range of services to families and individuals including emergency food, accommodation and clothing.

    Unionville Alliance Church
    The Master’s Pantry and Closet
    905-477-1104, ext 230
    4898 Sixteenth Ave
    A food and clothing bank/store is available for community members in need. Store is open every third Saturday from 10 am - 12 pm.

    St. Vincent de Paul Society
    Please call your local Catholic church for information
    An organization which exists in most Catholic church parishes to assist and meet the needs of people on a low income. Food vouchers may be provided for those in emergency situations.If you have any changes or suggestions, please call Nutrition Services, Public Health Branch,York Region Health Services Department at (905) 895-4512 or 1-800-735-6625, ext 4339.

    Help links continued....

    York Region Street Outreach

    Youth service

    More aid....

    Central LHIN Stakeholders:

    We(LHIN) have officially launched our "Newsroom" page on our web site at:
    Add the page to your favorites and read about how health system transformation is taking place in the Central LHIN. Articles are posted throughout the week, so check often to see what's going on.

    Please share this information within your organizations, and with your family and friends to help keep our community informed of progress and challenges as our health system evolves.

    Your feedback is important. For ideas about initiatives or integration examples that should be profiled, questions or comments, please contact Sandi Pelly at 905-948-1872 ext 212 or

    Link to report on Welfare 2006

    Dear York Region Food Network Supporter

    Re: Food Bank Use in York Region

    In 2005, eight food banks operated across York Region. The earliest began operations twenty years ago as a temporary measure to address the growing issue of food insecurity in the Region. To meet the growing demand however, the eighth food bank, the King Township Food Bank, began operations in January 2005. In addition, a number of faith groups and local agencies within York Region also provide limited emergency food relief by operating community meal programs, offering food vouchers, and maintaining emergency pantries.

    The York Region Food Network, working with York Region Health Services, tracks the utilization of seven of the eight York Region community food banks on a monthly and annual basis. The attached report reflects the utilization of these food banks. We regret that, once again, Vaughan Food Pantry has declined to participate in the collection of regional statistics.

    The total number of clients fed by food banks in York Region increased 38% between 2001 and 2005, and a further rise is projected. However, collections from food drives in the Region continue to decline. The Spring 2006 food drive gathered 73,100 pounds, 15% less then the 90,000 pounds sought. Because families with children are a major beneficiary of food bank services in York Region, it follows that an increasing number of children, and their parents, will go hungry in this summer, as the food banks run out of supplies.

    Food banks, apparently, are here to stay and food insecurity is a growing issue in York Region. I ask that you review and bring this report to the attention of York Region residents as soon as possible. It is imperative that we find the means to eliminate food insecurity, and to feed all York Region residents.

    Elizabeth Brims
    Executive Director
    YRFN - the voice of hunger in York Region

    In 2005, York Region food banks fed 46,575 people;
    20,900 were children.

    For more info visit us at

    194 Eagle Street
    Newmarket ON L3Y 1J6
    (p) 905-967-0428
    (f) 905-967-0097

    2005 Report on Hunger in York Region

    PACC News


    PACC's latest Blog -

    Happy New Year! A message from me.

    Since the provincial government announced restructuring(downloading)and cuts to anti-homelessness programs, such as the Community start-up program, an influx of concern has been raised on the ground level; and with winter now upon us, along with closer to home announcements that funds to the areas winter shelters have been cut as well, it seems we're going backward and not forward.

    Although locally we did make some noise regarding wheeltrans times for transit users which allowed guys like PACCer Danny Philion to not only go out for New Year's eve 2012-13, but work that evening to make much needed cash! PACCers efforts helped grease their wheels!

    But the fact that I got a national honour with the awarding of a Queens Diamond Jubilee medal - and no mention in the local papers - speaks volumes to me. Not that I care about the accolades, but it should matter to you too that my work / voice is muffled locally, while recognized nationally.

    Although I believe I have been affective through online work, campaigns, and blogging, to truly reach the masses you need also some mainstream press / support and to that point their boycott of our message can likely be attributed to my outspokenness.

    Yes, I've been critical of local media in the past and a number of organizations - but critical in order that true accountability and facts can be represented and not just spoon-fed organizational boosting stories that some turn out to be. If I've felt a program(s) was a farce I've communicated it, but only after feedback from users. Still with no letters to the Editor getting in, they are winning. Others need take up the struggle.

    Perhaps a new voice need be at the forefront in order to make more in-roads, I do not know, all I do know is after the upcoming youth road hockey event I will reassess my position with PACC, and likely ask to continue on but in a more supportive role not as chair.

    Maybe I'll concentrate on creating a division that offers real programs/training/hope and include those from experience at all levels. Even youth programs using our community building experience to work. We've dabbled in that and I've had interest but PACCers can decide.

    At any rate I look forward to trying to pull off a successful 2013 Friendly Neighbourhood Youth Road Hockey Challenge on Sat March 16 2013!

    Below from several years back now since the York Region Media group has not printed a letter to the Editor from me since then - even though we're supposed to be the representing voice of those affected!

    Dear Editor,

    Recently I came upon a single dad and son after noticing a young volunteer fervently mopping the floors the past several Thursdays, a day when typically PACC members and others help distribute food to those who have a hard time accessing food-banks. I was floored by the story relayed to me by his 43 year old father - how he’d hitch-hiked and walked from Calgary to get his son who was to be kicked out on his 18th birthday, and how after managing to secure a job and an apartment, they found themselves on the streets not having enough hours in Ontario yet to collect EI. They spent the winter at the “Inn From the Cold” and 2 nights a week in a tent on the days it closed. They now shower at a Church and live in a tent. Outrageous.

    This epitomizes everything that is wrong with our social safety net. Firstly, I want to stress they want a job and not welfare or as dad relayed to me, “I’d rather he be in school, but who wants to sit beside the kid who can’t shower”. That being said, without an address, they cannot collect anything. Without money they can’t get a home... without money a phone/job…etc. They are not recognized as a family – not by welfare, so they cannot apply together – and not by our shelters or social housing system.

    When they went to check into Porter Place men’s shelter they were told the son was not 27 so he’d have to go to the youth hostel. He stayed nearby in a tent for the 6 weeks dad was able to stay (before being shown the door with no option of housing to move into). Had the son been 17 of course they’d be deemed an ‘emergency”, classified as a homeless family, and instantly received social housing bypassing its “list”. Instead these men get the streets…

    I put the word out to a few politicians to see if something couldn’t be done. The reaction was pretty much what I expected - no reply by some, a promise to keep ears open from another, and action by one. Councilor Joe Sponga inquired about skills, and upon hearing he was experienced with painting, interlock, landscaping, etc offered to put them to work painting at his home but needed to know right away or he’d have to look elsewhere… and I had no way to get in touch!

    I remembered the dad saying they showered at Trinity United Church in Newmarket and called leaving a message for Rev Wardlaw no doubt getting ready for service… I decided to go anyway being about due for some church time, and as I walked near, up rode the dad on his bike! He was thrilled with the news yelling out incredulously!… however we still had to get Councilor Sponga…and it was a Sunday morning…but lo and behold he answered …looking around outside the church I blurted “ God Bless you Joe” which I rarely say. True to his word he has put him to work and is working within his constituency to find them a home!

    This is the type of attitude and action oriented thinking a caring society acts like and I commend him for actually doing something. I’m just hoping we can give this an even happier one as we work towards getting them a permanent home…the average “new “homeless person is a male age 43…just like the dad.. let’s change that.. please!
    Tom Pearson -- ISARC YR Social Audit Co-Convenor 2010
    Chairman, Poverty Action for Change Coalition –

    Update Sept 14 2010: Father & son just finished another painting job having been recommended from the 1st.....need work done? Let Edward & Son handle your painting, drywall, interlock, landscaping needs!!

    Councilor Sponga set them up with some appointments for rentals just out of their range but continues to stay on it...They also started a "recycling" job collecting bottles and cans for deposit..they are still living outdoors however the media has agreed to do a feature story on them! We meet Sept 20 with the newspaper media. Pictured father Edward...They just need a place to get started!

    No media story yet,,has been tough to connect and too busy it seems..
    I'm not sure being in the paper what they need if trying to find a place as people discriminate against guys in this position..

    Update: Sept 18 2010: Received a call inquiring about a painter from a contractor with regular work available - After some convincing he's going to give Edward a shot this Sat and should things work out he could get regular work!

    Nov 22 - Father and son living in a family shelter for 6 weeks..still no permanent place..have to find something by Dec 10 2010..$900 max they can afford..Anyone know of anything contact us at

    Dec 2010 PAccers responded to the call and father was placed with a room!..Only the son to go! Merry xmas.

    Happy New year kid still homeless after trying out the druggie filled youth centre. He won't return - rather a tent the two nights a week Inn From The Cold Not open. affordable housing and transitional housing are the missing links for these men.

    Jan 2011 - Finally some coverage for the guys..and all heck broke lose! Great awareness piece.

    Jan 8 2010 - Response to article!
    looking at a place with son today hopefully offered from nice people it seems...

    Watch Homeless in York Region the story of Edward and Damien - a PACC produced documentary parts 1 ,2,3 and conclusion here!

    In the end both gained opportunities to get out from being homeless physically - including Edward attaining (almost) full time employment...but the hurdles they'll face including finding suitably paying full time long term employment and affordable housing will be a constant threat for some time to come.


    Congratulations to PACCer's Dan & Ashley on the healthy birth of their daughter April at over 7lbs 4oz's..Daddy Dan helped out in the delivery room holding Mom to be Ashley's leg throughout and was very moved by the experience !

    ...Too bad Workers decided before she was even born they were going to take custody of her..although they left a message on their answering machine prior saying they'd make a decision on whether or not they were apprehending the baby the day she was born...Hmm..great client warned they served them with notice of apprehension in the hospital..they were devastated..Sat(Sept 11 2010) they will likely release Ashley without her new baby.

    HAVING a disability and being without finances should not cost you control and custody of your children ...regardless of circumstances.

    Dan has raised two kids previously - mostly as a single Dad - his son rarely ever missing a day of school when with him and his daughter having just successfully graduated last fall and they have a safety plan in place to cover (scenarios with disabilities) and a crib, have painted, stocked up on everything, attended baby showers and as usual their place is immaculately clean.. but are suddenly deemed incapable of looking after their new baby based on.. ability?..and are expected to get a lawyer by Tuesday (4 days including a weekend) to fight this.. and with no money and few resources?

    Said Dan,

    "What's up with this Tom? When I had my other kids we had 'em and went home & that was it...and now these people can come and just take my daughter? For what?..You know I love my daughter and really want to get to know her and all that.. and she looks just like me..." his voice trails off..I'd never seen Dan express much emotion before as he's a tough exterior... and it moved me.
    PACCer Kristine Carbis visited Ashley in the hospital offering them support.

    What a wonderful system we have weaved here..PLEASE contact their MPP Frank Klees and MP Lois brown and voice your outrage...write a call for a Children's Aid Ombudsman...come out Oct 17 and SPEAK OUT-

    Update 2010: After a bumpy start wherein Dan & Ashleigh were originally expected to go "visit" their daughter at a location with no safe bus stop for wheelchairs they began to get the baby brought to them instead. PACC supporters accompanied them to court for comfort.

    They have since been getting access regularly twice per week and on xmas. They are now routing the baby's care/control through Ashleigh's mom so they can rid themselves of people meddling in their personal lives but in doing so creates another "problem".

    Below pic Dan & Ashley with MP Lois Brown receiving award for Dan's volunteering in the community...I wonder how he can get an award for volunteering in the community but not be capable of looking after your new baby!?...above pics and 2010 year depict Dan & Ashley dishing out more volunteer goodies in a mixed income YR community event!
    Dan Seems to hold a mic up pretty good I'd say!

    Update Jan 2013 - Dan & Ashley lost control of their daughter after being stalled the mandatory period. Although Ashleigh continues to get access to her daughter without custody and with conditions. She is pressured to break away from Dan if she ever wants custody. Dan is not accused of any abuse to anyone but has limited mobility and income. Dan does not get to see his daughter under the current arrangement. Draw your own conclusions of fairness.

    Tom Pearson



    York U health researchers produce public primer on who gets sick and why

    TORONTO, April 28, 2010 – A report released today by York University health researchers offers
    Canadians the opportunity to learn how their living conditions will determine whether they stay
    healthy or become ill.

    Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Factsshows why these factors are so important for
    health and documents the state of these living conditions in Canada in an accessible manner for
    the Canadian public.

    “Our key message is that the health of Canadians is much less determined by the health care
    system than we typically think. Much more important are public policies that influence our living
    conditions,” says Dennis Raphael, Professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management
    and the report’s co-author.

    Raphael and visiting scholar Juha Mikkonenexplain in everyday language and with compelling
    graphics how Canadians’ health is shaped by how much income and wealth they have,
    whether or not they are employed and if so, the working conditions they experience. They pull
    together a wide range of research to show how health is powerfully influenced by Canadians’
    ability to obtain quality education, food and housing, among other factors.

    The report finds these conditions are declining with serious ramifications for the quality and
    longevity of Canadians’ lives, and outlines specific ways that the situation can be improved. The
    report is free to the public at

    Former Minister of Health and Welfare Monique Bégin states in the report’s foreword: “While
    one of the world’s biggest spenders in health care, we have one of the worst records in
    providing an effective social safety net. What good does it do to treat people’s illnesses, to
    then send them back to the conditions that made them sick?”

    Contrary to the popular belief that Canada is a caring nation with strong supports for citizens,
    the report shows that Canada has one of the worse records among wealthy developed nations
    in providing Canadians with the conditions necessary for health. These supports are eroding
    with significant effects on Canadians’ health, according to Raphael.

    “This is not a storyline that’s familiar to most Canadians,” he says. “We’re still stuck in those
    glory days where Canada really was one of the best places in the world to live. Sadly, that is no
    longer the case. What’s frightening is that many of these aspects are completely beyond any
    one individual’s control.”

    For example, new immigrants have difficulty getting accreditation for their skills, and are forced
    into service jobs where they can barely afford to feed their families. This leads to a host of
    problems that directly affect health and overall quality of life.

    “It’s all interrelated. It’s time to act on these issues,” Raphael says.

    A striking example is found in maps that show a clear correspondence between poverty levels,
    prevalence of adult-onset diabetes, and concentration of visible minorities in Toronto

    The report provides concrete recommendations for improving this situation. For example,
    in regard to the increasing occurrence of hunger in Canada, it recommends:

    • Increases in minimum wages and social assistance rates to the level where an adequate diet
    is affordable.

    • Governments assuring that healthy foods are affordable (e.g. milk, fruits, and foods high in

    • Provision of affordable housing and childcare that would reduce other family expenses and
    leave more money for acquiring an adequate diet.

    Sobering statistics cited by the report include:

    - 15 per cent of Canadian children are living in poverty, putting Canada at a rank of 20th
    out of 30 of the world’s wealthiest nations as defined by the Organisation for Economic
    Co-operation and Development (OECD).

    - Only 17 percent of Canadian families have access to regulated child care. Canada
    ranked last among 25 wealthy developed nations in meeting various early childhood
    development objectives.

    - Canada is amongst the lowest in its coverage of total health care costs. Medicare
    covers only 70 per cent of total health care costs, giving Canada a rank of 22nd of 30
    OECD nations for public coverage of health care costs.

    - Canada is among the nations with the greatest gap between men’s and women’s
    earnings. Canada ranks 19th of 22 OECD nations in reducing the earnings gap
    between men and women.

    - Over 40 per cent of Canadians with disabilities are not in the labour force, forcing
    many of them to rely upon social assistance benefits. Canada ranks 27th of 29 in
    public spending on disability-related issues.

    Raphael, who teaches in York’s Faculty of Health, has researched and written widely on these
    issues. His recent publications include Poverty and Policy in Canada, Social Determinants of
    Health: Canadian Perspectives,and Health Promotion and Quality of Life in Canada: Essential

    Mikkonen, a visiting scholar at York University, is a vice-president of the European Anti-Poverty
    Network Finland (EAPN-Fin), and a member of the executive committee of the European Anti-
    Poverty Network. He has held positions in decision-making bodies at the University of Helsinki,
    the Finnish Student Health Services and the Finnish Youth Co-operation Allianssi, which is an
    umbrella organization for more than 100 Finnish youth NGOs.

    York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern,
    academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third
    largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and
    staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious,
    groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and
    collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world
    challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

    What People are Saying about The Canadians Facts

    “This wonderful document, Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts is about us, Canadian society, and what we need to put faces and voices to the inequities – and the health inequities in particular – that exist in our midst. Only when we see a concrete description of these complex and challenging problems, when we read about their various expressions in all the regions of the country and among the many sub-groups making up Canada, can we move to action.”
    – Hon. Monique Bégin, PC, FRSC, OC from the Foreword. (Member of WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, and Former Minister of National Health & Welfare of Canada)

    “Congratulations on this most valuable contribution to Canadians’ understanding of what really needs to change in order to improve population health. My hope is that it also sends a strong yet accessible message to those of us in the Canadian health system about how we need to change our practice.”
    – Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Chief Executive Officer, Sudbury & District Health Unit

    “Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael have created a resource that is at once educational, easy to read, evidence-based, and a powerful call to action. I hope to see this document open on the desks of policy makers, public health professionals, students, and front line health providers. This important contribution to the dialogue around social determinants of health in Canada offers both an accessible resource, and a straightforward guide to what we need to do to reduce inequities in health.”
    – Dr. Gary Bloch, Family Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

    “This is a superb document for getting the message out there regarding the politics of health. There is nothing like it in Canada. The text and the graphs will enlighten even the skeptics. The cover art is great. The layout is engaging and the whole thing is entirely readable. I’ll be using it in every class I teach.”
    – Dr. Elizabeth McGibbon, St. Francis Xavier University

    “Under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, everyone has rights ‘to an adequate standard of living’ and ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.’ Nonetheless, the evidence for comprehensive action on the social determinants of health is overwhelming. Like highly skilled trial lawyers, Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael have assembled this evidence, concisely, clearly and compellingly, into a single document. As a result, the prospect of realizing the rights that constitute an international standard for a decent human life is that much brighter. Bravo!”
    – Rob Rainer, Executive Director, Canada Without Poverty

    “The Canadian Facts so succinctly described in this readable little book are not nice ones. But beneath the intersecting pathways by which social injustices become health inequalities lies the most sobering message: Things are getting worse. We have lived through three decades where the predatory greed of unregulated markets has allowed (and still allows) some to accumulate ever larger hordes of wealth and power while denying others a fair share of the resources they need to be healthy. This book is a fast-fact reference and an invitation for Canadian health workers to join with social movement activists elsewhere to reclaim for the public good some of these appropriated resources.“
    – Dr. Ronald Labonté, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Globalization
    and Health Equity, University of Ottawa

    “With unusual clarity and insight, this informative resource will help change the way readers think about health. It renders visible how underlying social and economic environments influence health outcomes even more than personal behaviors, genetic profiles, or access to healthcare. Solutions, it reminds us, lie not in new medical advances or even ‘right choices’ but in the political arena: struggling for the social changes that can provide every resident the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”
    – Larry Adelman, creator and executive producer, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”

    Dennis Raphael, PhD
    Professor of Health Policy and Management
    York University
    4700 Keele Street
    Room 418, HNES Building
    Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
    416-736-2100, ext. 22134

    PACC's newest action news!
    Wow!... a lot to inform but some great stuff!...But first, if you can, please print (or re-send) if you can some copies of the attached poster encouraging youths to form their own teams for our Road hockey event! The kid who organizes a team could win $1,000 school scholarship...

    Housing news!! – New social housing units announced for R Hill – other housing funding avail and now open to proposals to region – PACC has discussed with both the area MP and MPP regarding supporting a “own your own” model of new “housing”. They support it. These would be condo-like units – programs successfully launched in TO and Ottawa. What does everyone think? Mortgages could run from perhaps $550-$700 per month…update – spoke with the president of “Options for Homes” and he’s willing to attend a proposal should we find land for use! Who knows of suitable land available?

    Road hockey update – Date Party / Mayor/Council Challenge - Fri Mar 19 – adults - proposing to have the mayor challenge right on Main St to follow inside - likely the Grenada restaurant – will need live entertainment, sound, DJ…Sat Mar 20 Youth tourney – will need volunteers to ref, score-keep, assemble/move, hot chocolate duty(find some and serve), set up display/registration table, offer rides, put up posters, street performers, etc.

    Mark’s update – PACCEr Mark is our man inside – participating in Toronto with input to the poverty reduction advisory committee run by the Daily Food and Voices from the Street. He will be given a video/still camera as well to capture some reality for the input. Mark is also there conveying our PACC messages towards the changes that this committee is charged with making recommendations to the minister with.

    Read Mark's guest column in Sat March 6 2010 Tor Star here

    PACCEr Rick is participating in the YR version of input to the poverty reduction here in YR via social services. He too is our eyes and voice for input and output.

    Put food in the Budget campaign (Do The Math / $100 healthy food supplement) – extended committee met with Minister (Social Services)Meilleur.. and next meeting with the prov govs odsp and welfare reform advisory committee this week. Good luck team! next local YR meeting Tues Feb 23 1::30 Pm - 3:00 pm 2010 at 510 Penrose Newmarket Ontario.

    Interfaith Social Audit - – next local organizing meeting - Tuesday February 23rd at 3:00 pm at 510 Penrose in Newmarket. Organizing committee members only.

    Movie – Great movie about poverty in Canada that we can show here – see clip mg

    York Region school board address An open-space process and agenda are being developed by the YRDSB’s Community Engagement Working Group in conjunction with the York Catholic District School Board, York Region Planning Forum on Children, Youth and Families, the York Region Social Planning Council, PACC and others. More details will be circulated soon.

    Date and Time: Wednesday, February 24th (Lunch: Noon to 1:00PM / Forum 1:00PM to 4:00PM)Location: Region of York Offices at 62 Bayview Newmarket (Just North of Davis Drive on the West side) 2nd floor

    Let me know if you’d like to attend so I can book you a spot and a lunch!

    New PACCer issue- Low paid job workers abuse / discrimination – PACCer raised an issue regarding discrimination related to low income service work. Being abused verbally by customers continually should not be a daily occurrence. We’ve sent out her letter (minus names etc) to see what can be done.

    Action: Low income identified community/police relations – Bray community / Lois brown / we’re looking to put on some kind of community building forum to change police attitudes towards low income residents. Ideas are welcome for this… the MP says she’d like to participate. She’d arrange the police to participate.

    Grants / funds for PACC below link? Discuss…

    …and other stuff…

    Looking for someone wanting to appear on TV - Gold hawk Live – RE: full day kindergarten – someone not for it being mandatory preferably…let me know!

    Offer for daycare – Mary – 1-3 hrs per week – anyone in Georgina wishing to have daycare 1-3 hours per week let me know. A member , also been a catholic church social worker, available.

    Also Free counseling is available in Georgina 1-800-263-2075 ex 241

    The OAFBs Cost of Poverty report is at

    Join Senator Art Eggleton as he discusses In from the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness,

    The Sick and Tired report is at

    Are you aware of the RDSP for anyone with any kind of disability (ODSP ers)? Pays out 600x at the end of a 10 year plan apparently…$25 paid in over 25 years would net you over $50,000…just sayin!

    TP out!

    Jan 2010 - PACC efforts and the "Do The Math" team were successful in attracting the Inter-faiths Social Audit to YR for the 1st time ever...see below!

    Thanks for this email. I will be in touch with you in early January 2010.
    For now, if you haven't already, you can go to our website at: and see what we have planned so far for the Social Audit and the supporting documentation we have put together.
    I am excited about the Social Audit. It will be a real opportunity to not only hear the stories of those who live with poverty but also their creative and constructive solutions. This will then lead to effective advocacy with our provincial politicians
    Best wishes for the holiday season,

    Bruce Voogd, Coordinator
    Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition

    Next posted item

    The Senate Subcommittee on Cities today released an important new report on combating poverty in Canada. The timing comes just two weeks after the House of Commons passed a motion for the federal government to develop a plan for the elimination of poverty in Canada.

    For the press release, executive summary and full report released today, go to:



    Rob Rainer

    Executive Director / Directeur executif


    1210 - 1 rue Nicholas Street

    Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7

    (613) 789-0096 (1-800-810-1076)

    Subsidize families, not care agencies

    Current system can't ensure help goes to most deserving

    By Patrick Dare, The Ottawa CitizenNovember 26, 2009

    The City of Ottawa should give subsidies for child-care space to families rather than child-care agencies, according to an audit released Wednesday.

    Auditor general Alain Lalonde's review of children's services found families most in need are not necessarily getting the help they need. Ottawa is the only city in Ontario that gives the fee subsidies to agencies rather than families, Lalonde says.

    The auditor said that a system where needy parents are assigned the funding for child care should be easier to control than a system where the agencies get the funds directly. Also, funding families gives them more freedom to choose which centre to use, he said.

    Lalonde said that, under the current system, the most needy families don't necessarily get the subsidies.

    There are 19,300 licensed child-care spaces in Ottawa and there are 11,800 children on wait lists. Lalonde's audit says that number doesn't give an accurate picture of the need in the community partly because it is not routinely updated and includes children who are not yet born.

    The audit makes 28 recommendations and city management has agreed to all of them.

    Aaron Burry, general manager of parks, recreation and cultural services at the city, said the city administration didn't create the system of funding child-care agencies but that city council will choose whether to follow the funding model recommended by Lalonde.

    One of the complicating issues is the announcement recently of full-day school for four- and five-year-olds.

    The city's funding for child care has risen gradually over the last several years. In 2006, it was $84 million and, last year, it had reached $90 million. This year, the spending is expected to be $93 million and the proposed budget for next year is $95 million.

    - 11,800: The number of children now on waiting lists for licensed child-care spaces in Ottawa
    © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
    -- Thank you,
    Sara Landriault
    stay at home mom
    President, National Family Childcare Association

    Hi Tom,Thought you might be interested in the attached.

    Jane Wedlock


    York Region Alliance to End Homelessness

    Registered Disability Savings Plan - Draft Legislation

    Next posting:

    In October 2007 the federal government released draft legislation for the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) According to the draft legislation the lifetime maximum limit of an RDSP is $200,000 with no annual limit. The plan is expected to become available in April 2008. Under the plan individuals who qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, their parents or legal guardians, will be able to establish an RDSP and will be eligible to receive Disability Savings Grants, and for low income families a Disability Savings bond.
    However people need to be aware of the definition of family income. If a disabled person is under age 18, the family income is defined as the parent’s income. As soon as the person reaches age 18, then the disabled person's own family income is used. If that person and their family earn less than $74,000 a year they are eligible for the maximum federal matching grants, 300% on the first $500 of annual contributions and 200% on the next $1,000 of annual contributions. For an annual contribution of $1,500 an additional $3,500 is granted for a total $5,000 contribution. This matching grant is available for 20 years or age 49, of the person with the disability, whichever comes first, for a lifetime limit of $70,000. For low income families making less than $21,000 the government will also offer a savings bond of $1,000 a year for 20 years, or age 49 for the person with the disability whichever come first.
    Families with a net family income of less than $20,863, will be eligible for a Canada Disability Savings bond. The federal government will contribute $1,000 a year into a Registered Disability Savings Plan with no contributions from the individual or their family for a lifetime limit of $20,000. The Savings bond is available for 20 years or age 49 of the person with the disability. The RDSP must be converted into an annuity at age 59. The annuity income is calculated on stats Canada’s life expectancy table, plus 3; divided into the total value of the fund. There must be sufficient funds remaining in the plan to refund the total grants and/or bonds contributed to the plan by the federal government on death or maturity.
    The major issue still to be determined is whether or not the RDSP assets and withdrawals will impact the Ontario Disability Support Program. The growth and the earnings are tax-deferred and the tax and the grants or bonds are income when the money is paid out to the beneficiary. Anyone can contribute to the plan, and if a plan is opened by a parent the whole community can contribute to the same plan. To view the legislative proposals go to the ministry of finance web site or click on their link.
    LifeTRUST Planning
    Committed to improving the lives of people with a disability since 1989
    60 Harrison Drive Newmarket On L3Y 4P4
    Toll free 1 800 638-7256 fax (905) 836-5458

    New Website Resources
    Please note that the following resources are now available online.

    §     New Make Poverty History Brochures

    §      Make Poverty History Blog page (comments and subscriptions are temporarily disabled, sorry for the inconvenience)

    §     “Make Poverty History Campaign” Facebook group

    §     Chapter Photo Gallery
    Vote Out Poverty Massey Hall Concert/Rally

    Liberals trump NDP dental announcement July 10, 2007 CANADIAN PRESS

    The Ontario Liberals will look at boosting funding to provide more
    subsidized dental care for children and low-income residents, Finance
    Minister Greg Sorbara said today.
    The province is currently spending about $90 million on providing
    low-income children with dental care, he said.
    "But it's an area of public policy that's deserving of more attention,"
    Sorbara said following a campaign-style promise by the NDP pledging an
    extra $100 million to subsidize dental care for children and low-income
    "They're (the NDP) not the first ones to comment on the need in this
    area . .
    . It's an area that merits further consideration as we go forward."
    New Democrat Leader Howard Hampton said Ontario has the lowest spending
    on dental care in Canada, covering only two per cent of overall costs.
    Saskatchewan covers 17 per cent, and Prince Edward Island covers 12 per
    cent, he said.
    "It's time to fix this broken and unfair health system," Hampton said
    a news conference this morning.
    "(The funding would) provide real relief to thousands from the pain,
    suffering and compromised overall health of dental disease."
    The NDP plan would create "community dental health teams," and funding
    would be increased over time to offer more service to low-income
    residents who don't have dental insurance, Hampton said.
    It's a smart long-term investment because poor dental health can lead
    heart disease, diabetes and other serious problems, he added.
    The free care could be delivered in community centres and in rural and
    remote areas that are underserved by dental professionals.
    Conservative Leader John Tory said he's more in favour of moving on a
    $1.2-million, five-year pilot project proposed by Toronto Oral Health
    that would help the working poor.
    But Tory said he's more focused on the state of the entire health-care
    "I don't doubt that there are many things that we could do to improve
    dental and other kinds of health," he said. "My main concern has been
    with keeping the existing health services going."

    National Council of Welfare Report

    Solving Poverty: Four cornerstones of a workable national strategy for Canada (Winter 2007) is available on the National Council of Welfare site, together with a news release and a separate report on responses to the NCW's recent on-line questionnaire about poverty and income security:

    PACC met with the York Region School Board on Ap 10 2007 and was able to convey our position of the need for changes within the system to make it truly access education for all and to point out hidden costs and sensitivity issues towards marginalized students.


    Sept 2008- PACC since March 2008 has been hosting a series of Square Table meetings to reduce poverty in York Region with participating members from MP Belinda Stronach's office, MPP Frank Klees,Regional Councilor John Taylor, Georgina Mayor Rob Grossi, Councilors from Aurora - Alyson Collins-Mrakus, Newmarket - Joe Sponga, East Gwillumbury- Virginia Hackson and Federal Candidate for the Liberals and former mayor of Aurora - Tim Jones.

    The Square table has been driven in direction by the testimonials from true poverty sufferers- those actually living it.Although we have no significant announcements to make at this time we do have in the works some great initiatives and we hope to have something to announce soon!

    June 2008- PACC - Only grassroots York Region group invited to poverty reduction round-table discussion and the sole group with more than one member invited.PACC members were out in force with 8 members attending the June 2 2008 provincial consultations on reducing poverty despite relatively short notice. Group members made their voices heard in the narrowly focused discussions. Great job everyone!

    In Other News!!

    Guaranteed income, guaranteed dignity - News - Guaranteed income, guaranteed dignity

    March 05, 2007

    Laurie Monsebraaten
    Staff Reporter

    Myriam Canas-Mendes loves her job as an outreach worker at the Stop Community Food Centre where she organizes public forums, connects recent immigrants to government services and helps out in the centre's breakfast and lunch programs.

    The pay is between $10 and $12 an hour depending on the task. That's considered fair by advocates who are pushing Queen's Park to raise the provincial minimum wage to $10 from $8.

    The problem is the single mom of two doesn't get enough hours to make ends meet. And so the 34-year-old Canas-Mendes has to rely on welfare to supplement her income.

    Except that doesn't provide enough money to live on either.

    Welfare does include basic health benefits – which her part-time job doesn't offer. But it denies her $226 a month in federal child benefits that she would receive if she were able to get full-time hours.

    It's a vicious circle. And it traps people like Canas-Mendes and her family in poverty.

    About 33,000 Ontarians – or roughly 15 per cent of the 220,000 adults on welfare – report some earned income and are in the same boat as Canas-Mendes, according to provincial social services data from last September. About 165,000 children on welfare are affected by Ontario 's policy of clawing back federal child benefits.

    What can be done?

    One solution gaining momentum is a guaranteed annual income for all Canadians.

    Green Party Leader Elizabeth May floated the idea earlier this year during a party convention in Vancouver . Respondents to a recent National Council of Welfare survey listed it as one of the top priorities for the federal government.

    And a Toronto task force last spring recommended a basic income to help the growing numbers of low-income adults living in poverty. Most recently, Tory Senator Hugh Segal – a long-time proponent of a guaranteed annual income – told delegates to Toronto 's city summit alliance conference last week that he believes Canada has the money to ensure every Canadian can live with dignity.

    "When we look at the billions we now spend on social policy, it's clear we have the capacity," he told a workshop.

    At the University of Waterloo , sociologist Sally Lerner is among a passionate group of Canadian academics who back a guaranteed annual income.

    "A basic income would put a floor under every single man, woman and child," says Lerner, who co-authored a book on the subject in 1999. "Think of it as a secure place to stand from which to build."

    What's the holdup?

    Part of what's holding back a guaranteed annual income is perception and language.

    "People don't like the idea of entitlement," says John Stapleton, who was part of last spring's Toronto task force on Modernizing Income Security for Working-Age Adults. "When they hear guarantees they think of rights without responsibilities."

    If income is not tied to work – or even a desire to work – there's a worry people will simply choose to not get a job and we'll end up with labour shortages, he explains.

    But if that happens, employers would have to make jobs more attractive by providing better pay, hours and working conditions, says economist Mike McCracken, president of Informetrica, an Ottawa-based economic consulting firm.

    Any worry about looming labour shortages as baby boomers retire and our birth rate stagnates is also a red herring, he says.

    A non-taxable basic income of about $1,000 per month for every adult would give retired people an incentive to work, since the current Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors is heavily taxed if seniors earn any extra income, he says.

    "A basic income would restore the employer-employee power balance which has shifted away from workers since the early 1990s when Ottawa began denying unemployment insurance to those who quit," he says.

    The big price tag of any guaranteed program is also a factor. And some worry governments would set the income so low people wouldn't be further ahead.

    But with cuts to employment insurance – less than half of Canadian workers now qualify – and welfare rates that are as much as $10,000 below Statistics Canada's low-income level, it's hard to imagine how any program could be worse than the status quo, says University of Regina sociologist Jim Mulvale. Mulvale, who championed the issue during the Green Party convention in January, is hoping Saskatchewan 's NDP government may pick up the idea at a conference he's organizing in Regina in June.

    Targeted options

    Even progressive thinkers have some reservations. Ken Battle of the Caledon Institute for Social Policy likes the idea of a basic income. But he believes poverty needs more than a "one-size-fits-all" solution.

    "The notion of a single program that could help everyone ignores the needs of the disabled, seniors and children," he says. And it doesn't address problems faced by recent immigrants, the seasonally unemployed or unskilled workers in precarious jobs, he adds.

    Battle would rather build on existing programs. As examples, he cites:

    Raising the National Child Benefit to provide low-income children $5,000 annually – up from a maximum of $3,243 this year.

    Higher minimum wages with increases linked to inflation, beefed-up employment standards, plus federal and provincial income supplements and tax credits for low-wage workers.

    For working adults like Canas-Mendes, an overhaul of the welfare and employment insurance systems.

    For all workers experiencing temporary unemployment, Battle suggests federal income-tested benefits funded out of general revenues.

    For the unemployed who need to upgrade their skills, he suggests provincial income and training support.

    · For working-age adults unable to work due to age or health problems, a basic income could be paid by Ottawa as a limited form of guaranteed income.

    The scheme would allow provinces to focus on employment and training and make Ottawa – with its larger tax base – responsible for basic income support for both seniors and working age adults.

    What's next?

    Toronto's income security task force, sensing political resistance to reforms, opted to leave the current welfare and employment insurance system alone.

    Instead, it recommended a minimal basic income of $150 per month for all working age adults living below Statistics Canada's low-income level. And it suggested another $200 per month for those who earned a specified income.

    Combined with their earnings, the measures would provide an income floor of about $15,000 for the working poor – roughly what the neediest senior currently receives from Ottawa .

    In January, child poverty activists wrote Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty urging him to introduce an Ontario Child Benefit in the budget to help low-income parents like Canas-Mendes whether they rely on welfare or not.

    And federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is expected to bring in a working income tax benefit, to boost low-income workers' wages. That could also help her.

    For economist McCracken, this shows it's just a matter of time before Canada gets a guaranteed annual income.

    "I've always felt Canada will move in this direction gradually," he says, adding the child benefit, in effect, is already a form of guaranteed annual income for kids.

    For Canas-Mendes, who pays $750 a month for a damp basement apartment and sees half her earnings clawed back by welfare, change can't happen soon enough.

    "I want to make something of myself," she says. "I want to be an example for my children so that they can live a better life."

    Opinion, Nov. 17. PACC letter to the editor published Toronto Star Nov 20 2006

    RE: previous article - "Shoddy treatment of the poor " by Carol Goar

    Kudos to the article by Carol Goar regarding our most impoverished residents of Ontario. It is becoming rarer and rarer these days to find champions of our most vulnerable, so it is welcome and encouraging to see.

    As chairman of Poverty Action for Change Coalition, I can assure you that the snubbing by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has not gone unnnoticed. For the record, this pittance of a 2 per cent increase (in social assistance payments), along with the last several years back of 3 per cent, combined with Mike Harris's 22 per cent cut while he was in office, makes for a grand total of a 17 per cent decrease; while rents, gas, heating, amenities, transportation and food costs have risen in that time. Are voters so greedy and self absorbed that they cannot care enough about their fellow beings to hold these politicians accountable?

    I implore everyone to hold politicians of all levels accountable. Don't buy into the "it's not our department argument." Across York Region, and with 50,000 people using food banks to survive, we made changes and had many new faces and mayors taking up office, including Aurora, one of Ontario's richest per capita towns with a new mayor-elect having been featured just prior to the elections as being disgusted with the shoddy treatment of our poor and wanting to effect change. Yes, change can happen, people do care, stereotypes can die and the poor do vote. So McGuinty, you'd better not fumble this one. MP Belinda Stronach, you're next.

    Tom Pearson, Co-ordinating Chair, Poverty Action For Change Coalition York Region

    Breakthrough News from another Province!!!

    Income Assistance for Post-Secondary Education

    The [Nova Scotia] Department of Community Services is creating
    opportunities for eligible income assistance recipients to get the
    education they need for a brighter future.

    Community Services Minister Judy Streatch announced today, Oct. 26, a
    new pilot program called Career Seek which will allow income assistance
    clients to attend university or a post-secondary education program of
    more than two years and still receive benefits from the income
    assistance program.

    "An education can be the key to success for individuals. We are
    empowering people to achieve their full potential by supporting income
    assistance recipients as they pursue a post-secondary education," said
    Ms. Streatch. "Our investment is creating opportunities for the people
    we serve to become more self-sufficient and financially independent,
    demonstrates our commitment to a vibrant future for Nova Scotia."

    Individuals who have received income assistance for 12 months and
    identified a post-secondary education as part of their employment plan,
    are eligible to apply for Career Seek. Over the next four years, 50
    individuals each year will have an opportunity to participate in this
    program. The first participants could start their programs as early as
    January 2007.

    Career Seek participants who have been accepted into a post-secondary
    program are required to explore all funding options including student
    assistance, scholarships, bursaries and any other sources of income
    available to them. Program assistance will depend on an identified gap
    between an individuals resources and current income assistance rates.

    "Increasing access to university and post-secondary education
    of more than two years by enabling the continuation of benefits from
    income assistance program, is a welcome step forward," said Stephanie
    Hunter, co-ordinator, Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy.

    "Career Seek will help with the extra financial pressures a
    post-secondary education can bring by providing assistance to address
    any gaps in resources and for other special needs like child care,
    pharmacare and transportation."

    Community Services employment counsellors will work with participants
    throughout the Career Seek program. Prior to applying for Career Seek,
    individuals complete a career assessment to identify post secondary
    programs that meet their goals and provide marketable skills needed in
    the labour market. At the end of each semester, participants will
    their transcripts with their employment councillor to ensure they are
    meeting their goals.

    Community Services offers a wide range of programs and services to
    help individuals achieve greater self sufficiency, including literacy
    and academic upgrading, and specialized skills training. Community
    Services also helps individuals attend programs of up to two years at
    the Nova Scotia Community College. Other government programs like
    student assistance are also available to help low-income individuals
    pursue a post secondary education.
    "We've been talking with community and student leaders, and we agree
    that an education is a key factor in helping people achieve their full
    potential," said Ms. Streatch. "Many sectors in Nova Scotia are in need
    of educated and skilled workers. Career Seek will help income
    recipients get the education they need to increase their employment
    options and address the need for more skilled workers."

    According to the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission,
    Maritime graduates earned 44 per cent more, and first-degree holders 23
    per cent more, five years after graduation than other working Canadians
    with a high school diploma.

    Since 1998-99, the number of people receiving income assistance has
    declined from 42,000 to about 30,000. Each year, up to 10,000
    individuals participate in employment support programs. Last year,
    Community Services helped about 3,100 income assistance recipients
    return to the work force.

    For more information about Career Seek, please contact the Community
    Services office nearest you, or see the website at

    Hamilton Band-aid better than No Aid!

    Needy city families will share $900,000
    The Poverty Project

    Needy families across Hamilton are going to get some extra cash thanks in part to a community initiative to combat poverty.

    The city announced yesterday it is going to disperse $900,000 to families receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

    The cash is coming from funding Hamilton receives from the Ontario government under the National Child Benefit Supplement. The money, which amounts to $2.5 million a year, is given to the city to invest in programs to reduce child poverty and promote employment for adults.

    The money given out will assist close to 6,000 children. A family will receive $150 per child.

    The action, being taken in conjunction with Wesley Urban Ministries, is partly a response to The Best Place to Raise a Child initiative launched during the summer by the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty.

    The group is on a four-year mission to reduce poverty across Hamilton .

    "Our vision is to make Hamilton the best place to raise a child," Jo-Anne Priel, general manager of Hamilton 's community services department, said in a statement.

    "Getting this money directly into the hands of the families who need it the most enables them to better deal with day-to-day living expenses like food and transportation."

    The city had been using the $900,000 to offset the cost of running 30 programs, such as the Utilities Arrears Program and the community health bus.

    It is continuing to fund the programs with money from other sources, though the public health department tried to cancel the health bus to the impoverished Beasley neighbourhood.

    Council reinstated the bus, which served 220 children and families, after public complaints.

    Wesley Urban Ministries expects to have cheques mailed out to families next month. The city contacted eligible families in September, those with children under 18, and received 3,500 applications.

    The Hamilton Spectator


    Subject: Invite to press conference


    As many of you know, SCPI (Supporting Community Partnership Initiatives),
    federal funding for homelessness has not yet been renewed by the federal
    government. Many of our programs are now starting to wind down services
    (including PAID) as we have not heard a commitment from the federal
    government about renewed funds.

    The Toronto Appeal for Federal Funding to Address Homelessness (a
    coalition of SCPI funded agencies) is planning a press conference on
    December 5th to highlight the positive impact of programs funded through
    SCPI and the devastating impact on our communities if this funding is not

    Please attend this press conference and circulate the invite to others. If
    you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


    Jane Kali
    Street Health
    ID Safe & Access to Health Cards for the Homeless
    338 Dundas Street East
    Toronto, Ontario, M5A 2A1
    Phone: (416) 921-8668 x 269
    Fax: (416) 921-5233


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    Youth Road-hockey Challenge 2008

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    The Friendly Neighbourhood Youth Road Hockey Challenge was a great success this year raising $3,000 for PACC, "Operation Sparrow" and including an education $1500 award to winner 17 year old Lester Sanchez. The Magna Mulock hawks won the consolation final and the P&C Compostech "Roywood Redmen" won the championship! Congrats to all and special thanks to all the volunteers!