Open Letter to Toronto City Council in Support of Toronto’s Poorest Residents and the City’s Hardship Fund

SPT and community partners are calling on Toronto City Council to save the City’s Hardship Fund – a program that offsets emergency medical costs for low income seniors, particularly senior women, and people with disabilities who have no access to provincial support.  At its September meeting, City Council narrowly voted down a motion to spare the Hardship Fund from elimination in the 2012/13 budget, with 22 Councillors voting in favour of saving the fund and 23 voting to consider eliminating it in the upcoming budget.  In 2010, the Hardship Fund cost the average property taxpayer just sixty cents on an annual property tax bill of about $2,400.

How did your Councillor vote?

An Open Letter to Toronto City Council in Support of Toronto's Poorest Residents and the City's Hardship Fund

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Mayor Ford and Toronto City Council,

We urge Toronto City Council to safeguard the City's Hardship Fund - a fund that offsets medical costs for some of the poorest residents in Toronto. In the City's own words, the Hardship Fund "serves primarily poor seniors who face potentially life threatening situations if they cannot obtain needed medical items." The fund is particularly important for many senior women and people with disabilities who live in poverty and who, because of their age or source of income, do not have access to supports available through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Soundbites e-Bulletin July 21,2011

Soundbites e-Bulletin
Thursday, July 21, 2011


1. Core Service Review Suggests Eliminating or Reducing Community Grants
2. July 29 SPT Research and Policy Forum
3. SPT Member Forum on Social Assistance Review
4. Worth Repeating: A Poverty Free Ontario
5. News from our Partners
6. Get Involved in Social Planning Toronto
7. About Social Planning Toronto

1. Core Service Review Suggests Eliminating or Reducing Community Grants

Deputation to the Community Development and Recreation Committee on the Core Services Review

Housing Action Now
c/o 489 College Street, Suite 205, Toronto, Ontario M6R 2A3
Contact: Beth Wilson, 416-351-0095 x257, beth@socialplanningtoronto.org
Deputation to the Community Development and Recreation Committee on the Core Service
Review - Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. My name is Beth Wilson. I am the
senior researcher from Social Planning Toronto, a nonprofit community organization that works
to advance social and economic justice issues through research, community development and
promotion of civic engagement. I am also the co-chair of Housing Action Now, a city-wide
network of residents and community groups working to advance the right to safe, decent and
affordable housing in Toronto. I am here today to speak on behalf of Housing Action Now.
HAN conducts public education and policy work to inform and engage community members
and policy-makers around vital housing issues affecting our neighbourhoods and communities.
Our network includes 40 individuals and organizations, including agencies such as Kensington
Bellwoods Community Legal Services, Social Planning Toronto, Children’s Aid Society of
Toronto, Tenants for Social Housing, Canadian Pensioners Concerned, and Federation of Metro
Tenants’ Associations.

Registration is Now Open for Social Planning Toronto’s June Research & Policy Forum: "Justice & Equity on the Job"

Registration is Now Open for Social Planning Toronto’s June Research & Policy Forum: Justice & Equity on the Job: Challenging wage theft and employment barriers for racialized workers

Join us for a discussion on issues facing racialized workers in the Canadian labour market and the campaign to improve Ontario’s employment standards.

Time: June 15, 2011, 1:00pm-3:30pm
Location: Social Planning Toronto, 2 Carlton Street, Suite 1001  (Corner of Carlton & Yonge)
Our office is wheelchair accessible. Light refreshments will be served.


  • Sheila Block, The Wellesley Institute, Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market: The Gap for Racialized Workers
  • Deena Ladd, The Workers’ Action Centre, Unpaid Wages, Unprotected Workers: A Survey of Employment Standards Violations

Space is limited so register early. You can register online at: http://spt-june-forum.eventbrite.com or call Mary Micallef at (416) 351-0095 x 251

"Tenant Voice, Tenant Homes" - SPT's Deputation to the Executive Committee, May 24, 2011

Toronto Community Housing’s one-man interim board, Mr. Case Ootes, has recommended that 22 TCHC homes be sold off. Seven residents and groups, including SPT, deputed to the City’s Executive Committee on Tuesday, May 24 calling for the committee to return the issue to the new TCHC board once its full complement with tenant representation had been established. Despite these calls, the Executive Committee voted in favour of selling off the homes. The decision now goes to City Council for a final vote on June 14/15. As well, provincial Ministerial approval is required before 10 of the 22 homes can be sold. Read the SPT deputation here:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

Share Your Stories about Fees and Fundraising with the Ministry of Education!

The Ministry of Education is asking for feedback on its Draft Guidelines on Fundraising and Social Planning Toronto and the TDSB Inner City Advisory Committee want your voice included. Please follow this link to submit your confidential comments about the impact that fundraising (and fees) have had on your experiences with the education system, either as a student, as a parent or as a community member. Your feedback will go directly to a SPT staff person and will only be included into a submission to the Ministry and will help us formulate recommendations for the government on this issue. Also consider attending our public consultation at Fairmeadow School (17 Fairmeadow Ave.) June 7th at 9:30 to have your say in person.
Please contact Lesley Johnston at ljohnston@socialplanningtoronto.org or (416) 351-0095 x216 if you have any questions or for more information.

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Registration is now open for Social Planning Toronto’s March Research and Policy Forum: “The View From Here: New Research on Affordable Housing in Toronto”

Join us for a discussion of the most current housing research and ideas for improving housing in Toronto.

Date: Tuesday, March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to noon
Location: The 519 Church Street Community Centre Auditorium, 519 Church Street, Toronto (map)


  • Dr. David Hulchanski, U of T Cities Centre - "Toronto's Tower Neighbourhoods:  A Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal Agenda" and a discussion on privatization and Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • Jamie Robinson, United Way Toronto - "Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty"
  • Nicole Stewart, City of Toronto - "Toronto Regional Housing Data Bank"

All are welcome.  As space is limited, please register below or call Margaret at (416) 351-0095 x211

Register for the February Research & Policy Forum: "The Real Cost of Public Education: Fees, Fundraising, Equity and Access in Ontario"

Being a student in Ontario’s public education system is supposed to mean having access to a top-quality education - free of charge.  This past reality, unfortunately, is not our present state of affairs. User fees, many violating Ontario’s Education Act, are popping up throughout the system to cover gaps in funding. In our more affluent schools parents are fundraising hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover items ranging from computers to school renovations to art supplies that used to be funded out of school budgets, while other students in other schools go without. Our neediest students, even our middle-class students, are struggling to pay for an education that should be free, while some schools are providing an education subsidized by the wealth of generous alumni.

How do we begin to reintroduce equity into the education system?

City Budget Watch Update - January 14, 2011

City Budget Watch Update – January 14, 2011

The Budget Committee concluded their budget review with City Councillors today – almost.  Because analyst notes were not available for the Toronto Police Service (and by the look of the website, analyst notes also appear to be missing for the Toronto Transit Commission as well) due to recent changes in these budgets, an additional Budget Committee has been scheduled for Thursday, January 20 at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall in Committee Room 1.

Today’s Budget Committee meeting covered a number of agencies including Toronto Police Serviceand Toronto Transit Commission.  With regard to police services, TPS brought their requested increase down by delaying recruitment of new officers, cutting premium pay and reducing contribution to reserves.

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