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Moving from theory to implementation on human rights and poverty

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

When we think of “human rights,” many tend to think of large-scale, national-level issues. Cities, though, are where people experience their lives, where their ability to access their rights (or not) becomes a lived reality. Municipal governments are responsible for many of the systems that we need daily, such as zoning for housing, parks and recreation, and public health services… we have been working on articulating what the principles of a human rights approach mean in practice… so that people experience their human rights in their everyday lives

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Why we need to care about single adults living in poverty

Friday, July 1st, 2022

… single adults made up more than 60 per cent of OW cases and nearly 80 per cent of ODSP cases in 2021. Together, they equal the population of Ontario’s fastest growing city… The social assistance system was intended to be an emergency system – a last resort when all else failed. Well, all else is failing. Our other social systems are not preventing single adults from living in poverty. Rather, these systems are pushing people into poverty and holding them there… our social safety net is a relic of another era, as is our notion of who needs it.

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We can’t simply build our way out of our housing crisis

Friday, April 29th, 2022

More new housing will help if it’s the kind of housing that is currently lacking, built for the people who need it most. Various studies indicate that 40 to 50 per cent of people in Canada are living paycheque-to-paycheque. That is, nearly half the population of this prosperous country are income insecure. Plans for new housing must prioritize these people.

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Shaking up the systems: Fighting poverty in post-pandemic Canada

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

At the core of the questions raised by the NACP was the idea that we need structural change to reduce poverty in Canada… we offer a number of policy ideas that can help systematically reduce poverty… rooted in what the evidence tells us… the idea that everyone across Canada has the fundamental human right to live in dignity and participate fully in society, and it is the duty of all levels of government to respect, protect, and fulfill these rights.

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The City must work with people living in encampments – not evict them

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

Leaving people out of the decisions that affect their lives so profoundly is part of the wrong-headed decision-making process that led us to encampments in the first place. All paths forward on encampments must involve the meaningful participation of the people who are living in them.

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Spending big money is responsible – when it protects our human rights

Friday, April 30th, 2021

In extraordinary times such as these, it is important to put the dignity of people first, even if the government has to shoulder the fiscal burden on our behalf… our primary concern should not be about how much will be spent, but rather about how that spending will support a dignified life for each person and community it serves. Not, how much does it cost? But rather, what will we get for it?… It is the government’s duty to spend – and spend big – to support our economic and social rights.

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Ontario’s vision for social assistance is encouraging – but the budget tells a different story

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

Last week’s provincial budget did not include significant funds for housing or other services that contribute to well-being… Current rates are woefully inadequate. The last time rates were increased was 2018. As the cost of living has continued to rise, this means that people have, in effect, had their rates cut during this period. To support people to live with dignity, social assistance must provide both sufficient income and access to services.

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Let’s turn social assistance on its head to make it better

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

I can’t help but be struck by just how bad our social assistance system in Ontario is… social assistance incomes are grossly inadequate. They have been for decades… it is possible to imagine a social assistance system that supports, rather than degrades, the people who use it… we can do better. To start, we must re-imagine a social assistance system that is founded on dignity and human rights.

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‘Poverty’ is a problem for democracy – focusing on rights can help

Saturday, October 31st, 2020

While poverty is experienced by individuals, it is created by systems that fail to protect their rights to a decent standard of living. Supporting individuals and families is certainly necessary. But alone, it will not eliminate poverty. To make real progress towards eliminating poverty, we need systems that support people in realizing their economic and social rights.

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Putting economic and social rights at the heart of policy-making

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Too many people are currently being left behind as changing social, economic, and political tides wash past them… we must help people and communities weather these changes by strengthening how we think about, and develop, public policy. We can do this by prioritizing the human rights and dignities of all Canadians. Not only civil and political rights, but economic and social rights, too.

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