Shelter cuts reversed, bar for basic income set higher, and childcare growth strategy adopted at City Committee

On April 13, 2017 — the Community Development and Recreation Committee took major action on three important issues.

Shelter Cuts Reversed

Staffing cuts in Shelters, Support and Housing Administration as a result of the budget have been reversed. Local 79’s President Tim Maguire joined other shelter advocates to highligh the importance of the reversal but also the need for a better plan to provide shelter services to an increasing number of people. Tim particularly focused on inadequate staffing, with too many vacancies and part-time positions leading to unmanageable workloads that threaten services to clients. As a result, the Division has also been directed to develop a plan to reduce the amount of staff vacancies by about half.

The Division was also directed to review shelter standards throughout the system in light of spikes in demand and take immediate action to open new spaces whenever occupancy exceeds 90%. Local 79 continues to work with many community allies, such as the Interfaith Coalition to Fight Homelessness and Out of the Cold, to improve the shelter system.

Read our briefing note for further details and watch Tim’s deputation below.

Childcare Growth Strategy

An aggressive strategy to add an additional 30,000 licensed childcare spaces in Toronto and cut parent fees by at least 25 per cent over the next 10 years was adopted by the Committee, along with a reaffirmation of the city’s commitment to fund twenty percent of the plan and to call on the Province and the Federal Government to provide their historical share of 80 per cent. The plan still needs a lot of work to develop how this expansion will be done. Local 79 will be following the process closely and advocating for an increase in high quality, publicly operated Childcare in Toronto. Read our briefing note for further details.

Basic Income

President Maguire urged the Committee to oppose the Provincial decision to implement a basic income pilot, recognizing that basic income schemes threaten to reduce or eliminate the non-income supports and services that accompany Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. While the committee moved forward with conditional support of the pilot, they placed important conditions on that support: that Basic Income should be at the level of a “Living Wage”, which is calculated at about 18 dollars an hour; and, that there no withdrawal of other supports currently accessed by OW and ODSP recipients.

Read our briefing note for further details and watch Tim’s deputation below.