Ontario’s recently elected Tory government, headed by right wing populist, Doug Ford, did not wait very long to incorporate into its reactionary agenda, an attack on the province’s social assistance system and those living in poverty. Though their election platform had been astoundingly sparse when it came to details and no warning was given of an intended war on the poor, in July, Ford’s Social Services Minister, Lisa MacLeod, announced that a hundred day review of the province’s social assistance system would be undertaken. To set the stamp on the Tory brand of ‘welfare reform’ MacLeod informed us that a scheduled increase of 3% in social assistance rates would be cut in half, that a series of modest improvements in the delivery system would be jettisoned and that 4,000 people who had been accepted onto the basic income pilot would now be cut adrift as the experiment was cancelled.

It’s not getting any warmer and while this year Jon Ede has a place to get out of the elements, many of his friends aren’t so lucky.

So he knows the need in Sooke for an extreme weather shelter is dire.

“It’s the difference between being alive and dead and I’ve lost a lot of people in my life because they woke up dead because of the freezing temperatures,” said Ede.

Kelowna will have one less homeless shelter this winter.

Inn From the Cold is being evicted from its current location at the end of December and, despite months of looking, hasn’t been able to find a new space to call home.

“I really thought that the good folks of Kelowna would step up to the plate in one way or another to help us,” said Jan Schulz, the shelter’s executive director.

“But we don’t have a location and that kind of speaks for itself.”

Within a matter of weeks, the City of Burnaby could finally have warming centres and a winter shelter for homeless people, after years of advocacy that fell on the deaf ears of the city’s former mayor.

“We’re overjoyed,” said Karen O’ Shannecary, with Burnaby’s Society to End Homelessness. “Homelessness is deadly … and to be able to look forward to the opening of a shelter or a warming centre – anything to help people stay alive and get basic needs met – is just incredibly awesome news.”

On Monday, city council unanimously passed a motion directing staff to move forward with a plan to establish a warming centre in each of the city’s four quadrants and a temporary emergency shelter as soon as possible. Exact locations have not been set.

“It’s not humane to leave people out in these kinds of conditions,” said Coun. Pietro Calendino after introducing the motion as an hours-long downpour pelted the windows of council chambers.

The early arrival of persistent winter weather has caught a lot of people off guard and that includes people who live on the street.

Cities like Fredericton find themselves without enough shelter space, but the city has started addressing the problem more quickly than expected.

The recent spotlight on homelessness in the city of Fredericton has put pressure on government to do something – and that’s starting to happen.

Humanitarian and author Harry Leslie Smith, a Second World War veteran who dedicated the last years of his life to defending the marginalized and the poor while warning against the threat of nationalism, has died.

Smith’s son, who had been issuing regular medical updates to his father’s 250,000 Twitter followers, said the 95-year-old died early Wednesday morning.