More than ever we need to stay mobilized after the June 7 election to show any new government that Ontario expects and demands decent work. We have an incredible line-up of speakers already confirmed for the June 16 Rally for Decent Work!

– Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and co-author of Canada’s Leap Manifesto
– Chris Buckley, president, Ontario Federation of Labour
– Sandy Hudson, co-founder, Black Lives Matter Toronto
– Dr. Ritika Goel, member, Decent Work and Health Network & OHIP for All
– Gobinder Singh Randhawa, chair, Ontario Sikh and Gurudwara Council

We also know there are several buses already in the works to bring in folks from outside and inside Toronto

Canadians are fortunate to live in one of the world’s better countries, but we delude ourselves when we claim to be living in the best — or even one of the best.

Not when more than a million Canadian children — 15.1 per cent or one in seven of them — are living in poverty, many thousands bereft of adequate nutrition and health care.

Not when the OECD ranks Canada 15th– third last — among the 17 leading industrialized countries in the extent of its child poverty. (The OECD gives Canada a C grade, not much lower than the D grade given the last nation on the list, the United States.)

Not when children in millions of Canadian households are living in sub-standard, crowded, poorly furnished housing conditions.

Not when 21 per cent of single Canadian mothers have to raise their children while living in poverty.

Not when Canada still lacks the national, accessible, affordable, high-quality child-care system that prevails in most European countries.

John Clark knows how to live rough. He’s been doing it off and on for much of his life.

Clark currently lives in a tent on a wooded piece of property in an industrial area of Napanee.

He’s a familiar face around town, recognizable for his outlandish outfits and interesting modes of transportation (a powder-blue suit, a snorkel and bright orange sarong, his pink bicycle, roller blades) and his unique way of wandering: chasing a ball with a hockey stick up and down the streets of town, sometimes chatting away to himself, sometimes humming. Always jovial.

Clark was evicted from his apartment in October 2017. He lived with his sister for two months during the winter but then came back to Napanee where his friends are. He’s lived in foyers and staircases and on friends’ couches, but he’s been in a tent for the past few months.

The realtor trying to sell the property which once housed the Victorious Living Centre Emergency Shelter says the City of Owen Sound should have acted faster to enforce bylaws to take down a tent city.

Dennis Herman of Remax Grey Bruce Realty has the listing for 748 2nd Avenue East in the city’s downtown and says protesters have been allowed to make camp there for too long.

“If these homeless people set up anywhere else in the city they would be arrested,” says Herman, adding “The mayor, councillors, city managers, bylaw, everybody — they’re spineless. If I did this I’d be arrested. Gone to jail.”

Living throughout York Region, on friends’ couches and in cars, under bridges, abandoned trailers and sometimes just in tents out in the forest out of sight are teens with no place to call home. We don’t see them because they look like every other kid, but they’re homeless all the same. York Region youth are spending nights out of sight, in temporary beds or staying in places that could cause them even greater physical and emotional harm. These are kids from every neighbourhood, class and culture.

Youth homelessness remains a significant problem in Canada’s fastest growing region, where 10 per cent of our friends and neighbours live in low-income households and one in every five households struggles to find affordable housing. Our young people are already paying the price for a community in urgent need of additional affordable housing and support services.

Over the past few Ramadans, fasting from before sunrise to sunset, with no food or drink each day for a month, I have become increasingly attuned to the plight of my patients and those in our community who are suffering with profound poverty and hunger.

A group of Hamilton area Pakistani physicians conducted a Ramadan food basket distribution out of the Hamilton Downtown Mosque recently. One-hundred boxes of food — rice, lentils, oil, dates and pasta — were distributed to 100 families in the neighbourhood, regardless of religion, gender or creed. We didn’t want to ask questions or demand identification but instead relied on the knowledgeable local members of the mosque to ensure the distribution was as fair as possible.

Of course, we ran out of boxes.