I wrote [sic] regarding Yvonne Earle’s letter, “A better way to cut health-care costs,” The Telegram, Jan. 26.

Did you know Canada remains the only country in the world with a public health-care system that does not cover the cost of prescription medications? Canadians remain with a fragmented system with inequitable drug coverage.

Medication is an essential component of a full range of treatment for some individuals living with physical and mental illness and disabilities.

This is my last column as a freelance columnist for the Hamilton Spectator for now. I am declaring my intention to seek the nomination as the Liberal candidate in Hamilton Centre. I would be running against Andrea Horwath. It would not be easy, but I feel compelled.

I have stood beside Andrea in solidarity at many rallies over the years as we were on the same side of so many issues. Now our paths have diverged. Her silence on poverty is disheartening. In 2014, an election was triggered because Andrea led her party to vote against a Liberal budget, in part, in protest of the $14 minimum wage.

That same year, longtime Ontario NDP members including Michele Landsberg, partner of former ONDP party leader Stephen Lewis, and Toronto public health nurse and former NDP candidate Cathy Crowe were among many signatories to a letter to Andrea which stated, “If the NDP does not stand with working people, poor people, with women, with immigrants, then what does it stand for? We urge you to change course.

On Jan. 23, a small group of protesters stood in the freezing rain at the curb of a construction site for a new condo development in Ottawa’s Mechanicsville neighbourhood.

As cars splashed past the resilient crowd, members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) Ottawa, a low-income advocacy group, held up signs demanding the Ontario government amend its proposal on increasing affordable housing.

ACORN members in both Ottawa and Toronto, as part of a province-wide campaign, took to the streets to denounce what they call “pro-developer” rules on inclusionary zoning proposed by the Ministry of Housing.

The Living Space warming shelter has opened its doors.

According to a message on the centre’s Facebook page, the unofficial launch of the space was Jan. 27 and gave “staff and clients a chance to get to know one another and prepare for a larger community response.”

Living Space is located at 27 Cedar St. N.

Dedicated to ending chronic homelessness, the basement of the building features a 15-bed emergency shelter.

Cornerstone on Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna is halfway through its temporary mandate as a low-barrier homeless shelter of last resort.

And while some of the shelter’s neighbours don’t much like it, there’s no denying the 80-odd residents would be gracing Kelowna’s streets if it were not available.

“All our shelters are full. The Gospel Mission is full. Alexandra Gardner is full. Inn from the Cold is full,” John Howard executive director Gaelene Askeland says. “Just do the math.”

Toronto’s shelter system is failing, putting the health and safety of the city’s most vulnerable at risk. Since 2015, the use of shelters in the city has increased by 19 per cent, yet funding has stagnated, facilities are often at capacity and, as a result, every night hundreds of people are unable to find a bed.

Some who are turned away end up sleeping on the street, risking their lives. Others find shelter in temporary warming centres, opened by the city every winter for a few months. But these people, too, are at risk. As demand has grown, conditions have badly deteriorated, threatening occupants’ health and safety.

A new report by the non-profit coalition Health Providers Against Poverty documents the dangerous chaos and overcrowding of Toronto’s warming centres. It points to the urgent need to improve conditions in these spaces and for governments of every level finally to do their part in the fight against homelessness.

he new and innovative social program that Ontario is testing in Lindsay and two other Ontario centres – a ‘basic income guarantee’ — is surging in participant numbers.

According to Ministry spokesperson, Matt Ostergard, the Advocate has learned that as of the end of January there were 2,544 participants across the three pilot locations of Lindsay, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton and Brant County.