Low-income Ontarians entered the pandemic in distress and have disproportionately borne the brunt of the pandemic’s impacts. This would be the perfect time for Ontario to ensure a successful and complete recovery by making permanent changes to alleviate poverty.

Instead, in the middle of the second wave, the province delivered two strategies that will fail low-income Ontarians.

Both base the right to a dignified life on an individual’s ability to work. They emphasize employment-related indicators and “life stabilization” as major measures of poverty reduction, without meaningful attempts to remove barriers to employment or to fund and improve the wraparound services that are crucial to moving people out of deep poverty.

As Toronto City Hall sends in massive squads of police to drive unhoused people from encampments in public parks, the question arises of how best to resist this brutal attack. Based on my own experiences as an anti-poverty organizer, I think there are some strategic considerations that must inform this struggle.

It should be understood that municipal government is the level of state power that most directly serves the interests of the capitalists who invest in property. In recent decades, Toronto City Hall’s main role has been to facilitate the creation of a “neoliberal city” in which an agenda of upscale redevelopment and extreme commodification of housing is pursued relentlessly. This course of action has resulted in massive profits for developers, construction companies, and bankers. It has also provided a lot of luxury housing on prime urban land for those wealthy enough to afford it. At the same time, it has led to gentrification of working-class communities, soaring rents that have caused immense hardship for poor tenants, and an ever-worsening catastrophe of homelessness.

Video of Toronto police physically emptying people from a homeless camp from a local park on Wednesday has sparked a debate across the country about affordable housing and use of force against people with nowhere else to go.

Two-thousand kilometres west of where the incident took place, Kris Clemens, manager of communications for End Homelessness Winnipeg is upset with the situation.

“It’s very sad and distressing to see that kind of action taken against people who are already experiencing a lot of harm and violence in their life due to not being able to claim their basic human right to housing,” said Clemens.

Violence erupted as authorities moved in to clear a homeless encampment at a Toronto park on Wednesday, with police pushing out a large group of people who had refused to leave the area.

The operation at Lamport Stadium Park came a day after a different encampment was cleared in downtown Toronto. The city has cited the risk of fires and the need to make parks accessible to everyone as factors behind the clearings.

Those living at Lamport Stadium — between 14 and 17 people, according to city estimates — were issued trespass notices last month warning they could be removed if they refused to leave and face fines of up to $10,000 if convicted.

On Wednesday, those residents and dozens of their supporters initially refused to leave after authorities put up a fence around the site and ordered them out.

An expensive legal battle between the the City of Penticton and province is doing nothing to a help ease the homelessness problem in that city.

The immediate focus is on a court petition launched Wednesday, July 7, by Penticton against the province and others over the ongoing operation of the Victory Shelter. The city is willing to spend up to $300,000 on the court challenge and the province’s costs will undoubtedly be in that range or higher.

“The legal fight – which I don’t want to comment on – doesn’t make our job any easier and it doesn’t make it go any quicker either,” Tony Laing, CEO of the Penticton and District Society for Community Living told iNFOnews.ca Thursday, July 8.

Dozens of homeless people living at CRAB Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside were being evicted on Friday, according to a community advocate.

Fiona York said campers received notices from the Vancouver park board on Thursday ordering them to take down their tents and leave the park.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, trauma, insecurity, displacement — all of that psychological weaponizing of bylaws that have been used against people who have been homeless for a long time,” said York.

The encampment at the waterfront park started in late May with about two dozen people, but had grown to 50 tents. About 25 to 30 of the campers had been living at the Strathcona Park encampment until it was shut down this spring, said York.

A group that builds small, insulated shelters for the homeless in Halifax says the municipal government has started to remove some of the structures at sites around the city.

The advocacy group Halifax Mutual Aid posted an image Friday on social media of one of the wooden structures being lifted up by heavy machinery. The group said the shelter had been occupied, and the person living there was at work when it was removed.

The City of Halifax confirmed in a statement late Friday that it had removed three temporary shelters from municipal property after determining they were vacant.