HPAP Annual General Meeting

Please join us for the Health Providers Against Poverty AGM 2016!

When: Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Where: United Steelworker’s Hall, 25 Cecil St, Toronto
Register: Seating is limited, please register HERE.

We are thrilled to have Desmond Cole as our guest speaker. He is a well known activist and freelance journalist in Toronto, as well as a staff writer at Torontoist. His work also appears in the Toronto Star, The Walrus, Toronto Life, VICE, NOW Magazine, and Ethnic Aisle.

We will review the past year:

  • Helping to start the Decent Work and Health Network
  • Collaborating with allies at Workers’ Action Centre and OCAP
  • Contributing to changes in ODSP reviews
  • Fundraising and building our membership

We will also hold elections for the steering committee and discuss plans for an exciting new campaign!

If you have not completed your 2016 membership form, please do so here.

Memberships will also be available at the AGM – suggested donation of $25.

Groups Propose Basic Income For Food Security

Health Providers Against Poverty endorsed a recent Position Statement from the Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health calling for a basic income pilot in Ontario.

The need for urgent action on income inequity and food insecurity was highlighted in this letter to Premier Wynne and the provincial government.

“OSNPPH members apply the cost of the Nutritious Food Basket and average rental housing costs to various family composition and income scenarios in both Northern and non-Northern jurisdictions. Year after year, our analyses clearly indicate that families and individuals who have minimum wage incomes or receive social assistance do not have enough money to cover the basic cost of living”

“As demonstrated in our Position Statement, the primary community response to food insecurity – food charity – is an ineffective and counterproductive response to food insecurity because it does not address the root cause which is poverty. While food charity may help to relieve immediate hunger in those who seek assistance, food insecurity persists. To effectively address food insecurity, income responses are required.”

More information:
Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2013

OCAP Rally For Food Justice

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty held a successful Rally for Food Justice on April 9, 2016. HPAP member Katie Dorman shared the following message.

“I’m a family physician working in Northern Ontario and member of Health Providers Against Poverty, sending my support for OCAPs rally against food poverty and hunger.

Every day I see the damaging effects of excessive food prices on people’s health. Food insecurity, both in the amount and type of food that people can afford, is contributing to premature mortality across Ontario.

Along the James Bay coast, the Northern Stores have a monopoly. 1 orange costs $3, 1 can of soup costs over $6, 3 bags of milk costs nearly $10. At the same time, the CEO of the North West Company earns over 5 million dollars per year.

Children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and cannot afford to eat healthy.

People who are hungry have no food bank to turn to.

Colonization and systematic cultural oppression have deprived many indigenous peoples of their traditional sustenance, while ongoing exploitation by large corporations intensifies food insecurity. On top of this, chronic underfunding of education, health care, children’s services, and social infrastructure intensify the effects of poverty and hunger.

It’s time for this to end. We need food security for all Ontarians.”

Chanteal Lee.jpg
MC Chanteal Lee reading a message from HPAP member Katie Dorman

HPAP Joins Release of Out of The Cold Report

On February 17, HPAP members joined the OCAP for the public release of their recent report Out In The Cold: The Crisis in Toronto’s Shelter System.

Dr. Mike Benusic’s message:

“I’m representing Health Providers Against Poverty. We are a group of health care workers – nurses, doctors, social workers, occupational therapists, etc – who work directly with people facing homelessness.

We were invited by John to join OCAP in conducting this survey and it confirmed what we hear everyday from our patients – the shelter system is stretched to the limit. The City of Toronto is relying on well-meaning charities to catch those falling through the gaps – but it’s clear from this report that they are bursting at the seams.

Today, City Council is voting on the budget. Originally, this budget did not even include funding to keep warming shelters open throughout the winter. Last year, 3 people died on the streets from cold exposure. This is just the tip-of-the-iceberg of how health is impacted by being out in the cold. 99% of deaths caused by cold weather don’t occur immediately – instead, they occur up to a month after exposure by increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and pneumonia. Medically, ethically, and economically – it makes sense to bring everyone out of the cold.

It wouldn’t be correct to say the city is merely ignoring the crisis in the shelter system. In reality, they are actively planning to make it worse. The redevelopment of Seaton House poses a net loss of beds – which is unfathomable for a system already consistently above the target of 90% capacity.

Health Providers Against Poverty commend OCAP on documenting what unfortunately those using the shelter system know all too well, and providing 5 key ways the city must act.”

The Crisis in Toronto’s Shelter System

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty’s recent report Out In The Cold: The Crisis In Toronto’s Shelter System has revealed the City’s inadequate response to homelessness, particularly in the cold winter months. The report includes findings from interviews with over 100 service users at numerous Out of The Cold locations.

This report confirms HPAP member’s concerns that Toronto shelter’s are over-crowded and inaccessible, contributing to serious health risks for people who are homeless.

The Toronto Star published OCAP’s findings in an article that asserts that “Toronto is failing to meet the basic needs of its homeless population”.

HPAP supports OCAP in demanding that the City take the following measures to address this crisis:

  1. Ensure the shelter system’s 90% maximum occupancy policy
  2. Immediately open new spaces to shelter people, including the Federal Armouries
  3. End discriminatory practices within the shelter system
  4. No further loss of shelter beds
  5. Respect the right to housing

Join OCAP for a Public Release of the Report and March to City Hall on Wednesday, February 17 at 11:00 AM, starting at Queen and Sherbourne.


Toronto Must Not Leave People Out In the Cold

Health care providers are advocating for the City of Toronto to provide adequate shelter space to keep people out of the cold and prevent unnecessary illness and deaths this winter.

HPAP’s Letter to Toronto City Councillors, by Drs. Michaela Beder and Michael Benusic, is listed on the Jan 18, 2016 Budget Committee meeting agenda.

Show your support for increased funding for shelters and warming centres in Toronto’s 2016 budget by signing this Petition to Mayor John Tory. 

Letter to Toronto Councillors on Warming Centres Jan 11 2016.jpg