OPICCO Newsflash – March 2017


Community Organizing and Community Development Across Ontario



  1. Northern Region Hydro Project
  • Supporting Organizations: All northern region clinics
  • Summary: Our clients already struggle to maintain shelter and eat. Skyrocketing hydro costs are making that struggle more difficult. This is a hot political issue and one where further pressure could yield good results before the next provincial election. We think that the north has compelling things to say about hydro costs due to things like rural delivery charges, longer cold seasons etc.  It is a story that needs to be told. We will research and prepare a report about what was spent in 2016 in the north by charities and CHPI to keep hydro on. The second step is to collect stories from January 1st, 2017 from people continuing to struggle with hydro costs. We picked this date because the rate decreases that the province enacted to “resolve” the problem came into effect Jan 1/17. We are still planning how best to use this information to put on pressure for better hydro rates.
  • Date/Deadline: Not determined
  • Contact Info: Lake Country Community Legal Clinic



  1. Precarious Employment Outreach & Legal Worker Initiative
  • Lead Organization: Northumberland Community Legal Centre (NCLC)
  • Supporting Organizations: Durham CLC, CLC – Simcoe, Haliburton and Kawartha Lakes, Community Advocacy and Legal Centre and Kingston CLC
  • Date: Ongoing
  • Summary: The Northumberland Community Legal Centre, in coordination with Eastern and Central Region Transformation Project partners, has utilized FEG funding to hire an Outreach Worker (OW) to raise the profile of community legal clinic services within populations of precariously employed workers. The OW is responsible for coordinating the implementation of various outreach strategies designed in consultation with each of five community legal clinics to target specific populations of precariously employed workers (ie migrant workers, temp agency workers, etc.). The initiative is intended to expand to include Peterborough CLC, The Legal Clinic (Perth) and Cornwall Legal Services
  • Contact Info: Northumberland Community Legal Centre


  1. Peterborough Community Legal Centre AGM / Bryan Palmer, co-author of Toronto’s Poor, speaking event
  • Lead Organization: Peterborough Community Legal Centre
  • Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017
  • Time: AGM Business – 7:00 pm, Speaking Event – 7:30pm
  • Summary: The Peterborough Community Legal Centre will hold its 28th Annual General Meeting. Following, local historian of the working-class Bryan Palmer will present on his new book, co-authored with anti-poverty activist Gaétan Héroux. “Toronto’s Poor reveals the long and too often forgotten history of poor people’s resistance. It details how the homeless, the unemployed, and the destitute have struggled to survive and secure food and shelter in the wake of the many panics, downturns, recessions, and depressions that punctuate the years from the 1830s to the present.” Bryan Palmer will also relate the subject of the book with Peterborough.
  • Contact Info:Peterborough Community Legal Centre
  • Link for more info: https://btlbooks.com/book/torontos-poor



  1. City Review of Multilingual Services Policy
  • Supporting Organizations: City of Toronto
  • Date: Survey Available until March 10
  • Event Summary: The City of Toronto is requesting input from residents and other members of the public through an online survey that will help determine how and when the City makes information available in languages other than English. The survey will be available until March 10 and is offered in several languages including English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tamil, Tagalog, Italian, Portuguese, Farsi, Russian, Urdu, Korean and French.
  • Contact Info: Strategic Communications, 416-392-6890
  • Link for more info:  ca/languagesurvey, http://bit.ly/2mbaPCM



  1. We Are One – Supporting our Muslim Community
  • Supporting Organizations: Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, Delta Family Resource Centre, Rexdale Community Hub, Albion Neighbourhood Services, Rexdale Women’s Centre, Rexdale Community Health Centre, United Way
  • Date: April 12th, 2017
  • Time & Location: 5:30pm, Rexdale Community Hub, 21 Panorama Court, Toronto
  • Event Summary: Come together in the wake of increasing Islamophobia and intolerance to support the Muslim and other affected communities. Share experiences and strategies for strengthening our inclusive communities.
  • Contact Info: Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
  • Link for more info:  ca/languagesurvey, http://bit.ly/2mbaPCM



  1. Discussion: Toronto Star’s application to make Tribunal records open
  • Supporting Organizations: ACTO
  • Date: March 29, 2017 from 10:00 am – 2:00
  • Location: 1500 – 55 University Avenue, Toronto, Rooms C1 and C2
  • Event Summary: ACTO has scheduled a meeting for legal clinics to discuss the Toronto Star application in Superior Court against the Attorney General for Ontario. The application seeks greater access to provincial tribunal records based on a Charter argument. We will also be inviting other members of the Association of Human Rights Lawyers.
  • Contact Info: ACTO
  • Link for more info: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/02/07/star-launches-legal-challenge-to-end-secrecy-in-ontario-tribunals.html


  1. Paper Anniversary Surprise Party for WSIB CEO
  • Supporting Organizations: IAVGO, IWC
  • Date: Past, Part of ongoing Health Care Campaign
  • Location: WSIB Head Office
  • Event Summary: February 2017 was Tom Teahen’s 1 year anniversary as the President and CEO of the WSIB. In his year on the job, he has done nothing to fix the crisis that injured workers are facing. Instead, he’s lowered premiums for employers and taken up an “endless meetings” approach to deflect the urgent changes that are needed.  Injured workers, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups, and several legal clinics including IAVGO and IWC organized a delegation to the WSIB to tell Teahen that his inaction is unacceptable. The group of injured workers marked Teahen’s “Paper Anniversary” by giving him gifts of newspaper headlines within the last year and a package of papers including injured workers’ statements about their experience under his leadership and what they want to see changed. A spokesperson from the WSIB told us she would take our concerns to Teahen.  The group left chanting “No more exploitation, we will fight for compensation”.
  • Contact Info: IAVGO


  1. Fight for Fair Banking – Email writing campaign
  • Supporting Organizations: Acorn Canada
  • Date: Ongoing
  • Event Summary: In 2015, the six largest banks in Canada – TD, BMO, RBC, Scotia, CIBC and National Bank – generated $35 billion in profits. As bank profits continue to grow, many Canadians find themselves devastated by NSF fees of $45 and high interest rates on overdrafts and credit. In addition, millions of Canadians experience financial exclusion and are forced to rely on the services of predatory lenders, where interest rates can reach an exorbitant 600%. Canadians shouldn’t continue to pay while the banks profit. Our demands:
    • Lower NSF fees from $45 to $10.
    • We need the banks to create low interest credit for emergencies for low income people.
  • Contact Info: Acorn Canada, 416-461-5322, canadaacorn@acorncanada.org
  • Link for more info: https://www.acorncanada.org/take-action/toronto-needs-rent-control


Is your clinic working on a campaign or initiative you’d like featured? Contact Meghan Morrison for more info about the monthly OPICCO Newsflash.

Interested in Community Development/Community Organizing? Check out our Website: https://opicco.org/, or contact our co-chairs Liz Walker or Meghan Morrison


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