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Social Justice and Advocacy

The Social Justice and Advocacy Consultant, with the Social Justice and Advocacy Committee, coordinates and advances the public witness of our Diocese on issues of social and ecological justice. We seek to be faithful to God’s call to compassion and justice, live out our baptismal vows, and engage faithfully with the world.

To learn more or get involved, contact Elin Goulden, Social Justice & Advocacy Consultant, at egoulden@toronto.anglican.ca or 416-363-6021 (1-800-668-8932), ext. 240.

What’s new

Provincial Advocacy: Call for Paid Sick Days Now!

Ontario’s three temporary paid sick days are about to expire at the end of July 2022. With Ontario well into a seventh wave of COVID infections, denying workers permanent and adequate paid sick days goes against public health advice to stay home when sick.  The reality is that more than half of workers in Ontario cannot afford to stay home and lose wages.  Send a message to the Premier and your MPP calling for paid sick days now!

Provincial Advocacy: Reach out to your new (or re-elected) MPP

The weeks after a provincial election are the perfect opportunity to reach out to your newly elected (or re-elected) MPP.  Why not take the opportunity to introduce yourself, congratulate them on their election, and let them know you’re looking forward to working with them over the next few years? This can form the beginning of a constructive relationship with your local representative.

Our department is working with Bishop Andrew Asbil’s office to send out such letters to all 59 MPPs within the Diocese of Toronto.  We’ve also provided a template letter for you to create your own message to your local MPP.

To find your MPP’s name and contact information, please visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario site.

Provincial Advocacy: Urge Action on Supportive Housing in Willowdale

A planned supportive housing project in Willowdale has been stalled due to lack of support from the provincial government. This is one of several modular supportive housing projects being built across the City of Toronto as part of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. We have written to Premier Ford, Housing Minister Steve Clark, and area MPP Stan Cho to urge them to expedite this project. You can read our letter here and feel free to use it as a template for your own.

Federal Advocacy: Open a Path to Permanent Residency for Migrant Workers

Migrant and undocumented workers do some of the most essential jobs in our society, but lack the status to be able to access health care and to enforce their rights as workers.  This leaves them vulnerable to exploitation.  The federal government is currently working on a plan to grant permanent residency to such workers.  Send a message to your Member of Parliament to support this opportunity to secure equal rights for all.

Federal Advocacy: Calling for a Guaranteed Basic Income in Canada

Calls are growing for a guaranteed basic income in Canada, supported by the bishops of the Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran churches in Canada, the United Church of Canada, and many others. The federal Liberal, New Democratic and Green parties have all adopted some form of basic income in their platforms.

We have prepared a toolkit of resources to help you learn more about and advocate for basic income:

Municipal Advocacy: Supporting Residents of Homeless Encampments

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of homelessness. People who are unhoused are already at higher risk due to underlying health conditions, while living on the streets or in crowded shelters makes it difficult to comply with physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. In addition, new provincial legislation (Bill 184) gives landlords more power to evict tenants for falling behind on their rent, putting even more people at risk of homelessness during the pandemic.

Many homeless people in our Diocese are currently living in encampments rather than risk exposure to COVID-19 in congregate settings. In Toronto and other municipalities, encampment residents face forcible displacement by authorities, despite the prevalence of COVID-19 in shelters and other factors which make homeless shelters an inadequate solution to their situation.

In July 2022, the Toronto Ombudsman released an interim report noting that encampment clearings are not only “extremely disruptive, but in some cases traumatizing
to the people living in them” and that “The City owes a particularly high duty of fairness to those
residents, who are among the most vulnerable in Toronto.”  This report echoes the concerns we expressed in a 2021 letter to the City of Toronto regarding encampment clearings. We have also endorsed the Toronto Drop-In Network letter “A Path Forward,” calling for a human-rights-based approach to housing and homelessness. You can draw on these resources to send a message to the mayor and your city councillor,

Additional information and resources can be found in this toolkit from the Encampment Support Network.

Anglican Outreach Support Network

Many parishes have contacted the Diocesan Office for guidance on continuing outreach programs during COVID-19.  See the Amber/Red Guidelines for Outreach Ministries and the Guidelines for Outreach Ministries Offering Indoor Food Services documents on our COVID-19 Updates page.

We urge all parishes to follow public health protocols for screening, hygiene, PPE and distancing when offering outreach services.

What we do

We facilitate communications between the diocesan and area bishops and various levels of government. We also educate, equip and support parishes and individual Anglicans in advocacy on social and ecological justice.

Priorities

Our ongoing social justice work is focused on three priority areas:

  1. poverty reduction
  2. affordable housing and homelessness
  3. environmental issues

Other areas of concern, where we support the work of other church ministries, include:

Some of our key activities include: