Social Justice and Advocacy

The Social Justice and Advocacy Consultant, together 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.

What’s New:

Advocacy in the Time of COVID-19

Provincial: Standing up for Tenants’ Rights (URGENT)

On June 25, 2020, the Social Justice & Advocacy Consultant presented to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on Bill 184, the “Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020,” outlining several key concerns about the impact of the new legislation on low-income and vulnerable tenants. Read our submission here.

Since then, the Committee has amended the Bill – not to take out those problematic provisions, but to add provisions that favour those landlords who attempt to negotiate private repayment agreements regarding arrears incurred after March 17, 2020, when the COVID-19 state of emergency was first declared in Ontario.  This backdating specifically targets renters who have lost jobs and income due to the pandemic.

Please consider writing your MPP and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Honorable Steve Clark, about Bill 184. Here is a sample letter for you to use – please feel free to add your own personal reasons for concern.

Email addresses for MPPs, including provincial cabinet ministers, can be found here.

Protecting Social Assistance Recipients

While with recent job loss are eligible for the CERB, Ontarians relying on social assistance continue to try to survive on income levels far below the poverty line. Over 130 organizations across Ontario have joined the Income Security Advocacy Centre in calling for meaningful income security for the poorest Ontarians during this pandemic.  Read their open letter and consider writing your MPP in support.

Federal: Calling for a Guaranteed Basic Income

The federal government has established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to provide temporary income support to people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.  While a welcome measure, there are some loopholes in eligibility which mean the CERB is not available to all people who have lost income as a result of the pandemic.

On Sunday, May 3, 2020, 43 Anglican and Lutheran bishops from across Canada (including all five bishops from our Diocese) signed a public letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, calling for a Guaranteed Basic Income in Canada.  You are invited to contact your MP in support of this initiative.

Here is a template letter you may wish to use in writing your MP.

For more information about Basic Income:

Municipal: Protecting People Experiencing Homelessness and Front-line Workers

The current pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of homelessness. People experiencing homelessness, already at higher risk due to underlying health conditions, cannot follow the physical distancing and hygiene guidelines while living on the streets or in shelters.

A number of churches and front-line ministries serving vulnerable people in downtown Toronto, including parishes and ministries of our Diocese, have written an open letter urging the City of Toronto to move more swiftly in mobilizing housing and sanitary facilities for homeless people, testing within the shelter system, and adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline staff.  Many faith leaders have signed in support, and a press conference was held May 6 to call attention to these urgent needs.

Downtown Churches Pandemic Letter, May 6, 2020

Early in the pandemic shutdown, our Bishops called on the City of Toronto to open up unused hotel rooms and other vacant residential units for those experiencing homelessness.  While some units have been made available since then, many more people continue to experience homelessness, either within the shelter system or taking shelter outdoors.

Bishops’ letter to the Mayor on COVID-19 and Homelessness, March 31, 2020

We invite you to join our Bishops and our front-line ministries in urging the Mayor and your City Councillor to move as quickly as possible to provide housing, sanitary facilities, testing and PPE in this situation of acute need.

Anglican Outreach Support Network

Angie Hocking at Church of the Redeemer is organizing a weekly Zoom conference call for those involved in front-line outreach programs in our Diocese.  To be added to the mailing list for this weekly call and other ways to connect with outreach coordinators in our Diocese at this time, please contact Elin Goulden.

Policy and Best Practices for Diocesan Outreach during COVID-19 (PDF)

Many parishes have contacted the Diocesan Office asking whether and how to continue outreach programs during COVID-19.  This brief document outlines Diocesan policy on the matter as well as offering some best practices to protect the health and safety of staff, volunteers and guests.

List of Outreach Services Ongoing in the Diocese of Toronto during COVID-19 (PDF)

As of March 23, 2020, these are the outreach services still available in our Diocese during the COVID-19 restrictions. Most community meals are operating on a take-away basis.  We urge all parish staff and volunteers to take precautions as advised by local and provincial public health authorities.  Please note this list is subject to change without notice, if lack of resources and/or volunteers prompt a limitation or suspension of service.  

What We Do:

We facilitate communications between the Diocesan and Area Bishops and various levels of government, as well as educating, equipping and supporting Diocesan parishes and individual Anglicans in advocacy on social and ecological justice.

Our work is focused on three priority areas:

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

Some of our key activities include:

 

To learn more: Contact Elin Goulden, Social Justice & Advocacy Consultant, at egoulden@toronto.anglican.ca or by phone at 416-363-6021 (1-800-668-8932), extension 240.