The Ontario government has launched a new online renewal tool for Accessible Parking Permits, providing a simpler, faster, and more accessible service for permit holders. Ontarians can now choose to renew a permanent Accessible Parking Permit, apply for a traveler’s permit or motorcycle decal and request a change of address all by visiting Ontario.ca/RenewAPP. Companies and not-for-profit organizations that transport individuals with accessibility needs on a not-for-profit basis can also use this online option to apply, renew or request changes to permits.
On behalf of our our One Million Members in the National Pensioners Federation, we declare our endorsement of MP Peter Julian’s private member’s motion, Motion M-84 Anti-Hate Crimes and Incidents and his private member’s bill Bill-C 313 Banning Symbols of Hate Act.
We must all stand up against the ugly unprecedented time. Canadians are horrified in the killings of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Indigenous-Ukrainian-Black Canadian woman, occurred in Toronto, and Chantel Moore, an Indigenous Canadian woman, was shot and killed by Edmundston police, New Brunswick police, who were called to perform a wellness check – were results of systemic racism.
We have all taken witness since the start of the pandemic, there has been an alarming increase of anti-Asian racism and hate crimes in Canada and across North America. A new Angus Reid public opinion poll shows that nearly 50% of young Asian Canadians have experienced and been affected by anti-Asian racism and bigotry in the last year. Statistics Canada reported that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, fear and misinformation about the virus may disproportionately impact the sense of personal and community safety of many people in Canada.
The recent murder of the Muslim family in London, Ontario, was yet another reminder that hate and Islamophobia exist in Canada. We must take a strong stance against all forms of hate and racism against Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and Racialized communities.
Bill C-313 would prevent anyone from selling and displaying symbols that promote hatred and violence against identifiable groups. It is important to ban hate symbols such as swastikas or Klu Klux Klan insignia so that all Canadians can feel safe.
On behalf of our members the National Pensioners Federation urges this Parliament to act swiftly on the passage of Bill C 313 Banning Symbols of Hate Act and Motion M-84 Anti Hate Crimes and Incidents.
Canadians take many things for granted. Our natural resources have allowed a high standard of living for the past 50 years, but that is rapidly changing. Today we are tied to the world economy and are part of a very competitive global market. Other countries have high levels of knowledge and expertise especially in manufacturing. Canadian expectations for basic needs at a reasonable cost in; food, clothing, shelter, transportation, healthcare and education are being challenged on many levels. When the healthy corporate tax revenue rates drop it undoubtedly falls to small businesses and individuals to pick up the shortfall or accept a loss in public services. Whereby all income groups are affected but some more than others, in particular older persons on fixed incomes, the vulnerable on disability and our youth who cannot find permanent well paying jobs. Lately university graduates are finding fewer opportunities in their field of study and desired job. With this as a backdrop, the pressure on sustainable housing for all is enormous!
For example Alberta and particularly Calgary is undergoing an enormous transition after the structural shift in their own resource sector. With nearly full employment and a lower than national average tax environment, the young dynamic thriving masses felt they could build a secure future for their families. The glittering downtown towers spoke to the flamboyant business prospects for decades to come. There was no need to depend on municipalities, provincial or federal governments to help in nurturing continued growth.
Today, an abrupt halt! Over 20 high-rise buildings in downtown Calgary are empty, corporate tax revenues dropped dramatically and City Hall is eyeing small businesses, homeowners and apartment landlords as sources of new money. “Rainy Day” funds are depleted and it’s no secret.
The Honourable Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole recently stated: If this would have happened in Toronto or Montreal, this news would have occupied headlines for weeks.
This drastic shift is affecting our elder, and vulnerable population who are being squeezed out of the housing market. Many are searching for immediate solutions with little security to be found. Relocating is the most stressful time in a person’s life, now add to that a highly competitive real estate market and increased living costs to the mix. We can’t close our eyes to the facts of a decade of ballooning wealth for the top 10% so we do not all bear the cost of our citizens experiencing homelessness due to the lack of rental accommodations. The repeated announcements of empty shelves at our local food banks are glaring indications of Canada’s newly darkened economic security structures and in the surging demand for local church food hamper programs. How each Province fares in the sudden sharp increase in real estate activity has an overall impact on Canada’s well being, our social determinants of health. The need to take care of our people must be a national priority.
Albertans, for example, are relying more on all levels of government for financial assistance while unprincipled lenders take on predatory schemes to foreshadow the fear of homelessness. We need sound public policies for temporary rent controls to get us through this pandemic era shamelessly. Possibly renewed longer term CO-OP incentives established for private developers to build affordable housing and further organized by not for profits. Similarly, after a 5 year delay, Calgary City Council with Calgary Economic Development, the Chamber of Commerce and civic organizations recently developed a 10 year plan to eliminate homelessness and now give incentives to convert office towers into affordable housing. With political will so much can be done!
All levels of Government are co-operating in creating the economic pool to make necessary improvements through the National Housing Strategy to build/re-purpose affordable housing for older persons who now need more help than ever. We shout Kudos!
It is essential and we beg our Federal Government become more involved in the overview of rental markets in Canada recognizing the need for regional adjustments to help our population maintain reasonable tenancy. Cooperation with provincial/municipal governments and cities is imperative to set aside sufficient funding to encourage necessary land leases and cut red tape to allow for affordable housing for older persons to age in place. The time has come for a national (political) will to support our elders to live independently, develop home assistance programs and transitional models for community assisted living centers. Otherwise the age wave will hit us unprepared and wreak havoc on our economy as we try to catch up. There is no time to waste!
Manfred Merkel, Housing Representative of the National Pensioners Federation
If Canada wants to keep a healthy, stable health care system, we have to act. Call on decision-makers to ensure safer working conditions and better support for nurses. Join us and sign on for action.
May 7, 2021
Nearly 8 Million Canadians across Canada have proclaimed a Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism. Major national and local unions have also endorsed the Day of Action.
Monday is the Day of Action! To fight an increase in racist acts, more than two dozen municipalities across Canada, home to nearly 8 million people, will mark a Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism on Monday, May 10. Unions representing 3.3 million workers have stood up in solidarity and will also mark the Day of Action.
Giving momentum to a rapidly growing movement, people from across Canada will stand up against all forms of racism and anti-Asian racism in particular. The Day of Action will mark a first step by the grassroots movement Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) towards eliminating racism and advocating for badly needed policy initiatives.
The number of reported racism-related crimes and incidents has skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. In Vancouver, police-reported that hate crimes increased 717% in 2020. Toronto Police reported a 51% with the number of reported anti-Asian hate crimes rising 500%. Police agencies across the country have reported similar increases.
“Stand with Asians Coalition SWAC literally started at my kitchen table three weeks ago after I read a local newspaper about the 350% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in my city since the start of the pandemic. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an alarming increase in anti-Asian racism in Canada and across North America. All forms of hate should be condemned. There is no room for race-based hate in our community. We must condemn all forms of hate, which create unsafe conditions for members of Asian, Black, Indigenous, people of colour and all racialized communities,” said Doris Mah, co-founder of SWAC. “We are grateful to all those who have acknowledged the detrimental impact of systemic racism and hate on the members of Asians, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and Racialized Communities. All of us have a part to play in ensuring members of our communities feel that they are safe and they belong in Canada.”
Along with nearly 30 cities that have made proclamations, multiple large unions have endorsed the Day of Action. Unions like the National Pensioners Federation, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), the BC Federation of Labour, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union of Canada, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress and others, which represent a combined 3.3 million union workers across Canada, have expressed their support.
“Marking a Day of Action against Anti-Asian Racism is more important now than ever. It has forced us all to become more aware of our surroundings, including personal respect within ourselves and how we treat others,” said the National Pensioners Federation in a letter of support. “Canadians have a proud history of eradicating and condemning all forms of hate as it creates unsafe conditions for all races and cultural communities… The National Pensioners Federation (NPF) is proud to ‘Stand with Asian Coalition’ (SWAC), a community of people in Canada who are concerned about the surge of anti-Asian racism permeating across Canadian cities.”
“We’ve heard directly from our members about their experiences with anti-Asian racism, both when it’s directed at them and when they witness it in the workplace. We know the number and the severity of these incidents have increased during the pandemic,” said Larry Brown, President of the 390,000-strong National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), in a letter to SWAC. “But our members are also part of society. When society is sick, it hurts our members, their families, their friends, and their community members. We fully support taking a strong stand against anti-Asian racism for the betterment of all Asian Canadians and Asians living in Canada.”
The largest union in British Columbia, the BC Federation of Labour, endorsed the initiative. “We share your dismay and alarm at the increase of hate crimes against Asian community members, and the increase of bullying, racist comments and other forms of violence that have increased in our communities during this pandemic,” said President W. Laird Cronk and Secretary-Treasurer Sussanne Skidmore in a letter.
“Workers must stand together against racism; it is our duty and obligation to lift people up and protect those most vulnerable,” said Rob Ashton, President of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Canada. “We must be the voices of anti-racism.”
Growing grassroots campaign
The campaign for local governments across Canada to proclaim a “Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism on May 10” started on April 23, 2021, and has grown fast. Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley was the first mayor to make an official proclamation on April 26 after noting a 350% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in his city during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, more than 24 other cities have made similar proclamations, representing nearly 8 million Canadians. These cities include:
|ON||City of Belleville||50,745|
|AB||City of Brooks||14,451|
|BC||City of Burnaby||230,080|
|AB||City of Edmonton||1,000,000|
|BC||City of Langford||35,342|
|ON||City of London||545,000|
|BC||City of New Westminster||79,835|
|ON||City of Oshawa||157,630|
|ON||City of Ottawa||1,000,000|
|ON||City of Peterborough||85,000|
|BC||City of Port Coquitlam||68,000|
|BC||City of Port Moody||39,118|
|BC||City of Squamish||25,370|
|ON||City of Thunder Bay||127,201|
|BC||City of Victoria||386,000|
|ON||City of Toronto||2,900,000|
|BC||City of Vancouver||675,218|
|BC||District of Central Saanich||16,814|
|BC||District of Mission||38,833|
|BC||District of Saanich||119,229|
|ON||Municipality of Port Hope||16,500|
|ON||Municipality of West Elgin||4,995|
|ON||Town of Ajax||109,220|
|ON||Town of Amherstburg||21,936|
|ON||Township of Russell||16,520|
|ON||Township of Scugog||21,617|
Membership in the private Facebook group Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) has swelled to more than 1,100 members.
Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) is a grassroots movement that started in Burnaby, British Columbia, on April 23, 2021, to stand up against the rising incidence of anti-Asian racism and other forms of racism. Centred around a Facebook group, SWAC is working to untie municipalities across the country in acknowledging the impact of anti-Asian racism as a first step towards developing more effective policy initiatives.
Doris Mah (she/her)
I acknowledge that I live and work on the ancestral and unceded homelands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speaking peoples, as well as all Coast Salish peoples.