WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, January 22

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

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WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, November 27th

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, June 26

 A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • Happy Pride everyone! Lots of events will be happening around the city to celebrate the diversity along the gender and sexuality spectrums!
  • Toronto has released its new poverty strategy indicating that 30% of people living with disabilities, 33% of visible minorities, 46% of newcomers and 37% of female single parent families live in poverty. Questions remain as to whether the political will exists at City Hall to implement the recommendations.
  • In a similar vein a new report exploring Toronto’s transit deserts explores how inadequate transit reinforces existing inequalities and acts as a driver of the cycle of poverty.
  • Eric Andrew-Gee explores a “sliding scale” of minimum wage for cities with a high-cost of living as an attempt to mitigate the impacts of low-wages and high costs of housing. The CCPA argues that a living wage for Toronto rests around $16.60/hr in a two-income household.
  • The Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators will be meeting to discuss how to implement recommendations from their report to address systemic racism in Ontario Schools.
  • The Canadian Network for Women’s Shelters and Transition Homes released their report “Shelter Voices” in 2014. This report explores the successes and the challenges for organizations providing shelter and support to women escaping violence.
  • Indiegogo is hosting a fundraising campaign to complete post-production of Free Cece, A film exploring the epidemic of violence against Transgender women of colour.
  • There was lots of activity in the sub-committees around the city this week:

 

WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, May 22

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, April 24

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, June 20

 

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • After initially being denied visitor visas to attend the WorldPride Human Rights Conference at U of T, 6 of the 10 Ugandan activists invited to the conference were granted visas this week. This case provides insight into the bureaucratic barriers faced by LGBTQ immigrants who move to Toronto permanently, as demonstrated by the personal stories featured in this week’s The Grid
  • Echoing the same sentiment expressed at rallies across Canada, sex workers gathered in downtown Toronto to protest the Harper government’s proposed sex work legislation, Bill C-36
  •  …And one key author of that legislation, Justice Minister Peter MacKay, stunned some local Toronto lawyers at a meeting by claiming that lack of women and visible minorities on federal courts is because they’re just not applying
  • After Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti referred to Parkdale as a “pedophile district”, Councillor Gord Perks encouraged his constituents to use the hashtag #ParkdaleLove to counter that claim, and the Hogtown Twitter universe responded in droves
  • Chief Toronto City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat calls for a national transit and housing strategy that would enable our cities to welcome new immigrants

Ask Your Candidate: Transit

By Lauren Atmore

TTC Ettiquette // Photo: MEHRIN HOSSAINCourtesy of the Undergound.

Discussions on transit development and funding seem to have reached a fever pitch in Toronto over the last few years. It’s no wonder that many council or mayoral candidates establish a position on transit as the first or primary leg of their platform. Like many Torontonians, these candidates have had years to watch the sometimes heated debates cover many different areas on transit, though it hasn’t always been clear if their plans focus specifically on the needs of women and families.

When considering a candidate’s thoughts on transit solutions, we should think about the following:

  1. What do the candidates in your region think about time-based transfers? Since many women are charged with errand-running and making sure young children get to school, having to pay twice for one trip can weigh especially heavily on women. It’s important to remember that offering time-based transfers could mean a loss of a projected $20 million in annual revenue for the TTC. But who’s to say the TTC wouldn’t gain additional fares from people who would otherwise choose to run their errands using another mode of transportation?
  2. Have your ward’s candidates expressed any thoughts on getting additional transit funding from upper levels of government? Almost 60 per cent of transit riders are female, so when riders cover approximately 70% per cent of the TTC’s operating budget, women effectively pay disproportionately into TTC revenue streams. This is an increasing burden, considering how little funding the TTC gets from federal and provincial governments.
  3. LRT or subways? While our current council has all but sealed the deal on this debate, favouring subways over light rail transit (LRTs), seeing where your candidates stand on the issue could provide insight to their priorities. While subways can serve a higher volume of riders, it’s certainly the more expensive option. LRT is also the slower of the two and can sometimes impose restrictions on road traffic. LRT stops are typically much closer together than subway stops which makes it a more accessible option for those with disabilities, and a safer option as women won’t have to walk as far from their stops to their houses.
  4. Retrofitting for accessibility? With GO to be fully accessible by 2015 and the rest of Toronto Transit to be fully accessible by 2025, all of the Baby Boomers cohort will be over 65. What would you do to speed up retrofitting the system. (Thanks to @SharkDancing for the suggestion, via Twitter).

When it comes down to it, transit is just one element a voter should consider when evaluating a candidate, though we all have to take measure of our priorities. If your commute includes riding on the subway and the streetcar, for example, transit should rank high. Alternatively, those who aren’t well serviced by the TTC could also be interested in this issue – the squeaky wheel gets the oil, after all. Finally, transit decisions impact all road users, because more effective and accessible transit means less congestion for everyone.


 

Facts to consider:

  • Premier Kathleen Wynn has announced $29 billion in new funding “over the next decade to build transit and transportation infrastructure in Ontario.” While details will be released with the provincial budget later this spring, Wynne says that the additional funding will come from the existing gas tax, “a redirection of the HST charged on gas and diesel fuel, money from “provincial assets” and the Green Bonds program” – this is in addition to the lane tolls announced last year.
  • According to the Toronto Women’s City Alliance, 28% of women with paid employment primarily use public transportation for their commute, compared to 17% of men.
  • The TTC’s fleet is comprised of: about 700 subway cars; 247 streetcars, of which 52 are higher-capacity articulated streetcars; 1800 buses of varying ages and types; 135 fully-accessible buses; and contracted accessible and regular taxis.
  • 1.6 million passengers use the TTC on an average weekday, or about 460 million customers annually while “Wheel-Trans carries 1.5 million trips per year, or about 5000 trips on a typical weekday.”
  • In Canada, seniors whose main form of transportation is transit rather than car show decreased “participation in various social activities (family activities, physical activities with other people, community activities, volunteer work, etc.)”. Considering women are more likely not to have their license and to use public transportation instead, access is a critical issue.