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, October 23

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.

  • Justin Trudeau’s Liberty Party won a majority government on Monday, winning 39.5 percent of Canada’s votes and 184 seats in the House of Commons. Find a detailed breakdown of the 2015 federal election results here.
  • Take a look at how the 2015 federal election would have looked with proportional representation. Was this the last first-past-the-post election in Canada?
  • Sticking to his election promise, Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau will appoint new cabinet with equal gender balance, which would be a federal first. Mr. Trudeau also proposed a new parental work plan, allowing new parents to take leaves up to 18 months combined with maternity benefits.
  • A record 88 female MPs were elected to Ottawa among 338 MPs, 50 of those women are Liberals. This is a 1% percent increase from the last federal election, for a total of 26%  women in the House of Commons. While the progress is good, more needs to be done to get women into politics.
  • MPP Yasir Naqvi announced Thursday that street checks will be eliminated in Ontario by the end of the Fall but details are still unclear.
  • The TO Prosperity plan, Toronto’s landmark Poverty Reduction Strategy took another step forward this week and the report will be sent to council for approval next month.
  • Bombardier informed TTC that it would be able to only provide 16 of the 23 new streetcars by the end of the year. TTC is getting increasingly frustrated with Bombardier and its inability to meet production deadlines, which may impact Bombardier’s ability to bid on future TTC contracts.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, May 8

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.

  • Mayor Tory asked the civic appointments committee to review their recommendation to add 4 white men to the TTC commission. In the end, council decided to sub out one of the male appointments for Maureen Adamson, making her 1 of 2 women on the 11-person commission, which includes no visible minorities.
  • At this week’s city council meeting, Mike Layton’s motion to implement inclusionary zoning did not earn enough votes for debate but instead will be referred back to committee before returning to council. Inclusionary zoning would force new developments to set aside a certain number of unit for low income residents.
  • Tenants in Parkdale have been organizing against Swedish property company Akelius for the poor service and unfair rent increases they’ve been experiencing. As a Parkdale Legal Services rep explains “Akelius wants working class and immigrant tenants out of their buildings in Parkdale, that is clear.” Learn more about the challenges tenants face in this write-up on Landlord Licensing from Torontoist.
  • After Rachel Notley’s stunning win in Alberta this week, Equal Voice’s Nancy Peckford reflects on the many accomplishments of her historic campaign. Not only will the new Alberta government have the highest percentage of female representatives in Canadian history, but the campaign was focused on Notley’s ideas rather than her personal life, which is rare for a female candidate.
  • Despite nationwide protests last week and repeated concerns raised over privacy violations, Bill C-51 has been passed.
  • A new study released this week details the serious gender pay gap in Canada which is double than the global average.
  • The NDP will introduce a bill to end the tampon tax, piggybacking on the efforts of an online petition which has reached over 72,000 signatures.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, January 23

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.

Ask Your Candidate: Accessibility

by Cherise Seucharan

Many people are unaware of the often invisible barriers that contribute to making Toronto less accessible. In many ways, accessibility is a “lens in which to view the city”, highlighting how issues within our policies and programs impact marginalized groups. Ask if your candidates are knowledgeable about these key accessibility issues, so that they can help to make much-needed improvements that can benefit everyone.

How will you support continued accessibility improvements to the TTC?

With the new accessible streetcars rolling out slowly over the next few years, Toronto is set to significantly increase the overall accessibility of its transit system. However, improvements to other transit programs are needed for the system to be fully accessible. The Wheel-Trans system, which is a door to door transit service for those who can’t use the TTC, is in need of a budget overhaul and more vehicles to accommodate the growing numbers of people who depend on the service. Additionally, the TTC’s commitment to making all stations accessible has been pushed back until 2025, several years after it was originally promised. Ask your council candidates if they will support continued improvements to TTC accessibility.

Do you support reduced TTC fares for the disabled?

The TTC and the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) have been debating the implementation of reduced TTC fares for those who receive Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works funding, or those who use Wheel-Trans. However, since 201,3 the discussion on this issue has not moved forward. Other Canadian cities like Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary already have reduced fares in place for the disabled. Ask if your candidates will add Toronto to that list.

Do you have  a plan to increase accessibility before the 2015 Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games?

Millions of dollars have been invested in Toronto in preparation for the Pan Am /Para Pan Am Games. Accessibility will be essential for those coming from around the world to attend this inclusive event.  However, despite the prominence of the ParaPan Am portion of the event, there has been little discussion on how to accommodate athletes and fans with disabilities. The AODA Alliance argues that the Games should help Toronto build an “accessibility legacy” with improvements to accessible tourist attractions and investment into accessible athletic programs.

Will you support improvements and funding for the TCHC?

Finding affordable and accessible housing is another major challenge that people with disabilities face. Working with the Responsible Personal Accessibility in Toronto Housing (R-Path) committee, the TCHC supports those in need of accessible housing. However,  as we have already covered in this series, the organization is in dire need of improvement. Ask if your candidate will fight for better TCHC funding and management, particularly for those with disabilities.

WiTOpoli Weekly: Friday, July 4th

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.

  • At City Hall this week, the Executive Committee reviewed a report on Fare Equity for low-income TTC riders. The issue will receive further attention at next week’s council meeting.
  • Torontoist‘s Desmond Cole urges us to reflect on how Rob Ford’s bigotry impacts the targets of his slurs.
  • Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch wants corporations to voluntary set targets to increase female representation on boards. The suggestion prompted criticism from the the Liberals and NDP who claim the Conservatives have fallen behind in terms of gender parity at Crown corporations and other federal agencies.
  • Toronto has become the first and only municipality to join WBE Canada which connects women-owned businesses with potential corporate partners.
  • Toronto woman Mary Millard donated her $6 million fortune to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, The Toronto Zoo and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. Other important notes: she loved Jane Austen and would “have been proud to call herself a feminist”.