As a community mental health social worker in downtown Toronto, I encounter the most extreme conditions of poverty and social inequality in the city. The people I work with are often forced to find shelter in profoundly undignified environments. Some pay upwards of $1,000 a month to share a shoebox-sized room with strangers in boarding homes where sickness is rampant and pest infestations are chronic. When I search for people in dangerously cramped city respite shelters, I’m struck by their resemblance to natural disaster relief centres. There is no privacy; there are rarely any showers; and leaving your “cot” means risking the few possessions you have to theft. I often reflect on how quickly my mental health would deteriorate should I ever wind up staying in one.

Food insecurity in Nunavut has gotten worse since the introduction of the Nutrition North program in 2011, according to a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The study, published by researchers from the University of Toronto, determined 46 per cent of households in Nunavut were experiencing food insecurity in 2016, up from 33.1 per cent in 2011, when Nutrition North was introduced.

Nutrition North is a federal government subsidy program provided to retailers and suppliers that offsets the cost of a variety of perishable and nutritious food items shipped to the North by air.

The study raises questions about the effectiveness of Nutrition North, though it doesn’t conclude the program is at fault.

A new temporary men’s shelter is expected to open in Sudbury by the middle of next month.

The shelter, located at at 517 Kathleen St., will help fill the gap created when the Salvation Army closed its New Life Centre in downtown Sudbury earlier this month.

The Canadian Mental Health Association – Sudbury/Manitoulin and the City of Greater Sudbury are working together to open the facility, which is for “individuals who identify as male and individuals who identify without a gender (non-binary) and feel comfortable in a men’s shelter.”

Tucked discreetly between two tall pines on the St. John church property in downtown Peterborough is Kyle Loyst’s home [sic].

It is here that he and his fiancée have set up a tent, a place to shelter them from the elements as they sleep at night, because they are homeless.

It’s a space that Loyst feels more comfortable in, as opposed to the nearby Victoria Park where others in a similar situation as he and his fiancée have been camping out for the past couple of weeks.

Recently, those people were given 10 days notice to pack up their stuff and leave the Water Street park. And now, according to Rev. Canon Brad Smith, from St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, they can seek sanctuary on church property — much like Loyst and his fiancée have been doing for the past month.

A controversial shelter in Kelowna’s downtown that was slated to close in June will instead remain operational on an open-ended basis.

BC Housing made the announcement on Friday regarding Cornerstone Shelter at 425 Leon Ave. The shelter, which has been operating since Nov. 30, 2017, provides housing and meals to 80-plus individuals.

Anti-poverty activists say they are shocked the Ford government had contemplated cuts to the Ontario Child Benefit as part of efforts to slay the province’s $11.7 billion deficit.

A proposal to slice $500 from the benefit that pays up to $1,403 annually per child to the province’s poorest families was among a long list of cuts proposed in a leaked draft document prepared for cabinet in the lead-up to last month’s provincial budget.

“To even consider a reduction in the small, but important amount of support families receive from the Ontario Child Benefit is unfathomable,” said Laurel Rothman, a member of the steering committee for Campaign 2000, a coalition fighting to end child poverty.

Ford government’s expenditure estimates foreshadow cuts for low-income workers and people with disabilities

Post-budget spending plans suggest Doug Ford’s government is quietly planning to cut half a billion from the province’s two main income support programs.

The budget tabled by the Ford government last month already announced plans to carve a billion dollars out of the budget of the ministry that provides funds to income support programs.