Thurs, June 16, 2021. Health Providers Against Poverty (HPAP) and Street Nurses Network (SNN) delivered the attached Public Health Violation notices to the leaders of the City of Toronto’s “task force table” on Encampments: Mayor John Tory, City Manager Chris Murray and Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop – demanding they cease and desist with the violent evictions of encampments and take an immediate public health approach. Please feel free to share the attached images online and with your networks. Lots of material on the HPAP twitter feed: https://twitter.com/HPAP_Ontario
With the notices, HPAP and SNN are also releasing a letter issuing urgent demands to Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto Council Members, & Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto Medical Officer of Health, which can be read here: Health Providers Against Poverty and Street Nurses Network call on Mayor John Tory, Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr Eileen De Villa to end encampment evictions.
“We are calling on the City to immediately cease and desist the violent displacement of encampment residents across the City”, HPAP Co-Chair Dr Maggie Hulbert said. “Violent security actions like we saw at the Lamport encampment eviction a few weeks ago only compound the physical and psychological trauma experienced by encampment residents. These attempted clearings are also not in keeping with healthy public policy. The Mayor’s lack of interest in meaningful engagement with the residents of these sites, as well as with people living in Shelters, is incredibly disappointing, and contradictory to City Council’s own recently passed Motion to engage encampments using Housing First and Human Rights based approaches.”
Around the world, public health agencies and human rights organizations, including Public Health Ontario, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United Nations have issued guidance advising against encampment evictions. These reports and guidelines cite considerations including the risks attendant with separating residents from their communities and health supports, significant increased risk of fatal overdoses, and concerns related to increasing potential COVID-19 exposures for residents within shelters and other temporary accommodations.