All proceeds support International Justice Mission Canada
in its quest to eliminate human trafficking and slavery
Thursday, November 7, 2019 – 5:30 p.m.
The Grand Salon, 20 Toronto St., Toronto
On Thursday, November 7, 2019 , Nourish Hope will host a special fundraising event in Toronto for International Justice Mission Canada (IJM), a non-profit organization whose goal is to end human trafficking and slavery in our lifetime.
This special evening will feature a reception and dinner program featuring keynote speaker Anu George Canjanathoppil, Executive Director of IJM Canada. The evening will also feature a powerful Oculus Virtual Reality exhibit that will allow guests the opportunity to witness and understand the process involved in an IJM human trafficking rescue.
Nourish Hope 2019 will take place at The Grand Salon, 20 Toronto Street, Toronto ; the evening, hosted by TV personalities Pauline Chan and Karen Johnson, will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner program from 6:00-9:00 p.m. with some very special guests.
The event is sold out but you can still DONATE to a worthy cause.
Australian singer-songwriter Kim Churchill performed for an appreciative audience at the Mod Club on Saturday November 2nd, 2019. This was an opportunity for him to showcase some of the new material released on his EP Forgetting on October 25 via all digital retailers.
Written, recorded and produced by Colin Stewart (Yukon Blonde / Dan Mangan) entirely in Canada, Forgetting is the second in a 4-part series, where each EP was written and recorded in a different country.
Kim Churchill's latest video may be for Caught Up In A Landslide but if anything he doesn't appear to get caught up in anything. This complete lack of pretense carries over to his music. He is as laid back as a barefoot walk on the beach at sunset. His music is like the tide whispering to the sand.
I'm not afraid to admit that I purchased all of my skeleton crew at Dollarama. Plus, they have their own space where they will hang out year round.
The basis of the Rubin Thomlinson investigation into human resources practices at Toronto Community Housing Corporation was based on previously lodged complaints. By no means was this an exhaustive examination of current hiring or firing practices at TCHC with the capability of identifying systemic issues.
TCHC CEO Kevin Marshman stated in a News Release regarding the Rubin-Thomlinson report summary that "We addressed many of the concerns raised in this report by introducing a Workplace Harassment Program and a new Procedure for Staff Complaints in 2018."
This may come as a surprise to many - including TCHC itself - but as a "Corporation" operating under the City of Toronto's umbrella they are subject to the City of Toronto's Human Rights and Anti-Harassment Policy. "Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has a right to equal treatment by the City of Toronto, its agencies [& corporations], boards and commission and its citizen advisory committees, with respect to services and facilities, accommodation, contracts and employment."
It's even more surprising that there is evidence of (and TCHC admits) that they "blocked COTAPSA emails from its servers [since 2013] and refused to allow COTAPSA representatives to represent employees [since 2002] in grievance matters."
Who is COTAPSA?
COTAPSA is City of Toronto Administrative, Professional, Supervisory Association
According to a footnote at the bottom of page 22 of the Rubin Thomlinson report summary "COTAPSA is a voluntary organization that represents the interests of non-unionized employees who work for the City of Toronto and specifically assists members by advising, advocating or acting on their behalf with respect to employment-related issues with their employers, such as terminations, human rights complaints, lost wages, and discipline,"
As a City of Toronto corporation TCHC should be advocating in the best interest of their employees. That would include allowing them to communicate with and receive support from COTAPSA.
Otherwise, it really shouldn't come as any great surprise that staff at Toronto Community Housing have "expressed a profound lack of faith and lack of trust" in their human resources department. According to an article in the Globe and Mail Jennifer Bond the Director of Labour Relations didn't even have a formal interview let alone meet the previously outlined qualifications for the job posting.
In the meantime, I can only hope that the report back to the TCHC Board of Directors in Q1 (the first quarter of) 2020 will occur during the public session of the board meeting. I certainly can't wait to see how they fared in addressing the complete list of Rubin-Thomlinson recommendations. At this point, I'd be satisfied with just seeing the complete list.
On Saturday October 19th, 2019 there was a mural unveiling at 3847 Lawrence Ave E. The TCHC building is 13 stories tall. (Units on the 13th floor would be listed as 1401, 1402, 1403 ... because of superstitions about the number 13.)
With the mural starting at the top of the second floor that makes this mural eleven stories tall. Not the 14 stories everyone kept stating during the press conference. So if 11 stories was the record for the tallest mural in Scarborough kudos to the creators.
Maybe its just me but I found it difficult to see as the sun was beating down heavily on the other side of the building. That radiatin glare got me thinking about what it must look like at night. My reaction was pretty immediate. Before the official event even started I had spoken to several TCHC staff, city officials, and the artists about adding flood lights from the top corners so people could see it.
There is no sense putting art on the wall if you're not going to have it properly lit. Any gallery owner or museum curator would tell you that much. By the end of the press conference I was assured that funding for flood lighting would be provided.
That's not the only issue I had while I was on site. There was the fact that if you look up at the balconies of the "14 story" building it was pretty clear they could have used a scraping and a fresh coat of paint.
Then I got to wondering about how long the brick façade would hold. Many TCHC buildings (mine included) are getting cladding because the bricks have a tendency to come loose. I even contemplated whether or not the artist sprayed a clear acrylic over the entire piece to weatherproof it. Leading to the conclusion that the artwork liking won't last as long as it took for the process from initial concept, through funding applications and community consultations, to the official unveiling.
I really didn't mean for this article to have such a negative spin. All the VIP's sounded so positive at the press conference. Not that the mainstream media would know, They never even showed up. I thought for sure that if Mayor John Tory attended an event I'd have more competition jockeying for sightlines for both my stills and my video. That's not the case. It seems that any event cloaked in the armour of a good news TCHC story doesn't interest the "press". They are just after the bad news … Like flies to shit.
Click here for full video coverage of the 3847 Lawrence Ave E mural unveiling press conference. Speakers included Mayor John Tory, Councillor Ainslie, TCHC Board Member Linda Johnson, and the lead artist Amir Akbari.
Toronto-based FEATURETTE, electric pop duo (singer Lexie Jay & drummer Jon Fedorsen) released their new single "Don’t Know Me Without You" last month via all streaming services. "Don’t Know Me Without You" fuels the strong electric vibe that FEATURETTE has worked hard to create, while also incorporating their dynamic lyrics and ear-catching synth sound.
They were kind enough to meet up for a few pics last night before the Rethink Breast Cancer benefit concert at The Rec Room. The most shocking thing I had learned wasn't whether or not Featurette were the main feature in each others lives off stage.
During our conversation I had mentioned that I passed Yonge & Dundas Square earlier that evening on my bike. There was a McDonald's pop-up that had just finished handing out 1600 free Big Macs! Lexi floored me when she told me she never had one before. There are millions of people on this planet that can honestly say they wouldn't know who they were without McDonald's.
Unlike slabs of beef between cardboard carbs there are a "Million Things" that indicate Featurette will become a recommended daily portion in auditory diets. They released their new video on October 10th, 2019. I can assure you, based on what I've seen and heard, people will be saying "Don't Know Me Without You" about this dynamic duo.
On Monday, October 14th, 2019 the Andre De Grasse Family Foundation hosted a Thanksgiving dinner that was prepared by Regent Park Catering. The Canadian sprint champion Andre De Grasse served up one of his personal favourites, jerked chicken, to some appreciative families at Daniels Spectrum. .
It was a pleasant surprise to see some TCHC peeps on hand serving food to families. TCHC CEO Kevin Marshman was in charge of the turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Well he should be used to multi-tasking by now. LOL
There were several concerns I had with the material presented at the Toronto Community Housing's Tenant Services Committee meeting on October 7th, 2019.
Now when you watch the video you may be wondering what I whispered to Catherine Wilkinson while she was discussing notifying tenants about staffing changes and having the opportunity to wish the soon to be removed staff member good luck.
Well, I mentioned that the superintendent's bulletin board may be an option. To which she said that she had a tenant's bulletin board.
Unfortunately, not all communities have them. I'm waiting on two for my building from the PB process.
So to be thinking in terms of her own community strikes me as myopic.
Besides, with all the time that Catherine Wilkinson spent on the board you would think she learned by now that not all resources are applied equally across TCHC. Kudos to her community for having tenant bulletin boards. Maybe during her time in the cushy seat she should have made sure all communities had them.
Otherwise, staffing changes could be released through a posting to individual communities via the superintendents bulletin board focusing on staffing changes that directly impact that community.
For a blanket release from TCHC regarding staffing changes ahead of a press release is, quiet honestly, above our pay grade. If, as Catherine Wilkinson claims, she had a good working relationship with these people, they may very well reach out to her personally without TCHC having to make any extraneous effort.
(During the meeting, at 52:05, Catherine Wilkinson handed off a note to Councillor Fletcher. Shouldn't all communications during the public session be public? So what did that note say?)
Another concern I had was when Anita Dressler mentioned a fellow tenants wish to post an election sign on their unit door.
Let's take this a step back for a moment. If I wanted to paint my apartment door a different colour TCHC would come along and paint it over the colour of all the other doors on my floor. So, to begin with, it's a cosmetic uniformity issue.
In addition, when we talk about "obstructions" in the hallway "is religious persecution going to be next? Do you want us to remove crosses? Or wreaths at Christmas time?"
Well, as a matter of fact, things like posters and wreaths are both fire safety issues. (Feel free to confirm with Toronto Fire.)
In addition, there are any number of persons living in TCHC treating the hallway like an extension of their units. I would prefer we simply remind people all personal items remain within their own unit. That way there is no confusion about what may or may not be placed in the hallways. If notification to the individual units to remove items from public space is not acknowledged, then maybe, implying that a tenant charge will be applied if TCHC staff have to remove said items, will prove to be more effective.
If, tenants are looking for an option for displaying a politicians poster, may I suggest a window and face the poster outwards. That has the added benefit of being more visible.
My final concern deals with Councillor Fletcher raising the ghost of tenant reps past. Instead of reinstating tenant reps maybe we can approach the idea of interim representation.
I am deeply disappointed (as all tenants should be) that no one mentioned during these outlandish statements that the tenant engagement system was being revamped for a multitude of reasons, a) that many communities didn't have any representation, b) the communities that did have representation resented the fact that the reps were not elected to their positions (they were simply holdovers who's terms were arbitrarily extended again and again), c) there was no training (therefore no transparency nor accountability), and d) there needed to be a space between tenant engagement models in order to assure the general tenant population that it wasn't going to be the same old same old.
Otherwise, TCHC already went to the expense of a five star thank you dinner where they distributing yet another batch of appreciation certificates.
Now, if you're looking for a solution, let me provide one. When the communities are meeting to decide about their new tenant engagement models do pop up elections for interim representation. This will give communities an opportunity to test run their new tenant engagement model.
This meeting has, yet again, proven my point. The TCHC board and committees are lacking in terms of general operational information. By no means do they appear to have the ability to provide logical solutions.
Thankfully, I micro-manage the organization from home.
No. I don't tell them what to do (as one tenant implied in a face to face conversation). I simply make what I believe are practical suggestions. What they do with those ideas is entirely up to them.
(FYI - This article is based on three emails that I sent out to members of the Tenant Services Committee and relevant TCHC staff persons. No worries. They already know what I think.)
I'll make this short and sweet. These are the consequences for me not supporting the top five corporations on the Greenpeace polluters list.
Nestle can produce a bit of a challenge to everyone. Myself included. If the general population stopped using Nestle products all together the impact would be far greater than simply avoiding their bottled water products.
It's far easier for me to stay out of Tim Horton's locations as I'm not like 99.99% of the population that are hopelessly addicted to coffee. I never acquired a liking for the bitter liquid. To some people's surprise I have more of a sweet tooth than a bitter streak.
Their creamy chocolate chills, on the other hand, may provide a bit of a challenge. But I'm willing to sacrifice them until such a time as Tim Horton's does the right thing for the environment by providing a refillable 22 ounce cup to fit their large size cold drinks. All their refillable containers focus on hot beverages only.
In my opinion Starbucks is too pricey. So, that's not even a temptation.
McDonalds is only for the French fries. My body tells me I don't really need them anyway. Trying to avoid Coca-Cola products may prove difficult to some. But I have acquired a taste for tap water and fresh fruit home made smoothies. So my adjustment phase would be remarkably shorter than most.
Otherwise, for these corporate giants to have deadlines of five or ten years to implement significant changes to product packaging is simply not good enough when many see the damages done now as irreversible within that five to ten year period.