Reports / Articles

February 17, 2002

Toronto City Council: Where Are Your Priorities?
People are suffering. Some are dying.


Are you about to write a blank check for an ill prepared elite group who will divert and focus civic energy and resources into a sporting event?

TDRC presentation to
Toronto City Council On the Olympic Bid
17 February 2000

1. Housing and homelessness must be the key priority for City Council.

2. The Olympics will divert scarce public resources and civic attention away from this priority.

3. The social impact of the Olympics will make the affordable housing and homelessness situation worse.

4. First things first: housing and homelessness, then fun and games and waterfront gentrification.

Rule 40 – Liabilities

"Rule 40 (Liabilities) - The NOC (National Olympic Committee - or Canadian Olympic Association), the OCOG (Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games - or TO-Bid) and the host city are jointly and severally liable for all commitments entered into individually or collectively concerning the organization and staging of the Olympic Games, excluding the financial responsibility for the organization and staging of such Games, which shall be entirely assumed jointly and severally by the host city and the OCOG, without prejudice to any liability of any othe party, particularly as may result from any guarantee given pursuant to Rule 37, paragraph 5. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) shall have no financial responsibility whatsoever in respect thereof."


1. Your October 1998 Emergency Declaration

2. Homelessness is a Serious Human Rights Violation

3. Why is there NO PROGRESS?

4. How can you support a rushed, ill-managed and deceitful bid? They will poop and we will scoop.

5. Why rush? Why choose the wrong priority at this time in our civic history?


1.Your October 1998 Emergency Declaration

Following your endorsement of the emergency declaration, many other city councils, the Big City Mayor’s Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, many local and national organizations, and thousands of individual Canadian citizens have also demanded an end to the growing shame of mass homelessness.

"That the Provincial and Federal Governments be requested to declare homelessness a national disaster requiring emergency humanitarian relief and be urged to immediately develop and implement a National Homelessness Relief and Prevention Strategy using disaster relief funds, both to provide the homeless with immediate health protection and housing and to prevent further homelessness."

We have all been asking ourselves these questions:

  • Why are there so many (or any) houseless destitute people in Toronto? Did the weather or an earthquake cause the problem? Did they all choose to move out of their houses, give up their jobs, and live on the streets?
  • Why is this human crisis not treated the same as other crises where people lose their housing and have their family and community networks disrupted, like the ice storm in Quebec and Eastern Ontario, or like the floods in Manitoba?
  • Why are governments not responding to the physical and mental harm, including death, caused by being homeless?
  • Why are many of the most influential business and civic leaders in Toronto and other cities ignoring this human tragedy, with some pursuing priorities that only divert attention and worsen the situation?
  • Why are many (most?) elected, business and civic leaders ignoring the spread of disease such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis?
  • Why is it that our public officials and business leaders fail to recognize that tens of thousands of people without housing and without adequate food and health care constitutes one of the largest and most serious national disasters that our city and our country has ever faced?

A recent study by Dr. Stephen Huang of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto’s Medical School found that homeless men in Toronto aged 18-24 had a mortality rate 8 times greater than the general population and men aged 25-44 had a mortality rate 4 times as higher. Is this acceptable to you, our elected leaders?

Is this acceptable to the Toronto bid leaders, both the public group and the ‘backroom boys’?

Disasters, whether natural or human-made, have similar consequences.

2. Homelessness is a Serious Human Rights Violation

All human rights violations are acts that disregard human dignity and the rule of law.

The moral and ethical codes of the World’s religions, international law, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and federal and provincial human rights legislation, oblige Canadians and Canadian governments to refrain from acts, omissions, or other measures that result in violations of human rights.

The very existence of people who do not have any housing is by itself a most serious human rights violation.

In December 4, 1998 the United Nation’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva, in its review of Canada’s compliance, issued its strongest criticism ever of any Western nation’s human rights record.

This severe criticism of Canada reminds all nations that the failure to address and prevent homelessness is a most serious human rights violation.

Eight paragraphs in the Committee’s report on Canada refer to homelessness. One refers to the Toronto Disaster Relief’s national disaster declaration.

24. The Committee is gravely concerned that such a wealthy country as Canada has allowed the problem of homelessness and inadequate housing to grow to such proportions that the mayors of Canada's ten largest cities have now declared homelessness a national disaster.

34. The Committee is concerned that the State Party did not take into account the Committee's 1993 major concerns and recommendations when it adopted policies at federal, provincial and territorial levels which exacerbated poverty and homelessness among vulnerable groups during a time of strong economic growth and increasing affluence.

In March 1999 the TDRC submitted a detailed report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. This is the other of the two major human rights review committees within the UN The TDRC report had a clear and blunt title:

Death on the Streets of Canada: A Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee Regarding Compliance with Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by Canada.

This report helped draw the UN Committee’s attention to homelessness, resulting in the following comment in the Committee’s final report on Canada:

"12. The Committee is concerned that homelessness has led to serious health problems and even to death. The Committee recommends that the State party take positive measures required by article 6 to address this serious problem."

Societies with homeless people amidst great prosperity have established and are maintaining homeless-creating processes - day-to-day `normal’ mechanisms which result in people becoming unhoused and remaining unhoused, often for long periods of time. These are dehousing processes. The most basic human rights of a group of people within our communities are being violated.

We cannot sit idly by and let this misery and death continue. The time to act is now.

Yet, very little is happening. Instead, it seems, we have other more pressing priorities.

3. Why is there NO PROGRESS?

There are now more homeless men, women, children and families in our city. Why?

Why are we as a society unable to take immediate and appropriate action leading to the steady decline in the number of people affected by this human-made public policy disaster?

Why is such a wealthy city unable to focus our combined resources and political clout with senior levels of government and make progress?

The solution is not difficult. No more research is needed to discover what Toronto’s homeless people need.

The solution to homelessness – its prevention and eventual elimination -- is:

  1. Housing: all homeless people require adequate and appropriate housing they can afford.
  2. Income: all homeless people require enough money to live on (e.g., a job, job training, adequate pension or social assistance).
  3. Support Services: some homeless people require support services.

Without a safe, secure and adequate place to live, enough money to get by on, all the money we are spending on expensive services to people without a place to live is money down the drain.

It is easy to endorse declarations. We are pleased with the many small but important measures this City Council has implemented. We all know it is not enough. We all know that City Council by itself cannot make real progress.

We are very disappointed with the lack of response of most of Toronto’s business leaders and others outside Council who are active, influential and effective ‘behind the scenes’ leaders.

There is no concerted leadership from the most powerful, experienced and well-off within our community.

They are silent on the great moral and ethical issue of our day. Some even have priorities that contribute to the problem by diverting time and energy elsewhere.

4. How can you support a rushed, ill-managed and deceitful bid? They will poop and we will scoop.

Those in Toronto who actively campaign for effective progress in decreasing and preventing homelessness are a relatively small group, getting by with little or no support from the influential civic leaders in our community.

They seem to have other priorities. For some it is a rushed, ill-managed and deceitful bid to host the Olympics.

This is their priority. Is it the City of Toronto’s priority?

An unelected group is rushing you, our democratically elected leadership, into writing a blank check.

When difficulties arise, and they will, they as individuals, are free to walk away. They will poop and we will scoop.

They will have their NFL stadium at no expense to themselves. They will have their fat fees as consultants, designers, builders and gentrifiers. The landowners in and around the waterfront site will be particularly happy.

The benefits are theirs. The social costs and the financial costs are ours. The Province will not help us out here.

Who among you on City Council do not believe this to be the case?

It will be City Council’s mess – the Toronto property taxpayer’s mess – to clean up. These folks are already telling us that. Even the provincial government, as supporters of the bid, are balking at the blank check these folks demand and require. The carefully worded ‘tentative’ letter they got this week from the Province still leaves the Toronto property taxpayer on the hook.

When the going gets tough, the most well-off among this group will have already moved onto other personal priorities. Greed has no limit for some. Look at the financing of Skydome. Some of the same backroom boys are now back at the trough. And they need and expect your vote.

5. Why rush? Why choose the wrong priority at this time in our civic history?

The TDRC is not opposed to major sporting events or to hosting the Olympics some day.

Progress must be made on the human tragedy we see around us every day. This is the immediate priority.

Progress will only be made when it becomes a focused civic priority.

Progress will only be made when the elected and non-elected civic leadership, and the business community and the grass roots, all act together and make it a priority.

Until then, we are a severely divided city. We lack social cohesion and will spin into further acrimony.

Why rush? What is wrong with a 2012 bid? Start planning now and do it right.

As with your adoption of the Emergency Declaration, which demonstrated to the nation the severity of the problem, we call on you now to make a statement about priorities by refusing to write the blank check.

There will be social costs and social harm if you proceed with this bid. They know that and you know that. In addition, there may well be financial costs and severe neighbourhood and community impacts. The whole city and the country are watching you. What is the City’s priority?

The homeless and underhoused in Toronto do not constitute a "special interest group." They seek nothing more than the minimum that human dignity demands.

The TDRC is not asking for favours or charity.

Adequate and affordable housing is not a luxury. Enough money to get by on is not a luxury. Adequate support services are not luxuries.

These basic human rights are being denied to many people in this city at this very moment.

You, the City Council, have the ability to set the civic agenda.

What will it be?

1. Housing and homelessness must be the key priority for City Council.

2. The Olympics will divert scarce public resources and civic attention away from this priority.

3. The social impact of the Olympics will make the affordable housing and homelessness situation worse.

4. First things first: housing and homelessness, then fun and games and waterfront gentrification.

The One Percent Solution

The single most important thing that we as Canadians can do to end homelessness in Toronto and in Canada is to implement local, provincial and national housing supply and support service strategies. At this point in time, Canada is the only industrialized country not to have a senior level government (federal/provincial) housing policy.

To fund a housing strategy the TDRC proposes the One Percent Solution -- that all levels of government spend an additional one percent of their existing total budgets on housing. We need all of Toronto’s civic leadership – government, business and community – to join in this effort.

The One Percent Solution is based on a calculation of the combined spending of all levels of government -- federal, provincial, territorial and municipal. Add up the amount of money all levels of government are spending on housing and it equals about one percent of overall government spending. This money current provides a range of housing supports, including affordable housing for 650,000 households (about 5.5% of the entire country’s housing stock).

The One Percent Solution calls for a doubling of this effort. That means, in simple terms, that every government needs to double what it is currently spending on housing. This can be phased in over a three to five year period. The One Percent Solution is not based on one percent of any particular government's spending, but one percent of all governments' spending.

On average, in 1994-95, the federal, provincial and municipal governments of Canada spent $3.83 billion out of a total of $358 billion dollar budget on housing.

Introducing the One Percent Solution would not only substantially increase the number of housing units but would also increase the support services for people who need housing. There would be funding for new construction, renovation of existing units and subsidies for people on low incomes.

Hundreds of organizations and institutions across Canada have endorsed the One Percent Solution. The outpouring of letters from individual supporters continues to be overwhelming. We need a more unified and concerted effort here in Toronto

Summing up, The One Percent Solution is:

  • Affordable: The 1% Solution is affordable, at about 50 cents per tax payer per day.
  • Modest: Set against the huge and growing need of affordable housing and services, the 1 % Solution is a modest but important proposal.
  • Mainly ‘catch up’ spending: in real terms, the 1% Solution is in fact only replacing the huge amount of money cut out of housing and related programs by the federal government since 1984.
  • Funding for all three parts of the solution: The funds would supply: (1) adequate housing, (2) adequate support services, and (3) adequate jobs, job training and social assistance – thereby ending mass homelessness in Canada.

‘I don't think it'll cost us anything.’ Boy, Was Mel Wrong!
by Michael Shapcott, February 15, 2000

"I don't think it'll cost us anything. I think we can do it without costing the city a penny."

Those words, from Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman were reported in the January 17, 1998, Toronto Star. Boy, was he wrong.

Not only has the Toronto Olympic bid already cost taxpayers millions in direct and indirect costs, along with hundreds of millions of dollars if the games are staged here, but the February 15, 2000, Toronto Star reports that taxpayers (provincial ones) will be on the hook for any operating cost overruns.

It's not clear which group of taxpayers - provincial or municipal – will be on the hook for the even bigger capital and infrastructure cost overruns, including the huge soil remediation costs that sank the Ataratiri housing project a few years ago.

Provincial taxpayers won't, apparently, be on the hook for the billion-dollar-plus cost of the Olympic housing, which means that municipal taxpayers probably will. The Olympic housing is the biggest and most expensive cost of the games (barring massive cost overruns on the new stadium or other facilities, of course), but there is no credible costing for this big-ticket item.

The default position is Rule 40 of the International Olympic Committee, which states: ‘Rule 40 (Liabilities) - The NOC (National Olympic Committee - or Canadian Olympic Association), the OCOG (Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games - or TO-Bid) and the host city are jointly and severally liable for all commitments entered into individually or collectively concerning the organization and staging of the Olympic Games, excluding the financial responsibility for the organization and staging of such Games, which shall be entirely assumed jointly and severally by the host city and the OCOG, without prejudice to any liability of any othe party, particularly as may result from any guarantee given pursuant to Rule 37, paragraph 5. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) shall have no financial responsibility whatsoever in respect thereof."

In other words, the entire financial responsibility for the games falls onto the broad shoulders of Toronto taxpayers, unless some can be foisted onto other taxpayers' shoulders.

It's astonishing and bordering on unbelievable that, about four years after David Crombie started his quest to bring the 2008 Olympics to Toronto, there is still no authoritative and independent financial assessment of the cost of the games.

City Council is to vote in a couple of weeks on what is the biggest and most costly mega-project in the history of Toronto and there is no detailed financial plan. This vote was supposed to take place last November, but was delayed apparently because bid officials after years of trying couldn't patch together even a basic set of numbers. And they still haven't produced a complete financial assessment, let alone an independent one.

In typical Olympic brinkmanship, we are being told to embrace the Olympic genie because now provincial taxpayers are going to share the multi-billion financial risk of the games, along with municipal taxpayers.

The Olympic bid has mostly failed to meet even the minimal standards set by Toronto City Council back in July of 1998. It has absolutely failed to meet the standards for a socially, environmentally and financially responsible games as set by Bread Not Circuses earlier that year.

But that's okay, because taxpayers in Thunder Bay, Sarnia and Cornwall are going to take a share of the Olympic deficit.

As they say down in Sydney, which is experiencing its own pre-Olympic financial meltdown: "No worries, mate."

Olympic Bid Organizers Demonstrate Absolute Contempt for the People of Toronto on the Housing Issue
February 2, 2000, Toronto Star

Dear Editor:
Re: Toronto, 9 cities to bid for 2008 Games (Feb. 2, 2000)

Once again the Toronto Olympic organizers are showing absolute contempt for the people of Toronto by claiming that "as a result of the Olympics, the housing issue is on the agenda."

Where have the TO-Bid organizers been?

It's due to the tireless organizing of diverse organizations such as the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, Putting Housing Back on the Public Agenda, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and the Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness as well as thousands of people from all walks of life that homelessness is now considered a disaster!

In fact, Toronto City Council was the first city of many to officially declare homelessness a national disaster.

Housing advocates and the city continue to lobby the provincial and the federal government to adopt the National Housing Strategy of providing an additional 1% of budgetary spending to create a national housing program.

Will the Olympics solve the housing crisis as the TO-Bid organizers lead us to believe?

Unfortunately, the answer is absolutely not.

In fact, the sad reality is the Master Plan going before City Council is an absolute failure on the housing front. There is no concrete housing plan to develop social, non-profit and truly affordable housing even 8 years from now. No Olympic money from either TV revenues or corporate sponsorship is going towards building housing.

The Toronto Olympic Organizers have some options.

They can endorse the national housing strategy and the 1% solution.

They can push the provincial and federal government to commit to the National Housing Strategy as part of the Olympic bid so that housing can be built ahead of the Olympics.

Otherwise, the Olympic bid doesn't put housing on the agenda - it will do the opposite.

We know from the experiences of Atlanta and other cities that people who remain homeless during the Olympic experience are arrested under new bylaws, are evicted from squats and outside sleeping locations and lose their rights to due process under the law.

I think many Torontonians would prefer to see City staff and politicians attend to the real needs of homeless and low-income tenants here in Toronto today instead of a bid process that has no guarantees of housing at all.

Cathy Crowe, RN
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee

Atlanta's Olympic Legacy: More Poverty and Less Freedom
The Salt Lake Tribune, March 26, 1999
by Shawn Foster, The Salt Lake Tribune

In many U.S. cities, being poor and living on the streets are enough to land you in jail. It only gets worse when the Olympics are in town.

"Before the Olympics, the city of Atlanta passed six ordinances that essentially made it a crime to be homeless," said Gerald Weber, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. "The city even offered free bus tickets to the homeless to leave the city."

Weber and Anita Beatty, executive director of the Atlanta Taskforce for the Homeless, spoke Thursday night at a public forum at St. Mark's Cathedral in Salt Lake City. The gathering was organized by the ACLU of Utah, Utah Housing Coalition and Salt Lake Impact 2002 and Beyond, a coalition representing ethnic-minority and low-income communities.

The pair listed a litany of ills that Atlanta's poor and middle-income families faced in the years before and after the Games.

Beatty remembered that she could not believe the news in 1990 that Atlanta had won the bid to host the Olympics.

"We couldn't understand why we would even go after the bid when we had the kind of poverty we did," Beatty said. "Thirty percent in Atlanta lives below the poverty line."

But the Olympics did come to Georgia, and business leaders there wanted the world to see a sanitized version of their state. Although Atlanta's six homeless ordinances were eventually thrown out by the courts, in the year before the Games, Beatty said that 10,000 homeless men were wrongfully arrested.

The Atlanta police, she said, had stacks of citations with "African-American male" and the charge pre-printed. And according to Weber, training manuals for Olympics security officers included instructions on who to arrest: non-white males.

There were, Weber said, some successes for those interested in defending constitutional rights. The Atlanta Organizing Committee agreed to allow protesters in 14 areas around the Olympic venues.

But the legacy of the Olympics in Atlanta, Beatty said, has been even greater poverty and erosion of freedom.

Some Atlanta businesses, she said, have attempted to feed the Olympic "lock-em-up" mentality by pushing for more street sweeps of the homeless. Another result of the Olympics, was the loss of four shelters with 300 beds that closed when they were sold to make room for athletic arenas.

Then there are the landlords who thought they could become millionaires by kicking out their tenants and renting out the apartments to Olympics fans.

"We've lost 10,000 units of low-income housing beginning two years before the Olympics," Beatty said. "They forced middle-income people out. They forced low-income people into the streets. Then after the Olympics, no one wanted to rent the apartments. We've seen community after community destroyed."

Atlanta is not alone among U.S. cities in its treatment of the homeless. And the Olympics are not the only cause for mistreatment of America's poor.

A 1996 report from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty examined how 50 city governments addressed homelessness. Researchers found that more than half of the municipalities had conducted homeless sweeps and 38 percent had initiated crackdowns on street people, even though the daily cost of keeping the homeless in jail is about 25 percent higher than the cost of providing shelter, food and transportation.

Even so, Beatty warned, the Olympic organizers are a formidable foe for low-income advocates.

"The punishment that is meted out for criticism is incredible," she said. "My organization has been audited by everybody who has a calculator."

But Weber had a message of hope. Maybe the bribery scandal that has plagued the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee will be a good thing.

"It seems there is more willingness to look at possible problems {for the Salt Lake Olympics}," Weber said, "if only to minimize any more negative publicity."

The Olympics, Homelessness, and Civil Rights
American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, ACLU Reporter, Fall 1999
By Karen Denton, Executive Director of the Homeless Children’s Foundation

Tim Funk of Impact 2002 & Beyond sounded the warning bell for members of the Salt Lake County Homeless Co-ordinating Council in March. Not only will Salt Lake City welcome all those paying visitors from around the world for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, but we will also host people "who will come without enough means to support themselves." That’s a sobering thought for service providers for homeless and low-income people. These agencies already face high caseloads and service restrictions due to tighter donor dollars, housing shortages, and increasing pressure to disperse most homeless families away from the Salt Lake Community Shelter and Self-Sufficiency Center located in the Gateway area, near one of the proposed Olympic medal venues.

Civil libertarians also have cause for concern about the impending Olympics and the impact on low-income people. Many of these issues were outlined during a forum co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, the Utah Housing Coalition, and Impact 2002. Gerald Weber, the Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia, and Anita Beatty, Co-President of the Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, presented their experiences from the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and their recommendations for the 2002 event.

Weber and Beatty faced a variety of policies that were hostile to low-income and homeless communities, including:

Sweeps of homeless camps and gathering areas, particularly before conventions arrived in Atlanta;

The demolition of old buildings that might have been used as affordable housing;

The creation of homelessness by increased rents or rehabilitated motels and apartments, which forced out long-time residents and left them with no place to go;

The attempt to convert at least one single room occupancy (SRO) hotel into temporary housing for a sponsor’s employees. Fortunately, this action was stopped when the state Housing Finance Authority said this was an illegal act because it partially subsidized the SRO with government money.

In addition, the Atlanta city government passed a series of ordinances that, for all intents and purposes, made homelessness illegal. These new laws prohibited aggressive panhandling, lying down on a public park bench, either remaining in or walking across a public parking lot unless one had a car parked in that lot, and occupying vacant buildings.

The Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless discovered during a four month study that homeless individuals accounted for 11% of all arrests for the first three of the ordinances while housed people constituted only 1%. In the meantime, Atlanta built a new city jail, described in one article as "the first Olympic project completed on time." Additionally, the Task Force found that African Americans made up the largest numbers of homeless people arrested under the new ordinances. They estimated that Atlanta spent between $300,000 and $500,000 annually to incarcerate homeless detainees, which obviously took funding away from other programs such as housing.

Beatty and Weber recommended the repeal of the ordinances. Panhandling is already a violation here in Salt Lake City and we are starting to see increased harassment of people in the downtown area who are deemed undesirable by the police – street musicians, for example.

However, we are making some preparations to avoid the problems that Atlanta faced. Impact 2002 is seeking solutions to the housing problem, including possible state legislation allowing rent control (currently against state law) for the three months surrounding both the Olympics and Paralympics. Service providers have formed the Humanitarian Services Committee as a subcommittee to the Salt Lake Olympic Committee. This committee, headed by Linda Hilton, director of the Coalition of Religious Communities, has a litany of issues to discuss: transportation, security, civil rights, and housing among others.

Since the formation of the Humanitarian Services Committee, Hilton has already scored one victory. Pioneer Park was scheduled to be one of the medal ceremony venues, but unlike other proposed venues such as the City-County building, SLOC officials wanted to create a one-block security zone around the space. This would have deleteriously affected homeless services around the park. She protested the obvious bias and, as of this writing, Pioneer Park has been dropped from the list of ceremony sites.

In an April meeting with homeless advocates, Salt Lake Organizing Committee chief Mitt Romney stated publicly that SLOC will not advocate for sweeps of the homeless. It is now up to the community to keep SLOC to its word.

Help for homeless "not about Olympics"
The Sydney Morning Herald, August 23, 1999
By TIM JAMIESON, Urban Affairs Writer

A task force will target up to 200 of the city's long-term homeless in a $1.2 million offensive Sydney City Council launched yesterday in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

Many of the homeless people are already known to welfare agencies, but it will be the job of the 12-strong task force to help them find shelter other than in parks and streets.

To stop the city's refuges becoming overrun during the Olympics, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Sartor, appealed to people without accommodation or money to support themselves to steer clear of Sydney during the Games.

With a big rise in the numbers of budget travellers and people attracted by perceived job opportunities next September, Cr Sartor said: "The city is not a financial nirvana, and people need to make sure they have enough money to care for themselves and to get home again. "Also, people need to make sure they have somewhere to stay before coming."

The city's homeless are mainly men suffering from a combination of mental health, drug and alcohol problems. Some prefer to live on the streets rather than stay at refuges, which are already bursting.

The outreach team, which will operate seven days a week until 10pm, should be operating by January.

The council has set aside $260,000 for the program, expected to be run by a welfare group. It is envisaged the team will remain in close contact with the target group, building up a profile and medical report on each individual. However, a council spokeswoman said none of the homeless people could be forced to take part and it would be up to police to move those sleeping rough.

Launching his strategy in Hyde Park, Cr Sartor denied the program was intended to sweep the streets clear of homeless people in time for the Olympics.

"Each and every one of these people is a human being. You have to go out and talk to these people and find out what their problems are. This is not about the Olympics."

He conceded the number of homeless people was increasing.

In 1992 the homeless persons information centre received more than 4,000 calls and helped find accommodation for 8,907 people.

Last year, the calls had soared to 18,703, and more than 26,000 people were found a bed.

endorses the following standards for the Toronto Bid

Towards a socially responsible Olympics Games: The Bread Not Circuses’ standards for the Toronto Olympic bid

The Olympic Games, if staged in Toronto, will be the biggest and most costly mega-project in the history of our city. The costs are not only measured in the billions of public and private dollars required to stage the Games, but also in social and environmental terms.

Although the Games last only about two weeks, the financial, social and environmental impacts will last for years. While all the people of Toronto will share in the costs, without proper planning, any benefits will not be shared equally.

If Toronto is to bid on the Olympics it must set clear standards. The decision to proceed with the bid must not be based on carefully crafted and marketed images. The bid must take into account the real costs of the Olympics.

Bread Not Circuses’ Olympic standards represent a way towards a socially responsible Games.

While they are not a complete list, these standards represent an attempt to codify the principles against which the Olympic bid should be judged.

A. Public participation

FULL INFORMATION: Detailed information to be publicly available on all aspects of the 2008 bid.

PUBLIC MEETINGS: Public meetings on all aspects of the bid. Recommendations should be incorporated into the bid.

NEIGHBOURHOOD MEETINGS: Local neighbourhood meetings, including areas next to proposed Olympic venues.

INTERVENOR FUNDING: An intervenor fund to be established to allow independent groups to fully and properly evaluate the bid.

OLYMPIC STANDARDS: Standards for the Games to be developed by City Council, with the commitment of withdrawing the bid if the standards are not met.

CITY COUNCIL REVIEW: Public meeting of standing committee of City Council to review bid before the "intention" to bid for the 2008 Games is formally filed with IOC.

INDEPENDENT WATCHDOG: Ongoing, fully-supported, independent watchdog for Olympic bid and organizing committees.

FULL DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILTY: The bid committee, organizing committee and all other Olympic structures must be fully and democratically accountable to the residents and voters of the City of Toronto.

B. Financial guarantees

FIRM COMMITMENTS: Firm financial commitments from federal, provincial, other municipal governments and private sector.

RECOVER PUBLIC FUNDS: All public funds to be recovered.

FULL ACCOUNTING: All direct and indirect costs of bidding and organizing Games to be fully and publicly accounted.

INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTING: Independent financial assessment, including cost/benefit analysis.

OPPORTUNITY COSTING: Independent assessment of the opportunity costs of the Games; that is, the benefits that would be derived from a similar investment in other projects.

NO TAX INCREASE: No increase in municipal taxes or other levies.

CORPORATIONS TO SHARE RISKS: Corporate sponsors of the Games to share the financial and social risks.

IOC, COA TO SHARE RISKS: The International Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Association, as the chief financial beneficiaries of Olympic revenues, should share financial risks.

CLEAN GAMES: No bribes, no expensive gifts, no first-class airfare, luxury accommodation or other inducements to IOC members or other officials to support the Toronto Olympic bid.

SIMPLE GAMES: Functional rather than extravagant Games.

C. Social equity

REPRESENTATION: Bid and organizing committee to reflect make-up of Toronto, including representation for gender, racial, cross-cultural, and abilities.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Olympic housing to be 100% affordable and 60% social housing at the end of the Games.

ADDITIONAL HOUSING: Significantly more social and affordable housing than previously committed.

HOUSING PROTECTION: Protection for rental and ownership housing from development pressures, inflationary rent increases and related concerns.

HOUSING FOR HOMELESS: Funding and programs to ensure housing and services for homeless people.

NEW FACILITIES: Detailed list of new and upgraded affordable recreational facilities to be open to all users.

AFFORDABLE GAMES: Affordable games for low-income Torontonians. Low-cost or free tickets to events, including opening ceremonies and other events.

SOCIAL IMPACT: Full social impact assessment. Strategies for dealing with impacts to be incorporated into the bid.

SOCIAL INVESTMENT FUND: Social investment fund, under community control, to be created with Olympic revenues, with proceeds to socially useful projects.

VIOLENCE-FREE: Specific measures to address increase in violence against women associated with major sporting events.

NON-HARASSMENT: Specific measures to prevent harassment of homeless and street people.

CIVIL LIBERTIES: Specific measures to protect civil liberties before and during Games, including freedom of expression; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.

D. Sexual equality

SEXUAL PARITY: Sexual parity on all Olympic committees, in staffing and in other structures.

CHILDCARE: Daycare facilities at all Olympic venues.

GENDER IMBALANCE: Correct the imbalance of sexes at Games.

E. Equal opportunity

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY: Employment equity in all hiring.

ACCESSIBLE GAMES: Accessible Games for persons with disabilities

F. Healthy Olympics

HEALTHY SPONSORS: No sponsorship from corporations promoting unhealthy activities.

G. Environment

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: Full environmental assessment. Strategies for dealing with impacts to be incorporated into the bid.

AIR QUALITY: Detailed plan to protect and improve air quality.

WATER QUALITY: Detailed plan to protect / improve water quality.

WASTE DISPOSAL: Detailed plan regarding waste disposal.

TRAFFIC: Detailed environmental assessment of traffic and transportation plans.

GREEN CONSTRUCTION: Detailed plan to ensure venues are constructed in an environmentally friendly way.

RECYCLING: Comprehensive plan to ensure the materials used in bid and Games are recycled or reused.

WATERFRONT PROTECTION: Enhanced waterfront protection, including western beaches.

H. Jobs

NO JOB LOSS: No job loss in Toronto’s municipal sector as a result of Toronto’s Olympic bid.

PROTECT LAND: Protect industrial land for industrial jobs.

UNION-WAGE POLICY: Union-wage parity for Olympic workers.

UNION-HIRING: Union-hiring for all Olympic jobs and materials, including construction, tourism, hotels, apparel, hospitality.

CONTRACT COMPLIANCE: Contract compliance policies, including equity in hiring.

WAGE PROTECTION: Wage protection fund for workers, if employers violate employment laws during any Olympic project.

VOLUNTEERISM: Volunteer labour should not be used to replace paid workers. Specific measures should be adopted to ensure existing charities do not lose volunteers to the Games. Job training should be incorporated into volunteer work.

I. Duration of the standards

LASTING STANDARDS: Olympic standards shall be in place for the duration of the Olympic bid and throughout the Games.

LONG-TERM: The financial, social and environmental impact assessments should not end at the Games, but should take, at a minimum, a five-year term from the end of the Games.

WITHDRAWAL OF BID: Failure to follow the standards through the first year of the bid process shall require the withdrawal of the Toronto 2008 Olympics bid.

COMMITMENT TO STANDARDS: No Olympic bid shall proceed if the standards are not met.

For more information, contact TDRC at

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