In June 2017, Fair Change Community Legal Clinic filed a Notice of Application claiming that Ontario’s anti-panhandling legislation, the Safe Streets Act (“SSA”), infringes the Charter rights of Ontario’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.
Fair Change has now filed eight affidavits in support of that application.
Three of the affidavits were sworn by street-involved individuals who have accumulated thousands of dollars in SSA ticket debt and have been sentenced or threatened with jail time as a result. Four affidavits are by professors of psychology and social sciences who detail the discriminatory impacts of the SSA through its criminalization of poverty, mental illness and addiction. An affidavit from Fair Change Executive Director Joanna Nefs describes the systemic disadvantages faced by people facing charges and convictions under the SSA.
Together, the affidavits support the claims that the SSA violates the Charter rights and freedoms of panhandlers, including their freedom of expression (s.2(b)); their right to life, liberty and security of the person (s. 7); their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty (s. 11(d)), their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment (s. 12); and their right to be free from discrimination (s. 15). Fair Change alleges that the SSA has a discriminatory impact on indigenous people as well as on those suffering from mental illness and/or addictions.
See our Press Release - May 28, 2018 Here
See the Notice of Application Here