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Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

John Clarke

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Northern America » Canada

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics food, poverty, revolution, social change

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01135.x


From the late 1980s through the first decade of the twentieth century, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) has mobilized communities suffering under neoliberal policies of the Canadian and provincial government. The organization's work is dominated by two major political factors – countering the aggressive agenda of corporate capital in dismantling the social infrastructure and the growth in poverty. OCAP sees itself as filling a decisive lack of opposition to the neoliberal attack in view of the ineffective challenge mounted by labor and older social movements rooted in earlier forms of compromise. Initial protests were held against the Ontario Liberal government of David Peterson, the province's premier in 1989, who responded slowly in expanding social entitlement during a period of economic crisis. Economic restructuring had undermined the industrial sector, unemployment insurance had been eroded, and more people were forced onto welfare. The Peterson government viewed the mounting cost of provincial income support with alarm, but was equally concerned about the implications of forcing so many into a system of legislated poverty. Peterson's response was to establish a showpiece public inquiry, the Social Assistance Review Committee. It was a stalling tactic but it created public debate and raised expectations. Its report called for reforms and increases in welfare rates. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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