check the facts

Claim: City parks must be ready, safe and accessible to all residents of Toronto.

FACT: In 2021, The City of Toronto subjected unhoused Torontonians in City parks to intensive privacy-violating surveillance;1 planned complex multi-departmental operations involving hundreds of City staff, private security, and police to remove park users from parks and prevent their return;2 subjected Torontonians in parks to physical violence;3 and closed all access to large portions of several City parks for months with fencing and 24-7 security.4 Notes: City Claim: City of Toronto. (2021, June 18). The City of Toronto continues to take significant action to assist and protect people experiencing homelessness and ensure the safety of the City’s shelter system. Source: […]

Claim: People experiencing homelessness in Toronto have access to safe, high quality emergency shelter.

FACT: Between March 2016 and mid-February 2021, there were 10,038 reported incidents of violence in Toronto’s shelter system;1,2 therefore, claims that emergency shelter spaces are safe are unjustified. Reported incidents of violence included physical violence, threats of death or harm, and throwing objects. In December 2020, and in January 2021 there were over 300 reported incidents of violence each month.3 Shelter residents had a 2% chance of being physically assaulted in a shelter in December 2020 and in January 2021.4 The rate of violent incidents in relation to shelter population has been increasing over the last 5 years.5 FactCheck Toronto […]

Claim: In 2020, Toronto Fire Services responded to 253 fires in encampments.

FACT: There were 132 encampment fires in 2020, almost half as many as the City claims, and the 132 figure includes fires where there was no property damage and there were no injuries.1 It is also likely that the 132 figure includes fire incidents that were unrelated to encampments, and is further inflated.2 The reason for this discrepancy in the number of encampment fires is that the City of Toronto has been calling “fire response events” not “fires.” Fire response events include all emergency responses to notifications of a suspected uncontrolled fire. Even if it turns out that a suspected […]

Claim: The City of Toronto continually provides safe, inside space to people living outside.

FACT: Every single night the City of Toronto leaves an average of 38 people who are trying to access a space in the shelter system without any inside space to go because there is no space available. Between October 30, 2020 and February 28, 2021, at least 13,780 callers1 requesting a space in the shelter system via the City’s shelter system Central Intake line were told that there was no shelter space available – an average of 117 callers each day (1 call every 13 minutes). Callers (who are unhoused and often don’t have their own phones) are told to […]

Claim: Parks Ambassadors work to ensure the city’s parks are accessible, equitable and safe places for all.

FACT: Parks Ambassadors displace unhoused people, making parks inequitable and unsafe for some unhoused people. Parks Ambassador training focuses primarily on managing homeless people.1 This training includes learning protocols for dismantling every encampment Ambassadors encounter (see images 1&2 below).2 In 2019, Parks Ambassadors dismantled at least 725 encampments (see image #3 below).3 The fact that homeless people in Toronto are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, people of colour, migrants, trans and disabled people4 has serious implications when it comes to ensuring both the equitable access to public space and the health and safety of people who are subject to multiple intersecting forms […]

Claim: Pathway Inside is designed to provide comfortable spaces for people experiencing homelessness along with the extensive supports they need to remain safe and healthy.

Fact: A key component of the City’s Pathway Inside program is the criminalization of unhoused people. Criminalization,1 increases in policing, and the threat of incarceration endangers the health and safety of encampment residents rather than promoting health and safety. On March 19th, 2021, three days after the City’s announcement of the Pathway Inside program, at least seven corporate security guards and by-law enforcement officers employed by the City of Toronto issued trespass notices in Trinity Bellwoods Park informing encampment residents that they will be in violation of the Trespass to Property Act if they do not clear the park by […]

Claim: Pathway Inside, a new City program, is focused on those living in encampments at four priority sites, namely Moss Park, Alexandra Park, Trinity Bellwoods and Lamport Stadium, that are subject to increased health and safety concerns. The City has secured safe space inside hotel programs for everyone at these four sites.

Fact: Pathway Inside is designed to clear specific City parks of unhoused people. The City is using the Trespass to Property Act to clear multiple encampments. The City posted notices in March, 2021 informing people that they must stop living in the park and remove all their belongings from the park by 8:00 am, April 6, 2021 (photo below). The City claims that Pathway Inside will clear four priority parks; however, Allan Gardens has also been served with a trespass notice (photo below). Fact: Pathway Inside involves the City turning people away who are seeking a bed in the shelter […]

Claim: There are safe, indoor options for people and we have staff offering these options to people on our streets every night.

FACT: There are at least 1,539 more people who are homeless in Toronto than there are spaces in the shelter system. There were at least 7,829 people “actively experiencing homelessness” in Toronto at the end of January, 2021,1 while the shelter system only has space for 6,290 people.2 This means there are at least 1,539 people in Toronto who don’t have housing and can’t access an indoor space where they can take shelter overnight. As there are at least 800 people living outside in encampments, many of whom would not be counted among those “actively experiencing homelessness,” this number is […]

Claim: The City of Toronto is not suing Mr. Khaleel Seivwright.

FACT: The City has initiated a legal proceeding against Khaleel Seivwright 1 – initiating a legal proceeding is the definition of “suing.” 2 In an attempt to stop Toronto Tiny Shelters from being distributed to people who are without shelter, the City of Toronto has filed in court to try to get an injunction to “permanently restrain” Khaleel Seivwright from “placing and/or relocating structures on City-owned land or otherwise creating a nuisance or interfering with the City’s rights as owner and occupier of its land.”1 The result of the City winning this lawsuit would be that people living outside will […]

Claim: Mayor John Tory officially opened a new affordable and permanent supportive rental housing building at 389 Church St. that includes 120 apartments for women.

FACT: The 389 Church St. rental housing building is not new housing; it is an old TCHC building that has been recently renovated. The renovation represents a net loss of 130 rooms. 389 Church Street is a Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) building that could accommodate 274 people in 66 units of shared accommodation.1 In 2015, the City passed a plan to renovate and “modernize” the building.2 The newly renovated building can house a total of 142 people in 11 bachelor, 87 1-bedroom, and 22 2-bedroom units,3 which is 130 fewer people than before the renovation. These 120 units of […]


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