Safe Streets Act

Fair Change Community Legal Clinic
July 26, 2017

When it came into force in 2000, the Ontario Safe Streets Act (SSA) was a reactionist policy to the increasing visibility of individuals experiencing homelessness across Ontario’s cities, particularly those who would panhandle or squeegee. In an effort to deter those activities, the Act prohibits solicitation in specified spaces and any solicitation in an “aggressive manner.” The fines associated with each offence can be...

This question came to us from Mike D. through our latest survey.

I’m glad that this question is being asked as it touches on a number of shifts in public policy that restrict the daily lives of homeless people including subsistence strategies such as panhandling, squeegeeing, and sleeping in public spaces. Often,...

York University; Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub
August 19, 2015

The below infographic comes from a recent report published by the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco that focused on the criminalization of homelessness in the city.

Media Folder: Media Root...
York University; Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub
May 20, 2015

This week’s infographic is from a Mother Jones article that looked at the success that the Housing First philosophy has been having in Utah. Housing First is an example of an alternative to status quo approaches to homelessness, combining immediate access to permanent housing with wrap-around...

Fair Change Community Services
April 30, 2015

There are 2 documents that can give us the answer. The first was published by the Government of Ontario, and it can be found here: (POA Consultation Paper)

The Second is a Study published by professors from Guelph and York University and it can be found here: (Can I See Your ID? The Policing of Youth Homelessness in Toronto).


York University; Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub
February 11, 2015

In recent years, there has been a growing trend to criminalize homelessness in both Canada and the United States. The below infographic, created by Al-Jazeera news, looks at some facts and figures related to the criminalization of homelessness in the United States.

Media Folder: ...
December 15, 2014

Let me get the confession out of the way. I voted against the Safe Streets Act 15 years ago, as an Opposition MPP for St. Paul’s, in mid-town Toronto. But when the time came that I was Attorney General, I failed to repeal the bill. It was a sin of omission for which I’m responsible and accountable. I was wrong, so now I seek the bill’s repeal, using what I learned in my time as a Cabinet Minister and MPP.

If I’d done my homework back in the day, I would have learned what organizations...

Fair Change Community Services
December 12, 2014
Categories: Ask the Hub

Media Folder: Media Root


It’s a fair question here is the answer

1. Other legislation exists to deal with behaviour that is problematic Sections of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) can be used to police dangerous behaviours.

The SSA creates the offence of “...

York University
December 10, 2014

The Ontario Safe Streets Act (SSA) exists as one of the clearest and most obvious examples of the creation of new laws that contribute to the criminalization of homelessness. This provincial legislation, which came into effect in January 2000, in response to the growing visibility of homelessness in Toronto and other major cities in the 1990s, while never mentioning homelessness specifically, clearly targets homeless persons.


Homeless people, especially homeless youth, are often regarded as threats to public safety. In the news it is common to read stories or hear reports that a law abiding member of the public was a victim of a crime committed by an individual of no fixed address. In other words, the assailant was a homeless person. And research does show, compared to the general population, certain types of street crime and illegal drugs use is more common amongst people who are homeless.

But if...


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The analysis and interpretations contained in the blog posts are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.