The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

This question is the MISSISSAUGAWATCH Sniff Test for all Ontario municipal Mayors and Councillors:

Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

AL GOSLING DESERVES THE ONTARIO OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATING the Toronto Community Housing Corporation

October 18th, 2009  

On  September 19, 2009 the Toronto Star carried the article, Al Gosling is now homeless at 82.  Written by City Columnist Joe Fiorito , we learned how the Toronto Community Housing Corporation evicted the 82-year old and he’d been without a place to live since June.

Quote:

“He said, ‘I came home one day. They’d changed the locks. When I couldn’t get in, I looked around for a place to stay. I found a place under the stairway.'”

Since September 19th, Torstar’s Joe Fiorito detailed Al Gosling’s plight in a series of articles.

We read that Gosling got sick. Gosling got hospitalized. Gosling got worse.

We read how Gosling died over Thanksgiving.

COURTESY TORONTO STAR: Al Gosling is seen Sept. 17, 2009 after his eviction from community housing.

And then the Toronto Star carried this October 15, 2009 editorial.

Al Gosling’s tragic end

Published On Thu Oct 15 2009

They were too late. On finding himself locked out, Gosling had lived for a week in a stairwell of the building that held his old apartment. He was then taken to a homeless shelter, became gravely ill, and ended up at Toronto General Hospital, where he died of an infection over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Officials at the Toronto Community Housing Corp. eventually sorted out Gosling’s status, found a new place for him, and issued a statement saying: “We hope he is able to come home soon.”

The final months of Al Gosling’s life were grim – full of hardships made all the more difficult because they were so unnecessary. The 82-year-old was evicted from his subsidized bachelor apartment in June after failing to keep up with paperwork verifying his low-income status. He never made it back.

See that reference to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation?

The Toronto Community Housing Corporation first drew my attention back in November 2008 as part of the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Roots of Youth Violence Report.

The McMurtry/Curling Report record consultations with the following Toronto Community Housing employees in Volume 3: Community Perspectives Report Section 2: Neighbourhood Insight Sessions — Appendix: Participant List page 101.

Toronto Community Housing (Orton Park), Property Manager
Toronto Community Housing, Community Worker
Toronto Community Housing, Head of Security
Toronto Community Housing, Health Promotion Officer
Toronto Community Housing, Manager
Toronto Community Housing, Recreation Coordinator

Of course my interest was in their Security operations.

This morning I decided to check out the Toronto Community Housing Corporation website just for a surf-around.

Get this.

On October 9, 2009 while 82-year old Al Gosling, the former tenant that they kicked out into the streets was in hospital on life support, the  Toronto Community Housing Corporation trumpeted this Brag-release onto their website:

Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010

October 9, 2009
Top 100 Employer 2010 award

On October 8, 2009, Toronto Community Housing was publicly recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2010. Maclean’s magazine This is the second year in a row that we have been recognized for our commitment to a safe and healthy workplace.

This award reaffirms that we continue to be on the right track to attract and retain the quality people we need to help continue building great neighbourhoods. But our work is not done. Through the tireless efforts of the Healthy Workplace and the Joint Health and Safety teams, we continue to improve the health and well-being of our staff each and every day.

Well, their employees sure are superbly taken care of…

The Toronto Community Housing Corporation website continues (a direct cut-and-paste):

Here are some of the benefits that were part of the reason why Toronto Community Housing was selected at a Top 100 Employer for 2010:

  • provides excellent parental leave top-up benefits to adoptive and new mothers (to 93% of salary for 52 weeks) as well as new fathers (to 93% of salary for 37 weeks)
  • offers employees generous compassionate care leave top-up benefits (to 93% of salary for 8 weeks)
  • recently introduced a new healthy workplace plan, whose initiatives include an employee walking club, free health clinics, and lunch and learn sessions on a variety of wellness topics
  • starts new employees at three weeks vacation
  • offers a variety of in-house training initiatives and supports continuing education through tuition subsidies (to $1,000) for courses at outside institutions

How often has MISSISSAUGAWATCH  been saying that the interests, comfort and convenience of municipal employees come first, last and everything in-between?

For the record the fact  that the  Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010 press release was posted October 9, 2009  while Al Gosling was on life support fighting an infection even surpasses the obscene callousness that I’ve documented at City of Mississauga to date.

And check out the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s latest press release:

Toronto Community Housing announces independent review of tenant death

October 13, 2009

Acting CEO Keiko Nakamura expresses sadness at death of tenant, announces independent third-party review of the organization’s response and broader factors that put vulnerable tenancies at risk.

See that reference to “independent third-party review”? Time to read more… interspersed with my commentary:

Toronto Community Housing Acting CEO Keiko Nakamura today responded to the death of tenant Al Gosling.

“It is with great sadness that Toronto Community Housing has learned about the death of Al Gosling. Mr. Gosling had a home to return to at Toronto Community Housing, and we regret he wasn’t able to come home. On behalf of Toronto Community Housing, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Gosling’s family and friends for this loss,” Nakamura said.

Nakamura announced that the organization will hold an independent third-party review of the organization’s response and the broader factors that can put vulnerable tenancies in jeopardy.

If Nakamura is really serious, why isn’t she immediately inviting the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office to conduct that independent third-party review into Al Gosling’s death?

The press release continues:

“Social housing plays a crucial role, providing quality housing for low- and moderate-income households and creating conditions that maximize resiliency and reduce risk. For that reason, it is absolutely crucial that the public have confidence in the integrity of the system and have confidence in housing providers like us,” Nakamura said.

Nakamura’s “it is absolutely crucial that the public have confidence in the integrity of the system” is standard public sector “we care” noise.

“Toronto Community Housing is an open, transparent organization. We have made a commitment to review this sad situation to ensure this organization is doing everything it can to make every tenancy a successful tenancy, especially for vulnerable tenants. It is my hope that the independent, third-party review will shed a light on the response to Mr. Gosling’s situation as well as the broader policy, legislative and regulatory factors that need to be considered,” she said.

And if the Toronto Community Housing Corporation is as open, transparent and committed to make every tenancy as successful tenancy, they’ll have the circumstances surrounding Al Gosling’s death investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman.

The leader of the review will be announced in the near future

Either way, that’ll be one of the books…

When you read the October 16, 2009 article, “Fiorito: Coroner to investigate Al Gosling’s sad death” you soon realize it isn’t just Al Gosling.  Joe Fiorito lists more Toronto Community Housing Corporation victims of neglect and despair.

He writes:

Now let me take the long view of such sadness: It is sad that Janos Buda died in his TCHC apartment and was not found for six months. It is sad that Dirty George lived for years in filth before he also died.

It is sad that no one helped that poor woman who, for months, wandered the halls of her apartment building covered in her own waste. It is sad that the woman whose apartment was flooded with several inches of raw sewage did not get immediate help. And yes, it is sad that Lorraine Misurka was handed a notice of eviction not long before Al died.

Finally, it is enduringly sad that many TCHC buildings are falling apart, and many of those buildings are infested with bedbugs, rats, roaches and mice.

Yes, but on the bright side, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation employees are flourishing two years in a row as Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010!

Al Gosling deserves the Ontario Ombudsman

So I sent off an email to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation cc’d to Toronto Star’s Joe Fiorito. I reproduce it here for the record.

From: MISSISSAUGA WATCH <mississauga_watch@yahoo.com>
Subject: Toronto Community Housing announces independent review of tenant death
To: Jeffrey.ferrier@torontohousing.ca
Cc: jfiorito@thestar.ca, mississauga_watch@yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009, 8:21 AM

Hi there,First of all, congratulations for your October 9, 2009 press release, Toronto Community Housing wins Canada’s Top 100 Employer Award for 2010, –your second win in a row, as you (quote) “continue to improve the health and well-being of our staff each and every day.”

I’m writing about your October 13, 2009 press release, Toronto Community Housing announces independent review of tenant death It states that Toronto Community Housing “will hold an independent third-party review of the organization’s response and the broader factors that can put vulnerable tenancies in jeopardy.”

The press release then goes on to state that, “Toronto Community Housing is an open, transparent organization. We have made a commitment to review this sad situation to ensure this organization is doing everything it can to make every tenancy a successful tenancy, especially for vulnerable tenants.”

It even quotes Acting CEO Keiko Nakamura as saying “It is my hope that the independent, third-party review will shed a light on the response to Mr. Gosling’s situation as well as the broader policy, legislative and regulatory factors that need to be considered.”

It’s quite the let-down then that the press release ends with the statement, “The leader of the review will be announced in the near future”.

I’m thoroughly disappointed not to read what to me is the obvious. Something like, “To demonstrate our commitment to openness and transparency we’ve invited the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate and shed a light on the response to Mr. Gosling’s situation as well as the broader policy, legislative and regulatory factors that need to be considered.”

Al Gosling deserves the Ontario Ombudsman and I’ve confirmed that Mr. Marin’s team of SORT investigators respond to requests/invitations for independent, third-party review by MUSH sector agencies.

Best wishes,

Ursula Bennett
The Mississauga Muse
MISSISSAUGAWATCH

Signed,
The (GIVE THE ONTARIO OMBUDSMAN FULL INVESTIGATIVE AUTHORITY INTO THE MUSH SECTOR!) Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGA MUSE, MISSISSAUGAWATCH "Conducting Administrative, Oversight & Ombudsman Investigations" GARETH JONES

Comments

4 Responses to “AL GOSLING DESERVES THE ONTARIO OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATING the Toronto Community Housing Corporation”

  1. Ernst Blofeld on October 18th, 2009 10:58 pm

    I think that it is disgusting that, while their employees are paid top wages, and enjoy the lavish three week vacations from the date of hire, their tenants – people at risk, are enjoying their roach and vermin infested apartments.

    Their buildings are falling apart, and the people who need them the most are falling through the cracks. (Likely because its hard to keep track of those who need your services, when you are participating in an exhilarating “lunch and learn session”.)

    “This award reaffirms that we continue to be on the right track to attract and retain the quality people we need to help continue building great neighbourhoods.”

    If the “great neighbourhoods” they speak of are any indication of the “quality people” they hire, their employment pool must consist of high-school drop-outs and recent parolees.

    Completely despicable, yet not surprising when it comes to the City of Toronto.

  2. Ontario Coalition Against Poverty in Canada on October 22nd, 2009 11:14 pm

    This News Release apparently assisted getting the problem resolved for this one case for now …

    http://www.torontohousing.ca | North America

    Toronto Community Housing lets Buildings Run Down While Increasing Market Rents 30%

    Ontario Canada GTA :Mr. Bill Ward of TCH, who wrote a letter to Edmundo stating, as a social housing provider, we are exempt from the ministry standard, currently 1.8%…

    As a social housing provider’,

    TCH feels it is also exempt from social responsibility can impose increases 19 times what the most grasping and immoral private landlord could get away with…

  3. southpaw on October 23rd, 2009 7:06 pm

    This story is sickening to the core of all of us… IF you are HUMAN! Man, who among all of us will say this was just? Who? A conservative, trying to save the province money? Really? How much did you save “crucifying a homeless man?”

    How much? Do the math jackass conservative!!! EPIC FAIL!

  4. Peter on October 31st, 2010 9:11 am

    ” Forgotten no more, Remembered Forever”
    Al Gosling 1927-2009

    The late Mr. Al Gosling, an 82 year old man was left homeless after being evicted in 2009, from his Arleta Manor TCHC owned/managed apartment where he had lived for over 21 years.

    This letter is not to blame the TCHC, for they already have been severely and publicly reprimanded by retired Judge Patrick Lesage.

    Instead, this letter is to ask your readers when they visit Allen Gardens, to stop for a moment by the Al Gosling’s Sugar Maple Leaf tree, planted in his memory by “friends of Al Gosling” in early October 2010.

    None of us knew Mr. Gosling personally but yet, a group of total strangers, raised $642.00 for a commemorative tree and plaque and gathered around the tree in Allen Gardens on October 11th/2010, the anniversary of Mr. Gosling’s passing, to reflect and remember those that are most vulnerable in our society.

    Al’s tree is located near the Sherbourne/Carleton entrance to the park, and on the Sherbourne side of the park. It’s our hope that many Torontonians will visit the park and pause for a moment under Al Gosling’s tree in reflection and remembrance


Bear