Council: Calls for a higher Ontario Works rate, adopts sexual violence strategy, pours more cash into BRT

City council: supports Ontario Works rates increase, adopts sexual violence strategy and pours more cash into proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan.

Everything you need to know about Tuesday's city hall meeting

(Chris Ensing/CBC)

The city is endorsing a campaign from the London Homeless Coalition for an increase to the Ontario Works rate.

Right now, a single adult receives about $376 of shelter allowance. The coalition says should be bumped up by another $245 to meet necessary costs.

The coalition introduced a report that suggests income from the provincial government for single adults is inadequate to sustain basic needs, such as food and shelter.

Coun. Paul Hubert reminded his colleagues of the negative tendency to polarize people living in marginalized communities.

"I want us to remember who this is all about -- resourceful and resilient citizens of London," he said. "I don't ever want us to see those who seek Ontario Works as people anything less than being resourceful and resilient."

The unanimous vote on Tuesday also included a letter of support from the mayor to the provincial government.

Sexual violence strategy 

London is being named the first city in Ontario to adopt a strong stance on tackling sexual violence and harassment in public spaces.

City council voted to add the city to the growing United Nations women's Safe Cities list.

Anova, an organization that provides support systems to victims of sexual assault, will lead a steering committee made up of city-wide organizations to develop a five-year prevention plan.

It will assess the roots of unwanted verbal and physical sexual incidents in public spaces including transportation.

Mayor Matt Brown said the organization is examining an important issue that's prevalent in the city.

"One in three Canadian women will experience sexual assault in their life time, and London is not immune to that -- that's no different here in our community," he said. "I'm sorry we have to do this work in our community but we will stand together and make sure it gets done."

Bus Rapid Transit

Council approved a $2.2 million increase to the proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan after it asked engineers to look into alternative routes.

City staff said the request triggered further research by the IBI consulting group into other options for the $500 million plan, including additional community and stakeholder meetings last spring.

In 2014, initial assessment costs were pegged at $1.9 million. The costs rose to $3.6 million in 2016 and have now ballooned to about $5.8 million.

Councillors Phil Squire and Mo Salih voted against the increase.