Nearly 400 Canadian musicians sign letter opposing Toronto encampment evictions

Members of Broken Social Scene, PUP and Barenaked Ladies are voicing support for unhoused people


More than 360 Canadian musicians, record labels, festivals and musicians are showing public support with the Encampment Support Network (ESN) in opposing Toronto encampment evictions.

In an open letter to Mayor John Tory, Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, city councillors Mike Layton and Gord Perks (“because you’re audiophiles), and others, the signatories are demanding a moratorium on encampment evictions and an end to the seizure of “basic survival equipment,” like tents and tiny shelters.

The letter is signed by Fiver’s Simone Schmidt and Simone TB (ESN volunteers and organizers) as well as Feist, members of Broken Social Scene, U.S. Girls, PUP, Barenaked Ladies, July Talk, Fucked Up, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Club Quarantine and many more.

It’s full of notable names from the Toronto and wider Canadian music scene, all speaking in support of unhoused people and the ways they’re surviving through the pandemic despite the encroaching winter.

“As musicians and music workers who’ve been hosted by Toronto’s vibrant  – yet on hiatus- music community, we know as well as anyone how vulnerable this global pandemic and public health crisis has made many of us,” the letter states. “Most of us, however, have a roof over our heads.

“We are writing to you today in solidarity with our unhoused neighbours surviving through the pandemic and bitter cold in the encampments around Toronto,” the letter continues. “We demand the city declare a moratorium on encampment evictions, and stop the seizure of basic survival equipment, including Tiny Shelters, Foam Domes, tents.”

The city has released a winter plan that includes 560 additional shelter spaces, but housing advocates counter that it isn’t nearly enough to accommodate the over 1,000 unhoused people.

Many unhoused people have said they feel encampments and other temporary housing is COVID-safer and more accommodating than shelters, including a new respite centre at the Better Living Centre.

The city, meanwhile, has cracked down on foam domes and Tiny Shelters, even sending a warning letter to Khaleel Seivwright, a Scarborough resident who was building small insulated mobile shelters.

The city says the tiny shelters interfere with the plan to move people off the streets. Officials have given verbal notice to encampment residents at Moss Park and Holy Trinity over the last few weeks, according to ESN and other activists.

“Now the city is asking some people to make an impossible choice: Go inside and risk dying of COVID in an unsafe emergency shelter or stay outside and freeze to death,” the letter says. “Clearing life saving shelters which provide warmth is not a solution.”

Read the full statement and see the full list of signatories below.

Public Statement by musicians against encampment evictions:

John Tory,

Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão

Mike Layton & Gord Perks (because you’re audiophiles)

Janie Romoff, General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Mary Ann Bedard, Shelter Support Housing Administration

As musicians and music workers who’ve been hosted by Toronto’s vibrant  – yet on hiatus- music community, we know as well as anyone how vulnerable this global pandemic and public health crisis has made many of us. Most of us, however, have a roof over our heads.

We are writing to you today in solidarity with our unhoused neighbours surviving through the pandemic and bitter cold in the encampments around Toronto. We  demand the city declare a moratorium on encampment evictions, and stop the  seizure of basic survival equipment, including Tiny Shelters, Foam Domes, tents.

Throughout a global pandemic, the City of Toronto has refused unhoused people access to water, basic sanitation and survival gear, and instead made life increasingly difficult for people living in encampments. We know that the city’s winter plan offers only 560 indoor spots for people living outside, yet over 1000 people are currently unhoused. The shelter system is at capacity, and yet more people are being evicted from their housing every day.

Now the city is asking some people to make an impossible choice: Go inside and risk dying of COVID in an unsafe emergency shelter or stay outside and freeze to death. While confiscating the only winter shelters the community has come together to provide to the encampments. 

Clearing life saving shelters which provide warmth is not a solution. Tiny shelters and tents are people’s property. People depend on their social ties and community bonds to survive. This is an abuse of power and direct act of violence. Shelters are full. This means that the city does not have enough spots inside right now for all the people living outside.

We fund the city’s housing workers, Parks Ambassadors, and shelter programs. The city cannot commit these acts of violence on our behalf. We want to see the clearings stopped until we have safe shelter developed in consultation with the residents and their advocates. 

Even the CDC still recommends that encampments not be cleared:  “Unless individual housing units are available, do not clear encampments during community spread of COVID-19. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.” 

Most importantly, Toronto is built on stolen Indigenous land, on Dish With One Spoon territory. Many of the people surviving outside are Indigenous people, and forcibly displacing them from their land is part of an ongoing legacy of colonial violence. They have an inherent right to live where they feel best.

The undersigned,

Simone Schmidt, Fiver

Simone TB, Partner

Skye Wallace

Nathan Doucet, EDDY, Aquakultre, Scott Hardware, Tica Holiday, Heaven For Real

Nico Elliot-Armstrong

Sara Frank, Lavender Bruisers

Kritty Uranowski, Lavender Bruisers

Inez Genereux, Nezzy

Jill Harris, The O’Pears, Dwayne Gretzky, Illyin Pipes

Nick Dourado, Budi, EDDY, Aquakultre

Steven Foster, Omhouse

Sameer Cash

Robert Grieve, Blastronaut

Teagan Johnston, (fka Little Coyote)

Charlotte Smith

Scott Harwood, Scott Hardware

Charles Tilden, Delta Will

Brendan Canning, Broken Social Scene

of The Encampment Support Network

With:

Leslie Feist, Feist

Kevin Drew, Broken Social Scene

Brian Murphy, Alvvays

Alec O’Hanley, Alvvays

Molly Rankin, Alvvays

Peter Sagar, Homeshake

Chippynonstop

Liz Ball, Dilly Dally

Benjamin Reinhartz, Dilly Dally

Kathleen Monks, DIlly Dally

Jimmy Tony, Dilly Dally

Mike O’Neill, TUNS 

Chris Murphy, TUNS

Steven Lambke, You’ve Changed Records/Constantines

Moe Berg, The Pursuit of Happiness

Alaska B, YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN

Joanna Delos Reyes, Pantayo and Yamantaka// Sonic Titan

Jon Gallant, Billy Talent

Mike Skwark, smrtdeath

Joshua Wells, Lightning Dust, Destroyer, Autogramm

Ron Hawkins, Lowest of the Low

Lawrence Nichols, Lowest of the Low

Owen Pallett

Jose Contreras, By Divine Right

Geordie Dynes, By Divine Right

Hayden Menzies, METZ

Maylee Todd

Steven Sladkowsi, PUP

Stefan Babcock, PUP

Nestor Chumak, PUP

Zack Mykula, PUP

Jay Schwarzer, Cancer Bats

Liam Cormier, Cancer Bats

Lido Pimienta

Andy Shauf

Bria Salmena, Orville Peck/Frigs/Sigil

Kyle Connolly, Orville Peck/The Highest Order

Torquil Campbell, Stars

Cameron Reed, Arts and Crafts

Serena Ryder

Jason Collett

Tim Darcy, Ought

Tim D’Eon, Wintersleep

Loel Campbell, Wintersleep

Matt Mays

Emmett O’Reilly, Pkew Pkew Pkew

Doug MacGregor, City and Colour/Constantines

Marta Cikojevic, Tops

Marta Cikovic, TOPS

David Cariere, Tops

Justin Small, Do Make Say Think

Meg Remy, U.S. Girls

Peter Dreimanis, July Talk

Leah Fay Goldstein, July Talk

Mike Haliechuk, Fucked Up

Sandy Miranda, Fucked Up

Jonah Falco, Fucked Up

Josh Zucker, Fucked Up

Damian Abraham, Fucked Up

Ben Cook, Fucked Up

Ashanti Mutinta, Backxwash

Ian Docherty, July Talk

Dave Bidini, Rheostatics

Basia Bulat

Chad VanGaalen

Haviah Mighty

Lucy Niles, Partner

Josee Caron, Partner

Kyle Peters, Father Christmas

Mark Grundy, Heaven For Real

Jenn Nucum 

Julian Taylor

Robb Johannes, Paint

Niko Stratis, Switchblade Music Group

Joshua Salter, Nap Eyes 

Evan Elliot, Penhorn Summer

Sara Frank, Lavender Bruisers

Jon Schouten, Telephone Explosion Records

Joseph Elaschuk, Sahara

Andrew Wilson, Sahara

Edan Scime Stokell, Sahara

Matt Learoyd, Motorists

Meg Contini, The O’Pears

Lydia Persaud

Nick Rose, Dwayne Gretzky, Teen Ravine

Tyler Kyte, Dwayne Gretzky

Brighid Fry, Moscow Apartment

Nigel Chapman, Nap Eyes

Mick Hutchinson, The Bare Minimum

Stefanie Purificati, Agent, APA Canada

Jenna Strautman, Tanblonde, Skye Wallace

Gina Kennedy, Altered By Mom

Devon Lougheed, Altered By Mom

Jonathan Pappo, Hooded Fang, Scott Hardware

Scott Grundy, Heaven For Real

Steve Sidoli, Teenanger

Carlyn Bezic, Ice Cream, Jane Inc

Amanda Crist, US Girls, Ice Cream

Joelle, Ten Moon

Kat Burns, KASHKA 

Kat Estacio, Pantayo

Halina Katz, HEX

Julie Mackinnon, Sahara

Kris Rose, El / ☽Ag47, nêhiyawak / House Of Trade

Dorothea Paas

Michael Rancic, Journalist/New Feeling Co-op

Colin Medley, Long Winter

Phil Hamilton, Beard Closet  

Denholm Whale, Odonis Odonis 

Dusty Lee Norsworthy, Slash Need

Kieran Adams, Diana / New Nails

Paul Erlichman, Elrichman

Martha M Ramsay, For Esmé

Kristina Ileana Koski, Blonde Elvis, CHANDRA, Praises

Carmel Farahbakhsh, EVERYSEEKER Festival, Director

Nik Basset, EVERYSEEKER Festival, Director

Mar Sellars, Mar On Music

Henri Fabergé, Hank the Kid

James Bunton, Producer

Stacey Howchin, STACEY

Will Hunter, Nutrients

Jesse Northey, Victory Pool Music

Adrienne LaBelle, Mint Records

Ryan Dyck, Mint Records

Randy Iwata, Mint Records

Michael le Riche, Fake Palms/Sauna

Vish Khanna, Kreative Kontrol

Paul Mortimer, The Highest Order

Andy Scott, Biblical

Else Gabermichael, Wild Black

Lexi Jay, Featurette

Jon Fedorson, Featurette

Carl Didur, Zacht Automaat/ECH Repairs

Aerin Fogel, Venus Fest/Queen of Swords

Andrew McGill, Glass Sliper/Tess Parks/Bad River

Ed Squires, US Girls, Badge Epoque Ensemble

Trevor Blumas, DoomSquad/ PORCH Media

Steven Lind, Freak Heat Waves

Michelle Cruz, Pantayo

Maggie Smith, Slash Need

Bry Webb, Constantines/Bry Webb

Cindy Li, Ciel

Colin Morgan, Vallens/Cellphone

Rachel Weldon, DEBASER

All members, HEX/No Mean City

Liam Betson, Titus Andronicus

Jane Penny, TOPS

Grant Danyluk, Black Cloud

Max Pittet, Broken Egg 

Jensen Fridfinnson, Yes We Mystic 

Jill Krajewski, Journalist

Robin Dann, Bernice

Nyssa White-Patterson, NYSSA

Sam Coffey, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Liam Doyle, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Connor Glen, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Richard Thomas Stanley, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Joel French, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Dave Tyson, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs

Cale Elliott-Armstrong, Lucy Jinx

Julia Wittmann, For Jane

Alex Durlak, Idée Fixe Records

Lysh Haugen, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival 

Amy Gottung, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Linda Paolucci, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

William Andrew Finlay Stewart Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Mikhail Chernov, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Emilia Kayko, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Sameen Mahboubi, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Maya Skarzenski, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Tristan Sauer, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

Marie Sotto, Long Winter Music and Arts Festival

BRETT ZADRAVETZ, BLOB RECORDS/MR.JOY

Adam seward, Musician / Filmmaker 

Maximilian Turnbull, Badge Époque Ensemble

Karen Ng

Rane Elliott-Armstrong, LITTLE JUNIOR

Chai Elliott-Armstrong, LITTLE JUNIOR

Zoe Grossman, LITTLE JUNIOR

Jackson Beyer, LITTLE JUNIOR

Anni Spadafora, New Fries 

Jay Anderson, BadgeEpoqueEnsemble/Biblical/Lammping/Stonegrass

Katelyn Molgard, Bad Waitress

Nicole Cain, Bad Waitress

Eva Moon, Bad Waitress

Kali-Ann Butala, Bad Waitress

Katie Munshaw, Dizzy

Charles Spencer, Dizzy

Alexander Spencer, Dizzy

Mackenzie Spencer, Dizzy

Francesco Figliomeni, The Elwins

Shaun Brodie, Queer Songbook Orchestra 

Jonathan Shedletzky, Arts & Crafts Productions; Boiled Records

Avalon Tassonyi, Inland Island

Noah Reid

Matt Bobkin, Exclaim!

Brooke Morgan, Graceless Lady Management

Cam Laurie, Stuck Out Here

Chris Chin, Edmund Stay, 

Liam Cole, LiLi

Alia O’Brien, Blood Ceremony

Dan Fortin, Bernice

Linnea Siggelkow, Ellis

Brandon Williams, Chastity

Jonathan Adjemian, Jennifer Castle Band

Hannah Kim, Luna Li

Josh Korody, Owner, Candle Recording/Beliefs/Nailbiter

Dave Thiel, FOH/Sound

Alex Low, Slash Need

Madeline Link, PACKS

Derek Downham

Peter Elkas

Lance Sampson, Aquakultre

Anna Gutmanis, Ban-Anna Records/Artists 4 Racial Equality

Charlotte Cornfield

Brad Loughead, Nap Eyes/Homeshake/Penhorn Summer

Richard Cureton, Revolver Films

Nathan Lawr, Minotaurs

Akosua Adasi, Club Quarantine

Carena Siera, Club Quarantine

Brad Allen, Club Quarantine

Casey MQ, Club Quarantine

Cheryl Hann, Heaven For Real

Densil McFarlane, The OBGMs

Aleda DeRoche, Sound Engineer

Felicity Williams, Bahamas/Bernice

Jenn Kitagawa, Eyeballs

Lukas Cheung, Mothertongues/Hollowfest

Jon Bartlett, Kelp Management/Megaphono Fest

Adam Hanrahan, Retired

Laura Barrett

David Oswald, Bad Hoo

Nick Schofield, Saxyndrum

Krystal Jax, Brigitte Bardon’t

Tica Holiday

Paul Saulnier, PS I Love You

Erin Caroll, Manager

Joel Harrower, Highs/Joel in Blue

David Newberry

Sage Kim, Laquer Channel Mastering

Matthew Doc Dunn, The Cosmic Range

Peter Carruthers, Art and Crafts

Heather Kelly, Valeo Arts Management

Aaron Goldstein, Baldwin Street Sound

Zeul Mordasiewicz, Vember

Guillermo Subauste, Producer

Taylor Knox

Sam Bielanski, PONY

David Dacks, The Music Gallery

Trevor Turple, Trevor Turple

Zach Bines, Weaves/Sauna

Jenn Pressey, Manager

Geordie Dynes, By Divine Right

Menno Versteeg, Royal Mountain Records

Adam “Bix” Berger, Royal Mountain Records

Marc Cremonese ,Royal Mountain Records

Dina Young, Royal Mountain Records

Conor Mackie, Royal Mountain Records

Brianna Harris, Royal Mountain Records

Christina Zalec, Royal Mountain Records

Tom Avis, Royal Mountain Records

Luka Kuplowsky

Alex McKenzie, Petraglynt

Patrick Grant, Rogue Tenant/Sportsfan/Twist

Meagan Davidson, Tiny Kingdom Music Inc.

Rachael Cardiello, ZINNIA

Paul Ramirez, The Flatliners 

Wes Marskell, The Darcys

Jason Couse, The Darcys

Jenn Pressy, Bernie Breen Management

John Crossingham, Not Of

Derek Westerholm, Psychic Weapons

Psychic Weapons, Producer/Engineer

Phoenix Pagliacci, TRP.P

Matt McLaren, Biblical/The Big Sound

Niki Prekop, Freelance Sound Engineer

Jaina Tharakan, Madame Psychosis

Leanne Simpson

Anna Edwards, Dusted

Anna Mayberry, Anamai

Pascal Padilla, Moscow Apartment

Ian Daniel Kehoe, The Weather Station/Ian Daniel Kehoe

Graeme Langdon, The Pink Noise

Matt Bod, The Lizard Queens

Kris Haig, The Lizard Queens

Joey McGrath, The Lizard Queens

Dale Semple, The Lizard Queens

Micajah Sturgess, Queer Songbook Orchestra

Brooke Manning, LOOM

Victoria Cheong, New Chance, Healing Power Records

Thom Gill, Queer Songbook Orchestra/Bernice/Thom Gill

Haxan

Graham Van Pelt

Christine Bougie, Bahamas 

Tara Kannangara

Katie McBride

Jeremie Albino

Micah Erenberg

Ben Kunder

Dylan Frankland, Tallies 

Louis Percival, Onakabazien / The Worst

Graham Walsh, Holy F*ck, Etiquette, Baskitball 4 Life

Evan Cartwright

Arianna Rueda

Ansley Simpson

Tim Westberg

Andrea Ramolo

Sophia Katz, Ferrari Garden

Daniel Lee, Hooded Fang/Phedre/Lee Paradise

Yvonne Matsell, Promoter

Thalia Coryn, Prancer

Cass Beau

Johnny Spence, Queer Songbook Orchestra/Composer

Kiwi Jr

Adam Hindle

Mingjia Chen, Mingjia

Alex Martenstyn

Rodrigo-Fernandez Stoll, Fog and Lasers, Actor/Comedian

Carleigh Aikins, Dwayne Gretzky, La Force, Ben Kunder, Jeremie Albino 

Mike Duffield, Beams

Anna Mērnieks, Beams

Brian Borcherdt, Holy Fuck/Dusted

Tamara Lindeman, The Weather Station

Jamie Kacor, Mindful MCs

Josh Finlayson, The Skydiggers

Brian Cuddy

Shawn William Clark

Romy Lightman, Tasseomancy

Sari Lightman, Tasseomancy

Yves Jarvis

Anna Horvath, Merival

Nicholas McKinlay, Fast Romantics

Dave Plowman, Patchwork Sound

Simon Outhit

Steve Lavery

Jasper Smith

Rich DaSilva

Stefanie McCarrol, Brave Shores, BART 

Michael Peter Olsen, Our Founders

Kris Ulrich

Mara Nesrallah, Decoration Day, Anna

Kaïa Kater

Jason Jang, The Beachmen

Bryn Jennings, Green Girl

Ben VanBuskirk, Blackout Orchestra

Iulia ciobanu, Cherry Blaster

Julie Arsenault

Alex Samaras, Tryal/Grex/Queer Songbook Orchestra

David Wall, The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band

Yoshi Maclear Wall

Michael C. Duguay

Melanie St-Pierre, Casper Skulls

Christina Bell, Chrissy

David Macintosh, Kashew Butter

Sydanie

Holly Hudson, Valeo Arts Management

Alisa Gayle

Sharon Nutzati, Caren

Hilary Fong, cutsleeve

Amanda Rheaume

Nirmala Basnayake, controller.controller

Kalyn Fantasia, Somewherelse

Lee Rose, Ace of Wands

Rollie Pemberton, Cadence Weapon

Lana Mauro

Pat O’Brien, Jaunt

Thomas Helliwell, Jaunt

Caitlin Woelfle O’Brien, Jaunt

Duncan Hood, Jaunt

Nick Nausbaum, Jaunt

Daniel Reardon, Jaunt

Dondrea Erauw, Instinct Entertainment

Belinda Corpuz

Ruhee Dewji

Kate Palumbo

Adam Baldwin

Michael Barclay

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