2017 Grant Recipients

Bad Date Coalition (BDC)

The Bad Date Coalition has provided safety tools and resources to sex workers and community agencies for over 11 years. The BDC’s core service is compiling and distributing printed Bad Date Booklets. The term “bad date” is used to describe an episode of violence enacted upon a sex worker, as well as incidents of theft, refusal of payment, threats, rudeness, time wasting, harassment, aggressive behaviour, etc. Sex workers face many barriers to reporting bad dates due to stigma and criminalization. The Bad Date Booklet is an important safety tool for the sex work community.

The BDC has recently updated its bad date reporting system. It is our hope that the updated system will improve the safety and working conditions of sex workers, and increase the overall percentage of bad dates reported. The Groundswell grant will cover the new bad date reporting system’s web costs (domains, hosting, email, etc.) for the next two years. It will also cover the web hosting and design costs associated with the BDC website, which is in the process of being updated with new resources for sex workers.


Black Artists for Black Lives (BABL)

Black Artists for Black Lives is a collective of Black, Indigenous, queer and disabled artists working towards Black liberation and the creation of spaces that hold and honour the complexities of our intersecting communities.

With the Groundswell grant, BABL will host a series of intergenerational, arts-based gatherings seeking to foster movement-building and increase capacity for direct and alternative action within Black queer and trans communities. With a particular focus on mad, sick and disabled identities, BABL is interested in exploring and developing artistic skills across multiple mediums that look at the ways art can be used to increase access, foster community connections, explore effective strategies and cultivate dissent to challenge violent power structures and ideologies.


Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)

Butterfly was formed by sex workers, social workers, legal and health professionals. It provides support to, and advocates for, the rights of Asian and migrant sex workers. The organization is founded upon the belief that sex workers are entitled to respect and basic human rights.

This project will provide strong support to Butterfly to develop and expand the work beyond Toronto, to cities such as Hamilton, Ottawa, Whitby, and London, to help migrant sex workers there know more about their rights. Legal information and training will enhance migrant sex workers’ knowledge about the law and Canadian legal system to help them assert, protect and advocate for their rights. The community leaders of Butterfly will provide the training in person. They will also outreach to workplaces after building up relationships.



Caregiver Connections Education and Support Organization (CCESO)

Caregiver Connections, Education and Support Organization (CCESO) is a group of dedicated and caring volunteers serving caregivers, newcomers, and migrants in Toronto since 2007. CCESO provides a range of free programs and activities that help build confidence and self-esteem among caregivers, newcomers, and migrants.


CCESO will use the Groundswell grant to offer a free training and education program for caregivers, newcomers and migrant workers, with emphasis on recent immigration policy changes and understanding basic human rights. Participants will learn leadership skills that will serve their communities. Certificates will be provided at a community celebration at the end of the program.



Grassy Narrows Women’s Drum Group

The Grassy Narrows Women's Drum Group was formed in 2002 after Grassy Narrows’ opposition to logging became internationally known through a youth-led blockade. We raise awareness about our ongoing struggle to protect the land, water, air, wild plants and animals, and the Anishinabek. We work to empower our women and youth to take action in defence of our people and our mother earth according to our traditional responsibilities. We also keep the fire of our land-based culture burning through land use, ceremony, healing, and teachings.

The Grassy Narrows Women’s Drum Group will use the Groundswell grant to help organize a Women's Gathering in 2017, bringing together Indigenous women who are defending their land from colonial extractive industries (forestry, mining, pulp and paper) that threaten their exercise of sovereignty and the health of their territories.


Grassy Narrows Youth Organization (GNYO)

GNYO is run for and by Grassy Narrows Youth, to elevate Anishinaabe Youth voices, and empower youth organizing in the community.

The Groundswell grant will go towards our #Justice4Azraya campaign, through which we are confronting the ongoing youth suicide crisis in Anishinaabe communities, and fighting for an inquest for Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenace, to find answers and justice for her family and for the youth and future generations of Grassy Narrows.




Ontario Coalition Against Poverty


OCAP strives to develop the capacity of oppressed communities to confront injustice by demonstrating the power of collective action. Through a direct-action casework-based model we aim to simultaneously seek redress for cases of individual injustice and build a mass movement capable of confronting the capitalist system that organizes our economic and political lives.

OCAP will use the Groundswell grant for the ongoing shelter campaign and the monthly Social Justice Speakers Series. We launched our short film, Bursting at the Seams, documenting the crisis of brutal overcrowding in Toronto’s homeless shelters, outside Mayor John Tory’s condo last November, and will be using it as an organizing tool to reverse the cuts to shelters and housing and fight for the opening of more downtown shelters. The successful Speakers Series will continue, where we bring together 60-70 people in the downtown east every third Thursday for a meal, as we discuss topics critical to the success of poor people’s movements.



ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program) Action Coalition

The ODSP Action Coalition is a province-wide network of people with lived experience on ODSP, disability organizations, community agencies, anti-poverty groups, and community legal clinics. We push for improvements to ODSP so that people with disabilities can live with justice and dignity.

We will use the Groundswell grant to help to organize four regional assemblies to encourage local activism and to organize low-income Ontarians living with disabilities to address local priorities for a broader income adequacy and fairness campaign. We will focus on the rights of people with disabilities, how to self-advocate, and organize locally to create change.


Prison Free Press (PFP)

PFP is a not-for-profit organization that publishes two free quarterly magazines by and for prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their loved ones in Canada. These publications provide a space for those in prisons and their supporters to communicate with each other and the broader public about the issues and experiences prisoners face through art, poetry, stories, news, support resources, health and harm reduction information.

Prison Free Press will use the Groundswell grant for one year’s physical production and distribution costs of "Class Action News," a prisoner support magazine by and for all prisoners in general, and "Women's Prison Network," a prisoner support magazine by and for Women, Trans-identified, and Youth prisoners.



titiesg wîcinímintôwak // bluejays dancing together

titiesg wîcinímintôwak is a grassroots art collective by and for Two-Spirit artists, operating since 2012. Central to our work is sharing knowledge, skills and experiences to root our stories in the present moment, with an understanding that we are people with long histories on Turtle Island (North America). As an Indigenous collective, we create time for time and discuss issues, goals, and projects openly allowing constant input from Indigenous community members, from children to grandparents.

We will use the Groundswell grant to help fund the construction of a sweat lodge and intentional ceremonial space for Indigenous community members on Tkaronto Island, unceded Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory, part of an ongoing relationship and agreement with Artscape Gibraltar Point.