Homeless youth unfairly ticketed by police: report

Homeless youth are getting unfairly ticketed by police in Toronto despite the fact that panhandling and squeegeeing have declined over the past decade, a new report suggests.

"It's a problem in Canada that at its root is because we aren't doing what we should around homelessness, we're not dealing with the source of the problem, we're dealing with the symptom by criminalizing homelessness," co-author Stephen Gaetz, a professor at York University, said in an interview.

His research showed that 29 per cent of street youth surveyed reported panhandling and squeegeeing as their main source of income in 1999, a figure that dropped below three per cent 10 years later.

However, the number of tickets handed out under the Safe Streets Act, which was brought in 11 years ago to address aggressive panhandling and squeegeeing, "increased exponentially" over the past decade, from 710 tickets in 2000 to 15,224 in 2010.

Publication Date: 
November 10, 2011
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