Fair Change Community Services

asking Toronto for a little fair change

Why We Should Repeal The Ontario Safe Streets Act – in 30 seconds or less

The Safe Streets Act is Ontario’s Anti-Panhandling Legislation, but it’s not doing it’s job.

1. Convictions for panhandling count against your driving record so the Act makes it harder for homeless people to find jobs, keeping them on the street longer.

2. The fines imposed for panhandling are almost never collected, but taxpayers are still paying for the courtroom, the Justice of the peace, the testifying police officer and the prosecutor to have the fines imposed.

3. When jail is imposed for panhandling people can lose the housing they do have and be forced back onto the street, actually increasing homelessness.

4. After 15 years the Act has failed to decrease panhandling or squeegeeing. More tickets are being given out every year.

This is a bad piece of legislation and it should be repealed.

But don’t take my word for it. The effects of the Act have been extensively studied. You can read more at http://www.homelesshub.ca



Street Tickets 101 – What is a Provincial Offence?

Sometimes it is hard to understand the rules and procedures that go along with street tickets. In this post we will talk about the basics. What is a Provincial Offence and how is it different than a Criminal Offence?

In Canada the Federal Government controls the Criminal Law but the Provinces have control over other things like hospitals, roads and driving licenses. That’s why it’s called your Ontario Driver’s License, or your Ontario Health Card and not your Canadian Health Card. The Provinces are allowed to make regulations about the areas that they control. These regulations are called Provincial, because they are made and enforced by the Province, not the federal government.

Provincial offences are generally considered less serious than criminal offences. Assault is a common example of a criminal offence. Speeding is a common example of a Provincial offence.  Even though Provincial offences are usually considered less serious, the  penalty for some provincial offences can be just as high or even higher than some criminal offences.

The Ontario Safe Streets Act is a set of Provincial laws. This act makes it illegal to “Solicit in an aggressive manner” or to “Solicit on a roadway”. Student Advocates from Fair Change Community Services can help you for free if you have been charged with any offence found in the Ontario Safe Streets Act.


Fair Change Community Services

asking Toronto for a little fair change


We are a group of law students and lawyers who help people fight their street tickets for free. We don’t want to see people go to jail or be burdened by debt for panhandling or other minor charges.

Our Mission…

1)    To reduce the number of street ticket convictions in the City of Toronto and,

2)    To decrease debt from previous street ticket convictions imposed on street involved, and formerly street involved, people.

Our Vision…

A Toronto where people who are in need can politely ask strangers for help without the fear of being thrown in jail.

A Toronto where people who are trying to recover from a street involved life are not also burdened by mountains of debt.




“Toronto Legal Clinic Helps Homeless Fight Unpayable ‘Nuisance’ Tickets” — The Toronto Star, March 9th, 2015 <http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03/09/toronto-legal-clinic-helps-homeless-fight-unpayable-nuisance-tickets.html?fb_ref=Default>

“Toronto Considers a Complete Ban on Panhandling” — Rabble.ca, August 18th 2011 <http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/johnbon/2011/08/toronto-considers-complete-ban-panhandling>

“Organization Aims to Fill Pro Bono Gap” — the Law Tines, March 8th 2010 <http://digital.lawtimesnews.com/i/54028/1#>


We are a group of law students and lawyers who help people fight their street tickets for free. We don’t want to see people go to jail for panhandling or other minor charges. You can drop in without an appointment:

Fred Victor Centre

145 Queen St E  Toronto

Every Friday afternoon

12:00 pm. to 4:00 pm.

Clients are seen on a first come first serve basis.

Our Phone number is (416) 300-1291

You can also email us at fairchangecs@gmail.com


Who We Help

Our clients are people who are street involved. This means people who are living, working, or spending a significant part of their time on the streets of Toronto.

Our clients may be sleeping on the street,  in shelters, in boarding homes or in supported or assisted housing. Many of our clients are recipients of ODSP or Ontario Works.

We will assist people who have been given provincial offence tickets like:

  • Solicit on Roadway
  • Solicit near ATM
  • Solicit near TTC
  • Encumber the Sidewalk
  • Pedestrian fail to use crossway
  • Pedestrian disobey signals
  • Consume Liquor in Illegal Place
  • Enter Premises when prohibited
  • Solicit on TTC property
  • Or other street tickets.

We do not assist with moving traffic violations. Such as speeding tickets or driving without insurance.


Our Services


We can help you with any tickets you have received within the last 30 days by:

  • Explaining your legal options
  • Negotiating with prosecutors on your behalf and
  • Representing you at trail


We can help you try to get rid of debt from tickets that are months or years old by:

  • Explaining the appeal process
  • Writing the letters and documents necessary for an appeal and
  • Representing you in front of the Appeal Judge

Our services are provided by law students from Osgoode Hall Law School. All law students are supervised by licensed Lawyers with years of experience in this area of law. We are a non-profit organization all of our services are 100% free to our clients.


Social workers: would your organization’s clients benefit from a presentation about their rights? Want your clients to benefit from our services, but not sure they’d be willing to attend drop-in hours at the Fred Victor Centre? We love to visit other organizations and talk to people about their rights, tickets and experiences. Presentations are about 1/2 an hour long, and will be tailored to your client’s needs. Presentations are followed up by client intake meetings at your organization. If you would like to arrange a visit to your site from a Fair Change lawyer please contact us at fairchangecs@gmail.com


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