Internet is an Essential Service

The need for expanding the Federal Government’s Connecting Families to ALL low-income people is greater than ever! Governments – federal and provincial – have called for social/physical distancing during the ongoing health emergency due to COVID-19 but that requires access to the internet for anything and everything anyone can imagine. However, the reality is that not all Canadians can afford the internet. The issue of digital divide cannot be overemphasized, especially during a pandemic like this, as internet becomes a lifeline for most people. 

Through this resource, ACORN Canada calls on the government and CRTC to take some urgent actions to address barriers to digital equity, especially during COVID-19 pandemic.

ACORN Canada submission to the 2019 Ontario Budget consultation

We encourage the Ministry of Finance to take this opportunity to consider the needs of almost 2 million low-income Ontarians. Poverty costs the province $32-to-38-billion per year: it is a problem worth tackling. We believe that Ontario can lead the way in Canada by tackling housing affordability, rising child care costs, energy poverty, an inequitable financial system, and benefits that do not meet the needs of our most vulnerable, to foster a fairer, more inclusive province.

ACORN Canada submission to the Review of the Canadian Communications Legislative Framework

ACORN Canada members feel strongly that access to home internet is essential and a right. Since 2013, ACORN members have been organizing on our Internet for All campaign, after members identified the high cost of home internet as a major barrier to low-income earners’ participation and success in the digital economy. ACORN Canada is fighting for affordable home access to high-speed home internet for all Canadians

CRTC Inquiry into the Retail Sales Practices of Canada’s Large Telecommunications Carriers: ACORN Submission

Recently, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) began an inquiry into the sales practices of telecoms companies, to understand whether services are being sold fairly and transparently. ACORN invited members across the country to share their experiences. Many members who reached out had been misled when buying a product or service, encountered pushy salespeople, or found their phone, internet or TV package confusing.

Women and Predatory Lending

In Canada, women earn eighty-seven cents for every dollar earned by men. Women are less likely to be employed than men and are overrepresented in precarious jobs. Twenty-six per cent of female-led lone parent families live in poverty, compared to twelve per cent of those led by men. Given these statistics, it is somewhat unsurprising that payday loan use tends to occur more often in female-headed households.

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Stand Up for Housing in Surrey

Posted on August 6, 2020

This report focuses on the housing crisis in Surrey in BC. Based on the victories secured by BC ACORN members in several other cities in BC, including in Burnaby and New Westminster, the report underscores the need for urgent measures that the city government in Surrey can take to address the existing housing issues and protecting tenants' rights in Surrey.

Read this report to learn how we can win municipally to end the housing crisis in Surrey. 

 

État des locataires pendant COVID-19 - Rapport d'enquête

Posted on April 29, 2020

 

COVID-19 a changé nos vies comme jamais auparavant en apportant un ensemble unique de problèmes. Cependant, ces défis deviennent encore plus complexes pour les personnes qui vivent déjà en marge. Les statistiques continuent de brosser un tableau sombre en ce qui concerne l'accès à des logements abordables et sains au Canada et avec la pandémie COVID-19, la situation ne fera qu'empirer, en particulier pour les locataires et les personnes à faible revenu ou appartenant aux sections les plus vulnérables du population. ACORN Canada a contacté 1082 personnes à travers le Canada pour comprendre les problèmes auxquels les gens sont confrontés pendant la pandémie, en particulier ceux liés à leur capacité de payer le loyer car elle arrive à échéance le 1er mai et les problèmes qu'ils rencontrent. dans leurs immeubles / appartements car le manque d'entretien et de réparation pose un risque majeur pour la santé publique, en particulier lors d'une pandémie. Ce rapport présente les conclusions principales de cette enquête et les mesures urgentes que les gouvernements doivent prendre pour garantir que les personnes en marge obtiennent le soutien dont elles ont besoin en cette période de crise sanitaire et économique.

 

State of Renters During COVID-19: Survey Report

Posted on April 29, 2020

 

COVID-19 has changed our lives like never before by bringing a unique set of issues. However, these challenges get even more complex and compounded for people who are already living at the margins. Statistics continue to paint a grim picture when it comes to access to affordable and healthy housing in Canada and with the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation will only worsen especially for renters and those on low-income or belong to the most vulnerable sections of the population. ACORN Canada reached out to 1082 people across Canada to understand the issues people are facing during the pandemic, especially those relating to their ability to pay rent as it falls due again on May 1st and the problems they are encountering in their buildings/apartments as  lack of maintenance and repair poses a major public health risk especially during a pandemic. This report provides the main findings of this survey and calls for urgent measures that governments need to take to ensure that people at the margins get the support they need in times of this health and economic crisis. 

 

Herongate: The Case for RentSafe Ottawa

Ottawa ACORN's campaign for a landlord registry similar to Toronto's RentSafe bylaw is based on over a decade’s worth of community organizing, as well as the countless experiences of our low to moderate income members shared through forums, phone calls and home visits. For the past 13 years, ACORN organizers have gone door-to-door in low-income neighbourhoods, where the state of people’s housing remains their number one concern. ACORN sees the implementation of a landlord registry as an opportunity to address the gaps in our current property standards system; to ensure that everyone’s right to housing is protected and that every tenant has a healthy home.

ACORN Tenant Engagement Report - Retrofits

Successful energy retrofits can specifically benefit residents of low‐income apartment buildings. Programs like TowerWise show that retrofits can lead to a 30% reduction in energy and carbon usage. Energy efficiency programs can also have up to a 2:1 cost‐benefit ratio. Retrofits of low‐income housing can potentially result in the co‐benefits of carbon reduction, energy efficiency, and costs savings, as well as positive health outcomes. On a macroeconomic level, retrofits can reduce the need for government spending on health and energy subsidies, which can be redirected to other types of social spending for low‐income Canadians.

Ottawa ACORN’s Response to Maclaren Group’s Policy Options Report on Housing Conditions

Ottawa ACORN members are in the final sprint for their campaign for landlord licensing. After convincing city council to include landlord licensing as part of the City's "regulating rental accommodations" review, members have organized Tenant Speak Outs, days of action at City Hall, door knocked in bad apartment buildings, released reports, engaged the media and have met with the City's consultants three times. The consultants from Maclaren Group have released their report on policy options for housing conditions and are asking for feedback before submitting their recommendations to City Hall. 
 
Read Ottawa ACORN's response here: 

Housing Horror Stories: The Tenants' Case for Landlord Licensing in Ottawa

This collection of tenant testimonials shows that the City of Ottawa needs to do more to improve housing conditions.
 
Tenants are living in substandard conditions without the necessary support to allow them to stand up to landlords and have their needs met. The Property Standards By-law has more procedural steps and delays than most by-laws in addition to any notice of violation being unenforceable.
 
The City's review on regulating rental accommodations is a good first step in addressing tenants' very real concerns regarding the state of their housing. It is Ottawa ACORN members' hope that this sample of housing horror stories will demonstrate to our city that substandard housing conditions is a systematic issue that warrants urgent attention. We need landlord licensing NOW!

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CCPA: Making Ends Meet: Toronto’s 2015 Living Wage

It has been six years since Toronto’s living wage estimate was calculated at $16.60 in 2008.

Since then, the cost of living has gone up: the cost of child care has risen by 30 per cent; rent has increased by 13 per cent; the cost of public transit has grown by 36 per cent. This report updates Toronto’s living wage to reflect what it takes for two working parents with two children to make ends meet in 2015. It’s based on the needs of a family with two parents and two young children ages 7 and 3. Each of those parents needs to earn $18.52 per hour, and work 37.5 hours per week, in order to afford the basics in life in this very expensive city.

Broadbent Institute: The Wealth Gap

In a new nationwide survey among 3,000 Canadians conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Canada for the Broadbent Institute, Canadians were asked about their perceptions of inequality and the distribution of wealth in Canada. The findings demonstrate that Canadians vastly underestimate how skewed the distribution of wealth actually is and think there should be a much more equitable distribution.

Metcalf Foundation: Better Work: The path to good jobs is through employers

Written by Metcalf Innovation Fellow and labour market policy expert Tom Zizys, the paper examines our under-performing labour market and challenges the popular notion that the threat to good jobs is inevitable.

Better Work chronicles the economic and political changes that have brought us to our current situation. It reconstructs the advent of our global economy and reflects deeply on its effect on employment practices. Central to its thesis is a simple proposition: workers are not a cost to be constrained but, rather, an asset to be invested in.

Among industrialized countries, Canada has the highest proportion of residents with a post-secondary education. Yet we also have the highest rate of degree holders working in jobs earning half the median income or less. We know there are many external factors at play, and that a rise in precarious employment and the widening gap between knowledge sector and entry-level jobs is creating income disparity. But the question remains, are we responding to the emergence of technology, globalization, and increased competitiveness in the most efficient and equitable way? Are our workplace practices, labour market institutions, and the norms and values that shape our economic thinking supporting the best interests of both employers and employees?

Metcalf Foundation: Profiting from the Precarious: How recruitment practices exploit migrant workers

There are over 338,000 migrant workers in Canada. This number has more than doubled since 2006. As Canada increasingly relies on a work force of transnational migrant workers with temporary status, an industry of third-party for-profit recruiters has emerged to match workers with jobs in Canada.

This report exposes how temporary foreign workers are paying thousands of dollars in recruiting fees — equal to as much as two to three years’ wages in their home currency — to work in minimum wage jobs in Ontario.

A People's Budget

The People’s Budget campaign was initiated as a response to the continuing evidence of the failure of the austerity agenda. Austerity measures have had a devastating impact on the people of Ontario, particularly its most vulnerable citizens. When even organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Economic Forum are calling for a reconsideration of the austerity agenda, it is time for Ontario to chart a new course.

Ontario’s 100-day ODSP/OW review: A word of warning from UK Conservative welfare reforms

ACORN members are concerned about what will emerge from the government’s 100-day review. We can look to other countries with Conservative leaders to imagine what the Province’s reforms could look like. In recent years, the UK has implemented a series of social assistance reforms which have contributed to a 169% increase in homelessness since 2010 . Similar reforms could be disastrous for low-income Ontarians.

ACORN Housing Allowance Report

In 2006 the United Nations held a convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 28 states: “States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing.”

“Adequate” does not include unhealthy and dangerous housing standards or negligent property owners.

Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms“ guarantees the life, liberty and personal security of all Canadians.”

ACORN MEMBERS DEMAND a housing allowance that guarantees ODSP and OW recipients’ healthy housing where they can freely choose a home that guarantees their personal security from violence and negligent property owners.

The Hidden Epidemic: A Report on Child and Family Poverty in Toronto

The first comprehensive report on child and family poverty in Toronto since 2008 will be released by Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Social Planning Toronto, Family Service Toronto, Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change, and the Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto .

New data in the report shows that Toronto is becoming an increasingly divided city. Where a child is born and raised in Toronto greatly influences their chances of success.

Metcalf Foundation: The “Welfareization” of Disability Incomes in Ontario

Canada’s disability income expenditures are rising at an unsustainable rate and the largest and fastest growing program is social assistance. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ontario where ODSP expenditures increased 44.8% between 2005 and 2010.

This report by Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton, provides critical insight into the intricate drivers behind the alarming rise of disability income expenditures.

Campaign 2000: 2013 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada

More than two decades have passed since the House of Commons’ unanimous resolution “to seek to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000” and four years after the entire House of Commons voted to “develop an immediate plan to end poverty for all in Canada.” Neither the promised poverty elimination nor plans have materialized.

ACORN Votes: The People's Platform Responses

ACORN Canada, founded in 2004, is a grassroots membership based organization that has rapidly grown into one of the country's most effective voices for low- and moderate-income Canadians.  With over 130,000 members in 22 chapters in 9 cities across the country, our central purpose is to effectively represent and champion the interests of Canada's low- and moderate-income urban citizens on the critical issues of social and economic justice.

ACORN members have been conducting a number of campaigns, both at the federal and provincial level. ACORN Canada is a multi-issue organization, as a result, we have a range of campaigns that have emerged from community organizing around the issues that affect the lives of low and moderate income communities.  This document captures the main campaigns that we continue to fight for, at the federal level. 
 

ACORN Canada's submission to CMHC's rights-based approach to housing consultation

By introducing a National Housing Strategy (NHS) and making a commitment to a rights-based approach to housing, the Federal Government is taking a significant step towards tackling Canada’s housing crisis. ACORN members welcome this national plan. Yet, we acknowledge that there is a long way to go to overcome the systemic issues that have led to so many homeless and underhoused Canadians. 

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