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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Ottawa ACORN: The Fight for the Right to Housing and a No Displacement CBA in Herongate

Community benefits agreements (CBAs) are legally enforceable contracts signed by community groups and a private developer or government agency. CBAs can result  in a range of benefits for community members, such as jobs and training; community  amenities,  support  for local  business,  affordable  housing and other provisions. 
 
As a community organization of low and moderate income families and individuals fighting for social and economic justice, ACORN is invested in ensuring community benefits agreements meet the needs of the communities we work with. 

ACORN Canada’s submission to the Increasing Housing Supply in Ontario Consultation

As an organization of low and moderate income people, the issue of housing affordability is a priority concern for our members. Specifically, our members are concerned about the desperate need for deeply affordable rental housing that is affordable in the long term. Almost half of Ontario renters live in unaffordable housing. Yet since 1990, less than 9 per cent of new developments in the province have been rental housing. Urgent action is required to address this housing crisis, we call upon the provincial government to take leadership to create real affordable housing options.

Hamilton Tenants Demand A Better City from City Hall

Hamilton is in an affordable and livable housing crisis. This is a trend seen across most major Canadian cities, that will worsen with no government action. The City of Hamilton has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable. If the city continues on its current path of protecting developers and landlords over working class communities, more and more tenants will lose affordable housing or be forced to remain in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

A State of Disrepair: Hamilton ACORN Tenant Survey

In the early days of Hamilton ACORN, our low-to-moderate income membership identified substandard living conditions as the number one issue they want addressed. Conditions in buildings were unhealthy and deteriorating, while at the
same time their rents would rise.
 
Over the course of the following year Hamilton ACORN started a petition drive to highlight the issue, held a successful Hamilton Tenant Rally in the summer of 2017, and has since held multiple actions against landlords.
 
Our leaders have pushed and secured meetings with the heads of Hamilton’s largest landlords. While we were able to walk away from these meetings with some tenant victories, it became clear to our members that a larger authority must be helping tenants to hold landlords accountable.
 

Submission to CMHC's National Consultation on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing

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 under-housed Canadians.

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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 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. 

Broadbent Institute: Networked Change in Canada

This groundbreaking report maps out the strategies and practices that lie behind today’s most successful advocacy campaigns both in Canada and abroad. In the process, it demonstrates how and why they succeed in creating lasting change on the issues they address while so many others fail. Based on a study by authors Jason Mogus and Tom Liacas that looked at mostly U.S.-based case studies, this report now presents similar innovations in Canada by reviewing in depth case studies of eight breakthrough Canadian campaigns. The report’s goal is to transmit a model that can be learned and replicated by other campaigners for how to blend grassroots participation and organizing with disciplined central planning to win.

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