ACORN Newsletter

Stay current with ACORN news and events by joining our mailing list. You will receive updates in your inbox every month.



ACORN Celebrates 20 Years of Building Power at our 7th Biennial National Convention - ACORN Canada

ACORN Celebrates 20 Years of Building Power at our 7th Biennial National Convention

Posted July 12, 2024


More than 250 ACORN members from coast to coast came together to celebrate 20 years of community organizing and building power at our 7th Biennial National Convention June 15-17th at the Ontario Tech University in Oshawa.

The energy in the room was infectious! ACORN members from Alberta, BC, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario filled the room with non-stop chants and unwavering commitment to push for changes in their cities, provinces and at the national level!

This convention was special for many reasons. Not only did it commemorate 20 strong years of ACORN Canada, but it was also a time when Marva Burnett, ACORN’s National President, handed over the baton to Alejandra Ruiz Vargas as ACORN’s new National President. The standing ovation by ACORN members for Marva’s dedication and leadership said it all! Members also thanked Tabitha Naismith who stepped down from the Secretary role and welcomed Lisa Hayhurst; and Hannah Wood, who stepped down from the National Board.

Here’s a summary of ACORN Canada’s 2024 Convention:

Day 1 – June 15, 2024


Members kicked off the convention with stimulating workshops designed to strengthen their grassroots organizing and leadership skills. The workshops ranged from ACORN radio to national housing and fair banking campaigns to civic engagement.

Member Speakout

Like every convention, the Member Speakout was a key highlight. After the workshops, ACORN leaders from each province/city came up to the stage to talk about their wins and current campaigns. Each speech was fascinating as it saw ACORN leaders standing proud of the work in their cities/provinces with many leaders taking notes to bring back to their local chapters.

Members were joined by Jeff Gray, President of Unifor Local 222, as our first speaker. Thanks to Jeff for the solidarity and support!

Day 2 – June 16, 2024

Member march in

Local offices competed to be the loudest and proudest as members prepared chants for each of their cities/provinces for when they’d march from the residence to the convention hall. The hall reverberated with chanting, drumming and dancing until we started the big plenary.

Big plenary

Amazing guest speakers from the community, labour and government joined delegates in the morning of day 2. Thank you to all the speakers for your solidarity, knowledge and action! Speakers included: Mayor of Oshawa, Dan Carter; Jennifer French, Oshawa MPP; Abhilash Kantamneni of Energy Efficiency Canada; Mary Fowler, President of Durham Regional Labour Council and Bianca Wylie, Co-founder of Tech Reset Canada.

Outreach Workshop

Following the big plenary, members joined a workshop on how to conduct outreach as members get ready for a massive door knock!

Door knocking

Members set out to door knock in neighbourhoods of Scarborough, Whitby, Ajax and Oshawa ACORN members collected over 600 petition signatures in support of our campaign for national tenant rights standards.

Sign making

Members who could not join the door knock stayed back to make signs for the big action.

Gala Dinner

Tired by dinner time? Not at all!!!

The dinner started off with a 2-minute video on ACORN Canada’s journey since 2004.

This was followed by speeches. Thank you to Marit Stiles, Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party for joining us in the fight for affordable housing. Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP and Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress also gave their greetings through video messages along with the ACORN affiliate in the UK who congratulated and cheered ACORN Canada members.

Members also got recognition for showing great leadership:

  • Maddie Mitton from New Brunswick bagged the prize for fundraising over $1200 for the ACORN Canada National Convention this year.
  • Shelley-Ann Alan from Toronto won an ACORN sweat shirt for the most number of petitions while door knocking at the convention.
  • Marjorie Pemberton from Nova Scotia won the $500 raffle!

The night ended with members lining up to walk the “catwalk” in an epic fashion show of dance and posing. One speaker earlier in the day had said he hadn’t realized the ACORN convention would be such a party – and man was he right!!!


It’s not an ACORN Convention without a BIG action. Members marched to the offices of two federal agencies – the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) in downtown Toronto. Both CMHC and CIB are investing billions of dollars in supporting private corporate developers to create new housing and conduct green retrofits. However, this money does not have conditions attached and as a result, it is leading to the development of more unaffordable housing, exorbitant rent increases and tenant displacement.

The march started at David Pecaut Square and reached the CMHC office where an official accepted 100s of our tenant testimonies.

From there on, members marched to the CIB office. The CIB had previously ignored all our requests for a meeting to discuss how landlords they’re financing to do retrofits are passing the costs down onto tenants. Members secured a meeting with representatives for the following week after ACORN members occupied their HQ lobby and rallied outside.



Thank you to all our community and labour allies.

Finally, the convention would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Big thank you to all our sponsors.