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ACORN wins changes for tenant centric retrofit financing - ACORN Canada

ACORN wins changes for tenant centric retrofit financing

Posted July 10, 2024

ACORN’s National Convention 2024 ended with a bang at the Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) Head Quarters in downtown Toronto. We had been demanding a meeting for almost a year to discuss the need for affordability and anti eviction covenants, transparency and more to be included as conditions with low-interest loans and partnerships between the CIB and corporate landlords.

The CIB had given millions in low cost financing to landlords like Avenue Living, Western Canada’s fastest Real Estate Investment Trust, in Alberta for doing deep retrofits. However, tenants in these buildings were getting rent increases in the range of $500 – 800/month after this partnership was announced. Tenants in these Avenue Living buildings formed an ACORN tenant union and since then the ACORN Avenue Living Tenant Union in Calgary has been tirelessly organizing against the rent hikes happening.

The CIB is an arms length government entity that is mandated to operate in public interest. ACORN leaders and members started demanding that all low cost financing from CIB to corporate landlords needs to have a host of tenant protections embedded in these contracts. At our 250-person action, we managed to get about 50 people into the lobby of CIB Head Quarters before the building went into lockdown. A few savvy ACORN leaders managed to get up to the 11th floor before the elevators were blocked and started talking to the CIB executives.

The result

We secured a meeting! At the meeting, the CIB officials told ACORN leaders that as a result of ACORN’s work, moving forward they are now putting affordability and anti – eviction covenants on new funding agreements. There is much work to be done, but this is a big step forward.

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