Toronto ACORN Takes Action on the 2024 City Budget
Posted January 31, 2024
Toronto ACORN Tenant Union has been and will continue to fight for justice for low and moderate income people in our city budget. Here is a brief timeline of our involvement in the budget process so far, as well as a quick overview of what we’re fighting for. We want a city that works for everyone, not just rich developers!
ACORN tenant union members showed up and showed out to 2023’s budget consultations throughout November by demanding that the 2024 city budget include our demands for beat the heat, retrofits, no tenant displacement, landlord licensing, a strong RentSafeTO program, affordable housing, community funding, rent control, affordable internet, and so much more. We targeted consultations held in downtown Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke, and North York.
On the day of the public deputations in January 2024, we held a press conference outside of city hall in advance of the deputations inside. This press conference was covered in City News, and ACORN was also mentioned in CBC Radio One, where a radio host was impressed with ACORN representative Ernie Lee’s creative “bed bug busters” costume that was used to draw attention to our RentSafe demands. This press conference was also attended by City Councillor Alejandra Bravo and City Councillor Josh Matlow in support of ACORN’s platform demands.
There were four ACORN tenant union representatives as deputants at city hall, Weston ACORN Co-Chair Marcia Stone, Downtown ACORN Chair Rama Fayaz, National Board Representative and East York ACORN Chair Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, and representative Andrea McGilvary. In Scarbourough, ACORN Canada President and Scarborough ACORN Chair Marva Burnett, and representatives Sheila Prospere and Hancy Jagdeo deputed. Finally, in Etobicoke, Etobicoke ACORN CO-Chair Ria Rinne and representatives Firdaus Bilimoria, Alex Chirpac, and Frank Yearwood deputed. Other ACORN tenant union members also came out from across Toronto to show solidarity with people deputing.
This fight is far from over. But ACORN does not give up the fight.
One critical point from our municipal budget platform is to provide more funding for Toronto’s RentSafe program. This bylaw program is supposed to enforce maintenance standards in apartment buildings across Toronto and ensure that we all have safe, healthy homes to live in.
Unfortunately, the program is underfunded and ineffective, leaving tenants with nowhere to turn when their landlords neglect serious repair issues.
ACORN is demanding that in the new city budget, the city raise the registration fees for landlords to a simple thirty dollars per unit per year, which would cover the cost of additional inspectors who would be able to more actively enforce the law. We are also holding strong that the city must raise the fines for infractions on landlords, and actually enforce these fines and financial penalties. This would result in safer, healthier homes for tenants across Toronto.
You can find a document that outlines all of our municipal budget demands, including reallocating 10% of the police budget to community services, a rent escrow account, climate justice protections for low income residents, and much more through this link. .
If you want to get involved in ACORN’s municipal campaigns, reach out to our Toronto citywide lead organizer Meyira Winer at email@example.com or call our Toronto office at (416) 461-9233. The people united shall never be defeated!!!