York West ACORN Pushes Back Against Billionaire Landlord & Wins!
Posted September 18, 2023
TORONTO – The York West ACORN chapter’s reorganizing drive in the Jane & Finch neighbourhood of Toronto culminated in a big meeting this past Saturday, September 16, where tenants in buildings owned by the Sorbara Group of Companies met with representatives of their landlord and property manager and won all of their demands! Organizing works!
The reorganizing drive kicked off in mid-July, when tenants from 5000 Jane St, 4001 Steeles Ave W, 11 Catford Rd, and other Sorbara-owned properties attended a chapter meeting and shared their experiences of neglected repairs, broken elevators, stolen packages and cars, dirty stairwells, pests, a lack of security cameras, and poor service. ACORN members then voted to form an Organizing Committee and unanimously decided to support tenants living in Sorbara Group buildings in their fight for better conditions.
Members organized a quick hit outside of the Sorbara Group’s head office at 3700 Steeles Ave W, where they spoke out against deplorable conditions and threatening letters from management before delivering a letter to a company representative and successfully pressured the Sorbara Group to commit to meeting with tenants to resolve issues in their buildings.
Throughout the month of August, the York West organizing committee met multiple times to plan ACORN’s campaign against the Sorbara Group, including planning the Big Meeting in September. ACORN canvassed all of the company’s residential properties to bring more tenants into the campaign for better conditions, and members held multiple outreach tables and a flyering party at the Jane & Finch Mall to raise the campaign’s profile and build momentum. The organizing committee also unanimously adopted a list of demands to present to the landlord and property manager, including installing and repairing security cameras, thorough building-wide pest treatments, replacing all elevators in all buildings, expediting repairs, and more.
The demands were presented at York West ACORN’s Big Meeting on September 16, at the Northwood Community Centre. Dozens of tenants from all over the neighbourhood came out to learn more about ACORN, the campaign in Sorbara Group-owned properties, and hear from ACORN leaders, Humber River-Black Creek MPP Tom Rakocevic, Ward 7 City Councillor Anthony Perruzza, and Ward 4 TDSB Trustee Matias de Dovitiis.
After weeks of pressure from ACORN, the Sorbara Group of Companies and their property manager, DMS Property Management, agreed to send a representative each to the meeting. ACORN leaders negotiated the demands with the landlord’s representatives while tenants interjected to share their experiences and pressure the landlord for better. After nearly an hour of tense negotiations, both representatives signed onto ACORN’s demands and committed to working to implement them, admitting that Sorbara Group-owned residential buildings have faced neglect and mismanagement in recent years but that they’re working to improve the situation.
Still celebrating their victory, ACORN members concluded the Big Meeting with fresh elections for the York West chapter. Jacquie Mitchell was elected as the chapter’s new chair, while Kemba Robinson was re-elected to the board as co-chair and Marilyn Stevens was elected as secretary. York West ACORN is now bigger, stronger, and ready to keep fighting for working people across the Jane & Finch community. Organizing works!
If you live near the Jane & Finch neighbourhood and would like to get involved, call the Toronto ACORN office at 416-461-9233 or email email@example.com.