Toronto ACORN

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Toronto ACORN Update

Photo 2013-02-05 02.55.56 PMIn 2009, because of the work of ACORN members across Toronto, the city created an audit program to inspect high rise rental housing throughout the city. For the first time in history, city inspectors fanned out to every large apartment building in the city. Ten of millions of dollars in badly needed repairs were completed as a result.

CBC: Ontario wants to revoke licence of payday cash stores

CBC News has learned that the Ontario government is going to try to revoke the licence of Cash Store Financial Services, one of the biggest cash advance stores in the country.

The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Affairs alleges that the company broke Ontario's Payday Loans Act, which limits the fees payday loan companies can charge.

Cash Store Financial Services has 200 outlets in Ontario alone: branded as InstaLoans and The Cash Store.

They operate in 19 different communities in the province.

Media Advisory: Silence from Ontario Liberal leadership candidates on issues affecting low income communities

(Toronto, ON) – To find out where Ontario’s next premier stands on some of the issues that matter to low and moderate income communities across the province, Ontario ACORN have distributed a survey to all of the candidates for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. The results are disappointing.

Ontario ACORN’s survey asked candidates, on behalf of more than 20,000 members of ACORN across Ontario, to make clear commitments to deal with high remittance fees, unsafe and unaffordable housing, Ontario’s inadequate minimum wage, and inhumane welfare and disability support systems.

NOW Magazine: Unfair Welfare; Libs’ social assistance review sows confusion on the anti-poverty front lines

 People in poverty already have poor nutritional habits because they can’t afford to eat properly.When it comes to social assistance policy in Ontario, it’s sometimes hard to know the difference between helping and hurting.

That’s the problem many activists are having in the wake of the release late last month of the long-awaited report Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance In Ontario.

In the weeks since then, many on poverty’s front lines have been busy sorting through the hundred-odd proposals in the 200-page report, trying to separate out the supportable items amid widespread concern that equality issues could get buried in the Liberal leadership transition.

Not all those attuned to the issues have the same take on the document, though the general feeling is that in the current social assistance mess, any change is better than none.

According to the Income Security Advocacy Centre’s policy analyst Jennifer Laidley, who generally welcomes the report, groups have already had initial meetings with Minister John Milloy and opposition parties to push what they see as the more acceptable parts of the agenda forward.

Survey of Remittance Users in Ontario: July – October 2012

remittance campaign graph nov 12 2012Summary 

  • 154 of the 229 survey participants indicated how much they were charged. The participants were also asked how often they sent money abroad.
  • When the fees were calculated as a percentage of the amount sent, the data clearly showed that people who send less money are charged a much higher rate than people who send a larger amount of money. On average people who send $100 or less are charged 13.26% compared to people who send over $500 who are charged on average 1.84%.
  • Of the 186 survey participants who reported how much they sent per transaction:
    • 60 reported they sent $100 or less (32%)
    • 106 reported that they sent $200 or less (57%)
  • Of the 229 survey participants who responded to the question “Is the exchange rate fee included in the fees?”
    • 55 indicated that they did not know (24%)
    • 36 said the exchange rate fee was not included in the original fee (16%)
    • 111 said the fees were all lumped together (48%)
    • 27 did not answer the question (12%)
  • Of the 229 participants, 189 sent remittances at least once a year (83%)
  • Of the 189
    • 22 sent 1 time
    • 20 sent 2 times
    • 28 sent 3-5 times
    • 27 sent 6 times
    • 80 sent 12 times
    • 10 sent 24 times
  • The participants were sending money to 37 different countries.

New Endorsements for Ontario Remittance Justice Campaign

ACORN members rallying for Remittance JusticeSupport for Remittance Justice is building every day across Ontario.

Every year Ontarians send hundreds of millions of dollars to loved ones overseas. The companies that process those payments often take 10-20% off the top. ACORN members have been working for two years to lower the fees so that money gets to the people who need it.

 

New people are joining ACORN as members, and as allies, to do what they can to get Bill 98 passed.

Introduced in May by MPP Jagmeet Singh and leading members of ACORN, Bill 98 would put a cap on the fees charged by Money Transfer Organizations (e.g. Western Union, MoneyGram); it would also make the industry transparent so customers know exactly how much they're paying to send money to family overseas. 

Housing Crisis in Ontario

ACORN members rally for Healthy Homes. Last Thursday, September 20th, leading members of ACORN Canada Kay Bisnath and Tina Morris met with Kathleen Wynne, Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley West and Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

On behalf of ACORN members across Ontario, Bisnath and Morris were asking for an immediate response to the crisis that tenants in Ontario are dealing with: stronger rent control – on all rental units, not just occupied ones - and action now from the provincial government to protect tenants from slum landlords who refuse to do basic and vital repairs.

Minister Wynne thinks there is no crisis.

We disagree.

NOW Magazine: Tenant activists take on Libs

ACORN members rally at the office of Kathleen Wynne. August 9, 2012.It’s all about the loopholes.

Back in June when the Liberals passed bill 19, an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act limiting annual rent increases to 2.4%, they were obviously hoping to chill out tenant activists.

Fat chance. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has just launched a campaign pointing to the bill’s chief flaws: not only is it inapplicable to buildings constructed after 1991, but it doesn’t apply to vacant units, meaning new renters can face increases of any old amount.

Last Wednesday, August 29, a small clutch of ACORN members in matching red t’s, protested in front of the office of Kathleen Wynne, minister of municipal affairs and housing on Eglinton E, the first of a number of events planned.

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