Toronto ACORN

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Ford and TTC Plan Fare Hike, Cuts to 282 Buses and Streetcars

Toronto ACORN members are gearing up to fight the plan to remove 282 buses and streetcars from 62 routes across the city and hike fares by .10 cents.

The TTC is meeting December 14th to debate the plan and Toronto ACORN and allies are aiming to fill Council Chambers to make sure that the voices of Toronto families are heard.

It's time to stop the cuts.

Can we count on you to come out in support?
Where: Front Doors to City Hall (100 Queen St. W)
When: December 14th, 1pm

Questions: Get in touch! 416-461-9233 or onacornto4@acorncanada.org

Inside Toronto: Protesters remain in St. James Park

With speculation rising that the City of Toronto may try to pull the plug on the Occupy Toronto movement's stay in St. James Park, those in the camp remain steadfast in their determination to draw attention to financial inequalities between society's haves and have-nots.

Despite rain and cold, the downtown park remains packed with dozens of tents, and spirits remain high among those staking out the space as the protest nears the one-month mark.

Even rumblings that Mayor Rob Ford has intimated that the occupiers should move on have not dampened the protesters' resolve.

"They've had a peaceful protests but I think it's time we ask them to leave," Ford said during a news conference held to discuss the Eglinton LRT Wednesday morning, "Again I have to confirm this with the chief and I'm not here to speak on the chief's behalf ... I think everyone can appreciate it's been a peaceful protest but I think it's time that we ask them to move on."

Ford's statements were backed by non-specific comments by city manager Joe Pennechetti that the City was looking into "appropriate steps" to deal with the site.

Press Release: Stop the Rip-offs! Toronto ACORN Demands 5 Percent Cap on Remittance Fees

Members of Toronto ACORN will be rallying at 241 Yonge Street in front of the Money Mart, to protest the high cost of remittance fees charged through Western Union.

"We often have no other choice," says Toronto ACORN member Ahmed Makhlouf. "Western Union is more convenient and faster than banks, especially when it is an urgent situation." Makhlouf believes the transfer fees charged are too high. "It's big money, a big fight."

These fees, running between 10%-20% in some cases, prey on the already vulnerable populations of low income families, new Canadians and those simply supporting loved ones living abroad.

Toronto ACORN is calling on Western Union to lower the fees - and for the Provincial Government to step in and regulate this industry. We see charges and fees on top of the World Bank's 5% fee recommendation as predatory, and as a result, are holding the provincial government accountable for this gouging of Ontario families and families in the developing world.

Quick Facts on Remittances

-The difference between what is paid in fees currently in Canada, and the amount that would be paid under the World Banks suggested fee structure is nearly $500 million per year.

-The World Bank estimates that more than $400 Billion (USD) is remitted annually, with 75% of this amount going from developed to developing countries.

-The World Bank estimates that the fees associated with this are $44.4 billion globally.

WHAT: Media event calling on Provincial Governments to regulate remittances fees at or below the the World Bank's recommended amount of 5% of money transferred.

WHEN: Thursday November 10th, 1:00PM

WHERE: Money Mart (Western Union) at 241 Yonge St, north of Queen St.

Press Contact: Tatiana Jaunzems, Community Organizer

Cell: 416-450-0341

Office: 416-416-9233

Email: onacornto4@acorncanada.org

Toronto ACORN Voted Runner Up in Now's Best of Toronto

In the latest issue of Now Magazine Toronto ACORN has been voted runner up for “Best Activist Organization” in the city.

This is an honour that we appreciate, and it caps off a busy year where Toronto ACORN members have taken leadership on a wide range of issues from good jobs to regulating remittances and re-doubling our efforts to protect tenants and improving the city’s apartment inspection system.

On issue after issue our members have stood on the side of working families and those fighting to make Toronto a livable city. In the last year alone we’ve:

-Worked closely with Municipal Licensing and Standards to secure improvements to the city’s apartment inspection regime including improvement to tenant notification & targetting poorly maintained buildings first.

Member Profile: Toby Jason

Toby Jason has been a member of ACORN Canada since shortly after our founding in 2004.  As Chair of Toronto ACORN's Weston Chapter, Toby was a key participant in a record setting case against the landlord of 1775 & 1765 Weston Rd. in 2005, in which tenants won 250,000 dollars in rent abatements to compensate for years of unresolved work orders and back repairs.

That victory energized Toronto ACORN’s tenant organizing and helped build our longest standing and most successful citywide campaign: Landlord Licensing.  Toby continues to be an active member in her community and recently raised $200 for the Weston ACORN chapter from the Lion's Club by promoting her chapter’s hard work to improve conditions in the community.  Toby was most recently involved in a community platform launch in September where Weston ACORN called on the next provincial government to get tough on negligent landlords and introduce new rent controls.

Toronto tenants make livable housing an election issue

Tenant members of Toronto ACORN rallied outside of 1901 Weston Rd. with the hopes of making tenant issues a priority in the upcoming provincial election.

1901 Weston Rd., a building owned and maintained by Toronto Community Housing, is an example of the need to enforce both municipal and provincial apartment standards laws on all landlords - both private and public.  Many of the tenants of 1901 are seniors or have mobility issues and are forced to endure bedbug and cockroach infestations, unanswered work orders, bad elevators, high crime, and a recent flood that left dozens of tenants stranded without furniture or compensation.

Toronto ACORN has been fighting for a system of Landlord Licensing for 7 years that would include regular, pro-active inspections of apartment buildings, a Pass/Fail notification system, and a city administered escrow account.

Toronto ACORN mobilizes to stop the cuts

Last month Toronto ACORN members stood up for affordable housing, childcare & environmental stewardship against proposed cuts from the Mayor’s office.  The proposed cuts stem from the core service review performed by KPMG at the request of the Mayor’s office. That review identified a number of city services that Toronto ACORN members depend for possibly sweeping cuts.
With these cuts as a backdrop, members responded with deputations to four different committees over two weeks - speaking passionately to the issues and the effects the cuts would have on working family communities.  Toronto ACORN will continue to be active in the fight to protect services needed by the city's most vulnerable as we struggle through this battle at city hall.

 

Toronto Star: ACORN Canada urges cap on remittance fees

Rassel Mohammad pays a hefty price to help out his two widowed aunts and six school-age cousins in Bangladesh.

Once every three months, the Toronto man strolls into the Western Union outlet in his neighbourhood Money Mart to wire money to relatives — on top of supporting his mother, wife and four-month-old daughter here in Canada.

He sends $100 each time, but also ends up paying an $11 fee. Western Union’s fee rises to $17 if he sends the same amount using his cellphone.

“It’d be nice if they can keep the fee lower,” said Mohammad, 32, a warehouse shipping clerk.

By far the best-known remittance service for its reach around the world, Western Union is the target of a campaign launched recently by ACORN Canada, an advocacy group for low-income families.

“Many of our members are directly affected by the exorbitant fees banks and other financial institutions are charging for money transfers,” said ACORN [Canada] president Kay Bisnath. The group is petitioning Western Union to cap its remittance rate at 5 per cent.

Bisnath said the rate is recommended by the World Bank in light of a $325 billion yearly cash flow — $7.5 billion in Canada alone — from 215 million migrants sending money to family members in developing countries.

Inside Toronto: Education rally set for Sunday in Scarborough

Teachers and members of the advocacy group ACORN Canada say they will rally in Scarborough this Sunday to "preserve and enhance the learning environment of children in Toronto's public schools."

The event - including a free barbecue to which the public is welcome - happens at 2 p.m. on July 24 in Albert Campbell Square, following a meeting of elementary teachers at Scarborough Civic Centre.

There will be speakers from ACORN and other groups.

The province's funding formula for elementary schools has forced some to close their libraries and parents are forced to raise money to fill the gap, Natalie Hundt of ACORN said in a statement this week.

"Rich communities are obviously more equipped to do this than low-income communities, creating a growing gap in achievement," she said.

Martin Long, president of the elementary teachers of Toronto, said to reach a higher standard schools will need smaller classes, more specialist teachers and more resources for special needs students.

The square is located between the Scarborough Civic Centre, at 150 Borough Dr., and Scarborough Town Centre.

Original article availale at: http://www.insidetoronto.com/community/education/article/1047022--education-rally-set-for-sunday-in-scarborough

The Grid: Jane & Finch residents rally for better housing conditions

Mold, roaches and bedbugs among the many grievances protested by community residents yesterday.
Yesterday afternoon, members of the non-profit organization ACORN [Canada] (The Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, Canada) and tenants from the Jane and Finch community came together to raise awareness for “the right to liveable housing,” pushing for increased landlord accountability. “You need a licence to open a bar, but not to rent out housing,” an ACORN speaker explained. “That often leaves the question of accountability unanswered. We want to see more inspections and better maintenance of the buildings.”

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