Toronto ACORN

Toronto ACORN was founded in 2004, with the first organized group in Canada being formed in Weston / Mt Dennis after tenants took their slum-lord to task and won $250,000 in rent abatements.  In the next ten years Toronto ACORN spread to every part of the city leading the fight and winning significant victories including raising the minimum wage; strengthening of the enforcement of apartment building standards; regulating the payday loan industry in Canada; and countless improvements in our neighbourhoods.  In the next year we plan to fight for a new Residential Tenancy Act; to turn up the heat on predatory lenders that sell consolidation loans; to continue our fight to get the city of Toronto to license all landlords in the city; and to keep the pressure on to close the digital divide.

Toronto ACORN has local meetings in your neighbourhood and they are always open for new people to get involved. Join Toronto ACORN now!

 

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Inside Toronto: ACORN Canada holds tenants rally, Dec. 30

Tenants of an East York highrise say they will rally Friday afternoon, Dec. 30, in front of their building.

Toronto ACORN, an advocacy group, is calling on the City of Toronto to force the owner to do repairs at 500 Dawes Road.

A fire in an elevator Dec. 8 injured two men working in the building, and Janet Davis, the local city councillor, met tenants of the building on Dec. 20 to discuss its condition and their rights.

In a release, ACORN, which is planning the rally for 2:15 p.m., said the owner "has a history of not doing repairs and of treating people poorly" and the city isn't responding to conditions in the building quickly enough.

An audit of the building completed Dec. 3 2008, found dozens of property standards defects but a city report this month found only five defects in the orders to the owner remain outstanding.

The owner, the report said, must still submit engineer's reports on the exterior and interior lighting, take a condition survey on concrete balcony floor slabs and repair the balconies, which "are not maintained in good repair"

The report also said walls in the parking garage "are not maintained free of holes, breaks or cracks."

Toronto Sun: Residents of east end building fed up

Talking about the cockroaches in her apartment makes at least one tenant of an east Toronto apartment building distraught.

There is also the inadequate heating, faulty appliances, defective toilets, mice, bedbugs and garbage piled high at the rear of the building, Lisa Hume said. But it is the cockroaches that keep her up at night with worry.

The scurrying roaches are so numerous when the lights are turned on in her 500 Dawes Rd. apartment that it sometimes appears as if the floor is moving, she said.

Hume was one of 40-or-so tenants of the building gathered in the lobby Friday to protest the landlord’s lack of upkeep of the low-rent apartment building, and the shoddy conditions they say they are living in.

After numerous visits from city standards, health and fire officials, tenants are now asking both the City and Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board to step in and help them.

Hume, who has been spearheading the tenants’ call for action along with a community activists Toronto ACORN, has consulted a law firm dealing in legal-aid cases.

Toronto Star: TTC approves 10-cent fare hike

A 10-cent fare hike effective Jan. 1 and restoration of full bus service on some busy routes like Finch, Dufferin and Don Mills have been approved by the Toronto Transit Commission.

The commission on Wednesday okayed a compromise plan from the TTC chair, Councillor Karen Stintz, that uses about $5 million in expected 2012 diesel fuel savings to continue bus service.

“The TTC management will go back and give us a breakdown on which routes will be maintained,” Stintz said. “And they would likely be the busiest routes like Finch, like Don Mills, like Dufferin. But the exact details are still being worked out.”

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster said the money would restore half the rush-hour bus service that had been on the chopping block. Transit advocates vowed to keep pushing council — which meets in mid-January to pass the city’s budget — to come up with $14 million to keep current bus service operating.

“It’s up to councillors now to find the remaining money to avoid service cuts in the TTC,” said Jamie Kilpatrick, of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

The 10-cent fare hike, the first since January, 2010, when fares went up 25 cents, will increase the adult token to $2.60. The cash fare remains at $3.

National Post: TTC to raise fares by 10¢ in new year

 

TTC fares will go up by 10¢ on New Year's Day, but it remains City Council's call as to whether the commission will move forward with controversial plans to dramatically cut back its service.

Cash fares will remain stable at $3 for adults and $2 for students and seniors, but tokens will increase from $2.50 to $2.60, and Metropasses will increase by $5 per month.

The commission also agreed in principle to usher in 10¢ increases in 2013, 2014 and 2015. "We need to bring in some predictability ... and get out of this annual cycle of how we are going to make ends meet," TTC chairwoman Karen Stintz said.

This year, the commission voted to reduce service on 56 bus and six streetcar routes in order to meet a budget target set by Mayor Rob Ford's administration; some of those cuts have been avoided by an 11th-hour discovery of $5-million in extra funding.

The $5-million was originally budgeted for diesel fuel, which staff now believe will not cost as much. More than $1-million of the money will be used to maintain service levels at full capacity in January. The remainder will be put toward relieving peak hours the rest of the year.

Of course, to keep 2012 service anywhere near where it was in 2011, the commission is counting an influx of cash from City Council.

"We need to find $45-million to buy new buses to keep the service levels as they currently are, and that will be a decision for council in January," said Ms. Stintz before Wednesday's meeting.

 

Toronto Sun: TTC approves fare hike

Get ready to spare a dime in the new year, TTC riders.

Transit commissioners voted Wednesday to hike fares 10 cents starting Jan. 1.

The vote was 7-1 for the 10-cent hike, Councillor Maria Augimeri was the lone vote against.

With the increase, TTC tokens will cost 10 cents more, rising to $2.60, while Metropasses will cost $5 more a month. The TTC’s cash fare will stay at $3.

A 10 cent fare hike for 2013, '14 and '15 was also approved in principle.

Commissioners also approved TTC chairman Karen Stintz’s plan to stop around half of the January cuts to TTC service on the busiest bus and streetcar routes and push off the remaining cuts until February. That move will cost the TTC an extra $3.3 million next year and force the transit authority to find around $45 million in capital funds to buy new buses.

Wednesday’s vote came after the TTC listened to several hours of deputations where dozens of speakers urged them not to hike fares and to avoid any cuts to service.

Edward Lantz, a member of the activist group [Toronto] ACORN, brought bags of coal to the meeting and delivered them to commissioners.

Press Release: Toronto ACORN members tired of being ‘scroogged’ by TTC Commission, to deliver coal to board members

Members of Toronto ACORN will rally at City Hall on Wednesday to speak out against the proposed service cuts to 62 bus and streetcar routes, and the loss of 282 buses and streetcars on the road each day.
“The loss and reduction of these services are not justifiable and the effect of these reductions will be felt on the backs of the low income and working people of the city.” -Edward Lantz, Toronto ACORN member and regular TTC user.
Coming on the heels of other proposals for broader major service reductions, and earlier TTC route reductions in May 2011, these new cuts are simply unacceptable.

Mayor Ford and the TTC Commission will be forcing low and moderate income families and those who depend on transit to get around, to pay more for increasingly diminished service.

WHAT: Toronto ACORN members will deliver a gift of 282 lumps of coal to the TTC Commission - one for each bus and streetcar that will be removed from Toronto streets under the commissions plan.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1PM

WHERE: City Hall, Committee Room 3, 2nd Floor

Contact:
Cell: 416-450-0341
Office: 416-461-9233

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.

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