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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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.”

Toronto Star: Crack down on ‘slum landlords,’ critics urge

It costs $1,100 a month to rent a three-bedroom apartment in the tower at 10 San Romanoway — but Glenice Edwards could do without the cockroaches.

Her city councillor agrees that bugs are a common problem in the Jane and Finch corridor — and that the city should act faster to force landlords to clean up their act.

Edwards is also worried the mould that grows out of the fan above her stove will harm the health of her young sons. She was once trapped in a broken elevator for 20 minutes on the way down from her 14th floor apartment.

But despite four years worth of complaints, the landlord of her 34-storey building “hasn’t done a thing,” she said.

“The roaches come and go,” she said. “It’s a mess. It’s a disaster.”

Edwards is part of the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, a group of 20,000 Torontonians, calling on the city to crack down on “slum landlords.”

While cockroaches, mould and broken elevators are common complaints in Edwards’ building, they are dealt with in a timely manner, said Eric Khan of RPMS property management services.

Toronto ACORN honoured with Vital Ideas award at Vital Toronto 2011

On June 22nd, 2011, Toronto ACORN was honoured for its receipt of a Vital Ideas grant awarded by the Toronto Community Foundation.  Vital Ideas recognizes Toronto's most high-impact organizations and supports their work to stabilize, expand, or replicate programs with successful track records.

The awards were distributed at the Toronto Community Foundation’s annual Vital Toronto event, recognizing the achievements of a remarkable group of people and organizations who are working to make Toronto an even better city. Vital Toronto was hosted by Matt Galloway at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio.


Tenants Take Action in North Toronto

30 Toronto ACORN members from rallied last week at 100 York Gate Blvd. to protest the state of disrepair in the high-rise and to build public support for the ongoing campaign for improved apartment inspections in the city.

Members held signs, chanted, and collected petitions from supportive onlookers in front of the building.  They were later joined by local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza who vowed to help Toronto ACORN and tenants across Toronto fight for more apartment inspections and serious crack-downs on landlords like that at 100 York Gate Blvd.

Joined by Councillor Perruzza members gave CityTV a tour of the building, showing ongoing poor maintenance and code violations in public areas as well as individual units.

 

City commits to improved tenant communication in Toronto

The city division responsible for inspecting and auditing Toronto's nearly 6,000 multi-unit apartment buildings has produced a new report suggesting significant recommendations to improve communication between city inspectors and tenants.

The recommendations come after 2 years of consultations with Toronto ACORN members concerned with a lack of accessible information available to tenants once their building had been inspected.  The recommendations put forth by Licensing and Standards staff signify a big step forward in ACORN members' ability to influence and work in conjunction with a major city department and its senior staff, and we are excited to continue to fight for apartment standards improvements.

 

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