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: Toronto tenants, politicians to talk rent control

Toronto politicians and tenants will talk this Saturday, May 12, afternoon about whether Ontario's government should reinstate permanent rent controls and allow the city to license its landlords.

ACORN Canada (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Canada) has fought for a system of landlord licensing in Toronto which would force landlords to pay for repairs, but it cannot happen without changes in provincial law.

The advocacy group, which says the city's rents "continue to skyrocket" as buildings deteriorate, also wants to see the province return to rent controls which limit permitted rent increases on apartments whether or not those apartments are vacant.

Liberal and New Democrat MPPs and city councillors have been invited to a provincial housing forum on these issues at 1:30 p.m. at the Ontario Federation of Labour building on Gervais Drive, near the corner of Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East.

Original article available at: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/local/article/1353953--toronto-tenants-politicians-to-talk-rent-control

Press Release: ACORN Canada launches Centre for Tenant Organizing, new hub for tenant activism in Toronto.

ACORN Canada, a national membership organization of low and moderate income families, is announcing today the launch of new online hub of activism and organizing for Toronto tenants. 

The Centre for Tenant Organizing aims to be an online clearinghouse for tenant engagement – connecting tenants to organizing materials, campaign support & City services.  The launch is in response to demand from tenants across Toronto for resources to help them to unite their neighbours in campaigns and projects to win improved housing standards. 

The site was launched with a Vital Ideas grant from the Toronto Community Foundation. 

The site is available at: http://www.tenantorganizing.ca

Group protests rental conditions at St. Clarens Avenue Apartments

Tenants of a Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue area tower say they're suffering with rental conditions they are unable to live in.

A dozen residents of 730 St. Clarens Avenue Apartments rallied outside their building this week to bring attention to the issue. They claim they're dealing with poor maintenance, safety hazards and an insect infestation, including cockroaches and bedbugs.

Ana Dinar and her sister Mary Francisco began renting an apartment there in 2008 and said the longer they lived in the building, the more maintenance issues arose. Their shower ran continuously for months, they said.

"There's mold and mildew growing because of the constant running water," said Dinar at Wednesday's rally.

Fellow tenant Ahmed Rahman, who has lived at 730 St. Clarens for six years, said he waited for months to get his toilet repaired.

"Yes, it got fixed, but it took three months," said Rahman, who along with fellow tenants held signs that read, 'Honk for Better Housing.'

Heather Kilgour, the building's office manager, said she couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

"I don't know what people were trying to prove," she said. "We take care of our tenants. We do repairs. We fix what needs to be done."

Toronto ACORN Stands Up for Fair Transit

On February 8th, Toronto ACORN members rallied at City Hall to support a motion put forward by TTC Chair Karen Stintz to create above and below ground rapid transit in neighborhoods across the city.  The motion was put forward as an alternative to Mayor Rob Ford's unfunded subways-only transit plan which would take decades to implement, leaving residents of Toronto's suburbs without decent, efficient rapid transit for years to come.  

Council voted against the mayor in a stunning 25-18 victory for the Stintz motion.  This victory came as the result of intense and persistent organizing by Toronto ACORN and community & labour organizations across the city, proving that with good organizing, we can make real changes at City Hall.

People Power Blocks Mayor Fords Cuts

Last night, following an intensive grassroots campaign, City Councillors from across Toronto voted 23-21 to defeat the majority of the cuts proposed by Mayor Rob Ford in his 2011 Budget.  The campaign was organized by labour and community groups, including many Toronto ACORN members in wards across in the City who called on their councillors to oppose the budget and its cuts to vital services across Toronto.

When it came time for a vote on the budget, nearly 50 Toronto ACORN members helped pack the chambers of City Hall to remind their elected officials that Toronto opposes these cuts.

Council debated various items on the agenda from 4:00 - 5:30, when we moved outside to join a massive rally put on by the Respect Toronto Coalition.  Members carried signs and chanted to protect TTC services, subsidized child care, and affordable housing.

Members were overjoyed to see that after months of intense organizing and active engagement, over $20 million in proposed cuts were rejected by council.

Despite Surplus, Mayor Ford Pushes for Deep Cuts

On January 17th, Toronto ACORN members from across the city will be rallying at city hall while city council meets to discuss and vote on Mayor Ford's proposed 2012 budget.  Despite the city's close to $150 million surplus, the Ford administration is pushing massive unnecessary service cuts as part of a radical conservative agenda.

Toronto ACORN members will be gathering at 4pm at the front doors of City Hall and progressing into council chambers with the demand that council votes against the proposed cuts to childcare, transit service, community centres, libraries and other services that are essential parts of our neighbourhoods.

Join Us >>
Where: City Hall (100 Queen St. West)
When: 4pm
Why: Call on City Council to reject Ford's cuts

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.

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