Ottawa ACORN

404 McArthur Ave. (Heartwood House) Ottawa, ON K1K 1G8

Phone: 613-746-5999

onacornot@acorncanada.org

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Citizen: Free clinic aims to take pain out of income tax season

A bicycle, new clothes, a trip to the museum -- these are some of the things Andrea Thomas can buy for her children with her income tax refund.

And thanks to a free clinic for low-income earners, the Ottawa mother of three gets to keep even more of her cash.

For a second year, the Ottawa Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is offering to complete and file basic income tax claims for free.

Organizers say the service helps give people autonomy over their financial affairs and lets them contribute to society, but saves them the costly fees storefront tax-filing services levy. The going rate for such a service is around $80.

The clinic also ensures people get all the benefits they deserve, from GST rebates to credits for taking the bus and paying rent.

Last year, ACORN helped more than 600 people file their income taxes.

"It's a great program because it caters to all walks of life," said Matthew Bullock, the tax clinic co-ordinator.

Households earning less than $30,000 per year -- be they recent immigrants, seniors, students, single-parent families or people on income assistance and disability -- are the priority, he added.

Member Profile: Roy Anderson

Roy Anderson was a long time resident of Vanier who became involved with ACORN at the second meeting that was ever head after the founding of Ottawa ACORN.

Many members know Roy for his hard work on a number of campaigns, but most notably his leadership on the campaign to regulate payday lending.  After being taken advantage of an unscrupulous payday lender, Roy became a powerful advocate for reform of the industry.

He helped organize rallies, was a spokesperson to the press and worked to develop ACORN’s policies on the campaign.  During the midst of the campaign to see the province regulate payday lending Roy was fond of saying that “Before ACORN, no one was talking about payday lending. Now, we're winning change”.  

When Ottawa launched a tax site to help low income families with their income tax filling Roy was among the first to sign up to help.  He wanted the community to know that his organization wasn’t only out there opposing predatory financial practices; it was part of the solution.  With working families facing setback after setback because of the recession, Roy urged his neighbours to take advantage of the services, billing the tax site as a “mini-economic stimulus package for Vanier”.

On Oct. 22, 2009 Roy Anderson passed away.  He will be missed and remembered.

Action for Ottawa Living Wage Bylaw

We’ve passed the first hurdle towards a living wage bylaw in the City of Ottawa by winning the first vote directing City staff to investigate possible Living Wage options.

Now comes the hard part. Over the coming months City staff will investigate different types of living wage bylaws before presenting proposals to Ottawa City Council for a vote. We need to make sure we have the votes necessary on Council to pass the most progressive of the options that staff will present.

ACORN Members are taking to the streets to lobby their councilors; can you send a quick message in support of their grassroots efforts?

Click to Take Action to Win a Living Wage Bylaw >>

Action for Remittance Reform

We’ve passed the first hurdle towards a living wage bylaw in the City of Ottawa by winning the first vote directing City staff to investigate possible Living Wage options.

Now comes the hard part. Over the coming months City staff will investigate different types of living wage bylaws before presenting proposals to Ottawa City Council for a vote. We need to make sure we have the votes necessary on Council to pass the most progressive of the options that staff will present.

ACORN Members are taking to the streets to lobby their councilors; can you send a quick message in support of their grassroots efforts?

Click here to sign the Remittance Reform Pledge >>

 

Ottawa ACORN Big City Wide Meeting

Ottawa ACORN will be planning for upcoming campaigns as well as reviewing a great year of victories in the fight for stronger neighbourhoods and greater social and economic justice.

Where: Vanier Legion 294 Cyr (off Montreal Rd, right after Shopper's Drug Mart)

When: November 1st at 1pm

Bring your neighbors, friends and family. There's Power in Numbers! There will be childcare, refreshments, raffles, copies of the Housing Award given to Ottawa ACORN by Action Housing a few weeks back and ACORN 2009 Calendars for sale (call/email to office to reserve one in advance).

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