BC ACORN

#2 - 630B Carnarvon St., New Westminster BC V3M 1E5

***Please enter through the BACK entrance - off Mackenzie St.***

Phone: 604-522-8706

bcacorn@acorncanada.org

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The Province: Trying to flush out change for tenants

Tenants who endure long waits to deal with problems with landlords at the province's Residential Tenancy Branch in Burnaby -without benefit of a public washroom -got some help Wednesday when the advocacy group ACORN Canada delivered a makeshift portable toilet to the branch's Kingsway office.

ACORN said it wanted to make a point to branch executive director Suzanne Bell that she needs to provide facilities for clients.

"We thought we got our point across loud and clear," said ACORN spokesman John Anderson.

Original article available at: http://www.theprovince.com/business/Trying+flush+change+tenants/5063526/story.html

 

Burnaby NewsLeader: ACORN decries lack of public washrooms at Residential Tenancy Branch in Burnaby

Tenants wanting to file a dispute with their landlord are under stress as it is without having to worry about where the nearest public toilet is when visiting the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB).

That's the concern raised by ACORN Canada, an advocacy group for low and moderate income families.

The RTB at 5021 Kingsway in Burnaby is the sole full-service RTB office serving the entire Lower Mainland, said ACORN Canada member Veronica Coreas. Last fall she noticed there were no longer public washrooms available.

People now have to "go from door to door looking for a washroom" outside the building, Coreas said. Many nearby businesses are now restricting washroom access to paying customers, making the nearest public toilets about four blocks away at Metrotown mall.

It's simply unacceptable for a government office that requires significant waits to not have toilet facilities available, she said.

The issue prompted ACORN to hold a protest inside the RTB office Wednesday morning, complete with a mock up of a port-a-potty.

Burnaby gets organized

Our leaders in Burnaby have launched an organizing drive in their neighbourhood, we launched our Healthy Homes Campaign for a standards of maintenance bylaw.   In other words not much is new: We Organize!

First off, Veronica Coreas of Burnaby, BC has been diligently gathering 100's of names and numbers from people in Burnaby frustrated with the poor service and high fares that people get from Translink, BC's public transit system.   She plans to turn this issue into a fight over transit safety, access, and affordability and in the process build a local ACORN chapter in her neighbourhood, near Edmonds St. in Burnaby.  So far the Burnaby group has had two meetings at the Tommy Douglas Public Library in Burnaby and have planned for big actions on the transit issue later in the Summer.

Also in May, ‘Healthy Homes’ was the rallying cry on the corner of 108 Ave and King George Blvd in Surrey. ACORN Canada members in Surrey have been getting organized around tenant issues for years and have decided to take on the lack of enforceable standards for apartments in Canada's 12th largest city.

Many of you may be familiar with Toronto ACORN’s ongoing campaign to win landlord licensing and improved apartment inspections bylaws.  Well, those laws don't even exist in Surrey, but ACORN Canada members have set out to change that.   At the successful launch of the campaign our members showed that healthy homes are a right, not a privilege, and have since won commitments from a City Councilor in Surrey to begin the process of creating a ‘healthy homes bylaw’.

It all can't happen fast enough for ACORN Canada members.

 

Free Income Tax Site Grows Once Again

Our New 2nd floor office in Metro Vancouver has been busy ever since we moved in in early February of this year. That is because, for the 5th year straight, ACORN Canada’s Free Income Tax Site has been busy doing hundreds of tax returns for members and people in our communities. So far, this year we have done more than 800 tax returns which is an increase of over 30% over our 2010 tax site.

In the 5 years ACORN Canada has done Free Income Taxes in Metro Vancouver we have returned over 6 Million Dollars in tax returns, rebates, and benefits! Add to this that we have saved people $400,000 in tax preparation costs and it is clear that ACORN Canada is a major stimulus to the neighbourhoods where we work!

But that is just the beginning. Our free income tax site gives our members a great opportunity to share their campaigns with people who come to get their taxes done. Our new campaign for Remittance Justice is becoming a very popular topic of serious discussion in the office. Many new people coming in to get their taxes done feel the pain of the exorbitant costs of sending money transfers back to their families and friends. And better still, they are getting involved with ACORN Canada’s campaign for regulatory changes to the Money Transfer Industry.

Regulations that will hold banks and companies like Western Union to account for the predatory business practices here in BC.

We like doing your taxes and if you know anyone who has a simple tax return in need of filing just call 604 5221

Georgia Straight: Surrey council should do the right thing and endorse living wage

The time has come for Surrey to follow the lead of New Westminster and endorse a living wage policy.

A “living wage” is meant to reflect the actual income required for a two-earner, two-child household to live above the poverty line. Adopted at the civic level, it would apply to anyone working for the city. As most city staff are all already above this level, the policy is aimed at independent contractors working for the city.

The living wage policy passed unanimously by New Westminster council last year will see workers paid at least $16.74 per hour. Last month, Esquimalt passed a similar policy, and the municipalities of Cowichan, Williams Lake, and Cranbrook are considering it.

Living wage policies are currently being advocated for by ACORN Canada, the B.C. Federation of Labour, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the latter having recently calculated that a living wage for families is $18.17 an hour in Vancouver and $17.30 in Victoria.

If Surrey were to do the right thing and endorse such a policy, it would not be the first time.

In 1993, Surrey Civic Electors councillor Gary Robinson and then-mayor Bob Bose were successful in implementing a living wage for the city. At the time, Robinson explained that contractors providing flag services for the city were paying substandard wages to their employees, the majority of whom were women.

 

The Link: Surrey Council Needs To Endorse New Westminister’s Living Wage Policy

The time has come for Surrey to follow the lead of New Westminster and endorse a living wage policy.

A ‘living wage’ is meant to reflect the actual income required for a two-earner, two-child household to live above the poverty line. Adopted at the civic level, it would apply to anyone working for the city. As most city staff are all already above this level, the policy is aimed at independent contractors working for the city.

The living wage policy passed unanimously by New Westminster Council last September will see workers paid at least $16.74 per hour. This month, Esquimalt passed a similar policy, and the municipalities of Cowichan, Williams Lake, and Cranbrook.

Living wage policies are currently being advocated for by ACORN Canada, the BC Federation of Labour, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the latter having recently calculated that a living wage for families is $18.17 an hour in Vancouver and $17.30 in Victoria.

If Surrey were to do the right thing and endorse such a policy, it would not be the first time.

In 1993, Surrey Civic Electors Councillor Gary Robinson and Mayor Bob Bose were successful in implementing a living wage for the city. At the time, Robinson explained that contractors providing flag services for the city were paying sub-standard wages to their employees, the majority of whom were women.

SCC Councillor Bob Bose will table a motion in the next few weeks to Surrey Council to revive this idea.

 

Royal City Record: It was a year of 'firsts' in the Royal City

Dec 29th - New Westminster's Royal City Record gave ACORN Canada a mention in their year end piece on the biggest news stories of the year.  Check it out below:

WAGE POLICY - A FIRST

In April, the City of New Westminster adopted a living wage policy.

Considered a first in Canada, the policy drew accolades from health and poverty groups from across the country. A living wage is often defined as being the minimum hourly wage that's necessary for a family of four, with two parents working full-time, to pay for food, shelter and other daily needs.

"New Westminster is the first city in Western Canada - why not be the first city in other things as well," said Coun. Jaimie McEvoy, who proposed the policy. "The pioneers would be proud."

While the details of the living wage rate were still being debated at year-end, council unanimously supported the policy.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN Canada), which lobbied council to adopt a living wage bylaw, said a living wage policy brings benefits, including workers spending more money locally and businesses having less turnover and more productivity.

Full article at: http://www.royalcityrecord.com/business/year+firsts+Royal+City/4036564/story.html#ixzz19XEsiPGU

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