Garry A Message from Incoming ACORN Canada President Kay Bisnath: Brothers and sisters, today I’m writing you my first message following my election as President of ACORN Canada. I couldn’t be more excited to have been selected by the board and members at our recent annual general meeting to become the President – it’s an honour that I find truly humbling. Over the last 6 years that I’ve been a member of ACORN Canada, I’ve stood with members who were fighting for living wages, for affordable and livable housing and to make sure big business isn’t the only voice heard by our elected officials. Message to the Department of Finance: Regulate Remittances & Money Transfers Now! As a closing of the National Community Change Summit, 60 ACORN Canada members came together at an action in front of the Ministry of Finance in Ottawa to draw the Deputy Minister of Finance’s attention to the fees and interest being taken by big banks and money transfer organizations (MTOs) like Western Union when processing remittances. In fact, hard-working Canadians trying to support families and loved ones abroad paid more in fees and interest than the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) spends in foreign aid each year. ACORN Canada is calling on the Federal Government to bring in new regulations consistent with the World Bank’s suggested 5% cap on fees. The action was covered by the Ottawa Citizen, CBC Ottawa, Metro Ottawa and others, and led to securing a commitment from the Deputy Minister to investigate the issue and agree to a follow up meeting with ACORN Canada leaders. Greening British Columbia ACORN Canada’s Green Connections program held its green brainstorming session at the Guildford Recreation Centre in mid-June. Members from ACORN Canada and volunteers with the Green Connection Program had a debrief session on how well the engagement on BC Hydro's Energy Savings Kits (ESK) went. The consensus among the group was that their neighbours that they talked to wanted the free Energy Savings Kits, and wanted to do something to protect the environment. The conversation then moved into a fascinating discussion on how tenants in North Surrey can become environmentally engaged in their communities. Great ideas came about in the discussion. Ideas ranging from composting and community gardening to recycling organic matter into electricity where discussed; and now comes the challenge of turning ideas into action. Ottawa takes pride as hosts of first National Community Change Summit Ottawa members took great pride as the host city for our first ever National Community Change Summit last month. "It was powerful! I learned a lot from the speakers and workshops, met other members who had similar issues from other cities and realized: we are not in this alone - we’re all in this together.” -Leading member John Redins As part of the host city, Ottawa members volunteered at the event as greeters and hosts, helped make transportation arrangements to get to and from activities each day and helped with the planning committee that had been making arrangements in the weeks leading up to the Summit. 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. Thanks for everything you do President, ACORN Canada P.S. Want to support our work? We're primarily funded by our 30,000 low and moderate income members - no cheques from big banks, and corporate CEO's here. Our tiny staff makes sure that each contribution goes a long way.