Tag Archives: ACORN Waterloo Region

CKMS News – 2023-11-17 – Reviewing the effects of the financialisation of housing

CKMS News – 2023-11-17 – Reviewing the effects of the financialisation of housing

by: dan kellar

Waterloo – On Oct 30th ACORN, the grassroots social and economic justice organisation with chapters across the country, delivered over 400 tenant testimonials to federal liberal MPs including Waterloo’s Bardish Chagger. This action coincided with ACORN’s national housing spokesperson Tanya Bukart giving testimony to the National Housing Council’s review panel on the financialisation of purpose built rental housing.  Bukart’s testimony highlighted the effects on renters created by the stress of living in a precarious housing market, which has been transformed over the past decades, into an investment industry with profit seeking constantly driving up housing and rental prices.

Today’s show features interviews with Acer Bonapart, the chair of the Waterloo Region chapter of ACORN, and Mike Morrice, the Green Party MP for Kitchener Centre, who has been pressuring the government over the ongoing crisis in the affordability of housing in Canada since being elected in 2021.  Additionally, Geordie Dent of The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), which advocates for better rights for tenants, adds comments on the financialisation of housing.

For the purposes of this review, the National Housing Council is using the Federal Housing Advocate’s definition of the financialization of housing which is “the growing dominance of financial actors in the housing sector, which is transforming the main function of housing from a place to live into a financial asset and a tool for investor profits.”  The definition continues “These may include asset management companies, hedge funds, pension funds, private equity funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), real estate operating companies and sovereign wealth funds.”

The National Housing Council, which refers to reports commissioned by The Federal Housing Advocate adds “The financialization of purpose-built rental housing has been linked to a range of negative impacts for renters, such as evictions, rising rents and reduced building services and maintenance.” On this point the National Right to Housing Network, a grassroots tenants rights organisation also focusing on the national panel explains “Financialization of housing refers to the treatment of housing primarily as a financial asset and tool for maximizing investor profit at the expense of human rights among tenants and tenancy-seeking individuals.”

The show focuses on the financialisation of the housing market, immediate steps which could be taken to start addressing the affordability crisis, and the longer term role of government in creating and maintaining an affordable and quality housing supply to meet the needs of growing populations.


CKMS Community Connections for 31 July 2023 with Megan Ruttan of Waterloo Region ACORN

Show Notes

Megan Ruttan (a woman wearing a summer dress and a grey N95 mask sitting at a microphone with a blue sock on it)
Megan Ruttan
ACORN CANADA ( white line drawing of an acorn in an '@' sign, with text curving along the botton, all on a red background)

Megan Ruttan of Waterloo Region ACORN joins Bob Jonkman to talk about evictions, renovictions, tenants’ rights, and setting up a tenants’ union in Waterloo Region.

The interview starts at 10m02s.

ACORN was previously on CKMS News on 23 June 2023, 17 June 2023, and 7 June 2023.

Waterloo Region ACORN:

ACORN Canada:

Meg Ruttan Online:


Upcoming Events


Download: ckms-community-connections-2023-07-31-episode135-Meg-Ruttan-of-Waterloo-Region-ACORN.mp3 (50 MB, 54m11s, episode 135)


Time Title Album Artist
0m00s Theme for CKMS Community Connections ccc CKMS Sunflower logo (yellow petals surrounding a black centre with white wavies all on a teal background)
CKMS Community Connections
Steve Todd
1m02s Black Eyed Suzie Foul Weather Friends | Onion Honey (illustration of a snail on a mushroom, a mouse, and two frogs, all sheltering from the rain under a leaf)
Foul Weather Friends
Onion Honey
2m51s 4 All The Animals 4 all the Animals | (Save The World) | VEFO | Prod. GuruuuV (green and purple lettering on a background of a green sky with orange clouds, there's a picture of a pig's snout in the middle)
6m35s Unknown Monster Genre-Bending P2 | GuruuuV (purple letters on a swirly purple background)
Genre-Bending Pt. 2 (Beat Challenge)
6m41s try and catch me next time
7m42s Shake the House
10m02s Introducing Megan Ruttan and ACORN: The Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, a low- to moderate-income tenants union, but they take on any issues that their members want to take on, for example payday loans. The union is just getting set up now to help fight renovictions and demovictions. Megan herself is experiencing attempts at renoviction. This has been happening for at least six years. This pre-dates ACORN, but ACORN would have fought it by drawing attention to it by direct action such as protests. There have been rallies against other renovictions in Kitchener. Landlords intimidate tenants by withholding information, so that tenants do not know what their rights are, or even who their landlord is. ACORN in Hamilton has helped create a by-law that makes it illegal to evict people in Hamilton for renovations. But each municipality will have different by-laws. ACORN has just held a national day of action on the financialization of housing. They’re asking for a law that will give first right of refusal will go to housing organizations, co-ops, and other businesses that want to build affordable housing. Waterloo Region ACORN has about 500 members; about 15 full members who pay $15/month in dues, but many people can’t afford that. Waterloo Region ACORN started about three months ago, in April.
19m44s Beam Blues Live Nick Bordman | Beam Blues | (Live at Locust Ridge Studios) (black and white photo of a man with a beard and wearing a cowboy outfit leaning against a sporty-looking car)
Nick Bordman
23m59s Waterloo Region ACORN has a three month plan, meeting in August to plan an action to take place in September. They’re building membership; anyone is welcome to join, not just renters. The August meeting will be hybrid, both in-person and online for Covid safety. The national organization in Ottawa and the chapter in London have provided a lot of help in the form of flyers, handouts, mailing lists, &c. The money from dues goes towards copying costs and SDCWR for use of their facilities. The entire region of Waterloo has an epidemic of unsheltered people. The chapter was named Waterloo Region ACORN to include everyone in the region; it’s not just a Kitchener issue.
28m47s “The financialization of housing” treats housing as an investment, not as shelter or homes, or as a human right. Municipalities are not building purpose-built rental housing; many politicians to make this happen to own rental properties, and seem disinclined to reduce their holdings to build affordable housing. Globally, the climate crisis is creating climate refugees, who need housing. Do we have shelter for these people? We need to build housing. The municipalities need to build the housing, not just pass by-laws or re-zones. The City of Kitchener is not acting to build housing or reduce renovictions when they had the chance to vote on zoning changes. Their answer seems to be to police housing. If they don’t build housing, people will die. Who could be affected by the housing crisis? Almost every renter. What happens with the laws that require landlords to provide the renovated units to former tenants? It gets ignored, landlords just rent to new, higher-paying tenants. People in this situation don’t have the capacity, “the spoons”, to deal with this. Megan has the spoons to deal with this because she’s connected in the community, and knows the resources.
38m14s How did Waterloo Region ACORN get started here? There were already people with memberships in other chapters; people contacted the national chapter; they already had a mailing list! Everything is connected, Megan was already active in climate organizing, political organization; if one issue is advanced, the others are too.
39m36s Who’s Gonna Suffer FOG Blues & Brass Band | Twelve Bar Prescription (B&W photo of band members centered on a blue background, typeface as though made from shiny cut metal)
Twelve Bar Prescription
FOG Blues & Brass Band
43m04s How do people get involved if they have no background in tenant organization? Come to the meeting in August, ACORN will provide training on door knocking, &c. They’ll knock on the doors of tenants to let them know help is available. They’ve reached out to local politicians, but not all have responded. Talking about other events where ACORN has had a presence. Giving credit to Maribel and other leaders, their appearances in local media.
48m25s What about all the local construction? It’s mostly condominiums, only 15% affordable housing. Condos aren’t affordable housing. The tenants’ union is the opposite of a Home Owners’ Association, the union lifts you up, doesn’t repress your rights.
50m36s Reviewing Waterloo Region ACORN‘s presence on social media. Talking about Project Mushroom, an online presence for social activists. It had some setbacks when the founder discovered it could not be monetized, but Megan and others are still keeping it alive.
53m12s Bob gives the end credits.

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Bonus Video

YouTube: CKMS Community Connections for Monday 31 July 2023

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