The Federation of Metro Tenants' Association held our Annual General Meeting this Saturday, June 11. Members of the Board of Directors, staff, tenants and tenant association reps assembled to report back on the initiatives of the past year, elect new members to the Board, and to plan for the coming year. In spite of major cuts to the Tenant Defence Fund, and by extension, the FMTA operating budget, 2010 was a very productive year for the Board and the staff.
Late 2010 saw the election of a new City administration whose goals include eroding tenant rights, and making major cuts to tenant services, including the FMTA. Members of the Board have promoted and defended important tenant issues in a political climate where landlord lobby groups and pro-landlord media outlets and city counselors are increasingly strong. Further, the Board helped strike down legislation that would have allowed for the deregulation of social housing units, and supported Bill 112, the goals of which included Landlord Licensing, Rent Control, and expanded rights for tenants under the RTA.
The Outreach and Organizing team have had a very busy and successful year, helping tenants in Toronto save over $350 000 in rental increases. The Tenant Education Project gave over 130 educational workshops in 2010 to over 3000 tenants and agency workers. The FMTA Tenant School was a particularly exciting new project in 2010. The school was possible by a grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario. Over the course of 5 weeks, over 100 tenants were educated on in-depth information on tenancy and the law. Tenant School was so successful that a second session was held early in 2011, and we are hoping to make the project an annual event. The O & O took on many other projects in 2010, participating in Mike Colle's Bed Bug summit, and promoting tenant voting and engagement in elections. The staff on the hotline continue to work tirelessly, taking over 10, 000 calls in 2010. They made it through another winter season, when the phone lines are flooded with calls from tenants who have received Automatic Rent Reduction notices from the City of Toronto and are seeking direction on how to apply them.