Tuesday 1 February 1994

Residents' Rights Act, 1993, Bill 120, Ms Gigantes / Loi de 1993 modifiant des lois en ce qui concerne les immeubles d'habitation, projet de loi 120, Mme Gigantes

South Etobicoke Community Legal Services

Ken Hale, lawyer-director

Peter Bobyk-Huys, client

Manse Road Group Home

Mark Zaborowski, program manager

Marcella Hanuszczak, former resident

George Herman House

Pat Munro, director

Genesis Community Support Services

Ellen Balmain, coordinator

Parkdale Community Legal Services

Elinor Mahoney, community legal worker

West End Psychiatric Survivors

Lilith Finkler, community legal worker

Tenant Advocacy Group

Kevin Smith, member

Roomers' Rights Organization (Toronto)

Patricia McCartie, representative

Ecuhome Corp

James Pike, board chairman

Ann Kidd, managing director

Gerry Mackenzie, resident

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

George Monticone, staff lawyer

Judith Wahl, executive director


*Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L)

*Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

*Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND) for Mr White

Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L) for Mr Sorbara

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mr Arnott

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mr Morrow

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Dadamo

Wilson, Gary, (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Iles ND) for Mr Wessenger

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West/-Ouest PC)

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1004 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


Consideration of Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property / Projet de loi 120, Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne les immeubles d'habitation.


The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The first deputation this morning is South Etobicoke Community Legal Services, Ken Hale. Good morning. Introduce yourself and your colleague and your position within the organization for the purpose of electronic Hansard, and then you may begin. You've been allocated 30 minutes.

Mr Kenneth Hale: Thank you, Mr Chairman. My name is Kenneth Hale. I'm the lawyer-director of South Etobicoke Community Legal Services. With me is Peter Bobyk-Huys. He is a client of our legal clinic and he'll be making part of our presentation.

Our organization provides legal services to low-income people in the south half of the city of Etobicoke, and we've been doing that for the last seven years. Much of our work involves representation of tenants. Based on our work in representing tenants and our work with the low-income community in general, we've come to certain views about the legislation that's proposed and we'd like to share them with you today.

We support the bill. We think it's a small step but an important step towards resolving problems that our clients face in trying to provide a home for themselves and their families. We encourage the committee to swiftly move it into law.

We also participate in a number of organizations that are bringing forward detailed critiques of the bill and we endorse their proposals, specifically the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, the Tenant Advocacy Group, which who is speaking this afternoon, the Legal Clinic Housing Issues Committee and the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations.

We are here to share our direct experience in working with the people whom the bill is intended to benefit. Many of the things we've heard the witnesses and the committee members say about this bill and about the rights of tenants in general seem to be somewhat removed from any reality we've ever experienced and we're trying to bring some of the reality we've experienced to the attention of the committee.

We'd first like to address the granting of tenants' rights to tenants who are receiving some form of care with their housing. To do so, I'd like to introduce Peter Bobyk-Huys. He is a client of our clinic. He's been trying for the last four years to get some redress through the courts for the actions of Housing Etobicoke, which was a project of the Canadian Mental Health Association that was supposed to provide supportive housing to people. I'd like to turn the mike over to Peter.

Mr Peter Bobyk-Huys: Good morning, Mr Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Peter Bobyk-Huys. I live in an apartment which is in a private non-profit housing project sponsored by the United Church. This building is safe, secure and well suited to my needs. There are staff on duty five days a week for 13 hours a day. These staff provide help in times of need. There has never been any question of my tenancy there and my rights are protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act. But this has not always been my experience.

In 1989 I shared a place in a private house with friends and suffered from the usual problems of tenants with no money. I was also an outpatient of Queen Street Mental Health Centre. This meant that I was seeing a social worker regularly and an occupational therapist so that I could get back to work. My social worker helped me apply to Housing Etobicoke, a program from the Canadian Mental Health Association. After four interviews and pages and pages of application forms, I was placed in a group home at 274 The Queensway in Etobicoke. I signed an agreement saying that the Landlord and Tenant Act did not apply, because it was a "supportive housing," but I never thought it would be any problem to me.

The house on the Queensway was suitable in many ways. I had a room of my own. I shared the rest of the house with three other people whom I got along with. The house was well equipped and some of the counsellors really took an interest in the residents. But a few months later, things didn't turn out so well. My counsellor accused me of being an alcoholic, even though I only drank two drinks a month. Two of the other residents were evicted while I was there. One of them was evicted without any warning, and I told the counsellors I thought that was unfair. My conflict with the staff was minor and there were never any violent words or actions.


One evening while I was making dinner, the counsellors came and asked my roommate to go out with them; 10 or 15 minutes later they came back with two police officers and told me I had to go. I asked where I was going and they told me I had to go to Seaton House, a hostel for homeless men. I was too shocked to do anything and the only explanation they would give me for my eviction was I no longer fit the requirements of the house or the program. They told me that another program was willing to take me from Seaton House, but that was completely unsuitable for me.

My social worker from Queen Street tried to get Housing Etobicoke to take me back, but I ended up staying at Seaton House for three weeks in the dead of winter at Christmas. The stress and uncertainty were too much for me, so I ended up back as an inpatient at Queen Street. I had never been hospitalized for five weeks since I was 16 years old. This was a major setback for me and it held my education back for six months.

I'm asking the members of this committee to approve Bill 120 and put tenants who are in the situation I was in under the Landlord and Tenant Act. No one should go through what I went through. If anyone needs to be evicted, the case should be taken to the landlord and tenant court. Leave it up to a judge after the tenant has a chance to tell his or her story. There are many people with problems who require some kind of assistance and care in their housing. They do not deserve to be treated like a non-person. Thank you.

Mr Hale: Had Bill 120 been the law in 1989, Peter might never have had to spend five weeks in the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. He would have got a notice giving him one week to cease and desist from whatever behaviour it was that the staff found objectionable, and if he didn't, the landlord could then have gone down to the local court and obtained a date before the local registrar and request that he be evicted. If Peter had wanted to dispute the claim, a hearing before a judge would have been scheduled and, after both sides of the story were heard, a judge would have decided whether or not he should move.

We don't understand why the right to be heard by an impartial public official before someone loses their home or before they have their rent raised should be denied to anybody, regardless of what their age is, what their health status is or whatever other criteria are used to make these people non-persons.

The bill doesn't treat everyone in every situation as a tenant. They recognize that sometimes we live in places that aren't our homes and so there are clear exemptions for temporary stays in hospitals, nursing homes, correctional facilities and rehabilitation centres. But the housing provider or landlord doesn't have the objectivity that's necessary to determine if one of the people who lives there, whether they be a resident, patient, customer, tenant, whatever they want to call them, should be forced out of their homes. We hope and we expect that the federal government will appoint people to the Ontario Court of Justice who bring this necessary objectivity to their job.

I think it's unfortunate but necessary to remind the committee that the objectivity required of a court that makes these determinations means that the legitimate interests of the landlord and other residents get taken into account. We can assure the committee that the courts have no problem in evicting tenants who don't meet their responsibilities. At least 100 tenant households are ordered evicted by the courts every working day at the University Avenue courthouse. I would recommend to any of the members of the committee who want to see the joy of being a tenant to go down to the landlord and tenant court some day and see how many people are processed through the eviction mill there. That's why we don't really think you're getting all the facts from people like Mel Lastman who tell you these horror stories suggesting that the courts don't take landlords' concerns seriously.

We think some people are trying to raise issues beyond the scope of the bill for the purpose of blocking the bill. One of the concerns that's being raised is the inefficiency of landlord and tenant court. I can assure you that our organization and organizations we work with have been working for the last 15 years to try to improve the operation of the landlord and tenant court. But it's a fact that the Attorney General and the courts administration have not made adequate resources available to have these disputes resolved as quickly as they should be resolved.

However, I think parties to litigation at any level of our court system would say that about the court system, that adequate resources haven't been allocated. This doesn't mean that we should deny protections of the courts to vulnerable people until we get these problems solved. It means that we should do something about allocating more resources to the administration of justice, and it doesn't seem like anybody in this Legislature is interested in doing that right now.

Another effort that seems to be made to block the bill is raising the concerns about fire safety. I don't know what people have been telling you, but there have been ongoing consultations about the development of fire standards at least over the last year. Changes to the building code which apply to accessory units have been going on through a consultation process with all interested organizations under the auspices of the office of the fire marshal. That process included the Association of Fire Chiefs of Ontario. Mr Hare, the fire chief of Mississauga, was there participating in those deliberations.

I've reviewed those records and I can't see any indication there that any of these horrible things that are being mentioned at this committee that are going to happen to people in these basement apartments were raised in that forum. But if there are problems with the fire standards that are being proposed, there is a forum for raising those, a forum for discussing those, and it shouldn't be used by municipal officials who want to block this legislation as a way of blocking the legislation. It should be dealt with in an appropriate forum.

I'd next like to talk about our municipality, the city of Etobicoke, and the fine efforts it's made towards reaching the goals of having accessory units blended into our community. They claim they are one of the first cities to include provisions for accessory apartments in their new official plan. Unfortunately, they've put so many restrictions on accessory units in their plan that they might as well have just been honest and said, "We don't want accessory units in our municipality."

I understand they've tried to persuade you that these restrictions should be permitted all across the province. I think that's the surest way to make sure that this bill becomes totally useless. I'd like to just quickly go through some of the restrictions that they want to put on, which we think are basically efforts to exclude people in basement apartments or other accessory units.

First, they wanted a requirement that the units should be occupied by the owner of the property. I don't want to go into all the offensive assumptions that this implies, but if you look at the question of what happens when the property owner decides to retire and move to Florida or decides he can't cope any more and has to move into a nursing home, are they seriously suggesting that the tenant, who may have lived there for 10 or 15 years, should be evicted because the owner wants to move to Florida and the thing no longer complies with the zoning code because it's not owner-occupied? I think this demonstrates how ridiculous the owner-occupied requirement is.

Next, adequate onsite parking. There are a lot of areas of Etobicoke where there's lots of offsite parking available, including parking on the street. I think you'd have to assume that meant virtually all tenants must consider the availability of parking before they rent a home anywhere. For many tenants, no parking is perfectly adequate because they don't own a car, but if you leave it up to the city of Etobicoke to decide what's adequate and to require that the parking be provided onsite, it's going to permit them to keep accessory units out of large areas of the city, also keeping out the tenants who might want to enjoy some of the high levels of amenities that Etobicoke's more affluent neighbourhoods have and that all of us in the city of Etobicoke pay for.

Another one of Etobicoke's restrictions would prohibit the changing of the exterior appearance of the dwelling to accommodate the accessory unit. No access ramps, no second exits, no enlarged windows, no changes at all to the exterior. The requirement is so inappropriate that it seems clear that exclusion of accessory units is really the goal and that the planning process is being used to cater to the prejudices of a vocal minority of well-off people at everyone else's expense.


Our concerns that Etobicoke really wasn't too supportive of the idea of accessory units were substantiated when our legal clinic and a clinic in Rexdale and a group of tenants met with Etobicoke council in June of last year, with the assistance of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations. Six out of the eight council members who met with us and answered our questions on apartments in houses told us they did not support Bill 90 at that time. These six members also opposed enacting a city bylaw that would legalize one unit if Bill 90 wasn't passed.

We should also mention that three councillors refused to meet with us and two left the meeting before they answered any of our questions. That's the kind of treatment tenants get from many local councils. Either they're completely opposed to the issues the tenants are concerned with or they refuse to acknowledge that tenants are part of their constituency. When you get right down to it, that's why you have to have Bill 120, because the municipalities have not answered the calls that have been made to them.

In conclusion, legalizing accessory apartments is not going to solve the problems that a shortage of affordable housing and widespread income inadequacy or poverty, as we know it, is causing. We believe the province and the federal government are failing in the responsibility to deal with these larger issues, but municipal government has failed home owners and tenants who rely on accessory units, and when the municipality fails, the province has to step in. If Bill 120 is passed, there are thousands of people who won't have to fear that a knock is going to come to their door and somebody's going to try to shut down their unit in order that the character of the neighbourhood can be maintained. Those are the people we're concerned about, and we think that this committee and the Legislature should be concerned about them too.

Similarly, expanding the definition of "tenant" in our tenant protection legislation will not solve all the problems of disabled and neglected people. But as Mr Bobyk-Huys said, no one deserves to be treated like a non-person, and by excluding people from the Landlord and Tenant Act you are treating them as non-persons.

If we give these people the limited rights that we grant to tenants, it will permit them, with other factors in place, to stand up against arbitrary and unfair treatment by those who have responsibility for their care. I think we're fooling ourselves to think that this arbitrary and unfair treatment doesn't happen even by people who are legitimately trying to provide care to people.

The Chair: Thank you. We will take questions in rotation. There's only about three minutes per caucus.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I agree with you that some municipalities are simply introducing restrictions through their municipal bylaws, and I think this government has a responsibility, maybe the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, to provide municipalities in the province of Ontario with some kind of a draft bylaw that would say A, B and C and so on and so forth. Then municipalities wouldn't use the excuse, "We don't like this," and "No, here's the way our municipality would like to accept these people in our communities."

Don't you think a draft bylaw -- the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has done this in the past when municipalities don't seem to agree on some municipal bylaws or rules and regulations and policies. I've seen this done before. Don't you think the Ministry of Municipal Affairs should tell or indicate to recalcitrant municipalities, "That's the way we want things done," instead of looking at 834 different municipal bylaws?

Mr Hale: I agree that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs should provide assistance to Ontario's municipalities to carry out their responsibilities. However, if you're suggesting that this should be voluntarily adopted by the municipalities, then I think that approach has been tried by the previous government and has failed, and that's why Bill 120 has been necessary. This cooperation which was requested under the policy statement was not forthcoming, therefore the government has to take the next step and say, "You have to have this."

I'm not sure but I expect that kind of assistance is available, whether it's available through the ministry or whether it's available through the organization of municipalities. I would think that people wouldn't have trouble drafting a bylaw once they understand what the restrictions on their ability to exclude people are.

Mr Grandmaître: What the previous government tried to do was to have municipalities amend their official plans to accept basement apartments or whatever. They didn't provide a bylaw or they didn't tell municipalities, "This is what you should be doing." They simply invited municipalities to cope with this and to amend their official plans. Some municipalities -- I'm told some 30% of our municipalities -- did cooperate with the government, but 70% didn't. This is why I say that a draft bylaw would certainly help our municipalities.

Mr Hale: Without requiring them to adopt something, I don't think it would be worthwhile. But if you put Bill 120 into place and then say, "Here's how you can accomplish what's set out in Bill 120," I think it's probably a good idea.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): Thank you for your deputation today. As you've indicated, there have been deputations that have said somewhat the opposite. I'm looking at the deputation from MARC, from yesterday, the Metro Agencies Representatives' Council, which represents quite a number of operators.

They indicate in their brief, for example, that they have 1,100 individuals and 138 group homes and 163 apartments, so they have a great deal of experience. They represent agencies such as the Children's Aid Society, the Easter Seal Society, the St Vincent de Paul Society, YMCA of Metropolitan Toronto. These are people with a great deal of experience and these are people I'm sure we'd all say are good people, caring people.

They said that "The inclusion of charitable care-giving agencies under the Landlord and Tenant Act will not benefit these vulnerable people" who live in their apartments. "It will increase the frequency with which they are in court and decrease the availability of housing to them." So it'll have two detrimental impacts.

They say the Landlord and Tenant Act does not provide a speedy, a thoughtful or a caring remedy for the problem. They indicate that the process you've described you've been working on for 15 years is a very time-consuming and expensive process and, in their view, it's going to actually hurt the people who I'm sure we're all most interested in caring for. Given that these people have this kind of experience, how is it that you've come to the opposite conclusion?

Mr Hale: Were you here when Mr Bobyk-Huys gave his evidence? Calling the police and taking somebody down to Seaton House is very speedy, very expensive. I don't consider it to be too thoughtful, but that's the alternative these people are proposing, that they have untrammelled freedom to terminate people for whatever reason they want, for no reason. I don't think the problems with the landlord and tenant court are a good enough excuse to leave that kind of power over vulnerable people in somebody's hands, no matter how well meaning they may be.

We certainly wouldn't consider the Canadian Mental Health Association to be an evil empire or anything, but this is the kind of treatment it doles out to people when it considers it doesn't want them. We're asking for some kind of accountability for these people's decisions, because they don't have the necessary objectivity to determine that somebody's housing should be taken away from them.

Mr David Johnson: I guess the concern on the other side is that there are other residents in these properties. One of the concerns they express is that through the landlord and tenant procedure being very time-consuming, it's difficult to deal with a resident. They say -- this is the message they're conveying -- that this is different than an apartment building, for example, because of the care component.

The care component means that people, they say, live very closely together and there's a strong interaction. If there is a tenant who is being very disruptive in that kind of setting, then it puts the other tenants at risk. The concern they're expressing to us is that the Landlord and Tenant Act is simply too long and too time-consuming to work in a care setting.

Mr Hale: I don't think they're being fair to the Landlord and Tenant Act. You give somebody a notice requiring him or her to correct the behaviour within seven days. If they don't correct their behaviour within seven days, you make an application to court. You get a court date within a week or two. The tenant could be evicted on that date if he doesn't show up to dispute it. If he shows up to dispute it, a week later a judge hears his case.

How much quicker can it actually be in the real world? If the person should leave, he or she needs some time to find alternative accommodation. It's not easy to make alternative accommodation arrangements from Seaton House. You should have an opportunity to go out and look for a place to live if your landlord wants you to leave.


Finally, if somebody is being dangerous, disruptive, you have a police force who you call. They can come and remove the person from their home. We have the Mental Health Act by which, at the signature of a psychiatrist, people can be taken out of their home and put somewhere. Those are the kinds of remedies these people should be considering, rather than just their own social work staff or whoever making the decision, "This person no longer qualifies. Out on the street."

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Thank you for your presentation. Peter, following the same lines, were you disruptive in your house? Is that why you got thrown out, because you were disruptive?

Mr Bobyk-Huys: The only thing I disagreed with was I didn't like being called an alcoholic, and I put my foot down and told the counsellor I don't want to be called that any more. A week later, I was kicked out of the house.

Mr Fletcher: You had no appeal? In other words, you were out? You couldn't stay in the house while you appealed their decision?

Mr Bobyk-Huys: No. I was told, with the police in the house, that I had to go to Seaton House and I had no choice.

Mr Fletcher: Okay. Thanks. That's what Mr Johnson was getting at, that people who are unruly -- and I suspect you were not that unruly. As far as some of the houses, apartments that give services, they were asking for an exemption under Bill 120 so they wouldn't have to fall under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Is that an idea, that perhaps there could be an exemption on certain criteria?

Mr Hale: Everybody's got a special case. Our point of view is that everybody may have a special case, but every person they have in those programs is a person who's entitled to the fundamental human right to not be deprived of their home without some kind of hearing.

If it's a hospital -- I mean, I read some of these briefs. I couldn't quite understand why some of these housing providers couldn't deal with pimps coming around and harassing their residents. Why can't these people deal with that in some other way than having the power to evict the vulnerable women they're trying to protect? There are ways to deal with these problems other than having untrammelled authority over your tenants. That's what we're saying.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming down and appearing before us today. We appreciate you coming and, as I tell other presenters, this bill will begin its clause-by-clause review during the week of March 6. Thank you for coming.

Mr Hale: Thank you very much.

The Chair: The next presentation --

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Was my name not on the list?

The Chair: Mr Owens? Your name was on the list.

Mr Owens: I thought that was the fastest three minutes I've ever seen.

The Chair: Well, I invite you to carry a stopwatch.


Mr Mark Zaborowski: I'd like to thank the members of the committee for the opportunity to speak today. My name is Mark Zaborowski. I'm the program manager of the Manse Road Group Home, which is operated by the Scarborough General Hospital in Scarborough. I'm here today with Marcella Hanuszczak, who was a client of ours in our group home and is now currently living independently in her own apartment.

Just a bit of a background to who we are: The Scarborough General Hospital had received approval from the Ministry of Health community mental health branch to open a 24-hour staffed group home for the severe mentally ill in 1985. The mental health services department of the hospital opened the Manse Road Group Home in October 1987.

The Manse Road Group Home currently is a residential rehabilitative program, and I will be stressing the term "rehabilitative" through my presentation today. It is transitional, with an indefinite stay policy. There is no set time frame for when clients need to move on. It is a cooperative living setting for 10 adults and those adults share the household responsibilities.

Currently the program is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and among the 60 group homes registered in the city of Scarborough, this group home for the severe mentally ill is the only one in Scarborough. The remainder of the group homes in Metropolitan Toronto you'll find in the city of Toronto and the city of Etobicoke, city of North York.

The Manse Road Group Home serves adults who have a severe mental illness, so we're speaking about people who suffer from schizophrenia, manic depression, chronic depression and post-traumatic stress. Currently we give priority to Scarborough residents.

It has 100 inquiries a year from Metropolitan Toronto. We've worked up to this point with 47 clients, and we have an average length of stay of 12.3 months. The clients, while living in the program, receive supportive counselling, crisis intervention, individualized client-centred goal planning and skills teaching.

The Manse Road Group Home is not permanent housing, it is not a boarding home, a rest home, nor is it a nursing home, a rooming house or a custodial care home.

The amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act in Bill 120 will greatly extend tenancy rights to many more citizens of Ontario, and the Scarborough General Hospital applauds these changes. The current amendments will unfortunately negatively affect the adult mental health residential rehabilitative programs currently operating in the province.

It is doubtful that the intention of this legislation is to effectively remove a treatment model from the community, a model that has support from the mental health reform currently ongoing by the government. An array of community support services has been identified, that there be a number of options and that a range of options, including residential rehab programs, can be used to serve the mentally ill, the dually diagnosed and the transitionally aged youth, who are 16 to 24 years of age. When I speak of the dually diagnosed, I'm referring both to adults with severe mental illness and substance abuse problems and to adults who are severely mentally ill with developmentally delayed problems.

Under Bill 120, most, if not all, residential rehab programs, including the Manse Road Group Home, would fall under the Landlord and Tenant Act. This would have two negative effects.

The first one would be that the eviction process, as we've heard discussed today, of the Landlord and Tenant Act could take upwards of six to eight weeks. Residents who are verbally and physically aggressive can continue to intimidate co-residents while the eviction process proceeds through the court system. In a shared living setting, this climate of hostility can have serious effects on the mental health of the remaining consumers in the program. Imagine, if you will, a consumer with severe post-traumatic stress from physical and sexual abuse who must now tolerate the presence of a potential assault day and night for upwards of three months.

The second issue is that residents currently make an informed decision with regard to living in a residential rehabilitative setting and agree to the program expectations. That informed decision is made before they decide to enter the program, and these program expectations include the cooking of meals with the co-residents, sharing the regular household chores and the responsibilities of operating the maintenance of the house, and individual goal planning for each of them.

Under Bill 120 the consumers can choose to opt out of the rehab component. They can choose not to do any of the cooking, not to do the chores, bring home beer and stay in their room, and the only process for them to leave would be under the Landlord and Tenant Act. In fact those reasons would not justify an eviction, so essentially the group home would become a rooming house and what we would have is erosion of the rehabilitative components, which would disfranchise a great number of current and future consumers. I speak of current consumers, but we have people on the waiting list and I speak of future consumers who have not yet applied. As I said earlier, we have over 100 inquiries a year to our setting alone.

Alternatively, the current proposed legislation does allow for exemption of rehabilitative programs. To be exempt, the program must have a minority of its residents call the building their principal residence and have an average length of stay of no more than six months.

How does a program which wishes to remain rehabilitative serve the homeless mentally ill, the transitionally aged mentally ill youth who cannot remain with their parents or the new Canadians who have no family in Canada and are in need of a residential rehabilitative setting?

All of these individuals may need the Manse Road Group Home as their temporary residence while regaining their self-confidence, dignity and stability in mental health. To comply with the current amendments, a mental health group home would have to refuse admission of these consumers in order to maintain the exemption, in that it could not have a majority of the residents call that setting their principal residence.


Similarly, the six-month average length of stay will demand that programs select only those clients who can effectively move to greater independent living within six months. Where is it written that six months is the universal average length of stay for all rehabilitative programs, regardless of disability?

Refinements to Bill 120, part I, amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act which would continue to extend tenant rights to those living in permanent housing, prevent housing operators from hiding from the Landlord and Tenant Act through a rehabilitative exemption and yet acknowledge the need that rehab programs should include the following recommendations -- and I do stress again that in principle the Scarborough General Hospital mental health services does support the extension of tenancy rights to a great number of citizens. Our intention here is to protect those rights for those citizens who under Bill 120 would have protection and also highlight the fact that there are operators who would prefer an exemption. We need to deal with that fact as well.

The first recommendation would be that rehabilitative programs wishing an exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act must apply for such an exemption to the Ministry of Housing and/or the affiliate ministries. Currently there is no application for exemption.

The second recommendation would be that a program, once exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act, would be given clear guidelines, established to protect the residents against arbitrary discharge from the program. Again, the Ministry of Housing, with the funding ministries, could set such guidelines.

This is based on recommendation 15 of Dr Ernie Lightman's report, A Community of Interests. Again, programs would have to apply for exemption and, secondly, once they were exempt, there would be due process laid out by the funding ministries as to how you would go about asking someone to leave the program because they were not following through the program expectations.

The third recommendation refers to part I, subclause 1(3)(i.1)(ii) -- I'm not sure if I read that correctly -- which reads, where "the building or structure in which the accommodation is located is not the principal residence of the majority of the occupants of the building." As I've discussed previously, those who have no principal residence will need temporary residency in a rehabilitative setting while they're getting the services there. So the recommendation we have is to simply delete that clause.

There was some discussion with my colleagues that perhaps the word "principal" would be changed to "permanent." You will hear that possibly proposed. At this point the program that I represent is suggesting that simply we delete that clause altogether.

The fourth recommendation is to change the average length of stay from six to 18 months. Prior to deciding on the 18 months, I was going to suggest a flexible length of stay which would be negotiated with each client. There is no average flexible length of stay at that point, but if the government wishes a number, and it seems as though it wishes a number of some sort, I would recommend 18 months, although the Manse Road Group Home has an average length of stay of 12 months. Some of the clients have lived there for over six years, and others have been there less than a week. Other programs that I know of have an average length of stay of two years, 24 months. It is doubtful that there is one perfect average, but greater flexibility is certainly necessary for client-centred rehabilitation.

The fifth recommendation would be that where tenants live in shared accommodation, ie, shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, much like what you have in a group home setting, if we were under the act, and a co-tenant is in violation of section 109 of the Landlord and Tenant Act where the safety of other tenants has been seriously impaired, which necessitates the eviction process, after the serving of the second form 5 of the Landlord and Tenant Act -- form 5 is the "Notice by a Landlord of Early Termination for Breach of Obligations by Tenant" -- the tenant be temporarily relocated at his expense and that a full landlord and tenant hearing be accelerated to expedite the outcome of that eviction process.

Currently we've heard that the eviction process works but we do know that there are lengthy delays. This recommendation would expedite the eviction process, would give the tenant rights but would certainly respect the safety of the other tenants in the shared accommodations, which would be under the Landlord and Tenant Act. I'm speaking now about programs that would in fact fall under the Landlord and Tenant Act. This recommendation follows recommendation 17 of Dr Ernie Lightman's commission, A Community of Interests: The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Unregulated Residential Accommodation.

Finally, there are critics of the residential rehabilitation model who will speak of abuses, and you've heard some of them today, arbitrary discharge of a consumer on very short notice, whereby a man or woman would be left in the streets with all his or her worldly belongings in a green garbage bag. Our recommendations we think will prevent such abuses from occurring, yet keep the rehab principles in residential settings as a viable alternative in the community mental health field.

At this point I'd like to give the mike over to Marcella Hanuszczak.

Ms Marcella Hanuszczak: My name is Marcella Hanuszczak. I'm a psychiatric survivor of 30 years. I am also a former resident of the Manse Road Group Home -- excellent management and staffing, a very good program.

Through Manse Road staff's patience, efforts and encouragement I have been able to return to independent community living. Manse Road did help me by having a structure set up and by having expectations of the residents. This has also helped me get back on my own feet. I knew that if I didn't follow the expectations I would not have been able to stay there. I stayed at Manse Road once for a year and a half, the second time for a year. If my stay had been limited to six months, I don't feel I would be where I am today. I now live in my own apartment in a building housed by an agency for people with mental health problems.

Even though I'm doing really well, I and all the other tenants are very disturbed and frightened by one person who has been threatening tenants and destroying building property, a person who has constantly been taken away by police to psychiatric wards for his disruptive behaviour. He has been behaving this way for the last eight months, yet the agency is letting him still live in the building. We live in fear when he is out of hospital. We were guaranteed by this agency safe, affordable housing. We are not getting safe housing. This person is very dangerous and very destructive. Our letters of complaint and telephone calls were to no avail. How do we get this person evicted? This is our problem.

I would like to recommend faster evictions in the cases where the safety of other tenants is in jeopardy or violated. What we need is an accelerated eviction process when the safety of tenants is violated.

Mr David Johnson: I think you've really come to the nub of the point there, the fast track or the accelerated process for evicting tenants who are causing disruption and potential harm to the other tenants. As you point out, the Lightman report actually goes in that direction as well. Have you discussed this with the Ministry of Housing? Have you had the opportunity to talk to them and suggest that?

Mr Zaborowski: Or Health.

Mr David Johnson: I guess it's Housing in this case. If you have, what response have you had?

Mr Zaborowski: I myself have not spoken to the ministry about an accelerated eviction process, but I understand that there are economic concerns both for the tenant who is being relocated and for the landlord with respect to who pays the rent while this tenant is being relocated.

The recommendation that we have would do two things: One, after the serving of the first form 5, a tenant has a week to correct the behaviour. If we're talking about safety issues and it's clear that there are still threats to co-residents, then I'm making the decision that clearly that tenant is now responsible and would be relocated. The acceleration of the eviction process would cut down on the economic costs to the landlord and presumably would give safety to the clients as well.

Mr David Johnson: The Manse Road Group Home, from what I've heard here this morning and what I've seen, is a very caring place and is certainly well run and concerned about the residents. I guess there's a concern that there would be some arbitrary eviction. You heard the previous deputation before you, the gentleman who felt that he was being arbitrarily evicted. What sorts of procedures would you have in place at the Manse Road Group Home to ensure that there wouldn't be an arbitrary eviction?

Mr Zaborowski: Currently or what we're proposing in the recommendations?

Mr David Johnson: Currently, I guess.


Mr Zaborowski: Currently the residents come in, they sign a licensee agreement and it spells out what the non-negotiable rules of the program are. If there are behaviours that are very disruptive for the other residents, under the Mental Health Act we look at behaviour initially as related to illness and it could very well be, so we would be looking for someone to be hospitalized because there may be an issue about medications or the exacerbation of their illness.

Under the Mental Health Act there is a form 1 that a psychiatrist can sign. If the psychiatrist has not seen the client in the last seven days, then he or she cannot do a form 1, which is to remove someone or to have someone assessed for three days. That is one of the problems with people who are disruptive. If they haven't seen any physician in the last seven days, then a doctor cannot do a form 1.

What you're left with is the Mental Health Act and what the police can do. Unfortunately, in the last several months we've had the police come in and, having not seen the behaviour that we are concerned about, they will often do nothing. They will use their discretion, as they're allowed to do under the Mental Health Act, but they will shy on the conservative side.

In our setting we would assess it as needing an assessment within a hospital setting and try to persuade the client to go in that direction. If the behaviour persisted, we would then discuss the understanding that they came into the program with and work out an understanding whether they choose to live under these guidelines and rules or not, and over time, which could be a number of months, work with them in terms of having them make a decision whether they want to stay or go.

If so, usually ourselves, or often they come with a social worker-case manager, would discuss what a more appropriate setting would be, be it living on their own in an apartment or shared accommodation where they don't have the restrictions that we might have. It's a negotiated process unless it's an emergency or crisis situation.

Frankly, in the last four years since I've been manager there, we've only gone through that process three times. Two of those times were crisis situations and the third was a negotiated process.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Thanks for your presentation, Mr Zaborowski and Ms Hanuszczak. I'd like just to pursue this for a moment, especially the aspect that in the last four years you say you've had only three cases that would fit into your concern about the need for fast-track eviction.

Mr Zaborowski: That's right. Prior to that there were probably several more, so in the operation of the program there may have been four or five. Frankly, only two or three would be the concern of the fast track and the other two or three were people who weren't really following through with what the program was meant to do for them.

Mr Gary Wilson: How many people would have gone through the program in that same period of time?

Mr Zaborowski: We have up to 47 clients currently who have gone through the program in the last six years.

Mr Gary Wilson: On balance, it might suggest that by far the greatest proportion of clients has gone through in an orderly or respectful way and seem to use the program in the way it was designed to be.

Our concern in putting forth Bill 120 is to make sure all tenants are treated in the same way, have the same access to conditions of tenancy that are set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act. You mentioned processes of negotiation, for instance. There are criteria set out under the Landlord and Tenant Act, of course, that respond to those needs to deal with issues of tenancy in an objective manner. This is what our goal in putting forth 120 is, to make sure that all tenants, wherever possible, have access to that process.

Mr Zaborowski: I agree that when being a tenant, you should have all the rights of tenancy. If the Manse Road Group Home will operate under the Landlord and Tenant Act, our concern is not necessarily with having a fast-track eviction, because as you pointed out, we would really need that very infrequently, but that the erosion of the rehab principles that currently are in the program will occur.

People will understand that they're under the Landlord and Tenant Act but they do not have to buy into the rehab component of the program. What you will have over time are people simply living there as a rooming house. The program itself would no longer be a rehabilitative program, getting referrals from the hospital and moving people through in a period of a year, a year and a half and finding permanent housing for them after they've learned certain skills. The program would no longer be that type of program.

If this occurs across the province, what you're going to see is a fading of this particular model. Under mental health reform, people are still talking about an array of services, an array of options. This is one option, a small one, but one that is working in the community.

Mr Gary Wilson: But don't you think the people you serve are motivated by their desire to use your services and that that is why they would be going, to take advantage of the rehabilitative services that you offer?

Mr Zaborowski: Motivation is an interesting question when you are talking about people who were severely mentally ill. As Marcella has pointed out, some of the motivation that she received often came from the support from the staff. Over time it can be sort of a tug of war at times. If people know what their rights are as tenants and they don't really have to do what is asked of them in some ways, they may choose to continue living there indefinitely. That would be their right and we would respect that.

The reason we talk about the fast track is because there are a number of housing providers who will now be under the Landlord and Tenant Act who will deal with a lot of clients who do have mental health problems. Our recommendation around fast track is for those settings where there is shared accommodation, where there are shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, not for all landlords to have access to this throughout the province.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'm still interested in the aspect of whether you think the service will deteriorate or disappear. I'm thinking too that we've heard submissions from people who are in a rehabilitative setting and who find it a source of anxiety, say. Of course, we heard one this morning where being removed from their unit was very sudden, and there's no recourse.

I would think that would be something that might be at the back of a person's mind in that kind of accommodation, that there was always a possibility that they might be evicted. Wouldn't there be some assurance, some foundation put under them, that there is a process, that there has to be a hearing before they would be evicted? Wouldn't that be part of the rehabilitative process?

Mr Zaborowski: It certainly would for those people who would fall under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Our recommendations to maintain this rehab focus would do two things.

One, it would make group homes who think they are rehabilitative apply for such exemption to the Ministry of Housing, if that be the setting best to decide that. There would be an objective body who would make an assessment whether in fact this setting was rehabilitative or not.

Second, once that exemption was given, there would be a due process laid out through the Ministry of Housing and the affiliate ministries as to how one would go through asking someone to leave a program. What we're suggesting is a parallel process similar to perhaps the Landlord and Tenant Act but without the timing issue and without the cumbersomeness of the Landlord and Tenant Act -- certainly without the entrenched rights, but it would still maintain these programs as rehabilitative and not housing.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Mr Zaborowski and Ms Hanuszczak, thank you very much for a very thoughtful, very concise and thorough presentation and also, I might add, a very rational one. I think what we're beginning to hear emerge from groups such as yourselves is that there are many problems contained within Bill 120 which will present a series of challenges, at the very best, for you to overcome if it's implemented the way we see Bill 120 brought forward before us.

I would like to say that I'm beginning to believe the only way the minister and the members of the government are going to realize that there are problems with Bill 120 is to put them in real-life situations to experience perhaps what you're telling us may unfold in those circumstances; in fact that's already unfolding under your present circumstances. I don't think the government realizes what, as a practical, real-life experience, would result with the difficulties contained within Bill 120.

I want to get back to this fast-track eviction question because that seems to be the real stumbling block for the government to overcome. I think you have largely demystified what would happen under the Mental Health Act: the fact that a psychiatrist would have to have seen the behaviour of someone over a period of time, that this is not such a fast, quick-acting solution to overcome the difficulty that's experienced.


As well, you've pointed out -- and the government is now saying, "Well, you could always call the police in an emergency situation." I would really like to hear from the police, Mr Chairman, because if that is going to be the end result of Bill 120, then at some point perhaps it would be wise for us to have the police before us, the people who are on the front line, who will have to deal with these difficult circumstances -- in some cases life-threatening, as you've pointed out.

The question is, how will this affect you in your ability to provide the high-quality service and the kind of setting that fosters personal growth and the ability of someone like Ms Hanuszczak to then go on and live in a setting that is conducive for her to maintain the quality of life that's expected? This is going to have some implications for you.

Mr Zaborowski: If we speak of using the police more often than perhaps we do now, housing programs in general, the question is, do you want to start criminalizing clients who have a mental health problem?

Mr Cordiano: Excellent point.

Mr Zaborowski: If you're calling the police for a lot of behaviours that you cannot manage because you're restricted by the Landlord and Tenant Act, then you may be seeing a lot more clients whom you don't particularly wish to go through the criminal system starting to be charged more often. Being charged for certain offences is a real, live learning experience and in fact may be the only way for some people to learn they have to cease and desist with certain behaviours. But the downside of it may be that you may be criminalizing a lot of people who perhaps could be dealt with more supportively.

Mr Cordiano: I think you make a very good point.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing this morning. The committee will be looking at this bill clause by clause beginning in the week of March 6.


Ms Pat Munro: Good morning. My name is Pat Munro and I'm the director of George Herman House, which is transitional housing for women that opened in November 1976. It offers a supportive environment in a downtown residential area, the Annex, for women who are recovering from psychiatric and emotional illnesses. We have 10 residents. We're a very small, little house. We're not a branch plant. We're just one little house that we call "normalization."

Our purpose is to bring in women who choose to live with us. What we do is try to normalize their life. So it's a transition between family, between hospital, and independent living. We provide the opportunity for learning skills that they need so that they can live in the broader community more successfully.

We're funded by Community and Social Services and we're under the halfway house program.

As director of Herman House, I'm very pleased to provide some input into Bill 120 with regard to the impact of the bill on our program. We strongly support Bill 120 but appreciate the recognition given to rehabilitation programs as being exempt, with some exemptions in the act.

What I've done is gone through the act and looked at some key points that I think would really impact on our program.

Subclause 1(3)(i.1)(iii), where it says, "The average length of the occupancy of the occupants of the building or structure in which the accommodation is located does not exceed six months...." Our recommendation is that this specific duration of time not be time-lined. We strongly recommend that in a program such as ours, the length of stay be flexible and be based on individual need for the consumer-survivor, and that the terms of residency be specified in a written service agreement prior to the applicant moving in.

As we heard from my colleague previously and as we all know, we wax and wane in our recovery or any kind of changing of behaviour in our own lives. Some people can come in and three months later they're ready to go. We've had people come in for two years, go out into the community, fall flat on their faces, return back to Herman House for another two years and then move on. With six months, what would happen is that would put an undue stress on us as staff. I must say we have 10 residents, and in our staffing there's myself, one other full-time person and a part-time person. We're not heavily staffed, so when somebody is really having a difficult time, we need some flexibility to support that person and to keep them housed. That's what our main objective is, to keep them in the program if at all possible.

We also recommend that the wording in subclause 5(1)(e.1)(ii) be changed from "principal residence" to "permanent residence." Even though we're transitional housing, this is their permanent residence while they're with us. Usually our residents have no other address. As you know, to receive family benefits or general welfare, they need a permanent address.

At Herman House our primary position is rehabilitation rather than accommodation. I was sitting listening to my colleague Mark, who just left, and mulling over the problem of fast-track evictions. I have been in the business of rehabilitation for more years than I'd like to say, but it's 31 years this year. I have only been at Herman House for five years. These occurrences happen very infrequently in any kind of rehabilitation program, because what we're doing is constantly setting up contracts with people, cajoling them, encouraging them, and when they're not able to meet the goals, to redesign our expectations, working along with the mental health people.

It is true that if one resident gets into a lot of trouble and she becomes harmful to herself or others in our residence, our first plan of attack is to get hold of her psychiatrist and have this person assessed. We are very, very mindful of the other vulnerable residents who are living in our house. These women share rooms, so it can be a real chain reaction. If someone is being really quite ill, that's the first plan of attack.

We all know and we've all heard about the cutbacks in our hospital situation. It is not so easy to get somebody in hospital these days. A few years ago, it would be sort of a fait accompli. Someone becomes ill, you'd phone the emergency, you say you're coming in. You pretty well know that if this person is psychotic, they will be hospitalized for a few days. In 1994, in this city, if you take someone into hospital, you might or you might not have that person hospitalized. They will be assessed, yes. Maybe their medication will be changed, and they'll be sent home with the same kind of behaviour that they had before. It really is a judgement call of us as staff, and it's the safety of our house and of that person, who is very ill.


When I'm feeling most vulnerable, as a director of this kind of a program, I can perceive saying, "You've just been walking on the roof and I'm going to give you 90 days' notice to leave our house." I know that's not going to happen, but that's my greatest fear.

When someone is really ill, they need to be hospitalized and sooner or later, for sure, we'll bang on that hospital door until that person is in for at least 72 hours, but then to have the option of looking at, say, the safety of your house and saying, "Can we offer the kind of support that this person really needs at this time of her life?" We're only talking about now, but maybe later on they can return to Herman House, and it's that option we need to continue.

If the bill goes through the way it is now, I think what is going to happen to our program is that we won't be taking the risks that we are now and we will be looking pretty carefully at people to make sure they're able to spend their time and that they have never had a history of being very ill. That is my concern.

I think I would like to leave the rest of the time that's allotted to me for any kind of questions about our program and my concerns.

Mr Owens: We've heard a number of presenters talk about the abbreviated eviction process. I'm still personally trying to sort through that. I guess my question is around the nature of a residence like Herman House and if someone's disruptive behaviour is a function of their illness -- disruptive behaviour, violence or whatever the manifestation is -- why, if this is a caring setting, would the house -- I'm not talking about Herman House specifically -- but why would the residents want the ability to toss somebody out when they're at the point of crisis, and after a period of hospitalization, stabilization, therapeutic dosage of medication, they can be brought back into your setting? This is something I'm having some difficulty with.

Ms Munro: There's no staff in the house overnight, for one thing. They are sharing rooms, so if someone is very disruptive or a harm to themselves or others, then at that point, it's a safety issue as much as anything. What we have done in the past is if we can get that person hospitalized and when they're stabilized, they're not evicted.

Mr Owens: Right.

Ms Munro: I must say that in the four years I've been at Herman House, we have never evicted anyone.

Mr Owens: I guess this is my point, that these kinds of behaviour -- and there's no such thing as spontaneous generation that all of a sudden people act out for no particular reason, that there is an issue with respect to their illness or something that needs to be sorted through, but nobody acts disruptively just for the sake of being disruptive.

Ms Munro: No.

Mr Owens: My concern is trying to find the balance between a sector that says it's caring and wants to be rehabilitative but also, on the other hand, says, "We want the ability to have people removed on an abbreviated basis." I'm having some trouble reconciling the two issues.

Ms Munro: I guess if we were a setting where we could bring in added supports of staffing and if we had that option, which we don't -- alongside of our hospital cutbacks and our people going into hospital less frequently, and I stress that, we're not able to provide the care and safety of our house when someone is ill.

Mr Owens: With the state of the art in terms of pharmacology, I would submit that maybe there's not as much necessity to hospitalize as there was in the past with the kinds of psychotropic drugs that are available now.

Ms Munro: Right.

Mr Owens: So it's not perhaps so much that there are cutbacks but in terms of the necessity or the frequency with which people should be hospitalized.

I guess I'm looking for advice in terms of again reconciling this problem. We have the Parkdale Community Legal Services coming here later today. I'm sure they're going to be able to wax poetic about the kinds of problems people have had with the current abbreviated eviction process, which is, "Hey, you, you're out of here."

Ms Munro: I guess in all due fact that there is a process, and I guess what I'm looking for is that safety net, realizing that we're not in the business of dehousing people. This is all part of the rehabilitation process.

Mr Owens: Sure. That's right.

Ms Munro: It's losing that safety net that worries me, and in other housing similar to ours. I could give you many, many stories about someone who becomes ill or their circumstances change very quickly and they become very suicidal. They are a threat.

Mr Owens: Sure.

Ms Munro: To remove that safety net -- and certainly there has to be a process. There would be lots of input. Fortunately, to date, most residents recognize that they need more support than we're able to give them, so they will choose to leave.

Mr Owens: So there is cognition on the part of the resident. In terms of your needing or needing to feel that there is a safety net, do you not also agree that your residents also need to have the feeling that there's a safety net at some level? Again, this is not just about Herman House, but the residents also, in terms of their therapeutic and rehabilitative relationship, need to feel the kind of protection that they cannot be summarily removed?

Ms Munro: Yes, and that is all spelled out in a letter of agreement when they come in and when it's all --

Mr Owens: This is something else I've been thinking about. How does a person present themselves at your home? Are they compos mentis? Do they have capacity to understand the nature of the agreement and --

Ms Munro: Oh, yes. Most of the young women we house are women who've maybe been in second- or third-year university and they have discovered unfortunately they have schizophrenia or whatever. They're certainly at the upper end of health, so to speak.

Mr Owens: Sure.

Ms Munro: If you had dreams of going to Osgoode Hall and you find out that you have a serious illness, that's very difficult to come to terms with, let alone the family. Suicide is one of the options that some of them unfortunately think about. When they come in, we say to them: "What goals do you want to work on and how do you want to work on them? We're here to support you to get to where you want to be." We establish the relationship at that point.

Mr Owens: Thank you. I appreciate your advice.

Mr Grandmaître: You say you support Bill 120, but I've noted about five, maybe six, amendments you would like to see go through before Bill 120 is fully acceptable to you.

What would be the average length of stay in your home?

Ms Munro: The average length of stay is -- this is off the top of my head -- about 12 months or 18 months.


Mr Grandmaître: The previous group did mention that 12 to 18 months would be much more acceptable than the recommended six-month stay.

The fact that you're not staffed 24 hours a day: How do you pick and choose, or do you pick and choose your clients?

Ms Munro: How do we pick and choose our clients: We present what we have to offer to care givers and whatever, and usually women come to us, and they know --

Mr Grandmaître: They're not being referred to you.

Ms Munro: They sometimes are. We have a lot of referrals. Some people choose to live with other women, at a time -- they are referred, but they certainly come -- one of the first things is that after they find out what we have to offer, they have to want to live at Herman House.

Mr Grandmaître: Do they sign an agreement with you?

Ms Munro: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: That they accept the house rules, if I can call them the house rules.

Ms Munro: The rights and responsibilities, yes.

Mr Grandmaître: I see. And you say that you have infrequently had to evict people.

Ms Munro: That's right.

Mr Grandmaître: Is that because you pick and choose your clients?

Ms Munro: At the moment I think it is because, as this other gentleman said, people just don't get sick overnight. So you're always, you know, "How are you feeling? What are you" --

Mr Grandmaître: Reassessing.

Ms Munro: Reassessing all the time, yes.

Mr Cordiano: I wanted to zero in on the question of eviction and to try and come to grips with that very thoroughly, because by and large we in our party support Dr Lightman's recommendations. We want to support the Landlord and Tenant Act coming into force under the sections of Bill 120 that would give protection to tenants, but we're having difficulty with this section in particular. I think that's echoing what I'm hearing from groups like yourself.

As I'm beginning to hear some sort of consensus around this from groups that are concerned about these areas, if there were an amendment to allow for temporary relocation, ie, temporary eviction, which would then move forward the review of someone in those difficult circumstances, that would allow for a psychiatrist to come in, then that would allow you some measure of protection. As well, someone who is a difficult tenant could not hide behind the Landlord and Tenant Act -- that is, not pay for their care services and then pay the rent portion of their expenses and thereby not be evicted under the Landlord and Tenant Act, that there were no grounds for eviction on that count and with respect to that tenant being a difficult tenant.

There's a lot of grey area there, it seems to me, that someone can go on like this for some time. In practical terms, you may not have experienced that many evictions, but there are circumstances where someone who wants to play this out for a while -- and I've heard this in our committee hearings, that there are circumstances like that where it could go on for some time, and that tenant is still a danger to other tenants. Nothing may have happened as of yet, but the mere fact that there is a danger or that there's a posing of a danger upsets the entire number of residents who are housed in a particular circumstance. So I need to get from you a sense that you would support the Manse Road Group Home recommendations around a temporary kind of eviction, that we could make amendments to this bill that would provide for that. Do you think that's possible? Would you agree with that approach?

Ms Munro: Yes, I would. I appreciate both sides of the argument, because I worked for a number of years in boarding houses in Parkdale and I spent many years out on the streets working. This was pre-Habitat. I know where this bill's coming from, but I also know of the grey areas, as you're talking about, and the need for that in order for us in the rehabilitation field to continue offering the services.

Mr David Johnson: I certainly appreciate your deputation here this morning. When we're looking at the kind of facility that you have and the service that's given, we're very fortunate, I think, in Ontario to have people who are prepared to provide the kind of care that is necessary, and we should listen very closely when groups come in to make deputations.

The sense I have is that the important point you're trying to make is that this is a rehabilitation program. As you said, you're in the business of rehabilitation, essentially, number one, and not accommodation. Accommodation, I guess, comes with it, but the important aspect is rehabilitation.

If you are permitted the kind of amendments that you've put forward, such that the length of stay could be flexible, not with the restriction of the six months, and if the residency requirement is adjusted from "principal residence" to "permanent residence," then under those circumstances you would not come under the Landlord and Tenant Act. I presume you'd have an exemption because of the rehabilitation nature, which is different perhaps from some other operators. We've heard of operators who have caused problems, certainly, for tenants, and perhaps many of them would not qualify under the rehabilitation clause.

In that situation then, you would have the ability to deal with the situations that come up every once in a while, and this would be a balanced situation, recognizing the rights of the individual. Certainly you wouldn't be in the business that you're in, if I can call it a business, if you weren't very concerned about the rights and situation of each individual person. You can balance that with the rights of the group as a whole, and of course you have to be concerned about the rights of the group as a whole. Is that kind of what you're saying in a nutshell?

Ms Munro: Absolutely. You said it much better. That's what I was trying to say. I appreciate that.

Mr David Johnson: I think when it comes from somebody who's there and somebody who is providing that sort of service, it has a whole lot more meaning than when one of us says it.

You also mentioned that if the bill goes through the way it is, either consciously or perhaps subconsciously, your group would be forced -- I don't know if "forced" is the right word -- but you would probably be taking a somewhat different approach in that you wouldn't be taking the same risks. You'd have to look at people a little more carefully. I wonder if that would mean that some people who would perhaps desperately need the kind of service that you provide might then unfortunately be excluded.

Ms Munro: That's my concern. That's the human part of me that's speaking. We have taken a lot of risks at Herman House, which I'm very proud of. One of the things a lot of my colleagues would exclude people for is suicide attempts: How many have you had, how frequently in the past?

We have said to people who have thrown themselves in front of subway trains: "Okay, we're willing to give you a chance. Are you willing to give us a chance?" and have done very, very well, which I'm very proud of.


That's a huge risk, because you're not really sure. Once again, the paranoia I have about that hospital down the road here is, are they going to be there for me as much as that client when the time comes? We would not be doing that if we thought -- we're going to grow old together, in other words. It's going to be really hard if it doesn't work out. I'm certainly speaking for myself and I would think of lots of other agencies where we've had tremendous cutbacks in our staffing and in our finances, and we just don't have the staff any longer to move in there and support people who are really high-risk.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee today.


The Chair: The last presentation for the morning session comes from Genesis Community Support Services. Good morning.

I guess it's really not appropriate to have Genesis come last, but nevertheless, thank you for coming to see us. You've been allocated 30 minutes by the committee for your presentation. You may begin by introducing yourself and your position within the organization, and then the time is yours.

Ms Balmain: Good morning. My name is Ellen Balmain. I'm the coordinator of Genesis Community Support Services. The program is based in Stratford, and it's sponsored by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Perth county branch. We service all of Perth county.

I would like to thank you, as I start, in case I forget at the end, for this opportunity to speak to you and to provide some input into the proposed amendments of Bill 120. What I want to do is outline our program very briefly.

Our housing program began very modestly in 1988 with one transitional, rehabilitative residence for five individuals. We now operate an apartment project that consists of four single and four shared apartments in Stratford, and recently opened three more single apartments in the Listowel area. That's in northern Perth county. In 1990, we opened a high-support group home, which was the traditional model that was staffed 24 hours a day and housed six individuals. We have since then, in the fall, changed that building to apartments that house three people, which we operate under the Landlord and Tenant Act, as we do the other apartments.

In response to consumer needs and desires, we restructured the program in 1993 to provide flexible, portable support services. We currently service 90 people experiencing or recovering from psychiatric or emotional problems; 26 of those individuals are living in our rent-geared-to-income housing program that now consists of the original group home from 1988 and the rest of the apartments.

My comments and recommendations today are based on what we at the program believe to be of critical importance in maintaining our array of flexible supports and accommodation options which will remain responsive to the needs and desires of Perth county consumers-survivors.

Genesis Community Support Services strongly supports Bill 120, the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act. The overall goal of Bill 120, to protect the basic rights of all persons in their housing, is commendable. Furthermore, we appreciate the recognition that's been given to rehabilitative programs such as Genesis as being exempt from the act. However, our concerns focus on the specifications pertaining to length of stay and the principal residence, which we feel will restrict our rehabilitative program from providing necessary services in the future.

With specific regard to the Landlord and Tenant Act, and subclause 1(3)(i.1)(iii) regarding the length of stay, we support the concept that rehabilitative programs should be for a specified duration and that occupancy will terminate when a person has met their objectives or when it has been determined that the objectives will not be met, as Bill 120 proposes. However, it has been our experience that the rehabilitative time period varies from individual to individual and typically can take up to two years.

The proposed occupancy criteria of six months or less does not allow the necessary time our clients have proven to need to prepare for increased independence. The nature of the serious mental illnesses that bring people to the Genesis program have a profound effect on many aspects of their lives and requires a long-term rehabilitative service approach. We believe the six-month time limit would create unrealistic expectations and undue pressure for residents to make the sufficient gains necessary for independent living.

We strongly recommend that in rehabilitative programs the length of stay remain flexible and be based on the individual needs of the consumer-survivor and that the terms of residency be specified in a written service agreement prior to the applicant moving in. Further to this point, when we do this we do renegotiate the service agreement as the individual needs change.

With regard to the "principal residence" subsection, we are concerned that the stipulation that the accommodation not be the principal residence for the occupants undermines our ability to provide rehabilitative services within the framework and safety of supported housing. Most of our housing applicants have no permanent address at the time of referral, such as when they come to Genesis following a lengthy hospitalization. Therefore, the accommodation is the principal residence for people while they are participating in the recovery rehabilitative process of the program. To be eligible for general welfare in Perth county, our consumers are required to have a principal address and must therefore use the rehabilitative housing address as such.

We recommend that the wording in the subsection be changed from "principal residence" to "permanent residence." While we recognize that it is their principal residence, it is not intended to be their permanent, long-term residence. We also recommend that the rewording of this subsection include a clause stating that the definition does not affect any provisions under the General Welfare Assistance Act or the Family Benefits Act.

The other section that we wanted to speak to was regarding the purpose of occupancy. We recommend that in programs where the primary purpose is rehabilitation and not accommodation, such as group homes, the organizations be able to apply for exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act. We do not believe, however, that community apartment programs should be exempt.

It is vital that programs that would be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act be required to meet criteria set out by the Ministry of Housing in conjunction with other relevant ministries to protect tenants against arbitrary evictions. Organizations should also be required to implement due process for residency termination as per recommendation 15 in Dr Ernie Lightman's report, A Community of Interests.

If the primary purpose of rehabilitative programs is to remain rehabilitative and not become accommodation, it is essential that both the rights of the individual tenant and the rights of the group be considered and that the rehabilitative supports remain as the focus. It is also important to consider that the funding sources for such programs evaluate the program on the rehabilitative outcomes of the participants. Without funding, rehabilitative programs will cease to exist.

We are concerned that if the abovementioned subsections remain as originally proposed, the consequences for our one remaining transitional and rehabilitative residence would in fact be extinction. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act, residents could choose not to participate in the support services of the program but remain a tenant of the property. Eventually, all five beds could be occupied by people who no longer need or want the rehabilitative services we now offer.

While this scenario protects the tenant rights of current occupants, we are deeply concerned that the rights of future participants to receive rehabilitative support services within the safety of supported housing will be violated simply by the fact that the program will not longer have a house from which to operate.

The elimination of rehabilitative programs will have a profound and negative effect on the very participants that they have been designed to service.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): Thank you for coming and appearing before the committee. I presume you're speaking probably for similar groups in your area. I don't know whether you have a specific mandate to do that. Was there any kind of discussion with similar groups in your area and do they feel the same or are you just speaking for your housing?

Ms Balmain: We're the only psychiatrically based housing program in Perth county.

Mr Daigeler: For the whole county?

Ms Balmain: Yes, so the 90 people whom we currently service, that's it, and the housing stock that is designated for a psychiatric population, that's it.

Mr Daigeler: I think you obviously are making the point that is being made more and more before the committee, and it's a very serious one, that your very existence could be threatened.

Ms Balmain: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: It would seem to me that your case is so obvious that I certainly expect the government to bring in some amendments we can only hope for. Clearly, you're service providers in an area for people who are obviously very vulnerable, but you and people like yourself have to be taken very seriously because you obviously have the good of these people at heart. If you are saying that really this initiative could harm these people, I certainly would expect the government to listen, an NDP government in particular.

After all, you are saying that you're supporting the bill, and it's not going to change the whole purpose of the bill. So it's really a comment I'm making that what you're saying is extremely valid and I certainly hope that the government will listen and will come forward with some substantive amendments that will respect what you're saying and what others have said.


Ms Balmain: Thank you for your support.

Mr Grandmaître: Are your clients being referred to you?

Ms Balmain: Yes, they are, but a number of our referrals are self-referrals now. We have referrals from hospitals, from doctors, from social workers, from other community agencies and from clients themselves.

Mr Grandmaître: At the present time, you have five of those clients who are under the rehabilitative program, right?

Ms Balmain: Right.

Mr Grandmaître: Can you describe these five people?

Ms Balmain: In terms of age, the ages vary. I think the oldest gentleman we have is 50 and the youngest person we have in the house is 25, so it's quite an age gap. It's co-ed, male and female. The house is staffed eight hours a day, based on what they request. We're trying to keep our rehab program flexible. If they begin to have problems or go into crisis, we up the staffing numbers, and on what hours they want the people there. We have 24-hour, around-the-clock pager system where they can access services.

The majority of people living in the program are suffering from a serious mental illness -- manic depression, schizophrenia, severe depression -- and so we have a group of people who are very needy currently, who are trying to take control over their lives and gain some skills to move into independent living.

They understand what the purpose is of the house. I think what's typically common that we're finding is that group living is not ideal for the majority of the population, that people choose to live in congregate living situations of this type when they're trying to work on a specific issue. It's not generally a long-term thing that you live with four strangers and a staff person wandering in and out most of the time. It seems to be quite clear to everyone who has lived there what the purpose of the program is, that it's rehabilitative and not accommodation.

Mr Grandmaître: Obviously you're not too satisfied with the proposed bill as far as the length of stay is concerned. Did you have an opportunity to approach the ministry on this or the minister to add an exemption?

Ms Balmain: We haven't spoken directly to the minister or whatever. Our understanding has been, up till now, that we haven't needed to operate under the Landlord and Tenant Act, as with most group homes of this type. When all this came about, we started to realize this could be a problem if we had to. What's happening usually is it's the group that functions and decides when people need to leave. If it's violence-related, if it's any kind of physical threats, anything illegal, then we call in the police and they take care of it for us.

Mr Grandmaître: Police?

Ms Balmain: Yes. There are legal avenues with which to do that and to deal with people who are serious threats. We've always operated that way or we've upped the staffing until something happens. That's part of the problem with the legal system, that they can't do anything until something happens.

But otherwise, if it's just that the group doesn't like somebody, we've never evicted anybody based on that. We put the onus back on the group to work it through and to find a way to live together, to come up with a plan of action that they can all live with. So we've never run into the problem where we've just evicted somebody simply because they haven't fit in. We've also, in the group home situation, followed the Landlord and Tenant Act when people haven't paid rents, for example. We've followed that legal process.

Mr Grandmaître: A lengthy process, very lengthy.

Ms Balmain: Yes, it is, and at times we have indeed been burned on the rent because you can't sue somebody who has no money for back rent. So sometimes that hasn't necessarily worked in our favour but we've always given due process. It's always been quite lengthy except in times of violence or threat where we've indeed called the police and somebody's been taken away.

Mr David Johnson: My congratulations on your deputation today, which is a little bit similar to the previous deputation. I think you're encountering the same sorts of problems, but also my congratulations on the program, obviously an excellent program that's been developed in the Listowel-Stratford area. It's good to see these kinds of programs.

As you were explaining, you have about 90 people in the group at large and some of those people take advantage of the residence that you have. Just so I'm 100% clear on this, you have an apartment project of four single and four shared in Stratford and three single apartments in Listowel. So is that in total 11, we're talking about 11?

Ms Balmain: No, the shared is two people in each, so that's eight --

Mr David Johnson: About 15?

Ms Balmain: Yes. And then we also converted the six-bed group home that used to be high support into two apartments with three people in each, and we follow the Landlord and Tenant Act explicitly in that apartment as well.

Mr David Johnson: Okay. Again, the key word that you're putting forward here is rehabilitation, that your program is really geared to rehabilitation much more than accommodation. It's the rehabilitation part that's the key. Would the rehabilitation apply to all of those units?

Ms Balmain: Well, it does. What we've done is we have flexible portable supports. That means that when you come into the program and you're assigned a community support worker, you may choose to live in the group home for a while and have that worker. What used to happen was when you moved out and lived somewhere else, you had to change workers because there were workers assigned to specific buildings or units or programs.

Now what we do is that worker follows you so that you don't have to, while trying to make an adjustment to any living environment, also get to know somebody else who's going to know all about your life. We link the people up with one worker. In the apartment programs, if people choose to remain there we don't see that as a problem. That worker will just go out and be assigned somebody else in the community and we allow that person to remain in rent-geared-to-income housing.

That's why we don't see the apartment program as being rehabilitative in the traditional sense. All the people currently have a worker. Some see them only once a month; some see them every week or twice a week based on their individual needs and the support level that they require. But we do allow them to remain if they want to and just strictly as an apartment. It's a community apartment. That's part of helping people integrate, to let them understand what the experience is to live independently in the community.

When you live with the landlord, just because you don't want to be friends with your landlord, he doesn't make you leave. We're really trying to show them what the real world's like and what the community's like. We do provide them rehab services when they want them, but it's just not solely linked to their housing option except in the group home.

Mr David Johnson: The concern of course has come up, not with your operation or I suspect with any of the other operations that'll be making or have made deputations to this committee, but there have been concerns with regard to tenants being evicted without any cause or unjustly or that sort of thing. What sorts of procedures would you go through today to ensure that doesn't happen?

Ms Balmain: Tenants in the group home or in the apartments? Either?

Mr David Johnson: Either.

Ms Balmain: In the apartments we follow the Landlord and Tenant Act, so that's taken care of. With the group home we go back again, unless it's violence where we call in police or a medical officer and have the problem taken care of for us -- we just really work with the group.

We're currently having a conflict in the group home -- this is very timely -- and one person is almost refusing to live with the other one and there's a big carry-on happening. We're having two or three house meetings a week where I'm going in as the coordinator. Normally I don't get involved in the front-line delivery, but I come in as a facilitator and I'm trying to be the mediator and keep peace and show them that if you are living with five roommates at college you don't have the option of just moving and carrying on. Sometimes you have to really struggle to work things through.

This is what we're working on with them now. When it's personality conflicts, "This is the real world." If you want the rehab program you can't just come up to us and say, "Right, I want her out; I don't like her," just because she talks too much. The reality is you're all here for a reason; you're here to work on something and you need to find a way to either live together or you can choose to leave if you don't like the people who are here.

Mr David Johnson: It sounds to me like you have a system that's very sensitive to the needs of the individual but you also have to recognize the needs of the group.

Ms Balmain: Right. But it's really geared to teaching them about life.


Mr David Johnson: I just wanted to shift to another aspect. At the top of the third page of your deputation, you say, "We also recommend that the rewording of this subsection include a clause stating that the definition does not affect any provision of the General Welfare Assistance Act or the Family Benefits Act." Is your concern there that the residents may be excluded from welfare or family benefits?

Ms Balmain: Right, because of principal or permanent residence. That's what we were concerned about. My understanding from my colleagues in Metro is that you don't need to have a permanent principal address to receive general welfare, but that's not the case where we are. Stratford is small enough that we know some of the people in the department, so we can say, if the person is Joe: "Joe is coming over. We need him to have a source of income before we can allow him into our ministry-run, rent-geared-to-income program, but you need to have an address." So it's kind of like, "You give him welfare and we promise we're letting him into our program," and it all happens the same day. But that's because we know people.

That's not the case in some of the larger areas of the colleagues I've spoken to, where you don't have those connections and people aren't that understanding. I was speaking more to our concern and to the concern of the larger areas. We've worked within this framework, we've managed to find a way, but who knows what staff will change over there? It's not always that easy with red tape. So we were wanting to protect the rights of clients.

Mr David Johnson: Your deputation highlights the need for flexibility in terms of the period of time for rehabilitation. In your case, you've indicated it could take up to two years. I don't know if you're familiar with Eden House. I think they've indicated an average of 2.4 years. There was another group this morning that indicated perhaps 18 months. It shows that if you try to pin it down, it may not work. So flexibility I guess is the key issue there.

Ms Balmain: Right. We've had people leave in under a year. We've had people leave in three months because they didn't like the group living situation, but it certainly wasn't because all their rehab needs were met.

When you look at the serious mental illnesses they're coming to us with, like schizophrenia, it totally shatters their lives. Boys often get schizophrenia in their late teens. I was learning to cook and live on my own and balance my bank account and everything while they were suffering a psychotic episode and never learned those things. So then they come out of hospital, they come into our program and they have to take six months just to get it together, just to feel okay on their medications again and maybe start talking to people and come to terms with the fact that they have suffered a serious, debilitating breakdown.

Once they get it together and feel a little bit more comfortable again and trust people, then they start to work on things like: "Oh, yes, banking. Somebody else has been doing that for me while I was in hospital. I've got to learn to do that. I've got to learn to cook if I'm going to live on my own. I don't even know how to do laundry." So they need that six months just to get it together.

I don't think a lot of the general population understand that. A lot of people are very familiar with drug rehab or alcohol rehab. You leave your home and your family, you go in for six weeks, you dry out, you do your treatment and you go back home. It's not like that with the people who are coming into our programs. It's very different, and because mental health is still a little taboo, it's not talked about, so a lot of people don't understand.

I think that's part of what I saw in some of the amendments. In all honesty, it's quite commendable and I understand where the standards were set and why, but I think it's really just that people don't understand mental health, that it's different and that there's a different length of time required to recover from these kinds of illnesses. It's not just an addiction.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much, Ms Balmain, for such a graphic account, because it really does help with our understanding of some of these issues. Of course, we're very pleased to hear of your support for Bill 120, your experience with the Landlord and Tenant Act in the residences that you do have and your concern about the extension to the group homes.

I'd like to look at that for a moment. It seems to me that the issue as you described it, the people who are there, or some of them anyway, and some of the circumstances they're under, that they missed important parts of their experience with daily living, that sounds to me like an aspect of accommodation. This is what the bill tries to do, to guarantee rights for tenants where they live, their accommodation.

We've heard a lot of reaction to the six-month provision, but I'm wondering whether, again thinking of the experiences that you say some of the people in the group home would have, the accommodation wouldn't be an important part of the rehabilitation. To say, for instance, in the case that you describe, some people have trouble living with another and they want them out of there, wouldn't a response be, "Well, it's their right to be here because it's their residence and there are provisions in the Landlord and Tenant Act that guarantee them that place"?

Ms Balmain: Actually, that's not usually the stand we take. We do say it's their right, but we take it from the stand within the group home that it's their right to receive the service too, that they are also trying to recover from a debilitating illness. So we're all allowed to live here, and you can't just say, "I don't like you," or "I don't like the way you dress, and out you go." They have a right to that service. We don't talk about it within the group home as a right to tenancy; we always refer it back to the right to service. That's reiterated in my last points.

There are only five beds of the kind in Perth county, and we operate them. That's not a very high percentage of the population -- that's very low -- and while group homes are sort of on their way out and we're recognizing that you don't need a 24-hour-support group home in every town, that not everybody wants to live that way so we're providing more apartment options, there still is a certain percentage of the population, and we think we service it well with five in Perth county, that needs this kind of service and wants this kind of service, wants the safety and support of a supported living situation.

But if their rights to receive this service when they come in change to their rights to stay there as a tenant long after they've used the service, if those rights change, then gradually, one by one, those beds will all be taken up. We can't operate the same service any more, because we don't have the kind of wealth that we can go just buy another group home. We can't just say, "Right, we'll buy another building and start it all over again," and then those five people choose to live there. That's our problem, that down the road there are future people who deserve the right to this service.

Mr Gary Wilson: Although you did say they've used the service, which implies that they've benefited from the service. So I'm not sure how you couldn't say that they have successfully at least used the service if they want to stay, which sounds as though they've outlived their need for the group home.

Ms Balmain: It might be a person who chooses to live congregately. They say, "Well, I've used the services but, boy, I like it here, it's cushy." Think about it: The Ministry of Health buys all the bedding and everything else in the house and the Ministry of Housing provides rent-geared-to-income. But we can help them find congregate living somewhere else in the community.

Mr Gary Wilson: You do that now, I take it.

Ms Balmain: Yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: So your only concern is that it would be difficult to move them because of the Landlord and Tenant Act, they would resist that. How do you get around that now when they resist?

Ms Balmain: They haven't yet.

Mr Gary Wilson: Oh, no one's resisted.

Ms Balmain: No. Think about living with five people in a psych rehab program. Generally, when people feel like they're getting well or they're moving ahead, their sign to themselves that they're getting well and moving ahead is that you move out of that high staffing, because it's not just the five people.

Mr Gary Wilson: How would the LTA affect that?

Ms Balmain: Because you could get one person -- that's the reality -- who just says, "No way."

Mr Gary Wilson: But it's never happened so far. I think you just said that, haven't you?

Ms Balmain: No, it hasn't happened so far, but we've only been open since 1988 and there are other programs that have been open longer that have experienced that. I think part of this provision is, if it becomes law and that does happen, what are we going to do?

Mr Gary Wilson: Again, though, it hasn't happened much to this point, never in your experience, and the idea is for people to move on. You've suggested some of the reasons they might want to move from the congregate setting. So that's part of it, and you know there are homes where the setting isn't so protective of the clients. So that's part of what we are having to consider in our deliberations.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): I'd just like to thank you for coming. Contrary to the suggestion by my colleagues over there, the purpose of these committees is to listen to the presenters, to listen to what they say, and some of the things that you've said are recurring. You've made some interesting points that I didn't realize before.

But I would like to ask you one question, since my time is limited and Mr Grandmaître asked some of the questions, as did Mr Johnson, that I was going to ask. How many times since 1988 have you physically had to say, "This person has got to go"? I just want to track back. We've had people like you here before with these homes. They'd say, "You know, this is terrible when you have to call the police and you have to do that."

But I heard you, and that doesn't seem to be much of a problem with the way you operate, that you do call the police and do these things. Having said that, how many people since you've been in operation have you had to tell to get out and that's the end of it and they can't come back?

Ms Balmain: Five. That also included the time for three years when we ran the high-support group home, so it hasn't been a very high number that we've had to do that with. We've usually been able to work something out where they've left voluntarily or they've signed themselves into the hospital voluntarily before the police came to the actual premises. But we have called when it's been serious suicide attempts where the police and the ambulance had to be called in, or violence. One was drugs on the premises.

Mr Mills: Wouldn't you agree though that if the Landlord and Tenant Act was in place, you would still have that option to do what you do?

Ms Balmain: Yes, I believe that. We do that with the shared apartments, because if the two roommates aren't getting along, we try and work with them, but we don't evict anybody.

We tell them: "If you're physically concerned for your safety, if you think things are being stolen from you, if they're bringing drugs into the house, we'll help you access the police and we'll support you through that process of laying charges or whatever you need to do, because that's how it works in the real world. If you weren't living in my apartment" -- we only have a few apartments in Stratford -- "if you were living with some other landlord, that's what you would have to do."

We're not doing them any favours by protecting them from what really happens in the world. We haven't taught them anything then. So we work with people to understand: "This is the reality, this is how I have to live and this is how you are going to have to live if you want to integrate into the community."

Mr Mills: Thank you, Mr Chair, for your indulgence.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mills, for your assistance.

Thank you very much for coming today. We will reconvene at 1:55. We will be hearing deputations from 2 until 5 o'clock.

The committee recessed from 1203 to 1402.


The Chair: The first presentation this afternoon is from the Parkdale Community Legal Services, Elinor Mahoney. Good afternoon.

Ms Elinor Mahoney: Good afternoon. I'm Elinor Mahoney and this is Lilith Finkler. Lilith is from the West End Psychiatric Survivors, a group associated with our office in Parkdale. I'm going to be doing a presentation on behalf of the legal clinic, and because West End Psychiatric Survivors was unable to get its own time slot, Lilith is sharing our time slot. We're going to take most of the half-hour doing our presentation. We figure it's probably more important for you to hear from us than for us to hear from you.

The Chair: The Chair, of course, will not make a comment.

Ms Elinor Mahoney: Of course. I'm going to take approximately 12 minutes for mine and then Lilith will take over.

We're here today to inject a little reality into these proceedings. It's unfortunate that we don't have anybody from the opposition here. However, I think even the governing party needs to know a little bit about the lives of people who stand to benefit most from Bill 120.

You won't see these people at the committee hearings. Few know of the bill's existence. Many are too frail and infirm to leave their homes, or they fear retribution from their landlords or from their municipalities. Most are just too busy trying to cope with the daily struggle of life in a society that ignores them. Our purpose is to bring their reality here to you.

We are also here to burst the myths that have been floating around in this committee room, myths that belittle and defame the people Bill 120 is designed to help. Some of these myths have been presented to you in soft, polite words by soft, polite people who operate rental housing that is currently unregulated by law. Others have been brought here by loud-mouth mayors whose yahoo comments generate a lot of publicity. If you believe these stories, you must wonder why the government's bothering to introduce Bill 120. We want to help you distinguish the myths from the reality so that you will join us in supporting the bill.

Myth 1: Tenants who live in basement apartments are child molesters who urinate in the backyard.

It is a sad comment on the voters of North York that they are represented by a mayor who has chosen to portray his city's tenants so negatively. We don't really believe, and we hope you don't, that there is a qualitative difference in moral standards and behaviour between home owners and tenants, or between tenants in high-rises, tenants above ground and tenants below ground. Or maybe it's just North York tenants. The truth is that many of the tenants in basement apartments choose this form of housing because it's an affordable way to be a part of a single-family neighbourhood. Far from contaminating a community with an alien lifestyle, they blend in so well they are practically invisible. How else can one explain the proliferation of basement apartments in cities which are so unwelcoming to them?

The second myth we'd like to address is that tenants who live in basement apartments will thwart their municipality's ability to plan and provide services.

Apparently, when tenants aren't urinating in the backyard, they are monopolizing the local libraries, schools and streets. This is the argument put forth by the mayors of the greater Toronto area. They say they won't be able to cope if basement apartments are legalized in areas where services have been based on a single-family occupancy. Their principle is that planning should determine use, not vice versa. We can only speculate as to what they will do next: perhaps expropriate the properties of all empty-nesters and childless households? After all, they skew the demographics of these planners. Or perhaps they should pass a bylaw requiring each household to have 2.5 children.

Stop and think for a minute. Cities grow and change with or without the permission of an official plan. Good planners don't try to make the world fit their model; they predict and respond to the needs of their communities.

Let's look at the reality. Ontario municipalities have been discriminating against tenants for decades, and it's time somebody makes them stop. Tenants are held hostage by their landlords as long as municipalities are allowed to ban accessory units.

When I first started at our legal clinic, we had dozens of clients living in basement apartments. Often their units lacked heat or were in extremely bad repair. There was very little we could do to help them, because if we complained to the city, the city would evict them and then eventually the apartment would be re-rented. Now basement apartments are legal in Toronto, and guess what? The libraries, the schools and the streets are coping and these units are far better maintained than they used to be. We support the province in putting an end to exclusionary zoning practices throughout the province.

Myth 3, and this is a myth we all cherish: We look after people who can't look after themselves.

If only we did. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. Not everybody has a supportive family. Sometimes people require care that their family can't give them or afford to provide. Long-term care facilities are overcrowded and, although our province has a policy of deinstitutionalization, and has had so through the Conservatives, through the Liberals and through the New Democratic Party, none of those parties has brought a coherent system of supports and services for people who are sent back to their community. The reality is that tens of thousands of our province's most vulnerable adults must fend for themselves.

Myth 4: People who offer accommodation and care to vulnerable adults have their best interests at heart and can be trusted to remain unregulated.

First, we hear the operators are upscale retirement homes who resent being lumped together with the unscrupulous slumlords of south Parkdale. They say they provide good accommodation and care. They say they provide family conferences to determine how best to address their residents' needs and only raise rents by a modest amount. They claim regulation is unnecessary and would hamper their ability to manage effectively.

But let's look at the reality. Certainly if these upscale operations are generally clean and well maintained, it's because the rents are high enough that they would be derelict if they weren't. When Doctor Dan and Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy appear at these hearings to plead their case, you should read between the lines. They seek the flexibility to transfer patients requiring additional care to a more suitable place. Translate that. Tenants can only stay as long as they are healthy enough to survive with the care their landlord is prepared to provide to them. If a tenant requires additional care, they must move even if they would prefer to stay there and have portable services brought in. That's what these people are really telling you.

They want to be able to control who is in and who is out, so they can have the tenants they want and only as long as they want them. Don't give them that power. Their tenants, most of whom are frail and infirm, should have the right to remain in their home as long as they are able or as competent as they can be to do so.

Then we have the non-profit housing providers. They too resent being compared to the slumlords of south Parkdale. Years ago our clinic supported the establishment of several non-profit housing providers. We knew they would provide clean and well-maintained alternatives for low-income roomers. But what we didn't anticipate was that many of their practices as landlords would be as arbitrary and as unfair as the worst slumlord.


We have seen church-based non-profits in our community lock out tenants in the middle of winter because they were behind in the rent. Some of our clients have been threatened with removal because of disputes about their rent subsidies. As a member of the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing, our clinic has seen or heard many more examples of ongoing harassment. Infiltrating a tenants' meeting, changing rules to restrict a tenant's guests and threatening the tenant with a lawsuit are just some of the tactics of one non-profit, church-based, government-funded landlord you will hear from later today.

All non-profits do not act like this. There are several within our coalition and throughout Metro which voluntarily abide by the Landlord and Tenant Act. They have our respect and they deserve yours, and their example proves that extending tenant protection through Bill 120 is viable. Unfortunately, the actions of others prove that Bill 120 is also necessary.

Myth number 5: A fast-track eviction or interim removal process is needed in accommodation where care is provided.

This is a myth that's been presented by virtually every landlord who has come here. They claim they are accommodating the hard to house and that they need to have special rules both to get rid of violent tenants and to protect the vulnerable adults in their care. But let's take a little closer look at this.

How many of these tenants are really hard to house? Most of the target population are senior citizens, people with disabilities and low-income roomers. Only a very, very small portion of that group would by any stretch of the imagination be termed hard to house. There has been very little evidence produced, either from Dr Lightman in his report or before this committee, other than a few anecdotes, to say that of that portion that might be termed hard to house, people actually are hard to house and are causing problems. Out of 47,000 people we want to have rights extended to, how many people are really hard to house? Should we be changing laws to address a few people or should we be looking at other alternatives?

I think we should be looking at other alternatives to the Landlord and Tenant Act. We should be looking at portable crisis units and improved police response. Those are two better ways. So is innovative housing design. Ask yourself, why do we make the hard to house live in shared accommodation and then insist that they can't have the same rights as other tenants because they share living quarters and they're more vulnerable to each other's actions? Why do we do that? Isn't that sort of perverse? Maybe we need to look at the housing design as a much more efficient way of dealing with the problems of crisis, rather than say let's just take away their rights.

I put some other reasons in my brief, which you can read during your coffee break.

The reality is that there is no compelling reason to give special removal powers to care home operators, but there is a compelling reason not to. The intention of Bill 120 is to end the law's discrimination between tenants living in rental accommodation where they receive care and the rest of the tenants in Ontario. That discrimination we are currently experiencing has resulted in several complaints being laid at the Human Rights Commission. If you establish separate rules for tenants in care homes, you're not going to end this discrimination; you're going to codify it into law. It's our view that the creation of a fast-track eviction removal process for seniors or disabled tenants or low-income tenants would violate the Ontario Human Rights Code and be struck down.

Myth number 6: Bill 120 will only help and not hurt tenants.

Basically, we like the bill. We've fought for this bill since 1986 at Parkdale Community Legal Services, when we founded the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing, and we want this bill to pass, make no mistake about it. But there's one very serious problem in it that means our clinic cannot support the bill as it is currently drafted. Because meals are not covered under rent control and because there are very few and flexible rules about registering as a care home facility, we fear you are going to eliminate with one stroke of the pen a whole category of housing we have in south Parkdale and throughout Metro: boarding homes.

Some of you may have lived in boarding homes in your younger days -- I certainly have -- where you get room and board for a monthly or a weekly charge. Currently, boarding homes are covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act and under rent control, both the meal charges and the accommodation. It's so easy to call yourself a care home that many boarding home operators could decide to register as a care home. The reason there would be a financial incentive to do so is that then the costs of their meals would no longer be regulated by rent control.

If you do that, you're going to eliminate a whole class of housing called boarding homes, which serves quite a varied population, not just people requiring care. We're going to see a situation where initially the rents registered will be the same as those currently charged, but then after that, as the economy permits, landlords will be able to raise their rents sky-high, as often and as frequently and as high as they want.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): Not the rent. You meant the meal charges.

Ms Elinor Mahoney: You see, we consider that if the tenant is paying rent now for room and board, to them, they're still going to be paying the one cheque to the landlord. To the tenant, it's going to be the rent cheque, right? I use the term quite loosely there, but I take your point.

We think you should take another look at the meal issue, and we hope you will agree that meals should be covered under rent control. This will take away the only financial incentive, really, for a non-care home operator to decide to characterize his place as a care home.

With that one caveat, our clinic supports Bill 120. We support the thrust behind it, and we hope the opposition parties, even though they have concerns, will give support to this to alleviate the plight many people find themselves in now.

Our brief focused on destroying some of the myths that abounded at the hearings, but I promised to bring you some reality from south Parkdale. We are sharing our half-hour with West End Psychiatric Survivors, a community group in Parkdale which was unable to get its own time slot, so I'll turn you over to Lilith Finkler, my colleague.

Ms Lilith Finkler: Just to clarify any confusion, I also work as a community legal worker at Parkdale. I am also a member of West End Psychiatric Survivors, and I am speaking in that second capacity here today.

West End Survivors is a support and political action group that has been meeting regularly for almost two years. We organized a very successful Psychiatric Survivor Pride Day in September 1993 and are currently working on a Psychiatric Survivor Festival which will take place in April 1994.

We are a varied group, some of us working full-time, some part-time, some living on savings, others on social assistance. We live in apartments, private non-profits, rooming houses, cooperatives and boarding homes.

West End Survivors supports Bill 120. Inclusion of care facilities and non-profit housing under the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act is a positive step.

We do not support changes which would allow boarding home operators to charge for food separately because of the material Elinor addressed earlier. This would result in economic evictions and lessen the protection we already have under the act.

Second, we wish to support the government in its rejection of fast-track evictions. Persons with a psychiatric history are no more violent than any other group in society. Therefore, any attempt to institute such statutory provisions would have a differential negative impact on an already vulnerable and stigmatized group. The Criminal Code and the Mental Health Act already contain provisions for dealing with situations where someone is violent or emotionally unstable. We are not necessarily stating here that we support the use of the those provisions uncritically, however. None the less, such laws already exist and new ones need not be created.

While the above accurately summarizes our legal position, we will not concentrate on statutory recommendations. We reject the notion of legal arguments, seeing the exercise largely as frivolous and unimportant.

Unfortunately, laws which assert basic human rights are rarely enforceable when survivors are concerned. Theft, for example, is ostensibly a crime punishable by law. None the less, people steal from our meagre allowances every day. At one Habitat-run boarding home in Parkdale, three tenants have complained separately of theft by both staff and residents. Two of the complainants have other disabilities in addition to their psychiatric histories. According to the personal care bylaw, each boarding home tenant is entitled to a locker and a key. Tenants store their money and other personal possessions in a small, narrow cupboard. Tenants often wear the key on a string around their neck. In each case described to me, a staff person or fellow resident lifted the key from around the person's neck while they slept or appeared to be sleeping, removed money from the locker and then returned the key. Tenants were afraid to complain to the operator, especially when the thief was a staff person.


If such random crimes occur daily and no punishment is ever rendered, why should we as psychiatric survivors have any more faith in Bill 120 than we do in any other law? Laws are passed and perpetuated for the benefit of those who control society. Psychiatric survivors, especially those living in Parkdale, are at the lowest rung. We are to a great extent the forgotten people. We cannot be content with statutory changes, interim measures and good case law decisions. Our people are dying in decrepit, run-down buildings known as care homes, in the back wards of psychiatric institutions, and on the streets of Toronto.

At least seven people still live in a mice- and cockroach-infested "home" called 17 Maynard Avenue. Some tenants have physical as well as psychiatric disabilities. One tenant is blind. Another uses a wheelchair. In April 1993, I took photos and swore an affidavit detailing the horrendous state of disrepair. In July an article appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star. In August the landlord, Anne Wallen, was convicted under the personal care bylaw and fined $500. In September 1993, a licensing review took place and at least seven witnesses attested to the dangerous physical conditions at the house. This includes numerous violations of the Ontario Fire Code.

One former tenant quoted in the Star -- the article, by the way, is appended to this document -- described being hospitalized after sleeping on a lice-infested bed. The lice had burrowed their way deep underneath his skin such that it required over a month to delouse him. I had attempted to obtain a new bed from family benefits but was informed that it was the responsibility of the landlord to provide it. The tenant was afraid to complain because he did not want to be thrown out of his home. Landlord and Tenant Act or no Landlord and Tenant Act, the fear of garbage bag evictions continues to be real for many psychiatric survivors. The man in question, by the way, is a member of our group.

We are deinstitutionalized without adequate support, we are heavily drugged to alter our mood and we are deemed delusional when we complain. Given the circumstances, how do we assert ourselves?

I often sit in the mall -- it's an area where patients will often smoke, hang out -- at Queen Street Mental Health Centre. Again and again I hear stories of women who are physically or sexually assaulted in their boarding homes, where they may live three or four to a room. Assault is a crime, but when they come forward, police and crown prosecutors claim they are not credible. Police cannot be trusted to enforce the laws that are designed to protect us. I have heard too many psychiatric survivors speak of being roughed up by the police. The death of Dominic Sabatino leaves all survivors wondering which one of us is next.

If laws are not enforceable and impact upon us only negatively, of what benefit are laws to us? It is the attitude behind the laws that must change. Instead of allocating funds to lawyers, give the money to survivors. Increase the amount of family benefits rather than devising creative ways to cut people off. There is no point in providing more rights in our housing if we will not be able to pay the shelter costs.

Build more affordable housing so that we have a choice in where we live. We do not want to live in shared accommodation. Workers who are paid to help us live alone or with families or friends. They live in independent, self-contained units. Why is housing for us shared accommodation? We want and need privacy too. Why is it expected that we develop social skills in such an environment? If it is so "therapeutic," why do the workers not inhabit such accommodation themselves?

Take the money used to pay the social workers who control our lives and use it to provide community economic development initiatives. This will allow us some financial independence. Our psychological wellbeing, like that of others, is tied to economic stability.

One cannot view Bill 120 in isolation. An analysis of power is central to the discussion of any proposed set of laws. Psychiatric survivors -- poor, labelled and marginalized -- will not benefit from the rearrangement of words on a page. We require a much more fundamental shift in societal attitudes and practices.

Do not empty out the psychiatric hospitals in this province until sufficient non-profit housing is available. Increase family benefits so that we can live above the poverty line. Stop the forced drugging which chemically lobotomizes us and renders us physically incapable of fighting back.

Institute a firm commitment to the Graham report, which mandated a partnership between consumer-survivors and professionals. Psychiatric survivors are a group that will be disproportionately affected by this legislation. Invite other autonomous survivor groups across Ontario to speak. West End Psychiatric Survivors is only one group of many. All of our voices must be heard.

Mr Jackson: Lilith, thank you for your presentation, and Elinor, it's good to see you again. We worked many years ago on aspects of discriminatory housing and we agreed on a lot of things in those days. I don't know that I can agree with you on many of your points, but I know you present them with great conviction.

I'm just going to leave you with a comment, because you've covered an awful lot of turf here. Where we fundamentally disagree -- I think we have approached this whole thing from the wrong way, and on page 4, Lilith, your report gives me much encouragement. I happen to believe that rent control is a sort of accommodation cost shelter for the rich and it always has been. I really do believe that the subsidy, like the support, should flow with the individual, not the building and the bricks and mortar.

Ms Finkler: That's not my position, however.

Mr Jackson: I know it's not your position, but you do make the point very eloquently and I wanted to commend you for it. Elinor knows; we've had this debate many a time.

Ms Elinor Mahoney: And will again.

Mr Jackson: That's fine. It's just that I would like to see more of the resources go there instead of the subsidy known as rent control for far too many Ontarians. I'll continue with that position because, as your report points out, if rent control was working, you wouldn't have this litany of concerns you're expressing. You've even suggested you have serious reservations about having it included in the rent control legislation.

Ms Elinor Mahoney: No, I said exactly the opposite. I said meals should be included. Anyway, you have a copy of our brief; you can read it at your leisure.

Mr Owens: Thank you, Ms Mahoney and Ms Finkler. It's nice to see you both again, and you presented a side that seems to be not well publicized to date in terms of the hearings.

Elinor, you've audited the hearings essentially since the beginning. People seem to think that basement apartments are a problem in Leaside or Ottawa, Rockcliffe or some other parts of the province; that there is only a problem with respect to affluent areas. But my concern is areas like south Parkdale and ensuring that survivors have, as a right, safe housing and are not tossed out into the street summarily.

As I've said before, there's no need for an abbreviated eviction process. The problem is that we already have an abbreviated eviction process and what we need to be doing is to give people rights regardless of whether they have "psychiatric" or developmental disabilities. That should be no reason to have two standards of law in this province based on a person's competence or lack thereof.

Thank you for your presentation, and I look forward to working with you on your concerns.

Ms Finkler: Thank you for your support.

Mr Daigeler: The position of the witnesses is quite clear. I don't think we have any questions for clarification. They're quite straightforward and obviously they're very much in support.

Ms Elinor Mahoney: And we hope we'll know your position soon too.

Mr Daigeler: It's not quite as clear as yours.

The Chair: We do have votes in this place occasionally. That helps. Thank you very much for appearing. We appreciated your comments.



Mr Kevin Smith: Thank you, Mr Chair and members of the committee. My name is Kevin Smith, and I'm a member of the Tenant Advocacy Group. I have been a member for about 10 years. The group has been in existence for about 10 years and it's been advocating and working in the area of residential tenancy law for that time. Some of the members have even longer experience working in the area of residential tenancy law.

TAG is a group of tenant advocates, and we meet on a monthly basis. TAG is made up of lawyers, community legal workers from community legal clinics as well as others involved in the tenant movement, such as the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations. You could say that TAG has a lot of depth on the bench in terms of knowledge of the residential tenancy laws of this province.

TAG has been studying the issues of exemptions in the Landlord and Tenant Act and discriminatory zoning for the past couple of years.

In my presentation, I want to say what the government seems to state as its goals for this legislation, what TAG's position is on this legislation, how TAG feels the government met the goals it set for itself, how TAG feels those goals don't go far enough, and what TAG would recommend should be included in this legislation.

In terms of the goals, the government stated in its press release that this legislation would provide that "a person living in a care home or an apartment in a house should enjoy the same rights, the same security and the same protection under the law as other tenants in this province."

We are in complete agreement with that statement. However, we are concerned that this legislation does not properly do this as far as care homes are concerned; in fact, that the result of this legislation is to take away rights from some boarding houses that were formerly covered by the legislation.

TAG believes all tenants should be protected from having their homes taken away from them due to discriminatory zoning and by other violations of their landlords. TAG is also concerned, as part of this legislation deals with increasing the powers of building inspectors, that it actually puts some tenants at greater risk than they would otherwise have been.

The first part of the legislation deals with amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act. You've heard from other groups why these amendments are necessary and you've heard from Dr Lightman why they're necessary. As Dr Lightman noted, accommodation for adults who may want or require certain personal care services is none the less primarily residential in nature, and those residents should have their protection under the residential laws of this province: the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act. But as matters stand, residents living in this type of accommodation lack the basic regulatory support and consumer protections afforded tenants in other types of residential housing.

When roomers were added to the Landlord and Tenant Act in 1987 -- and I use the word "added" loosely because it's always been TAG's position that roomers were covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act from the word go, were always tenants. None the less, there was enough vagueness in the legal definition of a roomer and in court interpretations that there was an amendment to clarify the point and to say specifically that roomers are tenants. The amendment to the definition in the Landlord and Tenant Act added something else at the same time which became a problem. We had little time to respond to those amendments, and those are the amendments this act deals with in terms of exemptions for care, exemptions for rehab and therapy and exemptions because accommodation is subject to various forms of legislation.

At the time, in 1987, we were reassured by the government, "Well, that's just to deal with halfway houses and certain types of institutions you just wouldn't want in the Landlord and Tenant Act." As I said, at the time we didn't have enough time to look into that question in too great detail. However, it's become clear over the years that those exemptions do far more than that.

At the same time, over the years there have been new forms of accommodation springing up, especially non-profit accommodation, that can claim exemptions under those sections, and they should not be able to do so. It's about time these loopholes were closed, and we are very happy that this legislation will to a large extent do that.

As you've heard in various presentations up until this point, some landlords have claimed this exemption and have thrown tenants out with their belongings in garbage bags. These garbage bag evictions simply have to stop.

For many non-profits, providing accommodation is providing it to somebody for their own good, or they imply that the landlord is answering to a higher authority, which seems to justify their trampling roughshod over the tenants' rights. Any laudable intention on the part of a non-profit landlord, in our view, does not negate the need for basic substantive and procedural protections for the tenants subject to their beneficence.

As a tenant advocate, I have found and TAG members have found that these non-profit housing situations can sometimes offer the greatest challenge to us. Those living in this type of accommodation often are unlikely to make waves with the person providing their housing when they were in desperate need of housing in the first place.

Some, and again not all, of those providing this kind of accommodation can be deaf to the legitimate concerns of their tenants. This can be partly due to a rather paternalistic notion that their charges should be grateful for the charity that's being bestowed upon them and partly because of a presumption that all the needs of their charges are looked after, in the care giver's view: What could they possibly have to complain about? You don't bite the hand that feeds you, they might add.

Unfortunately, this attitude becomes part of the corporate culture in many of these establishments. Someone who simply stands up for some basic dignity can be ostracized, labelled as a troublemaker or as hard to house when they may simply be saying they don't want the same amount of direct intrusion in their daily lives that others in the same facility might require. Faced with the necessity of securing new housing, these tenants who have been arbitrarily dispossessed are unlikely to go to court and unlikely to seek protection for their rights. Victimized once by the landlords, victimized again by labels, burdened by the premise that they have no rights to secure housing and then forced to overcome these hurdles in court, they simply give up. I'm there to help them. I'm frustrated. I say, "Let's go; we'll fight," and they say, "Well, I've got to find some place to live," and that can often be the end of the matter.

Lightman concluded that justification for this broad exemption could not be sustained and that these garbage bag evictions could not continue. TAG heartily agrees. We therefore agree with the removal of the care exemption in this legislation. There is nothing in the nature of care premises that is inconsistent with the recognition that tenants who live in these premises are entitled to the same rights other tenants enjoy.

Arguments that contract law will help tenants in these situations are spurious at best. Our society has long acknowledged that the regulation of the relationship of residential landlords and tenants is necessary to balance the inequality of bargaining power and interests of those two parties. What possible reason could there be for making this any less imperative in a housing sector that caters to people who want or need something more?

In terms of the definition of "care services" in this bill to go into the Landlord and Tenant Act, when I first read the first two sections of the bill I thought: Why are they here? They're exempting care premises altogether or removing them from the exemption so that from now on care premises are just residential premises. They're now just in the Landlord and Tenant Act, so why do you need a definition of "care services" in the Landlord and Tenant Act when they're just residential premises anyway? It struck me that these two sections seemed redundant.

However, we've reconsidered that position and we think that definition of "care services" should stay. It's a clear statement of inclusion. It's a clear recognition of a norm or principle that the right to secure housing is worthy of protection for those tenants.

The second issue has to do with the exemption for rehab and therapy. It's a very narrow definition in the bill, and we support the creation of this very narrow and very specific definition of what will be exempt: that occupied solely for the purposes of short-term rehabilitative and therapeutic services. These strict requirements will ensure that receipt of those services is the sole purpose for these occupancy arrangements.

In TAG's view, all those conditions are necessary to ensure that residential rental housing remains subject to the law and that only truly non-residential accommodation is exempt.

There are a number of exemptions, as I mentioned, where the accommodation is subject to various acts such as the Ministry of Health Act, the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act, the Homes for Special Care Act and the Homes for Retarded Persons Act. TAG's view is that the whole notion of exempting residential accommodation subject to other legislation may only be justifiable where another regime provides adequate measures of regulation and protection for the interests of those parties.


As far as the amendments to that section and a number of other amendments are concerned, we're frankly a little baffled at the way the legislation has been drafted and the inconsistency in the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act. In a schedule to our brief, we set out these amendments in a table. We simply don't understand, in some instances, why there are distinctions, and we would call upon the government to justify those distinctions.

The next issue is the subletting of care premises. There's been some suggestion by care providers that you can't let those tenants have the same rights as other tenants to sublet those premises because they were intended for people who need care in the first place and they can't just choose another tenant to sublet to; that they're going to lose that type of accommodation for people who need those services.

We recognize that tenants who live in care homes may have needs, separate from their housing, that are distinct. Under the current Landlord and Tenant Act, a landlord can require that a tenant obtain the landlord's consent to sublet. There's a proviso that consent cannot be arbitrarily or unreasonably withheld, and that consent can be reviewed by the court.

In our view, that provision will provide protection for care providers in this situation. We believe the courts will determine that a reasonable ground for withholding consent is that the sublessee or the assignee lacks the need of those care services. TAG's view is that this built-in balancing of rights will meet those concerns expressed by care providers. We do not believe there should be any distinction between classes of tenants unless it is demonstrably justified that the government should permit such a distinction.

In terms of the exclusion of meals from the definition of rent, we can understand why that was done: The definition of rent in the Landlord and Tenant Act does not include care services or meals. On the one hand, it's a good thing, because tenants won't be evicted; they won't be considered to be in arrears of rent if they haven't paid for their care services or their meals for some reason. However, at the same time, this is inconsistent with subsection 121(4) of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which lists food as a vital service, and any deliberate withholding or interference with the supply of food is a breach of this statutory obligation and makes the landlord liable to a fine on conviction.

We wonder how food could be considered a vital service but, at the same time, that payment for that food is not part of the rent. There is also no reasonable mechanism to enforce these rights and obligations and no summary remedy. A vulnerable tenant who is having their meals withheld would have to lay an information before a justice of the peace to have a conviction under that section, and they would have to apply to the Ontario Court (General Division) for injunctive relief to get their meals given to them. I can't believe this is a suggestion the government would make as a remedy for these people.

Another concern in terms of the Landlord and Tenant Act is, frankly, that this legislation creates a whole bunch of new landlords and new tenants -- amateur landlords. We are concerned that these landlords are going to be facing a new regulatory framework for their relationships for the first time and won't have the resources to ensure that they do not misuse their powers.

The amendments for removing the care facilities, the amendments removing the exemption for premises funded under certain acts, the amendments restricting the rehab and therapy exemption and the amendments allowing basement apartments, or one apartment in a house, are all going to create new landlords.

It is our experience that it is often the non-profit landlords and the small, what I call in-house landlords who make the worst landlords. For all the reasons I mentioned earlier, non-profits have a corporate culture in many instances, and we believe an education and advocacy program is absolutely necessary for tenants in that type of accommodation.

For most small landlords with an apartment in their house, they often come to court and they tell me in the hallway, "My home is my castle," even though there's an apartment in it. They seem to think that their mortgage payment makes them the lords of their manor, besides being landlords. As a result, tenants are harassed, and their privacy and their quiet enjoyment is interfered with. While this regal attitude is partly due to failing to let go of these notions, it is also due to a fundamental lack of knowledge of the respective rights and obligations of landlords and tenants under the residential tenancy laws of our province.

TAG recommends more tenant hotlines. We'd recommend perhaps a landlord hotline. We'd recommend a home-planning advisory service for landlords. We recommend continuing funding for the landlord and tenant duty counsel down at the courthouse, and we recommend increased resources for the Landlord's Self Help Centre, a legal clinic for small landlords. TAG calls upon the government to launch an educational campaign to ensure that all these new tenants and new landlords can understand the respective rights and obligations and exercise them in meaningful and appropriate ways. Otherwise, my job's going to be a lot harder.

I just want to spend a few minutes on amendments to the Rent Control Act. There is an awful lot of technical points we want to make about these amendments. We are deeply concerned that the government is revisiting the past, and not learning from it but rather repeating its mistakes.

When they created a whole new group of exempt housing in 1987, they allowed a club where people were exempt from the law. We believe these errors are being relived by extending much-needed protection to some of this housing while at the same time creating another new category of housing, exempting it from the critical coverage of the Rent Control Act and defining it in such vague, broad terms that this government is, for all practical purposes, inviting those landlords to give their housing a new name. Meanwhile, this government is continuing to leave it up to individual tenants to challenge the landlords on a case-by-case basis with respect to these exemptions.

Many tenants live in what I call the Keith Whitney Homes situation, a case between Keith Whitney Homes and Ron Payne. Mr Payne said, "I live in Keith Whitney Homes but I don't want all the services it provides," but a judge in landlord and tenant court said, "This premises is exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act, part IV, because you're getting some sort of support." Even if the service is not provided to a tenant, this accommodation can be exempt. With the new care home provisions, you can have the same kind of situation because the phrase used is "intended to be occupied for the purposes of providing care." It's been clear that the courts see this as the landlords' intention and not the tenants' intention that is being referred to here.

A new form of discrimination this bill was supposed to eradicate is being brought back to life by distinguishing between two groups of tenants on prohibited grounds. While boardinghouse tenants will have their meals regulated, tenants in care homes will not, leaving them unprotected and vulnerable once again simply because their special needs require them to live in care homes.

We must ask, will this government learn from its past mistakes? There is still time.

As was mentioned by Elinor Mahoney in the Parkdale brief, this exemption for meals allows for a loophole, and it's a large loophole, a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. Actually, it's probably a loophole big enough to launch a space shuttle through, as far as I'm concerned. Any boardinghouse owner who wouldn't use this loophole and say, "I'm now a care home," would be crazy. You can jack up the meals part of your rent as much as you want, because what used to be included in the rent is now separated out, and it's free to go up as much as you want it to, subject to whatever "market forces" there may be.


We fear there will be constructive evictions for tenants when their meal charges go up like that, and that tenants will suffer the awful indignity of having to leave their homes once they can no longer afford escalating meal costs, perhaps after their meal service has been discontinued and they've been living without proper food for several days or weeks. While some tenants can shop for meals if the meals are removed from their housing charge, if meals are still provided onsite arbitrary increases in meal costs will become an effective means of constructively evicting that tenant.

These tenants may have a lease and, although forced to move out due to exorbitant meal cost increases, will still be liable under that lease; they may in fact be sued by their housing provider for future rents. The clear and frightening scenario emerges of landlords holding tenants to their leases, while at the same time constructively evicting them. This is totally unacceptable.

The right to security of tenure can offer no protection against uncontrolled increases in costs for these essential services and necessities of life. Ironically, that right to security of tenure becomes a burden, placing obligations on these tenants they cannot meet.

If they are on social assistance, as many of these tenants are, their social assistance cheque does not increase due to any increase in the meal charge, unlike increases in the shelter subsidy portion to reflect increases in rents. Their living allowance will be eaten into by their meal charges.

Many of these tenants have limited options because of their age or disability. They may be completely unable to shop or prepare any food for themselves, and their own homes probably won't even have cooking facilities. Food becomes the lever landlords can use to keep them compliant and silent about other abuses of their rights. TAG recommends that meals should be regulated.

Meals have always been included in rent in regular rooming and boarding houses and will continue to be covered. There is no practical reason this same practice cannot apply to housing with care services.

I'll skip over a bunch of other technical points I was going to make about the Rent Control Act. They are in the brief. There are some serious problems, and I would certainly recommend that you read them.

One problem has to due with the registration of the rents for care homes. The rent registry was intended to cover premises from three to six units in 1991, and landlords have to register their rents. Many rooming houses and boarding houses will have to register as of that date. This law changes that situation. If you say you're a care home, the initial rent date you have to register is the rent on November 23, 1993. Any illegal rent increases in the meantime during that period are allowed; they just become inserted into the rent and any future rents are based on that increase.

I would point out that the ability to convert to a care home is very easy. You can become a care home overnight: You can just declare yourself to be a care home. While there's provision in the bill that the definition of care home will not include those units converted contrary to the Rental Housing Protection Act, that's only the case once this bill becomes law. In the meantime, it's open season for landlords to convert. Unfortunately, you're closing the barn door after the horse has left. TAG recommends that the RHPA provisions should be retroactive to prevent this loophole.

There are a number of transitional problems I would refer you to in the brief.

There are a number of provisions regarding shared accommodation, because many of these care homes have shared accommodation. TAG agrees with most of those recommendations regarding shared accommodation. TAG has concerns that those shared accommodation provisions regarding coercion, that that attempt to prevent coercion, provides no remedy if there was in fact coercion. There should be remedy in the law if a tenant said they were coerced, and there isn't.

We believe those provisions regarding shared accommodation should apply to all shared accommodation. They should be extended to any rooming house, any boarding house, any type of situation like that where tenants share accommodation, split up their rent and are jointly and severally liable for the rent under the present law. We believe that those provisions should apply to all situations and that those tenants should be free to divide up their rent and that the maximum rent per tenant can be chargeable under rent control and regulated. There should be no distinction between tenants living in care facilities and other tenants living in rooming and boarding houses as far as their rights under the Rent Control Act are concerned.

I mentioned the inconsistencies in the amendments. I won't go into that any further other than to ask for clarification. In terms of the amendments to the Planning Act to allow apartments in houses, I won't go into that position. I have handed out to you the position paper of the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign. They've already appeared before you. They've already done their presentation. Their brief is very detailed as far as the apartments-in-houses legislation is concerned and TAG adopts every recommendation in that brief.

In terms of what the government should do, TAG's position in one phrase is that a tenant is a tenant is a tenant. TAG's position is that any tenant living in any type of accommodation should have the rights of the Landlord and Tenant Act. This government does not go far enough. It does not provide Landlord and Tenant Act coverage to people living in rooming and boarding houses. It does not cover tenants living in accommodation that may be zoned improperly. It does not cover tenants who are living in accommodation where there perhaps are violations of building standards. These are called, in the rubric, illegal units, and these units may not be covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act, especially given the decisions of some judges in the landlord and tenant court.

TAG recommends that all those tenants should have the rights of tenants. TAG recommends that the powers of municipalities should be changed so that municipalities can assist those tenants in making that accommodation come up to standards. TAG recommends that any type of increased inspection powers by municipal inspectors should be tenant-driven and that with any violations of zoning and any violations of standards, the remedies for those violations should mean that those violations are remedied; however, the tenant is not to be evicted. That's been the situation up until this time and tenants have suffered due to the illegalities and the lack of action of their landlords. That's an intolerable situation.

That's my presentation. I'm sorry; I've left you about a minute for questions.

The Chair: Just about precisely a minute.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks for a very detailed brief. It gives us a lot of things to consider over the next weeks of hearings and the clause-by-clause analysis. I would just like to mention the issue of the food. Of course, we have taken that into account as part of the care services, and separated it from the accommodation, partly because the food can fluctuate differently from the rental and could put pressure on the level of the increase to the rent, forcing it higher. We are going to monitor, though. The legislation allows regulations in the future if the care costs appear to be out of line with what the true costs of them should be, through monitoring, by comparison to what they are in the wider society. That is what we have done to try to control that, or at least consider that aspect.

Mr Smith: I think monitoring is kind of cold comfort. I think you need to regulate it. It's as simple as that.

Mr Cordiano: There are so many questions and not enough time, so let me ask this basic question: Did the minister attempt to consult with you on Bill 120 before it was introduced? Did anyone approach you?

Mr Smith: Did the minister approach TAG?

Mr Cordiano: Yes, your group.

Mr Smith: No, I don't believe so. This is part of a long, ongoing process. You're probably aware of Bill 90 with regard to apartments in houses. We had put in positions about that.

Mr Cordiano: So you were consulted on that part of the legislation.

Mr Smith: TAG has also put in a position on the Lightman report and on what TAG feels should be done as a result of the Lightman commission report, which is the first part of this bill.

Mr Cordiano: What you're telling me is you did have some consultation with the ministry.

Mr Smith: Yes, in effect.


Mr Jackson: This is a very comprehensive brief. One of the questions you raised during your presentation was additional resources required to give full force and effect to the expanded number of landlords and tenants so that those services are available. Since I'm not a regular member of this committee, I assume the government addressed that question early. Perhaps it could be shared with me and shared with TAG so that it knows how many additional resources will be applied to servicing these component parts that respond to landlord and tenant matters, now that we're expanding the base. I'm as interested as you are in that question. If it's available, I've asked that they share it with you.

Mr Smith: Thank you very much.

Mr Jackson: That was a request for information.

The Chair: I understand that to be. I'm certain that the ministry has taken note of Mr Jackson's request and that an answer will be forthcoming before these hearings are at an end.

Thank you very much for appearing today. We appreciate your comments. So you would know, the committee will be discussing this bill clause by clause during the week of March 6, and seeing as you've made a number of interesting amendment suggestions, perhaps the committee will consider those.

Mr Smith: Perhaps to respond to Mr Cordiano, we are available for other questions if he wishes to ask them another time.


The Chair: The next presentation is Roomers' Rights Organization (Toronto) Inc. Good afternoon. Welcome to the committee. You've been allocated 30 minutes for your presentation. You should introduce yourself and your position within the organization, and then begin.

Miss Patricia McCartie: First of all, I won't take nearly 30 minutes. I had some other people who were supposed to come with me and they're not here. My name is Patricia McCartie and I'm with Roomers' Rights Organization (Toronto) Inc. I'm here on behalf of Roomers' Rights and rooming house tenants in Toronto and of course the province.

I'm in a rather unique position because I was the property manager for some rooming houses, some low-income housing on Dundas Street East, so I have a perspective from both the landlord and the tenant issues.

Roomers' Rights first of all endorses and supports the brief that was already presented to you by the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing. I would like to say thank you to Evelyn Gigantes on her response to illegal rooming houses, illegal tenants and garbage bag evictions. This has been a real concern of Roomers' Rights. They have been lobbying, along with Neighbourhood Legal Services, for the implementation of some of this legislation.

I think the first thing I'd like to say is that the actual name of this legislation is the residents' rights bill. In the major elements of the residents' rights bill, the last article suggests tenants in existing illegal apartments in houses will have an improved ability to exercise their rights to a safe and secure unit. I would like to suggest today that this neglects to cover illegal rooming house tenants. I think you're doing a real disservice to the people of Ontario when you neglect to include rooming house tenants in this legislation.

It's not the fault of the tenants that they're living in illegal accommodation. A lot of tenants don't even realize they are in illegal tenancy until they take steps to try to get repairs or to try to exercise their rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

As I suggested to you, having been in the management position, I can understand why some of the landlords do some of the things they do, but I don't condone it. Some rooming house tenants are very difficult people to live with, but the issue is that these people have to have somewhere to live and low-income people are traditionally hard to house. The people in Rosedale don't have to worry about being covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

As far as basement apartments are concerned, it's a real tragedy that people have to die in fires like the one that happened in Mississauga in December. But I would suggest to Hazel McCallion that these fires and these tragedies would be fewer and farther between if these apartments were regulated and if these tenants had the right to complain and to exercise their rights to have repairs done. In the case of the Mississauga fire, I understand that it wasn't necessarily the landlord's fault in the first place.

I think there needs to be a real education process as far as the Landlord and Tenant Act is concerned, especially on basement apartments. Elinor suggested tenants are held hostage by their landlords, and they are.

I would also like to tell you about an apartment that's in downtown east end Toronto that is in an apartment building and is illegal. It's a converted laundry room. It's in a 16-storey apartment building, but the bottom two floors, which are designated as laundry and storage facilities, and even the underground parking areas, have been converted to apartments.

In this particular apartment, the windows are so far up on the wall that the person occupying the apartment has to stand on a kitchen table to open it. If there were a fire outside her apartment, she would be dead, literally, because the window, if she were able to reach it, has bars on the outside. She wouldn't be able to get out. The apartment floods every spring. In fact, in the last thaw it flooded again. She lost the walls of her apartment last spring; they literally collapsed. She called in inspectors and the inspectors said, "Oh, well." Nothing was done.

This is sort of an outside area of Regent Park so maybe they thought it was okay. Sorry; I get kind of upset about these things.

As I suggested, Bill 120 doesn't cover rooming house tenants, nor does it cover the availability of a provision for removing tenants who are causing problems in rooming house situations; ie, the Rupert Hotel fire. Roomers would like to see some provision made for fast-track eviction and for those people who are being fast-track evicted to be cared for. We don't endorse arbitrarily evicting people without allowing them somewhere to go or having some place where they can be accommodated.

While I was a manager of some of my rooming houses, there was a tenant there who was a crack addict. He sold crack and literally dropped a cement block three floors and just missed three other tenants who were walking into the house. We could not evict this man. He was in jail at one point and we still could not evict him. We lost all the tenants in that house because of that one person. This issue has to be addressed.

Having said that, we endorse and support the brief already presented to you by the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing. I'd like to suggest that's pretty well all we'd like to say.


Mr Cordiano: I would like to thank you for your presentation because I think it goes a long way towards addressing some of the concerns I have with respect to Bill 120. Unfortunately, I wasn't here for the presentation by Parkdale Community Legal Services, Elinor Mahoney, who was here. I think she pointed out the need for a fast-track eviction to me some time ago and for a temporary kind of eviction which would be the kind of --

Mr Owens: I don't think that's what she said.

The Chair: Mr Cordiano has the floor.

Mr Cordiano: Thank you, Mr Chairman, if I may continue.

The kind of situation that would be presented in a crisis type of circumstance or an emergency is the kind of thing that would require the temporary eviction we're speaking about, and you've pointed this out.

Miss McCartie: A temporary removal of some people who are causing a problem at the time. We would also endorse, though, fast-track eviction of people who are continuously disrupting the household.

Mr Cordiano: Right, that's just it, and under Bill 120 as presently drafted that would not be possible. Obviously, you couldn't deal with a situation like that other than to call the police and have the police deal with it --

Miss McCartie: Which sometimes doesn't help.

Mr Cordiano: There you go. We should hear from the police forces of the province, perhaps, around that question because I keep hearing the government say, and the minister has said this herself: "The police could be called in an emergency situation to deal with a difficult tenant. The laws of the land would apply." But I'm hearing from operators and from people who live in rooming houses that in difficult circumstances that present themselves often what will happen is that the police will show up and the incident is over and there isn't the kind of removal of the person to deal with the crisis that presented itself.

Miss McCartie: Either that or the police will not show up or the police won't have the jurisdiction to remove that person from the house. We had a situation when I was managing the houses where a superintendent called me one late night in December and suggested to me that there was a crack party going on, on the second floor. She was afraid to go to the bathroom. I called the police and asked them to go the house. I spoke to her later on and she suggested to me that the police had not come.

I called them back again and they suggested to me that there were plainclothes detectives in front of the house. That did not relieve her problem. She had a crack party going on in the house. She was not able to use the washroom facilities. What was her recourse? The police did not provide protection for the roomers. They were more interested in apprehending crack dealers.

Mr Cordiano: The reality is that these circumstances do come up, leaving the tenants who live in the rooming house situation very vulnerable to someone who's dangerous.

Miss McCartie: Exactly.

Mr Cordiano: I'm beginning to believe that the only way the government is going to understand this is to have these members live in a situation like that for a period of time.

Miss McCartie: I would love to see that happen. Unfortunately, and this is one of the issues I addressed with Evelyn Gigantes at My Room, My Home conference, you people have never lived in rooming house facilities.

Mr Fletcher: Yes, I have.

Miss McCartie: Good.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): In Toronto?

Miss McCartie: In Toronto? Downtown?

The Chair: Remarks should be addressed through the Chair. Members know that Mr Cordiano has the floor.

Mr Cordiano: Mr Chairman, if I still have time, Mr Fletcher can answer that question. He lived in a rooming house and had firsthand experience.

The Chair: Mr Cordiano, your discussion is through the Chair to the witness.

Miss McCartie: Could I ask a question?

Mr Cordiano: You can make a statement.

Miss McCartie: Okay, could I ask anyone who's lived in a rooming house situation in downtown Toronto to raise your hand.


Miss McCartie: I'm sorry? Parkdale?

Mr Cordiano: No, you don't qualify.

Mr Mills: One night? I've stayed one night.

Miss McCartie: I would suggest to this committee that living in a rooming house situation in downtown Toronto right now is just incredible. You not only have to deal with crack dealers; you have to deal with prostitutes; you also have to deal with cockroaches; you have to deal with rats and mice and furniture that falls apart and so-called kitchen facilities.

Myself as a manager of a rooming house situation, I'm sorry; I probably would not have lived in those houses and I worked very hard to make those houses presentable and do it at the cost of my job, because eventually the landlord lost the buildings to the mortgage company because he couldn't keep up the payments because one tenant got rid of 10. He lost the building.

In a lot of rooming house situations, you have to deal with people putting their fist through walls, putting their fist through doors. When they move out they take the refrigerator with them, whatever. It is very difficult to keep up rooming house homes, but they are a necessity. They need to be regulated, they need to be legalized and the tenants of these rooming houses need to have legal rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act. As it stands now, if the landlord does not have a permit for his rooming house, the tenant does not have legal rights. I'm sorry; that's ludicrous.

Mr David Johnson: This is very interesting. This is a different kind of deputation than most of the ones we've heard, so it's interesting to hear a different slant on this whole issue. You indicated you were the manager of a rooming house. Roughly what size? Was it a rooming house? Is that what you termed it?

Miss McCartie: We had three rooming houses. They were three rooming houses at 382, 386 and 388 Dundas Street East. They were adjacent to each other and we had 10, 10 and 12 rooms in the houses.

Mr David Johnson: So we're talking about 32 rooms in close proximity.

Miss McCartie: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: The Landlord and Tenant Act of course does not pertain --

Miss McCartie: It did cover some of ours because we did have our permits.

Mr David Johnson: So that's why, then, because the Landlord and Tenant Act covered some portion or all portions of these houses, the individual you mentioned to us who was causing all these problems could not be evicted.

Miss McCartie: Exactly.

Mr David Johnson: Did you pursue the Landlord and Tenant Act to evict the person?

Miss McCartie: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: What sort of experience did you have going through the process?

Miss McCartie: He had to go to jail for crack dealing, and as long as he was in jail we couldn't evict him because he couldn't go through the due process.

Mr David Johnson: That's not the first time I've heard that story. It's the first time as a deputation but I heard it otherwise. If you start the process to get this person out who is driving everybody else out, I guess, or to distraction, then even if he's not in jail there's a process to go through.

Miss McCartie: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: When you started the process, was he in jail?

Miss McCartie: No, he was in the house.

Mr David Johnson: So you started the process, but then it takes a period of time to go through it.

Miss McCartie: Exactly.

Mr David Johnson: While you were going through that process --

Miss McCartie: He was arrested and jailed and then he was out. My boss, the owner of the house, tried garbage bag eviction, just outing him and changing the locks, and we were fined.

Mr David Johnson: So the tenant was back in.

Miss McCartie: Right.

Mr David Johnson: This was taking place over a period of how long?

Miss McCartie: Over a period of about three or four months. When you're on a month-to-month tenancy, it traditionally takes about 65 days to evict a tenant.

Mr David Johnson: Did you finally have this tenant evicted, or what happened?

Miss McCartie: We lost the building.

Mr David Johnson: During these three or four months that this was going on, were the other tenants were leaving?

Miss McCartie: Yes, in droves. Actually, the only people living in the house were illegal tenants that this drug dealer had brought in with him who were sleeping six and seven in a room. They were doing drugs, they were pimping, they were prostituting and nobody would go in and evict them. The only people we had to go to to evict them were police. You could almost go in there every day and kick out 10 people.

Mr David Johnson: When you mentioned this to the police, and I presume you indicated what was going on --

Miss McCartie: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: -- that drugs were being dealt and there was prostitution and pimping and all this sort of stuff, what did the police say to you?

Miss McCartie: When I called them back the second time, the police who answered the phone suggested to me that there were plainclothes detectives outside the house who had been watching the house for a matter of a week or two and that they were interested in catching the crack dealers. From he intimated to me as well there were plainclothes detectives in the house, but that did not help the superintendent.

Mr David Johnson: I presume they would have to actually see the drugs or the drug dealing or the pimping or prostitution. Without that hard evidence, there really isn't much the police could do, I would assume.

Miss McCartie: Exactly.


Mr Stockwell: Then if they did see him and arrest him, that was like double jeopardy because then you would be guaranteed you couldn't get them out.

Miss McCartie: Right, because he'd be in jail. Now apparently, and I'm not positive, I believe it's being implemented that anybody who is convicted of drug dealing can be evicted, but if they're in jail --

Mr Stockwell: They're in the middle of due process. You can't kick them out.

Miss McCartie: Exactly.

Mr Stockwell: Your owner lost all the buildings?

Miss McCartie: Yes.

Mr Stockwell: But this was only happening in one of the buildings.

Miss McCartie: This was happening in one of the buildings. In one of the other houses that we had, there was a tenant of long standing whom we suspected of dealing drugs but who was not quite as bad as this fellow was. But when you went to him to collect the rent, he'd tell you to eff off and slam the door in your face, so we started proceedings against him on the fact that his rent was late. He pays his rent up, and then you start the proceedings all over again. Then we got him on continuous harassment, harassment of all the other tenants. Again you start the proceedings. He tells the judge he's going to be a good boy from now on and the judge gives you protection in the fact that you can bring him back under four days' notice.

Mr Stockwell: Did you do that?

Miss McCartie: We did.

Mr Stockwell: But in the meantime you lost all your other tenants.

Miss McCartie: Exactly.

Mr David Johnson: I think you were perhaps very sensitive in terms of your introduction of this. You felt that the tenants should be under the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act but that there should be a fast eviction process to deal with people like this. At the same time, you said there should be care provided.

Miss McCartie: Not for that fellow.

Mr David Johnson: That's what I wondered. From the description that you gave, I'm not sure care would be available for that particular individual, the way you've described him.

Miss McCartie: I think jail would be the proper facility for him.

Mr David Johnson: But you're thinking of other incidents, I guess.

Miss McCartie: I'm thinking of other incidents in the fact of psychiatric survivors who have temporary problems. One of the interesting parts that came our of the My Room, My Home conference was that there was a fellow there from California who was the administrator of several different rooming house situations, and they had a facilitative care building where they would have drug addicts and alcoholics. They would have the facilitative care and they would bring them back, dry them out, and when they were ready, they would move them into traditional housing.

If that person went back to prostitution, went back to alcohol or went back to drugs, they would go back to the facilitative care, but apparently, and this is what I disagree with, they only had one chance. You go back once and you go back into integrated housing. If you fail again, you're out. I agree with the process, but I would suggest that people are not going to fail just once. People who are psychiatric survivors, who are drug abusers, who are alcoholics, are not going to fail just once. You can't give up on them after just once.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): I want to touch on one area of your presentation, and that's the area of crack dealers and the frustration some landlords have in terms of eviction.

In speaking to the previous chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority, she told me that they adopted a policy, and I've witnessed this policy myself in my community, the fast-track eviction policy that they have within MTHA when you talk about drug dealers and crack dealers and those who put immediate danger in the lives of people who live there on an everyday basis. They are very successful, from what I hear, in these types of evictions, and they're successful in that they work together with the police department. There's actually precedent at the court level that would evict even before the court case.

Miss McCartie: But I would suggest that this is exclusive to MTHA.

Mr Mammoliti: I don't think it's exclusive. I think it's a matter of a relationship between the police department and the property manager. I think what needs to happen in this province is that property managers need to gain a better relationship with the police department, a working relationship, such as MTHA has done in the past, and that's not happening across the province.

Miss McCartie: And/or an education process. I think one of the situations that is unique to rooming houses and low-income housing is the fact that a lot of these people have setup housing situations and are uneducated as to what's available to them.

Mr Mammoliti: I agree with you in terms of that. I think the province should be educating a little more, but I think the onus should also be on landlords as well.

Miss McCartie: On the landlords, yes.

Mr Mammoliti: Landlords need to take some responsibility in whom they're housing and the education component that comes along with that, and that's just not happening. While I can sit here and say, yes, we need to do a little more in terms of education, I think the government has done a lot more than pretty much any landlord that exists in the province. They've taken on a responsibility. We have, as a government. We've been changing the necessary legislation over the last few years to try and take care of tenants. Landlords haven't and that's a proven fact. My response to your submission is that we should talk to the landlords a little more and educate landlords in terms of their responsibility to tenants.

Miss McCartie: Thank you. I think I agree with you.

Mr Owens: Just to begin with, Mr Cordiano represented to you that Elinor Mahoney and the Parkdale Community Legal Services support fast-track eviction, but that is in fact not the case.

In terms of your submission, I'm a little bit confused about the direction. I just want to make sure that I understand where you want us to go with that. You want rooming houses to be covered.

Miss McCartie: Yes, rooming houses and/or tenants of rooming houses, illegal rooming houses, because there are thousands of illegal rooming houses in downtown Toronto whose tenants are not covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Owens: Right. In doing that, you would like to see an amendment to Bill 120 with respect to the provision of abbreviated or fast-track eviction proceedings?

Miss McCartie: Yes.

Mr Owens: In terms of your experience, you describe the green garbage bag eviction as not being successful. My understanding is it's probably the first in history that hasn't been successful.

Miss McCartie: What I'm suggesting is not that it's not successful. What I'm suggesting is that garbage bag evictions should not be happening.

Mr Owens: Absolutely not. But in terms of your submission, that in order to get somebody out of one of the premises that you were managing -- maybe I'm not understanding what you were saying -- you summarily tossed somebody out, so I'm concerned --

Miss McCartie: No.

Mr Owens: The protection of tenants is what we need.

Miss McCartie: Right; of all tenants.

Mr Owens: Absolutely. In terms of the issues with respect to drugs, which is not an insignificant problem in this city, how do you protect the tenants who may not be involved, and this being a police issue, if the police don't want, for whatever reason, to respond to those requests? I'm not sure that we can do something about that here.

Miss McCartie: What I'm suggesting is, first of all, it's not the police responsibility to evict tenants from these housing situations. But what I am suggesting is that, first of all, someone who is obviously disrupting the house by throwing a cement block out of a third-floor window is jeopardizing the other persons' lives, okay? I am not suggesting I should be able to walk into a house and kick this person out. I'm suggesting there should be legislation available to the landlord to go through a process of evicting this person that doesn't take 65 days.


Mr Owens: Chair, if you could stop the clock, I have a question of policy. My understanding --

Interjections: Stop the clock?

Mr Owens: All right. I'll yield to my colleague and then on a point of order I'll --

The Chair: I think you'll yield to the Chair, because the time has expired for the questions.

Mr Stockwell: He can use one of his time-outs. You've only got two left.

Mr Owens: Nice of you to drop in, Chris. Your half-day presence is welcome.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee today. It was most helpful.

Mr Owens: In terms of some of the concerns that have been raised with respect to the inability to obtain an eviction while a criminal proceeding is ongoing, I'd like to get some clarification from either Ministry of Housing policy staff or legal staff. It's my understanding that in fact an eviction can be obtained even though a person has not been convicted in criminal court of -- whether it's selling drugs or whatever other illegal act.

The Chair: I will ask the ministry to take note of your interest in that particular issue and to report to us when it reports on Mr Jackson's interest in another matter.


Mr James Pike: My name's Jim Pike and I'm the current chairman of the board of Ecuhome Corp. With me is Ann Kidd, our managing director, and Gerry Mackenzie, who's a resident of Ecuhome.

You have quite a comprehensive package in front of you and I won't attempt to read it all to you, thankfully. I thought I would give you just a quick overview of what Ecuhome is. Basically, we've been in business for about 10 years. We provide housing to people in the city of Toronto, about 280 residents. We own 50 houses and we're sponsored by seven Christian faith groups. I happen to be a volunteer representing the Anglican Church, but we have the other faith groups represented on the board.

One of the reasons I wanted Gerry Mackenzie to join me was that as a volunteer board member and basically a housing provider, it's sometimes difficult to get a full perspective of what goes on in the housing milieu. You volunteer your time and you get involved in community activities, but at the end of the day you sometimes wonder whether you understand the full housing issues.

Gerry helped me to understand them pretty fully about four years ago when we had a deteriorating situation in a number of our houses. Basically, there was a situation of crack and violence, and Gerry's housing was threatened by those around him. We were able to take some action in our housing situation. We work under the Innkeepers Act and we were able to move Gerry to another house. We were able to take some action against the people who were undertaking some activities which were impacting the housing of others who were in our housing situation.

We have six or seven or eight people living in each of the 50 houses, so it's certainly a community-based approach that we have at Ecuhome. The community focus is very important to us. You really wouldn't know us, I don't think, on the streets where we operate. We try to fit in with the community. We think it's very important that we be part of the community. In the same sense, we think it's important that people who live in our houses be part of the Ecuhome community for the care and service we provide.

As to the legislation before us, we would have liked to have participated in the drafting of it. We in fact tried to approach the minister a number of times, including sending letters, but we never really did get a response. In fact, we didn't get a response in terms of getting our input into the legislation.

Having said that we're concerned about it, because we would have liked to have influenced it, we do believe fairly strongly in the idea of the right to shelter and its protection afforded by the Landlord and Tenant Act. The difficulty we have with it is that because we are providers of shared accommodation, we are going to be in an intolerable situation with respect to one particular resident taking action against another resident etc. It's really going to upset our whole housing model. The remedies within the LTA with respect to eviction are particularly onerous. When you're in a situation where you have people living cooperatively, which is in a sense part of their care and therapy, it's very difficult to make a housing model like this work when we have to go back to the remedies of the LTA.

Our basic point is that we don't think this legislation should be passed in its current form. However, we're supportive of the idea of residents' rights and we think that is an admirable part of the legislation.

We would like to suggest that some constructive amendments be made to the legislation to accommodate our concern in that regard. Basically, what we're suggesting is that under this legislation you consider what we've called a part V to take care of termination procedures rather than the current time frame which is provided with the LTA. Some examples of that I think are with respect to the original Lightman work that was done. I believe he recommended an approach to take care of evictions, but it was really unworkable because of the way in which it was structured. It really followed the same path as the current LTA guidance. Perhaps that's the reason it wasn't proposed as part of the original legislation.

I suggest to you that we need to have something in there to help shared-living housing providers like the Ecuhomes of the world, something that would at least give us an opportunity to perhaps go before a judge, maybe use part of the ex parte applications that are currently used in the LTA, where with four days' notice you can do something. If we're to have someone who's affecting our housing care program sitting in place for an extended period of time, it goes without saying that the rest of our program for the other people we're helping is going to be severely affected.

That's the concern we have. We have 280 residents, and for the most part, they're happy with the housing model we have and provide and would like to see it continue in its current form. I'll say it again: We would certainly support the legislation from the point of view of what we're trying to do with tenure of residency and that type of thing, but we need a better way to handle the particular part with respect to termination.

I think as well we need the ability to gain access to premises, perhaps with a 24-hour notice period, shorter perhaps if there are more severe circumstances that are under way in the house. Again, this relates to the nature of a shared living environment, with people living with each other.

There are a couple of other points with respect to the legislation. The definition of a care period as six months to us seems quite limited based on our experience with people who've been our residents, some for periods of time going beyond a number of years. It really becomes a judgement call in terms of what is a care period. When we look at the type of people who we've had through our project, they come from very different backgrounds and they have different requirements. To arbitrarily peg a six-month time frame for care we think is unreasonable. I'm not sure what the intent of six months was with respect to a care time frame.

The other part is the principal residence condition. Most of our residents do not have principal residences, so the idea of receiving care while living in a principal residence seems like another unreasonable type of program to put forward.

From our perspective as housing providers, using the resources of some of the churches that provide facilities within the neighbourhood, working in a housing environment where we fit into the community, we're part of the community in terms of the overall care, the satisfaction of giving the right kind of facilities to people. We think we're a role model for the type of housing you would want to provide in any community.


The underpinning of it, though, is our ability to continue to offer our care program. This gets into a debate with respect to the rights of the individual versus the rights of the group. Although the rights of the individual are certainly important, we believe you have to look at the care facility in terms of people living cooperatively among themselves, and recognize that there are going to be situations where the rights of the resident have to be abridged in favour of the rights of the group.

We think that amending the legislation with some type of part V where you've got a better fast-track approach would certainly improve the quality of this legislation from our perspective.

The churches that we represent strongly believe in providing housing and care to people in communities everywhere, and I think they would be very disappointed if they were no longer able to sponsor this type of housing because they weren't able to run a proper and responsible housing organization like Ecuhome.

The material we've given to you outlines the type of processes and procedures we use in selecting our tenants, in having residents part of that process. It talks about our procedures for evicting tenants and all the processes that we go through. If there's one comment I would make there, many of our residents today, if they have any complaint, it's that we don't use our rights under the Innkeepers Act more forcefully and more regularly. We go through a very long process of appeal before we implement them. We think these processes that we've developed would be instructive and helpful to you if you were to consider a part V in terms of a fast-track type of approach.

Those are the major parts of our presentation and there's a lot of additional information in terms of what we're basically recommending.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to thank you very much for your very thoughtful deputation today, and secondly, for the excellent service you provide to people who obviously need that kind of support.

I was interested that in the brief, and Margaret brought it to my attention, there's a letter to the Minister of Housing which indicates to me that you've been in touch with the ministry. Am I reading this wrong? Tell me if I'm wrong here. It looks like on seven different occasions you've been in touch with the Ministry of Housing, but have not had even a response let alone an answer to your concerns over a period of 10 months. Am I interpreting this properly?

Mr Pike: You've interpreted that correctly, yes.

Mr David Johnson: I'm sure Margaret will want to follow up on that in a minute, but I find it just blows my mind that an organization like yours, which is providing very needed housing to people who are hard to house and that obviously has a great deal to contribute, can't even get a response from the minister's office or from the ministry. It boggles the mind.

I was interested in another aspect here that I'm not sure has been emphasized by other groups, although I suspect they would share your concern. It's on page 7 of your deputation where you've noted that "under the Landlord and Tenant Act, increased costs will be incurred by the departure of permanent stable residents who will no longer feel they can count on a clean and safe environment.... The delays in court, non-payment of rents and legal costs may rapidly expand into thousands of dollars."

For an organization such as yours, for the service you give, I imagine dollars are not in plentiful supply. What sort of financial aspect do you see this having? If the bill goes through the way it is right now, what will be the impact?

Mr Pike: We can only go by examples of other housing providers we're associated with, for example, Keith Whitney Homes which ran up a legal bill of around $30,000. We've had our own legal bills with respect to challenges made on us working under the Innkeepers Act that have been in the $6,000 or $7,000 range, but we're really not funded for the legal bills and it's not part of our budget submission. Under this legislation, if it were to go through, we could easily see our legal bills going to $100,000 a year.

Mr David Johnson: Where is that money going to come from? What will happen if that's the case?

Mr Pike: There are a number of approaches we might take. One is to cut back on our care, which we would do reluctantly. We could approach the government and ask it to fund a legal clinic, if you will, for providers like us to help us in these kinds of situations, because there would be us and there would be other housing providers who would need that aid. But we're not sure whether there would be any money available for that.

Mr David Johnson: This is certainly going to be problem.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): First of all, I want to apologize because I couldn't meet with you yesterday morning. I appreciate very much the fact that Mr Johnson was able to do that on behalf of our caucus.

We would also like to tell you that we will be bringing in amendments to address the concerns you have brought to the committee today, because as you're aware, we have had a number of groups that provide similar types of housing that essentially face the total destruction of the program if we can't get this bill amended. So we are very sympathetic to your concerns and we certainly understand them fully.

What really, totally disgusts me is the fact that here we have a program -- actually, I was pointing out to Mr Cordiano that there was a contract signed when they were the government, but I was missing one of the press releases in my package which goes back to 1983, when the original program was sponsored by the Ministry of Community and Social Services when we were the government.

Frankly, I don't really care who the government of the day is, but it really says something when two governments saw the merit of this program, and certainly I know that as a volunteer you're spending a lot of personal time. But here's a program that has been very viable, very important, in this case 280 residents, and yet we now have a government that doesn't even reply to you in nine months. I just find that so insulting, and I say that for the record because I would be embarrassed to be a government member who has to defend the fact that in nine months there is no response to this group.

I think it shows the fact that it keeps coming up in these hearings that while you were drafting this bill and long before you got to the final stage --

Mr Mammoliti: Point of order, Mr Chair.

Mrs Marland: I'm allowed to use my time however I wish, thank you, Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mammoliti: Are we here to ask the deputants questions, or are we here to listen to a lecture from Mrs Marland?

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti would know that's not a point of order.

Mrs Marland: We can use our time as we choose and you know that. I think that by the time you've been here three and a half years, you should know what committee hearings are about.

Mr Mammoliti: Ask the question, Margaret.

Mrs Marland: I just want to say to you that I don't actually have any questions for you, because there's absolutely --


Mrs Marland: I'm glad you find that amusing, especially that the ministry staff find it amusing. I'd be embarrassed to laugh, as a ministry staff person when there's been no response to the concerns that you've brought to this committee for nine months. But I would just like to tell you that obviously we know where your concerns are and we will get them addressed.

Mr Pike: Thank you.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'm afraid I'll have to use my time to ask Mrs Marland to tell us who the ministry staff is who's laughing.

Mr Mills: None of them.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'm sorry. It's on the record. I didn't see any ministry staff laughing at that.

Mr Mammoliti: That's a fair question.

Mr Gary Wilson: That is reprehensible. Anyway, I will return to this subject, partly because another thing --

Mrs Marland: I would be happy to do that for you.

Mr Gary Wilson: Oh, Mrs Marland will be happy to do it. All right.

Mrs Marland: But I'm not going to rise to that kind of bait.

Mr Gary Wilson: Okay, fair enough.

The Chair: This committee operates much better when --

Mr Gary Wilson: When Mrs Marland isn't here.

The Chair: -- the discussion is one at a time with the people who have come to speak to us.

Mr Gary Wilson: Sorry, Mr Chair. I would like to mention a few things. We have heard two sides of this issue, what has been called fast-track eviction. The major one that speaks to our bill is where we're trying to treat all tenants in the same way, so that all tenants are covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act in the same way and therefore everyone would be covered by the provisions for eviction that are laid out in the act. Would you want everyone in the province to be subject to the suggestions you're making in your submission?


Mr Pike: No. If you were able to make some definitions with respect to care providers, it would be directed towards that type of situation as opposed to, let's say, the 1.2 million other people who are covered by the general Landlord and Tenant Act. I'm not trying to speak on behalf of other landlords. They may want to have a better way of evicting people as well. In any event, I'm directing it towards the care giving side.

Mr Gary Wilson: A thing I'd like to raise is that although others have come forward with this concern about the eviction process, no one has really said that it presents problems on the order you do: the legal bill, for instance, that you expect will reach $100,000. In fact, it's been suggested that there are relatively few cases that would require a different kind of process than exists now, and it's been suggested too that there are ways of covering them now, that there are the emergency means, using either legal, the police, or care workers from Health and Community and Social Services ministries. So there are other ways of dealing with it.

The second thing is that a process that goes through the courts, as we would expect it would have to -- you'd want an impartial hearing -- still takes up time with the unit. It would have to sit empty, for instance, during a hearing regardless of where the person was. That raises a third issue: that the person has to go somewhere. If you evict a person from your tenancy, for instance, they have to find a room somewhere else and then the problem would have to be dealt with from that setting.

Mr Pike: We could be in the position of moving a person from one house to another while this process is under way because we have a number of units we can provide. In fact, we do that today when there are problems with people getting along in one house, so that part of it we could probably accommodate.

You were talking earlier, though, about the existing remedies to take care of people causing difficulties, the existing fast track or whatever that's available through the court system. Our experience and knowledge with that is that it's not fast and is onerous and would have a tremendous effect on our particular form of housing. I don't agree with the proposal made that the existing remedies would be effective.

Mr Gary Wilson: It's meant to protect everyone's rights. But I'll defer to my colleague.

Mr Owens: Your legal bill caught my attention -- $100,000 is a significant amount of money to spend on legal issues -- and you also mentioned something about perhaps a legal clinic set up to facilitate you. Is there a legal clinic in your area currently that could work with you?

Mr Pike: There are currently a number of legal clinics at the moment that are working against us, if you will, and they're all government-funded.

Mr Owens: What do you mean by that?

Mr Pike: I basically mean that Ecuhome over the last year has been challenged on a number of occasions by many of the legal clinics that have made representations here, accusing us of garbage bag evictions -- which, by the way, we've never done -- and things like that. These people are already being funded by the government, so that's money the government's currently spending on a number of legal clinics. The point I was making was that if there's funding available for them, perhaps there should be funding available to us to help in our situation, should the legislation be changed.

It's very simple to add the numbers up. If one person in the Keith Whitney Homes situation cost $30,000 in terms of legal challenges, I just put three full-blown situations on the table to get to $100,000.

Ms Ann Kidd: In terms of the legal clinic idea, we're also talking about legally protecting the rights of some of the tenants who were not being advocated for by the legal clinics. Mr Mackenzie, who is here with us today, is an example: Residents in a house tried to get him out, and Ecuhome had a $3,000 legal bill to defend his rights against the legal clinics. We're talking about a legal clinic that might protect the tenants as well as the non-profits in this situation.

Mr Cordiano: These are very interesting revelations. Perhaps if the minister had taken the time to consult with you before drafting this bill -- I have to reiterate that position, because it's absolutely astounding to me that this government would not have consulted a group such as yours. It's incredible that they ignored your group. In fact, I've asked this question of many of the groups that have come before us. I tell you honestly, some have been consulted. You haven't. I'm finding a pattern emerging that those who have concerns with the bill and come before the committee have not been consulted. Those who don't have concerns seem to have been consulted to a greater extent -- or consulted at all -- by the minister. That is mind-boggling. You've said the minister obviously made no effort to consult with you and you've tried on numerous occasions. Again I have to state that it's astounding that that is the case.

If Bill 120 is passed, it will affect your ability to run the homes you now run in as effective a manner as you do now. Can you be a little more specific about that? What kind of difficulty will result from Bill 120?

First, just to reiterate a point, you said earlier that you did not ever have a garbage bag eviction, that you've never turned anybody out on the street.

Mr Pike: That's correct. We never have had a garbage bag eviction.

Ms Kidd: Churches that have sponsored Ecuhome are primarily in the business of care, caring for individuals in need of a number of a number of things in their lives. We recognize housing security as a right that needs to be there, but it's part of a continuum of care. Basic shelter needs to be in the package, and it's at the very beginning, but if we're forced into being landlords who collect rent and don't provide resource centres for social and recreational activities, do not provide cleaning supplies in our houses, a residents' council where our tenants don't have to go to legal clinics to organize outside of Ecuhome -- there is a general assembly of Ecuhome residents organized by the residents that is speaking before this committee on February 9, and I hope all of you are here to listen to their deputation.

Mr Cordiano: I will be.

Ms Kidd: If we're forced into being landlords, our fear is that the churches will not be in the supportive housing market, and corporations like Ecuhome will be handed over to the municipal non-profits. Without a church base --

Mr Cordiano: Why do you think the minister and this government would want to destroy your program? I don't understand it. It's working. You've had no garbage bag evictions. You're a model for other homes. I really can't understand it.

Mr Pike: It's just a big question mark. We don't understand it either, and we think we could have helped with the legislation. I don't have a good answer to that question.

Mr Gerald Mackenzie: If I might speculate, I think one of the reasons is that basically what we have is a case of political grandstanding. We have people who believe they can deal with this issue in a blanket sort of way and talk about how they're protecting other people's rights, which of course scores political points. But if they were willing to look at the special circumstances of different people such as those in Ecuhome, they would realize there are no blanket solutions.

Furthermore, quite frankly, I feel this is somebody's idea of saving taxpayers money, simply because once this bill goes through programs such as Ecuhome will no longer be viable. You can't protect people; you can't upkeep the property; you will probably have the places turning into crack houses. I can just see some member in the future saying, "It's shameful that government money is subsidizing crack houses," and the programs will eventually be shut down altogether. That this is being done in the name of liberalization and equality I find extremely disturbing.

Mr Cordiano: You are a tenant?

Mr Mackenzie: Correct. I have also sent a letter to your office outlining my position, as well as to Ms Marland, Mr Johnson and Mr Carrozza.

Mr David Johnson: My response is in the mail. You haven't received it yet?

Mr Mackenzie: No, sir.

Mr David Johnson: You'll get it soon.

Mr Cordiano: You've made a number of recommendations in your presentation, which we'll go through in more detail. You see as a possible solution to the section we're talking about, fast-track evictions, that section 114 of the Landlord and Tenant Act be amended to allow for that. I'll look at that very carefully, but that's how you foresee this being overcome.

Mr Pike: If we're not allowed to have our current exemption under the LTA and if this new legislation is adopted, we strongly recommend that there be a part V which would take care of a fast-tracking procedure, and we've given some ideas on how that might be done. One of our board members helped us draft that legislation and we'd be happy to cooperate with anybody to help enact it.

Mr Cordiano: Thank you. We'll seek your advice.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee today.



The Chair: Members will note that we have cancellation of the 4 o'clock appointment, but fortunately the 4:30 appointment is with us, the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

Mr George Monticone: Good afternoon. My name is George Monticone. I'm a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. On my right is Judith Wahl, who is the executive director of the advocacy centre.

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly is a legal clinic for low-income seniors. It is funded by the Ontario legal aid plan, and we have been in operation since 1984.

Today I'd like to talk to you about three major issues in connection with Bill 120. I want to talk briefly about the Rent Control Act and Landlord and Tenant Act coverage; I would like to talk to you about the issue of monitoring service costs in care homes; and finally, I would like to talk to you about the question of the vulnerable adults in care homes.

Over the past few years the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly has received a number of complaints from numerous seniors regarding high rents, high rent increases and threats of eviction. These threats have been primarily in the private sector, and I would like to remind this committee, in the face of the previous deputation, that there is a large number of private sector operations to which Bill 120 applies, and you should be as concerned about them as you are about non-profit operations.

You've heard from the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing and others here about garbage bag evictions. They must be stopped by bringing care homes under the landlord and tenant legislation, but so must economic extortion and economic eviction be stopped.

Economic eviction occurs when a landlord raises the rent so high that a tenant cannot afford it and has to move out. In the private sector particularly, there have been difficulties regarding what I will call low-rent enticements. Seniors are enticed into housing with the offer of low rents, not being told that those rents will increase at some future time, and in some cases have increased dramatically.

This particular practice has preyed upon the lack of knowledge of what landlords can do, ie, that they can raise rents whenever they like and however much they like if they're not under landlord-tenant and rent control legislation. Many seniors are unsophisticated regarding the law and rental accommodation. This may have something to do with the fact that a lot of seniors going into retirement homes have lived in their own homes for many years. In a case we had before the courts, one of the tenants remarked that she knew nothing about landlord-tenant legislation and rent control legislation because when she last lived in rental accommodation, it didn't exist. It turned out that was 1933.

These low-rent enticements also prey upon the reluctance of many seniors to move, particularly if they have a disability or illness. Once they're in a place, they would like to stay there. In court cases we have dealt with, a number of tenant witnesses have remarked that when they went to that particular retirement home, they intended to be carried out only feet first.

Seniors are often surprised when they find out that they don't have the same protections as other tenants, or that they may not have and will have to go to court to find out whether they do. Therefore, we strongly support the inclusion of care homes under the Rent Control Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act. If this isn't done, there will continue to be challenges in the courts. There have been many, and I'll mention a few: the Chelsea Park case in London; the Grenadier case in Toronto; the Keith Whitney Homes case in Toronto; a case arising in Peterborough; another case arising in Windsor.

These will continue if you don't do something; in particular, if you don't do what Bill 120 suggests. If it isn't passed into law, the cost to the taxpayer and to many individuals of bringing these cases into the court will be on the head of those who are shortsighted and try to block Bill 120.

The previous deputation spoke of the high costs of litigation. We would suggest to you that it is primarily the cost of litigation about whether a particular building is or is not under landlord-tenant or is or is not under rent control legislation that is high. The speaker, I believe, was in fact referring to that. The intention of Bill 120, as I understand it, is to clarify these matters so that kind of high-cost litigation will not have to go forward.

Having voiced our support for this element of Bill 120, we have one caveat: We urge a simple amendment to include the costs of meals under the rent control legislation. I would remind you that our centre has always urged that at least mandatory services should be included under the Rent Control Act, those services for which tenants must pay if they are to live there.

If meals are not added to rent control, our fear is that boarding homes will self-declare themselves as care homes to remove the meal cost from the Rent Control Act. This will deprive boarding home tenants of legislative benefits they currently enjoy with respect to meal costs. We're sure this is an unintended consequence which should be prevented.

I'd like to move on to another area. We have many complaints from seniors regarding the care that's available in care homes: that it costs more than expected, that it's not as good as expected. There's a lot of confusion in the marketplace about retirement homes and similar accommodation. I suggest that this is possibly due to the fact that in some instances these residences are marketed as nursing homes. The impression is given that tenants' care needs will be taken care of and that changing care needs will be taken care of.

This is frequently a misrepresentation in one of two ways. Either the home doesn't have sufficient qualified staff to meet specific care needs -- we are dealing right now with a woman who has a spouse in such a home who is an Alzheimer patient and was told he would be looked after, but indeed the home isn't able to do that, doesn't have the resources. There's also a possibility of misrepresentation in that the home may be able to access staff and facilities all right, but at a great cost and at an unexpected cost to the tenant, one which the tenant really can't afford. We emphasize that these are commonplace occurrences in both high-end and low-end care home accommodation.


Bill 120 provides for a tenant information package to be given out before a tenancy agreement is concluded. We strongly support the idea and recommend that a prescribed form be developed, which is included as appendix A in our written submission. I would like to take you to that; appendix A is found right after page 16. This is merely a suggestion for what a tenant information package could look like. It has two main features. First, it attempts to describe to incoming tenants the type of services the home will be able to provide, what the costs of those services are and whether the tenant must pay for them as a condition of tenancy or whether they're optional. That kind of information is absolutely essential to avoid the widespread confusion in the marketplace around retirement homes.

We've also included in this package other kinds of information regarding the rights of tenants, in particular rights relating to notices of rent increases and notices of care cost increases. We think there is a need for education of tenants about their rights, particularly among the seniors population, where a number of people have no familiarity with the rental sector. We believe the tenant information package, which is provided for in general in Bill 120, should include information about rights as well as the particulars of services.

Finally, I'd like to talk to you about the issue of monitoring. The Minister of Housing, the Honourable Evelyn Gigantes, upon introducing Bill 120 to the Legislature remarked: "We will continue to monitor care service costs. If we see them rising dramatically, the act will allow us to move to regulate them through a change in regulations under the act." We are grateful to the minister for recognizing that service costs may escalate in retaliation for imposition of the Rent Control Act on rent costs. This is a very real possibility. Tenants may see meal costs or other kinds of service costs double or whatever.

It appears to be the government's intention to proceed slowly on the issue of monitoring service costs to see whether landlords are inclined to take advantage of the lack of regulation of those costs. While we are not enthused about a go-slow policy on this issue, as we favour including all mandatory services under the Rent Control Act, the go-slow policy is marginally acceptable if done right. Our fear is that it isn't quite done right in Bill 120.

Bill 120 requires registration of accommodation costs and what I'll refer to as global service costs, unit by unit. The global figure is meaningless in the context of monitoring the escalation of care costs. That's because the global figure doesn't specify how much of various services are included. The figure for a unit can rise or fall dramatically from one month to the next not because of any increase or decrease in the service costs or the rate but because the tenant increases or decreases the amount or type of service used from one month to the next.

Also, we want to make the point that registration of specifics about how much is paid for services or what kind of services a particular tenant uses is seen by many seniors as an invasion of privacy. They do not want their neighbours, or strangers looking at the rent registry, knowing that they need an attendant each day to help them bathe or toilet and so on. Out of respect for individual privacy, and because the information provided for in Bill 120 is useless anyway from a monitoring point of view, we recommend a modification of the requirements of section 21 and instead suggest a simpler alternative which we think not only landlords but tenants would support.

We suggest that each year landlords be required to register not only the rents, unit by unit, but also all of the services offered by the home, together with the hourly rates or the per-unit charge for each service. This has the dual advantage, as I said, of allowing the government to determine whether rates are increasing from one year to the next unreasonably, and also I think it would gather some support from landlords.

Finally, in closing, we ask the government and all of you sitting around this table to remember Joseph Kendall, the Cedar Glen tenant who died at the hands of a negligent care home operator. Joseph Kendall and many others like him in care homes depend in some way on their landlord for more than shelter.

Professor Lightman in his A Community of Interests estimated that there are some 47,000 vulnerable adults in care homes, and many of his recommendations were founded on that fact. These included: municipal registration of care homes; a requirement of CPIC checks, police checks, for those setting up homes; a rest homes tribunal; measures to improve safety and quality of care; and a bill of rights.

The issues which led to the Lightman inquiry haven't gone away, nor will they if Bill 120 is passed. We ask the committee members to remember the Joseph Kendalls in the months and years ahead. There is a good deal more work to be done.

Mr Mills: Thank you for coming here this afternoon. I really enjoyed your presentation. Most of us here have a desire for justice in Ontario for everyone, and that includes seniors.

I take your point that seniors in some places see their rents escalate as much as 35%. I can tell you that in the riding I represent, Durham East, I have had seniors and their relatives come to me and show escalations of 100% and 150% in a year. They use this ruse, and I'll ask you to comment on these things: "You're in a special type of room, but now we want to move you into another room because the rate for the room you're in is really higher. If you go into this room, you're going to have to pay more, and we can't guarantee we can give you a room for that." There is all kind of intimidation put on these old folks, and I've gone around and spoken to a lot of these people.

I find it very difficult to get in, first of all, as a politician. They don't want me in there because they fear I'm up to something. Politicians as we are, we get an allocation of trillium pins and we give them to people. I go into a nursing home and hand these out to people and help put them on in some cases. The person who ran this nursing home, in front of those people, absolutely quite competent and in their senses -- I thought it so demeaning -- said, "Don't give those people any of your silly badges as they eat them because they think they're pills." That's the attitude. I think that was an awful statement to make to people, seniors who really have command of all their faculties.

There's another point I want to ask you about, whether you have any experience of it. In my riding, if people who are in these care homes go to the hospital, and sometimes they go for six or seven weeks, the operator says: "You've got to pay for this while you're gone. If you don't make arrangements to pay for it, I'm afraid when you come out that that room might not be there." Have you have some experience of that in your area?

Mr Monticone: Yes, we certainly have. It's common practice that when a tenant of a care home or retirement home goes on a holiday or has to go into a hospital, they'll be asked to pay for services they would otherwise have to pay for. The more responsible homes sometimes give certain reductions for those services, but the reductions are in the neighbourhood of, say, 10% or 15% rather than 50% or 75%, so these tenants are paying for a good many services they're not receiving.

Mr Mills: I gather from the gist of your presentation that you are supportive of this legislation.

Mr Monticone: We certainly are.


Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation. As you know, this committee is listening to different presentations, and once we've heard the presentations there could be some amendments. I wholeheartedly agree with what you're saying as far as the meal allowance is concerned, and I think there are other members on the government side who agree with what you're saying. We should try to alleviate that problem in the upcoming amendments. I think that's something we should look at as a government.

Mr Monticone: Thank you for that comment. The meal portion certainly should be included under rent control for the reasons I mentioned. I'll give you an additional reason which I think should be mentioned here. We have acted as counsel for tenants in a home called the Grenadier. That has gone through the ministry, the Rent Review Hearings Board and Divisional Court and is sitting there waiting to go to the Court of Appeal. So far, we've won the case. The courts have found that the building is under rent control but they've also found that the meal portion of what the tenants pay is under rent control. That fits with what we're arguing here that you need to do anyway, but there's a court case out there saying that.

Mr Daigeler: I take it you are Toronto-based and serve the Toronto area?

Mr Monticone: That's correct.

Mr Daigeler: You don't serve anybody else in the province?

Mr Monticone: We do provide general information and some support resources to legal clinics and others outside of the Metro Toronto area, but in terms of providing individual legal services our mandate is Metro Toronto.

Mr Daigeler: You say that you're funded by the Ontario legal aid plan. I'm learning a lot here about how legal aid functions. You have an ongoing operating contract with legal aid? I always thought legal aid was just funding individual cases.

Mr Monticone: We're part of the legal aid clinic system. There are 70.

Mr Daigeler: And you are a separate legal clinic.

Mr Monticone: That's correct, specifically for low-income seniors.

Mr Grandmaître: You've talked about unregulated care homes, but what about regulated homes privately owned? I have quite a number in my riding, and these people are very satisfied. They don't like Bill 120. They say: "I chose to live in this building. I appreciate the services and I appreciate the accommodations. Don't bother me." What do you do with these regulated homes?

Ms Judith Wahl: You might be confusing apples and oranges. A regulated home is a nursing home or home for the aged. What we're arguing and what we've argued in the courts, and the courts have been accepting our arguments, is that it's fundamentally unfair to have a sector of people, particularly senior citizens -- that's who we deal with -- living in what is called unregulated housing whereas all other housing is in some way regulated.

We get complaints on a daily basis. I've worked at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly for 10 years, and we've had multitudes of complaints from people who live in retirement homes who are being discriminated against because they live in what is called unregulated housing. In most cases, I would argue that these places are subject already to the Landlord and Tenant Act and now rent control legislation, but it's proving that in each case: That's what's building up the legal costs, that's what's causing the problems. People complain when they get 40% and 50% and 60% rent increases. There's a large sector of people who have a lot of complaints to make.

Mr Cordiano: We've heard from various people in rest and retirement homes and homes for the aged that the vacancy rate is now upwards of around 25%. Do you have anything to say about that? Is that an accurate indication of the situation? I can't imagine 40% and 60% increases in rent with a vacancy rate around 25%.

Mr Monticone: I can't speak for all homes, and we certainly are not in the position to do a survey of all of the homes in the province -- we don't even know where most of them are -- but it is true from a number of them that they have a fairly high vacancy rate at this point.

Mr Cordiano: That's across the province, 25%.

The Chair: Sorry, Mr Cordiano. Mr Jackson.

Mr Jackson: Thank you for an excellent brief. I was interested in some new points you've raised: the dignity surrounding the treatment of the rent registry and its implications. I think that's worth exploring.

I want to say at the outset that I support your position with respect to the Grenadier, but I somehow feel that that is more the exception than the absolute rule. Putting that aside, I want to go back to a concern raised by Mr Mills, this figure of about 150% increases. I'm afraid we may be mixing Bill 100 and long-term care reform, where the government made a conscious decision with nursing homes and homes for the aged to work a deal with the private sector and non-profit corporations to pass on considerable rent increases.

The other thing that occurred in that legislation, as I understand it, was that there is a surcharge now occurring for seniors in nursing homes who are absent beyond, I heard at first, 12 days. I hear that now it might be stretched -- we've been pressing the ministry -- to 16 days. There's actually a penalty for seniors to pay if they're outside of their room for any reason.

You responded with respect to the notion of discounts. I know when my constituents are absent from a retirement home, unregulated, there is some adjustment because they're not using the laundry -- we have metered water, so they're not using the utilities -- and they get a 10% or 15%, maybe as high as 20%, reduction, but they don't get a reduction from their basic rental costs.

I'm a bit confused. I hope you weren't suggesting that if a tenant is absent from their apartment for any reason they should get a rollback or a reduction. I was a bit confused by that and maybe you could help clarify it. I know the reverse is happening to nursing homes and I'm very upset about that. I think it's an unfair penalty. I think Mr Mills had a valid point, but he was really referring to the nursing home sector and the recent legislation.

I'll close with this point. Long-term care does separate the accommodation from the care function and from the meal portion. It did that for a set of reasons, but it is a principle with the government as the landlord, or the private sector with the government paying most of the expenses. They worked that principle of separating it. They can administer it while it's separate, but maybe our problem is administering the combination of the care services and/or meals with the accommodation portion.

Could you clarify the one point and then respond to my last point? I'd appreciate it.

Ms Wahl: I think you're right. There was maybe some confusion about what's under long-term care and what's under the retirement homes.

Mr Jackson: The rules are almost opposite.

Ms Wahl: In the retirement home sector, we have had experience with people getting very substantial rent increases. A good example of this is the Grenadier. Over a two-year period, the people were given between a 30% and 60% rent increase, and this is not uncommon. I would take issue with the point that this is an isolated experience. I can just go from my own experience of 10 years working at ACE that the number of cases --

Mr Jackson: It's the worst case, the most celebrated. I didn't mean to interrupt you.

Ms Wahl: It's not that it's the most celebrated case; it's the one that went to court. This is the whole issue while we're looking at the passage of Bill 120. People find it very difficult to go to court. They find it very difficult to pursue their rights. They end up sitting back and taking it, or they see this daunting road ahead of them to try to prove -- because the onus is put on the tenants to prove that the place is not a care facility as defined under the present legislation, and is subject to the Rent Control Act or Landlord and Tenant Act. The onus is placed on the tenants. That's very difficult to do.

I'm going to give the Grenadier as an example. We've been going through this case now for years. We started out with about 125 people, and the vast majority has died during the course of this action. That's what these people face, realistically: If they have to prove their rights, they don't get their rights in the end.

We need legislation that's going to make clear what is regulated, their rights within that accommodation, what are care services, a true definition of "care." Get rid of the smokescreen that's put on these places. Get rid of the confusion where people think these are nursing homes or homes for the aged. They're not. They're retirement homes; they have a lighter level of care services. Let's make it clear and let's be fair to the consumers so that people know what they're getting for their dollars.

Mr Jackson: I agree with your position on the Grenadier.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Jackson. You've been most interesting.

Mr Jackson: There was a second clarification that I had requested, Mr Chair, if you would be so kind.

The Chair: The time actually has expired. If there is unanimous consent, we could hear the response. Do I have unanimous consent? Agreed.

Mr Monticone: Yes, there is in the nursing homes and homes for the aged now a distinction drawn between accommodation and other service costs. This is new, as you know. I don't know all the reasons it's been implemented, but it is relatively new. It has nothing to do with rent control and landlord-tenant. Those things are not an issue for that type of home, so I don't really see the relevance of that fact to the issue we have here today in terms of whether this legislation should apply to retirement homes.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming today. For your information, the committee will be taking this bill up clause by clause during the week of March 6.

We will reconvene tomorrow morning at 10 am.

The committee adjourned at 1632.