Wednesday 8 July 1992

Spring Green Co-operative Act, 1992, Bill Pr37

Katryn Pereira, solicitor, Spring Green Co-operative

Silverbirch Co-Operative Inc, 1992, Bill Pr38

Katryn Pereira, solicitor, Silverbirch Co-operative Inc.

Lyttle Investments Limited Act, 1992, Bill Pr53

Stephen Cooper, solicitor, Lyttle Investments Ltd

Township of Uxbridge Act, 1992, Bill Pr56

Quinto Annibale, solicitor, township of Uxbridge

Borough of East York Act, 1992, Bill Pr57

Quinto Annibale, solicitor, East York

Bikur Cholim Act, 1992, Bill Pr48

Steve Shulman, counsel, Bikur Cholim

Selma Elzas, coordinator, Bikur Cholim

Jack Horsley, senior solicitor, municipality of Metropolitan Toronto


*Chair / Président: White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND)

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

Farnan, Mike (Cambridge ND)

*Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

Jordan, W. Leo (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

*Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

*Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L)

Sola, John (Mississauga East/-Est L)

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

*Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

*O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND) for Mr Sutherland

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Melville, Thomas S., solicitor, legal services branch, Ministry of Municipal Affairs

O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel: Hopkins, Laura, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1002 in committee room 1.

The Chair (Mr Drummond White): I'd like to call this meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. The first two bills on our agenda are Bills Pr37 and Pr38, and I believe Mr Ron Hansen will be sponsoring on behalf of Anne Swarbrick.


Consideration of Bill Pr37, An Act to revive Spring Green Co-operative.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): Bill Pr37, An Act to revive Spring Green Co-operative, I think is a very simple case. It's a case where the corporation hasn't filed financial statements for a period of, I believe, two years because there's been a large turnover of directors on the board. What has happened is that the notices have gone to directors who are no longer on the board and never been returned to the Spring Green Co-operative. I would like the solicitor here to maybe explain it a little bit more and explain the bill and the reasons she is here.

Ms Katryn Pereira: My name is Katryn Pereira, and I represent both housing cooperatives, Spring Green and Silverbirch.

With respect to the Spring Green co-op, as Mr Hansen has said, there was quite a turnover of directors, so the current directors were not aware of the dissolution because of the notice having been sent in the past to a past director. It's important that this co-op be reinstated because then the property, which has currently reverted to the crown, will revert back to the co-op. That's the main reason for using this method to revive the corporation.

The Chair: Any questions? Mr Parliamentary Assistant?

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): No objections.

The Chair: Are we then ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill Pr38, An Act to revive Silverbirch Co-operative Inc.

Mr Hansen: Mr Chair, I'll hand over to the solicitor again. I think it's a straightforward issue again.

Ms Pereira: Silverbirch co-op is a housing cooperative of 16 units and provides affordable housing to approximately eight members. It too was dissolved back in 1984 because of the turnover of directors on the board and only became aware of the dissolution more than two years following the date of dissolution. It's important, for reasons of its mortgage with CMHC, to have the co-op revived in this manner. I ask that the committee pass this.

The Chair: Mr Parliamentary Assistant?

Mr Mills: No objections.

The Chair: Are we then ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill Pr53, An Act to revive Lyttle Investments Limited.

Mr Jim Wilson (Simcoe West): On behalf of my colleague Mr Norman Sterling, I'd like to present to the committee Bill Pr53, An Act to revive Lyttle Investments Limited. As we saw in the previous legislation, it's simply a revival of a defunct corporate entity. Perhaps the witness would like to introduce himself and speak for a moment on the bill.

Mr Stephen Cooper: My name is Stephen Cooper. I'm the solicitor for the estate of the late Robert Lyttle, who was the sole shareholder of Lyttle Investments Ltd. Back in the late 1970s, Mr Lyttle had an unfortunate operation that left him severely handicapped for a number of years. During that period this company was dissolved. He was getting back to functioning in the late 1980s and then, unfortunately, about a year ago he was hit by a train and died very quickly. His widow is trying to reinstate this corporation so that she can deal with the assets that belonged to her husband.

Mr Jim Wilson: Perhaps, Mr Cooper, for the record you could explain the nature of the failure to comply with income tax requirements, which is the reason for the dissolution.

Mr Cooper: During this period he was not filing returns because, as I said, he had this operation and was not functioning well. All the returns have now been filed and everything is turned back.

Mr Jim Wilson: That's great. Mr Chairman, I expect the ministry, the government, has no objection to this.

Mr Mills: None.

The Chair: Any questions from committee members?

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): What business is Lyttle Investments in?

Mr Cooper: Lyttle Investments owns three pieces of real estate: One is a grass airport strip that has been farmed; the second is a place where another corporation carries on a trucking operation, and the third is a residential unit that is rented out. Those three pieces of property are really all that Lyttle Investments has had.

The Chair: Any further questions? Are we then ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.



Consideration of Bill Pr56, An Act respecting the Township of Uxbridge.

The Chair: We now have Bill Pr56, An Act respecting the Township of Uxbridge, Mr Larry O'Connor presenting.

Mr Larry O'Connor (Durham-York): It's a pleasure to be here before the committee. As you know, I spent some time on this committee and was the Vice-Chair for a little bit. It's a pleasure to be here with the solicitor for the Township of Uxbridge, Mr Quinto Annibale, and we have one amendment that I'd like to move when it's permissible or have a committee member move it.

For the members who don't know the township of Uxbridge, it's about an hour's drive northeast of here. It's a lovely rolling community that's right on the Oak Ridges moraine, and it has some unique geological features to it. Hence the purpose of the bill is to talk about dumping in some of the areas that have been affected by the removal of some aggregates and peat. I will introduce the solicitor from the town to speak on the bill or answer any questions.

Mr Quinto Annibale: As Mr O'Connor indicated, my name is Quinto Annibale. I'm the solicitor for the township of Uxbridge. I'd just briefly like to outline what the bill entails and perhaps speak on the salient features of it.

Essentially the purpose of the bill is twofold. It's to permit the regulation or the prohibition of the dumping of fill without the obtaining of a permit from the municipality in advance. Second, it's to permit the regulation or prohibition of the removal of peat from lands within the township without a permit from the municipality. There are various administrative sections in the bill dealing with the charging of a fee and the imposition of conditions. It provides for certain significant exceptions dealing with various government authorities.

The bill is necessary because neither the existing law nor the Municipal Act currently permit the municipality to regulate in either of these areas. It's similar to legislation which has been granted by the province in the past, namely, the Town of Richmond Hill Act, the City of Windsor Act, the Town of Oakville Act, and most recently the adjoining municipality, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Act.

The act amends no existing legislation and as far as I'm aware, there doesn't appear to be any opposition to the bill.

Mr Jim Wilson: I just have one question to Mr Mills, the parliamentary assistant, or through Mr Mills perhaps to research. I do recall that this committee has passed a number of bills that are very similar to this one. I'm just wondering, really for the sake of information, is there anything in this bill that would deviate or be different than those we passed previously dealing with dumping?

Mr Mills: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has taken a comprehensive look at this issue with all the stakeholders. It's hoped that we will have some legislation or some bill in the spring of 1993, but in the interim we have no objections to this bill, and it will not hinder or infringe on that.

Mr Jim Wilson: With any future legislation -- because that's exactly what I was going to suggest, that rather than municipality after municipality spending the money and time appearing before this committee, that the ministry deal with this issue -- I gather the intent would be to have the new legislation supersede these bills we've been passing here in this committee.

Mr Tom Melville: The ministry is now leading an interministry committee in developing terms of reference for a comprehensive review of all pre-development issues. It would be premature to say whether that will lead to legislation at this time.

Mr Jim Wilson: Are you trying to tell me this is part of the Sewell report? I won't hold my breath on that one.

Mr Melville: I would comment on just a minor point about your earlier question. There is a small difference in this bill in that it deals with the removal of peat, which is a difference from the other fill bills.

Mr Jim Wilson: It's a good point.

Finally, if I may ask Mr O'Connor and his colleague from Uxbridge, to what extent is there a problem in Uxbridge both in dumping and the removal of peat?

Mr O'Connor: I will pass that on to the solicitor, but I will note for the members that I have received letters from people concerned about the extraction of peat in not only the township of Uxbridge but also Brock township, so it is a concern of local residents, the effect it could have on the aquifers. As I mentioned earlier, the geographic landscape is one that dates back to the time of the ice ages. We have a geological formation there that could be hampered by changes in large extractions in a certain area. As a member, I have received numerous letters, but I ask Mr Annibale to speak from the town's perspective.

Mr Annibale: Perhaps I can just comment on that. I don't have numbers for the member, but I can say it is a significant problem, both in terms of the removal of peat and the dumping of fill, with respect to the dumping of fill on private property simply as a general problem, but also in the development context, where developers are excavating and dumping fill on private property, it is a significant problem. As well, there have been numerous complaints with respect to the removal of peat, to the extent where council has felt it necessary to seek private legislation.

Mr Hansen: The town of Lincoln in my riding is also bringing a bill forward similar to the bill here. Just to explain maybe a little here to the rest of committee members -- maybe you have the same problems -- in some of the new subdivisions going in they scrape all the topsoil and pile it on a portion of the subdivision at the end, and that's an area that's going to be undeveloped for maybe a year or two. What happens is that soil is piled there, and when the winds come along, and the homes that are built in that particular area, it's being blown off these hills, plus the kids ride up and down and there have been a lot of accidents. Sometimes these hills will stay there for three or four years.

The other thing is that I've seen some objections come in in our town that have to do with agriculture, spreading manure. "What do you call infilling? What about that pile of manure at the back?" When the bill comes forward from the town of Lincoln there will be some questions in that particular area. Maybe you could just fill in on why there are not objections here. We've got contractors objecting also.

Mr Annibale: I'm not sure why there aren't objections. I can address the concern with respect to agriculture. The purpose of the bill is not to prohibit altogether or permit the prohibition altogether of the removal of topsoil, but merely to obtain a permit from the municipality so that it has some control over the removal of the topsoil. If it is a legitimate agricultural undertaking, the municipality will exempt the undertaking. Maybe that's the difference. I've not seen the Lincoln bill. I don't know why the developers haven't opposed the bill.

Mr Hansen: They have; developers have.

Mr Annibale: In Uxbridge, I mean.

Mr Hansen: I see. Okay.

Mr O'Connor: You may have more significant numbers in Lincoln than we do in Uxbridge as well.

Mr Hansen: It could be. It was just a question I thought I'd ask.

The Chair: Are there any amendments at all?

Mr Hansen: I have an amendment. There's a small mistake in there. The "Minister of Housing" should actually be the "Minister of Municipal Affairs."

The Chair: Mr Hansen moves that subclause 5(3)(b)(ii) of the bill be amended by striking out "Minister of Housing" and substituting "Minister of Municipal Affairs."

Are we ready for a vote? We should vote first on the amendment. Shall the amendment carry?

Motion agreed to.


Mr Hansen: The Chair should be giving a chance for opposition to it, who's for and against.

The Chair: Shall sections 1 through --

Mr Mills: Mr Chair, I've just been handed some concerns from the Ministry of Natural Resources, which wants two clauses, amendments, introduced into that bill. Are we beyond the point of redemption or can we still do that?

The Chair: We've amended subsection 5(3), so if we are looking at another amendment, another section would be --

Mr Mills: I apologize. It's just been rushed from the applicable ministry, and we didn't know as of yesterday. We had no idea this was coming forward.

The Chair: Perhaps we could have some explanation of the amendments?

Mr Mills: Yes; it's not a problem.

"3(e) aggregate as defined in the Aggregate Resources Act, 1989, brought on to a pit or quarry operating under a licence or wayside permit under that act as part of the operations of that pit or quarry;

"3(f) any rehabilitation or activity in a pit or quarry licensed under the Aggregate Resources Act as specifically addressed on the approved site plan."

Have we an explanation for that, Linda?

The Chair: Mr Parliamentary Assistant, 3(e) doesn't seem to refer to section 3 in the bill.

Interjection: It should be (f) and (g).

Mr Mills: Okay, (f) and (g). They've got it wrong here. I'm sorry. We'll get it right.

Mr Hansen: I'm still lost, Mr Chair.

Mr Mills: Perhaps it would be proper to have a slight delay to have the staff discuss this with the applicant.

The Chair: I'd suggest that we move to -- we have passed one amendment. These amendments --

Mr Mills: Clauses 3(f) and 3(g).

The Chair: Clauses 3(f) and 3(g) seem somewhat curious. I'm sure they might merit some discussion as to where they go in the bill.

Mr O'Connor: As I said earlier, I talked about the unique glacial features. With those glacial features we have there, we'd have a lot of aggregate, and that's what this refers to. The solicitor here for the town has talked to the town this morning, and they have no problem with the amendments as proposed through the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Mr Mills: I apologize. We didn't --

Mr Jim Wilson: If it's any help, we saw similar clauses inserted into the other bills we passed that are similar to this legislation, so we certainly have no objection to these amendments.

The Chair: Okay, fine. Do we have the amendments?

Mr Mills: The clerk is getting copies for the members.

Mr Jim Wilson: As you recall, Mr Chairman, we debated this about a year ago in this committee.

The Chair: I would suggest that while counsel is examining the amendments, we come back to this bill, but in the meantime proceed to the next bill Ms Ward is presenting.

Mr Jim Wilson: Mr O'Connor, I think, has a comment which might be helpful to counsel in their research.

Mr O'Connor: If I might perhaps help in the form of direction, one of the other communities I represent, the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, has a very similar piece of legislation and has the same amendment, if they would like to refer to that bill. Again, as the solicitor for the town has informed me, there has been no objection to it.

The Chair: Yes. However, I don't have the amendment. It's being redrafted and still needs to be photocopied and distributed. I'm sure the delay, Mr O'Connor, won't be too grievous, so if we could move to Ms Ward's bill.


Consideration of Bill Pr57, An Act respecting the Borough of East York.

Ms Margery Ward (Don Mills): I'm pleased to introduce Bill Pr57, An Act respecting the Borough of East York. Mr Annibale is also representing East York as its solicitor on this issue and he will be happy to describe the features of the bill and answer any questions.

I'd just like to comment that the East York health unit has put a great deal of work into this bill and is looking forward with great anticipation to its passage.

Mr Annibale: I'll briefly discuss the salient features of the bill. The primary objective of the bill is to permit the municipality to pass bylaws which regulate smoking in the workplace and in public places. Specifically, it may enact a bylaw requiring a workplace to adopt a smoking policy and give notice of such a policy to the employees of that workplace, but at the same time it will not require alterations of the structure of the workplace to accommodate that policy.

It requires the employer to consult with the employees to see if an agreement with respect to a smoking policy can be reached, and if not, then the policy of the workplace will be non-smoking. It also provides for the posting of signs throughout the workplace, or at least permits the municipality to require that in the bylaw.

The bill with respect to workplace goes on a bit further. One year following the enactment of a bylaw, the municipality may prohibit smoking in the workplace entirely and then after that, the only way smoking will be permitted is by permit issued by the municipality. So an application will be made to the municipality, the medical officer of health will do a report with respect to the workplace and then council either will or will not issue the permit for that workplace. That's essentially on the workplace side.

On the public side, the bill contemplates permitting bylaws to prohibit or regulate smoking in what's defined as "enclosed public places," again unless specifically exempted by the municipality by permit. There are specific provisions in the bill dealing with restaurants as well. Again there are administrative sections dealing with rights of entry conditions and permits, inspections, private dwellings and search warrants.

The bill itself is necessary because the Smoking in the Workplace Act, 1989, which, as you may know, is provincial legislation, in East York's opinion does not go far enough. The act applies only to enclosed workplaces but excludes workplaces which are also used by members of the public. That act imposes a severe onus on the employer to enforce the provisions of the act, whereas the East York legislation will permit local enforcement and local inspectors to attend. As well, there are significant exemptions under the Smoking in the Workplace Act. Up to 25% of the workplace could be designated by the employers as a smoking area. The municipality wants to have the ability to enact a bylaw to prohibit smoking entirely except where it's permitted following a report by the medical officer of health.

The public area provisions of the bill have been included because section 102 of the Municipal Act is of somewhat questionable authority with respect to both workplace and public place regulation when it comes to smoking.

Again, similar legislation has been enacted and this bill draws on those previous acts: the City of Toronto Act, the City of Etobicoke Act, the Town of Markham Act, and most recently a bill that is very similar to this one, the City of Ottawa Act enacted last year by the Legislature.

There's no other legislation that's amended by this bill and there's no opposition that I'm aware of to the bill. There has been a significant public hearing process that was entered into by the borough of East York over the last year. It held a series of public meetings which were widely circulated and widely attended. I believe of all of the people who spoke there were only three people in opposition to that, one of which I believe has been satisfactorily resolved, and even then the opposition was to the proposed draft bylaw, not to the bill itself. Those are my submissions.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


Mr Jim Wilson: I would ask the solicitor perhaps to explain what I'm not clear on, the enforcement provisions, in particular those of inspectors. Are these municipal bylaw officers?

Mr Annibale: They would be bylaw enforcement officers. Also appointed are the provincial offences officers under the Provincial Offences Act.

Mr Jim Wilson: So that's what it means in the explanatory notes where it says "provincially appointed inspectors." These aren't the new smoking police appointed by the province? You will be using the existing bylaw.

Mr Annibale: The local enforcer, that's correct.

The Chair: Further questions?

Mr Mills: We have no objections.

The Chair: Are we then ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


Resuming consideration of Bill Pr56, An Act respecting the Township of Uxbridge.

The Chair: Are we ready to resume discussion on the township of Uxbridge bill? We have now distributed the amendments. It's now clauses 3(d.1) and (d.2).

Mr Mills moves that section 3 of the bill be amended by adding the following clauses:

"(d.1) aggregate as defined in the Aggregate Resources Act, brought on to a pit or quarry operating under a licence or wayside permit under that act as part of the operation of that pit or quarry;

"(d.2) any rehabilitation activity in a pit or quarry licensed under the Aggregate Resources Act and specifically addressed on the approved site plan."

Any discussion of the amendment?

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I don't understand why the numbers have changed. Why are they subclauses to 3(d)? Am I reading it correctly? We have a (d) and an (e). I don't understand why it's (d.1) and (d.2) rather than (f) and (g).

The Chair: Perhaps counsel can address that.

Ms Laura Hopkins: The placement of the clauses is the more conventional placement for these kinds of clauses in these kinds of bills. What this does is make this bill look substantially the same as similar bills that have been prepared for other municipalities. When the bill is reprinted at the third reading stage, the numbering will be the more conventional kind of numbering, but there's no particular magic to proposing these things as fitting in between (d) and (e) as opposed to adding them to the end of the list.

Mr Eddy: I still don't understand why it's (d.1) and (d.2). What connection does it have with (d) as printed? Will it be different when it is printed?

Ms Hopkins: It will be different when it's printed, and all that does is say that it fits between (d) and (e).

Mr Eddy: That answers it. Thank you.

Mr Hansen: I had the same problem as Mr Eddy at the very beginning. I wondered how we skipped from (d) to I think it was (f) before. I've learned the alphabet a little differently.

The Chair: I guess the alphabet is mutated for legal language.

We have the amendment. Are we ready for a vote on same? Shall the amendment carry?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Are we ready for a vote on the bill?

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

Section 4 agreed to.

Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 6 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.



Consideration of Bill Pr48, An Act respecting Bikur Cholim.

The Chair: We are now ready for a discussion of Bill Pr48.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): We are once again before you to deal with the matter that was not dealt with the last time we were here. With me once again is Steve Shulman, who's legal counsel for Bikur Cholim, and Selma Elzas, who's also here this morning.

Mr Chairman, perhaps you can guide me on this. I don't know whether it's necessary to run through what we ran through last week and do a summary or to go into the new area of concern with respect to the exemption we are requesting on behalf of Bikur Cholim with respect to property taxes.

This legislation is certainly not ground-breaking or precedent-setting. This has been done before for a variety of other non-profit groups, charitable organizations. I believe we are fully within our mandate, as this committee is, to bring forward this legislation, and I believe it's essential that Bikur Cholim be granted its exemption so it can function. These are very difficult economic times and every last dollar makes a big difference in the community. So I would urge you to move forward with this.

I believe Metro council is represented here today and will put forward its views, but I turn it over to Mr Shulman, if you have anything further to add.

Mr Jim Wilson: As I wasn't here at the last meeting of this committee, perhaps you could give a very brief summary.

Mr Cordiano: Yes, I will do that. Bikur Cholim is a Jewish women's charitable group which provides assistance to the sick and elderly. They are a charitable organization which operates mainly with volunteers. They provide programs such as Meals on Wheels for the elderly, special meals to hospital patients, hospital visits and home visits. They do a variety of things with the sick and the elderly. Bikur Cholim's property on Bathurst Street -- pardon me, Coldstream Avenue is the exact location -- will provide a hostel for out-of-town families who are visiting with the sick. That's what this exemption is for, for that hostel.

Mr Jim Wilson: Where is Coldstream Avenue exactly?

Mr Cordiano: Coldstream is in my riding, the riding of Lawrence.

Mr Jim Wilson: I gathered that.

Mr Cordiano: The city of North York obviously, the Lawrence and Bathurst area. I am not sure if you're familiar with it, Mr Wilson, but that's a pretty central location.

Mr Steven Shulman: Just to add a few points to Mr Cordiano's comments, most of you were here a couple of weeks ago so I'm not going to go through everything. The point was made that the function of the property is as a hostel for people who come from out of town to stay with the sick, especially children, who are receiving hospital care here in Toronto. That's one aspect of the property itself.

But as Mr Cordiano said, the organization, Bikur Cholim, also has a much wider function in terms of offering social services unique to the community, that are not filled by any other agency in the community. That's important; the uniqueness of this organization and its importance in terms of offering social services is something for this committee to consider. Maybe for a better view of what it does, Selma Elzas is the coordinator of Bikur Cholim, and she works with the people whom the organization serves on a day-to-day basis. I think it's appropriate for Ms Elzas to provide you with some insight into the organization and the property.

Mrs Selma Elzas: Bikur Cholim really means "visiting the sick." However, because of the nature of the growing need for social services to the elderly, to the emotionally impaired and handicapped people in our community, the very narrow definition of visiting the sick has over the years broadened to the scope that we now experience in terms of functioning as a social agency in and of itself. I'm the only paid staff member. We operate solely with the use of our volunteer corps, because our budget does not allow for any paid staff people. The mandate of the organization is to provide practical support for members of the Jewish community for whom existing programs and services are inadequate or inappropriate. Bikur Cholim is called upon to help meet needs created by financial crises, special-needs children, long-term illness of a parent, specialized health and educational service requests and a multitude of needs of the ever-growing aged population in our community. Another main focus of the agency is volunteer visitation in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and those requiring visitation in their own homes. Our organization is well known in the social service community for its unique front-line service, including attention to emotionally impaired and physically disabled individuals whose service provision from mainstream social agencies falls short of meeting their needs. One of our programs, which was alluded to earlier, is our accommodation at 506 Coldstream Avenue. It's really second to none in providing housing for patients and families of patients receiving medical treatment in Toronto. Over the past year, our patients have included children suffering from severe orthopaedic disorders, genetic diseases, accident trauma victims who are coming here for surgery, and children with brain tumours.

Our facility provides fully furnished, equipped apartments to ease the stay for families who are facing the stress of a medical ordeal and, most often, of a life-threatening medical condition.

Bikur Cholim's many areas of service to the community, including its hostel, are funded by private donations. None of our clients receiving any of our services is ever charged for any of the services they receive. We receive no government funding of any kind.

Over the past year, due to the current economic crisis, programs in the following areas have been reduced: our short-term Meals on Wheels program has been modified; our home support services, which include homemaking and cleaning services to the elderly, have been reduced, and monthly financial aid to needy families has had to be re-evaluated in all cases and cut back in many.

As you can appreciate, the impact of paying taxes in our situation, with an organization already severely affected by the economic crisis, would be a serious threat to the continuity of a unique and very special service supporting people who are living in the community.

We are currently operating at a deficit and there's no question that the payment of taxes would sharply impact on the continuity of our service in a variety of areas across the board. Our goal is to maintain our unique service, which provides personal, compassionate, supportive help to an ever-growing population of elderly people and an ever-growing need for surgical support in the nature of our hostel. To do this and to continue to provide accommodation for those facing overwhelming medical odds, we are presenting this request at this time.

The Chair: Do you want to question the applicants, Mr Wilson?

Mr Jim Wilson: I think so. Is there objection to this bill?

The Chair: There are, I understand, some strong points of contention from Metropolitan Toronto and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Mr Jim Wilson: Is Metro represented here? I have a number of questions.

The Chair: Of the applicants or of the objector?

Mr Jim Wilson: I don't know how you want to proceed. For instance, the question I was going to ask, having read Metro's guidelines for these exemptions, was whether the applicants feel they meet these guidelines and what the discussion has been with Metro. Perhaps we should have Metro speak first; maybe that will clear up some of the questions I have.

Mr Jack Horsley: I'm from the legal department of Metro Toronto. Mr Ivan Araujo is from the treasury department and is available for questions too.

I should tell you first of all that there has been no specific report to Metro council with respect to this bill. What I have done is collect the council reports I think are relevant to the issue, going back until 1985, and they're in this book which I have given to the clerk.

In a nutshell, the position of Metro is that assistance to non-profit organizations should be by way of grant, and not by tax exemption as it has been in the past and on an ad hoc basis in accordance with criteria which no one understands. That position has been council policy since 1985.

If I can refer you to tab 4 on page 41, the most recent instance of council dealing with this policy, there are four recommendations. The first is "that the sundry-at-large program of grants to offset property taxes be eliminated." The second, which in my submission is the nub and really the totality of the policy of council, is "that Metropolitan council adopt a policy that all financial support for non-profit organizations be provided through the established Metropolitan Toronto grants program according to the objectives, criteria and priorities set, from time to time, by Metropolitan council." Recommendation 3 refers to "future special requests for...private members' bills" and the chief administrative officer reporting. That has not been done in this case.


By way of background, the genesis for this 1992 report arose out of an application by the Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metropolitan Toronto. That report is under tab 3, which starts on page 31. The council, in considering the position it might take on the application for a special exemption by the Korean Canadian Cultural Association, adopted the report of the commissioner of finance, which is enclosed in here. You'll find that report on page 35.

At the bottom of page 35 there are two recommendations and two more over the page, for four all together. It's my submission that the recommendations at the bottom of page 35 would reflect the policy of Metro council with respect to this application.

The first recommendation is that "council, in accordance with current policy, not support a private member's bill in the Ontario Legislature to exempt the Korean Canadian Cultural Association."

The second recommendation, one I can come back to later, is "that the province of Ontario be requested to amend any enabling private member's bill to provide that the exempt assessment remain on the assessment rolls for the purpose of apportioning upper-tier levies." I'll come back to that.

The third part of the three-pronged recommendation is "that in the event that Metropolitan Toronto taxes remain payable, the Korean Canadian Cultural Association be advised to proceed with an application for a grant to offset the Metropolitan share of property tax in accordance with current program policy related to such grants."

That policy is set out very succinctly on page 36, that property tax exemptions beyond those in section 3 of the Assessment Act only be supported, it states here, "for major facilities that form part of the infrastructure of the community and where council believes a long-term financial commitment from the municipal level is warranted, eg, the YMCA, YWCA, Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall." That's the policy with respect to supporting this kind of bill, and it's my submission that under that policy council would not support it.

With respect to grants, there are a number of criteria listed, (a) to (e), as to when Metro council would make a grant. Those criteria, I should say, are superseded by the 1992 report. The 1992 report says that when we evaluate an application for a grant, we won't focus strictly on the tax situation. We'll look at the totality of the organization and consider that within the context of our grants policy, taxes being one element of their expenses.

I refer you briefly to page 47, where it refers to the focus under the new policy as opposed to meeting criteria for grants. It will focus instead on:

"(a) a coordinated review of grant requests from other similar organizations;

"(b) the organization's overall financial situation;

"(c) Metropolitan Toronto policy with regard to the services provided by the organization, and

"(d) the municipality's available budgetary resources in support of specific service program areas."

The focus is broader. The criteria are established. Applicants, as opposed to getting a one-time tax exemption which lasts for ever, are required to come in for a grant and have their needs assessed against other similar organizations. The attempt is to have some equity, so that organizations in similar circumstances are treated similarly.

I would refer you briefly to some of the dollar impacts of exemptions. On page 39 there is a list of exemptions by way of private bills that our treasury department is aware of from 1980 through 1990. Those exemptions relate in total to about $11.6 million in assessment and $4.3 million in terms of 1990 tax. To put that in a broader context, I can refer you to page 52, where it demonstrates the effect of exemptions within Metropolitan Toronto and the number of dollars that are involved and the various sorts of exemptions.

The reference to the apportionment in the Korean recommendations adopted by council -- you'll note in the bill you have before you that under section 3 it states, "For the purposes of subsection 244(8) of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, the exemption from taxation granted under section 1 is deemed to be an exemption provided under section 3 of the Assessment Act." If North York were to pass a bylaw, the effect of that is to remove the assessment, in relation to the property covered by the bylaw, from the assessment rolls. In determining the apportionment, based upon the relative assessments between the various municipalities, the cost of the grant or the exemption would be shifted from North York and spread across the five area municipalities. That burden relates not only to the Metro share but to the school board's share.

Mr Cordiano: Could I ask a question now, Mr Chairman?

Mr Horsley: I just have one more point and then I'll finish. On this point -- I hesitate to mention it -- but there was a Bill 229, introduced by the previous government, that died on the order paper. Under that bill there was a proposal for enabling legislation whereby area municipalities could grant exemptions. The effect of the exemption, however, related to the taxes of that area municipality. If the taxes of the upper tier or the school boards were to be affected, then there would be a requirement that the upper tier and/or the school board pass resolutions and forward them to the area municipality, then the area municipality could enact a bylaw. If this bill is enacted the way it is, the effect would be that the council of North York would effectively exempt the organization from the Metro portion of the taxes and the school board portion of the taxes.

My submission on the way to deal with this, if the committee is so inclined, is to go back to what was proposed in Bill 229, whereby instead of having a section like the section 3 you have, it was, "An exemption of land under this section shall not be interpreted as an exemption under section 3 of the Assessment Act." The effect of this would be that the property would remain on the assessment rolls for the purpose of the apportionment and that the council passing the bylaw would effectively bear the cost of that.

Those are my submissions.


Mr Cordiano: I have a whole lot of things to add to that. It's my contention that what we're really dealing with here is a question of powers between governments and the ability to take the burden for the exemptions. Obviously Metro does not want to be burdened with something that the city of North York would then have to pass the bylaw for, affecting it directly by what North York has effectively done to exempt this organization from paying taxes.

The real purpose of this, once again, is to help the organization involved, and whether it's one of the upper-tier levels of government that's doing that or the city of North York with respect to school taxes that assists in that effort, it's really this committee that ultimately has to decide whether this organization is deemed worthy of that and merits the exemption. The rest is a lot of politics. It goes far beyond this little example of it: This struggle between Metro council and the local councils will continue, gentlemen; it's something that's been ongoing for some time now.

It really comes down to this: This organization serves well beyond the borders of North York, serves residents who come from all over the province, actually. It's not going to allow just the city of North York to benefit. It happens to be located in my riding, in the city of North York, but I put to you the argument that the people who will be served will come from throughout the province. It's a province-wide question. You've heard about the kinds of services that are provided, and they are unique. They're particular to the community and therefore are very essential, and they will serve the broader regions of Ontario.

It goes well beyond just one local government and therefore I think Metro should look at it from that point of view. This is not precedent-setting. The policy would have to be one that's effected by arbitrariness; that the argument has to be made that this organization serves well beyond the boundaries of the city of North York. I think that case has been made, so I cannot see the reasons for the objection to this by Metro council. I find it hard to accept.

Mr Jim Wilson: While I respect your views, Mr Cordiano, it seems to me that with all the downloading that previous governments and this government have done on municipalities -- I would agree that this committee clearly has the authority to grant this exemption, but what I don't understand is why we're being asked to do that, to make a decision that will burden upper-tier municipalities, burden other layers of government, when they're elected to take these decisions.

Metro council, I gather, is objecting to this. I guess what I need to know is whether the group approached Metro council about the idea of applying for a grant rather than this permanent tax exemption, which is what these private bills end up being. I agree with the principle: The group needs help and it does great work. I'm the Health critic for my party and I think it's just great. Putting that aside, though, I can see that what Metro is trying to stop is -- I would be highly resentful of a group in my riding, for instance, being turned down maybe by county council and then coming here and asking for the exemption. I'd like to know a little more about the history. It seems to me we're being put in the position of having to make a decision where this may have been objected to by Metro, so perhaps the solicitor can help here.

Mr Shulman: To give you an idea of the history of this, the property we're talking about has been used since 1990. At that time, the organization appealed its taxes and thought there was an avenue for exemption under the Assessment Act. They were wrong about that. The appeal wasn't heard; they were told flat out that there could be no exemption. At that point they tried to get the help of a tax agent and then us. And if you're wondering where they're getting the money to pay a solicitor, we're not being paid for this; we're trying to help out this organization.

We started the process in the late fall of 1991, conferring with legislative counsel, trying to go through this step by step, and were informed that the way to go about it was to confer with the city of North York, which at that time was to provide them with notice.

To go back for a second, on your question as to the grant there has not been an application for a grant made to Metro council. At no time has Metro council specifically considered this organization at all, and I want to address that a little further on in the history.

The advertising requirement was met, and then it was circulated among the interested ministries.

In the spring we were informed that we would first of all have to give notice to the school board and to the city of Toronto, which we did by letter. That was approximately two months ago. At that time we did not receive any response whatsoever from either of those two bodies. We were here two weeks ago, and a representative, Mr Araujo, who is here, came from Metro and stated that Metro had not had enough time to consider this and Metro would need another seven to 10 days to consider the matter. That was acceptable. We made our presentation and the matter was adjourned.

Our concern and Bikur Cholim's concern is that North York has been very patient in terms of not enforcing the payment of property taxes, waiting to see what would happen here. Thankfully -- I guess it's cutting into your summer holidays -- the Legislature is in session, and this committee is sitting to hear this today.

I contacted the treasury department of Metro, a Mr Brooks, last week, because I had not heard any response from Metro once I was informed that it would be before this committee again today. Mr Brooks did not have a response. This was on Friday. He said Mr Horsley would be dealing with it. Yesterday I received a call from Mr Horsley and spoke to him in the afternoon, and the response I received from Mr Horsley was, "This is Metro's policy." Mr Horsley at that time did not know anything about the organization; that's not through his own fault, but he didn't know anything about the organization and I think it was a clear policy decision without considering the merits of this particular application.

One thing I would like to point to is that under subsection (3) on page 42, I think this committee should be aware clearly that Metro council has opened the door here to private legislation such as this, although it stipulates that special requests should be made to Metropolitan council. Unfortunately the first we were informed of this policy was yesterday, and when I was informed of the policy over the phone it was that Metro council is against any type of legislation such as this, but what I see in front of me today indicates that that's not the case; there is an avenue open to go about getting Metro council's approval. So it's not a cut and dried --

Mr Jim Wilson: That was my question. I understand your frustrations with process and I understand the merits of your group, but as a legislator I have to set that aside for a minute and talk about the principle of us making a decision of removing you from their assessment rolls when we're not going to send Metro the cheque in lieu of this.


Mr Cordiano: Can I add something? I would agree with you, Mr Wilson, had this not been done on a regular and consistent basis. This is not a precedent-setting measure we're discussing here. We have done this in the past.

What I have difficulty with at present is what really amounts to an ad hoc policy on the part of Metro, something that I believe isn't quite consistent in its application to all groups. If Metro's now saying that groups should not apply for that exemption -- or I think what you said was that they can still apply for an exemption but would have to meet certain criteria.

I think the criteria are being met here. They obviously haven't been looked at in detail because, as I pointed out earlier, this establishment serves a much broader community within the city of North York. I believe that's one of the criteria.

If we look at the exempted organizations -- page 83 of this report -- quite a wide range of institutions have received exemptions. One could argue that there are bigger, better- financed organizations, but you have to look at what they're serving: the broader community. Is this kind of exemption being applied for by someone other than Bikur Cholim that also provides such a service? That really hasn't been made clear by Metro, so that's why I have difficulty with the arguments that are being presented today.

The Chair: Mr Horsley, in your submission you stated that Metro wouldn't have an objection as long as the exemption from tax was at the local municipal level and that the tax rolls remain for the upper tier; is that correct?

Mr Horsley: Yes. I'll respond to that. I'd like to clear up some confusion that I think exists.

The Chair: I'm just wondering if you had discussed that with the solicitor.

Mr Horsley: No, I haven't. What you're doing here is proposing to give North York the power to pass a bylaw. If that bylaw does not affect Metro, then Metro is not going to be a dog in the manger about that. If North York wants to pass a bylaw, fine. The objectionable part is section 3: It's the effect of that bylaw on the apportionment, and not just Metro itself, because Metro does a levy; it gets its money whatever happens. It's the shifting of that burden to the other five area municipalities that is part of the problem.

Mr Cordiano: What was done in the past?

Mr Jim Wilson: Could we maybe move to whoever is putting this motion forward and discuss it in general terms? It would have the effect of exempting Metro and school boards from that. I don't know who is putting this forward.

The Chair: That's fine. Could we have this amendment tabled?

Mr Hansen: I have a question; I had my hand up for a long time. I agree with Mr Wilson. I can see that this seems to be a family problem here in Toronto, and the family members haven't sat down and said, "Why should the five areas have to share the tax burden?"

It looks like the last exemption was given back in 1987, according to the chart on page 39. There's been a new direction taken by Metropolitan Toronto and we as a government have to take a look; if there are new directions taken, that we're taking new directions as a government. It looks like Metro is taking them, with the hard times we have out there. We've all had to take different directions.

This is what I see by listening to the argument on both sides. I also realize you would fit in with these other organizations on 39. I'm not denying that your organization is doing a good job in North York and across Toronto, but we have to take a look at what Metropolitan Toronto is saying also: What do we do in this circumstance? Maybe we have to take a new direction.

Mr Cordiano: But is Metro prepared to apply the policy evenly throughout all of these institutions? As legislators in Ontario -- and I would ask the government this -- is it not a question of more fairness and consistency in applying a policy throughout? What's the position of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on this? Are they saying today that whatever happened in the past will continue to exist, but from now on this policy will apply and they agree with Metro Toronto? Quite frankly, people are confused out there.

Mr Hansen: I might add that I feel the next level of government should have been satisfied before it came to the provincial level.

Mr Cordiano: This is the committee in which private bills have traditionally been entertained; correct me if I'm wrong. It is not out of order for this committee to look at something like this.

Mr Hansen: Yes, but when there's an objector we have to look at it in a different light.

The Chair: Mr Cordiano, you're bringing up a very valid point, but I'm not sure that this committee at present is capable of dealing with it. This isn't the Canadian Opera Company bill but rather the Bikur Cholim bill. You're asking about a policy issue as opposed to a specific and very small piece of legislation.

Mr Jim Wilson: It's not very small; that's the whole point. I don't very often agree with the government, but unfortunately this group is caught up in a much larger debate. I feel very sorry for you; in fact, because of your frustration, I'm almost willing to say we'll punish Metro in this case, because they didn't do their homework and didn't treat you very well. I agree that this is like family court. I gather the reason you haven't gone for the grant or had further discussions with Metro was that you weren't aware of it and Metro wasn't very cooperative in telling you. I feel sorry for you there, but it is a bigger issue. I don't think the Korean Canadian Cultural Association was granted by this committee, because there haven't been any bills passed since 1987, I understand. I'd be interested to hear from the government on that.

The Chair: Mr Mills, are you ready to speak?

Mr Mills: I understand there are two amendments coming. I also have a motion to make myself, but before I do that I'd like to say a couple of things.

The policy of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has been that the consent of the upper tier and the school board is to be obtained if a bill provides for the exemption of their levies. That is consistent, and I have evidence here of another organization that came and they were very much aware of that.

I'd also like to say that last year this committee agreed to set aside a session to deal with the criteria to be used for exempting organizations from property taxes. That committee didn't get off the ground, so perhaps the issue of the criteria should come before this committee again.

Having said all of that, I would like to make a motion that section 3, "For the purposes" etc, be deleted from this bill before we go to the amendments that the members have.

The Chair: Mr Mills moves that section 3 of the bill be deleted. Discussion?

Mr Eddy: I realize the purpose of the exemption, but I think an amendment to it would be more appropriate. It would seem to me more appropriate that such exemptions should be granted on approval by Metro council and the school board.

First of all, the bill doesn't give the exemption. It allows the local elected legislative council to deal with that matter: It may or may not. We have to remember that both the board of education and now Metropolitan council have directly elected members and are legislative bodies. I see the importance of allowing that and indeed giving the local council the right to exempt the total taxation, but then include the assessment in the upper tier and the school board exemption; in other words, they still getting the money if they disagree.

I would prefer to see section 3 amended rather than deleted. I think it would be a better solution.


Mr Jim Wilson: I agree with what Mr Eddy just said, because I think it gives the applicants here some recourse. The problem I have with it, though, is that Metro's submission is that it would prefer that the land always remain on the assessment roll and be dealt with through grant purposes; your suggestion I gather, Mr Eddy, would be that they would still need approval for the exemption from Metro.

I guess I'm worried that it doesn't leave the group with any insurance that Metro will ever deal with this issue. Do we have any politicians from Metro where we can get the assurance that they'll deal with it? You may just end up being put through a whole pile more hoops for the next couple of years. Metro may come back and say: "No, we've objected to this. We're not going to give you an exemption, but we might give you a grant." Of course, I guess that would solve the problem.

Mr Cordiano: I don't think we can answer that, Mr Wilson.

Mr Jim Wilson: Has anybody discussed this with anybody at Metro?

Mr Horsley: I don't know whether I can answer as to how council will deal with it. I can assure the committee that there can be a report to council, but what it does with it I don't know.

Mr Jim Wilson: I understand that.

Mr Shulman: Before you make that suggestion of an amendment to section 3, Mr Eddy, that's what I was just discussing with Mr Cordiano. That kind of amendment, which would ultimately give the school board and Metro council the right to say specifically in this case whether the exemption should go through affecting them, I think is the best of both worlds. At least this deals with your concern, an understandable concern, about burdens being dumped on different tiers of government by others. At the same time, it gives this organization the opportunity to make its case before the local boards. As well, I think it is in accord with Metro's policy, recommendation 3 on page 42, that all future special requests for private members' bills go to Metropolitan council. So we're keeping with Metro's policy, we're giving an opportunity for the organization to go ahead with that and the organization can complete its case without being totally defeated here today.

Mr Eddy: I wonder if we could have a reaction from Mr Mills to that suggestion. I would think it meets the requirements or the views of Municipal Affairs; that's awfully important, of course. If that's the case, I wonder if we could request that the wording be prepared.

Mr Mills: It doesn't meet the requirements of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The organization always has the opportunity to go to Metro for this grant, but the only thing they are probably hesitant about is that the grant is for one year at a time and this is in perpetuity. The ministry is not prepared to support your amendment.

Mr Cordiano: I just want to make one point. I think the point is taken, Mr Mills, that the organization can apply for a grant; that can happen at any time. But the point is that it will no longer have recourse for a tax exemption once this bill is passed in the manner in which you've suggested, to delete section 3. That will never be a possibility unless a new bill is introduced to this committee.

What I'm hearing from the government is that you have a new policy which, simply stated, says, "We're not going to allow any group to come before us and get a property tax exemption."

Mr Mills: It's not a new policy at all. This is the policy, and there's evidence that this was the policy previously with other organizations that have applied.

Mr Cordiano: What is that? I'm sorry, it's unclear to me.

Mr Mills: We always ask that the consent of the upper tier and the school board be obtained, providing for the exemption of the levies. We're making decisions for Metro here and the government is not prepared to do that.

Mr Jim Wilson: To be polite, perhaps Mr Eddy could be given the opportunity to re-explain to the parliamentary assistant what his suggestion was --

Mr Mills: I know what it is.

Mr Jim Wilson: -- because I don't see any inconsistency between what you just said and what Mr Eddy suggested.

Mr Mills: I heard it.

The Chair: Please allow Mr Wilson to finish.

Mr Jim Wilson: You want permission from the other levels of government before an exemption is granted. Isn't that what Mr Eddy suggested? Unless I'm losing my ability to deal with logic, which is quite expected around here, it seems to me you're on the same wavelength. Maybe we could come to some agreement if we took a five-minute recess, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Are you calling for a five-minute recess?

Mr Jim Wilson: Yes.

The Chair: That is probably a fairly helpful suggestion. We don't seem to be too terribly apart on these matters, so why don't we recess for five minutes?

The committee recessed at 1125.


The Chair: I call the committee to order. First Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I'm going to withdraw the previous motion I had on the floor. I believe we have reached some consensus of opinion and agreement to follow some other lines. I'll leave that for the Chair to direct.

The Chair: Committee members, I understand that we have a substantive agreement about the amendments. However, due to the nature of those amendments, it may take some time to draft them. I am proposing that we have a very brief meeting, dependent of course upon the approval of the House leaders, tomorrow afternoon, so that this bill can be finally passed.

Mr Mills: Mr Chair, I appear at a cabinet committee on social policy tomorrow afternoon. I can't be here. It's from 3:30 to 8 o'clock.

The Chair: However, with the amendments, your ministry has no objections?

Mr Mills: We'd have to finalize them, but I don't see any difficulty in that.

Mr Jim Wilson: Mr Chair, for what it's worth, I have a scheduling problem tomorrow afternoon too. Could we do it first thing in the morning?

Mr Mills: We have members' time tomorrow. We'd have to do it earlier.

The Chair: Is Monday afternoon possible instead of tomorrow afternoon?

Mr Jim Wilson: Sure.

Mr Mills: Agreed.

Mr Eddy: I had another point. I think we have substantive agreement at this point in time that any exemption be -- in the correct words, of course -- subject to approval by the other legislative bodies, Metro council and the school board. But I'm wondering if it would be possible to also have wording providing for "or alternatively" the exemption of the total by the local council but leaving, as was suggested by the Metro representative, the total assessment in. Maybe that's too complicated, but I'd just like to leave that suggestion.

Mr Melville: I think that's what we'd like to achieve, to leave assessment out of it and just deal with an exemption from the property and school taxes.

Mr Eddy: Thank you.

The Chair: We're looking at meeting Monday afternoon, dependent on the House leaders' consent or, failing that, at the next regular meeting of this committee. No other business? We are then adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1148.