Wednesday 10 June 1992

City of Ottawa Act, 1992, Bill Pr18, 27

Gerald Bellomo, solicitor, City of Ottawa

Cinquemani Holdings Limited Act, 1992, Bill Pr33, 16

Albert Foreman, solicitor

Rideau Trail Association Act, 1992, Bill Pr94

Elizabeth McIver, president

Tri-Delta of Toronto Act, 1992, Bill Pr42

Maureen Monaghan, solicitor

Pembroke and Area Airport Commission Act, 1992, Bill Pr24

Delbert O'Brien

City of Toronto Act, 1992, Bill Pr86

Dennis Perlin, city solicitor, Toronto

Ellen Pekilis, counsel, legal services branch, Ministry of the Environment

Ontario Association of Property Standards Officers Act, 1992, Bill Pr22

Norman Jackson, solicitor, Ontario Association of Property Standards Officers

City of London Act, 1992, Bill Pr10

Robert A. Blackwell, city solicitor, London

Douglas Ferguson, solicitor

William Dewar, solicitor

George Nash, owner, QAP Towing

Allen Doppelt, senior counsel, companies branch, Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations

City of Ottawa Act, 1992, Bill Pr27

Gerald Bellomo, solicitor, City of Ottawa

Audrey Voice, Ottawa resident and objector

Pierre Grandmaître, director, planning and project development branch, City of Ottawa


*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:

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND) for Mrs MacKinnon

*In attendance / présents

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel:

Klein, Susan A., legislative counsel

Hopkins, Laura, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1003 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

The Chair (Mr Drummond White): I'd like to call this meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. On your agenda you will see that we have a fairly busy morning as there are a couple of bills that require some discussion. In the absence of the people who are listed first on the agenda, we will proceed with those who have arrived on time, which in this case is number 7 on the agenda, Bill Pr18, Mr Bob Chiarelli. Mr Chiarelli, would you introduce your colleagues? As well, if you could, when you do speak, please identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Robert Chiarelli (Ottawa West): I'm very pleased to sponsor Bill Pr18. With me today to answer any questions the committee might have are Mr Bellomo and Mr Batson from the solicitor's office of the city of Ottawa.

Mr Gerald Bellomo: We have two items on the agenda this morning. This is the less controversial. I won't address the committee at any length, except to respond to questions relating to this. The legislation simply authorizes the city of Ottawa to require landlords to provide what we call basic or vital services and allows the municipalities to step in and provide those services and add the costs of the services to the tax roll if the landlord does not pay the hydro bills or the hot water bills. I'll leave it at that unless there are questions from the committee.

The Chair: Are there any interested parties present? Mr Parliamentary Assistant.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): We are looking at some sort of legislation in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs down the road, but at the moment we have nothing to deal with on this issue. Our ministry has no difficulties with this bill.

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I see Mr Chiarelli is here. Obviously, as I've said before, whenever he lends himself to a certain cause I don't think we have any problems here on this side.

The Chair: Any further questions or statements of confidence in Mr Chiarelli?

Interjection: On this bill?

The Chair: Or at least on this bill. Are we ready for a vote then?

Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Mr Bellomo: Thank you. We'll see you shortly again on our other legislation.

The Chair: Indeed.

Ms Caplan, are you ready? That's item 3 on the agenda. We'll then move back to item 2. I believe I see Mr Wilson here as well, although he showed up a little later. Ms Caplan, could you introduce yourself and your friend.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I'm here to sponsor Bill Pr33. I'd like to introduce the solicitor, Mr Albert Foreman, who would be pleased to answer any of the detailed questions for the committee.

Mr Albert Foreman: This is an act to revive a corporation whose articles were cancelled due to lack of filing of returns. I represent the shareholder of the company, a Mrs Cinquemani, who relied upon the services of a professional with respect to the matter, and for whatever reason the returns weren't filed. As a result, the articles were cancelled, and it wasn't discovered that they had been cancelled until more than five years later, which brings us to this stage. If it had been less than five years, it would of course just have been a matter of filing articles of revival. That's basically the story.

The Chair: I believe there is an interested party, a Mary Ellis. Is she present?

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Todd Decker): She's coming.

The Chair: I'm sorry. It is most unfortunate. I assumed she would be here at this point. The clerk informed me that this person was interested in the bill. I don't know the nature of her concern.

Mr Foreman: Mr Chairman, she has called our office on at least one occasion. We were trying to establish what the nature of her concern was and were unable to elicit any information from her other than her saying that she was interested in the procedure without giving us any reason why she had filed an objection as an interested party. There just didn't seem to be any reason why she would have objected, but what can I tell you?

The Chair: Nor do any of us. But it does put us in a quandary, knowing that this person was intent on appearing. The clerk informs me she should be here at 10:15. I'm wondering if there's any way we can accommodate this.

Mr Ruprecht: We probably should, Mr Chairman. I was going to ask you whether in fact she did show an interest in coming here, other than obviously talking about the procedure of it. But if she has, and if it's okay with Mrs Caplan, we ask that this item be stood down.

The Chair: My apologies, Ms Caplan.

Mrs Caplan: We'd be pleased to wait till 10:15.

The Chair: I am sure we can take your introduction of the bill to this point and simply stay proceedings until that time when Ms Ellis appears. I suggest that we bring it back up as soon as possible. But if she has stated she'd be here by 10:15, we can wait at least until that time or perhaps a little bit later, as political time goes.



Consideration of Bill Pr94, An Act to revive Rideau Trail Association.

The Chair: Item 2 on our agenda, Bill Pr94, an Act to revive the Rideau Trail Association, Mr Wilson. Would you introduce your friend?

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): I am here with the president of the Rideau Trail Association, which is requesting reviving the incorporation of the Rideau Trail Association through the bill. We're looking for support of Bill Pr94. I will ask if there are any questions and the president, Betty McIver, is here to answer anything the committee might want to ask about.

The Chair: Ms McIver, do you have any comments?

Ms Elizabeth McIver: Just to add that the association is an active association with about 1,000 memberships and the failure to provide annual returns was the reason why we lost our reincorporation status. We have advertised and there are no negative responses. Any comments we get about the hiking club from the private land owners between Kingston and Ottawa is quite positive in relationship to them having us cross their property.

The Chair: Mr Sutherland and then Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): I was just going to say I believe this organization was before this committee in December and there were concerns there. By the letter we have with us, those concerns have been dealt with, so I think we should go forward on this one.

Mr Ruprecht: Mr Sutherland indicated that this association has appeared before us already. Seeing that Mr Wilson has examined this in great detail in a non-partisan way, I think we would be ready to vote on this item.

The Chair: We are then ready for a vote.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

Mr Gary Wilson: Could I ask, since this is a non-profit organization, would the support for this bill extend to deferring the legislative costs of this bill?

The Chair: That sounds like an excellent request if we had that -- Mr Sutherland?

Mr Sutherland: So moved.

The Chair: All in favour? That looks unanimous.

Fee-waiving motion agreed to.

The Chair: Moving right along, I was just informed that Ms Ellis was present. Is she?

Mr Foreman: I have no idea. I have no idea what she looks like.


Consideration of Bill Pr42, An Act to revive Tri-Delta of Toronto.

The Chair: Could we then move back on our agenda to item 1, Ms Akande? Could you introduce your friend, and perhaps you have some comments about the bill?

Ms Zanana L. Akande (St Andrew-St Patrick): This is Maureen Monaghan. She is the solicitor for Tri-Delta. I do support this private bill. It's to revive Tri-Delta of Toronto. I solicit the support of the committee and I'm introducing Maureen Monaghan to speak to it and explain it to you.

Ms Maureen Monaghan: Tri-Delta of Toronto is a cultural organization. It was dissolved in 1987 for failure to file forms under the Corporations Information Act. The members of Tri-Delta weren't aware that it was dissolved until greater than five years past the date of dissolution. It was actually dissolved due to inadvertence. The notices went to the wrong address due to interpretation of somebody's handwriting.

The Chair: Are there any other interested parties present in regard to this bill? Are there any questions?

Mr Ruprecht: Other than to say that if Ms Akande lends her support to this bill, we have no questions.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill Pr 33, An Act to revive Cinquemani Holdings Limited.

The Chair: Ms Caplan, Mr Foreman, if we could resume our discussion of this bill? The clerk informs me that Ms Mary Ellis did appear, and that while she had some concern or interest or whatever, she has withdrawn that and is happy to see the bill proceed.

Where we left off was at the point of asking if there are any questions of Mr Foreman or Ms Caplan in regard to this bill. Hearing none --

Mr Ruprecht: It seems all clear. I see Mrs Caplan smiling and that gives me a signal to say it's all okay.

The Chair: Fine, we are then ready for a vote. Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: We have now dealt with items 1 through 3 on the agenda.


Consideration of Bill Pr24, An Act respecting the Pembroke and Area Airport Commission.

The Chair: Mr Conway is introducing Bill Pr24. Could you introduce your friend?

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I'd like to introduce Mr Delbert O'Brien, solicitor for the Pembroke and Area Airport Commission, and Ms Diane Mau, who is the airport manager.

Mr Delbert O'Brien: This is quite a simple bill to streamline and simplify the legal structure of the Pembroke and area airport. Hitherto it's been owned by 12 municipalities jointly. That was very awkward in terms of its development. This is a unique airport inasmuch as it's one of three in the province that is owned by the municipalities but totally federally funded. We don't want anything to jeopardize federal funding. They've encouraged us to incorporate and that's why we're here.

The Chair: Are there other interested parties present?

Mr Mills: There are no comments or objections from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

The Chair: Any questions in regard to this bill of Mr Conway or the applicants? No? We are then ready for a vote. Shall sections 1 through 4 carry?

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Is Mr Christopherson here? Mr Marchese? Mr Grandmaître?

Mr Sutherland: I'm introducing the bill on behalf of Mr Marchese because he is out of town today.

The Chair: What about the other bills that are listed and the sponsors not here?


The Chair: I think that's essentially true. People aren't usually prepared to start meetings at this point in the morning.



Consideration of Bill Pr86, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Marchese has asked me to introduce this bill on his behalf or support it here because, as you know, he is in Ottawa with the Premier and the delegation for the constitutional discussion. Without further ado, I'd like to introduce Bill Pr86. I'll let each of the three people beside me introduce themselves and their titles and introduce the purpose of the bill.

Mr Dennis Perlin: Mr Chair, members of the committee, I am Dennis Perlin, city solicitor for the city of Toronto. The bill was in front of the committee back in November. I think you have in front of you the transcript of November 1991. The bill, Pr86, would allow the city to pass bylaws which regulate the disposal of equipment or products containing ozone-depleting substances by delivery to recovery sites in accordance with municipal systems, or the draining and recovery of the offending substances before disposal. Perhaps it is an appropriate bill to discuss this week with the environmental conference in Rio. I understand you have the transcript.

With me are two members of the environmental protection office of the health department. We are prepared to go through the same presentation that was done in November, but we understand that the difficulties that were then current with the Ministry of the Environment are no more and subject to the amendments, which we support, we understand the bill is now ready to proceed before you without objection. So unless there are questions, I'm in your hands as to whether you want us to proceed with the full presentation or simply leave it as in the transcript and take questions.

The Chair: I believe we have had a full discussion in the past. Perhaps, given the context of that discussion in the past, we could hear first from the parliamentary assistant, who tells me there are not substantive difficulties now; then, with your indulgence, perhaps you could respond to that. Does that seem reasonable?

Mr Perlin: That's fine.

Mr Mills: Thank you very much, Mr Chair. For the benefit and interest of everyone here, particularly the committee members, I have with us Keith Madill, who is the senior project specialist, waste management policy section for the Ministry of the Environment, and Ellen Pekilis, counsel of the legal services branch of the ministry. I think it would be well to listen to their comments first.

Ms Ellen Pekilis: This bill being considered here today and put forward by the city is in the nature of an environmental protection bill, so of course we have an interest in it. Our position, as was indicated at this time, is that we have no objection to the bill.

By way of background, it was considered before this committee in November 1991. At that time we did request a deferral because we were developing policy with respect to CFCs. We were uncertain if the bill presented a possible conflict with what we were planning to do. Now that we've had time to consider the matter and now that we understand more fully what the city's aims are in this matter, we no longer have any objections to the bill.

We are supportive of the city's interests in assisting with the control of CFCs, and we hope to participate further with the city to ensure that the specific measures for controlling CFCs developed under this bill will dovetail with our policy and minimize the risk of any inconsistencies.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Sutherland, do you have anything you wish to put forth?

Mr Sutherland: I believe there are at least four amendments here.

The Chair: Perhaps you could move them.

Mr Sutherland moves that section 4 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"4(1) An inspector may, upon producing proper identification, enter any place of business during normal business hours, and may make examinations, investigations, inquiries and take tests and may remove samples or objects for testing.


"(2) An inspector may be accompanied by such technical experts as he or she considers necessary in exercising the power of entry under subsection (1).


"(3) An inspector who has removed a sample or object for testing shall provide a receipt for it and return it to the person from whom it was taken as soon as possible after the tests have been completed.


"(4) No inspector may enter a place of business that is also a dwelling without the consent of the occupant or without first obtaining and producing a warrant."

Should we have all the amendments on the table first?

Mr Sutherland moves that clause 6(d) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"(d) a person has refused to comply with the request for the production of anything, the production of which is requested for the purpose of an examination, investigation, inquiry or testing."

Mr Sutherland moves that section 7 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"Issuance of warrant

"7(1) The justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing an inspector to enter the place of business specified in the warrant, by force if necessary, together with such police officers as may be called upon to assist the inspector if the justice of the peace is satisfied on evidence under oath;

"(a) that there is reasonable and probable ground for believing that it is necessary to enter any place of business or to make examinations, investigations and inquiries or take tests for the enforcement of any bylaw passed under this act; and

"(b) that the inspector,

"(i) has been denied entry to the place of business,

"(ii) has been instructed or directed to leave the place of business,

"(iii) has been obstructed, or

"(iv) has been refused production of anything related to an examination, investigation, inquiry or test.


"(2) If the place of business specified in the warrant is also a dwelling, no warrant shall be issued under subsection 7(1) unless the requirements of subsection 158(1) of the Provincial Offences Act are met."

Mr Sutherland moves that section 8 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"8. A warrant issued under this act shall be executed between 6 am and 9 pm unless otherwise specified in the warrant."

Mr Sutherland, would you like to speak to those amendments? I know the parliamentary assistant does as well.

Mr Sutherland: I don't have any comments. I don't know if anyone else has on the amendments.

Mr Perlin: The city has no problem.

Mr Mills: For the benefit of the committee members, the motions have been drafted in response to the concerns raised by the Attorney General. The changes will bring the bill into conformity with the standards established by the Attorney General with reference to power of entry and the issuance of warrants. That's the reason for these amendments.

Mr Ruprecht: First let me say that I appreciate that Mr Perlin's here today to discuss this item. I've got two questions, really. One is in regard to the right of entry. Within the city of Toronto's boundaries there are other rights of entry already established, so this is nothing special, is it?

Mr Perlin: No, this is in keeping with the normal rights of entry we have under any of the legislation we operate for provincial offences.


Mr Ruprecht: My second question is in regard to what I would hope is path-breaking legislation. Is this already established in any other jurisdiction in Canada, or are we doing something new in the city of Toronto?

Mr Perlin: In terms of the actual program we have with respect to disposal, it would be something new for the city of Toronto. Of course it complements, however, both federal and provincial legislation already in place, but it is an extension to an in-place, on-street, day-to-day program for the draining and handling of equipment such as air-conditioners and refrigerators that have CFCs in them. It would be new in that way.

Mr Ruprecht: In all of Canada?

Mr Perlin: That's correct.

Mr Ruprecht: That's great. So here's the city of Toronto again doing something that's right, just and should be emulated. Thank you, Mr Perlin.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): I was on committee when this bill came before it. I believe there were some problems with it. I voted for it at that time. Does this bill go back to 1987? Has this has been a long-existing bill the city of Toronto has been working on?

Mr Perlin: The work went back to 1987 in terms of the actual bringing forward of the first bylaw in the city utilizing our general welfare power under the Municipal Act, and we've come now with some legislation that gives us greater assurance of its enforcement capability. But yes, the work that was first done started in 1987 and 1988, and then we first passed bylaws in 1989, and now we're here with the legislation to complement that, which you already have at the provincial level.

Mr Hansen: I just wanted to bring that out: It's not something that just came up in November, but the city of Toronto has been working on it for a long time. Considering the population of Toronto compared to all of Ontario, and a lot of air-conditioning is in the southern part -- in the northern part we don't find as much air-conditioning -- I think it's a very important bill to be passed here in the city of Toronto. Maybe a lot of other municipalities in the province will be able to enforce a bill of this type with the Ministry of the Environment there, so I have to compliment you on this bill.

Mr John Sola (Mississauga East): I'd like to compliment the city of Toronto for answering some of the questions I had posed the last time this bill came up. I'm pleased that the amendments take care of either answering or clarifying the situation as presented the last time we sat. I'm willing to support the bill due to that.

Mr Mills: I would just like to clear up for the committee that this bill hasn't been delayed unduly. The application for the bill was only made last fall and is coming forward now.

The Chair: Any further comments? Shall the amendment to section 4 carry?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Shall the amendment to section 6 carry?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Shall the amendment to section 7 carry?

Motion agreed to.

The Chair: Shall the amendment to section 8 carry?

Motion agreed to.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Section 4, as amended, agreed to.

Section 5 agreed to.

Sections 6 to 8, inclusive, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 9 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much. This has been a long process but certainly one which has finally got its end.


Consideration of Bill Pr22, An Act respecting the Ontario Association of Property Standards Officers.

The Chair: Next on our agenda, Mr Hansen will be presenting a bill on behalf of Mr Christopherson which is to do with the Ontario Property Standards Officers Association. Would the solicitor for that please come forth.

Mr Hansen: I'll be sitting in for Mr David Christopherson, the member for Hamilton Centre, and I'd like to introduce the solicitor for the city of Kingston, Mr Norman Jackson, on Bill Pr22, An Act respecting the Ontario Association of Property Standards officers.

The Chair: Mr Jackson, could you also introduce your colleagues, please.

Mr Norman Jackson: Brian Allick, president of the association; Jack Hamilton from Vaughan; Peter Clark from the city of Kingston. They're all property standards officers in the association as it exists. This bill will provide a legal status to their association. We believe a strengthened legal status will allow them to have professional standards and generally enhance the position of a property standards officer with education; status that clerks and treasurers have enjoyed in the province in the past. We're here to respond to any questions any member may have.

The Chair: Do we have any questions on this?

Mr Sutherland: Is there anything in this association or here about a complaints procedure if someone felt a person was not living up to the standards set out by the association?

Mr Jackson: Yes, there is provision for discipline; as well, if someone didn't agree, the other way, there's provision for appeal to the Divisional Court.

Mr Sutherland: Okay, great.

The Chair: Any further questions?

Mr Ruprecht: It's all very clear in this bill.

The Chair: Parliamentary assistant?

Mr Mills: Yes, to make an amendment to the bill, Mr Chairman. In the preamble we are speaking about the designations "property standards officer" and "PSO." Later on in the bill we're saying "certified." We want to amend the preamble to use the designation "certified property standards officer." That's the amendment. All the other concerns we had were met in the revision of this bill.

The Chair: Mr Jackson?

Mr Jackson: Agreed to.

The Chair: You're agreeing to that amendment?

Mr Jackson: Yes. It's a matter of form.

The Chair: Mr Mills moves that the preamble of the bill be amended by striking out the designations "property standards officer" and "PSO" in the fifth and sixth lines and substituting the designations "certified property standards officer" and "CPSO."

Are we ready for a vote on the amendment? All in favour?

Motion agreed to.

Sections 1 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen, and thank you, Mr Hansen.

Mr Sola: Mr Grandmaître is here.

The Chair: Yes, but we are in a bit of a quandary at the moment. I appreciate Ben's presence. Unfortunately, the objector has indicated she would be here, would be arriving on a 10 o'clock train, and hasn't shown up as yet. Neither Ms Cunningham nor any of her colleagues is here. We could either start with a presentation or take a brief break. I leave that to the committee.

Mr Mills: Take a brief break.

The Chair: I suggest that we break for 10 minutes and return at 10:50. We are recessed.

The committee recessed at 1042.



Consideration of Bill Pr10, An Act respecting the City of London.

The Chair: I'd like to call this committee back to order, please. Mrs Cunningham and, I believe, Mr Blackwell wish to present Bill Pr10, An Act respecting the City of London.

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): I am presenting Bill Pr10, An Act respecting the City of London. I have with me the city solicitor, Mr Blackwell. I think it's appropriate that I read the explanatory note and then perhaps you could advise us otherwise.

"The bill amends the City of London Act, 1989, to authorize bylaws to require signs on public parking lots from which motor vehicles are towed without their owners' consent; to designate classes of public parking lots to which the bylaws apply; and to provide that the suspension of lien rights in that act apply, despite the Repair and Storage Liens Act."

Mr Robert A. Blackwell: This is, I guess, a somewhat controversial matter. As indicated already, we obtained proper legislation in 1989 dealing with this matter and are coming before the committee to extend that legislation and perhaps to give the committee some insight into the subject matter we are dealing with. I thought the best thing to do would be to bring with me a short, 10-minute video. With the committee's indulgence, I'd like to have that shown and then perhaps I can make some remarks after that.

[Video presentation]


Mr Blackwell: I would like first of all to make a couple of comments about the video. One is that it's an objective video in the sense that it's made by a disinterested party. From that standpoint, I think the committee can take it as a fair representation of the situation that exists and has existed in the city of London for some considerable period of time. Second, it's rather significant that a national TV network would take the time to come down to London and do a segment on this particular problem. To me it indicates that it is a significant problem, one which we've been attempting to address for some considerable period of time.

Now, there are some statistics in the video which bear repeating. I take them from the video. I haven't verified them and therefore they're second hand, but the comment was made that towing occurs, on the average, about 20 times a day in the city. There were 7,800 tows done in a year approximately, and at an average charge of $100, so by rapid calculation, or slow calculation, that comes out to over $750,000.

There are some people who obviously take advantage of a parking situation. We readily admit that, but I would say the great majority of people who are affected by this practice are basically law-abiding citizens who honestly believed that they could park there, that they were not at risk, and yet they have fallen victim to this.

I brought with me copies of letters which have been received by the mayor's office, the visitors and convention bureau, the chamber of commerce, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, the Ontario Provincial Police. They are from all over; they're from London, Vancouver, Montreal, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gentleman from Albuquerque, New Mexico, came to a homecoming reunion at the University of Western Ontario last fall, the 25th anniversary. He went around the city, did shopping with his wife, and was towed. On the Monday he was so disgusted that he took back every item he'd purchased and it ran to over $1,000.

The public relations aspect the city is suffering from is immeasurable. We have letters coming in from people who say they'll never come back to the city again. We had a letter from somebody who said it was like being mugged in a parking lot. You talk about New York, people being mugged there. This person complained about being mugged in London, having to pay $150 to get a car back.

With those remarks and I make them strongly, because Mr Nash is here today -- he's going to make submissions to you. He's going to be very pleasant with you, because he has a point to get across, and I want to get my point across to you.

We obtained legislation back in 1989 to address the situation. We're pioneers in this. The only other community I know of that suffers from this type of thing is not Toronto, but Montreal, and Montreal is attempting to deal with it, as we are too. The legislation which we obtained we felt would address the situation. We have found during the intervening three years that there are some problems or some loopholes.

Let me briefly explain to you what we obtained in 1989. We got the power to regulate and license businesses that are engaged in what we call unsolicited towing; that is, the towing of motor vehicles where the owner or operator of the vehicle has not consented to the towing; unsolicited towing. We got power to regulate and license businesses that engage in that type of towing, businesses that store vehicles that are subject to unsolicited towing.

We obtained legislation to regulate compound hours so that people could actually get access to the compound and get their vehicles back. We obtained legislation that suspended the right to a lien if the vehicle was parked for less than 24 hours before it was towed or if it was stored for less than seven days after it was towed. We obtained legislation that would allow us to suspend, after a hearing, the licence of any of these businesses, and of course an offence provision.

What has occurred is a dispute on a couple of things. First of all, there is a question or a difference of opinion between the city legal department on the one hand and the crown attorney's office and the police department on the other hand as to whether a parking lot that is attached to a convenience store or a bank or some other facility is private or public. We take the position that it is public, that the bylaw applies to it. The police and the crown attorney have taken the position that no, it's private. So what we're asking through this legislation is the ability to classify parking lots and to identify those classes that are public so that there can be a clear indication of what lots the bylaw applies to and which lots it does not.

There has been, second, a complaint about signage -- lack of it, insufficient signage -- so what we're looking for is the power to require the owners or occupants of those parking lots who want this type of towing to go on to post a prescribed type of sign so that every member of the public who enters upon that parking lot will have some familiarity with the rights and obligations that go with parking there. That's very simple.

Third, there has been a question as to the application of the Repair and Storage Liens Act. At the time we obtained our private legislation in 1989, the Repair and Storage Liens Act was before the same session of the House. In fact, it was introduced before our bill, but it received royal assent after ours. Consequently, our bill did not reflect that legislation. We simply want to clarify that the suspension of lien rights in the circumstances I have described exists despite the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

What I want to emphasize is that the city of London has never prohibited towing. Towing is always, and has always been, available to any person to remove from his or her property a vehicle that he or she doesn't want. All we're attempting to do is to make towing fair and to eliminate the predatory situation that exists where people are literally towed one or two minutes after the expiration of the time they're there, to eliminate situations where, when they come out and time is still on the meter, their vehicle is hoisted up and the driver's standing with his arms folded waiting for the time to click off before he drives off.

We're just trying to make it fair. We feel it's a balanced bill. We believe it balances the interests of the public, which is invited or encouraged to come on to parking areas to park, against the interest of the business, which has a legitimate concern about people who abuse parking privileges and wants to have parking available for legitimate customers.

With those remarks, I will leave it at that. I will happily answer any questions the committee may have.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Blackwell. Before that, we obviously have a number of people who are objectors or interested parties. You might have to step aside because of the number of people involved, Mr Blackwell. Then, when the committee members are ready to pose questions, perhaps we could have only one person from each party present in front of us. Does that seem reasonable, gentlemen? Mr Ferguson?

Mr Douglas Ferguson: Yes, Mr Chair. Mr Dewar and I are solicitors representing QAP parking enforcement. With your permission, we'd both like to appear before you. Mr Dewar will carry the ball.

The Chair: Mr Ferguson, when I was suggesting that there seemed to be a number of people who were interested -- Mr Nash I recognize from the film, if he would like to come forward as well -- I was simply suggesting that you might need all four seats in order to make your presentation.

Mr Ferguson: That's fine, Mr Chair. Mr Dewar and I represent Mr Nash, and Mr Dewar will be making most of the submissions to the committee.

The Chair: Fine. There were a couple of things I certainly noticed in the film. There were some derisory remarks about Mr Nash's character and there were some allegations in the film which are not part of the bill. I'm sure people, when you view something like that, would find those items somewhat distracting; I hope that won't come up during our debate on this bill.

Mr Hansen: Leave it up to the members to ask questions.

Mr Sutherland: Can we have their presentation?

The Chair: Certainly.

Mr Ferguson: Mr Dewar will make the presentation.

Mr William Dewar: Thank you, Mr Chair, members of the committee. I am here on behalf of Mr Nash. Mr Ferguson is here to assist me.

My submissions really are two. The first submission has to do with the last thing Mr Blackwell was discussing, which is the apparent conflict with the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

To give the committee the chronology of legislation, the City of London Act received royal assent and was in force on February 27, 1989. That is the private act that is being sought to be amended before you today, so February 27, 1989, is the first date, and that's significant because that's when this act was passed. The second significant piece of the legislation that occurred was the passage by the province of the Repair and Storage Liens Act, 1989. That came into effect and was in force as of October 10, 1989.


My first submission is this: If this committee accedes to Mr Blackwell's submission and is prepared to amend the City of London Act so that it provides that the suspension of the lien rights in the existing act will survive the Repair and Storage Liens Act, that will amount to a very significant interference with a system that's in place in the province called the personal property security registration system.

As many of you no doubt know, the province enacted two significant pieces of legislation which comprise part of a system. The system is called the personal property security registration system. The two acts that comprise that and operate under that system are the Personal Property Security Act and the Repair and Storage Liens Act. The system is province-wide. It really is comprised of a large database for registration and retrieval of information.

Why is the Repair and Storage Liens Act significant? The Repair and Storage Liens Act applies to tow. The definition of the word "repair" under the Repair and Storage Liens Act includes specifically the towing of an article. The towing of an article is not, in that provincial act, any further defined so as to distinguish between tows from public or private property or to distinguish between tows with or without the consent of the owner or operator of a vehicle.

Why I'm suggesting to you that if you give Mr Blackwell what he's asking it will interfere with the operation of the system is this: When somebody, say a creditor, finances the purchase of a car for an individual, that creditor, as you know, will register in the personal property security registration system a claim which is called the financing statement. That tells the world that the creditor -- let's say it's Avco Financial Services -- has a hook on that car to the extent of the amount owing on it, and that provides a priority interest in that car.

Creditors do that, and the very same form, which is called a claim for lien form under the Repair and Storage Liens Act, is used by people who repair or store articles. That Repair and Storage Liens Act gives towers certain rights, province-wide, as part of this system. That Repair and Storage Liens Act is itself entitled An Act to revise and consolidate the Law of Liens for Articles Repaired and Stored. It's a consolidation of the law; it's a code. It came after the City of London Act. I say that it impliedly repealed the City of London Act, because it's in direct conflict with that act. The Repair and Storage Liens Act says, as clearly as it can be stated, in section 3:

"In the absence of a written agreement to the contrary, a repairer" -- that can be read "a tower" -- "has a lien against an article that the repairer has repaired for an amount equal to (a) the amount that the person who requested the repair agreed to pay" -- of course, in the video we didn't see any signs of agreement, unless you interpret the sign saying, "Don't do it or you'll have to pay" an agreement -- "(b) where no such amount has been agreed upon, the fair value of the repair; (c) where only part of a repair is completed, the fair value of the part completed" -- and here comes the important part -- "and the repairer" -- read "tower" -- "may retain possession of the article until the amount is paid."

That's crystal clear under provincial legislation intended to operate from coast to coast in the province: A tower may retain possession of the vehicle until the amount is paid.

Along comes the city of London and, under its act, section 4 says exactly the opposite. It says, "If you take a car from a public parking facility without the consent of the owner or operator of it, you have no lien." Well, you do have a lien, subject to the 24-hour rule and the seven-day rule that Mr Blackwell told you about. That's a direct conflict between the City of London Act and its bylaw and the code enshrined in the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

If you tamper with this code -- and that's really what Mr Blackwell is asking you to do by saying that the City of London Act will apply, even though the Repair and Storage Liens Act says otherwise -- what you will be doing is tampering with a province-wide system, enacted as the policy of the province, to set up an orderly method to deal with priorities that people have in the same piece of property.

For example, if you have a car that's owned by someone subject to a lien that's registered in favour of General Motors Acceptance Corp and that vehicle is sought to be purchased by somebody, the purchaser is going to go and search in the database and see that GMAC's got a lien on it. If that article happens to be repaired by a mechanic who, under the RSLA, has let the car go back to the customer without getting fully paid for it, that mechanic can register in the system too. He registers what's called a non-possessory claim for lien. So the whole world knows that if somebody wants to buy that car GMAC has got a hook on it and a mechanic down the street has got a hook on it too under the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

Let's say that somebody comes along and buys it without searching, or let's say another finance company puts a lien against it. The question of priorities -- who's got the best right to that car -- will arise. Under the Repair and Storage Liens Act the mechanic has, because section 6 of that act gives him absolute priority over everybody else who's got an interest in that vehicle.

If Mr Blackwell has his way that won't be the way things are in London, albeit that's going to be the way things are in the whole rest of the province. The province has set up 49 different centres, each with a computer in it, called local registry branches for people interested in the status of ownership and claims against personal property to search. If Mr Blackwell has his way there will only be 48 in the province where that means anything.

What will happen in the city of London is this: From the point of view of a tower, like Mr Nash, who complies with the rights he has under the Repair and Storage Liens Act -- and let's say Mr Blackwell convinces you to do what he wants you to do -- Mr Nash knows that there's no such thing as a lien in London any more unless he satisfies the 24-hour, 7-day rule. Now, let's say Mr Nash goes to the registry office and tries to register a non-possessory claim as he's entitled to under provincial law. Is the clerk behind the counter supposed to look at it and say: "First, I have to know, Mr Nash, whether this vehicle was towed from a public parking facility. Second, I have to know" -- I guess the threshold question -- "was it towed in London here? Third, was it towed with or without the consent the owner?" The person registering this document is not expected to know these things. The clerk behind the counter isn't expected to have to ask these questions. Why? Because this is supposed to be a system that runs smoothly across the whole province. If Mr Blackwell has his way, that's not going to happen in London. That's from the point of view of a tower.

From the point of view of a motorist, a motorist from Thunder Bay knows that if he parks under a sign that says "If you park here you're going to get towed away" up in Thunder Bay, where there's no similar legislation, he's probably going to have to pay the price that he's been warned he's going to have to pay. But if he drives down to London, and Mr Blackwell's amendment is made into law, then that motorist who parks under the same sign here in London has a whole different packet of rights to deal with than he had when he was in up in Thunder Bay. He can say, "As long as I don't park here illegally for more than 24 hours I can park here illegally and go unpunished."

Mr Blackwell will say: "Oh no, you can sue in Small Claims Court to get the towing price. We don't object to towing. We think Mr Nash should resort to Small Claims Court." That's what Mr Blackwell suggested to the committee that heard his application back in 1979 for the original bill. The fact of the matter is that Mr Nash has about a 22% recovery rate in Small Claims Court. If Mr Blackwell has his way everything is going to be resolved in Small Claims Court, which is going to put an enormous burden on the Small Claims Court system, in addition to the burden it's already looking at when its jurisdiction increases in the rest of the province.

That is the situation from the point of view of a motorist. He's got different rights in Thunder Bay than he's got in London.


From the point of view of third parties, it's even worse. If a lien is illegal in London and a claim for lien can't be registered in London, what's the scenario when somebody wants to buy a car? Let's say that I want to buy a car in London, and I search and there is a claim for lien registered. I can take the position as a purchaser that the claim means nothing, because after all it's in London and London's got an act and a bylaw that say you can't have a lien, notwithstanding that the RSLA says that in every other city in the province the lien would be valid.

A purchaser looking at a car subject to registrations in London is going to have to engage in an inquiry as to whether the lien under the Repair and Storage Liens Act was there because of a tow from a public parking facility and whether it was a tow of a motor vehicle done without the owner or operator's consent. That's going to lead to more litigation. That's going to bog down the system of personal property registration in Ontario that this province intended to act smoothly and uniformly. I say that advisedly because it's said to be an act that consolidates and revises the law.

That's my first submission, that giving effect to this amendment that basically suspends the rights to a lien that is otherwise available under a broad piece of Ontario legislation is creating an island out of London. That's going to interfere with the smooth operation of the personal property security registration system. That's my first submission.

My second submission is that this matter is before the courts already anyway. What Mr Blackwell is asking you to do is to speak on a private act; that is, the original City of London Act, that is itself already under attack in the courts. It's under attack in the courts in two contexts.

For the first time since it was passed back in 1989, Mr Nash was recently charged with violating the bylaw. All other times he's been charged with mischief under the Criminal Code. This time he was charged under the bylaw. His defence is that the bylaw is invalid. That has not been yet disposed of. That's pending in the city of London. It's before His Honour Judge Walker, who asked counsel for the city and me to give him written argument on the question of whether the City of London Act and the bylaw are valid pieces of legislation or whether they have been impliedly repealed by the RSLA. That's the first context in which it's before the court.

The second context is that Mr Nash has started an action in Ontario Court (General Division) for a declaration of the truth of what I'm saying; that is, for a declaration that he's got the rights under the RSLA unimpeded and not interfered with by the City of London Act and the bylaw.

What's happening here is that the city seeks to have you amend a piece of legislation that's already under attack in two courts in the province as we speak. In my respectful submission this committee should keep its hands off that legislation until the courts have dealt with it because they're going to be dealing with the same questions that are being put before you.

Those are all the submissions I think I can usefully make to you. My friend Mr Ferguson may have some supplementary matters that I've neglected. Thank you for your attention.

Mr Ferguson: I want to point out to the committee that there is another thing that you should be looking at, in my submission, and that is the effect on businesses in the city of London. Mr Nash's company has been retained by several businesses in the city to patrol their parking lots. Why? Because people who are not customers park there and prevent legitimate customers from shopping there. For instance, there is a Hasty Market in London that initially used QAP, decided it would rather not and found after QAP stopped patrolling the lot that illegitimate parkers were using the facilities and its own customers could not get in there. It got so bad they asked QAP to come back.

By passing this bill, it would tie the hands of QAP and the property owners who need someone like QAP to ensure their customers can have access to their stores. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that in the midst of a recession when retailers are suffering, they don't need something like this to harm them even more.

Something else I'd like to point out to you is that QAP's contract with the business owners provides that it's the property owners who end up having to pay the towing charge to QAP, and QAP then acts as the agent for the customers, that is, the property owners, to collect the charge from the parking violator. If QAP is unable to collect, it's going to be the business owners, the property owners, who have to make up the difference, again to their detriment.

If he ends up having to go to small claims court -- Mr Dewar mentioned this -- if the small claims court system gets backed up in London because of the passage of this bill, not only is it going to cause the backlogs -- you know, any backlog is a problem for justice in our province, but I think it could end up costing the province more money to deal with that backlog.

Last, I think what we have here is really a vendetta against QAP. Mr Blackwell candidly admitted this is aimed at QAP Towing. You heard the comments the mayor made. He's a convenient political target. Everybody loves to hate him. I think that is one of the reasons behind the city's request to pass this legislation.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ferguson. Anything further, gentlemen?

Mr Ferguson: One other matter I just want to point out to the committee is that you're left perhaps with an impression from the video that was incorrect. The tows from the meters that you saw there only constituted about 15% of Mr Nash's tows. The vast majority of them are from private lots, businesses and so on, without meters. Keep in mind that there are signs for people to read, and the signs that QAP has on its parking meters are larger than the ones the city has on its parking meters. So it's there. If people just look and read, they're warned.

The Chair: Thank you. The parliamentary assistant?

Mr Mills: Our ministry has no comment and nothing to say.

The Chair: Thank you. For the purposes of the committee members, Mr Doppelt, the senior solicitor from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, is here. I believe you are willing to take any questions committee members may have.

Mr Allen Doppelt: Yes. I was counsel for the ministry in the drafting of the Repair and Storage Liens Act and worked on that legislation over an eight-and-a-half-year period. I'm very familiar with the legislation and would be pleased to answer any questions concerning it.

Mr Sutherland: Are we at comment stage now, or question stage?

The Chair: We are at question stage, yes.

Mr Sutherland: I guess I've got a couple of questions and some comments. Maybe first I should declare a conflict of interest.

The Chair: I'm sorry. Before we do that, my apologies for taking such a long time, Mr Blackwell.

Mr Sutherland: First of all, I guess I'd better declare my conflict of interest, having been towed by QAP at least once and I had my vehicle up on their hoist one other time. I must say that on both those occasions they were very legitimate.

I want to express some concerns, though, that I certainly know of incidents, and as Mr Blackwell has mentioned, of situations where your drivers, Mr Nash, from QAP have already got their hoist under the car, got the car up on the hoist, before the meters have even run out. I also am very well aware that many of your drivers intimidate the people. I have had people tell me that your drivers have said to them, "If you don't mind your own business" -- and I'm being nice as to how they've said it, because you can well imagine how they're really saying it.


Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): Say it.

Mr Sutherland: No, I won't put that in Hansard.

If they don't mind their business, people who are maybe letting other people know what their rights are on this issue, your drivers take their licence plates and keep a blacklist, and I take that as very threatening and intimidating.

I think the nature of the business here is that you're not going to make a lot of friends. We all recognize the fact that no one likes to have his car towed, and fair enough, you're doing a business. But I think what it comes down to, regarding this legislation, is that there are still responsibilities upon you as an individual operating a business of this nature to deal with some of these issues. It would seem to me that on many occasions these issues haven't been dealt with and that in many cases your drivers are carrying out their activities in a threatening, intimidating manner.

I want to deal with this comment about the businesses. I don't think it has an effect on those businesses that have the towing lot. As a matter of fact, I think from the examples we've heard, they're losing business. I would like, though, some comments from staff on the personal security system, and maybe some comments too from Mr Blackwell as to whether he agrees with Mr Dewar's points about the lien system, that if you pass this bylaw the lien system in effect will not be operating in London, and in fact it will be an island and you'll have two standards across the province.

The Chair: I'm wondering if that latter question might be directed to Mr Doppelt rather than Mr Blackwell.

Mr Sutherland: Sure, either way, if we could have some comment on those two points that were raised.

The Chair: He has some specific knowledge on that issue. But the first question really has to do with the --

Mr Sutherland: On both questions, the personal security system and the question about whether you won't have any lien system in effect in London by passing this bylaw, perhaps we could have a comment on both those points that were made by Mr Dewar.

The Chair: You had an earlier question. I'm not sure it had directly to do with the bill, though.

Mr Sutherland: No, I wasn't asking a question earlier. That was a comment on the overall situation.

The Chair: Yes. I guess I go back to the concern I had stated earlier, that there were issues in that videotape which came up which, whether they're legitimate or not, are largely irrelevant to the passage of this legislation.

Mr Sutherland: I think those comments need to be put on the record for consideration, but if we could have some comments from counsel, that would be great.

The Chair: I think it's only fair to allow Mr Nash to respond to those comments.

Mr Sutherland: That's fair enough.

The Chair: And then to Mr Doppelt. Mr Nash.

Mr George Nash: Thank you, Mr Chair. I guess my mike is on. The lights are not.

He was referring to the trucks towing the vehicles away before the meter had come in violation. We take pictures of the meter and the car before it's hooked up and towed away. We've been doing this for over two years now. Each truck is equipped with a Polaroid camera. They take a picture of the vehicle, showing it in violation, and they take a closer picture of the meter, showing that the red flag is up before it is towed.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Nash. Mr Doppelt, a response to the latter two questions.

Mr Doppelt: I guess one of the questions was about the way the registration system works and when a lien arises. The first point I would make is that money has to be owing for the repair, in this case the towage, to the repairer or the towage company. If they're paid for that repair or towage, then there are no lien rights.

The second point is that when they take possession of it, they have possessory lien. That has nothing to do with the registration of a claim for a lien. The claim for a lien is only registered when a non-possessory lien comes into existence, and that non-possessory lien does not come into existence until basically two conditions are met. First, in this case, the towage company would have to give possession back to the owner. Second, that owner would have to sign a receipt or other written acknowledgement that money is owing for the towage. Only then is there entitlement to have an enforceable lien and would there be a registration of a claim for lien. I just wanted to make those clarifying points.

As far as the definition of "repair" is concerned, it definitely does include towage. In fact, as I recall, when we drafted these amendments, that was done specifically at the request of the association of towage companies.

As I read this proposed bill in relation to the Repair and Storage Liens Act, it does not eliminate the lien. What it does is impose additional conditions precedent for there to be an enforceable lien. Of course, initially there has to be a possessory lien in that time periods are applied. There's no doubt those conditions don't apply elsewhere in the province. In other words, under the general law in the Repair and Storage Liens Act the lien would arise immediately when the towage begins. There's no waiting period. To that extent, it certainly does modify the general law. If this proposed legislation is passed, obviously towage companies would then have to comply with these additional conditions in terms of time periods. Otherwise they would not have a valid possessory lien under the Repair and Storage Liens Act.

Mr Hansen: I guess I was lucky last time I came into London. I came by bus and the bus was outside the hotel when I got out the next morning. It wasn't towed away, and it was parked in a no-parking zone there also.

I think it's very important that some of these regulations are being proposed by the city of London because it seems there is a problem in London with towing. I think we have to take a look at why the mayor has been saying that and why this is being done.

Mr Nash, are you a member of the chamber of commerce in London?

Mr Nash: No, I'm not, sir.

Mr Hansen: You're not, and yet you're one of the larger towing companies in London. Why would you not be a member of the chamber and discuss some of these issues that are going on?

Mr Nash: They haven't invited me to be there, sir.

Mr Hansen: But the stores you operate for are members of the chamber?

Mr Nash: Yes, they are. The system we have with the stores is that they request us to patrol their lots for them, and if anything that's in there doesn't belong they ask us to have it removed.

If I may make a comment, in the video they stated that it looked as if all those vehicles were towed away from metered lots. They were not. In that video three out of the 26 were towed from metered lots. The metered lots are less than 15% of the business. There are less than 50 metered parking spaces out there that we tow from. Most of it is from monthly parking lots, plazas, apartments and so forth, where they have well-posted signs on each one of the lots, at the entrance. In most cases they have a sign 24 inches by 30 inches in front of each parking space stating that if you park here you'll be towed away, and the rates are posted on the signs, what the cost will be to have it towed away.

Our rates are far less than suggested by the national towing association and the towing society. We are far lower than they are. Originally the city set the towing rates at $40 for a tow, $40 for dollies and $10 a day for storage, and between 7 pm and 7 am there is an additional $10 added to the tow. The storage is $10 for the day. What was suggested when they amended the bylaw was that it be a $15 surcharge for the compound opening after hours and $15 for the release of the vehicle. If your car is towed at 7 o'clock at night your tow charge would be there and your fee for opening the compound would be there, and if the person picked it up after hours there is an additional $15 added to it.

The city failed to state that you pay a separate licence for towing than you do for storage. You could be the tower and I could be the storage company. If you bring the vehicle in after hours, then we would charge the $15 for someone to open up the compound to bring the vehicle in, and if someone comes down after hours to pick the vehicle up there's an additional $15 for somebody to get out of bed and come down and release the vehicle.


Mr Hansen: Section 2 actually gets into signage. Maybe I should be asking the solicitor for the city on this one. I have a problem when I go to a small plaza. In some of them one's here, one's next door, but they're two different lots. I might run into the clothing store and then after I've been in the clothing store I go to the next mall, which is next door but might be separated by a concrete curb. I have been a customer there, but now I'm a customer in the next section. Do you mean that if I'm parked in that lot and I've finished my business and I ran next door, there's a good likelihood my vehicle would be towed away? What would the sign state, "This Is For Customers Only"?

Mr Nash: The sign states, "For Patrons Only While In Store." Judge McCart ruled on this two yeas ago. A gentleman had parked at Tim Horton Donuts at York and Talbot, got his doughnuts and coffee, walked down a block to the bus depot to pick up his wife. He waited about 20 minutes, I believe. He came back and his car was gone. The judge ruled at the time that you're no longer a customer once you've completed your business transaction.

Mr Hansen: Okay, so the wording's a little bit different. I took it at as I've been a customer and I'm still a customer. I finished my transaction but I'm still a worthwhile customer of that store even though I've maybe stayed an extra 10 minutes because I walked next door to the next store. I guess maybe we need a real education in London or in Ontario of what's going on on that signage that's up there to make it very clear.

Mr Nash: The signs state very clearly, "For Patrons Only While In Store." We have a check system that we do for the different stores. Depending on what they want, every half-hour we have the lot checked. We'll go in at 8 o'clock, write down the licence numbers that are on the lot and go back in a half-hour later. If the same vehicle's there, we will check inside the store with the clerk to see if the vehicle belongs. If it belongs, it stays; if it doesn't belong, then they sign the bill to have it towed out, or give us a PO number.

Mr Hansen: I have to say that I'm going to support the city on this particular bill.

The Chair: Ms Cunningham, was there a question or a statement?

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): A question. I was interested in the practicality of these liens. Just how many are we looking at? I did hear the number earlier that over a period of a year -- I'm not sure which year -- there were some 7,800 tows. I'm not sure if that's a number you would agree to or not. This question, Mr Chairman, is obviously through you to one of the representatives of the objector, Mr Nash. How many liens would there have been there? Out of those 7,800, or in any one year, what would be the average number of liens you would have been able to apply, if necessary?

Mr Ferguson: I'm informed by Mr Nash that he has approximately 450 outstanding claims for lien that he could enforce at this point. I don't know over how long a period that is, but it gives you an idea of the numbers.

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, except that if it's over the last seven or eight years and these are things that are still sitting on somebody's books. It's not very practical. My question was, in a period of one year, approximately how many liens would you have?

Mr Ferguson: Mr Nash has told me that 450 is over seven months, so you can extrapolate from that.

Mr Nash: These are liens that could be registered at the present time. There are over 3,200, total, that we have not been paid for as of yet -- 3,207, I believe it is, tows that have not been paid for as of yet. That is over a two-year period.

Mrs Cunningham: So you really do allow people to take their cars away from your compound without paying?

Mr Nash: Yes. When the person hasn't got the money on him, he signs acknowledgement of the lien. Then we have a lien against the vehicle at that point.

Mrs Cunningham: What would have happened to that young woman who came late at night if she had not had the money?

Mr Nash: If she had not had the money, she'd have been given the time to pay it, if it was from a metered parking lot.

Mrs Cunningham: If it was from a metered parking lot?

Mr Nash: If it was from a metered parking lot.

Mrs Cunningham: I see, from one of the 50 meters.

Mr Nash: From one of approximately 50 meters. If it had been from a Hasty Market store or 7 Eleven store or whoever requested it, or from your driveway, we'll say, we hold the vehicle till it's paid for.

Mrs Cunningham: My second question is this, then. Of the number of liens you have, would those be liens that would probably be there because the person collected his car within hours of its being towed?

Mr Nash: That's correct.

Mrs Cunningham: So if in fact this law said you had -- I'm looking at it here: "parking facility for a continuous period of 24 hours or more or...unless a vehicle is stored for a continuous period of seven days or more." This would certainly diminish the number of liens because of the time frame in this proposed new piece of legislation.

Mr Nash: It would increase the liens, because the people wouldn't be paying for the vehicles before they took them from the compound. It would definitely increase the amount of liens that would be out there if we weren't able to hold them until they were paid for.

Mrs Cunningham: I'm not following that one at all.

Mr Nash: Originally, when they wrote it, we weren't able to hold any vehicle from any premises. The police department told us we had to release them and file a lien against them. When it was ruled that we did have the right to hold the vehicles until they were paid for, this solved the problem of the Hasty Market, 7 Eleven, your driveway or the apartment owners. But from the metered lots, the people who owned the metered lots, we get a lien on the vehicles that are towed from there. They sign the lien before they release the vehicle to them, because the city has stated that we cannot hold the vehicle.

Mrs Cunningham: I think you get the gist of my question. Perhaps if there's a difference of opinion there, one of the solicitors either for the committee or for the city could clarify for me, because I'm obviously not with it on this particular point.

Mr Eddy: I wonder if there was any word or objection from any property owner or if anyone present is in fact representing any of the property owners directly.

The Chair: Are there any other interested parties present?

Mr Ferguson: We have some letters from a couple of property owners. There are more coming that we couldn't contact, but we do have that and I'd be happy to file them with you.

The Chair: Is that what you were requesting, Mr Eddy?

Mr Eddy: Yes, that's one thing. The other question I have is of Mr Blackwell. Would the passing of the act that's been applied for put the city in the same position as it was prior to the passing of the new act -- not the city act, the --

Mrs Cunningham: The Revised Statutes of Ontario.

Mr Eddy: Yes.

Mr Blackwell: I'm sorry, I'm not quite clear on the question that's being asked. I wonder if Mr Eddy could ask it one more time.

Mr Eddy: This is an act to amend the previous act of the city of London, and it's necessary to have it amended, apparently, because of the passing of the Repair and Storage Liens Act, the new one. Is that correct?

Mr Blackwell: I think I understand.

Mr Eddy: Would a passing of this amendment put the city in the same position as it was previously?

Mr Blackwell: I believe it would, but let me explain why I say I believe it would. As pointed out to you earlier, the city's 1989 private legislation and the Repair and Storage Liens Act were passed at the same sitting of the Legislature.

My view is that the Legislature is taken to know what it's doing and intends to happen what it is doing. Therefore, if you take the two pieces of legislation, it's my view that the Legislature fully intended to give or to circumscribe to a limited extent the effect of the Repair and Storage Liens Act in London in situations where we have unsolicited towing where the vehicle was parked for less than 24 hours or where it is stored for less than seven days after it's towed. In every other situation, the Repair and Storage Liens Act would apply.

Having said that, the problem with the 1989 private legislation is that there is no specific reference to the fact that it is to apply despite the Repair and Storage Liens Act, and that's all we're asking for today. We're not asking for the suspension of lien rights; we already have that. The other course I suppose we could take is to go to the courts and seek a declaration to the effect that the Repair and Storage Liens Act doesn't apply, but it seemed infinitely simpler to simply come back to the Legislature and say, "Declare for us what we believe it was your intention to do in the first place."

Could I just make a couple of other comments, Mr Chairman?


The Chair: Certainly. I'd like to bring to people's attention that I think we're close to wrapping up on this bill.

Mr Blackwell: Very simply, you've heard a lot of technical explanation and presentation. If I can take you quickly through the bill, I want to say to you that so far as my friend's submission goes, really, what we're doing doesn't affect them at all.

Section 2.1, which deals with signage, is no problem, because you've already heard from Mr Nash that the lots have signs. All the city is seeking to do is to have some uniformity of signs, uniformity of location and so forth. So that shouldn't pose a problem.

Section 2.3, as I explained to you, already exists except for the words, "despite the Repair and Storage Liens Act." You've already heard from Mr Nash and my friend that QAP gets paid by the store owner, so they don't need a lien. And in my view, the store owner isn't entitled to a lien because the store owner isn't in the business of towing. So what effect does 2.3 have on Mr Nash? It has none. In effect, I say there's no opposition to this, despite what you've heard. On that basis, I close my remarks, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Blackwell. Any further comments or questions?

Mr Dewar: Mr Chairman, may I just say one or two things? I promise I'll be brief.

I gathered from my colleague, counsel for the ministry, that he and I are in agreement on the point that if this legislation goes through, London will in fact be an island, with a different set of laws regarding liens than the rest of the province. My friend and colleague from the ministry indicated that there will be conditions precedent; certainly he said there will be conditions precedent in London to getting to file a non-possessory lien. I say that frustrates the intent of the province to have this act smoothly coast to coast.

One thing we haven't dealt with and no one's dealt with yet today is that part of the amendment that seeks to enable the city to classify certain property as either public or private. If this bill goes through today, the city will have the power to point the finger at the 7 Eleven store owner and say: "That's private property -- until today. From here on in, it's public property as far as this act is concerned." The effect of that makes it unlawful for the proprietor of the 7 Eleven store to pay what it takes to clear illegal motorists out of his lot. That's what's going to happen. The magic of converting private property into public property is something that is going to happen if this goes through today too.

My last remark has to do with the remark that the Legislature's intended to know what it's doing. I agree with that comment. What it said it was doing when it passed the RSLA was revising and consolidating the law. Mr Blackwell and the mayor want this to be fair. We just want it to be legal, and I repeat that the court ought to be allowed to make that decision before you do. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. Further questions from the committee members? Hearing none, are we ready to vote on this bill?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


The Chair: With your indulgence, Mr Grandmaître, as we have the solicitors from the city of Ottawa in front of us, on the previous bill from the city of Ottawa, Bill Pr18, there was an amendment which wasn't brought to my attention. I'm wondering if we can, as a committee, deal with that amendment now, prior to the introduction of your bill, sir. The committee dealt with the bill so quickly that we overlooked the amendment that was meant to be made to the bill. With the committee's consent, can we reopen the bill, put the amendment and report the bill as amended?

Mr Sutherland moves that subsection 1(2) of the act be amended by striking out "rental agreement" in the last line and substituting "tenancy agreement."

Any comments on that amendment?

Mr Mills: Yes, Mr Chairman. The reason for the change is conformity with the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The Chair: Thank you, parliamentary assistant. All in favour of the amendment?

Motion agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.



Consideration of Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

The Chair: We are now on to Bill Pr27. Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Thank you, Mr Chair. First, I suppose everybody is interested in baseball and fair play, and this is why we're before you this morning: fair play.

Mr Chair, since 1989 the city of Ottawa and a promoter have been trying to obtain a franchise and also to build a stadium in the city of Ottawa. Finally, on May 1 the OMB gave approval to the zoning changes and now we are on our way.

Usually, or ordinarily, municipal projects of this kind are tax-exempt. But in this case, it is a little different and this is why we are before you this morning. The arrangement or the agreement to operate and to maintain the stadium will be done not at the municipal level, but through a private enterprise or a private tenant. This is the reason special legislation is needed. I can tell you that the present government of Ontario has worked very closely with the city of Ottawa in order to obtain such a franchise and also to create jobs in the Ottawa-Carleton area. I have before me two letters signed by the Premier approving of such a stadium.

Mr Sola: Which Premier?

Mr Grandmaître: The present Premier. Also, the RMOC, the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, and the school boards concerned with this bill have not objected to this tax exemption. I think it's very important. The total tax bill is around $175,000: $174,720. So it's really a partnership, and this is what the government has been trying to do: create partnerships with private enterprise. That's exactly what's happening in Ottawa-Carleton.

I have experts with me this morning, Mr Chair, if you have any questions, if members of the committee have any questions. On my left, there's Gerry Bellomo, director of property law and a famous name in Ottawa-Carleton; Pierre Grandmaître, director of planning and project development branch. Any questions, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Before we do that, I understand there is an interested party, Audrey Voice. Audrey, could you come up to the mike and join us. As well, there was a letter I received, which should have been circulated this morning, from a Diane Mauldin. I bring those letters to the committee's attention. It seems that Ms Mauldin is also an objector.

Mr Sutherland: Don't we have another one, the Federation of Citizens Association of Ottawa-Carleton?

The Chair: That was included with your bill as distributed, but the clerk informed me that the letter which I received from Ms Mauldin was not included in your package and was circulated this morning. Ms Voice.

Ms Audrey Voice: I'll just take a minute to gather up my documents. I do have some documents to distribute to members of the committee as well.

The Chair: In the meantime, if we presume that will take a couple of minutes, are there questions of the solicitor. Mr Dadamo.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Thank you very much for being here today. I just want briefly ed to comment that last year I was the sponsor of a similar bill for the city of Windsor. At first sight we decided not to go ahead with this developer, but on looking at it the operative word seemed to be "partnership." If it came down to the city of Windsor having to build this multiplex, which we are going to build in the city of Windsor on the riverfront, it quickly becomes a $38-million to $40-million project. The city of Windsor simply couldn't do it, and the taxpayers in the area couldn't handle it. So we were in the position to say yes in that we have to work alongside developers in that aspect and build something that's good for trade, good for the city, good for the area and will hopefully bring some much-needed money to the city. So I would say I support.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Dadamo. Go ahead, Ms Voice.

Ms Voice: Mr Chairman, I first became involved in this issue early in 1992, when I was approached by a neighbour of mine and a newly elected alderman, who had indicated that a number of people had come to him expressing some concerns about this project and asked me if I would look through some of the documents. Over subsequent months a number of the community associations have become involved. There's been some publicity in the press. It's to the point where people stop me on the street and express their concerns about this. I think a lot of people have misgivings about this project.

Professional sport is something of a growth industry in Ottawa right now. The long-established Ottawa Roughriders have a new owner. Ottawa has a newly acquired NHL hockey franchise. Ottawa also is to have triple A baseball. I have no problem with the football or hockey businesses. The terms in which baseball is being brought to Ottawa are a travesty upon the people of Ottawa in particular, and to the province of Ontario as a whole.

Let's compare hockey and baseball. The Ottawa Senators are to build the Ottawa Palladium: 18,500 seats, a $150-million hockey arena and entertainment complex, all of which they will pay for. They bought the land at market value. They've raised funds independently from private sources. They've sought no tax concessions. They are paying the full cost of necessary infrastructure, including road improvements and sewers. They're not asking for any public assistance.

Howard Darwin, through Triple A Management Inc, has purchased a baseball franchise. This agreement to purchase, as I understand it -- and I haven't seen his agreement with Triple A Alliance -- is conditional on a baseball stadium being constructed for the team to play in. Rather than a private facility, the 10,000-seat baseball stadium is to be constructed by the city, and much of the capital cost is to be provided by the city. Then the revenues, all the revenues, go to Howard Darwin, not just from baseball but from whatever else the stadium can be rented out for. He also gets the parking revenues. I'd refer you to the contract between the city of Ottawa and Howard Darwin, which I've provided you copies of. Initially, when the now-removed Mayor Durrell, now full-time sports promoter Durrell, approached Howard Darwin, he wasn't interested. However, the mayor said, "Have I got a deal for you." So Howard Darwin isn't stupid. He took him up on it.

My appearance here today is an attempt to give you, as members of the Ontario Legislature, as much perspective on this deal as possible. The pervasive argument to the public, as planning proceeded for this enterprise and a commitment was made to build a stadium, was that the city would have this nice new facility, it would benefit the local economy, and most important, it wouldn't cost the city, that's the local taxpayer, anything. It would be funded by the private sector. To this day city politicians and senior city staff are still selling that argument. But let's give it careful scrutiny.

The land the stadium is to be built on is city land. They didn't buy it. They obtained it in an exchange with the National Capital Commission. It was valued at $10.7 million before rezoning. The city didn't have to write a cheque to use it as a baseball stadium site. Therefore they ignore that as part of the capital cost of the facility.

Then there are the construction costs of $16.9 million. They received a $2-million grant from the province so they don't count that as city taxpayers' money. They then are going to sell $4 million worth of surplus city land to go into the construction costs; selling off city assets isn't the same as extracting directly from the taxpayer so that doesn't count either. By the way, four years after the baseball franchise was first sought, with tenders about to be awarded, this land has not been sold, and the city is applying for an additional $6.54 million in city debentures in addition to the $4 million it has already borrowed. So on this facility that isn't supposed to cost the city anything it has already borrowed $10.54 million. But they say they're going to get it back. Maybe. So don't count that either. They're going to raise $5.6 million from advertising signs, pouring rights, concessions. Maybe.

Then there's $2.7-million worth of infrastructure; roads, sewers and that stuff. The city and the region are sharing the costs of that, the city and regional taxpayers. You add all this up and you're over $30 million. And by the Mayor Durrell school of accounting, by which most of the current city of Ottawa administration seems to be trained, this doesn't cost anything because we haven't imposed a specific mill rate to pay for this thing.


I wish I could say that I think this is a bad deal only because it's bad policy, a poor investment or just plain stupid. But it's more than that. It's illegal. It's against the law of Ontario, the law which you the legislators of this province have passed. This contravenes not just one law but two, and maybe more.

Let me refer you to section 111 of the Ontario Municipal Act. It provides that a council shall not assist directly or indirectly a commercial enterprise through the granting of bonuses by, among other things, leasing or selling any property of the municipality at below fair market value. I have provided a copy of that section for you in the package which was distributed.

Section 3 of the Assessment Act provides that all real property in Ontario is liable to assessment and taxation, subject to the following exemption: property belonging to a municipality "but not when occupied by a tenant or a lessee who is liable to taxation." I've provided you with an extract from the Assessment Act as well.

I believe those sections are straightforward. That's the law, for everyone, for Joe's Confectionery, Loblaws, or my home and yours. The law is supposed to be the same for everyone, no matter who you are, including Howard Darwin. However, the contract with the city is made conditional by section 38 of that contract, which provides that the agreement is only binding if there are no property taxes to be paid, taxes which have been estimated by the Ministry of Revenue at $588,000 per year at 1980 market value. So that's probably a low estimate. I know Mr Grandmaître a few minutes ago suggested some $170,000. I do have a copy of a letter from the Ministry of Revenue giving that figure of $588,000 per year at 1980 market value.

Let us look at what revenue the city does get each year. In lieu of rent, Triple A is going to pay off $4 million worth of debentures. At today's prime, that could be $300,000 or $400,000 per year. The city is going to impose a 5% surcharge on tickets and parking. The city has projected ticket sales and parking to be $2.4 million per year; 5% of that would be $98,000. The city says it will cost $174,000 per year to service that $1.2-million infrastructure debt it's to go towards. So the 5% surcharge intended to pay off infrastructure debt quite possibly will not do so. Not only is the city only getting about 1% per annum on $30-million worth of stadium; it gets no property tax revenue.

If ever there was a case of why buy when renting is so cheap, this is it. The benefits to Triple A are substantial and for the city this is going to be a money pit. It's all so unnecessary. Thirty million dollars is beyond the scale of most of our personal budgets. Let's make an analogy with something with fewer zeros, like $300,000.

People like baseball and that's great. They also like nice houses to live in. Let's say the city builds you a house, a form of social housing. It's built on city land so they don't count the cost of that and they don't impose property taxes. The construction costs are $169,000 rather than the $16.9 million for a baseball stadium. They say you can have this $300,000 house if you pay off $40,000 worth of mortgage over the next 15 years. I think you'd say you got a bonus. Houses create construction jobs. New families who spend money will be good for the local economy, which is the economic spinoff argument one sometimes hears about baseball stadiums.

At this time, when we're in a recession, when governments at all levels are facing severe spending constraints, you're being asked to pass a special law for the benefit of Triple A Management Inc that says the law doesn't apply to this business. We should pass a special law, special concessions, just for this enterprise. The law of Ontario that applies to everyone else doesn't apply here. While little businesses all over Ontario are folding, baseball is big business, and you're being urged to give it a special deal.

Each triple A team is affiliated with a major league team. The major league teams are the same ones that make so much money that last year they were making the news because they could afford to pay their employees, also known as star players, around $4 million per year, and average salaries for major league players are in the hundreds of thousands.

The same baseball leagues are being represented at municipal councils by obliging city bureaucrats who say they couldn't be a viable enterprise if they were asked to pay fair market value for a baseball stadium.

If you pass this, what are you going to say if the Ottawa Senators come to you and ask for tax concessions, exemptions from the law for them? After all, they're putting up a stadium, even with their own money. After all, hockey is going to be even bigger and better. Will other businesses, the Bay or Sears, be far behind?

Baseball is business. This is not just another municipal wave pool or amateur sports facility. It's for triple A baseball and whatever other commercial events it can be rented out for by Triple A Management Inc.

The contract provides that if there are dates left over it will be offered to the community on a not-for-profit basis. If a community group such as little league baseball uses it, the city pays costs, so this is something that is going to have very little community use other than as paying spectators. The schedule for community uses is initiated by Triple A, not the city, and whatever dates are made available to the community, the city pays; it's not for free.

I think the wording of that contract, copies of which I've provided you, is quite clear, as are the relevant sections of the Assessment Act and the Municipal Act.

In addition, the provisions of the agreement which allow for the profits of the enterprise to be paid entirely to the contractor could be called into question as being legitimate affairs or purposes of a municipality pursuant to the Municipal Affairs Act.

In case you should think this is the opinion of an obstreperous woman from Ottawa who just doesn't like baseball, I point out this is the opinion of the director of legal services in the Ministry of Revenue, and I've provided you with the Ministry of Revenue opinion dated September 15, 1991. There are a couple of other letters as well which say somewhat the same thing and which I could also provide to the committee if that's your wish.

The school board and the region were asked to pass motions so that they would not be on record as opposing this special legislation. Well, as I understand how this works, the school board and the region simply tell the city how much money they need. It's not a percentage of each rateable property, so it doesn't affect their budget whether the city does or doesn't tax the baseball stadium. So, although there were some outspoken critics, the motions passed.

Historically the response to requests for tax-exempt status has been no, for good reason, because it is wrong to diminish the tax base by ad hoc decisions. That certainly seems a sensible principle.

Surely if it's appropriate for particular lands to be exempt from taxes, that decision should be made using uniform criteria on a province-wide basis, as is currently done in section 3 of the Assessment Act.

It's hard to knock baseball in a way because people like it. It's a popular thing, and there likely will be 10,000 people fill the stands for these baseball games. But should half a million other people who are interested in basic municipal services have to subsidize this? In order to get the triple A franchise they had to have a stadium. If not for triple A this stadium wouldn't be built, wouldn't be required; there'd be no need for it. Once it's up, the operator, Triple A, will try to make as much profit as possible, and it could be put to a variety of uses, but baseball is the reason this thing is coming into existence. To put together this deal, this stadium has to happen.

The baseball club said it's not prepared to make the investment to build its own stadium like the hockey club's doing. "We only want it if we get a 15-year deal, with option to renew for this stadium, ours for baseball and all the other uses we can put it to and no property taxes. Not just ticket revenues for all events year-round, the parking revenues, the concession revenues, but no property taxes either."

I pick up the Ottawa Citizen for Friday, June 4, 1992, and the manager's telling the reporter 10,000 tickets will be sold with another 1,000 sprawling on the grass seats available along the foul lines. Six dollars per average ticket for 10,000 to 11,000 seats for 71 games plus use of the stadium the rest of the year and they cannot afford to pay for land, a stadium or property taxes so they want the public to do it for them.

Advertising and concessions revenue, independent of any broadcast revenues, for the Ottawa Senators hockey club in the 10,000-seat civic centre is estimated at $7 million for the first year. I've taken these figures from the Ottawa Senators prospectus. I have no information as to how the price of hot dogs and beer at the two facilities will compare. One assumes it's somewhat similar.


The city is selling Howard Darwin 15 years of concession rights for $1.3 million. In the city's financial projections it's used the interest rate of 12%. On a $30-million facility, plus the normal property taxes, the city should be expected to get a return of over $4 million. It's going to be getting about one tenth of that.

Should the city of Ottawa and the Ontario Legislature go so far as to provide large sums of public money, even special laws, to make it happen? I think not.

If I could just make one comment, Mr Dadamo referred to the city of Windsor's facility. As I understand it, the city of Windsor was really quite lacking in sports facilities and made a deal where it provided tax-free status for the land. However, the $25-million construction cost was provided entirely by the contractor, if I understand correctly.

Mr Dadamo: That's right.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Voice. You've presented a very articulate and very well-reasoned argument. I believe we have a couple of people who want to make statements or ask questions, but first the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Housing, Mr Mills?

Mr Mills: No, correction, Mr Chair, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The Chair: My apologies.

Mr Mills: Anyway, I just want to refer to some quotes with reference to the Municipal Act, and of course this bill overrides the provisions of that legislation. The precedent has already been set through Bill Pr99 in respect to the city of Windsor. A precedent has been set there.

There was some comment made, a reference to the Minister of Revenue. I have in my possession a letter here. It deals with a lot of things, but I'm just going to read the pertinent facts. This is directed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Honourable David Cooke.

"As you are aware, it has always been our practice to oppose the granting of property tax exemptions by private bills because it undermines the principles of the Assessment Act. This continues to be our practice. However, there are novel circumstances present, created by the joint partnership between the municipal body and a private interest, which allows an exception to be made to the general rule. In particular, the strong commitment and support of the city of Ottawa for a property tax exemption must be recognized. In addition, some tax revenue will accrue from this facility, since the operator will be liable for business taxes.

"In conclusion, my ministry has no objection to the enactment of the proposed private bill, the City of Ottawa Act, 1991."

The letter is signed, "Shelley Wark-Martyn, Minister," for your and the committee's information.

Mr Grandmaître: Mr Chair, can I set the record straight? I think Ms Voice brought up a very good point, questioning the $174,720. I was referring to the business tax, Ms Voice, not the total tax bill. It was business taxes only that will be paid by the 10th.

Mr Gerald Bellomo: I was just going to very briefly respond. Without giving a sentence-by-sentence response, I think there are some facts the committee should know in response to the brief.

The Chair: Perhaps those facts could be elicited from the committee's questions. Mr Grandmaître has already clarified one point, but I think if the committee has questions, perhaps they could ask them.

Mr Sutherland: My question is to the city, and it's a couple of points brought up by Ms Voice's presentation, which I think certainly proves that she has indeed done her homework quite well to come up with this presentation and present the information.

Did the city, in its negotiations, make any attempt to get a percentage of concession sales and of advertising, particularly in the park? I bring this up from my understanding of the agreement with the double A franchise in London, which was working in a facility owned by the public utilities commission there. As part of the agreement there to upgrade the facility, the PUC, in conjunction with the city, decided it would put a surtax on the ticket sales. But I believe they also get a percentage of the concessions, which was always considered one of the more lucrative areas, and I believe they also get a percentage of the signage in the outfield, because those signs stay out there all year round. Did the city look at concessions and advertising as part of its involvement in the deal?

Mr Pierre Grandmaître: Let me answer you in this way: We did. We looked at all the proprietary rights -- soft drink rights, scoreboard and so on. What was failed to be presented is how this project is funded. It's a $16.9-million project, of which the city is debenturing $4 million, which will be repaid by the franchise owner, principal and interest over a 15-year period. There is a $4-million contribution from land sales which the city is in fact front-ending. There is a $2-million contribution from the province of Ontario, and there is $6.8 million that we culled from the private sector.

Those dollars are in effect concession rights which have been sold to the baseball franchise owner for $1.3 million. We've sold scoreboard, we've sold sweets, we've sold advertising zones, a number of those packages. We could have financed this project with tax dollars and turned around and charged a percentage of revenues to be applied against our cost. What in effect we've done is we've forgone those revenues for the duration of the agreement for the upfront dollars, because what's happening is that the city is selling those proprietary rights and applying those revenues to the capital cost of the building.

The Chair: Any further questions?

Mr Sola: I'd like to hear from the city, to hear its explanation. You wanted to fill in --

Mr Bellomo: Okay, I'll be very brief. First of all, the ironic thing is that Ms Mauldin is not even a resident of Ottawa. She's a resident of our neighbouring municipality of Gloucester. You should be aware of that.

Second, we had a five-day hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board on zoning and official plan matters, and Ms Voice attended and had full opportunity to make representations before the board. Ms Voice indicated that this is illegal. Well, every request for special legislation before you is here because there is some concern with the legislation. That's why we're here.

The only other thing I would mention is that, yes, there are objectors. Clearly this is a major project; one would expect some objectors to a major project. But there are already 7,000 season ticket holders who have purchased tickets for this stadium. We have the local community association, the Overbrook Community Centre, in which the stadium is being built, on side, so we have the support of the majority of residents in Ottawa.

Mr Hansen: Maybe Ms Voice could comment on the remarks made.

Ms Voice: I would be very happy to reply. Thank you for the opportunity. The gentleman, and I'm not sure of his name --

Mr P. Grandmaître: Pierre Grandmaître.


Ms Voice: He pointed out some of the ways the capital costs are going to be covered. He only pointed out the $4 million in debentures. In fact the city has made three applications to the Ontario Municipal Board for debentures, first $0.8 million, then they came back for another $3.2 million, now they've gone back for another $6.54 million. The $4 million in land sales is city land; that's not a corporate contribution. That $4 million in land has not been sold.

On the private sector financing and just how much of a shortfall there is at the present time, the only contracts I've seen were blank contracts. There may indeed be some fully executed contracts now.

About the Ontario Municipal Board hearing, that was a rather frustrating exercise in that the board ruled that its jurisdiction was confined solely to official plan and zoning.

The city of Ottawa did a very funny thing with its site plan. The city of Ottawa has delegated the authority to deal with site plans to its planning committee. The city's own planning committee, in looking at this facility the city was building, rejected the site plan for its own facility.

Then they did a rather curious thing. They had a special emergency meeting of council where, in my opinion, they did something that was illegal under the Planning Act in terms of the way they revoked the authority delegated to that planning committee. Then they increased the bicycle rack at this stadium from 30 parking spaces to 100 parking spaces. They said then that made this $16.9-million stadium, which was previously unacceptable in terms of its site plan, now acceptable.

Another thing, the bonusing argument: I very much tried to get this before the board. The board ruled that it had to stick to official plan and zoning. It would be very dangerous to try and put words in the mouth of Ontario Municipal Board members. There seemed to be some implication, "You might have a good argument, but unfortunately at this hearing we can't hear about it." Although I did go to the hearing and I tried mightily to get my case before the board, I was not able to. Therefore I very much dispute the argument that I had a chance to put my evidence before the board. In fact he was the one who stood up and argued to the board that I should not be allowed to give my evidence.

I don't know whether I should raise these things. There are other things that concern me about the legality of this thing, although it's perhaps only incidental to this private bill. The section of the Municipal Act that provides for the type of undertakings the municipality may get into lists a number of things that are public things. I think this essentially becomes a private facility under the terms of the contract which the city and Triple A Management Inc have.

Under the Ontario Municipal Board Act there are certain procedures required with respect to debentures. You specifically have to have a bylaw authorizing this. The city of Ottawa bylaw isn't very specific. Those are things that will be taken up with the Ontario Municipal Board, and that perhaps is a better forum than this committee, but I would point out to you that there are a lot of concerns about this.

The Chair: Would you like to take a moment or do you feel finished?

Ms Voice: Maybe just one more comment as far as there is a precedent is concerned. The city of Windsor bill, as I've indicated, is a somewhat different situation, if that's a precedent. I think it becomes a somewhat dangerous precedent to start creating ad hoc decisions about who this section of the Assessment Act or the Municipal Act does or doesn't apply to.

The Chair: Any further comments or questions? Seeing none, are we ready for a vote? We are ready for a vote. Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Voice, gentlemen.

We will be meeting next week. There are some four or five private bills to deal with at that time. We are adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1246.