Wednesday 17 June 1992

Dutch Canadian Alliance of Ontario, Inc. Act, 1992, Bill Pr39

Willem Meyer, legal counsel, Dutch Canadian Alliance of Ontario, Inc.

Arnprior-Nepean Railway Company Inc. Act, 1992, Bill Pr47

Gerald Hollyer, legal counsel, Arnprior-Nepean Railway Company Inc.

City of Ottawa Act, 1992, Bill Pr34

Edythe Dronshek, solicitor, City of Ottawa

City of Cornwall Act, 1992, Bill Pr29

Joel Bousfield, city clerk, Cornwall

Ernie J.Jackson, vice-president and general manager, Cornwall Electric


*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 Mr Farnon

*In attendance / présents

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel:

Klein, Susan A., legislative counsel

Hopkins, Laura, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1002 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr39, An Act to revive The Dutch Canadian Alliance of Ontario, Inc.

The Chair (Mr Drummond White): I'd like to call this meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. The first item on our agenda is Bill Pr39, An Act to revive The Dutch Canadian Alliance of Ontario, Inc. Mr Jordan will be sponsoring the bill on behalf of Mr Harnick.

Mr Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): It's my pleasure to present Bill Pr39 on behalf of Charles Harnick, the member for Willowdale, who was unable to attend this morning. It's An Act to revive The Dutch Canadian Alliance of Ontario, Inc. I have on my left Mr Willem Meyer, the legal counsel, who's prepared to explain or answer any questions.

Mr Willem Meyer: Good morning, Mr Chairman. I wish to thank the member for introducing me. We also wish to thank the honourable member for Willowdale for sponsoring this bill.

The necessity for the bill came about by a bureaucratic mixup where a notice of dissolution was alleged never to have been received by the board of directors of the Canadian Alliance. The Canadian Alliance was originally constituted as a group of Dutch Canadian credit unions in Ontario which banded together to pursue charitable objects within the spirit of the community movement, defined by the needs and problems experienced within the Dutch Canadian community at the time. The corporation was unaware that its charter had been dissolved and carried on merrily for the past five years. It has a substantial amount of funds on hand and of course cannot carry on in its present circumstances. This is the background for the bill.

The Chair: Are there any objectors or interested parties on this bill? Are there any questions of the sponsor or the applicant? Mr Parliamentary Assistant?

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): No objections, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Are we ready then for a vote?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Meyer.

Mr Meyer: Thank you.


Consideration of Bill Pr47, An Act respecting the Arnprior-Nepean Railway Company Inc.

The Chair: Mr Jordan, if you could introduce your friends on item 4 on our agenda, which is also Mr Jordan's bill.

Mr Jordan: It's my pleasure also this morning, on behalf of BASF Arnprior, to present Bill Pr47, An Act respecting the Arnprior-Nepean Railway Company Inc. I have with me this morning the legal counsel for the firm, Gerald Hollyer, who is prepared to further explain the bill and answer any questions.

Mr Gerald Hollyer: I'd like to thank Mr Jordan for sponsoring this bill and the Chair of the committee for dealing with this matter this morning.

Briefly put, a line of railway from Nepean to Arnprior where BASF's plant is located is being abandoned by the CNR at the end of July this year. In order to continue the freight service to that plant, which is essential to its operation, this company has been formed simply to bring it within the purview of the Ontario Railways Act and continue that freight service solely for the use of that plant.

It is not to be a public railway or a common carrier. The CNR will, under contract, continue to operate and bring the tank cars that are needed for that plant and to bring the product manufactured at that plant out again. It is simply to permit a continuation of the service to that plant that has gone on for many, many years. I would be glad to answer any question which any of the members of the committee have.

The Chair: Any questions on this? There is a letter from an interested party, which has been circulated. There are no objectors present, though I would ask the clerk to deal with the substance of the letter as the photocopy is somewhat difficult to read.

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Todd Decker): The copy of the letter is inserted in your copy of the bill before you. From my reading of the letter, I believe the person who's written the letter has misunderstood the purpose of the application and is referring to a common-carrier-type application, not realizing that this would be a private railway used by a private company in the area.

Mr Mills: No comments.

The Chair: Thank you. That's fine. Are we then ready to vote on this bill?

Sections 1 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Mr Jordan: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman and members of the committee. We appreciate it.



Consideration of Bill Pr34, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

The Chair: The next item of business will be Bill Pr34, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa. Mr Chiarelli.

Mr Robert Chiarelli (Ottawa West): Mr Chairman, I'm pleased to sponsor Bill Pr34, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa, and I have with me Edythe Dronshek on my immediate right, who is a solicitor with the city of Ottawa, and Tom Carling, who's an administrator at the city of Ottawa. I'd ask Edythe to indicate the nature of the bill. There will be a number of amendments moved. Perhaps Edythe, very briefly, you can indicate what those amendments are.

Mrs Edythe Dronshek: Okay, fine. The purpose of Bill Pr34 is to authorize the city of Ottawa to pass bylaws respecting grass, weeds, garbage and debris on portions of highways not used for motor vehicle traffic, being the boulevards.

The corporation of the city of Ottawa's care of streets bylaw has provisions permitting owners or occupiers of land fronting or abutting on a street to improve the boulevard as well as requiring these persons to keep the grass thereon properly cut and watered. Most city boulevards are well maintained by the adjacent property owner. They water, feed, fertilize and cut the grass on the boulevard as part of their regular maintenance of their properties. They treat the boulevard as an extension of their properties, thereby ensuring that the overall property is visually pleasing. However, there are owners or occupants who do not maintain the boulevard, particularly the outside boulevard between the roadway and the sidewalk adjacent to their private property. They do not cut the boulevard grass and eventually it begins to look unsightly in comparison to surrounding properties.

This results in complaints and requests for action being lodged with the corporation. The corporation does not have the resources or funds to provide a city-wide boulevard grass cutting service. Furthermore, the streets bylaw requires property owners and occupants to maintain the boulevards adjacent to their properties. Therefore the corporation's normal practice with respect to boulevards that are not maintained is to provide them with a notice, advising of the bylaw requirements and requesting they comply with the bylaw.

In most cases the owner-occupant will comply with the corporation's request. However, in the cases where they do not comply, it is the corporation's practice to cut the grass in accordance with quality standards for grass cutting on city-owned property, which will result in one or two cuttings per season. It is hoped that prior to the corporation having to cut the boulevard the generally unsightly condition will be apparent and the owner or occupant will take action.

While the streets bylaw requires the property owners and occupants to maintain the boulevard adjacent to their property, there is currently no enabling legislation to support this provision. Therefore if the adjacent property owner-occupant does not cut the grass on the boulevard the corporation does not pursue the matter beyond providing a notice of the bylaw requirement and the request for action.

This request for legislation is necessary because the Municipal Act clearly does not empower municipalities to require owners or occupants to be responsible for the maintenance of boulevards. The act comes close but authorizes bylaws which may "permit" the owners or occupants to maintain the boulevards rather than require them to do so.

During the 1989 summer season the corporation spent $100,000 on grass cutting on the boulevards which the adjacent property owners were not maintaining. This involved approximately two cuttings per year. These two cuttings were not sufficient to keep the adjacent boulevards in as clean and sightly a condition as other properties in the area. In 1990 and 1991 the budget for the boulevard grass cutting was reduced to $40,000. In 1992 it was again established at $40,000. This allows for a onetime grass cutting of most of the boulevards which the adjacent owners or occupants are not cutting.

While the corporation has reduced its costs in this area, the number of locations being cut and the level of grass maintenance has been reduced. With a onetime grass cutting the grass is being allowed to grow taller before it is cut. This in turn leads to more complaints regarding grass cutting. The number of complaints with respect to grass cutting has increased by 58%, from 205 in 1989 to 324 in 1991. The corporation also issues approximately 200 to 300 notices to owners or occupants requesting that they maintain the boulevard adjacent to their properties.

If the grass is cut regularly then there is no need to require that the grass cuttings be removed. The problem occurs when the grass is not regularly maintained and the grass reaches a height that when it is cut, the clippings must be removed to prevent the grass from browning or dying.

It is also difficult to cut the grass if there is a great quantity of garbage or debris on the grass. Once the grass reaches a certain height, these objects cannot be seen and may damage the lawnmowing equipment.

Over the past few years a number of municipalities have obtained special legislation from the province which gives them the authority to pass bylaws requiring property owners or occupants to maintain the boulevards adjacent to their properties to a minimum standard. The corporation is desirous of obtaining similar legislation, which will permit it to require owners to be responsible for grass cutting and general cleanliness of the boulevards which directly abut their property.

It is also considered essential that where the owner fails to comply with the notice the corporation has the ability to recover the expenses for doing the work or arranging for the work to be done, including an administrative fee and a procedure for requesting it.

The motions that are going to be --

The Chair: They're not tabled as yet. I am sure Mr Hansen or Mr Sutherland will want to move them, though.

Mrs Dronshek: Okay, fine.

The Chair: Shall we put the amendments on the table first?

Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): Okay. Sure, we can put them on. I have a couple of motions here.

The Chair: Mr Sutherland moves that subsection 1(1) of the bill be amended by adding the following clause:

"(d.1) exempting one or more classes of owners from doing the things described in clauses (b) and (c)."

Mr Sutherland further moves that section 2 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"2. If an owner of land fails to comply with a bylaw passed under clause 1(b) or (c) within the time specified in the notice given under subsection 1(2), the corporation may do the work or arrange for the work to be done. The corporation may recover all expenses, including administrative fees, from the owner by action or it may collect them in like manner as municipal taxes."

Mr Sutherland further moves that section 3 of the bill be amended by striking out "section" in the first line and substituting "act."

Motion agreed to.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): One question: In here, it says "highways abutting their land." I believe we've had this bill come up quite a few times in the city of Toronto and I thought we had the word "roadway." Is it clear enough? I have to ask the legislative counsel on this particular issue: Does that cover subdivisions in all roads within Ottawa, or have I got the bill incorrect in my mind?

Ms Laura Hopkins: I'm just going to take a minute and confer with the lawyer from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Mrs Dronshek: If I may be of assistance, it does not apply to regional roads within the city of Ottawa, because they are under the jurisdiction of the regional municipality, or to provincial highways.

Mr Hansen: What about subdivisions?

Mrs Dronshek: It includes too any highways that are under the city's jurisdiction.

Mr Hansen: What kind of bylaw do you have in a subdivision now? There's a subdivision with a house unsold and on that particular boulevard the grass isn't cut. Now what would happen in that instance? Do you have any other rules within a subdivision?

Mrs Dronshek: No. It would be the registered owner of the property who would be required to maintain the boulevard adjacent to his property.

Mr Hansen: But this is only for highways.

Mrs Dronshek: It's a legal term. It's for any streets that the city has assumed. If the city has not assumed any of the roads within the subdivision, at this point then there would be no bylaw applying to it. Once the city assumes the streets, then they become part of its street system and it would be covered by the bylaw.

Mr Hansen: Okay. I'm just confused on the word "highway" instead of "roadway."

Mr Chiarelli: If I may, the legal definition of "highway" includes a subdivision road.

The Chair: Do we have a response for Mr Hansen?

Ms Hopkins: The consensus among all of the folks in the room is that "highway" is the broadest term and that it covers all the roads that you're concerned about.


The Chair: Are there other interested parties? Okay, we have the same problem again that we had with the earlier bill. There was a notice or a letter sent in that has been included in your packet, but it is not legible as photocopied.

Clerk of the Committee: The letter you have that is difficult to read is from an individual in the city of Ottawa. His concern, as far as I can tell, seems to be with a neighbour or with neighbours who tend to shovel snow and other debris on his property during the winter months. I understand he has had correspondence with the city of Ottawa on this.

Mrs Dronshek: Yes. In fact, for this coming snow season the city is going to set up a more stringent enforcement program to stop property owners from having their snowplow operators take the snow from their private roads and put it on the city boulevards. This is what the individual is complaining about: that they are pushing the snow off their properties and off their side of the street over on to his side. The city will commence a stringent enforcement program with our licensing inspectors, who have the ability to set fine notices for these offences.

The Chair: Are we ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 4 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill Pr29, An Act respecting the City of Cornwall.

Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): I will introduce our delegation. With me is Joel Bousfield, and next to him are Ernie Jackson, vice-president of Cornwall Electric, and Brian Bucknall, another attorney.

I guess the purpose of this bill is to enable the city of Cornwall to establish an electric commission without the assent of the electors. At present, electric power is provided by private corporation and all the shares of it are owned by the city. Upon the creation of this commission, the private corporation would be dissolved and all the assets and liabilities would be transferred to the commission.

Mr Joel Bousfield: The purpose of the City of Cornwall Act, 1992, is to enable the city of Cornwall to establish a hydro-electric commission without adhering to all the requirements of the Public Utilities Act. The commission, when established, will take over the operations of the Cornwall Street Railway Light and Power Company Limited.

Since 1902 hydro-electric power has been provided within the city by the company, now operating as Cornwall Electric. All the shares of the company were acquired by the city in 1977. The company, which has adopted the accounting practices of a municipal utility, generates sufficient funds to operate the company and meet its debt obligations. The company pays to the city an annual amount equal to the debt payments incurred by the city on behalf of the company.

The company does not generate any electrical power. It distributes power which it obtains from sources other than Ontario Hydro under various agreements, some of which will expire commencing October 31, 1994.

In 1986 the company initiated discussions with Ontario Hydro with the intention of securing from Ontario Hydro a long-term source of power after 1994. To take a supply of power from Ontario Hydro the company must be connected to Ontario Hydro's transmission grid. It is estimated that it will take three to five years to build the necessary connection from Ontario Hydro to the company's grid.

As a private corporation the company would be asked to bear the cost of this connection. The cost of the connection, as estimated by Ontario Hydro, would be between $13 million and $15 million. Alternatively, if the company is replaced by the commission, Ontario Hydro will provide power to the city in accordance with the provisions of the Power Corporation Act. Upon the establishment of the commission the city will become part of a province-wide wholesale costing pool for municipal electrical utilities. The pool would absorb the initial connection costs. The commission would agree that all future purchases of hydro-electric power would be from Ontario Hydro.

In order to establish the relationship outlined above with Ontario Hydro, the city wishes to have the company replaced by the commission. To achieve such replacement with the least amount of disruption to the existing operations of the company, arrangements are proposed in the bill which are an exception to the Public Utilities Act. These arrangements are as follows:

First, the act enables the city to establish the commission and to enter into a power supply contract with Ontario Hydro without the assent of the electors. The assent of the electors is not required because the city, which has owned the company, will not be assuming any additional debts or liabilities as a result of establishing the commission.

Second, under the act the commission is called the Cornwall Electric Commission in order to preserve an existing business name developed at considerable cost to the company.

Third, all assets and liabilities of the company will become assets and liabilities of the commission, and the company will be dissolved.

Fourth, the members of the commission will consist of the mayor of the city and four other members who, rather than being elected, will be appointed by city council for a term established by the city, subject to the provisions of the act. In its capacity as owner of the company, city council appointed the directors of the company and wishes to retain the authority to appoint the commissioners once the commission is established.

Finally, the company also supplies power to some areas of the townships of Charlottenburgh and Cornwall. The legislation authorizes the commission to continue to supply power to those areas of these townships which were serviced by the company on the day its letters patent are cancelled. The legislation also authorizes the entering into or renewal of any contracts with the commission for the supply of power in these townships.

Notice of the application for this legislation has been given to the townships and they have approved the application.

Any questions?

Mr Sutherland: I don't think generally I have any problems. I guess I just want to know why you chose to have the people who are going to oversee the new commission appointed rather than elected. It says in here they are going to be appointed by council rather than being elected.

Mr Bousfield: As I said earlier, the city wishes to retain control, to retain the authority to appoint the commissioners, because it has been the tradition with Cornwall Electric that the city appointed all directors of the company.

Mr Sutherland: I understand that, but did we not receive a copy of a petition here that there is some support in the city to have the commission overseen by elected people? I just want to know what consideration city council gave to this petition and the idea that there seems to be some change in attitude within the city that maybe they should be elected rather than just appointed.

Mr Bousfield: I guess if the concern has to do with democratic control, if it's a democratic concern that you have, the commissioners will be appointed by city council, which is an elected body.

Mr Sutherland: Has the city developed any criteria for the appointment process? Will they advertise locally for those people who do want to be appointed, or will people who want to just submit their names, without going out and seeking public opinion?

The Chair: Might I ask the parliamentary assistant? I believe there has been some investigation on this issue.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Mr Chair. I think it would be beneficial to all members of the committee to hear the position of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on this, so I'll go over a few things.

I think we have to consider, for the purpose of accountability in this matter, that there should exist one decision-making body within a municipal council. Municipal councils consist of elected officials who are responsible for overseeing the provision of complex urban services -- for example, public works, roads, sewers, buildings etc.

In view of these responsibilities and duties, it is appropriate for municipal councils to have direction of hydro-electric services to ensure locational priorities are in step with other infrastructure priorities. For your information, at the moment there are 32 municipal hydro-electric commissions in Ontario with entirely appointed commissioners. There are 27 commissions with entirely appointed council members as commissions, and these commissions serve approximately 50% of all municipal hydro customers in Ontario.

Another thing that I should bring before you to consider is that electric commissions create additional financial responsibilities for the municipality, so the position of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is for the council to appoint people to this commission.


The Chair: Thank you. Further questions?

Mr John Sola (Mississauga East): Yes, I'd like to ask a question of the parliamentary assistant. First of all, does the ministry oppose this application?

Mr Mills: No.

Mr Sola: Okay. I've got one other question. What is really the purpose of this? If it's a wholly-owned company by the city, do you just want to come in line with the other municipalities in Ontario? I know the explanatory note gives a purpose, but you don't really explain why you're going from a private company wholly owned by the city to a commission.

Mr Bousfield: The reason has to do with being able to take power from Ontario Hydro. In order to do that in the most efficient manner, they would have to create the hydro-electric commission. I think I explained that earlier.

Mr Sola: Okay. I'd just like to add my own little two cents' worth, I guess, to this letter or petition that we received.

What I see is, they seem to be expressing some discontent with the fact that the city of Cornwall may continue to appoint politicians to this commission, and I'm wondering what difference there will be if you elect commissioners. Don't they, through the election process, become politicians? So one way or the other, you're going to wind up with politicians on this commission.

Mr Jordan: Thank you, people, for your presentation on this change for Cornwall.

I would like a little information on the connecting link between your private company and Ontario Hydro. Did I understand you rightly that there's a cost of approximately $13 million to get connected to Ontario Hydro?

Mr Ernie Jackson: Presently Cornwall Electric is not connected to the Ontario Hydro grid in any way. We obtain our power from sources outside of Ontario. In order to receive power and get on to the Ontario Hydro grid, a transmission line would have to be built to the Ontario Hydro grid at a cost between $13.5 million and $15 million.

If we're a private company, even though we're owned by the city of Cornwall, Ontario Hydro interprets that as us not being a municipal utility, and therefore Cornwall would have to pay the $13.5 million. If, however, we become a commission, then Ontario Hydro pays the cost of the transmission line.

Mr Jordan: Has Ontario Hydro agreed to this $13-million to $15-million connection?

Mr Jackson: If we become a hydro-electric commission they're obligated to pay it.

Mr Jordan: You also mentioned that after that you would be obliged to accept power only from Ontario Hydro.

Mr Jackson: Yes.

Mr Jordan: So if I had an industry in Cornwall where I could have cogeneration or non-utility generation, you as a utility would not be in a position to accept my generation. It would have to come through Ontario Hydro.

Mr Jackson: Yes, that is correct.

Mr Jordan: And you would all become Ontario Hydro customers, or customers of the commission of Cornwall?

Mr Jackson: What would happen is that Cornwall Electric would become a customer of Ontario Hydro and the residents of Cornwall would become customers of Cornwall Electric, as they are now. This means that our customers would then be entitled to programs under the Ontario Hydro umbrella, which they are not entitled to at the present time.

Mr Jordan: Thank you very much.

Sections 1 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Mr Cleary: On behalf of the delegation, I would like to thank the committee.

The Chair: We will have a meeting next week. There are some five bills, possibly more, next week to deal with.

We are adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1036.