Wednesday 27 May 1992

School Sisters of Notre Dame of Ontario Act, 1992, Bill Pr4

School Sisters of Notre Dame of Ontario

Terence A. Whelan, solicitor

Sister Superior Vivian Zoller

Ministry of the Attorney General

Eric Moore, director and legal counsel, charities division

Cambridge District Association for Christian Education Act, 1992, Bill Pr9

Cambridge District Association for Christian Education

George Ingram, solicitor

John Vanasselt, principal

Town of Caledon Act, 1992, Bill Pr31

Town of Caledon

David Ostler, town solicitor

Glenn Blakely, bylaw enforcement officer

City of Vaughan Act, 1992, Bill Pr25

City of Vaughan

Heather Wilson, city solicitor

Ministry of Culture and Communications

Jim Yanchula, policy assistant, heritage policy branch

Sari Teitelbaum, counsel, legal services branch


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

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton 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: Hopkins, Laura, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1010 in committee room 1.

The Chair (Mr Drummond White): I'd like to call this meeting to order. This morning we are hearing Bill Pr4, which we hope will be held second, Bill Pr9, Bill Pr25 and Bill Pr31. Bill Pr9, Ms Witmer, are you ready?

Mrs Elizabeth Witmer (Waterloo North): Yes, but Mr Jackson is first.

The Chair: My apologies, Mr Jackson. I was informed there was a delay. Are you ready to go? Okay, we'll reverse our order and put Bill Pr4 first.


Consideration of Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the School Sisters of Notre Dame of Ontario.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): Thank you, Mr Chairman, and members of the committee. I'd like to express our appreciation for the opportunity to present a private bill this morning. I'd like to introduce Mr Terence Whelan, QC, solicitor for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and Sister Superior Vivian Zoller.

Members, this is a rather important bill to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, although it is predominantly a housekeeping bill. We would ask that the solicitor present a brief overview and we'll be pleased to answer any questions, but I can assure you that this application has been before the committee for some time and we're hopeful that it can be resolved today.

Mr Terence A. Whelan: The School Sisters of Notre Dame were incorporated by a special act of this Legislature in 1905. The name at that time was the Directors of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Subsequently the name was changed, by supplementary letters patent, to the School Sisters of Notre Dame of Ontario.

The governance of the sisters over the years has changed. At that time they reported to a superior in Wisconsin. Now they control their own affairs. The practice has been for three sisters to make determinations of the affairs of the corporation -- not five, as the original act states -- and the original act provided a prohibition on the value of property the sisters could own in any one year. Perhaps $25,000 was deemed to be appropriate in 1905, but it's proposed that this prohibition be eliminated. There are other statutes of the Legislature that restrict what they may or may not do in regard to land not required for the purposes of the corporation. So Sister Vivian, whose title now is provincial leader, is here with two other members of her council, and the act that's proposed and is before this committee is, as Mr Jackson stated, really some internal housekeeping.

As I walked in this room, the public trustee's director of charities provided me with a letter. It's called "Deficiency Notice for Charities," dated May 26, 1992, which I believe was yesterday. The sisters haven't received it. They did receive a communication from the public trustee's office in May 1991 to which they responded on June 24, 1991. The letter from the public trustee's office was dated May 30, 1991. They provided in that letter what they thought was all the information requested by the public trustee's office.

Mr Moore advises me this morning that two of the directors of the sisters failed to sign the financial statements, which are audited, and this deficiency notice is a request for annual financial statements signed by all trustees or two or more directors on behalf of the board of directors for the fiscal years 1989 and 1988. Mr Moore has indicated he's asking this committee to defer a recommendation that the bill be passed until that requirement is satisfied. With respect to Mr Moore and his office, I view it as a very minor manner.

The sisters have been a registered Canadian charity since federal legislation permitted that. They've been active in the diocese of Hamilton since 1905. We expect they are going to be around for a long time yet and they're prepared to undertake to this committee that they will respond to this deficiency notice immediately, but to present it to me this morning with no advance notice to them or to me, I suggest, is not entirely fair.

The Chair: I understand Mr Moore is present. Are there other interested parties to this bill? Could we then hear from Mr Moore as well, please?

Mr Eric Moore: Good morning, committee members. Thank you for this opportunity. I should point out, in case there's any misconception, that charities law is not a matter of income tax law, it is within provincial jurisdiction.

We became aware of the school sisters' existence when this bill was presented to the committee. Although the provincial legislation that governs charities, the Charities Accounting Act, requires a charity to provide information to the public trustee, that had never been done. Now, I should point out that that act goes back to 1914; there had never been any complaints with it. Upon being aware that this bill was coming before the committee, we notified the sisters of Notre Dame that information was required to be provided. We did receive a response, but the response was deficient. I should point out too that I received notice that this matter was coming before the committee only on Monday evening and that's why the deficiency notice has been dated as of yesterday. I chose to present it to Mr Whelan today simply because I didn't think it would come to his attention promptly by mail or even by fax.

I'm willing to withdraw the public trustees' objections to the bill on Mr Whelan's undertaking to the committee. If the information that's required will be provided pursuant to that undertaking, the public trustee wouldn't object to this bill.

The Chair: I understand from your earlier comments that you would undertake to comply.

Mr Moore: I make that undertaking as a solicitor and as a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. I have been the sisters' solicitor for many years. I so do.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Whelan and Mr Moore. Questions from the committee members? None from the government side?

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): From our perspective, it seems to be resolved and therefore we see no objection, especially with Mr Jackson there, who I know will do his best to resolve the whole thing. I have every confidence in him to work it out with the parties.

The Chair: It seems that all parties share your faith in Mr Jackson and Mr Whelan and the sisters in resolving this minor difficulty. Are the committee members ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Sister Vivian and Mr Whelan.

Mr Jackson: If I may, Sister Vivian has been the superior for 12 years and she will be retiring in June. If the committee would allow her simply to express appreciation for one moment, I would appreciate that.

Sister Vivian Zoller: I would like to thank you very much for your consideration of this. As Mr Jackson said, this is probably my final act to the community before the new administration takes over. I'd also like to thank Mr Moore for waiving his objection this morning and allowing us to move with this. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

The Chair: I'd like to express my appreciation that we were able to resolve this difficulty so quickly. Often these things get tangled up and I'm glad to see we were able to do that in about 30 seconds.


Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): I'd like to move that the fees and actual costs of printing to all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the School Sisters of Notre Dame of Ontario.

The Chair: Mr Sutherland moves the waiver of fees. All in favour?

Fee-waiving motion agreed to.

Mr Ruprecht: Is he correct in his wording? I thought he said "be remitted." He meant waiving, probably, but I guess that's minor wording. You'd better check that.

The Chair: The clerk points out to me that the correct motion is "remit," and certainly I used the word "waiver" as well, so those fees are waived.

Mr Jackson: Would you like to call the vote on that?

The Chair: I did call the vote and I believe it passed, despite Mr Ruprecht's concerns.


Consideration of Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Cambridge District Association for Christian Education.

Mrs Witmer: I'm pleased to be here this morning to bring forward this Act to Revive the Cambridge District Association for Christian Education, and I'd like to introduce to you the principal, Mr Elgersma, and the solicitor, Mr Ingram. I'll call on the solicitor to make the appropriate comments.

Mr George Ingram: Mr Chairman and members of the committee, I should point out for the record that the application is in the name of Andrew Elgersma. Mr Elgersma was not able to attend today, but we have the principal, Mr John Vanasselt. He has been the principal ever since the inception of the school in 1976.

The facts around this situation are fairly simple. In the latter 1970s you may recall that there were annual requirements of filing information returns, and apparently from 1976 to 1979 either these weren't returned by the appropriate board member or whatever of the school -- all the boards members, of course, are parents of the students -- and apparently the notice of default in 1979 was sent to the school. At that time they had only temporary facilities in a church. They did not have a permanent structure of their own, and they were meeting in the basement of the church. Subsequently, of course, they have now a substantial separate building just outside the town of Breslau, near Kitchener.

But at that time in 1979 apparently, from what I can gather, nobody had received the notice of default and as a result they just assumed that everything was all right. The issue didn't come to the attention of the board until just a couple of years ago when somebody apparently made some investigation of the name, Cambridge District Association for Christian Education, and it was operated under the unincorporated name of Woodland Christian High School. Woodland is the common name of the school at the moment, but the operating body is the incorporated name, of course, Cambridge District.

Apparently at that time it came to our attention that there was a notice of default. No reply had been given by the members of the board, and consequently the government automatically revoked the letters patent. We're here today to revive the corporation back to the time of the dissolution so that there will be a natural continuum as a result.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. Any comments, Mr Vanasselt?

Mr John Vanasselt: No.

The Chair: Are there any objectors or interested parties present?

Mr Moore: Again, I'm appearing on behalf of the public trustee. The public trustee had requested information when this bill first came forward and advised the charity that there are ongoing reporting requirements. My office has been in communication with Mr Ingram, but in reviewing the file, it appears that they have not continued reporting. All that has been provided was the information immediately required, and the ongoing reports have failed to be filed. Perhaps this too could be resolved on the basis of an undertaking if that would be acceptable to the Chair and the committee. I believe the bill has been before the committee.

Mr Ingram: Mr Chairman, I will so undertake to give that and to comply with the requirements of the public trustee.

The Chair: We have that undertaking. Mr Sutherland?

Mr Sutherland: More for curiosity's sake, for my understanding of the process, what are the actual reports that have not been forwarded?

Mr Moore: Financial statements for the charity are in arrears at this point, so we're unable to get a handle on the current status of the charity's operations.

Mr Sutherland: That's an annual filing process, is it?

Mr Moore: That's an annual filing required under the Charities Accounting Act.

The Chair: Further questions?

Mr Ruprecht: Mrs Witmer is looking at this to try to work something out and the Cambridge District Association for Christian Education has her support. I see no reason to have any objection whatsoever, and I congratulate her. Everything can work out fine.

The Chair: Are the committee members ready to vote?

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

Mr Ingram: I was wondering if you would also extend to the committee the same waiver of the prescribed fees indicated.

The Chair: I believe there is a motion forthcoming to that effect.

Mr Ingram: I see. Thank you.

Mr Sutherland: I move that the fees and cost of printing at all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr9.

Fee-waiving motion agreed to.



Consideration of Bill Pr31, An Act respecting the Town of Caledon.

The Chair: Mr Tilson, could you introduce your colleagues and the bill.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I've been asked by members of council of the town of Caledon to assist them in presenting this bill which has to do with the regulation and prohibition of fill in wetlands, which is a problem the town of Caledon has been experiencing. I would like to introduce the gentlemen who will be speaking in support of this bill. David Ostler is the town solicitor for the town of Caledon, and Glenn Blakely is the bylaw enforcement officer. I think I can safely say that all members of the town of Caledon have expressed a concern with this issue, which the solicitor will relate to the committee, so I introduce to you David Ostler.

Mr David Ostler: Good morning. Before we get into the bill itself, I hope you wouldn't mind if I introduce one of my daughters, Julie, who came along to see part of the legislative process at work.

The town of Caledon is one of three area municipalities in the region of Peel. We've placed a map on the wall of the town of Caledon and I believe the clerk has distributed a small map to you. In fact, in terms of area Caledon constitutes about half the region. Although the town only has a population of about 35,000 people, it has an area of approximately 270 square miles. It might be noted that this is a larger geographic area than the entire municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. The majority of the population is concentrated in 21 settlement areas ranging in size from Bolton, with a population of slightly over 10,000, to a number of communities with less than 100 people.

The southern half of the municipality lies within the Chinguacousy plain, which provides a fertile base for agriculture. The northern part of Caledon consists of more scenic lands, including a number of provincially significant wetland areas and environmentally significant areas as well as two major geological formations, namely, a portion of the Niagara Escarpment, which you will see on your map in front of you, and a portion of the Oak Ridges moraine. The town is traversed from north to south by two major rivers, namely, the Credit on the west side and the Humber on the east side.

Even on the basis of this brief overview of Caledon's natural resources, I'm sure you can appreciate the environmental damage that can be done by the indiscriminate dumping of fill material. Notwithstanding that, during the last five years we have been experiencing an increasing number of situations where fill is being dumped on private property, usually with the permission or acquiescence of the owner but sometimes without. Aside from the obvious deleterious effects on the natural environment, these situations can and have led to interference with and obstruction of natural storm water drainage patterns as well as serious erosion and siltation problems.

In addition to these environmental impacts, there has been a substantial expression of concern from residents of Caledon about the unsightly mess these situations create. This is particularly disturbing to home owners who have been forced to watch helplessly while the elevation of the adjacent property has been significantly raised by the placement of fill material. As Mr Blakely can attest, this has resulted in a number of complaints being filed with the municipality.

Unfortunately there is little, if anything, the town can do to respond to these complaints. The Municipal Act does allow municipalities to prohibit dumping on public roads. Caledon has had a bylaw under this provision of the Municipal Act for a number of years, but of course this is of no assistance when it comes to private property.

There is relief available where privately owned lands are involved adjacent to the Credit or Humber rivers. The Credit Valley Conservation Authority and the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority both have fill regulations they are able to enforce within the fill lines running along these two rivers, but of course the regulated areas under the jurisdiction of the two conservation authorities represent a small fraction of the lands within the town.

There is also regulatory power that can be exercised by the Niagara Escarpment Commission within the Niagara Escarpment development control area. Any significant alteration to the grades of any property within that area requires a Niagara Escarpment development permit, but again, that area represents less than a quarter of the total land area within the municipality.

Outside the areas where the conservation authorities or the Niagara Escarpment Commission can exercise their respective regulations, there are no statutory means available to prohibit the indiscriminate dumping of fill on privately owned lands.

I might mention that in some instances we have encountered, we have attempted to involve the Ministry of the Environment or the Ministry of Natural Resources. Unfortunately, while both these ministries have been sympathetic to the situation, neither has been able to offer any effective assistance. As I understand it, the Ministry of the Environment's jurisdiction under the Environmental Protection Act is limited to cases where a contaminant is involved and the Ministry of Natural Resources is limited to situations such as where fish or fish habitat are threatened.

The circumstances I have described have led the town to seek the legislation you have before you for consideration. The legislation will enable the town council to pass a bylaw to prohibit the dumping of fill in those areas of the municipality that are not currently regulated or, alternatively, to regulate dumping through a permit system. Under the legislation, the town will have the power to enforce the bylaw through either an order directed to the offending party or through prosecution.

Caledon is by no means the first municipality to seek this type of legislation. As I understand it, North York, Scarborough, Richmond Hill and Brampton have all obtained private legislation. I understand that the town of Oakville is presently in the process of doing so. Given the number of municipalities that have followed this route, I further understand that consideration has been given to public legislation that would be applicable throughout the province.

I just wanted to mention that in addition to the problem of dumping or placement of fill on private properties, we are currently experiencing a related problem: We have found more recently that a number of land owners in the town of Caledon are starting to remove materials from their lands, again causing problems in terms of drainage, environmental damage and that sort of thing. The most recent thing that seems to be popular is the removal of peat, and we're having quite a problem with that, but we're looking at ways of resolving that issue as well.

We're here to answer your questions, Mr Chairman, if there are any. Mr Blakely can cite for you a number of examples, if necessary, of the kinds of situations that we're concerned about. Thank you again for the opportunity.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ostler. Are there any interested parties and/or objectors? Hearing from none, the parliamentary assistant.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Thank you, Mr Ostler, for coming here this morning, and the bylaw officer, Glenn Blakely. I think everybody around this table understands the problem you're having because we have it in our own communities as well.

Municipal Affairs is working in conjunction with other ministries to bring about some legislation that will address this issue province-wide. That is about a year away from happening, probably, but in the meantime we commend you for this bylaw. It will not, in our opinion, be in conflict with any legislation that we may introduce at a later date. With that, we have no objections and it has the blessing of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

The Chair: Any questions from the committee members? Mr Sutherland.

Mr Sutherland: Not really a question; I wanted to make a comment and compliment Mr Ostler for bringing his daughter along, particularly to see one of the more productive aspects of the Legislature. Most people, to educate their children, bring them along for question period, and I don't really think that's the most productive time of the day we spend as legislators. You should be complimented, and we only wish we had more students coming in to see the other aspects of how the House operates rather than just question period.

The Chair: Indeed, if we were usually able to pass four bills in the space of less than an hour. Mr Sola.

Mr John Sola (Mississauga East): I'd just like to ask if this is based on any precedent legislation. Is there a similar bill in existence at present?

Mr Ostler: Yes, Mr Chairman, if I may. Private bills have been enacted with respect to North York, Scarborough, Richmond Hill and Brampton. I have a copy of Hansard from the occasion when Richmond Hill was before this committee in December 1990, as a matter of fact. I believe Mr Sutherland was chairing at that time.

Mr Sola: In other words, this is not setting a precedent.

Mr Ostler: No, the legislation we're seeking is very similar to the legislation that's applicable in those municipalities.


Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): Very shortly the municipality of Lincoln will also be coming forward with the same bill. We have a problem in Lincoln, in development areas, that large mountains of soil from developers are deposited on lands and dandelions grow or the soil blows over subdivisions, so it's a very important piece of legislation for municipalities. Not only that, asphalt debris sometimes gets dumped on private property and filled over, which causes contamination at a later date. I think it's a very important bill. Mr Mills has said it'll take another year; I was hoping it'd be a lot sooner.

Mr Mills: Don't quote me about the year.

Mr Hansen: Not the year; I said it'll take a year. So as a member of the government, I fully agree with the bill.

The Chair: I think that might be Queen's Park time.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I agree that most municipalities in Ontario have experienced and are experiencing the same problem, so I'm very pleased that Mr Mills has said that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is working on it, because it does need generic legislation for all municipalities. I hope that can come on quite soon. Maybe high gear is appropriate on that one. It is really important.

My one question is, have you discussed this with the conservation authorities involved? I believe you've got to have jurisdiction in those areas that the conservation authorities now have, instead of them. Has there been discussion? They're agreeable to that, are they?

Mr Ostler: Yes. We have discussed the proposed legislation with both conservation authorities. Actually, there are four conservation authorities that have jurisdiction within the town of Caledon, but two main ones: the Credit Valley and the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. We've discussed the legislation with them, as well as with the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Their regulations will continue to be in place and to have effect. The bylaw the town of Caledon would enact under this legislation will not be effective within the areas that are currently regulated by both the conservation authorities and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

The Chair: Any further questions? Is the committee ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen.


Consideration of Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the City of Vaughan.

The Chair: Mr Sorbara is presenting item 3 on the agenda, Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the City of Vaughan. He is accompanied by Ms Wilson, the city's solicitor.

Mr Gregory S. Sorbara (York Centre): I want to begin by introducing Heather Wilson, who is solicitor for the city of Vaughan. I just point out to you, although you probably all know this, that the city of Vaughan is Ontario's newest city, formerly the town of Vaughan, formerly the township of Vaughan, for people Mr Eddy's age; as well, the fastest-growing municipality in Canada, according to the census data from 1991, along with the town of Richmond Hill, and among the best-represented in the provincial Legislature -- except for all the other 885 municipalities.

Mr Sutherland: They're all moving there because you represent --

Mr Sorbara: That's why they're moving out, I say to my friend Kimble.

The Chair: Mr Sorbara, I hear from your own caucus that there may be some slow-up in this bill.

Mr Sorbara: Bill Pr25 is sort of a good-news/bad-news bill. The good news is that it will prevent the demolition, the taking down, the bringing down of heritage buildings. The bad news is that should it pass, it won't bring down the government, which is regrettable.

I'm going to leave Ms Wilson to deal with the particulars of the bill, which are pretty straightforward. There are some errors in the notes on the bill that she will point out to you. By way of introduction, this heritage preservation bill is similar to or the same as other bills recently enacted by municipalities such as the city of Toronto, the town of Markham and other municipalities dealing with the problems of the loss of heritage buildings in the face of rapid development. Without any further ado and without a motion of non-confidence, although I wouldn't mind moving one, I'll ask Ms Wilson to go through the details of the bill.

Ms Heather Wilson: Good morning, Mr Chairman, members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning. Unfortunately, I don't have any children; I would have brought them.

Briefly, in the explanatory notes, I believe there's a transcription error in the third portion under "Subsections 4 and 5." It talks about a fine being "levied by council." That should be "levied by a court." Council does not have the authority to levy fines, nor do we wish that authority.

Basically, the bill is the same as the legislation passed for Toronto, London and Markham. Presently, the Ontario Heritage Act provides that even if council refuses an application for demolition of a designated building, an owner can demolish 180 days after that decision even though there may be no plans for future development of the site. We're looking for the authority that has been given previously to other municipalities.

Until about 10 years ago, Vaughan was basically a rural municipality with a few small populated pockets. In the past 10 years the municipality has experienced a very rapid growth and the pressure for development is still very strong. For the past few years the municipality has undergone a very long-range planning process for the northern part of the municipality, which still remains relatively rural. I'm sure once the economy takes an upswing, the pressure to develop will be very rapid.

As the municipality was very small for such a long time, our heritage resources are very limited. We don't have the large number of buildings a larger municipality may have to designate and maintain for our heritage, and we'd certainly like to be able to preserve those as best we can. By providing the link, in this legislation, between the demolition of a designated building and a building permit for any new building to be erected on the site, that provides a window of opportunity for council to be able to explore some options for what to do besides having the structure demolished.

I point out that it deals with designated buildings and buildings within a heritage district, not buildings which are merely in our inventory, which we would like. It's buildings already designated.

There are a number of options council has that, as I say, the time frame in the bill would allow it to look at. The property may sell. There are grants available to an owner for relocation and restoration. The municipality can provide loans to assist in a purchase if a new purchaser wishes to purchase the building and maintain the property. The building may be moved to a location where it may be preserved. We have done this in the past. We've provided loans to move four designated buildings in the municipality so far. There's also the option of the city purchasing the heritage buildings or having them transferred to the municipality as part of a parkland dedication in a new subdivision. There are many different options the provisions of this bill would allow the city to look at to preserve the few heritage resources we have in Vaughan.

Basically, that's why the city is looking for this authority. The provisions of the bill, as I say, are identical to the city of Toronto bill and the bill the town of Markham passed in 1991. That's all I have, if there are any questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Wilson. Are there interested parties or objectors present? I should make a note that while Ms Wilson was correct in there being a problem with the explanatory notes, the explanatory notes do not form part of the legislation. Therefore, that's not a problem in terms of passage of the bill.


Mr Mills: From the perspective of Municipal Affairs we have no objections to this bill, but for the benefit of the committee and for an explanation I have with me this morning Jim Yanchula, who is the policy assistant to the heritage policy branch for the Minister of Culture and Communications, and Sari Teitelbaum, who is a lawyer with the Ministry of Culture and Communications. In deference to this bill and for the enlightenment of committee members I would like to ask them, with your consent, to give us a few words about heritage buildings, if that's agreeable.

Mr Jim Yanchula: The proposed legislation is consistent with what the ministry is doing long-term. Other communities, as you've heard, have passed similar legislation as a means of prolonging the amount of time available to effect some kind of preservation or conservation of heritage properties or heritage resources, whether they be buildings or other structures, designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Sometimes there's a misconception that it means buildings that are considered important to the community but are not designated. This only covers those that are legally designated.

I say this is consistent with what we're doing because there's a new heritage act being drawn up, perhaps as early as next April, if things go as anticipated. The new legislation would be stronger than the current heritage act and therefore hopefully obviate the need for these private heritage-oriented pieces of legislation for municipalities. As I say, it should be ready in April.

If you have any specific questions about heritage resources, feel free to ask.

The Chair: Ms Teitelbaum?

Ms Sari Teitelbaum: I don't have anything in particular to add except that the ministry neither opposes nor supports the bill. That's the position the ministry has taken with regard to all the private legislation that's been passed in this regard. It's certainly consistent with the position the ministry holds with regard to heritage conservation in the province. There's a recognition that the present heritage legislation is deficient in that there is no permanent demolition control in the legislation. Obviously the city of Toronto, which was the leading municipality with this kind of bill, felt the need for something stronger than existed in the heritage act. The ministry is presently, as Jim has said, in the midst of a continuing consultation process and drafting stronger heritage legislation to protect heritage buildings, and this is certainly consistent with the mandate of the ministry and the ministry's interest in the protection of heritage properties.

The Chair: I'm sure Mr Yanchula meant private bills, not privately oriented.

Mr Ruprecht: I've seen the city of Toronto heritage bill, and this only varies in a very minor way from it. The city solicitor of Vaughan has done the right thing by enlisting the support of Mr Sorbara. It is on those grounds that I certainly support this bill, and I would urge all members to do the same.

Mr Hansen: One thing that's happened in our municipalities that are small ones, is that there's been a mistake made and all of a sudden the building came down and they said, "Gee, we forgot to get a permit." I think the conviction of up to $1 million will jog anybody's memory that they shouldn't knock the building down until they get the proper permit, so I think there won't be any mistakes made in the town of Vaughan. I'm glad to hear about the heritage legislation coming in, which will protect the small municipalities like Pelham and Lincoln and Grimsby so we're not having to come forward with the expense of a private bill.

Mr Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): To the ministry, I was interested in the point that after 180 days following the refusal of a permit to demolish, the applicant may proceed to demolish. I'm wondering about my own riding. Can a community that doesn't have this extra protection extend that 180-day period permanently?

Ms Teitelbaum: No. Once the 180 days pass, the property owner is free to demolish the building, pursuant to section 34 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Mr Jordan: It cannot go back to municipal council again?

Ms Teitelbaum: No. Under the Ontario Heritage Act, the owner of a designated heritage property is required to obtain the permission of council before the owner demolishes the building. If the municipal council refuses to grant the demolition permit, the owner is required to wait the time period. Once it has elapsed, the owner is free to do whatever the owner wishes with the building: demolish it, if that's what the owner decides. The demolition control is gone after the elapsing of the time.

Mr Jordan: Am I right, then, that in small towns like Smiths Falls and Perth where we feel we have a building protected under the Ontario Heritage Act, it is in fact not?

Ms Teitelbaum: There is no such thing as permanent demolition control under the present Ontario Heritage Act. That's correct.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Teitelbaum. Any further questions? Are committee members ready for a vote?

Sections 1 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: As you note from your agenda, the discussion of the regulations that Mr Fenson was to be leading us in has been postponed due to Mr Fenson's lack of availability. We have some four bills before us. What I propose to do would be to meet in two weeks' time, which would be June 10, to discuss the regulations as were previously circulated and also to debate those four private bills. Any further business?

Mr Sola: I'd just like to make a closing comment. It seems like we've had a very effective opposition day in this committee today. I'd like to thank the government for its cooperation, because all the bills were actually being sponsored by opposition members.

The Chair: Thank you. We are adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1058.