Wednesday 30 June 1993

Hellenic Orthodox Community of Kingston and District Act, Bill Pr42

Ron Eddy, MPP

Peter Fountas, board member, Hellenic Orthodox Community of Kingston and District

Kirbryn Holdings Inc. Act, 1993, Bill Pr9

Ron Eddy, MPP

Anna Ventresca, solicitor, Kirbryn Holdings Inc

Paragon Financial Corp., 1993, Bill Pr54

Bernard Grandmaître, MPP

Phil Waserman, president, Paragon Financial Corp

Philmanser Investments Ltd. Act, 1993, Bill Pr55

Bernard Grandmaître, MPP

Phil Waserman, president, Philmanser Investments Ltd

City of Toronto Act, 1993, Bill Pr80

Anthony Perruzza, MPP

Betty Disero, Toronto city councillor

Mary Ellen Bench, director, legal services, City of Toronto

Village of Merrickville Act, 1993, Bill Pr33

Robert W. Runciman, MPP

Aphasia Centre--North York Act, 1993, Bill Pr23

David Turnbull, MPP

Peter Guy Silverman, board member, Asphasia Centre

Patricia Arato, executive director, Asphasia Centre


*Chair / Présidente: Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND)

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

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

*Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND)

*Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

Jordan, Leo (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

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

O'Neil, Hugh P. (Quinte L)

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

*Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L)

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Coy, Lynette, senior economist, taxation policy, Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Hayes, Pat, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs

Melville, Tom, legal counsel, Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Strauss, Earle, legal counsel, companies branch, Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations

Clerk / Greffière: Pajeska, Donna

Staff / Personnel: Klein, Susan, legislative counsel

The committee met at 0937 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr42, An Act to revive Hellenic Orthodox Community of Kingston.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): I'd like to call this meeting to order. Because of the absence of a couple of people, we will move forward with Bill Pr42, An Act to revive Hellenic Orthodox Community of Kingston.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): Madam Chair, perhaps I should have informed you I will be representing Greg Sorbara, MPP. The applicant's representative is here and ready to go.

The Chair: I see. Okay, Mr Eddy, at this point, no. I hadn't realized that, and as I have already called him forward, I'm going to go first with Mr Wilson. I think you realize most of these are not terribly complicated; it won't take very long. My apologies to the applicant, but we will be with you very shortly.

Mr Wilson, please be seated and then introduce your guests.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Although some of them may not be very long, some are much longer than others.

The Chair: This is true. Mr Wilson, as sponsor, would you like to begin.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson, and thank you, Mr Eddy, for understanding our problems here. I think it will be quite straightforward, so we shouldn't be too long.

The bill, as you probably had a chance to read it, involves the revival of the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Kingston. At the same time, they'd like to change their name, to reflect their role in the community, to "Kingston and District."

Mr Peter Fountas is a director of the Hellenic Orthodox Community and will answer any questions you have about the bill you see before you.

The Chair: If the applicant would like to make a few comments about the bill, then members will be available to ask some questions.

Mr Peter Fountas: I'm Peter Fountas. I took over as one of the directors of the Greek community of Kingston about a year and a half ago, in 1991. The Greek community of Kingston is partly a religious organization. We have had a priest and a Greek teacher there since 1964. Unfortunately, because of the language barrier, a few of our directors who take over at times forget to read or don't know how to read properly and they did not send the revival of the corporation in on July 17, 1979. When I was voted in approximately a year and a half ago, we were not aware of it. Ever since then we've been trying to get a private member's bill to get our corporation revived.

I'll answer any other questions that anybody has.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, as the parliamentary assistant, would you like to continue, and then we'll turn to Mr Eddy.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): Thank you, Madam Chair. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has no objections to this bill.

Mr Eddy: I wanted to assure the representative of the applicant that we have many of these same situations where there's absolutely no language barrier. It's an ongoing thing; we have so many of them. I'm certainly in favour of the bill and in favour of the change to denote the area the applicant represents. Good move.

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I see that Mr Wilson has examined this bill in detail. In fact, Mr Wilson received his BA from Laurentian University; it has special classes in this. That's why I'm absolutely happy to support this bill, because I know he's looked at this in detail. Did you know that about Laurentian University?

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): The only concern I had is that they apparently have moved from Johnson Street. At any rate, I'm happy to support it.

The Chair: That could be a grave concern in some quarters, yes.

I should ask one further question of the assembled group here. Are there any other interested parties who wish to bring their concerns forward about this bill? Seeing none, I would suggest that the members might be ready to vote.

Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much for coming forward and for your time.


Consideration of Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Kirbryn Holdings Inc.

The Chair: Now we will move to Bill Pr9. Mr Eddy, if you could begin.

Mr Eddy: Chair and members, it's my pleasure, on behalf of Greg Sorbara, MPP, to introduce the applicant's representative for Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Kirbryn Holdings Inc. Seated with me is Anna Ventresca of Lewis, Brown, Scarfone, Hawkins, solicitors for the applicant, who will introduce it and answer any questions members of the committee might have.

Ms Anna Ventresca: Thank you, Mr Eddy. I am representing Mr Thomas Hughes, the applicant for this private bill, who is president of Kirbryn Holdings Inc. I will give you a brief history of the corporation.

Kirbryn was incorporated in 1980 and remained active as a holding company until 1983. From 1983 through 1990 the company was inactive and through inadvertence failed to file the necessary corporate tax returns as required under the Corporations Tax Act. In 1987 the Ministry of Revenue dissolved the corporation for default in complying with the Corporations Tax Act. This dissolution was pursuant to subsection 240(3) of the Business Corporations Act.

The notice of dissolution was mailed to Mr Hughes's old address. Unfortunately, it was not forwarded to his new address in Burlington. Therefore, he did not become aware of the dissolution until the spring of 1992, at which point he was advised to file the necessary corporate tax returns and request a consent from the Ministry of Revenue for revival. Again through inadvertence, this consent was not requested and the five-year limitation period passed. Therefore, we were unable to file the articles of revival. Therefore, our last resort is this private member's bill.

I believe all procedural steps have been met with regard to this private bill. All the notices have been published, the statutory declaration has been filed, the compendium has been filed and the necessary consents from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations have been received.

I should also mention that in 1990 the corporation again became active, the holding company. At that time, a Mr Harold Lusthouse, a professional accountant, came on board, who is still present with the corporation. Mr Hughes is confident that this sort of error will not occur again in the future, having Mr Lusthouse's professional abilities at hand. Those are my submissions.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Any questions? Are there any other interested parties in the audience who would like to come forward and express their concerns about this bill? Seeing none, Mr Hayes, any concerns on the part of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has no objections to Bill Pr9.

The Chair: Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much, Ms Ventresca, for your time.


Consideration of Bill Pr54, An Act to revive Paragon Financial Corp.

The Chair: I'd like to call Mr Grandmaître and the applicant for Bill Pr54, An Act to revive Paragon Financial Corp.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Thank you, Madam Chair. On my right is Phil Waserman, the president of Paragon Financial Corp. We're appearing before you this morning to revive Paragon Financial Corp, which was dissolved on January 13, 1986, under the Business Corporations Act, 1982, for default in complying with the Corporations Tax Act.

Mr Waserman was never notified properly. I guess the mail you have received was never sent to the proper address, and we are appearing before you this morning to revive Paragon Financial Corp. If you do have any questions of my friend, it's open.

The Chair: Mr Waserman, did you have any comments at this time beyond what Mr Grandmaître has already made?

Mr Phil Waserman: Just if you have any questions, I would be pleased to answer. We're in the process of substantial legal proceedings to recover moneys owed, and it's necessary to revive the corporation to carry on.

The Chair: Are there any questions?

Mr Ruprecht: Mr Grandmaître indicated that the notices that were sent were never received. Why is that?

Mr Waserman: The address the ministry had was an old address, and despite written assurances to my solicitors that it had the correct mailing address, everything went to the old address and we never received it.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): I think it's important to note that the Ministry of Finance is quite satisfied that you've met all your requirements, and that is good enough for me. I'd just like to point that out.

Mr David Johnson: Madam Chairman, I gather this is a fairly common state of affairs, is it? Maybe this question is directed more to whatever staff we have here or maybe the parliamentary assistant. Many of the addresses we have are out of date, a good proportion of the addresses. Is there staff here to answer that?

The Chair: There are some at the back. If you would please introduce yourself and indicate which ministry you are from.

Mr Earle Straus: Certainly. My name is Earle Straus. I'm a lawyer with the companies branch, Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and we are responsible for the cancellation of the corporation.

Notices of cancellation must be sent to a corporation before it is cancelled. The corporation is then given an opportunity to correct its defect. If the address we have on file is not current, then we cannot forward the mail to the actual address. The responsibility is of the corporation to keep its filings up to date.

Mr David Johnson: I guess this is really my question: What percentage of your addresses on file do you suppose would be up to date and what percentage not up to date?

Mr Straus: Offhand, I can't say, but the percentage of incorrect information is significant.

Mr David Johnson: So it's much larger than you would wish?

Mr Straus: Yes. This committee sees a very small percentage of the results of incorrect information.


Mr David Johnson: Maybe this goes way beyond this issue, but what steps are you taking to update your information so we don't run into this kind of thing on a continual basis?

Mr Straus: The basis of the high error rate was reform to our legislation about 10 or 15 years ago that placed the onus on individual corporations to notify the companies branch of a change when a change happens. We have seen that this honour system is not working effectively and we are introducing legislation to require corporations to file, in addition to changes that occur during the year, annual statements as to the current state of fact.

Mr David Johnson: Is it necessary for them to file on an annual basis, do you think, to keep the records up to date or would every two years or three years suffice?

Mr Straus: An annual filing is desirable because if the corporation does not acquit that obligation, the corporation risks being dissolved.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, did you have any comments as the parliamentary assistant for Municipal Affairs?

Mr Hayes: Municipal Affairs does not have any objections to this bill. Mr Straus, you're talking about the legislation. Do you think this will help to gather up-to-date information and help us with a database so corporations will not have to go through these kind of things as often as they do?

Mr Straus: It will import a new and, we believe, effective discipline on corporations. They will have to renew their information filings with us annually, on pain of automatic dissolution, short of engaging investigators at enormous expense to search out defaulting corporations. Corporations are incorporated for specific private interests, and unless the corporations do acquit their filing requirements, they will no longer be in existence.

Mr Eddy: We've got into a procedural matter, but mistakes can be made in addresses. On a personal basis, I find one of the problems, when your mail goes to the wrong address, perhaps it disappears and doesn't go back to the sender. That's one of the biggest problems.

But I'm not so sure I'm in favour of the proposed amendments. I mean, we're putting the registered businesses in an awkward position, and I don't think it's much of a problem to come forward here. They're the ones that have the work to do to get here and take the time; we're here anyway. So I don't see it as a problem handling these. I know there are quite a few of them, but it's the way it is, and addresses do change. In fact your address can be changed on you, with some notification I suppose, but addresses have been known to change when a person stays in the same location.

The Chair: Seeing no further questions, are there any concerns among members of the audience around this bill? Seeing none, we'll move to the vote.

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.


Consideration of Bill Pr55, An Act to revive Philmanser Investments Ltd.

The Chair: Mr Grandmaître, you are doing Philmanser Investments. Mr Waserman is also the applicant. Any comments, Mr Grandmaître?

Mr Grandmaître: Can I simply say ditto?

The Chair: Ditto? That might actually take care of it. Mr Waserman.

Mr Waserman: Ditto.

The Chair: Okay. Are there any members of the audience who wish to raise any concerns about this bill? Seeing none, are the members ready to vote?

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Very good. Thank you, Mr Waserman, for your time.


Consideration of Bill Pr80, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

The Chair: As our next order of business, we call Bill Pr80, An Act respecting the City of Toronto. The sponsor would be Mr Perruzza. Because of a pressing meeting on behalf of the applicant, we're just moving this slightly forward in the agenda. Mr Perruzza, would you like to make some opening remarks on this bill?

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): Yes. Good morning. As the sponsor of the bill, my good friend Rosario Marchese, is unable to be here today, I've been asked to introduce on his behalf to the committee Bill Pr80, a proposed amendment to the City of Toronto Act to provide the city of Toronto with the power to require the owners and occupants of private land within the city, at their own expense, to cut the grass and weeds on their lands and to remove the cuttings whenever the growth of grass or weeds exceeds the standard as set in the bylaw.

The city of Toronto also recognizes that certain classes of persons, such as the elderly or the disabled, may not be able to satisfy the requirements of a grass- and weed-cutting bylaw. It is therefore also seeking the authority to provide for the cutting of grass and weeds in relation to these properties at the expense of the municipality.

The legislation as proposed would provide the city with a quick and effective means of remedying problem situations involving unsightly overgrown lots, while ensuring that the municipal taxpayer is not required to foot the bill for the maintenance of such lots or the expense incurred by the city when it is forced to do the work itself.

I understand that city of Toronto councillor Betty Disero and city solicitor Dennis Perlin are here today to present this bill to the committee. I respectfully request that you approve Bill Pr80 and report it to the Legislature. I'll ask the councillor and the solicitor to introduce themselves and address you as well.

Ms Betty Disero: My name's Betty Disero and I'm a member of Toronto city council. Mayor Rowlands couldn't be here this morning, so she's asked me to come on her behalf. With me is Mary Ellen Bench, who's the director of legal services and the assistant to the city solicitor, Dennis Perlin.

In the city of Toronto, with the increase of intensification in terms of housing and many more absentee landlords and a lot of vacant properties and buildings, what we're finding as members of council is that we get a number of calls, more so annually, about the overgrown grass and just the lack of care taken by neighbours who don't live there for some reason or even people who are sort of unable physically to maintain the properties in the way that they may be used to.

As members of council we call the property department and say, "Please, Commissioner, can you go and get rid of these noxious weeds," which is under the Weed Control Act, which allows the city of Toronto to go and cut weeds and charge back to taxes, if we so decide. It obligates people to have to clean weeds from their property.

The unfortunate part about that bill is that it doesn't take into account just long grass and general maintenance, and so the city of Toronto requires an amendment to the City of Toronto Act to allow us to require owners and/or tenants to maintain properties in a way that is not offensive to the neighbourhood or allow us, in cases where people are handicapped or elderly, to provide that service for them.

This is not something pioneering that the city of Toronto is doing. I understand cities like York and Ottawa and others already have the amendment that they need to do this. We'd ask that the city of Toronto be allowed to engage in this as well. Mary Ellen Bench is here to talk about all the legal technicalities with you.

Thank you for listening this morning. I'd also like to thank you for bumping us up the line. I have to go to a neighbourhoods committee meeting that started about a half-hour ago. Thank you very much for understanding.

The Chair: We try to accommodate wherever possible. Ms Bench, do you have some additional comments to make?

Ms Mary Ellen Bench: Yes. Basically to reiterate what Councillor Disero said, we have received several complaints due to problems with long grass within the city of Toronto. The situation arises usually by the failure of the occupant, including the owner of a residence, to care for the lands or because the land's vacant or unoccupied or in some cases now abandoned.


The purpose of seeking this special legislation is to allow us to deal with weeds that are not noxious, that are still a problem. Quite often this problem is exacerbated to persons who suffer from allergies or other problems. It has also been raised as a result of concerns of neighbours who have to live next door to unsightly properties, and therefore the city is requesting this legislation. It's very similar to legislation that has been given to the city of York, the city of Etobicoke and the city of Ottawa.

Basically what we are requesting is that we be allowed to cut long grass when it reaches a height of 20 centimetres or higher, as we put in a bylaw. Certain cities, like the city of Ottawa, for instance, have requested similar legislation for 10 centimetres, but we feel 20 centimetres is the proper limit.

In terms of technical matters, Mr Don Oliver, who's the general manager operation foreman in the property services division, is here to answer any questions, if there are any concerns in that respect.

I should also point out to you that the city of Toronto does have housing standards legislation that allows us to deal with conditions of property, and that was obtained in 1936. However, the process under that legislation is not proper to deal with a long grass/weeds issue because it's a very complicated process with appeals. By the time you finish the appeal route, the summer's over and the problem's resolved. So we're trying to seek something that would allow us a quick, expeditious remedy in relation to what's been given to other municipalities.

The legislation itself is very brief and, as I indicated, it's directed towards grass and weeds that don't qualify as noxious weeds. Noxious weeds are generally those that are determined to be a hazard, something like purple loosestrife, because of the way that they overrun the environment, or ragweed. So we're dealing with things that don't fit those categories.

It's to allow us to give notice to the occupant, as well as the owner of a property, so that we can properly control this problem and deal with it within a relatively short period of time. Service can be made by substituted service and we've requested that service be effected three days after the notice is sent out, so that we can take action, again so that we can deal with these problems as they occur, because as summer goes on they become very extensive.

The Chair: As an allergy sufferer, I can appreciate those comments. We do have a couple of members who have some questions.

Mr David Johnson: I've dealt with this problem on many occasions in my former life, and my suspicion is that when the apartments and houses legislation gets passed, this is going to get a whole lot worse. So maybe it's a good idea that you're getting prepared for it.

In the preamble it was mentioned that seniors and the disabled would be excluded from this. Is that right?

Ms Bench: They would be excluded from the charge provisions. The city would be able to go in and cut grass on their properties at the city's expense. We've done that similarly with snow removal on sidewalks in front of properties.

Mr David Johnson: Is that covered in the bill?

Ms Bench: Yes, it is. Clause 1(1)(c).

Mr David Johnson: I guess I just missed it. "By any class of persons." So by "class of persons," you mean seniors and disabled. You define seniors to be 65 and over and disabled to be some definition of disabled, I guess?

Ms Bench: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: You mentioned that this is specifically for grass. In many instances we ran into situations where people were growing vegetables or flowers. They're not noxious weeds, they're not grass, but some people consider them to be a terrible eyesore.

Ms Disero: Actually, I received a call about four years ago from somebody who was complaining about her next-door neighbour growing tomatoes and cabbages out on the front yard. We did some research and found that in 1929 the city of Toronto passed a bylaw that you're not allowed to harvest in your front yard. So we called her back and said, "It's okay if they grow them, but as soon as she picks them, call us." There's nothing, apart from the fact that you can't pick tomatoes and cabbages that are growing in your front yard. You can't harvest them, but you are allowed to grow them. It's not a major problem.

Mr David Johnson: No. I guess there have to be a few rights and freedoms left in this world. But this bylaw doesn't affect that at all?

Ms Disero: No.

Mr David Johnson: This is simply for grass and nothing else.

Ms Bench: Grass and weeds, as indicated in it. Part of what you may be alluding to is a lot of natural gardens type of thing, and where that will be dealt with is in the discretion in terms of enforcing it. If it's a garden effect, then of course we use discretion in how we deal with it and try and resolve the problem.

Mr Mills: Once upon a time in my life, I was a city councillor in Barrie, and this was the blight of my life: people phoning up, "What about So-and-so with the long grass?" If it's grass and not noxious weeds, you can't compel people to cut it. I remember one incident, and I'm just wondering what you think of this, where these people were back-to-nature types -- I haven't got anything against them -- and their garden was just unbelievable, all these wild grasses and everything, and we could not force them to cut that. I'm just wondering how that would fit in with the scenario, if someone were like that, who really loved nature and didn't want to see a haircut type of grass.

Ms Disero: The city of Toronto parks department is now getting into wildlife areas even in the city of Toronto, and with cutbacks and everything, it would really depend on the nature of the front yard. If it's wild flowers and that type of garden, then in fact it is a garden, but if it's just overrun with weeds, there are usually things that accompany that as well like dumping, garbage and stuff in the front yard. We do have wildlife areas in the city, even in small parks and neighbourhoods, and you can tell the difference between the two.

Mr Mills: Obviously, you're going to use discretion.

Ms Disero: I believe, probably.

Ms Bench: As I've indicated, there is discretion in the way it's enforced and there is a possibility even for exemptions, so that through the enforcement procedure we'll be able to deal with those.

Ms Disero: The city of Toronto, in a lot of cases, doesn't go looking for trouble, but if there's a complaint we need a mechanism to be able to control it.

Mr Mills: I understand that one section that was a little bit problematic is now being amended. It says the bill may be collected in the same manner as municipal taxes. So that little oddity is being cleared up, and I can support that.

Mr Ruprecht: Mr Mills will appreciate this, but once upon a time, I did grow tomato plants in the front yard. The problem will be whether the city of Toronto will be able to differentiate between grass and tomatoes and weeds.

Ms Disero: We have hired experts.

Mr Ruprecht: In terms of your snow removal bylaw, do you give 72-hour notices as well? Is that the time you provide for people to respond?

Ms Bench: No, I believe the time of the snow removal bylaw is 24 hours. I was referring to that in terms of the provisions for the seniors and the disabled, where we go in and do the work ourselves.

Mr Ruprecht: For some reason, you think it's better to give them three days here, right? That's plenty of time.

Ms Bench: In the snow-and-ice situation, we're dealing with a safety issue that's much greater than it is in this case; the problem with people tripping and falling on snow and ice. That's why the notice has to be much tighter there.

Mr Ruprecht: I think it's quite reasonable, some 20 centimetres and 72 hours later. It's a good idea.

Mr Eddy: Recognizing that this can be and indeed is a problem across Ontario in urban areas and municipalities -- it's not a problem in rural areas, of course, because it would be identified or claimed to be hay, but in the urban areas it is across the province. So until such time as there is an amendment to the Municipal Act giving all municipalities permissive authority for vegetation control or indeed there's a vegetation control act paralleling the Weed Control Act of the province, which has been attempted on occasion, and because this does parallel the Weed Control Act, I'm prepared to support this application and indeed any others until such time as all municipalities have permissive authority.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, as the parliamentary assistant, did you have any additional comments to make?

Mr Hayes: No, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not object to this application, especially because it is complaint-driven, and it can't be abused on the other side.

The Chair: Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much for your time this morning.



Consideration of Bill Pr33, An Act respecting the Village of Merrickville.

The Chair: Mr Runciman and others, if there are any, regarding An Act respecting the Village of Merrickville, Bill Pr33.

Mr Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): I'm all by myself, Madam Chair. This act simply allows the council to change the title of the head of council from reeve to mayor. It's a request of the residents of the municipality and the council concurred, and it's part of the bicentennial celebrations of the village.

The act recognizes the considerations in respect of the Municipal Act and the possibility, which is unlikely, that the population at some point may reach enough electors so that the village would qualify for a deputy reeve, but that's highly unlikely.

The Chair: Is there anyone in the audience who wishes to come forward and make any comments concerning this bill? Seeing none, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: Does this change from "reeve" to "mayor" alter the construction of the council in that you have to have more members, or does it remain the same? How does that fit in?

Mr Runciman: That was a question I asked as well, because I know we have areas in the province where you have both a reeve and a mayor. The reeve serves on the county council, and the mayor has other responsibilities. But in this case, that doesn't occur, and the mayor will continue to serve on county council.

Section 1 of this act indicates that despite the Municipal Act, the head of council will be designated as the mayor and -- I've got the wrong section, I'm sorry. There is a section here in respect to county council, I believe. In any event, there will be no change in the makeup or membership of council, simply the title change.

Mr Eddy: I'm in favour of approving the bill, because I firmly believe that the elected head of every area, local and constituent municipality in the province of Ontario should indeed be called the mayor. That has been attempted through legislation but has not been successful.

It's not a unique situation, because in the county of Lambton indeed all of the heads of local municipalities other than the towns, that is, the villages and townships, are called mayors now, and it's happened in several other areas. Of course, we have one municipality in Ontario that's even more unique and has a lord mayor: Niagara-on-the-Lake. But I'm certainly in favour of the application. Congratulations.

The Chair: Any further questions? Very good. I would assume then members are ready to vote on this bill.

Mr Hayes: Can I say something?

The Chair: I am so sorry, Mr Hayes. I'm just moving right along.

Mr Hayes: That's all right. We're streamlining this committee, you notice that?

The Chair: Mr Hayes, are there any concerns on behalf of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Hayes: Municipal Affairs does not object to this application. I'm just wondering, though, the deputy reeve is deputy to whom?

Mr Runciman: In this case, there is no deputy reeve. The population of the village is 900, and I believe you require 1,000 electors to qualify for a deputy reeve. Electors are somewhere about 400 or 500, so it's highly unlikely it will change in our lifetime, in any event.

The Chair: Let me pose the question again. Are members ready to vote?

Shall sections 1 through 5 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much, Mr Runciman.


The Chair: Mr Turnbull and the applicant for Bill Pr23, if you would like to come forward. Would you introduce the applicant and make some opening remarks, Mr Turnbull.

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Good morning. I would like to introduce Mr Silverman of CITY-TV, who is a director of the Aphasia Centre, and Patricia Arato, who is the executive director of the Aphasia Centre.

The Aphasia Centre is an organization which seeks to help people who have had strokes, to rehabilitate them, particularly with respect to regaining their speech skills.

The act provides for tax exemption from property taxes for the premises of the Aphasia Centre, and the application is supported by the mayor of North York. We are attempting to get a fax sent down at this moment to underline the mayor's support of this.

The Chair: Mr Silverman, did you have some comments?

Mr Peter Guy Silverman: The only thing I have to say is that with the current funding problems that the province of Ontario faces, the taxes we're paying come to an amount of just over $55,000. In order to maintain the level of services we provide, we need that exemption.

I would also point out that we have some literature here which succinctly defines what we do, but it does not encompass a whole range of our activities, which is to include not only post-hospital rehabilitation for those who suffer from aphasia but also to provide respite to the families or the care givers of those victims of that type of stroke.

We are open to every member of the community, provided of course that they are afflicted with this particular problem. We have expanded our services considerably, and that's why we are now in larger premises, because we could not cope with the demand in the premises we previously had. Unfortunately, not being very rich or powerful, we couldn't afford to buy the location we're in now, which is an ideal one; it's an ex-supermarket which was refurbished to suit our needs. It's an ideal location and, provided we can stay in that location, we can provide an even greater level of services to a wider number of people, and there is a growing demand for this, particularly as the demographics of the province are changing and we are dealing with an age group where stroke is particularly prevalent.

The other thing I'd like to point out is that it is not only within that particular age group, though they're the preponderant numbers, but we're getting an increasing number of younger men and women who are suffering from stroke and particularly from aphasia, which is a particularly onerous type of affliction; you lose your ability to communicate. I have, as I say, some literature here which explains exactly what we do and what aphasia is. A number of people really don't know what it means in reality.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Silverman. Ms Arato, did you have some additional comments to make?

Ms Patricia Arato: Yes, I just wanted to say that we have this particular hardship because of the building. However, we have now 170 members in the organization who attend our centre, and because of the current problems, as everybody has, with raising funds, it's particularly difficult when we have to pay out nearly $5,000 a month in taxes. This is why we're looking for some form of assistance in terms of the exemption from paying the taxes.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Arato. Is there anyone else in the audience who has some concerns they wish to raise about this bill? Seeing none, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I have nothing but admiration for what you're doing, sir, and the organization, don't get me wrong, but I do have some difficulty in that we come here, it seems, almost weekly with requests for tax relief, and sometimes we say yes and sometimes no.

I'm just wondering if someone from Municipal Affairs could comment. Is this what makes this all right and some other time it's not all right? Just as a matter of interest, because I know it's got the support of the mayor, if the taxes are not paid on that particular property, then it comes upon everyone else to take up the slack. That was one of the arguments we heard put before us here, I believe at last week's meeting. I just wonder, Mr Parliamentary Assistant, is Municipal Affairs in agreement with this?


The Chair: Would you like to respond, Mr Hayes?

Mr Hayes: Thank you, Mr Mills. It's a good question.

Mr Mills: I don't mean to put you on the spot.

Mr Hayes: No, you're not putting me on the spot. That's what politicians are for: public servants.

There are certain guidelines that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs goes by, and one of them is that the municipality either supports or doesn't support. If the municipality doesn't support it, then this ministry can't see its way to support this. In this particular case, the city of North York has not provided a resolution, which is part of our guidelines that we go by. At this present time, they have not provided a resolution or even acknowledged a resolution, as far as we know. Therefore, we would not be supporting this application.

Mr Mills: Have you mentioned that this is coming by way of fax?

Mr Silverman: Yes. Either there was some confusion or whatever happened, but we were not made aware until almost the last minute that we had to have the support of the city of North York in terms of a resolution.

I would like to point out one thing. You raised a question as to what is passable and what isn't passable. One of the things I'd like to point out is that we utilize over 100 volunteers, and in the long run, the costs that would accrue to the province of Ontario for the municipality to provide a similar service would be far greater than what the cost is at this present time. If you're looking at tradeoffs, I think that's a pretty cogent argument in our favour.

I do admit that unfortunately we did not get the resolution. I'm quite sure we can get the resolution, because the mayor does in fact support us, and other members of the council. They've supported us every year with grants. We are situated in North York, as you well know, and I don't have any difficulty with that.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, do you have any additional comments to make?

Mr Hayes: I'm not disputing what you're saying about the mayor supporting this resolution, and I'm not being sarcastic or anything, but has the council supported it? I think that's very important. The mayor is one person on the council. I think until we get that resolution, maybe we had better defer this, until we see that and then go from there. That's what I would suggest.

Mr Turnbull: Could I suggest that there could possibly be a resolution of this on the basis that if a resolution were forthcoming within a reasonably tight period of time, you would pass it on that basis, but it would be contingent upon receiving that within a defined period of time?

The Chair: I think that is what the parliamentary assistant is proposing, to defer it until some of these other issues have been resolved.

Mr Turnbull: What I'm suggesting is that in light of the parliamentary calendar, if you were prepared to pass this, but contingent upon receiving that resolution within this period, in that way it would not be deferred until the fall.

The Chair: Let me first of all consult with the clerk. In the meantime, we have two more questioners. I will turn first of all to Mr Johnson, and in the meantime, I will confer with the clerk.

Mr David Johnson: In a slightly different light, I guess I'm hearing, Mr Silverman, that you actually haven't been before the city. You've talked to the mayor and you've talked to various councillors, but you haven't actually been before the council itself.

Mr Silverman: That is correct, sir.

Mr David Johnson: I presume that you haven't been before Metropolitan Toronto council, then, either.

Mr Silverman: No.

Mr David Johnson: Just reading the bill here that says, "Exempting from taxes for municipal and school purposes," when it says "municipal," are you thinking in terms of simply the North York portion?

Mr Silverman: No, I'm thinking of both. I believe the procedure or the protocol is that we get both approval of North York and Metropolitan Toronto.

Mr David Johnson: It was your intent, then, to go to Metro council?

Mr Silverman: Our intentions are, obviously, to start with North York and then go to Metro and do this. I think, if I may say, that what we're dealing with here is a time frame, and if it is possible to agree with Mr Turnbull's suggestion that you people approve this, but with a proviso that we get the resolutions and the appropriate municipal authorities, that would at least alleviate the necessity of coming back again before this committee and delaying this even more. Time for us, at this juncture, is kind of important.

The Chair: If I can just add as a point of information, in discussing this with the clerk, what would basically happen as a result of the contingency is that the bill would sit anyway. It would not be getting second and third reading until you had fulfilled all the obligations that would be set out, so you wouldn't be any further ahead. It would still be waiting until the fall.

Mr David Johnson: How many more meetings are we having of this particular committee?

The Chair: Basically, as long as the House sits, so if we're sitting further into July, obviously Aphasia Centre has that opportunity of going back and doing some of that work.

Mr David Johnson: I guess the problem will be to go through the municipal process, to first of all start with a committee at North York and a committee at Metro and then to go through the council at North York, the management committee, probably, at Metropolitan Toronto and then through the council at Metropolitan Toronto in the summer. That will more than likely take us into August, at least at Metro, if not at North York as well. I don't know if we have a legislative counsel. I'm not sure who the lawyers are here.

The Chair: Not me.

Mr David Johnson: Is it legally possible to do what Mr Turnbull has suggested, that we give approval to this on the proviso? It would then be drafted and come into law on the proviso that North York did give its approval and Metropolitan Toronto did give its approval.

Ms Susan Klein: I don't think you can pass a bill on the proviso that you get something, because once you've passed it, it's passed. You have to come in and repeal it. I can't imagine putting a condition right into the bill saying, "This is repealed if we don't get a resolution by this date." There's no way that the people in the public who read the statute books can, with any certainty, tell whether that bill is in force or not.

I thought what the clerk was saying was that you could maybe approve it in principle here, but not report it back to the House so that these people don't have to come back again, but on the side of passing a bill conditionally, I don't see that as being a real possibility.

Mr David Johnson: If it's approved in principle, what happens if the municipalities don't agree with it?

Ms Klein: I think this is a procedural matter and maybe I shouldn't be speaking to it.

Mr David Johnson: So how can we deal with that? Give us suggestions as to how we can deal with it.

The Chair: I think it does make for some problems all the way around, but let me just first of all turn to Tom Melville.

Mr Tom Melville: I'm Tom Melville, legal counsel at Municipal Affairs.

There was an additional point, which is having to do with the Metro consent. Previous precedent: Bills that recently have been passed by this committee, including the Bikur Cholim Act last year, had a specific provision in the bill allowing Metro to give its consent to its portion of the tax exemption, and Municipal Affairs would request, if this bill goes ahead, that provisions similar to that be inserted in this bill. For that reason, I think it would be necessary to defer so that those provisions could be inserted in the bill.

The additional point I'd like to make, just to remind the committee, is that the resolution of council, of course, is not the same thing as the mayor's opinion.


Mr David Johnson: Yes, we understand that. Can you tell me, then, if this is what you were going to say, why didn't you say this up front so that this organization would know what the ground rules were up front?

Mr Melville: We did, in the sense that they were aware that we were going to object to --

Ms Lynnette Coy: My name is Lynnette Coy. I'm with the municipal finance branch of the ministry. There was a letter sent out to the organization, I can't remember when, from the minister stating what the criteria for considering the bill are. I also spoke to Ms Arato, telling her what the criteria would be. So the organization was aware of it.

Ms Arato: It wasn't until very recently that I found this out. I got a letter, probably about three weeks ago, regarding the outline, which was the same as what was in the guideline, the book, on how to apply for a bill. I knew the most important thing was that we didn't own the building, and then I talked to Lynette Coy last Friday, I guess, or Thursday.

Mr David Johnson: I'm just going to say that it appears to me that here we have a good organization that's doing a lot of good that didn't seem to be made aware of the requirements and the procedures that it had to go through: all the approvals that it needed from the municipal level, for example. I would ask you to re-examine your procedures to ensure that these kinds of organizations are made aware of what has to be done.

The Chair: Just as a point of information, Mr Johnson, I think I'll turn to the clerk at this juncture for the point of view of what in fact the normal procedure is for bringing a bill forward to this committee so that maybe some of your questions can be clarified.

Mr David Johnson: It's not fair, though.

The Chair: Excuse me. If I may have a bit of order here. In taking over the chairmanship of this committee, I was advised that there are a series of approvals and that there is a fair bit of negotiation that is to take place prior to it coming to this particular committee. The organization has to put notices in the newspaper to try to advise people in the community that this is taking place and has to definitely go through a process of making sure that as much of the concern that has been raised has been resolved. The municipality may have some objections or the ministry may see that there are some problems. But basically the procedure is set out, and there is a pamphlet that the clerk's office makes available to any organization prior to bringing a private bill forward.

Ms Arato: I did go through all these procedures and I did advertise. I think you have the affidavit there that we advertised in all the proper newspapers, the Ontario Gazette and locally, and notified all the municipalities and the school board.

The Chair: For whatever reason, those organizations haven't responded?

Ms Arato: Didn't respond, no.

Mr Ruprecht: I wanted to pick up on something the parliamentary assistant has actually said, and I guess my question first is to him. Your point about agreeing with the request by municipalities, once a municipality agrees that an exemption should be granted: Is this a rule now or is this just identified as being specific to this case, Mr Hayes?

The Chair: Mr Ruprecht is directing a question.

Mr Hayes: To whom?

The Chair: To you.

Mr Hayes: I'm sorry. I take it you were talking about the municipality, if the municipality approves.

Mr Ruprecht: Yes. You gave them the impression that once the municipality has agreed to grant the exemption, they could walk away from here very happy, knowing that all they had to convince is the municipalities and we would then no longer have any objections. Is this the case?

Mr Hayes: Not entirely; not just because a municipality agrees with it, but that is one of the conditions or one of the correct criteria or guidelines that the ministry uses, that if the municipality doesn't agree or doesn't acknowledge application, then it puts us in a position where we're kind of overruling the municipality, that type of thing, and I don't think we want to do that.

Mr Ruprecht: I understand, but I didn't want the deputants to have the wrong idea, and that is that if I were in their shoes today I would have thought: "Thank you very much, committee members, but all we've got to do now is convince Metro council and city council, get their approval. We appear before this committee on our way back and get the agreements." Is that the impression you've had up to this point?

Mr Silverman: Yes.

Mr Ruprecht: That's not a bad impression.

Ms Arato: Sort of.

Mr Ruprecht: Sort of. Again, like Mr Mills said, I don't want to put you on the spot, but to clarify this, I don't want them to come back again saying, "Here are two agreements. Two municipalities are saying we can have it," coming back to the committee and we're saying to them, "No, I'm sorry, but there's another objection."

Mr David Johnson: No, we wouldn't say that.

Mr Hayes: There are some technical changes that would have to be made in the bill. One example would be that Metro would have to have a say as to its share of taxes. That is why I made the recommendation that we defer this until next week, to take a look at it and get all of the proper information.

Mr David Johnson: But you won't have the municipalities' say by next week.

Mr Hayes: I don't know that.

Mr Ruprecht: That's not my point.

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, you're the next questioner.

Mr Perruzza: I'm not one who's prepared to play politics with this. Every word that's been stated in this committee has been recorded. Every member of the committee so far has spoken in favour and in support of the bill. Hansard is readily available to anyone who wants it after this meeting is over, and if the people making representation to this committee want that, they can take Hansard, go to their local council, go to Metro council, lay it out before them and say, "Look, the legislative committee is prepared to support our initiative if you guys will give us the resolution to be able to do that." I think that's quite clear and that's very upfront in terms of where the committee sits.

I'm supportive of the initiative. As a former North York councillor and as an MPP from the city of North York I have no problem in that. I'm going to move that it be deferred and that it be brought back at the earliest possible opportunity upon receiving the appropriate approvals from both local and Metro council, and that as soon as that happens and they notify the committee clerk, it be put on the committee's agenda so that we don't delay it any longer than necessary.

Mr Mills: Put the question, Madam Chair.

The Chair: We have a motion on the floor for deferral. Is there any discussion on the motion?

Mr Ruprecht: Yes, there's discussion, Madam Chair. There's certainly discussion.

The Chair: Actually, Mr Mills also said to put the question.

Mr Mills: I say, in view of the motion, that the question should be put.

Mr Ruprecht: This is silly.

Mr Mills: No, it isn't. It's common sense.

The Chair: Order, please. Order. We have had some discussion around the whole process of deferral. However, Mr Mills was going to be the next speaker. Since he had asked to put the question, I'm going to in fact move to the last person who is going to add any comments to this at this point before moving for the vote, and that is Mr Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull: Just a few quick comments --

Mr Perruzza: On a point of order, Madam Chair: I'm not quite understanding your ruling. I spoke, put a motion on the floor. The next speaker, recognized by you and given the floor by you, asked that the question be put. There's no comment, there's no debate on that. You take a vote on it.

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, I feel that there is some additional discussion required and I am moving to the next questioner, and that is Mr Turnbull.

Mr Perruzza: Madam Chair, because I like you I'm not going to challenge the Chair, but --

The Chair: I'm sorry, that is fine. You are not allowed to do that and I would ask you to finally --

Mr Perruzza: I'm not challenging the Chair only because I like you.

The Chair: Mr Perruzza, I am trying to be a reasonable chairperson, and at this point you're testing my patience.

Mr Turnbull, did you have some additional comments that you wish to make before we in fact turn to the vote on the deferral motion?

Mr Turnbull: Yes.

The Chair: I'm quite sure you have enough time in your schedule, Mr Perruzza, to be able to manage that.


Mr Turnbull: Just a few comments to summarize what has been said. I get the sense that there is broad support for this, which is good. I was made aware for the first time from the comments that it would be required that there be a clause inserted requiring Metro separately to approve its portion of the taxes.

I would suggest, just as a matter of practicality, that it might be useful for the legal department in future, where such a clause is contemplated, to at least make the MPP who has passage of this aware of it. Had I been aware of it, I would have been able to work with them on this. That's just a suggestion.

I approve of what Mr Perruzza is saying, that basically there appears to be a mood in the room to approve it. It was suggested that, in essence, this could be approved today by the committee but not reported to the House, pending provision of the documentation from North York and pending the insertion of the clause regarding Metro. Is that not correct?

Mr Melville: May I respond to that, Madam Chair?

The Chair: Actually, we do have a motion on the floor, and I think at this point, in light of some of the discussions, we should move to that. The motion is that this bill be deferred until the approvals from the North York and Metro Toronto councils have been sought, and that it be brought back at the earliest opportunity.

Mr David Johnson: Madam Chair, may I just ask you on that question: If there's a clause that's put in, as has been suggested, regarding Metropolitan Toronto, do we need to wait for the Metropolitan Toronto support?

The Chair: I'm sorry, Mr Johnson, we have a motion. We're in a vote.

Mr David Johnson: I'm just clarifying the motion. I'm wondering if the Metro portion of that support is actually required.

The Chair: No, Mr Johnson, that is out of order. We are in a vote and we are now going to call on all of the members to vote.

Mr David Johnson: I'm just trying to be helpful.

The Chair: No, Mr Johnson, actually it's not at this point. So what we're going to do is move to the vote.

All those in favour of the motion to defer, please signify. All those against? At this point, the motion to defer is carried, and hopefully we'll see you in the fall.

Mr Turnbull: As a point of clarification, do I understand it's deferred till next week, if we're still sitting?

The Chair: No, until --


The Chair: Once you have those other approvals, please come to us again. Thank you, Mr Silverman.

Mr Silverman: I hope we've livened up your procedures.

The Chair: Yes, you have, and thank you very much. Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes: Yes. I want to just kind of clear the air here a little bit. I know there were some comments made about the procedure from some of the staff here in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. As a matter of fact, there is a letter on record. I have a note before me of March 22, 1993, when Ms Coy actually wrote Ms Gray a memo stating that the applicants have been notified and were told of the criteria to follow. I think we should make that clear.

Mr David Johnson: Were they told they needed the municipal approval?

Mr Hayes: It says here that Ms Arato has been in touch with the city of North York and the school board and has not heard what they have decided.


The Chair: I think actually we are at this point adjourned.

Mr David Johnson: Before we do, are they going to be charged for the cost of printing etc, or does that come up after the adjournment?

The Chair: That comes up after.

Mr David Johnson: So I don't need to put this motion.

The Chair: Yes, because this is obviously not being printed at this point, so this is later.

Mr Turnbull: Madam Chair, as a point of information, we have just received the fax from Mel Lastman that we spoke about.

The Chair: We have still the Metro council issue to be clarified, so thank you very much. This committee is adjourned. It has been a lively morning, the last little bit. Thank you all.

The committee adjourned at 1046.