Wednesday April 13 1994

City of Burlington Act, 1994, Bill Pr83, Mrs Sullivan

Barbara Sullivan, MPP

Gordon Grechulk, deputy city solicitor, city of Burlington

Janis Topp, chair, Burlington Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee

Pat Hayes, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs

City of Mississauga Act, 1993, Bill Pr46, Mr Mahoney

Steven Mahoney, MPP

Brian MacRae, commissioner of community services, city of Mississauga

Hon Shirley Coppen, Minister without Portfolio in Culture, Tourism and Recreation

Barbara Clubb, director, libraries and community information branch, Ministry of Culture, Tourism

and Recreation

Raymond Burge, objector

Steven Burdick, chair, library workers committee, CUPE local 1582

Audrey Nichols, president, CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Public Library workers

Janet Walker, president, CUPE local 1996, Toronto Public Library workers

Thea Adams, president, CUPE Local 1877, Scarborough Public Library workers

Michael Crawley

Dr Edmundo Vasquez, vice-chair, task force on governance, Ontario Library Trustees' Association

Jennifer Milne, chairperson, Chief Executive Officers of Large Public Libraries in Ontario


*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

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND) for Mr Mills

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel: Klein, Susan A., legislative counsel

The committee met at 1007 in committee room 1.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): I would like to call the regular meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order.


Consideration of Bill Pr83, An Act respecting the City of Burlington.

The Chair: Our first order of business is to consider Bill Pr83, An Act respecting the City of Burlington. I'd like to welcome our sponsor, Mrs Sullivan, if you would make a few opening remarks and introduce the applicants, and feel free to begin.

Mrs Barbara Sullivan (Halton Centre): I'm pleased to sponsor Bill Pr83, An Act respecting the City of Burlington. To be brief, with respect to the content of the bill, I am convinced that this bill will assist us in a major way with respect to heritage conservation in our community.

I'd like to introduce to you Gordon Grechulk, the deputy city solicitor of the city of Burlington, who will introduce other presenters and discuss the specific contents of the bill.

Mr Gordon Grechulk: Thank you, Mrs Sullivan. Appearing with me as a delegation today, to my immediate left is Mrs Janis Topp, who is the chair of the Burlington Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee. Mrs Topp has been a member of that committee for a number of years. I should add that Mrs Topp also lives in a designated heritage house in Burlington.

To my far left is Mr Dan Mousseau, professional engineer and the chief billing official for the Corporation of the City of Burlington, and he is also a director of the Ontario Building Officials Association.

I hope that the three of us may be able to answer any questions that the committee may pose. I just have a very brief presentation on the bill, if I may.

The bill that is before you is not new legislation. It is not any type of a precedent for municipalities in Ontario. It basically is similar to at least four other municipalities' legislation that I am aware of at the present time: The city of Toronto passed similar legislation in 1987; the town of Oakville in 1991; the town of Markham in 1991; and the town of Vaughan in 1992.

The LACAC committee, if I can use the short form, felt that in Burlington a number of historical buildings were being lost and felt that something should be done to strengthen the legislation a bit. I would point out that before the members we have presented a very short history of the latest building in Burlington that has been torn down. It's the beautiful and historical Lakehurst Villa on Lakeshore Road. This building was demolished in 1991. I have given the clerk a picture, if the Chair wishes to pass that around.

Just very briefly, this residential building was built for W.D. Flatt, who was a builder in Burlington. I've done many title searches in Burlington and in many cases they start off with a plan of subdivision put on by W.D. Flatt. You can see in the write-up, Mr Flatt was also instrumental in establishing the Toronto-Hamilton Highway 2, which is now known as Lakeshore Road.

The bill itself strengthens the Ontario Heritage Act in two respects, I submit. The first is that an individual who wishes to tear down a heritage building must have a building permit before the demolition occurs. The feeling is that a person should have a purpose for the property before one demolishes a heritage building.

The second additional point in the legislation is that the proposed new building must be constructed within a period of two years, although there is some relief built into the bill which allows for a request to extend that time period, if necessary.

That's my presentation. We're open for any questions from the committee.

The Chair: I would like to follow the usual procedure here, and that is to ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward at this time to make a presentation. Seeing none, are there any questions?

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): I'm just curious. Having come from the municipal scene not too long ago in the borough of East York, I'm aware that we had in East York designated two or three properties. I can think of Todmorden Mills. The Todmorden Mills historic site has been designated, along with some buildings on Bayview Avenue, older buildings with particular architectural significance. They're privately owned. I'm just wondering how it is that we were able to do that without the special legislation. Apparently, the city of Burlington requires special legislation to accomplish the same thing.

Mr Grechulk: I'm not familiar with the facts of that, but my position is our legislation doesn't really take away from the Ontario Heritage Act as it exists now; we're just supplementing it. I'm assuming your municipality probably just acted under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Mr David Johnson: What is it about the act at the present time that you find is a problem? Certainly some municipalities are able to proceed under the act the way it is today. Why is it that you find the current act inadequate?

Mr Grechulk: Perhaps I can address that question to Mrs Topp, who can explain it a little more.

Mrs Janis Topp: The current heritage act allows for properties to be designated as heritage properties, which sounds like is probably the case there. We also have that. However, if one of those buildings is then owned by someone who wants to demolish it, the only recourse is that the issuance of the demolition permit can be delayed for 180 days. That's the total extent of it. What the bill that we are presenting here asks is that if someone wants to demolish a designated heritage building, they also have to have in place all the appropriate zonings and permits to proceed with what their plan is.

Mr David Johnson: I see. Of course, if they have that in place, then they're still empowered to proceed with the demolition. Is that your understanding?

Mrs Topp: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: Now, one of the provisions that, I must say, we've had some correspondence about is with regard to the penalties in this particular bill. I'm sure you're aware that there has been concern registered with regard to the level of the penalty. I wonder what your response is. Reading from the bill, there's a fine of up to $1 million or imprisonment -- that's pretty stiff -- for a term of not more than a year if someone demolishes without the proper consent. There are many who say that is beyond reason. I wonder what your response to that is.

Mr Grechulk: I believe we have two comments on the fine. The first is that the fine is up to $1 million, so it's certainly up to the courts to make a determination as to what that fine should be in the appropriate circumstances. The other comment is that the fine we've incorporated in this bill is consistent with all four municipalities that I previously mentioned. We have not deviated from the fine provision. We felt it was more appropriate to try to keep this legislation consistent with the other municipalities.

Mr David Johnson: Do the other municipalities have a provision for imprisonment as well?

Mr Grechulk: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: I'm not aware of it, but you're saying they do. Okay, I guess those are all the questions I have.

Mr Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): Coming back to the same question, we still didn't get an answer, regardless of what the other municipalities have, as to why you need such an excessive fine for such an act. This fine is really excessive, regardless of what the other municipalities have done.

Mr Grechulk: Perhaps I can make one quick comment and ask Mrs Topp if she wishes to add to my comment. Again, the only thing I can say is, with respect to these heritage buildings, as you'll see from the picture in front of you dealing with Lakehurst Villa, I think it is important that persons realize that historical buildings of significance -- that they cannot just ignore legislation and use the demolition as a licence; in other words, realizing they can pay a minimal fine and do whatever they like. The purpose of the legislation is certainly to make people aware and abide by the legislation as much as possible. I'm not sure if Mrs Topp wishes to add anything.

Mrs Topp: In addition to what Mr Grechulk was saying, the heritage of a community is important to an awful lot of the citizens in the community. What this would do is go one step further to protect that, ensuring that the thought process really has covered all the aspects of the value of the property before it's demolished as opposed to having it torn down. Then perhaps what has happened in the past at times is it sits as a vacant lot for quite some time before anything proceeds.

This won't take away the rights of anyone to make a change, but it will make sure that there are very firm plans and permissions in place for that to happen so that we don't lose something and not even have anything replacing it.

Mr Jordan: I'm thinking of my own riding, the county of Lanark and the town of Perth, which is the county town. Are you familiar with that town?

Mrs Topp: Yes.

Mr Jordan: We have many heritage buildings there and we haven't had any problems maintaining them with the 180-day limit. I understand you can renew that 180 days. It's not 180 days and the show is over.

Mrs Topp: I wasn't aware of that.

Mr Jordan: That's my understanding.

Mrs Topp: I wasn't aware. I would have to check further on that.

Mr Jordan: The zoning bylaws were such that it wouldn't make sense to do anything with the building until you had presented to council and to the planning committee what you had planned to put on there. So I still come back to an excessive fine. Up to $1 million is absolutely ridiculous.

Mr Grechulk: If I could just answer in some respects the question in terms of the existing legislation, to the best of my knowledge the existing legislation does not require a person who owns a property who wants to demolish and put up a new building any obligation to come before council and present plans and have basically a purpose in mind before that building is demolished. That in essence is what we're trying to do with the new proposed bill.

Mr Jordan: Are you speaking of a case where the building has been declared a heritage building?

Mr Grechulk: Yes. It's been designated.

Mr Jordan: So they can't demolish it for 180 days, and then when new evidence comes before council, becomes active in the community and is advertised, then they have to apply again for the 180 days if there's new evidence there, as I understand it.


I just feel we're so much regulated in this province at the present time and this is just more regulation and more control of the individual's rights. We'll soon have none left as businessmen or as developers or as people in this province who want to be productive and entrepreneurs and so on, because I'm not against heritage and I refer again in my riding to the town of Perth and Smith Falls and Carleton Place. Along the Ottawa River we maintain a lot of beautiful buildings there but we didn't ever need that type of control over there.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I wanted to take the opportunity to compliment the representatives of the city of Burlington and the LACAC for coming forward, because I view this as strengthening the preservation of heritage buildings, and it's very important. I think most of us can recall examples of buildings that were demolished almost overnight that shouldn't have been. I think this is very important.

Although I do agree that the penalties look high, I have to equate that with the price of properties and development in the city of Burlington and recognize that if you don't have a penalty that catches the eye, shall we say, of the developer or a purchaser of a designated building, then you're not going to prevent their demolition. So it is strengthening the preservation of heritage buildings and still allowing, of course, the purchaser to come forward and deal with the council but it requires council consent to demolish. I think it's a step forward and I support it as I would in the other municipalities that have it. In fact, I think it's something that should be extended to all municipalities if they wish. It's very, very important. We've lost too much already that we shouldn't have lost.

The other point I'd just like to make is that any heritage building can be fitted into a development if there's the will to do so. So, I agree with the bill.

Mr Hugh O'Neil (Quinte): I'll be very interested to hear what the parliamentary assistant has to say on this, but I notice that there were some objections from the Ontario Real Estate Association and I also understand that the Ontario Heritage Act is presently before the minister and there are certain changes that are being considered there.

I guess one of the questions that the Ontario Real Estate Association has raised is the case of compensation. I wonder if anyone who's here today would like to speak on that particular issue, on the objection you've had from the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Mr Grechulk: We were given a copy of the letter this morning from the clerk. I have scanned the letter. I just have, I guess, two comments with respect to the letter. In the third paragraph it's talking about this as "a poor precedent for other communities in Ontario." As I indicated earlier, this is not a precedent. We're basically following what other municipalities have done.

On the second point with respect to compensation, I would indicate that we're not taking away any property rights. A person, first of all, if they have a designated property, has to have a demolition permit and the demolition control is already under the Ontario Heritage Act. The second point is if they want to build, they're already caught by the Ontario Building Code Act. So all we're saying is that the timing of those two procedures, which already exist, are in place, must come closer together.

Mr O'Neil: I appreciate that comment. As I say, with the ministry looking at the act again to revise it, this whole problem of compensation will come up and will continue to be there as to whether the compensation is decided by, say, the city or by someone else. So I raise that just to -- I, like Mr Eddy, am a very strong proponent of the retention of heritage buildings, and of anything we can do to make the act stronger, to keep these buildings, to retain these buildings.

I know that the associate minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation is here this morning and I believe she is also aware of this whole compensation issue, so that if buildings are retained as heritage buildings, the people who have owned these buildings, or own them presently, are treated fairly. That would be the only comment I would have to make.

Ms Christel Haeck (St Catharines-Brock): I want to say to my fellow committee members that I feel it would be better for me to sit here rather than in the Chair, because for one thing I want to declare a conflict: My husband is on the local LACAC in St Catharines, as well as being a president of the historical society, so I come to this with a lot of not only personal interest, but commitment to the heritage concerns presented by the city of Burlington.

I want to take the opportunity to clarify a couple of points. One, Mr Jordan indicated that, say, in the town of Perth you have a very amenable situation between property owners and the heritage community and the town whereby there are extensions of demolition permits or there is a plan in place prior to the building of something new. The reality is that there's no requirement under law for that to happen. The examples in St Catharines are legion. In fact, they have happened where buildings have been de-designated.

All members should be very clear that designation only occurs if there is complete approval on the part of the owner, so because you may have a particular property, as you have with Lakehurst, which is of historical significance, or architectural significance because this is not necessarily considered an old building, you have the situation where the property owner obviously was not in agreement with the designation approach, and therefore because there was another idea, not even a plan in place but some other intention that was in the mind of the owner, the building was demolished.

The process of designation as it currently stands under the Ontario Heritage Act is somewhat lengthy. I live in a heritage building myself, a designated property, and the fact of the matter is that designation took about four years to complete, because it was an entire neighbourhood in this case that needed to be on side. So designation is a long process. It requires the complete approval of the owner. Without that, demolition can occur fairly simply once the demolition permit is got from the municipality. In many instances in places like St Catharines we have lost an awful lot of very valuable buildings that happen to be very much part of the heritage fabric of the community, in a very short time, as pointed out by my colleague Mr Eddy.

I wanted to put that on the record and say that I'm fully in support of the intention of the city of Burlington, and I will turn it over the Chair again.

Mr David Johnson: On a point of procedure, Madam Chair --

The Vice-Chair (Mrs Ellen MacKinnon): Yes.

Mr David Johnson: Or a point of order, whatever you wish: At the municipal level, when you declare a conflict of interest, you do not speak to an issue.

Ms Haeck: Not in this instance.

Mr David Johnson: Through you, if I can, to the clerk, or anybody else who can advise, what is the procedure if someone on this committee has declared a conflict of interest? Are they then permitted and is it the custom to follow up and speak?

Mr O'Neil: There is no conflict of interest here.


Mr David Johnson: As I understand, the member declared a conflict of interest.

The Vice-Chair: Just a minute. One at a time.

Clerk of the Committee (Tonia Grannum): I've just been advised that Christel Haeck doesn't technically have a conflict of interest under our act.

Mr David Johnson: That's up to her. Whether she does or not, it's up to her to declare it or not declare it, and as I understood it, she declared it. If she declares it, whether she has one or not, she has declared it.

The Vice-Chair: Would you please let the clerk rule. What is the ruling, please? Just a minute.

Clerk of the Committee: Because she doesn't technically --

Interjection: No, but she did --

Clerk of the Committee: But she doesn't technically. She declared it, but we would allow her to speak, because under our act she doesn't. She made a statement and she was heard.

Mr David Johnson: Can I ask you this then: I find this a little unusual, but if she did declare, which she did apparently, and she did have a conflict of interest, would she then be permitted to speak?


Clerk of the Committee: I will confer. Just a moment.

Ms Haeck: I have a point of order, if I may, Madam Chair?

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): Finish the one first.

Mr Eddy: Do you wish me to speak to fill in the gap?

Ms Haeck: Madam Chair?

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Ms Haeck: The reason I raised the issue of a conflict was because I can't ask questions in the Chair. Conflict of interest usually requires that you receive some sort of pecuniary benefit as a result of either your own affiliation or your family's affiliation. In the case of both LACAC and the historical society my husband gains not one dime. They are totally voluntary activities on his part.

In order for me to be able to express my personal interest in this particular bill, I have to remove myself from the Chair. I am not allowed to make these comments in the position of the Chair. That is why I asked Mrs Mackinnon, who is the Vice-Chair, to sit in my place so I could make this comment.

This is not by any means a typical conflict of interest as in the municipal sense; it is, however, conflict in the sense that I cannot be in the Chair and make the comments I just made. You would be appropriately able to challenge my neutrality in the Chair. I am not trying to affect the vote. I did feel it was important for me to make those comments. I thank Mr Johnson for the opportunity to clarify my point.

The Vice-Chair: The clerk wishes to make a statement, please. Go ahead.


The Vice-Chair: Just a minute, please.

Mr Hansen: Do you want her to withdraw the statement?

Mr David Johnson: Is there a conflict of interest or not?

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): No, there is not a conflict of interest.

The Vice-Chair: Just a minute. Let's have one conversation at a time. The clerk wishes to make something very clear. Would you go ahead, please.

Clerk of the Committee: If she doesn't have a conflict, she can speak; if she has a conflict, she can't speak.

The Vice-Chair: Is there a conflict?

Ms Haeck: No, there is no conflict.

The Vice-Chair: In your view, your advice?

Ms Haeck: I don't have a conflict because I receive no financial benefit as a result. I cannot, however, maintain my Chair's neutrality by being in the Chair and expressing these opinions. That's why I moved over here.

Mr David Johnson: What is confusing is that we heard you say that you declared a conflict of interest.

Ms Haeck: I did it because I wanted to clarify to all why I moved here.

Mr David Johnson: But now you're saying you didn't declare a conflict?

Ms Haeck: I don't have the kind of conflict that you're trying to propose I have.

The Vice-Chair: I believe this issue has been thoroughly discussed. Mr Hansen, you're next on the list, please.

Mr Hansen: I'm going to support this bill.

Coming from the Niagara area, I can remember a few years back where there was a heritage hotel on the Canborough trail which was a stagecoach hotel. What happened in that instance was that the owner had passed it on to his son; he had passed away. His idea was to restore it. His son's idea was to tear it down. He went for a permit to have it torn down. The municipality disagreed and didn't allow him to tear it down, so he went for a building permit to restore it. He brought in the bulldozers. It just happened at night that the bulldozers went through the building. Then he said: "Oops, we've got a problem. We knocked the building down by mistake." This is where a fine has to come in, because of what happened.

I fully support this because this happens too often. In the Niagara area, and especially taking a look at the city of Burlington, Lakeshore Road, and at the Lakeshore along the Lincoln riding and St Catharines and through Grimsby, we have a lot of heritage homes. I think what we have to do is take an example of what they do in Europe. If you've got a thatched roof, you're going to put a thatched roof back on in that particular setting. This is what draws people as tourists to Europe. If we wind up bulldozing because developers want to come in and put up condos or whatever the case may be, who wants to drive down the street with just plain 1960 and on buildings? People are looking for the heritage of Canada and how it developed.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Johnson.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): He's had enough.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to speak, but perhaps the parliamentary assistant would like to speak first.

Mr Hayes: No.

Mr David Johnson: His response may address some of my points. If not, I'll speak.

The Vice-Chair: Customarily, you'd speak last, isn't that right?

Mr Hayes: I guess, whatever, it doesn't matter.

The Vice-Chair: We'll go on to the next speaker.

Mr Hayes: Who's the next speaker?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Fletcher.

Mr David Johnson: I'd still like to speak.

Mr Fletcher: Have you got any conflict?

Mr David Johnson: I don't think the issue here is heritage. Certainly, all of us have been associated with heritage projects, and in my municipality I've already mentioned a couple of projects I'm very proud of: the old paper mill, the old brewery at Todmorden Mills. A couple of the original settlers' residences are preserved, and not only did we go to the extent of declaring them as heritage projects, but there's actually taxpayers' money that goes into them year after year to maintain them. Then there are some private buildings that have also been declared for heritage purposes in my municipality. The same is true of Mr Jordan and I'm sure the same is true of Mr Hodgson, Mr Eddy and all the other members who are here.

Mr Eddy: Cobblestone houses in Paris.

Mr David Johnson: We're all proud of our heritage and we're all here to protect that, but as to the question that's been raised by the Ontario Real Estate Association, I just want to read a little of its letter into the record:

"The principle of heritage preservation and the principles underlining the Ontario Heritage Act are important to everyone, including realtors. Included in those principles is an affirmation of the basic property rights of those who have an interest in the land. Those rights include the ability to move or demolish buildings owned by them unless such removal or demolition is contrary to the `public interest.' Should that be the case and individual property rights abridged as a result, compensation in some form is due the owner.

"In our view, the private member's bill that I understand you are sponsoring" -- this is addressed to Mrs Sullivan -- "on behalf of the city of Burlington, is in violation of individual property rights and a poor precedent for other communities in Ontario." That may or may not be wrong.

"In general terms, we can see no reason why the city of Burlington, or any other municipality, would require this type of legislation. There is already a good body of legislation designed specifically to protect heritage buildings while at the same time maintaining the rights of the property owners. Your proposed legislation would severely upset that balance and provide local municipalities with an unprecedented ability to restrict the rights of property owners at their whim.

"More specifically, we find provisions for fines of up to $1 million to be excessive." I think this is the real nub of the problem. "No municipality should have the ability to levy fines of that magnitude for this type of supposed infraction."

As the solicitor has pointed out, it would actually be the courts that would levy those fines, but nevertheless, those fines plus imprisonment for up to a year would be available as a penalty and I just find that to be too severe.

Certainly, the heritage aspects are of great importance, but when you try to balance the two with the penalty, the penalty of up to $1 million or imprisonment -- to me that's going too far -- for up to a year, then I would find it impossible to accept that as a package.

I might say that our member for Burlington South, Cam Jackson, wishes to also go on the record. He would ask the members to have a recorded vote on this matter. He says that he does not support the bill and finds that the penalty of up to a $1 million and imprisonment to be too severe.

Those are the reasons why I have a difficulty with the bill. There are excellent intentions from the people representing Burlington. I'm sure they've done excellent work and are a credit to their community and I hope they keep up the good work, but I just find the penalty to be too severe.

Mr Fletcher: I'm going to be supporting this bill, Bill Pr83. As a youngster, I used to ride my bicycle along the Lakeshore from Mississauga, mostly to Hamilton to see some people I knew in Hamilton. It was a nice ride. It's a very beautiful ride: some beautiful homes and a reflection of our heritage, of our past. It's something we have to preserve. I can understand when a developer can gets hands on some property and, oops, there goes a building and a $200 fine, a $300 fine and the person can make millions on that, especially down on the Lakeshore where, yes, I would like to have a condo on the Lakeshore if I could. I think it's something that should be preserved and I believe that the city of Burlington is moving in the right direction as far as this is concerned, and as I said before, I will be supporting it.


The Vice-Chair: Would the parliamentary assistant like to speak?

Mr Hayes: First of all, some of the comments that were made and a lot of the questions that were asked are the same kinds of questions that were asked when previous similar bills were passed: the ones from Toronto, Markham, Oakville and I think the city of Vaughan. Those things have already been really dealt with and the committee supported those bills.

The other thing, the concerns about people having to come back and forth all the time, and that seems to crop up in every one of our meetings, there is the intention -- Mr Eddy has mentioned that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation is in the process of taking steps to deal with these in the future. We have no objections from any ministries and therefore the Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not object to this bill.

The Vice-Chair: I believe we have heard from all the speakers. Is that correct? Are the members ready to vote?

Shall section 1 carry? Carried.

Shall section 2 carry? Carried.

Mr David Johnson: What's the provision for a recorded vote?

Mr Fletcher: At the end.

Mr David Johnson: At the end? I'll ask for that then.

The Vice-Chair: We're aware.

Shall sections 3 through 10 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry?

Mr David Johnson: Recorded vote.

The Vice-Chair: All those in favour?


Cooper, Eddy, Fletcher, Haeck, Hansen, Hayes.

The Vice-Chair: All those opposed?


Johnson (Don Mills), Jordan.

The Vice-Chair: Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

I wish to thank the applicants for coming forward with this bill. The best of luck to you.

The Chair: I'd like to thank the members from Burlington and Mrs Sullivan for their presentations.


Consideration of Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

The Chair: I welcome in turn Mr Mahoney, who is the sponsor of Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga, if you could hang on for just a second while we're getting things in order here.

Mr Mahoney, I think we have come to that point where you may make some opening remarks and introduce the applicants.

Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): With me at the table are Mr Brian MacRae, commissioner of community services for the city of Mississauga; Shelley Pohjola, city solicitor; Don Mills, chief librarian; and Diane Wolfenden, director of public affairs.

Let me begin first of all, following the recent discussion around the conflict of interest, to put on the record that while I do not and am not declaring a conflict, my wife is a member of the city council in the city of Mississauga and she's also a member of LACAC, for Ms Haeck's interest, and she is also a member of the library board of the city of Mississauga. When my wife was elected to city council, I wrote a letter to the provincial commissioner of conflict of interest -- I'm sure he wanted to celebrate her electoral victory -- to inform him of what had occurred and request his opinion on any potential conflicts. He wrote back suggesting that it was indeed not a conflict of interest to have a spouse acting in that capacity and that everything was fine.

I should also point out that on -- what section is it? -- under the Members' Conflict of Interest Act, section 2, it states: "For the purposes of this act, a member has a conflict of interest when the member makes a decision or participates in making a decision in the execution of his or her office and at the same time knows that in the making of the decision there is the opportunity to further his or her private interest." The furtherance to the private interest in this instance might or might not be my wife getting off the library board and spending a little more time at home, but I'm not sure that even that would occur.

Let me say that I know there is some disagreement on this. I understand that the CUPE local has been opposed from the beginning to this move by the city of Mississauga council, and I understand that the library board has recently overturned an earlier decision in support and voted against providing support of this bill. Let me also say that I believe this issue is rightfully resolved at the local level in the sense that local autonomy is what this is really all about.

I spent nine years on city council in Mississauga and Peel regional council and during many of those debates it would be recorded that I spoke very often in favour of eliminating special-purpose bodies wherever possible, the principle being that accountability begins with the elected officials, as the former mayor of East York would probably agree, and that special-purpose bodies that are not directly accountable to the taxpayers are something that we have expressed concerns about.


I would admit, as a past member, by the way, of the library board and indeed the chairman of the central library committee that led to the building of the very beautiful central library in Mississauga, that I think the library board has served the city well over the years and continues to do so. The mayor, though, has stated and council has supported council's desire to reduce duplication and to eliminate any potential conflicts of an administrative nature or a monetary nature between this particular special-purpose body, and I know Mayor McCallion believes that should happen with all special-purpose bodies.

I would refer the committee to a letter from the mayor, before the deputation addresses you, addressed to the Honourable Anne Swarbrick, dated December 10, in which the mayor makes reference to the fact that a memorandum signed between the municipal sector and the government of Ontario around the implementation of the social contract said the following, among other things:

"...a moratorium on the creation of new special-purpose bodies or expanding the mandate of existing ones operating in the municipal sector. The government agrees to pursue the integration of local special-purpose bodies to which municipalities provide funding" -- that being a key point -- "with local government units as part of the process of rationalizing service delivery" also being a key point in this particular issue.

The mayor goes on to respectfully suggest to the minister that her position on the city's private bill to change the governance of the library system is in conflict with this government's expressed intent to pursue the rationalization of special-purpose boards, as outlined above.

Having said that, the minister and indeed the local CUPE union have made it quite clear that they don't support the bill at the present time.

My role as the sponsor of this bill is frankly to support my municipal council's position in its request to have the choice in the city of Mississauga. They are not asking this government to change the rulings for anyone other than Mississauga. Since they appoint the library board, since members of council serve on the library board, since they fund the library board for both capital and operating grants, they believe they have an obligation as locally elected officials to represent the concerns of the citizens directly. So I am executing my role as the member for Mississauga West in sponsoring this bill in support of the council.

At this time, I would turn the meeting over to Mr Brian MacRae, who I believe has a presentation to make to you.

The Chair: Mr MacRae, would you like to continue.

Mr Brian MacRae: Thank you, Madam Chair, and good morning to yourself and the honourable members of the committee. As Mr Mahoney has said, my name is Brian MacRae. I'm the commissioner of community services for the city of Mississauga. With me today are my colleagues Shelley Pohjola, our city solicitor, and Diane Wolfenden, the director of public affairs.

On behalf of the city, I'd like to start my remarks by thanking you for hearing our remarks on Bill Pr46. I'm going to keep those remarks brief to allow plenty of time for questions, because I know you have received the submissions to the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation on this bill.

The essence of Bill Pr46 and really the issue before you today is freedom of choice to provide effective local government and who decides if that freedom can be given. We are simply asking for your support to give Mississauga that freedom.

The city of Mississauga is asking for the right to decide how its library system should be governed to best meet the needs of those concerned, and that includes our taxpayers, the clients of the Mississauga library system, the Mississauga library system staff, municipal staff, our local school boards and the Mississauga Public Library Board.

I need to emphasize that we are not, repeat not, asking that the system of library governance in Ontario be changed. We are not saying that library boards no longer work. In fact, we are very proud of the Mississauga Public Library Board and the library system and what they have achieved together over the years. We are simply asking that Mississauga, because of the reasons contained in our submissions to the minister, be given a freedom of choice.

As you have seen from the submissions, there are compelling reasons why realigning our library board as a committee of council would work best for Mississauga.

The concept of having library systems managed by municipal administration as an alternative to special-purpose library boards is not a new one. The concept was first discussed in the 1920s, and since then various official reviews of public libraries in Ontario have recommended that local governments be given choice in this matter.

The most recent official document to raise the question of special-purpose bodies, while not specifically mentioning library boards, is the municipal sector memorandum of understanding with the Ontario government for the implementing of the social contract. This memorandum calls for a provincial-local government task force to look at ways of removing duplication and overlap between these two levels of government. Among other specifics, it calls for the province to "pursue the integration of local special-purpose bodies to which municipalities provide funding with local government units as part of the process of rationalizing service delivery."

In Mississauga, we've spent in excess of four years consulting with any individual or group that has expressed an interest in the proposed realignment of the board. We first began to explore the possibility of realigning the board in January 1990. Since then, we have undertaken an extensive consultation process to hear the views of all concerned.

We've met with the public library board, unionized and non-unionized employees of the Mississauga library system, the school boards in the region of Peel, our residents, other interested local groups such as the Friends of the Library, staff and trustees of other library systems, the appropriate provincial ministers and their staffs and industry associations such as the Ontario Library Association and the Ontario Library Trustees Association.

As you are aware, we have not been able to convince all of these groups of the merits of our request for freedom of choice. We have, however, received most of the necessary local support required by the minister.

Until recently only one group did not support the proposed change: the unionized library system employees who are represented by CUPE Local 1989. However, on March 29 of this year, after some membership changes on the Mississauga Public Library Board, the library board voted to rescind its support. Because CUPE Local 1989 and now the library board do not support our initiative, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation has indicated that she will oppose the bill.

We recognize that the freedom we are asking for is not universally supported. We know that change is often difficult to achieve, particularly when it affects a system that has been in place for more than a century. We do believe, however, that Mississauga should be given the freedom it is seeking and we don't believe that we should be denied the right of choice in the form of governance for Mississauga's library system.

We are therefore asking for the ability to bring about a change that will benefit our citizens and we are asking you not to deny that right simply because it is not universally supported. Therefore, we are asking for your support today to enable Mississauga to provide more effective government through Bill Pr46.

I'm open to any questions, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr MacRae. I know we do have a number of interested parties and I will first turn to Mrs Coppen, but before I ask her to speak, I want to somehow get some order to the range of interested parties.

The names we all have before us are: Mr Burge, Ms Adams, Ms Kathy Therrien, Jennifer Milne, Audrey Nichols, Michael Crawley, Steve Burdick, Edmundo Vasquez, Janet Walker and Maud-Mary Swalm. If you could organize yourselves into the groups you represent, we'll call them up in order so that we at least get some sort of organized approach. Frequently we do this in a little more haphazard manner, but we only have an hour left today.


I would also like to advise the deputants that if we do not complete this today, our agenda for next week is already full, so we will have to find the next available date on which to complete this, so it may be some weeks hence.

Mrs Coppen, if you'd like to make your opening remarks and then we'll deal with the other deputants in order.

Hon Shirley Coppen (Minister without Portfolio in Culture, Tourism and Recreation): Thank you, Madam Chair. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, which is responsible for the administration of the Public Libraries Act and the development of provincial policies on library services, would like to state its position on Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

The ministry opposes the bill for the following reasons: The Public Libraries Act provides for the governance of a public library only by a public library board. Strong accountability of a local board to its municipal council is ensured because the act states that the municipality controls all appointments to the board, including the appointment of one less than a majority of its own members; the municipality has line authority over the library board's annual estimates; the term of the board is concurrent with the term of the appointing council; and once established, the board's powers and duties are directed by legislation.

Public library boards are well positioned to manage in the best interests of a community's library services. Local boards serve as strong advocates for library service priorities and also offer opportunities for citizenship representation to ensure a comprehensive and effective public library service that reflects the community's unique needs.

The act does not provide for, or encourage, the replacement of a public library board by a committee of council, as the city of Mississauga proposes in Bill Pr46.

This general legislation applies to all municipalities. The ministry acknowledges, however, that various factors, such as the economic environment and local needs, could influence the situation for public libraries in certain municipalities.

Recognizing that a municipality may apply for private legislation to change its library governance, the ministry developed a position on library governance that clarifies our requirements to the library community and municipalities. Our position was developed following a provincial consultation process led by the ministry's former parliamentary assistant, Gary Wilson. Elected municipal officials, municipal staff, library administrators, board trustees, CUPE representatives and the Ontario Library Trustees' Association were among those who participated in that consultation.

The ministry's position statement on public libraries being replaced by committees of council, January 1992, allows for flexibility on the governance issue where all parties in the affected community agree that a committee of council governance structure is justified. Municipalities and library boards were advised that this position statement would be the basis of all future ministry decisions on proposals by municipalities to replace their boards with committees of council.

According to the ministry's position statement, if a municipality introduces a private bill to replace its public library board with a committee of council, the ministry would consider not opposing such a bill where all the criteria outlined in the position paper have been met.

The criteria require that: The spirit and intent of the act is maintained; a rationale and justification for the change is detailed; all parties be consulted; evidence of support for the change is received from all parties; there is satisfactory evidence of community consultation and support; the council has identified a mechanism for ongoing community consultation; and terms of reference for the proposed committee structure are submitted.

The municipality must provide evidence that all parties in the affected community have reached a consensus in support of the move to a committee of council. Parties include the council, the library board, library management, union and non-union staff. If any of these parties in the community oppose the proposed change in library governance, the municipality does not meet the requirements of the position paper. The ministry, therefore, will oppose the proposed change.

In the case of the city of Mississauga, after two years of consultations with the ministry on the proposed change in the library governance, the city submitted its formal report to the Ministry of Culture and Communications in November 1992 when Mayor Hazel McCallion and Mississauga officials met with the previous minister, Karen Haslam. At that meeting, the minister clarified again to the mayor that all criteria outlined in the position paper must be satisfied for the ministry to consider not opposing the proposed private bill.

In March 1993 the ministry requested additional information necessary to complete the report, which included written evidence of union support. Another meeting was held with Minister Anne Swarbrick in April 1993 where the minister was advised that the city of Mississauga would be submitting all outstanding information with the exception of a letter of union support.

On May 27, 1993, the city responded to the ministry's request for more information. The completed formal report still indicates that the library workers union, CUPE Local 1989, opposes a change in library governance. A copy of the letter is attached. Also, as has been repeated by the previous speakers, on March 29, 1994, the Mississauga library board, which voted in favour of governance by committee of council in November of 1990, voted five to four in favour of rescinding its previous motion. All members were present for the vote.

The minister has met with representatives of the Ontario Library Trustees Association and CUPE Ontario municipal employees coordinating committee, library workers committee, to hear their opinions on what library governance structure would deliver the best library service possible to the people of Ontario.

In conclusion, because the city of Mississauga has been unable to satisfy the requirements of the ministry's position statement, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation opposes Bill Pr46, which would replace the city of Mississauga's library board with a committee of council.

The Chair: I would ask you at this point if you could possibly introduce some of the staff you've brought with you so that if there are questions they may be directed to the appropriate person.

Hon Mrs Coppen: With my excitement of reading the statement, I neglected to introduce the ministry staff. Beginning with Barbara Clubb, Barbara, would you introduce everyone, please

Ms Barbara Clubb: I'm Barbara Clubb, director of the libraries and community information branch. Beside me is Paula Kashul, our legal counsel for the ministry. Beside Paula is Shirley Phillips, our specialist consultant dealing with library boards and committees of councils and issues of governance.

The Chair: I would then ask Mr Burge, if he's present, to come forward and join us at the table. Once you begin speaking, perhaps you would introduce yourself and continue.


Mr Raymond Burge: My name is Raymond Burge. I'm a resident of Mississaugua living at 1711 Bramsey Drive.

I oppose the passage of this bill and wish to draw the committee's attention to the following documents:

A letter from Mayor Hazel McCallion dated July 12, 1993: The mayor states that it is the intention of the change to move to a user-pay philosophy. Non-users would pay less. The mayor is a non-user, as she admitted at the public meeting that she did not have time to read books. Is this a qualification for running a library as well as a city?

She also states, and I quote --

Mr Mahoney: I have a feeling she might be qualified.

Mr Burge: Well, I'll leave that quote.

I live in a modest three-bedroom house for which I pay more than $4,000 a year in taxes and now she wants me to pay each time I use the public library. I say that she has her priorities wrong.

The mayor tells me also that the two public meetings which were held on this subject did not demonstrate vehement public opposition to the change. I ask you to look at the record, read the paper, and for the benefit of those who can't see from there, the headline was, "Book Thrown at City Council Over Library Board Changes." Despite the very careful Jesuitical way in which the report of the city on those public meetings is written, I can assure you that almost unanimously, every public person at that meeting opposed the change.

Now I'd like to refer to the letter from the minister, Anne Swarbrick, which states that the criterion for not opposing such a bill is that "all affected parties in the municipality have been consulted and have reached consensus in support." This is not the case. In fact, the opposite is the case. The union, the library board and the public have all registered their opposition. The council and the library management are the only ones in support.

As for the library management, may I tell you that they were asked to sign a public letter expressing their support. Can you imagine those managers refusing to sign that letter? What position would they have put themselves in as regards promotion in the future? I think that was a shameful act.

The council of Mississauga has made it clear that it wants not only financial control, which they already have, but political control also. I do not think this should be given. A library is not another service such as garbage collection or fire protection. Its operation raises questions with cultural implications which I believe are best kept out of the hands of municipal politicians who have neither the time nor the interest to devote to such questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Burge. I also compliment you on the fact that your comments were succinct and I hope all presenters will keep that in mind if they want to see this completed today.

I would ask the CUPE members to come forward, please. I believe Mr Burdick is the head of the library workers committee. Is that correct?

Mr Steven Burdick: That's correct.

The Chair: And the representatives of the other locals, please. I'm not sure who would like to go forward first. Possibly the local that represents that library would be appropriate and then if there are any additional remarks, that would then be appropriate.

Ms Audrey Nichols: I am Audrey Nichols. I am president of CUPE Local 1989 which represents 419 members who are employed by the Mississauga library system. To my left is Steven Burdick. He's the president of the Metro reference library and also the chair of the OMECC library caucus. Janet Walker is the president for Toronto Public Library and Thea Adams is the president for Scarborough.

First of all, allow me to give a brief background as to how this issue started. In the 1970s, I believe, the present mayor of Mississauga was sitting on the library board and became concerned as to the size of the library budget. It was felt that elected officials should have more control since they are perceived to be more accountable than appointees are. Many other municipalities had these same concerns in this area, and the Public Libraries Act was amended in 1984 to give council the right to approve library board budgets line by line.

Please keep in mind that the municipalities also have the power to appoint councillors and citizen representatives to the board. On the present Mississauga library board this amounts to six out of nine members.

The 1984 amendments to the Public Libraries Act clarified and strengthened the accountability of the boards to their appointing councils. The city of Mississauga knows how to use this power to keep its board in line. This was well demonstrated when the city pressured the board into not ratifying the tentative agreement our union and the city-board negotiators had come to last year. We understand that the board was told, "You can go ahead and ratify, but we won't give you a penny towards the salary increases and you would probably have to look at layoffs to cover the shortfall."

The library's budget is well supervised by the community services department and the city manager's office, I assure you. For most municipalities this is sufficient accountability, but the city of Mississauga wants to go one giant step further and do away with the library board altogether.

Local 1989 has many problems with this proposal:

(1) The library advisory committee would have no mandate such as that of the library board under the Public Libraries Act. The library advisory committee would only look at future plans and community impact etc. Complete control of the day-to-day running of the library system would go to the city of Mississauga with this planned bill.

As we understand it, members of the public with concerns about their library services would go through a convoluted system of a library advisory committee which would report to the general committee of council, which would report to council, which would direct the commissioner of community services to direct the chief librarian to attend to the matter. At least that's as much as we've been able to gather from the new process they propose. We wonder: Is this really better service to the public in this day and age when we call our patrons "customers"? Is this really the example of accountability that the city of Mississauga needs?

(2) This move sets a precedent for the whole province. About six other communities are waiting to see what happens with this bill with the hope that they too can change from a library board to a library advisory committee. There are two communities that do not have library boards, but they are small county institutions, and we do not believe they should be compared or have really set any precedents since Mississauga is the ninth largest city in Canada.

During the great social contract sectoral talks, the government of Ontario gave the municipalities the assurance that it will look at the issue of special boards and commissions. We strongly believe that any decision to change this board to an advisory committee should be shelved until the issue of the future of boards is resolved in that arena. Let us not pick away at the very fabric of library services in this province piece by piece. We believe any changes should be done in a cohesive manner.

(3) The issue of intellectual freedom is also of grave concern. Do we really want politicians having greater say as to how our libraries are run? Might they not be targets at election time for special interest groups that may not approve of what we have on our shelves? We would like to see our present library board given the chance to act independently as they are supposed to.

(4) Mr Burge alluded to the user-pay philosophy, and I will just make one comment. We believe that the user-pay philosophy can lead users to decide not to pay. Then what happens next? Do we not offer library service? Do we privatize libraries and run the risk of unabated censorship? We'd like to know whatever happened to the "public" in public libraries.

(5) With regard to the vote taken by the non-union staff, we would like to publicly register our protest as to who voted on the issue. According to our certificate of recognition, as many as probably 10 people who did vote are technically unionized employees since they are not excluded by that document.

We remain opposed to this proposal and ask your support in maintaining the "public" in our library system. At this point, the way to do this is to keep the Mississauga Public Library board alive and well. We call on the city of Mississauga to work with us to make our library board a positive and dynamic body, not hampered by this uncertainty as to its future.

As noted in the statement from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, the city should strive to work within the framework of the present legislation. We do not believe that the city of Mississauga has wholeheartedly done that yet.


The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Nichols. If there are any other presenters at this point who would like to make a few remarks, please feel free to make them, but for the purposes of Hansard please introduce yourself.

Mr Burdick: I will then go next. My name, as you heard, is Steve Burdick. Apart from being president of my own local at the Metro library, where we represent about 400 workers, I'm the chair of the library workers committee in OMECC, which is the Ontario municipal employees coordinating committee in CUPE Ontario. We represent, therefore, some 50-odd public libraries and two or three university libraries, about 4,500 library workers in the province.

The position I'm going to spell out for you is one that has been adopted by representatives of that body over a two- or three-year period, because this issue has, of course, been brewing in its current manifestation for at least that long.

I want to thank you for allowing me to be present here today, Madam Chair and all of the committee members. I trust that you have received the written submission that I sent you on July 20, 1993. I sent 30 copies to you through the clerk, and attached to that was a copy of the presentation we made back in October 1992 at a public forum held in Mississauga. Many of the points I would make today are dealt with there and certainly in much greater detail, so I will not go into a great amount of detail here today, but I will certainly indicate that I'm prepared to discuss what's in those documents with you, if that's your pleasure.

I would like to follow up on a number of remarks that Audrey has made as well as some of the previous speakers. First of all, appearances perhaps to the contrary, this is not simply a local issue. All of Ontario and all of Ontario's library community is watching what happens right here. What happens here has implications not simply for Mississauga but for library services in Ontario; it has implications for the Public Libraries Act and it is not something that should be viewed in isolation.

There have, as of course has been noted by any number of speakers, been some subsequent changes since this bill was first brought forward. I suppose from a procedural point of view, the most significant change is the withdrawal of support by the Mississauga Public Library board. You will see that there are other people here who will not support this bill. You've heard a little bit from the public. It's clear, and we talked about this in our July 1993 submission, that it was not entirely obviously or necessarily the case that the community in Mississauga supports the abolition of the library board or its transformation into a committee of council. You've heard from Mr Burge on that point as well.

Obviously, you're aware that the local at Mississauga doesn't support it. To my left are representatives from two other libraries in the greater Toronto area that do not support this as well. I guess that brings us to the question of why we don't support it, and that's not simply a question of procedures and technicalities; that's a question of service, the merit and the issues here.

We represent the people who are closest to the service. Library managements and perhaps, with some respect, library boards are not closest to the service. The workers are those who are closest to the service and we have seen a number of things going on right now. We have seen and we are continuing to see library services under severe attack in Ontario. Funding is at the root of this issue and it's not clear to us that adequate funding for libraries to maintain and improve collections and services will be provided by committees of council.

The experience we've been able to find elsewhere in Canada when such changes have taken place, notably in the city of Winnipeg, does not make us feel very optimistic. We think this is therefore a wrongheaded move.

Beyond funding, though, the real question is, how will service be maintained? It's our serious concern that once a semi-autonomous or an autonomous board is abolished, there remains no one effectively able to speak for the interests of service, other than the workers themselves, and they don't have as much of a political voice as may be required.

We're talking here about cultural, economic and informational issues, equity of access, things that we can talk about. We can go to our management. We can go to our library boards. The library boards themselves can bring these issues forward and deal with them at an arm's-length relationship to members of council. The council will retain, even without the changes contemplated by this act, a lot of funding control. They will retain the ability to bring their concerns forward to the library board, given the number of appointments they make to the board.

I would remind you as well that this debate is not simply going back to 1920; it goes back to at least the 17th century. John Milton, in the Areopagitica, made it very clear -- and I believe a lot of our tradition goes to this -- that there needs to be some distance between the governors and the public when it comes to matters of expression and freedom of expression. There needs to be a bit of distance there.

Library boards are in a position to be able to withstand immediate and day-to-day political concerns that come up. Some of these things clearly have to do with freedom of expression. They're not completely insulated; they certainly are accessible, but they don't have to immediately say: "Oh, somebody doesn't want such-and-such an item? We have to take it off."

So we don't have entirely unmodified support for library boards. We also feel they need some changes made to them to be made more representative, accountable, democratic. Those concerns have been conveyed to the ministry repeatedly and the ministry is in fact beginning to respond favourably to them. But the board, as an institution, is something that we feel needs to be maintained.

So for the foregoing reasons, we ask you not to support this bill and to avoid further degradations to public service, both in Mississauga and eventually in Ontario, with respect to library service. I've been speaking perhaps too quickly, but if you have any questions or comments, certainly I'm available to respond to them.

The Chair: Any additional speakers?

Ms Nichols: Madam Chair, we are aware that your committee stands down in about two minutes. Two other speakers have very brief statements that they'd like to make.

The Chair: If you'd like to make those statements, please.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): We adjourn at 12 o'clock.

The Chair: At 12 o'clock.

Ms Janet Walker: Even so, I'm going to be very brief. I'm Janet Walker and I'm president of the Toronto Public Library Workers. I'm sure as many of you are aware, the city of Toronto's providers of front-line public services are incessantly under the gun as the municipalities engage in round upon round of budget cuts. As politicians must, they focus on cost: "What does this cost? What is the benefit?" Those are the sorts of things that they are not in a position to measure.

Without boards, there is no one to work with the public and employee groups to describe to the politicians the value of services. Those are some pretty intangible things. Boards must be maintained to deal with these things that they are best suited to champion, seemingly immeasurable things which are the centre of our quality of life. With that, I would urge you not to support the bill.

Ms Thea Adams: My name is Thea Adams and I'm president of CUPE Local 1877, which is Scarborough Public Library unionized employees. I echo the sentiments of my brothers and sisters before me. We urge you not to support this bill.

We feel that library boards are very important. Our union attends all library board meetings. We attend council meetings. We have seen what can happen in the past when a library board allows the politicians to take over their responsibilities. Our film department was gone with a stroke of the pen; line-by-line budget, when records and cassettes were gone with the stroke of a pen. Just to have a politician walk into his local library and say, "How come you don't have any new records or cassettes?" -- it was that politician who took that money out of that budget.

So politicians, not to underestimate them, are very busy people. They have a lot of issues that they must attend to. The library service is a very complex service. It's getting more complex as we all get on to the information highway. To add this burden onto them so that they would have a total understanding of what libraries mean -- we've also talked about intellectual freedom, representation of the community. I think this is very important.

I think the present model allows the library boards to provide quality service in Ontario. It allows them to do all the things they want to do, except for totally control the monetary. That's what happens if you take library boards away: It's going to come down to a dollars-and-cents mentality. We're going to start to be compared to roads and garbage collection. They have their own merits, they are very different issues, and they should not be compared in this society.


The Chair: I'd like to thank you very much for your remarks. In the interests of time, I'm going to thank you again for those and ask the following people to come forward: Jennifer Milne, Michael Crawley and Edmundo Vasquez. If I can ask the gentleman here in the grey if he would introduce himself.

Mr Mahoney: Grey jacket.

The Chair: Grey jacket; I have some sympathy with the grey hair, but if you would like to continue, please.

Mr Michael Crawley: I'm Michael Crawley. It happens that I'm a member of the Mississauga library board; I do not appear as such on your agenda because I do not have a mandate from the board to appear here. I would also like to point out that Mr Don Mills appears on the agenda as chief librarian; he has no mandate from the library board to appear as such. Of course, as a private individual he's very welcome.

Democracy works because we give our elected representatives a certain amount of power and then we place strict limitations on this power. We have a system of checks and balances. The check and balance in the library system is the library board. We've heard the proponents of this bill ask for freedom for the municipality. I feel that what they're asking for is licence, which is a vastly different thing. Please scotch this before it happens.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Crawley. The reason I called you forward with this group is that you were listed on one of the addenda as a library board member. So I hope that this is not suggesting that you necessarily hold the same view. Dr Vasquez, I believe?

Dr Edmundo Vasquez: Yes, Edmundo Vasquez. I am vice-chair of the OLTA, Ontario Library Trustees' Association, task force on governance, and I'm also the chair of the Toronto Public Library board. I think we have given a copy of our statement to everybody. I'll try to cut through it, as we want to make some points clear here.

The Ontario Library Trustees' Association is here to request that members of the Legislature take a clear position in opposition to the city of Mississauga's wish to remove governing responsibility from an independent library board of volunteers and to place it in the hands of city council. It is the view of this organization that Bill Pr46 seriously violates the spirit of the Public Libraries Act, 1984, and threatens the future of library service not only in Mississauga but in the entire province through the precedent it sets.

We agree with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation position statement. The Ontario Library Trustees' Association was invited by the minister to monitor the procedure described by Minister Coppen, and we have done this as best we could. We have seen the detailed report sent to the minister in November 1992. We have attended public meetings in Mississauga and have, at the library union's invitation, participated in a public meeting at which it provided its point of view. We have, in addition, received numerous confidential calls, letters and notes from Mississauga Public Library staff about this issue. We have also had direct discussions and presentations from the city of Mississauga and the Mississauga Public Library board.

The Mississauga response: We can say without any doubt that the criteria set out by the ministry for justifying an exclusion from the Public Libraries Act, 1984, have not been satisfied. The positive consensus that the ministry requested does not exist in Mississauga. Although input was not large in public meetings, objectors from the community dominated the discussions; they were particularly eloquent in expressing their dismay over the barriers the new advisory structure raises. The city had no answer for them in these meetings, and subsequent studies of municipal advisory committees appear to bear out the arguments we heard.

On March 29, 1994, the Mississauga Public Library board rescinded support for the legislation which had been given by the previous board. As you have witnessed, the union remains an articulate and vociferous objector. While it is clear that library management approves the legislation, the request for intervention from library staff to the Ontario Library Association raises doubts even in that area.

In short, in this organization's perception, city council appears to be the only unanimous supporter of this legislation.

We received a copy from the city of the report it prepared for the minister. It too fails the criteria set out by the ministry. It lacks the concrete detail that the ministry requested. Instead, it states that conditions will be better without providing evidence to show how the change requested in Bill Pr46 is necessary or likely to achieve what is being stated. Everything detailed in the report seems possible now, and in large measure is already happening, without removing the board.

The experience in Mississauga is solid demonstration of the power that the Public Libraries Act, 1984, gives to municipalities. The city has developed a highly integrated approach to administration that is stated to be efficient and cost-effective. Although not every municipal jurisdiction has found that bigger central administration is the most efficient or cost-effective, the Public Libraries Act, 1984, in no way precluded the city of Mississauga from entering such arrangements with the library board.

What is troublesome about the report of the city of Mississauga to the minister is its almost exclusively administrative point of view. It says too little about services and the impact on the public of the legislative change being sought. This suggests a profound misunderstanding of boards, their role and the reasons public library legislation exists at all.

A board exists to protect the library's collection from direct political influence; to protect equity of access for all citizens and to defend their right to know; to protect the library as a source of information and knowledge to everyone in Mississauga, from the municipal councillors to the unemployed, from students to seniors; to preserve the culture of the community; to protect municipal councils on hard questions without fear of political pressure or later political reprisal.

The impact on the province: At this very moment, there are over 3,500 library trustees working in a volunteer capacity for their communities across Ontario. They donate countless hours of their own time to protect and promote this most valuable community educational resource. Their energy and commitment are happily rewarded in public opinion surveys that tell us they are creating what is virtually every community's most respected service.

Communities trust their peers on library boards to protect the access to the information they need, whether it be for personal, economic, cultural or political purposes. They trust the politicians they elect to protect their tax dollars. The Public Libraries Act, 1984, strikes the balance needed to ensure both cost-effective government and board accountability for those tax dollars.

Mississauga wishes to remove one half of the equation without evidence that the public would be better served. Not only is this not good for Mississauga; it is not good for the province. Bill Pr46 must not proceed.

Freedom of choice is what we trustees call citizen participation and empowerment. Thank you for your time.


The Chair: Thank you very much, Dr Vasquez. Is this Ms Walker or Ms Milne?

Ms Jennifer Milne: Ms Milne.

The Chair: Did you have any remarks to make at this time?

Ms Milne: Yes, I did. My name is Jennifer Milne. I'm the chief executive officer of the Etobicoke Public Library board. I am also a department head for the city of Etobicoke. Both my board and the city manager's office know I am here today. However, I am speaking in my capacity as the chairperson of the Chief Executive Officers of the Large Public Libraries in Ontario. This is an organization called CELPLO and it consists of CEOs of the large public libraries in Ontario. Those are the municipalities that represent over 100,000 population. We're a small group; there are about 24 of us.

What I want to do today is just to make a few remarks concerning the process of governance discussion that has gone on here this morning. CELPLO has currently been engaged in a series of discussions around the issues that face the large public libraries in Ontario at the present time. One of the issues for us is, how are we going to manage in the current economic crisis? The union members mentioned that the libraries have been under extreme fiscal restraint. This is true. It has been extremely difficult, and certainly in the case of the Etobicoke public library, we had to downsize to the extent of eliminating 18 positions and laying off 12 staff during the current budget year. Our library materials budget was cut by over 30%. One has to take a look at how one is going to manage.

It is my view that here today the issue is whether or not the public library legislation is permissive or restrictive. One of the positions that the public librarians in the large public libraries, the chief executive officers, are coming to is that the local municipality must have the ability to act according to its local conditions. Local conditions vary greatly from one municipality to another and the local councillors and the local library board -- I believe the mandate of the public library states "the unique needs of the community." That's actually a lift from the act.

One of the things we are considering as chief executive officers -- it's part of our responsibility to recommend to our board, and indeed to city council via the board, actions to ensure good public library service. The ability to respond to local needs is very important.

There have, over the past decade, been a number of initiatives, endeavours, to have the Public Libraries Act altered in order that the local municipality could determine the nature of library governance. It's interesting to note, and this has been pointed out before, that in the current municipal sectoral agreement, AMO certainly was very interested in looking at the governance of all special-purpose bodies and whether or not they best represented the requirements of the local taxpayer. Public library boards were one of the groups to be looked at. I understand that the Pilkey commission is still meeting on this matter and that special-purpose bodies of all kinds, including public utility commissions, are under close examination. It will be interesting to see what the recommendations of the Pilkey commission are.

I should also point out that if one has extremely restrictive legislation, such as that that came into effect, for example, during Prohibition, people will do end runs to make sure they get their own way. For those of you who have not seen the posting for the Chatham Public Library which appeared in the newspaper recently, I would encourage you to look at it. One could constitute that as an end run. The CEO of that public library board is the city manager. I understand that -- I won't go on about Chatham; that's their business.

There have been other boards that existed in the municipal environment as well, including planning boards, and parks and recreation boards. You will note that those boards are no longer in existence in most places, because in the wisdom of the local municipality and in the interests of the local taxpayer, the service and the taxpayer were better served by changing the structure of that function. The function remains, and indeed in many cases they're far better off. Certainly, in the city of Etobicoke, we have community schools; in fact, we're one of the first municipalities to do so, a very innovative way of making use of board of education property and public property for the use of the taxpayer in a 24-hour period.

Finally, I would like to address one thing which is an inaccuracy. I would be prepared to offer the committee evidence for this. That is the issue of intellectual freedom. This has been discussed quite a bit, that public library boards are better at protecting intellectual freedom than municipal councils. Being a librarian, I did some research on it. There is no evidence to indicate that municipal councils are more likely to censor material than a public library board. Indeed, it has occurred that members of public library boards have been involved in censoring material, as there have been initiatives on parts of municipal councils. I repeat, there is no evidence to indicate there would be any intellectual freedom issue that is greater than exists presently if municipal councils were directly responsible for public library boards.

In summary, the issue is, is this permissive or restrictive legislation and, finally, does the local municipality have the right to decide?

The Chair: There's a list of names that I have before me, but I am required to ask if there is anybody additional who wishes to make a remark, and I will tell folks, since there is no clock in this room, that it's a quarter to 12. Seeing no one rise to that request, I will ask Mr Mills if he would like to pose his question.

Mr Mills: I like to make a few comments. First of all, it's not often on this committee that we have a minister of the crown to sit here and I recognize her appearance here this morning, and that to me signifies the importance of this issue to the ministry.

I'd also like to thank all the people who have appeared here. I've had the opportunity to read your material. I'd just like to share with you that back in 1970s, on the municipal council that I sat on in the city of Barrie, I was appointed as council's rep to the library board. I often wondered when I would use that experience, and lo and behold, all things that go around come around and here we are today where I can draw on that experience.

I have considerable empathy with what many of you have said in that I would go to council on behalf of the library board to speak for those folks in my usual forceful way to achieve things because otherwise -- as I was sitting here, I was thinking of some of the things that people said. I remember one councillor sitting there -- we called them aldermen in the city of Barrie -- and he said, "Can you tell me how many people went through the library last year?" as though that had some significance about the budget. I remember telling him off and telling him to get a life -- I didn't say that in those days. Then I remember another fellow, and I can see him as I sit here, his face, and he said: "Why have you got records in the library? Aren't people suppose to buy their own records?" I can tell you that it was a constant battle every time we met

I represented the library board to our council and it wasn't pleasant. I'm looking at one of the presentation here, and I can see in my mind what would happen if we passed this bill, and I want to speak briefly to the Winnipeg experience.

I could see happening if it hadn't been for my defence of the library board in my municipality. It says here, "Buried in the general budgets of the city" -- what happened in Winnipeg -- "by 1985 the WPL had declined in every significant indicator when compared to other large Canadian urban public libraries: per capita revenue from the city government, materials budget per capita, volumes owned per capita."

I can remember all those arguments: "Why are were buying these books? How many people go in there? Is it a service that we are providing for the élite in the community, you know, the eggheads?" etc.

I'm glad now that I was able to serve those years that I did because it's refreshed my memory, it's helped me to understand your points of view and your arguments, and I can tell you, unequivocally, that I will not support this bill.

Mr David Johnson: First of all, I'd like to read a letter into the record that I've been asked to read, from one of our members, Charles Harnick:

"I would like to take this opportunity to voice my opposition to the abovenoted legislation. I strongly believe that the governance of public libraries in this province should not be the responsibility of local elected officials.

"The proposed bill would allow the city of Mississauga to have control over the library's priorities in spending. Libraries, and all cultural institutions, must be guaranteed an arm's-length relationship from its political masters.

"Libraries must be guaranteed intellectual freedom. There is apprehension that should this legislation pass, other municipalities will try to take over their local libraries. The residents of North York do not want politicians determining the priorities and the use of resources for the North York Public Library.

"Existing legislation guarantees the separation of cultural institutions from elected officials while creating a balance between citizen participation and fiscal control by the municipality. The governance of public libraries falls under the jurisdiction of the Public Libraries Act of 1984. The act ensures that a library board is fiscally accountable to the municipality.

"The city of Mississauga's proposed bill would have the effect of eroding a specific and important principle of public policy for this province, and therefore I ask the members of this committee not to support this legislation.

"Charles Harnick, QC, MPP



My own comments would be that this is a little bit of a difficult issue. I don't blame the city of Mississauga, because frankly I know that municipalities are struggling in this day and age with finances and they're looking at all ways and means to put forward an efficient government. My guess is that the city of Mississauga, through the expenditure control program and the social contract, probably was reduced somewhere between $5 million and $10 million last year over what it expected to have budgeted.

I know this issue came up before last year and this is a long-standing approach in the city of Mississauga in its view to achieve rational and efficient local government. I'm quite sure they're well intentioned in that approach. Certainly, coming from a municipal background, I encourage that municipalities have freedom of choice, as I think somebody said here just a little while ago, as much as possible. Wherever local governments or governments of any nature are trying to be more efficient, then taxpayers would say: "Hurray. Go to it and do it." So I don't assign any ill intentions to the city of Mississauga. I think they've had quite a leadership role in providing very efficient municipal government, and this is probably along the same line.

At the same time, Mr Mills indicated his membership on a local library board. I served on the East York library board for nine years and I think almost two years on the Metro library board. I can certainly tell you from my experience on the East York library board in particular that it was a very efficient operation. All the boards I worked with were excellent. The staff were very efficient and good staff. The system worked well. We had board members who were greatly experienced, gave of their time freely and added a great deal, I think, to the services in the borough of East York.

I suspect that I'm on record. This issue has come up through the years, and I would be fairly certain that somewhere back a few years ago I'm on record as supporting that the library board structure remain the way it is through the board system rather than be controlled by the municipality. I know that in East York or any board I've been associated with, the taxpayers have got excellent value for their money.

It's one of those tough ones, but obviously the minister has laid out the marching orders here. I respect the fact that at least there are criteria. Sometimes we're flying by the seat of our pants. I guess we could argue whether the criteria are reasonable, but at least the criteria are there. Perhaps at some point in time there could be a review, because to have all the parties agree absolutely may be a little bit tough. However the criteria are there and they're not met, so I guess we know what's going to happen: This bill is not going to be supported.

Mr Hayes: I will be very brief. I just wasn't going to let Mr Mills or Mr Johnson outdo me, because in the 1970s I was chairperson of the library board in Essex county.

Mr Fletcher: I have a library card.

Mr Hayes: He has a library card.

However, I can certainly understand the political side of it when they want to be more efficient. The first thing that politicians think of a lot of times is, "Well, we've got to save money," and you have to do it whatever way is possible.

When I was chair of the library board of Essex county, when we'd go before county council, you had to fight and fight very hard. Of course, I was elected on county council at the same time when I was chair. A lot of times the politicians didn't really take into consideration the needs of the public or the important service of the library system.

I'm not going to go on any longer, Madam Chair. I just wanted to make that point.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Hayes. Mr Fletcher's happy that you're not going to go on any longer. Mr O'Neil.

Mr O'Neil: I can't say that I ever served on a library board. I don't think I ever did. But I was the Minister of Culture and Communications so --

Mr Mills: Have you got a library card?

Mr O'Neil: I remember those good days, Gord. Anyway, it would appear, as was previously mentioned, that the marching orders are here. I also would like to reiterate some of the comments that were made a little earlier.

These are very difficult times, not only for library boards but they're also very difficult times for municipal councils. It was mentioned that there are a lot of pressures there because of the downturn in the economy, the social contract and many other things that have made it very difficult for those municipal councils, for those library boards and for many other agencies to make things work.

This bill will likely be defeated. I guess the only advice I could give, if I may, is that the municipal councils and the library boards, and the unions and staff, have to maybe work a little closer together and cooperate in some of their demands and some of the pressures that they face to make things work until things start to straighten around again.

The Chair: Mr Mahoney, we're fast approaching that time, so very brief, please.

Mr Mahoney: Madam Chair, just to say that I feel mortally wounded but I will live to fight the next issue.

The Chair: Thank you for being brief, Mr Mahoney.

We've come to the time where I have to ask the question, are the members ready to vote? Okay.

Shall sections 1 through 4 of Bill Pr46 carry? No.

Shall the preamble carry? No.

Shall the title carry? No.

Shall the bill carry? No.

Shall I report the bill to the House? No.

This has obviously been a contentious bill. I know the emotion that revolves around this. I won't give you my résumé, but shall we say 16 years in library work gives me some sense of what was at hand. I appreciate all of your efforts and your concerns. Thank you very much for coming forward today.

The committee adjourned at 1158.