Wednesday April 27 1994

City of Brampton Act, 1994, Bill Pr107, Mr McClelland

Ron Eddy, MPP

Clay Connor, deputy city solicitor, City of Brampton

Town of Napanee Act, 1994, Bill Pr70, Mr Paul R. Johnson

Paul R. Johnson, MPP

Hubert Hogle, solicitor, Town of Napanee

Jack McNamee, clerk-administrator, Town of Napanee

Town of Markham Act, 1993, Bill Pr41, Mr Cousens

W. Donald Cousens, MPP

Robert Robinson, solicitor, Town of Markham

Malcolm Stanley, president, Markham Condominium Association

Tina Schickedanz, co-chair, Tenant/Landlord Coalition for Equal Taxation

Tuberate Heat Transfer Act, 1994, Bill Pr86, Mr Huget

Gordon Mills, MPP

City of Toronto Act, 1993, Bill Pr44, Mr Marchese

Gordon Mills, MPP


*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:

Carter, Jenny (Peterborough ND) for Mr Perruzza

Hodgson, Chris (Victoria-Haliburton PC) for Mr David Johnson

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Langlet, Brian, senior project manager, strategic funding team, Ministry of Education and Training

Ministry of Municipal Affairs:

Lynnette Coy, senior economist, municipal finance branch

Hayes, Pat, parliamentary assistant to the minister

Veitch, Ian, legislation officer, property assessment division, Ministry of Finance

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

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

The committee met at 1007 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr107, An Act respecting the City of Brampton.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): Ladies and gentlemen, our first order of business is to deal with Bill Pr107. We are missing Mr McClelland. Mr Eddy, would there be the chance that since we have the applicant waiting quite patiently, you might pinch-hit momentarily?

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): It's an honour and a pleasure.

The Chair: I'd like to thank Mr Eddy. Would you ever so briefly introduce the applicant and we'll move ahead with Bill Pr107, An Act respecting the City of Brampton.

Mr Eddy: I'm pleased to be here to sponsor and endorse Bill 107, An Act respecting the City of Brampton. With me is Mr Clay Connor, deputy city solicitor, who will speak to the bill at this time.

Mr Clay Connor: Our bill is basically modelled on the City of Kitchener Act, SO 1977, chapter 90, regarding the leasing or licensing of air space over lands on a highway or subsurface rights. Our bill seeks to extend the powers which were granted to the city of Kitchener to permit the sale of the air and subsurface rights.

I guess any time you want to do something new, the logical question is why, and I'm basically here to try to explain why. I brought a diagram that might help. Is it all right if I stand?

The Chair: Just as long as Hansard can pick you up.

Mr Connor: The request for this bill arose out of negotiations regarding the redevelopment of the Queen's Square parking lot in downtown Brampton, which is pictured here. The redevelopment would see the construction of a new road link running from Nelson to Chapel Street. This was identified as a necessary road improvement to allow downtown Brampton to grow.

The environmental assessment for this road project has been completed and approved, and this project is being considered by Brampton council as one of the projects it might bring forward for the federal-provincial-municipal infrastructure program.

Other aspects of the redevelopment would see the construction of an underground parking garage to replace the surface parking -- it would be under here -- construction of a market building and retail at surface level and construction of a high-rise residential building which would span the road in this location.

The planning studies we've done for the downtown identified the need to get more residential people downtown to help spur the downtown growth, and we feel this project would help do it.

I guess the next question is, why do you have the building going over the road? We asked that of the proponent as well and basically there are two reasons. The primary reason is one of phasing. The proposal is to build the underground parking, which would cover most of the lot and also extend under the future road connection. They plan to build that and the commercial first. They say they cannot come back and put a residential building on top of an already finished parking structure. They'd like to keep that separate and do it in a separate phase.

The second reason is density. In order to get enough density on the site to make it financially viable for the developer to contribute his proposed share to the road project, he needs a certain density, and the only way to achieve that is to have the building spanning the road.

The next question I guess I should address is, why permit the sale of the air and subsurface rights? The proposal is that the building may well go condominium, and to enable the units to be sold to their purchasers and comply with the requirements of the Condominium Act, they'd have to own the air rights and the subsurface rights. The subsurface rights would allow the construction of a connection from the parking garage to go under the road and connect with the parking for the residential building, and that would be folded in as part of the common elements.

To give you an idea of what it would look like, I can refer you to another project that's already up in downtown Brampton. I have just two copies of the photograph and I can pass one out on each side. What I'm passing around is an artist's rendering of the KM terminal building and also a very small photograph to show that, for once, what got built looks like the artist's rendering. That doesn't happen very often. This was a joint public-private sector development, and the actual location of it is right over here, if the map is to be extended.

What we have is a transit terminal site. The city leased the air rights to a developer to build the office building. You can see that there are two busways cut out of the building that the buses go under. If you can picture on this site a higher building with a bigger busway, that is practically what it would look like.

We've asked for general legislation as opposed to it being site-specific because we can foresee other redevelopment opportunities in Brampton, particularly the downtown, where this power might be useful to us. There are a number of back service lanes. Some of them are shown on this map. The one over here goes this way, and a little lane here as well. We feel that having this power would be a useful tool to facilitate redevelopment and make better use of land.

In Brampton we're proud of how we've been able to combine public and private sector initiatives like we did on the transit terminal building, and through this application we're asking you to help us make Queen's Square a possibility.

Before concluding, I'd like to thank Mr Eddy and Carman McClelland for sponsoring the bill, and the also the staff of the various ministries who've reviewed it, and in particular Linda Gray from Municipal Affairs and Lucinda Mifsud from the legislative counsel office. Both these ladies have always been knowledgeable, friendly and helpful to me any time I've contacted them.

I'd be pleased to answer your questions.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Connor, for an informative presentation. I would at this point ask if there are any other interested parties with regard to Pr107 who would like to come forward and present at this time.

Seeing none, I will turn to Mr Hansen.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): I was just wondering about the air space. I'm trying to get the location to the closest airport. Normally, the air space is 200 feet up -- is that not correct? -- owned by an individual unless otherwise stated.

Mr Connor: The air space we're talking about here is the air space in the busway, between the road level and the level of the building. That's the air space we're talking about.

Mr Hansen: Okay. I heard you talking about the buses being able to go through there. Reading the bill, I was trying to picture where the airport was and the air space to be leased, which is done in a lot of cases.

Mr Connor: That section of the bill is meant to address sort of the chicken and egg question of what comes first, the building or the road. What we would do presumably is build the building first, build the road, and then by bylaw establish it as a public highway, rather than the other way around.

Mr Hansen: I was a little confused on the number of storeys of the building and why air space was required. I heard your explanation but I didn't know what air space you were talking about. Thank you.

The Chair: Mr Eddy, any questions?

Mr Eddy: No. I support the application.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, any comments from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not have any objections to this bill.

The Chair: I would like to ask the members if they are at this point ready to vote. Agreed.

Mr Hansen: Madam Chair, was there no comment from the Ministry of Transportation on this particular issue?

The Chair: I believe Mr Hayes would have addressed that, but let's pose the question to him again. Were there any concerns by the Ministry of Transportation regarding this project?

Mr Hayes: The Minister of Transportation actually wanted the bill to specify that approval of the minister would be necessary for connecting links. They were also concerned about a provision which initially waived notice of requirements under the Municipal Act. These requirements were intended to provide recourse to individuals whose properties might be prejudicially affected by the leasing or selling of all or part of the land. But Brampton agreed to move that particular provision and the Ministry of Transportation had no objections after that.

Mr Hansen: Okay. Thank you.

The Chair: I will pose the question again: Are we ready to vote? Agreed.

Relating to Bill Pr107:

Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

The bill is carried, Mr Connor, and it will be reported to the House today, as a matter of fact.

Mr Connor: Very good. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you for your time.


Consideration of Bill Pr70, An Act respecting the Town of Napanee.

The Chair: Our next order of business is Bill Pr70, An Act respecting the town of Napanee. I'd like to call forward Mr Johnson, MPP for Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings, and Mr Hubert Hogle, solicitor. Mr Johnson, if you'd like to introduce the applicant and other guests, we'll proceed.

Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): As sponsor of the bill, I'd like to introduce to you Hubert Hogle, solicitor for the town of Napanee. With him is Jack McNamee, clerk-administrator of the town of Napanee. I think Mr Hogle would like to make some comments with regard to Bill Pr70.


Mr Hubert Hogle: Thank you, Mr Johnson and Madam Chair. This is a bill to permit the town of Napanee to pass a bylaw to reduce the number of councillors. It's required because section 31 of the Municipal Act provides that the council of a town having a population of less than 5,000, which Napanee does, is composed of six councillors, and it's desired to reduce those to four. There's provision in the Municipal Act for this to be done, but the bylaw must be circulated. There must be a plebescite in order to do this, and because of the fact that these plebiscites would normally be held at the municipal election, it means a delay of three years in getting this through. The town of Napanee would like to be able to reduce the number of councillors in time for the next municipal election this fall, and that's the reason that we're requesting this exemption. The fact that this is being done by way of private bill rather than going to the expense of a plebescite to be held some time in the summer has been well publicized in the town of Napanee. There is no opposition that's known to this provision. I think it follows a trend that we're seeing across the province to reduce costs where possible and to reduce the number of councillors in some cases where it would lead to a more efficient administration and some cost saving.

I think the bill is fairly straightforward. I've set out the legislation as it applies to this particular situation, and I understand there is one amendment proposed to require that the bylaw, if it is passed -- the bill is merely enabling. It permits the town of Napanee to pass a bylaw, and the amendment would require that this be done, if it is done, at least 30 days before the time for the election. I've seen the proposed amendment. I don't see any problem with it and I can understand the reason for it.

Mr McNamee and I can answer any questions, if any members have questions.

The Chair: Did Mr McNamee want to make any remarks at this point?

Mr Jack McNamee: No.

The Chair: I do have to ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward at this time to make any comments. Seeing none, I will turn at this point to Mr Hayes and then to the members.

Mr Hayes: The ministry does not object to this bill, as there has actually been a precedent set with the Bothwell bill, if you'll recall, except that we won't object to it as long as the amendment is carried, if someone wants to do that.

The Chair: All right. Are there any questions on behalf of the members?

Mr Hansen: I would say that with the amendment, the government will support this bill.

The Chair: Any further comments? Seeing none, I would ask if the members are ready to vote. Agreed? Agreed.

Regarding Bill Pr70, An Act respecting the Town of Napanee, shall sections 1 through 3 carry?

Interjection: Amendment to section 1.

The Chair: Okay. Shall section 1 carry?

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): No.

I move that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:

"Time for passing of bylaws

"(2) A bylaw passed under subsection (1) or a bylaw repealing it shall be passed not later than 30 days before the last day for posting notice of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act."

The Chair: Are members in favour of that motion? Anyone against? Seeing none, shall section 1, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall section 2 carry? Carried.

Shall section 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill, as amended, to the House? Agreed.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. To the two gentlemen, Mr Hogle and Mr McNamee, thank you very much for your time; Mr Johnson as well.


Consideration of Bill Pr41, An Act respecting the Town of Markham.

The Chair: We'll move right along. We have our next order of business, Bill Pr41, An Act respecting the Town of Markham, if Mr Cousens and the applicants would come forward, please.

Mr Cousens, if you'd like to proceed with introductions and a few opening remarks.

Mr W. Donald Cousens (Markham): I'd like to introduce, first of all, on my left, Mr Rob Robinson, solicitor for the town of Markham; on my right, Mr Malcolm Stanley. Mr Stanley is the president of the association of condominiums within the town of Markham. Also with us are a number of representatives from the York region condominium corporations: Mr Jack Fitch, Miss Marilyn Byers, Mr George Sauvé, Mr Robert Best, Betty Favreau, Bruce Williams, Joe McGuire, and Mr William Campbell. So I have them with me as well to review this process.

We've gone back a long time in order to begin what we're here with today, Bill Pr41. When you see the commitment that has been shown by the whole community towards this bill, I have first of all to commend the leadership of the condominium owners who have tried to find ways of improving equity between the condominiums and residential properties and the town of Markham, as represented today. But our mayor, Frank Scarpitti, and members of council have also been very, very supportive of this and in sponsoring the bill have shown a unanimous commitment to it.

When I personally brought in a bill very similar to this a few years ago as a private member's bill, it, as do so many of those bills, died on the order paper after a private members' period. But since then this whole issue has continued to bring out more and more debate.

I'd like to just refer to a couple of very supportive statements that have been made along the way, one in a letter that has been circulated by Mr Ed Philip when he was MPP for Etobicoke. He wrote a letter on November 8, 1983, to St George Property Management Inc, and he enclosed the Hansard of when he spoke in the Legislature on Tuesday, November 1, 1983. Just to take one quote, which I didn't circulate: "There is currently no systematic approach being used to rectify the condominium/single-family inequities that may exist."

He had a very extensive speech on that date and circulated it to people around the province. One of the things Mr Philip said in his covering letter, which I copied, is:

"The results are conclusive: 1. Condominium owners are overtaxed in comparison to owners of detached homes. 2. Luxury condominiums are taxed less than middle- and low-priced condominiums."

Also, we received what I thought was a very supportive letter -- and I thank the minister in public for his support, which he delivered to our mayor and copied me on February 18 of this year -- in which he complimented council for the initiative in trying "to develop a fairer property tax system in the municipality."

He supports "the principle of council's proposal, namely that discretion should exist to adjust tax levies in recognition of the fact that certain municipal services are not being provided to all town ratepayers. In fact, the Fair Tax Commission also made a somewhat related recommendation supporting greater dependency on user charges where the beneficiary of services can be determined." That really has a lot to do with the intent of Bill Pr41.

Let those be my preliminary remarks. I will defer, if I may, Madam Chair, to Mr Robinson for his comments, and then if you would allow Mr Stanley to have a few words, I'd be most grateful.

The Chair: I would just like to then clarify for all members that Mr Stanley will be speaking on behalf of the list of other representatives.

Mr Cousens: Yes.

The Chair: We would like to ascertain -- there are some other people who've just come in -- and find out exactly if they're relating to this bill or some other bill, but the clerk will clarify that point. So there would be no problem if Mr Stanley makes some remarks.

Mr Robinson, would you please proceed.


Mr Robert Robinson: What we're proposing before you today is what the town of Markham feels is a very basic, perhaps I could say, change to the Municipal Act. I trust everyone has been provided a copy of the compendium that we filed in support of the private bill. The reason why we're asking that you pass this private bill is a result of the wording of the Municipal Act, and specifically section 362 of the Municipal Act.

We've reproduced section 362 at appendix B of your compendium. What section 362 says is, "All municipal levied upon the whole of the assessment for real property...and different proportions." In other words, a municipality cannot establish a different mill rate for separate classes of residential properties. That's the problem that the town of Markham and other municipalities are facing.

What the town's private bill would do, and that's reproduced at appendix A, and you will have a copy of that before you, is allow the town to fix a different mill rate for residential condominium units. I think it's important to keep in mind, first of all, that this would affect only Markham's portion of the tax bill; it would not affect the regional municipality of York's portion, nor would it affect the school board's portion of the property tax bill.

Just for reference, in 1993 the town of Markham's portion of the tax bill was 14.6% of the total property tax bill. I feel it's important to keep it in mind that there would be no impact on the moneys going to the regional government or the school boards. To give an example of why we feel that Markham should have this flexibility to set a different mill rate, we looked at three residential condominium buildings in Markham and compared their treatment in tax terms to neighbouring dwellings which were all single-family dwellings. We called this the sample area.

On page 10 of the compendium, we put together a chart which shows the result of some of these comparisons. If you look at the bottom of page 10, it shows the tax yield. That's the money collected from those types of properties for services provided by the town of Markham. This is just dealing with the 14.6% collected by the town of Markham.

If you break down the tax yield by acre or by foot frontage, you can see there's a very different treatment in terms of residential condominiums and residential houses, as we'll call them. It's a very significant difference in the tax yield that the municipality gathers from those types of buildings.

I would submit to you that it shows that the residential condominiums in Markham, in any event, are carrying a very high tax burden in relation to other forms or residential dwellings.

Pages 15 through 19 of the compendium -- and I'm just going to go through briefly, because we don't have time to go through it in detail -- compare the services provided by Markham and talk about those services that are not available to condominium owners, or at least the high majority of the condominium owners, in the same fashion as those services are provided to owners of single-family dwellings. It deals with services such as roads, sidewalks and the maintenance of the various works. On page 16, we dealt with garbage collection; on page 17, recycling services that the town provides; on page 18, water services and fire protection.

On pages 20 and 21, we highlighted some of the issues that we feel support the desirability of having residential condominiums in terms of land use planning. There are various provincial initiatives trying to encourage municipalities such as Markham to come up with a nice mix of different types of housing. We feel that having residential condominiums is very desirable in terms of various land use issues.

A question that was of some concern to the town of Markham council was to the effect that if this bill were passed and the town were allowed to pass a different mill rate and it applied the lower mill rate to residential condominiums, what impact would that have on the owners of the single-family dwellings in terms of dollars?

In a report that the town solicitor submitted to council -- and if you could turn to appendix D. Actually, there are two of them marked "Appendix D," but it's the report from the town's solicitor dated April 13, 1993. On the second page of that report -- I'll just read it because it'll just take me 30 seconds. It says:

"Also attached are calculations provided by the financial services department showing the effect that lower condominium mill rates would have on the general residential mill rate. These calculations show that the following decrease in condominium taxes would produce a corresponding increase in the general residential taxes."

This would be if the mill rate were reduced across the town. If you look in the left column, if the condominium mill rate was reduced by 5%, that would represent in dollar terms a tax saving of $21.84 to the average condominium owner. On the other side of the equation, the corresponding increase in taxes on the typical single-family dwelling would be a 0.41% increase in the Markham portion of their bill, and that would translate in dollar terms to $1.81 increase. We did the numbers for a 10% decrease and then we also did them for 15%. A 15% decrease would represent a $65.49 reduction in the tax bill to the average condominium owner but would result in a corresponding increase to a single-family owner of $5.44.

The town council for the town of Markham looked at this. They felt that this was not a significant tax increase when you look at the, I guess, corresponding tax levels as they stand today. So, politically and on the issue of equity, they felt that those decreases and increases were quite acceptable and in fact went ahead with the bill. I guess we would submit to you that there's not a significant increase to other owners.

I've just gone through the highlights of the compendium. In summary, I would just like you to keep in mind that this would apply only to Markham's portion of the tax bill. It would allow the town to fix a different mill rate for owners of residential condominiums. We submit to you that there are inequities in the current system in terms of dollars paid for services rendered to owners of residential condominiums. Finally, any decrease in the condominium mill rate would not produce a significant increase to other owners.

The bottom line is that this is a tool that gives the town of Markham flexibility in establishing a separate mill rate, whereas in the Municipal Act right now there is no flexibility whatsoever and there is one mill rate across the board for all types of residential properties.

That concludes my remarks. I know that Mr Stanley wanted to make a couple of comments to you. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Robinson. I'd like to welcome Mr Stanley on behalf of the committee. Please feel free to make your remarks.

Mr Malcolm Stanley: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr Robinson has admirably summed up the essential points of the compendium and of the town's argument for advancing this bill at this time. Perhaps I could underline a few of these important points from the point of view of what amounts at this point to double taxation for the condominium owners affected here.


What we see in the development of condominiums is that the developer has to provide roads, which the town doesn't have to build, and then he passes on the cost to the purchasers of the condominiums. The condominium owners then have to maintain these roads in the property of the condominium as well as things like hydrants and street lights. Of course, this includes winter maintenance: snow removal and so on. That's an example of the kind of thing that goes on. We could mention, as we have in the compendium, all of the other types of services which have the same effect on condominium owners: the roadways, the sidewalks, the public walkways that have to be provided in the subdivisions but not in the condominium areas, the sewer systems, the water connections to the individual buildings, the 92 houses in the sample area as opposed to the three buildings in the condominium area, the lampposts I've mentioned and so on.

Given that the town doesn't have to provide these services to us because it can't, the owners of the residential condominiums, who are already paying taxes for the same services which are delivered to the residential homes, now have to turn around and buy those services elsewhere, amounting to double taxation in effect.

That's our essential argument that we brought to the council, namely, that since the taxation system of the province of Ontario is based on the principle of equity and fairness, equitability, this is an unfair situation which ought to be addressed. We're most grateful to the town of Markham that they have agreed with us and have taken this step to present the amendment as described.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Stanley. I do have an obligation to ask if there are any other interested parties who would wish to come forward at this time.


The Chair: You're going to have to come forward and have a seat, please.

Ms Tina Schickedanz: I am here representing the Tenant/Landlord Coalition for Equal Taxation.

The Chair: I assume the gentleman who just raised his hand -- are you with the same group or a different organization?

Interjection: As an individual.

The Chair: All right. Ms Schickedanz, if you would like to continue, please.

Ms Schickedanz: The tenant/landlord coalition was formed in 1992 in an effort to heighten awareness of the inequitable property tax treatment suffered by tenants of multiresidential properties in Ontario. Our organization believes that tenants, taxpayers and legislators in Ontario must be made aware of the huge inequities in our property tax system, inequities that have resulted in tenants paying as much as three and four times more than their home-owning or condominium-owning neighbours.

For example, in the town of Markham multiresidential tenants this year will pay on average 125% more in property taxes than the residents of either single-family homes, co-ops or condominiums of comparable value. We believe this is simply not fair.

How did these present tax inequities come to exist? I will not give you a blow-by-blow historical account, but it suffices to say that the inequities have developed slowly over time and are due to both a lack of political will and, at least in part, well-intended but poorly-thought-out regulations and legislation such as the proposed Town of Markham Act.

The Ontario property tax system is a mess. Everyone knows it. This point was recently confirmed by the Fair Tax Commission. Unfortunately, the legislation we are looking at here today would just add one more distortion to the property tax system that is already riddled with them. Please don't get me wrong. Condos and co-ops in Markham are probably inequitably taxed, but this legislation is not the answer.

Arbitrarily reducing a mill rate for a specific class of residential property will merely reinforce and compound the residential property tax class structure which has crept into our assessment system and which creates huge inequities. I have no idea whether in the long run condo and co-op owners would benefit or suffer from being a separate class of property, but I can say that tenants have suffered greatly from being a second class of property. The current circumstances indicate that fairness and equity in our property tax system will suffer whenever you create a different class of resident and a different class of taxpayer.

I would like to give you an example of how separate residential property classes have distorted every principle of fairness in our property tax system. In the town of Markham at 51-81 Inverlochy Boulevard, there's a town house complex. It has been a multiresidential property ever since it was built some 20 years ago. In 1992 its assessment was $1,195,700.

That same year, 1992, the property was sold to Thornhill Green Co-op. Because of the sale it changed its class. The complex's assessment and hence its property taxes were reduced by some 25%. The same people live in the same units, they receive the same municipal services, they even pay the same rent, but they pay less property tax now because they're no longer second-class multiresidential tenants.

I could provide you with many other cases. For example, a tenant of a 1,200-square-foot apartment that pays property taxes more than the owner of a four-bedroom home on a 50-foot lot across the street, or a condo where the taxes were $1,866.32 in 1993 and the same size rental unit next door, and I mean right on the same floor next door, paid taxes in the amount of $4,240, more than double.

These examples illustrate clearly what happens when you create separate classes of residential property. The Town of Markham Act would reinforce and perpetuate this type of inequity and injustice, and if this committee, indeed the Legislature, is truly interested in achieving property tax fairness for the town of Markham and more generally for the province of Ontario, then the proposed Town of Markham Act is clearly a step in the wrong direction.

What would be a step in the right direction would be for this Legislature to amend the regulations behind section 58 of the Assessment Act to ensure that all residential property, regardless of the form of ownership, be included in one residential property tax class. Alternatively, section 58 should be deleted and all future reassessments be done under section 63.

A further amendment to the Assessment Act would also be necessary to require reassessments at regular intervals, say every four to six years, which would ensure that large inequities, such as those that exist in Toronto, would not creep into the system. In the 1950s Toronto was reassessed on what was purported to be a fair and equitable basis. Four decades later, tenants pay taxes on average three and a half times more than their home-owning neighbours. If there had been regular reassessments in Toronto, there would never have been this degree of disparity in the assessment base.

Obviously the points that I make here today are part of complex political issue, one that will take a great deal of courage to take on, but it's an issue that must be tackled. Clearly the present system of property taxation in Ontario is incredibly regressive, laden with inequities.

I would urge you as legislators to follow Manitoba's courageous example. There, in 1990, the government passed a regulation phasing out the differences between single-family residences and multiresidential properties. They recognized the difficulties inherent in this action, and the process will be phased in gradually over a 10-year period.

I thank you for your time and I'll try to answer any questions you may have.


The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Schickedanz. I would ask at this point to accommodate an additional presenter. I invite Mr Johnson to come forward. Please introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard. If you are a member of a particular group or organization, please let us know what that might be.

Mr W.G. Johnson: Thank you, Madam Chairman and MPPs, for allowing me to address you at such short notice, but I just got back in the country a few days ago.

My name is W.G. Johnson. The Christian name is Windom. That's why everybody calls me Johnny. It's easier that way. I have been working with a group in Richmond Hill. Today I do not have their consent to speak, because I came down in a hurry, so I'm speaking as an individual.

I would first of all like to say that I and many others in Richmond Hill would support this present bill. We support it on the grounds that it's some relief for condominium owners. Unfortunately, it wouldn't apply to Richmond Hill in its present form, but we support it because it's a start in the right direction.

If you'll bear with me, I'd like to give you a little background of some of the things we've been doing in Richmond Hill, because underneath this bill is a problem. The problem really is that high-rise condominiums are overtaxed, and I think we can prove that.

I live in a building just off Yonge Street on Observatory Lane. It's two and a half acres of land and it has 200 units in it. On that two and a half acres of land half a million dollars a year is collected in taxes. If you work that out per unit on two and a half acres -- and you must remember, this is a condominium which is an upright community. There are virtually no roads to any great extent. Like all condominiums, it is deeply occupied by senior citizens, people like that, who have no children, so there is practically no load on the schools. We have our own recreational area: We have tennis courts, and we paid for those when we bought these condominiums. So we don't use all these services as Malcolm Stanley has suggested.

When people move in from a single-family dwelling, they look at this and say, "Why are we taxed so high?" This is not a new problem; it's an old one. I've been a president of a condominium board and I can assure you that people all say this when they move in: "Why are our taxes so high? When I was in a single dwelling, I used to pay this and get these services and use parks and so on." It's a terrible problem.

Three and a half years ago, we approached the town on this and said: "What gives here? Is this a tax grab?" The town was very courteous and said, "You've got a point."

There is a mechanic to the way condominiums are assessed. I don't want to go into the details, but it's very peculiar. It's supposed to be a fair tax assessment, but the method can be challenged. Evidently, it arose as a result of a court action. It's a real mess.

The mayor agreed that condominiums are really overtaxed, and many of his councillors did. We said, "What are you going to do about it?" They said that what we should do is request a fair market value reassessment. It costs thousands of dollars to do one and they did one. That fair market value assessment would have lowered the taxes on every unit in our building by 12.5%, which would have given a great deal of relief. It wasn't a bad approach.

However, we have a floor here, and this young lady mentioned the requirements under the Assessment Act. The floor is that we pay all these assessors and we have all this beautiful esoteric technology to decide on a fair tax base, but when it comes to implementing, it's a political decision. The town council has to implement. In BC, market value assessment is law; there's no argument. We've gone through this real rat race of market value assessment, and you see what's happened in Toronto, as you mentioned. It's a real mess because nobody has the guts to say, "That's it."

What do you do? Well, everybody then starts hiding behind the Fair Taxation Commission: "That'll solve everything. We'll have a commission. This is the way to do it." Put it in committee, avoid the issue.

In the meantime, you've got these poor seniors in condominiums who are overpaying taxes and subsidizing all the damn businesses. Do you realize that in the town of Richmond Hill market value assessment, it was found that 60% of the residential people were overtaxed and 40% were undertaxed? The people who weren't paying their fair share were the businesses. But 60% of residential owners were overtaxed.

Politically, the town didn't like that. So we said to the town: "On the one hand you're telling us that we're overtaxed. On the other hand you're saying, `Oh, I know, but we can't have market value assessment; it would disturb and cause another set of problems.'" True, it does cause disturbance. However, they did pass a resolution to say that in their opinion condominiums were overtaxed.

We then went the appeal route. We went to the Assessment Review Board and everybody filed appeals, which is an individual thing. It only took them about 10 months to deal with this. But guess what we got back? "Denied. However, if you care to make a further appeal to the municipal board, you can."

We looked at it and we judged what would happen. By the statements we got from the Assessment Review Board, we knew we were dead and it wasn't worth the trouble and the money, so we forgot it.

What else did we do? We went to the press, and they said: "Well, this isn't a political issue. It's not an election year." This is a municipal election year.

We then wrote to the Premier. He referred it to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ed Philip. We got a letter back that was a real bureaucratic nightmare. Obviously, he should have understood the situation, but by his letter -- honestly, I wouldn't even show it to you; it's a disgrace. We wrote back to him and said: "The person who looked at it really didn't understand it. Did they really read it?"

We've written to the members of the opposition. We've had a reply from one but not from the other.

We now find that the assessments we filed for 1992 taxes -- we renewed them for 1993, and evidently you have to renew them every year. Now they don't send out assessment notices. Nobody can remember seeing a notice in the papers about a further appeal. When we inquired and asked, "What happened to those appeals we made?" they said, "They're all on hold." We now understand they're on hold because there are some legal actions. Evidently, a condominium in Aurora took legal action, and they found out that, by a court decision, that condominium is being overassessed by 25%. If they had a 25% reduction, this would be really shaken. As a consequence, the government is now appealing that decision.

Ladies and gentlemen, all I'm trying to say to you is this: We have got a problem out there, and if it isn't solved soon, many of the people who have been overtaxed are going to be dead.

I've given you some idea of the things we've tried to do. No matter what we do, we stub our toes. I compliment the town of Markham and the association and the good works of the local government there for going as far as it has. This is why I would support this bill. But really, you've got a mess. The Fair Tax Commission -- all of a sudden it was the great defence. Now it's gone flat. What are we waiting for, the next election? Who really is going to take the risk of shifting the tax base from the property tax to income tax at this point in time? It just doesn't make sense.


In the meantime, as legislators you've got to remember that it's not just a matter of rules and regulations, it's a question of your representing people. Frankly, you have a situation in this province where you've got a lot of people who have been very, very unfairly treated. Furthermore, we have local town councils that are agreeing that they can't find a solution. At least the town of Markham bill is a start. I thank you for the time.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Johnson. Mr Stanley I would ask to give us a chance to get through some of the other comments and that would allow things to move forward. I would like to at this point turn to Mr Hayes. I know there are some ministry comments to make which are on a somewhat lengthier side.

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs would prefer to address this issue through general legislation. We have several concerns about the bill as proposed. At the same time, we're willing to work with Markham to assist the town in achieving the objectives. I have some comments to make, but I would prefer that the representative from the Ministry of Finance come forward and make a presentation and spell out some of the ministry's concerns.

Mr Ian Veitch: My name is Ian Veitch. I'd just like to read a fairly brief statement.

The Ministry of Finance has reviewed the private bill for the town of Markham and strongly opposes this bill because it will distort tax equity.

The Assessment Act requires that residential condominiums be assessed at the same level of value as single-family residences within each municipality. In addition, all residential properties are taxed at the same mill rate. This private bill, if passed, will give preferential tax treatment to residential condominiums in Markham and distort this existing equity.

The Ministry of Finance also has a number of questions and technical concerns with the proposed bill. For example:

First, although Markham seems to be proposing a reduced residential rate, it is not clear from the bill whether Markham is seeking a reduced assessment rate or a reduced tax rate. The ministry does not want to change its assessment policy with respect to condominiums.

Second, we have difficulty understanding how Markham would implement its plan. The assessment roll does not contain any information which would permit a municipal tax collector to determine which properties are condominiums for the purpose of applying the lower tax rate. It would be difficult for the tax collector to identify these units. In addition, it would be very costly for us to make special adjustments on the assessment roll for tax collectors throughout the province.

Our third concern: There are often no differences between the services received by multiresidential properties and condominiums. If the purpose of the bill is to reduce the mill rate to recognize that certain municipal services are not or cannot be provided to a residential facility, then the criteria should include all properties which do not receive the services, not just condominiums. In addition, the bill gives preferential treatment to only condominiums, which typically enjoy a lower level of assessment than multiresidential properties.

Currently, all residential condominiums are treated the same as other residential properties for taxation purposes. If Markham is permitted to tax residential condominiums differently, condominium owners across the province will also demand special tax treatment. Perhaps more significantly, other property owners such as cottagers, multiple property owners, vacant land owners and seniors will demand a tax break for local government services they do not receive.

The issue of special tax treatment for condominiums or any special group should therefore be addressed in a context of fair treatment for all ratepayers concerned with the amount of services they receive. In this regard, the Fair Tax Commission recommended that all residential properties be assessed and taxed on the same basis.

Finally, rather than special legislation for Markham alone, such tax considerations would best be accomplished through general legislation which applies across the province.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, did you have any additional comments to make on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Hayes: We also have a representative from the Ministry of Education and Training. If the committee feels it would like to hear from them, they're here also prepared.

Mr Mills: I'd like to hear.

The Chair: I would ask you then to introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Brian Langlet: Brian Langlet, strategic funding team, Ministry of Education. In addition to the concerns expressed by the Ministry of Finance, and we would endorse those, we have a concern about the use of a principle of taxes based on services provided rather than property value. If one applied that principle to education taxes, one would be forced to address the issue of the current taxation on recreational properties, on units that do not have children. We are talking many billions of dollars in taxation. For that reason, we don't think something of this kind should be treated as a single item, but rather should be treated as a part of a major review of taxation and equity in taxation in Ontario.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, again, any additional comments from Municipal Affairs?

Mr Hayes: There are other concerns that Municipal Affairs has with respect to this bill. All the members have a copy. If you want me to read through these --

Mr Mills: No.

Mr Hayes: Are you satisfied? I think it's important, if I don't read these, that these comments should go on record in Hansard. Do I have to read them?

The Chair: You'd have to read them.

Mr Hayes: So I will read them.

The bill does not deal with the issue of the 15% differential between residential and commercial mill rates. To do this, it would have to override section 9(3) of the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, which sets out the manner in which the tax rate is calculated and provides for the 15% differential in mill rates. The bill seeks to override section 362 of the Municipal Act, but this is not enough.

Although the intent of the bill is to set a reduced rate, there is no guarantee that the mill rate will not in fact be higher. It just gives council the discretion to set a different mill rate for condominiums. If the intent of the bill is to target a certain type of facility, it needs to be more specific.

The basis of the rate is the municipal services that the property receives. How will this be determined? Does council plan to establish a uniform mill rate for all condominium properties? The bill does not specify whether there will be a uniform rate or differing rates or how the reduced rates will be determined.

From an administrative point of view, we have difficulty understanding how council would implement this plan. For example, the assessment roll does not contain any information which would permit a municipal tax collector to determine which properties are condominiums for the purpose of applying the lower tax rate. Perhaps representatives from Markham can explain how this would be administered from a tax collector's perspective.

If the purpose of the reduced tax rate is to account for services not provided, then other facilities, such as apartment buildings, would make the same claims. Furthermore, other ratepayers such as cottagers and seniors, who do not receive all local government services, will also want a tax break. The issue of special tax treatment for any group should therefore be addressed in the context of fair treatment for all ratepayers with similar servicing concerns.

Special legislation for Markham is not the appropriate means. Such tax considerations would be best accomplished through general legislation which applies across the whole province.

Tax liability should be clearly established in this bill. If not, the municipality might find itself with a bylaw that it could not enforce to collect taxes.


The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is presently working on the Fair Tax Commission's recommendations dealing with property tax issues involving tax adjustments and tax collection matters. As part of this work, the ministry is considering general legislation that would accomplish what the town wants through a rebate program. This would be a more practical approach which would give the municipality more flexibility.

Another alternative which the current legislation allows is to area-rate those services the town provides.

As I stated at the beginning, the ministry and the minister have agreed and are willing to try to work with the town of Markham, but they are not supporting this particular bill.

The Chair: I suspect this will prompt a number of questions. I would first turn to Mr Hansen.

Mr Hansen: I know this isn't a very small issue. I think we've heard this in our offices as MPPs. I see this letter from now the Honourable Ed Philip, November 8, 1983. At that particular time, he was in opposition while Mr Cousens was in government. Sometimes letters in opposition have different wording than when you're in government.

As 11 years have passed and the Honourable Ed Philip got better educated, I imagine he wouldn't like to see this letter in front of him today, but that's how it is. Anything that's said in this committee or written in your former years comes back to haunt you at times. The letter actually has a lot of truth in it.

I think as legislators, we're taking a look at fairness. When I take a look at land use, and we have to take a look at land use and how we're using up some of the very fertile lands we have here in Ontario, we have to take a look at other ways. Maybe we take a look at apartments in houses, we take a look at accessory apartments, as one way of taking the first step.

Mr Eddy: Give 4,000 acres back to the county of Middlesex.

Mr Mills: That's out of order. Come on now.

Mr Hansen: Where I come from in the riding of Lincoln, I own 10 acres of land and I have what I call a hobby farm. If we were going to take this sample page on page 10 about the number of units compared to the number of houses, and if we're going to be fair, my frontage on the road is around 660 feet and at present I pay the same as in the subdivision up in Fonthill. I don't have water, I don't have sewers, I don't have street lights. I've got a 400-foot driveway which I have to maintain. There are all of these things and I think sometimes it's hard to compare.

I've had people come in to say: "We had no children. What are we paying school tax for?" And somebody else says: "Why should I pay it? Our kids are grown up. We don't need playgrounds."

I've never lived in a condo. I've been in some very beautiful condos. I don't have the amenities that are in these condos in my backyard or in my basement. I think you have to take a look at the size of your condo, but then everyone's paying a little share for that tennis court, for that swimming pool, the exercise room, indoor parking and everything else. So to come to fairness is pretty hard.

As I say, it takes people like yourselves coming forward with this issue. I think we have to examine it as a government to find out where we can reach that fairness. But after saying all those things, I'm not going to support this bill today.

Mr Mills: I'd just like to say that I thought the information from the gentleman who represented the Minister of Finance was quite enlightening, and he said many things that I had planned to ask as questions, so that has wiped my slate clean.

I'd just like to say that I appreciated the comments from the person from the Ministry of Education and Training, and I think that we all are concerned about equity in taxation. I know that I am, because if we didn't have equity in taxation, I can see the nightmares in my own community vis-à-vis people saying, like my colleague said, "I haven't got any children going to school; why should I do this; why should I do that?" It would be a nightmare.

I'm quite prepared to accept the Ministry of Municipal Affairs' suggestion. They're working and dealing with property tax issues and they're considering proposing general legislation that would accomplish much of, if not all of, what the town of Markham suggests. I just suggest that they be patient, and the new mayor may be patient too.

The Chair: No comment on Mr Cousens's aspirations.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Just to the parliamentary assistant saying that special legislation for Markham is not appropriate and that general legislation would be better: Is the ministry working on general legislation? Is there something coming down the pipe? When is this coming?

The Chair: I'd like you to introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard and obviously for all of our information.

Ms Lynnette Coy: My name is Lynnette Coy. I'm with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The ministry right now is involved in, as Mr Hayes has said, looking at some of the FTC recommendations, and one of the things that we're involved in right now is how we deal with tax collection issues and tax adjustment issues.

A rebate system, we feel, would be much more flexible for Markham and for a number of other municipalities that have also requested a similar concern and have asked for similar legislation. Rather than just dealing with Markham, we are considering legislation for across the province. I can't give you a time frame as to when that's in sight. I know that's what you're asking.

Mr Fletcher: We are working on it.

Ms Coy: Yes.

Mr Mills: But not the day after tomorrow.

Mr Fletcher: No, as long as there's something being done.

Ms Coy: We just feel that this is a major tax reform issue, and it should not be dealt with in private legislation.

Mr Fletcher: I don't want these people to just get some empty words about, "Yes, we're looking at it," and nothing being done.

Ms Coy: No, but as the Minister of Municipal Affairs's letter to Markham suggested, we're willing to work with Markham, just in case the general legislation takes a long time, on a rebate system that it could introduce through private legislation once we see it.

Mr Hayes: In all fairness to the ministry staff, the schedule is up to the government. Just to let you know that.

Mr Fletcher: That's why I'm asking the parliamentary assistant. Do you have any information about when the ministry is going to come down with it? No?

Mr Hayes: We are working on it. We will go as fast as we can.

The Chair: Thank you for your edifying remarks.

Mr Eddy: There are several points I'd like to make. I do agree with Mr Hansen about the best use of land, and I think that's why condominium use and multifamily dwellings are an advantage, certainly from that respect, so I do agree with that particular point.

The Ministry of Finance statement says it strongly opposes the bill because it will distort tax equity. I don't think that's a correct statement. It will further distort tax inequity, perhaps, but I'm not convinced of that. I think the question here is, there isn't tax equity and that's why the bill is before us. It's people who see that there is no tax equity, so we need to face that, and indeed I think we should. With the time frame, I think we have to be very careful about time frame, in view of the fact that quite often acts of the Legislature are dealt with over decades rather than years. It's a long-term situation rather than short-term that I see.


The matter of education is not included here and I don't think it needs to be included in the discussion.

I'm very pleased to see the Ministry of Municipal Affairs set out in its concerns a statement that it is willing to work with Markham to assist the town in achieving its objectives.

I note that there are two possible ways out of this situation -- maybe three. One is market value assessment, and that'll be the region of York. I don't know where that stands, but certainly many upper-tier municipalities in this province have faced the fact and gone to market value assessment. It has, I understand, helped the matter of fairness in many places and might here. However, that's somebody else's decision.

Another alternative is a rebate system and another alternative, I understand, is a special area rate system, and I think you mentioned that in yours. That probably is the simplest, and I can't understand why Mr Hansen's property wouldn't be affected and not included in a water area if he doesn't get municipal water or in a sewer area if he doesn't have sewers, because that is used by most municipalities in the province. Indeed, even in the tiny rural township of South Dumfries we have the foresight to use that system and it works out, and lighting as well. You can have lighting areas. Many, many.

The point of the assessment roll not containing information: Well, the assessment roll should contain the information that we want it to contain, and that can easily be done, in my opinion. It's another tick mark on a form, and I don't think we should get bogged down with problems like that. If we want it done, we'll have it done.

So we get to these other alternatives. What I would like to know -- and I would say what we should do is defer a decision on this matter. I'd like a response from the town of Markham on these possible alternatives and I'd like them to have the opportunity to respond to the ministry's comments, and especially the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Maybe they've already received this and have responded. But I'd like them to have the opportunity and to comment on these other alternatives in view of the fact that the ministry has graciously said, which I think it should have said but did say, that it's willing to work with Markham to assist the town in achieving its objectives. It might result in the bill being withdrawn from this committee and being worked through the ministry in some way. I think that's a possibility.

I think there are some alternatives, but I realize the problem. It is tax inequity. I also note the submission of the Tenant/Landlord Coalition for Equal Taxation, and the other properties, and I think the town council should have the opportunity to consider that as well in case it wanted to include more than just what's before us.

What do you see? Is that a possibility? Could we have a response from the town?

The Chair: I have no problem, obviously, in turning the floor over, but in fact Mr Stanley, before we as members had gone into questions -- and I felt some of this information should be out on the floor for everyone's understanding and comment. So since he had indicated before we did that, I'm going to turn to him, then to Mr Robinson and then to Mr Cousens, who's also indicated a desire to speak. Mr Stanley.

Mr Stanley: I think we should remind the committee that we are not talking about Toronto and we're not talking about other parts of the province; we're talking about the town of Markham. The concern of various ministries that if Markham is given permission to do this, this might lead to a flood of requests from other communities, seems to me to overlook the notion that if there is inequity in the system in other communities and if they have the degree of enlightenment of the council of Markham to want to address those inequities, then they should be entitled to do so.

When the ministry refers to upsetting the existing equity by doing what is requested here, we have to be appalled. We are addressing an existing inequity, and to say that we're asking for preferential treatment seems to me to have missed the whole argument.

When the Ministry of Finance says that this is a costly undertaking, our position is that it won't cost the province a cent. This is a town of Markham problem. We have a situation where the town is telling you people and the government that there is an inequity here. We think we have a way of correcting it. We do not want to have any more delays with regard to future changes in legislation that might possibly amend the Assessment Act, which has nothing to do with this. The town is saying, please, we can correct a situation which is unfair and we can do it now. Please do not derail this matter and get it mixed up with future possible amendments to other kinds of legislation.

I remind you that the minister has said he's in favour of this. In fact, this suggests that rather than changing his mind, as the honourable Mr Hansen has said, over the 11 years, he has perhaps gained more enlightenment and still favours the things that he espoused in those days.

So I ask you, please, to consider this a matter that can be corrected with minimal adverse effect on all other forms of residential property.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Stanley. Mr Robinson, then, from the town.

Mr Robinson: First of all with the issue, I guess, as to whether the town has looked at the other alternatives that the honourable member Mr Eddy mentioned: We have not looked at the rebate system or -- I shouldn't say 100% that we don't have special area rates for any services, but we have not tried to address the problem in that fashion. I guess if we had to, we could go back and look at that.

I understand that the rebate system is something that was put forward in the Fair Tax Commission report, and I'm not sure if we were to try to address it in that manner, whether we might be, again, sort of forging ahead of what other municipalities may be trying to achieve. We might come up against the same road blocks of the issue whether we should be getting our own private legislation or general legislation across the board, but certainly that is something we can look at. Notwithstanding that, I guess we're before you today asking that this private bill be approved.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs raised a number of technical issues dealing with the identification of condominium units and how, if we were given this power, it would be applied and implemented.

We feel that those are real issues and they can be addressed. If at the policy level the bill were satisfactory, we could go back and work out a number of those issues. We have all kinds of information from the regional assessment commissioner in preparation for this presentation, and it does not seem very difficult for his office to provide us the information as to who are condominium, who are co-op and how many units and how many floors. Information like that is readily available.

If you're talking about criteria that should be included in the bill, then that's something we can definitely work on in terms of a lower limit: the number of units per condominium or the services they provide; those types of criteria can be developed. But the threshold issue is really at the policy level, and if this committee and government are in support of our initiative, those technical issues can be dealt with. If not, then I don't think we even go to that next level and start dealing with some of the more technical issues.


It seems everyone has made the comment that this should be done by way of general legislation. Our concern is that we would be starting the process all over again. Again, if the committee were to find favour with our proposal, there could be some type of sunset clause or understanding that once general legislation were put in effect, the Town of Markham Act would be repealed or subsumed under that general legislation, but I think pending the enactment of general legislation, our position is that we should still be given this flexibility.

I know the government has taken a major initiative in putting together the Fair Tax Commission and has volumes of recommendations. In a perfect world, it would be nice to say we have to sort out every detail, make sure everyone is being treated equitably, before we pass anything. That's the problem we're up against. I think this is a step in the right direction. It's not going to provide equity for everyone. It may not deal with Mrs Schickedanz's comments regarding landlords and tenants, but the town of Markham believes it's a step in the right direction and it will introduce more equity to the system rather than going in the wrong direction. That's my response to the various issues that were raised.

Mr Cousens: The committee has been most attentive to this issue and I want to thank all members for that attention and also the concerns expressed. I am impressed as well with the remarks made by people here this morning. When Mr Robinson suggests that there may be some ways in which we could refine some details to the bill and maybe that could lead to the establishment of a few amendments that might satisfy the ministry, there may be then some benefit to Mr Eddy's suggestion that it be referred back for some further work between the town and the ministry, to see if we could come up with some satisfactory solution in the hope that we can at least do something to relieve the present inequity in one area.

I am sympathetic to the other inequities. One thing that I have sensed from everyone who spoke is that we have other problems we've got to deal with. If we can begin now and at least approach one, we've made one small step and then we can lead more quickly to the other steps. It might well start the ball rolling.

Markham was successful with a few of our other private members' bills. Mr Robinson and I were among the first who came in with the anti-smoking bill for the town and we were the second to bring forward a heritage buildings bill. And they have since become law. So if there's any chance we could allow the beginning of a precedent here, I would be most supportive of that kind of gesture and it would show good faith on the part of all that we're moving in that direction.

The Chair: I'd like to thank Mr Cousens for his remarks. I'd like to first turn to Mr Hayes and then I believe Mr Eddy.

Mr Hayes: Mr Cousens, are you suggesting -- I don't want to put you on the spot. Maybe I should be directing this question to Mr Robinson. Would you be willing to withdraw this bill and then work with the ministry and come back to address the concerns that we have?

Mr Robinson: I'm sorry, sir, did you say would we be willing to withdraw the bill?

Mr Hayes: Yes.

Mr Robinson: I think we would much prefer to --

Mr Hayes: You have to have certain amendments to it, then, whatever.

Mr Robinson: Yes, I think we'd much prefer to refer it to whatever body or committee and talk about making revisions to it, rather than withdrawing it at this point.

Mr Hayes: I need a moment here.

The Chair: Just some technical advice from the clerk as to a possible approach. Ms Grannum.

Clerk of the Committee (Ms Tonia Grannum): They could defer discussion. I think that's what Mr Eddy was stating, deferring the bill until further negotiations and then bring it back forward again to the committee.

Mr Fletcher: Send it to another committee?

Clerk of the Committee: No, bring it back to this committee after negotiations have been done.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, any additional comments?

Mr Hayes: No.

The Chair: Mr Eddy?

Mr Eddy: I'm in favour of that, in view of the discussions we've had here and the concerns that have been expressed by others and the ministries, that it be deferred for a bit of time, and the time frame would be up to the town, to then come back with -- and I hope this is possible -- a replacement bill, or does it require a series of amendments to it?

The Chair: It will require a series of amendments.

Mr Eddy: The applicant could come back with a revised bill. Let's put it that way. That would be the easiest route, it would seem to me, at this time.

Mr Hansen: As to the comments I made earlier that I wouldn't support the bill, I meant the way it stood today. I didn't want to be blunt to the point that -- my comments earlier stated there isn't fairness out there, but there's a lot of work to be done to wind up coming around to make it fair. I'll agree, with the rest of the committee, to have this bill deferred and brought back again.

Mr Hayes: Just one thing. We have suggested that we look at the rebate system. I don't know how much that would change the bill. It would be almost like a brand-new bill, going that route. I just want to let people know that. It may have to be readvertised or whatever; I don't know.

The Chair: At this point there seems to be some general consensus. I will ask the members to vote on this, but I think there is some general consensus, recognizing that there is a situation that needs to be addressed across the province, but that the kind of bill you're bringing forward resonates with the members and some work needs to be done. I will ask for a formal motion from Mr Eddy with regard to a deferral. We will then move on to other business.

Mr Eddy: I move that Bill Pr41, An Act respecting the Town of Markham, be deferred at this time.

The Chair: Are the members ready to vote on that motion? Agreed.

All those in favour of the motion to defer Pr41, An Act respecting the Town of Markham? Anyone opposed? The motion is carried.

Thank you, members, and I want to thank all the presenters. I realize these are very heartfelt issues, and you can see that there are concerns on our side but also willingness on the part of the ministries and the various members to work on this very important issue across the province. Thank you very much for all of your time, and for all the residents here, thank you for your commitment on an issue that I know is very heartfelt. Thank you for your time.

We're not adjourned yet. We have other business as a committee to perform. Ladies and gentlemen, I would ask you to quickly move out so that we can carry on our other business.


Mr Mills: Madam Chair, I would ask unanimous consent to reopen Bill Pr86, An Act to revive Tuberate Heat Transfer Ltd, that we discussed last week.

Mr Eddy: Granted.

Mr Mills: Granted?

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mills, and I'd like to thank Mr Eddy for his comment.


Resuming consideration of Bill Pr86, An Act to revive Tuberate Heat Transfer Ltd.

Mr Mills: The reason is that there were some inaccuracies in the preamble. We have a letter here from the principals of Tuberate Ltd, and perhaps I should read it into the record.

"Further to my attendance today at the standing committee on regulations and private bills with respect to Pr86, Tuberate Heat Transfer Ltd Act, 1994, and my subsequent telephone conversation with Susan Klein, legislative counsel, advising me of the error in the preamble. I confirm that the attached motion to amend the preamble will correct the error, as Mr Visser was also a director and shareholder.

"I reaffirm that the sole shareholders as of today's date are Mr VanderLinde and Mr Banovsky, as they bought out Mr Visser's interest in December 1991.

"I apologize for the oversight on my part in reviewing the preamble and on behalf of myself and the shareholders of Tuberate Ltd, I wish to thank the legislative committee and the clerk of the legislative committee for their continued cooperation."

With that, I move that the preamble of the bill be amended by striking out "all of the" in the fourth line.

Interjections: Agreed.

The Chair: We're just moving very quickly along. Now we have a small problem. We have the preamble amended, but we also have to go through the rest of the process. I will take the comments of agreement as notice that all members were prepared to vote on the bill.

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill, as further amended, carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill, as further amended, to the House? Agreed.

So we've taken care of Bill Pr86, to revive Tuberate Heat Transfer.

We have, I believe, one further piece of business with regard to the withdrawal of a bill. Mr Mills, did you have that motion?


Mr Mills: I move that Bill Pr44, An Act respecting the City of Toronto, not be reported, it having been withdrawn at the request of the applicant.

The Chair: All members having heard the motion, all those in favour? Anyone opposed? Seeing none, the motion is carried.

I have one further comment to make. We had a question put before us on April 6 relating to whether an applicant had to be present in order for the debate and voting on a private bill to proceed.

The advice on this is that while there is no procedural rule that compels the applicant to appear before the committee, since the private legislation serves the inter ests of the applicant, it would seem reasonable that the applicant be in attendance.

If the committee has concerns about the legislation or the legislation contains amendments, it should not be dealt with until the applicant is available to defend or explain the legislation and any proposed amendments.

It is also fair to state, then, that it would not have been prudent to proceed with the private legislation in question, which also contained proposed amendments, without the presence of the applicant to defend the legislation and have some input on the course it eventually takes.

Any comments or questions on that?

Mr Hansen: For some of the bills that come forward and have to do with reviving a corporation like a women's shelter, some of these which are straightforward, the expenses sometimes involved in an agency coming from Ottawa or Kingston or quite a ways out -- I think we should take a look and if there are no problems with it and it's just to renew their corporation, we should be able to go ahead without their presence. If there is a problem, then we ask them to appear at the next committee meeting we have.

The Chair: I think you'd still have to get the agreement of the applicant, because obviously the bill is serving the applicant. We see so many of the revivals, I think we have a tendency to assume they're straightforward. I think that if it serves the purpose of the applicant, the applicant should be here.

Mr Hansen: I agree, but if it does happen that --

The Chair: If we had some communication -- I mean, there would be a situation, with some of the winter weather we might have, that an applicant who was scheduled found themselves --

Mr Hansen: Stranded.

The Chair: If they got themselves to a phone and indicated their inability to be here but their full compliance with a bill as unamended, as proposed, that might give us some leeway. But generally I think the approach of saying the applicant has to be present would probably serve us well.

Mr Hansen: Okay.

Mr Eddy: Any applicant has the opportunity to appoint a representative too.

The Chair: That would be another opportunity to get something passed if the applicant couldn't make it.

The clerk informs me that an item for our agenda next week will be the report on the regulations, so I hope members will take some time to review the documents. I know I'll have to dig a bit to find them.

I adjourn our meeting for today, and we will meet in one week's time.

The committee adjourned at 1147.