Wednesday 27 February 1991

Residential Rent Regulation Amendment Act, 1990, Bill 4

Afternoon sitting



Chair: Mancini, Remo (Essex South L)

Acting Chair: Abel, Donald (Wentworth North NDP)

Vice-Chair: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South NDP)

Drainville, Dennis (Victoria-Haliburton NDP)

Duignan, Noel (Halton North NDP)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls NDP)

Mammoliti, George (Yorkview NDP)

Murdoch, Bill (Grey PC)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa Rideau L)

Scott, Ian G. (St George-St David L)

Turnbull, David (York Mills PC)


Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre NDP) for Mr Duignan

Mahoney, Steven W. (Mississauga West L) for Mrs Y. O'Neill

Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L) for Mr Scott

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC) for Mr B. Murdoch

Ward, Margery (Don Mills NDP) for Mr Bisson

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West NDP) for Mr Bisson

Clerk: Deller, Deborah


Baldwin, Elizabeth, Legislative Counsel

Hunter, Leith, Legislative Counsel

Richmond, Jerry, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1020 in room 151.


Resuming consideration of Bill 4, An Act to amend the Residential Rent Regulation Act, 1986.

Section 8:

The Chair: The standing committee on general government is called to order. The committee continues to review Bill 4 in clause-by-clause fashion. When the committee adjourned yesterday, we were at section 100n of the act. My understanding is that the committee has agreed to stand down section 100n, has it not? The committee I guess is going to agree to stand down section 100n, from what I have been told.

Ms Harrington: Mr Chair, I would request that section 100n be stood down until 2 o'clock when the minister is here because it deals with the conditional orders, which is related to clause 100e(2)(f), which we were dealing with a couple of days ago, which was stood down.

The Chair: Very good. So we are going to proceed to section 100o and we need the parliamentary secretary to give us a description of that particular clause.

Ms Harrington: Subsections 100o(1) and (2) provide for the treatment of certain whole-building review orders which have been voided because the first effective date of the rent increase is on or after 1 October 1990. Where specified factors were allowed on the voided order, the findings made on the voided order shall be used for purposes of providing a replacement order. These findings are similar to what will be allowed on whole-building review orders as of 1 October 1990 and will include the following: extraordinary operating costs with respect to municipal taxes, heating, hydro, water, insurance and cable television; changes in financing costs; changes in services and facilities or standard of maintenance and repair, and financing costs no longer borne by the landlord. Where the voided order contains no findings with respect to any of these items, a replacement order will not be provided.

Are there any questions?

Mr Mahoney: On clause 100o(2)(a), there was an amendment in a previous section by Ms Poole, I believe. It was a friendly amendment to a Conservative amendment that when we were talking about the garbage being added in, and perhaps someone can help with the wording, was it "other costs as prescribed" or something of that nature?

Ms Poole: "And other prescribed costs."

Mr Mahoney: To be consistent, it seems to me that amendment should be made here as well.

The Chair: We should have an answer for you in a moment.

Mr Mahoney: There is probably no need to be consistent, but --

Ms Poole: Why start now?

Mr Mahoney: Yes. Or "any other prescribed costs"?Would I be correct that that should be amended wherever throughout this bill that this wording appears?

Ms Parrish: I think you are right and I will just check with legislative counsel as to the exact wording.

Mr Mahoney: Thank you. You cannot get anything by us guys.

Ms Baldwin: I believe it is correct that in clause 100o(2)(a) it would be necessary, where it says, "but only with respect to municipal taxes, heating, hydro," etc, to add "or the prescribed costs." That is not exactly the wording, but if you will give me a minute I will figure it out. I do not think it is necessary, but if you think it is, point out anywhere else in the section.

Mr Mahoney: Well, I do not know. There may be other places in the bill where that exact wording is used.

Ms Baldwin: We will certainly look out for that, and if we have the committee's concurrence, we will just go ahead and make that addition whenever that list comes up in the bill, if the committee would like to proceed that way.

The Chair: I think that is how it has been handled in the past where we have made amendments such as this and it affects other sections in the bill.

Ms Baldwin: Yes. If I have the authority from the committee to do that, I would be happy to do so.

The Chair: Is there a consensus?

Ms Harrington: Yes.

The Chair: I believe I see a consensus for that.

Ms Harrington: Thank you very much for pointing that out.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mahoney.

Mr Mahoney: You are welcome; happy to help.

Ms Poole: Regarding the enumerated matters that are outlined in subsection 100o(2), which "applies in respect of relief respecting" and then lists four different categories, it mentions in category (b) "concerning financing costs." Is this just clarifying that any orders which provided for financing costs for rent increases effective on or after 1 October 1990 would be voided from any order? Is that the correct interpretation of that?

Ms Parrish: The impact of these sections would be to say that if there was an application and an order issued that had sort of a mixed bag of things, some of the things would be permitted under Bill 4, such as interest rate changes, and some would not, such as hardship relief. Instead of making everybody go back to square one and reapply, you simply substitute an order that says, "Okay, we'll take out all the things that you're not allowed to have under Bill 4, but we'll issue an order that allows you to keep the things that you are allowed," to avoid the situation where the person has to make a reapplication. It simply takes out all the things that you are not allowed to have but retains all the things you are. So if you are allowed an interest rate cost-through, you have applied for it and it has been approved under your order, you do not have to redo the application, you just reissue an amended order that says you get 2% interest rate cost pass-through or whatever.

Ms Poole: The confusing part that I found was that clause 100o(2)(a) referred to something that will be allowed under Bill 4 and that the other areas, such as clause (b), do not. Am I correct then in saying that the listing under item 2 is not necessarily what is excluded from Bill 4, it is just a list of everything that would be addressed in an order?

Ms Harrington: I would like to clarify. I think I am correct on this. It says "relief respecting the following items," and the first, (a), are the extraordinary operating costs and it lists those. In (b), from what I read out in my comments about it, it is the changes in financing costs, and that is what clause 75(b) means. It is just the changes in financing costs.

Ms Poole: So that would be the changes in interest rates then, is that correct?

Ms Harrington: Yes, that is correct.

Ms Poole: So that is not referring to financial loss?

Ms Harrington: No, it is not.

Ms Poole: Or economic loss or anything of that nature?

Ms Harrington: Am I correct on that?

Ms Parrish: Yes.

Ms Harrington: It could be a little clearer, but when it refers to clause 75(b), it refers to changes in the interest cost, interest rates.

The Chair: So there is nothing here to do with refinancing? Colleen, is that correct?

Ms Parrish: Yes. This does not stand on its own, but combined with other sections it means essentially that you reissue the order only for those things permitted under Bill 4.

Ms Poole: And in clause 100o(2)(c), where it refers to "changes in services and facilities or standard of maintenance and repair," is that simply referring back to the fact tenants can apply to rent review for relief from paying the statutory guideline if it is proven that there is a decrease in these areas?


Ms Harrington: Yes, I believe so. Is that correct, Colleen?

Ms Parrish: Yes. This is a situation where, as a result of a whole-building review order, the landlord has asked for more money and the tenants have responded by saying: "But you shouldn't get quite that much money because you've withdrawn a service. You no longer have a security guard or you no longer give us free parking" or whatever. It just makes sure that you put in and out all the things that you would have put in in the original order, taking out those things that are not permitted on Bill 4.

Mr Tilson: How does this come about? I am looking at the procedure as to this order, the order that is to be made by the minister. How is it initiated?

Ms Harrington: This section I believe deals with an order that was already applied for and now parts of that order will still apply and parts will not.

Mr Tilson: I understand that. This deals with a new order, so my question is, you have the old order under subsection 75, which is void, as deemed by this act. This is a new order. How does this new order come to be? I know the minister makes the order, but how does the minister go to make the order? Does he just unilaterally make it or does someone have to apply?

Ms Harrington: I think that is going to be done automatically if they have already applied, that the rent review will take the parts that apply under Bill 4 and will then reassess the order. Maybe staff could clarify exactly how that is done.

Mr Tilson: I am sorry?

Ms Harrington: Maybe staff could clarify exactly that process.

Mr Tilson: Hey, that was my question.

Ms Parrish: Subsection 100o(4) sets out that the minister shall make an order based on the operating cost allowance calculated in these earlier sections. So later sections say that the minister shall make that order based on this. So there would be a process that if you already have an order, then subsections 4 and 5 set out how that process would work.

Ms Harrington is right in the sense that it would be an automatic process in which the people who issue orders would redo the order and then issue it as an order based on the previous material that had been filed and the previous findings. This is to avoid having to make all of these individuals reapply and go through the waiting period and the circulation period and so on. If they are not satisfied with their order, of course they would still retain their rights to appeal it.

Mr Tilson: How many orders are there affected? I think you have given us material on that, but do you know offhand?

Ms Parrish: I will just check with my colleague. I think it is about 194 or something like that. He is nodding his head, so I think it is 194.

Mr Tilson: Thank you.

The Chair: Any further questions? Seeing no further questions, is the committee prepared to carry subsection 100o(1)? Carried.

Subsection 100o(2), clauses (a) to (d), inclusive? Carried.

We would ask the parliamentary secretary to give us explanation for subsection 100o(3), please.

Ms Harrington: Subsection 100o(3): In calculating the justified increase on a replacement order, this subsection sets out the method of calculating the operating cost allowance. It is the guideline as of the first intended rent increase multiplied by the landlord's gross potential rent. This is not a change. It is basically just putting this into the amendment instead of having to refer back to the original act.

The Chair: I see no questions for subsection 100o(3). Shall that section of the act carry? Carried.

Moving right along to subsection 100o(4).

Ms Harrington: Under subsections 100o(4) and 100o(5) -- I will do them together -- we have a government amendment for subsection 100o(5).

The Chair: Ms Harrington, before we can move the amendment to subsection 100o(5), we should carry subsection 100o(4)

Shall subsection 100o(4) carry? Carried.

Ms Harrington: Thank you.

The Chair: You are welcome.

Ms Harrington moves that subsection 100o(5) of the act, as set out in section 8 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted:

"(5) The minister shall determine the total rent increase that is justified and apportion the total rent increase in the manner set out in subsections 100f(2) to (6)."

Ms Harrington: Basically, we felt that this clarifies better than the original we had in the amendment.

The Chair: Any questions on the motion?

Mr Mahoney: Could I have a little further explanation of that? I am flipping back between subsection 100f(2) and I just want to understand a little better what it is.

Ms Harrington: This amendment clarifies the intention that a rent increase justified on a replacement order will be apportioned in the same manner as one justified on an application under part VI-A, including the rules that the increase, which may be less than guideline, will be applied to the previous maximum rent and the new maximum rent will not be greater than that requested on the application.

The Chair: Questions?

Mr Mahoney: Well, there is a lot going on up there. I just --

Ms Parrish: I was just commenting that it is always very difficult to explain a drafting amendment. As you can see, the language here is almost identical to the previous one, and all it is really doing is referring very specifically to (2) to (6) in subsection 100f(1) because the other clauses really do not have anything to do with this section and so it creates some confusion as to how this would possibly work. It really is a sort of technical amendment just to make sure that people do not wonder how on earth (1) could ever have anything to do with this. It is always very difficult to explain drafting amendments, but that is essentially all we are trying to do. The policy or the intent has not changed at all; it is merely --

Mr Mahoney: So the concern about granting increases greater than what was asked for is part of it, is it?

Ms Parrish: Yes. An earlier section says you cannot get more than what you have asked for.

Mr Mahoney: Subsection 5 says that.

Ms Parrish: Yes.

Mr Mahoney: But I heard in the explanation of this amendment reference to that as well.

Ms Parrish: I think because that is a reference to what is in section 100f.

Mr Mahoney: Could you read it again, the amendment?

Ms Parrish: Sure.

Mr Mahoney: Because it did sound exactly the same to me.

Ms Parrish: Oh, the amendment? Okay.

Mr Mahoney: It is the same, only different.

Ms Harrington: What we have done is add on the end of it. Instead of just putting section 100f, we have put subsections 100f(2) to (6).

Ms Poole: So basically you have just eliminated subsection 100f(1) from consideration.

Ms Parrish: In terms of this reference, yes, because it is not relevant and it I guess creates some confusion as to how all --

The Chair: Legislative counsel may be able to help us. Can I ask for their assistance?

Ms Baldwin: The purpose of it really is not to eliminate subsection 100f(1). Subsection 100f(1) says do it, and we already have something here that says do it. I think the reason that the amendment was made was to make it clear that in saying that we want to follow the rules of apportionment in section 100f, we also want to make sure that we bring into those some of the limitations on those rules, as in subsection 5, where it says, "The minister shall not order a maximum rent for a rental unit greater than that proposed on an application." It is just for greater certainty, to ensure that the other subsections of 100f, which by some mysterious way might not be interpreted to be apportionment itself, would be included.


Mr Mahoney: So the application then would be for a certain increase and it would have to be the same right across the board.

Ms Baldwin: Yes, it is just ensuring that exactly the same rules as are set out in section 100f will apply here.

Mr Mahoney: What happens in a situation where there might be a requirement to increase a specific unit's rent because of -- you know you cannot pass that through. I just answered my own question. Thank you.

The Chair: Any further questions on the amendment to subsection 100o(5)? Any further questions on the government's amendment?

Shall the amendment carry?

Motion agreed to.

Shall subsection 100o(5), as amended, carry? Carried. Okay, we are at subsection 100o(6).

Ms Harrington: This subsection gives landlords the authority to continue to collect the rent increase set out in a potentially voided order until a replacement order is issued. I think it is basically to avoid confusion that until a replacement order is issued the existing order stands.

The Chair: Okay. Any questions on subsection 100o(6)? Shall this section of the act carry? Carried.

Subsection 100o(7), please.

Ms Poole: With permission of the committee members, I did have a question under subsection 100o(6).

The Chair: Yes, we can go back for a question.

Ms Poole: It should be very brief. Does this mean that if a landlord has an order which is going to be voided under Bill 4, the landlord can go ahead and charge that extra rent until such time that he or she receives the new order from the minister?

Ms Harrington: Yes.

Mr Mahoney: So it becomes retroactive.

Ms Poole: So it becomes retroactive, in effect.

Mr Mahoney: In favour of the landlord.

Ms Poole: I was wondering if this might not cause a great deal of confusion in tenants' minds, if they are being required to pay the additional rent by a landlord and they may think that Bill 4 did not affect them after all and then later they get the good news. In the meantime some of them may have moved or made other arrangements because they feel they could not continue to pay that rent. Will there be something sent out from rent review advising these tenants what their true situation is, that they must pay the amount only until a new order is made, or how will they find out that this is not their permanent situation, that there will be relief coming to them?

Ms Parrish: There was information sent to all of the landlords and tenants who were potentially caught by Bill 4, but of course the only information we could give them at that time was that, "You may be caught by Bill 4, but then Bill 4 may not pass in its current form." If the bill is passed, I think the intention is to try and reach the landlords and tenants who may be caught and point out, "Your case is a case that is affected by Bill 4 and therefore something will be happening." The problem is that in these cases where you are reissuing the orders you may not know exactly what the effect is. It is very simple if there is something that is not permitted at all by Bill 4. Then clearly there is nothing but the guideline. But in a lot of these orders there may be an amount for financing, there may be an amount for municipal taxes, and nobody knows what that is, so until we reissue the replacement order we are not in a position to say to the tenants, "Pay $58 as opposed to $78 as opposed to $22." I guess the question is, which is the least painful transitional approach?

Ms Poole: But you do intend to advise the tenants and the landlords: "Under Bill 4, this change will affect you. However, until the new order is made you must continue under the old order." Is that correct, that you will make every attempt to do this?

Ms Parrish: Yes. There has been an attempt already, although, as I said, we have had to be very careful about what we say, because Bill 4 may not pass. So we have had to say to people: "You may be affected or you may not be affected. You should know that this is happening." When people ask us, we say: "Perhaps you should talk about it with your landlord and see if there is some accommodation that could be reached. If not, you have to continue to pay under your orders."

Ms Poole: And these would only be for orders that had a complex set of items in them? It would not be for orders where the full order was voided under Bill 4. These would only be orders where there was a mixture, where some were voided and some were not voided. Is that correct?

Ms Parrish: I think so. Just a second. I would like to just check that.

Ms Poole: I am sorry, Mr Chair, to bring this up after the section carried. I just am very concerned that tenants and landlords not be confused as to what should be paid, when, and what the relief will be in the final analysis.

Ms Parrish: Yes. I believe that these are just, as you said, the sort of mixed-bag orders that have some things that are permitted and some things that are not permitted. I will have to go back and check section 100n, which we actually have not passed.

Ms Poole: I think you will make all our lives much easier as MPPs if, when that letter does go out, it is really clear as to what they have to pay, when, and what kind of relief would be coming once the new order came in, because otherwise our offices are going to be flooded with calls saying: "Help. What's happening here? I thought that under Bill 4 we didn't have to pay this."

Ms Parrish: We are making every effort to make that communication but, as you can appreciate, we cannot make a firm communication until we know what the ultimate disposition of the legislation is. But I will certainly pass that on to my colleagues in rent review services, about the desirability of getting out quickly to landlords and tenants, to make them understand what the process is and what the period of potential delay is, because in some areas it may take a while to reissue the voided orders and therefore there may be some period of hiatus in which people decide what it is that they are going to have to pay in the end.

Ms Poole: That would be very helpful. Thank you.

Mr Mahoney: Does not subsection 100o(7) deal, at least without detail but just with this same issue, that the landlord would have to give back the difference on the new orders?

The Chair: We have not actually received an explanation yet for subsection 7.

Mr Mahoney: It is relevant to these questions because they are both very much tied together.

The Chair: Why not do them together? Is that what you are suggesting?

Mr Mahoney: I think they should be done together.

The Chair: Okay.

Ms Poole: I think the difference is, what I am talking about in subsection 6 is notification of the tenants and landlords and subsection 7 provides that there will be a difference paid once the new order is in place. I am more concerned that all the parties concerned really understand what is happening.

The Chair: I agree. Since subsection 6 is carried, why do we not get the explanation to 7 and we will get right to subsection 7?

Ms Harrington: Subsection 100o(7): This subsection provides for the repayment of rent from the landlord to the tenant where a voided order is replaced with a new order. The landlord is required to pay an amount which is the difference in rent between what the tenant paid under the voided order and the amount that is payable under the replacement order. The replacement shall be made not more than 60 days after the date the order is issued.

Mr Mahoney: Will the landlord have some indication as to the amount that is likely to be voided? What I am concerned about here is if this takes a year to get through the system, which I would assume is entirely possible, there could be substantial amounts owing back to a large group of tenants. You might find yourself in a situation with a landlord who has either not budgeted for that or whatever, and a tenant could wind up in court over this, or having difficulty collecting could create a lot of acrimony, unnecessarily perhaps.


Ms Harrington: I am advised that because there is only a limited number of orders -- I believe 194 -- this situation would certainly not be lengthy like that.

Mr Mahoney: Would it take a month to adjudicate? I know it is hard to pin that down, but could it be done in a matter of weeks rather than months?

Ms Parrish: I think there is quite a bit of sensitivity, that you do not want to prolong uncertainty in this area. As Mrs Harrington said, there are relatively few orders and I think that every priority will be given to dealing with them because of the desirability of sorting it out. I am just not in a position, because I do not run that part of the operation, to say it will be a month or it will not be a month. I know that there is a lot of concern about getting the information out just as quickly as possible to those people who are in this situation.

Mr Mahoney: I think the ministry should consider this a priority frankly, to clean it up. One of the major criticisms, with some justification, of the RRRA was the backlog and the slowdown that occurred where you had people paying rent increases for a year, waiting for answers, only to find out that it is contrary to what they had been doing or whatever. If there is one thing we should agree on in an all-party effort, it should be to try to streamline whatever system is put in place.

Ms Harrington: I certainly agree with you.

The Chair: Mr Tilson.

Mr Tilson: The latter part of that answers my question, Mr Chairman.

Ms Poole: One thing I am concerned about is that in an instance where there has been a considerable rent increase that would have been applicable if it were not for Bill 4, as I say, tenants might move or face eviction proceedings if they could not pay this amount. Is there any way we could include a clause -- and I can appreciate this may be difficult to include -- that would protect tenants from eviction proceedings where they have been unable to pay a rent increase which would later be voided by a new order? Do you see that as feasible?

Ms Parrish: The problem is that in order to do that -- I am not absolutely certain but I think that in order to do that we would have to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act, because of course evictions proceed under that statute, so I think it would be difficult to do that here. But one thing I would say, though, is frankly it takes you a long time to have eviction proceedings. It is very likely that these orders would be sorted out long before you ever got to court.

Ms Poole: I agree with you. The concern I face is that I have a large number of seniors in my particular riding, and I think all across Metro, who, when they receive an eviction notice from the landlord, are utterly panicked. They do not appreciate that this will take many months and by that time the new order would be through so they would not have to pay it. They will be very concerned that if they do not pay this large increase, even if they know they do not have to pay it in the final amount, if the landlord issues an eviction notice they will feel that this is a government order and that they will have to move out.

I have faced this before, trying to explain to them that: "Yes, this is an eviction notice but it's not a government order. You do have rights. This is the procedure. Don't panic; we'll get it sorted out." Unfortunately, not every tenant will happen to phone his MPP's office, and I do not want the situation to occur where you have people virtually moving because they feel that they will be evicted if they do not. I do not know if there is any solution.

Ms Parrish: There has been a letter that went to all tenants who are potentially affected by Bill 4, saying to them, "You may be affected by Bill 4," and that is as far as we can go yet. As soon as Bill 4 is passed, I know there is an intention to try and communicate directly with tenants and landlords who may be affected by replaced orders. That is probably about the best we can do. I guess the other thing is to make sure that all the MPPs know, so that if they get their cases coming in, they are dealt with. The problem is that the process of replacing one order with another is going to create a brief hiatus, and in the meantime landlords have the right to enforce their orders.

Many landlords may choose not to in the sense that it is just a bunch of paperwork for them. I mean, they issue this, they get this back, they give it back and so on. They may decide on their own volition not to go through that, which will be fairly irritating for them as well. But if they proceed under their existing rights, all we can do is give the best information we can to the landlords and tenants in the situation and hope that people are reasonable and that these problems can be worked out on an individual basis as quickly as possible.

Ms Poole: I can appreciate the position of the ministry. It is very difficult for you to give advice to a tenant about eviction proceedings when legally the landlord would be within his or her own right to proceed with an eviction notice. But perhaps if you even have some sensitivity to that particular problem when you are sending out the letter to tenants, it will be so clear that they understand that relief is coming and not to panic.

Maybe you even want to put in a number where they can phone the Ministry of Housing. As you have pointed out, the eviction is covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act, which is actually the office of the Attorney General, but I know that rent review quite often gets landlord and tenant matters as opposed to rent review matters referred to it. There could even be a number on there where they can phone, or ask them to phone their MPP and make sure that the MPPs are very aware of the situation so that they can calm some of the people who are very concerned and say that it can be worked out.

Ms Harrington: If you know of individual cases maybe you could refer them to me. Okay?

Ms Poole: Certainly. I would be happy to.

Mr Turnbull: This issue raises a broader issue of the communication that the ministry is going to undertake to tenants. I am most concerned. As you are aware, there is the proposed challenge of the constitutionality of Bill 4. 1 think it is important that tenants be informed by the ministry that they should put the money aside for potential rental increases if Bill 4 is overturned at court. They will face significant amounts of back rent. It has been consistently the complaint of tenants that they felt that they did not have the money when retroactive orders were issued against them. In fact, it was that the order was retroactive; it was not that the notice was retroactive. The notice was always in advance. Here is an issue where landlords have legitimately gone out and spent the money and through a retroactive change in the law they are being told they cannot charge that back. Unless the ministry informs tenants that they should put this money aside they will face large retroactive increases in rent if Bill 4 is overturned, or at least if the retroactive aspects of Bill 4 are overturned in a court appeal.

Ms Harrington: Going back a couple of sections, we did say that tenants had to pay until the order was changed. So we understand that yes, we may as well have good news at the end of it instead of bad news. I can appreciate your point here, but there is no way we as a government can proceed assuming that the bill will be overturned.

Mr Turnbull: By the same token, if you want to protect tenants, which hopefully you do -- certainly we want to -- you have got to make sure that message is communicated.

Ms Harrington: I will just check with these people. Do you think that would be appropriate, Colleen?


Ms Parrish: First of all, I do not think that you would issue information to the general public that was contingent. Normally when we give information we say, "Here is the law and the law says do this and do that and the other thing." We do not normally send out messages saying this would be the law, but somebody might challenge it or there might be a court ruling or there might be judicial review. We assume that the law is the law and that the normal rule is that which you have to do. I mean, the law is valid unless it is overturned, and you have to enforce it in that way.

As well, even if the bill was overturned, which I think is unlikely, but if it did occur, I am not too sure that the effect you think it would have would be that, because there is a whole body of law that relates to what happens if there is a mistake of law as opposed to a mistake of a fact, and all these sorts of rules are there. So I am not sure that it would even have that impact.

Mr Turnbull: Well, Colleen, you will appreciate this is a very unusual situation. People have already spent the money. They have to have spent the money before they can apply under the existing legislation for rental increases with respect to capital costs. This reaches back a year in many cases, and as a consequence of Bill 4 it seeks to retroactively disallow the money that they have spent.

So this has some rather unusual aspects to this law that are not commonly prevalent, and surely we have to protect tenants as to the potential disruption of their lives. This could be thousands and thousands of dollars, and unless they are put on notice that this is a danger, you are not supporting the people you suggest are the people who are to benefit from this bill.

Ms Harrington: I certainly understand what you are saying, but I do not think it is directly relevant to this subsection 7.

Mr Turnbull: Well, it is all part and parcel of the communication.

Ms Harrington: Right.

Mr Turnbull: I understand that it is not directly relevant to it, but it is part and parcel of this communication process in that you are going to be communicating with tenants who have to pay this increase in the meantime and then it might be reduced and it seems to me that it is relevant to the process of communication. Presumably, we are not going to send out two different pieces of paper. I would hope that this would be a very simple, clear communication from the government that tenants can understand.

Ms Harrington: Just a final word here. We will not communicate with tenants that we think the bill is unconstitutional because we do not think it is.

Mr Turnbull: I am not suggesting that you communicate that you think it is unconstitutional, but surely, I am saying, in case the court overturns the retroactivity, there is a great danger to tenants.

Ms Harrington: I see your point.

Mr Turnbull: I feel it is appropriate in that section.

Mr Mahoney: I do not recall a situation ever in our term of office nor in the Tory term of office where a government undertook mass communications to one interest group or sector of society through direct mail such as this government has done with I believe a million-plus copies of the synopsis of the green paper being mailed out to all the tenants in the province. Normally in the past that has been done on a riding-by-riding basis, respecting the job and the responsibility of the individual member, regardless of which party was in power, to allow for somewhat of a balanced view. That is not what this government has done.

You have done a mass communication out, which in my view clearly has political connotations to a group.

What I am concerned about in relationship to the communication with the tenants that Mr Turnbull is referring to is that you have misled the tenants by making them believe through this communication that in some way Bill 4 does all kinds of wonderful, miraculous things for them when in reality we can see by these clauses and by the people who came before us -- you will remember numerous cases where tenant groups came before us and I asked and others asked if there was anything in Bill 4 that helped them, other than the cap on the rent increase. You had to generally ask the question three or four times to get them to finally say, "Well, no, I guess you're right. There really isn't anything there that helps us."

But they are under the impression, many of them -- and particularly the ones that concern me are not the activist groups that are generally NDP workers when they come in here because it has all been set up beforehand. The ones that concern me are the people living back in their apartments who really do not have any idea about the activist level of the presenters, etc, but are simply under the misguided information that this new government is bringing in this wonderful bill which is going to solve all of their problems with rent control.

If we accept the fact that there are problems with the RRRA -- and I do; I said during the term of our government that there were problems, and we were trying to make amendments. I am very, very concerned.

For example, your minister is coming in here this afternoon, presumably to tell us his dictum on the 3,700 conditional orders. If he comes forward and says that on the 3,700 conditional orders, he is prepared to allow them, then there are going to be some real shock waves, in my view, go through the tenant associations, some real shock waves, because there are going to be some substantial rent increases that were approved. On the other hand, it would clearly be the fair thing to do, because they are conditional orders where money has been spent, and my impression is that he is going to come down somewhere on that side of it.

So I guess my point and concern, rather than a question as such, is that I am very concerned that there is manipulation to get the green paper introduced at the committee for one day and then jump back into clause-by-clause just for -- the only reason for doing that was so that the green paper could be released officially at a committee and then mailed out to the million-plus supposed supporters of your party. So you are using the legislative system for political purposes, blatantly --

The Chair: Point of order by Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mahoney: It is probably not, but let's hear it.

Mr Mammoliti: It probably is. I am having a hard time understanding what this is --

Mr Mahoney: I know, George. It is okay. I will talk slower.

Mr Mammoliti: I am going to ask the Speaker whether I could take a vacant office or something.

Mr Mahoney: That is an idea.

Mr Mammoliti: I am going to open up my own psychic shop, because I know exactly what they are all going to say and when they are going to say it. I do not know, it must be a talent that I have.

Mr Mahoney: I put a motion on the floor that Mr Mammoliti be granted a separate vacant office.

Mr Tilson: With no phone.

Ms Poole: Point of order, Mr Chair.

The Chair: I have not dealt with the first point of order yet.

Mr Mammoliti: Nevertheless, it has got nothing to do with subsection 7 and I would ask you to rule on it, please.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, I would like to raise a point of order with reference to Mr Mammoliti's point of order.

The Chair: You want to speak on his point of order first?

Ms Poole: That is right.

The Chair: Okay. Then you have a different point of order.

Mr Mammoliti: I only have one.

Ms Poole: The point of order I would like to raise is that Mr Mammoliti --

The Chair: No, no. You are speaking on Mr Mammoliti's point of order. We must deal with one point of order at a time.

Ms Poole: Yes. I am dealing with Mr Mammoliti's point of order.

The Chair: Okay.

Ms Poole: Mr Mammoliti has made the statement that he knows what all of us are going to say before we say it.

Mr Mammoliti: It is getting to that point, yes.

Ms Poole: In my defence I would say that I doubt if Mr Mammoliti had any idea of what I was going to say. I have tried to pertain directly to the act, and so I take great offence at being told that I --

Mr Mammoliti: I am having a hard time understanding my feelings as well.

Ms Poole: You are having trouble discovering your own feelings?

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, I cannot understand how these powers are -- I mean, it started through my gut. I told you that. It was a gut feeling at first.

Mr Mahoney: Maybe we better get a couch in that office.

Ms Poole: And a psychiatrist.

Mr Tilson: Okay, he can have a phone too.

The Chair: Order. Now that we have had a break in the proceedings, Mr Mahoney, you can continue.

Mr Mahoney: Thank you. I assume you are ruling that none of those points of order were particularly points of order.

The Chair: I did not hear a point of order.

Mr Mahoney: Right.

The Chair: I heard a lot of interesting things, but --

Mr Mahoney: This really points out the problem.

Mr Drainville: Is this a point of order?

Mr Mahoney: No, it is not. This really points out the problem, and --

Mr Mammoliti: What has this got to do with it?


Mr Mahoney: It has got a lot to do with it. You cannot stretch your imagination beyond the simple word on the page in front of you.

The reality is that tenants are being misled, and tenants under subsection 7, and landlords, are going to find themselves in dispute somewhere down the road because somebody is going to be saying, "You've got to pay back this certain amount." The tenants are going to say, "Well, how long do I have to keep paying this disputed rent that is referred to in subsection 6?"

You have got void orders, you have got proceedings, you have got hearings going on, and you are not changing a thing in that regard. Yet you have held out that this document is the saviour for all the tenant groups that voted for the NDP and it is a reward for their loyalty. It is not a reward, and they will come to understand that and see that they have indeed been betrayed through this document, through the lack of substance that you have put in this document. So you see, it is very relevant to subsection 7, George.


Mr Mahoney: If you just use your imagination, and then imagine further the minister's pronouncements on the conditional orders.

There is some suspicion on this side of the room that perhaps the decision to revisit the conditional orders might have something to do with the legal opinion that might suggest that the bill would be in some jeopardy if that is not done. Maybe we are just being too cynical over here, but there has to be some justification, because as we have gone through this bill I have yet to see the government members or the parliamentary assistant or the minister agree to anything substantive put forward by the very hardworking critics of both parties in the form of amendments, except for perhaps some housekeeping items, and I am very hopeful that, even if it is a result of legal pressure, the minister will come to his senses this afternoon and tell us he is prepared to revisit the conditional orders scenario.

But what is that going to do for the tenants? You have mailed out a million documents, for political gain, no question. Mr Turnbull said 98% of them went in the garbage. We can only hope so, because it is clearly taking advantage of the political scenario and at the same time trying to convince them that you are the saviours of all the tenant problems.

So this is really a charade. If indeed there is a bending on the conditional orders, it will be because of fear that the bill will indeed be deemed unconstitutional. It may be the chink in the armour of the bill and the government on this particular area, and I am sure that is why the delay. I do not think it has got anything to do with wording or negotiating or phoning the 3,700 people. It has got to do with trying to nail down a legal opinion on the thing.

So subsections 7 and 6, as I said, very much go together and very much cloud the issue, and what you really should be doing is not necessarily, as Mr Turnbull has said, sending out a red flag to say this may be unconstitutional. I presume that you have got your legal opinions in place and you are comfortable with the constitutionality. That could be a very interesting court battle, but I presume you are confident, and if I were the government and I were confident, I would not send out a red flag.

But perhaps what you should do is start being honest with the tenants and tell them that all Bill 4 does is put a cap on the rent increases and it does not change a darn thing and they are going to have to continue paying on void orders and they are going to have to continue going through the same process that we have been through --

I am getting some directions here. Well, I know, I said that. It is not the full green paper. I am just being reminded that the full green paper was not sent, it is the synopsis of the green paper. I said that, and I understand that. It is still a mass mailing, absolutely unprecedented in the Legislature, in the Parliament, that I can go back and find anywhere, that a mass mailing of that nature for political gain was done. It is shameful and I think you are being extremely dishonest with the tenants.

Ms Harrington: I think the member started off by discussing subsection 7 and how it would not help the tenants and how it was complex and would lead to all kinds of problems.

From what I read, this is all that subsection 7 says: A landlord is required to pay an amount which is the difference between the rent that the tenant paid under the voided order and the amount that is payable under the replacement order. What we are saying is that we have new criteria for those amounts over the cap, and it is clearly stated what those amounts are, and it is obvious that we have to stop this process of that was happening under the RRRA and this is the only way that it can be done. We are saying those criteria do not apply, these do, and whatever difference there was has to be paid back.

I do not think that it is that complex. I know what we have been going through in the last three days is a lot of words and a lot of legal jargon as well, but the impact of this is quite hopefully simple, that we have got to stop the process and we have got to start on a new process.

I would like to say that the work of the opposition, from what I have seen, is very good work. You have done a lot of discussion and writing --

Mr Mahoney: And losing.

Ms Harrington: -- and I think it is to be commended. That is what an opposition is for.

With respect to your other reference to the rent control options, there is one sentence here that refers to Bill 4. It says the government has proposed a temporary law, Bill 4, intended to limit rent increases until a permanent rent control system is developed. That is all it says. The rest of it is saying these are all the options for the future, we want you to be involved.

I think that is a very fair thing for any government to do -- to get this, which is a very readable and small document, out to the people who are affected, namely, the tenants and the landlords, and say, "We want your advice, we want you to be involved." That is what we are doing and I think we are very proud of what we are doing.

Mr Mahoney: I am quite sure, Madam Parliamentary Assistant, that you are quite proud of it. The reason that this relates here is that we got on the subject of communicating the information. I think even you would agree that there will be some difficulties in the administration of 6 and 7, that there will be some disputes and some angst out there on the part of both landlords and tenants when this comes down and that it is not doing anything to solve or resolve that anxiety that will be created.

But I heard people coming before us all over the province laying their story out, and I heard a very similar speech to what Ms Harrington just gave about the wonderful work the opposition is doing. I heard all kinds of sympathy being expressed, and statements that you were going to listen.

But the reality is you are not listening and what indeed you are doing is mounting a massive political campaign of mailing out to 1.2 million tenants documentation that is misleading. It is particularly misleading when you get into the guts of the bill and you start talking about continuing to pay on voided orders and rebates back from landlords and time delays and disputes, and Lord knows how they are going to react with the conditional orders.

You guys must really be sitting on a hot seat here, because if the minister does what he has indicated he is going to do -- and again I reiterate it would not be out of being kinder and gentler, but rather it would be out of fear of losing the bill in a court challenge -- if that change occurs, then you are going to have to go back and mail out another million pieces to the folks, and you had better do it to all of them, because you cannot just do it to the 3,700 applicants here, and tell them: "Oh, well, Bill 4 was good but we've changed it. We're now going to allow those conditional orders."

It is right, you should do it, but you are misleading them by sending them out all of this information, what is nothing more than pure politics. I realize we are all politicians and that is fair, but you are spending the taxpayers' dollars in sending out millions of documents around the province when perhaps you should revisit that. Perhaps you should be dealing with the umbrella groups, rather than mailing them to all the householders, and stop wasting the taxpayer's dollar in doing that and start being honest with these people.

Bill 4 just simply puts a cap on it. It does not solve any problems. If you can miraculously come up with a housing policy that is acceptable to the tenants and landlords of this province in the next few months, then I wish you well, but you have really got a massive undertaking under this green paper to do that. Bill 4 has the potential to run for two years, as you well know, and you may find that the water will fill up the glass through the entire two-year process, causing further anxieties and delays.


Mr Tilson: With respect to subsections 6 and 7 and this payment by the landlord back to the tenants for amounts that have been paid as a result of the retroactive legislation, that requirement appears to take effect the date of the order. My question is, since there are only 100 and something --

Interjection: There are 194.

Mr Tilson: -- 194 people, landlords, who are affected by this, would it not be more appropriate that that take effect after the landlord receives notice, as opposed to the date of the order? I mean, how are they going to know? We have had estimates that this order may take place a month from now, it may take place a year from now. What are they going to do, hear about it on the radio? Normally with these types of things a notice is sent to the landlord advising him of action that has been taken by a judicial or quasi-judicial officer.

Ms Harrington: What was your exact question?

Mr Mahoney: Radio ads will be next.

Mr Tilson: My question was, the date that these payments by the landlord back to the tenant, if necessary, appear to be made is not more than 60 days after the new order is made. My question to you is, how will they know that the order has been made?

Ms Parrish: The order will be given to the landlord and all the tenants who are on the face of the application.

Mr Tilson: Should there not be a section in the bill that requires the minister to provide that notice? How do we know it is going to be made? What if he forgets?

Ms Parrish: Well, we already incorporate all of the procedural elements under the existing act in an earlier section.

Mr Tilson: What section?

Ms Parrish: It is one of those sections that said all the procedures in section 75 apply --

Mr Tilson: How do I know it is going to apply to these two sections?

Ms Parrish: Because that is what the section says. Perhaps my colleague Christina Sokulsky can respond. She has found the section a little faster than I have. Perhaps she could read it to you.

Ms Sokulsky: If you turn to subsection 33(2) of the Residential Rent Regulation Act, it states:

"Where the minister makes an order under this act, the minister shall forthwith give a copy of the order to each of the parties to the application, or where the order is made on the minister's own motion, to each landlord and tenant directly affected by the order, together with a written summary in the prescribed form of reasons for the order."

So that is a requirement for the making of any order.

Mr Tilson: First of all, there is nothing in this bill that I can find that says that this applies, is there? Is there something that says that subsection 33(2) applies to this particular section? I do not see it. I mean, that is very fine and dandy, but so what?

Ms Sokulsky: Well, certainly I would like to call on Betsy Baldwin for assistance in this --

Mr Tilson: Sure, we will try them all.

Ms Sokulsky: -- but it is my understanding that part VI-A is meant to be the complete code for increases on or after 1 October 1990 but does not exclude the application of the rest of the act, which would be section 33 and all the procedural provisions. Betsy, could you assist, please?

Mr Tilson: Where does it say that?

Ms Baldwin: I would agree with that. I do not think it is necessary to say it. As I read and understand it, part VI-A is replacement for part VI, but part VI or part VI-A, as the case may be, is part of an act, and there is nothing in the bill or anywhere else that would wipe out the other parts of the act. So they stand with part VI-A in the same sort of manner they stood with part VI.

Mr Tilson: What does forthwith mean? I am concerned about the limitation period that the landlord has to comply with this act, because if he does not comply with this act he is going to be fined. He is going to be fined substantially, or could be fined substantially.

Ms Baldwin: Yes. It is hard to come to a precise definition of forthwith. I understand you are a lawyer and you probably know that.

Mr Tilson: No, I do not.

Ms Baldwin: It means right away, and my assumption would be that in the context, given that there is a 60-day period there, it would certainly be expected to be long before that 60-day period is over. I would assume that is so.

Mr Tilson: Forthwith could be 30 days.

Ms Baldwin: Excuse me?

Mr Tilson: Forthwith could be two weeks.

The Chair: For the rest of us who are not lawyers, could you tell us what forthwith does mean?

Mr Tilson: I do not know. That is why I am asking the question. I am concerned about the time frame that the landlord must return these moneys and it says 60 days, not more than 60 days from the date of the order. Now we are talking about the minister assuming that section 33 does apply and it talks about "shall forthwith give a copy of the order." What is the penalty if he does not do it? Is it $25,000?

The Chair: So your point is that the forthwith and the 60 days are not the same? Is that the point you are making?

Mr Tilson: Because of the time frame that is allowed for the landlord to do this -- we could be talking a substantial amount of money. For example, if we have a large block of apartment buildings and one landlord, and if it is a corporate landlord, my understanding is that there could be a substantial fine if that is not returned. So it is very crucial as to the amount of time that the landlord has to return these moneys.

Ms Parrish: The normal procedure that is carried on in the rent review services office is as follows: The date of the order is the day that they mail the order. So they date the order and then it is mailed that day. If they do not think that they are going to be able to mail it that day because it is the end of the day or whatever, they date it for the next day. So it is dated and mailed on the same day, and of course the normal rules of service are that you are assumed to have received that within five days, which would be the maximum period. As well, I understand that if people have a fax number or whatever, it is quite a common practice to simply fax it out, especially of a landlord has requested that. So the normal course would be that it would be within five days or less because it is mailed on the day it is made, and that rule is the rule that is practised throughout the province.

Mr Tilson: That is a whole other story. There does not appear to be a specific rule then, or regulation, as to when it is to be mailed. You say, "Well, normally it is." Maybe it is abnormal. Maybe this is a new government. I mean, maybe it is going to be mailed on that day, maybe it will be mailed on the next day, maybe it will be mailed two weeks later.

Mr Chairman, you asked me what the definition of forthwith is without judicial research on that and that is not my job. It is for these three lawyers around here to do that. My speculation is it could be some considerable period of time, depending on the circumstances. It could be a week, it could be two weeks, all of which would then cut down on the amount of time that the landlord has to find this money and return it back to the tenants, and I think that is unfair.

So my suggestion to the ministry officials is that a more appropriate time would be that this would take effect, rather than not more than 60 days after the new order is made, perhaps tie it in to when the notice is sent. I mean, maybe the notice will be sent out on the day it is made, maybe it will not. You do not know. You are saying normally that is the procedure, but maybe it is, maybe it is not. Surely this government is not going to run on maybes. Would you comment on that, please?

Ms Parrish: I am sorry, sir, are you speaking to me or to Ms Harrington?

Mr Tilson: Yes, I am.

Ms Parrish: My understanding is that they always mail it on the day they make it and that is always how they do it. They sometimes also fax it.

With respect, I cannot think of a single reason, what incentive there would be to delay the period, because of course the desire would be to get the money to the tenants, so there is not really any -- I cannot think of why people would deliberately want to delay the orders, because of course they want the landlords and tenants to sort this out. So there is no reason not to follow the usual practice.


Mr Tilson: All I know is I am a new member, I write letters to the ministers in this particular government and it takes sometimes two to three months for them to answer. Bureaucracy is bureaucracy, and it is fine and dandy for you to say all that, but if you were in that particular position -- and maybe you will receive the order and maybe you will not. Maybe it will take 60 days.

Again, I am trying to ask you whether you think it would be more appropriate that the time this limitation period applies would be tied in to when the notice is sent out -- five days after the notice is sent out. If it is done on the very first day, great; if it is done on the second day, great; if it is done two weeks later, great. Would that not be more appropriate to put in as an amendment?

Ms Harrington: The date that the order is, you are saying, received by the landlord?

Mr Tilson: Or X number of days after it is sent out. There is nothing -- this section that has been referred to me says, "The minister shall forthwith give a copy of the order to the parties." Well, again, I do not know what forthwith is. I suspect it is not defined anywhere in the act.

Ms Harrington: In subsection 7 it says the repayment shall be made not more than 60 days after the date the order is issued. We have heard that the date it is issued is the day it is mailed, so you are concerned about the five days that are minused from the 60 days?

Mr Tilson: Or two weeks. Forthwith could be two weeks.

Ms Harrington: You are saying he is not going to send it out until forthwith, which is, you are saying, two weeks?

Mr Tilson: I do not know. You do not either.

Ms Harrington: Well, we have just finished hearing from the ministry that the very date that the order is issued is the date it is sent out.

Mr Drainville: Forthwith means immediately, not two weeks.

Mr Tilson: Yes.

Ms Harrington: We have a definition of forthwith, which is the same date.

Mr Tilson: Where is it? It is from her.

Ms Harrington: That is right.

Mr Tilson: That should be gone -- well, I say that with due --

Mr Mammoliti: Point of order, Mr Chairman.

Ms Harrington: I think we really have exhausted this topic.

The Chair: We have a point of order on the floor.

Mr Mammoliti: I take exception to the remarks. What he is doing is he is actually cutting up the person from the ministry, Colleen. This is ridiculous. If this is the sort of thing that he is going to be doing, then -- I am sorry, you have to rule on this.

The Chair: I rule on every point of order, Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mammoliti: I know, always against me.

Mr Mahoney: We would just like to get one for a change.

The Chair: I would just say that, yes, it has been the tradition in committees for members of the assembly to target their most difficult and political attacks towards elected officials and, yes, staff is treated somewhat differently. I want to remind all committee members of that, and staff do not make political comments, from the experience that I have had around here, and we should not expect them to.

Furthermore, when the comment was made that maybe Colleen would not be here, some of us who have been around here for a while know that staff get promoted and they go to other ministries. I did not really myself take that as a personal attack against Colleen but it could have been interpreted that way, and because it could have been --

Mr Tilson: Mr Chairman, to save you from going on, I certainly did not intend it to be a personal remark against Colleen, and if it was interpreted like that, I apologize.

The intent of my comment that was made is that staff making a comment at this particular meeting as to what a particular procedure is, whether it is oral or something else, that particular staff person -- and again I am not referring to Colleen specifically -- may or may not be here two weeks from now. In other words, staff could move on to other positions, and I do not think that we should be relying on oral statements in something as important as this.

As to procedures, normally procedures are set forth in statutes or they are set forth in the regulations --

The Chair: Order. That is not part of the point of order. We acknowledge that the point of order was in fact made appropriately by Mr Mammoliti and I have cautioned all members and reminded them of some of the traditions that we have used around committees in the Legislature successfully. I believe your apology and your withdrawal have been accepted and we understand why those comments were made, Mr Tilson. But again I caution all members, and unless there are further questions on the point of order which I have already dealt with, I think we should return to the bill.

Ms Poole: I just want to make one comment, Mr Chair. I think we have been particularly fortunate with the calibre and the quality and the knowledge of the ministry staff who have attended these hearings. They are very seldom at a loss, they are experts in this particular area and I do not think -- I do not believe that Mr Tilson did mean that to be the question in point. I think he was referring to the fact that the elected members, and particularly the minister, make the policy statements and the staff's position is that it is their job is to carry them out. So I think if all members keep that in mind, that these are not decisions made by staff, they are merely doing the best to their ability to try to carry out the wishes of the minister, maybe this would help us all to proceed.

The Chair: Right. As I said in my ruling, it could have been interpreted that way, and I think Mr Tilson acknowledged that.

Mr Drainville: Just a small comment on that point, and that would be that I was not objecting to the fact -- I understood what Mr Tilson was saying -- but over the period of the last little while as Mr Tilson has been speaking, he has been getting -- perhaps because he is trying to make a point politically -- more and more aggressive in some of his expectations of responses from that end and it just would be helpful if perhaps people would just settle down a bit and be a little bit more open to reasoned discourse.

Mr Mahoney: I feel better already.

Mr Tilson: That makes it all worth while.

Mr Mahoney: We have just been blessed.

Mr Drainville: I would like to say on a point of information that forthwith means immediately, and all one needs --

The Chair: That is not part of the point of order that was raised by Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Drainville: That is fine. Then I will ask for a point of -- I would like to give some information to the committee that it obviously needs in this situation, Mr Chair. You need it, God knows.

The Chair: Well, then, first of all I believe I have dealt with Mr Mammoliti's point of order. Is there another, or a new point of order on the floor?

Mr Drainville: It is a point of information, Mr Chair, a point of personal privilege -- how shall we try this?

The Chair: As the Speaker says so often in the House, all members try this, but anyway, go ahead.

Mr Drainville: All I am trying to say is that dictionary-wise it is clear forthwith means immediately and it is absolutely clear. You do not need a thousand lawyers to figure that out. That is precisely what it means. You need only go to the Oxford English dictionary to find that out.

The Chair: That is a point of information; it is well taken. Thank you.

Does the committee wish to proceed?

Ms Poole: I would just like to say on Mr Drainville's point of information that it is refreshing to see that members of the government have a voice. We have been --

The Chair: Order, please.

Ms Poole: -- bereft of hearing from them, and it is nice to see that they are going to --

The Chair: Order, please. Thank you. We were discussing subsection 100o(7). Mr Tilson has the floor.

Mr Tilson: I wonder if I could carry on with my question.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Tilson: My question is to Mrs Harrington perhaps as to whether or not she would agree that this subsection should be amended to read that the landlord should return the moneys that have been collected 60 days after the notice has been sent as opposed to 60 days after the order has been made.

Ms Harrington: I think it is a very fine point. What we have said clearly in this statement is that the date the order is issued is the date it is sent.

Mr Tilson: Thank you for saying it is a fine point, but I will not -- I have no further questions, Mr Chair. I feel that the section is vague and I gather that the government side is saying it is not necessary.

Ms Harrington: One further comment: The policy of what actually happens in all the different offices or the ministries about dealing with correspondence, I do not believe that it should be stated exactly in the bill. That kind of policy is obviously very important and it is policy probably within the ministry as to how orders are dealt with. As Colleen has pointed out, it sounds like a rather strict policy, but whether or not it should be incorporated in the wording of the bill is something altogether different. If that were so, we would have to affect a lot of bills, so it may be inappropriate.


Mr Tilson: It may well be the appropriate amendment should be to subsection 33(2), if that is the case. If you are trying to improve our legislation, our housing legislation, as you have continually said that you are, maybe that would be more appropriate. You have made a number of fine points in technical amendments that you have been making as recently as this morning, fine points. I do not know what you are implying there but you yourself have been making fine points, and I would think that if you are sincere in improving the quality of the legislation perhaps you should be making an amendment to subsection 33(2) of the Residential Rent Regulation Act.

Ms Harrington: I think what you are asking for is that our communication be as direct and as speedy as possible.

Mr Tilson: Yes.

Ms Harrington: Certainly that would have to apply to many things, including this, and your advice is well taken.

Mr Tilson: We are agreeing on that. In light of that, would you, as the spokesperson for the government members of this committee, be prepared to consent to an amendment to subsection 33(2) amending the notice requirements; in other words, specifically directing the minister --

The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Tilson. You are talking about section 33(2) of the act?

Mr Tilson: I am doing that because the staff had indicated in answer to my question on notice for subsection 7 that I should look at subsection 33(2).

The Chair: I do not think that is in order, Mr Tilson. I understand what you want to do but I do not think that is in order at the present time. I think if we are going to talk about amendments, we have to talk about Bill 4 and 100o(7).

Mr Tilson: Then, in light of that ruling, my question is specifically to subsection 7, as to whether or not you would consent to an amendment to subsection 7 being more specific as to when the 60 days would commence?

Ms Harrington: No, not at this time.

Mr Tilson: At a later time?

Ms Harrington: As you know, this is temporary legislation and all aspects of rent control are up for discussion.

Mr Tilson: But this specific subsection deals with the interim legislation.

Ms Harrington: That is right, and we feel that what we have put forward is quite adequate.

Mr Tilson: When you say, "Not at this time," would you think about it and perhaps consider it tomorrow?

Ms Harrington: No, I am saying that very soon the discussion paper is going to be discussed and the long-term legislation is going to be --

Mr Tilson: But this is the transition order section, between the old and the new. The new legislation will have nothing to do with this. So would you consider it tomorrow? Would you have your --

Ms Harrington: No, we do not think that is necessary.

Mr Turnbull: We have heard staff suggesting that it is normally mailed out the same day. Given that fact, I am surprised that we find the government fighting against the simple amendment that my colleague is suggesting. If it is mailed out the same day, then 60 days from that date is not going to change or gut the legislation in any way. It clarifies it. When we asked legislative counsel, they were not quite sure of a definition of the immediacy of this term. Why are we arguing? If we have got a clearer definition, and you agree that normally it is mailed out the same day, why are you arguing with us? It seems that you feel unsure of yourself by making this change. This only serves to clarify.

Ms Harrington: The staff would like to respond to this.

Ms Parrish: The basic reason I think we do not favour this as a procedural change is that it does not clarify or simplify; it makes it more complicated. Everything else in this bill says that the date or the period runs from when the order is made -- everything else -- so if we change it in one place then everybody has to remember, "Here is the rule, except here."

In addition, when you issue the order you then have to say to people, "Here is the date of the order." For example, that might tell you something about when the first effective date is, because that will run from when your date is ordered. Then we are going to say, "When was it sent?" which is also an unknowable thing in the sense that I can say it was sent but that may not really have that much relevance, because it is not when you received it, it is when you sent it. I could put on the order, "I made the order on Tuesday and I sent it on Wednesday," or "I sent it on Tuesday." That may or may not be, in the sense that I could write, "I sent it," and then in fact somebody might not actually put it in the mail that very day. So with respect, I do not think that it improves the clarity; it just creates a little anomaly in the middle of the act, in which everything else is different.

The other thing is that it does not give you that certainty. I can understand the concern that you want to have some certainty, but it does not help you, because all it does is say, "Tell me the date you sent it." Then the order will say, "This is the date of the order and this is the date when we sent the order," so now you have got two pieces of information. I understand the basic procedure that is in place is that you send the order on the day that you make the order and every effort is made to ensure that is the case. I have tried to be quite honest and say that I am sure there are the occasional times when it does not get in the mail until the next day, but the way the system works is they have a system of making sure that orders are sent on the day and, with respect, I do not think that it would make it simpler to add this minor change that does not occur in the rest of the bill.

Mr Turnbull: With respect, Mrs Harrington, I have to say that the ministry does not have a shining record in terms of being expeditious with the whole of the rent legislation. We have heard both tenants and landlords complaining about this and we are asking for a simple clarification. Two rights do not make a wrong. I still stand by what I have said, that it would seem reasonable to add this, and if you are not prepared to make this fine point, I really wonder why we are going through all of this charade. We are trying to affect legislation positively and it seems like a very simple, very reasonable clarification we are offering. If you do not accept it -- we know that you have got enough votes to overturn it is what we are saying. Why bother having committee meetings?

Mr Tilson: We have a new face. The comment was made by your predecessor -- it makes me come back to George's point of order. However, in any event, I will not get into that again.

Mr Mahoney: See, you were right: She is gone.

Mr Tilson: That is right.

Mr Mammoliti: I will just call another point of order.

Mr Tilson: It does make my point, but again, I guess the comment that was made by your predecessor, who misunderstood my thoughts, is that the 60 days starts, according to subsection 7, 60 days after the new order is made, and we are assured, by your predecessor at least, that this would go out immediately. You say that whether this is a correct assumption or whether it is not, it would create too many problems throughout the act. Would it not be therefore appropriate to make an amendment to subsection 33(2) which would clarify all of those problems throughout the act? My question is to -- I do not know this person's name, Mr Chairman.

Mr Cunningham: It is Karl Cunningham.

Ms Harrington: We are not looking at the act right now; we are trying to get through Bill 4.

Mr Tilson: I know that.

Ms Harrington: To go back and make an amendment to the act certainly may be a good idea, but we are having enough trouble trying to get through this right now.

Mr Tilson: The reason I asked that question was in response to the question made by Delores -- Delores?

Mr Cunningham: Colleen.

Mr Tilson: Whoever used to be there.

Mr Cunningham: Colleen.

Mr Mahoney: I'll never forget what's-her-name.

Mr Tilson: I am not going to make any more comments for fear George will rule me out of order.

The reason I made that comment was because of her remark that if this particular subsection was changed you would have to change the whole act, and I do feel it is relevant because that could be done by amending subsection 33(2). Mr Cunningham?

Mr Cunningham: With reference to what Colleen had said, I think what she was saying was that it would create some confusion in the sense that there would be one part of the act that creates an additional rule other than the rest of the bill.

Mr Tilson: But therefore we could simply amend subsection 33(2). That would solve it.

Ms Harrington: As I tried to explain, it is not part of the bill. I do not have a lot of legislative history here, but I do not think that we can go back to do the act at this point. I appreciate what you are trying to do.

Mr Tilson: It does not appear I am going to get anywhere on this --

Ms Harrington: That is right.

Mr Tilson: -- so I will withdraw my question.

The Acting Chair (Mr Abel): Anybody else? No further comments on subsections 100o(6) and (7)?

Mr Drainville: I was wondering, Mr Chair, whether we could have a recess now and perhaps convene again at 2 o'clock.

Ms Harrington: Would it not be possible we could finish this, do this anyway and --

Mr Mahoney: I think it is a good idea. I am with you, Rev.

Mr Drainville: You are with me, are you? I had better change my mind.

Mr Mahoney: Rethink your position.

Mr Drainville: As soon as I see Steve Mahoney. I will rescind that, Mr Chair.

Ms Harrington: I just felt that we had pretty well discussed this section and that it might be good to finalize it.

Mr Drainville: That is fine. Boy, that was close.

The Acting Chair: We are dealing with subsections 100o(6) and (7). What is the wish of the committee?

Interjections: Carried.

The Acting Chair: Should all of section 100o, as amended, carry? Carried.

I think rather than get into the next one, 100p, I would recommend that we adjourn until 2 o'clock.

The committee recessed at 1154.


The committee resumed at 1417.

The Vice-Chair: Good afternoon. This afternoon we are fortunate to have the minister with us. Therefore, if it is the wish of the committee, we will go back to subsection 100e(2). We had stood this section down. It relates to conditional orders and I am sure members have some things to say about it.

Section 8:

Ms Poole: I do not know whether the minister would prefer to make opening comments on this before I spoke to a possible amendment.

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Poole.

Ms Poole: The conditional orders issue is one that I think has given members from all parties a lot of difficulties. The situation of the conditional orders is that the landlord went to rent review with a proposal for a rent increase and asked rent review to make a decision and give an order on what would be allowed if he met certain conditions. In these particular instances, an order called a conditional order arose from those situations whereby rent review basically said, "If you fulfil these conditions, then we will give you this rent increase." I think it is probably as close to a guarantee as you are ever going to get in legislation, and that is a major differentiating point between this and other retroactive situations.

The people who were in this situation are usually your more cautious landlords. A number of them are the smaller landlords who knew they would be in financial jeopardy if they did not have a rent increase to cover the costs.

I have discussed with the minister the possibility of having an exemption on the conditional orders from Bill 4. There were several difficulties that the minister presented to me.

The first is that if the government were to reconsider conditional orders in Bill 4, it would only be willing to look at situations where the work had actually been done and the money expended. They were reluctant to consider conditional orders where the landlord had not gone ahead, had not lost anything and basically the status quo was preserved. I really do not have any difficulty with that particular part.

The second thing is that there were a couple of conditional orders in particular that were quite high. The rent increases resulting from those conditional orders would be quite high is a better way to phrase it. I believe the minister said there was one for 192% and another one at I believe 157%, or a couple of quite high ones, and another one not quite as high but considerable was in the area of 45%.

So the workable compromise seemed to be that there be a cap on the conditional orders. We discussed a number of possibilities. I would have probably preferred to look at a cap in the vicinity of 20%, simply because this would cover most of the conditional orders that are in question. The minister has indicated to me that the government would have difficulty living with a cap quite that high and I think the proposal has been a 15% cap.

There is one difficulty in that legislative counsel has not had sufficient time to really draft the appropriate amendments, so the minister has suggested that we debate the principle of it at this time and come up with some directions for legislative counsel for the final wording and they would come back to us tomorrow morning with the appropriate amendments.

Minister, did you want to add any comments to that?

Hon Mr Cooke: I might want to hear from Mr Tilson and then see.

Mr Tilson: I was not party to any of these discussions. It is the first I have heard of what you are saying. You two have obviously had time to assess things. In light of that, if you are putting forth some sort of proposal at this time, I think that we should have a chance to review it.

Hon Mr Cooke: I think Ms Poole is correct in saying that while legislative counsel has an amendment prepared, they would like to have a little more time to make sure that it is absolutely correct so that we do not end up doing something or discussing something this afternoon, amending the legislation and then having to come back to it.

Obviously, the discussions between Ms Poole and myself made clear that that would happen because of the amendment that was put forward by the Liberal Party last week and the requests that I had to stand down the section while we better examined the situation.

Mr Tilson: I guess my question is, with that 15% figure, how many of the conditional orders will still be left out?

Hon Mr Cooke: We are attempting to do an analysis as best we can, but one thing that I have certainly discovered over the last few months is that not all of the data we would all like are available. Even some of the rent increases under conditional orders that we have looked at, it has been pointed out that the figures we have may not be the real figures. But I think it is safe to say that many of the individuals who have applied under conditional orders and been approved for the first step will receive significant assistance by the 15%.

We do not know exactly how many of the landlords have actually completed their work. We tried to do a bit of work on that today to see how many buildings have applied for whole-building reviews after their work has been completed, and at this point we have found a couple but we still have work to do on that.

But I think it is safe to say, looking at the numbers we have, that most, not all, of the individuals who have applied for conditional orders will be helped with the 15%.

Mr Tilson: I guess my concern is that there is one mentioned of 192%. Was that the figure?

Hon Mr Cooke: But that has been disputed as well.

Mr Tilson: All right, let's say it is 100%. I do not know. Let's just take something. It may well be that under the circumstances -- you see, I do not know the circumstances of that particular one, or a high one. You may or may not. But it may well be that if there was a low rent at the outset, an extremely low rent, $50 a month -- let's take something unbelievable -- that that may not be such a bad increase. And I suppose that if we are looking at the fairness, if one is acknowledging that the conditional orders are fair -- some are fair, some are not -- then how do we arrive at where they are not fair?

My position would be that many of these people who have been coming to the hearings have received not only the approval of the government but the approval of the tenants. I do not know how many situations like that are over 15%. So I think to be fair to everyone, including the tenants who have agreed to some of these increases, we need more information before we arbitrarily pick a figure out of the hat.

Hon Mr Cooke: I can tell you that the one figure, the 195%, originally, from the data that we saw, it was 195% with a base rent of $1,000 a month, which would have put the rent close to $3,000 a month. But the information that -- and this is the problem with some of the data we have. It would appear that that one has already gone through the system and that the end rent was $1,000 and that is already what is being charged, so that order will not be affected at all because it is already in effect. So when you eliminate that one and a possible other one at Crawford Street, they are all in the range of anywhere from 15% to 22%, with the exception of a couple.

Mr Tilson: If this proposed further amendment affects all but a couple, then I think that, to be fair to those two or three, we should look at those. It may well be that if there are only two or three, maybe the entire conditional order amendment should be deleted. But I am saying this because you two have had a chance to talk about it. I do not know all the information and I think the committee would be interested in hearing all of that information as well.

Hon Mr Cooke: I understand, Mr Tilson, and I certainly apologize if we have done anything incorrect in terms of consulting with you. Ms Poole has called me a couple of times and that is when we have talked about it.

What I am suggesting to you is that this has been an extremely difficult issue for me personally to deal with. I agree that conditional orders are something different from some of the other issues that we have been dealing with, and I have attempted in the last weeks since this came up to try -- and quite frankly, in a non-political way, because if I was dealing with this strictly in a political way, we would not be discussing an amendment. But I feel that in searching for an attempt to deal fairly with the conditional order issue, which is the one issue that has given me personally, my conscience, the most difficulty, I am coming to you with what I consider, after searching myself and discussing with people in the ministry, as an option, as an amendment, what I think will work and is fair.

I personally have to look at the other side of the fence as well, and the other side is that we entered into this exercise with an attempt to offer better protection for tenants, and some of the rent increases I cannot live with. I can live with 15%. It is going to cause some difficulty. There is no doubt at all that it is going to cause some difficulty. There are going to be some people who are not going to be adequately assisted. I understand that. There are going to be some tenants who are hurt. But I think that this is fair under the circumstances. I am not prepared, because I do not think it would be fair, to go any further than the 15%.


I know that these hearings and discussions in committee have focused on some difficulties that some landlords are having. I also am aware of difficulties that tenants have had over the last few years under what I consider to be some difficult aspects and unfair aspects of Bill 51.

You have a particular point of view, and you might be right. I have a particular point of view; I happen to think I am right. One thing I certainly have learned, being in the Legislature for nearly 14 years, is that nothing in this place is black and white. I understand that very clearly, and God knows, rent regulation is not black and white, but I cannot live with anything more than 15%.

I know that there have been landlords who have appeared before this committee and have had tears. I know that happened also a few years ago with Mr Curling's legislation.

But I have been at enough meetings of tenants across this province, and some in my own riding, one meeting in particular that I will never in my life forget, of the Shoreline Towers tenants in my riding, all senior citizens, a former limited dividend building. A new owner comes in and applies for a 60% rent increase. The vast majority of the tenants in that building are on the basic income of old age pension and supplements. They come in for a 60% rent increase, and those tenants were not going to be able to survive. The majority of the tenants would have had to move out of that building. There were tenants who they had to set up a group of tenants to look after in that building, because there were great concerns that some of the seniors were spending too much time on their balconies. They were afraid that some people had become so desperate and so upset that they were going to do something to themselves because of fear of being economically evicted.

Bill 4, you may think, and you obviously have made your point of view very clear, is wrong. Those tenants are protected by Bill 4 in my riding. They are not going to be economically evicted, and I think that there is some good. We may disagree fundamentally about rent regulation, but in that case, that is one example, and there are others in the province, where there is some protection.

So I searched my soul in the last week to see on the conditional orders what was fair and what has not been fair and I have come up with the compromise, in discussing the matter with the Liberal Housing critic, of 15%. If it is not acceptable to the committee, then it is not acceptable to the committee, but if Ms Poole is going to move that amendment, I certainly would encourage the members of the committee to support it.

Mr Tilson: If Ms Poole does not move the amendment, I hope that the government side will. Obviously this whole issue of conditional orders has been a major concern of the Progressive Conservative Party since the introduction of the bill, and I think that what is coming up now of course is an acknowledgement that doing away with conditional orders was not a fair and equitable procedure to follow. That is exactly the position that our party has taken and continues to take, and of course we welcome any move to reinstate the conditional orders that have been taken away and any move to implement that.

But at the same time, Minister, if we are looking at the fairness that you have referred to in your brief comments, one has to look as to whether or not there is discrimination. In other words, does one arbitrarily pick the figure 15? If there are two people left over, why are we discriminating against those two people by passing legislation? I mean, aside from any legal implications, if we are discriminating against two individuals, why are we discriminating against them? It may be that 16% covers them, maybe 20%.

So again, I think that our party, and I would imagine -- they should speak for themselves, of course -- that the Liberal Party would be looking for that information as well, and I would hope that all members of the committee would, before we agree to any form of an amendment, whether it be a Liberal amendment or whether it be a government amendment.

So I welcome any effort to reinstate the conditional orders, but I must insist that this committee be advised of what conditional orders are still being deleted and why they are being deleted. That is a question.

Hon Mr Cooke: We will get as much information as we can. We know that we have 16 who applied before 28 November. They had their conditional orders. The work apparently had been completed and they had applied before 28 November, and we have had two apply after 28 November, so we had 18 whole-building reviews that were conditional orders before that. We will try to get some more analysis for you, but I am telling you from the information that I have, the range is from 12% to, well, 50%, if I am eliminating the 210% and the 195% on the two buildings on Crawford.

Mr Tilson: I think that if that information is not available now, specific information as to numbers of individuals who will still have been granted conditional orders and will still be invalidated should be made available before we deal with any amendment on this section. Obviously I do not want the minister to say, "Well, take 15% or you're not going to get anything at all." I hope he is not saying that. I simply am asking for more information before we make such a decision.

Hon Mr Cooke: And I am telling you that I am giving all of the information that we have been able to assemble. We do not have all of the information that we would like. I tried to get as much information as I could to analyse it over the last few days.

There are 16 applications prior to 28 November and two since. We knew that there were 37 conditional orders, but obviously the balance of them -- the 19, the difference between 37 and 18 -- have not applied. We can only assume that since they still have not applied and we are almost into March and they had their conditional orders last year, they have not done the work.

Mr Tilson: I think, though, that surely since there is such a small number, I do not want people of this province to say that this committee or the province of Ontario is discriminating against a particular group of people unless we have got very good reason to. We just cannot unilaterally or in some cavalier fashion pick a figure knowing full well that we are discriminating against individuals.

Hon Mr Cooke: The difficulty that I have with your proposal is that you come at it from a completely different perspective than I come at it from. You come at it from the point of view that all of the conditional orders should be passed through as they are.

Mr Tilson: Yes, I do.

Hon Mr Cooke: Well, and I do not. I come at it from the point of view that some of the conditional orders that were done under Bill 51 are unfair and do not offer adequate protection for tenants. So the 15% figure is a balancing act, one that I believe offers protection for tenants as much as possible and offers some fairness for landlords. I want to find a balance between the two. You want to come down entirely on the landlord's side. I want to come down to try to offer some balance. That is the difference and that is the point. I guess that is the one thing in this case, at least on Bill 4, that Ms Poole and I have had in common. We may not agree on the final figure, but that is the one thing that we have been trying to find.

Mr Tilson: My question --

Hon Mr Cooke: So you look at the one set of victims,as you would describe them. I have to look at the people who live in those buildings who would not be able to cope too well with 50% rent increases.

Mr Tilson: All I am trying to do is to avoid bankruptcies in this province. Every little effort --

Hon Mr Cooke: What about the personal bankruptcies of the tenants?

Mr Tilson: Every little effort that we can do to accomplish that, the better.

I honestly believe that I would like to know the rationale as to what you feel is fair and what is unfair. We now have two categories created by this proposal. One group of conditional orders is fair and the other group is not fair. Could you provide me with your rationale as to which conditional orders will not be validated? Those presumably are unfair. Can you tell us how you have arrived at that rationale?


Hon Mr Cooke: I can indicate to you that I do not know what you mean about some being validated and some not being validated. As I understand Ms Poole's suggestion, which I concur with, all of the conditional orders will go through the system. There will be a cap on what will be passed through.

Mr Tilson: If you are telling me that all of the conditional orders that have been granted will be validated, I will concur with that, in which case there is no need to have a percentage figure put.

Hon Mr Cooke: I said there is a cap.

Mr Tilson: But if you are telling me now that all of the conditional orders will be validated, then why even have a cap?

Hon Mr Cooke: Because I am interested in protecting tenants.

Mr Tilson: Of course you are, and some you are and some you are not, it would appear. That is fine. I do not know how you arrive at that as to which tenants you are going to protect and which tenants you are not. I am just trying to avoid discrimination by this government, and I feel that you are discriminating against certain individuals. If you are telling me that you are not, then let's just simply take away the conditional order section.

Hon Mr Cooke: I am not prepared to do that. I am prepared to accept the amendment that Ms Poole has suggested.

Mr Tilson: One final question: Why is 20% not acceptable and 15% acceptable?

Hon Mr Cooke: And then I guess the question is, why is 20% acceptable for you and not 15%?

Mr Tilson: That was going to be my next question, as to why perhaps 25% or 30% or even 100%. Again, I asked you the question as to your rationale as to how you arrived at a cap of 15%, and I think that is a reasonable question.

Hon Mr Cooke: And I have explained it to you a couple of times already, that in my view, looking at the data as best we can get them together, the data that I have shared with you, 15% will provide adequate fairness and protection at the same time.

Mr Tilson: I would hope there would be more than simply a walk in a winter snowstorm, that you would come up with some rational reason as to how you arrive at a percentage increase. From what you have said, you have drawn a figure out of the hat, and I find that totally unacceptable.

Hon Mr Cooke: I do not wear a hat.

Mr Tilson: Maybe you should get one.

The Chair: Mr Tilson, if it would be acceptable, I have three other members on the list and the minister has a limited time before the committee, so perhaps we could move on.

Mr Tilson: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Mahoney: In the interest of protecting the agreement that has been made with my party's critic, I will be gentle and co-operative.

Ms Poole: Which I just told him to be.

Mr Mahoney: Exactly.

Hon Mr Cooke: And this is the first time he has ever listened.

Mr Mahoney: No, I listen. Like you, Minister, I do not always agree.

Ms Poole: He listens; he does not obey.

Mr Mahoney: You are going to make me change my mind in a minute.

Seriously, the work not done but that perhaps needs to be done, there are two areas. I too have no difficulty with not dealing with the ones where the money has not been spent. The conditional order was granted, presumably with some justification, and there is work sitting there, capital work, repair work, whatever, that needs to be done that will now not be done, so I am a little concerned about that from the point of view of the safety of the tenants. That is number one.

The other thing is, would a compromise to the compromise be that you set a cap of 15% and anything over and above that would be at the minister's discretion so that you could review such requests, rather than just simply arbitrarily pulling a figure of 15% out of the air? Send that message out, but have it reviewed, if not by you by your delegate of some sort, a deputy, whatever, because there well may be situations where tenants have agreed to work, tenants maybe have even requested work, and there is cooperation and they are prepared to accept it.

And why? Well, nobody wants your seniors in your riding jumping off the balcony. We all support that. At the same time, we do not want them falling off the balcony either because the darn balcony has not been repaired because you have put a cap of an arbitrary figure.

So I would ask you to respond to those two things, the request for some discretion -- and we had a very lengthy debate, I think it was yesterday, on ministerial discretion and staff discretion and I think my colleagues in the Conservative Party particularly were concerned about that discretionary power. We heard from the government side how it was normal, and I agreed, that there was discretion under our government and under the Tory government before that and that it was an appropriate way of dealing with it. I had no argument with that, but I would ask you to look at it from the point of view of, does work need to be done, are we going to have some system in place to investigate whether or not that work needs to be done, and will you accept some discretionary powers within the amendment?

Hon Mr Cooke: No. I think, Mr Mahoney, if the work has not been done, then the most appropriate thing for that landlord would be to look to the new legislation and the kinds of guidelines that we will have in place in terms of necessary and unnecessary and the mechanism, after the consultation process, that we develop for capital.

Mr Mahoney: You do not mean this legislation?

Hon Mr Cooke: No, I am talking about after the discussion document results in permanent legislation.

Mr Mahoney: Do you see any necessity to have a municipal inspector take a look at the order to investigate whether or not the work is necessary from a safety perspective?

Hon Mr Cooke: No. If there are safety difficulties in an apartment unit, whether it is one that has a conditional order and the landlord has not carried out the work -- I mean, if there is a safety difficulty, I would be surprised that it had not been responded to, because the conditional orders were done last year and you would think in those cases that, if the landlord was concerned about safety, he would have acted on the conditional order right away and started the work in order to meet standards. Here we are in March. So I think that you and I would probably both have some concerns about the lack of speedy reply by the landlord when he has had a conditional order for several months. But in any case, I think if they are not meeting standards, municipal inspectors have a role to play, whether they have a conditional order or whether they do not.

Mr Mahoney: And the discretionary aspects of my question?

Hon Mr Cooke: I think that those questions have to be dealt with by better definitions in the permanent legislation and whatever mechanism we develop together to deal with capital.

Mr Mahoney: One final question: If you have an order with a 25% approved amount, the landlord would have the option of accepting the 15% and walking away or of not accepting anything and entering into litigation, I suppose.

Hon Mr Cooke: Well, I am not a lawyer.

Mr Mahoney: But he could accept the 15%? I am not a lawyer, either.

Hon Mr Cooke: They would have to go through the --

Mr Mahoney: You do not need a lawyer.

Hon Mr Cooke: -- accept anything. As is provided for in Bill 51, they would have to make an application for a whole-building review. As I indicated, we have 18 of them now, and they go through the rent review system.

Mr Mahoney: Again?

Hon Mr Cooke: Yes. The conditional order simply is a conditional order.

Mr Mahoney: Oh, I am sorry. They do not have to, yes. Sure.

Hon Mr Cooke: And they would simply adjust it down to the 15%, or the cap, or they make an assessment of how much the work actually costs, whether all of the work has been completed, and then they will calculate a rent increase.

Mr Turnbull: First of all, I am extremely disappointed to find that we are dealing with something where apparently you have been dealing with Ms Poole without discussing it with our Housing critic.

Ms Poole: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Perhaps it would help for some clarification. The minister did offer an unusual explanation. I was actually waiting until Mr Tilson came back to tender my apologies, but there was no move to undercut anybody. I have phoned the minister on two occasions to talk to him about the --

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Poole, I think this is a point of information rather than order.

Ms Poole: Point of information. I had spoken to the minister on two occasions regarding the conditional orders and how I might rework my amendment to make it acceptable to the government. I think about noon today I had the first indication that the government had decided that it would indeed accept an amendment to my amendment, and had there been time, certainly Mr Tilson would have been brought in, and the Conservative caucus. As far as information is concerned, I am basically operating right now on the same information that you and Mr Tilson are. I have asked the same questions.


How many are involved? From the information that the ministry has been able to compile for us, it appears that the 15% cap, while not universally acceptable, would at least provide some protection for those who are caught in the conditional order scenario.

My first choice is that conditional orders are conditional orders and should go through in that way. My compromise is that if this is the most that the government is willing to accept, then I would rather the people under conditional orders have that as opposed to nothing.

Mr Turnbull: Ms Poole, I certainly accept your explanation. I do think nevertheless it was incumbent on the ministry to inform us that they were thinking in these terms. They have had some time to consider this, and I am sure that it did not come as a bolt of lightening to them at lunchtime today. However, let me press on.

Hon Mr Cooke: Actually, it did.

Mr Turnbull: It did? Well --

Mr Mahoney: Where were you sitting?

Mr Turnbull: Not close enough.

You talk about the 15%. You have not spoken about differentiating about the rental base it is on. If you have a 15% order on a building where the average suite rent is $100 -- and indeed in northern Ontario we have heard evidence of people who are paying $50 a month -- that is only $15, whereas 15% on $800 is $120.

Once again, you are moving the burden towards, typically, small landlords who may be very innocently trapped in this kind of situation. And while I do not like a 15% cap and I think it is reprehensible, the whole concept of ignoring the conditional orders, which, in my estimation, is a promise by the government of Ontario for performance with its citizens who make that application -- I certainly do not approve of 15%, but nevertheless I would say if you are going to make it 15%, fairness absolutely dictates that you differentiate in some way about the rental base. I mean, 15% on $100 is ludicrous whereas 15% on an $800 rent has some significance.

Hon Mr Cooke: There is not any rent base on this list that is $100.

Mr Turnbull: Okay. What is the lowest?

Hon Mr Cooke: The lowest is $206, and my understanding is that his application is for 22%.

Mr Turnbull: Well, once again, my colleague asked if we could see the information you have got and you said you have got all of the information that you have.

Hon Mr Cooke: That information, quite frankly -- and this is one of the difficulties of trying to gather some of that information -- the figure we had was something considerably higher. That information was actually shared with me by one of the people who has a conditional order.

But I have to go. I indicated that I would be here for 50 minutes. The committee did not get started until quite a bit after 2.

Mr Turnbull: Let me ask you --

Hon Mr Cooke: I can tell you, Mr Turnbull, that I do not -- it is great for you politically to make the kinds of comments that somehow 15% is inadequate, that we should be differentiating depending on the rent base. No piece of rent control legislation in this province has ever differentiated in that way, including the stuff that you guys brought in in the 1970s. So do not give me that kind of bull.

Mr Turnbull: Minister, do not give me that bull that this is interesting politically. That is insulting and I will not take it from you.

Hon Mr Cooke: It is pretty darn accurate.

Mr Turnbull: The fact is, people are going to go bankrupt because of this legislation. That is not acceptable, just waving your hand. Do not tell me this is politically good. This is politically terrible from you. Landlords are going to go bankrupt, and that serves the tenants of this province extremely badly. And do not suggest that differentiating about the rental base is not appropriate, because you demonstrate your total lack of understanding of the subject that we are talking about.

Hon Mr Cooke: Why did Mr Davis not do it in the mid-1970s then?

Mr Turnbull: He brought in rent control on buildings below a certain rent and they always allowed the flow-through of the capital costs and also the financing when Mr Davis brought in the legislation. When there was a problem, they addressed it immediately with the bill that Bob Elgie brought in. Now, do not suggest that we did not, because we addressed it, we protected the tenants of Ontario. We did not set out to destroy the landlords, though, which serves you extremely badly, and the suggestion that you make is inappropriate, Minister.

My third question to the minister, or to Mrs Harrington if he is going to go, is in terms of, will you offer some mortgage support for those people who are faced with mortgage problems who are above the 15% where they entered into that contract as a result of the information that they received from the ministry?

Hon Mr Cooke: Mr Turnbull, the suggestion is that there will be a 15% cap and that is it. I do not have money. You know the situation. You know that there was another $1.1 billion in cutbacks to the province of Ontario last night by the federal government. We do not have cash. There is --

Mr Turnbull: Neither do the landlords.

Hon Mr Cooke: -- an honest attempt --

Mr Turnbull: Neither do the landlords.

Hon Mr Cooke: There is an honest attempt --

Mr Turnbull: They have borrowed the money --

Mr Mammoliti: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Mr Turnbull has asked a question. He is not even giving the minister a chance to respond and he is interrupting, and interrupting with his voice raised, I might add as well. So I would ask that you keep some control as far as interruptions and how he is raising his voice in this meeting are concerned.

Mr Mahoney: Point of order?

Mr Mammoliti: That is a point of order, yes.

Mr Mahoney: I have a point of order.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Mahoney?

Mr Mahoney: While I am very much in support of this amendment that my critic, Ms Poole, has worked hard to obtain, I am going to tell you that if I had a minister of the crown wave his hand at me and say, "You're full of it," I would be raising my voice too.

Mr Mammoliti: I would be raising a point of order if you raised your voice as well. I do not think that is appropriate.

Mr Mahoney: I do not think what the minister said was appropriate either.

The Vice-Chair: I would just caution all members to act as honourable members. Mr Turnbull?

Mr Mahoney: Begin at the top and we all will.

Mr Turnbull: I am absolutely disgusted at the comment that was made by the minister. For the minister to come into a committee and suggest that it is bull that people are going to go bankrupt is not acceptable. For the point of order to be made, it should have some validity.

The minister had made a comment alluding to the budget last night. He interrupted me on more than one occasion, and that is fine, in the backwards and forwards, trying, in the interests of his time, to get the discussion out of the way. But the suggestion that I was interrupting and not letting him finish --


Mr Turnbull: -- is not acceptable.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Drainville?

Mr Turnbull: And I would like you to rule on that, Mr Chair.

Mr Drainville: Point of order, Mr Chair: I just wanted to be very clear that unfortunately all the members of the committee have earnestly wished to have the minister before us today. He has been before us. We started late, as we did this morning. The government members were here on time in both instances. We now are going to see the minister leave this committee, and I must add that the repetitive and ongoing questions that have been coming forth from the Conservative members of the committee have totally made things incomprehensible for the committee.


The Vice-Chair: This is I think on the same point of order. I am not sure that was a point of order.

Mr Drainville: I do not think it was either.

Hon Mr Cooke: If I might just apologize, I have to be in cabinet committee right now, and I apologize, but we will be back I guess when -- or the legislative counsel will get a final draft of the amendment from Ms Poole and I think the policy issue has been discussed anyway.

The Vice-Chair: For clarification, Minister, you are coming to committee tomorrow morning?

Hon Mr Cooke: No, I am not able to come to committee tomorrow morning. I booked last week to be in committee because I thought that was the focus of the clause-by-clause today. I could only be here an hour. But I am in consultations. I have a number of meetings tomorrow.

Ms Poole: I would just put legislative counsel on notice that I would like amendments drafted which reflect the following --

The Vice-Chair: I think we are discussing what appeared to be a point of order.

Ms Poole: I just felt it important to say this before the minister left so he would be aware of the amendment that I will be proposing, that the amendment have the following provisions: that it cover conditional orders which were I believe -- there is one thing I will have to discuss with legislative counsel because of words the minister said. He indicated that there were 16 situations where applications were filed before 28 November and two after. The amendment I would like would cover those 18 situations where the work has been done and where the landlords are out of pocket and where they have had conditional orders by the rent review system. Second, I will be proposing that there be a 15% cap on the amount allowable. While it is probably not acceptable to any member of this committee, it is the only workable compromise we appear to have been able to reach. So that will be what I will ask legislative counsel to bring back for us to debate tomorrow.


The Vice-Chair: Is that your understanding, Minister?

Hon Mr Cooke: Yes.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. Mr Turnbull, you still have the floor.

Mr Turnbull: Who is going to take his place?

The Vice-Chair: The parliamentary assistant is here.

Mr Mahoney: Perhaps she will not wave her hand and yell at you.

Ms Poole: This is just a suggestion, Mr Turnbull, but you might like to wait until you see the amendment and get further information from the ministry before continuing this debate -- whatever you want.

Mr Tilson: I wonder if Mrs Harrington has a hat.

Mr Mahoney: She is a much gentler kind of person.

Mr Turnbull: I have a couple of questions and then I will defer the rest to when we get the amendment, Ms Poole. I would ask, is it potentially one of the areas that you have been told you could be in danger of losing on a charter violation, the conditional orders?

Ms Harrington: Sorry, what was the question again?

Mr Turnbull: Have you been advised that in the area of the conditional orders the government is at its weakest with respect to a charter challenge?

Ms Harrington: I am sorry, I cannot answer that at this moment. Maybe staff could help me.

No. We have not been advised of that, no.

Ms Parrish: I would just clarify that the minister responded to some of the constitutional questions last week and he was asked the specific question as to whether the constitutional opinions of the ministry had been shared with the government members of the caucus. I would comment that they have not and that is why Mrs Harrington does not have personal knowledge of that. I would say that there is no --

Mr Turnbull: Could you speak up a little, please?

Ms Parrish: Excuse me. Did you hear the first part or did you want me to repeat that, sir?

Mr Turnbull: Yes, I heard what you said.

Ms Parrish: As we have indicated before, I am not in a position to release opinions the government has received in a solicitor-and-client relationship, but I would indicate that there is no particular distinction to be made between conditional orders and anything else.

Mr Turnbull: Let me ask this question to ministry staff: In considering a 15% cap, was there any consideration for the idea of differentiating about what the rental base was, because as you will appreciate, 15% on a $100 rent, or a $200 rent -- and let's take the $200 rent, since the minister did not seem to like $100 rent -- that is only $30, whereas if you are talking about an $800 rent it is $120. If you are going to replace a roof shingle by shingle, you can do it with maybe $30, but it can cause some severe hardship at the low end of the range. Was there some consideration given for a base level at which the percentage cap would not apply?

Ms Parrish: The problem would be very much the problem that the minister identified earlier. All aspects of the RRRA relate to percentage increases; that is, we do not regulate the base rent in any way. We do not regulate it down or up. Therefore, it would be difficult in the context of an amendment to the RRRA to suddenly introduce some concept that does not fit with the rest of the bill and for which there is no mechanism. If you were going to start introducing a base rent concept, you would have to start trying to introduce it throughout the rest of the bill, and this might be an issue that you might want to do on a rent control system, but it would be relatively difficult to introduce a whole new concept of base rent review into the middle of this bill, because you would have to be dealing with some very difficult issues as to, how would you decide whether or not you had a low base rent?

Mr Turnbull: I would suggest that, given the fact that the ministry has produced information for us as to what the average rent in each of the target communities is, we have that information. We also know what the rents in the buildings are, so that is available. You are saying it would be difficult to introduce it in this. I did not hear the word "impossible," and I have to say that this is very difficult legislation. This is after the fact saying that it does not matter, the fact that you have gone out and you have borrowed the money.

In many cases how you borrow money to do renovations is that you will go to the bank, as you are well aware, and then you will in some way formalize the form of the loan at a later date, after it is completed and after it has been entrenched in the rent, and it is only, if you wish, conditionally lent to you during the initial renovation stage and the bank more formalizes the lending situation after the rent increase has gone through. It has put these people in a terribly difficult situation.

So I am saying that it is not a perfect solution, but it is certainly a step in the right direction to recognize that people at the low end of the scale are probably more desperately affected than the people at the high end of the scale.

I do not think there should be any cap, quite frankly, but nevertheless, if it is going to occur -- and we certainly know that we have all of the votes on that side and they are going to vote for it, whatever you put up -- that being the case, we have got to deal with reality and say, "Okay, how can we improve this?"

I still return to the fact that you have the information to determine what average rents are in the target communities and you know what the rents are in the building. Therefore, it would be relatively easy to administer it. It would not throw a heavy burden on the ministry staff.

Ms Harrington: The whole point of differentiating on a percentage basis between, say, rents of less than $500 or more than $500, as you know, we can deal with all of those types of questions in our discussion paper, in our legislation for the long term. You know, and we have discussed it many times, that this is an interim legislation. This is something that we are trying to do to stop the process so that we can then come to grips with making a new system, a system that works. Those types of suggestions will all be dealt with, I would hope.

Mr Turnbull: As you know, Mrs Harrington, I understand and we beg to differ on certain things, but I keep on going back to the one core issue. Tenants are going to be hurt by the demise of landlords, we are going to adversely affect our housing stock, and we cannot unbankrupt these people once it has occurred. If you have gone to the bank and you have borrowed an amount of money based upon a conditional order, that is what you literally do. You take the conditional order to the bank. That is often the reason that they have gone the route of the conditional order, and that bank says, "Okay, based upon that, we'll lend this amount of money," and it is a temporary loan until the work is done and the rent increase has passed through.

Now these people are faced with the problem that they have to refinance, and I am very concerned about the impact on tenants who have buildings that go into bankruptcy, because it is a very messy affair for the tenants. I am also concerned about the landlords who are faced with this, whose life savings are wiped out. That is why I am introducing the idea that at least if you go in with a 15% cap, have it somewhat sensitive to the base, and it is not complicated to administer.

Ms Harrington: I think we have certainly heard your point. There may be two suggestions at this time, whether Ms Poole would like to move on the amendment she has put forward or whether we would like to defer it until tomorrow when the legislative counsel brings back something more definite and then we could have the discussion.

Ms Poole: I would suggest that by tomorrow morning the ministry may have a few extra figures for us. They have been looking at this very closely, so that would be helpful. We will also have the amendments drafted from legislative counsel, and maybe it is more appropriate, rather than go on at this time, to wait until we have the finished product before us.


Ms Harrington: Okay, if that is satisfactory with everyone.

The Vice-Chair: If I could just recap where we are.

Ms Poole: Where are we?

The Vice-Chair: That may be with some difficulty.

Ms Poole: We are in room 151.

The Vice-Chair: We had unanimous consent to revert to a discussion on this section, 100e(2), with the idea that there is going to be a compromise amendment presented in the morning, and the idea was to have this philosophical discussion with the minister. The minister has now gone. The Chair is now in a situation where he has Mr Mahoney, Mr Drainville and Mr Tilson on the list to speak to this.

Ms Poole: Mr Drainville is gone.

The Vice-Chair: Well, he may return. I need some direction. Ms Poole has suggested we move on to the clause-by-clause as the minister is not here, and it would give legislative counsel an opportunity to draft the so-called compromise amendment. If that is suitable to the committee, I would suggest we get on to 100p.

Mr Tilson: Just a point of order, Mr Chair: I understand what you are saying, but I add, because the whole subject has been reopened, it would seem to me, because the Progressive Conservative Party feels quite strongly that there should not be discrimination, that if we are going to talk about conditional orders, we should vote on an amendment that would take conditional orders out of the legislation as opposed to a cap of 15%.

The Vice-Chair: The Chair's difficulty here is that we stood down a section, 100e(2), so we could have a discussion with the minister at a later date. We know there is an attempt for an amendment to be presented to this committee. We do not have that amendment right now, Mr Tilson. So all I am suggesting, and I certainly want all members to have every opportunity to voice their views, is that perhaps it would be more useful for the committee to discuss this section when we actually have the amendment before us and then there is an opportunity for you to present amendments or whatever at that point.

Mr Tilson: If it is clear that we will be in a position to present amendments as well, that is fine.

The Vice-Chair: All I am really asking is for permission to revert back to where we were, which was doing clause-by-clause and we are at section 100p. I would hope we could do that. Ms Poole, you have a point of order?

Ms Poole: With reference to Mr Tilson's point, please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that my amendment was the one I had introduced and that the minister asked that be tabled today and that amendment actually does what Mr Tilson is proposing. I do not know what the procedure is, whether tomorrow when we deal with it we vote on my initial amendment and then my amendment to my own amendment?

The Vice-Chair: I am sorry, I misphrased it. I realized we were speaking to your amendment, right? Or what would be your --

Ms Poole: Well, the confusing part is that there are two amendments there, my original amendment and now my own amendment to my own amendment, which is very confusing. What I would like to know from legislative counsel, or the clerk, is, do we vote on my original amendment first?

The Vice-Chair: Thank goodness the clerk is going to clarify what I cannot.

Clerk of the Committee: My assumption is that you would be withdrawing that original amendment and putting a new amendment or amendments in order to effect the change that you want.

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, that is the point of order that I was asking, because I had certainly indicated to Ms Poole some time ago that our party was prepared to support her with her original amendment. If Mr Cooke has had second thoughts with respect to conditional orders and now wishes to revise that, it would seem to me that if we are going to follow an order of debate, because Ms Poole was the one who introduced that initially, that should come first, Ms Poole's initial amendment, and if there is a second amendment with respect to a cap or something similar to that, that would be second, assuming that the first would fail. At least, Mr Cooke has indicated that he is not supporting anything else but that, but hopefully this committee would listen to a debate and support Ms Poole's initial amendment.

The Vice-Chair: All that may be decided, but I think we have an agreement to deal with this clause tomorrow morning after there are some suggestions on a proposed amendment from legislative counsel, and I would encourage your caucus, together with the Liberal caucus, together with the government caucus, to talk to legislative counsel about this issue, and perhaps you are going to come to a compromise that probably does not please anybody in particular but may sort of please everybody in general.

I am just trying to be helpful and know where this committee is attempting to go here. I think myself that it would be in the interests of the committee to deal with specific issues right now, and the specific issue is section 100p, and we could have this discussion, which I recognize is very important to the members, tomorrow morning. That is just a suggestion; I am in your hands. Is that the consensus of the committee?

Ms Poole: Agreed, and in the meantime we can talk and try to figure out what we are doing.

The Vice-Chair: That would be an excellent suggestion, Ms Poole. Now we have section 100p. Would the parliamentary assistant wish to offer an explanation of section 100p, for those very few members who would not be intimately familiar with it?

Ms Harrington: Section 100p: This section provides for the repayment of rent from the landlord to the tenant where a voided order is not replaced with a new order. The landlord is required to pay an amount which is the difference in rent between what the tenant paid under the voided order and the amount that is payable had the landlord not made application, ie, the guideline increase. The repayment shall be made not more than 60 days after the date that part VI comes into effect. So basically this is similar to section 100o, which we did discuss at length, but in this case the order is not replaced because there were no parts of the order which would fall under the new categories.

The Vice-Chair: Questions, comments or amendments to section 100p?

Mr Tilson: Just looking at the first word in this section, does that imply that it is possible that an order that is made before 1 October 1990 might in fact be valid, because of the word "if"?

Ms Harrington: "If an order is rendered void under section 100n." If you look at section 100n, it clearly states that anything before 1 October 1990 is rendered void.

Mr Tilson: That is my question, Ms Harrington.

Ms Harrington: That is right.

Mr Tilson: My question is whether section 100p contradicts section 100n. I believe it does.

Ms Harrington: No, it does not.

Mr Tilson: I believe it does. You say "if an order." Section 100n is quite clear as to which orders are invalid, and those are before 1 October 1990. Section 100p suggests that there may be orders prior to 1 October 1990 that might in fact be valid.

Ms Harrington: The word "if" there is referring to an order which is rendered void because of its date, as we have just clarified, and no new order may be made under section 100o; then the following applies. So the word "if" refers to if both of those conditions are met, then the following will happen. Is that clarified?

Mr Tilson: No. I am just questioning the wording, that it may suggest that orders prior to 1 October 1990 are valid, which of course we support.

Ms Harrington: I think the intent --

Mr Tilson: It just leaves that much more -- you know, you have to try and avoid litigation, and if you can avoid it, I think it is incumbent upon this committee to do that.


Ms Harrington: Maybe a sentence from our legal assistant would clarify the matter whether or not this will stand up to litigation.

Mr Tilson: Okay.

Ms Harrington: Would you like to comment?

Ms Parrish: I could comment, but this is not really a policy issue. I mean, what you are really asking is whether or not this drafting accomplishes the policy intent, whether it is one you agree with or not.

Mr Tilson: Yes.

Ms Parrish: I would think it does accomplish that policy intent. Unfortunately, since this is truly a drafting issue, I will ask my colleague Betsy Baldwin to address it. It seems to me that the language is fairly straightforward. It says if X and Y happen, then this is the result. But certainly I am not legislative counsel, so I will ask them whether or not they feel they think that the combination of drafting would lead to a circumstance where one could make the argument that there was some order that was not appropriately voided.

Ms Baldwin: I apologize. I was in a side conversation. If you could just quickly repeat the question to me, perhaps I --

Mr Tilson: My question is whether, as a result of the word "if" in section 100p, that implies that orders prior to 1 October 1990 could be valid. In other words, do they contradict each other? Should the section state something to the effect that if a landlord collected rent deemed void under this act, etc, as opposed to the way it has. My reading of it is it could imply that an order prior to 1 October 1990 is in fact valid.

Ms Baldwin: I apologize. I do not see the problem that you are raising yet. Can you try me once more?

Mr Tilson: When we use the words "if an order is rendered void," grammatically that assumes that it is possible that an order prior to 1 October 1990 might not indeed be void. They are either void --

Ms Baldwin: I do not believe that that contradicts the provision that renders orders void, no.

Mr Tilson: Then why would you say "if"?

Ms Baldwin: Because this section is only applying to orders that are rendered void.

Mr Tilson: Then they are void or they are not void. It is not if they are void; they are void.

Ms Baldwin: The ones that are being referred to in section 100p are void, that is true. There are orders out there in the world which have not been rendered void by section 100n.

Mr Tilson: I am looking at the section. It is referred to specifically, in section 100n and 100o, which is what the section refers to.

Ms Baldwin: Yes.

Mr Tilson: And it says, "if an order is rendered void."

Ms Baldwin: Right.

Mr Tilson: Well, either they are void or they are not void. It is not if they are rendered void. They are void or they are not void. Those sections are quite clear as to what is void and what is not void.

Ms Baldwin: That is right, and section 100p is dealing with the ones that are void, not with the ones that are not void, and that is what "if an order is rendered void under section 100n" -- sometimes in legislation you see "where" instead of an "if." The point is that if an order is rendered void under section 100n and no new order is made under section 100o, then the rest of that section takes effect; otherwise it does not.

Mr Tilson: I made my point, Mr Chair.

Ms Harrington: Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mr Tilson. Are there further comments or questions to section 100p? If not, is it the pleasure of the committee that this section carry? Section 100p is carried.

Section 100q:

Ms Harrington: This section provides for the repayment of rent from the landlord to the tenant where a notice of phase-in is voided. The landlord is required to pay an amount which is the difference in rent between what the tenants paid under the voided notice of phase-in and the amount that is payable had the landlord not received a phased-in notice. The repayment shall be made not more than 60 days after the date that part VI-A comes into effect.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, I tabled an amendment to strike out section 100q of the act, but since my main motion about phase-ins has been defeated, I withdraw the amendment which I had tabled regarding section 100q.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Ms Poole. Are there further comments or questions regarding section 100q?

Mr Tilson: Just a further aside.

The Vice-Chair: An aside, Mr Tilson.

Mr Tilson: Here is a perfect example where we use the word "where" and I think it would be more appropriate in the previous section. But however, there is an inconsistency. What I am trying to do is to avoid litigation. That is one of the problems that this legislation has developed over the years. It is a terrible bureaucracy it has created, and not to speak against my fellow lawyers, but lawyers love this sort of thing. I mean, that is how you win cases, and if you can find some technicality to defeat something, then you do it. I think this committee has an obligation to avoid such a technicality.

Ms Harrington: I appreciate your intentions.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Mr Tilson. Further comments, questions? If not, is it the pleasure of the committee that section 100q be carried? Carried.

Section 100r:

Ms Harrington: This section covers the situation where the landlord does not repay to the tenant within 60 days after the Residential Rent Regulation Amendment Act, 1990, comes into force. That is, he does not repay the difference between the total amount of rent increase collected under a voided order or notice of phase-in and the amount of rent increase permitted by the guideline or permitted in a replacement order under part VI-A. In these cases the tenant may either deduct the amount owing from subsequent rent payments or make an application to the Ministry of Housing for a rent rebate for the excess amount of rent paid. Persons who no longer reside in the rental unit but have also paid an excess amount of rent may also make a rebate application.

Ms Poole: I have two questions about this section. One of them is how this is logistically going to work. Say a landlord has to repay a total of $2,000 and a tenant's rent is $500 per month. Would the tenant be entitled to four rental periods to deduct the full amount from those, or is there some sequence of how the tenant is to get reimbursed for that?

Ms Harrington: According to what I have read, yes, that is one of the options.

Ms Poole: My second question regards the provision that tenants may apply for repayment of the excess under section 95, which means the tenant would go to rent review. I am trying to conceive of scenarios where this would work. Would this be when the tenant, for instance, had already given post-dated cheques to the landlord or automatic bank withdrawal and therefore has to go to rent review? I cannot conceive of a tenant wanting to go to rent review if he had the option of deducting it from his rental payments.

Ms Harrington: This covers the situation where the tenant may have moved out, I would believe.

Ms Poole: Why?

Ms Harrington: So that then he would have to --

Ms Poole: Make application that they have terminated their tenancy?

Ms Harrington: Yes.

Ms Poole: Okay, thank you. That is all I had.

The Vice-Chair: Are there further questions or comments on section 100r? If not, is it the pleasure of the committee that section 100r be carried? Carried.

Section 100s:

Ms Harrington: Section 100s, subsections (1), (2) and (3): This section provides transitional rules for all pending whole-building review applications that were made before the Residential Rent Regulation Amendment Act, 1990, came into force and where the first effective date of rent increase applied for is on 1 October 1990 or after.


In these cases, once Bill 4 becomes law, subsection 100f(1) provides that pending whole-building review applications will be converted into whole-building review applications under part VI-A. The criteria used under part VI-A will be used in determining the justified rent increase.

Subsections 100s(2) and (3) allow both landlords and tenants who are affected by a converted application under part VI-A to make submissions concerning that application within specific time frames once Bill 4 comes into force. Landlords will have 30 days after Bill 4 becomes law to make submissions. Extensions of time can be granted under the general power to extend time found in subsection 19(5) of the RRRA, 1986. Tenants will have 30 days after the landlord's submission period or from the extension date to reply.

So basically what we are saying is that the regulations will change to the new criteria.

The Vice-Chair: Are there questions or comments on subsections 100s(1), (2) or (3)? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee that subsections 100s(1), (2) and (3) be carried? Carried.

Section 100t:

Ms Harrington: This section provides a transitional rule for all pending tenant applications disputing an intended rent increase that does not exceed the current maximum rent plus the guideline amount that were made before the Residential Rent Regulation Amendment Act, 1990, coming into force and where the effective date of rent increase for the unit is on 1 October 1990 or after.

In these cases, once the RRRAA becomes law, subsection 100t(1) provides that pending tenant applications under this part will be converted to tenant applications under part VI-A. The criteria under part VI-A will be considered on the tenants' application.

Subsections 100t(2) and 100t(3) allow both tenants and landlords who are affected by a converted application under part VI-A to make submissions concerning that application within specific time frames once the RRRAA comes into force. Tenants will have 30 days after the day this amendment becomes law to make submissions. Extensions of time can be granted under the general power to extend time found in subsection 19(5) of the RRRA, 1986. Landlords will have 30 days after the tenant submission period or the extension date to reply.

The Vice-Chair: I think we should deal with this section by section. Are there comments, questions or amendments to subsection 100t(1)? Being none, is it the pleasure of the committee that subsection 100t(1) carry? Carried.

Subsection 100t(2). Are there questions or comments on subsection 100t(2)? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee that subsection 100t(2) carry? Carried.

Subsection 100t(3). Are there questions or comments on subsection 100t(3)? Seeing none, is it the pleasure of the committee that subsection 100t(3) be carried? Carried.

Ms Poole: I have an amendment to section 100t. It is actually an addition called section 100ta.

The Vice-Chair: Ms Poole moves that section 8 of the bill be amended by adding the following section to the act:

"100ta(1) This section applies to all work orders against a residential complex that have been filed by a municipality with the standards board and that are outstanding on or after the day that is 30 days after the Residential Rent Regulation Amendment Act, 1991, receives royal assent.

"(2) If, in the opinion of the standards board, the subject matter of a work order affects the structural soundness of the residential complex or the health or safety of its tenants, the standards board shall give written notice to the landlord informing the landlord,

"(a) that the work order is outstanding;

"(b) that if the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to comply with the work order within 30 days of the date of the notice, the standards board will notify all affected tenants of that fact; and

"(c) that upon receiving notice under clause (b), the tenants will have the right to withhold that portion of rent equal to the percentage increase permitted under subsection 71(1) until the standards board is satisfied that the landlord is making reasonable efforts to comply with the work order.

"(3) If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to comply with the work order within 30 days of the date of the notice, the standards board shall forthwith notify all affected tenants of their rights under subsection (4).

"(4) A tenant may withhold that portion of rent equal to the percentage increase permitted under subsection 71(1) if he or she has received a notice from the standards board that the landlord has not made reasonable efforts to comply with the work order and may continue to do so until the standards board notifies the tenant otherwise.

"(5) Upon receiving satisfactory evidence that the landlord is making reasonable efforts to comply with the work order, the standards board shall forthwith notify all affected tenants that it has received that evidence and that they may no longer withhold that portion of their rent."

For the benefit of the committee, would you like to take this opportunity to explain this amendment?

Ms Poole: It is a very lengthy amendment, but I think it can be explained quite simply. This amendment deals with work orders that are outstanding. The current practice in Ontario is that I believe in every major municipality and in many smaller municipalities they automatically file outstanding work orders with the Residential Rental Standards Board as a matter of course. This is already in effect. Unfortunately, the standards board has not had sufficient authority to deal with these matters in a very timely way.

What I have proposed is that the standards board would take a look at the outstanding work order, and if it was a substantial work order, in other words, if it affected the structural integrity of the building or if it was a case of the safety or health of the tenants that was placed in jeopardy, the board would then issue a notice to landlords and tenants (a) that the work order was outstanding and (b) that the landlord would have 30 days to make reasonable efforts to comply with the work order. If the landlord failed to make reasonable efforts, in the opinion of the standards board, then immediately upon the expiration of the 30 days it would notify the tenants that they automatically would have the right to withhold the guideline increase from the landlord until such time as the standards board would give them notification that the landlord has mended his or her ways and is making reasonable efforts to comply.

The balance of the amendment gives, first of all, the standards board the authority to notify the tenants, gives it the authority to notify them that they may withhold the statutory guideline increase and gives it the authority to send out the second notice saying that, "Everything has been rectified and you may now commence paying the guideline increase again."


There were several specifics to this amendment that I added to make it workable. One is that it would not be every work order that would receive this treatment. If a tenant complained that one of the tiles in his shower was cracked, this would not notify the kind of action that all tenants in the building could withhold their statutory guideline rent increases. So we tried to make it substantive issues.

The second thing is that I specifically did not say that the landlord has 30 days to comply with the work order, because, as you are aware, there are different types of work orders. You may have a work order regarding the structural integrity of the underground parking garage which would take many months to complete, would involve many facets, but other work orders such as the fact that the lighting has to be repaired in the garage could be completed within the 30-day period. So I used the terminology that the landlord would have to make "reasonable efforts" to comply with the work order. For an underground parking garage restructuring, this would probably involve getting structural engineering reports, getting quotes and showing that the landlord was well on the way to dealing with this. On the not-as-substantive work orders, it would signify that they would actually require compliance.

Virtually every tenant presentation that we had to us mentioned the difficulty with maintenance, repairs and outstanding work orders, and we had a number of presentations, very thoughtful presentations, by tenant advocates which referred to the quality of accommodation.

For instance, we had the Housing Help Centre for Hamilton-Wentworth, which in Hamilton gave us I thought a very sensitive brief in which they state:

"We believe that Bill 4 should deal with the quality issue. We suggest that no rent increase be allowed at all if there are outstanding building, fire or health regulation infractions. Certainly the new rent review system should address quality in its regulations and implementation. A comprehensive housing policy should address the problem of bringing up to standards a great many substandard units occupied by low-income tenants."

Then we also had the Stormont Dundas Glengarry Legal Clinic, which stated:

"While the present bill of course is an interim measure, it would undoubtedly better serve the interests of low-income tenants if it created greater incentives for adherence to standards of quality. In our jurisdiction, the supply of housing at an affordable price for low-income persons is graphically related to the issue of quality of that housing. Municipal control of quality is minimal, with one person to carry out inspections in response to a tenant complaint. The municipality may issue a notice to the landlord to carry out repairs to premises found to be in contravention of municipal property standard bylaws, but it takes no other legal steps to enforce this notice. We have reason to believe that this is a pattern throughout Ontario.

"The result, at least in our community, is that much of the housing stock is substandard. Most of the affordable housing fails to meet property standards. We think that low-income tenants should not have to accept as a way of life that the roof over their heads will be one that leaks."

I submit to you that for all tenants they should not have to accept as a way of life that the roof over their head will be one that leaks, and I think their point is very well taken. We have measures currently in place and we have a measure suggested in Bill 4 that is not going to be effective in dealing with these outstanding work orders.

The rationale behind this specific amendment is that it is going to make it very easy for the tenant to get action without having to make a rent review application. It does not require that a tenant have a sophisticated knowledge of rent review law. It does not require a tenant to go before a rent review administrator or hearings board and wait for many, many months for a result, and it does not require that the burden of proof has to rest with the tenants.

For instance, if you look at section 100g, which we passed yesterday, and I made some initial comments on this, the way it deals with the maintenance and repairs and outstanding work orders is to provide that the tenant would have to make application for relief. But I say to you, how does the tenant prove that there has been "a deterioration in the standard of maintenance and repair that affects the rental unit," because for the tenant to prove that they have to prove what the standard was originally and what it is now. In the best of all possible worlds, tenants would have had pictures of what it was like five years ago and what it is like today, they would have had evidence to that effect, but I have had many cases where tenants have had difficulty proving it. It is not a matter that the maintenance and repairs deteriorated, the difficulty was in the tenant proving it. So this eliminates all that kind of provision and burden and onus from the tenant.

Prior to tabling this amendment, I did pass it by several authorities to see if they felt it was workable, a senior official at the rental standards board and also the building inspector for north Toronto, and the comment back was quite favourable, that it was workable, that no new bureaucracy would have to be set in place, that it could work well within the current system and that it would create a great incentive for the landlord to actually deal with the matter expeditiously.

There were just a few more comments I had to make, referring again to the presentation by the Stormont Dundas Glengarry Legal Clinic, which I thought was very helpful to us. They propose that something be done in Bill 4 to deal with the standards bylaws and also the fact that outstanding work orders were out there.

They presented a stick-and-carrot approach, and under the carrot approach they said:

"The bill should recognize as a ground for requesting a rent increase legitimate costs associated with the repairs required to ensure adherence to property standards. If this ground is not available, we consider that those persons whom we represent and on whose behalf we have advocated in this brief will be most vulnerable."

I really agree with this, which is why I wanted a provision in for necessary repairs.

The particular amendment which I tabled which dealt with structural integrity of a building or where the tenant's health and safety was in jeopardy was defeated, but we have one last chance. We have a chance to ensure that tenants have an opportunity to have safe, comfortable buildings without going through hoops to achieve it, so I would submit to you that this amendment is not only desirable, this amendment is workable, without increased bureaucracy, and that every member of this committee should support it, even Mr Mahoney.

Mr Tilson: The Progressive Conservative Party supports the amendment. Just as Ms Poole has indicated, this is a problem that arose time and time again throughout the hearings, of tenants showing their frustration with certain unscrupulous landlords who are abusing the system, and if the committee is going to show the willingness to consult with the people of the province, I think it is an excellent amendment and should be supported by the committee.

Mr Turnbull: I certainly applaud Ms Poole for bringing this forward. I think we have got to show leadership in this province in terms of how we are going to address the maintenance of buildings and make sure that people are safely housed and that it is a healthy environment.

We have heard several presentations from tenants who were frustrated at the fact that ongoing maintenance was not being done. It is tremendously important that we address that, and certainly in the permanent legislation we would probably need to address it more fully, but this goes a long way towards plugging the gap at the moment. We have got to make sure that preventive maintenance is done so that we cannot have a bunching of capital costs.


I mean, I have been one of the loudest advocates of making sure that money was available to maintain buildings, and that means that tenants will have to pay for it, but by the same token, I will be one of the loudest advocates of making sure that the buildings are maintained and that they do not let them deteriorate so that they have to do capital repairs. There is 1% in the present guidelines which is allocated to capital costs, and within those confines I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect that we should enforce that that money is spent on what it is meant to be spent on.

However, obviously it does raise the problem that if something of a major nature comes forward, it is unreasonable to think that somebody who is losing money is going to suddenly produce the money out of the air. But this certainly goes a step towards making sure that that 1% is spent appropriately on maintaining buildings, so I certainly support it.

The Vice-Chair: Any other members wishing to speak to Ms Poole's amendment?

Ms Poole: Can I ask for a recorded vote, Mr Chair?

The Vice-Chair: A recorded vote.

Ms Harrington: I wanted to explain our position.

The Vice-Chair: Oh, I am sorry.

Ms Harrington: We thank the Liberal Party for this amendment, and we have had our staff look into the feasibility of this amendment.

I would first of all like to say that having a system where it is easy for the tenant to get enforcement of maintenance necessities and orders is of primary concern and that the maintenance mechanisms which are in place now we realize are not working efficiently, but we must recognize that during the time of this interim bill there are maintenance mechanisms in place that are not going to be any worse than what has been in effect for the last five years or so.

We are concerned about the quality of housing, and I just want to refer back to -- you mentioned the Housing Help Centre of Hamilton-Wentworth presentation. I do remember that, and you did quote from them. They were talking about the new rent review system and a new housing policy for the whole housing policy for Ontario, and this is something even beyond the green paper discussion that we are working on for a much longer -- you know, it is going to take several years, and hopefully over the term of this government we will have a housing strategy for the province which will make some sense.

Mr Turnbull: Unlike this.

Ms Harrington: What they were talking about was the long-term legislation, the discussion paper, that they want a mechanism in place that is going to work.

I would like staff to answer to you directly as to what the implications of this amendment are. I have some of them written down, but maybe I will ask staff to comment first and I will conclude with these comments.

Ms Parrish: As Ms Harrington said, I think there is much that is attractive to the basic underlying policy that is being put forward here. The problem is, it is very difficult to integrate this concept with the current structure that is in the RRRA.

One of the concerns is that under this proposal it would be a very long time before there would be any rent penalty at all, because a work order would have had to have been sent to the rental standards board, it would have had to have been outstanding at least 30 days after the act receives royal assent, there would have to be a determination made that the structural soundness or health and safety is affected, then there would be another 30 days in which there could or could not be reasonable efforts made by the landlord, and then the tenants would have to be notified. We know that under the current system we already have an eight-and-a-half-month period of delay. This would now be adding at least another 60 days, so in some cases it would be quite conceivable that nothing at all would happen for a full year.

The other concern is that the standards board is really not equipped to do this. The standards board does not currently have hearings, and unfortunately some of the things that people want to be determined are things that are very hard to determine without a hearing.

For example, one of the things you have to look at is whether the landlord has made a reasonable effort to comply. If you do not have a hearing, how do you decide that? The landlord is going to say, in some cases, "I made a reasonable effort," and the tenants are going to say, "He hasn't made a reasonable effort," and if there is no ability to have a hearing, how are you going to test that?

In the end -- and I should say that because the standards board does not now have hearings, there are no procedural mechanisms in place. For example, unlike the rent administrator, there is no appeal. So if you made this decision, suppose the tenants were unhappy and they said to the standards board something or another and, "He's not making a reasonable effort," and the standards board rules, "Oh, yes, there is a reasonable effort," there is no appeal. And there may be no hearing either.

So it is very difficult to make this work within the structure that we have and that is why we have been looking at options that would collapse the function of maintenance problem determination with the rent penalty determination in one hearing.

Ultimately, the penalty is very minor. It is a temporary withholding of the rent increase. There is no absolute reduction, and there is a suspension of the cost guideline increase. So it is going to be dependent on what time of year all this happens, because if the landlord just got the guideline increase last month, then frankly he does not care for a whole year whether or not this is a problem, because there is no ability to actually lower the rent, so you would have to sort of make sure that you got in the system at the right time for this to actually be any real pressure on the landlord.

Then again, the landlord actually does not have to comply with the work order at all. He only has to make a reasonable effort to do so. Again, it is difficult to know how you would ascertain that, because there would not really be the system in place.

That is not to say that you could not, if you had a new system, deal with some of these problems, but it is very difficult to make this work within the current structure, and certainly this amendment does not provide for some of the problems that I have identified. That is not to say that this is not a very valid and legitimate issue to be raised in any full system in the end.

Ms Poole: Did Ms Harrington have any further comments? If not, I certainly do.

Ms Harrington: Are you finished?

Ms Parrish: Yes.

Ms Harrington: Just to tell you very briefly the reasons that we cannot accept this amendment are, first of all, we feel it cannot fit into the system of the RRRA. This is strictly an amendment to the RRRA.

The other concern which is very clear is the time frame for this, as Colleen has mentioned, eight to nine months and then 60 days on top of that. We are hoping by the time we have new legislation in place by the end of this year that we will have some answers that will work more quickly than this. The other thing is, the temporary withholding of rent increases is the only penalty, which we feel is a rather minor penalty. So the overall thing is that we want a system that works and that we want to have that as part of the long-term legislation.

The Chair: We have Mrs Poole and Mr Tilson.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, I am making great efforts to refrain from the use of an unparliamentary word or indication that was used earlier in this session today. This nonsense about the eight and a half months' delay is -- nonsense. I am still refraining, Mr Chair. There is an eight-and-a-half-month delay with the standards board orders right now because it has to go through rent review. That is why in this motion we have specifically said that they do not go through rent review, the standards board would have the authority to deal with it.

The second point I would like to make is, you say it takes a long time to go into effect and by the time it would go into effect Bill 4 would be over. We have, ladies and gentlemen, piles of outstanding work orders that are there right now sitting with the standards board and sitting with municipal inspectors that they would love to have dealt with. We do not have to wait for orders to become outstanding, they are there. So we have cut off all that time.

You have, first, got lots to work with; there are outstanding work orders already there and present. Second, the time frame for this is quite expeditious, because as soon as the municipality files that outstanding work order with the standards board, the standards board would then immediately send out this letter to notify landlord and tenant of the situation. After 30-day expiration, the building inspector would then make a representation to the standards board if, in the opinion of the building inspector, reasonable efforts to comply with the work order had taken place. So you are not asking for new bureaucracy, and it can work within the existing system.


It is true there is no hearing board, hearings at the board level, but we are not asking for a major bureaucratic nightmare to be developed. We want something very quick and very expeditious, that the building inspector and the standards board between them have agreed that this is or is not a reasonable attempt to satisfy the work order, and they have the expertise to do this.

I just have a great difficulty in the whole approach of the government that we have to wait for the long term, as though the long-term legislation is going to be some nirvana. It is not going to solve all our problems. Surely this is a way to test out whether this system works. Contrary to what we have just heard, I believe, and certainly the two people I approached, one I told you about from the standards board and the building inspection department, felt it was eminently workable, without increased bureaucracy, without time delay, and it would -- what it does is it cuts rent review out of the equation, which any way you look at it is going to speed things up. It is far better than what we have now and it is far more substantial than 100g, which we passed yesterday.

Mr Chair, I would like to call for the vote.

Ms Harrington: With regard to the time line, I would like to ask staff to check on that again.

The Chair: You do not want Mr Tilson to speak?

Ms Poole: Oh, yes, I am sorry, Mr Chair. Mr Tilson and Mrs Harrington I think have comments. That is fine.

The Chair: Mr Tilson?

Mr Tilson: I have no further comments, Mr Chair.

The Chair: You are calling for the vote?

Mr Tilson: Yes.

The Chair: Mrs Harrington?

Ms Harrington: I wanted to ask staff to clarify the position of why it will take longer than our amendment is discussing here.

Ms Parrish: I want to clarify that it is true that the eight-and-a-half-month period includes the period that rent review administrators spend doing the case, but what would happen under this amendment is that the determinations that are now being made by rent review administrators would be made at standards board. They currently have most of these orders for several months and then they pass it on and then somebody else makes the next decision, but they would now have to make new decisions about the reasonableness of the conduct, the structural soundness and so on, which they do not currently decide. So it may very well be that there would be some reduction in the time made, the total time, but there may be some increase, because they have to make a new decision. It is a guesstimate as to how long it would take.

The Chair: Okay, I think we have had ample debate. George, you do not want to debate on this?

Mr Mammoliti: No.

The Chair: Very good. I think we are going to vote on Ms Poole's amendment.

The committee divided on Ms Poole's motion, which was negatived on the following vote:


Brown, Mahoney, Poole, Tilson, Turnbull.


Abel, Christopherson, Drainville, Harrington, Mammoliti, Ward, M.

The Chair: I thought I was going to have to break a tie there for a second.

Mr Tilson: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I do not think Ms Harrington was in her chair.

The Chair: I think she is a member of the committee.

Mr Mahoney: We need an expert opinion, if you do not mind.

Mr Tilson: My position, Mr Chair, is that she is sitting, I suppose normally where the minister would sit, as the parliamentary assistant, and she is not sitting as a member of this committee. In fact, her sign marker is at the end of the table and that is where she normally sits. Otherwise, Mr Chair, the New Democratic Party would have to have a replacement for Ms Harrington.

Mr Mahoney: We have a tie vote and you have to decide, Mr Chair.

The Chair: I thought for a second I was going to have to do that.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, make me feel good. What would you have voted?

Mr Mahoney: Don't answer that.

Ms Poole: This is not market value, Mr Chair.

Mr Turnbull: Your future and that party's depend on this.

Ms Poole: Whose, mine or his?

Interjection: Both.

The Chair: I think the vote was conducted in order and Mrs Harrington is a member of the committee and has the right to vote. Basically the rules are, if there are replacements, there is an appropriate time for the replacements to get their names in to the clerk.

Mr Tilson: You mean to tell me that a member of the committee can sit anywhere in this room and still vote?

Interjection: At the table.

The Chair: No, they cannot sit in the back, of course, but at the table, and the parliamentary assistant is allowed to represent the minister and give information and --

Mr Tilson: I quite appreciate that, but I guess my question is, I do not look at that, where she is sitting, as a member of this committee. She is sitting in her capacity as the parliamentary assistant.

The Chair: And as a member of the committee.

Ms Poole: Mr Chair, before we proceed with 100u, I have a further amendment to make, which would be 100tb -- tb, as opposed to ta, which just got defeated.

The Chair: All right. Would you care to make your amendment, Ms Poole?

Ms Poole: Yes. While this is being distributed to members, I will read it out for their information.

The Chair: Ms Poole moves that section 8 of the bill be amended by adding the following section to the act:

"100tb(1) In this section, `economic eviction' in respect of a tenant occurs when the tenant is forced to discontinue a residential tenancy because of a rent increase that the tenant cannot reasonably afford to pay.

"(2) The minister shall, within 30 days of being asked to do so by a tenant, give the tenant priority on the waiting list for housing provided by the Ontario Housing Corp if, in the opinion of the minister, the tenant has experienced economic eviction.

"(3) The minister shall, within 30 days of being asked to do so by a tenant, make reasonable efforts to ensure that the tenant is given priority on waiting lists for co-operative housing and any other non-profit rent-geared-to-income housing other than that provided by the Ontario Housing Corp if, in the opinion of the minister, the tenant has experienced economic eviction."

You can explain your motion in more detail, if you wish, Ms Poole.

Ms Poole: If I had a dollar for every time the words "economic eviction" were used on this committee, I would be in a substantially wealthier position than I am today. It was used repeatedly by members, without definition or without qualification as to how to deal with economic eviction.

It would seem to me that we have provided in Bill 4 that the landlord has a certain responsibility towards economic eviction and in preventing same. I also feel that government has a role to play, and via my amendment the minister would be responsible for ensuring that tenants who had been economically evicted were put on the priority waiting list of the Ontario Housing Corp, which, as you know, the minister has the capacity to do, and second, for instances where there is co-operative and non-profit housing which may not be funded directly by the province so that the minister could not directly make provision to do so, the minister should make reasonable efforts to place that tenant who has been economically evicted on those waiting lists as well.


There is a precedent for the priority on the waiting list for the Ontario Housing Corp. Under the previous government, the Liberal government, we gave priority on Ontario Housing Corp waiting lists to women who had been assaulted and were victims of domestic abuse. Those women and their families were put on as a priority, and I certainly not only wholeheartedly agree with that, I wholeheartedly endorsed it at the time and thought it was an excellent move on behalf of our government. I would think it would be incumbent on the NDP government, which has expressed great concern about economic eviction, to make a provision, particularly with relation to Ontario Housing Corp, to make it possible for a tenant who has been economically evicted to have that same kind of priority.

Ms Harrington: It is a good try, I will tell you, but first of all, economic eviction we believe will be stopped by Bill 4. Bill 4 is stopping the large increases in rent. That is exactly what it is doing, and it is to stop economic eviction. If there is any one thing that Bill 4 does, it is this. It is to stop economic evictions and large increases in rent.

Second, trying to give priority to these people -- first of all, you have to determine those who are economically evicted, but the problem is in putting them on this waiting list, giving them priority. The problem is the waiting list is vast for both non-profit co-ops and Ontario Housing Corp, and it is, I believe, unfair to evaluate, these people are more deserving than battered women or that -- it is a terrible decision to have to make by anyone, to say that these people should be given priority over other people who have been on the list for six months or 18 months trying to get into subsidized housing.

In a perfect world this would be wonderful, but under the circumstances it is an unworkable thing to ask, I believe, with the already long waiting list, and to try to say some people are more deserving than others, and the real bottom line is that economic eviction is being stopped by Bill 4.

Ms Poole: I just find a great difficulty to believe that Bill 4 is the answer to all our prayers and is going to stop economic eviction.

Ms Harrington: It will not stop everything, but it will stop this.

Ms Poole: For one thing, there are many tenants who right now cannot afford to pay the rent they are, so even a guideline increase, which is a rent increase that the tenant cannot reasonably afford to pay, can move them into economic eviction. Bill 4 does not deal with reality, that there are many tenants out there who are not receiving help and they will not get relief from Bill 4 because they are already behind the eight ball, and to say that Bill 4 has stopped economic eviction is living in a fairyland.

As far as the waiting list being vast is concerned, I agree with that, but I have also asked questions in the House to the minister about increasing in situ placements, which, as members are aware, are placements within their own building of tenants who are subsidized without having to move. This is something the minister could have done immediately in order to remedy a number of cases of economic eviction which we are hearing about today.

So I just have a great deal of difficulty in saying that Bill 4 is the answer to all our prayers with regard to economic eviction, or furthermore that the long-term legislation is going to be. It is going to require a comprehensive housing policy. But putting them as a priority on waiting lists, particularly for the Ontario Housing Corp, even if you said, "Well, the minister shouldn't have to do it for co-op housing," surely with our own body, the Ontario Housing Corp, there would be an onus on the minister to provide this kind of relief. And if he is not willing to provide this kind of relief, we have to ask why. If he is truly interested in protecting tenants and in dealing with the issue of economic eviction, this is his opportunity.

Mr Tilson: Without sounding repetitive to Ms Poole, but unfortunately George is not here --

Ms Poole: Oh, he is coming.

Mr Tilson: Well, then, I will try and say my words before George arrives.

Ms Poole: But he did not hear me, so that is okay. You are not repeating anything George heard.

Mr Mammoliti: Are you talking behind my back?

Mr Tilson: This question of economic eviction was a standard question of the New Democratic members of this committee throughout the public hearings. Almost every tenant group that appeared before us they asked that question as to the issue of economic eviction, and Ms Poole is quite correct, it was asked over and over, and all of a sudden we are out around the province trying to deal with the problem that is created by this bill and I hear the parliamentary assistant not only saying it is not a proper amendment but simply saying that Bill 4 is the answer.

Bill 4 is not the answer, as has already been indicated. Rents are continuing to increase. Tenant after tenant has told everyone in this room, either in this committee or privately, that they cannot afford the rents that are being charged in many situations. The number of people who are paying vast amounts of their income, 30%, 40%, 50% in many cases, towards rent is astounding, and yet as a result of Bill 4, that problem is continuing to escalate and will continue to escalate. This government is not addressing that problem, it is allowing it to go, to rampage on. I mentioned to this committee before that there are tenants in my own riding, particular senior citizens, who have fixed incomes and these increases are continuing, as set forth by the New Democratic Party, and they are being forced to leave their apartments because of economic eviction. They simply cannot afford to stay where they are because of the rents that are being charged. I simply cannot understand Ms Harrington's position when she says that Bill 4 answers that.

Clearly, this government has been, with respect to dealing specifically with the amendment and indicating the recommendation that those people who are being evicted -- this is an effort to deal with the issue of economic eviction. The New Democratic Party obviously does not care. They have not put forward any amendment, and they could not care less. They are just saying the answer, "Oh, well, we'll deal with it in our permanent legislation, which we'll see." So far the green paper does not really seem to deal with that, but we will wait and see. Meanwhile we have Bill 4 and meanwhile we have tenant after tenant being forced to leave their apartments as a result of this problem.

It has been quite apparent that this government intends, as one of our representatives to the committee said, to make housing a public utility. I think it is time that if that is the intention of the government, the New Democratic Party, then it should put its money where its mouth is and tell us, where is it going to get the money to do these things? They are saying that they are going to increase the non-profit housing, and that is admirable. This motion, of course, will assist individuals who are being forced out, but I think not only is that an effort to deal with it, but it is now time to tell us where the government is going to get the money to do all these things, other than just leaving the poor to find whatever they can.

I assume that if the government members are going to vote against this amendment, they are simply saying to tenants who are being forced out by economic eviction: "Tough luck. Find whatever place you can. We're not going to help you. We have no recommendations. Look at our green paper. We don't have any recommendations. Look at Bill 4. We don't have any recommendations. In fact, the rents are going to go up." So I would ask the New Democratic members of the committee to support the amendments and try and deal with this problem.


Mr Brown: Obviously I support Mrs Poole's amendment.

Ms Poole: I told him so.

Mr Brown: It seems to me that one of the major issues of the hearings that we have just gone through has been economic eviction. We have heard it time and time again that this is the reason for Bill 4. We have had absolutely no statistics, no information about how many people will be affected. It might have been interesting to know, for example, if Bill 4 were in effect, what difference from Bill 51 that would make in terms of the number of economic evictions. But that is hard to know, because the government has not seen fit to define economic eviction. We do not know whether an increase in payment on your lease on your BMW means economic eviction. I say that kind of sarcastically, but I do not think those are the people whom we are trying to protect, nor would anyone in this room really believe that it is an economic eviction to move from a $1,700 apartment to a $1,500-a-month apartment.

One of the legitimate questions I think the opposition has asked through this entire process is: "What is economic eviction? How many people will be affected favourably if Bill 4 goes through as opposed to how many people would have been affected if Bill 51 stood the way it was?" We have to remember that Bill 51 represented an average increase in this province of 5.8%, hardly the kind of number that would suggest to the people of Ontario there were going to be huge amounts of economic evictions.

When you start looking at that, you start to recognize that the government's case has been pretty shaky all the way through here and that perhaps it is really a political agenda that has not much to do with economic eviction but has to do with their famous promise in the election. "New Democrats would bring in rent control," the Agenda for People says. My colleague Mr Mahoney would call it the agenda for power rather than people. "That means one increase a year based on inflation. There would be no extra bonuses" -- I like the choice of the word "bonuses" -- "to landlords for capital or financing costs. It's simple, it's fair, and it avoids bureaucracy which has frustrated both tenants and small landlords."

I would like to propose that there should be an unfriendly amendment to the Agenda for People, and that unfriendly amendment to the Agenda for People, which I think should be made retroactively --

Mr Drainville: Point of order, Mr Chair.

Mr Brown: I am not a member of your party, is that the problem?

Mr Drainville: Thank God. I would just like to say that if we are entertaining motions to amend the Agenda for People, it seems that we should perhaps move to more congenial surroundings, like the caucus room of the NDP. It obviously does not make much sense to have the honourable member going on about this particular issue.

Mr Brown: Mr Drainville may not share that opinion but over here we think there is a large credibility problem, that we view what you have said before the election and after the election to be slightly contrary. You are not saying the same things.

Mr Tilson: You have broken your promise already.

Mr Brown: The honourable member suggests they have broken their promise already, and that is clear.

The Chair: Order, please. I am going to allow Mr Brown to continue.

Mr Drainville: He already has, sir.

The Chair: He was talking on your point of order and I do not really see any need.

Mr Brown: I think that clauses of the agenda for power need to be amended. The first one obviously should be, "(a) If elected, the promise is null and void," and "(b) We would present a bill to destroy small landlords as an interim measure."

Mr Drainville: Point of order, Mr Chair: I keep on hearing that a motion is going to be made to amend the Agenda for People. Is this in order? I am just trying to understand the whole thing.

Mr Brown: I think it is a rhetorical device.

The Chair: I think the honourable member is being facetious.

Mr Drainville: And rather silly at the same time.

The Chair: The Chair cannot make that judgement.

Mr Drainville: No, no. I am glad we are televised so that the people can.

The Chair: Mr Drainville, I do not want to debate you or any other members of the committee. I do not mind the debate going back and forth between the members, but I am not going to participate in the debate with yourself or any other member of the committee. So far, I am not prepared to rule Mr Brown out of order. If we were to check Hansard as far back as I can remember, both in the Legislature doing clause-by-clause in committee of the whole House or in committee, we will find hundreds of examples of where members from all sides of the House chided one another for certain promises made and for certain positions taken and for a number of other things. I think that is part of the convention that has always taken place. Because of my own personal position, I am being as careful as I can to maintain my neutrality. I am listening as carefully as I can and we will just continue.

Mr Brown: Thank you. Continuing with the amendment to the Agenda for People, I think that (c) should be, "Following the destruction of investor confidence in the province of Ontario, we the New Democratic Party will mount an impressive disinformation campaign to blame capitalist exploitation for the destruction of private housing stock.

"(d) As the class struggle continues, we will increase our funding for food banks.

"(e) Food banks will be required to distribute free blankets to the growing homeless."

The Chair: Mr Brown, you are going to relate all of this back to Mrs Poole's amendment?

Mr Brown: I was about to very carefully. I think it is clear that our party sees in the defeat of every amendment put before this committee in the interest of tenants, in the interest of tenants' protection, in the defeat -- or the impending defeat, I suspect -- about this economic --

Mr Mammoliti: Point of information, whatever you want to call it.

Mr Brown: They are touchy over there.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has a point of order.

Mr Mammoliti: For the record, not every amendment has been defeated. The honourable member has said that every amendment has been defeated. Again, not every amendment has been defeated.

Mr Brown: Thank you, Mr Mammoliti. I correct myself. I forgot that you supported one of the 12 amendments for the --

Mr Mammoliti: I too am glad that this is on TV so that the people can witness exactly what we are witnessing here as a government.

Ms Poole: Keep talking, George.

Mr Brown: We are all for it, George.

This amendment deals particularly with economic eviction, the total reason that the government -- well, at least the major reason the government has given for this. It protects tenants not at all, because as many people have said before this committee, whether they are tenants or landlords or whatever, about 30% of the tenants in this province cannot afford the rent they are paying. What we on this side are asking is for you to support this amendment because that will force you, the government, to define economic eviction so that the people of Ontario understand that. It will force you to deal with the real problem, and the real problem is incomes. It will force you to do that.

Before you get too excited, I was a little bit dismayed to hear the Housing minister mention the transfer payments to the provinces by Mr Wilson, the federal Minister of Finance. We were upset by the fact that the transfers will not increase at the rate we would wish to this province, but we must remind members that a government has to set priorities. This seems to be one of the government's priorities and we would hope that even though the lack of transfers by Mr Wilson to Mr Laughren is not what Mr Laughren might hope, he will create the necessary housing or programs to help the 30% of tenants who cannot afford the rents they are being charged today, let alone even a statutory increase.


We cannot see a government merely passing the buck. We want to see the government support Mrs Poole's amendment so that people who do have the problem of economic eviction will be dealt with, so that we can provide the needed housing to the people of Ontario who really do need it and that the government really acts in comparison to its rhetoric, it does what it said it was going to do, and that is protect tenants. We want you to accept the second out of the 12 pro-tenant amendments this party has presented and move forward with that. We do not think that is too much. We know there is a problem with economics, that people cannot afford the accommodation they are presently living with. What we want you to do is to come forward with a total housing program that will do that, and one good start would be voting for this amendment this afternoon.

Mr Turnbull: I too support Miss Poole's amendment. We have heard in the submissions before this committee from Stuart Thom that 33% of the people in Ontario cannot afford the rent they are paying. When we talk about economic eviction, and it is a term which was brought up repeatedly by the New Democratic members of this committee during the course of the committee hearings, we know that it is the straw that broke the camel's back. There are many people who cannot afford their rent now. The PC party has consistently suggested that we believe that shelter allowances would be appropriate, and Stuart Thom, who is surely the most unpartisan person whom we have heard at all of these hearings, very clearly pointed out that after having spent, I believe, $3 million of the province's money studying this problem he has established that one third of all tenants cannot afford the rent they are paying.

Given the fact that the NDP has so consistently spoken about economic eviction, it seems reasonable that it would want to support Miss Poole's amendment when this goes to the heart of certainly what this side of the House is in favour of, and that is protecting people in need. This amendment certainly directly addresses that imperative. It may not be a perfect solution ultimately, but it is a solution which is urgently needed, and I emphasize that it is the straw that broke the camel's back. Yes, you might be limiting the amount of increases. It does not take away from the sheer logic of the fact that many people cannot afford to pay their rent now.

I see old people in my riding who are on fixed incomes and they live in fear of any rental increases. They are already above their heads. They are on fixed incomes and because of the way we have had inflation in this country their base is eroded. We have got to protect those people more than anybody else because these are the people who built our country.

I find it absolutely inconceivable and extremely disappointing that my colleagues in the NDP on this committee will not support this amendment. It is very clear why it is put forward. It is to protect people in need.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Turnbull. As we await Mr Drainville's return, maybe Mrs Harrington and then Mr Tilson.

Ms Harrington: I thought I would make one last statement, and that is that over the last few weeks we have all been together there have certainly been a lot of problems that we know Bill 4 is not going to answer because it is merely a temporary piece of legislation, a stopgap measure to stop the rent increases in their tracks. We have said, over and over again, that all of the answers, the solutions, have to come in the long-term legislation. But if there is only one thing that Bill 4 does, or definitely attempts to do, it is to stop rent increases of over 5.4%.

I believe we would agree, by definition, that economic eviction is having to leave your apartment or your home because of large rent increases that you cannot afford. I would just like to say very clearly that is what I believe is the one thing that Bill 4 is trying to do, is stop economic evictions.

Mr Turnbull: But we know that the average amount of household income expended in this province on rent on apartment buildings is approximately 17%, so what you are doing is you are turning your back on the people who are absolutely swimming in the cost of accommodation, which surely undermines what you certainly purported to stand for in the last election and helps the people who are leasing their BMWs, as was suggested before.

Ms Harrington: I think I have stated clearly our position on Bill 4 and what it is doing.

Mr Turnbull: I think you have.

Mr Tilson: I have a question for Ms Harrington in her capacity as the parliamentary assistant. I guess I would like some elaboration on your statements that Bill 4 is dealing with the economic eviction issue, specifically when we do have facts that 30% of tenants cannot afford what they are paying, they cannot afford it. If that is a fact, and it is a fact, then I guess my question to you is, during this breathing space, as you refer to it, or as the NDP refers to it, how do you intend to assist the tenants who are suffering under these circumstances and cannot pay these rents? This amendment deals with that; you are not prepared to support that amendment. If you are not prepared to support this amendment, what does the government intend to do during this moratorium period?

Ms Harrington: Over the past little while we have heard both opposition parties try to change this bill in several ways, and one of the ways is to allow more increase than the 5.4% and certain other, what we call extraordinary operating, costs to be passed through.

Mr Tilson: But my question was not what your interpretation is as to what you are trying to do; my question is what your party intends to do during this two-year period -- not your interpretation of our amendments. We have heard those. You have voted against most of them.

Ms Harrington: Yes, that was my preface.

Mr Tilson: My question is, what do you intend to do about these people who cannot afford these increases during this two-year period? Anything?

Ms Harrington: What I was about to say is that if we had listened to the opposition parties, if we had passed some of the amendments the opposition parties wanted us to pass, we would be economically evicting many more people. Now, getting back to your question --

Mr Tilson: Yes, please.

Ms Harrington: -- that in the past people have been economically evicted, to me that means that you are paying maybe 30% of your income, or maybe 40%, you are struggling, you are paying 50% of your income on housing, you are barely making it and then you get a rent increase of, say 10%, and you cannot afford it. You have been, in the past, economically evicted. What we are doing now is stopping those rent increases. We are putting them at 5.4%, which we think people may be able to handle, so that they are not economically evicted from this point forward.

I do recognize that there are people right now, and in the past, who have been economically evicted, and what we do with them -- I just had a sod turning yesterday out in Scarborough for new co-op housing. We are trying to deal with it. There are obviously many difficulties in getting intensified housing, putting apartments in single-family houses. Normally across this province the municipalities have not allowed that in the past. There are all kinds of different things we can look at to try to get more intensified economic housing and apartments in this province.

What I am saying to you is that Bill 4 is necessary to stop further evictions. That is our position.


Mr Tilson: Just so I am clear, Mr Thom is correct, your intent is then to continue to build non-profit housing and not encourage private enterprise?

Ms Harrington: I am afraid I did not say that. What I said was that certainly co-op housing and non-profit housing have an important place in this province, as they had under the last government, which instituted the Homes Now program. Co-op housing is people being in charge of their own units, forming a board to make those decisions, which is a very important thing, like home ownership, people who want to have home ownership but cannot afford it. There are many different options we should be looking at and I think the private rental market is going to be very much a part of the strategy of housing in the future.

Mr Tilson: Well, you are destroying it.

Mr Brown: In the short term, we see nothing in Bill 4 that really changes economic eviction very much.

Ms Harrington: I have to differ with you.

Mr Brown: I know you disagree with that, but one of the things that concerns us over here when we talk about that -- and Mr Tilson just alluded to it -- is that we all believe in co-op housing and all the other wonderful forms of non-profit housing in this province. They are good, they work, and that is fine.

Ms Harrington: They are one option.

Mr Brown: They are one component of the entire situation. The difficulty I think all of us over here are having with Bill 4 is that we do not see anywhere where this bill will increase the number of rental units in the province of Ontario, therefore giving tenants a choice. We cannot believe that this bill does it whatever. It has destroyed investor confidence. We think that will lead to economic eviction or eviction because the maintenance in the building breaks down and no matter how many orders you get, if the landlord does not have the money he cannot complete them. We think this bill is going to hurt tenants, that there will be more, whether you want to call them economic evictions or evictions because the property is not in good shape, whatever. We think that this bill will hurt it.

We want some confidence that the government thinks that private enterprise, private investment, has some place in the province of Ontario in order to be part of the mix of housing that we all should have. We want some indication, because even in your green paper it does not talk one bit about how that could happen.

While we are dealing with economic eviction --

Mr Mammoliti: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: What does this have to do with the amendment? What does all this discussion have to do with the amendment?

Mr Tilson: You should listen, George.

Mr Mammoliti: Maybe the amendment should be read back to us. I do not know. Certainly to me it is off topic.

Mr Brown: Sure, we will do that.

Mr Mammoliti: Sure, of course you will do that. You want to stall. Of course you will do that, sure.

Mr Tilson: It might help you to solve this housing problem.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chairman, as far as I am concerned they are out of order.

The Chair: You are correct, Mr Mammoliti, they are out of order. You have the floor. That is correct.

Mr Mammoliti: Thank you. Let's deal with the amendment.

The Chair: I caution all members to make sure that the arguments that they are making and wish to make revolve around the appropriate amendment or section of the bill that we are discussing. I have to partially agree with Mr Mammoliti. Mr Brown, I was having difficulty understanding how you are going to fit all this in but I was willing to give you a chance. I would ask you to please weave this story into the amendment.

Mr Brown: Thank you, Mr Chair. I apologize and I will tell you sometimes I was wondering how we might do that also.

I asked some questions of the parliamentary assistant and I would look perhaps for her response.

Ms Harrington: Very briefly, Bill 4 was not intended to make new housing starts in this province.

The Chair: Order, please. Mr Brown, I understand your question to the parliamentary assistant. We are going to have to keep our questions and our answers and our debates closer to the amendment as placed by Mrs Poole. I apologize if I seem rude in interrupting, but we are going to have to make sure that our discussion is weaved and our questions weave around the amendments and the sections that we are dealing with. Could you please try that again?

Mr Tilson: Mr Chair, if I could speak on the point of order --

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Tilson: -- with respect, I think Mr Brown is perfectly in order in talking about non-profit housing. Non-profit housing and co-op housing are a major part of this amendment and I think Mr Brown is perfectly in order in exploring that issue with the government member.

The Chair: I appreciate that, Mr Tilson, and we were not really speaking on a point of order. We had already dealt with Mr Mammoliti's point of order. I just want to make sure that all the committee members have a certain comfort level in this committee. I am making a request of all members that when we are dealing with amendments or certain sections of the act, to try the best they can to ensure that we are in fact talking about portions of the amendment or portions of the section, or if we are not being that specific, how our comments in fact relate to the greater discussion. I am asking for the co-operation of all members.

Mr Brown: I think there is a consensus in the committee that the parliamentary assistant was about to answer some of the questions that I asked. She obviously agreed they were relevant to the amendment.

The Chair: Yes, I appreciate that, but I am not going to repeat what I have already said. Let's just try to keep our comments to the amendments and the sections. Try again, try again.

Ms Harrington: I would like to just finish. First of all I made the statement that Bill 4 is not intended to actually make new housing starts in this province. I told you before what Bill 4 was intended to do. What Mr Brown has brought into the discussion is the whole strategy for housing in the future of Ontario. That is a very big question, a very big picture, and I would like to assure him, just very briefly, that as soon as we started discussing with the people at the Ministry of Housing the overall picture, and I think it was the end of October or so, we said, "Will you please start on a strategy for the whole of housing and see how the different parts fit in together and what the costs involved are and where we should be going?" That is in the works and I just mentioned it to the minister a few days ago. It is something we have to get busy on and it is happening. It is just that right now we happen to be dealing with Bill 4.

Mr Brown: Exactly, but what we are really dealing with right here is an amendment with regard to economic eviction. But you cannot see economic eviction as just a Bill 4 item. You say, "It's going to help." I say, "I'm not so sure." We are presenting an amendment that we think will help tenants avoid economic eviction. Although we are not in favour of many facets of Bill 4, we certainly think that tenants need the protection that this amendment will give, and we are finding it very difficult that the government will say: "Oh well, for a year or two we won't worry about it, until the permanent legislation is in. It's okay if it happens for a year or two because we're going to fix it in the long term."

Ms Harrington: No, it is not happening.

Mr Brown: I guess our problem is we are wondering what is your difficulty with this particular amendment.

Ms Harrington: I think I have already stated clearly what the problem is.

Mr Turnbull: Mrs Harrington, I have to go back to the point that we have heard consistently. One of the most often used expressions in the whole of these hearings has been "economic eviction," and I have to say it was used most consistently by the NDP members on the committee. It is not something that we dreamt up. This amendment seeks to certainly address this problem during the interim period. We keep on hearing, "Well, we'll address it once the permanent legislation comes along." But as I said, we have a problem now, and to the extent that we have had threats from the minister, "If you hold up the permanent legislation you'll have to live with this flawed" -- and I certainly agree with him on that -- "legislation."

We need to be able to cover this problem now, and this amendment covers economic eviction. Whether the people are economically evicted now or they are economically evicted after the permanent legislation comes in, they are still evicted and they still do not have a home. This amendment, which certainly fits, as I understand it, within the framework of what you can put in Bill 4, seeks to address this problem in the interim.

If we are talking about the other way, what do I say to my senior citizens who are at the brink now, or they are probably over the brink? It is the old story of the straw that broke the camel's back. They are probably over their head. What do I say to them now? Is it the same sort of story as we get about the 10.5% mortgages that the NDP promised in the last election? I guess it goes into the same category as the Premier says, "That was then, this is now." What are we going to do? Is this going to be another broken promise like the 10.5% mortgage that they have welshed on?


Ms Harrington: I just would make a one-sentence reply. You are saying economic eviction is a problem, and yes, we agree. Our answer to economic eviction is Bill 4.

Mr Turnbull: Is what? Pardon me.

Ms Harrington: Is Bill 4. You are saying, "No, let's have this answer to economic eviction," and we are saying: "No, we have the answer. We don't want to do that Band-Aid solution."

Mr Turnbull: But, excuse me, this is not an answer to economic eviction. This is purely an answer to limiting the increases of rent. That does not stop people being economically evicted.

Ms Harrington: That is what economic eviction is, having your rent increase so that you cannot pay for it.

Mr Turnbull: We have heard from Stuart Thom that 33% of the people are beyond the point that they can afford it, and when economic eviction -- it does not occur on the same day that they say, "Oh, I'm economically evicted." It is a slow, grinding process where people finally say: "I cannot hold on any longer. I've expended all of my life savings trying to top up my pension." That is why this amendment is brought forward by Ms Poole, and we are concerned. This is temporary legislation, but so was income tax temporary legislation, and we know what that has done for us. We want to protect the people now.

Ms Poole: Perhaps it would help if we itemized the two different types of economic eviction. There could be an economic eviction of a tenant who is facing a large rent increase. Normally they can afford to pay the rent and it is certainly within their means, but the rent increase is large enough that that is going to put them over the top and they are economically evicted.

What we have that is far more prevalent than that and the case today in Ontario is the scenario where tenants are going to be economically evicted by the very fact that they have to pay even a statutory guideline because they are in desperate straits. They cannot afford to live at the rents they are now, and in some cases these rents are quite modest. We heard of cases in Sudbury where a tenant was paying $250 for rent but could not afford that rent and was going to be economically evicted. Most of us would say, even in the Sudbury market, which would certainly not be as expensive as the Toronto market, that $250 is not an unreasonable rent. So we have got a large body of people out there right now who cannot afford to pay the rent they are paying. They cannot afford to pay much at all, and they are not going to be helped one little bit by Bill 4.

I am saying it is time for the minister and for the government to put their money where their mouth is. If they truly want to address the issue of economic eviction, here is a method at their disposal, and I have already given you a precedent where it was done by the previous government in giving priority on the waiting list for the Ontario Housing Corp.

We have two separate components to this. One deals with in-house matters, the Ontario Housing Corp, where the minister does not need a new bureaucracy to do anything. It is at the minister's disposal to do that. We have a second scenario, which is admittedly more difficult for the minister, dealing with non-profit co-op housing -- that is not directly within the jurisdiction of the minister -- where we have just said he should make reasonable efforts to place them on the waiting list. I am quite prepared -- in fact, I would recommend we vote on these separate sections separately.

But in the final analysis, why would you say to the Minister of Housing that he should not avail himself of the ability to give tenants facing economic eviction priority on the waiting lists? Surely that is not only something that is within his power, that is something he should want to do.

It would also give him a lot of ammunition when he goes to cabinet to fight for more in situ placements and more money for subsidized housing. It would give him a lot more ammunition to say, "The need is real, the need is there, and please help me deal with it."

I just cannot see how members of the government, in all good conscience, can fail to vote for this. I really cannot. It is beyond my comprehension. And if they think they cannot vote for this, then my next amendment is really going to blow their minds.

Ms Harrington: Putting more people on the waiting list really helps.

Ms Poole: It certainly helps, for one thing, in the minister recognizing that economic eviction is a problem beyond Bill 4. I would hope it would help this government realize that all the answers are not going to come in this long-term legislation. If I hear that phrase one more time, that the answers are going to come in the long-term legislation, I think I will do something that is quite berserk and violent.

Mr Turnbull: Go for it, Dianne.

Ms Poole: I have spent my life teaching my children that we will never have all the answers. In many cases, all we can do is come up with the right questions. But this is going to be nirvana, this long-term legislation. It is going to solve all our problems. Two years from now I am going to read back the words of the parliamentary assistant and the minister and members of the government in the House when they said this long-term legislation and Bill 4 were the answer to the problems.

You are unwilling to even consider it. I do not know why we are continuing to debate this.

Mr Drainville: As to this amendment, the parliamentary assistant has made it very clear in her remarks that we in the government have certainly believed that something had to be done about economic eviction. We put forth Bill 4, not as an absolute response to that in the belief that it was the answer to all things, but rather as an attempt to bridge the gap until we began to set up legislation which in itself at the end of the day will probably be flawed in some way too, because every legislation, even the best legislation, is flawed to a certain degree. The minister has indicated that we are in the process of doing that and the honourable members know that.

However, I find it very interesting how the opposition now clothe themselves as supporters of the tenants. Where was Bill 4 in the last government?

Mr Turnbull: We always have been.

Mr Drainville: Well, you would know it, we would not know it. Where was Bill 4 under the last administration, I ask you. We had Bill 51, which was antagonistic in the extreme to the rights of people.

Ms Poole: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Mr Drainville has asked a question which I believe deserves to be answered. He said, where was the Liberal government?

The Chair: Order, please.

Ms Poole: The Rental Housing Protection Act --

The Chair: Order, please.

Ms Poole: -- responsible pet ownership; luxury renovation regulations: I can go on and on about what we did for tenants.

The Chair: Order, please. That is not a point of order and Mr Drainville has the floor.

Mr Drainville: Thank you, Mr Chair. Again, it is fine to grandstand and make all sorts of indications of strong support for the tenants. It is interesting that in terms of the approach that we have made as a government, we have been consistent that we need to move in a new direction. We are willing to do that. When we asked for support on the part of the opposition, we did not get that support to look at the consultation paper, no, we are here doing this, and that is fine. The committee has decided and we side with the committee.

Mr Turnbull: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I have to point out that when the notes of the clerk were read back, we are doing exactly what was agreed between the minister and the two opposition critics. We are doing it in the sequence that was asked for, and that is just absolutely incorrect what Mr Drainville just said.

Mr Drainville: Is that a point of order?

The Chair: Order, please. I believe that my recollection indicates to me --

Mr Drainville: That is another point of hot air.

The Chair: -- that there was a dispute on the interpretation of what was taken down by the clerk, and I think that often happens. Mr Drainville.

Mr Drainville: Thank you, Mr Chair. To proceed with what I was saying, the reality is that we have dealt with much of the substance in terms of Bill 4 of trying to ensure that tenants get a fair shake in this, and I have got to say that we believe strongly in Bill 4 and that we hope that in the process of having Bill 4 go through this committee --

Mr Brown: On a point of order, Mr Chair: As all members are very interested in the remarks of Mr Drainville, I would maybe request that he move adjournment and we can pick this up first thing at 10, it being 5 of the clock.

The Chair: It is past 5 of the clock.

Mr Drainville: It is indeed.

Ms Harrington: Would anyone care to vote on this amendment today?

The Chair: We would need consensus of the committee to extend our hearings today. Is there a consensus? There is no consensus. The Chair has no alternative but to adjourn the committee until 10 tomorrow morning.

Mr Drainville: I will be glad to begin tomorrow, sir.

The Chair: Thank you.

The committee adjourned at 1701.