Wednesday 2 February 1994

Residents' Rights Act, 1993, Bill 120, Ms Gigantes / Loi de 1993 modifiant des lois en ce qui concerne les immeubles d'habitation, projet de loi 120, Mme Gigantes

West Scarborough Community Legal Services

Sheeba Sibal, community legal worker

Society of St Vincent de Paul

Joseph Taylor, executive director

Michael Legget, community home resident

Barry Brooks, former community home resident

John McElhinney, director, VincenPaul Community Homes

Scarborough Housing Help Centre

Catherine Andreasen, executive director

Catholic Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto

Barbara Jamieson, community worker

Anne Smith, board member and member, social action committee on housing

Toronto Christian Resource Centre

Carmel Hili, program coordinator

Matti Rampanen, tenant

Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens

Bill Hughes, chairman

Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs

Christopher Higgins, executive director

Julie Mancuso, member, housing interest group

Toronto Psychiatric Survivors

Martha Gandier, coordinator

WoodGreen Community Centre of Toronto

Brigitte Witkowski, housing director

Bob Olsen


*Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L)

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L) for Mr Sorbara

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mr Arnott

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mr Morrow

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Dadamo

Wilson, Gary, (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Iles ND) for Mr Wessenger

Winninger, David (London South/-Sud ND) for Mr White

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1001 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


Consideration of Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property / Projet de loi 120, Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne les immeubles d'habitation.

The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The standing committee on general government will come to order. The business of the committee is to deal with public deputations regarding Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property.


The Chair: This morning our first presentation will come from the West Scarborough Community Legal Services. Welcome to the committee. You've been allocated one half-hour for your presentation, during which time the members often like to ask some questions and receive some responses regarding the presentation. You may begin when you're ready by introducing yourself and your position within the organization.

Ms Sheeba Sibal: Good morning. My name is Sheeba Sibal and I work as a community legal worker at West Scarborough Community Legal Services, a non-profit organization. It's a free legal aid clinic and we help low-income clients within our catchment area with their legal problems in certain areas of law.

As a legal clinic, we have found over the five years we've been in existence that the major case load we have is of landlord and tenant problems. In 1993 alone, of the cases we dealt with in terms of giving summary advice to people, 42% of our case load was landlord and tenant, and about a third of that dealt with people living in units which were accessory units, or in other words, illegal units in Scarborough.

I'm happy to be here today to talk about Bill 120, which addresses this issue. The legal clinic's position, in so far as legalizing basement apartments or accessory units is concerned, is that we think it's a good move. The province should be applauded for taking this step. To get this bill passed is a first step, we believe, for legalizing basement apartments and accessory units.

I will be dealing mostly with the accessory units aspect of the bill and limiting our comments on the second aspect, which is the care home facilities aspect and the garden suites.

To give a perspective on how people living in these illegal units are being affected in their lives as the law stands today, I will be giving some case examples of the tenants who come to us to get their problems redressed or to take legal action.

We find that a lot of tenants living in accessory units who come to us have a problem with general maintenance. Whether the landlord is an absentee landlord or is living in the premises in the main portion of the house, the problem is that the property is not maintained properly: The basement is damp, there's not enough heat, there are leaks in the house and there are other general problems with maintenance.

Tenants try their level best to get the landlords to do the proper repairs, but the landlords either will not or are too slow to do them. When they are at their wits' end and they come to our clinic for help to find out what they can do to enforce their rights to get the landlord to correct the problem, they find out that where they're living is illegal, and because of the fact that they are living in an illegal unit, it is not very clear what their rights are.

If these tenants go to the property standards department and complain, the first problem they face is that they are told that they are in an illegal unit. If the property standards inspector comes out and it is proved that there are two units in the house, they will be evicted. They stand to lose their home. The first fear is, "Why should I even go to property standards?"

The second problem or hurdle they face when they go to court to enforce their rights under section 94 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which gives them the right to ask for a reduction in rent and to get the landlord to do maintenance and repairs, is the interpretation of the law, of the Landlord and Tenant Act itself.

We have found that the courts have not been very consistent in interpreting what are residential premises. In many instances, the courts have held that because the unit is illegal in terms of the Planning Act, in terms of the fact that it is another unit in a single-family residence, therefore it should not have been in existence and therefore the tenant does not have the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

On both ends the tenant loses out. They have no protection under the law to enforce their rights, which other tenants could if they were living in a high-rise apartment or other legal units, and they also cannot get the city to get the problem redressed.

The third side of the picture is that even when they are legal units and the city is approached to come and inspect the unit because it does not comply with the standards, they are told that there are not enough inspectors to go around and, "We can't come and see your unit." The tenants seem to lose out on all ends.

Another example we can give is when there are two units in a house and the house is so dilapidated that it becomes a fire hazard. In that case, the fire marshal can step in, close down the unit and ask the tenants to leave. They don't get any notice like they would get from the landlord if they have to leave the property, a 60-day, 120-day or 90-day notice depending on the situation. All they get is this notice from the municipality, "Pack up and leave." They have no place to go. They may not have enough money to move their stuff out and they are left out on the streets. The municipalities only take up their responsibility to the extent that, "We're saving your lives." That is good. They need to be saved. Their lives are in danger because they're in a hazardous situation. However, no steps are taken to house these people, to find alternative accommodation, to penalize the landlord or to do something to redress the inconvenience they've been put to it.

Our major concern, however, with Bill 120, as is, although we support the bill as being a first step, is that there has been this historical opposition to the bill by several municipalities. What we are concerned with is what will happen if the municipalities choose to do selective enforcement, choose to use the loopholes in the bill to defeat the very purpose of the bill.

The purpose of the bill, as we understand it, is to preserve housing stock, to increase housing stock and to provide safety standards for the people living there.

Under the property standards and the zoning bylaws, there are various types of property standards and zoning bylaws. Some of them are major. They affect the structure of the building, the number of people living there, those aspects.

Some of them are minor infractions; for example, parking. If the landlord has got the permit, made the accessory unit, complied with all the property standards bylaws and complied with all the health and safety regulations and fire regulations, but does not have enough parking, would it be fair then, if such a landlord rents it to a tenant and a neighbour does not like the idea of a tenant or does not like the tenant because of whatever reason, racial prejudice or any other type of prejudice, and goes and complains, and the city comes in and asks the landlord to close down the unit because there is a minor infraction of parking? That's a zoning bylaw. They have violated it, but would it be fair to close down that unit? This can happen. The municipalities have the power to issue that notice, "Correct the infraction or it's penalty or prosecution."


What option does the landlord have? They're not going to court for that. They're not going to pay $50,000 or $20,000 or $2,000, whatever fine is imposed. They will ask the tenant to leave. We are back in the same position. The tenants lose their homes, not because of their own making, not because of their own fault; it is because of the legislation and the way it is being enforced.

Take another problem. There have been several municipalities that have recently passed an overcrowding bylaw in the greater Metro Toronto area. Apparently, on the face of it, it sounds like a very good bylaw, that people shouldn't be living in overcrowded conditions. The reality is, however, that people are living in overcrowded conditions because they have no place else to go. They don't have enough money to take larger accommodation, and strangely enough -- I wouldn't say "strangely enough" -- the fact is that there are some large families, quite a few now, who don't find proper accommodation because that type of accommodation is not available.

The homes that are designed are meant for smaller families. Just because it happens that the family has five or six children, they cannot rent a high-rise apartment or a condominium because they don't have more than two or three bedrooms. The only option for them is to go and rent out in a home. Homes might be divided into two units now.

In a example, a home owner who has a large family buys a house and then, because he or she needs the money to pay the mortgage, creates an accessory unit and rents it out. What has happened in this case is that the home owner is violating the overcrowding bylaw. The complete home may have been okay in terms of the bylaw, but once they rent out a portion of it, their area has been reduced and therefore they're violating the overcrowding bylaw.

Take the same situation and the tenant who comes into that particular accessory unit may initially be in perfect compliance with the bylaw, but has another child, and suddenly it is overcrowding. Should this tenant be asked to move? Should the landlord or the home owner be asked to sell their house? What is going to happen? Are they going to tell their children to leave? These aspects have to be looked at very closely, and that is our concern.

The Planning Act as it is now, and the bill as it is now, do not address the issue of, if there is a violation, should the enforcement be to such an extent that it ends in closing down the unit? That aspect has to be looked at.

The other aspect we have a major concern with is the aspect of enforcement and the greater powers of entry given to the municipalities and the municipal inspectors now. Our stand, our belief is that an individual's right to be protected from search and seizure is embedded in the Charter of Rights. In a few extreme cases, overriding this right is justifiable because of the greater public good, but even in such cases, it must be first proved that the public interest cannot be served by any other means or by a less intrusive means.

In this country where police cannot easily invoke their mandate to protect and serve, where they cannot enter a person's home and invade their privacy unless it is dire need and they can show it was a necessity, it is an anomaly that we have given increased power of entry to municipalities. To enforce what? The conditions in which people live.

We're not saying the municipalities should not have any right to enter homes to inspect whether there are safety standards, where safety of individuals is involved. In fact, under the Fire Marshals Act, the fire marshal can enter a person's property there it is a fire hazard and close it down. They don't need a search warrant for it.

However, as to enforcing property standards or zoning standards that do not have the effect of putting a person's life in danger, it does not make sense to give them that much power over people's lives and privacy. If it is important, and we do believe it is important when people's lives are in danger, then they should have that power, but we believe that if it is important in the public good to save lives and maintain housing stock in livable conditions, then there should be some checks imposed to prevent the misuse of power given to the municipalities.

We have three recommendations for that: We recommend that search warrants should not be obtained or issued for minor zoning infractions, that search warrants should only be issued in cases of major property standard violations, and that the province should give direction to the municipalities as to the situations in which obtaining a search warrant is appropriate.

The third point I'd like to make is about the specific wording of two sections in Bill 120. We believe that the wording of those sections is slightly vague, in fact, quite vague and unclear, and can cause confusion that could lead to imposition of penalties in circumstances that would again lead to closing the unit. They are subsection 38(3) and 49(2) of Bill 120.

Subsection 38(3) of Bill 120 amends section 31 of the Planning Act by adding subsection 31(5.1) to it. I'd like to read that provision: "No person shall obstruct or attempt to obstruct an officer or a person acting under the officer's instructions in the exercise of a power under this section."

Section 31 of the Planning Act has several subsections, about 31 subsections, and it gives all kinds of different powers to the municipality regarding property standards bylaws. It also deals with the powers of inspectors to inspect the premises if there is a contravention of a property standards bylaw and deals with the procedure to enforce such bylaw, if there is a violation.

The wording of subsection 31(5.1) is not clear because it does not specify which one of the powers granted under this section can be obstructed, or if obstructed by the person will lead to a penalty under subsection 31(22), which is the section which deals with penalties. It states that if a person obstructs such an officer in their duties of exercising their powers, he or she will be penalized by fines etc.

Subsection 31(5.1) is not clear as to which of those powers, when the inspector comes to enforce and if the person obstructs, will amount to an offence for the penalty to be imposed. This section becomes a little bit more confusing if we read subsection 31(5) in the Planning Act which, if amended by Bill 120, will read as, "Except under the authority of a search warrant issued under section 49.1, an officer or any person acting under his or her instructions shall not enter any room or place actually used as a dwelling without requesting and obtaining the consent of the occupier, first having informed the occupier that the right of entry may be refused and entry made only under the authority of a search warrant."

The wording of this section implies that if the person in authority who comes to inspect the premises does not have a search warrant, then that person in authority cannot enter a room or a place actually used as a dwelling without first obtaining the consent of the occupant of that dwelling. The officer is then further obligated to inform the occupant that such a right of entry can be denied.

What confuses us or what is not clear by reading the two sections together is, if the inspector comes in and tells the person, "I'm here to inspect the property but you have a right to refuse to let me enter," and then the occupant says, "Okay, I'm not going to let you enter," are they obstructing the officer?

The wording of 31(5.1) just says enforcing the powers of "this section," and "this section" includes all the sections of section 31. If the intention of this bill is that only if the inspector has a search warrant, and in those circumstances when the officer goes to enforce that search warrant the person obstructs, would it amount to an offence, then that should be made clear. It is not clear by reading it in this fashion.


A similar problem exists in 49(3) and 49(4). The wording is identical, however section 49 deals with zoning bylaws as opposed to property standards bylaws. Our concern is that the same type of confusion can arise.

Coming to the aspect of increased powers of entry, there have been arguments that the municipalities need these powers because sometimes even tenants don't cooperate and will not permit the inspector to enter. Our belief is the opposite. In Scarborough especially, we have numerous tenants who have made so many complaints to the property inspectors to come and see their properties, but they will not come, because there are budget cuts or there are not enough inspectors or that's not their priority.

We don't see why anything different will happen in the case of tenants in units which, if Bill 120 is passed, will become legal. That problem might still be there. There will be tenants who will be calling and they will not be coming.

The problem we see in tenants not cooperating is only when the tenants fear that if they do let the inspector in, they will lose their home. That is our concern. All the acts which deal with housing and with protection of tenants do not have the aspect of redressing the tenants' problems, to the extent that if something wrong is done by the home owner or the landlord, it always ends up with the tenant losing his or her home.

Take the example I gave about the overcrowding. In that case, if a neighbour complains and says, "There are too many people living in this place," this is a violation and the inspector comes in. There may not be any problems of noise there, and there may not be any problems of maintenance of property, just the fact that there are too many people living in that apartment. If the inspector comes and the tenant refuses to let him in, knowing that there's overcrowding, would it mean he or she has obstructed the officer?

On the other hand, if we say that we have to give these powers to the inspectors so that they can come in and see if people are living in safe conditions, and the tenants refuse to let them in and the only reason the tenants have refused to let them in is because they know that if they come in and see that there are so many people living there and that they are contravening this bylaw, this place is going to be shut down.

The fear is of losing the unit. They're not going to deny that inspector coming in if they themselves invited the inspector to come in to see the state of the apartment because it was in a horrendous condition. The only time tenants will refuse to let entry is when they fear any cooperation with the city is going to end up with their losing the apartment.

Our concern therefore is that this aspect of tenants' protection should be looked at, that there should be appropriate safeguards put in the Planning Act so that the punishment suits the crime, and that if there is overcrowding or minor violations of property standards, it not end in the closing of the unit.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): You say that 42% of your time is, let's say, used to fight with city hall or fight with the LTA, or what is it exactly?

Ms Sibal: We have two different types of case loads. One is that we actually go to court or represent people. The second aspect is when we just give advice to people, either over the phone or in person; 42% of that advice, when we are purely giving advice, is on landlord and tenant issues.

Mr Grandmaître: I see.

Ms Sibal: Of that, a third deals with problems in accessory units.

Mr Grandmaître: Accessory units: illegal, most of them, or all of them?

Ms Sibal: They're all illegal in Scarborough.

Mr Grandmaître: This is what I want to tackle. with all of these complaints that you're receiving about illegal apartments and the right of entry and so on and so forth, how do you report back to municipal council or your municipality of Scarborough that this unit is illegal and should be inspected? Do you keep track of all these illegal apartments?

Ms Sibal: No. It is not our mandate to report to the municipality that this unit is illegal and should be inspected. The problem we face is that when we're advising our clients, we give them the option, "You can call property standards to come and inspect your house so that the inspector can give a work order to the landlord to do the proper maintenance"; however, what happens is that if the tenant does call the property standards inspector and lets him or her into the house, the chances are that the unit will be closed down, because it's an illegal unit.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): I appreciate your deputation. It's good to hear from people who have firsthand knowledge. In terms of the actual number of cases you deal with of illegal accessory apartments in houses, could you give us the exact number?

Ms Sibal: I don't have the figures.

Mr David Johnson: You've worked out the percentages, but you don't have the numbers.

Ms Sibal: I don't have the figure. The 42% is what we've worked out, but we don't have exact figures of so many accessory units and so many apartments in houses and so many condominium problems. I can tell you that about a third is a problem with accessory units.

Mr David Johnson: In terms of the powers of entry that you have expressed a great deal of concern about, and this is of great concern to all parties in this whole issue, perhaps from your point of view you may take heart that the municipalities are certainly interpreting the legislation, Bill 120, that is before us to give them virtually no more powers whatsoever. I think that's what you're hoping for. However, it does raise a concern that municipalities really don't know what is a minor zoning infraction and what is a major safety concern. Looking from the outside, they don't know what's inside and they don't know if what's in there is a minor infraction or some major concern.

The difficulty, and you may want to comment on this, is that while the powers of entry in this bill are virtually worthless to municipalities and they won't be able to get in, the concern they have is that they will then not be able to identify major concerns, and that in that case there'll be more tragedies, more fires, more people lost and the municipalities will be under the gun -- "Why didn't you take action? Why didn't you do something to prevent this?" -- yet they will not have the tools to deal with it.

Ms Sibal: I think that's an excellent point you've raised, Mr Johnson. The problem here, as I pointed out, is that no tenant is going to deny entry if he or she has a problem with the conditions. If the municipality enters the apartment and finds there are major safety problems and hazards, then yes, it must take action.

The problem we are concerned with is that if they find out that there are minor infractions, and they are infractions, will the municipality react by closing down the unit as opposed to saying, "Okay, here is some time given to the landlord to do the repairs." or will the municipalities do the repairs themselves and recover the cost?

That's what we would like the province and the municipalities to look into, that aspect of it, as opposed to saying, "We want to go in and check whether there's a major or minor infraction, and whatever the infraction is, we're going to close down the unit."


Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Thank you for your submission. One thing that was ticking away in my head when I was listening was that you don't have much faith in your city council.

Ms Sibal: We don't, sir. In Scarborough, we don't. Our clinic has been involved with the second occupancy steering committee for the last three or four years. We raised this issue of legalizing accessory units when the housing policy came out. The reaction of the council was to muzzle people. They did not want to hear us. They had a study, which Mr Lewinberg was hired to do, and when the study was showing the angle that yes, they should be legalized, they asked the gentleman to resign. The municipality continued to do the study itself. Then it just received the study and didn't do anything about it.

In one particular ward, ward 5, the councillor took courage to say that he would like the accessory units legalized. The council did absolutely everything to see that nothing happened, and then of course the province came up with Bill 90 and the politics of the whole situation changed. It's become a turf war. The levels of government are fighting turf wars. They're not looking at the people's needs. The people have become a pawn here.

Mr Fletcher: When you say a turf war, whose turf war is it? It's the municipality's turf war, not the province's.

Ms Sibal: Right. The municipalities are saying that the province is taking away power from them.

Mr Fletcher: We know what the municipalities are saying. They've said nothing for a long time.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before us this morning. The clause-by-clause examination of this bill will commence March 6.


The Chair: The next presentation this morning is from the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

Mr Joseph Taylor: Thank you for entertaining our deputation this morning.

The Chair: For your information, you have 30 minutes allocated by the committee. You may use it as you wish. You should begin by introducing each of the people at the table.

Mr Taylor: Just a point of clarification: Do we have 15 minutes for the deputation and 15 minutes for questions, 30 in total?

The Chair: You have 30 minutes to use as you wish, although the members appreciate some time to discuss your brief with you.

Mr Taylor: John McElhinney is the director of VincenPaul Community Homes, which is the network of residential programs in the city of Toronto for men and women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. Michael Legget is a resident in one of these homes, and Barry Brooks is a past resident in one of these homes. I'm going to address the committee first and then I'm going to turn it over to Michael.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul, Toronto Central Council, is a charitable, non-profit association of Catholic lay people whose mission is to participate in direct service to those in need. Founded in 1850 and incorporated in 1875, there are now over 1,200 members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in the greater Toronto area.

The traditional work of the society is to provide emergency assistance for food, clothing and shelter through visitation of people in need. In 1993 there were approximately 70,000 such visitations in the greater Toronto area which distributed about $750,000 in emergency aid.

However, the mandate of the society acknowledges that no form of charity is foreign to us and indeed recognizes that ultimately there is no charity without justice.

In this spirit, the society operates a number of special works that seek to redress the fundamental situation that brings people to seek assistance from a charity. One principal form of this work is the provision of housing.

Initiated in 1978 with the development of a transitional home for men recovering from alcohol addiction, our housing now consists of 15 separate residential programs with a total of 142 residents who are now housed by the society.

Presently under construction is a 164-unit affordable housing complex in East York to be owned and operated by the society. This is in recognition of the need to provide affordable housing, and of course most of the units in this building are available on a rent-geared-to-income basis.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul is in favour of having the Landlord and Tenant Act apply in all situations where feasible. Examples are basement apartments presently not covered by legislation. Our visitation of many people who have been poorly housed without right of recourse to the law was a main impetus in our decision to provide affordable housing on a rent-geared-to-income basis. We believe safe and secure housing is a right of all citizens of Ontario.

However, we do believe that Bill 120, the Residents' Rights Act, as presently proposed is problematic in its extension to residents of care homes. It threatens the ability of a non-profit charity to provide a safe and secure environment. While it is an admirable objective to extend coverage of the Landlord and Tenant Act to residents of special-needs housing, the end result could very much be to make this housing unviable or so change its character as to make it unable to fulfil its mandate.

In our opinion, a majority, though not all, of people present themselves to live in special-needs housing because at that moment in time their lives are unmanageable without support. Housing is a critical need for everyone, but for those in need of special housing it is not the only need and in many cases is not the most pressing need. Examples abound in our experience where individuals, especially those recovering from addiction problems, were in possession of adequate housing but were unable to maintain it due to loss of income, critical supportive relationships and self-esteem.

Illustrative of this would be the example of a resident who lives in one of our homes for recovering alcoholics or addicts. All residents presently sign an agreement accepting as a condition of residency that they abstain from alcohol and non-prescriptive drug use. Early in our history of providing homes for people with addiction problems we found that abstention from alcohol or drug use was an absolutely necessary condition for providing a therapeutic environment. To allow someone living in a community of recovering alcoholics the right to use alcohol threatens the mental and physical health of every resident living in this community.

This really is not an exaggeration. Alcohol is directly implicated in 10% of the deaths in Ontario and indirectly implicated in about 30%.

Another example of importance is the issue of a resident who is abusive verbally or physically to another resident. Within the context of shared accommodation, in order to ensure the safety of residents, this issue must be dealt with expeditiously. To engage in a lengthy legal process to resolve this problem would create a climate of fear and uncertainty in the home. This would be particularly true in instances where men and women share accommodation.

In our experience, residency in a therapeutic transitional home must be of considerable duration. Residents often have to undertake a reconfiguration of attitudes and values, and learn new responses to life situations as well as learn new life skills. We believe this process is best accomplished through seeing these responses and behaviours modelled by others while being immersed in a supportive, familylike atmosphere. In summary, what is learned is caught as much as taught, and this process might take one to two years.

The enactment of Bill 120 would have the effect of making an individual's rights in a transitional home supersede those of the therapeutic community in which he or she lives. I believe this contravenes the essence of why we form therapeutic communities; that is, to strengthen an individual through the milieu of a strong community sharing common goals.


Our conclusions: The proposed amendments to the legislation will make it extremely difficult for many non-profit agencies to continue to provide housing for special-needs residents. In particular, the clause which limits the length of stay to six months in a therapeutic home in order to qualify for exemption from the legislation is arbitrary. In many instances, a stay of two years is necessary to resolve underlying reasons that bring a person to require supportive housing. In addition, because the average length of stay may vary, it may be difficult to determine if an organization is subject to the act. It may also pressure an organization to discharge a resident prematurely in order to achieve this exemption.

The clause requiring a person in a therapeutic home to maintain a principal residence is also problematic. The majority of people in need of special-needs housing have been unable to acquire or maintain accommodation on their own and are seeking such housing as a last resort. The non-profit agencies providing special-needs housing are serving some of the most difficult to house people in the province. Any legislation which hampers the ability to provide this service could have the unintended effect of abetting the loss of this housing.

Accordingly, we believe it is unreasonable to require an organization that's providing special-needs housing to comply with the Landlord and Tenant Act. This is legislation which is designed to deal with ordinary circumstances where people are contracting for the specific use of housing which is meant to be of permanent character.

In circumstances where the intention of our services is the provision of housing, such as an apartment complex we have under development, then this activity must be regulated by the Landlord and Tenant Act. However, legislation must distinguish situations where the care giver is primarily providing a therapeutic service that happens to involve a residential component. We believe the situation of a care provider providing special-needs housing is substantially different from that of an organization whose mandate is to provide housing. As such, under the law, special-needs housing should be treated differently from the regular housing provider.

In the event that organizations providing special-needs housing are to be subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act, then distinctions should be made between these organizations and landlords, which are the typical subjects of regulations contained in part IV of the act.

We are suggesting that it would be appropriate to create a part V of the Landlord and Tenant Act. This would govern care givers providing special-needs housing on a not-for-profit basis. Such organizations could qualify if they received funding through government or government agencies or operated a program approved of by the Ministry of Housing.

A major purpose of part V would be to modify part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act to reflect the circumstances of the care providers. One such modification would be to determine under what circumstances care providers would be able to restrict certain individuals from entering the premises. In light of our work, we believe it is essential that we are entitled to prohibit entry to individuals who have violated certain cardinal rules. These rules could be subject to appraisal by the Ministry of Housing or an appropriate government ministry. In addition, we require a right, in certain limited circumstances, to relocate an individual from one unit to another after giving appropriate notice.

Apart from the ability to limit access to the premises, part V of the Landlord and Tenant Act could legislate an abbreviated eviction procedure or fast-track process, as recommended by Dr Lightman. Section 114 of the Landlord and Tenant Act could serve as a useful basis for creating the fast-track procedure. It would be possible for a landlord providing special-needs housing to file a notice of termination of tenancy with the court and direct the issuance of a writ of possession on an ex parte basis without notice to the tenant. This right is available in circumstances where the tenant has given notice of termination or has entered into an agreement to terminate.

Although the order is issued without notice, the order must be served on the tenant and the tenant would have four days to dispute the notice. If the tenant does nothing, then the landlord is entitled to enforce writ of possession. We believe this approach is more practical than the one suggested by Dr Lightman. His approach would require the securing of an interim order to temporarily remove residents from the premises. This may be as lengthy and onerous as it would be to secure a final order and writ of possession.

Finally, we believe strongly that if agencies providing special-needs housing are to be subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act, it is essential that grounds for termination be determined in the legislation. This act must entitle the care provider to terminate a tenancy agreement in circumstances where the resident is in serious non-compliance with requirements of the program.

I have some specific recommendations:

(1) That for the purposes of this legislation, the section requiring a principal residence for the majority of residents be eliminated;

(2) That section 1, stipulating that the average length of stay of occupants does not exceed six months, be deleted. This is an arbitrary time line and will be difficult to monitor;

(3) That the ability to abridge the time limitation in section 1 be withdrawn;

(4) That separate grounds for termination under the Landlord and Tenant Act be established for persons residing in a home for rehabilitative purposes. These grounds would be approved of by the Ministry of Housing;

(5) That an abbreviated eviction process or fast track be established that would extend to all providers of non-profit housing, to ensure safety of other residents in the community.

Mr Michael Legget: My name's Mike Legget. I've been a resident of VincenPaul Community Homes for 18 months. I've been clean and sober for coming up to 21 months. I'd like to say how important these homes have been to me in my recovery. I seriously doubt that without the safe environment I've been living in these last 18 months -- I don't know whether I'd be clean and sober today.

I'd just like to talk about how important it is for us in our homes that we have a rule that people cannot use drugs or alcohol. I can't stress the importance of our being allowed to discharge somebody who is using, because it would threaten all of us. It's really important. I don't know how to put it properly.

While I've been getting clean and sober I had to leave all my old habits, people, places, things. I had to leave it all behind. Just for myself, there's no way I would have been able to stay straight coming down and seeing somebody using cocaine at the kitchen table. Absolutely not. It would threaten everybody in the house.

It's the same with violence. That's one of our two major rules: violence or threats of violence. People are having a hard enough time working on their recovery, trying to get their life on track without being intimidated or threatened. That's street behaviour which just wouldn't work in our environment.

That's really all I have to say.

Mr David Johnson: I would like to thank you for a very thoughtful, excellent and commonsense presentation today. That testimony I think speaks for the excellent work St Vincent de Paul is accomplishing.

This is a message we've heard from other groups as well. I think it's almost time to call time out and ask the parliamentary assistant, I guess in his next period, to indicate that we really have to address this problem because we've heard it over and over again.

Joe, you have put forward your recommendations on the basis that because of the therapeutic nature -- other groups have called it rehabilitation nature -- there should be different sets of rules, that your primary purpose is therapeutic, not accommodation.

Mr Taylor: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: That's the key we have to listen to here. I wonder, rather than dealing with the time and that sort of thing, if it wouldn't be better just to have a blanket exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act for groups such as yours.

Mr Taylor: That's our first premise, that they should be exempted from the Landlord and Tenant Act. However, if they are going to be subject, then there has to be provision for recognizing the unique character of special-needs housing. I believe that this legislation, if it was enacted into law as it is presently, would -- it's not too strong a word to say -- destroy our present needs housing.

Only in our homes for recovery, alcoholic and drug addicts, we have almost 50 people there alone. I think all these people would end up on the street. They themselves took up a petition and the majority of these people have signed a petition stating that they don't want to be covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act. As a matter of fact, the only people who didn't sign it were people we weren't able to reach within the time. Absolutely no one refused to sign that petition.

Mr David Johnson: I guess the problem is, if one of those people slips and brings drugs or alcohol back into that setting, where the others are trying to come clean, what kind of an impact would it have on the others? By the Landlord and Tenant Act you couldn't --

Mr Taylor: Can't do much. It's possible, for illegal drug use, to enter into a lengthy process to get somebody evicted, but my legal advice is that may take two to three months right now. Also, under the Landlord and Tenant Act, nowhere is it an offence to drink alcohol. They could walk in, to the kitchen table, with a case of beer, proceed to sit down and drink it, and we'd have no right to deal with that situation.


Mr David Johnson: Certainly there has to be some kind of amendment to allow you to carry on. We have to deal with it.

One other interesting thing that I don't think other groups have mentioned is that you need restrictions on individuals entering the premises. This is on page 8 of your deputation. Were you talking about residents or were you talking about visitors, outsiders?

Mr Taylor: Primarily residents, but there are situations that could also involve people not living in a residence. We do on occasion have residents who have left who have slipped in their sobriety and may want to come back to the premises under the influence of alcohol and drugs. That situation is just as intolerable as a resident coming in. We have to be able to prohibit them entry.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Thank you for your presentation. I have a couple of questions with respect to your representation that this legislation will destroy your ability to continue to operate. I don't think that's true and I don't think you can demonstrate that in a reasonable manner.

If you're in the business of empowering people, which is what I understand you to be saying to me with respect to assisting people in ridding themselves of their substance abuse problems, part of that empowerment process is giving them rights and I would believe that some level of security of tenure is part of those rights. You can't be concerned about your own personal rehabilitation if you're concerned about whether or not you're going to have a place to live. Why would giving people these rights as part of your empowerment process be problematic for you?

Mr Taylor: Initially, when we began providing housing of this nature, we did not require that people abstain from alcohol and drugs. It quickly turned into a situation that was almost akin to a booze can where everybody was using alcohol and drugs on the premises. There was no rehabilitative action going on. Indeed, it is our premise that for a person who has a serious, life-threatening condition, which alcoholism is --

Mr Owens: There's no disagreement about that. That's not my point, though.

Mr Taylor: -- that condition is more important than their ability to live in a situation, and that if they're allowed to continue to use alcohol and drugs, they not only threaten themselves but they threaten the sobriety, the mental and physical health of the other residents. We have a resident right here who's willing to testify to that.

Mr Owens: I don't think the issue is the use of drugs and alcohol. That's not my point.

The Chair: Allow them to respond, Mr Owens.

Mr Barry Brooks: My name is Barry Brooks. I'm a recovering alcoholic. I was sober four years this January. I attribute a great, great deal of my recovery to the homes in the society.

In answer to your question, sir, when I was in the home in the beginning, in the early part of my recovery -- horrible paranoia, 29 years of alcohol battering away at me -- there was very little left. Had that deterrent not been there, the stipulation that I not pick up a drink, I can assure you that there were days when I doubt I would have made it without that little extra deterrent that, "Hey, if I pick one up, I'm gone." The only place I had to go was the streets and I was terrified of that.

While I understand your idea that we need a safe place to be and that we need some idea of how long we can be there, we do have that. We have a year to be there to get ourselves pulled together.

What I'm saying is that if you had taken that deterrent away from me, that restriction, the odds are I would not be here today and I very likely would be dead.

Mr Owens: I appreciate that.

Mr John McElhinney: My name's John McElhinney. I've actually had about 13 years' sobriety now. I came through the homes as a resident and I'm presently director.

To add to what Barry says about seeing drugs in the home or using drugs, especially with the crack addict or the person using IV, certain things are triggers. Even a jar of vitamins on the top of a fridge is a trigger. Residents are encouraged to keep such things away. Never mind the actual alcohol or drug. A lot of items are triggering effects and we have to keep these away because the resident is so subject to any reaction. Furthermore, we've had cases where unfortunately one person started drinking, got the weak brother or the weak sister in the home to join them, and eventually four people had to leave the home.

Mr Owens: In terms of the drugs there are already provisions, however, within the Landlord and Tenant Act that are available as remedies to the landlord now with respect to illegal acts and abbreviated evictions. In terms of policies with respect to usage of alcohol, this is a policy that you require as part of St Vincent de Paul. I don't have a difficulty with that. What I'm suggesting to you is that in terms of yourselves and the other brothers and sisters who are involved in this program, they still have to have the feeling, a security of tenure and a means to a remedy -- this is not just about St Vincent de Paul; this is a problem across the province -- in terms of how they have their rights defended.

My question to you is, in terms of the empowerment process that has allowed you to come here today as a functioning human being, why is giving residents, clients like yourself, rights as tenants for security of tenure problematic and how is that going to destroy your program?

Mr Brooks: Because, sir, as I said, there were days when had that restriction not been there, the chances are I would have picked up a drink and I don't have another recovery in me. It's just physically not there. Yes, it's nice to know you can stay somewhere and have a place. I was on a basis of being there for one year to get myself pulled together. I knew that, as long as I didn't pick up that drink. In the beginning it is extremely difficult, after 29 years of dependency, not to pick up that drink when little daily crises that all of you I'm sure can handle come up. As I say, in protecting me you could be killing me by taking that away. In fact, I feel you would be in many cases.

Mr Legget: I'm not worried about having security of tenure. I agreed to the rules when I moved into the house and I'm not worried about having to leave. I'm obeying the rules to the best of my ability and I know I've got a safe place to live until my time is finished.

Mr Owens: Why don't we respond to the people who have been tossed out?

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Gentlemen, if I may say this, I'm sorry, you're wrong. The government knows better. It's obvious to me now that the minister knows best, the government knows best and you're wrong. All the groups that have come before us who have these grave concerns, as you've expressed today, haven't got a clue, because the government is completely ignoring what is becoming overwhelming evidence that there's a real problem with this bill.

You're out to destroy these groups that are providing the housing that's needed. We're hearing from tenants in those groups. It's overwhelming evidence, gentlemen. Wake up. Smell the coffee. I tell you it is unbelievable.


The Chair: One member at a time.

Mr Cordiano: Do you mind? I have the floor. Mr Chairman, do I have the floor?

The Chair: Yes, Mr Cordiano.

Mr Cordiano: Thank you. Why don't you just listen? You might learn something.

The Chair: Mr Cordiano, through the Chair.

Mr Cordiano: You may learn something if you listen. Unclog those ears of yours.

Gentlemen, what you've told us today is very important and it's a continuation of what we're hearing from the various groups that are out there providing the kind of service you're providing that's very crucial to our communities. One of the questions I have is with respect to fast-track eviction that is really coming up again and again. You suggest that we amend this bill to deal with section 114 of the Landlord and Tenant Act. But you don't believe Dr Lightman's approach would be satisfactory because it would just be another delay in the process.

Mr Taylor: I have had legal counsel on the original eviction process, and even three weeks is not fast-track in our situation.


Mr Cordiano: Let me just say this: I think it really is coming down to this question, that where you have a centre such as yours providing rehabilitative services, notwithstanding that they may be therapeutic or not, because there are other centres that may not be providing that kind of treatment but do provide some kind of supportive housing in a rehabilitative kind of setting. It may be difficult to define what a rehabilitative centre is. That may be a difficult problem that's just practically impossible to overcome.

But it seems to me that we can draw the line that where a centre is providing rehabilitative services, it be excluded from the Landlord and Tenant Act. Perhaps the only way to accomplish this, as has been suggested by some other groups, is to set the time line further, that six months is not adequate and that at least 18 months be where we draw the line. You're suggesting today that 18 months may be too short.

Mr Taylor: I even believe that having a time line is problematic in and of itself. How do you define "average length of occupancy"? If our average length of occupancy this month is five months and four days, we're entitled to evict, and then if three months from now it rises to six months and four days, we're not entitled to evict. Who's to make that decision as to when that happens?

I believe that unfortunately it would give rise to situations, not that I'm recommending this, where agencies would be discharging people prematurely in order to comply with the time line.

Mr Cordiano: If there were some mechanism for extending that, which would be a process whereby someone applied to do that, where the agency itself, along with the tenant, agreed that there should be a further period, that there would be an extension, you would go through a certain appeal process or you would apply for an extension. You see, the problem is that if we try to define what a rehabilitation centre is, we may find that it's very difficult, as I'm beginning to discover. There may be many centres that would apply for that kind of exemption. Therefore we come down to a practical problem: How do we define that? I think this is what we're struggling with. At least I'm struggling with that kind of definition.

Mr Taylor: I believe that under this present legislation there is no definition of "rehabilitative centre" and it's a very grey area.

Mr Cordiano: Right, and that's the point I'm trying to make.

Mr Taylor: Either that has to be clearly defined -- at any rate, our first premise is that special-needs housing is not in the business of providing housing. They're in the business of providing a therapeutic service that has a residential component and it's best left exempt from the act.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, for appearing before us today. Your deputation has been helpful.


The Chair: The next presentation is from the Scarborough Housing Help Centre, Ms Andreasen. Good morning.

Ms Catherine Andreasen: I want to say first off that we're expecting one more tenant to show up. I've never met the gentleman, so I don't know what he looks like. Maybe someone could watch for him.

I'm Catherine Andreasen, executive director at Scarborough Housing Help Centre. On my right is Jose Valle, one of the housing counsellors. On my left is a tenant who was generous enough to give her time to come and speak this morning, who does not wish to be identified by name.

Good morning, members of the standing committee on the residents rights' bill, also known as Bill 120. We are pleased to be here this morning and be given the opportunity to present to you some of what we experience at the Scarborough Housing Help Centre.

Today we will be giving you a brief description of what we do. We will present some statistics that will give you an overview of the kinds of housing problems we see in Scarborough. More importantly, however, we have brought you the written statements of two Scarborough landlords and two basement tenants who will tell you their stories. Based on what we regularly see and work with, we strongly support the passing of Bill 120 into law. We believe that this is in the best interests of both landlords and tenants and we'll tell you why this morning.

Formerly known as Scarborough Housing Assistance Placement and Education for Singles, the agency has been operating in Scarborough since 1985. We offer many services to landlords and tenants and deliver those services in nine languages. However, of most importance to this committee this morning are the two housing registries we operate and the landlord-tenant mediation services we provide.

Our home sharing registry matches seekers of shared accommodation with providers of shared accommodation. The other registry, and more significant to this committee, is a self-contained units registry through which we match prospective tenants and landlords. With over 1,000 calls a month, we are in a position to tell you a little bit about the reality of the housing situation in Scarborough.

We now draw your attention to the statistics we've compiled for this committee. You have an attached package there. On page 1, you'll note that we currently have 147 self-contained units on our registry but we have 738 parties seeking apartments now. Out of that client base, you'll see the demographic breakdown, with 69% of our clients on social assistance, 30% are single-parent families, 5% are leaving abusive situations and 3% are elderly.

On page 2, you'll note that 30% of the apartments on our registry are basements. However, we think many more are out there and the landlords don't feel comfortable registering with us because we're a public organization and they feel threatened by that.

On pages 3 to 5, you'll see a breakdown of basement apartments of varying sizes compared to income on social assistance and the basic amount people are given for shelter. You'll note that a basement apartment of any size is between $150 and $210 cheaper a month than any of its counterparts on all of the sizes of apartments.

The last three bar graphs represent what welfare allows all of the family sizes. You will note that whenever your rent exceeds what you're given from welfare, your food budget has to pay the rest of your rent. We're talking about people relying more on food banks etc.

The numbers speak for themselves but they are only numbers. We wanted you to hear from the people. First, however, we need to point out that both landlords and tenants were intimidated by the idea of coming forward like this. Many said no because they felt their income or their place of residence could be jeopardized by speaking up. The tenants before you and the landlords who submitted statements, therefore, do not wish to be identified and I will only identify them demographically.

I'll read the landlords' statements first. The first landlord is a male newcomer, coming to Canada in 1986. He's 45 years old, he supports a family of five and this is what he had to say:

"As a landlord in Scarborough, I fully support the legality of renting basement apartments for residential purposes. Such legislation will in my opinion:

"(1) Help the tenants, especially the low-income class, to spend less on rent in comparison to what they are spending now for apartment buildings.

"(2) Help widen the rent market and make it easier for tenants to find a residence closer to where they work.

"(3) Help the landlords to have extra income which will enable them to renovate their homes, including the basements.

"(4) Help both parties, tenants and landlords, understand their rights and obligations under such legislation."

On a personal basis he says:

"(1) I need to rent my basement out in order to keep my home.

"(2) The man I rent to has a psychiatric disability, cannot afford a main-floor apartment and sometimes relies on my family and myself for social support."

The other landlord who made a statement is a single parent, female, leading a family of three, and she said:

"I am a property owner in Scarborough and have rented my basement to survive this difficult time when there are cuts in salary and I'm scared to lose my house. If I don't rent it I will not be able to pay the mortgage and college fee for my son who does not qualify for OSAP.

"To feed the family and keep them alive, I had to rent my basement although it means less space for my family but I have to make ends meet. I strongly urge the concerned committee to look into the bylaw to legalize the basement for dwelling.

"Many thanks."


Now I will introduce maybe two tenants, if the other one has joined us, but I will allow the second tenant to speak now and hopefully the other one will show up before I'm finished.

Witness: What I have done here, I've just put it in the form of an essay, very brief, so I can let you know what my views are as a tenant with regard to Bill 120.

The proposed Bill 120 has received mixed views. It is needed as a result of housing shortages, primarily for single families, one-bedroom basement units, the two- and three-bedroom units or apartments, mostly for female flat-sharers and single parents.

The opposing side of Bill 120: Their chief concern is the extension of the stigma of basement apartments over the years. The home owners are concerned due to the stigma that a basement apartment for rent will mainly attract undesirables, meaning people who have had problems, as well as irresponsible young people, adult students, the unemployed, drug addicts, promiscuous individuals, male or female, the mentally ill.

The non-compliance of the Landlord and Tenant Act: Many people in terms of basement housing or those people who rent rooms think they're exempt and they think that means they can do as they wish, not realizing that they're still covered under common law. Due to the exemption, when you have problems such as tenants who probably don't pay their rent, or maybe they do, and they stand the risk of being evicted because they're not covered under the act, then you have a bit of a problem. Who would mediate? If they decide to mediate, they know that their tenancy's at risk. They have to call the health department, the planning department or the Ontario Provincial Police, which creates a problem that lots of home owners don't like.

The slum landlords, those who prefer short-term tenants, are for quick rent increases, because the tenant doesn't usually always know what the previous rent was, especially for basement apartments that are supposedly illegal, and they're also at risk for illegal evictions.

You find a lot of the tenants who live in these basement apartments also have the problem of what is considered illegal entry, which is really under break and enter, because some landlords, not all but some, do enter the tenants' apartments illegally when they know they should definitely give you a 24-hour notice before entering, and the tenant sometimes feels that he or she hasn't an option. What do we do when the landlord comes in? If I should take up the issue, what do I do? Under the act, neither the landlord or the tenant can change the locks.

There are many individuals who grow up in their own home, their own family property. They have never lived on a lower level, let alone a basement, but they do rent basement apartments today. Sometimes one hasn't an option because of the income, as I'm a student, and things like that.

I ask the government most earnestly and sincerely to stand up now and be counted. Do show that you care about Canadians and residents. Do not permit tenant abuse, these violations. Do not leave hurting tenants to become the abusive landlords of tomorrow, because this is what happens. I will not likely do that. I've also spoken to David Cooke when he was in the Ministry of Housing. When I become a landlord I won't take it out on others, but there are those who have suffered and who have had a history of renting to families who had histories of problems and they in turn become abusive landlords. It's a sort of repetitive thing, and if they're not covered under the act, they're exempt, so who cares? They don't know what else. The situation should be taken to court.

The rooms for rent in houses also, and apartments -- you see, there are two main areas that are at risk because you're not considered a tenant; you are considered an occupant under common law. Once you exchange money for accommodation you are, in fact, a tenant because that person has not refused the funds he or she has received. If you accept my money as accommodation payment, I am not considered a tenant because the accommodation you are providing is illegal, but I still have my rights and this is where Bill 120 is very important.

Most at risk are single females like myself without family, blacks, non-whites, mentally and physically handicapped -- male or female -- the elderly, first-time teenage tenants -- 18 years, or 16 to 21 -- and the residents, because they seem to think, some landlords, that people within this category don't know their rights, they aren't aware of what's happening.

I'd ask you here today to think of tenants, think of landlords. I believe it needs to be balanced. Don't think tenants' rights are not landlords' rights. Everyone deserves their rights, as the charter specifies. Don't violate one's rights to accommodate the next. Don't allow landlords to think that we're alone, unaware and vulnerable. Thank you. That is my personal view.

I do have something else here, if time permits me, after other people have spoken.

The Chair: There are 13 minutes left in the presentation. You can use that as you wish. Otherwise, I will divide the time among the caucuses. So, we're ready for questions?

Ms Andreasen: No, I'm not finished yet. I'll just skim over what the other tenant would have said, had he shown up. He's a single father of two children, aged 35. You can see it in my notes. He's on social assistance, he lives in a basement, that's all he can afford, and he would have said today, had he come, that it's his physical safety and that of his children that he is really concerned about living in a basement.

As you will have noted, the groups most affected by the fact that basement apartments are illegal in Scarborough are also the most vulnerable and disenfranchised in our society. Aside from the obvious issues of safety and security of home for tenants -- for example, rights of tenants -- and secure income supplement for landlords, we wish to underscore a few other very important variables at play.

Specifically, newcomers experience added problems when approaching the housing market. For example, apartment buildings often want a credit check or rental history from a prospective tenant. This usually cannot be furnished by newcomers. Management of buildings also demand the last month's rent, something most of our clients do not have. In the case of a private landlord, our staff can usually go out and mediate some kind of an agreement that is satisfactory for both parties, but we can never do that with the management of high-rise buildings, or low-rise or otherwise.

When apartments are rented in houses, there is sometimes an exchange of services which, down the line, often lessens the demands on social programs thus lowering public spending. For example, the isolated elderly have a tenant to shovel their snow, go to the store, or just be their friend. Single parents will babysit or access babysitting without an exchange of money. Newcomers and most landlord families also benefit from a linguistic and cultural exchange. The newcomer often learns English faster; likewise the landlord and family may become more open to learning about other cultural experiences. In the case of the psychiatrically disabled, as in one of our landlord's statements, just knowing someone is close by can mean all the difference between hospitalization and independent living. All of these exchanges are conducive to helping people live fuller, happier lives.

Like it or not, we have a housing problem. Like it or not, there is not enough safe, secure and affordable housing available to the vulnerable people who desperately need it. If there wasn't a problem, it is most likely that basement apartments would not exist, yet we all know that they do.

In summary, we believe that the passing of Bill 120 will support inexpensive, environmentally friendly housing intensification, enhance the physical, social and psychological health of tenants and landlords and save the taxpayers money.

Finally, I'd like to express my thanks on behalf of the Scarborough Housing Help Centre and many landlords and tenants in Scarborough. We appreciate both the work being done by the committee and the opportunity to publicly express our views about Bill 120.


The Chair: Thank you. I have Mr Fletcher, Mr Owens, Mr Mills and Mr Winninger.

Mr Fletcher: I defer to Mr Owens.

Mr Owens: I appreciate your presentation. I think that what opponents of this legislation ask people like yourselves and ourselves and the government to do is to suspend our disbelief in terms of what goes on out there in the world. In terms of Scarborough and my riding of Scarborough Centre, I'm asked to not understand that there's somewhere between 10,000 and, as the Scarborough fire department said, up to 20,000 accessory apartments.

So my question to you is, do we just kind of shrug our shoulders and say it doesn't exist and let the people live in substandard housing and, as your copresenter said, have no rights with respect to health and safety and any kind of means to a remedy if those illusory rights that people seem to think that they have are violated? Is that what the opponents of this bill want us to do -- just ignore the problem?

Ms Andreasen: I'm hoping they don't, but that may be safe to say. Obviously, it's out there. We've given you information right from our registries. We've also described to you how inaccessible housing is to our clients. So for two reasons we think that this is an answer to the problem.

Mr Owens: You provide an excellent service to the community, as my office utilizes your services on a regular basis with respect to housing for people. In terms of the kinds of people we see mutually, they're people who have income issues or are in the process of family law issues and all kinds of things. We need to provide a safe level of housing for them.

Ms Andreasen: Absolutely.

Mr Owens: I appreciate your representation that this is not only good for tenants, this is also good for landlords as well, because it also provides landlords with, again, a means to remedy if in fact there is a tenant issue that he or she needs to deal with. So I appreciate your support.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Thank you for coming here this morning. I really appreciated some of the things you've told us. It took me back. As you can tell by my accent, I'm an immigrant too. I came to Canada and I lived in three basement apartments. We were paying rent in those days -- and this will age me a bit -- of $45 a month when people were paying $80 a month for posh places, you see. Through that transaction of time, we were able to get on our feet. But the opposition keeps on. They seem to want to not legislate apartments, but where apartments should be. It's all very well to have apartments, "But not in my backyard."

Ms Andreasen: Exactly.

Mr Mills: "Let's put them near the railway tracks."

I can remember some of the fights that I had. Like your fellow who didn't turn up, we were very concerned -- I had two young children at the time -- about what we would do in case of a fire. I remember we got a sledgehammer, we got a ladder and made plans that if anything happened, this is what we'd do. I think that when we hear people talk, most commonsense people will make those sort of contingency plans on their own, without their having to be told that, without Big Brother looking after them.

But anyway, I could go on. But thank you, you took me back. I hope that the opposition members, instead of criticizing what we're trying to do in Bill 120, realize -- and I can speak first hand -- that it gave me the opportunity to get my start in Canada living in basement apartments. I know, when we moved to a house, my wife said, "Isn't it nice that we're not looking at people's ankles any more?"

Mr Cordiano: Let me make one thing clear for the government members: We are not opposed to accessory apartments.

Mr Owens: "We have taken a position."

Mr Cordiano: What we are concerned about, however --

Mr Owens: The "but" syndrome.

Mr Cordiano: -- and that was our position for some time, long before you were born --

Mr Mills: Not when I was born.

Mr Cordiano: What concerns us in particular is, the fact that the government has waved its wand and said that all accessory apartments will be legal as of right to exist will not make these accessory apartments in and of themselves safe places to live. Many units out there, we know now, are below the standard, will have to be brought up to standard. I was just interested in the example you gave us of the landlord who makes the case that he needs this income to pay his mortgage. That's justifiable; no one's going to argue with that. That's a great thing. It's creating economic activity and it's creating another place for someone to live.

But I just wonder if that landlord was in possession of a unit that, even after Bill 120, would be considered illegal because it doesn't meet the fire code, safety code, building code requirements. We've been told estimates that it could cost anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 to bring most of these units up to standard. I just wonder where a landlord who's struggling to make mortgage payments is going to get that kind of money to pay for those upgrades, because if they don't, the prospect may be that the landlord continues to rent out an illegal, substandard unit and that place will continue to be an unsafe place for the tenants to live in.

Are you not concerned about that? As your concern flows from the safety and security of tenants and the rights of tenants, surely you must be concerned about the plight of those tenants who will still live in unsafe basement apartments or accessory apartments.

Ms Andreasen: You've asked me several questions.

Mr Cordiano: I'm sorry; there's not a lot of time.

Ms Andreasen: I have a question for you. The $5,000 to $10,000 figure to renovate a basement and make it safe, is that based on a study?

Mr Cordiano: We've been told by various municipal officials that this is approximately -- the fire chief --

Mr Owens: So it must be true.

Mr Cordiano: Sorry, the fire chief who was in here from Mississauga told us that. He gave us that estimate. There were other people who had made that estimate. Quite frankly, it's easy to determine that. I don't think that's a big mystery.

Mr Grandmaître: The rec room will cost you that.

Ms Andreasen: I personally wouldn't agree with that figure based on what I've seen. I think it's high.

Mr Cordiano: Would you provide us with anything that would resemble a cost estimate?

Ms Andreasen: No, I have no studies. It's not part of my mandate to do things like that. It's just based on what I've seen, okay?

But to answer your questions about our concerns for the safety of tenants, we believe the passing of this bill will bring into law the possibility of more safety for tenants just because it will be within the law. When there's a complaint made, there will be a law in place to enforce that landlord to do that.

Mr Cordiano: I doubt it.

Ms Andreasen: And there isn't now.

Mr David Johnson: It could be a mixed bag, but just following up on Mr Cordiano's question, for example, the draft fire regulations would require that each dwelling unit be served by at least one means of escape consisting of a door that serves only that dwelling unit. Now, you may find a number of the basement apartments wouldn't meet that, for example, and that there would have to be construction to change the entrance and the exits.

It also requires, most understandably, that there be fire-resistant walls, which would be drywall primarily. Some of the basement apartments would just have wood veneer or something there right now. Although the draft fire regulations I don't think specify this, many of the fire chiefs have said that the basement apartment should be water-sprinkled because of the special condition, being below grade and the problem of exiting. Water sprinkling would add, I've heard, $1,500 to $3,000 or thereabouts.

I don't know that we want to specify precisely what it would be, but there's no question that in some cases, if basement apartments are legalized and if the fire department gets in -- I still think that the fire department won't get into many of these because the tenants will not come forward; that's been my experience, but if they do get in and order a number of these changes in compliance, there will be a cost.

I'm looking at your single-parent mother of three who needs the money. If the income she's getting from that basement apartment is somewhere around five hundred bucks a month and she's faced with a capital expenditure, her choice may actually be to close down the unit.

Ms Andreasen: Of course, we would like to see interest-free loans for landlords to do these kinds of things because it's still cheaper than building more buildings which are going to be out of the reach of our clients anyway. To us, to give low-interest loans or something to assist landlords below certain levels of income can resolve that problem.


To speak to the issues that you brought up about construction, if two units share one other entrance, a 30-minute fire door is what's required by the fire department between those units, if they share an exit. It isn't that all landlords would have to put in a totally separate exit if it is a shared. They won't have to go into the cost of putting in a separate entrance, a totally separate entrance, which, I agree with you, would be very costly. I know that drywalling a basement can't be anywhere near $5,000. I agree with you that a lot of them would probably have veneer on the walls, which isn't considered safe.

Mr David Johnson: Just a --

The Chair: Mr Johnson, there's another response.

Witness: Can I just go on that briefly? This is the other part that I had to put in, because, as I specified here, my apartment is safe. There's one exit for me. Really there should be two, but it's safe because I can always have an additional exit. I have fire extinguishers, and my lighting, my heating, everything, is according to the building code. But this is my concern: Not all apartments, not all basement apartments, meet that standard, because if there's a fire, an emergency, two families cannot get through that door, no matter how wide it is. There must be two exits. When there's overcrowding, you have breaking in circuits. They have to be constantly using the breaker and you can use it that much. If no one is there, who's to stop a fire from starting from cooking or an electric iron that was left on? You see? These are the things that I am concerned about: the heating, the plumbing, the electrical, the overcrowding. Some landlords have a way of fixing the thermostat.

Mr David Johnson: You raise good points.

Witness: Bill 120 also has to go in with the rent control, also with the planning department. All of these have to be in full force, not Bill 120 only. It cannot stand up independently.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee today.


The Chair: The next presentation will come from the Catholic Children's Aid Society. Good morning. The committee has allocated one half-hour for your presentation. You can use that time as you wish. You should begin by introducing yourselves and the position within the organization that you hold.

Mrs Barbara Jamieson: I'd like to first thank the members of the committee for having us here today.

I'd like to introduce Anne Smith, who is a member of the board of the Catholic Children's Aid Society and the social action committee on housing under that society. I am Barb Jamieson. I am a community worker and I've been working on the housing issue for quite a few years. It's locally based in Scarborough, but today I am speaking on behalf of the society as a whole.

The comments from the Catholic Children's Aid Society, I would like to point out, will be limited to the apartments-in-houses portion of this proposed legislation. We are here to express our strong support for Bill 120.

Mrs Anne Smith: The Catholic Children's Aid Society is one of the largest child welfare organizations in North America. We are presently celebrating our centennial year of existence and have been responsible for the protection of children under age 16 within the mandate of the Child and Family Services Act.

Our society has realized, through years of experience in working with families, that for some families their income and housing problems can increase their level of stress and have an adverse impact on their ability to care for their children.

We have five branches in the city of Toronto -- Dufferin, High Park, Etobicoke, Riverdale and Central at 26 Maitland Street -- and two other branches in the Metro area: North York and Scarborough branches.

The mission statement: "For the love of children." The Catholic Children's Aid Society, on behalf of the Catholic community, is committed to provide social services that protect children and strengthen family life.

We value human dignity, the courage and integrity to take a stand, partnership and teamwork, cultural, racial and individual differences, and professional excellence.

The society's long-range goals:

(1) To develop services which protect children, strengthen family life, are responsive to the community and are supportive of self-help efforts.

(2) To become more supportive of handicapped clients and our young adults so that they are able to achieve independence in the adult world.

(3) To become a strong advocate for the families and children we service.

At the end of 1993 we served 5,023 families and 1,488 children in care, plus 7,000 children in the community. Our service is used by many single mothers, children in care, low-income youth and families, and children on independent life programs.

Our 1993 statistics indicate at least 32 children came into care because of lack of appropriate housing. Of the families we serve, over 55% are in the private rental market, 26.2% of the families live in single-family dwellings, and 25.2% live in subsidized housing.

Mrs Jamieson: In 1991 the Catholic Children's Aid Society and the Metro children's aid society adopted a joint position supporting housing intensification which includes apartments in houses. Present municipal zoning bylaws discriminate against the economically disadvantaged individual and households. Without standards, families and the children of these families are at risk. As stated in the 1990 report by the Advisory Committee on Children's Services titled Children First, "All children have fundamental entitlement to necessary health care and treatment, and adequate nutrition and housing." One of this committee's statements of goals is that "Laws that affect children directly or indirectly must be written and amended to express and give force to their entitlements."

The United Nations report on the State of the World's Children 1990 made the case that children should have first call on society's concerns and capacities and that children should be able to depend on that commitment in good times and bad. Children and their families need stability and an environment which is safe and healthy. All tenants in accessory apartments should be entitled to fire, safety and property standards. They should be entitled to rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

I would like to tell you of a client's attempt to get repairs done to her basement apartment. This is very recent, and I must tell you it's quite minute compared to a lot of the experiences of other cases that we've had come up at children's aid.

This family resides in a two-bedroom basement apartment. For some time now the family has reported water leakage in the basement. She has been hoping her landlord would repair the broken water pipe which sits under a concrete floor just outside the entrance of her apartment.

To date, the landlord has not responded to her request for quick action to circumvent the water from leaking inside her apartment. If one stands in front of the entrance to the apartment, one is suddenly aware of standing in a three-foot circular puddle. The carpet is now saturated with water. The situation is becoming intolerable and the landlord refuses to respond to her problem. Because of the illegality of her apartment, what recourse does she have? Under the present zoning, landlords do not have to adhere to standards and accept responsibility to provide a safe or healthy environment appropriate for their tenants.

At this point, I have an appendix which I was not going to read, but because of a question that came up with the previous speakers, I am going to take a moment to read it.

The Toronto Star printed an article on January 19 on the throne speech re loans for home renovations. It says:

"In their election platform, the Liberals set aside $50 million this year and an additional $50 million next year to upgrade older homes to modern energy, safety and health standards.

"The program will be modelled on the old residential rehabilitation assistance program, which allowed Canadians of low or modest incomes to apply for loans or grants to upgrade homes they own or rent."

There is a little more to that article and I've attached it to your package.


Tenants are often exploited and ignored and dare not complain for fear of reprisals and even eviction. The passing of Bill 120 will help families access secure, appropriate housing in residential neighbourhoods. They will be given the right to exercise their housing rights. We believe renters should not be treated as second-class citizens. Catholic Children's Aid Society believes Bill 120 will rectify one form of zoning discrimination against tenants and guarantee tenants in an apartment in a house the same rights to tenure enjoyed by other tenants in the province.

There is a great need for decent, affordable housing. Accessory apartments are relatively affordable compared to other vacant units. Government-subsidized housing simply cannot meet the need of many of its citizens. The passing of Bill 120 offers more legal housing units on the market, more housing choices and more choice in housing form in a wide variety of neighbourhoods. It gives tenants the choice to live closer to special schools or parks or shopping malls or churches. This may be required by them or maybe even be a desire.

Ontario is expecting a large population growth, and many will settle in the Metro area. A mix of people and housing in communities should be promoted.

Our board has recognized and adopted housing resolutions and advocates for improved housing policies and programs for families, children and youth. I personally have worked on this issue since 1985, when we first appeared before Scarborough council requesting a study be undertaken. I have to tell you, that was an experience in itself. The Catholic Children's Aid Society staff collaborates with other community services and organizations such as the Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing and the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign.

We recognize that poor-quality housing is one cause of family breakdown. A family's housing situation is an important factor for the wellbeing of children. Over 44% of the families we serve have a gross annual income under $10,000, and 27% with gross annual incomes under $18,000. Young families, single parents, youth, immigrants and refugees face a most difficult task, which is to acquire appropriate, safe housing. We know the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, the largest provider of subsidized housing in Metro, has a waiting list of over 21,000, and the alternative housing stock for many of the families we serve is in the private rental market.

A fact sheet produced in October 1992 by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing stated:

"There are approximately 100,000 apartments in houses in Ontario. They exist without a clear, comprehensive process to enforce safety and building standards. The previous governments directed municipalities through the 1989 Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement to eliminate excessive zoning standards to allow apartments in houses in residential areas. Very few municipalities complied with the policy."

We recognize the ongoing concern about parking. However, we note in the Apartments in Houses facts and figures book, again published by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing:

"People who live in duplexes (which are comparable to houses with an apartment) tend to own fewer cars, on average, than people who live in single detached houses. Ontario survey results indicate that owner-occupied houses have an average of 1.32 cars. While some might expect the number of cars to double if another unit is added, this is not likely to be the case. A comparison of the number of cars in duplexes with both owned and rented units indicates that the average number of cars is 1.76, clearly far less than a doubling of the rate for single detached houses."

On a personal note, let me tell you that I have three children at home, and my problem is not a basement apartment. My problem is having older children, old enough to own a car.

Similarly, a Metro Toronto study found that a one- or two-bedroom converted dwelling unit has fewer cars than a one- or two-bedroom non-converted dwelling unit. Does the parking of a car become a more important issue than providing and planning safe, quality housing for people, especially children? Will ignoring the existing accessory apartments make them go away? It is time to act in a responsible manner. They are here and are one needed housing choice. Let us move forward to wipe out housing that forces both home owners and tenants to live in violation of zoning bylaws.

We believe most people would like to stay within the law and it's not their choice to live in an illegal situation or to provide an illegal apartment. Help us help the families we serve by passing Bill 120 and in this way assist people in obtaining accommodation that will contribute towards the wellbeing of children, who are society's greatest asset.

We'd like to finish by commending the NDP government for bringing forth a bill that will recognize the rights of all its people, both tenants and home owners.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): Thank you very much for your presentation. Frankly, I think you've certainly done your research and it obviously reflects an involvement in this matter that goes over many years, as you said yourself.

However, I'm just still not fully convinced that this solution that is being put forward is really going to help the people you're concerned about that much. It may have some impact, but I'm still more of the feeling that I was after the hearings in Ottawa, where people said there's probably not going to be much of a takeup on Bill 120 because of the costs involved, as we said earlier.

You're saying that perhaps the federal government is going to help these landlords make these improvements, and perhaps that's a good thing. I hope that would happen. But that would be my question: Would you not agree that really a more comprehensive housing policy shouldn't start with Bill 120? I don't think the care for the children that you're interested in should start with basement apartments or even apartments in houses. If there's really that much of a demand as there is, I guess, in the Metro Toronto area still for proper housing, I think we have to go about it in a different way and provide proper and decent and full housing for those people so that they can live in the environment you're asking for them. So really my question is, would you not agree that Bill 120 may be one step, but a very minor step, towards a full housing policy?

Mrs Jamieson: First off, I think Bill 120 is one step, as you say, but it's not minor. You have 100,000 apartments out there and I think in many cases, as one of the members did mention, that was how they got started. That happens to a lot of young families and that happens to a lot of older people who really can't afford to always stay in their own home unless they have someone else rent or help them with service.

The fact that there are 100,000 out there tells me that there is a need, and it is comparable in price, in comparison to having to try and go into a high-rise. There are a lot of people out there who have to start somewhere, and obviously over 100,000 homes are filled with these people. It may be their choice. For instance, not everyone wants to live in a high-rise. Sometimes people need to live near the schools or even have a park or a backyard. They don't want to live in a large complex and they also don't have the finances to go into a large complex.

I agree that it's a step, but it's a step in the right direction. But it's not minor.

Mr Grandmaître: If I can go back to page 7 of your submission, you say, "The passing of Bill 120 offers more legal housing units on the market." My biggest concern with Bill 120 -- and I say it's maybe a step in the right direction -- is that we are not attacking the slum landlords. That's my biggest concern. Without giving municipalities the right of entry, and I mean a full right of entry, not through a warrant and so on and so forth, I think we're simply covering up these slum landlords, because these people know their tenants will not report the deficiencies, like the one you pointed out, a leaky pipe or whatever. That's my biggest concern. I think we have to go out, not on a witchhunt, but to identify these illegal apartments and make them legal. But I don't believe that Bill 120 will create more housing units. I think you're wrong on this one.


Mrs Jamieson: I appreciate your concern, because we have the same concern. However, we view it in a different way. One is that I think public education is going to be most important. There are a lot of tenants who right now do not recognize that they're even living in an illegal situation; there are a lot of home owners who don't recognize that if they have a family member there, this is illegal to begin with.

It's rather interesting that in Scarborough, for instance, out of 14,000 basement apartments there have been only 400 complaints, which is 3.8%, and of those complaints there have been very few that they haven't been able to resolve in a mediation manner. So I also feel that through education of the public these homes will be brought up to better standards.

You will always have a certain number of slum landlords. I don't know of a law that ever gets passed -- there are always those who fall between the cracks, but there is this opportunity to change this. If they know they can get loans or grants, we can't turn around and say they no longer can afford it. If they even get rent, for a while that rent will be the opportunity to repair or bring up to standards what they have there.

But as things stand now, everything is illegal. You cannot get a building permit. It's amazing to me. My brother lives in Scarborough. He has a home there that he's had for 40 years. He put in a basement apartment when he first went in there and the city actually came out and inspected the apartment and told him that all he had to do was change the sink into a bar sink and he'd be okay. He's got the building permits to prove that, yet Scarborough pretends that it's never had any powers. I have a problem with that.

Mr David Johnson: I thank you for your deputation. It raises an interesting dilemma in that just two deputations before you was the Society of St Vincent de Paul commenting on the other half of the legislation and indicating that in terms of its transitional home for men, for example, recovering from alcohol addiction, the bill as stated would have a severe impact on their program and recommending that fairly significant changes be made to it. So it raises the dilemma that you're in support of one half and they're opposed to the other half. If the bill goes through the way it is, I think it highlights the fact that we really have a bill that has two different components to it and they should have been separated.

Anyway, maybe to speak to your half of it, the building that you mentioned with the entrance, the apartment, on the bottom of page 5, top of page 6, where the tenant couldn't get the proper action, do you recall if that was an owner-occupied property?

Mrs Jamieson: Yes, it is owner-occupied. He just totally ignores her.

Mr David Johnson: I guess the previous questions alluded to this a bit. From my experience, the bulk of the complaints that do come to a municipality, whether by a neighbour or by somebody living on the property, I guess, are concerning absentee owners. These are very difficult to come to grips with by the municipality. I remember a number of deputations to a council meeting expressing concerns. We had to set up a special committee in East York to deal with -- at one point there were three, I remember, that were quite contentious. We had the police involved and the whole thing.

I wondered if you'd given any thought, because I think there's a lot more support and there would be a lot more support in the community if we looked at owner-occupied properties as opposed to all properties.

Mrs Jamieson: I would have trouble supporting that, I have to admit, because I believe that just as there are problem home owners that live in a community, so are there home owners that are not so good to their community. I feel the same way about absentee landlords. There are some excellent basement apartments that are there, and there are absentee landlords that are very responsible, but you're going to also get your landlords that are not responsible. I think the problem in a neighbourhood is that they often like to attack, and when there isn't some person to attack, they feel that they like to blame it on the absentee landlord. Tenants are usually very good and responsible people; the majority are not irresponsible.

I use an example in my own neighbourhood again. I'm inclined to do that because it's my own personal experiences. I own a small home in Scarborough. It is just a tiny three-bedroom home. About three houses up from us a family that was very difficult also owned a similar type of home. We found that the night pool parties were not too bad until they went on to 5 o'clock in the morning and there were a lot of beer bottles and all the sort of things that I keep hearing about tenants. They were not tenants; this was their two children. I won't go on to say what happened with those two children in terms of further repercussions because of their behaviour, but that had nothing to do at all with a basement apartment; this was their own children. We, as neighbours, had no choice but to put up with it, because the most you could do is call the police, and it didn't seem to rectify very much, quite truthfully.

Mr Owens: I'll be quite brief. Ms Smith, Ms Jamieson, it's good to have you at the committee. I think if we were to look for people as expert witnesses, with respect to your experience in the community, not only in housing issues but in issues with respect to domestic violence and advocating on behalf of children, both of you would be, in my view, expert witnesses. I appreciate your support of this particular legislation, and I appreciate your views that neighbours from hell come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and forms, and it's not just the basement apartments that have difficulties but that even in East York you've got people living in single-family dwellings that are problematic.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): In our House, it's the opposition.

Mr Owens: Thank you. The neighbours from hell called Johnson, Cordiano.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Thank you very much for your presentation. I certainly found it insightful, based as it is on your experience. I do want to say too, since Mr Johnson raised the issue of the previous delegation, I think he made the point that the hearings could be stopped at their presentation because common sense certainly seemed to shine through in their presentation. I think from what we've heard overall in the hearings it's very difficult to come up with common sense; it's always a challenge. I think it depends on whose common sense you want to draw on. It's quite clear that if we just went with your presentation, which strikes me as -- I don't want to say the commonest of sense, but very good common sense, that we would be able to come up with a good bill.

I do want to mention, though, that the mix of people and housing in communities should be promoted, which you underlined yourself in your presentation. One that I would like to underline, which you haven't but you certainly mention, is that "We believe renters should not be treated as second-class citizens." I think that's what we're trying to do in both aspects of Bill 120, that regardless of where a person lives they should be treated the same way, that they should qualify for the same rights as anybody else. I think you've made it clear in your examples that it doesn't matter where you live; you come under certain circumstances. It doesn't matter why you're there; it's how you deal with them. As you point out, renters can be very responsible in the way they treat their premises, just as home owners aren't necessarily as considerate.

I want to thank you for your presentation and just say that it's done a lot to help us in our deliberation here.

Mr Mammoliti: What do basement apartments and single-family dwellings do for the behaviour of children? Is it better for children to live in a basement apartment, in that type of atmosphere, in an apartment building, or in a home such as a two-storey home, over the long run?

Mrs Jamieson: No. The ideal world is to win the lottery, to own your own home and, in my vision, with a garage, particularly in the winter. But the reality is that we have to live where we can afford to live and in the best circumstances. I agree with you that if you had a choice not to live in a basement apartment you wouldn't do it, as I wouldn't live in a house that doesn't have a garage. The reality is that I don't have or certainly didn't have that choice, so I think it's important to provide housing.

What I don't want to see is the number of children we've had to bring into care because housing that they've had is totally inadequate. I can tell you that I have visited basement apartments because, addressing the issue and wanting to speak to the issue, I wanted to have a visual knowledge of what we were up against. Some of those basement apartments have been atrocious for some of the young families that I've had living in there. On the other hand, there have been some that are very safe and well-constructed.

I'd love to give everyone a home. That would be the ideal dream, but I know it's not a reality. So, yes, I could turn around and say to you, "Yes, I'd rather see everybody live in a home above ground" and all these other things, but the reality is that 100,000 basement apartment people have chosen and that's their choice.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee today. Your presentation has been most helpful.

The committee will reconvene to hear deputations at 2 o'clock this afternoon. For members of the subcommittee, I would ask that you stay for a few moments.

The committee recessed from 1203 to 1401.


Mr Carmel Hili: My name is Carmel Hili. I am the coordinator of the program at the Toronto Christian Resource Centre. The Toronto Christian Resource Centre is a housing provider with 37 houses and about 185 units. They are all shared accommodation, and we serve single people. To my left is Matti Rampanen, who is a tenant, and he will also be addressing the committee after my presentation.

I will begin by thanking you very much for the opportunity to address you regarding Bill 120. I represent, as I said, the Toronto Christian Resource Centre, which is housed at 40 Oak Street at Parliament and Gerrard East. We own and provide shared accommodation in 38 houses sprinkled throughout the downtown area of Toronto. We have been doing so -- providing housing, that is -- for the last 20 years. The people whom we house are low-income single people who come to us from hostels, the streets, detoxification centres, institutions, the run-down rooming houses and from street people talking with each other.

We provide shared accommodation; five people to a house. Each one has his or her room. A room is furnished with a bed, a table, chairs and a refrigerator. People share a common kitchen and bathrooms, often two bathrooms to a house.

As mentioned earlier, we have managed these houses for two decades and have always worked under the Landlord and Tenant Act. I repeat that we have managed our shared housing accommodation for people who formerly lived on the streets and in hostels for 20 years, and we have always done it under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

We believe that all tenants are equal and we take that as our guiding principle, irrespective of their income, health, status or type of housing they live in. So a poor person, an ex-mental patient, a man or woman on a fixed income, who lives in a rooming house or boarding house, does not have fewer rights than a well-off or middle-income tenant living in a luxury or other apartment.

Our society is built on this fundamental principle that each one of us is equal in front of the law. It is a principle of fairness that is ingrained, I think, in our psyches as a civilized community. The Canadian Charter of Rights legally binds us to treat everyone in the same manner, especially in the matter of tenancy rights.

Prior to June 28, 1987, when Bill 10 was approved, we at the Toronto Christian Resource Centre fought hard to make the Liberal government of that time aware of the vulnerability of low-income people living in rooming and boarding houses and of the continual haemorrhaging of these people's basic tenancy rights. Thousands upon thousands of them were evicted in typical garbage-bag evictions.

We know that too because, in addition to housing, we do community development work and community work, as well as street work. We were in touch with the rooming house population south of Bloor and east of Yonge Street, and we have been to hundreds of rooming houses in that general area. Many were literally kicked out and their belongings left outside on the porch, without their being able to use the law to protect themselves.

Bill 10, which was enacted into law in June 1987, brought a measure of protection under LTA to people who live in shared accommodation. However, subclauses 1(c)(viii) and (ix) excluded tenants who lived in accommodation where the landlord had some sort of funding arrangement with various government ministries. It also left out those who lived in accommodation for the purpose of receiving care, therapy and rehabilitation. These subsections disfranchised some 45,000 people who lived as long-term tenants in accommodation where they received some form of support.

With the coming of the non-profit housing providers in the mid and late 1980s, a whole number of them were quick to take advantage of the ambivalent wording of these provisions and operate outside the act. Other submissions prior to us have documented abuses of basic rights perpetrated by non-profit, as well as for-profit, landlords on the basis of these exemptions.

We at the Toronto Christian Resource Centre stand for Bill 120 in its legalizing of basement apartments and making them safe places for people to live in. We stand for meals provided in care homes being subject to rent control, just as they are currently in boarding homes. However, this afternoon what we want to address above all in the deputation is coverage under the Landlord and Tenant Act for all tenants.

We stand for Bill 120 in its sweeping away of the exemptions in subclauses 1(c)(viii) and (ix). We commend the Minister of Housing for bringing a bill that will protect often very vulnerable people who live in long-term housing where there also may be some form of care. We commend the minister for defining more tightly "therapy" and "rehabilitation."

Much has been said to you in these hearings, I'm sure, to the effect that we should not enact such a law, or we should gut it, because some tenants might abuse the rights that it enshrines. However, our position is that tenants' rights of people living in shared accommodation should not be curtailed, because some tenants might break the law that gives them these rights.

The Charter of Rights gives us all basic human rights. However, we would not dream of throwing it out because some citizens abuse it and commit crimes against other innocent citizens.

We come to you this afternoon as veteran providers of shared accommodation for low-income and often hard-to-house people. We want particularly to address the right of these tenants to security of tenure and due legal process. We know from front-line experience about some of the difficult stories that have been recited to you many times in the past two weeks by people who want to operate outside the act.


We ourselves have dealt many times with tenants who create a hellish environment for the other tenants around them. However, having said that, we still firmly declare two important things to you: First, we uphold equal tenancy rights for security of tenure and due legal process in case of eviction for all tenants, including those tenants who live in shared accommodation where some may also receive some form of care and indeed also those tenants who may be in breach of the tenancy responsibilities. Secondly, we also recognize the rights to safety, security and peace of the other tenants who live in shared accommodation where a wayward tenant may be causing problems.

We do not want to sacrifice the right of a tenant to security and due legal process for the sake of the rights of the other tenants in the community. Neither do we want to ignore the rights of the other tenants who make up the household in our upholding of the individual tenancy rights of one tenant. We feel that we need to find a way of balancing the right to security and due process of a tenant with the right to safety, security and peace of the other tenants in the household.

Thus, towards balancing of these rights, we recommend that the present bill be further amended to allow for fast-tracking the legal process of evicting a tenant in the following circumstances. I would like to take an aside here to say that when we're talking about fast-track, we are not talking about removing a person from premises. We are talking about accelerating, fast-tracking the legal process which is in the Landlord and Tenant Act which, at the present time, from our experience will take anywhere from six weeks to a year. We would like that to be accelerated so that it could be done in two weeks.

We are saying we accelerate that process when there are these conditions that hold:

(1) when there is housing which is shared, such as a house with five tenants who room in it and who share the use of the bathroom and kitchen, so shared accommodation like a rooming house;

(2) in cases only, we are saying, that pertain to eviction due to misbehaviour as articulated in part IV, clauses 109(1)(b), (c) and (d) where:

"(b) a tenant at any time during the term of the tenancy exercises or carries on or permits to be exercised or carried on, on or upon the residential premises or any part thereof any illegal act, trade, business, occupation or calling;

"(c) the conduct of the tenant or a person permitted in the residential premises by him is such that it substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the premises for all usual purposes by the landlord or other tenants;

"(d) the safety or other bona fide and lawful right, privilege or interest of any other tenant in the residential premises is or has been seriously impaired by act or omission of the tenant or a person permitted in the residential premises by him where such act or omission occurs in the residential premises or the environs."

We submit that the present procedure could be streamlined so that an eviction could be carried out in a period of not more than two weeks. We believe that such a change would bring on side many housing providers who currently are opposed to the changes brought forward in Bill 120.

In particular, we are recommending the following:

That subsection 109(1) be amended to read "that the landlord may serve on the tenant a notice of termination of the tenancy agreement to be effective not earlier than the fifth day" -- instead of the 20th day as it is at the present time -- "after notice is given, specifying the act or acts complained of, and requiring the tenant, within one day" -- instead of within seven days as it is at the present time -- "to cease and desist from activities mentioned in clauses (b), (c) and (d)."

We are also recommending that in subsection 109(4) the last four lines be amended to read "The landlord may serve on the tenant notice of termination agreement to be effective not earlier than the seventh day," and not the 14th day as it is at the present time, "after the notice is given."

We are submitting also to you that cases dealing with behavioural problems such as those referred to in clauses 109(1)(b), (c) and (d) be heard directly by the judge, bypassing the clerk of the court and that the issuing of the formal judgement, the paperwork involved in the sheriff's office and the carrying out of the judgement by the sheriff not take more than five working days.

For us, these recommendations present a way of balancing the right to safety, peace and security of tenants in a shared community and the right to due legal process in eviction of a particular tenant. This position also, we feel, respects the integrity of the act but attempts to fine-tune it so that in its implementation it would also be fairer to all the parties involved in problems addressed in clauses 109(1)(b), (c) and (d), namely, problems related to personal and interpersonal behaviour.

Thank you once more for listening to our deputation. Before we pass on to any questions that you may want to ask us, Matti Rampanen, who is a tenant, would also give a short submission.

Mr Matti Rampanen: Like my friend here, Carmel Hili -- my name is Matti Rampanen -- I'm a resident of TCRC home. I have been there since July 1993. As a tenant I was requested by the landlord to sign a tenancy agreement and believe that every other tenant of the house was requested to do the same.

About the middle of August, one of the tenants began to interfere with my enjoyment of the premises where we reside. After numerous meetings with all residents of the house and the landlord's agent, it was agreed that any further interference would result in a formal request to change the behaviour of the offending resident.

Having had verbal as well as written notice of his offending behaviour, this particular resident, although verbally agreeing, did not change his actions. As I understand it, there was a clause in the Landlord and Tenant Act that allows a landlord to serve notice of early termination for interfering with the enjoyment of the premises of the other residents. I personally believe that up to two weeks is quite sufficient a time span for a landlord to evict someone who will not adhere to and respect the rights and privileges of other law-abiding residents.

When my safety and the enjoyment of the rented premises are jeopardized by a resident who refuses to have respect for other residents, I have to request my landlord to rectify the situation. When my landlord's hands are legally tied, it makes my life at my residence quite uncomfortable and at times unbearable.

I am therefore in full support of an amendment to Bill 120 which would allow a landlord to take swift legal action against the offending resident.

I thank you kindly for allowing me to voice my concerns.

Mr David Johnson: I thank you for that deputation. I think it's a very constructive suggestion in terms of the fast-tracking process, because certainly today it doesn't take two weeks and we've heard other deputations, including your own, that have indicated the consequences if there's a disruption.


One of the concerns that's come before us is not in a case, though, where a tenant is actually doing anything illegal in a sense -- for example, the Society of St Vincent de Paul was before us this morning and it runs a transitional home for men recovering from alcohol addiction -- but simply where one of the residents or two or more of the residents decided not to go through the program but to bring in alcohol. Now that's not a violation, that doesn't contravene the Landlord and Tenant Act. I just wondered under your procedure, which, I'll give you credit, is an excellent suggestion, if a situation like that would be dealt with. I don't think that would help St Vincent de Paul.

Mr Hili: As you say too, if people drink and they do not disturb others, they are not breaking any laws. The problem is when they drink and they do not go in the room and drink quietly but when they act up and they affect the enjoyment of others.

Mr David Johnson: I'm sorry, can I just add, and I didn't state the whole question clearly, the concern there was not that they were acting up but that they were a bad example. Other people are trying to become dry and watching some people drink has just made the whole rehabilitation process and therapeutic process impossible. The others would be affected by this and it would make their therapy unsuccessful. That was really the problem.

Mr Hili: Right. They have not been doing anything illegal, that's right, and in this situation what is jeopardized is the program, it's not the welfare and it's not the safety --

Mr David Johnson: Not the immediate welfare.

Mr Hili: That's right, not the immediate welfare, and they were not in danger bodily, physically, most likely, I suppose. It was the program, as I see it, rather than the mere enjoyment and use of premises. I believe as it is at the moment the act says if it substantially interferes with the enjoyment of premises, if your behaviour interferes substantially with the enjoyment of premises of other tenants or the landlord, then that is in contravention of the act. So that's right, in this case, as I see it. The act may not be breached, it may not be in the process of being breached, but the goals of sobriety and moving beyond that may be jeopardized.

Mr David Johnson: And which has consequences for the residents who are in there and jeopardizes their long-term health and welfare. We had tenants from St Vincent de Paul who said they wouldn't have made it themselves without these rules. These rules were very essential for them and if other people were drinking in their presence, then they wouldn't have been able to be successful and that would have had very adverse consequences on their lives in the long run.

Mr Hili: Right, but I think irrespective of that, the issue here is the tenant's rights. If a person is doing things that are jeopardizing the welfare and the sobriety and the long-term program of particular residents, other residents -- that's right, if they are doing something like that, they are doing something which is not right. I'm losing my thread of thought here.

Mr David Johnson: Just while you're thinking about it, can I ask you, is your main purpose for accommodation or for rehabilitation? In other words, are you basically a living place or do you have a program that would assist people?

Mr Hili: We provide housing, basically, for people who require housing. We have two types of housing: One is for people who have an addiction and have not made up their minds yet that they want to cease drinking, and we also have a program where we have housing for people who are dry and want to stay dry and so they live in a reinforcing environment there with other people who are also staying dry.

Mr David Winninger (London South): Thank you for your presentation. You've dealt with an issue that, as other members have indicated, has come up over and over again, and that's the complex issue of how we balance the right of a tenant to security and safety, I suppose the right of the landlord to maintain a certain state of decorum in the residence and also the right of the tenant being evicted to due process. That's a very difficult one to resolve, as I'm sure you've found.

We've taken an approach which we feel is a reasonable one, in that under the existing Landlord and Tenant Act, as you know, a landlord can serve notice of early termination of tenancy, a 20-day notice, allowing seven days basically to correct what's wrong. As you've pointed out, that may be an illegal act on the premises, it may be disturbance of the quiet enjoyment of others, it may be a variety of circumstances that lead to that kind of notice.

Many of the deputants who've appeared before us have said: "Why should there be one law for the rich, or people of means, and another law that applies to evictions of people who have the misfortune to be in a low-income group, or have a disability, or a substance dependency? Why should there be one rule that applies to them which might entail fast-track eviction and why should there be another rule for those who aren't in similar circumstances?"

It would seem to me that if you're a landlord or if you're another tenant in a building who's suffering as the result of a tenant's misconduct, that's the kind of situation that occurs not just in boarding houses or retirement care facilities, but can occur in a variety of circumstances and does occur in a variety of circumstances. Frequently, in those cases, you seek the intervention of the police if it's an illegal act, of health professionals if it something that may fall under the Mental Health Act, or you may seek the intervention of the family if the individual appears perhaps to be lacking in capacity.

I guess I would ask you then, since there are ways and means presently used to deal with these situations, and I guess the ultimate recourse would be the Landlord and Tenant Act, why the case needs to be made so strongly for a fast-track eviction?

Mr Hili: I think the reason for fast-track is because of the housing form. It's not so much because of the tenant who lives in it, but because of the housing form that these tenants use, consume. Living in a self-contained apartment in an apartment building is totally different from living in a room -- rooming houses could be as big as 15 rooms -- with, say, anywhere from four to 14 others living next door to you. You share a bathroom with them, or bathrooms, and you share the hallways with them and a kitchen with them, and you are very dependent on each other for the basic conveniences of life.

If you are living close to somebody like that who is creating a terrible environment to live in, then that is a good reason for respecting the rights of the tenant, by making sure that justice is done in as fast a way as possible so that the other tenants who are so dependent on that particular tenant, who may not be acting as he should as a tenant, could also have their own rights to safety, security and peace honoured. You must remember that when there is a tenant who is acting up, then there are other tenants who are living next to him whose rights are being trampled over.

Mr Daigeler: I just would like to pursue the question that Mr Johnson had asked earlier. You said that you are providing two types of housing. One is sort of strictly a housing component, and then another or some other houses that you provide -- what is it? Do you have a care component there? Do you have some people who provide more than looking after the rental aspect?

Mr Hili: Yes. We provide housing for single people and they are all shared accommodation. There are usually five rooms to a house, so there are five residents in a house. They share a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. Because most of our people, as I said in my deputation, come from the hostels or the detox centres or institutions, many of them have an addiction problem, so we provide housing for them. There are some who, if they drink, for example, want to continue to drink responsibly. Fine. They can live with others too who do that, but there are some who come to us who come, say, from halfway houses or three-quarter houses, who want a dry environment to live in.

We have also initiated some houses where the people who live in them, the tenants who live in them, are dry and trying to stay dry with a --

Mr Daigeler: But that's just sort of a policy, it's not part of the mandate that you have given yourself to try to rehabilitate?

Mr Hili: No, we do not have a program of rehabilitation. However, we --

Mr Daigeler: Okay. Essentially, you're a housing program.


Mr Hili: Correct, but just to also add that we have a facilitative management component too; that is, we have staff that go into these houses and work with the people in these houses to make decisions together, to accept new tenants, sometimes to take part in the eviction of people who are not --

Mr Daigeler: But if I understand you right, I do think, from what you are saying, you have given yourself a different mandate than many of the other groups that came before us whose major mandate is not housing but in fact treatment and rehabilitation. It's under that perspective that they came to us and said, "We cannot fulfil the mandate that we have, which is not housing but rehabilitation and treatment, with these kinds of restrictive -- or with the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act."

I think we just have to be clear that you don't have that mandate and therefore you have less difficulty with the Landlord and Tenant provisions because you are a housing provider.

Mr Hili: We do have difficulties because, of course, we have people too who are trying to stay dry. It affects them. We have problems too, because it takes sometimes up to a year and you can have a lot of things happen in a year when you have someone who is acting up. We really need to have, I think, a method whereby people who are acting up could go through their legal due process faster than it is at the present time.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming to see us this afternoon. We appreciate your deputation.

Mr Hili: Thank you very much.

The Chair: I would just at this point bring members' attention to a letter I received from the Ministry of Housing clarifying -- at least hopefully clarifying -- an issue that was raised yesterday. The clerk is distributing that letter to all members.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): Is that the breakdown of the costs of this bill?

The Chair: That is not.

Mr Jackson: Is that forthcoming? I'm shocked that we didn't have any on record, but is it coming?

The Chair: I presume it is. We have asked, as a committee, for it. I'm sure the ministry is labouring away at trying to provide those figures, but I can only assume that.

Mr Jackson: Great. Thank you.


Mr Bill Hughes: Good afternoon. My name is Bill Hughes and I am the chair of the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens.

To give you a little bit of background as to our organization, we are established by order in council, composed of volunteers whose mission is to advise the government, through our particular minister, who is the Minister of Citizenship, of issues affecting seniors. We are an advisory group and our advice is on a wide range of issues, all affecting seniors -- about the 1,200,000 seniors in this province.

About two and a half years ago we got interested in a component, that is, a component of this bill, and that is the aspect of garden suites. We got involved with this because over a period of time an experiment had been done to see whether these facilities would be useful to seniors in this province. They had been tried in other parts of the world with some degree of success.

We thought the concept was a good one in so far that it allowed older people to remain in a home environment close to support members, so it allowed independence and yet guaranteed some form of protection and support. It also meant that seniors would have the chance to have a decent lifestyle and, not because they were unable to live totally independently, not have to go into an institution which would be inappropriate and premature.

We felt very strongly about the value of what was referred to from time to time as granny flats or garden suites. We wanted them to have a good chance to show what they could do for Ontario seniors. Some attempts have been made to test them out. We became aware, though, that there were some problems in communities themselves to allowing their evolvement. The problems seemed to centre around municipalities' understandable concerns about who would be in these garden suites.

The garden suites themselves one visualizes as being kind of a separate structure with some obvious connection, but not necessarily physical connection, with kind of a host house. Or it could be, though we didn't really look into this aspect too much, something within the structure, but sort of independently cordoned off so there would be privacy and yet access.

As I say, we became concerned that municipalities felt uncomfortable about allowing these structures to be installed or built because they were concerned about who might be tenants. Our reaction was one of understanding but certainly of disappointment that what we see as a very useful form of housing for seniors -- and we also include in with seniors in this instance persons with disabilities -- was an opportunity that was going by default because of a problem of tenancy.

A couple of years ago, we made a recommendation to our minister that if the matter came to her attention, our view was that garden suites were a great idea but because of the understandable problems municipalities were facing and maybe communities themselves were facing, we saw a justification for limiting residency to seniors who are related to the host or people with disabilities.

We understand there may be problems in designating this as being inequitable, but we understand that the Human Rights Commission has advised that this special-interest group, seniors and people with disabilities, are legitimately specialized and that it does not cause an act of discrimination to have them declared as the sole type of resident for a garden suite.

What we present to you today is our view on this aspect of the bill, not so much as to be exclusive but to be realistic, and by this means allow municipalities to support the concept and allow this form of residency to be established. That's our submission.


Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much for your presentation, Mr Hughes. It's good to hear the support for this idea of the garden suite, and we think it is going to be well received. There has been a lot of support now in our consultations.

I regret to say that my colleague Mr Mills would very much like to have spoken to you about it. He would have told you that there will be a presentation later on that actually deals with some experience in putting up garden suites and how they would look and just some of the aspects to their placement.

I want to say, though, in response to some of the things you've raised, that it is a permissive right. There's no requirement that municipalities allow garden suites in their jurisdiction. But we think there are enough conditions there that it should be feasible to put them in place so that everyone will be assured that the uses they have are the ones that provide the best arrangement for the community. There is the agreement, the garden suite agreement, that the municipality would sign with the owner setting out the conditions that the garden suite would be set up under, even as far as naming the person who would be using it.

But, as you point out yourself, there are some restrictions limiting who would be using the garden suite as far as the Human Rights Code goes and the Planning Act provisions as far as family members go, so it's unlikely that you could stipulate that it would be family members who would be using the garden suite. However, it's possible that the special-use provisions in the Human Rights Code would allow seniors and people with disabilities to use them, to restrict them to that use, if the municipality thought that would suit its purposes. I guess I just want to make sure that fits in with your understanding of the issues.

Mr Hughes: Yes. As I say, our concern is not to limit it in a sort of selfish fashion, but merely to avoid the possibility that granny flats or garden suites would be turned down as an option because municipalities were not comfortable with the possibility of unlimited tenancy.

Mr Gary Wilson: That would be part of the garden suite agreement, that the length of time -- well, it does give up to a maximum of 10 years anyway, but the provisions of its removal would be part of the garden suite agreement.

Mr Hughes: So you feel that a municipality would not feel disadvantaged in going ahead with garden suites on the basis of the tenancy agreement that you proposed?

Mr Gary Wilson: That's right, the garden suite agreement. It sets out quite clearly what the conditions are. However, you did, though, suggest garden suites within buildings. I don't know whether you were thinking there of something like the apartments in houses.

Mr Hughes: Yes. There have been experiments where suites within the house have been kind of authorized for this purpose, and that seems to work out very well. This often means that the building looks exactly as it did before, but certain internal partitioning is rearranged, which provides privacy but still provides a means of access in the event of problems.

You're aware that one of the considerations in this for seniors and people with disabilities is that people in this situation are subject to more accidents, particularly falls, than the average population, and this has often been considered as a reason for getting older people moved out of normal, traditional homes and put in some kind of safe place.

We believe this is a violation of their independence. You can see why it is suggested, though, and that is, as I say, that there is a very much higher incidence of accidents and particularly falls, burnings and so on, when a senior reaches a period of frailty. The advantage then of having somebody close to him who isn't interfering with that person's life but is there to check and monitor becomes obvious and is part of the package that makes us feel very comfortable about this form of suite.

Mr Gary Wilson: Yes, exactly. It does combine the security of knowing that help is nearby, and help that you probably are familiar with as a resident, plus the independence which is so valued and which is what we're trying to promote.

Mr Hughes: Yes, and it seems consistent with the whole long-term care redirection of living in one's own home, not as long as possible but as long as desirable and as long as the individual wants to go that route.

Again, our concern is that the bill should not imperil a municipality's willingness to authorize this type of structure. We felt that by limiting it, as I think was originally intended years ago in other places, to seniors and people with disabilities would, to our understanding, guarantee that. But I accept what you have to say as some kind of assurance otherwise.

Mr Daigeler: I appreciate your presentation because, if I'm not mistaken, I think it's the first one that is zeroing in on that particular aspect of the bill. It's rather interesting to have sort of a new perspective being brought forward.

You are referring in your brief to a 1990 summary report that demonstrates a high level of satisfaction with the granny flat provision that was there before. Is this a ministry report or is that something that your council put together? Or what is this?

Mr Hughes: No, it was something that came available to the council at the time we made our original position a couple of years ago.

Mr Daigeler: But I mean, who prepared it? I'm simply asking because if it's a ministry --

Mr Hughes: I cannot give you the information at the moment; I don't have it at the moment. But if you direct me, I'll see if I can get you a copy.

Mr Daigeler: I wonder whether perhaps the parliamentary assistant, if I can have his attention for a second, if this is a report that was prepared by the minister, and if so, I would be very interested; not frankly in the whole report, but just in an executive summary, if that would be available. In particular -- and again, you may know, you may not know -- what has been the takeup? How many granny flats were in fact being allocated? Would you know that?

Mr Hughes: No, I don't know.

Mr Grandmaître: I like your presentation, your deputation, and as my colleague pointed out, it is different from the basement apartment deputations that we have been hearing for the last couple of weeks. I agree with you that the garden suite program, the pilot project of 1984, was a great success, except that not too many municipalities joined in the pilot project. That was the problem.

Mr Hughes: I agree with that.

Mr Grandmaître: I can recall back in 1983, when Ottawa-Carleton was the first regional municipality in the province of Ontario to adapt its zoning bylaws and also its official plan to reflect the need of garden suites and how great they would be; I can tell you that they have been a great success. I also agree with your council that the unlimited use of garden suites should be looked into, for the simple reason that some landlords do abuse the garden suite.


My question, Mr Hughes: You were established or created by an order in council back in 1974 and you now communicate, I hope, frequently with the Minister of Citizenship and the cabinet. How is this done and how often do you advise the Minister of Citizenship and the cabinet on the needs of senior citizens in the province of Ontario?

Mr Hughes: There are two or three ways we do it, Mr Grandmaître. The first is by their directly asking for information, and they've asked for information, for instance, on palliative care. We would do a study and end up with a publication that we would hand to them.

It could be something perhaps less formal than that in which they ask for information on maybe free dental care for seniors and we would give an opinion based on the findings that we would have and that would probably be in the form of a letter or a personal discussion with the minister.

We can go much more formally, as we have in two or three instances. We've recently concluded a major study on conditions for seniors in first nations' communities in a report that we entitled Denied Too Long, in which we give some very deep and broad conclusions of what we have found in those circumstances.

Mr Grandmaître: Was your opinion sought on Bill 120?

Mr Hughes: No. It was our own awareness that this issue was coming up and we felt that we had a right and a responsibility to make some kind of recommendation.

Mr Grandmaître: Thank you.

Mr Jackson: Are you aware at all, Mr Hughes, if the government has indicated that you have been supportive of the bill?

Mr Hughes: I don't have any information on that, sir.

Mr Jackson: Are there elements of the bill that you felt the council didn't have consensus on in order to report to the committee today?

Mr Hughes: No. The only element that we felt we would have a particular interest in was this aspect of granny flats. It wasn't that we were disinterested in the other areas; it was just that we felt this was something that we had a particular responsibility to have some comment on.

Mr Jackson: Then, if you can't speak for the council, do you have any opinions about the aspects of the rest and retirement home amendments in this legislation?

Mr Hughes: No.

Mr Jackson: Are you familiar with those elements?

Mr Hughes: Somewhat.

Mr Jackson: Did your council do much work with respect to Bill 100, the changes to long-term care reform?

Mr Hughes: Yes. We made a report on that and submitted that both to the minister and to the committee on long-term care reform.

Mr Jackson: You supported in that report, as I recall, the splitting out of the residential component with the care component with the consumables, food and other elements. You supported that?

Mr Hughes: Yes, I think I remember something on that.

Mr Jackson: The government proposes to do that as well with this legislation. Is that a similar trend that you support?

Mr Hughes: I can't answer you on that. Sorry.

Mr Jackson: Bill 100 also talks about penalties now that are in place for senior citizens who are absent from their nursing home, which is cause for concern.

Mr Hughes: Yes.

Mr Jackson: They surfaced in the regulatory aspects in the shadow of the legislation. Similar concerns have been raised with this legislation with respect to absences from rest and retirement homes. Do you have any comments for the committee in that area?

Mr Hughes: No, I believe we didn't make any comment on that with respect to the long-term care bill and we have not done that with this. I'm aware of the issues and I understand the implications and I'm aware of certain positions that have been taken by other interested seniors groups.

Mr Jackson: You've addressed briefly the notion of the discriminatory aspects of housing defined by age or disability or whatever. Has your council taken any position with respect to the current situation facing seniors in subsidized housing where it is completely integrated now? Has your council accepted that principle or are you still recommending that seniors have reasonable enjoyment and have accommodation access which is geared specifically to their needs?

Mr Hughes: I must say, Mr Jackson, we have not studied it.

Mr Jackson: Okay. I appreciate, as has been echoed by others, you have given us perhaps a more comprehensive approach to the garden suites and that is helpful to the committee.

Mr Hughes: Thank you very much, sir.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Hughes, for taking the time to come and see us today.


Mr Christopher Higgins: My name is Christopher Higgins. I'm the executive director of the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs. My colleagues today are Julie Mancuso and Mark Zaborowski, who are members of the housing interest group, one of our subcommittees.

The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs is pleased to provide input into Bill 120 with regard to the impact of the bill on mental health and addiction rehabilitation and recovery programs.

The federation represents 227 member agencies throughout the province of Ontario. We're a non-profit association with voluntary membership. We provide a range of mental health and addiction services from vocational rehabilitation to case management to substance abuse -- residential treatment programs, which are part of housing. Approximately 100 of our agencies provide mental health and addiction programs which include accommodation as a component of the service. These organizations are funded in whole or in part by the Ministry of Health community mental health branch.

Our comments and recommendations are based on what we believe to be of critical importance to ensure that there is a comprehensive array of rehabilitation and recovery and supportive accommodation options. This array is necessary to meet the diverse needs and preferences of consumers of these services.

I'd like to give you a couple of examples of that diversity just now. Some folks who have a serious mental illness are quite capable of maintaining their relationships with friends and families and have good domestic skills. A supportive housing setting appropriate to those could be an independent apartment with weekly meetings with a case manager. For other folks who are socially isolated and have poor domestic skills, a shared accommodation setting with high amounts of staff and peer support may be the best option.

I'd like to take a few moments to give you a quick overview of mental health and addiction housing programs. There are a number of main program models for housing services. Some of these have housing stock of their own and provide permanent housing with support services designated to the building or unit, so the operator either owns a building or has a contractual relationship with an apartment to use a certain number of those units. Staff in these settings assist people to successfully maintain their housing.

The second kind of program provides support wherever an individual decides to live. These are not associated with a particular building, group home or apartment. They rely on the range of alternatives available to the public in the housing market. The goal of these programs is to help people secure and maintain permanent housing in the community using existing stock.

A third type of program provides transitional rehabilitation and recovery services. These are designed to assist persons to learn the skills necessary to live independently, to gain confidence and rebuild their system of friends, family and supports. The ultimate goal is to ready people to live independently in permanent accommodation.

These programs are not intended or designed to provide permanent accommodation themselves. Typically, they are congregate living settings with a household cooperative made up of the members who live there. The cooperative manages the house, sets its rules and even has a role in selecting new residents for the program. These programs are transitional in nature but they allow people to take the time they need to achieve their goals without an arbitrary time limit. People with serious mental illness and/or substance abuse problems must have sufficient time to pursue their goals at their own pace. The stress of deadlines can exacerbate the problems they face.


The recent mental health reform initiative by the government of Ontario identifies an array of key services. One of these key services has been the housing service program for those with serious mental illness and other populations. Existing rehabilitation and recovery programs in residential settings have been operating for over 10 years and play an important role in the array of mental health and addiction services.

The federation strongly supports the fundamental intent of Bill 120. These amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act will ensure tenant rights for a much greater proportion of the provincial citizenship.

It is our position that people in permanent accommodation should be entitled to the protections available under the act. It is also our view that rehabilitation and recovery programs of a transitional nature should be treated differently under the act.

We would like to take this opportunity to make some recommendations regarding the proposed amendments of part I of the Landlord and Tenant Act. The goal of the recommendations we are suggesting is to ensure that there is such an extension of protections under the act to permanent accommodation settings without undermining the viability and effectiveness of existing rehabilitation and recovery programs.

Our recommendations fall into two parts. The first part is regarding supportive housing services which provide permanent accommodation, which are already or will be under the Landlord and Tenant Act. The second part is regarding rehabilitation and recovery programs that provide transitional accommodation and which are or should be exempt from the act.

In relation to those services which are or will be under the act, there are a number of programs which provide permanent accommodation where tenants share kitchen and washroom facilities and perhaps also common rooms, laundries and so on. In these settings, the behaviour of an individual can affect the safety and wellbeing of the other residents. For example, a person may be frightening or regularly become intoxicated and unpredictable, or may be suffering an acute episode of mental illness. The impact of these behaviours on the other residents who may be psychologically fragile can be serious and may even trigger acute episodes in others resulting in rehospitalizations. As organizations with the responsibility to support the mental health of all our clients, this poses a serious problem. We also have a duty to ensure the safety of our workers, particularly under the new Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The option of using police or committal to deal with these situations is generally unworkable. Even in the cases where they may intervene, the mental wellbeing of the individual is not positively affected by such an intervention and the collateral effect on the other residents is usually very poor.

We recommend that organizations with programs in such settings be provided a process for a quick temporary relocation of a tenant and that a full Landlord and Tenant hearing be accelerated, allowing for an accelerated eviction process. This process allows organizations to ensure the safety of other residents. The recommendation is in keeping with recommendation 17 of Dr Lightman's report, A Community of Interests.

I'd like to turn to those programs that do not provide permanent accommodation. Our recommendations 2 through 6 focus on rehabilitation and recovery programs. We are concerned that the amendments as written would cause fundamental changes in the nature of these programs, would reduce their effectiveness tremendously, and perhaps mean that they are simply not viable any more. People would no longer be clients in a rehabilitation or recovery program; they would simply be tenants.

Putting such programs under the Landlord and Tenant Act may well eliminate the rehabilitative elements of those programs. Currently, the program residents as a group define the guidelines within which they choose to live. This could no longer be possible, as any individual could opt out at any time. The residents who choose to bring alcohol into a dry program could do so, as it no longer is a program; it is simply a place to live. If enough residents choose to be tenants and opt out of the rehabilitative program, the collective household activities will no longer work. Eventually, the program will fill up with non-participating tenants and it will no longer exist as a program. Folks will simply live there and the program staff will not have anything to do. In the meantime, while it's filling up, the peer-based learning, support and rehabilitation process will be less and less effective.

The sole reason for the existence of these programs is to help rehabilitate individuals for permanent future housing and increased quality of life. Elimination of rehabilitative programs would have a profound effect on those individuals currently being successfully served in the programs. There are also many folks who are on waiting lists to enter these programs, who are looking for rehabilitative services. If people who are in them already simply become tenants and make a permanent home of the place, those spots are all blocked. There is no way for the people who are on the waiting list to enter the program.

In order to preserve the effectiveness and viability of these programs, we would make the following recommendations.

Bill 120 amends the definition of "residential premises" to include "any premises occupied or intended to be occupied by a person for the purpose of receiving care services, whether or not receiving the services is the primary purpose of the occupancy." The apparent breadth of this definition is problematic. Rehabilitation and recovery programs that provide accommodation may in fact be captured by such a definition even though people are in them for purposes other than accommodation. Our services are similar in many cases to services that are excluded under other acts, such as the Mental Health Act.

Just as an aside, there has been work on a community mental health act that would cover our programs; however, this has not been a priority recently. It would have been very helpful in our particular case to have it intact so that we could refer to it, but it's not available.

Therefore, we recommend that in programs where the primary purpose is rehabilitation and recovery and the primary purpose is not permanent accommodation, organizations be able to apply for exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Further, if the government decides to define "rehabilitation and recovery" in regulations, the federation would be prepared to contribute to their development. This may be a means to ensure that this exemption is applied properly and differentiates between these fundamentally different settings.

We further recommend that residential rehabilitation and recovery programs which are exempt under the Landlord and Tenant Act adopt a due process for program discharge. This due process should be developed by the Ministry of Health in close conjunction with the Ministry of Housing and in consultation with service providers. Such a process will establish protection against arbitrary discharge from the program, an appeals process and so forth. The implementation of such a due process would be consistent with recommendation 15 of Dr Lightman's report, A Community of Interests. As in other jurisdictions, such a due process would be embedded in the funding or licensing agreement between the government funder and the service provider organization as a condition of funding. Typically, in many US jurisdictions this licensing arrangement contains all the rules that pertain to these kinds of situations.

It's important to note that people in our programs generally have a number of agencies and advocates involved with them. Decisions regarding discharge from a program are typically made with consultation and input from all agencies and usually involve a case conference. Given that our mission is to support the wellbeing of people in our programs, such decisions to discharge are not made lightly.

The next area we'd like to comment on redefines the characteristics of a program that could be exempt under the act due to the provision of rehabilitation or therapeutic services. This exemption for rehabilitation and recovery programs is of critical importance.

Subclause (ii) states that "the building or structure in which the accommodation is located shall not be the principal residence of the majority of the occupants of the building or structure." The difficulty this poses is that to be eligible for general welfare assistance or family benefits allowance, one must have a principal residence. If you don't have a principal residence, there are many obstacles and in some cases it's impossible to get these supports. Many of the individuals entering into our rehabilitation or recovery programs which include accommodation have not resided with their family for many, many years, have lost their housing due to hospitalization, or have been homeless. They can't use another address as the principal address.

Our programs have in the past been a temporary principal residence for participants while they're working on their skills. The difficulty with this proposed amendment is that it would no longer be possible for people in rehab and recovery programs to use the address as a principal residence, and they may lose their welfare and disability benefits.

We recommend that the wording in this section be changed from "principal residence" to "permanent residence," thereby changing that technical reality. We also recommend that an additional clause be included stating that this definition shall not affect eligibility under the general welfare act or the Family Benefits Act. I think the last thing we want to do is cut folks off from the safety net of income supports when they need them most.


The next area we wish to address is subsection 3 of the rehab exemption which states that the average length of occupancy for the occupants of the building may not exceed six months. We support the concept that rehabilitation and recovery programs should be transitional. There should be a negotiated specific length of stay. We also support the principle that people would be discharged and leave the residential program when they have met their objectives or when it has been determined that their objectives cannot be met.

On the other hand, the occupancy criterion of an average of six months for rehabilitation programs allows insufficient time for people to prepare for increased independence. The experience of our member agency has been that this process typically takes two years, not six months. If we have such a deadline, people are going to rush through the program. They may not be ready to leave; or they may have to leave when they're not ready to leave; or programs may not be able to take people who need a long time to make the changes they need to make because they know that, if they take them in, they're going to have to ask them to leave in six months.

There is no quick fix in the addiction and mental health world. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the length of stay in rehabilitation and recovery programs remain flexible and be based on the individual's needs. The terms of residency should be specified in a written service agreement prior to the applicant moving in. If there has to be some kind of a timetable or a time line on this, it ought to be based on the real-world average of two years. Please note that not every agency has this average but most agencies as a group together, when my members sit down, agree that two years is about the right period of time. That's an interagency average, if you will.

We encourage you to give these matters the most serious consideration and make the changes necessary to ensure that the programs that serve our consumers and clients are not undermined or eliminated in the pursuit of legitimate goals around the extension of the rights of those in permanent accommodation as envisaged in this bill.

On behalf of our member agencies and those consumers and clients in our programs, I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. I and my colleagues would be happy to answer any questions you have concerning these matters.

Mr Cordiano: It was actually my colleague Mr Daigeler who pointed out to me at this time that it was probably important to note that we have not heard from the Ministry of Health on this matter, as to whether the actual programs that you administer, the service you provide, are going to be adversely affected by Bill 120.

We have not asked their opinion. I suppose at some point we probably should ask officials from the Ministry of Health, in their estimation, what the effects will be on your programs because ultimately, I think, they have a responsibility in this area to ensure that you are meeting objectives. If you can't meet those objectives because of Bill 120, well then, what do they have to say about it? Would you agree with that view?

Mr Higgins: I certainly think they have a responsibility, as the funding body for all these services, to have an opinion about a bill that would affect the viability of the services they are providing.

Mr Cordiano: And you, as service providers, are saying very clearly and unequivocally that there's going to be a problem in delivering this service. I think we have a crisis on our hands, a potentially enormous problem to deal with. The Ministry of Health is either completely ignoring this or completely disagrees with you.

Mr Higgins: There is a committee under the mental health reform called the community services and supports committee, which is developing the community mental health branch's version of housing guidelines. The matter's been discussed at length there. The committee is a reference committee to the ministry. In other words, it's made up mostly of folks from outside of the ministry: consumers, survivors, service providers, family members and so on.

We have discussed aspects of the nature of housing programs, the need to have an array of services that go from high support to permanent accommodation. That array and the breadth of that array has been supported by the committee itself. The steering committee of the mental health reform has yet to take a specific position on it.

Mr Cordiano: Do you think this committee would be wise then to ask for the Ministry of Health's input on the very matter that's before us, as to whether in fact the initiatives contained in Bill 120 will adversely affect the programs? Do you think we should call the Ministry of Health before the committee?

Mr Higgins: I think they are certainly in a position to give you the advice of the funding body responsible for the programs and I should think that would be helpful to the committee.

Mr Cordiano: We've heard from other presenters about the length of time that would be most effective in terms of exempting you from the Landlord and Tenant Act. You suggest two years. We heard from various people yesterday that 18 months perhaps would be appropriate etc. There's a little bit of difference here in terms of the length of stay for tenants, but obviously you're saying that six months is simply out of the question.

Mr Higgins: Six months is unworkable. Folks are just finding their way around the neighbourhood, getting used to the program services and beginning to get a focus on what their goals are and where they're going to be going with the program in that period of time. It just won't work.

Mr Cordiano: I'm intrigued by your comments with respect to the ability to define what rehab and recovery centre -- that definition. You feel that could be accomplished; that we could in fact in legislation define what is a rehab centre.

Mr Higgins: I think it would probably be best left to regulation to define that, but there are jurisdictions which have definitions of rehabilitation for the purposes of licensing and also for the purposes of funding. It's been done before by other governments, both state and federal, and I don't see a reason why we couldn't do it here. I think the absence of such a definition makes it a moving target when you get into issues about whether a program is or is not a rehabilitation program and therefore should or should not be under the act.

Mr Cordiano: That's really the concern and I think, if I have any time left, I would just -- because this is a central point in the legislation. If we are able to define what is a rehab centre, and that would include some of the centres that provide very minimal kind of care but none the less depend on the transition to take place among tenants -- that they are providing a supportive setting for tenants to be integrated into the larger community. It would be difficult because there isn't a whole lot of care that's being provided, but they want to maintain that transitional aspect of the home. That is where I'm having difficulty trying to allow that reality to continue. If not, if we provide such stringent definitions around what is a rehab centre, we may exclude those centres in fact.

Mr Higgins: I think that's part of the reason why the regulations would have to be carefully crafted. We don't want to set them up in such a way as to defeat our own purposes. On the other hand, we also, I think, don't want to see them as an escape hatch. That's why it needs quite a bit of care.

Mr David Johnson: I certainly thank you for your deputation. Mr Jackson and I and the other members of our party have certainly heard a number of deputations like this now and I must tell you that we have full 100% sympathy for the circumstances you describe.

It has come to my attention that it's not the easiest thing to make a deputation like this when you're getting funding from the provincial government. I don't know if you had any qualms about that, but you've certainly put forward your views, I think, in a very forthright and thoughtful manner here today.

Basically you're saying that because of the congregate living setting, whether it's from the housing side or whether it's from the rehabilitation side, it's different than, let's say, what we might think of as an apartment building where the Landlord and Tenant Act should fully apply. The key difference here is perhaps the congregate setting.

Mr Higgins: I think there are about two key differences. Congregate setting is one of them. The other is that this is clearly not a typical landlord and tenant relationship. We're funded only to take folks with a certain kind of mental health disability, so we're not taking folks from the general population. We're not trying to do that and we're not trying to provide, in many cases, permanent accommodation. Some of our programs are, but some are not.


Mr David Johnson: You've laid out probably the most clearly of all the deputations I've heard that if the program is based on housing, then housing is the primary objective and then it should be the fast-track mechanism.

Mr Higgins: It should be under the act as a landlord-tenant relationship and a fast-track option to help it be viable and practical.

Mr David Johnson: Right, and if rehabilitation is the primary objective, then it should be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Higgins: That's fundamentally right.

Mr David Johnson: That's very clear and makes a great deal of sense.

Getting back to the previous question, and this revolves around where the primary purpose is rehabilitation and recovery and being able to define that, you've indicated that you think that can be done. Is there any definition that exists today? I guess the concern here is that some boardinghouses may try to distort their situation and take advantage and come under the rehabilitation or recovery section where they probably don't legitimately lie. I wonder how we prevent that.

Mr Higgins: We certainly share that concern. Many of our folks have had experiences in boarding homes that suggest that they need better protection there for sure. We're not looking for something that somehow mitigates against that protection in those settings.

But rehabilitation is a specific discipline; it's not just sort of a general thing that you do. There are functional assessments. There are plans for rehabilitation. There is a discipline. There is research to support the discipline. There are many jurisdictions which have in fact legislation in place that says, "We will fund rehabilitation." That means that suitable rehabilitation definitions exist in our practice, in professional terms, and in law, in legislative and funding terms. That exists. We have to research that, but we can do that, and we have to develop a definition that is suitably succinct and strong enough that it differentiates between the two settings. That's what we're advocating that we do. That takes some time to do, and I think it should be done in regulation. However, it can be done.

Mr Jackson: I concur with my colleague's observations. Let me just ask you for a response to the notion that's been floating around that under the Landlord and Tenant Act they'd have subletting rights. Could you comment on that for the record?

Mr Higgins: If you can imagine a situation where there are, say, eight folks who are sharing a program together, the objective is for each of them to help each other move forward on rehabilitation goals and eventually move on to permanent accommodation. Then, under the act, the fundamental assumption changes. Suddenly this is permanent accommodation and you have a choice about whether you can be involved with the other residents or not. Then someone sublets a unit. No longer are we working together to try and get somewhere. Suddenly a stranger moves in. You have no idea where they came from or whether they have a mental health problem or whether they don't, whether they're interested in helping or not, and so on. The program and the congregate living environment are out of control of the folks who are nevertheless having to live there and make their way the best they can in the program.

It would be a major problem if units could be sublet out of high-support rehab programs to folks who are not even in the right population. How am I going to explain to the Ministry of Health how half of my programs are filled up with folks who don't have a mental health problem? I mean, it's just simply not sensible.

Mr Jackson: Would that not violate your funding criteria?

Mr Higgins: It would.

Mr Jackson: It would be like a vacancy, in a sense.

Mr Higgins: As far as they're concerned, it would, yes.

Ms Julie Mancuso: I'd just like to add that we're funded based on program and resident goals and we're evaluated based on the achievement of those goals. So I think when we're talking about rehabilitation and why people are there, that goal planning is an important aspect.

Mr Mammoliti: I'm very sympathetic to what you're saying and I understand perfectly well the ramifications if the bill goes forward the way it is. I'll say that quite bluntly. Some will argue, however, that outpatient care might deal with your concerns, that you can deal with patients on an outpatient type of an approach. I know that isn't possible with every patient, and the initial assessment is a very important step in determining how a person gets help, depending on the drug that they're on and that sort of thing.

Just for the record, I want to go through the steps that you would take. A lot of the organizations that you represent would of course start out by detoxing, would they not?

Mr Higgins: The recovery programs would definitely involve a detoxification for us.

Mr Mammoliti: That would be a lengthy process in itself. Once somebody doesn't have the substance in them any more, then they need to make a decision as to whether they want help or whether they don't want help, and that's where the assessment comes into play. You then assess somebody, and that could take up to how long?

Mr Higgins: It really depends on the assessment process. Some are a series of meetings with an assessment referral in an assessment referral centre; some are involved as the initial step in a residential treatment program.

Mr Mammoliti: So it's a fairly lengthy process, or it can be. Then you go into a 28-day live-in program, perhaps, or maybe something even more than that, depending on the situation. Family care, I understand, is very essential to the therapy as well as aftercare, and aftercare plays a large role in all of this, after the 28-day program or whatever it is. That doesn't mean the person can go home or the person can be dismissed; aftercare plays a large role in the rest of the person's life, and I understand that. All a lengthy process.

After the lengthy process, and for the record, if an individual decides to go back on to the substance, no matter what the substance is, obviously they don't want the help, and if you don't want the help, then there's no way of helping a person. Am I right? I mean, what does that do to the rest of the residents, if somebody is coming in stoned and on some sort of a substance? What does that do to the rest of the residents?

Mr Higgins: In an addiction recovery program, having someone intoxicated coming into the program tends to undermine the whole impact of the program. It's very upsetting for folks who are struggling with the issue of substance abuse. It's a demonstrable, negative event that clearly suggests that not succeeding in recovery is a possibility, and that undermines people's sense of hopefulness and their ability to go ahead.

In a mental health program, intoxication usually interacts with medications and can be a problem, but not always. It can be no more than anyone else having a couple of drinks, but if there is medication involved, the interaction of the medication can have some negative effects.

Mr Mammoliti: So clearly outpatient care isn't the only solution.

Mr Higgins: No. There is no panacea. Some folks think that there is a "one size fits all" approach to mental health or addictions, and it's simply not that way, no more than there's a one-size approach to shoes. I mean, folks are different. They have fundamentally different needs depending on who they are and at what point in their life they're at, and what they're hoping for from the program. In a way, it sort of just has to --

Mr Mammoliti: I'm just going to yield to my colleague.


Mr Winninger: A quick point on the subletting issue: I'm sure you're familiar with section 89 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which provides that there can be a clause in the lease that wouldn't be incompatible with the act that would provide that the landlord approves subleases, such consent not to be unreasonably or arbitrarily withheld. Clearly it would seem to me that if the lodging is provided for the purposes of rehabilitation or recovery, that would be a very legitimate reason for withholding consent to sublease. Maybe I misunderstood your point on that, but it seems to me that you can't just sublet a unit willy-nilly without the consent of the landlord, and that's pretty clearly spelled out in the act in most leases. Any response?

Mr Higgins: First of all, right now the programs are filled with folks who don't have leases, because we're not providing accommodation.

Mr Winninger: But the Landlord and Tenant Act provides an unwritten lease. That's the lease where you don't have a specific lease. That's your code.

Mr Higgins: Yes, and although the Landlord and Tenant Act allows that the landlord may stipulate that you may not sublet, it does not say you may not sublet without the landlord's approval flat out; it says you can negotiate that in the form of the lease. So it's silent one way or the other, I would think. I'm not a legislative expert but I would wonder if the allowance of such a thing is the de facto equivalent of having that.

There are remedies to a lot of the situations that we might face, most of which involve fundamental change in the relationship of the folks in the program to the program and to each other. You can in fact wear the wrong size shoe if you want to try hard enough, but it simply isn't what our goal is. We are not there to provide permanent accommodation.

Although we could struggle to make that work, we would be struggling against something that reduces the effectiveness of the programs, perhaps would have some harmful outcomes for the folks who are already in them and we're trying to avoid that. We're trying to help folks, not to see something come along that has a fundamentally good intention which we do support but which in this particular environment is inappropriate.

Mr Winninger: I certainly support your general direction.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming and appearing before us today. You've been very helpful.


Ms Martha Gandier: Thank you, Mr Chairman and members of the committee, for the opportunity to respond to Bill 120. My name is Martha Gandier. I'm the coordinator of Toronto Psychiatric Survivors. We are a group of mental health consumer-survivors. Most, probably all of our members, have been in institutions and almost all of our members live in some form of non-profit housing.

I am a psychiatric survivor. I've spent about 18 months in psychiatric hospitals. I'm also a single mother and live currently in co-op housing, although I have lived in non-profit housing.

When is a person living in their own home and when is a person living in an institution? What rights does a person have in their own home? What rights does a person have in an institution?

Many non-profit housing providers believe that the poor need to be rehabilitated. We believe that the poor need housing. We would like to tell you, from our own experience, about people living in their own homes who are treated as if they are living in an institution because they are denied LTA protection. I would also like to tell you how I, as an agent of the landlord, was expected to control and coerce tenants.

We are talking about rooming houses, or shared accommodation. We are talking about people who can only afford to rent one room. We are talking about the poor who seek housing, not care or rehabilitation. We are not talking about group homes.

Non-profit housing providers across Ontario regularly evict tenants without recourse to landlord and tenant court. I have worked as a housing worker for two non-profit housing providers, Houselink Community Homes and CRC-Self-Help Inc. Non-profit housing providers' front-line staff are called housing workers. The housing workers may select and evict tenants; they may collect rent; they may be responsible for supervising the maintenance of the property; they may supervise or assist tenants; they may also advocate on behalf of tenants when a need such as income maintenance arises.

Housing workers have intimate personal contact with the residents. They often have access to all the tenants' personal, financial, medical and psychiatric records. They supervise and assist tenants in a variety of ways, including daily living skills, conflict and crisis management, budgeting, banking and personal counselling.

Tenants are often told by their landlord how they must behave or they can be evicted, suddenly. I was told when I worked for Houselink that Houselink was a co-op under the Co-operative Corporations Act. Staff would use the intent or threat of that act to evict tenants. Staff would call a meeting of the residents and get the tenants to vote to evict the tenant that staff had chosen to evict. Most tenants could be controlled or coerced by staff. The eviction could be very quick, depending on whether or not the resident tried to defend himself. Yesterday you heard how Peter Bobyk-Huys was evicted without any notice at all. Houselink management bragged about evicting a tenant on a Christmas Eve several years before I worked there.

Here are three examples of Houselink evictions that I personally witnessed.

C was a Houselink tenant. He became disruptive. Houselink did not use the LTA to evict him. Instead, two Houselink housing workers persuaded the four other residents of C's shared apartment that they had to ask him to leave. Then, claiming to operate under the co-op act, Houselink evicted him. He became homeless.

Another tenant, D, also lived in a Houselink home. He had lived in boardinghouses for over 20 years and found it impossible to learn to shop and cook and look after his basic hygiene. The housing worker in this case was desperate, fearing that D would starve to death if she didn't cook for him and make sure he ate. Her supervisor demanded that she leave him to his own resources in order to empower him to look after himself.

When he failed to learn these tricks of deinstitutional life, staff decided to evict him. They met with each of the four residents of his apartment, and even though two of the residents claimed that they didn't know him, staff convinced the tenants that they should ask him to leave. Then, again claiming to operate under the co-op housing act, Houselink evicted him. He went to Queen Street mental hospital.

A third tenant, P, lived in a Houselink apartment with three other tenants, sharing kitchen, bathroom and living room. Houselink wanted to evict one of the other tenants. When P's welfare cheque was late, Houselink prepared to use his non-payment of rent to evict all four tenants as a co-op unit. Then they could reinstate P and the other two good tenants and thus get rid of the unwanted tenant. I lent P the money to pay his rent, and no one was evicted. Then Houselink threatened to fire me. I have since learned that Houselink is not a co-op under the co-op housing act.

Houselink uses the co-op model as a tool to pursue its own agenda. In my experience, it was used to disempower residents rather than to empower them. I have seen both of my former non-profit housing employers try to turn the residents of a house against one of the tenants.

Tenants are the first to demand a fast-track eviction process. Time and again I have seen the residents of a house turn on one of the tenants and demand that he be evicted. That is why complete LTA protection is so important to tenants. No other act can protect us from sudden, arbitrary eviction.

An apartment tenant who is threatened with eviction has his day in court; a rooming house tenant threatened with eviction often is simply told to get out. He does not get his day in court. The apartment tenant, when evicted, is forced to find another apartment; the rooming house tenant, when evicted, may become homeless, wandering the streets with his possessions in a green garbage bag. He may lose his possessions, including his family photographs, financial and personal documents and everything that he values.

Delinking: The housing worker employed by the housing provider, or the landlord, has three priorities: the first is to keep his or her job in order to feed the family; then the housing worker is employed to manage property, choose and evict tenants and collect rent; thirdly, the housing worker is employed to provide support to the tenants. The housing worker is caught between these three conflicting priorities. Usually, the bottom line becomes the top priority. The tenant finds that the person employed to provide him with support has the power to evict him.

Some non-profit housing providers are adamantly opposed to delinking. The landlords do not want a third party providing services to their tenants. The service agency wants to help the tenants, and the landlord wants to collect his rent. The landlords know from experience that there will be conflict between the service provider and the landlord.

When Houselink moved people into its new project in 1988, many of them already had support workers from other agencies. The residents' support workers did not have access to the building, and the intercom did not work. I was told not to let these support workers into the building. Support to tenants was limited to Houselink staff even though the residents had long-term relationships with COTA -- Community Occupational Therapy Associates -- Archway and MTACL, which is the Metropolitan Toronto Association for Community Living. I felt that it was a power struggle between Houselink and the service agencies, and the tenants paid the price.

The Rupert Hotel Coalition was a coalition of non-profit housing providers and was funded by this government to provide housing for the hard-to-house in Toronto. The coalition employed two agencies to provide support services to the Rupert tenants. Three of the member non-profit housing providers refused to allow these independent agencies to serve their tenants. One non-profit housing provider agreed to this service and then locked the support workers out of their houses for a few weeks. The ministry staff are very familiar with this story.

Keith Whitney Homes Society asked Street Health to provide a weekly clinic in the building for their residents when the building first opened. Street Health was asked to leave when differences arose between Street Health and Keith Whitney.


Landlords do not want other agencies providing services to their tenants. They do not want their power to govern the lives of their tenants threatened by another agency. We have seen this time and again. The provision of housing and services must be delinked in order to provide the poor with even a semblance of the security and dignity of life that the rest of us take for granted.

Fast-track: Fast-track eviction has been proposed to resolve issues of violence, potential violence, inappropriate behaviour and interpersonal conflict. We disagree with this solution.

First, the power to threaten eviction is a thousand times more important to landlords than the power to evict. The landlords want to keep the power to threaten to evict in order to be able to govern the lives of their tenants. Non-profit housing providers use this threat to force tenants to take a bath, clean house, stop smoking, take medication, attend treatment programs and even to attend religious retreats. They use this threat to organize tenants to evict an unwanted tenant. It's also used to prevent or disrupt tenant organizing.

Many non-profit housing providers threaten all their tenants with sudden eviction, while only some tenants are actually evicted. While few tenants might actually be evicted by a fast-track eviction process, 100% of the tenants in hundreds of residences would live under constant threat. We know; we've been there.

Second, throwing a person out into the street is not the best way to deal with conflict. There are better processes available: improved mental health services, conflict resolution and crisis intervention services, as suggested by the Canadian Mental Health Association in its deputation on January 20.

Third, there are enough laws already to deal with potential violence. The deputations made yesterday by Parkdale Community Legal Services, the Tenant Advocacy Group and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly listed some of these other remedies. Home owners and apartment tenants would never tolerate a constant threat of sudden eviction without cause. Our society only treats the poor in this manner. The poor are being institutionalized. Thank you.

Mr David Johnson: I appreciate your deputation. It's quite a condemnation of the non-profit housing sector. Is that what you had intended? You say non-profit housing providers use the threat of the Landlord and Tenant Act to hang over people's heads. I thought there was a fair amount of support for the non-profit sector, actually.

Ms Gandier: When landlords have that much power and tenants either don't know their rights or feel that they have no rights, there'll be abuse of that power.

Mr David Johnson: So we're not just talking about profit-making landlords here; you're talking about non-profits, clearly.

Ms Gandier: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: That's very interesting. I had the impression through here -- and I think you actually indicated it at one point, if I can find it. You're talking mostly about housing. You said, "We are talking about the poor, who are seeking housing, not care or rehabilitation." So the comments that you're making are primarily related to just the housing component, people who need housing.

Ms Gandier: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: I don't know if you heard the deputation before you from the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, where its primary goal, for part of its program at least, is for therapy or treatment --

Ms Gandier: Care rehabilitation.

Mr David Johnson: Care rehabilitation. That's the word I'm looking for: "rehabilitation." Now, that would differ, I guess --

Ms Gandier: Very much so.

Mr David Johnson: Very much so?

Ms Gandier: Yes. It's time-limited and people don't consider that their permanent housing. You know beforehand that you're going to have six months or two years or whatever the suggested length of time is. You're also assessed. You know the services that you're going to be given and you have an idea of what your responsibilities are, what is expected of you. But people apply for non-profit housing because they need housing and it's affordable.

Mr David Johnson: They had suggested that they should be exempt and other organizations like them, where the primary purpose was rehabilitation. So you're not commenting on that. I don't know if you have any comment on that or not.

Ms Gandier: No.

Mr David Johnson: You're only commenting where the primary purpose is housing, period.

Ms Gandier: Housing, yes.

Mr David Johnson: In that case, you do not even support the fast track.

Ms Gandier: No.

Mr David Johnson: Again, that differs from them a bit in that they say where the primary purpose is housing, the Landlord and Tenant Act should apply but there should be a fast-track process. I think they're saying that because of a number of people living together, the congregate setting. A number of organizations are saying this. We've heard over the past couple of weeks, that where people are sharing various facilities, maybe washrooms or kitchens or whatever, this is different than a self-contained unit.

Ms Gandier: It sure is.

Mr David Johnson: Consequently, if somebody is causing a lot of trouble or affecting the other tenants, then there needs to be a way to deal with that quickly.

Ms Gandier: I've always thought, especially when I was working as a housing worker, that once you take on the responsibility, the contract should be two ways. Therefore, if the relationship breaks down and the housing is no longer appropriate for the resident, some alternative should be pre-contracted. For instance, if an ordinary apartment tenant gets in trouble with the law, he may go to jail but he won't lose his housing. Even in my co-op, which has adopted most of the Landlord and Tenant Act, I would be treated through the legal system. I wouldn't lose my housing. I'd still be able to have somewhere to come home, whereas a lot of people, if they get into trouble in the non-profit housing -- it could be a behavioural thing -- they simply lose their housing.

Mr David Johnson: We have a letter that was just given to us today from the minister, I think -- it must be at the bottom of my pile here somewhere -- that indicates that the Landlord and Tenant Act would be supreme. It's from the assistant deputy minister. It indicates that if any agreement was to be struck, the Landlord and Tenant Act would be supreme and would be what would be enforced. So the problem persists in a congregate setting if you have somebody who's causing a lot of trouble, and many are suggesting that that's where there should be some fast-track process.

Ms Gandier: But it should be the housing provider's responsibility, because if someone goes into crisis -- they've got supportive non-profit housing in the first place because they're a psychiatric survivor. So they go into crisis and it doesn't solve anybody's problem for them to lose their housing. It exacerbates the problem. So there should be some alternative, either a high-support boardinghouse or crisis intervention like the Gerstein Centre, where people can go and pull themselves together, as it were.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much for your presentation, Miss Gandier. It's nice to see you at the mike, Bob, because I know you've been here through much of the hearings. It's good to see that you have an opportunity to take part in them in this more direct way.

Of course, the picture you paint of the scene from the point of view of a house worker is pretty depressing, and I think you make very strongly the case of why the Landlord and Tenant Act conditions have to prevail in a much more expanded way.

I was just wondering if you could just elaborate from your point of view on what you'd see as some of the other supports that you would like to see in the community, say, following up on the delinking and of course having access to the people in these residences. What are some of the supports that you would like to see, from your point of view, that would really help defuse some of the more extreme emergency situations, but even beyond that, help in everyday living for the residents?

Ms Gandier: As I said, the workers have really intimate contact, and quite often, if a person has been institutionalized or lived in a boardinghouse for most of his life, the relationship with the housing worker is very important. So the potential of a housing worker being of tremendous benefit to somebody who's struggling to stay in the community is there. It's when the housing worker is also an agent of the landlord, so it's your responsibility if somebody punches a hole in the wall. It's almost as if you're torn in two ways -- whether you're going to advocate on behalf of the tenant or the landlord. You're also seen as an agent of the landlord.


Mr Gary Wilson: It sounds like an impossible position.

Ms Gandier: It's a conflict of interest.

Mr Owens: On page 8 you talk about the power relationship between the tenant and the landlord and that the ability, if I can paraphrase what you're saying, essentially to cause people to be afraid is actually worse than having the power to throw somebody out of their house. That's an issue I would like to explore, if you could talk a little bit more about that power relationship and why it's important to have the protections.

Ms Gandier: I didn't realize it until I worked as a housing worker, but it's certainly important for people to feel that they have rights, to know that they have rights. I also worked for a roomers' association for a while and I was astounded that people didn't realize they actually did have rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the rooming house.

Just the threat that you can lose your housing is very much present, and housing is very important. It's one of our basic needs. You have to have somewhere that you can go and lock the door and know that nobody is going to unlock it behind you.

Mr Owens: Exactly.

The Acting Chair (Mr Bernard Grandmaître): Mr Cordiano.

Mr Cordiano: I'm sorry I did not get to hear most of your presentation. I apologize, but --


The Acting Chair: I'm sorry. Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher: I want to thank you for your presentation. It was a good presentation. Is there any chance that someone like Houselink, since they do provide some services, could register as a provider, rehabilitative, or just providing --

Ms Gandier: I don't know.

Mr Fletcher: -- maybe not rehabilitative, but they offer some services that may be therapeutic as far they're concerned, to try to get away from the Landlord and Tenant Act?

Ms Gandier: They would certainly try, I suppose.

Mr Fletcher: You think they would?

Ms Gandier: I don't know.

Mr Fletcher: I think that would be upsetting.

On the fast-track evictions, the previous group, I have to admit, were very gentle in the way they said they would like to see the fast-track and that they would find temporary accommodation for the person, which is nice, while they were going on. Others would evict people right off the bat. I'm just wondering, as far as evictions are concerned, if a person were evicted from Houselink, such as you say, do they have the right to appeal at all or are they just out on the street?

Ms Gandier: No.

Mr Fletcher: That's what concerns me about this fast-track stuff, because a group of people may say, "We don't like you." It could be a conspiracy; it could be what have you. The person gets evicted and wishes to appeal. They're out on the street. How are they going to appeal an eviction when they're out on the street? It's hard enough when --

Ms Gandier: That's the problem.

Mr Fletcher: Yes. I can't agree with the fast-track eviction. I think there has to be some compromise somewhere. We have to give people due process.

Mr Gary Wilson: The Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Fletcher: Yes, the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Ms Gandier: The previous speaker was clear that part of their service is care and rehabilitation and it's not long-term housing. They're clear about that when people move in, that this isn't permanent.

Mr Owens: Mr Fletcher covered quite nicely the issue with respect to fast-track eviction. I have some difficulties as well with the process that people have been asking for, for the reasons that Mr Fletcher mentioned. Also, there seems to be a presumption with psychiatric survivors or those who are developmentally handicapped, or whatever, that there's going to be a problem where I can't do anything about, you know, the neighbours from hell in my neighbourhood. But there's a presumption that persons like the clients and members of your organization represented are going to get strange and so we've got to have a way to throw them out when they get strange. That's not appropriate.

Mr Cordiano: I hesitate to get into a debate with the governing members. I'm going to follow the rules and ask questions. I think that the members of the government would only like to hear what they want to hear when we're talking about these questions. Essentially we're talking about situations where there are shared accommodations, congregate living situations where tenants are physically close to each other. We're not talking about a neighbourhood where people are separated by walls, one lot to another, or in fact an apartment building where you can lock the door and go into your own unit. We're talking about congregate living arrangements where people physically cannot remove themselves from someone else's physical space in a kitchen, for example, or in a hallway going to a bathroom, because that's what we've heard from rooming house tenants, boardinghouse situations.

What we're in fact dealing with here is real life circumstances where there are emergency situations, where there are difficulties to be dealt with. Essentially having to deal with those for the safety of all the tenants is what's really at question here. The effort to come up with a fast-track eviction, which was cited by Dr Lightman in his report as being essential in these kinds of living arrangements -- I mean, let's not forget that it was Dr Lightman who recommended that in fact there be a fast-track eviction process because he recognized that there would be problems in congregate living situations that needed quick attention. Now, how we do that is really the question.

Ms Gandier: Two things: If fast-track eviction is mandated, it's going to increase the fear threshold for everybody because they realize that they could just as easily be evicted if they happen to have a real bad day. Secondly, I think that housing providers are funded to provide housing for the hard-to-house population and that one of their responsibilities should be the alternative housing. Psychiatric survivors have crises. They have ups and downs. I have crises. There are long, long periods where I'm okay, but --

Mr Cordiano: Let me ask you this. I'm specifically referring to congregate living situations -- rooming houses, boardinghouses -- where a fast-track eviction would be necessary because in rehab centres or transitional homes, where it's not a permanent living situation, I think we're going to deal with that in the act differently. Now, that's not what Bill 120 says, but it's my view that they should be dealt with as distinct and separate from permanent living accommodation.

My view is that those rehabilitation centres should be excluded from the Landlord and Tenant Act. They are now for those who have their tenants live in that arrangement for less than six months. I think that doesn't go far enough. But what we're really talking about is rooming houses and boardinghouses.

Ms Gandier: You're talking about shared accommodation.

Mr Cordiano: Shared accommodation, congregate living situations. I think that if there was a way to do this so that there would be a temporary eviction for some kind of an assessment to be made, then that might be acceptable.

Ms Gandier: For most of the people I know who are living in that situation, there's no such thing as a temporary eviction. When you're on the street, you're on the street. It doesn't solve a problem to put somebody on the street. People don't just disappear.

Mr Cordiano: No, no, I'm not suggesting they go on the street. I'm saying that alternative arrangements be made and that person be removed for whatever period of time. We haven't determined that in detail, but we're just dealing with that now.

Ms Gandier: Yes, it's the time-out philosophy. You take time out and then go back to where you live, where your home is, where your address is --

Mr Cordiano: Well, for the safety of the other tenants, would you agree with that?

Ms Gandier: I agree, yes.

Mr Cordiano: Good. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming to see us today; we appreciate your presentation.



The Chair: The next presentation will come from WoodGreen Community Housing.


The Chair: You'd think it was 4 o'clock, wouldn't you?

Thank you very much for coming today. We would like you to begin your presentation by introducing yourself and your position within the organization, and then the next 30 minutes are yours.

Ms Brigitte Witkowski: Thank you. My luck to come at 4 o'clock today. I should have probably brought some jokes with me. I don't have the privilege of engaging in the humour between parties, so I'll engage in the humour between constituent and committee.

My name is Brigitte Witkowski. I'm director of housing for WoodGreen Community Centre of Toronto. I am also the director of housing for WoodGreen Community Housing, which is an agency, a non-profit housing provider, set up by WoodGreen Community Centre.

WoodGreen itself is a large multi-service agency in the east end of the city of Toronto. We have a 57-year history as a community-based agency meeting the needs of the people who reside in that area. Our ability to meet the changing needs of that community comes from the dedication of a board of directors, a dedicated core of volunteers, who currently are 250 -- and that's not just volunteers who show up once in a while; they are integral to any program that WoodGreen does -- as well as a professional staff complement. I mention that only to say that yes, we are community-based, not just in lipservice but in reality.

I won't read everything that I've prepared because I do have a document that I gave the clerk and I'm sure that he distributed it to you.

The Chair: Each member has a copy.

Ms Witkowski: Great. I'll get to the point in terms of Bill 120. We have one praise because WoodGreen, out of its tradition of lobbying, said "Right on" around changes to the Planning Act to ensure that official plans, zoning bylaws and property standard bylaws etc are revised so that they can no longer prohibit the creation of secondary or accessory units in one house.

As you will note, that is very minor. Please, please, don't grill me on this, because the most important thing is our concerns about the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act with respect to dealing with the rights of individuals who are living in shared accommodation, especially those individuals who are deemed to be vulnerable and hard to house, individuals who choose to take advantage of services with a shelter component.

We're really concerned about the rights of individuals, the requirement for due process in solving problems affecting the person, and the resultant fair and just treatment of individuals who make the choice for shared accommodation or for care services.

However, WoodGreen disagrees with the vehicle the government has decided on to address the issues. We don't believe that the Landlord and Tenant Act is an appropriate mechanism for them. I'll deal with two major concerns; the other ones I'll write in separately to the minister on.

Firstly, the concern with amending the Landlord and Tenant Act to include shared accommodations: In the mid-1980s WoodGreen established WoodGreen Community Housing to build and manage non-profit housing. As a front-line housing provider operating under the Landlord and Tenant Act completely, we are well aware of the limitations of the Landlord and Tenant Act even within apartment buildings which are composed solely of self-contained units.

WoodGreen currently houses singles who have a variety of life issues which have been profound barriers to their ability to both access and maintain safe, decent and affordable housing. Our mandate is to house singles who are developmentally challenged, physically challenged, who have histories of substance abuse and chronic mental illness, who are youth coming out of care, and -- all of them have a similar characteristic -- who are homeless.

In a nutshell, our mandate is to house the hard-to-house. All of them have to meet the eligibility criteria of the ministry -- all of that is a given -- and fundamentally can live independently with or without supports.

Let me tell you some stories. It's 4 o'clock in the afternoon and you've been listening to people going on and on for a long time, so let's go to it.

We have a tenant who's lived in our housing for over five years. Before securing housing with us, the tenant had a history of homelessness. The tenant, whom I'll call A, also has a history as a consumer-survivor, alcoholism and violence. Throughout A's tenancy, other tenants have endured the following behaviour: A screaming within their own unit, going out into the hallway and screaming and yelling abuse and profanities, banging on neighbours' doors, entering the housing office and screaming abuse at staff, accosting other tenants in the hallway and sometimes making threatening gestures.

This has been a five-year pattern that emerges in a cycle, depending on their own history. This behaviour, when it occurs in A's cycle, is frightening to other tenants, who have their own vulnerabilities to deal with. What had made the behaviour pattern somewhat bearable to the other tenants is the fact that they each have their own self-contained apartment and, with management, they are part of solving tenancy problems through a variety of resolution processes.

However, A had crossed the line. A assaulted another tenant and one of my staff. Neither provoked the assault in any way. We started eviction proceedings under the Landlord and Tenant Act at the request of the assaulted tenant, not our staff. While we were waiting for the court date, A's behaviour did not abate, even though A had been arrested and charged and temporarily taken away.

What was the outcome of the Landlord and Tenant Act proceedings? The judge ordered that A retain their housing because it was Christmas and he wasn't about to evict anyone at that time of year, even though he agreed that the five-year history of A being given numerous opportunities to deal with their behaviour, the violence and the testimony of the affected tenant were all valid but were rejected because it was Christmas and he didn't want to do it.

Here's another story. We have another tenant I will call B, who also has a five-year history of living with us at WoodGreen. The same history of hostels and homelessness, of chronic mental illness. From time to time, B chooses to stop taking medication. Thus begins a slow turn to hearing the voices of the men in the ceiling, both within his unit and out in the hallway. From time to time, he stops tenants from passing under that point in the hallway, for their safety, and directs them to go in other ways or won't let them pass at all. Calling the police does not help. B's behaviour does not constitute enough of a danger for them to act under the Mental Health Act. It's a very difficult act to get any action.

Thus begins the anxiety of immediate neighbours. How it will end is really their concern. This year, the pattern ended in B's decision that the way to finally silence the men in the ceiling was to set fire to his bathroom. He had turned off the smoke detector and the heat detector in his unit; he used an accelerant on the toilet, set it on fire, and because we provide tenants with fire extinguishers, something came to light and he put it out and then he tried to kill himself. I won't put that in the written document, but that's not atypical.

Final story: We have a tenant C, a homeless youth, aged 16. C has decided he wants permanent housing with us. C has tried to make a break with the street, but it's very hard, even for a motivated youngster. C's friends visit and then there are fights that spill out into the hallways at all hours. Other tenants feel threatened and terrorized. They believe C when he says, "I'm trying to make the break." However, it's not his behaviour that's the problem; it's the guests he's not yet strong enough to control.

I'd like all of you in the room to put yourself in the following situation: You are living with these individuals in a shared accommodation. This is what we're talking about. WoodGreen is under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Let me remind you about that; we're regulated by the act and we have self-contained units. But we are here deputing for those tenants who have to live with these situations daily in shared living. This is a very serious issue.


Imagine the impact on yourself and imagine that you yourself also were dealing with a life issue that made you vulnerable. Wonder then what "security of tenure" means when typically eviction proceedings under the Landlord and Tenant Act can take anywhere from two months to one year. Think about shared living without self-contained units to mitigate the effects of the above serious breaches of reasonable enjoyment of the premises, as described in the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Our tenants, whose leases are governed by the act, find the behaviour patterns, when they occur, intolerable, but at least they are not prisoners in their own bedrooms, unable to find other routes of entry and exit to the building when they are about their business. A person living in shared accommodation is more vulnerable to such behaviour patterns. They do not have a protected space within which to live. While they wait for the due process described under the Landlord and Tenant Act to be fulfilled, not only are their individual and community rights infringed but also their safety and wellbeing. How, then, does a landlord uphold their rights, their safety?

Recommendations: WoodGreen is absolutely committed to working with individuals to secure their rights and live up to their responsibilities as tenants. We also believe that tenants, even in self-contained units governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act, are part of a community of tenants who also have rights and responsibilities. This is how we manage and this is why we manage in partnership with our tenants. Our belief in due process is so strong that we resort to eviction proceedings under the Landlord and Tenant Act only in the last instance. We have, in concert with tenants, developed resolution principles and procedures so that they themselves can address and solve breaches defined in the act and keep their housing.

The attempt of part I of Bill 120 to address due process issues to support security of tenure by extending the Landlord and Tenant Act to shared accommodation we believe will result in less security of tenure for others held hostage by individual behaviours that are oppressive and dangerous. Often the other residents move out and become homeless or poorly housed or end up back in institutions.

WoodGreen, over the last years, has suggested other routes to protect both the individual and the community living under one roof in shared accommodation, specifically intended for hard-to-house persons. I'd like to go over them one more time.

The first option: Demand that security of tenure be addressed and described so that there is a balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community similar to the one provided for co-op housing, which, as you know, is exempted from part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Explicitly recognize the rights of the individual to retain their housing and the requirement for due process so that the individual does not summarily lose the right to the housing and that the community does not lose the right to have its concerns dealt with.

I think what I'm talking about is that there's already a principle of recognizing that there is diverse housing with diverse approaches to solving problems. Why not here? This is really an opportunity for some creativity. That was option 1. It didn't go with the legal clinics and the advocates, who had their own agenda around the Landlord and Tenant Act, which I respect.

However, I say it here for the record: Let me go to option 2. Let's be a little realistic; I don't know what the votes are. If the government decides that option 1 is not the route it wishes to pursue, then WoodGreen believes it is absolutely necessary to include within the act a special fast-track due process for cases of eviction on the grounds of section 109. I won't read the rest of it -- I'm sure you've heard similar or others -- but the principle is the same: a special fast-track process for people in shared living when behaviours are such that they endanger other tenants.

These recommendations, I believe, would attempt to balance the rights to safety of the other tenants in a shared accommodation setting and the rights to due process of an individual. I would just like to note that Ernie Lightman, in his report on unregulated residential accommodation, recommended that there be a special fast-track process to deal with behavioural problems. I'm sort of disappointed that an act that attempted to respond to that ground-breaking report somehow forgot a very important mechanism.

If I could just continue with the second concern -- I have no idea of time and I don't want to keep you too late -- WoodGreen also has a concern with amending the act to include premises occupied or intended to be occupied by a person for the purpose of receiving care services; a congregate living situation, in other words.

WoodGreen shares many of the concerns raised by advocates and Dr Lightman about inadequate protection of the rights of adults who want or require care services and who reside in such facilities. Invasion of privacy, lack of control over increases to care costs, which include shelter, lack of protection from being taken advantage of by other residents, inadequate conditions and no due process when faced with loss of the care service are all serious issues.

However, amending the Landlord and Tenant Act to include such facilities WoodGreen believes is inappropriate. Although convenient because it exists, it is the wrong tool to redress care service problems. The hard work lies in reviewing the legislation under which care facilities are funded and licensed, and making revisions that enhance the rights of the person choosing the care facility.

Legislation can define what the rights of the person are, under what circumstances the rooms they occupy can be entered, what the standards are for health and safety of premises, what the notice period is and the items to be increased, which affects the fee charge. That's all doable under existing legislation.

Furthermore, a due process vehicle to address resident behavioural problems, arbitrary treatment and unjust loss of service and shelter is possible, even if it isn't under court systems. The principle of due process can be enshrined. The vehicles and forms under which it is exercised don't always have to be the courts or the Landlord and Tenant Act.

What the proposed amendment ignores, in WoodGreen's view, is the view that individuals or their families may be assessing where he or she is on the continuum of care needs, balancing his or her desire for autonomy and independence with the need for care and stopping short of institutionalization. The primary focus is indeed services, of which shelter is a component. What individuals are buying is a service package offered by a facility, not just a self-contained apartment with portable supports.

WoodGreen Community Centre has a stake here. Let me be clear. The community centre's senior services have spent over three years with Housing developing a model of supported independent living for frail, elderly seniors. The model is an eight-bedroom suite with central living, dining and kitchen. Each bedroom has a bathroom and a small refrigerator. It balances privacy and autonomy needs with needs for community and an assurance that meals are prepared. Medication is monitored, personal care occurs and onsite staff are available to act quickly.

This model was developed out of a consultation with seniors themselves as what they saw as an option to stay within their community, maintaining their independence as long as possible before requiring a long-term care facility. It is intended for physically frail seniors, average age of 80, who cannot live by themselves.

Including this model under the Landlord and Tenant Act ignores that what is being offered is not permanent housing with security of tenure, but rather a choice about a continuum of care. WoodGreen fully intends that each person choosing this option sign an agreement or a contract spelling out their rights and responsibilities, how breaches are dealt with -- meaning due process -- and under what conditions he or she will be moved from one level of care to another. The issue here is safety and appropriateness in dealing with increasing needs due to increased frailty, cognitive impairment and mental health. The issue is balancing what happens to the individual and the other clients within that congregate situation.

Security of tenure, as understood in the act, would be a barrier in providing care. For example, if there were a Mrs Smith, she refuses to take her medication and doesn't provide a reason that can be evaluated by staff or medical support, the failure impacts on her behaviour and her health. Under the act, the landlord cannot intervene unless there is an emergency and with the assistance of police.

The landlord can reach out to family, but even then, and let's be clear, even if they reached out to the family, with or without the consent of the elderly person, if the family doesn't have power of attorney and the individual has made a decision about refusing medication, good luck. The landlord cannot give the family the entry to the bedroom. That is the law. Her refusal to cooperate with the care provider, under this amendment, is not grounds for eviction or action, other than waiting for her to deteriorate to such a point you call in emergency services, who take her away.


Our primary recommendation is to continue to exempt accommodation whose primary focus is care service provision. If the real intent is to deal with private and non-profit providers who violate basic standards of fairness and equity in resident treatment, then the licence should be revoked, funding withdrawn and the legislation governing them revised to deal with the abuses. That would be our 100%.

Our alternative is, we urge the government to bring some realism to the amendments and include another ground for eviction. WoodGreen would recommend that sections 107 and 110, dealing with early termination by landlord for cause, be amended as follows:

"a tenant ceases to cooperate with the care plan which is a condition for their eligibility in the shared accommodation with care services and/or a tenant's physical and mental frailty has progressed to a point that the shared accommodation with care services is no longer appropriate and safe."

Such a notice is given at the end of the occupancy term and requires a 60-day notice period. Then the landlord proceeds to court to gain the writ of possession. A further four months would pass before such a writ would be issued. In the meantime, the question begs to be asked, even with this proposed amendment to the amendment, what has been protected? What has happened to the best interests of the frail senior whose health has deteriorated?

WoodGreen believes more work needs to be done before the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act are made in these instances.

By the way, I've attached at the back a sample of what we have within our leases, which is a resolution process, which would be an indicator of what, if we're talking as an important principle, it could look like. It's another way of having a forum for dealing with legitimate concerns with an appeal process built in.

The Chair: We start with Mr Owens, then Mr Wilson and Mr Winninger, all in three minutes.

Mr Owens: Very quickly then, in terms of your concerns with respect to care homes, I guess my nervousness is that it has been represented by some organizations that because of the looseness of the care home stuff people will convert from boardinghouses to care homes and this could be problematic. Anyway, the question is, how much care do you see as being needed as a percentage, or how would you want to quantify what defines a care home versus another situation?

Ms Witkowski: I know the concern is that rooming houses that provide meals will say all of a sudden, "Aha, we're a care home." Let's be clear. Meals as part of one's tenure in a building are not the basis of care. I think we're talking about monitoring medication and there are standards and professional requirements of staff to be able to do that.

I think that's a discussion and a debate and there's already a lot of information out there, but my gut feeling would be medication monitoring, dealing with physical frailty, helping people with their mental health crises in terms of supporting them to get into appropriate short-term responses, monitoring their health so that yes, as a previous speaker -- I only caught a part of it -- said, there would be an arrangement with some kind of appropriate long-term facility or a higher level of care, should that person no longer be able to benefit from that situation.

But the point is that they are not summarily put on the street, but rather they are moved to the next level of care they require. That would be my short answer to that.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you for your presentation, Ms Witkowski. What I'd like to know is whether you'd want the fast- track provisions that you're suggesting here to apply to all tenants regardless of where they live.

Ms Witkowski: Absolutely not.

Mr Gary Wilson: So you still would like to have a difference then between the tenants who are in facilities like yours. You see that's still acceptable.

Ms Witkowski: Absolutely. Tenants who are in self-contained apartments, I've been very careful not to --

Mr Gary Wilson: I guess what I'm getting at --

Ms Witkowski: Sorry, ask your question. Let me not guess.

Mr Gary Wilson: I just want to say that there are similar cases to what you describe here in other buildings, with other tenants and even in some neighbourhoods that we've heard, so we're just wondering why the people you describe should be treated differently from the people who appear to have the same characteristics in other settings.

Ms Witkowski: The difference is that the people I'm describing, regardless of where they live, if they live in shared accommodation where they have to walk outside of their bedroom to get to the bathroom, the kitchen, living room, dining room, go through a hallway to get to the door to the hallway to get out of the building, those people are more at risk than someone who can live quite well within a unit where all those facilities are behind the door. That's the difference.

It's not the person, if I might be clear, sir; it's the living context. Shared living, if all you have is a bedroom and you can never get to those other things where your food is, you can never have your friends in because of someone else's dangerous behaviour, that's a very different situation. If I could do an analogy, if you think of your own home and you had a number of people in your own home who were hitting personal crises and they'd been given every opportunity regardless, what's the level of threat that you would live with? I think that's the issue. It's housing types, sir.

Mr Daigeler: One of the real benefits of sitting on this committee and on similar committees is frankly to learn about all the good work that is being done by different groups across the province. My riding is in the Ottawa area so I'm not that familiar with the Toronto area and I'd never heard of your particular organization. But obviously you're doing excellent work over many, many years and you clearly are putting forward a serious concern while indicating your support for the government bill in principle, and I think that's very praiseworthy. I just would like to understand better who you are. Who is behind you? Is this just a community group? Where did it start from?

Ms Witkowski: In brief, WoodGreen community housing was founded in 1986. WoodGreen Community Centre was founded 57 years ago. The community housing corporation is an outgrowth of the community centre to deal specifically with housing.

Mr Daigeler: Is it a church organization or what is it?

Ms Witkowski: Oh, 57 years ago it was a minister who worked with the community to deal with the outcomes of the Depression, and then the first service that WoodGreen undertook was actually day care and youth services and a gym. As the city itself changed and began to provide those services, WoodGreen did transitions and expanded, so now we do seniors. On the cover page --

Mr Daigeler: I saw that. Day care, and you're involved in all kinds of things and you're governed by a board of people voluntarily joined.

Ms Witkowski: A board of directors. It's a member organization. It's a certain specific geography in the city of Toronto, wards 7, 8, 9 and 10. I can't remember the provincial ridings. The honourable member Churley and the honourable member Lankin, that's their territory. It's a board of directors who are volunteers that governs the community centre.

Mr Daigeler: I just find that very interesting and I appreciate it. Certainly I think we should make sure that the work you're doing is not unnecessarily inhibited by any government action. You're putting forward a very valid concern.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to think I'm a little more familiar with WoodGreen, having come from East York just north of you.

Ms Witkowski: Right. I was going to say that, mayor.

Mr David Johnson: Excellent work you do. In terms of the model that you talked about for the eight-bedroom suite, is that an active model? Do you have seniors' properties or buildings that operate on that?

Ms Witkowski: We currently have a 170-unit seniors' building. Within that, we created two eight-bedroom suites which are vacant at this point due to funding issues under long-term care reform, and we will have, in 1995, within another 150-unit family building, a 10-unit model for frail, elderly seniors. We're very concerned about the Landlord and Tenant Act being enforced here.

Mr David Johnson: I just might say, because I'll probably run out of time here, that your concerns are very valid. We've heard these concerns from other groups. I truly hope that they can be addressed and the remedies you put forward, I think, make a great deal of sense.

The suspicion I had at the first was that you were actually speaking as one who provides living in terms of complete units so that this bill was not going to impact on you quite as directly. I may still be right in that, I'm not sure, but I thought this is terrific that you would, having seen the problems. Yet you're still saying the Landlord and Tenant Act should pertain to your structure of self-contained units. Yet you see the problems as a third party in a sense as they may apply to areas where there's congregate living or shared accommodation and that sort of thing.


From that point of view, you have no axe to grind. It's just your experience, coming forward and saying there's going to be a problem and somehow we have to deal. Because people are living together it's different from a self-contained unit and somehow we need fast-tracking or something to be able to protect both sides: the individual, yes, but the group as a whole as well. It makes a great deal of sense.

I don't know if there's anything else you want to say. You've got 30 seconds. I don't know what to say because we have heard this kind of situation and today it's been sort of over and over again. It just makes so much sense that somehow we have to put an amendment through to allow those operators to carry on.

Ms Witkowski: I think you've understood. We don't have an interest in the first part of our concern. We don't care and we're quite happy with the Landlord and Tenant Act. We're quite happy. We think it's appropriate for self-contained units. I don't care who the person is. That's part of choosing to live in that option and struggling to live there. But in shared living, I think the burden is different.

My observation would be that if the act goes forward as it is to include shared living under the Landlord and Tenant Act with the way it currently operates, you are going to force landlords who operate that kind of housing to be more and more selective about who ultimately makes it into the housing, if only because they cannot risk the liability of being sued by the other tenants for the behaviour of an individual who is dangerous or they do not want to risk people becoming homeless in great droves. I think that is a part of the analysis that needs to be dealt with. I mean, we're committed to dealing with homeless people. That's our mission.

Mr David Johnson: Well said.

Ms Witkowski: Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate this and also your attentiveness at 4 in the afternoon.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: The final presentation of the afternoon is from Bob Olsen. Welcome. The committee has allocated 15 minutes for your presentation.

Mr Bob Olsen: Thank you. My name is Bob Olsen. I'm a member of various advocacy groups. I'm a Cityhome tenant. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak to you.

I would like to respond to some of the things that have been said here. First, where do all the hard-to-house tenants evicted by these non-profit housing providers go? I'll tell you where some of them go: They come to live in my non-profit housing project. We have no care, no rehabilitation, no support services in my project. We do have protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

I live in Cityhome, South St James Town. Cityhome is one of the largest rooming house operators in Canada. Our project houses some of the hardest to house in the city of Toronto and it is done under the Landlord and Tenant Act. So when a tenant is evicted by the hypocrites, he may be able to find housing among us, thanks to the city of Toronto and the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Yesterday some of you were puzzled by the presentation by the Roomers' Rights Organization. I was the founding chairman of that organization. In my opinion, it is now a bogus organization operated by a non-profit rooming house provider. I will leave you to read my enclosed comments later. I skip now to halfway down page 2.

Bill 120 deals with the following questions: When is a person living in their own home and when is a person living in an institution? What rights does a person have in his own home? What rights does a person have in an institution?

Most of the landlords you have heard of believe that their tenants are not living in their own homes but rather that they are living in institutions. Thus, they believe that their tenants do not have the rights of privacy or tenure. The question here is, when is a home a home and when is an institution an institution?

Dr Lightman's report stated the basic premises of this legislation: (1) that a home is a home is a home and (2) that all persons -- home owners, tenants and persons living in care facilities -- have rights: a right to tenure and a right to privacy.

I have asked the ministry to inform this committee as to how many non-profit shared accommodation rooming house units there are in Ontario. I've been trying for 10 days to get that information. I still have not gotten it, but I hope the ministry will be able to come up with that information.

It is difficult, if not impossible, for a person to consider their residence to be their home if someone else has the authority to evict them without cause. Yesterday, Ecuhomes told you, "We operate under the Innkeepers Act." That act gives them authority to evict without cause and without official notice.

Keith Whitney Homes claims to be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act. When a tenant, Ron Payne, had difficulties with Keith Whitney Homes, he was told to appear before an in-house tribunal. He was told that he could not have legal representation. He was not told who his accusers were. He was not told what the charges were. However, he was found guilty and he was ordered to vacate his home.

Ron refused to leave; he wanted his day in court. Ron managed, with sheer determination and legal assistance, to hang on to his residence. He was harassed. Staff entered his premises when he was entertaining his girlfriend. He refused to be intimidated. They took the door off his room and removed all the furniture. He slept on the concrete floor. They changed the locks on the building. Others provided him with keys. He refused to leave until he had had his day in court. I have enclosed in appendix A Ron's press statement given when he filed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

Finally, Keith Whitney Homes applied to the courts to be declared exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act. Keith Whitney claimed that the housing that they provided constituted rehabilitation. They claimed that the housing itself constituted rehabilitation. It's in the court records if you want to get the transcript of the proceedings.

From the bench, Judge Jennings asked Keith Whitney's lawyers, "You mean that the tenants are rehabilitated whether they want it or not?" He also asked, "Are you saying that the tenants are washed in the blood of the lamb?" This is what Judge Jennings said from the bench.

Judge Jennings then ruled that Ron Payne was a tenant according to the Landlord and Tenant Act. He also ruled that Keith Whitney Homes was not covered by part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which governs residential tenancies, because it was providing rehabilitation.

Judge Jennings' decision indicates, first, that the residents of Keith Whitney Homes are tenants under the Landlord and Tenant Act and, second, that they are not protected by part IV, which governs residential tenancies. Thus, the tenants of Keith Whitney Homes appear to be commercial tenants according to the act and thus can legally be evicted without cause.

Based on that decision, it is now impossible for many tenants to get a hearing in court over an eviction threat. I have attached summaries of the court's decision in appendix B.

Within a matter of days, non-profit housing providers across the province were claiming to be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act. Then, for-profit operators also began claiming to be exempt by the same argument. Neighbourhood Legal Services have already told you about 180 Sherbourne Street.

Evictions are often immediate. Occasionally, the tenant is told that he is evicted, and if he does not leave immediately, the police are called and he's charged with trespassing.

The law does not require that the landlord prove that he provides care or that he is exempt from part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act or that he qualifies to operate under the Innkeepers Act. The onus is upon the tenant, when he's out on the street with his possessions, to prove that he is protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The residents of Keith Whitney Homes live in fear of instant eviction. They know that they have no legal protection. They have seen the police from 51 Division remove many tenants without recourse to the courts. Keith Whitney residents were afraid to attend meetings that I or others arranged to inform them of their rights and how to obtain legal assistance. Many of them were afraid to be seen speaking to me or to other non-residents. They are afraid that they will be evicted like Ron Payne.

How extensive is this problem? Not all non-profit landlords evict tenants summarily. Only some tenants are evicted in this manner. But 100% of the tenants of landlords who claim to be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act live in fear.


What does it mean to live in fear of summary eviction? It means that tenants have no rights, no security of tenure, no right to privacy. The landlord can enter your premises at any time he wants to. The landlord could order you to take a bath or wash the dishes or stop smoking or attend religious services or to do whatever he wishes. As a user of Ontario's mental hospitals, I cannot exaggerate the humiliating and debilitating effect of not having the right to be yourself. You cannot refuse the landlord's instructions, as you can legally be evicted without cause. That's the law.

A fast-track eviction process would guarantee the landlords' power to threaten instant eviction without cause and guarantee their power to control the lives of their tenants. Our society applies this threat only to the poorest among us.

The Chair: Thank you. Questions? You've got about a minute.

Mr Cordiano: Let me just make this comment. I don't know if it's a question, but I will say this. We're not opposed to the application of the Landlord and Tenant Act with respect to the rooming and boardinghouses and rest and retirement homes. Obviously that's the thrust of the legislation. We support Dr Lightman's recommendations in that regard.

What we're attempting to deal with are a number of grey areas where the operators have told us they can't operate under those circumstances, particularly where you have rehabilitation centres. I think you would agree with me that those are different from rooming and boardinghouses. This is what we're dealing with, the question of whether you move to have a fast-track eviction process in a rooming house and boardinghouse that would not find people thrown out on the street, but that would remove someone from the premises who was a threat to other tenants. That's what we're attempting to accomplish when I ask questions in this regard. I don't think what we want to end up happening is that tenants be thrown out on the street. That's not what we support. But by the same token, I cannot support the ongoing danger that would exist to other tenants if you had an unruly tenant who was violent, who was threatening to other tenants. I don't think other people should have to live with those circumstances. That's really the thrust of our viewpoint.

Mr Olsen: Yesterday you heard Ecuhomes declare that they operate under the Innkeepers Act. They have self-defined themselves as being beyond the law. Landlords do not need to make any application to be recognized under the Innkeepers Act or any other act. They can simply declare themselves exempt from the law and then it is up to the tenant who's out on the street.

Mr Cordiano: They also claimed that they've never evicted anyone out on the street.

Mr Olsen: I know tenants who claim otherwise.

The Chair: Mr Johnson, you have maybe 90 seconds.

Mr David Johnson: Okay. One hardly knows what to do in that period of time. I guess the point that's been made by some operators is that if it's shared accommodation, there should be some method of fast-tracking. You used the word "instant" on the last page. I don't know exactly what you mean by instant, but I don't think there's anybody in this room or even any of the operators that have made deputations here that would think of it as being sort of the same day.

Mr Olsen: Peter Bobyk-Huys made a deputation two days ago and he was instantly evicted, and I've seen it.

Mr David Johnson: All right, but he's under the current situation. What's being recommended is that where there's shared accommodation there should be a fast-tracking, because people are living together and somebody can cause a whole lot of problems for other people who share facilities. I don't think what's intended is sort of a "Here's a bag. Fill your stuff and out the door" kind of thing. From what I hear, it's the same process but the process is speeded up. As a matter of fact, I can recall a few deputants saying it should take about two weeks.

I don't know what your definition of "instant" is, but if the process, rather than taking three months to a year as some people say it takes now, took two weeks and people could be guaranteed their day in court within that period of time but also protect the many, do you have a problem with that?

Mr Olsen: There are many problems. We don't have the time to --

The Chair: Then we'll move on to Mr Winninger and Mr Fletcher.

Mr Winninger: You've presented yet more cogent evidence of the injustice of the present system, where residents of rooming houses fail to gain even the minimum protection that's accorded tenants in other forms of residential accommodation.

I would ask you, since we only have a minute or a half-minute: Should there, as some people today have suggested, be exceptions in facilities that provide recovery and rehabilitation programs, for example?

Mr Olsen: My concern basically is with such as Keith Whitney, where people have gone to get housing. They just went to get housing. They needed housing. Then one day the landlord decides to evict them, and at that point they are informed that the housing provider provides care and rehabilitation. That's the first time the tenant's heard about it, when they were threatened with eviction.

Mr Winninger: If you've got a case like the -- oh, I see the Chair nodding his head. If you have a situation where quite clearly the purpose is to provide recovery and rehabilitation -- for example, substance abuse -- should there be an exception for people who share the same facility who may be lured into temptation by those who choose to break the rules and consume alcohol or use drugs?

Mr Olsen: I would refer you to page 2 of my deputation. I say, when is a person living in their own home? When is a person living in an institution? What rights does a person have when they're in their own home? Dr Lightman suggested that when a person is in their own home, they have the rights of security of tenure and privacy.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Olsen. We appreciate you coming this afternoon and appreciate your remarks. As I've told a number of deputants, the clause-by-clause review of this bill will begin in the week of March 6.

Mr Cordiano: I earlier made a request of the research assistant to look into the matter of the Ministry of Health and to ascertain whether there were in fact any submissions by the Ministry of Health regarding Bill 120 and its impact on service providers. I would like to get the Chair's view on this and the request that I'm making of our research assistant to do that, if it would be permitted by the committee.

Mr David Johnson: Sure. We all agree.

The Chair: Mr Johnson's obviously agreed.

Mr Mammoliti: I'm sorry. Let me just get this --

Mr Cordiano: Done. Too late.

Mr David Johnson: Hearing no disagreement --

Mr Gary Wilson: I just want to say that of course there was extensive consultation with both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services on this bill and there's continuing monitoring by those two ministries of what's happening with the bill.

The Chair: So can I take it from the parliamentary assistant that he will furnish the committee with the information of those consultations?

Mr Gary Wilson: I'd just like to know what the details are that Mr Cordiano would like.

Mr Cordiano: What I'm asking is what the Ministry of Health's view is on the matter of Bill 120 impacting on service providers and what effect that will have on their ability to continue to meet their funding criteria as outlined by the Ministry of Health. Obviously, they're being funded on some basis. That basis has to be the funding criteria on which that decision was made.

What impact is Bill 120 going to have on those service providers? They're going before this committee and telling us that obviously they're going to have difficulty meeting the objectives of their funding criteria, so I would like to know what the Ministry of Health's viewpoint on that is and how this will impact on them.


Mr Mammoliti: We don't know --

Mr Cordiano: I don't want to hear from you. I want to hear from the Ministry of Health, and that's what I'm asking the legislative research, to make inquiries on behalf of the committee with the Ministry of Health and perhaps the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Cordiano has options at this point. If he wants to hear from the ministry, then there's nothing stopping him from writing a letter to the ministry and asking it for its opinion. If the request from Mr Cordiano is that the committee ask the ministry, I didn't hear that.

Mr Cordiano: No, for the research assistant to provide this committee with more information about what the Ministry of Health's role was and what the Ministry of Health's viewpoint is with regard to the impact of Bill 120.

If there is no information, then obviously the research assistant will come back and tell us that there is no information available, that in fact the Ministry of Health did not have anything to say about the matter.

Mr Mammoliti: So what's your point?

Mr Cordiano: I want to know if the Ministry of Health has anything to say about the matter.

Mr Gary Wilson: I think as far as our committee is concerned, this is a Housing bill. We have to consider whether it meets the needs of the tenants, as we're setting them out in the residents' rights bill, from a Housing point of view. I think Mr Cordiano's free to, on his own, look into what the Ministry of Health's views of the issue are. But I think as far as the committee goes, we've got to decide whether this meets the terms of our reference, which is again Housing.

Mr Cordiano: I'll try to be concise and I'll try to be as accommodating as I can in what I'm saying, to help you understand.

We have service providers who have come before this committee and have told us that Bill 120 will impact on their ability to provide the essential services, as per their funding criteria, as outlined by the Ministry of Health. They're funded on a certain basis. That basis is that they meet certain objectives, and their objectives cannot be met because Bill 120 will preclude them from meeting those objectives. Therefore, their funding is in jeopardy.

Mr Mammoliti: So what do you want?

Mr Cordiano: The point I'm trying to make is that the Ministry of Health should comment on Bill 120 and its impact on these providers. In fact, if that is the case, then we have another reason to believe that there should be amendments to Bill 120. That directly impacts on our proceedings here. It's not such an illogical leap to make. It's very logical. It's a very practical thing that health service providers are going to have difficulty meeting their funding criteria.

Mr Mammoliti: I heard very clearly earlier from some of these service providers that they do have a concern with the way their facilities might run after Bill 120 would go through as is. I'm glad that Mr Cordiano has clarified it.

I think we need to be specific in terms of what we would want from the Ministry of Health. I think the point Mr Fletcher brings up is a good one as well. This is a Housing bill, but if you want to know how the ministry feels about a particular topic or a particular industry itself, then you need to be a little bit more specific.

Mr Cordiano: I'm being very specific. Let me try to clarify what I said, if I may. The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has the floor.

Mr Mammoliti: Quite frankly, I don't see the harm in asking the ministry to write us a letter and tell us how it feels about it.

Mr Cordiano: Mr Chairman, let me be very --

The Chair: Mr Wilson is next.

Mr Gary Wilson: As you know, the process that led to this being put into legislation means that the ministries that are involved in it had to look at it and consider it. I think that the fact that it's come forward as a bill has already suggested that they think it meets their conditions, and we are looking at it as a Housing issue now. The committee is considering it from the point of view of what it does for accommodation.

The Chair: It seems to me we're circling a little here. I'm not exactly sure where we're going. But as the Chair, it would be possible that I could write a letter on your behalf to the Minister of Health asking for their comments regarding these funding issues and care issues. If that's agreeable and we can get an answer, or the parliamentary assistant could make available from Housing what they have received during their consultation from the Ministry of Health and perhaps the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Those are two rather reasonable ways to go on this. Agreed?

Mr David Johnson: When would the expectation be that that would come?

Interjection: Six months.

Mr David Johnson: Yes, six months. I heard six months from the other side.

The Chair: I'm sure the ministry would deal with a letter from the Chair of a standing committee in an expeditious manner.

Mr Cordiano: That's fine, Mr Chair.

Mr David Johnson: Would that be before or after clause-by-clause?

Mr Cordiano: Immediately.

The Chair: I of course can't make commitments on behalf of the ministry. I can only say I would write the letter.

Mr Cordiano: Would you include in that letter a request for urgent and immediate attention?

The Chair: We shall do that. I think we resolved this. See you tomorrow, 10 o'clock.

The committee adjourned at 1656.