Thursday 3 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

Madison Avenue Housing and Support Services

Anthony McEvenue, executive director

Summit Halfway House

Kay Davison, executive director

William Ortwein, resident

Wayne Chandler, board vice-president

Saint Michael's Halfway Homes

Fernando Garcia, executive director

Gordon Walsh, director, Matt Talbot Houses

Gerry Hourihan, director, St Michael's Houses

Ross Gray, client

Tim MacKenzie

W.H. Macartney

Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation

Bruce Porter, coordinator

Raj Anand, former chief commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission

St Francis Residence

Sister Mary Fatta, director

Flori Hernandez, resident

Norman Rodriguez, resident

Elsie O'Donnell, staff member

Young Mothers' Resource Group

Miriam Cohen-Schlanger, housing advocate and education worker

Pamela Buist, researcher

Bob Fulton, research study director

Metro Tenants Legal Services

Anthea Pascaris, staff lawyer

Saara Chetner, staff lawyer

DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Robyn Artemis, board member

Jacquie Buncel, executive director

Frank Lewinberg

Subcommittee report


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

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

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

*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 1002 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 purpose of the committee meeting today is to deal with public deputations in regard to Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property.


The Chair: This morning our first presentation will come from Madison Avenue Housing and Support Services. Welcome. The committee has allocated to you one half-hour for your presentation. You may use that however you wish. You should start by introducing yourself and your colleagues, and indicate what position they hold within the organization.

Mr Anthony McEvenue: We appreciate the opportunity to be able to present to this committee. My name is Anthony McEvenue. I'm the executive director of Madison Avenue Housing and Support Services. Along with me are Alan Parker on my left and John Domegan on my right, people who live at Madison and use the services that Madison provides.

We'll provide a little bit of information about the agency, then address our comments around the amendments to the legislation and then, as I understand it, leave some time for questions you may have that we'll be able to respond to.

Madison is a non-profit organization that's funded by the Ministry of Health and, to a lesser degree, the Ministry of Housing to provide both affordable accommodation and also support to the individuals living in those accommodations. These are individuals who live in the Metropolitan Toronto area and have experienced or continue to experience mental health problems.

The accommodation that Madison provides comes in a number of forms. We actually operate 75 units which come in the form of either self-contained apartment settings or shared accommodation settings which are more typically known as group homes. The agency operates from eight different sites in total.

The other element of our service, which is support, typically described as assistance to individuals to manage their lives in the community, is provided, again, in a range of levels or degrees, from low support, perhaps described as visits from staff once or so a week, to high-support settings where staff may be available onsite on a 24-hour, around-the-clock basis. Within Madison, at least, the apartment settings tend to be low-support settings, most typically for individuals who have declared their interest and also ability to manage with a very low degree of support. They live in a more independent type of setting and are able to do that quite successfully, with very little need for support.

The shared household arrangements are typically places where individuals require, or at least have asked for, a higher degree of support to manage successfully in the community. These settings are typically found to have more of a rehabilitation component. By that we're describing the fact that people have expressed a specific interest and need to have staff available and some kind of opportunities to share settings with others so that they can get some help to cook, clean, manage the symptoms they may experience, and organize and manage their day and the tasks that are involved in living in a home on a day-to-day basis.

In terms of our comments around the amendments, first of all, Madison operates three apartment buildings at this point with approximately 30 self-contained units. At this time, we do adhere to the Landlord and Tenant Act in terms of an individual's tenure in that setting, so we very much support the principles of individuals having rights, as all others in Ontario do.

The amendments in areas which comment on the inclusion of the shared accommodation settings under the Landlord and Tenant Act we see as potentially seriously problematic. Some of the main reasons for this are that this would remove a significant degree of control from the residents who share those settings, and to a degree from the agency, to ensure that the environment is one that is safe and secure.

That safety and security is a fundamental element to the individuals' ability to live in the place and call it their home and use that setting for the purposes for which they came to Madison. The removal of that safety element in the event that one of the residents in the building posed a threat to the safety of either other residents or the staff on that site would create serious problems in that it could effectively render the setting a place where the people who live in it could no longer stay, given the threat to their safety that's posed by another resident.

This could also eliminate the accessibility of these services and this accommodation for others who, for example, may be in hospital waiting to come into the home, but would be unable to tolerate the environment, given the conduct that may be presented by another individual, conduct that would risk and security.

As well, the amendments that would include the shared accommodations under the present Landlord and Tenant Act would actually have implications on the selection process for agencies such as Madison, in that we would need to be much more careful in terms of the people we brought into the program. People who may perhaps present some kinds of problematic behaviours that would disrupt the environment would be people we'd have to turn away, given that it would be irresponsible for us to expose the residents in a shared setting, as well as staff, to possible harm.

Some of the recommendations we would have: We very much support the concept of the Landlord and Tenant Act in the apartment settings, by and large because in apartments people are able, in the event someone does present difficult or threatening behaviour, to retreat behind the security of their own locked doors, and are able to continue on with their daily living functions like cooking, bathing and so on, with hopefully minimal disruption from others.

However, in the shared accommodation settings there's not the opportunity for retreat. People aren't able to continue on in their basic functions and their ability to have the kind of control all of us need to be able to have in a home is removed for them.

We support or promote the idea in shared accommodation settings that residents within that setting develop an agreement with each other that is grounded on reasonable bases, and that in the event an individual seriously contravenes the agreement, which would contravene safety and security, the group would be able to ask the individual to leave, perhaps on a temporary basis until such time as that individual can regain control of his or her behaviour, or if it's not resolvable, on a permanent basis.


We also support the fact that agencies would need, in the shared accommodation settings, to apply for an exemption. Those would not be seen as automatic. A group would need to demonstrate that there are very real reasons why it should be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Also, in the event that an agency or a group in a shared accommodation setting believes it needs to evict or discharge someone on a temporary or permanent basis, the agency would need to be accountable in those instances. We very much support the concept of people having rights and due process, and that they ought not to have their housing arbitrarily removed, but also there is a point where the rights of a group need to be taken into consideration from time to time over the rights of an individual who may, for whatever reasons, have been found not to respect the rights of that group.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): You say you operate in eight different sites?

Mr McEvenue: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: Also, you have a 30-apartment unit that is under the LTA. The rest of them are not under the LTA and they're called shared accommodation.

Mr McEvenue: That's right.

Mr Grandmaître: What would be the length of stay in your house in the shared accommodation units?

Mr McEvenue: Right now it's officially indefinite, meaning that people could stay there as long as they are interested and need to in order to develop the skills they need to move on. If they're comfortable in that setting, then they can stay on. The average stay at this point, in both the apartments and the shared living format, is about four years.

Mr Grandmaître: So under Bill 120, you would be affected by the six-month stay.

Mr McEvenue: That's right.

Mr Grandmaître: You are proposing an amendment or a change to Bill 120. What about people who contravene the house rules? How do you deal with these people? Do you simply call the police, or do you have a governing body that tries to resolve these problems?

Mr McEvenue: Usually the first step in that process is that the resident group living in that setting will arrange a meeting with this individual to outline clearly what their concerns are, what their issues are with his or her conduct. They'll also express, because often this is the case, their concern around the individual's welfare. Often it may be a result of symptoms which are emerging. They'll assist or offer their assistance to the person to address those, whether that's perhaps a visit or help maintaining their medication regimen or assistance to get out and enjoy themselves or something to that degree.

If that isn't helpful or if the individual isn't able to or chooses not to use those supports, then the group will again clarify what their expectations are, outline a plan as to how they'll support, and ask the staff for their assistance to contact that individual's support system outside the house -- social workers, doctors and so on -- to try to engage their support to help the individual regain control of their conduct so that they're able to stay in the house. A fairly significant effort is extended in that regard.

If, after those interventions, the individual persists in posing a threat to others, then he or she would be asked to leave. The agency would not ask him to leave until that process had taken place and, by and large, the resident group sharing that setting strongly endorsed that this action be taken.

The other thing too is that most typically this would not be on a permanent basis. The idea would be that after a break from living in the house, the resident group and the individual would both have time to think about alternative strategies, different ways of perhaps approaching the problem so that hopefully the person can return to the house, and most often, that's been the case. They've seen their doctor. They've developed different strategies for dealing with whatever has occurred that has resulted in their actions, and then made agreements with the people at the house that they'll return and that this will be different in terms of their actions, and the resident group often learns of things it can do differently to support that return.

With that option, rather than having to simply dehouse somebody permanently, it means we're able to strategize and do some work to help the person learn about and develop ways to live in the community.

Mr Grandmaître: Let's call them evictions or forced evictions. How many forced evictions did you have to deal with in the last 12 months?

Mr McEvenue: One.

Mr Grandmaître: Most of these people would consider the Madison Avenue complex as their permanent address.

Mr McEvenue: That's correct.

Mr Grandmaître: Are these people referred to you or do they simply walk in?

Mr McEvenue: They're referred to us, most often by a doctor or a social worker who will work in the psychiatric department of a hospital, as well as other agencies, community mental health agencies that are working with an individual who feel as well that the person would benefit from our kind of service.

Mr Grandmaître: How many people are you housing right now?

Mr McEvenue: Sixty-eight.

Mr Grandmaître: How long have you been in business?

Mr McEvenue: Madison has been funded for approximately 15 years now by the Ministry of Health. Madison operated and was incorporated in 1976, but the staffing and the service was developed with volunteers.

Mr Grandmaître: As to the fact that you're being funded by the Ministry of Health, has anyone from the ministry consulted you on Bill 120 and its possible changes?

Mr McEvenue: Not at this point. The Ministry of Health is presently working on guidelines that relate to this very thing, to the Landlord and Tenant Act, and has been promoting the concept of more permanent housing. That's the direction they're moving in, again one that we support except we feel that there are certain instances where there are qualifiers required.

Mr Grandmaître: When you say funded by the Ministry of Health, what would be the percentage of your operational budget coming from the Ministry of Health?

Mr McEvenue: It's about 87%.

Mr Grandmaître: Where's the rest coming from?

Mr McEvenue: From the Ministry of Housing.

Mr Grandmaître: So you're totally funded by two ministries.

Mr McEvenue: Right. The only other area of revenue we have, of course, is from the rent that the residents and tenants pay, and that amounts to probably about 3% to 4% of our overall costs.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): You've indicated that you haven't been consulted by the Ministry of Health. We've heard these concerns and these concerns are certainly prevalent, I would say. We've heard a number of them before. Have you had an opportunity, through this process at all pertaining to Bill 120, to put your views to, I guess it would be, the Ministry of Housing in this case.

Mr McEvenue: Not at this point. The ministries of Housing and Health have been consulting with a group of which we're a member which is the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs on a sort of parallel track to this. The ministry, by and large, has had formal or informal discussions with agencies around the kinds of concepts it has been working towards on permanent housing, but not specifically around this amendment.


Mr David Johnson: The Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs was before us yesterday. They presented quite an extensive set of recommendations. I'm going to try to play them back to you and just see what your views might be on them.

First, as I can recall, pertaining to self-contained units, they agree with you that the Landlord and Tenant Act should apply.

Then, in terms of shared accommodation, they broke that down into two sectors. If there was no rehabilitation or essentially no care present, then they felt there should be some sort of fast-track mechanism in cases where there was disruption to the program, to the other residents. In a case where there is a strong rehabilitation component, where rehabilitation perhaps is the essence of the program, in that case the unit should be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

I wasn't quite sure where you fit in. Is that essentially what you're asking for? Are you asking for something a little different than that?

Mr McEvenue: Fairly similar. We don't believe they should be exempt outright. In other words, a rehabilitation focus program perhaps should be exempt, but in our minds they would need to apply for that exemption and demonstrate that there are real reasons for that purpose.

Mr David Johnson: In the case of your program where there is shared accommodation, would you describe rehabilitation as being the focus or would you describe accommodation being the focus of that program?

Mr McEvenue: Most typically out of most of our shared settings there is a rehabilitation focus. In the other settings there's not so much staff; it's more accommodation. Actually, Alan lives in one of those settings. It's a cluster arrangement where three or four people will live on a floor and share a washroom, living area and so on. Staff visit from time to time but not very frequently. People are clearly there more simply to have a place that is safe and secure and where they can share that setting with others.

Mr David Johnson: So what you would be suggesting then for your shared accommodation program -- did you say there were about 38 of the units, something like that?

Mr McEvenue: Approximately.

Mr David Johnson: Would you hope that an amendment would be put in that would allow you to approach the ministry and to convince the ministry that you have a program that should be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act?

Mr McEvenue: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: What sorts of criteria do you think would be reasonable for the ministry to establish, such that if you met those criteria, then you should be exempt?

Mr McEvenue: Probably there would be something that would weigh the balance of people's interest in using the service; in other words, that they had expressed an interest or a need to develop some skills around community living, or some other kind of indication that they really are not able to manage outside of that kind of a setting with either shared living or a certain amount of assistance from staff professionals as well as their peers. Those are the first two things that come to mind.

Mr David Johnson: There certainly will be more time to think about it. We're very sympathetic to the plight that you're in and we're looking. We're not sure what route the government is going to go. We hope very much that it goes some route that would allow you to operate your programs and not fall under the consequences.

One of the consequences you mentioned was that you'd have to be very much more careful in the selection process. I assume that you have a waiting list and that there are people who want to get into this program, but you would then, if the bill went through the way it is, be put in the position of having to not select certain people because they may be a risk. I don't know what that would mean.

Mr McEvenue: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: Where would they go in a case like that?

Mr McEvenue: Well, that's it. The other thing that happens that's a real concern, that's probably a longer-term concern with the Landlord and Tenant Act is that we've actually had the experience of persons who had serious problems in terms of their behaviour, very threatening to others, who basically literally have cleared the house, where people have gone back to hospital. There's nowhere else they can stay.

They come here because they really don't have any other options as to where they live. They need the staff support. They need others. They'll go back to hospital and have literally been in hospital for months, not able to return to the house. Had those persons effectively not decided to leave, they could have not only dehoused those people but permanently, by virtue of the Landlord and Tenant Act, blocked up that resource from use from anyone else in the community.

It also has a serious impact, particularly, on the sensitivity around the community and its perception of these kinds of services. We've been highly successful to date on at least assuring the community that we're able, capable to maintain for the resident group and for the community at large a reasonable degree of stability and so on.

That kind of activity could really decimate the confidence the community has now and its perceptions of people with mental health problems and so on and so forth. There are a lot of longer-term implications that come into play as well.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Thank you, Mr McEvenue, for your presentation. Certainly, your background and experience, having both the self-contained units as well as the shared accommodation, is particularly useful. I find that the questions that have been raised now are very helpful too in focusing on what we're trying to understand here about the circumstances.

As far as the Madison program is concerned, I'm interested first of all in the issue of confidence. As you say, you like to make sure that the neighbourhood is confident and the community at large of course, and that's what we are dealing with, an issue of confidence as far as the rights of the residents of the kind of accommodation that you're offering are concerned. Part of the reason we're introducing the bill is to make sure that these rights are extended to people who, in unregulated settings in particular, have been subject to abuse of one kind or another. That is well laid out in things like the Lightman report. So there has been, I think --

Mr McEvenue: Certainly.

Mr Gary Wilson: -- broad understanding of what has to be done here and we're just trying to find the best way of doing it.

Perhaps to follow up again, when you have people referred to you now, how many have you turned away in the last while for the shared accommodation setting?

Mr McEvenue: By and large, recently we've been at full occupancy at most of the settings anyway.

Mr Gary Wilson: You mean you haven't had anybody referred to you in a while?

Mr McEvenue: We have, but either we've had to put them on a waiting list or some of them have looked at one of our shared living arrangements, but it has shared bedrooms and they're not interested in that. There's a number of apartment buildings available now in social housing and people are very much interested in those. Right now, for the largest proportion of people, that's the accommodation style of choice.

Mr Gary Wilson: I took you to mean from your description of the shared accommodation program that it's not as rigorous, say, as some. You seem to say you can take the rehab services -- you might call them rehab at least -- if you want but you're not required to. Is that right?

Mr McEvenue: Basically, at least in some of the settings, staff have a flexible amount of hours in which they may or may not come to the site. There are some core activities, for example, a weekly meeting that the staff may attend, which would be for an hour and a half. Other than that, they're available but if they're not required by the people who live there, then they simply won't come.

Mr Gary Wilson: So you wouldn't try to remove anybody because they weren't taking part in the program?

Mr McEvenue: Oh, not at all.

Mr Gary Wilson: Your average stay is four years, I think you said.

Mr McEvenue: That's right.

Mr Gary Wilson: That means that some people are there for a considerable length of time and I think you would say that is their main living place. In that sense you would expect that the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act would apply, or could apply because this is what we're looking at.

Mr McEvenue: By and large, that's correct. We very much support the fact that the home and security of tenure is one of the most significant elements, not only as people's basic right but also in their ability to stabilize, to have a foundation from which to grow, whatever that might be. It's not only in terms of rights, but also if I can use the word programatically, that's something we believe is a fundamental element.

The only exemptions we're really talking about are in the instances where, given the nature of our service to the people who live there and the reasons they've come there, it's not just to have housing; it's very much for some other kinds of supports and so on. We're only talking about exemption in the instance where someone contravenes the basic safety and security of the others.


Mr Gary Wilson: I'd like to focus on that now because you have a process that you outlined at some length. I'm not quite sure how it would differ under the LTA. You could have the same kind of process in dealing with someone who you felt was jeopardizing the program.

Mr McEvenue: For example, we had an experience in the past where an individual in a group living arrangement physically attacked one of the residents and staff with some kitchen utensils and a knife as well. What we did at that point was contact their doctor and asked the individual -- required, in fact -- to leave the setting.

We had called the police at that point in time and the police didn't feel there was anything they could do. The person had settled down. They hadn't observed anything in particular. The other residents were too frightened to communicate or state the case to the police at that time. Our word at that point wasn't enough. That individual would have been in that house and the impact of that on the staff and on the residents in that setting --

Mr Gary Wilson: Is that someone you did evict?

Mr McEvenue: No, we asked them to leave temporarily. Had we not done that, they wouldn't have got to the hospital.

Mr Gary Wilson: But asking them to leave temporarily, did you have to force them to leave? In other words, why couldn't the same thing occur under the Landlord and Tenant Act? They do something that you consider to be threatening to other residents and you think they need a different kind of care, obviously. Why could you not do exactly what you did under the present arrangement?

Mr McEvenue: Basically, they could say they're not going to leave.

Mr Gary Wilson: They didn't in this case, though, isn't that true? They did go. You didn't have to force them to --

Mr McEvenue: Not in that instance, but we have had others where people said they simply weren't going.

Mr Gary Wilson: So that happens even now, then.

Mr McEvenue: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming to see us this morning. For your information, we will be considering this bill in a clause-by-clause review commencing the week of March 6.

Before we move to the next presenter, I would like to bring members' attention to a number of items that are being distributed to them.

One is the interim summary of recommendations the researcher is compiling. She tells me she's up to date till Thursday of last week. All members have that.

There has been some discussion of the Lightman report here and we've made certain that each member has a copy of the Lightman report. They may now have two, but at least we're sure they have one.

The last thing I would like to bring to your attention is that the clerk has placed on your desk a report of the subcommittee. I don't think we'll deal with that right this moment, but I would like all members to read it and if we get a moment a little later on in the day, we'll adopt it, provided it's suitable, of course, to the committee.


Ms Kay Davison: My name is Kay Davison. I'm the executive director of Summit House. With me is Mr William Ortwein, presently a resident in our program; Mr Charles Ollivera, also a resident in the program; Mr Frank Weir, also a resident in our program; and Mr Wayne Chandler, the vice-president of our volunteer board of directors.

We are very pleased that we have been given the opportunity to respond to Bill 120, which makes amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act, because we are really deeply concerned about the impact of this bill on our rehabilitative housing program.

Summit House is a non-profit charitable organization which provides supportive and rehabilitative residential services to people with mental health problems. Our program operations are funded by the community mental health branch of the Ministry of Health, which is 79% of our total budget. The housing component is funded by the Ministry of Housing and residents' fees which are 21% of our total budget. Presently we have five housing programs in the Halton region.

Although the housing we provide fulfils a vital basic need for decent and affordable shelter, which is of course essential for clients to attain and maintain stable mental health, the primary purpose of our program is rehabilitation and not accommodation. The fact that nearly 80% of our funding is for program operations confirms the importance given to the rehabilitative element.

The residents in all our homes are encouraged to provide input and to participate in the decision-making process with respect to the program and the services we provide.

It is our understanding that under Bill 120 rehabilitative programs are exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act if the average length of stay of the occupants does not exceed six months and if the home is not the principal residence of the majority of the occupants of the house.

We respectfully request that consideration be given to amending Bill 120 as follows:

(1) That rehabilitative and supportive housing programs with flexible length of stay and which provide homes that are the principal residence of occupants be excluded from the Landlord and Tenant Act; or alternatively,

(2) That where the primary purpose of housing programs is rehabilitation and not accommodation, organizations be able to apply for exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The justifications for these recommendations:

(1) Length of stay: It is essential that the length of stay in housing rehabilitative programs for recovering mental health patients remain flexible and be based on the individual needs of the clients.

Six months simply is not long enough to prepare people for independent living. A six-month time limit would impose unrealistic expectations on residents and create pressure on people to leave before they are prepared for such a move.

If people are worrying about losing accommodation within six months of commencing the program, they cannot concentrate on learning the skills they require for reaching their goals. In fact, our transitional program was changed from one year's duration to a flexible length of stay because one year, for many clients, was not sufficient time for the rehabilitative process. In addition, the stress caused by a short time limit often resulted in clients being readmitted to hospital.

We believe a service should meet the varying needs of clients, rather than asking consumers to fit into one rigid program.

(2) Principal residence: All the individuals coming into our supportive and rehabilitative housing programs are either leaving family homes, apartments or boarding houses or are being discharged from hospital. The homes they move into while participating in the rehabilitative programs are their principal residence while they are working on skills to be successful in future permanent housing.

As well, individuals living in Halton have to have a principal address to be eligible for general welfare assistance and family benefits allowance.

(3) General justifications: The primary purpose of rehabilitative and supportive programs is rehabilitation and not accommodation. We believe that in such programs both the rights of the individual and the rights of the group need to be considered while the acceptance of the rehabilitative program needs to remain central in focus.

Including these programs in the Landlord and Tenant Act will eliminate the rehabilitative nucleus of these programs, which includes the resident group defining guidelines by which they choose to live.

The main objective of rehabilitative services is to provide programs designed to promote independent living in stable and affordable supportive housing. In fact, our major funding source, which is the Ministry of Health, evaluates the rehabilitative outcome of our program on a regular basis and ongoing funding hinges on the mandate requirements being met.

If programs such as ours are included in the Landlord and Tenant Act, the accommodation will become the primary purpose and the rehabilitative and supportive nature of the service will be seriously weakened.

This virtual elimination of rehabilitative programs will have a profound detrimental effect on individuals presently participating in these programs and on people hoping to access the services in the future.

After researching what programs are available in their community, individuals themselves often choose Summit House because they've recognized that at this point in their recovery, they lack self-motivation and need assistance and support to enable them to achieve independence and to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle.

These people also realize that the major factor that will enable them to cross the bridge from hospitalization to independent living is the knowledge that they have to follow the rehabilitative program.

Presently, residents agree to abide by the program policies; for example, sharing of chores and cooking, engaging in some activity during the day and participating in individual goal planning etc. Under Bill 120, individuals could opt out of the program because these actions would not justify eviction, and our homes would very easily just become rooming homes.

It is vital that people have an array of options. In Halton, the choices for consumers are already very limited. It would be a tragedy if the few supportive housing programs that are available were eliminated.

I now turn the microphone over to Mr Bill Ortwein, who would also like to address the committee.


Mr William Ortwein: Good morning. My name is William Ortwein. I have been a resident of Summit House since last July. I briefly would like to give you a little bit of my background. It's not to impress you but merely to advise you where I'm coming from.

I served seven and a half years in the Canadian army. I served overseas with the United Nations in Gaza in the Suez uprising. For that, I later on was awarded as a part recipient in the Nobel Peace Prize. I also had affiliation with the royal family and received citations from the Queen Mother, Her Royal Highness. I later served 18 1/2 years on the police force as a police sergeant.

During that employment I received a head injury while working on the drug squad. I came down with epilepsy. The form that was inflicted upon me was a sharp blow to my head. I later on in life, at a very late age, became addicted to alcohol and became a practising alcoholic. With the combination of my disease of epilepsy and alcohol, I wound up in a hospital, dying. I went through a treatment centre and later on I went through such a facility as where I'm staying today. I'm truly grateful to be there.

Some of the things that I've found Summit House has given me that it would be not be able to give me if it was covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act with Bill 120, are that it gave me the willingness to go on and the responsibility that Billy is now a concerned citizen. There's love in this home. It's just not a rooming house.

They made Billy be responsible today. Today, I have chores to do and things like that. I have people around me who truly love me and understand Billy. They support me with my alcohol addiction. I get counselling from a counsellor who's there on a daily basis.

The other residents of this home are people suffering with disabilities too. There's a lot of love here. It's not a rooming house effect.

I would like to share with you today that as a result of all the support I've got from Summit House, I'm celebrating one year's sobriety. It's quite a milestone in my life, a lot more than even as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I would not have been able to achieve this goal if it wasn't for such a facility as Summit House. I feel from my heart that if we were just part of the Landlord and Tenant Act, we wouldn't be able to get the support that this man has made in myself and that others will need to follow me. For that I'm truly grateful, and I hope you'll give that understanding. Thank you very much.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): At the outset, Bill, congratulations on your journey so far and continued success.

Kay, thank you for your presentation. I'm familiar with your facilities. Most of them are resident in my constituency, so I wanted to raise several questions about the implications of changes to your program.

First of all, Bill, I'm pleased you made two references in your comments to the most important word that comes with "rights" that's never uttered with "rights." Very few people have said it when they've come here, but you have, and that is that with rights come responsibilities. My fear is that in this legislation it only talks about rights and has abandoned the notion of responsibilities. I think your presentation brings many things, but it also causes us to refocus on the point you're appealing to this committee to understand, that there are also responsibilities to this form of community living and a shared, intensified community living. You put it in more eloquent terms than I can, because you come from that environment at Summit House.

I'd like to ask you some questions about the notion of transitional housing, that people come to Summit House because they've been somewhere else and hopefully some day, they will go somewhere else.

Ms Davison: That's right.

Mr Jackson: It becomes a transition based on their journey and their progress and their self-confidence. But if you look over your shoulder at where people have come from, our community hospital has cut its mental health beds from 20 down to 10 -- that's where people are coming from -- and if you look at where you hope some day people will go, the numbers of supportive housing units with more independence -- so you're not involved in community cooking, but you have the special needs cases, if I can call them that -- their numbers have dwindled dramatically. In fact, most of the housing that's being built is for low-income family units, and independent living for individuals -- those numbers have dropped dramatically. We've got pressure at both ends.

Perhaps you might comment about the concerns you have, since you're receiving clients from waiting lists. The alternative to failure in the program isn't a pleasant one, because of what's available, either ahead in the community or to fall back to a hospital setting.

Ms Davison: This is absolutely true. A lot of our clients, the majority, come from a hospital either or a very dependent family relationship, the family realizing that they now tend to look after them too much probably. But once they leave our program, it has been a concern of mine that there is nowhere to go. There's a serious lack of available units.

That is why we have started our outreach program. It helps a little bit when people leave the program now. We now send people into their own homes, which is bridging the gap a little but not nearly enough. But we feel it is helping a lot. As you know, Cam, in Halton there's very little supportive housing. In fact, there are only two programs. There's ourselves -- we're in Burlington, Milton, Georgetown -- and one other which is in Acton, and that's the total Halton supportive, non-profit housing. It's not very many. There is a desperate need to help our client population.

Mr Jackson: Just briefly, your message to this committee today has a lot to do with not just focusing on Summit House, but to look at the whole range of housing and health responsibilities that deal with persons in transition.

Ms Davison: Especially, as you say, now that they're cutting down the beds, you're going to get a lot of people on the streets again, as it happened in the 1970s, unfortunately.

Mr Jackson: The final question has to do with, have you talked with the regional office of the Ministry of Health about the implications of this legislation on your program? We appreciate that not everyone has come forward to help the committee understand the ratio of funding. We have not heard from the Ministry of Health at all about this bill. You've underscored the importance of our having a dialogue with the Ministry of Health, because it's funding your program component.

Ms Davison: When you think that 80% goes towards program operations, and the majority of that is salaries, I feel if we come under the Landlord and Tenant Act -- people say: "Look, we want you to come. We want you to make us get out of bed. We want you to motivate us." But they know that if they don't have to, they won't. Because of the medication, because of the illness, they very often lack motivation. What would be the point of having a program in that case? The Ministry of Health won't be able to justify maintaining it and it's going to be the clients who will suffer dreadfully because of that.


Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): How long has Summit House been in operation?

Ms Davison: For 13 years.

Mr Fletcher: I see. With many of the houses that have come to present, I'm amazed at how it appears that they've become so institutionalized over the time: funding from the ministries of Health and Housing. I know that the idea of letting people out of hospitals seems like a good idea, but it just seems that they've been replaced with places such as Summit House.

Ms Davison: Our homes certainly aren't institutionalized, in your sense.

Mr Fletcher: No, that's just the way it seems, though.

Ms Davison: But they really are not. Would either of you guys have comments on that? We run them as much like a home as possible. They certainly are not treatment.

Mr Fletcher: Bill, you seem to be doing well and I'm very pleased to hear that. What if you want to get rid of someone who's a pest at Summit House, who you just don't like? Do you have meetings to evict people?

Mr Ortwein: One thing we do have is that our communication is at very high level. We have meetings within our own residence, within our own group, and we have them with the counsellor and we also have them with our director. Our feelings are shared and at such time that it is shared, a decision is made for the best for that resident. There has been occasion where that resident has had to be back to hospital and it's been looked after and the care is needed there.

I would just like to say that the love that's shared in this home is hard to explain. It's not like the rooming houses, and I would like to say it's not institutionalized.

Mr Fletcher: The only way we can make any recommendations is to hear what is going on and how this bill could impact on certain places. One of the reasons for the public hearings is to listen, to find out what is happening and what your perceptions are going to be.

Just one quick one as I know that there are other people who wish to have a chat about this, and that is, as far as your program is concerned, how many staff people do you have at Summit House and how many residents?

Ms Davison: We have a total of 27 residents who are actually in the residential program, we have about 15 on our outreach program, and because we have two homes which are 24-hour support, that entails quite a lot of staff. We have about 12 full-time equivalents which include administration staff and everything.

Mr Fletcher: Volunteers?

Ms Davison: The only volunteers we have are on the board of directors.

Mr Wayne Chandler: The board is comprised of individuals -- some survivors, some consumers -- who come from all backgrounds ranging from homemakers to middle management in business, to a professor at the university etc, and they meet on a volunteer basis.

Mr Fletcher: What if someone didn't want to do the program? Suppose I were an alcoholic and I wasn't drinking. I just didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to participate. What would happen to me? But I was off the bottle; I was off the booze; I wasn't drunk.

Mr Davison: All residents sign an agreement. It's explained very carefully to them that we are program first and accommodation second, because there are many places people can go which aren't a program, if they just want to lie in bed all day. The understanding is that they will follow the program. If they don't want to follow the program, they're taking up a bed for someone who does want to follow the program.

Mr Fletcher: What if I were progressing at my own level without your program, because I was in a setting where other people were progressing and it was rubbing off or something.

Ms Davison: If you were progressing, then there wouldn't be a problem.

Mr Fletcher: I wouldn't have to do the program.

Mr Davison: You've got to do your chores because you can't expect your fellow residents to do your chores for you. We can't afford a maid service. You've got to do your share of the cooking. Each house is different, actually. We try to tailor the service to suit everybody's needs and some houses have higher expectations than others. People do have to meet the expectations of the house. If they don't want to, they can go somewhere else.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for your presentation. It certainly helps us in our deliberations here, and especially your testimony, Bill; it's good to hear of your success.

I just want to assure you, contrary to the impression you might be left with from Mr Jackson, that the Ministry of Health is well aware of the elements in this bill, partly because it has to be since it's amending acts under its responsibility. But beyond that, the provisions in Bill 120 that refer to unregulated rest homes spring from the Lightman commission, which they participated in, in all levels, in making presentations, but also participated in an interministerial committee evaluating the results of the commission. We see the results in this bill. Certainly there are strong elements of Health here. There have to be because we all recognize that a lot of the services the Health ministry provides are affected by this.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Let me thank you for your presentation today, because I think it's very thoughtful and I'm going to accept it in the dignity with which it was given. Not to make light of that in any way, shape or form, we are dealing with a situation here that I think needs some real intervention on the part of the government to make amendments to the legislation.

I woke up this morning and said to myself, "I think today's going to be a good day on committee." Actually, I'm detecting that the tone that I'm getting from across the floor is that -- you know what? I think they're going to change their minds about this bill. I think they are going to make some changes. I think the minister is listening. I could be wrong, but I'm sensing that the members on that side are understanding what we're saying, especially the deputants who are coming before us. I think it's sinking in. So there is a little hope that there might be some changes to this bill. We certainly will be making recommendations to address the concerns you've expressed today.

One question I have for you is with respect to the Ministry of Health. Did anyone in the Ministry of Health consult with you about Bill 120?

Ms Davison: No.

Mr Cordiano: They never mentioned Bill 120 before it was tabled in the Legislature? They never talked to you about it or its possible impact.

Ms Davison: No. Every program has a consultant it deals deal with, and I sent her a copy of my brief and explained to her what I was doing. All I've been told is there are going to be meetings and then they'll get back to us. Other than that, I haven't heard anything.

Mr Cordiano: Dr Lightman's report -- we each have a copy of that this morning; I have a few of these copies. He says in his recommendation 14 very clearly that rehabilitation centres should qualify for an exemption under the Landlord and Tenant Act, and this is very clear, and that a definition should be prescribed in the legislation for what is therapeutic and rehabilitative, and that this should be given legal definition and an exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act should be made. Obviously you agree with that.

Ms Davison: You see, currently they're saying it has to be for six months' duration and it is exempt, but from our point of view, six months would be --

Mr Cordiano: A totally arbitrary time line.

Ms Davison: It would be ridiculous. It takes a year to stabilize some of our residents.

Mr Cordiano: Do you agree that the route to go is to determine a legal definition?

Ms Davison: Yes.

Mr Cordiano: What if in the interim that was not possible? I've been talking to people and they've suggested that it's going to take some time to draft a definition, that it requires further research and further work, and that therefore it would be appropriate perhaps to set a time line for the time being until that legal definition could be drafted carefully. Consultation should take place to determine what that definition should include. Would you agree with that?

Ms Davison: Yes, I would.

The Chair: Thank you for coming to see us this morning. We certainly appreciated your presentation. For your information, the clause-by-clause review will begin the week of March 6 and that is actually the first time that amendments can be made to the legislation.



The Chair: We have about a minute. Do members want to deal with the subcommittee report?

Interjection: Yes.

The Chair: Would someone like to move the subcommittee report?

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): I've a question, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: We need it moved before we can talk about it. Mr Mammoliti.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Do you want me to read the whole thing, Mr Chair? Is it necessary?

The Chair: I believe it's necessary.

Mr Mammoliti: I move:

(1) That the committee commence public hearings on Bill 95, An Act to provide for the passing of vital services bylaws by the City of North York, on Monday, February 14, 1994. The hearings are to commence at 1 pm and allocate 20 minutes per group, followed by clause-by-clause consideration of the bill at the conclusion of the day's hearings.

(2) That the committee commence public hearings on Bill 21, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to Land Leases, on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 14 and 15, 1994, beginning at 10 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 5 pm and that each group and individuals receive 20 minutes presentation.

(3) That should clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 95 not be completed on Monday, February 14, 1994, that it be continued on Thursday, February 17, 1994, until completion, at which time clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 21 is to commence.

Mr David Johnson: On a point of clarification, Mr Chair: When it doesn't specify the completion time on a particular day, what's assumed, 5 or 6, or do we go until finished?

The Chair: I assume 5.

Mr David Johnson: Can we assume that your assumption is the one that will hold?

The Chair: My assumption is 5. The committee can always move an extension of that, but we're only authorized to sit till 6 in any event, I believe.

Mr David Johnson: So 6 is the latest?

The Chair: So 6 is the latest; the practice has been 5.

Mr David Johnson: On Thursday it doesn't specify a start time, but that would automatically be 10 o'clock.

The Chair: That's right.

Mr Mills: I'm reading this Monday, February 14, in paragraph (1), and then in paragraph (2) it says Tuesday and Wednesday, February 14 and 15. That's a little mistake, is it not?

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): Yes, it is: February 15 and 16.

Mr Mills: Moving along to paragraph (3), I just want to get some idea about the time allocations for these bills because it says here "that should clause-by-clause...of Bill 95 not be completed on Monday," it will be continued on Thursday, "at which time clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 21 is to commence." What I want to know is the process of this and the time allocations for this.

Just suppose that we go into Bill 95 and then we go into Thursday, and after all that's done, then you're saying that we will consider clause-by-clause of Bill 21. Suppose the time allocation has run out. What happens to Bill 21?

The Chair: Bill 21 can be considered in committee during the normal course of committee meetings during the legislative session.

What has happened here, just to be helpful, is that the committee was presented by the government House leader and by the Legislature, through motion, with two private members' bills to be heard during the intersession. What the subcommittee decided was that each of them could have two days, which seemed fair to the two private members who were involved, each member having the same amount of time. It appeared that perhaps one of the bills wouldn't require the full two days. In the event it didn't take two days, Mr Mammoliti kindly agreed to give up some of his time to the other private member, only in the event that his was already completed. So that's how that worked.

Mr Mills: I don't want to prolong this much more, but it's my understanding that these two were to be completed in the time allocation to this committee, that it wasn't going to go back in.

The Chair: No, that is not the motion of the Legislature. There is no completion. This is not closure. This is not time allocation. This is just providing some time.

Mr Mills: What I want from you, Mr Chair, is some assurance that Bill 21, if it's not finished, is not an issue any more. I need that assurance. I'm reading this and I'm left in a bit of a quandary. I have great concern about this, believe you me.

The Chair: You would know that the Chair cannot give you that assurance. The committee works by way of motion of the committee itself and under the rules and motions of the Legislature. I cannot possibly give you any kind of assurance to that effect. It's technically impossible.

Mr Mills: My colleague Mr Wessenger was here yesterday. If this is going to present some problem, I can tell you that his concerns will be triple what mine are. I'm worried about this process.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, I've noted here that Mr Mills has pointed out an error and I'd like unanimous consent to make a friendly amendment so that it reads properly. On the second point, where it says "Tuesday and Wednesday," the dates are wrong. It's February 15 and 16, a friendly amendment.

The Chair: Thank you. I think that amendment is accepted. Further discussion of Mr Mammoliti's motion? Agreed? Carried.


The Chair: The next presentation this morning will come from Saint Michael's Halfway Homes. Good morning. We appreciate your being early. You've been allocated one half-hour from the committee for your presentation. We would appreciate it if you'd begin by introducing yourself, your position within the organization and your colleagues, and then begin.

Mr Fernando Garcia: I would like to introduce my company here. I am the executive director for Saint Michael's Halfway Homes. This is Mr Gordon Walsh, Matt Talbot Houses director, and Gerry Hourihan, St Michael's Houses director. Mr Ross Gray is a client who has volunteered to come with us.

I am going to do a brief introduction. A 15-minute submission is a short time to express our concern --

The Chair: You have half an hour.

Mr Garcia: Yes, but the first 15 minutes --

The Chair: You can use it as you wish.

Mr Garcia: It's sufficient; I say that -- in relationship to Bill 120 and the negative effect it would bring on an important segment of the community: the recovery homes services. Therefore, we will try to formulate the issues as concisely as possible and go directly to the matter.


We would also like to state that our observations to Bill 120 should not be interpreted as opposition to the general intention of the bill, which we understand is to protect the tenant from abuse and extend the tenant's rights as much as possible.

Saint Michael's Halfway Homes was founded in 1974 "to assist and support those who seek to achieve and maintain a life free of addiction to alcohol and/or drugs in an atmosphere of caring." This is from our strategic planning document.

The agency was incorporated under the provincial authority of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations as a non-profit charitable agency.

The first house opened in 1976. It was intended for the service of younger men, 18 to 50 years of age. It expanded to a second house in 1988. They are known as St Michael's Houses and have a maximum capacity of 26 beds. They have a structured rehabilitation program with group therapy, individual counselling and community housing support. The rehabilitation program is fully funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The shelter component of one house is funded by the Ministry of Housing.

In 1978, the agency opened the first house for older men, 50 years of age and over. It expanded to a second house in 1983. They have at present 42 beds and are known as the Matt Talbot Houses. This program for older men offers mostly supportive services through a variety of components intended to help the clients to improve their physical and emotional health. The Ministry of Health funded the operation of this program during the first three years. It was followed afterwards by the Catholic Charities Council, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and lately the Ministry of Housing.

Mr Gordon Walsh: Our organization is primarily involved in recovery, rehabilitation and care-giving programs. We are carrying out this in residential settings, and that is the reason why we are highly concerned with Bill 120. The housing component, independently of how important it is, we feel should not be legislated in such a way that interferes with or impedes the achievement of the prime objective or purpose of our programs.

Our organization has always subscribed to the community health and prevention concepts and other topics that we have learned are desired ways to provide health support. Thus, being a part of the addiction recovery sector leads us to argue for exemptions and regulation, perhaps through special legislation.

In the nearly 18 years that this organization has assisted alcohol- and drug-dependent clients, the importance of them having and being guaranteed what are commonly called "safe" or "dry" houses has become very evident to us. Many addicted clients require and welcome an atmosphere where their recovery and rehabilitation will not be threatened by any covert use of alcohol or drugs by other clients. It is only possible to ensure this setting when the counsellors can confront and negotiate a speedy departure with a client who might otherwise jeopardize and threaten the sobriety of others who are living in the same setting.

It is not appropriate then in our view to place recovery homes such as ours under the Landlord and Tenant Act or to include our clients in the residents' rights bill, Bill 120, when the reality of the rehabilitative or recovery process establishes a quite different relationship between the staff and the clients than does the one between the ordinary landlord and tenants. We feel there is a substantial difference and we have to wonder if the lawmakers had what we feel is very pertinent and necessary information when they proposed these changes, which could effectively convert clients in recovery homes into being simply regular tenants.

Mr Gerald Hourihan: There are two main areas of the proposed act that we need to stress: the items relating to principal residence and the average length of stay. Our clients, with few exceptions, are homeless men. Some might even be classed as street people who have spent several years in city hostels and detoxification centres. Knowing this, it would be almost impossible for this agency to serve the population according to the proposed changes to the act. One of our objectives, besides the support of sobriety goals, is to prepare clients for independent living. In the case of these clients, we know from the start that they require a longer period of time to prepare them to qualify for and search for and hold good accommodations.

The proposed eviction process of Bill 120 would be entirely unsatisfactory in terms of our ability to manage our programs. Even the provision of a so-called fast-track process would be unsatisfactory for the continued operation of the program and the safety of the other clients.

The rules of our houses are simple: No alcohol, illicit drugs or intoxicated people are allowed into the houses. The reasons for terminating the residency are contracted at the time of admission and all other conditions are freely agreed upon by the clients themselves. This has been the way we've operated for 18 years and the way our funders have approved as an acceptable delivery service.

There is another matter of concern to us: the right of the manager to limit the access of others to the rehabilitative or recovery house where people are trying to consolidate sobriety or a life without drugs. It has to be clearly established in the act or we also would encounter other problems in delivering our services.

Mr Garcia: Before closing this written submission, I'd like Mr Ross Gray here to tell us about his experience in one of our houses that he volunteered to tell to us. His words are going to be a kind of very simple way and clear way to express differently the same thing we are trying to explain to you.

Mr Ross Gray: I come to this meeting as a client. I have for the last 20 years been trying to come to terms with my dependency on alcohol. I've been to treatment institutions, therapy groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, everything I could reach out for in the city, but I was unable to maintain a lengthy period of sobriety until I came to Matt Talbot Houses two and a half years ago.

I found the residency, the fellowship of the tenants, the program, a missing link that had been missing in my life. I'm happy to say at this time that my health has returned, and a more positive attitude towards life. I want to build on that experience and move back into society and get back into my old profession, which was advertising.

None of this was possible for me until I came to Matt Talbot Houses, so I speak for myself and the other residents on how effective their program is.


Mr Garcia: I think we expressed very clearly the major obstacles that not only could cause us frustration, but could put deliverance of our programs into serious jeopardy. We respectfully request your wholehearted support to allow special exemptions for agencies such as ours in this forthcoming legislation.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for your presentation. I want to begin by just getting some clarification on a point. It says here that you are incorporated "under the provincial authority of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations as a non-profit charitable agency." I was wondering whether you are incorporated under the Charitable Institutions Act.

Mr Garcia: Yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: You are incorporated under that?

Mr Garcia: Yes, the non-profit and charitable institutions act; I guess it's called the uses and gifts act.

Mr Gary Wilson: You see, it might be possible that you are exempted from Bill 120, because that is one of the acts that is exempted, but you can follow that up.

Mr Garcia: We had some doubts and some hesitation when we read the changes coming. We believe that one of our branches, that's St Michael's Houses, looks like it can clearly be exempted if it complies with the six months' limitation and so on, I guess, and the principal residence also.

In the case of the Matt Talbot Houses, that sort of long-term residence, we have some doubts, that we can encounter some problems. That is the reason why we are here, but I am very happy to hear that. Certainly, one can to follow up on that.

Mr Gary Wilson: Perhaps, though, we could still discuss some of your experiences, which would be helpful in any case, because it has arisen in accommodation like what you provide and the services you provide. One of the things I'm wondering is what processes exist now for dealing with problems that arise among the residents; for instance, in behaviour that you would consider to jeopardize the program.

Mr Garcia: I'd like Gordon to explain that to you.

Mr Walsh: If a man is accepted to live at the Matt Talbot Houses, which is the side of our agency that cares for older men, 50 years of age and older, one of the points of his contract is that he will agree not to use alcohol or any kind of substance while he is with us. If, for example, he goes out and has a drink in a bar and comes back to the house and we smell it or we know of that situation, we immediately then, as per his agreed contract with us, confront him and suggest that he will have to go somewhere until he gets sober.

Our first choice is the detoxification centres in the city, of which there are five, associated with various hospitals and also the Addiction Research Foundation. We have a very close working relationship with all of these particular centres. We're on the phone to them quite frequently and we know their staff and they know us. Generally the man, in most cases, will agree to go there and we will arrange for that man, so we don't put him on to the street, that sort of thing.

Mr Gary Wilson: You say "in most cases," though.

Mr Walsh: In other cases they will decide to go to a friend or to some other place. That is the process of asking them to leave. That's a temporary situation. Once the detoxifying process has finished, we will then meet with the resident and we will discuss the situation in terms of whether this couldn't be helped or whether it was intentional. Sometimes, depending on a man's situation, it may be a way of really just wanting to get out. There are a whole lot of factors involved. It's a very human situation.

In the vast majority of cases we take the men back. Certainly if it happens a few months after the fellow has come in, we will take the man back and re-sign a contract. If it happens very frequently again, we may have to say to the fellow, "Well, perhaps you're not ready for this particular setting, so it's best to move on."

Mr Gary Wilson: How long does that take? You say that the detoxification process could be taking a couple of months?

Mr Walsh: No, the detoxification can be in a few days, depending on, say, how intoxicated the person was.

Mr Gary Wilson: Right, but the process of working them back into the program, how long does that take?

Mr Walsh: We would take him back immediately after those few days. If, for example, he went out again and had a relapse within a week, we might have to consider then asking him to move on.

In some cases, we will attempt to refer him to another agency, if he wishes. In some cases, they decide they want to move to some independent living situation, to an apartment or a room. The proviso is always given, "If you feel you'd like to give it a try in another few months, please reapply to us." That's been our particular practice.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): We appreciate your presentation. Obviously, the same point has been made numerous times now by similar organizations. On the other hand, there were a few coming from the same kind of background and they said: "We should have the same rights as everybody else. The right for housing and for proper process, due process, is a right that we don't abdicate just because we have a certain problem." They say the Landlord and Tenant Act -- at least the government is arguing -- does leave the option open to expel someone if need be. I'm just wondering how you would be reacting to these kinds of comments.

Mr Hourihan: What it reminds me of is somebody who has had their driver's licence suspended for drinking and driving claiming rights to have their licence back. What we're talking about in our particular program is a program, not housing. If they came to us for housing originally and that's all they were looking for, we wouldn't have invited them to come in the first place. When they come, they come freely to work on a program, to work on their issues specifically dealing with addictions, not dealing with housing and long-term living issues.

We work with them on how to then start setting up their future around housing issues and how to find a place for themselves in the future, but we don't see ourselves as a housing institution. We see ourselves as an addiction treatment facility and I think that's where there's a little bit of confusion. We start crossing lines here.

I don't see it as a particularly cruel and harsh treatment to ask somebody to leave a facility where they're jeopardizing a bunch of other people who are gathered to work on specific issues if they're refusing to work on those issues. They're excluding themselves in the process; we're not excluding them. If they come and say, "I want to work on addiction issues," and tomorrow they start drinking, they're saying, "I don't want to work on addiction issues; I want to work on drinking."

I think there's a self-exclusion process and that's really how we normally work with the client, to try to explain to him that he's really excluding himself. We're not telling him to leave. He's excluding himself from his conditions of his contract. Does that answer your question?

Mr Daigeler: It certainly answers my question. I just hope the government side is listening.

Mr Grandmaître: The fact that you are a rehabilitation home and you provide care and that this bill will be impeding the progress or the continuation of your programs: What is the future of Saint Michael's Halfway Homes if no exemptions are provided?

Mr Garcia: We are here out of concern that those changes are going to be applied in our recovery homes. We have, really, the hope that it's not going to be the case. For 18 years, not under this act -- have been accepted and we have been negotiating with our clients contracts that are all going to become illegal, I guess, after the act. Recovery homes in Ontario are recognized by the government, but we do not really have special legislation that can protect the future of the organizations. So it's a matter of concern that we really ideally would like to have special legislation.

You're going to hear from the association on February 7 that we have been trying to get approval of tenders so we can get, really, some classification and some recognition, because the concern about this matter came from an inquiry that was based on 50,000 people living in for-profit lodgings in Ontario. We are not in that case and we are caught in the middle there. We believe the legislation is not clearly done.


Mr Grandmaître: Can I clarify one thing? I think it was Mr Wilson -- I forget exactly -- who asked you if you had obtained a certificate of exemption, if I can use that word, through the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and also the federal government. Does that mean I can write you a cheque and you will give me an income tax receipt?

Mr Garcia: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: So you are federally incorporated as well.

Mr Garcia: Yes.

The Chair: We appreciate your doing that.

Mr Garcia: We are exempted, yes, and we receive donations. We can issue those receipts.

Mr Grandmaître: Are you paying municipal taxes?

Mr Garcia: No, we are exempted.

Mr Grandmaître: You're exempt through a private member's bill?

Mr Hourihan: No, under the act under which we are incorporated.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to thank you very much for your deputation, for the good work you do, and say that the case you put forward is one of common sense. Certainly, it's got to be addressed and something has to happen to allow you to carry on your good work.

From what I hear you saying, if the present bill goes through in its current form, then the exemption, the six months, would not work because people would be there longer than the six months and the principal residence wouldn't be of any assistance, to you, so you wouldn't be exempt. Down the road somewhere, if one of the residents decided that notwithstanding your program, he liked the place to live, that it was a wonderful place to live that but he didn't want to be involved in the program any more and wanted to consume alcohol or drugs, you couldn't evict. You couldn't evict, period, because that's not a provision under the Landlord and Tenant Act. What then would be the impact on your program if that happened?

Mr Hourihan: The major concern we have is that our particular organization focuses on what might be classified as street people, people with no fixed address in the first place. What would happen to us in a scenario like you present is that we'd have to gradually move out of that area of service. We'd have to start servicing clients who came to us from another fixed address so that we wouldn't have that issue. They would have to come under certain circumstances which in the end would mean we'd have to stop servicing the clientele we're primarily focused on today.

That's already happened in our business. There have already some major shifts away from dealing with street people by some of the facilities, for some similar reasons. How do you get rid of somebody under these conditions, or you're seen as an ogre from a housing point of view because you move somebody out of the facility in 24 hours.

Already the number of services have become restricted for people living on the streets. I think the long-term effect of this particular approach would be simply to stop servicing street people.

Mr David Johnson: When I look at the first page of your deputation, you mention that the rehabilitation program is funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I would think it would be of great concern to the Ministry of Community and Social Services that the programs that, as you say, you're giving today you'd have to move away from and get out of the service, or move to a different area.

Mr Garcia: Yes, I assume that.

Mr David Johnson: Has the ministry expressed any of these concerns to you or have you had the opportunity to talk to the ministry about them?

Mr Garcia: How can I hide that? I think you should know that they are concerned. They are concerned because they know they are funding us, and so if tomorrow these new changes apply to us, they know we're going to be in tremendous trouble.

Mr David Johnson: So the representatives from the Ministry of Community and Social Services have expressed this concern to you, have they, about this program?

Mr Garcia: We talked to them and people in our delivery manifested that concern, yes.

Mr David Johnson: It's interesting that they have voiced that concern about this program.

Mr Garcia: We trust that the ministry that is trying to produce these changes, which is the Ministry of Housing -- I assume, because we went to some consultations that represented the same objections to the Ministry of Housing -- is going to talk to the Ministry of Community and Social Services and produce a kind of satisfaction with this matter. We have to hope that.

Mr David Johnson: Are the ministry representatives you're discussing with are representatives you deal with on a day-to-day basis? Who are the people from the Ministry of Community and Social Services?

Mr Garcia: We talked to supervisors in the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Mr David Johnson: That's an interesting aspect.

Later on in your brief, and I'm looking at the last page, you mention "the right of the manager to limit the access of others to the rehabilitative or recovery house." Are you talking about people who are not actually in the program? Are we talking about visitors? If so, that's an interesting aspect because I suspect under the Landlord and Tenant Act that would be impossible as well.

Mr Garcia: Right.

Mr David Johnson: Maybe you could tell us a little bit about what sorts of problems would arise there if you weren't exempt.

Mr Walsh: Mr Johnson, it's important for us, and I appreciate that's a very good question, to remember that we are dealing with the world of addictions and addicted people.

I should say that we are very pro-client. No matter how much we object to certain aspects of this proposed act, we are very pro-client and I think we would defend that to the last if anyone ever said we weren't. We have concerns: For example, especially I guess, our major concern is that somebody would come to the residence, not living there, not involved in the program, but intoxicated, or under the obvious influence of some sort of substance. If we can't ask that person to leave or deny him or her entry to the building, that's a difficult situation. Why is it difficult? Again, in the world of addictions and relapses and "triggers," -- the word is used for relapses -- a person using a substance in the presence of another addicted person can be a trigger in some cases.

I don't know if it's appropriate but I wonder if Ross would like to comment himself, as a person who has used our services for the past two and a half years, how he as a client would feel with the presence of somebody in the house who was using. I feel he would be the best to continue that answer if that would be okay with you.

Mr Gray: In a recovery program we're concerned when somebody has a slip. We want that person to get treatment and we would try to direct him in that process. It's unsettling to the people because we're reminded how we're not that far away from that situation ourselves, so it really is unsettling when somebody shows up in that condition. We want them to get help and it's just not a good scene.

Mr Garcia: Obviously, we don't agree with the unrestricted right of a client to accept visitors and, as managers, we claim the right to restrict the people coming to the house.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming to see us today. We certainly appreciate your being a little early. We will be looking at this particular bill in clause-by-clause review during the week of March 6, which for people unfamiliar with the legislative process means that's when the amending of the bill can begin to happen.



The Chair: The next presentation is by Mr Tim MacKenzie. Welcome to the committee. You have been allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. The members always appreciate some of that time to ask questions of you. You may begin when you're ready.

Mr Tim MacKenzie: Let me explain who I am. My name is Tim MacKenzie. I'm a student and I'm studying in social working. I'm presently living in Ecuhome, which is a Catholic project. I'm a visually impaired person; I'm blind. This legislation, Bill 120, concerns me because it takes away the things that I've been enjoying under Ecuhome for three years.

I've been with the project and I feel that it's giving me self-confidence as a blind person. It's helped me to develop many skills as far as confidence in confronting when dealing with other people in the house is concerned. I feel my rights will be taken away. With giving rights to people, there's also taking away rights from others. I'll give you a situation: I'm a non-drinker and if we live in a wet house, if somebody was to come into the house and abuse alcohol or drugs, that would affect me, because that's my environment that I live in. That's one of my concerns of safety. I feel my rights are being ignored.

Because I am visually impaired and I'm in a social working program, it's not easy for me to get information and to have things read. Ecuhome will help me to develop and to read material, if necessary. That's very helpful for me as a blind person. I find that this housing project has given me independence without depending on somebody for everything that I need, so it's giving me my own independence.

I really believe Bill 120 will affect me and affect other residents. The people I live with -- I live with five other people -- are concerned as well. They're concerned that they're going to lose out. I think the ruling is very fair. We sign a contract when we first enter the premises and we're told very clearly that illegal activities are not allowed and stuff like that is what you're to abide by. I feel that when you enter a contract like that, you should abide by the contract. I think that in the provisions, most of the stuff is very useful. There are a few things that probably could be changed, just like anything. There are always a few things that don't coincide with others.

But I believe that what Catholic Ecuhome is doing is good and I like it under the Innkeepers Act. Whether I like it doesn't concern you people, but it's really been helpful for me. That's what I wanted to express to you people, that I hope that as decision-makers you will consider my side of the story. I now have a safe environment. It's low-income and I also have people to talk to and I have help if I need help.

I'm in this province by myself; I don't have any family here. I have lots of friends, but they live around; they're doing their own thing. They don't necessarily have time to read things for me and other things that they don't have time for. With Ecuhome, they always seem to manage to have the time to do something for me if I'm in a bind. It's nice to have that kind of support. That's another reason why I think Bill 120 is not right for Ecuhome. It may be in other situations, where other people feel their rights have been taken away. I feel that my rights haven't been taken away and I feel very confident with the way they're running it.

I suppose that's all I have to say for now.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): We really appreciate your taking the effort to be with us. Mr Cordiano is first with some questions.

Mr Cordiano: Thank you for making your presentation today. I would like to say to you that what you think, your opinion, is very important to us in our deliberations. It will, I believe, make a difference. It makes a difference to me, and that is important.

I think at this point we don't have a whole lot of time to go into much detail, but obviously you have a fear of a variety of things in Bill 120 which would affect your living situation. Some of those would include just what might take place when a house such as yours is disrupted by one of the tenants and Ecuhome would be unable to deal with that under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Obviously, that would be a major concern, as the bill is drafted right now. Would that be correct?

Mr Tim MacKenzie: That is correct.

Mr Jackson: I very much appreciate you putting in perspective the notion that giving additional and new rights always involves someone else having to give up some rights. You appreciate that because you are about to experience it if this legislation proceeds. I wanted to thank you for putting a finer point on the aspects of life for you with your different ability to others who may accommodate with you. The implications for opting out of a program that reflects your unique needs you indicated might affect your safety.

You probably don't have bad experiences at your current residence, but you can imagine what they might be if certain persons are less sensitive or have not agreed to the responsibilities that are implicit in living with people who are challenged differently.

Can you give us some additional examples of the kinds of issues around safety which you referred to? That is a matter of concern to me. If an alcoholic goes off the wagon, then that is something that's self-inflicted and may cause ripples with other members, but in your case, it's a little different.

Mr Tim MacKenzie: In my housing, there was a problem with somebody who was mentally ill and was basically not able to keep care of himself. Ecuhome helped him to get the help that he needed. But there was always a nervousness in the house that he would use the stove late at night and that he might leave the stove on.

I was very nervous over this situation. Having our own rules in the house, we were able to implement that he was not to eat late at night, and if he was to eat late at night, he would use the microwave, because it wouldn't cause a fire, more or less. Ecuhome came in and helped us to manage the situation.

I feel that if somebody was to come and destroy the stuff that I have, I'd be very upset, since it's my safety. Being a low-income person, if my stuff was destroyed, I wouldn't have anything. That bothers me as well. The safety issue is a very big thing and Ecuhome does manage to stress very clearly that it honours that system, and it does help us out when we need help.


The Vice-Chair: We have Mr Fletcher and Mr Owens for the government caucus. Mr Macartney is here now as well. If you leave a little bit of time before 12, it would probably be appreciated.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): I'll withdraw my name from the list.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you for being here today. You talked about safety. Suppose, Tim, that you were living in an apartment building and someone was being disruptive and was harassing you, maybe unintentionally. Of course, the way you would go about it would be to complain to the superintendent of the building and then perhaps file a few complaints, correct, if you were living in an apartment somewhere?

Mr Tim MacKenzie: If I were living in an apartment, I would contact my superintendent.

Mr Fletcher: Is that basically what you're doing at Ecuhome? If there's a problem, do you get in touch with the staff, the landlord or something?

Mr Tim MacKenzie: We talk about it in our house, and all the members of the house go to Ecuhome and say that we have a problem. We need them to be the mediator because we've already talked to this person and this person is not listening. Ecuhome knows the situation, and being mentally ill, he doesn't have any responsibility to tell us what his disability is or his mental state is.

So Ecuhome was able to mediate when we weren't able to do that. We weren't able to mediate in that situation.

Mr Fletcher: Much like when tenants in an apartment building or somewhere would form tenant associations or get in touch with tenant associations or even a legal aid person and they would mediate for them if there was a problem in an apartment building. That happens sometimes too.

Mr Tim MacKenzie: This is a quick process. This is not a process that we have to go through for months and months just to suffer this out. They respond very quickly to any of our needs.

Mr Fletcher: Do you sometimes get the person out of the place fast?

Mr Tim MacKenzie: They do as fast as they can. They don't throw anybody out in the street, and I wouldn't want somebody to be thrown out on the street no matter what kind of behaviour they had. I would want them to have accommodation.

Mr Fletcher: We had a person here yesterday who used to be a resident at Ecuhome who said that they do throw people out on the street. He was a previous resident of Ecuhome at the time and they were throwing people out; in fact, things like taking doors off. That was just another resident of Ecuhome who had a different story than what you have, Tim, that's all.

Mr Tim MacKenzie: Can I respond to that? Ripping off doors and destroying property is really too bad, but Ecuhome honours their houses and they keep it well maintained. Under the contract, you do not destroy people's property.

Mr Fletcher: It was the staff who took the door off his apartment and took all his furniture, and the person was sleeping on the concrete floor even though he had a bad back. They were trying to get rid of him and he fought for his rights. He was entertaining his girlfriend in his bedroom and they walked right into his apartment. This is just another tenant who was at Ecuhome, relating this story.

Mr Cordiano: Why don't we get him to make a declaration?

Mr Owens: Because we're not interested in --

The Vice-Chair: Mr MacKenzie has the floor, and that will have been the final question.

Mr Fletcher: I'm listening to you.

Mr Tim MacKenzie: That doesn't respond to me. I haven't experienced Ecuhome doing those sorts of things. My experience is that Ecuhome gives a certain number of days before they enter any premises, even your room. They give us plenty of time to notify us that they're coming into our room to have a house inspection. They give us plenty of time and they make sure they don't destroy the rights. We still have our rights and they don't impede on that.

The Vice-Chair: We really appreciate your presentation and personal testimony that you brought before the committee, and you can be sure that it will be taken into careful consideration.


The Vice-Chair: Mr Macartney, I think you got stuck in traffic a little bit earlier. If you want to make a brief presentation, I don't know how much time we would have, but perhaps we could give you 10 minutes. We might get a chance for some questions and answers.

Mr W.H. Macartney: I just came from the Niagara River and there's a snowstorm there, and I was given 19 hours' notice about your meeting by somebody here. I very much appreciate your hearing me. After listening to a couple of the other depositions, my point is not frivolous but it's probably not as important as what you were just addressing.

I have a personal problem in terms of a property. This would have to do with the Planning Act, and specifically page 22 of Bill 120, section 37, at the top. My local MPP last night gave me what's apparently a summary of your November 23 hearing, and I'd like to address page 27 of that. This is all sounding rather cumbersome and it's a very tiny point.

We've had a place on Lake Ontario near the Niagara River, "we" being my family, for about 45 years. Roughly 25 years ago we built a detached home on the property. The property is just under two acres. Being in what we call the peach orchards, it's on private services. That means septic, of course, and our own well.

I checked with our local building inspector for Niagara-on-the-Lake, a Mr Walker, a few months ago, and he mentioned that this bill was being proposed and that possibly our situation might be governed by one item, which is apparently called "garden" or "granny" apartments. I don't think it's pertinent, but specifically what we've got here is a situation where you've got an 83-year-old woman, my mother, who's currently in hospital. What we want to do is expand our house into the equivalent, I guess you could call it, of an apartment. It would be effectively duplicating what we already have. We would end up with two kitchens and a couple of more bathrooms.

Walker suggested that there's no problem whatsoever in terms of the septic system capability; in other words, extra bathrooms. There's no problem about having extra people in that location, given the size of the property. The problem is that they define expanding the size of the original detached dwelling to encompass, and here's the key word, a second kitchen. Apparently, by their definition that becomes a second house and the local bylaws don't allow it.

Apparently, section 37 addresses this. I don't want to waste the committee's time. it may be that my question is already answered. "A major concern raised by a number of rural and resort area municipalities" -- and Niagara-on-the-Lake fits both definitions -- "was that they should not be required to permit second units in houses on private services." I think that pretty well sums up the situation.

Your section 37 seems to suggest that your committee is going to be proposing to the Legislature that the official plan, namely, for the Planning Act, is going to be amended so that this type of restriction I'm specifying will not be allowed by a local municipality, namely, as long as one met the building code, fire codes etc, one would be allowed to build a second kitchen on to a current detached residence.

I would just like some comments -- I'm nor making a normal deposition here -- if anybody has any information on what I'm addressing.

Mr David Johnson: My understanding, and maybe there's somebody from staff who may comment on this, is that you're on a septic system, so I don't believe the accessory apartment would be allowed as of right, but the local municipality -- I see a head nodding over there -- would have the option of a spot rezoning, I guess, in your particular case, looking at your particular case and permitting that, depending on circumstances.

Mr Macartney: Oh, really? So I can apply for a small spot rezone.

Mr David Johnson: This bill would not prohibit municipalities from doing this. It just says that as of right, it's not allowed.

Mr Macartney: In other words, you're not giving open season to any municipality to do this, but I could possibly --

Mr David Johnson: You can still make application.

Mr Macartney: Thanks for your comment. The silly thing is we are part of a seven-permanent-dwelling little neighbourhood on Lake Ontario. Two of the other residences already have done this over the last 20 years; illegally, I suppose. Maybe I shouldn't have gone to our building department. Anyway, the more I sit here, the more I realize this is a minor point, but to our family it's a major point because we have to be with my mother, who is going to require some care. This was our game plan, to expand this dwelling as time went on.

Anyway, I appreciate it.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Macartney, you have every right to ask questions and make a presentation.

Mr Macartney: Well, still --

The Vice-Chair: Normally what we do is we go around the table here. There are various aspects to this bill, so you don't have to be concerned. You took your time to come all the way, so I think we at least owe you some time as well. Anybody from the government side?

Mr Mills: I agree with my colleague. I think that the legislation really is there and it's up to the municipality, in view of the fact that you have a septic system -- they've approved that, according to what you said. I don't see any problem with this.

Mr Macartney: I agree too. The more I look into this -- and I apologize for not doing it ahead of time; I didn't get it in time -- the more I see your intent is to allow this within certain bounds. A spot rezoning, as this gentleman suggested, would be the obvious solution. I really appreciate your input.

The Vice-Chair: Did you want to comment?

Mr Gary Wilson: Yes, just to say how pleased I am that Mr Macartney was able to make it here and have his problem clarified. That, of course, is why we are doing it. This is the kind of reaction we expect, that it helps so many families in circumstances like this.

Mr Mills: A good-news story.

Mr Cordiano: Mr Macartney, we appreciate your coming to the committee. It's been a long drive. I hope it clarified the situation for you. I wish you luck with your municipality. That's all I can say.

Mr Macartney: Just as an aside -- I know everybody's leaving for lunch -- the hilarious part is I got this information from the wrong MPP, and I'm wondering if my MPP is nearby. Does anybody represent Niagara here?

Mr Mills: Who is your MPP?

Mr Macartney: Christel Haeck, St Catharines-Brock.


The Vice-Chair: This could get too partisan. Thank you, Mr Macartney. We better adjourn until 2 o'clock.

The committee recessed from 1204 to 1404.


The Chair: Our first presentation for the afternoon will come from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation. Good afternoon, gentlemen. The committee has allocated one half-hour for your presentation. You may use that half-hour as you wish, including your presentation and some time for questions and answers with the members. You should introduce yourself and your colleague for the purposes of Hansard and then you may begin.

Mr Bruce Porter: My name is Bruce Porter. I'm the coordinator of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation. With me is Raj Anand, whom most of the members will recognize as the ex-chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and who is the chair of the inquiry into legalizing safe apartments in houses that was held on June 3, 1993, at Metro Hall.

CERA's main concern with Bill 120 is to point out to the committee the important human rights implications of both aspects of the bill. We felt that it would very useful for the committee to hear directly from Mr Anand about the results of his panel's inquiry. After Mr Anand has finished presenting those, I will just add a few extra points that are relevant to CERA, mainly on the other aspect of the bill, the care homes aspect. Then we'll be glad to take questions.

Mr Raj Anand: The inquiry into legalizing safe apartments in houses was organized by the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, whom I believe you've heard from. I was joined, as chair, by a panel of 10 respected community leaders who were recruited to hear and consider evidence on the issues.

We've provided you with the report -- that's in the green binding -- of the inquiry. I intend only to highlight some points from it.

You'll see on the first page the list of panel members. I won't take you through it, except to note the diverse nature of their backgrounds and their qualifications, including the executive director of the Canadian Urban Institute; the executive director of the Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic; Dr Hulchanski, a professor of social work at the University of Toronto; a counsellor; an architect; and many others.

We listened to a full day of presentations on June 3, 1993, and we considered a number of written submissions. The report that you have before you is based on the testimony and represents the findings and recommendations of the panel, all of whom, myself included, have no formal association with the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign. We were recruited and asked to listen and to report.

Through the deputations, and you'll see a list of those at the end in appendix 1, the oral submissions and the written submissions, we found that apartments in houses have been a way of life in Ontario for several generations. They do not cause the deterioration of community life but have been an integral part of most communities. There are now, as I'm sure you've heard on a number of occasions, about 100,000 illegal apartments in houses in Ontario.

We found that the consequences to individuals and communities of continuing to outlaw apartments in houses, which most municipalities continue to do, in spite of planning statements by the ministry encouraging the contrary, are very serious.

Municipal bylaws which ban apartments in houses have the effect of discriminating against tenants in general and against groups that are intended to be protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code in particular. If there is one point that came out of this inquiry, it is that human rights cannot be a matter of municipal option.

We found that there was either intentional or unintentional discrimination; that is, adverse impact on most of the groups that are protected by the Human Rights Code. To give you some specific examples from deputations that we heard, we asked, "Who are those groups?"

Canadian Pensioners Concerned told us that those with the greatest need for apartments in houses, and with those needs not being met, are "those living on low to moderate incomes; singles of all ages, including the elderly; students; young families; particularly women. These groups have proportionately lower incomes and a relatively higher incidence of homelessness." That's from elderly representatives who made that submission before us.

Women Plan Toronto told us, "Even though there are increasing vacancy rates...the recession means that more and more people cannot afford housing...and women and women-led households are the majority in this category."

The Scarborough Tamil Women's Organization told us, "As a culture we depend on the composite family structure....Basement apartments are like (family) housing in India, where an extended family lives with its own privacy, and shares certain things for economic reasons. Extended families are a way of life."

Indeed, it's not restricted clearly to minority cultures. The representative of Canadian Pensioners Concerned also said to us: "I grew up in an extended family and I think there are many Caucasians who live in extended families. I find my young are extending our family as they move back home...for housing reasons, in large measure."

In addition to the unintended effects on all of these groups as a result of bylaws banning apartments in houses there is an element, it's unfortunate, and I'm sad to say, of intentional discrimination that's involved at the municipal level. We heard disturbing evidence that in many cases technical requirements were being used as an instrument to legitimize discriminatory neighbourhood reactions. We heard from the Ontario Federation of Students that "zoning bylaws which are supposed to be used to determine land use are instead used as tools of social engineering to determine who is worthy to live in a certain area. The end product is...ghettoization."

Zoning historically has been used and can still be used to keep out of a neighbourhood ethnic minorities, lower-income households, renters in general or additional populations of any kind. Zoning bylaws have always represented the product of relatively advantaged groups, to the disadvantage of those such as single mothers and racial and ethnic minorities. So we see continuing discrimination in the pattern of zoning.

Again, Canadian Pensioners Concerned said, "(Apartments in houses) are illegal" in most municipalities "because, in our view, local governments have pandered to the demands of middle-class home owners who don't want `those' people living in their neighbourhood. `Those people' are some of us, our children, our grandchildren...our friends, our neighbours, old Canadians or new, singles or families, the employed or unemployed, students." So we found, in brief, that the issue of exclusionary zoning bylaws is a human rights issue.

Quite apart from that we found that it's an environmental issue. Land use planning has pursued a direction which can no longer be supported by the environment. The panel that I chaired urged the need to reduce, reuse and recycle housing. We must reduce our use of and dependency on ever-expanding single-family neighbourhoods and the associated reliance on the automobile. We must reuse housing and neighbourhoods created for larger families and different times to meet present-day needs for smaller, more flexible units.

We said communities change: Families grow up and move away, people age, new people come in, family structures change, work opportunities come and go. There is now an increasing number of small households and many variations on the extended family. Flexibility and variety of affordable housing options are needed that permit access to all communities and provide housing that is sensitive to changing household composition, size and diverse cultural norms and traditions.

We found that the consequences of continuing to outlaw apartments in houses are very serious. Tenants cannot exercise the basic rights enjoyed by other tenants in the province and are at constant risk of arbitrary eviction. Home owners can be harassed by the municipality or forced to close down the apartment at any time, thereby losing vital rental income. As well, they risk substantial fines. Entire groups of people are effectively excluded from legal residence in thousands of neighbourhoods around the province. Other people are penalized for accommodating family members.

Having heard the submissions, we urged in the strongest terms that the province pass what was then Bill 90 as quickly as possible for the following two reasons: (1) the need to end constructive and intentional discrimination in zoning as it occurs through the ban on apartments in houses, and (2) the need to encourage housing forms which respect the environment: reduce, reuse and recycle in housing.

That was, in a nutshell, the outcome of our inquiry. I just wanted to say one other word before allowing Mr Porter to resume his remarks. I was personally shocked and surprised to hear the irresponsible comments that were attributed to Mayor McCallion earlier last month to the effect that the tragic fires that occurred over the New Year's holiday in basement apartments demonstrated the dangers of Bill 120.

I suppose the answers to that are obvious. Point number one: Bill 120 wasn't in force or in effect at the time and substandard fire traps, if that's what they were, were allowed to exist without Bill 120 so it's hard to blame a progressive measure such as Bill 120 on those tragic occurrences. There are, as I've said and as many others have estimated, over 100,000 apartments in houses without Bill 120. They're all illegal, the 100,000 I'm referring to.

But point number two clearly is that Bill 120 would render these apartments legal by outlawing the zoning bylaws which prohibit them and would thereby allow recourse to fire and building codes without fear of reprisal on the part of tenants and landlords, as I've said a moment ago.

So it is really to turn logic on its head for uncertain purposes, in my view, to ascribe those tragic occurrences to this piece of legislation, which the inquiry that I chaired wholeheartedly endorses in its principle.

Mr Porter: I'll just highlight some of the aspects that we are pointing to in our submission from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, which I think all of you have before you.

I want first of all to mention that we see this piece of legislation as an extremely important advance in human rights in housing on a number of levels, but let's just start talking first about Canada's international obligations briefly.

We have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as of 1976, which guarantees the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing. The right to adequate housing is one of the very fundamental aspects of that covenant which has received a fair bit of attention in international law. It's been defined very much as a universal right. It's not something that applies to particular individuals and particular circumstances but something which the state must guarantee to all people.

The committee that monitors compliance with the covenant, the committee on economic, social and cultural rights, has established that state parties to the covenant must "take immediate measures aimed at conferring legal security of tenure upon those persons and households currently lacking such protection, in genuine consultation with affected persons and groups." That recommendation went to the highest human rights body in the world, the Human Rights Commission, which endorsed that approach to security of tenure and declared that it's a fundamental human right which must be made available to all persons.

CERA was privileged back in May to be a part of an unprecedented intervention before the committee that monitors compliance with the covenant when Canada was being reviewed for compliance, particularly with the article that recognizes the right to housing. We went there ostensibly to educate the committee about what was occurring in Canada, but these international encounters always end up being educational for ourselves as well.

I found it personally very educational to see the kinds of responses we got to certain kinds of issues which have almost become commonplace here. I'd run into it before when I'd talked to people in international circles about the fact that one of our main issues in Canada is people with children being denied housing because they have children. I've always found that very difficult to describe. People react to it as a horrific human rights violation when we've almost become somewhat complacent about it.


We had the same reaction to the two issues that this bill, Bill 120, deals with. When people were informed that in Canada we have particular neighbourhoods that are zoned for home owners only and that, as a result, tenants who pay their rent to landlords who want to rent to them are nevertheless deemed to be illegal residents of that community and have no legal rights to security of tenure and to maintenance of their apartments, this was seen to be very perplexing to all of the members, as far as I could see, of the committee on economic, social and cultural rights. That committee recommended in very strong terms that Canada should be moving to ensure that security of tenure was provided to those vulnerable groups that are lacking it.

While security of tenure is recognized as a universal right, it's recognized as being particularly important for the most vulnerable groups. It's there to try to protect people in a very vulnerable power imbalance between people who are providing a basic necessity and those who are relying on it.

The second aspect of Bill 120, the aspect that deals with care facilities, is equally important and to our mind perhaps more of an obvious violation of all human rights norms, although we do think that both aspects of the legislation deal with very important and obvious violations of human rights on all levels: international human rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code itself.

Finally, I wanted to turn to a couple of the issues that I understand have been discussed by the committee and to give some very minor suggestions on what kinds of approaches we could use in resolving them. The first is the issue of fast-track evictions which I gather has been proposed by a number of people as a way of dealing with some of the problems that may arise in shared accommodation. It's CERA's view that if any of the conditions for a fast-track eviction is that the person be a resident of a care facility, that would constitute direct discrimination on the basis of disability. It would taint this legislation with the very form of discrimination it's designed to overcome. There would be no legal defence to this kind of direct discrimination. Under the Human Rights Code, there's no justification for direct discrimination.

If, on the other hand, the restriction was to situations of shared accommodation only, that's a restriction which is somewhat more neutral on its face; it doesn't identify people with disability specifically. However, it would clearly have an adverse effect on a number of disadvantaged groups protected by the code. In that situation, the standard of undue hardship comes to play under human rights jurisprudence, which means that there is an obligation to ensure there's an accommodation of the needs of the group who are adversely affected and as long as such accommodation will not impose an undue hardship on the respondents, then the obligation is to accommodate those needs. It would be very difficult for landlords to prove that it would be undue hardship to accommodate the needs of people living in shared facilities, given that so much shared accommodation is currently under the Landlord and Tenant Act. We really feel that imposing a fast-track eviction on all shared accommodation situations risks introducing a very broad erosion of rights to deal with only a few problematic situations.

The only kind of possible justified restriction that we would consider, although we wouldn't really advocate it, would be that where fundamental security or the human rights of other tenants are at demonstrable risk and if alternative accommodation were provided during the eviction procedure, then perhaps that could be justified under human rights legislation. On the other hand, while we might find such a provision legally acceptable, we're not advocating it because we have serious misgivings about the growing acceptance in our society of eviction as a means of social control. It's a punishment which only affects tenants. It's not really the most effective way of dealing with the kinds of social problems we're starting to try to deal with through eviction. It's a sanction which unequally punishes the poor and those with children and it simply moves problems around, either to another apartment or to the street.

More appropriate mechanisms would be found in improving other tribunals. The Cornish task force, for example, recommended very important reforms that would allow for quick and immediate action to protect people's human rights in situations such as sexual harassment and shared accommodation so that there would be immediate remedial powers available through an appropriate tribunal. We don't see landlord and tenant court as the place to resolve these kinds of very difficult and important issues of human rights and dignity.

The other issue that's been raised by some deputants is that by improving security of tenure for vulnerable groups, we're going to be encouraging landlords to discriminate against them. While we would never support the notion that somehow we should use landlords' discrimination to justify keeping discriminatory legislation on the books of this province, we do take that concern very seriously, because we've seen it operate in all apartments. As security of tenure protections have been put in place, landlords have used them as justification for refusing to rent to the people that they, through their stereotypes and prejudices, deem to be risky tenants.

You may know that there's an important hearing coming up in the next few months on whether or not it's contrary to the Human Rights Code for landlords to prejudge people on the basis of their level of income and simply refuse to rent to low-income tenants on the basis that they believe they may be at a greater risk of defaulting on rent.

We have to take these kinds of concerns seriously. What concerns us somewhat is that of all of the legislation we have in the area of housing currently, there has never been any that has included and placed in legislation and established as public policy in Ontario that housing is a fundamental human right. Part of that right is security of tenure; the other part of that right is non-discrimination and access.

What we think would assist in ensuring that the courts approach these protections in the right manner and would never deem it appropriate to justify discriminatory behaviour when a landlord said, "Well, I would have to go to court and it would be too hard to evict them, so I don't want to rent to them in the first place," we think it would be appropriate to consider a preamble to the Landlord and Tenant Act, which situated these kinds of protections of security of tenure in the larger context of Canada's international human rights obligations and in the context of the right to adequate housing.

We've outlined some suggestions on the last page of our brief in italics of some of the kinds of whereas clauses and affirmation clauses that might be appropriate in a preamble to the Landlord and Tenant Act. I might draw your attention to the last one that states that affirming that security of tenure is a component of the right to adequate housing and can never justify discrimination against members of socially or economically disadvantaged groups applying to rent apartments. That's our suggestion for a possible way of approaching a couple of problems that people have brought before you. We'd now entertain questions.

Mr Jackson: Let me say at the outset, I appreciate your presentation. You have raised an awful lot of points, some of which I actually agree with.

I sponsored a bill with respect to eliminating exclusionary bylaws in Ontario back in 1987 and so I share some of your concerns in that area. I may have come at them from a different angle.

I'm little concerned about some of the other presumptions you make in your presentation. I'm concerned about the emphasis completely on zoning and private sector ownership of property. I think people are forgetting here that since 1987 this province has constructed more social housing than it has private housing. This is a fact -- and every year since then. Our problems today with this legislation are more an indication of the failure of our social housing policy than it is any failings on the part of the private sector to provide this housing.

I want to ask you, you make some comments on page 4 which use very harsh language, Mr Anand, quoting your Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation that you're involved with, and referring to people using -- let me see, segregation and forms of apartheid being practised with these zoning bylaws by not acknowledging basement apartments, as an example. Then you go on to refer to Hazel McCallion's comments as outrageous and irresponsible but then at the end, Mr Anand, you said, "And then these comments were for uncertain purposes." Was Ms McCallion that unclear that you don't understand where she was coming from with her comments?

Mr Anand: Perhaps I should say "questionable purposes."

Mr Jackson: But on page 4 you make it very clear as to what the motivation is for people who --

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Jackson. I'm aware there isn't much time here.


Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation. As you know, this committee is listening to what people have to say so that we can make changes, amendments or anything to the legislation that will make it workable, and I believe it is worthwhile already. One thing that I'm looking at is that we've heard a lot from people who do rehabilitative programs or therapeutic programs in their group homes. We've heard that they need an exemption under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Do you subscribe to this view?

Mr Porter: No, we don't.

Mr Fletcher: Why?

Mr Porter: We feel in fact that in many of those instances the protections of the Landlord and Tenant Act are even more important. I spoke about the fact that there's a power imbalance between the housing provider and the person relying on the housing. In cases where people are also relying on their housing situation for care, their vulnerability is increased and the potential for the abuse of power is increased.

Our experience at CERA with people living in those situations has been that they have tended to encounter very difficult situations where we feel that the power that's invested in the landlord by being outside of the Landlord and Tenant Act, where the person can be threatened continually with an arbitrary eviction, is very detrimental to those situations. It simply is completely unacceptable to have in this province a piece of legislation that gives all other tenants security of tenure and denies to people with disabilities who require care. It simply is not something that's even thinkable in this day and age.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm going to take you to page 3 of -- let's call it your green paper. "There is not, and never has been, a concerted effort to weed out apartments in houses, nor could there be," and on the very same page: "These apartments are not illegal because they are unsafe according to health and safety standards. They are illegal because of municipal zoning which states that certain residential neighbourhoods must be reserved for single-family homes." Where is that statistic?

Mr Anand: Which statistic? The 100,000 or the proportion that are illegal?

Mr Grandmaître: You're saying that they are not illegal because they don't meet standards.

Mr Anand: They may be illegal for more than one reason, but they are certainly illegal because of zoning bylaws. They are all illegal because of zoning bylaws.

Mr Grandmaître: That's because they are unsafe, you say.

Mr Anand: That's the point that's being made. Some are clearly unsafe as well.

The Chair: Thank you. You've certainly presented us with a very clear view. The committee will be considering this bill clause-by-clause during the week of March 6. Thank you very much for coming.


The Chair: The next presentation this afternoon is St Francis Residence. Good afternoon. Welcome to the committee hearings. You have been allocated one half-hour by the committee for your presentation. You may use that half-hour as you wish. You should begin by introducing yourselves for the purposes of our Hansard, indicating what position you might hold within the organization.

Sister Mary Fatta: I'll introduce myself. I'm Sister Mary Fatta. I'm the director of St Francis Residence.

Ms Flori Hernandez: My name is Flori Hernandez. I'm a resident at St Francis Residence house.

Mr Norman Rodriguez: I'm Norman Rodriguez. I'm a resident of St Francis Residence.

Ms Elsie O'Donnell: I'm Elsie O'Donnell. I work at St Francis.

Sister Mary Fatta: Today, I'm here to discuss Bill 120's potential impact on people residing in unique housing situations such as St Francis Residence. It is indeed advantageous to have input from the wider population, especially from those who will be directly affected by this legislation. The making of good laws requires this consultation process. We have to keep before us an essential question: Does this proposed law actually protect the rights and best interests of both the individual person as well as the legitimate rights and best interests of the residential community?

It is necessary to consider the practical effect that Bill 120 will have in the varied situations that groups representing residential services find themselves in. I believe that Bill 120's intention and spirit are admirable, but I also believe that there are many complex issues of distinctions requiring legal exemptions.

Housing in general is composed of a multiplicity of styles and therefore one cannot understand it only as a simple entity. The following represents some examples of actual circumstances experienced at St Francis Residence. My purpose is to demonstrate our dilemma and concerns surrounding the possible application of Bill 120 as it stands now.

To give you a brief historical background, St Francis Residence was established in 1988 as a non-profit, long-term residential care home for 24 adults, both men and women, survivor-consumers recovering from mental health disabilities. The purpose of our facility is to provide a supportive environment with care for those with special needs. With our staff we endeavour to promote an environment that facilitates the safety, security and wellbeing of each resident on a 24-hour basis. This is our mandate.

Also, it should be noted that we are not an unregulated home, as we are required to comply with the approved standards of care set up by the mental health program services. Regular quarterly inspections are made to ensure that we are providing these standards of care to our residents. Thus, our primary role is not just to be housing providers only, but to provide supportive assistance within a communal living situation.

Our two main issues of concern regarding Bill 120 are safety and health care.

Safety: All of our residents have a right to feel safe at all times. Women especially are usually more vulnerable and may require greater protection. Our house procedures, called Rights and Responsibilities, were written with input from and approved by the residents themselves. I consider them to be reasonable and equitable in practice. Now, in our physical situation of shared common facilities such as bathrooms, lounges, some double bedrooms etc, we have experienced the need to set up some commonsense restrictions regarding, for example, visitors during the night. But Bill 120, requiring the application of the Landlord and Tenant Act, would allow guests free access to any of the common areas at any time.

Can you imagine the fearful reaction of some of the female residents should a strange man be discovered prowling around the house at night? I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone at risk. Who would want their own sister or daughter living under such stress in this potentially dangerous situation? Many of our women have repeatedly stated that they want their privacy and safety protected. The legislation ought to legally recognize the rights of residents to restrict right of entry in such situations and make the distinction between self-contained housing units and communal living with shared common facilities.

Safety: Occasionally an individual may become delusional, paranoid or have anti-social outbursts. They may actually assault another resident or staff, causing bodily harm and emotional trauma. It could happen that the victim refuses to lay criminal charges and that the police are unable to take action.


At the present time we are able to initiate a process whereby the mental health workers and the house director are involved in meeting with the aggressor concerning the need for greater supervision and the consequences of termination of tenancy due to the breach of the contract. Every effort is made to give the resident more suitable housing options within a reasonable time limit. It is a process that prevents a drastic solution to the problem.

In some of the actual assault situations, which are fortunately infrequent, it was mainly our female residents who strongly made a plea for eviction because of the fears of further attack or even threats of attack. But even some of the male residents reacted fearfully and supported eviction as soon as possible.

All residents have a right to live in a peaceful and safe environment, as stated earlier. But the application of Bill 120 would infringe on this right, because it could take up to several months before the actual eviction could be effected if the resident chose to contest the eviction notice. In the meantime, many of the residents would probably be living in constant fear, especially the most vulnerable ones or the one who was the victim of the initial assault. Also, once the person has committed an assault, they are already mentally deteriorating and the likelihood of the escalation of violence is a real threat.

Dr Lightman recognizes this problem and he stated recently the need for exceptions in such situations with the recommendation of an interim order or fast track to speed up the eviction process. But the actual process time should be limited to within a few days, instead of weeks or months, if people are to be given protection.

The above safety issues are only a sampling of concerns for all our residents' rights to live in a safe and peaceful environment. Sharing communal facilities such as ours requires a very different set of rules from those pertaining to self-contained housing units.

Issue 2 regards personal care. When someone deteriorates to the level that they cannot adequately care for themselves, even with staff assistance, then all in the house, but especially the resident needing greater support than we can offer, are adversely affected.

The situation of personal hygiene is a good example of this. When it becomes obvious to staff that a resident requires a more supportive care environment, then we initiate consultation with the individual's doctor and mental health workers. Usually, after consultation with the individual, arrangements are made for more suitable housing where there is intensive supervised care, such as a nursing home or even a retirement home.

But in situations where a resident requiring intensive care is either delusional or lacking insight, then Bill 120 would prevent this type of intervention at the expense of the person needing help. Is it really in the person's best interests to allow them to vegetate to the extent that the situation becomes inhuman and perhaps unhealthy for them as well as for others in the home? And what about the rights of others? In some cases where there is a room-mate involved, the situation becomes even more difficult to endure.

Bill 120 must take into consideration both the individual person's rights and the rights of others living in the shared accommodation. In making recommendations for amendments to Bill 120, I would suggest that common sense, equality and justice be included as essential values. The following are some recommendations for your consideration:

(1) Recognize that the complexity of housing situations such as care homes requires legal distinctions and exemptions.

(2) Set up additional legal requirements in a separate section for care facilities/homes that will be in keeping with the rights and best interests of both individuals and the residential community.

(3) Develop a fast track with a reasonable time limit to facilitate arrangements for residents who prove to be unsuitable for communal housing to be given housing options for relocation as soon as is reasonably possible.

In summary, I'm not objecting to the Landlord and Tenant Act when it is applied appropriately, but in unique housing situations such as ours there is a need for some measure of flexibility. It is therefore expected that in the final process of formulating Bill 120, flexibility will be more apparent so that the legitimate rights of all people living in the communal housing situation will be respected and given adequate legal protection. I believe this would be responsible and effective lawmaking.

I would like to ask if anyone from St Francis would be interested also in giving their own personal comments.

The Chair: That's good. Go ahead.

Ms Hernandez: I would like to say that with Bill 120, I probably will be feeling afraid or nervous at somebody coming to the house and they're not living there, they're not entitled to be there, or other persons who will come into the house and in hours that they cannot be there or somebody violent in the house who can hurt somebody, and you stay in the house and here is again somebody. I feel that I'd be feeling very nervous. I think that Bill 120 will give us some difficulties or problems in our residence now.

Mr Rodriguez: I feel that Bill 120 would pose a problem in the case of one tenant being violent against another, even though it may be the first time he's violent. If he's violent, he should be evicted from the premises. Bill 120 will not allow him to be evicted as soon as is desired.

I'm thinking of not only my own safety but the safety of other colleagues in my boardinghouse. That's all I want to say. If somebody wants to be a criminal, let him live with other criminals, not with decent people in a boardinghouse. That's what I want to say.

Ms O'Donnell: I lived in a home, before Habitat came into power, and we took anybody and everybody off the streets and believe me, it don't work. I've had people tear the place apart within about 10 or 15 minutes, so I don't think people should have to live like that.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for your presentation. It certainly offered us some thoughts about the bill, especially following on the previous speaker or presentation. I was just wondering what your feeling about that was as far as the human rights issue that they made so clearly, that to try to come up with distinctions that you're suggesting would violate the human rights of the people who are most in need of protection.

Sister Mary Fatta: I really wasn't here for that.

Mr Gary Wilson: You weren't here for that, I'm sorry.

Sister Mary Fatta: It wouldn't be fair for me to comment.

Mr Gary Wilson: Could you then speak to that issue? I'll just explain a bit that what you're suggesting is to have an exemption for group homes like yours, and that would treating a type of tenant differently from other tenants. Of course what we're trying to do in 120 is extend the rights of tenants under the Landlord and Tenant Act to all tenants.

Sister Mary Fatta: My thesis is that everyone in the home has rights. You just can't take individual rights and put them on a pedestal and neglect the safety of the other people, so I'm in favour of the safety of everyone. You have to understand that this is communal housing. They're sharing. It's not a self-contained unit; therefore, I'm saying there is quite a degree of difference and you have to have laws to protect people in this unique situation.

Mr Gary Wilson: But you do say yourself that these cases I think that you're concerned about are relatively rare, I think you say that in your presentation, "which are fortunately infrequent," just how infrequent are they? How often have you had to evict a resident?

Sister Mary Fatta: It could happen maybe once in a year.

Mr Gary Wilson: You don't really keep records of this.


Sister Mary Fatta: We don't have a great turnover. It's fairly permanent and stable. But whether it's once a year or once in three years is irrelevant. When it happens, you have to apply the law.

Mr Gary Wilson: That's right, but I mean, you also have a procedure that you work under.

Sister Mary Fatta: That's right, we have a process now. But if somebody was not agreeable to the process, then our hands would be tied.

Mr Gary Wilson: But you can see, though, that --

Sister Mary Fatta: We have to have a process. We don't throw people out on the street, and we recognize that it's a basic human right to have housing.

Mr Mills: Mr Wilson has asked most of the questions I was going to ask, so I'm going to leave a little time for my colleague Mr Fletcher. I'm just interested in what you say in your presentation, which I thank you for. You're talking about getting rid of, or some process whereby someone who has had an antisocial outburst -- I'm kind of interested that you say, "The consequences of termination of tenancy." Does that mean that these folks are told, "If you don't smarten up, you will be gone"? Is that part of your way to deal with anti-social outbursts?

Sister Mary Fatta: When I said "antisocial outbursts," I meant it could be a behavioral problem, not necessarily a psychotic problem, and perhaps they for some reason don't like another person and they decide they're going to kick them or hurt them.

Mr Mills: But one of the tools you use is, "You're gone if you don't smarten up," right? That's what I read here.

Sister Mary Fatta: A person is given warnings.

Ms O'Donnell: Three warnings.

Mr Mills: Three?

Sister Mary Fatta: It depends on the severity of the situation.

Mr Jackson: That's less than you get in caucus.

Sister Mary Fatta: Three strikes and you're out. No, it's not really like that. It is a process.

Mr Fletcher: Do you live at St Vincent de Paul?

Sister Mary Fatta: St Francis Residence.

Mr Fletcher: You like living at St Francis. Have you read the bill?

Mr Rodriguez: I have heard about it. I haven't read it personally, but I've heard about it.

Mr Fletcher: If you haven't read it, I was just wondering who was telling you about the bill.

Mr Rodriguez: Sister Mary was telling me about the bill and I was disagreeing with it.

Mr Daigeler: Since I do get an opportunity, I don't think you have to feel bad at all for not having read this particular bill, because if you had to read all these bills, you wouldn't know what to do in the first place. You wouldn't understand.

Sister Mary Fatta: That's right.

Mr Daigeler: I read these things and I don't know what it means half of the time.

The Chair: Mr Fletcher on a point of order.

Mr Fletcher: Sir, I'm sorry if I made you feel bad. That was not my intent.

The Chair: That's not a point of order, Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher: Mr Daigeler did say I made them feel bad.

Mr Daigeler: I think you certainly very well understood what the principles are behind the bill. The government has made them relatively clear and you are raising an important issue that has been raised many times before. I certainly hope that the government will at least listen to this particular aspect, because the groups that you represent are, I hope, very much at the heart of the current government. Frankly, I'm still rather surprised that the government members are still trying to defend this particular aspect of the bill. I thought that by now they would have gotten the message.

In any case, let me ask you, do you get funding from the Ministry of Health as well? Where is most of your funding coming from?

Sister Mary Fatta: We do get a subsidy, a per diem.

Mr Daigeler: From the Ministry of Health?

Sister Mary Fatta: The Minister of Health, yes. It's a little more complex. It's the Ministry of Health, but it's channelled through Comsoc and it comes through the city of Toronto. It's too complex for me.

Mr Daigeler: I know how complicated these funding channels are, but you are considered then by the provincial government as a health institution.

Sister Mary Fatta: We receive $15 a day per person, which is very minimal.

Mr Daigeler: I'm sure it would be.

Sister Mary Fatta: I wanted you to know that. Each resident pays their own room and board, and we also receive a subsidy from the St Vincent de Paul Society, per day.

Mr Daigeler: That $15 I presume then is for care or --

Sister Mary Fatta: It's for the keeping of the standards.

Mr Daigeler: -- the supportive health aspect, isn't it?

Sister Mary Fatta: Yes, for keeping people out of hospitals, for helping them to improve themselves and become more independent. That's the idea.

Mr Daigeler: So that's again where you are arguing that you are not by any means primarily a housing institution, you are a care institution.

Sister Mary Fatta: Exactly.

Mr Daigeler: And it is under that perspective that you are requesting an exemption, as many others have.

Sister Mary Fatta: Yes.

Mr Jackson: Is it fair for me to assume that St Vincent de Paul and Catholic support agencies within Metro Toronto are your main referral?

Sister Mary Fatta: No. Most of our referrals are from the mental health community: the Clarke, the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

Mr Jackson: Recently, when the government was dealing with a parallel piece of legislation with respect to long-term care, it amended its original position and accepted a certain autonomy of these non-profit care organizations to provide programs in an effective environment. Let me state further that the reason that was done is because many organizations came forward and said, "We would really have a hard time continuing with some of our funding base, some of the volunteer hours of support that flow from the non-profit charitable corporation approach to these services."

Has there been any discussion or concern that, if in fact the rules of the game are changed to relegate much of your authority to that of becoming more of a boardinghouse, do you think that will affect the manner in which you're able to operate as a corporate board? I must hasten to say I accept your concerns and I support the concerns you're making. It's only a small part of the bill, but it's the part you've come to see us about today. There have been many who have said, "It's really going to challenge whether or not we continue that way, because we're essentially basically in the apartment business."

Sister Mary Fatta: One thing I can gather from all this is that certainly we'd have to do a lot more careful screening of the people who came in, which means the more vulnerable people, the needier people who really benefit from the program would probably not make it.

Mr Daigeler: That would be paradoxical.

Mr Jackson: Yes. Some have gone on to suggest as well that this is another repercussion and, dealing with mental health needs, the prospects are very bad if there isn't the care component which you're providing or there isn't the hospital bed if they have to back up, as it were.

Sister Mary Fatta: We know hospitals are cutting back all the time and they're trying to put people into the community, which is good. But another thing is I think the people themselves would not want to live in the home. I do remember one particular situation that I was concerned about, but the residents, I didn't realize, were a lot more concerned. I think they would have had a petition to get the person out, or they would have said, "We can't live here" -- some of them; not all of them. I think they themselves want a peaceful environment. They want it. They live there 24 hours; I don't.

Mr Jackson: I agree with you. I didn't have time with the previous deputant; I wanted to ask the question -- once you accept that there are some tenants who just do not wish to cooperate with the rules of society, whatever they may be -- there are a few of them -- and that the process can be protracted through our legal system for as long a period as, say, three to six months, it has happened that you get a situation of reverse eviction, people saying, "Look, I really can't live here like this any more." Families start calling you and saying: "My son can no longer live there. We're having to deal with it. We're going to have to remove him."

Do you have fears that the protracted process -- because you have an informal process now; it would move to a very formal and legal process, it would be more protracted -- might be an outcome?

Sister Mary Fatta: I would think so, and also I'm sure we'd have a few other people who could be injured or whatever. I can see all kinds of repercussions. Right now we have a pretty good reputation; people want to come to us, and their families and the social workers and that. But if we had an atmosphere of violence or that kind of thing or not caring, I think it would be very difficult to operate.


Mr Jackson: If I might make a request through the Chair, these deputants have raised issues about safety as well and I wonder if we might get a response from Comsoc with respect to second-level lodging for women who are fleeing abusive situations; not immediate shelters, because they have a fixed time period of, say, 41 days or 21 days. But there is now an additional step to housing for women who are the victims of abuse who want certain rights of protection, secrecy, not allowing an abusive husband in or somebody else's abusive husband in the next room.

I wonder if we could make an inquiry if in fact Comsoc has any concerns about this legislation as it relates to shelter -- I call it second stage because it's a longer term than the immediate shelter -- because that's not covered under this legislation. But there are some Comsoc-funded facilities and treatment centres in which this valid question you've raised may occur with respect to safety. Could we direct that as a question?

I want to thank the deputants for their presentation, each and every one of you.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you for coming to the committee and making what I consider a valuable contribution. This bill will be heard clause by clause beginning in the week of March 6.

Now to Mr Jackson's point: If it is the will of the committee, I can certainly make that inquiry on the committee's behalf of the ministry and would be happy to do so. I am, as you know, making an inquiry on the committee's behalf to the Minister of Health. I believe the clerk can draft a letter on the basis of the Hansard that Mr Jackson has provided us with.


Ms Miriam Cohen-Schlanger: My name is Miriam Cohen-Schlanger. I work as the housing advocate and education worker at Young Mothers' Resource Group. Here with me today, on my right, is Pamela Buist, who is the interviewer in the research study that was recently completed. I believe you have a copy of the executive summary in front of you. To the right of Pamela is Bob Fulton, who conducted the same study.

I believe you also have a copy of the letter I wrote to you, dated January 26.

Young Mothers' Resource Group would like to commend this government for bringing forth legislation to cover the rights of vulnerable groups. We're very happy to see that Professor Lightman's recommendations are not going to sit on the shelf but they are going to be implemented.

As the letter we sent outlines, we are going to focus on the apartments in houses piece, because this is often the only housing that's open to young parents because of various barriers they experience, such as income criteria and credit checks. They may not have a credit rating, and things like that. Many of the young parents are living in this type of accommodation, so we're concerned about this bill because it offers protection for these vulnerable groups.

Pamela is going to speak to the circumstances she found the young mothers in when she did her interviews for the study.

Ms Pamela Buist: During my interviewing process, I found that there was a substantial portion of these respondents living in substandard living conditions. Many of these young women were very fearful of their landlords for many reasons. One of the reasons that was brought to my attention on many occasions was that because of their financial situations with the collection of mother's allowance and/or welfare they are not able to provide up front a first and last month's rent. This of course was an issue. When you have normal accommodation, you're responsible for paying a first and last month's rent, and these women are not.

It seems to me like a lot of the landlords took this to their advantage, these women not being able to pay this first and last month's rent, and seemed to overcharge them initially for the rent. I found most of the rents in the different areas that I did the interviewing to be very high for what they were being provided with. This I found quite unusual. I don't know the rents throughout the city; I just know that they were paying much higher rent than I was, and they were receiving much, much less to go with it.

Also, a lot of these women were living in situations -- I won't discuss too much about the conditions that they're in unless you ask -- where they were just being improperly treated: not proper heating, no lighting, no private entrance and very much in backwards sort of accommodations. Did you want me to mention anything?

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: Perhaps, Bob, you would like to explain what some of the findings were.

Mr Bob Fulton: Just to put some of the general comments in context, the study that we conducted was conducted in such a way that what we saw in our random sample was fairly representative of a very large number of young families in Metro Toronto. So this description in some ways does apply over a much larger group than the 60 or so that Pamela would have interviewed during her time when she was doing the interviewing.

To put it into context, there are 1,200 teenagers who become parents for the first time in Metro Toronto alone. So there's a pretty large number of new families coming into the housing market every year just in Metro Toronto alone. Of this group, 40% of them will have a second child within two years. So there's a fairly large number of young families coming into the market, as it were, looking for housing.

The other thing we noticed from our study was that these young mothers pretty well came from all cross-sections of society, all socioeconomic groups from all over the city of Metro Toronto, from every neighbourhood and virtually every kind of employment, except doctors, interestingly enough. That may be because their daughters went to Switzerland. The point is that anybody's child can be a young teenage parent.

The fascinating thing that happened was that as soon as they became parents they also left their family of origin, they established themselves as a separate family unit and their socioeconomic status crashed right to the bottom. They became absolutely the poorest of the poor. Statistics Canada's study of this population found that 95% of these young families are well below the poverty line. Our particular study, which was quite consistent with Statscan's data actually, found that they were two thirds below the poverty line. They barely have enough money to meet basic human needs. This group is very, very vulnerable.

The other fascinating thing we found -- because it's an issue that sometimes comes up in relation to social policy with them, was whether or not this is just a problem that on some level is a consequence of mental illness. In other words, these people are basically defective, there's something wrong with them, and all hell breaks loose when there's something wrong with you.


The fascinating thing was that we had done psychometric tests on all of these young mothers and what we found was that they were perfectly normal kids psychologically. In other words, being a young, teenage parent is not kind of an emotional disturbance; it's something that can happen to any family in the sense that it can happen to their daughter. It's a normal part of life. It's not a pleasant part. To become a young parent means some terrible consequences for the young woman. Her education is severely limited and her work opportunities are severely limited and she lives in poverty, so she becomes extremely vulnerable.

That's sort of the impression that we saw. It is that picture that causes us to recommend to the Young Mothers' Resource Group that they really should advocate to do some work to try to provide these women with a better opportunity and a better chance. In particular, what seemed very clear was that the overwhelming issue is that they're faced with oppressive poverty. They are the poorest of the poor. They really are the people who are suffering the most. The greatest tragedy of all is that they have little kids with them, so this poverty is having a devastating effect on the babies and on their potential to grow and thrive.

Obviously, one aspect of their overall poverty profile is access to housing. They find it extremely difficult to meet basic needs, to find housing and then to manage the rest of their lives, and that's sort of what caused us to motivate this thing.

One thing I wanted to add, by the way, is our study found that 3% of the young mothers we interviewed were in Ministry of Community and Social Services residences. They were in maternity homes at the time we interviewed them -- about half of them were in that situation -- and 3% of those, or 3% of all the young mothers, so I guess it's a bit bigger in that group, were on the street prior to their residency in the MCSS facility. They lived on the street, and 4% of them were bouncing around from friend's home to friend's home. So we're looking at a group that, at the extreme end of it, has some very severe social housing crises.

We feel that there are many aspects of the bill before you which are very positive, not the least of which is that it hopefully will produce more housing stock, more availability, more places for these young women to live which would then give them a bit of a competitive advantage with landlords so that maybe they would start to get a better break on rent and also better facilities, generally speaking. Also, keep in mind that there are 1,200 new teenage parents a year seeking housing in Metro Toronto.

There's a real need to look at this housing problem and try to solve it, and obviously solve it in a multifaceted way. Obviously apartments in houses are only one part of the solution to their lives, but it seems to all of us that it's an extremely important component to really meeting their needs. I guess that's about all I have to say.

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: What I'd like to say is that apartments in houses are an historical fact in Ontario. I know from my life experience when I was young, until my parents could afford to buy a home, we lived in apartments in other people's houses. Then again as a young parent, in order to have a decent place to live that I could afford in a neighbourhood where my children could go to good schools I lived in the top of somebody's house. When I was able to pull together a small down payment for a home the fact that there was an illegal apartment on the third floor in this house meant that I could carry the mortgage and taxes; otherwise I would never have been able to buy that home.

I never would have had the courage on my own to put in an illegal apartment and I must say it did give me trepidation. If anybody from the municipality came around and wanted to -- somebody did come to my door one day and wanted to inspect the house because renovations had been done and, literally, I was scared to death. If I had had to close down that apartment it would have meant the loss of my home.

I really do urge that you recommend passing this legislation. It's very hard for me to understand why the municipalities don't acknowledge the existence of this housing when it's there, it's not going to go away, it's been there for a long time and will be. You may close down some landlords who are taking advantage of vulnerable people. On the other hand, you may encourage more law-abiding people to put them in and expand the opportunities for home ownership in Ontario.

I think it's important to stop rewarding the people who do break the law and punish the others who don't. I think that a clear message needs to go out: Most important, the vulnerable people in Ontario are protected. If you want to measure a civilization by how well it protects its vulnerable people, Ontario could be at the forefront of a civilizing process by saying, "Okay, residents' rights are protected in Ontario."

This is the message -- and I envy you as legislators -- it's in your power to send out. It's a time of very low morale. This is a very positive message that you can give out at this time.

The Vice-Chair: Have you finished with your presentation?

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: Yes, we're all finished.

Mr Grandmaître: I agree with you that basement apartments have been with us since day one and will remain with us for ever. My biggest concern, and I suppose my party's concern, is the safety of these apartments.

I'm going to tell you something, because there are no cops around here, there are no policemen. I was mayor of a municipality for 14 years. I closed my eyes on basement apartments for the simple reasons -- well, one of the reasons was I knew or, let's say, my bureaucrats knew that these people or these apartments were safe apartments.

I sympathize with you when you say that some municipalities in the province of Ontario are not very charitable. They're being mean by saying, "No, you're not allowed to have basement apartments because of parking, because of all of these restrictions." I think we have to find a way to provide housing for your 1,200 new single mothers every year. We need to protect these people because they are vulnerable people.

This is the balance the committee is trying to find. I think government is willing to try and find this balance to accommodate people and to accommodate municipalities in the province. I know it's very difficult. We tried back in 1989. It didn't work. We left it to the municipality to create or to intensify housing in the province of Ontario.

We did this for one reason, because the private sector will not build rental accommodations. It's finished in the province of Ontario. There hasn't been a rental -- I'm talking about, let's say, 50 or more units in the province of Ontario because they're sick and tired because of rent control. They're losing money.

Even if our mortgage rates right now are at the lowest in the last 37 years, the private sector is not interested. It's up to the government, I suppose, to provide these types of housing. We have to find ways of subsidizing these vulnerable young mothers.

I'm glad you're reminding this committee and also the government and the opposition that we have a responsibility. We're still trying to find this balance. I think your presentation today will help us to take care of not only your young mothers but all vulnerable people in the province of Ontario.

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: You mentioned that you're concerned about the safety. Do you think there is more chance that the people living in this accommodation -- because we both agree people are going to continue to live in them regardless -- are going to be safer if we pretend these apartments don't exist and they're not inspected, or if we say: "They are there. We acknowledge their existence and we will regulate the standards"? Which do you think is safer?

Mr Grandmaître: First of all, we have to identify these basement apartments that are unsafe. At the present time municipalities don't have the tools to identify these unsafe apartments. There are a lot of safe basement apartments under illegal zoning. I've closed my eyes; I've admitted to you that I've closed my eyes on those apartments. It's the unsafe ones -- and we have to identify the unsafe ones to make them safe. This bill will not give us more power to identify the unsafe apartments.


Ms Cohen-Schlanger: If I as a tenant were living in an apartment that was unsafe and I knew it was legal and I would not be out on the street by going forward to identify it, do you think I might come through and talk to you? If I were freezing or if the water weren't flowing properly, do you think that I, if I knew I was not living in illegal circumstances, might come forward and say, "Hey, we've got a problem here"? Do you think that's possible?

Mr Grandmaître: Yes, it is possible under a municipal bylaw. I can remember back in 1977, 1978, a group of concerned citizens came to me and they asked me: "Let's have a municipal bylaw that would recognize these illegal apartments if they have been in place for 10 years or more. You should inspect these units and make them safe and render them legal, then we can draw our own zoning bylaw to accommodate these people." What I am concerned about is this bill is making illegal apartments legal, that's what it's doing.

Mr Mammoliti: Close your eyes and let it pass.

Mr Grandmaître: Identify it; you wouldn't know what that means.

The Chair: If we could let Mr Jackson have the floor.

Mr Jackson: I'm intrigued by your belief that the passing of the legislation "will encourage more people to add an additional apartment in their houses, thus increasing the range of affordable rentals available in a wide variety of neighbourhoods."

Whether I disagree with you or not is not as important. Are you aware of all the implications that will occur as a result of falling within rent control and falling under the Landlord and Tenant Act and so on and so forth for some of these -- the recording of the income?

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: Yes, I think I am.

Mr Jackson: I'm not disputing some of your concerns because I feel there is a lot of legal non-conforming accommodation in this province. About one fifth of all the nursing homes in this province are non-compliant and unsafe; that's a fact. But are we prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to retrofit them? We're not.

We are on the verge of telling a lot of people who are providing affordable accommodation -- one of the offshoots of this, in my view, and I'm not an outspoken critic of basement apartments, because they serve a need, is that it is going to force civic bureaucrats to come walking into people's homes without any regard to the relationship between the landlord and the tenant and say: "Oh, by the way, this door frame's not wide enough. This should be metal." If you know how rent control works, this is all going to end up on the tenant's load because it's passed through.

I'm not critical of your point of view. I think there's a role for basement apartments for a wide range of citizens. My grandparents couldn't find accommodation. That's the only place they could find when they arrived in this country, so I'm not disputing that. But I really believe a lot of people are going to get out of this business as a result; that's my fear and that's why your suggestion stands out that way. I'm just trying to get a handle on that.

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: I agree with you that those people who are just looking for a free pay day, without putting anything into it, may likely get out. But even so -- for example, the apartment I had in my home would have passed anybody's standards. Without it, I couldn't have had a home. I'm sure there are a lot of people starting out today who, you know with the price of houses today, cannot buy. The stats tells us that the majority of working people are not buying, cannot afford to buy a home. It takes two high-income salaries.

I don't think this is the solution, the only solution, to our housing crisis. I'm suggesting that it exists and that what we need to do is make sure that the people living in it are covered under the protection of the law. It's not going to solve all the problems. How these things fall out -- well, we live in a market economy and the market will regulate how they fall out.

One of the things Pamela was mentioning to me, she was astounded at some of the rents these people were paying. They were paying more for less than she was. She couldn't understand why. You say it's going to fall out on them, but in fact they're getting very little for paying a lot. Do you remember? You were telling me.

Ms Buist: Yes, there were many people who were paying exorbitant rent for basically one large room with very poor lighting, not sufficient heat. I was in many a cold apartment where they had extra baseboards being brought in, no private entrance. In fact half of the addresses were, for instance, 39 1/2, and I couldn't even find them. It was a fiasco of sorts for some of these people.

Mr Jackson: I don't disagree with you, but there are reasons for that and it's more complex. It has to do with when a certain type of housing falls within the ambit of control. There is the equalization of rents which occurred in the last eight years as a major focus to rental tenancy payment reforms, so that frankly three-bedroom units are being subsidized by bachelors. That has an effect on people seeking small accommodation.

It's a complex issue. I'm just simply saying that to now integrate this whole group of housing into the system of the Landlord and Tenant Act and rent control is going to very clearly, as we've seen since it was first introduced in this province in 1976, introduce some other implications.

I am less concerned about legalizing illegal apartments, because they're occurring in a variety of institutional settings everywhere in this province; I am more concerned that it will have an adverse effect on the current supply and there'll be a period when rents will go up dramatically and supply will drop. I think that's bad in this economy. Thank you for your presentation.

Mr Grandmaître: You got it all in.

The Chair: Maybe not quite, but he tried.

Mr Mills: Thank you very much for coming here today and bringing this perspective that probably none of us had thought of, the young mother aspect and the need for apartments. I must tell you that I'm so glad to see you and I'm very upset about the process, what goes on in this committee. We had the mayor of Mississauga. It seems she comes in, you can't get a seat back there, the cameras are here, the opposition people load up their benches with their heavies to direct questions.

Mr Jackson: Just how much of a lightweight am I?

Mr Mills: Well, you know the heavies who are over there; the heavies here, the heavies there. They come here and what they try to do is make the government look bad and make this legislation look bad. When someone comes forward as positive as your group, with a wonderful aspect of it, where are these people, where's the press, where's everybody? They don't care. I make that point because it's been bugging me for two or three days and I got it on the record.

But what I want to do is the perspective of the young mother who finds herself in need of accommodation. We've heard so many presentations that people who live in basement apartments are the undesirables. What do we call those sorts? You know, they're terrible people. I lived in a basement apartment. There's always this perception by municipalities, by politicians, by planners that somehow people who live in basement apartments are undesirables. I'm glad that you're here to put the perspective for the mother.

I want to ask you a question. We've heard a lot from all these people who are down on Bill 120. They say, "Where are you going to put the cars?" It's my observation in my community that young mothers who live in apartments are the least likely to have cars, so I'd just like your comments about this supposed terrible thing that's going to happen, that you won't be able to park or drive up the streets because of the cars that basement apartments create. I want to get this on the record, you see.


Ms Buist: As I said, most of the apartments that I visited had double-car garages with enough room for four cars, I think. Most of the young mothers do not have cars. I don't think I saw one car, as a matter of fact, in all 50 whom I interviewed.

Mr Mills: I commend you and your organization and your presentation. I think it was absolutely wonderful and allowed this committee to really understand the aspects of the plight that young mothers find themselves in, single young mothers in the province of Ontario. Thank you.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation. You support Bill 120. Previous governments have attempted to do things; obviously, they haven't worked. Is Bill 120 the right step? It's not a gigantic step, I know that, but is it the right step, as opposed to what's been going on in previous years?

Ms Cohen-Schlanger: I would like to commend the government. I think, as you say, it's not an answer to all the problems, but it is a very positive step forward. We applaud you for it.

Mr Fletcher: Are you familiar with the Residential Rent Regulation Act of 1986 that was introduced by the then Honourable Alvin Curling of the previous Liberal government? Let me just read what he said about it. He said, "This is legislation designed to protect families with low incomes as well as those with higher incomes and to protect the handicapped and the elderly."

Bill 120 is the next step. Obviously, the Residential Rent Regulation Act didn't work. Giving the municipalities the right to make decisions is not the way to go, because the municipalities have not jumped on the bandwagon to provide this kind of housing. I think that your testimony today is evidence of that. It's just that we needed a little more government action in order to make sure that the rights of tenants, especially of young mothers, are being upheld. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before us. As I've told other deputants, the committee will consider this bill clause by clause beginning March 6. That means that's the first time amendments to the bill may be made, the first chance. There's a second opportunity during House proceedings to do that also. Thank you for coming.


Ms Anthea Pascaris: Good afternoon. My name is Anthea Pascaris and this is Saara Chetner. We're both lawyers at Metro Tenants Legal Services. Metro Tenants Legal Services is a community legal aid clinic situated here in Toronto. It has been in existence for almost 20 years and its primary objective is to advocate for the advancement of legal rights of tenants in Metropolitan Toronto.

We do this in a number of ways. We provide legal representation to low-income tenants, both individuals and groups, in cases that have the potential of determining and/or advancing the rights of tenants. We also deliver community seminars on the topics of tenant rights and human rights to various groups in the community but with a particular emphasis on groups that don't normally have access to legal information, for example, new Canadians, refugees, people whose first language is not English, women's groups and so on.

Finally, Metro Tenants provides summary information to tenants, both on our telephone information line and in our office, and as well by duty counsel, who is a lawyer stationed down at landlord and tenant court and is there five days a week full-time. In this last category of providing summary information, Metro Tenants over the past year has provided information to over 8,000 tenants.

Before we get into the substance of our response to Bill 120, I think it's important to explain the underlying principles upon which we base our response. In other words, we want to explain where we're coming from. I think it's obvious that we're tenant advocates and that we view things from the perspective of furthering the rights of tenants.

What are these rights that we seem to be furthering or trying to further? We believe that housing is a right, but the right to housing doesn't simply mean the right to have a roof over your head. I think that if everyone around this table just considers their own housing, people would realize it means a lot more than just shelter.

We believe that it's impossible to define something like the right to housing, because inevitably it's going to mean something a little different to everyone else, but certainly it includes a number of things. For example, it includes access to safe housing, to affordable housing and to secure housing. It also involves access to necessary services, such as health care, child care, transportation. We believe that it's the obligation of our government to ensure through our laws that the right to housing extends to all members of society, not just selective groups.

Clearly the government has taken some initiative along these lines, starting back in 1969 when part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act was brought into force. The introduction of this part was in response to the recognition of the fact that there exists a real imbalance of power between landlords of residential premises, whose interest at stake is financial, and tenants of residential premises, whose interest at stake is their home. The act sets out many of the rights and obligations of residential landlords and tenants and, in particular, it establishes the grounds upon which tenants can be evicted and the process that has to be followed.

It did become obvious, however, that tenants were subjected to a different kind of eviction that the Landlord and Tenant Act doesn't protect against. People refer to this in a number of ways, I guess most commonly as economic evictions. The reference here is to the situation where the rent is increased either with a frequency or to a degree that both doesn't reflect what the premises are worth and that the tenants cannot afford to pay and either go into arrears and end up being evicted or simply move out. In any event, there was a recognition of this potential for so-called economic eviction and there was the introduction of rent control legislation back in 1975, although we had seen it before on a temporary basis.

Although the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act extend important rights to tenants, they're an essential element to securing the right to housing. A member of categories of tenants are excluded from the protection of these laws.

There's no rational basis, in our opinion, for denying some tenants such recognizably basic rights simply because of the type of residential accommodation they're living in. Where the premises are truly residential, we believe that the laws must apply equally to all tenants.

Bill 120 is an attempt to extend the fundamental right of security of tenure and other rights embodied in the Landlord and Tenant Act and Rent Control Act to tenants currently living in the unregulated care sector. We fully support this effort.

While we deal with this in our written submissions and we state our support for the bill, we also note that there are a number of inconsistencies and loopholes and problems generally that are created by the legislation. We identify these in our written submissions, but rather than taking you through our written submissions today, we thought we'd approach this in a little bit of a different manner. So what we're going to do now is show you some of the implications of Bill 120 by showing you how the lack of protection affects a particular tenant who currently lives in what will no doubt become a care home once the amendments are passed.

Ms Saara Chetner: As Anthea mentioned, we'd like to describe for you the story of a tenant who currently lives in the unregulated care sector. He's part of a group of tenants needing care services in a home who was given very short notice by the new management of the home that they were upgrading it and that they were changing the focus of their services and could therefore no longer offer accommodation to people like him.

He has managed to keep a roof over his head temporarily, though little else, only by hiring a lawyer, with the other tenants in this group, and going to court to challenge the actions of their landlord. In that court case, our legal clinic represents a coalition of tenant organizations which have joined in the lawsuit because of the fundamental issues that are at stake. A central issue is whether the exemption of these kinds of premises from the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act is unlawful and discriminatory.


This is what he says:

"I am a tenant at the home. I am 32 years old. I receive a family benefits disability allowance of $701 per month. My rent is approximately $603 per month.

"I moved here about one and a half years ago. Before that, I lived at another home for about a year. Before that, I lived at a mission for a couple of months, and before that, I lived at home from time to time.

"I have my own room and my own key. My meals are provided for me. The staff clean the bathroom and do the laundry. I make my own bed.

"I received a letter on January 15 telling me that I had to move out by March 1. I am not able to move out by March 1. I have nowhere to go to.

"I have some medical conditions. I am a diabetic, and the nursing staff here give me pills to help my diabetes. They also give me lithium and chlorpromazine. I don't know why I take these medications.

"I don't want to leave. I like my room and I have friends here. I have been able to stay out of trouble while I lived here. I don't want to have to go some place where I know I am going to have to move out again in a little while."

Now, the group was able to get an order of the court prohibiting the landlord from evicting them pending determination of the court case but, as often happens in complex litigation, it got delayed. Six months later, here's what he had to say about his living conditions:

"I wish that the court case would go ahead as soon as possible so that I would know what is going to happen to me. I am very worried that if things aren't sorted out soon, I'll have nowhere to live. The administrator keeps telling me that she wants me to move. She talked to me about this last week. I don't want to go. I want to stay.

"She has come up with a lot of new rules. She says the disabled tenants involved in this case are not allowed into the seniors' smoking room. We are not allowed to use the elevator and we're not allowed to use the front lobby or the side door. We have to go around the parking lot, through an alleyway at the back of the building, in order to get in.

"We're not allowed to sit in the front lobby. We're not allowed to talk to the seniors. I have friends who are seniors, and I like to chat with them, but I'm not allowed to now.

"We're not allowed to eat with the seniors. We have to eat in the activity room in the basement. It's dark and dingy, sort of like a stock room. I think the portions of food are getting smaller. We're not allowed to have seconds.

"I used to have a private room upstairs. My rent was $603 per month. A few months ago, my rent was raised to $1,250. I couldn't afford to pay for that, so I had to move downstairs and share a room. Now my rent is $623 a month. I would prefer to have my own room. My new room is about the same size as my old one, but it's crowded now because I have to share the same space.

"I used to have a view from my room. Now I'm down in the basement. My old room had a telephone in it. I don't have a phone any longer. In my old room, a telephone was included in the rent.

"I think I am being picked on. It makes me feel angry. I am afraid to say anything because I am afraid I will be evicted. The other tenants who are part of this court case feel the same way. I was told that if I didn't like the new rules, I could leave."

What we'd like to do is ask you to imagine that this bill has been passed, and we'd like to see whether it would provide protection for this tenant.

The home would likely be a care home, so it would be covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act. The landlord does not have grounds for evicting the tenant, so as long as he can pay his rent, he can't be evicted pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant Act.

All of the new rules about where the tenants can't go in the building, not using the elevator or sitting in the lobby, would likely constitute harassment, and there would likely be substantial interference with the tenant's reasonable enjoyment of the premises under the Landlord and Tenant Act. For that the landlord could be prosecuted. Possibly these activities might constitute grounds for bringing an abatement application by the tenant, that is, for a reduction of rent under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The tenants are forced to eat in a separate room in the basement, and the food portions are thought to be getting smaller and no second helpings are allowed. Some might say that this is a vital service under the Landlord and Tenant Act, and while it hasn't really been withheld, it probably has been interfered with, which again would be contrary to the provisions of that act.

Since meals aren't included in rent in the Rent Control Act, subject to these amendments, that act wouldn't offer the tenant much in the way of a remedy. We're not certain whether it's going to help this tenant that the government has promised that they can monitor the situation with meals and care services.

The tenant described that his rent was raised from $603 to $1,250, such that he was forced to move into shared accommodation. That would certainly constitute constructive eviction and it would definitely be an illegal rent increase within the meaning of the Rent Control Act. His phone, which had been included in his rent in the earlier apartment, had been taken away. That would constitute a reduction in services for which he could apply for a rent reduction.

But then we come to the more subtle issues, that the tenant feels picked on and afraid to say anything because he's frightened that he will be evicted, frightened that his landlord will find out he's been to see his lawyer to complain about the housing and told that if he doesn't like the new rules, he can leave.

Yes, he might want to swear an information to see the landlord prosecuted, but that will do little to foster an ongoing relationship between him and the landlord and, as he has described, he has no other housing options and very little money. Some would say that he could sue the landlord for breach of contract. I suggest to you that's not a very helpful remedy under these circumstances.

We would ask the government to consider following through on the other recommendations that were made by Dr Lightman in his report, so that there are other avenues of support available to this tenant.

Perhaps one of the most frightening things is that if the staff at the home stopped assisting him in the taking of his medication or cut off his meals altogether, this tenant would not be simply inconvenienced. The activities of daily living for this gentleman don't constitute incidentals. His health would be permanently jeopardized if that were to happen.

Ms Pascaris: As everyone is aware, a number of concerns have been raised by landlords about these amendments. It's our feeling that some of these concerns stem from a lack of understanding of how the Landlord and Tenant Act actually works, and frankly, it's not surprising, given that these landlords have never been subject to the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act before.

One issue that seems to keep appearing is the concern about a tenant's right to sublet, found in section 89 of the Landlord and Tenant Act. As I understand it, the concern is that if tenants who genuinely need the premises and the provided services in the premises then sublet it out to a tenant who doesn't need these services, somehow this sublet will be undermining the whole purpose of the accommodation.

I can see this is a real concern if the right to sublet was an absolute right, but it isn't an absolute right. It's very clearly set out in subsection 89(3), which says, and I'm just going to paraphrase now, that a tenancy agreement may provide that a tenant can only sublet the premises with the prior consent of the landlord.

Now it's true that this consent cannot be unreasonably withheld, but it is difficult to imagine, at best, that a court would consider it anything but reasonable for a landlord to deny consent to a proposed sublet where the effect would be to change the use of the premises to something other than what it was intended for. This is particularly so given the demand for accommodation in which care services are provided.

It's our feeling that what this concern really highlights is the obvious need for education about how the legislation works and how the relationship between residential landlords and tenants is meant to exist.

Although we don't intend to go into any great detail about the amendments to the Planning Act, more than anything else simply because of a matter of time constraint -- it is in our brief -- we do want to show our support for the amendments which restrict municipal power to exclude apartments in houses and garden suites in residential areas.


Distilling this item to its absolutely simplest form, it's our view that there are essentially two problems created by bylaws that prevent the creation of apartments in houses.

First, entire groups of people are denied access to certain neighbourhoods because of restrictive zoning bylaws. This kind of unequal treatment is discriminatory and completely unacceptable.

Second, the tenants who do live in what are technically known as illegal units are not guaranteed the same rights as tenants who live in legal units. This is particularly reprehensible given that the illegality is not the tenants' fault and most often exists without their knowledge at all.

The hundreds of inquiries we receive from tenants each month through our summary information service illustrate that tenants who live in illegal apartments in houses suffer from chronic problems of disrepair, unsafe conditions and violations of their privacy. I think what I need to point out here is that people call us when they're in need, so obviously there are going to be situations where basement apartments are perfectly fine, or apartments in houses, but we hear about the problems and the problems that we hear about are chronic disrepair and privacy.

These tenants are usually shocked -- it's incredible. They're shocked to hear that they don't have the same rights as they did when they lived in a high-rise apartment and they're even more shocked when they realize that they risk losing their housing if they complain to their landlord or to the building inspector, as we would normally advise tenants to do when there are problems with repairs.

It's clear from our experience that apartments in houses are a crucial source of housing for low-income tenants. Even so, there are people who oppose the amendments on the grounds that they will result in an overburdening of community services to the point where communities will be paralysed. The examples so often used are that there won't be enough parking spaces, that the park space will be limited etc.

It's our position that there is no evidence to support this, but, perhaps more importantly, these concerns deflect attention from the real issue behind the amendments. In our view, the provision of housing far outweighs the need to sustain secondary services such as parks and parking to the extent that they once were available.

Although these amendments are a step in the right direction, there are shortcomings and we encourage you to look at them in our brief.

Ms Chetner: We urge you to consider our written submissions and to reconsider the gaps that will remain if the legislation is passed as it is. We endorse the detailed and thoughtful submissions of the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign that were made before you, and during your clause-by-clause review we would ask that you reflect on the specific amendments recommended by the Tenant Advocacy Group. That being said, we urge you to stand by the principles that underlie this legislation and move forward with the expansion of coverage for all tenants of our tenant protection laws.

For these kinds of reforms to be meaningful, you're going to have to support an educational process to accompany them. All of the landlords and tenants who are being brought under this regulatory framework need information about their rights and obligations so that they can make informed decisions and understand the procedures that are going to apply to them.

Mr Jackson: Is it possible for you to share with the committee the address of the case that you were quoting from extensively?

Ms Chetner: I'm going to have to decline to do that because, as the case is ongoing, we feel that there is a concern about retaliation.

Mr Jackson: It's in the courts now?

Ms Chetner: Yes.

Mr Jackson: You mean the landlord doesn't know he's in court?

Ms Chetner: I'm sure the landlord is quite aware of that.

Mr Jackson: I guess I get your point. We have combination facilities. I just wanted to satisfy myself that we were not dealing with a case involving a long-term care facility which is part of a retirement home facility --

Ms Chetner: No, it isn't.

Mr Jackson: -- for the simple reason that the recent legislation caused about a $150-million increase to tenants' costs who were in those facilities, and the legislation is unclear where there are joint or transitional facilities, especially for seniors.

That raises concern because the disabled community has been specifically ghettoized into seniors' housing, which is unfair to them, and seniors have some concerns. So both parties are not terribly happy. I just wanted to be satisfied that you weren't suggesting some elements of the case which may be applicable.

I did want to ask you about the notion of cases where people are in retirement homes, for example, and they're in joint accommodation, a husband and a wife, and for various reasons -- there are manifestations of violence, the onset of Alzheimer's, a number of things -- we've been called in to try and find immediate housing to separate the two because of the safety of the non-offending party.

There has been some concern and you as legal advocates would have also some concern. How do we protect cases such as that where people need to be found accommodation and separated from each other, but not go through the arduous rigours of the Landlord and Tenant Act? Of course, we are going to be overlaying on to this whole process the Advocacy Commission, which is going to invite a fourth party into the living room, which is small enough as it is in many of these facilities.

Could you help us to better understand now how, with all those complexities, we're actually being helpful to (a) a whole cohort of people who may be placed by the state inappropriately in a facility, which I believe is part of the problem of your client, and (b) families who, for necessary reasons, need relief from each other in a caring and sensitive way and not to have a bunch of fourth-party individuals determining that the non-offending spouse has to prove that there's been an offence?

The Chair: The question has been asked.

Ms Chetner: To answer your first question, the particular home that was described by the tenant is not a long-term care facility within the meaning of the new legislation relating to those.

Mr Jackson: To retirement homes?

Ms Chetner: That's correct. Secondly, the tenant is not our client. We represent a coalition of tenant organizations that intervened in the lawsuit. I believe your other question related to the arduous implications of the Landlord and Tenant Act in situations where there are perhaps concerns about safety.

It is our experience with the Landlord and Tenant Act that tenant disputes or problems between tenants are very complicated and that there is no one clear way to address them. These tenants were not placed in an institution. This was housing that they moved into and were paying rent for. Similarly, where there are situations of domestic violence, I would suggest that an appropriate response is to involve the police. There are also services for women who are in need of shelter temporarily that might be appropriate in circumstances like you're describing.

Mr Jackson: If you can find one that will take a woman over the age of 50.

Ms Chetner: Absolutely. That's a problem. I'm not sure how that problem is necessarily created by bringing this kind of housing under the Landlord and Tenant Act when currently there are no effective means of response.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation. A couple of things. Has business picked up over the years? Is it getting bad out there?

Ms Chetner: It's constant. The more we increase our services, the more response and need there is. It's a continuing need.

Mr Fletcher: What do you think about houses, care givers, therapeutic rehab? Should they be exempt, in your opinion?

Ms Chetner: As we've described in our brief, we believe that residential premises should not be exempt and we feel that providing a very strict definition of what rehab or therapy accommodation would be exempt is a move in the right direction so that really the idea behind exempting that kind of accommodation is that there's some other regime that governs it.

For example, I believe Mr Jackson referred to nursing homes earlier. There is a regime under the Nursing Homes Act that provides an alternative measure of security for the residents who live there. We support a very restrictive definition but one that's much clearer as to what kind of accommodation should be exempt.

Mr David Winninger (London South): Thanks for your presentation and for providing a case study to focus our discussion today. It seems to me that the illustration you've provided may go beyond the ambit of Bill 120 in that you indicated to us that Bill 120 and the reforms therein will go a long way towards alleviating this individual situation. However, you also referred to changes in the level of care provided to this individual.

I'm just wondering, first of all, whether rent control officers, for example, would have the required expertise to deal with level of care. It seems to me that there's a whole constellation of statutes that will come to bear on this individual situation -- long-term care reform, mental health reform, social assistance reform, advocacy, just to name a few -- which will serve to ensure that this individual gets appropriate and sufficient meals. I'm just wondering whether you're not asking too much for Bill 120 things that will be provided under other legislation, programs and services.


Ms Chetner: Some of the other legislation that you've referred to, we don't know when those reforms are coming. We're considering what has been presented in this bill. We would certainly have to agree that rent control officers till now probably haven't had to deal with these kinds of issues, but we have faith that they could receive appropriate training. It's not as though the parties come to them without experience they bring forward. We're not entirely certain whether this system will be able to respond or not.

What we wanted to do in presenting that case scenario for you was to show you where the gaps are and that not covering meals and services poses a tremendous problem for the security of this tenant. As we say in our brief, not covering meals has the potential to deregulate a whole sector of accommodation that has until now been fully regulated. We would encourage you to reconsider bringing meals under rent control for care homes as well.

Mr Daigeler: I just wanted to make sure that I fully understood your answer to Mr Fletcher. You're saying that you support exemptions for rehab institutions as long as they are narrowly defined. Is that correct?

Ms Chetner: What I said was that we support the amendment because it defines what previously was not defined in the legislation.

Mr Daigeler: What amendment?

Ms Chetner: You were asking about the rehab and therapy definition. Yes, we support the amendment that clearly defines what rehab and therapy accommodation will be exempt.

Mr Daigeler: You're supporting what's in the bill now or an amendment to the bill?

Ms Chetner: No, we are supporting the amendment that is contained in the bill.

Mr Daigeler: Normally when we have clause-by-clause there will be amendments coming forward to what is before us. Okay? You are supporting leaving the bill the way it is. Is that correct?

Ms Pascaris: Not entirely.

Ms Chetner: With respect to rehab and therapy, that is correct. In fact, we would suggest that if you remove any of the criteria in that definition, you seriously threaten to undermine the restrictive nature that has been so carefully structured.

Mr Cordiano: I'm a little concerned about the question of meals and your desire to regulate meals. It's my view that once you put a minimum, because that's what it is, in terms of increases in prices for services, the provision of meals, you'll get the minimum quality for the provision of those meals. It becomes a very complicated thing to monitor and regulate, so I am reluctant to do it by way of the Rent Control Act. I think there's got to be some concern about that, with respect to those services being provided in the highest quality possible, but whether that should be done under an act is another question.

Ms Pascaris: I understand that concern, to begin with. However, I have to say that everything that is under rent control right now sets a standard, so to speak. When landlords want to increase facilities in their buildings, they then apply to rent control to increase the rents. There would be nothing to preclude them from doing this for meals.

Then the tenants are given the opportunity to speak and say, "Well, as a matter of fact, there were no repairs done," or "The situation's the same," or "As a matter of fact, the meals are horrible now. We're getting half the quantities, to be truthful." There's that opportunity there. I don't see that there's any real difficulty in doing this other than the initial hurdle of incorporating it into the existing system.

Mr Cordiano: I think there are real practical problems, but we don't have time. The Chairman's going to cut me off.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Cordiano. Thank you for appearing before us today. As I've told others, the clause-by-clause consideration of this bill begins March 6.


The Chair: The next presentation comes from the DisAbled Women's Network Ontario. While they are coming up to see us, I would just inform members that we have a letter all members should have on their desk from the assistant deputy minister of the Ministry of Housing in response to a question about eviction.

Ms Robyn Artemis: Good afternoon. My name is Robyn Artemis and I am on the board of directors of DAWN Ontario.

Ms Jacquie Buncel: Good afternoon. I'm Jacquie Buncel and I'm the executive director of DAWN Ontario.

Ms Artemis: The DisAbled Women's Network, DAWN, Ontario, is a province-wide organization for women with all types of disabilities. DAWN Ontario was established at a provincial symposium of women with disabilities in 1986 to create a voice for disabled women across the province. We are a feminist organization which supports women with disabilities in our efforts to control our own lives. DAWN Ontario is controlled by women with disabilities.

Our members include both women with disabilities and non-disabled women. We include lesbians, bisexual women, aboriginal women, Franco-Ontarian women, plus women from many other ethnic, racial, cultural and religious backgrounds. Our members are of all ages.

We're here today to convey our support for Bill 120. We support both components of the bill: the legalization of apartments in houses and the provisions which extend tenant protection to tenants whose housing has a care component. It is DAWN's position that housing is a universal right for all people regardless of their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, age or income status. This right must be upheld by all levels of government. We believe that Bill 120 takes an important and much-needed step in providing protection under the law to disadvantaged people.

Women with disabilities are disadvantaged on many different levels. Society discriminates against us in countless ways. As women we are considered second-class citizens and as people with disabilities we are subject to both individual and systemic forms of discrimination. In addition, we are often low-income, as many of us are unemployed because of historical inequities in the workplace and because of the refusal of employers today to accommodate our needs. Many of us are racial or ethnic minorities and therefore experience prejudice and other forms of systemic discrimination. As well, many are single mothers, lesbians, young women or senior citizens.

Because we belong to so many minority groups and because society perceives that disabled women are vulnerable and therefore can be taken advantage of, it is crucial that we are guaranteed rights under the law for all areas of our lives. This includes employment and the protection of our safety and security and the right to safe, affordable and accessible housing.


Accessible housing means providing any accommodation that a woman with a disability needs to live independently. One form of accommodation would be making an apartment accessible for wheelchair users by installing ramps, handrails and large door frames etc. Other forms of accommodation might include providing attendant care, meal provisions, deaf fire alarms or accommodation for a dog guide, such as an area where the dog can be relieved.

There is a crucial shortage of accessible, affordable units in Ontario. In many public housing buildings and cooperatives, there is only one accessible unit per floor. DAWN Ontario receives many inquiries from disabled women looking for accessible housing. Women often have to wait two to three years on a waiting list before an accessible unit becomes available.

Once a disabled woman obtains a unit, she often encounters discriminatory attitudes on the part of the housing management and/or other tenants. For example, a blind woman might be harassed by housing management about where she relieves her dog guide. Also, women who use wheelchairs may have difficulties in accessing the laundry, recreational and waste disposal facilities. Problems around physical access affect also women who are blind or have visual impairments.

The Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign has made several important recommendations calling for amendments to Bill 120 regarding physical accessibility to new apartments in houses. We support these wholeheartedly. We call on you to amend Bill 120 as follows:

First, that a special provincial fund be established to encourage and assist home owners to create accessible units and barrier-free design. Home owners who want to make an existing unit accessible should also be able to access this fund.

Second, that municipalities be required to incorporate a physical accessibility assessment in any approval of a building permit for the creation of an accessory apartment in an existing house. If a proposed accessory unit can be made accessible, the home owner should be informed of funding that is available for making the unit accessible.

Third, that the building code be amended to require that all new housing and apartments in new housing meet standards of universal accessibility, including minimum doorway and hallway widths, reinforced bathroom walls for grab-bars and entrance specifications that will allow conversion to accessible units without difficulty.

Fourth, that the Ministry of Housing monitor accessibility of accessory apartments over the next two years. If intensification reduces the percentage of accessible units on the market, the ministry must ensure that a higher proportion of accessible units is provided by non-profit housing developers and the Ontario Housing Corp.

Ms Buncel: Women with disabilities should have the right to live wherever they choose. Zoning bylaws which keep out disadvantaged groups from particular neighbourhoods are discriminatory and must be changed. Psychiatric survivors and people with developmental disabilities have historically been segregated into particular areas because of not-in-my-backyard syndrome attitudes. These people are often excluded from the lower-density neighbourhoods, which are generally well served by community, educational and recreational services.

Bill 120 will end this kind of discriminatory zoning and will allow people with disabilities, as well as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees, first nations people, gay men and lesbians, seniors, youth and single parents the right to live in the community they desire.

The Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign has clearly articulated the connection between municipal zoning bylaws and discrimination of basic human rights. For this reason, DAWN Ontario has formally endorsed the platform of the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign.

Tenant rights must also be extended to individuals living in homes which offer any sort of personal care. People with disabilities who are living in group homes, private retirement homes and any homes where there is some assistance with daily living must have basic tenant rights such as the security of tenure, the right to privacy and to safe and healthy living conditions and the right to enforce their rights without fear of retaliation.

Tenants should not be held hostage by the whims of an unscrupulous landlord in order to have their basic living needs met, such as meals and attendant care as needed. Bill 120 will do much to guarantee tenants living in care facilities rights and protections under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act.

However, we are concerned that the bill in its present form states that for units with a care component the cost of meals will not be included in the total rent. This could mean that a landlord could increase the charges for meals as frequently as he or she chose. This could have serious implications for a tenant living in one of these facilities.

For example, a landlord could threaten to withhold meals or actually withhold them as a way of punishing a misbehaving tenant. This could discourage a tenant from speaking out about this and other kinds of abuse which may be occurring. Also, if a landlord keeps increasing the charge for meals, a tenant might be forced to move because she could not afford the new rent which would include this new meal cost. This denies tenants security of tenure.

It is critical, therefore, that there is government regulation of all services that tenants depend on in order to live their daily lives as independently as possible. Women with disabilities living in care facilities need this bill to be strengthened so that they can be on an equal footing with their housing and attendant care givers.

We would like to stress to you that there must be a strong educational component in the implementation of Bill 120. Often women with disabilities are isolated and are not provided with information about their rights. It is the responsibility of the government to conduct an extensive information campaign to inform tenants of these new changes in the law which will affect their living situations. This information must be provided in clear language so that it is accessible for all people. It also must be made available in alternative formats such as Braille, audio tape, computer diskette and large print.

The Ministry of Housing, which we assume would take the lead in this campaign, must take a proactive approach in distributing this information. The information must be sent to all housing providers, landlords and residents who may be affected by this new legislation.

In conclusion, we hope that you consider our recommendations seriously for amendments to the bill in the areas of accessibility requirements and regulation of meals and other services. We commend this government on introducing Bill 120 and we hope that you proceed to pass it with these changes as soon as possible.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for your presentation, Ms Artemis and Jacquie. So nice to see you here, a bit of a surprise, but nice to see that another person from Kingston is working on this bill and we'll get it the best possible now.

Mr Owens: It is the people from Scarborough who have put it through.

Ms Buncel: Kingston or Scarborough, whatever -- my history.

Mr Gary Wilson: You've raised a number of issues that really round out a lot of things that we're considering and it will be helpful in our discussion.

There is the issue of the food care costs that a number of people have raised. We are considering that, of course, but on the basis of the delegation, although it's probably not quite so wide open as you suggest. There are conditions that the landlord would have to meet under the Rent Control Act that, if the food were denied, there would have to be a compensation in the cost of the rent. It should come down in compensation for that.

The other is the information package which implies a contract. If the person were to go to court, which I know is awkward, it certainly isn't a good situation to be in that you're denied meals under probably awkward circumstances that would mean going to court wouldn't be that easy. Obviously you need food quickly. So it is something we are considering.

The other thing is if it applied to more than one, if it would be a handful or a group of tenants it would be considered to be a conversion, which would be illegal under the act as it's written now because of the conversion of rental housing, which is protected now under the bill.


I'm wondering about some of the things Ms Artemis raised about the accessibility, which is so crucial. I just wonder whether you have some awareness of how many home owners might be willing to put in accessible apartments. Does your organization have a registry or does anyone ever come forward and say that they would be interested in doing that or would you think it would have to been an active education program to generate the interest among home owners?

Ms Artemis: I would think it would be an active information and educational program, an active initiative on the part of the government to get these initiatives going. But I know that many home owners have asked. If we do have funding, we would be able to make these apartments more accessible.

Mr Gary Wilson: Did you have a question, Steve?

Mr Owens: Ms Artemis, Ms Buncel, finally we're here to deal with an issue. Jacquie, before DAWN stole you to work as their ED, worked in Scarborough. So we've had a satisfying working relationship in terms of getting this piece of legislation to where it is today. I want to thank you for your assistance.

Your group raises an interesting issue. I was looking through our summary of recommendations because I was positive that I had heard a recommendation or a comment that disabled people should not be allowed to live in accessory apartments, in basement apartments. I was wondering how you would respond to that, people raising the good old fire spectre and how would a disabled person get out of the basement. In terms of those kinds of myths, how would DAWN respond to that?

Ms Artemis: That would be referring to the definition of "disability" also, because not all disabled people use wheelchairs.

Mr Owens: Absolutely.

Ms Artemis: So that also includes, as I said, as we point out in the report, having deaf fire alarms, which you can get through the Canadian Hearing Society, or having rough-textured flooring on the stairs so it's easier to get up and down the stairs and having another access or a bigger window to get out the window if need be. You really have to look at the definition of "disability."

Mr Owens: So what you're saying --

The Chair: Mr Cordiano.

Mr Owens: -- is it would need some thoughtful planning for a change of pace.

Mr Cordiano: I heard my name mentioned in vain.

Ms Buncel: I think as well our position is that disabled women should have the right to access any services or facilities that an able-bodied person is able to access. To say that disabled people can't live in basement apartments is very discriminatory and really doesn't reflect the reality of all disabled people in any way.

Mr Cordiano: I would just like to put forward the view that it's important --


Mr Cordiano: I hate those distractions from the other side, Mr Chairman, especially at this late point in the day.

The Chair: Through the Chair.

Mr Cordiano: I'll try to ignore them and deal with what I think is really critical in this legislation with respect to accessory apartments. The fact of the matter is that once Bill 120 passes, there will still be a huge number -- as a matter of fact, some estimates are that half the number of basement apartments that exist are not in compliance with building code requirements. After Bill 120 is passed, that still will be the case.

Obviously there are going to be requirements of these owners of the units to bring them up to standard; whether they will or not is another question. We've heard estimates that it could cost as much as $5,000 to $10,000 to bring these units up to standard to meet building code, safety and fire code requirements. For some of these units obviously the building code will require two entry points, and it's going to be difficult to do that without spending some additional dollars in renovation costs. So for me, the real question is, what practically will result from the implementation of Bill 120? Just saying that basement apartments are to exist as of right will not make them safe places to live.

Ms Buncel: No, but that's the point of Bill 120, that there are standards in it that municipalities will have to pay attention to and that landlords will have to pay attention to with regard to those basement units or generally apartment units in houses. There are so many benefits for tenants and for the range of low-income people, disadvantaged people, people with disabilities if this bill is brought forward and if it becomes law. You can look at the costs for the landlord --

Mr Cordiano: I'm not suggesting that. All I'm saying is that if the landlord is stuck with the proposition of having to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 -- and I'm talking about someone who's got a first home, a starter home, and he's struggling to make his mortgage payments, as the case has been made here often -- he doesn't have additional dollars to put towards a renovation. This is going to be rather difficult for them. So the tendency might be to continue with the illegal situation. A tenant might be reluctant to turn the landlord in, because he might lose his place to live.

Ms Buncel: But once this bill becomes law, then the tenant will be guaranteed the rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Cordiano: But then there's also the right of the landlord to simply say, "I'm not going to put this unit up for rent."

Ms Buncel: But then the tenant can take the landlord to court, which at this point --

Mr Cordiano: No, because the landlord would turn around and say, "I'm going to use this premises for my own purposes."

Ms Buncel: I think that's always the danger that a tenant can have in enforcing his rights, especially in an apartment in a house.


Mr Cordiano: You're starting to get on my nerves in a big way, because quite frankly --

The Chair: Mr Cordiano --

Mr Cordiano: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I think being rude and obnoxious is not one of those things that is called for in committee.

Mr Owens: Why are you badgering the witness?

Mr Cordiano: I was attempting to have a discussion with the witness. I was asking questions. To be interrupted by rude catcalls from the other side is inappropriate at any time during a committee hearing. I would appreciate some decency from the members on the other side.

The Chair: All members would know that interjections are always out of order. Mr Jackson.

Ms Buncel: Sorry, I wasn't finished responding to the question. If a landlord doesn't want to upgrade the apartment and decides to pull it off the market, I think certainly that's the landlord's choice, especially if it's an apartment in his own home. We don't want to force home owners necessarily to rent out an apartment when they don't want to do it.

But what we're looking at, what we want are safe conditions with proper standards for tenants living in the apartments in houses. That's what this bill will guarantee, and it will give tenants the right to enforce those standards under the law, which at this point they don't have.

Ms Artemis: One of the recommendations that the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign and we also have is that the government build in a fund for landlords so that they are going to be able to make the units accessible.

The Chair: Thank you for your patience, Mr Jackson.

Mr Jackson: That was the point I wanted to proceed with. When I listen to my constituents who are not ambulatory and are challenged in that way, they indicate to me that there is insufficient social housing for them and there's insufficient private sector housing. We've seen a number of programs that assist to convert and modify residences, and those programs have been declining. Even more important, programs like voc rehab are tied to conforming zoning, so there are a lot of catch-22s.

I have a series of questions which have less to do with the bill, because I don't think the bill addresses your needs. You set out, from my last count, four further amendments that you're seeking in order to really meet your needs.

Ms Buncel: Five, including the meals regulation, changing that. That would be a fifth recommendation for amendment.


Mr Jackson: Okay, but we've heard that from a variety of people. I want to stay focused on the handicapped access, because in my view, the legislation will be hollow unless we somehow deal with who's going to pay for the conversion. I'm afraid that once it goes into the rent control loop and they say, "This person has an unfettered right to remain here and you now have to modify" -- I'd like to know which law would say they have to modify to meet your needs.

Once we get past that, who's going to pay for that and will that then become a condition placed on them? Should we be looking at the approach of going to the minister responsible for the disabled and saying: "Look, your fund is inadequate. We're now offering extending certain accesses to the same group because they're seeking accommodation in this less costly environment, and therefore they should be eligible to make application"?

I want to try and get at that, because finding the accommodation is enough of a barrier as it is, but now to be in one which needs the modification, who's going to pay for it? It could be helpful to the committee to give us a finer look at that.

Ms Artemis: In my opinion, it would be a combination of ministries. One would be the Ministry of Housing, another one may be ODI, in connection with each other. DAWN's philosophy is that we are all human beings and we are all people so we all have a right to live where we want and have the rights of all other people, so we really think it would be the Ministry of Housing that would provide that funding.

Mr Jackson: For the record, you're not having difficulty with whether or not the home is privately owned or social housing or whatever, as long as this benefit accrues to the tenant, the presence of the tenant, and not necessarily whether the landlord owns the building or whether or not the landlord is non-profit -- because that is a consideration and a concern. There have been barriers to who is eligible, which you're more familiar with than I am.

But I want to make sure that your position is that everyone be available, because if it isn't, my fear is that persons who are disabled in existing units will, for whatever methodology used, be forced out because they'll interpret the legislation as, "Boy, I'm going to have to pay for these modifications; I'm going to be caused to do them under a rent appeal to justify my rent, when I'm not providing these services." I'm fearful that people will say, "Look, I'd rather not have you as a tenant any longer, because you have these new rights."

Ms Artemis: That shouldn't be the responsibility of the landlord; that should be the responsibility of the government to provide the funding to the landlord. We take the position that we need the choice to be able to live wherever we choose.

Mr Jackson: That's been very helpful and clear for the record.

Ms Buncel: We were talking as well specifically around home owners being able to apply to a fund that's similar to the kind of fund that had been set up before for home owners to access loans to upgrade their apartments. We were recommending that the fund also be made available around accessibility, so we were specifically looking at home owners.

Mr Jackson: With fewer impediments, unlike tying it to a minimum maintenance standards bylaw and all these other nonsenses, the bells and whistles that have come with these programs over the last decade.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming today. I'm sure that your views will be considered during the clause-by-clause consideration of this bill, which begins on March 6.


The Chair: The next presentation is Frank Lewinberg. Good afternoon, sir. The committee has allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. You should introduce yourself, and you may begin.

Mr Frank Lewinberg: I'll read this presentation very quickly so that you can then ask me any questions you may have. I should say at the outset that my remarks relate purely to the previous Bill 90 aspects of this bill. I'm not familiar with the additions to Bill 120 that have been added since Bill 90 came through, so it's essentially the accessory unit question.

I'm trained as an architect and an urban planner and have accumulated some 25 years of professional experience, initially in municipal government and now as a partner in the firm of Berridge Lewinberg Greenberg, private consulting and urban planning. I am here, however, in my personal capacity.

I have carefully considered the legislation that is before you. My professional involvement in this issue goes back to 1981, when our firm, together with four other firms, was retained by the Ontario government to undertake a major study of all the issues surrounding the existing housing stock. It cost more than $300,000.

Our study was published in 11 volumes in 1983. One of its primary recommendations was that Ontarians be permitted to make better use of existing houses and that this was in the best interests of individual owners and tenants, communities, as well as the province as a whole. That study was funded by a Conservative government.

Following our study, it became government policy to encourage conversions in the existing housing stock and the Minister of Housing, Claude Bennett, frequently called upon municipalities to change their regulations to permit such conversions in all neighbourhoods and all communities.

I was retained by the same government to then prepare a report that would explain our study to laypeople on councils, in planning departments and in communities and, in particular, to answer any concerns they may have. The report, known as In Your Neighbourhood, was published by the government in 1984. I still stand by all its conclusions.

Since then, as you know, Ontario governments have undertaken a number of initiatives and studies to demonstrate that conversions in existing houses will cause no problems. It has funded local studies in order to assist municipalities in making the zoning changes to permit a second unit in existing homes.

My next direct involvement in the issue was funded by the Liberal government when it funded the city of Scarborough to undertake such an implementing study. Again, that provincial government had endorsed the policy position. Minister Chaviva Ho_ek made speeches to that effect, as did her successor.

In Scarborough we completed the analytic part of our study, presented our findings to the council, making it clear that changes to permit a second unit in existing homes should be made, only to have the study halted indefinitely. When the municipal politicians realized that we had found no basis to recommend against legalization of conversions, they pulled the plug.

They were not prepared to legalize a process that had been under way in Scarborough openly and illegally to the full knowledge of everyone. We found that between 9,000 and 14,000 units, or 10% to 15% of the homes in Scarborough, had been illegally converted already. They were not prepared to sanction it publicly, even though all the advice they were receiving recommended it.

There is a huge difference between the fears of what might happen and what is likely to happen following legalization. It is easy to ignore the research that has been done and play only upon fears. This is NIMBY writ large. There is very good research and obvious parallels to be drawn to counter the fears, but the municipal politicians have nothing to gain in taking a chance and stirring up their voters. Municipal councils are terrified of touching their existing neighbourhoods and, as far as I can see, they will never do it.

To permit a second apartment in homes will not destroy neighbourhoods. On the contrary, it will strengthen them. It will allow neighbourhoods to change physically to respond to the changing population structure that every neighbourhood is experiencing and has experienced, changes like a rapidly aging population and increases in the variety of household types that now comprise our society.

It will not be attractive for absentee landlords, as it is a poor and uneconomical investment. On the contrary, it will provide a vehicle to permit old people to stay in their neighbourhoods and grant access to home ownership in existing neighbourhoods to young couples hoping to start a family.

It will not add to the fire hazard in neighbourhoods. On the contrary, it will allow both tenants and landlords to ensure safe housing according to building codes and health and safety standards, all municipally inspected.

It will not overtax municipal services. On the contrary, it will begin to bring neighbourhood population levels closer to their design levels, rather than put the burden of taxes on fewer and fewer people, as household sizes continue to decline.

I am confident that this legislation will bring only benefits to Ontario's communities and neighbourhoods. Ultimately, it is the home owners themselves who are the developers here. They will decide whether to add a second unit or not. The forces of change are the neighbourhood residents themselves.


Finally, and most important of all, when the law is seen to be a fool, it makes a mockery of all laws. People in every community across the province are ignoring the current prohibition on conversions and we all know it. It is being done by our families, our neighbours and our friends. The number of illegal conversions can be counted in the many thousands and in every community, denying both landlord and tenant the protection of the many laws this Legislature has enacted for them.

This is not a partisan issue. It is a policy position that has been strongly and frequently supported by Housing ministers from all three parties over the last 10 years. During those 10 years, I do not think one municipality has implemented a full legalization, even though it is now part of the Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement.

There are too many important issues for you and for your considerable staff to spend money and time studying; 13 years and many hundreds of thousands of provincial dollars are surely enough. It is time to put this very simple issue to rest. The legislation before you takes the most conservative of the routes to legalization possible. I have reviewed it and the proposed regulations. They are carefully crafted to deal at the provincial level with local bylaws. I support them and recommend that you do so without amendment. It is appropriate and good planning. Thank you.

Mr Cordiano: I suppose there's only real one question that I have and that is to ask if, in your view, the whole notion of having municipalities involved in this process, determining perhaps around a number of questions whether in fact there should be increased density in one part of the municipality versus another -- you're simply saying that those concerns are not there, that there are no problems and that in fact you can have intensification in any part of any city.

Mr Lewinberg: Yes, sir. In fact in one of our studies we addressed that issue. Probably the only neighbourhoods that potentially could be at risk are the most low-income neighbourhoods -- a neighbourhood like Parkdale, for instance, in Toronto. But that's really dealt with by the fact that only one unit is allowed and Parkdale is really the issue of having very large existing homes which were in fact converted into many, many small units.

Mr Cordiano: We heard from a group from Hamilton -- and I don't recall their name now -- precisely around that question of what happened in the core of the city of Hamilton when intensification took place over the many years that it has been -- well, it exists now. In fact the problem has been that you had most of the low-income people in the city of Hamilton obviously residing in the core, because it provided for that affordability and most of the people who were middle income have moved to the outskirts of Hamilton, thereby just leaving low-income persons in the core of the city of Hamilton. That's sort of a snapshot of what can happen in the city of Toronto, I suppose.

Mr Lewinberg: In Hamilton and Toronto -- they were in fact one of the case study cities, the first study we did for the government. In Hamilton, in fact, it's legal to have conversions. It currently is, as it is in Toronto, as it is in Ottawa. Portions of those older cities pre-Second World War generally permitted it as a right. That's why this particular legislation would have no impact. In fact, in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa, you can go quite a lot further than the one unit permitted under this legislation. So this legislation would have no impact on those particular --

Mr Cordiano: What I mean by Toronto is North York, Scarborough etc, and those are older suburban areas which are now probably going to be more intensified.

Mr Lewinberg: Yes. The fact is all those areas are already. What this legislation does by only allowing one unit is it really only provides the possibility to have one additional unit. The concern behind your question is that landlords will exploit people by carving --

Mr Cordiano: By selling illegal units.

Mr Lewinberg: Yes, they will have 10 or 20 units. But that they can do today and they will be able to do it after and before. It has nothing to do with this legislation, as I see it, anyway.

Mr Owens: Welcome to the standing committee. I just wonder if you ever thought you'd get to this process to see a government actually moving on recommendations which, as you state, are long-standing. I view this piece of legislation as doing two things: It's the reality check, as you've indicated, in terms of what's out there, and in Scarborough -- I represent the riding of Scarborough Centre -- somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10,000 basement apartments are there.

We look at this as the reality check, but also in the other part is the issue with respect to giving rights to tenants that currently don't enjoy rights. In reading your report on the Scarborough situation and understanding your CV, you forgot to point out that you are a humorist and that your planning report was actually delightful to read in terms of pointing out the inconsistencies of the positions with respect to the reality versus what the municipal government seems to feel.

I think this bill answers the concerns that have been raised with respect to powers of entry. I've always believed that one doesn't need the unfettered power of entry to order someone to cut their grass and those are the kinds of issues that we see, particularly in Scarborough, coming up, that municipal officials will not be able to enforce this piece of legislation.

Do you have a view on whether we should have a registry run by a municipality, and how would you see identification of units for the purpose of additional property tax or ensuring that a person was able to present a prospective tenant with some kind of certification, or whatever, to say this has been inspected, it meets the standards?

Mr Lewinberg: I think it's just like any other unit. I live in the city of Toronto where it is permitted. In fact many of the houses on my street have second units and they're just treated like anybody else. They are assessed on the basis of having additional units for property taxes and everybody's aware of this situation. I don't think there's any need to create any special kind of categories. We have plenty of regulations, we don't need any more.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing before the committee today. This completes the public hearings on Bill 120 for this week. I will see all members next week at 2 o'clock on Monday. The committee is adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1648.