Tuesday 8 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

Scarborough Access to Permanent Housing Committee

Douglas Hum, chair

Lorraine Katryan, project coordinator

Office of the Fire Marshal

Doug Crawford, acting deputy fire marshal

Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics

Elsie Etchen, president

June Beeby, executive director

Kenneth Brown; Gerry Thomas; Paul Mauchan; Sherryl Judd-Williams

Community Support and Research Unit

Dr Gina Fisher, director, community programs liaison

Carol Zoulalian, community support worker

Alcohol and Drug Recovery Association of Ontario

Jeff Wilbee, executive director

Bernie Boyle, member

Beverly Thomson, member

Canadian African Newcomer Aid Centre of Toronto

M.S. Mwarigha, housing coordinator

Georgina Community Resource Centre

Michele McCormick, housing coordinator

Scarborough Community Legal Services

Diane Urquhart, representative

Women Plan Toronto

Shirley Roll, housing/planning co-coordinator

Gary Wilton


*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:

Miclash, Frank (Kenora L) for Mr Sorbara

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

Murdoch, Bill (Grey-Owen Sound PC) for Mr Dave Johnson

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Wessenger

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC) for Mr Arnott

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

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

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

The committee met at 1000 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 business of the committee today is to listen to public deputations regarding Bill 120. Our first presentation is from the Scarborough Access to Permanent Housing Committee.

Mr Douglas Hum: I'm Doug Hum, the chair of the Scarborough Access to Permanent Housing Committee. I have brought along for our submission our project coordinator, Lorraine Katryan, and, because the issue of fire safety is a great concern to us in Scarborough Access and seemingly to many deputants who have appeared and to members of this committee, we have invited the acting fire marshal to attend, Mr Doug Crawford. My submission will be about four minutes and Lorraine will take a minute or two, and then the acting deputy fire marshal will be speaking to you about fire safety.

Our Scarborough Access to Permanent Housing Committee was established in 1988 under the then provincial program, the local access to permanent housing initiative. Funding for the project began the following year and continued until restructuring of the program, with the end of the funding, in 1993. We were fully supported by the province. The local municipality contributed nothing to the effort.

In 1992 we served about 14,850 Scarborough-area residents. The funding for the project divided into the cost per client served worked out to about $15 per client. We were very effective in our service. Our submission is based on our collective experience and the information and knowledge we've gathered over the years.

In the city of Scarborough we have populations that are of modest means, of low incomes, many assisted housing projects, social housing projects, but we have found in our work that accessory units meet a considerable portion of the housing needs in Scarborough. We understand that there are some 14,000 accessory units in Scarborough, with 100,000 across the province. Our experiences in direct service and advocacy in housing have led us to conclude that the current status of prohibition of accessory units in single-family homes is unacceptable, discriminatory, and does not recognize the changing realities in our communities.

Lives have been lost in illegal basement fires. There are tenants living in unsafe and unhealthy environments. Depending on the judge, both tenants and landlords have no recourse to the Landlord and Tenant Act. Home owners who wish to convert cannot seek advice for adequate housing and safety standards from the local municipality without facing a cease-and-desist order. Tenants in substandard units cannot complain to the local municipality without facing an eviction notice.

The changing face of Scarborough needs and demands a variety of housing options. As a result, our committee has adopted a position of supporting the legalizing of accessory units in single-family homes and granny flats, also known as garden suites. This support includes the requirement that they meet adequate fire, safety and health standards.

From our work and in our experience attending the hearings, our committee strongly agrees with many of the points raised in previous submissions by the Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing, West Scarborough Community Legal Services, Metro Tenants Legal Services, the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, the submission by Mr Frank Lewinberg, architect and urban planner, and of course the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, which we endorse and are a member of.

In addition to the reasons outlined, changing demographics and smaller household size make a strong case for the recognition of accessory units. A provincial study, Children First, dated November 1990, points out that the replacement rate of 2.1 children per mother has fallen to 1.6. Families are getting smaller. The average household size has shrunk from 3.6 persons per family to 3.1. As a result, the single-family home which used to house a nuclear family with large numbers of children is now capable of housing two families of smaller size.

In the city of Scarborough there was a study undertaken by Mr Lewinberg which was later carried on by the Scarborough planning department. The study found in a survey that some 65% of respondents to a questionnaire approved the legalization of accessory units. This was very similar to a survey published in the Star the same year which showed 67%. The study pointed out that contrary to perceptions of members of Scarborough council, the community will not be overrun with conversions. They'll be brought in at the rate of roughly 200 per year.

The Housing Intensification report by the municipality of Metro in 1987 points out that there could be a potential 39,000 new units created across Metro if accessory units were legalized. We looked at the economic development aspects of these kinds of conversions. In our estimates, based on our meetings with contractors and architects, this could turn out to be about $800 million in economic activity, creating some nine million person-hours of employment, because each accessory unit consumes up to 25 sheets of drywall, several board feet of lumber, wiring, plumbing etc, notwithstanding the refrigerators, appliances etc that go into these units. Granted, there won't be a massive increase; it'll be a steady employment over many years. There's also a debate about owner-occupied versus absentee landlord. There are questions raised about absentee landlords and the upkeep of their properties. We do not believe absentee landlords are any more irresponsible than irresponsible owner-occupied landlords or irresponsible home owners. We agree that there may be some problem absentee landlords, but there are also problem home owners as well. Simply because there are a few cases should not be grounds for discrimination against a whole group of people such as absentee landlords.

The question of parking is also an issue. We agree with many of the previous submissions that state it's not a serious problem, but I would like to point out that in the city of Scarborough it costs on average $5,000 to $6,000 a year to own and operate a car. That puts it out of reach of many single parents, those on social assistance, the unemployed, of many.

Discrimination is something we have encountered as well, discrimination that verges on the level of defamation and hate. We have encountered racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, anti-tenant and anti-youth expressions.

In summary, I'd like to point out that legalizing accessory units empowers both tenants and landlords. It meets a housing need and also job creation and economic development. Most important, it's an issue of human rights and combating discrimination in all its forms.


Ms Lorraine Katryan: I have two brief points to make. One is that we asked the Scarborough Housing Help centre, which deputed here last week, to conduct a mini-survey for us. We asked them to ask the people on their housing registry what they felt about legalizing apartments in houses. Some 76% of tenants supported legalizing, 85% of home owners supported legalizing and 87.5% of homeless people supported legalizing. These statistics are not uncommon for the general community.

The other point is that the Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing spoke here also. That committee invited people to send in letters of support to this committee routed through us. We are pleased to present to you today 131 letters from individuals who support legalizing apartments in houses, and 21 letters from organizations. This is a very quick, simple little effort which represents the tip of the iceberg of the support.

I would like to point out that this response came from many areas of the province, not just Scarborough, both rural and city, and included organizations like Lakehead Social Planning Council in Thunder Bay, the Canadian Mental Health Association in Thunder Bay, the Guyanese Heritage Association and a broad range of organizations and individuals. I would be pleased to leave these with the committee today.


Mr Doug Crawford: It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to appear before you today. Thank you for the time.

I would like to discuss with you the framework available under the Fire Marshals Act and the potential that exists under the fire code to address the fire safety concerns associated with accessory apartments. I'd like to briefly talk about the fire loss record for Ontario and how that relates to accessory apartments.

Joining me is Bruce Weaver, who is a fire safety officer with the fire marshal's office, on assignment with our research and standards section. Behind me is Krystyna Paterson, who is a professional engineer and manager of our codes and standards section. I am a professional engineer, Doug Crawford, acting deputy fire marshal.

I've prepared a brief submission for you, but in the interest of time I'll skim over the first few pages.

To begin, the fire marshal's office is much more than what you hear about on the 5 o'clock news, that is, "The fire marshal's office is investigating." We have a broad role to play and we carry out many duties, basically as an overseeing role to the delivery of fire services in Ontario.

We have a legislative duty to provide guidance and advice to municipal councils and to provincial government ministries. We play a coordinating role for the fire service by providing leadership through many of our programs. We conduct research into the fire problem, and yes, we do investigate all fatal fires in the province. We compile a statistical database of all fires reported in Ontario and we provide analysis of those data. We develop and administer provincial legislation dealing with fire safety standards. That work is carried on by approximately 20 professional engineers, approximately 30 former police officers and some 100 fire advisory and fire safety officers.

Under the Fire Marshals Act, a municipal fire chief or fire official carrying out the fire prevention duties is doing so as an assistant to the fire marshal. It is their duty under the act to act under the fire marshal's direction. Their actions are subject to appeal to the fire marshal's office and to the Fire Code Commission. There are approximately 3,200 assistants in Ontario at this time.

On page 3, I outline a bit about the background of the fire code and the building code and how they work together as supporting documents. I'll skip through there and carry on with page 4 of the presentation.

The building code basically establishes the standard of fire safety for new construction, additions, substantial renovations and, most recently, changes in occupancy. The fire code establishes the continuing standard for fire prevention, firefighting and life safety in all existing buildings. In addition, the fire code establishes a minimum level of life safety in existing buildings. That's under the retrofit part of the fire code and what I will mostly be talking about today.

Retrofit of existing buildings under the fire code is the mandatory upgrading of those existing buildings to a minimum level of life safety. It generally deals with those buildings constructed prior to 1975, ie, before the introduction of the Ontario Building Code.

Special importance should be paid to the distinction here. The building code regulates owner-initiated actions; that would be construction, upgrading, renovation and, most recently, as I've said, change of use. The fire code retrofit deals with mandatory upgrading to the minimum level of life safety. Retrofit is being included into the fire code on a staged basis, occupancy by occupancy. Generally, the standard for the minimum level of life safety is somewhat less than what the building code would dictate, and that's identified in figure 1 at the back of your report. This is mainly due to the fact that retrofit deals with minimum standards for life safety. The building code also contains provisions for requirements for property protection.

All retrofit legislation is developed on the basis of four principles of life safety: containment, means of egress, fire alarm and detection, and suppression. It is important to appreciate the interrelationship of the four principles and understand how they complement each other to provide that level of life safety.

A couple of important points: There's significant discretion in the fire code for the fire official to deal with existing buildings. Most important, it is up to the owner to comply with the fire code. It's like that for all occupancies.

Our initial involvement on the issue of accessory apartments began approximately five years ago by the fire service approaching us for guidance on how to deal with these type of units within a unit. An apparent rising number of these units were creating safety concerns and they appeared to be circumventing the normal regulatory system.

In order to provide direction to the fire service on how to deal with these occupancies, we originally developed guidelines. They were in the final stages of our normal review process when, in June 1992, the release of the Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Municipal Affairs document called Apartments in Houses contained many of those guidelines.

As a result of the initiatives contained in Bill 90 of the day, it seemed appropriate for us to formalize the guidelines into regulations to become part of the fire code. I would note that prior to these regulations becoming part of the fire code, the fire service can deal with these occupancies today by the use of fire marshal's orders.

Throughout the process the OFM and the Ministry of Housing have maintained a very close liaison. We recognize that there was some uniqueness to these type of occupancies.

The OFM struck a task group in the fall of 1992 to develop our regulations. It was agreed at that time that the recommendations coming from the task group would not only be used to develop the retrofit regulations but would also be used as a guide in the revision of the renovation section of the building code. That went forth independently from there. The committee was composed of representatives from other ministries, building owners and tenant associations, as well as building and fire officials and professional representatives. At the back of your report, in table 1, we have outlined the makeup of our committee. Final recommendations were arrived at in late 1993.


The regulations: first of all, what they apply to, and then we go on with those four principles of life safety I talked about. The regulation would apply to detached houses, semi-detached houses or row houses that, quite simply, would contain two units within the one unit.

In the containment section we would require dwelling units to be fire-separated from each other. For instance, this section would require a separation constructed from drywall on wood or metal framing, with a solid-core wood door at any connection between the two occupants.

A home owner also has the option, in the draft regulations, of providing lesser grades of separation between the two units should they install an interconnected smoke alarm system or should they sprinkler the building, so there are alternatives.

With respect to means of egress -- in other words, getting out of the building -- each dwelling unit must be served by one of the following: either a door opening directly to the outdoors, or one means of escape that may be shared if it is fire-separated from the remainder of the building, leads directly to the exterior and has limitations on the flame spread within the path of travel.

The third option is two means of escape that would include a doorway that may lead through another dwelling unit and a window of certain minimum dimensions. If you choose that option, you also have to have an interconnected smoke alarm system from one unit to the other so that if there is a fire in one unit, the occupants in the other unit are quickly notified that there is an emergency. I've identified there what our specific requirements will be, and I can deal with questions at the end.

The last option is that if you have an existing means of escape that you want to leave in place, that's acceptable if you sprinkler the building.

A smoke alarm is required in each dwelling unit. It may be battery-operated or hard-wired.

We deal with suppression in that if you choose a sprinkler system it would have to be to a certain standard. We are not proposing mandatory sprinklers for these occupancies. This would raise the level of protection afforded under the fire code retrofit to a level higher than what is currently contained in the building code.

Last, each unit covered by this section would be subject to a one-time electrical inspection.

That, in a very short overview, is what our proposed regulations will contain.

Going on to touch on the Fire Marshals Act, because I understand there have been some questions about the powers in the act, the Fire Marshals Act provides the legislative framework for most fire safety activities of the office of the fire marshal and the fire service.

Section 18 provides the power to inspect all buildings and premises, and for such purposes the assistant to the fire marshal may at all reasonable hours enter into and upon the building for the purposes of examination. Upon certain conditions, the fire service may issue orders for the upgrading or closing of a building. In the latter case, the approval of the fire marshal would be required.

Section 18.3 is a recent addition to the Fire Marshals Act. That section says that if the fire marshal or an officer has reasonable grounds to believe a risk of fire poses an immediate threat to life, he or she may without warning enter any land or premises and, for the purposes of removing or reducing a threat, may take minor corrective action. There are significant fines in the act for persons who hinder or disturb the fire marshal or the officer in the exercise of their duties. We do agree that in some cases entry may be delayed by, for example, someone not being home or refusing entry. To our knowledge, the latter case would be a rare occurrence.

At this time, it is our opinion that the enforcement provisions in the Fire Marshals Act provide a reasonable balance between the need for access and the right of an individual. To us the priority seems to be identifying that these units exist.

Finally, section 19 of the Fire Marshals Act sets out the enabling legislation for the fire code, which is the document within which the retrofit section would fall.

Last, you undoubtedly wish to know the fire safety record for these occupancies. I wish I had definitive answers, but we don't track basement apartments separately. I do not believe, however, that the issue is, are these occupancies more hazardous than other residential occupancies? The issue to us is that residential occupancies are the location of 93% of our fire fatalities which occurred between 1983 and 1990 in a study we conducted. That's highlighted in figure 2; there's a pie chart there. Analysis of the current data indicates this percentage to be roughly the same; ie, around 90% of fire fatalities are occurring in residential buildings.

We review a number of fatality scenarios, and one of those is identified in figure 3. Briefly, of the 96 fatalities up to September 1993, 63 occurred in residences where smoke alarms were not present or did not activate. Only 10 occurred in residences where the smoke alarm was known to activate.

These figures are dramatic when you consider that we estimate from recent surveys that 54% of dwelling units have an operable smoke alarm. In other words, of the 54% we clocked 10 fatalities in that 10-month period, and of the other 46% there were somewhere in excess of 60 fatalities.

Due to the limitations of our statistics, we carried out a separate review of some of the fire records our investigators had actually compiled in carrying out their duties. We did that for 1989 and 1990 to give you a little background as to what we are seeing. In 1989 there were 115 fire occurrences in Ontario residential properties that resulted in 161 fatalities. A review of the associated investigation reports identified two incidents that occurred in basement apartments. In both cases, the fires occurred in the basement dwelling unit and each resulted in a single fatality. In one of the cases, the basement of a three-bedroom bungalow contained a two-bedroom apartment. The fire originated in a pot on the kitchen stove early in the morning and spread throughout the apartment. Smoke migrated up to the main floor. The smoke alarm located in the first-floor kitchen was activated and it was actually the first-floor occupants who became aware of the fire. The occupant in the basement did not survive the fire. Separations were missing, and of course there was no smoke alarm.

In 1990, there were 110 fire occurrences in Ontario residential properties that resulted in 132 fatalities. A review of the associated investigation reports identified four basement apartment incidents that resulted in five deaths. In the incident I've highlighted for you here, it's the scenario where a smoker's materials ignited a living room couch. I'll quickly jump to the middle of the page.

The scenarios reviewed for basement apartments are similar to the overall residential statistics we have: smoking articles starting a fire in the living room or sleeping area; the pot on the stove that I mentioned.

Since the development of the original guidelines and our subsequent draft regulations, we have evaluated most fatal fires in this type of occupancy against those documents. You can never be sure whether the legislation will stop a specific fire from becoming a fatality, but we believe that if the occupancies were retrofitted, as we are proposing and as outlined in the draft, many of those fatalities and injuries would have been preventable.

So far, retrofit legislation deals with minimum fire safety standards for the following residential occupancies: rooming, boarding and lodging, low-rise, high-rise. Hotels are regulated under the Hotel Fire Safety Act. A proposal for mandatory smoke alarms for single-family dwelling units is currently being considered. Dealing with the accessory apartment issue is one more step in our commitment to reduce the fire losses.

To conclude, I would like to say that we believe the accessory apartment draft regulation will play a significant role in addressing the unacceptable fire losses in residential buildings. However, all of these regulations I have mentioned deal with a failure: The fire has already started and we're trying to mitigate the results. To be truly effective, we must not only focus on the regulations but on changing our attitudes. We cannot regulate carelessness but must educate against it, and many of our initiatives are not only in the regulatory area but are also dealing with those things.

The Chair: Does the presentation you have just made represent the views of the Ministry of the Solicitor General? In other words, is this an official presentation of the Ministry of the Solicitor General?

Mr Crawford: Yes, an official presentation of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, office of the fire marshal.

The Chair: I think it was necessary to clarify that. Thank you very much for appearing. It's unfortunate that the 30 minutes allocated has expired.



Mrs Elsie Etchen: I am Elsie Etchen, president of the Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics. With me is June Beeby, the executive director of the Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics.

We thought we would begin with a brief outline of who we are, a brief description of what schizophrenia is, and then outline to you some of our concerns, perhaps adding a few questions. Our interest is primarily in the Landlord and Tenant Act, so our comments are almost exclusively restricted to those amendments. We passed out a handout. I won't read it all; I'll just go through some of the highlights.

Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics is a family-based organization. We are an organization of families of persons with schizophrenia; our organization includes the families and the persons themselves. We have a membership of about 3,000 across the province. What we do is support and educate the families of people with schizophrenia; we educate the public about the disease, not only education but also making them aware of the disease; we advocate for improved services for our loved ones; and we also hope to increase the amount of money that's available for research that will lead to improved treatments.

The extent of the concern we have: There are about 45,000 to 50,000 people in Ontario with this disease at present. It's a lifelong disease; it occurs in early childhood. At the moment there is no cure for it and the symptoms are controlled by neuroleptic drugs, so it's a lifetime concern. The symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, abnormal speech, extremely erratic behaviour and absence of responsiveness. The things you've usually associated with "madness" are typical of schizophrenia. It runs in families, and as we've said, the brian damage often begins in early childhood and perhaps may occur even before birth.

One of the reasons we're here is the statistics we have presented to you. Only about 25% of the people who get this disease are fully recovered and able to work as individuals like you and like me in society. Of the other 75%, 10 years after onset, 10% of those will be dead but the rest will probably be needing a great deal of support.

For most of the people with schizophrenia, for those who don't work, their only source of income is family benefits and general welfare assistance. These people are often referred to as ex-psychiatric patients, or sometimes I guess other things, but all of them continue to live with this disease. We are unfortunately aware that many people with the disease fail to take their medication, and this is one of the reasons that housing for them is so difficult, because when they become delusional or psychotic and they disturb other people, then landlords and people who offer them accommodation find it easier not to keep them in their premises.

We also wanted to tell you that about one of every three of the homeless people you see on the streets is suffering from severe mental illness, and one of these severe mental illnesses is schizophrenia. "Parkdale" is a euphemism for the housing disaster facing many ex-psychiatric patients, as you're very well aware, and "boarding-homes" is another one that is often used.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we're primarily interested in the Landlord and Tenant Act. We're very, very pleased that you'll be protecting the residents in some of Ontario's heretofore unregulated accommodation. As was mentioned, we have some questions about it and a few concerns. We think the amendments being put forward recognizing the rights of persons living in this accommodation are an important step forward, but these are some of the issues or concerns we want to raise.

The coverage of the act itself: Maybe because we're not lawyers, we're having some difficulty with this, but we're asking you if the wording of this bill covers boarding-homes and rooming-houses where some care is given. We know the definition of "residential premises" includes "the purpose of receiving care services" -- that's under section 1(2) and (3) -- whether or not the receiving of the care is the primary purpose, and then you define some exemptions. But we note under section 2 that care services do not include meals, so we're very anxious about what's going to happen to boarding-homes. A boarding-home or a rooming-house where the services provided do not include care services as defined in section 1(1) of the bill may present some difficulties, in our view, in interpreting whether this legislation applies. In other words, a landlord provides care only, and not care services as defined in your bill, does this bill really apply?

Perhaps we could just remind you that in northern Ontario, many of the accommodations into which ex-psychiatric patients go are not boarding-homes, just rooming-houses, and sometimes the care is provided by the people living in the house themselves and sometimes it's provided externally.

We're very concerned about the issue of, if a landlord provides some degree of care and not care and services as defined in this bill, does the bill apply to them? We're most anxious that it should.

On the subject of evictions, we're a bit on the horns of a dilemma because we're perhaps at the low end of the housing scale; at least, many of the persons with schizophrenia who are living in the community are. When we outline the places they live, many of them, as I've already said, live on the streets. Most of them who don't live with their families require varying degrees of support services and many of them don't receive their support services, and we know there are often troublesome tensions when people are integrated into public housing. We're not being critical of the housing sphere at all, because it's the lack of support systems rather than the housing that's the problem.

But it is the lack of support systems that is the reason persons with schizophrenia may be forced out of their housing. They may be asked to leave because the enjoyment of the premises and safety of other persons living in the same place may be a consideration.

Agencies providing accommodation for ex-psychiatric patients sometimes require those admitted to their premises to be on medication before they admit them, so the admission criteria sometimes exclude people with schizophrenia.


Another reason we've raised often with various government civil servants and perhaps other government committees is the Mental Health Act itself. It makes treatment of incapable persons difficult, and we haven't been able to persuade the government to make access to treatment easier.

As I've mentioned, we're on the horns of a dilemma relating to evictions and grounds of behaviour, because the persons in the home who may be exhibiting the bizarre behaviour are probably persons with schizophrenia and the alternative for them if they're evicted may be going on the streets. So we have both sides of the eviction issue to consider.

We know, and perhaps you all know too, the police can be called and there are Mental Health Act provisions that may be used, but the community crisis services that are being made available don't have psychiatrists attached to them; medication is the way behaviour can be modified. Also, form 1 and form 3, which you may be familiar with, under the Mental Health Act do require a medical doctor to sign them.

We are also aware that evictions can take months, and we describe in our brief some of the problems with the Mental Health Act.

We also would like to tell you that doctors are becoming somewhat more reluctant to find that persons are a danger to themselves or others or that they're in danger of physical impairment. It's becoming increasingly difficult to have a person with schizophrenia committed, so there are increasing numbers of very ill persons with schizophrenia in the community and some of them on the streets. Many people with schizophrenia go through revolving doors, that is, one accommodation after another. Some of them are quite disruptive, and we recognize that, but we also know it's becoming increasingly difficult just to take them for an assessment or have them committed.

What we're going to suggest to you is that landlords, when this occurs, have access to some sort of emergency care. We're suggesting you look at the Substitute Decisions Act and "incapacity for personal care," because that includes an inability to understand information relevant to making a decision concerning their shelter. It also provides for investigations of "serious adverse effects" by the public guardian and trustee and an application for temporary guardianship by the public guardian and trustee.

We're urging you, at a minimum, where a person appears to be mentally incapable and they're about to be evicted because they're disruptive or they can't remain in the home, to consider a provision requiring a landlord to advise the public guardian and trustee that serious adverse effects are likely to occur so that at least the person who is being evicted gets some chance of somebody doing an intervention or somebody providing some assistance to them.

We know there have been discussions about a fast-track eviction process, the one that was recommended by Lightman. We haven't been a party to any of these and we cannot comment on them at all, except that we urge you that if you adopt something like that, you think of the person who is about to lose their accommodation, not just the persons in the accommodation but the person him- or herself who's about to lose their accommodation. We think the route through the Substitute Decisions Act might help them.

Transfers to hospitals: We are concerned that there be speedy transfers of the severely mentally ill to an appropriate facility. That's someone in a psychotic state. We think eviction is not the appropriate way. If you can't use the Mental Health Act, there must be some other way.

We also comment on the subject of access to rooms with 24 hours' notice. We assure you we know the need for privacy, but most of the people who have schizophrenia who live in rented accommodation require some supervision of their care. We also know that when they're off their medication, sometimes their voices tell them to do dangerous things. I spent some time last week with one of our chapter presidents discussing a person who had been let out of a mental hospital recently because he couldn't be committed and was setting fires and had barricaded himself in his room. Those are the kinds of problems landlords face.

Our concern is that landlords who rent accommodation may exclude persons with schizophrenia because they may be unable to provide the appropriate supervision. We don't have any specific recommendations to make, but we want you to take that into account when you're considering these amendments.

We are concerned also about the contracts that some municipalities have with agency operators under the General Welfare Assistance Act to provide care services. We have a number of relatives included in these contracts and we are a little unsure what's going to happen to these contracts under these amendments, so we'd like to ask you, what do you think the impact of this act is going to be? We couldn't quite understand it or quite understand what you intended to do with them.

We also comment that standards of care are not included, that it's a tenancy act. We realize that arises out of Lightman, that he was anxious that these not be institutions and recommended that they not be too closely regulated. However, he did comment on medication and staffing and other things like that, that some sort of minimal standard needs to be put in place. We were wondering if it would be possible for you to put in a clause enabling the Ministry of Health to look at some of the essentials or basics, the elementary things Lightman recommended about medication. We're also very much aware that some of the food in some of these boarding-homes is not very satisfactory.

We're concerned about the termination of tenancy and we raise a few issues about that. Under possible additions, we bring to your attention the fact that the Ministry of Health has had a system of classification of group homes that depended on the level of care provided in the group home. You've got a bill here that treats everyone alike: One size fits all, I guess, is the current expression. We were wondering if it might not be possible for you to consider some variations in the application of this bill by the kind of care that's given. We're at the bottom end of the accommodation spectrum that Lightman dealt with. Maybe those at the top and those at the bottom could be dealt with somewhat differently.

Under the Rent Control Act we're just asking you a question. Nearly all of our relatives who live in these premises are either on family benefits or general welfare assistance. We're wondering about the tie-in between the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. If increases are applied for, who's going to steer this in the future? As you probably know, with the accommodation in homes the rental has been geared to the social assistance allowance, and when the allowance goes up the charges go up, so things are kept somewhat in tandem. We're concerned now about what's going to happen when applications are made for rental increases. Will the social assistance automatically go up if the charges go up? Who's going to steer the system?

Those are our comments. We don't want to appear too critical, because we think this is going to have a major impact and improve the lives of persons with schizophrenia very considerably.


Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): You certainly raise some very important points, and I appreciate the sentiments and the direction you are coming from. At the same time, we have had representation from quite a few groups who have said they're very concerned about the impact on others and the ability to provide medical services to others if there isn't a means to remove tenants, especially people in a rehab setting, from the community. How do you feel about this dilemma between, on the one hand, the right to housing, and on the other hand, the right of others to be rehabilitated and to be helped in their effort to become healthy again?

Mrs Etchen: Those are the horns of the dilemma we're on, because the persons who are likely to be evicted are persons with schizophrenia, and many of the persons who are in these homes for, as you say, rehabilitation purposes or for accommodation purposes also have schizophrenia. We're on the horns of a dilemma.

We suggest that you maybe consider a scheme where you have levels of care, and at the bottom you have different provisions about sort of evictions and transfers to hospital from those you have at the top, the retirement or rest home. We wondered if it might not be made a bit more flexible, with the eviction provision changed so that it isn't considered an eviction but is considered a removal that's in the best interests of the person himself to be admitted to a hospital or admitted to another place.

This is why we're suggesting that you contact the public guardian and trustee. If the person is to be evicted, if I may use that word, if a person is to be transferred out of the institution because of his bizarre behaviour, consider him too and have some sort of guardianship or intervention on his behalf.

But we agree with you. We know there are some very bizarre behaviours, and you need to take these into consideration. We hope you can have a graded system of applications of the act itself.

Mr Daigeler: I appreciate that suggestion.

Not talking about the rehab homes now, because you talk about general landlords as well and the difficulties they face with the people you're talking about and acknowledge the real difficulties, I wonder how fair it is to put as a burden on the landlords what is essentially a health problem. Is it the role of the landlord to have to provide the community support services and the health services that unfortunately are needed in those cases?

Mrs Etchen: I don't know whether there's a simple answer to that question. Many of the support services are now being provided offsite, and the problem with some landlords is that they are not very anxious to incur the extra burden of having special arrangements made. This is one of the reasons we're concerned about the General Welfare Assistance Act and what you're going to do with that, because if there are contracts for providing services that exist now, we would like to see them continue.

As for the landlord and his responsibility for providing support services, these are called care homes and you have a definition in the act of care services, and we think this is what the landlord should supply. Our concern is, is there a difference between care services and care homes? I don't know whether the landlord should always supply them; we're flexible on that issue.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): You've raised many issues for us to consider. This bill is called An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property. There may or may not be a problem of a shortage of housing in some areas and not in others. That's an issue. The other issue which has all of a sudden surfaced in this bill is the problem of mental and physical health care. Those problems clearly exist, there's no question.

Mrs Etchen: No question, absolutely none.

Mr Tilson: All you've got to do is read your paper or papers like yours.

Ms June Beeby: Or look on the street.

Mr Tilson: Of course. As a member of the opposition looking at these problems, we have Ministry of Housing, we have Community and Social Services, we've got health care. The Ministry of Housing will be putting forth regulations under this bill; for example, tenure is going to be regulated but standard of care is not regulated by Bill 120. That's the major criticism I have.

I'm not challenging the problems, the very genuine problems, you raise in your paper. The question I put forward to the government is that I believe it's creating a bureaucratic mess, because I think all of these care problems that must be dealt with cannot be dealt with by the Ministry of Housing and should be dealt with by other ministries which have people trained to put forward regulations and deal with these things.

You start mixing it up, and it gets back to what Mr Daigeler raised: How in the world are landlords in boarding-houses and other places going to be dealing with health problems? They have no idea how to deal with them.

Mrs Etchen: That's right, and that's why we think you should put a provision in here enabling the Ministry of Health to provide standards for these accommodations. We couldn't agree with you more. I mean, we don't have a mental health system in this province. We've just got fragments and bits scattered all over that are uncoordinated, in Housing, MCSS, Health.

You're dealing with tenure, and in the boarding-home situations we are aware of, you do need some protection of persons. Lightman used the term "garbage bag evictions." Those things occur and we need to help people in that way, but we also need to deal with the whole mental health issue.

Mr Tilson: Lightman is dealing with the regulation of care homes, but that's not what this bill was originally supposed to be for. This bill is to deal with the problems of housing: basement apartments -- granny flats, to use the sexist expression that originally was put forward, and now they're called garden flats. But the problems you're putting forward have to do with mental and physical health care. I'm really repeating what Mr Daigeler said: If anything, it's going to create more of a conflict.

Mrs Etchen: It could.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): First of all, you raise a good point about rent control and the relationship between Community and Social Services and the increases of rent. That is certainly a question I'd like answered as well, because I'm not too sure about it. I'd ask direction from the committee about whether this piece of information might be useful. It might be something we want to talk about later.

Mrs Etchen: If you get an answer, could you tell us? We're very, very anxious about it.

Mr Mammoliti: I'm very interested in the answer myself. Could you provide us with any statistics about people living with the disease who occupy the accommodation provided out there right now? For example, I know there are a lot of people suffering from the disease who rent regular apartments on a regular basis. What statistics are available for us about those who have posed problems to the landlords in relation to these fires you were talking about or destruction of property or that sort of thing? Are there statistics that would give us an indication that there is a problem out there that we need to address in the way you're talking about?


Ms Beeby: We only have anecdotal information from the things our families tell us are happening to their relatives. We don't have the resources to gather those statistics as an organization.

Mr Mammoliti: Is it a big problem, do you find?

Ms Beeby: It's a big problem for the people who are being harmed by the situation, who are suffering as a result of it.

Ms Etchen: Certainly we hear about all of these cases. We don't hear about things when they're going well, we hear about them when they're not going well: the problems of not being able to get your child treated, the problem of not being able to get the bizarre behaviour under control. Our executive director deals with half a dozen a day or half a dozen a week, I'm not sure, but we're hearing about these all the time. Bizarre behaviour or quasi-destructive behaviour -- talk to people in the public housing field about people's schizophrenia. The major problem is the bizarre behaviour and the lack of ability to control this and have other tenants enjoy their premises. It's a problem, but we don't have statistics.

Ms Beeby: But you can't separate housing for the seriously psychiatrically ill from all the other services. I think the greatest villain in our people being housed decently is the existing Mental Health Act, where somebody is clearly acting bizarrely but because they aren't pushed to dangerousness for themselves or others, they're allowed to deteriorate, get kicked out of their apartment, and nothing is done about it. I know that's not your mandate, but you can't ignore the whole picture. A change in the Mental Health Act to allow people to be taken care of because they need care would go a long way towards solving some of these problems. You're right: I don't this act think can take care of the most seriously ill.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): It is a housing act.

Ms Beeby: I understand that, but as a society we can't separate out in neat little pockets: This is housing and this is something else. People need a place to live. People we're talking about need it desperately, yet it looks as if this is not going to help our people that much.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before us today. You've raised some interesting issues.


Mr Kenneth Brown: Good morning. My name is Kenneth Brown. Along with two other speakers representing many Toronto-area residents living in shared non-profit accommodation, I will be addressing you briefly about some serious concerns we have about Bill 120. First, we're going to hear from Gerry Thomas of 147 Queen Street, and then Paul Mauchan of 90 Shuter Street.

Mr Gerry Thomas: I am Gerry Thomas, a resident at Keith Whitney Homes at 147 Queen Street. We as a group here support Bill 120 and the rights of individuals. However, we feel the rights of the broader community must not take second place to those of the individual. We feel the proposed legislation does not recognize the realities of life for those of us living in shared accommodation and should be amended to better reflect the intent of our licensing agreements in dealing with very real concerns about safety in our communities, from acts of violence, illegal activities and possession of weapons.

Keith Whitney's mandate is to provide safe, secure, affordable housing to those who are hard to house. The project provides 100% rent-geared-to-income, non-profit shared accommodations for 194 single adults. Its aim is to assist the homeless and those living on limited income to obtain and maintain housing and become stable in the community.

In these shared accommodations, four, six or eight people each have a private single bedroom and share a common kitchen and living area. Two residents in each area share a washroom. The overall population of our project is divided 50% female and 50% male. To get into Keith Whitney housing, there is no screening of prospective residents. Bedrooms in these apartments average about 7 by 12, with the common areas being approximately 300 square feet. As you can see, people must coexist in close proximity, and personal safety is paramount.

We have a resolution process. We try to work on a solution that is acceptable to all parties and is directed to residents maintaining their housing. But the resolution board, which consists of two members of the community and two members of the board of directors, has the ultimate responsibility to resolve the conflicts in cases where no mutual agreeable solution is achieved.

During the period of January 1, 1993, to December 31, 1993, of the 45 resolution boards held, only five people lost their housing. In those cases, all who lost their housing had been before the board on a number of occasions for similar violations.

To demonstrate how this process works, I cite a recent case of a woman on drugs who threatened violence and even death to her female apartment mates while wielding a knife. She was convinced to put the knife away but proceeded to attack one of her roommates with her fists. At this point, staff were called to try and calm the situation, but the woman lunged at the staff member, who returned to the office to call for police assistance. The police arrived within 15 minutes and were taken to the scene. After discussing the whole situation with the residents, the police charged the woman with assault and removed her from the building. Within 10 minutes of being removed originally, she was back at the front door kicking at it and screaming obscenities. The police were again summoned, and she was again taken away and didn't return that night.

This case was taken before our resolution board, and the woman was able to maintain her housing, with the stipulations by the board that she seek help for drug abuse and violent behaviour.

If we had to deal with this situation under the Landlord and Tenant Act, when the police released the offender she could have just returned to the shared accommodation and put the safety of the other tenants at jeopardy. This could last for some period of time until the eviction process was carried out, two months to a year or longer.

Although I've emphasized safety throughout, we have a responsibility to protect the rights of the community in other areas, such as personal security. Points which you might find trivial could be of profound effect on those living in shared accommodation.

We don't have time to cover all our concerns, but I invite any member or the committee as a whole to visit our housing projects and sit with us and discuss these concerns so we can demonstrate how you can best address the important concerns we have in shared accommodations.

Mr Paul Mauchan: My name is Paul Mauchan. I'm a resident at 90 Shuter Street, a project of the Homes First Society; 90 Shuter Street is an 11-storey building with four- and five-bedroom shared apartments.

The residents of 90 Shuter have no problem with Bill 120 except for the time it takes to follow certain steps, especially those leading to eviction. At 90 Shuter, we follow an arbitration process to resolve problems and make fair decisions. The members of the arbitration committee are residents and volunteers. This process is fair because there are many steps taken to ensure fairness and protection to the residents. For example, they cannot just be thrown out into the street. The residents have opportunities within this process to explain their side and their concerns. The arbitration committee then comes to an agreement with the resident and makes a decision. If the resident is not satisfied with this decision, they can appeal it to another committee.

This process is very productive and clears problems much more quickly than we feel the court system can. We all know that the courts are very overloaded and, through no fault of their own, move much more slowly. This process allows for resolving daily problems around sharing, noise, cleaning etc, but it also provides due process for removing violent or dangerous residents from the building quickly and permanently.


Last year there was an incident of violence in an apartment, involving one resident attacking another with a knife. The violent resident was arrested but also evicted from the building in very short order. This situation, if dealt with under the Landlord and Tenant Act, would have resulted in a much longer process of eviction of this resident, leaving their apartment mates asking: "Is this person coming back? Am I safe, and can I go to sleep?" These residents will not be protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Please take these concerns of all residents in shared accommodation into consideration and make necessary amendments before the bill is passed. Thank you for your time and for listening.

Ms Sherryl Judd-Williams: Bonjour. My name is Sherryl Judd-Williams. I am here on behalf of StreetCity, which is where I reside. My primary concern regarding Bill 120 is not to oppose it, but only to welcome it with suggested amendments which would affect me as a concerned resident-citizen. I personally agree with Bill 120, but from my viewpoint, I would like to see it amended so that perhaps the bottom line is to ensure that all residents in shared accommodation would feel secure.

As a fairly new resident of only one month, the new kid on the block, I have had the opportunity to see certain situations that have taken place within my particular housing. Some of these situations have resulted in the police being called in; others have been resolved through our community's mediation process.

Prior to moving to StreetCity, I have to be honest and admit that I was fortunate to reside in rental dwellings where I was not subject to most of the common happenings that occur in my current residence. Now that the shoe is on the other foot -- mine -- I have been made aware of just what takes place in the real world.

Community living to me has always meant that those of us involved should put a great deal of effort into the place we call home, thus ultimately striving for a more secure community. In doing so, we should all try a little harder to understand that each and every one of us is unique, and yes, we're only human and we make mistakes, and yes, we will learn from them, as we all come from all walks of life.

Emotional upsets arise from time to time, depending on the particular crisis involved. It is very sad that most crises are dealt with through violence, alcohol, drug abuse etc, instead of utilizing much-ignored common sense. My main concern as a resident is how Bill 120 will affect the safety of myself and others at StreetCity in case of a violent situation, because the existing process to evict a violent individual through the court system may take as long as six months or even more. Meanwhile, that person can remain at StreetCity and threaten the people living and working there.

All I am asking is that Bill 120 be amended so that there is a faster process to evict violent individuals and drug dealers to therefore enhance the safety of our community. Thank you very much for your attention and have a nice day.

Mr Kenneth Brown: I'm speaking today on behalf of the tenants of Houselink Community Homes, an organization which provides affordable cooperative housing for ex-psychiatric inmates and other "hard to house" people, an organization that does so very successfully for almost 300 Toronto residents.

"Crazy people are dangerous": This is a widely held belief. The more sophisticated among us would probably say crazy people can be dangerous. Those of us who have a faint glimmering of Utopian outlook in regard to social administration might prefer to say that anybody who is dangerous is inherently crazy. One way or another, there are a lot of crazy people about. But I digress.

I'll read to you a few examples from Houselink tenants who have encountered dangerous domestic situations. These examples are from letters which have been appended to the package you've got.

First example: One resident, acutely psychotic, attacked another of his roommates. It took two days before he was voluntarily admitted to hospital. The attacked resident had to be accommodated elsewhere, which cost Houselink several hundred dollars. A rapid eviction was in order, and even the attacker agreed.

An eviction occurred where one resident was found to be sexually aggressive and with violent tendencies as well. A potential attack had to be averted.

These were not garbage bag or arbitrary evictions, by any means. When tenants threaten bodily harm, undertake illegal activities, or sexually assault or harass someone in a serious manner, emergency eviction procedures should be available as an option.

I might add that I have not felt discriminated against on any grounds in my accommodation. Houselink staff do not invade privacy or harass tenants, in my personal experience.

Example two: "We are five people who live in a cooperative house. We all have our own psychiatric histories and need stable, quiet housing. A prolonged eviction procedure will no doubt increase our stress and make our psychiatric problems worse, thereby preventing our healing and...return to the workforce.

"Once, in this co-op, a person threatened everyone violently, including threatening one of the women with rape. An immediate eviction was the only way to prevent the others from suffering from this person's anti-social behaviour. Without immediate evictions, these other residents would lose their right to live in a stable atmosphere and may decide to leave, perhaps becoming homeless in the process.

"Because the membership controls the Houselink Community Homes, we are in the best position to decide who needs to be evicted and how quickly in a collective manner. Therefore the Landlord and Tenant Act should have a provision for our type of housing to be allowed to evict people when required, as quickly as required."

Example four: "I live in a cooperative living arrangement where there are four rooms being rented including mine.... If someone in the house ever got violent towards me or any other house members, the removal of this particular person could take up to six months. This is very frightening."

Example five: "One long-time resident began to do things like getting angry at other residents, yanking the phone out of the wall, banging objects around in a threatening manner, leaving the house doors open on cold days and turning off the pilot light on the furnace.

"One evening in October we were freezing and there was no heat in the house. We called Consumers' Gas. They came in to check the furnace. The serviceman said the pilot light was off and a live wire had been connected to the furnace...that the furnace might have exploded.

"This is the kind of life-threatening situation that requires immediate action to remove the dangerous person from the house and to prevent their return.... A lengthy eviction process leaves the remaining residents of a shared unit unprotected.... The proposed law should take this into account."

This last is a good example of how tenant misbehaviour can result in a serious threat to property as well as to life. One way or another, there are a lot of crazy people about and sometimes things go wrong, often when someone strays from strict adherence to their prescribed path of stabilizing medication.

When potentially violent situations arise between housemates, we are faced with a complex situation. Available remedies are not effective or speedy enough to protect us from violence or intimidation when things go awry. The problems we're talking about arise with shared accommodation, not single units. Sharing a house with other people is different from living alone in an apartment.

Most of you have a family at home: a wife, a husband, children, perhaps an elderly family member living with you. You're used to making family decisions which affect your lives as well as enjoying this mutual support on a daily basis. Some of us are not so happily endowed. We live cooperatively for reasons other than financial. In doing so, we avoid the social isolation that can be so devastating to people already vulnerable to a sense of disfranchisement. In many senses our housemates provide a substitute family. We strive to collectively decide how to live together and solve our problems.

Among the many submissions made to you over the past few weeks, there have been several touching on these problems of social intervention and misbehaviour in shared accommodation. Some, like the letter from Toronto Christian Resource Centre, which is appended, make very specific suggestions about accelerated eviction procedures in dangerous situations. We feel these merit your serious consideration.

Bill 120 has been referred to as the Residents' Rights Act. We ask that you ensure it lives up to this lofty title and fully support the fact that all tenants must be spared the threat of eviction without appropriate legal protection and fair process. But we are not legislators. We lack the skills needed to frame the law in such complex matters. That is your job. What we require from you is the administrative flexibility that recognizes our special needs and the importance to us of having an ability to make our own decisions regarding domestic affairs. This will allow us to continue to feel safe at home.


Mr Tilson: Thank you, all of you. I'm sitting listening to what you are saying. There's no question that we all are from different political, economic, educational and cultural backgrounds. One of the issues is, how do we get along?

The other issue is, not only have we read about the violence in the schools and violence in the streets; here you're giving examples of violence in the residential dwellings. What are we going to do about it?

Much of this debate develops on landlord versus tenant, but that isn't always the case. You've just given examples from your own situation of the problem of protecting the individual tenant versus the majority of the tenants. That individual tenant may disagree with some of these allegations of violence, notwithstanding that they may have been seen doing them. You get into all those difficulties.

I was interested in the suggestion by all of you about immediate eviction. Under our current law, the Landlord and Tenant Act, whether for your situation or any other landlord and tenant situation, that is virtually impossible. I understand what you're saying, but can you make this possible at the same time you're giving the protection to the individual who may be wrongly accused of doing something? You're saying that if you see someone chopping a door down or beating somebody up, they should be turfed out. That's what we're saying about the schools. That's what we're saying about the streets. Maybe our society's become too soft. Maybe we're letting people beat each other up. You get into that problem.

Mr Kenneth Brown: I think it's good that immediate evictions aren't possible, but we're asking for the flexibility to have an eviction procedure or process that is effective at protecting people.

Mr Tilson: Have you got one in mind?

The Chair: Thank you. Maybe someone else can ask that question.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Along the same line, with respect to abbreviated eviction, my question is particularly about those who are in care homes and act out as part of their illness. Why should they be penalized by being evicted, particularly a fast-track eviction process, if it's simply a manifestation of their illness that's causing them to act inappropriately?

Mr Thomas: If they were in individual dwellings, I don't see why they should be evicted, but when it endangers the safety of the people living with them, most definitely. It can be very frightening to have somebody go berserk on you. There is the Mental Health Act, which can take them away for 72 hours, and the police may take them away for an evening or whatever, but if they can't be taken from the premises, they're right back at you again and probably more violent than previously.

Mr Owens: What happens now if a person is asked to leave or, as the gentleman mentioned a co-op, if a vote is taken and the person is asked to leave? How are you protecting yourselves? Have there been incidents where people have come back to the residence who have objected to the program?

Mr Thomas: Yes, most definitely.

Mr Owens: Do you see any kind of appeal process, as Mr Tilson asked? If there's a group dynamic that decides "This person here is the person we're going to pick on today," do you envision any appeal process of that fast-track eviction, or is it just "You're out," and you're out?

Mr Thomas: I don't think any of us are saying, "You're out," and you're out. What we're saying is that there must be some way to protect us immediately from the danger from the resident.

We use an arbitration system now where the person has a chance to state his case. The resolution board can then make recommendations to him to seek help for regulating his medications or whatever may be required. This same process could be put in a fast-track.

Mr Owens: Is there any ability for that person at this point to have representation at a meeting of that type?

Mr Thomas: Yes. They can have support from other residents or from support workers or whatever the case may be.

Mr Owens: A legal clinic, for instance?

Mr Thomas: Yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: You have identified one of the major issues here: how we balance the rights of the individual with group rights. First of all, how often does this arise, in your experience? How many cases like this are there where you need access to quick eviction?

Mr Thomas: To quick eviction? We don't have a quick eviction as such.

Mr Gary Wilson: No, but as you'd like to see it. Just from the cases you're describing, how often does this happen?

Mr Thomas: We had 45 cases before our resolution board last year, of which five lost their premises. I would say there were five occasions when fast-track eviction was required.

Mr Gary Wilson: But 45 incidents arose?

Mr Thomas: Yes.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): What you're really looking for is an exemption to Bill 120. You're telling us that the process that's in place now in your different homes is working; you're satisfied. You would like Bill 120 to reflect the process that's in place now for your homes.

Mr Thomas: I don't see it as an exemption. There are areas of Bill 120 that we think do apply to us, do apply to the residents of our accommodation. We do feel an amendment must be put in. If it's an exemption, fine, but there has to be some method of dealing with shared accommodation specifically.

Mr Grandmaître: You talked about the arbitration committee you have in place. How does this work?

Mr Mauchan: Our arbitration committee just involves residents and volunteers. If a certain person is being brought in front of arbitration, they are informed. When they come, they state their side of the case, and the arbitration will make a decision. If the resident doesn't like the decision, they have an appeal process to a different committee. They can also bring in who they want for the arbitration committee; other people will come from, say, different housing groups. And it works.

Mr Grandmaître: You're satisfied that it's working?

Mr Mauchan: Yes. In our building it does work. It works very well and very seldom is it appealed.

Mr Grandmaître: If Bill 120 is accepted as is, what will be the results? How will it affect your residents?

Mr Mauchan: I can see the arbitration committee going right out the window, because then you're dealing directly through the courts so there's no point in having an arbitration committee. Then again you get back into the time frame of, instead of a decision being made within, say, seven days, two months or six months. The person who's in that, if it's a violent situation, is living in fear during all that time.

Mr Daigeler: I really appreciate your presentation, especially the real-life situations you're describing. This is not theory; this is the practice. One thing, though, that really puzzles me is that we've had quite a few community legal clinics come before the committee and they were some of the strongest proponents not to make any changes whatsoever. I would assume that traditionally the community legal clinics are the legal source you are relying on. Would you have any explanation of why there seems to be such a difference in position between you, who are in the situation, and the legal help and advisers from the community legal system?

Mr Thomas: Yes. The legal clinics' main concern, in our area at least -- I can't speak for all of them -- is the garbage bag evictions, generally from rooming-houses and boarding-houses where there is no arbitration or resolution or whatever it may be called. There is a landlord who says, for whatever reason, "You're out," and you're out. Although they have identified the non-profit sector as being a problem, I can only recall one case that ever went to court where anybody confronted us with this problem of eviction. That case was won by us, making our licensing agreement a legal document. The community legal people are dealing primarily with rooming-houses. As I say, we haven't had any dealing with them whatsoever, other than one occasion. This seems to be generally the case.

The Chair: Thank you. You've been helpful.



Dr Gina Fisher: My name is Gina Fisher and I work in the Community Support and Research Unit. My coworker here, Carol Zoulalian, also works in that unit. We happen to be a hospital-based unit very much involved in housing the seriously mentally ill, and very much involved as well in providing support in coordinating a number of housing projects.

Bill 120, as our unit sees it, is a very positive thing that we are on the whole very supportive of. Guaranteeing that all tenants have a basic set of fundamental rights is something we feel very strongly for, but we'd also like to maintain that a fast-track process or mechanism, as has been spoken about earlier today, is very important to the welfare of our consumer-survivors of mental health services.

As housing providers, we feel strongly about the need to uphold the rights and safety and enjoyment of the premises by all tenants. Therefore a fast-track mechanism, as you've heard about today, however that is construed, is of utmost importance to us. In particular, the implication of mental health reform is that many more mental health consumers will be in the community, and as a consequence a fast-track mechanism is that much more important.

Ms Carol Zoulalian: Consistent with mental health reform, they're talking about the downscaling of psychiatric beds in all the hospitals. We're going to be housing people who are identified as long-term chronic mentally ill. These individuals have minimal daily living skills, or they've lost the daily living skills they once had from being in hospital for so long or as a result of their mental illness; it's hard for them to live in a community without supports, so they fall under care beds or care services, that kind of housing.

Although we strongly support the Landlord and Tenant Act because it protects our tenants' rights, as Gina said, we're recommending that a fast-track process or some kind of mechanism be incorporated which will balance the difference between the rights of the community, of the many in housing, versus the rights of one.

Our experience is particularly with our cooperatives. Our shared accommodations illustrate this recommendation we're proposing. Although we operate housing facilities for the seriously mentally ill, the behaviours we experience are not exclusive to this group, as you've probably heard. They could occur in any shared living accommodation.

Some examples we've experienced: individuals brandishing a knife against others, but they haven't uttered any threats so the police are not able to remove such a person from the premises and the landlord's not really able to act in any manner which will support the rights and safety of others. Another example is when people are afraid to leave their rooms because of a co-tenant's visitors who come in, and neither the landlord or police at this point can do anything to ensure the safety of others.

These behaviours are negative ones, but they illustrate the difficulty experienced without a fast-track mechanism put in place in the Landlord and Tenant Act supporting the safety of others.

With the mental health reform, far more chronic people are going to be presented into the community. Without a fast-track process, the safety of others will continue to be in conflict with the safety of one. We're basically asking for some kind of mechanism to be incorporated into Bill 120. We don't really have any answers about what.

With Houselink's presentation before us, you asked the questions about what kind of process. All the tenants in a cooperative shared accommodation decide whether they want someone to move out, but when it comes right down to it, they have to write letters to the landlord requesting and go under a form 5, I think it is, where it's an anti-social behaviour. That takes a long time.

One person in particular has lived with us for two years. People are in fear whenever he does show up again, but he pays his rent and the landlord can't do anything to evict him. This form 5 anti-social thing has been going on, but when he stays away for a month but continues to pay his rent, he goes back to square one again. Whenever he does come and stay, people are very scared and very threatened and they'd like him out.

But there's also the part that you have a population that's vulnerable and doesn't want to put other people out, because they have a history of being put out themselves at one point or another because of their behaviour. Aside from being scared, they're also very understanding and tolerant of others. At times they'll be in a position where they'll be uncomfortable for a long time until they decide to act, and when they do act, it takes two years or more for someone to be asked to leave under form 5. That's the problem we're seeing.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for coming before us. Especially following on the heels of previous presentations this morning, it gives us an opportunity to discuss this issue more fully. How many instances like this do you see in the homes you're responsible for?

Ms Zoulalian: We have quite a few homes. They don't just occur in shared accommodations. We have our independent units, but where the people have lived in the hospital for two years out of the last five, inpatient hospital stays for that long, they have a common area they share with people. I'm just trying to think of the numbers.

Mr Gary Wilson: The brandishing of a knife you mentioned --

Ms Zoulalian: The second one has occurred with different people; that one is a common one. But the first one with the brandishing of a knife, that occurred within the last year. The one where individuals are scared to come out of their rooms, that's occurred maybe five or six times within the last year in the shared accommodation.

Mr Gary Wilson: How big was the unit or facility where it occurred? How many people were sharing accommodation?

Ms Zoulalian: The one with the knife affected 10 people; there are 10 totally, so nine people. The one with the people afraid to leave their rooms, or their independent apartments at times -- that happens -- affects a larger number of people. It's hard to say: maybe 25, 30 overall in general.

Dr Fisher: Also, as Carol has mentioned, it happens reasonably frequently, but even if it doesn't happen every day, it certainly is serious enough and troublesome enough and frightening enough for the majority of people for it to hamper their lifestyle and quality of life.


Mr Gary Wilson: That's not an issue confined just to group homes in your circumstances; that's pretty widespread throughout our society. This is an issue we're also grappling with. What we're trying to do in the Residents' Rights Act is to extend tenants' rights to people in all conditions or circumstances of accommodation. You mentioned that even the tenants themselves have that feeling of knowing what it means to be evicted arbitrarily and they're reluctant to impose that on anyone else. That shows there is strong support for it. But when people are evicted, which is another thing we have to grapple with, where do they go?

Ms Zoulalian: Just before that question, we're not asking for a fast-track eviction but for a fast-track process. The process itself takes so long, from two months to two years. We're asking that there's something incorporated that speeds that process up, where people can get in front of a judge or the courts before that two-year period -- something happening. We're not asking for fast-track eviction.

Mr Gary Wilson: That's something that might be extended to all settings and would work for any eviction.

Ms Zoulalian: Specifically care facilities, or care beds that are identified with supports. That's where our concern lies.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'd like to turn to the issue of where they go. Is there some way of bringing in the community supports that long-term care reform is considering and trying to promote, so that there is help available in the community that can be called in -- you mentioned the police, for instance, although apparently in the knife case there was a technicality that prevented their responding to that -- so that you could call somebody else to help the person through this problem, which probably arises out of some personal element rather than their wanting to harm anybody or hurt somebody?

Ms Zoulalian: We have the Mental Health Act and it's hard to bring someone in the hospital under the Mental Health Act as well. It's especially true in instances where they're not well and threatening and disruptive to others and the front-line staff might try to bring them in or get a psychiatrist to see them or something, but when they are seen by the psychiatrist, they might be able to hold it together enough for an hour or 20 minutes or however long it takes that they're not seen as a threat at that point. Or they leave the premises and they stay away for a few days and go to a crisis bed somewhere in the community. They end up coming back and they're still the same. They know enough to stay away for a little bit.

It fits with the Landlord and Tenant Act. When they stop that behaviour, it's hard to act right away under that or the Mental Health Act. As Houselink said, we provide the supports and we will be there, but it's hard to get them into hospital. And when they do get into hospital, it's only a 72-hour stay and then they get reassessed. If they're fine after that, they go back. They might not be well, but they're not sick enough to be in hospital and they're not sick enough to be evicted -- not even evicted, but to take that much responsibility for their actions.

Mr Gary Wilson: Your experience is that they do remain a continuing threat? You don't see any difference in their behaviour? I guess you see some, but --

Ms Zoulalian: The staff comes in and we're there for a short time. People who are there live with them for 24 hours a day, more or less. They see them all the time, at night when the problems come out, when the staff leave.

Mr Gary Wilson: So there's no staff there for a certain period of time?

Ms Zoulalian: They're independent in the sense that there's staff support: Staff are there two times a week from another agency and we from CSRU visit them once a week in the housing we support. Each individual also has their own case manager and their own therapist who they attend and see, and they may or not visit the home.

Dr Fisher: It's complicated by the fact that there are numerous people in one particular setting, and if those people are being interfered with by one person -- it doesn't happen all the time, by any means, and certainly housing agencies working in the mental health field, and we do, try very hard to work with clients or consumers to work through their problems. It's not wanting to use very quickly any kind of legislation or any kind of mental health reform or the Landlord and Tenant Act. There isn't that attitude.

From my experience with my coworkers on the unit and also my experience with other housing providers in the community, our colleagues in the community, my impression is that they don't jump the gun, so to speak. They work through a lot of issues. We're here as mental health providers and we have a commitment to our client group, our patient population. But we do need to be able to protect -- as Carol has mentioned, we have to balance the community and the individual concerns. That's a fine balance.

Mr Daigeler: You describe some real-life situations. Have there been cases you're aware of where other tenants have moved out because they felt unsafe?

Ms Zoulalian: Yes, that's happened. Tenants have left their housing and have gone into market rental units. The housing we provide are subsidized units; we work with a non-profit housing agency. They're on social assistance, so when tenants leave and go into market rental, what happens is that they pay more than half their monthly income for rent because they can't tolerate the situation any more where they were living.

Mr Daigeler: Even under the current --

Ms Zoulalian: Under the current, yes, because the process takes so long.

Mr Daigeler: One could probably expect that under Bill 120, it would even take longer.

Ms Zoulalian: That's what it seems to be, yes. That's what it seems to allude to.

Mr Daigeler: How common an occurrence would you say this is? Is this an exception?

Ms Zoulalian: It's not an exception. It's not a common thing, but it occurs enough that it's a concern. People do end up leaving their support and their housing that's subsidized and affordable and decent to go into market rental units where they're not protected as much, where landlords are not non-profit in that respect and might not follow all the rules, and they might end up being evicted without any grounds and things like that.

The landlords we have are compassionate landlords in that if people do become ill for any reason their units are maintained and, after a certain amount of time, where their monthly cheque goes down because they're in hospital, their rent will go down accordingly. As long as they pay their rent, they maintain that unit. People aren't asked to leave right away. We do try and keep people where they are and support them in that way. But when other people are jeopardized and it's an ongoing thing, it's very difficult to support a person living there from the tenants' as well as from our perspective. We're trying to help the other tenants too.

Mr Daigeler: I find that a very important observation, that in your experience this is an occurrence which is not rare; it's not everyday, but nevertheless it's something you are worried about.


Mr Grandmaître: More and more care providers are appearing before this committee and highlighting the health and the care issues, yet when you look at Bill 120 it's very misleading. It's An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property, but actually it's an omnibus bill and amends five different acts.

You referred to the mental health reform, the care you have to provide at the same time as protecting these people, yet the Ministry of Health has failed to appear before this committee to let us know what its intentions are in terms of providing you people with assistance. Well, I'll skip that part. I don;t want to raise --

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): It was just the same when you were running things.

Mr Grandmaître: It's very misleading. The Ministry of Health has to be much more open with such groups as yours and let us know what the Mental Health Act reforms will be and how they can provide you with the proper tools to operate your services. We think it's very unfair. Have you been consulted by the Ministry of Health on Bill 120?

Ms Zoulalian: We work for the Ministry of Health but not the actual ministry itself.

Dr Fisher: No comment.


Mr Grandmaître: I want to know about your input. It must be a great big joke. Everybody's laughing about it except the members of the government.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, I have a point of order: I didn't see anybody on this side laughing. I think the laughter came from Mr Grandmaître's own side, just for the record.

Mr Grandmaître: Then you need plastic surgery if you don't want to smile. Can you answer my question?

The Chair: Mr Tilson.

Mr Grandmaître: I didn't get an answer, Mr Chair.

Mr Mammoliti: That's because you were too busy laughing.

Mr Grandmaître: No, no. You were interrupting.

The Chair: Order. We've behaved fairly well so far this morning. Let's leave it that way.

Mr Tilson: The issues you've raised are similar to the last delegation's; I saw you were listening to them. The same criticism that comes from community homes or residents you assist comes from landlords and tenants with respect to the Landlord and Tenant Act: If you get a violent person or someone who is performing criminal activity, what are you going to do? You're talking about protection to property, you're talking about safety of other tenants, and of course it's exaggerated with the community home. I guess I'm asking the same question you've already answered: that you don't really have a solution, other than somehow shortening up the process.

I've been reading with interest the little pamphlet you've put forward that explains your organization, and I appreciate the work that is done by, presumably, a large number of other people. Have there been any papers written or people who have put their thoughts to this issue, the exceptional process you would like for the type of home you assist?

Dr Fisher: I'm not aware of any existing paper. Perhaps out of these hearings there will be papers generated. Carol, are you aware of any to deal with the Landlord and Tenant Act, the complexity of it?

Ms Zoulalian: Not that I'm aware of, but I do understand that other agencies -- and some of them have probably come before you already -- have made suggestions which might appear as fast-track eviction, getting confused within the process and trying to shorten the process.

Mr Tilson: I know about fast-track eviction. That expression is used constantly.

Ms Zoulalian: I guess what we're looking at is more the process. The only thing we know, any research we've done, is that people feel much more secure under the Landlord and Tenant Act, except when it comes into situations like this. That's what we support too, to go under the Landlord and Tenant Act, give people more rights, have them more protected.

Mr Tilson: Give the group more rights as opposed to the individual.

Ms Zoulalian: That's the thing. The con to it is that the individual usually ends up having more rights than the group does, just with the process and the length of time. A lot of them feel: "What's the point? We've written the landlord many letters to do this form 5. They've come to us, they've liaised with us and told us what we need to do to get this person out. We've done it. For some reason it goes back to square one, we have to do it again, and we have to keep doing it." It takes for ever, and they don't see any results.

This is a population that also doesn't work very well in abstract, or for any group, for that matter: When the results aren't quick and it takes a year or two, it's very frustrating and they don't have any more faith in it.

This might address some of the issues. Housing in mental health has moved from where it used to be. Housing was like group homes, a lot of them, where people would move in for a year or two, they'd have the program, they'd have set goals, and after that two-year period they'd move out. A lot of the group homes and a lot of the programs are changing to what's called variable support and indefinite length of stay. That means the person can move in, the support is according to the person's need, and they can stay indefinitely as long as they're not breaking any of the rules. All the housing is moving more under the principle of the Landlord and Tenant Act instead of, at times, actual practice. A lot of these are shared accommodation still and the housing structure is still the same, a group home in the sense of sharing the common space, but the program model has changed.

What I see happening with Bill 20 that we're looking at is that with putting a limit of six months and the word "rehabilitation" in the same phrase, it's very hard. A lot of the housing has moved away from putting time lines on it.

Mr Tilson: The main criticism I have with Bill 120 is that we're confusing health, mental and physical, with residential issues. We're trying to give people more rights, and yet, whether you're talking senior residential homes or -- we had a written presentation yesterday about people trying to recover from alcohol and drug addiction problems where you're not supposed to have it in the place, yet some will go and have it. With Bill 120 you're not going to be able to kick them out, because Bill 120 says you can't do that.

Mr Mammoliti: It doesn't say that, David. Don't mislead everybody.

Mr Tilson: It does say that, my friend. That's the big problem with these delegations. They don't understand what you're trying to do. You're creating a nightmare for these people.

Mr Mammoliti: Come off it, David. It doesn't say that at all.

The Chair: Would you like to withdraw the offensive language, Mr Mammoliti?

Mr Mammoliti: I don't think it was offensive at all, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Well, it's unparliamentary.

Mr Mammoliti: What did I say that's unparliamentary?

The Chair: You said "mislead." Would you withdraw that remark?

Mr Mammoliti: Because I'd like to hear a response from the deputants, I will withdraw the comments.

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr Tilson: What I was getting to was that your organization is similar to other organizations. The fear is that you're trying to perform a service, and many of the organizations that have come forward -- and I don't mean to be disrespectful, but organizations zeroing in on particular health problems -- are saying to us that they are going to have difficulties operating with Bill 120 unless there are exceptions made to their particular situation. Is that what you're saying?

Ms Zoulalian: With a cooperative living situation specifically, yes, that would make it difficult. The housing provided in mental health is moving where, if people move in with supports and at any one time they decide to drop their supports, that's fine, as long as they don't break any of the Landlord and Tenant provisions, and then they're focused straight under that act. But in shared accommodation they're affecting the lives of other directly instead of being in their own independent unit. Under Bill 120, it seems, we are going to have difficulty asking those people to leave.


Mr Tilson: What will happen?

Ms Zoulalian: What's happening now, the length of time the process takes -- as you're making amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act we're just wondering if you can make another amendment that might speed up the process, that's all. With Bill 120 it just seems it might take more time. Maybe we're misinterpreting it, as has been mentioned.

Mr Tilson: No, you're not misinterpreting it at all.

Dr Fisher: Our understanding is that it's becoming more inclusive and becoming broader to include care service beds, which would include our shared accommodation. Our landlord, the Supportive Housing Coalition, operates in the spirit of the Landlord and Tenant Act as it is now, in terms of our shared accommodation, and there are problems.

The examples Carol gave you are many of the problems we do have, and we see those problems becoming more entrenched with Bill 120 and that our landlord, the Supportive Housing Coalition, will become even less -- and that's not to pick on the Supportive Housing Coalition. They're doing their job and they do it well, but they will become even less able and willing to help in terms of getting out very destructive clients, the odd consumer who happens to be destroying property or making it difficult for other people to live in a satisfactory condition.

Both of us, and not just both of us but the rest of our colleagues on the unit, are supportive of Bill 120, but we feel we need something like other agencies have been talking about: an addition, an addendum to it.

Ms Zoulalian: What might happen in other shared accommodations in other agencies is that eventually it might become like a creaming. You'd get the people who are less difficult, less chronic, into this housing, whereas the other people will remain in hospital and won't be given a chance to live in the community.

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

Mr Gary Wilson: Before we adjourn, I'd like to make a brief clarification about one of the deputants this morning. The representatives of the fire marshal's office asked that a clarification to the record be made to show that they were here and speaking independently of any other delegation that appeared this morning. Apparently, in a conversation with one of the committee members after their presentation, there was some confusion about under whose auspices they were appearing. They were entirely independent of any other delegation.

The Chair: I asked the question because I was somewhat confused about who exactly they were representing when they were here. I think Hansard will show that they were speaking on behalf of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the fire marshal's office. That's fairly clear. What is not exactly clear is how a ministry representation ended up being tagged in with another group. The Chair found that a little disconcerting and a little unusual in the way procedure works. Technically, I guess there's nothing wrong with it. It's just unusual.

Mr Gary Wilson: It might be unusual. You're the Chair and you might know how these things happen.

The Chair: Generally speaking, a ministry which wished to make a presentation would ask to be put on the list. I have never seen a ministry request to be on a list that didn't actually get on a list. That's what surprised me.

I would also note that some members over a period of time have requested that the Minister of Health show some interest in making a similar presentation, as have some members indicated through the Chair that they're interested in having the Ministry of Community and Social Services do the same thing. That's what confused the Chair.

Mr Gary Wilson: To be fair, the Ministry of Health has already been raised in these hearings. Right from the beginning, when we had our technical briefing from the ministry staff, it was stated that the Ministry of Health, along with several other ministries, was involved in the interministerial discussion of the Lightman report, upon which this is based.

The Chair: Did that not include the Solicitor General?

Mr Gary Wilson: I can't recall, but I think it did. I'll check that list to see exactly what was said.

The Chair: I think you could see why the Chair is somewhat confused.

Mr Mammoliti: I move to adjourn.

Mr Tilson: My hand was up before his motion, Mr Chair. Hopefully, you will recognize me.

I have a question to the parliamentary assistant along this line. We have now heard this morning an official presentation from the office of the Solicitor General. To be fair, so that the committee can get a rounded discussion prior to clause-by-clause discussion, I hope the committee does hear from not only the Ministry of Health but the Ministry of Community and Social Services specifically. Almost every delegation that has come forward that I have heard has raised the Ministry of Health, yet we have yet to hear a presentation. I hope the parliamentary assistant will consider, now that he's raised the confirmation of the Solicitor General making its presentation this morning, that a more rounded presentation would also hear a presentation from the Ministry of Health.

Mr Gary Wilson: That's not really what I raised. I simply said the delegation was speaking independently of any other delegation this morning. That's the only point I wanted to make.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti has moved adjournment. I think that's appropriate at this time.

The committee recessed from 1206 to 1404.


The Chair: Our first presentation this afternoon will come from the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Association of Ontario. Welcome.

Mr Jeff Wilbee: My name is Jeff Wilbee, the executive director of the association. My colleagues here today include Mrs Beverly Thomson, the executive director of the Westover Treatment Centre in Thamesville, near Chatham, and Mr Bernie Boyle, the director of James Street Recovery Program in Ottawa. What we'd like to do is present a very brief brief. I'll do that and then ask my colleagues to make further comments. We felt we'd like to leave most of the time for questions and maybe more of a free-flowing conversation.

Let me start off by saying, on behalf of the members of the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Association, that we wish to thank the committee for the opportunity to make this presentation. Our association, which is celebrating 25 years of serving Ontario citizens, represents approximately 160 members, which includes 85 non-profit addiction recovery facilities and residential programs.

Our programs really cover the continuum of care. They go from detoxification units, to hospital-based and community-based, short- and long-term treatment programs and rehabilitative recovery homes, whose length of stay can be up to three years in certain areas of the province. We serve people all the way from those who have very strong social and employment supports to those who are homeless with no supports, either socially or economically.

We strongly support the residents' rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act for all of those in permanent accommodation. We will keep our comments under the bill to part I, dealing with the Landlord and Tenant Act. What we want to make perfectly clear, and really our reason for being here today, is that the clients in our residential programs are in transition. Primarily, the accommodation that is provided is there to support the treatment, the rehabilitative programming. The recovery program is not just an add-on to accommodation; I want to make that point. Our non-profit boards of directors are not really landlords, any more than hospitals would be landlords in terms of providing long-term rehabilitative care in hospitals.

We also want to make the point that as a society, as we're protecting one's individual rights it should not be at the expense of or to the detriment of others. We do not, for example, allow one's freedom of speech to falsely yell "Fire" in a crowded auditorium, because it may endanger the other people. Similarly, it is vitally important in the addiction recovery programs that the environment be a fully sober and safe one, and we'll make further comment on that later on.

For us to allow a minority, or even one, of the residents to endanger the recovery of the other residents defeats the purpose of these programs the taxpayers are paying for. For example, if a client in a recovery home governed under the Landlord and Tenant Act and who was therefore a tenant was allowed to consume alcohol in his or her room, it would take away from the safety, security and enjoyment of the other residents in the shared accommodations. In fact, we would say it could be described as similar to someone smoking in a hospital room where there was oxygen being administered to someone who was there with a lung disease because of smoking. To some, that may seem rather extreme, but for those of us working on the front line in the addictions field, we're very much aware that this is a very complex and fatal disease.

We therefore recommend that the residential addiction programs be fully exempt from the act. We appreciate that Bill 120 does partially exempt rehabilitative and therapeutic residential programs under clause 1(3)(i.1). However, the present wording poses some very serious problems for our programs.

That section states "the building or structure in which the accommodation is located is not the principal residence of the majority of the occupants." Many of our programs serve those without strong social and economic supports, and therefore the majority of the clients have no other accommodations. The hostel or recovery home indeed is temporary, transitional, but it also is for that time period the only principal residence for our clients. According to the proposed wording in the bill, these facilities then would not be exempt. This would make the good, orderly running of a successful therapeutic environment almost impossible.

If our programs cannot be fully exempt, we recommend that the wording in this section be changed from "principal residence" to something like "permanent residence."

Also under the same section, the present wording could possibly affect some of our program clients who receive funds under the General Welfare Assistance Act or the Family Benefits Act, where they must indicate their principal residence. If the majority of clients listed the recovery centre as their principal or permanent residence to receive these benefits to allow them to stay in the program, it could be challenged that the program does not meet the exemption criteria under the act. Therefore, if the committee deems that there not be a change in the wording, we recommend that an additional clause be added that says, in essence, that the word "principal" has no relevance to any funding provisions under the General Welfare Assistance Act or Family Benefits Act or any regulations under those acts.


The other area of great concern to us is under the same section, subclause (iii), pertaining to the provision of average length of stay for therapeutic and rehabilitative programming. It reads "the average length of the occupancy...does not exceed six months or such lesser time period as the regulations made under this act prescribe." This wording would exempt our members who operate more short-term treatment centres -- in fact, I'd even say the majority of them -- however, it would not exempt many of our more long-term recovery programs. As stated earlier, we have programs designed for more than a one-year stay, for the very high-risk relapse clients, again those without the strong supports required to go back into society and live a sober and drug-free life. Generally speaking, the longer term is offered only to those individuals who have yet to establish themselves in independent living lifestyles. Our programs, in addition to addressing their substance abuse, also help prepare them for full integration back into the community.

Therefore, we recommend that the length of time under the exemption there be changed from six months to something more like 18 months. Although this does not fully cover the longest residency stays of our members -- as I said, we have members stay as long as three years -- we felt that might be a reasonable request.

To restate our case, we feel that addiction recovery treatment residential programs should be fully exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act. If that is not deemed appropriate by the committee, we strongly recommend that the exemption clause be changed from six months to 18 months and that the term "principal residence" be changed to "permanent residence."

It's difficult for us in the field sometimes to relate what happens, but the next paragraph might describe a little bit. Our clients share washrooms and kitchen and dining facilities. A client's attitude and behaviour can be not only disruptive; it can also put the other residents in risk of relapsing back to drug and alcohol abuse.

It has been suggested to us that if our programs were under the Landlord and Tenant Act, if there were some disruption the police could be called and a disruptive client could be removed. But in our daily experience, it is just not that simple. Inappropriate behaviour that is detrimental to other clients may not necessarily be deemed by the police to be criminal activity or that the other clients are in immediate risk of bodily harm. The risk is probably something far more subtle than that, the kind of subtleness we work with on a daily basis, that can make the difference between a client being successful or unsuccessful in maintaining a sober lifestyle.

Although we're asking for exemption under the Landlord and Tenant Act, we strongly support the need for all residents' rights, and that includes a disruptive client's rights: We're very much aware that there must be due process in discharging such clients from a program. But we would contend that this be handled under the regulations of the funding ministries, the assurance that strict standards involving clients' rights, including involuntary discharge, be handled in that way.

Thank you for the opportunity to present. We hope our comments may be of some benefit.

Mr Bernie Boyle: A very brief follow-up in terms of the length-of-occupancy issue. I'm aware, from many consultations I've had with the programs that operate out of the north, that there is a consideration they face because of their geography. They have few treatment facilities in their communities, and people who go for assistance often have to leave their community and travel a great distance. Usually, they have to stay for an extended period, because this is not only where they would get their substance abuse issue addressed but also where they would be given the assistance to develop the life skills to return to their community and to operate in an independent living arrangement in their community. So in many situations, we see northern programs operating with a much longer time frame than some of the programs in the southern and Metro areas. In some way this six-month limitation presents an extra difficulty to our northern facilities and for the people they serve.

Mrs Beverly Thomson: I think it's worthy of another mention that what is a safe and sober environment for some people is not necessarily a safe and sober environment for our clients. In early recovery, it's really critical that they're in an environment that's alcohol-free, drug-free. To not take that into consideration is really setting them up for relapse, and we think that should be considered very carefully.

Mr Wilbee: That concludes it. We could try to answer questions; that might be of benefit.

Mr Grandmaître: A very good presentation. We've heard similar deputations in the last three weeks, especially from homes such as yours.

Let's talk about the length of stay. What would be the average length of stay in your homes?

Mr Boyle: In Ottawa we operate what is a long-term facility for street youth. It averages between three and four months for these people.

Mr Grandmaître: What about the rest of Ontario? You mentioned northern Ontario.

Mr Boyle: They are required to offer a much longer -- I've worked with some of the facilities in the north, and a year to 14 months is not uncommon for people, especially those people who are not in their own community getting help, those who have travelled.

Mr Wilbee: The six-month exemption as it is now would cover the majority of our programming, that's clear, but we're concerned about those who are running longer programs. Those who are addicted may have other kinds of difficulties such as mental illness, dual diagnosis -- many of our people, particularly females, come with other kinds of abuse problems and what have you -- so longer programs are needed. We were talking at lunch, and Bernie was saying that many of their clients are young people who have not yet learned the appropriate way to act if they were out in their own accommodation.

We want to make clear that the bill as it is now worded would cover the majority of the programs we represent, but there are others it would not, and that's our concern.

Mrs Thomson: In some of the places they're being taught the life skills that prepare them to go into some of these other places.

Mr Grandmaître: Bill 120 might satisfy the operations of Ottawa, let's say, but in northern Ontario it wouldn't be complete.

Mrs Thomson: There are some longer terms in these areas and southwestern Ontario as well.

Mr Grandmaître: You would like an amendment that would exempt the kind of homes you're operating. How do you handle disruptive clients at present?

Mr Boyle: In our program, we have three rules. We're a coed facility, so we do not condone sexual activity, drugs or violence. Because we're dealing with people who have come from the street, violence has been a part of most of their lives, unfortunately, since infancy. Violence has to be more than just an act you could call the police in on. Even the threat of violence to a young woman who is a survivor of years of abuse is almost as dangerous and upsetting to her as the behaviour. We have to move in and ask someone to separate himself or herself from the place for a very short period until they can calm down, and then we assess the situation and assess the danger. It's a very complex issue because of the history of the people we are working with and their vulnerability to this.


Mr Grandmaître: You were told that if you do come across disruptive clients you should call the police. Have you ever had the occasion to call in the police?

Mr Boyle: Oh, yes.

Mr Grandmaître: What was their response?

Mr Boyle: It's usually slow. It's good for the police, but it's slow for us. We had a situation recently where the police were there within half an hour, which according to their workloads and everything is fair for them, but our situation was completely finished, and there had been an assault in that time. We have 911 service in Ottawa.

Mr Grandmaître: Calling the police is not satisfactory.

Mr Boyle: Not in all situations, it's not going to be.

Mr Tilson: I listened to you speak and other delegations similar to yours make presentations. We had a written presentation from the Society of St Vincent de Paul, which I assume is connected to you in some way, is perhaps one of your members, I don't know.

Listening to your presentation and others, I don't look at the people you represent as tenants; I look at them as -- well, I guess you can use the word "residents." You're providing not just accommodation; you're providing a service, in this case trying to solve or assist in dealing with alcohol and drug problems.

I'm not a regular member of this committee, but since coming on it the theme I have been concerned with is whether the Ministry of Housing, the sponsor of this legislation, should be involved at all. For example, the representative from St Vincent de Paul wrote, "In the long run, we believe these homes will be unable to function as supportive homes for recovery from addiction unless the ability to discharge someone for violating the drug-use policy remains intact." As I understand it, now you have rights, and if this bill passes, all these individuals who are receiving a service will become tenants, with all the rights in Landlord and Tenant. Organizations like St Vincent de Paul and I believe you are saying, "We're going to have a lot of problems providing our service." That's what you're saying.

Mr Wilbee: That's in essence what we're saying.

Mr Tilson: It gets back to the question to Mr Wilson that we had earlier this morning, and I gather last week when I wasn't here, that hopefully he will go back to whomever he speaks to and encourage the Ministry of Health to come to this committee and make a presentation to deal with the issue of health service. You get government funding?

Mr Wilbee: Yes.

Mr Tilson: Where does that come from?

Mr Wilbee: The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Community and Social Services; there are those who have money from Correctional Services. There has from time to time been Housing money under special projects. It comes from municipalities for those running more the hostel type of facility; certainly boards. And there's the United Way; in fact, it's still out there doing fund-raising, the dances and what have you.

Mr Tilson: It's getting tougher and tougher.

There's a whole pile of signatures on this brief report from the Society of St Vincent de Paul. If their allegation is true, are your concerns being made known by you or others like you to the Ministry of Health? These people say, "We're not going to be able to run these places."

Mr Wilbee: I've certainly had conversation with those in the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and they have similar concerns and are pleased we're here making this presentation.

Mr Tilson: My same question goes to Mr Wilson, that hopefully representatives from that ministry will come. We've got a serious problem. I know this has been going on for weeks, but in the two days I've been here I've heard a number of delegations similar to yours coming forward with Health problems and Community Services problems, yet those ministries are not coming to this committee. I don't see how we can finalize our deliberations without that, but hopefully you'll take that under consideration.

Mr Gary Wilson: You certainly have focused on some of the key issues we've been discussing. As Mr Tilson says, you only have to sit on this committee a couple of days to know that these are some of the issues we're grappling with. However, if you've been here for the duration, from the beginning, you would have heard -- Mr Tilson might have heard -- some of what we're dealing with in context.

For instance, as you probably know, this springs from the Lightman commission. There was an interministerial committee that considered the results of the Lightman commission, which of course itself involved a lot of consultation. We're quite confident that the bill reflects the Ministry of Housing's responsibility. Even if Mr Tilson doesn't see the residents as tenants, they themselves do, and in fact we think they should be treated as tenants where it's appropriate. You've already specified where the bill allows the variation as far as treatment and rehabilitation homes go. The issue here is the fine-tuning.

Mr Wilbee: That's right, exactly.

Mr Gary Wilson: We really appreciate your support of it and your comments. One of the issues you raised, principal versus permanent housing, is something that is being considered and has been a long-standing issue that we're still considering.

There is this issue too of the safety of the tenants or residents in the group homes in particular and how they affect your program. I want to ask you to go back to this, to say how the Landlord and Tenant Act applying to the residents of your programs would affect what's happening now, which sounds to me is something you've got to deal with immediately. For instance, you just said that in the case in Ottawa, it took the police a half-hour to arrive. That's where, I take it, the Landlord and Tenant Act doesn't apply. I'm not sure why the Landlord and Tenant Act would affect that situation, necessarily.

Mr Wilbee: The concern we're bringing is that it comes down to timing. We've said very clearly that we think everybody's rights should be protected, including the one who's been disruptive. It's the length of time in terms of eviction, if you like, if one is treated as a tenant.

Mr Gary Wilson: But where the emergency arises, you're using that as an example, it seemed to me, that it's not appropriate to have Landlord and Tenant in that case, and I'm not sure why.

Mr Wilbee: We've used that as one example, but you'll recall that in the presentation we talked about the subtleties as well. It's sometimes very difficult for us in the field to explain what actually goes on in treatment. It's these subtleties Mr Boyle was talking about in terms of attitude. If someone's standing in a kitchen with a knife in their hand threatening somebody, that's very, very clear; but what is also of concern is that other very subtle kinds of behaviours and attitudes can really disrupt. We know from many, many years of working hands-on in these types of group homes that that itself can be detrimental to the other people who are trying to stay sober. It's more than just violent or threatening behaviour, it's more than just someone drinking in their room who could not be removed, that kind of thing. Those are extreme examples, but as counsellors and therapists and what have you, knowing from our many years of experience the subtleties, it works to have a good environment that works. That's our concern. It's very difficult for us to articulate that.

Mr Gary Wilson: Actually, you've done it very well. I can understand that, that as you work with that day in and day out you do become aware of it. But isn't that where that raises the question of rights most clearly? When it becomes subtle you have disagreement about just what the behaviour constitutes in terms of its intention, so perhaps it's much easier to make a mistake even though you are professionals in your field. You're going by your evaluation, but it could be that the person showing the behaviour might have a different view of it. At least Landlord and Tenant sets up a process where the individual has a chance to --

Mr Wilbee: There are processes already available, are there not, Bev, the appeal process?

Ms Thomson: In our particular facility we are funded by Health. When we discharge someone -- not when the program is complete, but if we find it necessary to discharge someone -- we write them a letter which lets them know they have an opportunity to appeal this within so many days, and there are times when they do that. The appeal begins with me and the program director, but it goes on from there.

Mr Gary Wilson: What's the final appeal they would have?

Ms Thomson: It could go right to the Ministry of Health.

Mr Gary Wilson: How often does that happen?

Ms Thomson: Not very often.

Mr Boyle: I think there's the image that we discharge people and throw them out of our lovely facilities. In fact, when someone leaves a program before completing it, it is generally a mutual decision that they're not ready for the burden of trying to develop a new drug-free lifestyle. It's not surprising they don't appeal it, because they have decided they do not feel confident in their ability to do all the work that's required to develop this new lifestyle. They leave, not being cast out, but by mutual consent that right now it's not the time.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing today. We appreciate your presentation.


Mr Tilson: Can I ask Mr Wilson if he has any idea whether the ministries of Health or Community and Social Services will be coming to the committee or can he indicate -- hopefully, we don't have to have the formality of a motion -- whether they will be responding to the letter that was written to them and will in due course be coming to this committee to make a presentation? Are you able to tell us that?

Mr Gary Wilson: As you know, a letter was written, and I think we'll wait to see what the response is. That was the feeling of the committee when that decision was made. The choice was there that we could decide what kind of participation we wanted from the ministry, and we decided to send a letter through the Chair asking them for their opinion.

The Chair: We should be clear that the context of the letter is that the Chair asked them for their views on the bill. He did not ask them in the letter to appear. That's slightly different from the question Mr Tilson asked.

Mr Tilson: I don't want to take the next presenter's time. I will stop, but I just make the comment that delegation after delegation is coming to us on Health matters, and it cries out for the ministry to come to this committee.


Mr M.S. Mwarigha: My name is M.S. Mwarigha. I'm from the Canadian African Newcomer Aid Centre of Toronto and I'm a housing coordinator there. I'm here to speak in support of what was previously proposed as Bill 90, particularly in respect to legalization of basement apartments.

CANACT is a community agency that provides settlement services to African refugees and to newcomers to Toronto. In particular, we provide a housing help facility and information about affordable housing to new immigrants, refugees in particular.

To date, living in basement apartments has been illegal in most parts of Metro Toronto, which is our area of jurisdiction. At this point I should also make it clear that our advocacy on behalf of legalizing basement apartments should not be misinterpreted as advocating the end of other sources of social housing that have traditionally provided for new immigrants and groups in need of that type of housing. However, we are obliged by a number of circumstances to speak in favour of legalizing basement apartments.

First, the current stock of basement apartments, where many of our clients live, is substandard and not subject to all kinds of standardization to bring it up to the necessary level for comfortable living.

Second, those illegal circumstances also create a poor relationship between the landlord and the refugee that breeds insecurity and circumstances for all kinds of abuse and denial of rights. For instance, we had a client who couldn't receive mail in his basement apartment because the landlord was afraid it could become known that they had an illegal basement apartment.

Third, we know basement apartments constitute a de facto initial source of affordable housing for refugees and people of low income, and we feel no moral or socially undesirable circumstances to lead us to be against its legalization.

In brief, we advocate for legalizing of basement apartments based on a real experience of need and also a sense of social justice for people on the verge of homelessness.

On a general level, legalizing basement apartments in our view is a step towards more general inclusionary zoning. It allows for the less-endowed citizens to live in all areas of the city, or of the province, if you wish, instead of concentrating them in ghettoized areas. It is even good for suburban development because it helps keep families together in the same area by allowing for a granny flat or an apartment for youth who have just left home but would like to be within earshot of their parents, rather than having to commute across the city to look for apartments elsewhere.

Our deputation does not refer specifically to any clauses of the proposed Bill 120. Rather, it is to lend a voice of support to this committee, and also some assurance that we think it's a positive step.

Mr Tilson: Your comment about underprivileged people being allowed to live anywhere is an issue that obviously is under debate by many individuals who have worked hard and want to live in a particular area where there is single-family dwelling. They feel they have that right, if they've worked hard and earned the required money to pay for those things, and you may take issue with that.

The real issue I want you to comment on is that this province, in fact most political jurisdictions in the world, do some sort of planning. You plan for a certain number of children to go to particular schools. You know how many people are going to be living in that area. You plan for sewage capacity, because if you lose control of the number of people living in a particular municipality, you've lost control of your sewage, water, the usage of parking, the safety issue -- in other words, the whole planning process.

The major criticism to the garden flats, the basement apartments, the granny flats, legal or illegal, is that it's going to do away with decades of planning in this province, that the zoning bylaws, official plans and planning that's done by municipalities across this province is essentially turfed out the window. Albeit obviously this government is trying to solve a housing problem, is it not creating an unbelievable problem that won't be able to be rectified on all the issues I've referred to?


Mr Mwarigha: I do not foresee that, purely on account of how much it would cost in certain areas as a refugee, for instance, to live in a basement apartment. It would probably be very costly to afford an apartment in that area. In most of the other areas --

Mr Tilson: That's not my point, sir. My point --

Mr Mammoliti: Let him answer.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): George, lighten up. You'll get your chance.

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chair, he's interrupting the answer.

The Chair: I appreciate your help, Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Tilson: My point isn't being able to afford certain areas. The point I'm trying to make is that municipalities that have jurisdiction in trying to control the availability of schooling, the availability of sewage and water and all those other things, the planning process, simply will be wiped clean. That's the major criticism towards the granny flat, the garden flat, the basement apartments.

Mr Mwarigha: I don't agree with that. From one point of view, yes, of course, an introduction of any new legislation that is going to increase the density of an area does necessitate throwing away some of the old rules and regulations that govern a living environment. I won't deny that that is a point. My reference point is not planning rules and regulations. I sympathize with your point about schools. I don't know how that would differ from a situation where a developer comes into a certain area and proposes to build a multiplex apartment. Those issues of school and densities and social services will still have to be addressed. I think that being raised at this point is a red herring, unless those municipalities are saying that in those areas where they have finished their planning, they will not propose to have any new development at all. As I said, having an extra stock of basement apartments doesn't impose any different circumstances than a proposal to build new apartment buildings in the area.

Mr Murdoch: You mentioned the person who was living in an apartment who couldn't receive his mail because the person who owned the house was afraid they'd be found out. Would you ever consider that maybe that person shouldn't be living there because this apartment actually is illegal at this time? But now, if we legalize this apartment, it may not be up to fire standards and things like this. Do you realize that the people who own it will have to spend considerable money to bring it up to standard if they want to keep it as an apartment? In the end you will probably get fewer apartments for people to live in than you've got now, because a lot of these illegal apartments we're talking about probably don't meet the standards. Did you ever consider the ramification that you might end up losing apartments instead of gaining them?

Mr Mwarigha: Yes, we've considered that balance, but we think that shouldn't be a basis for them to be denied their rights. Regardless of whether they are refugees or not, they have the right to a certain level of living standard when they come to this country.

Mr Murdoch: That's right, but this isn't going to guarantee it. They may not have any place to live now. They may have a harder time finding affordable rent.

Mr Mwarigha: That's a judgement call. I think if it is brought to bear for landlords to bring their apartments up to standard, they will do that.

Mr Murdoch: Yes, and then the rent goes up, and then this affordable rent you're talking about might not be there.

Mr Mwarigha: Not necessarily.

Mr Murdoch: I think you're going to chase away more apartments than you're going to gain.

Mr Mwarigha: Rent is not determined by the cost of repairs or upgrading. It's a supply and demand issue.

Mr Murdoch: I see.

Mr Mammoliti: Welcome to the committee. I want you to forgive Mr Tilson for all the comments he's made, because he just hasn't been here for most of the hearings.

Mr Tilson: I don't think you have either, George. You're still not here.

The Chair: Order. Mr Mammoliti, you know it is not parliamentary to refer to members' presence or absence.

Mr Mammoliti: It's not his fault. There were other Conservative members here. Nevertheless, if Mr Tilson had been here and if Mr Tilson had heard most of the deputations, he would know that the apartments he's talking about have existed for years and will exist. He leads the committee to believe that this piece of legislation will somehow create thousands and millions of new units, but if he had been here to listen to some of the deputants, he would know there have been studies on this and that it won't create the thousands of --

Mr Tilson: Great. Let's see the studies. File them with the committee.

Mr Mammoliti: Well, I heard deputants who've talked about the studies they have learned about and who have certainly told this committee it will not create the extent of accessory apartments Mr Tilson seems to believe it will. Would you agree with this comment? Let me put it this way. The illegal apartments Mr Tilson is talking about already exist, do they not?

Mr Mwarigha: That is true, and I think they will continue to exist.

Mr Mammoliti: And they'll continue to exist. But do you really believe, as Mr Tilson believes, that this is going to create a flood of applications for apartments and that the sewers are going to be overflowing with water and that our schools are going to be overcrowded because of Bill 120?

Mr Mwarigha: I think that's a red herring, at best. I don't think that is going to happen.

Mr Mammoliti: No, and we've had people in front of the committee telling us it's not going to happen. If Mr Tilson had been here to listen to those individuals he may not have made the comments he made today.

Going on to something different and in my opinion a little more serious, more personal, if you don't mind: With your association and with the experience of individuals who come here seeking homes and looking for accessory apartments -- apartments, for that matter, in high-rise buildings -- do you find that racism is a problem with individuals in your community being rejected because of whatever reason, the colour of their skin, for instance?

Mr Mwarigha: Yes, it is a problem with some individuals. Indeed, there is a case coming up with the Human Rights Commission which highlights the issue of discrimination in access to housing. Yes, it is true with some individuals.

Mr Mammoliti: So when some Conservatives and some Liberals make an argument about the number of apartments out there and the vacancy rate, that this legislation is not needed because there's such a vacancy rate, what response would you give to that argument in relation to the experience of racism?

Mr Mwarigha: For us, what it amounts to is that we hear there is a high vacancy rate but in real terms we don't think it's a vacancy rate because we have people denied access to that kind of housing. In fact, about two weeks ago a member of staff had to go through so much scrutiny to get an apartment in a place which was advertising a high vacancy rate, so that was very surprising to us. But this is what it means to us: High vacancy rates are just a big-picture issue which doesn't impact on most of our clients at all, and because of the issue of race, even people who have an income continue to have the same problem.


Mr Mills: I have such a short time that I'll just say thank you for coming. It's very enlightening. I just want to remind you that we had one of the most enlightened planners in the province appear before this committee and, if it's any solace to you, he said zoning has been and continues to be used to keep ethnic minorities, low-income householders, renters and additional populations of any kind out of a neighbourhood -- not planning, zoning.

Mr Mwarigha: I'd just add that the progressive impact of that kind of policy is going to eventually divide the city into areas for this group, for that group, for the have-nots. We don't have to give the examples of the US, because certainly they are not the kinds of places we uphold as ideal. This kind of legislation, as I said, at least indicates a desire to stop that kind of development.

Mr Grandmaître: You introduced yourself as the housing coordinator for the Canadian African Newcomer Centre. Are you the housing coordinator for Metro or Ontario?

Mr Mwarigha: For Metro.

Mr Grandmaître: What has been your experience outside of Metro for your group of people, the African newcomer?

Mr Mwarigha: To be very honest, I have very little experience of housing issues and housing programs outside Metro. We can hardly stretch our resources within Metro. Unless I'm to talk from hearsay, we don't have any evidence to indicate that their experience is any nicer. Indeed, what we know is that because of, if you wish, a relatively better level of tolerance and development of consciousness on some of these issues, a lot of our people try to move into Metro from other areas because the level of intolerance in those areas is much higher. I guess this is like the last fort where they can take some solace.

Mr Grandmaître: I was asking you if you were the coordinator for Metro and Metro only for the simple reason that a lot of people who have sat in your chair have said this is a Metro or a Toronto made-to-measure piece of legislation, because the minister has identified 100,000 of these illegal or basement apartments in the province but close to 60% are in Metro. This is why I was asking you for your previous experience.

Do you think that by legalizing these apartments we will actually create more housing, more units? Do you actually believe this?

Mr Mwarigha: I wouldn't say we will actually create more housing. I wouldn't want to sit here and say something like that.

Mr Grandmaître: But you say that you approve of Bill 120.

Mr Mwarigha: Yes, from the premise that we know they are a de facto source of at least initial housing for most of our refugees and there is nothing, socially or morally, prohibiting us from supporting that kind of thing. Recognizing that, we go ahead to say if that's the situation, it's very important that we have legislation to back us up to try to ensure that the conditions under which they live are at least as close to par as can be with what is accepted as a normal standard of living here in Canada.

Mr Grandmaître: Contrary to what has been said before, this party is not against accessory apartments. We are against illegal apartments. This is where we stand. I'm not only talking about zoning; I'm talking about the safety, or the lack of safety, in these basement or accessory apartments.

I may be totally wrong, but I still feel that once we start sending building inspectors and fire safety officers around, a lot of landlords will not put up the necessary dollars to make these apartments legal, to meet all the necessary codes. Naturally, if these landlords are going to spend money, let's say a minimum sum of $5,000 or $6,000, those rents will go up.

Mr Mwarigha: I could argue that if you go back even as far as the late 1950s -- and this is just to use one illustration -- when the issue of making it compulsory for each housing unit to have a fire alarm was first brought up, the issue of affordability on a general scale was very much part of the argument not to compel people to have a fire alarm, for instance. In terms of cost in the long run, one could also argue that with an increasing demand for building materials and all the materials necessary to improve the quality of basement apartments, the price may actually go down.

Mr Grandmaître: You mention the smoke alarm. A smoke alarm costs five or six bucks, you can buy one at Canadian Tire for $5 or $6, but if you have to create another access and windows and so on and so forth, you're talking about thousands of dollars.

Mr Mwarigha: We are talking about an investment which one perceives as bringing a benefit to the landlord in the long run. If I'm going to buy a house at this age and I have the option to have a basement apartment, surely over a 20-year period the costs of upgrading that basement will be insignificant in relation to the contribution that will make.

Mr Grandmaître: If your basement or accessory apartment qualifies, but if you have basement windows that are 16 inches wide you're not going --

Mr Mwarigha: Then you don't qualify, and maybe you shouldn't be having it as a basement apartment, I agree.

On the point about it being a made-in-Metro problem, if I can make a quick comment, it's very much like the kind of argument you hear from other areas outside of Toronto which say that the issue of homelessness only affects downtown Toronto. That of course you know is not true. It only happens that because of a number of circumstances most of the people who are homeless from around the whole area congregate in downtown Toronto. The same argument could be made that a lot of people who would need these kinds of facilities and basement apartments are not able to do so in other areas because of various levels of intolerance and for some reason have to resort --

Mr Grandmaître: They congregate in Toronto because there are more illegal apartments in Toronto than anywhere else.

Mr Mwarigha: The circumstances, not just housing. Most people who are in those circumstances have a whole series of income deficiencies, including lack of employment and so on, and that becomes part of the reason to congregate.

The Chair: Thank you for taking the time to come and see us this afternoon. It was an important presentation that will be considered when we are in clause-by-clause during the week of March 6.

Mr Mwarigha: Thank you very much, everybody, and thank you for your passion, Mr David Tilson. I appreciate it.



Ms Michele McCormick: I'm Michele McCormick with the Georgina Community Resource Centre. I'm the housing worker at the centre. For those of you who are unaware, Georgina is the northernmost community in York region. We're in the GTA but quite a bit further --


Ms McCormick: I must say it's much warmer up there than it is here right now.

Basically, I came to offer some comment on the piece of legislation that's before the House right now, which is Bill 120. I intend to focus primarily on the apartments-in-houses portion of the bill. While we support the bill in principle, we don't care to comment on the home care provisions of it because we're not as well versed or experienced or don't pretend that we speak for anybody on that issue.

The entire bill itself is an important step in acknowledging and enforcing the rights of tenants, no matter where they choose to live.

As I said, Georgina is the northernmost municipality in the region of York. It has a population of approximately 30,000 and is still predominantly rural. We have some builtup areas, some urbanized areas, but we still have a lot of farm land supporting the town. There's a significant number of low-income individuals and families in Georgina. Tenants do not have much choice in rental housing. We need legal apartments in houses to contribute to the available safe housing in Georgina.

Illegal apartments in houses are in no way an exclusively Metro Toronto problem. I just caught the tail end of somebody else's presentation. My understanding is that it's kind of an ironic argument, considering that the city of Toronto has legalized a lot of its apartments in houses. It's seen as a Metro Toronto problem, but it's ironic in that they are legal here, where for the most part they are not in the rest of the province.

The housing crisis for tenants has exemplified itself across Ontario, not just in Toronto. Georgina is certainly not like Toronto, yet we must deal with a housing crisis. Like many other municipalities, Georgina has chosen to turn a blind eye to apartments in houses. Pretending that these units do not exist has only proven to exacerbate the issue and the situation for many tenants and home owners. It is time that municipalities recognize these units for the contribution they make to the rental housing stock in a municipality.

Despite the relative affluence that York region is known for, there is a housing crisis. This is due in part to the lack of effective foresight and planning on behalf of the region and Georgina. The population of York region has doubled to 500,000 in the last decade, which has created a lot of pressure not only in housing but a variety of other services in the region.

In York region, we are far behind the other GTA municipalities in terms of rental housing stock. Prior to 1976, there were only 4,137 rental housing units in York region built by the private and public sectors. By 1992, this had risen to 10,380 rental housing units. Most of those were built by non-profit and co-op housing providers. Sixty per cent of all the housing development took place between 1976 and 1986, so we had a major boom, as a lot of the country was experiencing at that time.

The majority of housing built during that time was, and still continues to be, single-family dwellings that are owner-occupied. That's been the main form of housing in the region. This form of housing has dominated the housing scene in York region, consistently comprising over 80% of housing completions. Overall vacancy rates are generally much lower than in other GTA regions. Clearly, we have failed to effectively plan for the population in the region.

Georgina has very little rental stock. Because we're still a fairly rural municipality, we don't have any kind of high-rise development or anything like that. We do have medium-density housing, though not as much as in other areas. Owner-occupied single-family dwellings predominate. The remainder of the rental housing stock is comprised of apartments, town homes and cottages, many of which were built to house people only part of the year, not year-round. Tenants have even fewer choices for adequate and affordable housing than those in the most southern and urbanized municipalities. Apartments in houses help to bridge the gap between the need for affordable rental housing and the available stock.

Due to the physical structure of the housing stock in York region and Georgina, it seems logical that the lack of rental housing would be addressed by the creation of apartments in houses, because basically nobody's building private rental any more. We've still got non-profit and co-op going up. Unfortunately, apartments in houses are currently illegal under municipal bylaws in the whole region. This has led to tenants being faced with property, health and safety standards issues that are not easily remedied. If a tenant complains, they may face any of the following situations:

-- Arbitrary eviction from a landlord who just wants to get rid of them, and because they are not covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act, they do risk that.

-- Calling the town to be told that the unit is illegal, and now that the town knows about it, it can be closed down and they can lose their housing.

-- Having to live with the problem because the landlord won't fix the problem.

-- Moving because the situation is unreasonable and unbearable.

In terms of health and safety, legalized units will be safer units. Smoke detectors are essential and should be installed in all units. Once the units become legal, tenants will have the confidence to request safety inspections without fear of reprisal. Tenants will be safer and more secure in apartments in houses.

It is for those who live in both safe and unsafe units that we must legalize apartments in houses. These units are already in existence and need to be recognized as an important part of the rental housing stock. Ignoring them will not make them go away. Enforcing unreasonable and excessive standards will shut down good as well as bad units and exacerbate homelessness. Where would the people living in these units go if they were suddenly shut down? Because of the kind of housing stock we have in the region, we're really stuck for places for people to rent, and where would they go? There would be nowhere for them to go. While it's unrealistic to speculate that there will be a sudden surge of apartments in houses being created, it may very well bring more on to the market when legalization occurs, if it does. For those that are unsafe, they should be brought up to reasonable health and safety standards or they should be shut down.

In terms of parking, recently the town of Georgina did a windshield survey to determine whether there was a parking problem, as part of their municipal housing statement process to look at intensification in different parts of the town. The survey covered a variety of neighbourhoods and times of day. The survey concluded that there was no parking problem in the town and went on to comment that the likely cause of cars on the streets overnight was families who had adult children living at home. Yet those families are not threatened with losing their home, as the tenant down the street may be. Furthermore, the parking spot is the issue, not whether there is a vehicle in the home. Theoretically, a tenant could be evicted and the unit shut down on the basis that there was inadequate parking, despite the fact that the tenant may not have a car.

Despite the favourable results of this study, the town has used it as proof that we need restrictive bylaws that would indeed make apartments in houses legal in some parts of the town, but would make it so restrictive that a number of them would still remain illegal because they couldn't possibly live up to all of the expectations in the bylaws. These bylaws, by the way, haven't been passed yet. They've been recommended as part of the municipal housing statement. Extremely restrictive zoning and property bylaws are not the answer.

The reason there aren't likely to be a lot of tenants coming forward and talking about this issue is that they're in a really risky situation if they come forward and identify themselves as a tenant in a basement apartment. They could risk losing the housing or the landlord risk losing the unit, which is why sometimes the opposition to this bill can be seen as overwhelming. There are many tenants and landlords who support this bill but are afraid to identify themselves for fear of reprisal. Georgina still is a relatively small community, and it would be easy for officials to find out where the person resided.

Traditionally, tenants have been lost in the municipal planning process. There is a bias against tenants that is exemplified in many discriminatory ways. Just to be a tenant is sometimes difficult in a community and a society that clearly prefers home owners. York region is an extreme example of that, because over 80% of the housing stock consistently has been single-family dwellings that are owner-occupied.

The rights of surrounding home owners should not be held over the basic human right of shelter. This is what happens when neighbours complain that they do not want "those kind of people" living in their neighbourhood. "Those people" can variously refer to tenants, newcomers, single parents or those of low income or who are receiving social assistance.

Apartments in houses tend to be more affordable than comparable legal units. It is unlikely to change dramatically. However, there is no guarantee of continued affordability or really the existence of this unit over the long term. The owners may choose to use the space for themselves and their family or simply not rent it out. Others may be closed if they are not brought up to reasonable health and safety standards.

Bill 120 is certainly a step in the right direction, but it would not in itself satisfy the need for affordable and subsidized housing. Clearly, this bill isn't trying to address subsidized housing. This should not be used as an excuse to lessen the province's or a municipality's commitment to providing non-profit or assisted housing, or affordable housing in a municipality's case.


Apartments in houses serve a large segment of tenants, including low-income tenants who are unable to or choose not to reside in rent-geared-to-income housing. The waiting list for subsidized housing in York region for the York region housing authority is currently about 1,500 files, and that's only one waiting list I looked at. There's a real issue with people who are non-senior singles, couples and small families, those who would likely be looking for bachelors, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. There are not many one- and two-bedroom units available. Most non-profit, co-op and Ontario Housing Corp housing was built to accommodate families and seniors. In Georgina, there are only 12 one-bedroom and 34 two-bedroom units built in non-profit and co-op communities for these designated groups: non-senior singles, couples and small families -- this includes the market and rent-geared-to-income -- so there's still a total of only about 46. Privately owned legal one- and two-bedroom units are scarce.

Municipalities should have control of the planning of communities. It is only when a municipality refuses to acknowledge reality -- in this case, that these units do exist and people are living in them -- that the province should step in or try and rectify the situation, preferably in cooperation with the municipality, if possible.

Many municipalities have demanded and yet not proved the need for or effectiveness of increased powers of entry. Tenants are currently in a bind in terms of what they can report to town officials. They would be much more likely to let health and safety inspectors into units if they were afforded the protection of Bill 120 and the accompanying regulations. This should be enough without unreasonably strengthening a municipality's power of entry, and I emphasize "unreasonably" strengthening.

For tenants in Georgina, the legalization could potentially end the following scenarios: tenants being forced to live in inadequate and unsafe units because it's all they can afford, or being threatened with illegal eviction, and harassment of supportive and good landlords by municipalities because rental housing has at some time in the past been determined to be inappropriate for a single-family-dwelling neighbourhood.

Mr Mills: You might wonder why I was popping in and out of the door. I was trying to locate your MPP, who is on another wonderful government committee dealing with tobacco. He told me he couldn't be here, but nevertheless he wants to let you know that he too recognizes your effort in coming from Georgina today in appalling weather to share your ideas with us.

Mr Daigeler: Is that Charles Beer?

Mr Mills: Beer? Who's he? We're talking about Larry O'Connor. Anyway, enough of that.

I'm quite interested in your comments about parking. This seems to be the tool that most municipalities use. They say, "We're going to be overloaded with parking." Most of the people who live in my neighbourhood have teenagers at home and they've got four or five cars, but we have no teenagers at home and we have one car. So I don't buy into this parking nonsense they're using as a means to restrict apartments in houses.

A while ago I made a comment about how municipalities use planning, and really it's zoning to keep minorities etc out. Some of my friends over there didn't seem to put much stock in that, but the person who said all of that was Dr David Hulchanski, a professor of housing policy and community development at the University of Toronto, director of the UBC centre and professor of urban planning, so he knows what he's talking about.

Mr Tilson: He appeared before our committee. We've heard what he has to say before.

Mr Mills: He knows what he's talking about.

Mr Tilson: I wouldn't go that far.

Mr Mills: Getting back to Georgina, how many illegal apartments do you think you have in Georgina township? I know you did a windshield survey --

Ms McCormick: I didn't do that windshield survey.

Mr Grandmaître: She's not working for the assessment office.

Ms McCormick: I'm in a community resource centre; I don't work for the municipality.

Mr Mills: No, I know that. I'm just asking you for your idea of how many.

Ms McCormick: Over 1,000 for the whole town.

Mr Mills: We hear so often that apartments in houses are a Toronto problem, that it's not up in the outskirts, so if you've got that many, that's an amazing figure.

Ms McCormick: It isn't. As I said, York region housing stock is 80% single-family. If you look at the way the regional municipality is set up, the bulk of the population is in the southern regions where it's more urbanized, so even a lot of the rental stock is down there. We get into this position where 80% to 85% of our housing stock is single-family dwellings, and probably 80% of those are owner-occupied, so it doesn't leave much for tenants.

Mr Mills: We've heard comments from members that to make the apartments in houses safe will constitute a great expense to the owner and therefore a lot of this housing stock will disappear from the market. Would you subscribe to that theory? How do you see that?

Ms McCormick: In my experience, the bulk of the units I've dealt with through tenants have been fairly safe; they haven't been 100% safe, by any means. It represents an investment for the home owner and if there are really gross, bad things happening in this unit, maybe it should be shut down, but I don't think the bulk of the units are like that. Most of these arguments seem to be based on the worst-case scenario that this place is a firetrap and there's nothing that can go right for it. There are a lot of units that need and should have upgrading, but there are some that are quite healthy and safe that seem to get lost in the shuffle when we're discussing this.

Mr Mills: Are you basically in support of Bill 120?

Ms McCormick: Yes, I am.

Mr Grandmaître: How many non-profit or cooperative housing units would you have in Georgina?

Ms McCormick: Approximately 400 or 500.

Mr Grandmaître: In your answer to Mr Mills, did you say you had 1,000 illegal apartments?

Ms McCormick: That's just a guess. I haven't done a survey or anything.

Mr Grandmaître: So you have more illegal than legal units in Georgina.

Ms McCormick: I would say so, yes, because those 400 or 500 include non-profit, cooperative and OHC units, and the bulk of those were built for seniors.

Mr Grandmaître: Because Georgina is a rural section of York, can you describe these illegal units? Are they add-ons or are they accessory or basement apartments?

Ms McCormick: The ones I've been involved with have been accessory ones, mostly in builtup areas, traditional kinds of subdivisions and older subdivisions.

Mr Grandmaître: And most of them are illegal because of zoning?

Ms McCormick: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: Has the town of Georgina officially dealt with Bill 120 and formulated a position?

Ms McCormick: I don't know specifically about Bill 120, but I know with Bill 90, the previous bill, there was official opposition to it. They voiced their opposition to it and sent in a brief saying they disagreed with it.

Mr Daigeler: Would you know the efforts of the town with regard to the housing intensification policy that was in place until now?

Ms McCormick: They still have been working and brought forward a draft municipal housing statement with the bylaws etc. I think it was last year, so it's still in process. It hasn't been finalized and approved yet.

Mr Daigeler: Is that the region, or a municipal --

Ms McCormick: No. The municipal housing statement was only for the town of Georgina.

Mr Daigeler: They have prepared their own housing intensification statement?

Ms McCormick: Yes.


Mr Daigeler: I find that interesting, because often we have heard that municipalities haven't been doing enough. You may argue that it should have been done faster or whatever, but there's clear evidence that there is at least an effort under way to recognize the problem and address it. Would you not say so?

Ms McCormick: They are under way with their municipal housing statement, I agree. I will argue that it took a bit too long, but certainly they are acknowledging it. The issue is that they're acknowledging it in such a way that it's going to be so restrictive for people to actually have an apartment in a house, or accessory unit, that they're going to end up still being illegal in the majority of cases.

Mr Daigeler: Does the township support intensification, though, and if so, how is it planning to achieve it?

Ms McCormick: Because we still have a lot of rural area, with secondary plans and everything that's coming forward they're looking at concentrating development in already developed areas, for obvious reasons: We have a lot of grade A farm land and we don't want to see that lost. I don't want to pretend to speak for the town, but it seems to be in support of the principle of intensification and is concerned that it wants to do it on its own terms.

Mr Murdoch: The problem I have, and I wonder what you think of this, is that we have a democratic process that's been set up over the past years where municipalities get to set their zoning and their planning and things like this. I know you don't necessarily agree that your municipality has worked fast enough in changing its laws to allow basement apartments in different areas, but it has zoned single-family dwellings and single-family areas. I have always been of the opinion that municipal councillors are the grass-roots politicians and seem to know better what people want in areas. From your brief, I see you would think that because maybe in some people's minds they aren't doing what's proper, we should have a government in Toronto just come out and overrule the municipalities. We do have a process set up. It fits in with the socialist government of the day to be able to do this and trample over people's rights, but how can you justify that in a democratic country like we have, that they're just going to do this? The municipalities are not in favour. I'd like your thoughts on that.

Mr Mammoliti: Do we have to endure this? He's insulting us.

Mr Murdoch: George, was I insulting you? I'm sorry. Are you not a socialist government over there? I'm sorry then, George. Anyway, I'd like your comments.

Mr Mills: It sounds like the committee is going down.

Mr Mammoliti: It's since those two have come to the committee that things have been going down here.

The Chair: The presenter has the floor and would like to answer the question Mr Murdoch has posed.

Ms McCormick: I'm not trying to slam the municipal government. I don't pretend to be here to represent them, by any means. They wouldn't be pleased. My concern is that this problem has gone unaddressed for a long, long time. Municipalities have been aware that these units are there and we are choosing, as a society almost, not to deal with them in the hopes that maybe they're going to go away. I don't think they're going to go away, and somebody has to take action on it. The justification is that this is a housing and a human rights thing, that people should be able to live where they want.

Mr Murdoch: Maybe that isn't why; maybe they don't know how to address it. Individuals are not building apartments units because of the restrictions of the socialist government here at Queen's Park on landlords, so what's happening is that we're not getting enough units. They're hoping that maybe the restrictions could be lifted on landlords and then maybe we'd get the free enterprise system building homes and that would solve the problem. Maybe that's the reason they haven't addressed it. Did you ever think of that?

Ms McCormick: Are you talking about rent control specifically?

Mr Murdoch: Yes. We have a socialist government in power now and it wants to control the landlords. That's stopped all the building. You said in your brief that we're not getting enough and that's the problem.

Ms McCormick: If you're talking specifically about the government that's in power, rent control's been in since 1976, has it not?

Mr Murdoch: Some of it has, yes, but the first bill that this government brought forward was a new rent control bill which went retroactive.

Mr Mammoliti: Who introduced rent control?

Mr Murdoch: The first bill, George, that your government brought through.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): Order, please. Mr Murdoch, would you place your question, please?

Mr Murdoch: I had until we got interrupted by the party over there.

Maybe that's the problem. I don't think they felt it would go away. I think they felt maybe if they left it, it would help out until the markets pick up.

Ms McCormick: Do you mean "they" as in the previous government?

Mr Murdoch: No, the municipal governments. You said they didn't address the problem because they felt it might go away. I don't think that was the reason.

Ms McCormick: I'm coming from the tenant rights perspective and being a tenant myself. There needs to be some recognition of this issue, and the municipalities have considerably, over the years, ignored the issue and not wanted to deal with it. If the municipality's not going to deal with it, who is going to?

Mr Murdoch: I think they've tried to.

Mr Tilson: These illegal apartments have existed for years, through all three governments, and you're right, none of the three parties at this table has dealt with it.

The problem I have with a comment you made is that this government is simply saying, "We know they're illegal, so we're now at the stroke of a pen going to make them legal." Yet we all know, and I'm using your words, that they will continue to be illegal; not all of them, but many of them will continue to be illegal. The reason is because of the standards it will require. Many municipalities, certainly in my riding and I suspect in your region, simply will not have the financial resources to go around and adequately deal with the illegalities, whether it be fire, building bylaws -- whatever's left of them -- to make these dwellings legal. That's the contradiction.

I'll give you an example that I'd like you to comment on. In my riding, the township of Mono passed a resolution expressing their concerns about this legislation with respect to the fiscal impact. After I read this, could you tell me whether Georgina has expressed publicly the potential financial impact this legislation could have on it, and potential taxes? It was in the form of a resolution dealing with the impact on the environment. The resolution was:

"That further review and consultation with municipalities is required on the financial impact to municipalities for provision of services to these additional, unplanned units which cannot be considered as part of a development charge bylaw; and that the ministries of Housing, Municipal Affairs and Environment and Energy provide a detailed study regarding the environmental impact" -- which gets to your cottage situation -- "resulting from the additional capacity required for additional dwelling units on municipally and privately owned water and sewage systems."

Has Georgina, either the municipality or the regional municipality, commented on what financial impact this legislation will have on how it's going to implement it?

Ms McCormick: I can only speak about the Bill 90 stuff I saw that they forwarded. They were pretty much completely against the bill as it stood at that time, so I'm taking a jump and assuming they're against this one as well. They may have other comments because of the home care provision stuff, but I know they were against it, and there were a lot of different reasons. One that sticks in mind most is, "The province is coming in here and telling us what to do" and this kind of thing. That certainly was an issue.

The way I feel is that when they're out in the open and we can look at them and acknowledge that these are part of the housing stock, they will be assessed like part of the property, reassessed under property bylaws.

The Vice-Chair: We appreciate you coming and sharing your views with us. I think it's the only representation that we've had from your community, so it's very welcome.



Ms Diane Urquhart: I'm Diane Urquhart, representing Scarborough Community Legal Services. I'm here with a very simple message: Pass the bill. I could stop there, or if you want me to stay, I'll finish.

Nine years ago, we had a client. She was 16 and she was renting an apartment in a house. She came to us for help around a common problem faced by tenants of apartments in houses: Her landlord had locked her out of her own home. It was 11 o'clock on a Friday night. The police helped her break back into her own home, and the landlord, in the process, was so threatening and aggressive to the police that he had to be arrested. A few days later he returned to the house and he locked her out again. This time she wasn't able to get back in. It took her two days to get her pets out that were in the unit -- and that only with the help of animal rescue -- and it took her a further almost month to get her possessions out. There were no legal grounds for eviction and no legal process, but that didn't matter; she was homeless.

Nine years later, last week in fact, I had another 16-year-old come to us for help. His landlord had just told him that he was throwing him out on the lawn with his belongings. Again, there were no legal grounds for eviction and no legal process. So I guess it's true that in Scarborough in many ways lots of things don't change.

For 10 years, the lack of basic rights for tenants of apartments in houses has been a major focus of the work of our clinic. Thirty per cent of the private sector tenants who call us for help are tenants of apartments in houses. The problems they call us about today are the same as those they called us about 10 years ago: summary evictions, illegal lockouts, inability to get repairs done, inability to enforce minimal standards, including the provision of heat and electricity, illegal rent charges, complete disregard for the tenant's right to privacy and confiscation of personal possessions.

You've heard in detail in other submissions that tenants in apartments in houses lack the clear, substantive rights enjoyed by other tenants in the province, and they're commonly unable to enforce what rights they do have because local governments, such as ours, have passed restrictive municipal zoning which renders their units illegal.

It was almost a decade ago that we helped start the first group in the province dedicated to rectifying this most obvious of injustices: the second-class tenancy rights for tenants of apartments in houses. At that time we were not clear what was required. Now we are. After 10 years of unenforceable maintenance, illegal and summary evictions, countless studies, many community meetings and several intransigent councils, our clinic is here to say it's time for the province to force a change. Second-class tenancy rights for any group of tenants is discrimination and it's nothing else. Pass the bill.

This is the first reason we support Bill 120. It rectifies direct discrimination against a particular group of tenants by granting them equal rights to those that other tenants in the province have. It will bring tenants of apartments in houses and of so-called care facilities clearly under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. It brings apartments in houses clearly within the purview of building safety and fire code standards, standards which have been developed by experts in their respective fields.

The position that's sometimes been put forward that somehow home owners and tenants are in fact better protected by not having rights and responsibilities established in law is simply specious; it's incorrect. I'm sorry, but having no rights and being forced to rely on negotiation or goodwill or local discretion or other arbitrary criteria is fine if there's no dispute, but it's not helpful for a landlord or a tenant when there's a dispute between them, or for a landlord when he or she has a dispute with the municipality.

Bill 120 gives tenants and landlords a clear outline of their respective rights and responsibilities with respect to each other and with respect to the municipal government. The standards provide the possibility of addressing the problem of substandard and unsafe units.

The bill will not put an end to disputes between landlords and tenants, nor between tenants and municipalities. However, it provides a mechanism for resolving disputes in a way that's fair to all parties, within a municipality and across municipalities. This is a major advance, and it's qualitatively different from what we face now when a tenant calls us.

You've heard detailed submissions explaining how exclusionary zoning, such as we have in Scarborough, is a violation of human rights. I won't go into an explanation in detail here. You have submissions by the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation and the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, both of which address this issue in considerable detail, and our clinic strongly endorses their briefs.

It's precisely because of municipal councils, like ours in Scarborough, that the province must intervene. Our council has been completely intransigent and unapologetic in promoting discriminatory attitudes and policies. What we have in Scarborough is zoning apartheid. Our council proudly insists on excluding tenants as a group, by law, from living in large sectors of the municipality, those designated for home owners only. It's discrimination on the basis of tenure, social position and economic status, and it must be changed.

In the United States in the 1960s, the national government had to intervene to end residential and other forms of segregation in the southern United States. Still, in 1994, segregation exists in municipalities across our province, enshrined by archaic zoning bylaws and rationalized as necessary, in municipalities such as ours, for the stability of neighbourhoods. As in the States 30 years ago, senior levels of government must intervene to rectify what is a clear violation of human rights. We need Bill 120.

These are the two main reasons our clinic supports Bill 120 being passed as expeditiously as possible: It's simply wrong for municipalities to be allowed to make it illegal for tenants to live in entire neighbourhoods, and it's also wrong to tolerate second-class rights for particular groups of tenants. Bill 120 moves a long way to rectifying both of these injustices.

There's a third issue I want to address briefly: the concern that municipalities are best suited to plan for local conditions and the suggestion that Bill 120 violates that right. The very reason we need Bill 120 is because municipalities, such as ours in Scarborough, refuse to respond to the articulated needs in much of their planning that have been put forward by tens of thousands of local residents.

We have 14,000 illegal apartments in houses in Scarborough; 5% to 8% of the rental housing stock has been defined as illegal by the city. Those units have tenants in them because the needs of those tenants have not been addressed or met in any way by Scarborough council. Furthermore, 14,000 home owners want and need the units enough that they are willing to risk breaking the law and having a fine levied against them in order to meet basic needs of their family. Those are articulated needs of 28,000 individuals -- that's if it's singles -- in the municipality who for years have had their needs ignored.

Our own planning commissioner in a report to council stated, "Our zoning bylaws are based on the ideal of single families in their own houses, with each family owning one car." It was a useful, relevant basis for zoning in the 1950s. We've come a long way since then, but our zoning regulations have not come all the way with us. Zoning bylaws deal most effectively with physical objects and dimensions and the basic uses of land. They do not understand and regulate well the social dimensions like families and household. Perhaps we should get out of the business of zoning for dwelling units.

Apartments in houses have existed as a common housing form for decades in all parts of the province. They are ordinary people's solution to the problems that ordinary people face: how to pay the mortgage, how to look after elderly relatives, what to do with your adult children when they become unemployed, what to do with extra space when the children move out. People will put apartments in their houses and people will rent apartments in houses as long as that is what meets their basic needs and their needs are not being met elsewhere in the planning process. Municipalities can zone them illegal if they like, but as we can see, it doesn't work. They may as well zone it illegal to have relatives living with the family. People will do what they have to do to survive.


Cities evolve, and what they evolve into depends on demographic and economic trends, not on zoning bylaws which try to restrict that change. Households are smaller now. In many communities, the population is aging. Home ownership is increasingly unaffordable. People move to where they can get work. These are some of the factors which change our neighbourhoods. What is required is planning that's flexible and allows for the natural evolution of neighbourhoods, populations and cities.

The convertible home is a popular trend in building and real estate, for good reason. Neighbourhoods will not be destroyed because tenants are allowed to move in. It's simply foolish to suggest that populations will double because apartments in houses are going to be legalized. The birth rate is not going to go up with the passage of Bill 120, and people in Prince Edward Island, or China, or Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, are not going to read in the paper that apartments in houses have been legalized and say, "Wow, I'm going to uproot myself and get myself one of those." People will move to places like Scarborough or Kenora or anywhere else if there are economic or social reasons for them to do that, and they'll move into housing which is available, legal or illegal.

It's time that municipalities get out of the business of dictating whom people are allowed to live with in their own space and start addressing some of the serious social issues that face our cities, issues such as unemployment, inadequate public transit, an aging population and the need for massive capital repairs of much of the rental housing stock.

Apartments in houses are fundamentally an ordinary person's solution to ordinary people's problems. It's what governments of all stripes say they want: They want people to solve their own problems and not look to government. Pass Bill 120 and let home owners and tenants get on with it.

In summary, I want to list some specific recommendations we have with respect to the bill:

-- We would like Bill 120 to be passed as expeditiously as possible.

-- We endorse all the recommendations put forward by the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign. Do you want me to list them? No.

-- We support INC's recommendations in particular which address the issue of protecting the security of tenure of tenants in the process of enforcing standards, so I do want to list those. There are four of them, specifically that the Planning Act or Municipal Act be amended to permit municipalities to readily recover the costs they incur repairing private residential rental premises; that the Planning Act be amended to include steps municipalities must take to repair and preserve housing rather than close it down for violations of property standards bylaws; that the Landlord and Tenant Act be amended so that tenants may obtain an order requiring municipalities to make necessary repairs; and that the Planning Act be amended to provide appropriate remedies for zoning infractions and to specify that these remedies do not include prohibiting occupancy and closing the unit down.

-- We're concerned about the inadequacy of the egress requirements. We recommend that every unit should have at least two means of egress and that if a window is an exit, it should have no dimension smaller than 20 inches.

-- Lastly, since standards and the enforcement of standards are a major concern of our clinic, we recommend that the government create provincial standards for existing units that set minimum minimums which are reconciled with the maximum minimums set by the building code part 11 standards.

I'll give my written submission in 10 days.

Mr Daigeler: I look forward to Thursday, when the mayor of Scarborough is coming before the committee. I'll certainly be quoting some of your remarks and see how the mayor feels about it. I don't know what's going on in Scarborough, but there seems to be quite a fight back and forth.

I understand your position and of all the other community legal clinics. What I don't fully understand, though, is that you just said there are something like 28,000 people who are quite in favour of this. Why would they not be able to elect a council, or at least councillors, who are more supportive of the views you are putting forward? Wouldn't that be the normal way to go in our democratic Canadian system?

Ms Urquhart: If we ran municipal elections in Scarborough on the issue of apartments in houses that's what would happen, but in fact we run elections on many issues and apartments in houses have not normally been the central issue. There are economic issues, there are issues of housing, there are broader issues, and any government is elected as a package deal.

There have been many community meetings where many, many members of the public have come out to support apartments in houses, have lobbied for legalized apartments in houses. It's a long-standing fight in Scarborough, a 10-year fight, and people have been very clear that's what they would like.

There always is a question of how responsive a government is to the needs of the people, and certainly there are, at all levels of government, issues which a government brings forward that do not represent the views of the majority of people. Many people would feel that the salaries of MPPs, for example, should be lowered and would favour that, but we don't run elections on that, so that's not something that --

Mr Mills: I don't buy that.

Ms Urquhart: There is always a difference of opinion in any municipality and, frankly, the apartments-in-houses issue has not been the central issue in any election that's been run in any municipality.

Mr Daigeler: There is just one other question I have to ask now. The community legal clinics especially are putting forward the argument that this is a human rights issue and that essentially you ought to find housing wherever you can get it. I'm just wondering whether you would draw any kind of line. In fact, you even said it is time to throw out all kinds of zoning, so perhaps you are ready to say you can move wherever you want, wherever you can get it. Is that the position you would take? Why would we limit it, as we are doing with Bill 120, to just one apartment? Why couldn't we say let's subdivide it three, four, as many as we can get into the house? Under that argument that it's a human rights issue, where would you draw the limit?

Ms Urquhart: Certainly Bill 120 doesn't resolve all the human rights issues that are a problem in zoning and in the provision of housing. We've got a long way to go. We have the possibility within Bill 120 to rectify one specific form of residential zoning segregation, and on that basis we would support it.

Arguments have been put forward that there shouldn't be a restriction on one unit per house, but that has been primarily a politically expeditious position that's being put forward in this bill. There is going to continue to be zoning. Zoning should control land use issues, not who lives with whom, and it's appropriate that municipalities should utilize zoning to do that.

People are not going to move just anywhere; that's the point I'm making. People move to where they have to move to. They're going to move close to their work if they can -- if they have work; that's less a problem these days. People are going to move close to family or work or whatever. If you have entire areas of the city where it's illegal for particular groups of people to live, that's simply wrong. It's 1994, and we've come to understand that that's not appropriate. Bill 120 could rectify one specific human rights violation, and on that basis we would support it.

Mr Murdoch: I'm just going to say thank you for coming. After hearing the arguments from my colleague you still support Bill 120?

Ms Urquhart: I think so. I haven't been convinced yet.

Mr Murdoch: Okay, thank you. That's all I have.

Mr Tilson: I have no questions.


Mr Owens: Ms Urquhart, it's good to see you at committee and I appreciate your supportive comments.

As a practitioner in the landlord and tenant war zone -- I guess that's the best way to characterize the relationship. Argument has been made to this committee over the last three or so weeks that an abbreviated eviction process is needed particularly in those residential settings that provide some amount of care or "rehabilitation." In your submission, however, it indicates to me that there is already an abbreviated eviction process that we're trying to clean up here. Would that be your view as well, that there is currently no ability, no rights, no means to a remedy for people, that in fact we do have an abbreviated eviction process?

Ms Urquhart: In practice that's what happens. Tenants of apartments in houses are covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act. The issue always is the ability to enforce that. What happens at this point is that if a home owner wants a tenant out, the tenant is out. That's the bottom line. It's a very abbreviated process. There are things we can do after the fact to try to rectify that but fundamentally they're not very effective. The difficulty comes largely from the fact that although they're covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act their vulnerability is increased because the unit itself is illegal. If it actually ever gets to a court proceeding, after they've been thrown out and they've spent two weeks getting their possessions back, if at that point they want to proceed to bring it to court and get back in the unit, by this point is the unit going to be there? By bringing it to court, have they risked that the unit will be shut down?

Mr Owens: In terms of Mr Daigeler's question with respect to political activity, do you think that in the city of Scarborough any person in his or her right mind, or very few, will get out and declare in today's atmosphere that they either have a basement apartment or live in a basement apartment and work towards the election of a group of people that would be more representative of reality in 1994? Or are people still afraid they'll lose their units, lose their homes?

Ms Urquhart: Tenants and home owners are very intimidated around this issue. In Scarborough, the council meetings, the public meetings, have been extremely hostile and abusive, with openly racist comments being tolerated and even in some cases encouraged. Home owners who have come forward on this issue have been openly harassed by council to the point where they've had to sell their home.

The buildings department has said to our clinic, "Don't have tenants call us if they have a problem, because we'll come in and shut the unit down." That's the advice we've got from buildings and inspections when we've talked to them about serious problems like lack of heat and disrepair. The atmosphere in Scarborough is very, very hostile to these people.

There was a survey just done within the last two weeks -- I don't have the details; I'm hoping a later presenter can give them -- of home owners and tenants of apartments in houses on their view of Bill 120. It was done by Scarborough Housing Help Centre. When they were asked about the bill, roughly half of the home owners were unaware that their units were illegal, and when they found out that their units were illegal they were so concerned that they would lose the rental income and therefore their home if they answered, anonymously, questions to a survey that they wouldn't even discuss the issue. A few did answer and were supportive of legalization. There have been a few that have been active in the community around the issue. The tenants overwhelmingly supported legal rights. Why would they not?

Mr Owens: Argument has been made that municipalities want an unfettered power of entry. Do you think that's reasonable, to give a municipality the right, simply because you don't cut your grass, to enter your home?

Ms Urquhart: No, we don't support the provisions for increased powers of entry. The argument has been articulated in the INC brief. It's very clear: We can't get inspectors into units where we have several hundred tenants begging for them to come in. I've got four buildings I've been to in the past week that don't have heat, and we can't get inspectors in. The issue is much bigger than that. The issue of enforcing standards is a problem for all rental housing, and it's difficult for tenants to have standards enforced with the kinds of inadequate enforcement mechanisms --

Mr Owens: Is it political will?

Ms Urquhart: Yes. I mean, there have been cutbacks. Inspectors can only inspect so many units, so in fact the problem for tenants is to get an inspector in. In illegal units it's because the unit would be closed down; in legal units it's because of overwork.

Increased powers of entry is only an issue in those cases where a municipality wants to have the opportunity to close units down. If the provisions exist to have units upgraded and to have some funding for that, tenants will be begging to have inspectors come in. They call us now, even when the units are illegal, and want the inspectors in.

Mr Mills: Your problems with apartments in houses aren't only up in Scarborough, which seems to me to be particularly awful, but you can throw a brick to where I live. A couple of weeks ago they came in there and took the motors out of the elevators because the owners of the building didn't pay up. How on earth people were supposed to get to the 25th floor was absolutely beyond me. They're doing this all over the place, and these are supposed to be legal apartments. I have a lot of empathy with what you're saying.

Also, I read somewhere about the awful racist remarks that are made at that Scarborough town council. When Mrs Trimmer comes here on Thursday I'm going to see what she's got to say about that because I think we have no place in Canada today for councillors who represent people having the audacity to get up and make racist remarks. In my riding one of the councillors got up and said that people who live in apartments make no contribution to the wellbeing of the community. The guy should be strangled.

Mr Tilson: Is your name Jag?

Mr Mills: Well, not strangled, but maybe --


Mr Daigeler: Just in case you want to run for the federal government.

Mr Tilson: Yes, there's an opening in Markham.

Mr Grandmaître: I want to go back to the four buildings that you mentioned have no heat. Do you think Bill 120 will turn the heat on?

Ms Urquhart: Bill 120 is not going turn the heat on in those buildings any more than --

Mr Mammoliti: Bill 95 will. We're debating that on Monday.

Mr Grandmaître: But you were talking about the problems you're having, and I realize the problems you're having because I happen to deal with legal clinics in my own area. I'm not criticizing your clinic, because I haven't dealt with your clinic. In my area of Ottawa-Carleton, when you get in touch with the legal clinic people about a housing problem or the landlord and tenant wars, as they're called by Mr Owens, do you know what their answer is? It's a pat answer: "Phone your MPP." Is this part of your agenda, "Phone your local MPP," when you can't find a solution?

Ms Urquhart: We're saying on this issue phone your MPP. It isn't the solution in all cases.

Mr Grandmaître: I can do the same thing: "Phone the government."

Ms Urquhart: Yes. In some cases it's up to the government to rectify long-standing problems, and this is one of them. Until this bill is passed, when the tenants of apartments in houses phone us we're limited in what we can do. Once the bill is passed I've said it's not going to end disputes between landlords and tenants, but it gives a mechanism, separate from phoning the MPPs, through which they can try to rectify them.

Mr Grandmaître: The Minister of Housing lives in my area, and she won't even deal with you people.

Ms Urquhart: She's dealt with us.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before us. I can almost tell it's getting close to 4 o'clock.



Ms Shirley Roll: My name is Shirley Roll. I'm with Women Plan Toronto, which most often deals with municipal issues, but sometimes we extend where we feel it's appropriate, and we feel Bill 120 is appropriate. I am the housing/planning co-coordinator. I've prepared this presentation with the help of a number of other members of Women Plan Toronto. It's just that my timetable is more flexible than theirs, which is why I'm here.

Along with what I'm going to say, the document I've submitted entitled What is Housing Intensification? is a paper that was prepared by Women Plan Toronto last year as part of a community outreach education project. Although this document addresses the larger issue of residential intensification, much of it is relevant to accessory and secondary apartments, specifically the sections "Benefits of Housing Intensification," "Tenants and Home Owners" and "Community Responses."

Women Plan Toronto strongly supports the passing of Bill 120 in so far as the bill extends protection of the rights of tenants to include many tenants who presently do not enjoy this protection and in so far as the bill prohibits exclusionary zoning in terms of accessory and secondary dwelling units in houses, which in turn promotes the development of a form of affordable housing. Residents' rights we find are a women's issue in consideration of the fact that the majority of women are tenants, not home owners, and the majority of seniors, whether they live in care facilities, other rental properties or their own homes, are women.

Women who are seniors and who now live alone in their houses may no longer need or want the amount of space they are living in but wish to remain in their communities. Many of these women would benefit from being able to convert their homes to include a second dwelling unit or to be able to legally rent out a unit that already exists. The rental income a second unit would provide is only one of the benefits they would enjoy. The older woman may find a tenant who would provide some companionship or who may be able to do some odd jobs or property maintenance as part of the agreement, or the older woman may just find psychological comfort in knowing that there is someone else close at hand who could be reached in an emergency.

A secondary or accessory unit could just as likely benefit the tenant in any number of ways. The tenant could be an aging parent who needs her privacy but also requires proximity to a potential care giver. The tenant could be any other family member who, for whatever reason, requires the privacy and proximity provided by a second suite. Or the tenant may be totally unrelated to the home owner, but need affordable housing and wish to live in that particular community and in that form of accommodation. In every case the tenant will benefit from legalization of the suite in terms of the protection of the building standards legislation and that of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

As with other forms of residential intensification, all members of the community, and women in particular, benefit in an important way. More people in close proximity to one another provide greater opportunity for casual surveillance or eyes on the street, one of the most effective personal safety measures available. More people also benefit local businesses and make better use of existing infrastructure and services.

Secondary apartments in houses exist in most communities, whether they are legal or not. Passing this bill to legalize the units will benefit both the home owners and the tenants. Presently, owners are being denied by their municipalities, through exclusionary zoning bylaws, the opportunities such as the ones I've mentioned. Bill 120 will ensure that the property owner has the right to rent out part of their house, but will also ensure that the rent controls and fire and health protection required for the tenant are provided.

Women Plan Toronto is aware of studies both within and outside of Metro. The conclusions of these studies present a positive case for allowing secondary units as of right, from both the tenant and home owner point of view. Secondary units were not cited in these studies as being sufficiently financially lucrative for home owners to convert just for the sake of making money. In most cases the secondary units have evolved as they were needed as a way for the owners to be able to afford their housing. For example, the rental unit allows the young couple to meet their mortgage payments or provides the seniors sufficient supplemental income to be able to stay in their own homes.

The flexibility provided by temporary conversions and deconversions of secondary units can be very positive for families as they move through the various stages of their lives. Almost all the houses surveyed were owner-occupied, so they would not present problems feared of properties rented by absentee landlords.

Women Plan Toronto is pleased by the extension of the temporary bylaws for garden suites. The 10-year time frame indicated in the bill may provide encouragement for investment in these suites, given a longer period to rationalize the expense.

Notwithstanding our enthusiasm for this bill, we do have a few concerns.

What sorts of supports and funding will be available for education, advocacy and community work with respect to secondary units?

Will there be attempts to work with municipalities to overcome the negative reaction municipalities seem to be having to being forced to accept provincial mandate?

What is the breadth of the agreements between municipalities and owners of the garden suites?

Will there be funds to promote the conversion of units?

Women Plan Toronto's experience and expertise is related more to land use issues and less to the issues of tenant rights. Our interest and concern does extend this far, however, which prompts our final concern: In the cases of tenants occupying shared facilities, we are concerned that there be a vehicle in place that would allow expedient removal of a tenant who proves to obstruct or hamper the comfort or security of others sharing that accommodation.

We do care that our concerns be addressed. We consider this bill an excellent and important initiative and hence we also care that it be passed. Hopefully, our concerns can be addressed through amendments and the bill be passed and put into law without further delay.

Mr Tilson: This government has expanded its policy with respect to non-profit housing. Private land owners have told us, in fact statistics have told us, that there have been fewer apartment buildings constructed since this government started the expansion of that policy -- it didn't start that policy, but since the expansion of that policy. The reason they've said that --

Mr Mammoliti: The recession.

Mr Tilson: Yes, Mr Mammoliti, the recession has been part of it, but part of it as well has been the economics of running apartments, the costs of many of these buildings: for example, the capital requirements that have been needed to upgrade them and the rent control policy. In other words, the overall housing policy of this government hasn't been widely accepted, particularly among the private sector. I'm not talking about legalizing illegal units; I'm talking about the attempt by the government -- at least that appears to be one of its reasons for putting forward Bill 120 -- to create new units. From your pamphlet, you obviously communicate with a large number of municipal organizations. Do you have any information that private ownership, whether of houses or larger buildings, will embark on the expansion of new units, with the housing philosophy of this government?

Ms Roll: I'm not sure I understand the question. As far as apartments in houses are concerned, I think that's a whole different ball game from building apartment units and the social housing programs that the province has in place. I'm not sure how the two can really be compared.

Mr Tilson: There are two issues: The one is legalizing illegal facilities, and there are all kinds of them. We're having all kinds of statistics. I don't know where they come from, but there are people making submissions that there are all kinds of illegal apartments across this province. I believe that as well, having been a municipal councillor and having had them pointed out to me.

But my question to you is the encouragement by this government to create new legal units -- in other words, to construct new units -- whether they be basement apartments, garden flats or whatever. What with the economic climate and the housing philosophy of this government, which doesn't really pay people to get into this, have you had any information, particularly from the private sector, about whether people are being encouraged to get into this business?

Ms Roll: From the surveys I mentioned that we're familiar with, one in particular that I was discussing with someone this morning that took place in Kitchener by its housing department, none of the people surveyed, owners of the houses that had suites -- most of which were illegal, by the way -- had those units because they were going to make money. They had them so they could pay the mortgage, so that they could afford to actually own the house. When they pay the mortgage off, they'll deconvert. Then when they get older and they need it again or sell the house and somebody else moves in, they will reconvert.

Mr Tilson: That's the principle of it, yes.

Ms Roll: They have the flexibility. I don't know how many more new units will be created or whether it will just make the ones that already exist legal and allow for that flexibility. Sometimes you have a basement apartment, sometimes you don't, depending on your family situation. I really don't know whether it will encourage new basement units or not.


Mr Tilson: My second question has to do with what appears to be, from your presentation, the major concern: dealing with shared facilities and the expedient removal of tenants who are causing problems. That has been raised today and has been raised through other delegations. We haven't really heard any philosophies about what that means, in other words, what that expedient process might be, other than simply saying, "We must have a process." Have you, with the groups you speak to, or among your organization, any concrete thoughts about what that process might be to have a fair policy?

Ms Roll: I don't know how concrete the thoughts are. Like I've said, our expertise is more in the land use areas rather than the rights. But thinking of one particular housing arrangement I know of, it's a number of women who aren't particularly disabled in any way but older women who share a house. They share a kitchen and there are a couple of different bathrooms, but they share and they have their own rooms. If one of the people who's in the house is a real problem for the other four people who share that house, it's awful if you have to give them 90 days' notice and all the Landlord and Tenant Act stuff in order to get that person out. It really makes hell out of the other four people's lives.

The concern is that there be some body that has some impartiality, where you can meet to hear the tenant's point of view and the other tenants' point of view and find a way to resolve the issue, which will mean either some change in the household or that the person has to leave. But it's so the decision can be made before the entire process you have to go through with the Landlord and Tenant Act. I don't know what this impartial body would be. It would have to be something the province set up.

Mr Tilson: The other alternative would be that these types of facilities, certain types of facilities, be exempt, that the legislation simply wouldn't apply to them.

Ms Roll: That's a possibility. I'm not sure I have an opinion of one over the other right now. I don't know enough of the details.

Mr Tilson: That's the problem. I'm zeroing in on the shared facilities or those types of arrangements. That's a genuine problem once this bill is passed, because they now will have the full legal rights of a tenant, which in my understanding, depending on the process that's followed through the Landlord and Tenant Act, could take a month or more. If they're dangerous, if you're living in shared facilities, it would be unacceptable.

Ms Roll: I agree. If they're dangerous, you could probably criminally get them removed, because you could charge them criminally, but there are lots of other situations where it's not that severe. You may not get shot tonight, but it still is uncomfortable and you don't want the person there. My response is that it is something that has to be dealt with in terms of Bill 120, but I don't think it's sufficient reason to delay or not pass Bill 120; it's something that has to be worked out. The protections the tenants will get through the Landlord and Tenant Act are important, for the most part. There's the occasional problem tenant whom you have to find a way to deal with.

Mr Tilson: But that's the crunch. I'm dealing with the specific major concern you have. Your concern has been repeated by many people. As a member of the opposition, I'm trying to think of what is fair, because you have to think of the person who's being accused. They may be falsely accused.

Ms Roll: They may be.

Mr Tilson: If you could present the committee at a later date with the proposal, we would appreciate it.

Mr Mammoliti: Do you think this bill is going to create a flurry of applications for basement apartments or applications for accessory apartments out there?

Ms Roll: No.

Mr Mammoliti: Do you believe there will be some?

Ms Roll: Yes, there will be some.

Mr Mammoliti: And if there are going to be some, that would mean there would be individuals who may be hired to do the plumbing and the electrical and to do the walls, if it's a garden flat. These people would be hired.

Ms Roll: Yes.

Mr Mammoliti: So Mr Tilson's argument that we're doing damage to the economy is false, in your opinion, that in essence people can get work out of this bill?

Ms Roll: I don't see that the two are mutually exclusive. I do not think this bill is detrimental to the economy, and some people will get work. Some people now get work doing the wiring on illegal units. I'm not sure there will be a lot more people getting work. I think the economy itself has to pick up a little before anybody can afford to do anything.

Mr Mammoliti: You're absolutely right about that, and for the most part the people who need to rent out a part of their house usually do it because they need the money and they're out of work.

Ms Roll: Exactly, in which case they'll probably put up the drywall themselves. But they will be able to rent the unit legally.

Mr Mammoliti: That's right. This is a tenants' rights issue, isn't it, a residents' rights issue. Mr Tilson, I believe, with his line of questioning today with other deputants, still hasn't realized that there are literally hundreds of thousands of illegal apartments out there and that means the tenants aren't being represented in any way in the form of legislation. This is a residents' rights bill, as opposed to what Mr Tilson would believe is a waste of time. Do you believe this will help the rights of tenants?

Ms Roll: Yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: You raised a couple of questions, first of all the educational aspect. Is that how you describe your organization, as an advocacy group?

Ms Roll: A volunteer organization. I don't have our constitution in front of me, so I'm not sure exactly how we do it.

Mr Gary Wilson: You haven't been asked recently what you people do.

Ms Roll: I haven't been asked today, no. Basically, part of what we do is advocacy, part of what we do is education, and part of what we do is empowerment of women.

Mr Gary Wilson: What sort of education would you see around this issue that you're asking for in your presentation?

Ms Roll: One of the things would probably be a more extensive kind of education project, such as the one this came out of. We went out to community groups and did workshops with them, discussed the particular situations in their communities basically to try to convince them that residential intensification is not the mean, bad, awful thing they might think it is, depending on where they're coming from -- What have they heard? What have they seen? -- and try to help them look at things in a different way, that it might be positive for everybody. I'd see a lot more of that kind of thing.

Also, I would see that municipalities would have some sort of information sessions, information available to people who would want to convert or people just who want to live in basement apartments or accessory apartments. It would be nice if the province got in on the act too. Actually, the province does get in on the act, because the province funded this one.

Mr Gary Wilson: That's good to hear. By "this one," you mean What is Housing Intensification?

Ms Roll: The project we did last year, which this was part of. We're actually doing an extension of that this year, but it's not anywhere near enough to cover the province.

Mr Gary Wilson: But it's very attractive and a good model, I would think, for what other groups could do. I compliment you on that. What has been the reception of this? What has been the response in the community?

Ms Roll: The ministry re-funded us, so the ministry thought we did a good job. The community has been quite positive so far. We haven't been to a ratepayer group yet that has been as hostile as they can sometimes be. We're working up to the bull pit. We've met with more friendly residents' groups so far.


Mr Gary Wilson: That is one of the issues when we talk about residents' rights. It's not only tenants but it's also home owners, to give them the right, where they don't have to be looking over their shoulders or feel that they're doing something illegal, as they are now in many communities, by putting a second unit in their house. They will have that right to do it for the variety of reasons -- you mentioned some of them -- a home owner would want an accessory apartment. It isn't only tenants who are looking for that opportunity but also home owners.

Ms Roll: That's very true. The difficulty is, with the organizations, the ratepayer associations, that sort of thing, sometimes they tend to be all of one mindset, which is very anti-everything. If it's not single-family dwellings on a tract of land in suburbia, it doesn't count, it's no good.

If you go into a ratepayer group that has that kind of mindset, obviously it's going to be an uphill battle to try to get it to look at things in a different way. Not impossible, I don't think. That's in line for this year's project, to go into those groups. So far we've gone to the groups that are already starting to think that maybe there are benefits to both sides as far as intensification goes. We're working up our courage.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'm sure you don't need to do that.

The Chair: The official opposition?

Mr Grandmaître: Keep up the good work.

The Chair: Everyone's happy in the official opposition.

Thank you very much for coming. It's been an interesting presentation. We will be dealing with this bill clause by clause beginning the week of March 6, so that's the first time amendments can be made to the legislation.


The Chair: The final presentation this afternoon is from Gerry Wilson. Good afternoon, Mr Wilson. The committee has allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. You should introduce yourself again for Hansard and then you may begin.

Mr Gary Wilton: I'm Gary Wilton, actually.

Mr Tilson: I knew there was only one Gary Wilson.

The Chair: Our apologies.

Mr Wilton: That's all right. I was a member of a group home called Chai-Tikvah, a level 1 group home, 24-hour care, for five years between December 1987 and December 1992. I understand this legislation might have some effect on that type of group home.

It's important to have group homes like that for people with psychiatric disorders, many of them as adults who have lived rather isolated lives. What we call social skills, cooking or banking or even doing other things, they're not expert at that, including me when I moved out. Group homes prepare people to learn these skills and eventually move out on their own. They also provide a social atmosphere. They say a lot of people who have psychiatric disorders have to some extent isolated lives.

I think 24-hour staffing, level 1, is important because people will have problems overnight, medication or some disorder or a relapse in their illness, and it's nice to have somebody there overnight to take them to the hospital or to make a phone call.

I'm not an expert on this bill but I think it has to do with how you handle someone, let's say, who's violent. Can you ask them to leave, or what rights do they have? It's a complicated issue, but if you live in a group home with other people -- and the one I lived in had eight members -- if someone is violent or in some other way disturbs the peace of the group home in quite a dramatic way, there is a need to protect the other people. I realize they have rights too, rights to be heard and to give their case on the issue, but it's also important that people in a group home have a right to protect the safety of the other people in the house. That's really all I have to say.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Thanks for coming out today, Gary. It's not the best weather to be walking around the street in, I know that.

When you lived in the group home, where there instances when some of your fellow roommates were violent or disruptive and had to be removed?

Mr Wilton: When I was there, not violence. Somebody had a drug problem. It wasn't like tomorrow he was ejected, but over time he was eased out. Street drugs, I mean, not medication.

Mr Fletcher: We've heard from a lot of people who think there should be a better way or a speeded-up way of being able to remove a person from a group home if they're disruptive, if they're breaking the rules. How long do you think it should take? Not two years.

Mr Wilton: It depends what it is. For a real act of violence, somebody hitting somebody or worse, it would have to be quite immediate. You wouldn't like to live in a group home where you'd worry at night whether you're going to be injured.

Disturbances could be a lot of things, and under certain circumstances -- I wouldn't want to push anybody out on the street. Due process. If you're with eight people and you depend on your safety or wellbeing, it's important that people have rules and that you're not in danger of any kind of violence or other disturbance. It's a very difficult thing to discuss. I don't want people being ejected for no reason or arbitrarily, but it's something you worry about.

Mr Fletcher: That's the fine line we're trying to find. It's a tough one. As tenants, did you get together and talk these issues over?

Mr Wilton: Oh, all the time, yes.

Mr Fletcher: And the person was always involved with it? Did the person who was breaking the rules get in on the discussion too?

Mr Wilton: I'm sure they would with their opinion, yes.

Mr Fletcher: That's a pretty good way to do things.

Mr Wilton: Yes, I think so.

Mr Grandmaître: Did you say you lived in a group home for five years?

Mr Wilton: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: Are you still living in a group home?

Mr Wilton: No.

Mr Grandmaître: What about some of your friends you lived with for five years? Are they aware of Bill 120?

Mr Wilton: Probably not. If they are, they haven't told me. I wouldn't think most of them would be, no.

Mr Grandmaître: How did you get interested in Bill 120?

Mr Wilton: I just heard about it from social workers and just hearing about it. I thought it was interesting and that having been a member of a group home, maybe I could contribute something. Maybe not, but I thought it would be worth trying, just to give, whatever it's worth, my opinion on the subject.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm sure your contribution is well appreciated, because other group homes have come before this committee saying practically the same thing as you, that we have to find a way to accommodate group homes. I think the government should take note that it's affecting a lot of people. It's their responsibility to find ways and means to bring about amendments to this bill to respect people like you and your friends. Thank you for being here. Mr Daigeler: Based on your experience, can you recall any time where you would say that somebody was unfairly dismissed from the group home?

Mr Wilton: No. There was one person, actually, who was on drugs, but he wasn't ejected immediately. It was over a month maybe, and something was found for him. It wasn't, "You're out tomorrow." In my five years, that never happened.

Mr Tilson: I appreciate your coming, because the delegations that have come forward have been individuals who have represented these group homes or these facilities. To my knowledge, you're the first who's come forward who has actually been a resident, and I appreciate your contribution to us.

You've just answered the main fear I have about whether someone is unfairly ejected. Now, of course, with Bill 120, if it's passed unamended, the individual who is being asked to leave -- you hate to use the word "ejected," but who's being asked to leave for whatever reason -- will have a lot of rights that he or she did not have before, and in due course he or she will find out about those rights. That's the real crunch of this particular problem. With the whole service group homes are trying to do, will it become more adversarial?

Mr Wilton: I've only been in one group home. I'm not an expert on all group homes. I wouldn't think a decision to eject somebody or ask them to leave or ease them out would be taken lightly or taken, let's say, for a minor disturbance like "You wouldn't follow the rules" or that you talk back to somebody. I don't think they'd eject you for that.

It's a very tough thing. People have rights. It's a fine line. If you can't eject under certain circumstances, as a member of a group home, if someone got violent -- in the group home I was in, there were eight people -- I'd find it very disconcerting to be there.

Mr Tilson: You put it in a nutshell. It's a complicated issue. On the one hand, you get concerned about that individual, for whatever reason. Maybe they didn't take their medication, maybe they didn't want to take their medication. I don't know. I will be the first to admit that.

Mr Wilton: That does happen.

Mr Tilson: The real issue is, will these types of facilities be able to operate as successfully as they have with the effect that Bill 120 will have on these types of facilities?

Mr Wilton: It will be harder, I think, and maybe less secure.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Wilton. We really appreciate your coming here today.

This concludes the scheduled presentations for this afternoon's session. Tomorrow we will reconvene at 10 am sharp to listen to more deputations regarding Bill 120. The committee is adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1634.