Monday 14 February 1994

City of North York Act (Vital Services), 1993, Bill 95, Mr Mammoliti / Loi de 1993 sur la cité de North York (Services essentiels), projet de loi 95, M. Mammoliti

Oakdale Acres Ratepayers Association

Steve Pitt, president

2600 Finch Avenue West Tenants Association

David MacKinnon, president

Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations

Peter Bruer, tenant organizer

Kathy Stephenson

Maria Augimeri



*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:

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North/-Nord L) for Mr Grandmaître

Fawcett, Joan M. (Northumberland L) for Mr Sorbara

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

Turnbull, David (York Mills PC) for Mr Arnott

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel:

Revell, Donald, chief legislative counsel

Richmond, Jerry, research officer, Legislative Research Service

Wernham, Christopher, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1307 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


Consideration of Bill 95, An Act to provide for the passing of vital services by-laws by the City of North York / Projet de loi 95, Loi prévoyant l'adoption par la cité de North York de règlements municipaux relatifs aux services essentiels.

The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The business of the committee this afternoon is to deal with public deputations in regard to Bill 95.


The Chair: The first presentation will come from the Oakdale Acres Ratepayers Association. Good afternoon. The committee has allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. You can use that time as you wish, either to just make the presentation or to provide some time for questions and answers. Introduce yourself, state your position within the organization and then you may begin.

Mr Steve Pitt: Members of the committee, my name is Steve Pitt. I am president of the Oakdale Acres Ratepayers Association. I represent a coalition of other ratepayer associations in the area. I have two other ratepayer presidents here today. They're sitting behind me. They're both from the Jane and Finch area. I'm from the Jane and Wilson area. We're all members of the community of Yorkview in western North York.

I'm here representing this coalition of ratepayer groups from North York that support Bill 95. Although Bill 95 is obviously written with apartment tenants and landlords in mind, apartments tend to be surrounded by single-family dwellings. Very often, the population of one large apartment building matches or outnumbers the combined population of the local home owners. We shop at the same stores. We use the same community services. Therefore, the health and welfare of our local apartment dwellers directly affects the nature of our community.

After studying Bill 95 for the past few months and discussing it between ratepayer associations, we wish to go on record as saying that we like what we see. To us, it is inconceivable that basic human necessities such as heat, hot water, electricity and fuel are not already considered vital services.

But Bill 95 is not quite finished. We would like to see two important amendments added. We believe that security and garbage disposal should also be included as vital services.

As you are no doubt aware, for the past two years the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority has upgraded the security of many of its larger apartment complexes. These improvements have included security cameras, enhanced lighting and copyproof key systems for the lobby and individual units.

As home owners, we have found that improved security for apartment buildings is also good for the surrounding community. Without security, apartment lobbies can become home base for drug pushers, prostitutes, purse snatchers and other undesirables. This criminal element naturally spills out into the surrounding community.

Since MTHA improved its security system, the surrounding communities have seen a dramatic reduction in neighbourhood crime. In the Jane and Finch area, for example, Metro's 31 Division reports that crime has been slashed by 40%.

The unfortunate thing is that this crime does not disappear; it only relocates to other apartment buildings where the landlord has not bothered to install adequate security. Security, therefore, must become a designated vital service. What use is a well-heated and well-lit apartment if the tenants take their lives in their own hands every time they enter or leave their apartment building?

I would now like to speak to you of the garbage issue. Irresponsible garbage disposal is another source of friction between apartment buildings and local home owners. As neighbours to large apartment complexes, private home owners are often victims of loose garbage blowing on to their properties. There have also been instances of smells, cockroaches and even rats coming from large, overflowing containers of uncollected garbage. Under the present bylaw system, it can take weeks or even months before a landlord can be compelled to clean up this mess.

Besides being unsightly, accumulation of garbage is dangerous both from a hygiene and a fire safety point of view. Once again the fault lies not with the tenants but with the landlords, who under the present set of laws cannot be compelled to keep their properties adequately clean.

Finally, I would like to point out that even though Bill 95 was designed for apartment buildings, many of the provisions can also be used to safeguard owners and tenants of private residences. With the housing market currently in recession, a substantial portion of any community's private homes is now rentals. Some absentee landlords view their properties not as homes but as business opportunities.

The result is that although some rental houses are kept clean and safe, others become havens for criminal activities popularly known as "crack houses." Along with drugs come prostitutes and other crime. Once again our current bylaw enforcement system is inadequate to deal with the crisis. The character of a street or even an entire neighbourhood can be ruined by one greedy landlord.

It is for these reasons then that we now ask you to support Bill 95. We also ask that Bill 95 be amended to include security and garbage collection as vital services.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): It's a little bit difficult to jump from Bill 120, which we've been studying over the last four weeks, to this particular bill. Nevertheless, I would like to ask you first of all, not being that familiar with your situation, how much of a problem is this really in your area? How often does it happen that the vital services get disconnected?

Mr Pitt: Are you talking of the apartments or --

Mr Daigeler: Yes.

Mr Pitt: In reference to which issue, sir? Do you mean garbage, security?

Mr Daigeler: No, I mean to all the vital services. First of all, the way you just defined it in the bill, has it really happened that often? I understand there's been an incident recently and perhaps that's what brought all this to the fore, but how often does it occur in your area that vital services such as water and heat are not provided by the landlord?

Mr Pitt: Speaking as a private home owner who hasn't had the water cut off to my own house, I can't say that it happens much in regard to home owners -- I'm a ratepayer president, sir. But I have known where people are renting their houses, and if the landlord falls in arrears to the utility company, as the ratepayer president, I get a knock on the door saying: "Excuse me, sir, we don't have any gas. What's wrong?" Then we have to sort out what's happened.

From my own personal experience, it's only happened once in three years for a single-family unit, but I understand this does happen for larger apartment services, like a landlord in charge of an entire apartment block failing to pay his bills and then you've got hundreds, maybe thousands of people. In this weather you're talking not just inconvenience; you're talking a health hazard.

Speaking as a home owner, I'm more inclined to be worried about the security provided in apartment buildings. Our neighbourhood at Jane and Wilson has four very large apartment complexes along Chalkfarm Drive and we had a tremendous problem with drugs and prostitutes, and it was all because the lobbies were being used as home bases for drug pushers. Until the proper security systems were put into these units, my neighbourhood was being impacted quite dramatically, especially just like a wave effect. People right next to the building were getting the worst of it, people a couple streets away were getting a lesser degree, but the entire community was being affected for safety.

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): The question I would like to ask first is, do you believe it would be appropriate that this kind of legislation be available to all municipalities in the province?

Mr Pitt: I can only speak from, let's say, an urban point of view. I don't know if this would work in Grey-Simcoe, where it's more like a family-type operation. I can't see somebody owning a building where hundreds of people might be living in Grey-Simcoe.

Mr Turnbull: But in providing vital services to the tenants, the size of the building really doesn't matter. The question is, should it be available to all municipalities?

Mr Pitt: It should be made available, yes.

Mr Turnbull: I believe that to be the case.

Just moving on to the question of security and garbage collection, clearly garbage collection is a health question which should be adequately covered by the current rent. But when you start talking about security you infer that there will be new costs incurred, perhaps in replacing locks and providing video systems. Who would you see paying for that?

Mr Pitt: I think the landlord would have to put it down as part of the maintenance of the building.

Mr Turnbull: But you understand that there are rent controls, and capital costs cannot be recovered, other than within a very narrow band, by the landlord. I'm not unsympathetic to what you're saying; I'm just trying to explore how we handle this. When tenants take a unit, they take it without the video cameras and with the existing locks. If you move this cost of new security measures to them -- this is a new service that they have above and beyond that at which they took the place -- would it not be reasonable to expect the tenants to pay, on an amortized basis over a period of time, the cost of providing that new service?

Mr Pitt: To be honest, because I'm not an expert on how much it will cost, you might want to address it to our tenants' association person. Many landlords regularly apply for the 10% maximum and get it for such incidental repairs as painting their buildings and all that. I can't see any problem.

Mr Turnbull: Let me assure you they can't do that now. The maximum they can get is a very small amount over the present annual rate that is set. That could easily be taken up in the course of a year by a leaky roof or something like that. I'm saying there are some landlords who could quite easily afford this, but there are many other landlords who are choking to death at the moment. This might just put them over the edge, if you're putting new costs on.

I'm sympathetic to it. I emphasize that, but it's a question of how you pay for it if the landlord doesn't have the money to do it. If this is extra security which the tenants are going to get the benefit of, wouldn't it be reasonable to have that as an extra amount that would be chargeable back to the tenants over the amortized life of these measures?


Mr Pitt: I can say that I'm not unsympathetic to the landlord who has to pay for this. I agree that it's a business and I don't want to put anybody under. At the same time, I think it's also a business of providing something essential. As we frame the law, what I'm asking you to do is to try to frame it so that nobody will go under at the same time these services are provided, because to me security is every bit as essential, as I've said, as being able to turn on my light or get some hot water.

Mr Turnbull: Sure, okay.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): The previous person who just asked you questions talks about rent control and that perhaps being a negative factor in landlords not providing for that service, and that being an obstacle. I think he would know that landlords under the current rent control system would be eligible for 3% increases for three years, for a total of 9% increases to tenants' rents, if applied for and if accepted by rent control. I don't see this being an obstacle at all, David.

Mr Turnbull: Excuse me, George. Can I clarify what was said, just to help you with this? Can I just clarify what I was saying? I mentioned that if a landlord has to repair such things as roofs or underground garages or anything of a major nature, the 3% isn't even a drop in the bucket, so if you have those expenses, then you have no money left over.

Mr Mammoliti: If you go into some of these buildings, and I understand you have in the past, you will note that if there isn't security around, and quite frankly I would agree at this point with some of the arguments in amending the bill to include security, and there isn't proper security in buildings, things like windows get broken on an everyday basis and landlords are having to fix that on a regular daily and weekly thing, as well as vandalism and graffiti and that sort of thing to lobbies and entranceways. Again, in speaking to some individuals, they would tell me this is the case.

In your experience -- I know that you're a ratepayer president -- have you seen this type of scenario, this type of example where security hasn't been there, and because it hasn't been there, windows and doors and graffiti have been problems to lobbies and entranceways? Has that been an experience?

Mr Pitt: I would say most definitely. I'm familiar with a lot of buildings along Jane Street, and if you can pull the door open without a passkey, I can guarantee what you're going to find on the inside. It's just a horrendous mess such as graffiti, broken windows and people loitering. As a 200-pound, middle-aged male, I feel threatened enough walking into some of these buildings. I can imagine what it must be for females or elderly people. It is just a horrendous show and it's almost directly connected to that lack of a decent lock on the front door, because anybody can go in there and there's no security -- they've chased them out -- and there's no accountability.

Mr Mammoliti: Do you think in the long run it might even save landlords money to install proper security systems when it comes to this sort of thing?

Mr Pitt: I can't see how it could not, just because once again, the wear and tear on these lobbies is incredible from these people who don't belong there.

Mr Mammoliti: So in essence it's an investment as opposed to an expenditure.

Mr Pitt: Most definitely. You see the home owner who takes care of the little things on their house and the house stays, where if you just let something go and let people walk through your house, it's going to degrade very quickly.

Mr Mammoliti: What about garbage? You talked a little bit about amending it to include garbage removal. What type of garbage would be the experience of ratepayers? There's all kinds of garbage.

Mr Pitt: You name it. I've seen everything from it looking like somebody just cleaned out their living room by throwing it off the balcony to personal garbage. Condoms have been a big problem in my neighbourhood. When the prostitutes were using lobbies and the surrounding area, we used to have problems with condoms. It would start off in their parking lot and be blowing on to our properties. You can literally almost see the garbage start at the apartment, but by the next day it's moved 50 yards towards you. It's almost like a creeping mass.

Who do you call to clean up used condoms? That was one of the problems I went through two years ago when somebody complained that they were getting a flood of these things, 10 to 12 a day, on their property. I can tell you that right now there is no bylaw -- no North York, no Metro, no federal level of government -- that's responsible for the cleaning up of these. The only person I can hold accountable is an apartment landlord because, quite frankly, if it was one of my fellow home owners who had this problem on his property, I think the onus would be on him to maintain the property properly. I don't see why, just because somebody happens to own 300 units instead of one house, they should be exempt.

The Chair: We appreciate your presentation.


Mr David MacKinnon: My name is David MacKinnon and I am here representing the tenants association of 2600 Finch Avenue West in Weston. I thank you for this opportunity to speak here this afternoon.

I appear here today as the president of our building's tenants association. This proposed legislation, Bill 95, should provide the teeth necessary to bite into the sloppy and uncaring attitudes of some shoddy landlords. Now, understand that I am not referring to landlords who care for and maintain their buildings. The good landlords for the most part are in touch with the concerns of their tenants and take care of their buildings. Bill 95 will affect those referred to as, if I may use a borrowed expression here, the slumlords.

The reference is pertaining to the manner in which some landlords abuse their position and neglect their buildings, which adversely affects the living conditions of their tenants. Bill 95 addresses the basic necessities required by all tenants who live in this climate. Only the unscrupulous practices of the slumlords need to worry about being held accountable by Bill 95.

The building in which I am currently living is owned by one of these so-called slumlords. A general cry is echoed throughout the building about the decline in the appearance of the building as well as the overall lack of maintenance. Yet still they collect the rents, still they do not do any repairs, and as we found out recently, they are not paying the bills.

In January of this year, 1994, a notice of discontinuance of service was issued by Consumers' Gas due to default of payment. Their records show that the gas payment was two months in arrears. There is a deep concern among the building's population that this same type of situation could arise again. Bill 95 is the precise act that needs to be in place just to deal with the very situation that had taken place in our building.

I have listed on the next page six points from Bill 95 that we as the tenants association feel are important to tenants. I've listed what they are and why I feel they are beneficial.

In the definition of "vital services," which are usually included in a person's rent, are:

(1) A gas supply, which for a lot of these buildings is used to provide heat, assures that honest, rent-paying tenants will have sufficient heat to maintain their comfort on a yearly basis.

(2) Security, I realize, is being amended to be included in the act. We feel it is an issue that is more acute now than ever before. Tenants should have the right to feel safe and secure within the parameters of their dwelling, in the parking areas as well as the hallways. These areas come under the landlord's responsibilities. In most buildings, this responsibility requires closer attention.

(3) Hydro: There again, this is a service that's vital to everyone. Electricity runs almost all our daily appliances, which most of us would be lost without. The foremost consideration should be the safety factor. Without electricity, you lose the use of lights, elevators, and sometimes fire prevention systems.


(4) This now brings me to garbage, which we feel should be included as a vital service. While the concern for garbage is an expanding problem involving everybody, it's time to approach this as a vital service. We as tenants strongly believe the landlord should take a more active role in providing a cleaner atmosphere for the tenants and the neighbourhood.

Garbage seen heaped on the ground or blowing across the lawn is unhealthy as well as unsightly. This promotes an uncaring attitude on behalf of the landlord, especially if it's perceived by the tenants that they don't feel concerned enough to have it cleared away on a more regular basis. They wouldn't do it at their homes. Why should they do it at ours? North York is a clean city. This bill should help ensure that the future of this city will remain clean.

(5) Essential services: Precluding shutdown for repairs or shutdown due to fire, a tenant should expect to have heat, hot water, cold water and lights on a constant basis, providing the tenant has paid the rent.

Bill 95 bylaws will stipulate what a landlord's responsibilities are in respect to vital services. This is beneficial to the landlord and the tenant. The bill informs the landlord of his duty to provide a service; also the tenant of his use of these vital services. Bill 95 should create a more responsible landlord and a better informed tenant.

Bylaw compliance: Who is liable for complying with the bylaws? The benefits from that will show that it targets the negligent landlord, and I emphasize that, who takes advantage of a less educated tenant.

We feel a clause for the city to inspect a building for compliance on a vital service is important because an inspection of a vital service by an official could prove to be beneficial to tenant and landlord to resolve any dispute arising from this act.

A provision for the city to reclaim from the landlord any moneys paid out by the city in reinstating any of the vital services would be beneficial. Should the city have to pay to have a vital service resumed at a dwelling of its taxpayers due to the fault of the landlord, the landlord would owe the city. It should not fall on the tenants, who have been paying rent in good faith, to find themselves in a position such as this. It may cause landlords to reconsider their actions, knowing that they will have to repay moneys to the city. No businessman is keen on an out-of-pocket expense he can't recover.

The tenant safety clause: If the vital services are interrupted but then resumed by an official and arranged for by the city, Bill 95 will be beneficial in that it's good for the honest, rent-paying tenant who through no fault of his own has his vital services discontinued. Should the city intervene to arrange for the vital service, it is reassuring to know that your service will be reinstated. The tenant would pay to the city any amounts for the service, which is I guess prorated: So much of a person's rent is to be allocated to cover those bills.

Bill 95 will provide some protection to the tenant against the landlord interrupting the supply of vital services in an effort to persuade the tenant to vacate the dwelling. As tenants, our point-blank view of assessment is this: Bill 95 will protect honest, rent-paying tenants from those landlords who disregard the welfare of their tenants by ceasing to provide all vital services or by having caused suspension of those vital services.

Mr Turnbull: Mr MacKinnon, thank you very much. As I think you probably heard me asking the last presenter, do you feel it would be appropriate if we were to take this all across the province? I brought in, by the way, an almost identical bill, a private member's bill, but it was to apply to all municipalities in the province. It is what is known as "permissive legislation," which would allow those municipalities which felt they needed the legislation to pass a bylaw. They wouldn't have to have that bylaw, but at least they would have permission from the province to do this so that they could quickly address tenant concerns.

My concern about this is that it's only for North York, and there are other municipalities that have these problems where tenants are not being protected. Do you believe it would be more appropriate to have this amended so that it applied to the whole province?

Mr David MacKinnon: I believe so. It should not have any bearing whether a tenant is living in a unit in Toronto or Windsor or Ottawa. They should be able to have access to the same vital services.

Mr Turnbull: Look, I agreed with everything you had in your presentation. The only question I have, and it's the same question I had for the last presenter, is this question of the cost of providing added security. I think it is important, particularly when I look at the kinds of concerns that are being echoed, not just by tenants but by people all across Metro, about security. The fact is that if we start adding costs to landlords by adding security measures which weren't there when tenants moved in, is it not reasonable that the tenants should pay for that on an amortized basis, inasmuch as that if you own a house and you want a new lock, you go out and buy the lock?

Mr David MacKinnon: The landlord is in the position, as you mentioned before, that he can apply for an increase of 3% above the guideline to cover his costs in successive years for that new service. It's also in place that once that new service has been paid for, then the rents would be reduced.

Mr Turnbull: That's correct.

Mr David MacKinnon: The application here, in reference to our building, would probably not amount to a large expenditure of dollars. There is minimal, I would say, expense to be incurred that would help, such as lighting in the parking areas -- the light standards are there, the light bulbs aren't -- better locks on the doors, which right now due to use and age are easily accessible, and if the need of a camera to be installed in the lobby is to be put forward, he can come to the tenants of the building and ask for a capital expenditure amount, say, "This is what it's going to cost," and the tenants themselves can vote whether they will go through with that.

Mr Turnbull: I understand what you're saying, but the problem is this: We accept that there are some buildings where we easily can do this within the budget. If a building is not in great shape, or if it's just getting older and it's getting to the point that it needs, for example, a new roof put on the building or some extensive repairs to the underground parking garage, with the legislation that is now in place, as you correctly point out, you can get 3% per year, for a total of three years, over the guidelines. However, that isn't sufficient in most cases to pay for those repairs. That's the basic problem.

If a landlord were faced with saying, "Okay, I have to put this new security in and I can go for the 3%," or up to the 3%, presumably they wouldn't need all of the 3%, that would be fine. But that doesn't allow anything for those terribly large expenditures, if they're fixing the underground parking garage or replacing the roof or something. That's the fundamental problem. I'm concerned because we don't want to make the problem worse than we have it today. It's unacceptable for landlords to walk away from their responsibility to tenants.

The Chair: And the question is?

Mr Turnbull: The question is, would it not be reasonable, where there are new security measures, to ask the tenants to bear that over an amortized period?

Mr David MacKinnon: No, it's not unreasonable.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Thank you, David, for coming in today. This thing about garbage, heaps on the ground and blowing all over the place, where is this garbage coming from, the dumpster in the back?

Mr David MacKinnon: Partly. He has at his disposal two bins that rotate, so when one is full, then --

Mr Fletcher: How big is this apartment building?

Mr David MacKinnon: There are 113 units in this building.

Mr Fletcher: I see. Are two dumpsters enough?

Mr David MacKinnon: If they are emptied on a regular basis.

Mr Fletcher: That's the problem.

Mr David MacKinnon: Yes.

Mr Fletcher: A question for Mr Mammoliti, who lives in that area: Is this a common occurrence in this area, with dumpsters and the garbage collection?

Mr Mammoliti: Mr Fletcher, I assure you that it's not only a common occurrence at this point over the last few months, but it's been a common occurrence for years in our neck of the woods. Quite frankly, our methods of resolving this at the municipal level haven't worked and that's why I've introduced this particular bill, because I think this might give municipalities the encouragement and the willingness to be able to deal with bylaws around this area.


David, in your particular case, where Consumers' Gas had wanted to cut off the gas, if there weren't a particular resolution to this, if there weren't an agreement of some sort with Consumers' Gas, and the tenants and my office did try to intervene and try to help out and act as a mediator in this case, and Consumers' Gas did shut off the gas, what would that mean for the 115 families that live there? Maybe you want to elaborate on what the experience might have been if the gas would have been shut off.

Mr David MacKinnon: If it had gone any length of time, there would have been a problem with freezing pipes. It was a time of the month when it was extremely cold. There was, I think, minus 26 degree weather, so it was a matter of time before something would give.

There is in place a method by which the city of North York would step in to rectify the situation, but from what I've been able to find out there is no time limit, no time frame for them to do this. They said that somebody would have come to turn the gas back on, precluding any settlement, but they didn't say when.

People in the building who have small children were complaining about being cold even prior to this, that because of the age of the building and cracks in the windows and the doorways, it was uncomfortably cool.

Mrs Joan M. Fawcett (Northumberland): I'd like to go back to the garbage problem once again so that I can understand this, being new on this committee and on the bill. I don't know which of you would answer this, but what is the problem? Is it the municipality that isn't doing the pickup or is it that somebody isn't paying for extra pickup? Could someone just elaborate on that?

Mr David MacKinnon: I can find out. The building is under contract to have the garbage picked up and it is the extra pickup; there's extra charge involved.

Mrs Fawcett: I see. To the landlord?

Mr David MacKinnon: Yes.

Mrs Fawcett: In your particular building it would require extra?

Mr David MacKinnon: Yes.

Mrs Fawcett: And that is what's not being done and then causes the problem?

Mr David MacKinnon: I don't know who this landlord is. Maybe somebody in this room would but we can't seem to find out who he is. It seems to boil down, as Mr Turnbull was saying, to dollars and cents, to what a landlord can afford to put into a building. The garbage is kept in a fire access route to the building. It is below balconies where there are bedrooms and living rooms above. At this time of the year, it's not that bad, but in the summer you can't leave your windows open.

Mrs Fawcett: In the heat of the summer.

Mr David MacKinnon: We have asked to have it removed. We have been told no, they can't, or won't.

Mrs Fawcett: Right now, how often is it removed?

Mr David MacKinnon: The interior chute garbage is removed three times a week, every second day. There are two bins for refuse outside that I think are removed twice a month, every second week. Sometimes it's just a matter of tenants getting rid of refuse at the same time it overflows. In a case like that, the responsibility should be there to call in an extra pickup for disposal. It's not done. The garbage is left there on the ground. If people can't get it in the bin because it's too full, they leave it on the ground.

Mr Mammoliti: Can I also respond to that?

Mr Daigeler: I'm sorry; if there's time, I have a question too.

The Chair: Really there isn't time, but Mr Mammoliti might wish to complete the response, which is what he was asking.

Mr Mammoliti: The bins themselves are just one component to the problem. In our neck of the woods, from what I've gathered over the years, and I believe the ratepayer president before David had said it, condoms and needles and things like that are found on a regular basis out on the sites and landlords sometimes neglect to pick them up. Maybe it's because they're afraid to pick them up or they're afraid to touch them, but that seems to be a problem throughout my area, and I think other areas in Metro and across the province, for that matter. When people talk about garbage removal, it shouldn't only be referred to the bins themselves. I think that other garbage -- I think you know what I'm talking about.

Mr Daigeler: I'm just wondering, when the heat was turned off in your building, what happened?

Mr David MacKinnon: I'll correct you. Due in part to Mr Mammoliti's office, they intervened before it was turned off.

Mr Daigeler: It was not turned off.

Mr David MacKinnon: No. A notice was sent from Consumers' Gas, hand-delivered, that it was terminating service. Mr Mammoliti's office stepped in prior to this. A tentative settlement was worked out --

Mr Daigeler: Between whom?.

Mr David MacKinnon: -- between Consumers' Gas and the landlord for partial payment, just to put it at ease for the time being.

Mr Fletcher: But the landlord didn't tell you they were shutting the gas off?

Mr David MacKinnon: No, the landlord did not say anything. As a matter of fact, the notices that were put up in the lobby were taken down.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr MacKinnon.


Mr Peter Bruer: My name is Peter Bruer. I'm a tenant organizer with the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations and a staff editor of our newspaper, the Tenants' Bulletin.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations is a grass-roots tenant organization with about 6,000 tenant members across greater Toronto presently. We work with tenants in their buildings and in their communities to help them organize and to deal effectively with tenancy problems. We provide information and advice to tenants concerning their rights through a tenant hotline, an eight-hour-a-day telephone service. We also do law reform work on behalf of the community we represent, as I'm doing today.

We're frequently called concerning the issue of the loss of vital services. Several of our member tenants' associations have faced the problems that come from no water, no heat, no electricity. I have worked with the gentleman you just spoke to, at 2600 Finch. We were involved and are involved in helping organize their building. There are three or four other examples that I could cite in the last six or eight months that we've been immediately involved with.

We congratulate the government for recognizing the seriousness of this problem. To be without these vital services is to be returned to the Dark Ages in some ways. It can be a terrifying experience. Especially in high-rises, just making your way out of a building when the hydro has been shut off can be dangerous. I could mention also the impossibility of emergency services getting to people in the case of heart attacks or in the case of emergencies when elevators don't work, when lighting systems are down.

The kinds of problems we've been having in the last few months of this severe cold weather in Toronto, even without the interruption of services, give us a good indication of how much heat problems can cause for people: burst pipes and loss of heat, illness on the part of the elderly and so on and so forth.


Through no fault of their own and generally because the landlord's skewed priorities have not included ensuring basic needs are met, tenants are completely inconvenienced and essentially left without a home, or at least can be. However, as tenants pay their rents a month in advance, many do not have money in the middle of the month to put towards a motel or a hotel room. They have already paid out their housing costs for the month, but in return they have not received the housing they are entitled to in these cases.

Tenants often have to rely on eating in restaurants if hydro goes down or gas for gas stoves, a substantial increase in their monthly food costs, especially if they have children. They may not be able to take pets with them. They lose aquariums, their plants and the food in their freezers and refrigerators.

In addition, it's difficult to recover any compensation for these costs the tenants incur. While Small Claims Court actions can be brought, many tenants have neither the time nor the money to challenge their landlords. One action on the part of a landlord, the non-payment of a bill, can affect hundreds of tenants, but it's unlikely that the landlord will be substantially penalized through any single court proceeding.

Tenants should not be left at the mercy of this kind of behaviour. They shouldn't be forced to suffer the penalty that the landlord has brought on himself. It's hardly just for that to happen. We congratulate the government for recognizing that municipalities must be involved in this matter and must ensure their constituents are not abandoned in these circumstances.

However, we believe Bill 95 could be more effective as enabling legislation for the entire province. This was an issue that you had brought up before. Mr Turnbull's original private member's bill, on which this bill is closely modelled, extended the power to make vital services bylaws to every municipality. We believe the tenants of every municipality clearly need and are entitled to this sort of protection.

It simply makes sense to rationalize municipal powers through a single legislative scheme, to develop consistency where possible through the Planning Act or the Municipal Act. To pass legislation for each municipality separately is inefficient, it's redundant, it taxes your legislative agenda unnecessarily and it requires considerable effort on the part of each municipality to draft its own bill. It may lead to confusion between municipalities.

There is no reason not to create a single piece of enabling legislation. There is nothing contentious here that would require each municipality to take its own approach to the problem or put its own stamp on the solution to the problem.

We would like to recommend, therefore, that Bill 95 provisions be incorporated into section 31 of the Planning Act, which is currently open for amendments in the omnibus Bill 120. This section already provides for the making of bylaws which prescribe "standards for the maintenance and occupancy of property." As this section already contains provisions regarding offences, penalties, rights of entry and the definition of "owner" etc, it would be unnecessary to create or repeat these specific provisions with respect to vital services bylaws.

At the same time, some improvements could be made to section 31. The remedy of attorning the rents, which currently exists under the Municipal Act for the purposes of collecting taxes and which is set out in this legislation, Bill 95, could also become a remedy available under section 31 of the Planning Act for the purposes of collecting costs incurred by the municipality in the maintenance of a landlord's property.

This is the most effective way to recover costs. It's direct and simple. Adding costs incurred to the collector's rolls doesn't address the problem of landlords who don't pay their taxes and eventually may require the rents be attorned anyway in order to pay the tax bill. It's best to take this step immediately with respect to all costs incurred by the municipality which arise from a landlord's non-compliance with bylaws under section 31.

If the government isn't going to extend the scope of this legislation to the province and apply the provisions set out in the Planning Act to the vital services bylaw, then there are several amendments to Bill 95 which we would like to recommend or could suggest. They are set out in the written material I've presented to you. Maybe I'll go over some of those, if not all, and touch on the most important ones.

Subsections 2(1) and 3(1): We would like to see these provisions regarding the passing of vital services bylaws and their enforcement to be mandatory. The legislation at present talks about "may" instead of "shall." There is a critical role which the municipality needs to play in ensuring that its own housing stock is maintained and preserved and that its constituents are not left homeless and helpless.

Tenants are taxpayers. They are different from home owners in that they are not in complete control of their housing. Just as home owners are entitled to city protection when a loss of services results from breakdowns, an accident, an act of God or whatever, tenants are entitled to parallel protections when they suffer losses through no fault of their own.

It needs to be clarified in clause 2(1)(f) that corporations can also be guilty of an offence in this respect. Clause 2(1)(e) states that it is an offence for a "person" to fail to comply. There is no corollary provision which states that a "corporation" contravening this bylaw is guilty of an offence, so this is an omission that we need to rectify. How would it be that a corporation becomes guilty of any offence otherwise? Clause 2(1)(e) simply could be expanded to refer to a "person" or a "corporation."

Subsection 2(2) talks about the tenant having expressly agreed to assume the costs of vital services. It might make sense to clarify that to say "the current tenant." Current tenants shouldn't be bound by agreements provided by previous tenants. I don't know if that's a possibility or not.

Clause 2(3)(e) provides that landlords shall be deemed to have ceased to provide vital services, an offence under the act, if they don't pay the bills and as a result the services are cut off. We are concerned that two results may happen as a result of this clause: first, that the city pays the bill and therefore the services are not cut off -- the landlord is not guilty of an offence because the services haven't been cut off and there is no remedy then -- or that the services are cut off and the landlord is guilty of an offence, but once again the tenants are paying for the landlord's poor judgement or callous judgement by the loss of the service.

There has to be a provision which finds landlords responsible, guilty of an offence, without making tenants the victim of the offence by having the services cut off.

We might recommend the following: that under clause 2(1)(a), landlords are required to provide adequate and suitable vital services, a term for which standards can be set under clause 2(3)(c) and it appears that the failure to provide these adequate services would constitute an offence. An additional clause could be inserted stating that a landlord is deemed not to be providing adequate and suitable services if the city must exercise its power to pay for those bills. That too would be an offence under the act. There would be some remedy then, some sanction against the landlord so that doesn't happen.

Subsection 3(1) implies that there may be a gap in services before the municipality steps in to arrange for them to be provided, and this is related to the previous point. We believe that this hardship to tenants should and can be avoided by amending the bill. If the city has 15 days' notice from the utility company that the services may be shut off, there could be a process by which the city can arrange for the services to be continued prior to their actually being cut off.

The bill should require the city to notify the landlord of its intentions, to warn the landlord that if they do not indicate by the day previous to the shutoff that they will pay the bill, the city can charge the 10% administration fee even if the landlord does pay at the 11th hour. This administration fee would compensate the city for the inconvenience it experienced in having to make these arrangements, and make a cheque and be prepared to pay the bill and so on ahead of time.

Clauses 3(3)(a) and (b) talk about the application of the legislation, and we strongly disagree there should be any particular classifications of housing or designated areas of the city in which protections offered by this bill would be selectively provided to certain tenants. All tenants are entitled to this protection. Tenants can't live without these basic services. They are vital to any adequate standard of living. Tenants should not be victimized twice over, first by the landlords and then by some municipal agenda.

If a unit is illegal, for instance, the city has the power to take steps to order it to be closed down, but meanwhile it should ensure that the tenant isn't paying the price for the landlord's illegal action in renting it in the first place. This is in reference to illegal units in general.

Subsection 4(1) talks about the notification of tenants, and we would simply suggest that there be a written notification from the landlord and that the notice specify for the information of the tenants -- this is quite important as an organization that talks all the time directly with tenants who have these kinds of problems -- that payment by the tenant to the city because of the default of the landlord shall be deemed not to constitute a default under the Landlord and Tenant Act. In other words, they do not have a fear that they will be evicted for non-payment. That's something that has to be given directly to tenants before they're going to believe it or before they will understand it, and it's simple enough to include that.

There are several other recommendations then, that perhaps fines be levied against landlords for breaches of the bylaw, to put teeth into the law so that not only does it solve a problem that is meant to be solved, and we certainly endorse that, but that there is enough guts in the legislation to actually make it work.

The 10% administrative charge is a handling charge to the city for keeping the landlords' books for them and paying their bills for them and so on. This money of the taxpayers could be better used elsewhere, and it shouldn't be considered a service the city should provide to landlords so they'll pay their bills or something. There should be financial penalties for not meeting your obligations as a landlord.


Finally then, a definition of "landlord" to include all of their agents, employees, heirs, assignees, mortgagees in possession and so on could be taken from the Landlord and Tenant Act just to clarify that. There are certainly a great many manifestations of the word "landlord," and particularly today, with defaults on mortgages and management companies and so on, arm's-length transactions, foreign investors, it's important to have a clear definition of exactly who are the parties involved here.

That's what I'd like to say for the time being. I'm happy, of course, to entertain any questions.

Mr Mammoliti: Thank you very much for coming today, Peter. I appreciate it, and I'm sorry I missed a portion of your presentation. You may have talked about this already, but I think you've seen today that people are concerned about security and garbage removal. What are your feelings on that?

I know you've also said that all tenants should be entitled to these vital services, so if you're in agreement with those amendments, would you also agree that certain parts of the city might find that security and service are more vital than in other parts of the province perhaps?

Mr Bruer: It's certainly a possibility. We have a lot of problems with security, particularly in large apartment buildings, but pretty nearly anywhere, and it cuts right across the board. I don't think there is a neighbourhood in greater Toronto that we're in touch with that doesn't have some kind of security problem or where people don't feel that they have a problem, whether there are examples of break-ins and so on or not.

It's a big problem for people, one of the major problems that we organize around, one of the major problems that we hear about and are attempting to help tenants on. I would say that in many ways it's as vital a service as others in regard to the property damage that a loss of vital services like utilities may cause: the loss of food in refrigerators, the freezing of pipes and floods, the death of pets and so on and so forth. Security concerns obviously have the same implications for people's property, their automobiles, the safety of their apartments and so on, and it's a threat to people's persons as well.

I have a personal experience with an apartment building in the centre of Toronto where it was considered by the courts, I guess the Divisional Court, that security in the building was a vital service and a landlord was ordered to provide locks on the front doors and intercoms and 24-hour security guards for a short period of time. That precedent certainly exists and it was something we felt strongly about at that time. That was several years ago.

The question of garbage removal is maybe a little more difficult to deal with. It's not as life-threatening. It may affect people's enjoyment in their premises but rarely does the problem of garbage disposal actually damage property or threaten somebody's life or threaten their health in a way that security can. But I would say it's an issue as well.

Mr Mammoliti: Somebody posed a question earlier about how often this happens. You would be a little more qualified than some of the others to talk about the frequency in terms of vital services being cut off in buildings. How often does it happen?

Mr Bruer: It's hard to answer that question without some kind of benchmark. How often does it happen? We probably have talked to dozens of buildings over the last year or year and a half, where the threat of cutting off vital services is a fact. We've talked to probably dozens and dozens more individual tenants, because this is something that can happen not only in an apartment building or complex, but in a private home, a duplex or a basement apartment, for that matter.

I don't have the statistics in front of me, because we don't keep that kind of detailed statistic of the telephone calls we get, but it is a regular and routine kind of call to get on our hotline. As I said earlier, we have 5,000 or 6,000 calls a year from tenants that services are being interrupted, that there is a notice from the hydro company or the gas company or that services have in fact been cut off, or they went and pulled the fuses on a tenant because they didn't want to have to pay the bills any more, or there was a dispute about the payment of the rent or there was a problem with the bills or whatever.

I'm not sure how to answer the question in numerical terms, to say, "This many calls a month," or, "This often," but it's as important an issue to tenants as most other issues, I would say. It's one of the major components of the maintenance and repair problem, which is the dominant issue, no question about it, today.

Mr Daigeler: Thank you for your presentation on a problem that I guess is real. You are congratulating the government for bringing this forward and recognizing the problem and perhaps doing something about it. I think the congratulations are probably a little bit premature since this is of course not a government bill.

Mr Bruer: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: At this point it's a private member's bill and we'll see whether the government will support this at the committee; I presume they probably will at the committee but in the House is a different matter.

Mr Bruer: Point well taken, yes.

Mr Daigeler: You know what the fate of private member's bills normally is.

Mr Mammoliti: It depends on the opposition.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): It's in the hands of the opposition.

Mr Daigeler: In any case, I'm wondering whether the proposed solution will really work for the problem that is there. Are you aware at all, have municipalities ever taken over the provision of the vital services? In the ideal it sounds good, frankly, to me, and I certainly can see that if you don't get the vital services as a tenant, it's terrible, but will the municipalities be getting involved in collecting all of this and so on? I have my doubts.

I would have liked to ask that, obviously, of municipal representatives, but as far as I can see there's only one councillor coming this afternoon. I would have liked to hear from the city on this. Since they are not here, I'm asking you that question: What do you expect the cities to do? Are they really going to accept this as their responsibility or will they baulk at that?

Mr Bruer: It's certainly an excellent question and it's one of our concerns with the way that whatever legislation might come forward and be adopted is run. That's why one of our main concerns is that the legislation be put in such a way, first of all, that municipalities don't have the open-ended options to maybe enforce these things if they maybe want to pass by bylaws, but that they be mandated by the province to do these things. Municipalities must guarantee these services to tenants. They are vital, not just luxuries or incidental, and they must enforce them and the legislation must reflect that in the language it uses.

It's not necessarily just going to happen. The provision of maintenance enforcement by municipalities is a major issue for the tenants' movement right now, has been for the last number of years and probably will continue to be for a number of years.

The alternative, though, is that there is no other kind of enforcement. Tenants themselves have to get their rights enforced as best they can. They can put on political pressure and they can raise the issues and so on, but if it isn't going to come from municipalities, where is it going to come from? It's going to come from the province, I suppose, in places where no municipal inspection services exist and that's something the province can deal with to make sure that the Ministry of Housing is prepared to enforce these kinds of standards where municipal standards don't exist, where there is no municipality to pass a bylaw.

I think we all just have to be more vigilant in terms of the enforcement of property standards in general. We have the same problem around maintenance, we have the same problem around elevators and we have the same problem around garbage pickup and security and so on.

Yes, it's difficult. I think the way for the province to make it easier is to make sure that this bylaw is as mandatory as possible or that this law is as mandatory as possible or that it is included in the Planning Act in a definite, "You must do it" kind of way as opposed to a, "Maybe you could do it." Then we've got to lobby each city individually to try to get them to do it and put the resources into it and so on and so forth. It's a good question.

Mr Turnbull: Thank you for your comment about that you believe it would have been appropriate if we could move forward with the general legislation. For your information, the London bill, upon which I closely modelled my private member's bill, cost $13,000 to London, and this wasn't including internal staff time in London, this was just outside legal help, and it took them over two years to get the legislation through.

At a time that municipalities are being squeezed because their transfer payments are being reduced, it would seem logical for us to be able to move forward with a bill which would not incur any further costs to municipalities, and yet -- I wonder if you could just comment on this -- I received a letter dated December 7 from the Minister of Municipal Affairs stating that he would not support my bill. If I can just read an extract, "I cannot support your efforts to bring forth general legislation enabling all municipalities to enact vital services bylaws." It goes on to say, "It would be premature to enact such legislation without consultation with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario."


In fact, I have a letter from AMO in which it supports this position of moving forward with general legislation and further goes on to state, "We are aware that the Ontario Association of Property Standards Officers, which has over 600 members from across the province, has expressed their support for the Toronto Area Property Standards Officers Association," which is known as TAPSO, for this kind of legislation.

The presenters so far today have all said they're in favour of general legislation, and yet one of the problems I am hearing is that I'm advised it may be ruled out of order to amend this bill, Bill 95, in order to achieve the province-wide legislation we're hoping for. This is a procedural matter rather than anything which is based on any logic. I wonder if you could just comment on that and what you feel the next move should be as far as you're concerned.

Mr Bruer: As we state in our presentation, we would suggest that the most logical way to proceed might be to simply amend the Planning Act, section 31, which presently already talks about the provision of bylaws regarding maintenance in the occupation of property, has mechanisms for the enforcement of those bylaws, contains the procedures and so on and so forth. I'm not sure what the procedural red tape may be in terms of trying to do that, but that's another option that if it's not ruled out of order, might achieve the same end and in a more efficient fashion.

I don't know enough about the procedures at Queen's Park myself to know how to advise you about that, obviously, except to say that it is an urgent issue. These are vital services and the word "vital" is the key word here. They are services that can go all the way to the point of being life-threatening, if it's something that doesn't happen, if something isn't done. I think the severity of this winter has made that particularly apparent to people. It would be a shame if mere procedure were to stand in the way of a solution happening for the province. There's no question in our minds that a provincial solution may as well happen now rather than having to go through this time and time again.

Mr Turnbull: Could I just get one clarification? In your brief, with respect to subsection 2(2), you're talking about "the current tenant." Could you just clarify what you mean by that?

Mr Bruer: There may be some confusion in the subsection that specifies that a tenant has agreed to assume the cost of the vital services, thereby implying that if the landlord does default on the cost, it wasn't the landlord that should have paid in the first place, that it was agreed that the tenant would pay the cost of those utilities

Maybe it should be clarified that it state "the current tenant," as opposed to "the tenant" in the general sense, because that agreement will change depending on what tenant is living there. Some tenants will agree to pay utilities. Another tenant may come along and change that agreement and not agree to pay the utilities, a different arrangement be struck, and it needs to be clear that at the current time it is the current arrangement that needs to be looked at and not some history of the arrangement.

Mr Mammoliti: A clarification, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, quickly.

Mr Mammoliti: Peter, I notice that on page 4 of your brief, the last paragraph, you refer to (3)(a) and (b). There is no 3(3)(a) and (b) in the legislation. Would you mean 2(3)(a) and (b) there?

Mr Bruer: Yes, it probably is 2(3)(a) and (b). That might be a simple mistake.

Mr Mammoliti: We just needed that for clarification for Hansard.

Mr Bruer: It's the section of the legislation that deals with the definition of where this legislation would apply. I think the point is clear that it's an all or nothing. There's no reason why some people should enjoy the benefit and not others.

The Chair: Just because some members seemed a little exercised, the question was merely about a number within the presentation that needed to be clarified.

Thank you very much for making your presentation, Mr Bruer. We will be considering this bill shortly.


Mrs Kathy Stephenson: My name is Kathy Stephenson. I live at 1002 Lawrence Avenue East. I am a tenant there. I am very active in the association and when we had our problems with the building. I'm here today to hopefully promote and to speak on the vital services act to have it passed and to maybe shed a little light on the absolute need for this bill to passed. I can only speak from personal experience as to what happened to us.

There have been numerous things brought up about the Consumers' Gas bill. We too were threatened by Consumers' Gas that it was going to discontinue our gas service, which of course would disallow heat and hot water. We, as tenants, had to band together two months worth of rent to pay an over $25,000 bill in order to keep that service on, because there was absolutely nothing anyone could do. They were willing to say: "Well, there's nothing we can do. You'll have your gas cut off." We were stopped in our tracks. We had to pay it. Thus we didn't pay our rent, so we're open to problems there because they could have come on to us for the rent as well as paying the bill.

There was another problem that we had. We had no water in January 1993 for 18 hours. Numerous phone calls to the city did nothing; nothing anyone could do because they're not allowed to come on private property. The mayor of North York finally took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and ordered the city on to the property to break the door down and to go in and snake the drains out, which would give us our water back after 18 hours of no water. He took it, of course, upon himself and he left himself open to various things as well. That is just one of many things that happened to us in my experience at the building.

The need for the vital services act, I can't stress enough. To have it in place in North York would be beneficial to myself and the other tenants of North York, yes, but this is something, as Mr Turnbull's private member's bill indicated several months ago, that should be a province-wide thing. I definitely agree with that. Why should each individual town or municipality be forced to go through what we went through for a year and then have to bring it into this sort of situation and take the months that go by to have it passed? Why not just pass it right over the board and have it done for everyone?

North York isn't the only city that is open to this kind of abuse. There is the growing number of apartment buildings in the city that are getting older, and because of the tight rent control guidelines, landlords have become aggressive, and they must find ways to make money and to make more profit off their building. Thus they don't do repairs. They can't raise the rent to compensate for the repairs they have to do.

Our own personal experience was co-ownership. They were trying to turn our building into co-ownership, thus we were open to all sorts of harassment techniques to try and get us out of that building: lack of heat, lack of water and nothing anyone could do about it. This is a serious problem. For people who are not in apartment buildings, I don't think you fully understand that we are literally at the mercy of the landlord.

I want to bring up the heating and the health inspectors. We are totally cut off from them from 5 o'clock Friday afternoon to 8:30 Monday morning, the reason being that they can't get an inspector out. The landlord can turn the heat off at 5 o'clock and turn it back on again Monday morning and there's nothing anyone can do about it. You try living in that situation in weather like this. It hasn't happened to us this winter, but last winter we had pipes freezing and various other things. Elderly people were forced to leave the premises because they were freezing. Like I say, the need for this act, I can't stress enough; I really, really can't stress it enough.

Another issue that should probably be brought into this act is pest control. There is a problem running rampant in the building. The landlord refuses to have the building done. Why can't the city pick it up and come in and do it to help the people out?

The garbage issue: Yes, that's a big issue, garbage all over the place. The city comes to pick it up. They don't clean up the mess. That should be the landlord's responsibility, to clean up the mess that falls from the dumpsters or whatever the case may be, wherever it comes from.

I can't stress enough how important this bill is and how much I do want to see it put in place, not just for North York but for the entire province. The city of Toronto has it; the city of London has it. As Mr Turnbull pointed out, the cost was absolutely ridiculous, thousands of dollars. I don't know what it's going to cost for North York to have it done, but I wouldn't want to pick up the tab if I lived somewhere else; there's no way.

There's really not a lot more I can say on this except to leave myself open to any questions you have and to just say that I feel very strongly on this. It very much needs to be passed. That's all I can say.


Mrs Fawcett: I'll just say that it's an excellent presentation.

Mrs Stephenson: Well, to the point.

Mrs Fawcett: I'm happy that you came to present your side.

Mr Daigeler: As I said to one of the earlier presenters, it's obviously a real problem when it occurs, a terrible problem. But I think, as you mentioned yourself a little bit, there's a bit of a vicious circle that we're entering here. There's something in here that makes me hesitate, frankly. I think what we're asking is sort of the general taxpayer to look into the problems that exist at particular buildings because the city will, I guess, have to take over from the landlord.

I presume the landlord is not doing it because he doesn't have the money. As you said yourself, there is rent control. He has to squeeze and so on, so he can't cover his costs. Presumably, if the city then charges 10%, he'll have even less money to provide the 10%. Probably he will default and it will to go perhaps the city. Then the city will have to run the building. If the landlord can't already make it profitable, will the city be able to make it profitable? I don't know.

I'm just concerned that passing all these laws may not really be the solution. What may be necessary is simply a reasonable return to the landlord as long as we have a private market in housing so that he can cover those expenses. If there are cases obviously where it isn't because of economics -- I don't know how one establishes this -- it'd be terrible. I'm a bit worried that the laws may not be the solution to what I accept as a real problem. It's not really a question, but it's perhaps a comment and you may wish to respond.

Mrs Stephenson: I realize municipalities do not want to become landlords. That's not what we want done. As tenants, we have the right in the Landlord and Tenant Act to be provided with certain services. We're not asking for anything we're not entitled to. We are entitled to heat. We are entitled to hot water. These are just basic needs. We're not asking for any special favours.

I really don't see why because he's being held back by the guidelines of rent control, we should have to suffer for this. Again, there's no act in place and nobody can step in and stop this, like the aggression of the landlord who says: "Well, I'm sorry, I'm not making an extra few dollars this year. You have to suffer for it." Why? There must be something out there that somebody can do about it. This seems to be the only viable solution at the time unless somebody can come up with something better; I'm all for it, but there just doesn't seem to be anything else.

I see what you're saying and I understand what you're commenting on, but you have to understand too that we're not asking for the world; we're asking just for our basic survival needs. That's not a lot to ask for. We pay our rent faithfully every month. That rent, parts of it I gather, is divvied up to pay a little bit into this, a little bit into that to keep all those services on.

What reason do they have to keep it away from us? They have none whatsoever, except for their own aggression or hostility. Nothing's in place to stop them from being aggressive and hostile like this towards tenants. If there's any other solution to it, then I'm all for it, but I don't see where there is at the moment. Right now there's nothing, so anything would be an improvement, anything. To put it in place across the board, across the province, is what's necessary, because I could leave the city of North York and move to the city of Markham, and do I have to go through this again?


Mrs Stephenson: Orillia, you name it, anywhere in the province. Do I have to go through this again? Don't you find that a little silly? I do. It should be put in place. Tenants need help out there. There's a lot of us who need help and we have nowhere else to turn but to the government. When they turn their back on you, what do you do, where do you go? You've got nowhere to go. That's the bottom line.

Mr Turnbull: Kathy, thank you very much for a very good presentation. I wish the other members of the committee could have the benefit of knowing the very difficult circumstances you've been through.

It's very frustrating dealing with the mechanisms of government and realizing that you can't just wave a wand and get logical legislation passed quickly, because here we are over a year after your problem developed and we're still trying to solve it. Of course, your problem was compounded by a very peculiar circumstance that the landlord was trying to skirt the law and make it into, in essence, a co-op, but not quite. Consequently, all the financing that had been put on the building was quite beyond the ability of the current rents to be able to service that. The whole financing was predicated on the landlord being able to sell the units. First of all, they had to get vacant possession of those units. I think part of the terrible conditions you were subjected to was very deliberate on the part of the landlord.

Mrs Stephenson: Absolutely.

Mr Turnbull: This really is by way of explanation to my colleagues here on the committee. You've spoken eloquently for the need, that we should have this across the province. I think you were in the room when I read an extract of the letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs --

Mrs Stephenson: Yes.

Mr Turnbull: -- saying he doesn't, at this time, see any need for it.

Mrs Stephenson: That's because he doesn't live in an apartment building.

Mr Turnbull: I guess so.

Mrs Stephenson: He's never been through it. I'm not trying to be smart.

Mr Turnbull: As a matter of fact, I believe he owns apartment buildings.

You know my private member's bill would have allowed for it across the province.

Mrs Stephenson: Yes.

Mr Turnbull: I was hoping we could get an amendment through today to this bill, as you're well aware, but I'm told there may be some technical problem as to how we can amend this particular bill. I just hope we can take away from your comments a directive to all parties that we should, as a matter of urgency, address this for all municipalities in the province.

Mrs Stephenson: Absolutely; I agree.

Mr Turnbull: Thank you very much for your presentation. I know the terrible times you've been through. I do hope we can solve it for you.

Mrs Stephenson: I do too, and quickly, hopefully. Thank you very much.


Mr Fletcher: I want to thank you for being here today. Two things: If the Conservatives present an amendment to make this province-wide, I can't see us not supporting that. I think that's a pretty good idea. I know that when Mr Mammoliti did this private member's bill, it was specific more to his riding than the province, but I agree, I think the province should share in this and I'm willing to support Mr Turnbull's amendment. I don't know about the other members; I'm speaking for myself.

As far as the surveillance is concerned in an apartment building -- I find it strange that I share the same concern with Mr Turnbull on this one, but I do -- I can understand existing surveillance as far as being under vital services is concerned, and I would really like to see surveillance in underground parking garages as part of the surveillance package, if anything. I know what goes on in underground parking garages. I'm not sure about the surveillance systems that would have to go into lobbies and the cost that would be incurred by the landlord. Is there any way around the surveillance, something we can work on over time or something?

Mrs Stephenson: By "surveillance," I gather you mean like a video camera, turn your television to 41 and see who's at your door. In our particular building, the need for that is -- we have, of course, locked doors and an intercom system, when the locks work, which is the problem. You can install video cameras all over the place, but if the actual locks aren't being tended to and fixed properly, what's the point? People can come and go as they please anyway.

Mr Fletcher: So maybe the locks are the biggest thing first and then --

Mrs Stephenson: This is something else that should be addressed. These should be tended to and repaired promptly, not waited for. In higher high-rises, yes, there should be that surveillance, absolutely. We're in Don Mills, so fortunately we're not in too bad an area, but in other areas of North York, definitely, absolutely, they need this.

Mr Mills: Thank you for coming here this afternoon. I listened and I have so much empathy with what you're saying, because I live a Jekyll and Hyde life. On the weekends, I go home and live in a house; everyone should have that type of accommodation. Then I come down to Toronto in the week and I live in one of the apartments of hell. I just wanted to tell you that --

Mr Fletcher: That's on Hansard now.

Mr Mills: It's right. We have bodies in our dumpsters where I live. I just wanted to tell you that I haven't heard anyone mention the elevators in the vital services. I can tell you that where I live, a few weeks ago there was some dispute over the repairs to the elevators, I believe, and the company came in and took the motors out.

I went home that night and I wondered what the kerfuffle was. They said, "The elevators are not working." I said, "What happened?" They said, "Well, they took the motors out." Now the landlord wants me, us, to call the elevator company and complain about the motors going out when they didn't pay up. I don't know what you think about this, I've experienced all these horror stories that you're talking about in the three or four years that I've been down here. Don't you think that vital service should include elevators?

Mrs Stephenson: Yes, absolutely. I agree with that.

Mr Mills: I was terrified about not only myself but others who might be taken ill. How the dickens would we get down from the 23rd floor?

Mrs Stephenson: We ran into that problem ourselves, because of an aggressive landlord, where the elevator was out of service for 10 days. There's no reason for 10 days to go by. We have seniors in our building. There was a couple on the top floor, the fourth floor, and they are in their eighties and it was the middle of the summer, when it was 100 degrees. These people should not be forced to walk up the stairs in that kind of heat. They're leaving themselves open to heart attacks and Lord knows what all, even bringing in groceries. I have small children myself. If you have to bring them in or take them out in an emergency situation -- God forbid, but if you did -- that elevator service should be tended to promptly, not wait 10 or 11 days. Our situation was a harassment technique, so it's a little different, but I do agree with you on that.

Mr Mills: I'd like to see elevators included as a vital service. I'd like to leave a couple of minutes for my colleague.

Mr Mammoliti: First of all, I would definitely support any amendment that would extend the bill throughout the province, and I think I've got my colleagues convinced that it's important as well. I think the deputants such as yourself today have convinced us that it's important for us to support it, so we will be supporting that particular amendment when it comes forward.

I also would like to say that from what I've seen over the last few days, this bill is not just a tenants' bill any more; it's not something that only tenants agree with. As you've seen today, if you were here earlier, it's become a home owner, ratepayer type of bill as well. The home owners believe that if security and garbage removal become a vital service, it will help them as well because of the fallout that lack of security and lack of garbage removal would incur in particular areas.

Perhaps you can give me your response on your experience with some of the home owners around the buildings and what they think this bill might do. Have you had any experience around that?

Mrs Stephenson: I haven't had any experience with it. The only experience we did have was that some of the home owners around the neighbourhood were complaining, and that was it, about what was happening to us and the state of the building. I don't think the same act that comes in to act for the tenants should be in place, the exact word-for-word act, for home owners. It's a different situation. They're a lot more in control than we are. That's the way I feel about it.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming. We appreciated your presentation. This committee will stand in recess till a quarter to 3.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): Just before that, do we know that the last deputant is or is not coming?

The Chair: We understand that she is to appear.

The committee recessed from 1436 to 1446.


Ms Maria Augimeri: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Maria Augimeri. I'm a Metro councillor for Black Creek ward. That ward lies within the boundaries of the city of North York, in the northwest end.

Thank you very much for allowing me to appear before you today. I'm here to lend my support to Bill 95, An Act to provide for the passing of vital services by-laws by the City of North York.

The issue of tenants and their exploitation is very important to me. My ward, Black Creek, is located in North York. Many of the issues which this bill attempts to deal with are problems I encounter every day as the Metro councillor in this particular community. Some landlords simply do not provide basic and essential services to tenants, and we need to give the local municipality more power to force landlords to provide the vital services.

It is important that not all landlords are grouped together and branded as slumlords or slum landlords or accused of not caring for their tenants. But it is equally important to point out that tenants are the clients, the consumer group, for the landlords. Just like any other consumer group is protected from unscrupulous companies and retailers, so too must tenants be protected from those landlords that are unscrupulous and can be considered slumlords.

I believe the purpose of this legislation is not to punish the landlord but to protect the tenant. We cannot lose sight of this basic but very important fact. Landlords will only be penalized if and when they do not provide an essential service to their tenants, to their consumers.

Allow me to tell you for a moment about several tenants and tenant buildings in my ward.

I'll refer firstly to 4750 Jane Street, a site that I'm sure Mr Mammoliti is also very familiar with. It is one of the worst buildings in our area. I received many phone calls from various tenants in this building asking me for help. Unfortunately, the most I or my office can do is to bring the complaints to the attention of the bylaw department of the city of North York.

One of the first cases I dealt with in this building was a complaint of serious insect infestation. The problem was so bad that the refrigerator, which had no seal around the door, was also infested. Earlier in 1993 a report was issued by the city of North York listing 25 defects in this building, but to date, the problems continue. The problems of break-ins to cars in this building's underground are constant. Either the garage door is perennially stuck open or the front door doesn't work; the locks don't work. It seems that anyone has access to this building, making it an unsafe environment for tenants.

Just last week, another tenant in this building called my office to complain about the length of time it takes the property manager to carry out work orders even when served by the city officials with violation notices. In this specific case, a violation notice and work order was issued by the city on November 15, 1993. As of February 10, 1994, the work had not yet begun. The tenant complained continuously to the property manager and to the city of North York officials. Finally, after a month of complaining, the work was commenced on February 12. Even when she confronted the city inspector on the issue of the length of time to get the work done, he responded that he didn't know how much longer it would take or when he would file a notice of non-compliance with the Ministry of Housing.

Other excellent examples are the properties at 11 Catford Road, 20 and 25 Broadoaks Drive and 3710 Keele Street, all owned by Northview Heights Development. I recently got involved in an issue at this site in my ward. The company that owns the site had made application to the city of North York to build an additional apartment building on its property. Although that is not the issue here today, you may be interested in knowing that at a public meeting I held for the tenants it was brought to my attention that a large number of problems existed within the current four buildings on the two neighbouring sites.

I wrote a letter outlining a number of concerns, including health and safety issues, to the city of North York. Upon receiving my letter, an inspector was sent out to examine the four buildings. This resulted in four notices of violation being sent out, one for each building. He found 30 defects at 11 Catford Road, 27 defects at 20 Broadoaks Drive, 18 defects at 25 Broadoaks Drive and two defects at 3710 Keele Street, for a total of 84 defects, some of them of a structural nature. What is the most surprising in this example is that the landlord wanted to build a new building on the site while all these other problems existed within the current buildings.

These are just two examples of the many which show the condition and the treatment tenants must endure. Any legislation which goes one step further to protect them is good legislation. Aside from the cases I have given, it is very clear that there is only a limited amount that the bylaw department can do, given the current legislation. This new legislation would add to their power to act, and if they refuse to act, they can no longer push the blame or responsibility on other levels of government.

This brings us to my next point: Just what is an essential service? The definition of "essential services" must be clearly spelled out in the legislation. The less vague the legislation, the more likely that the city will act on it. I believe that aside from utilities like water, hydro and gas, other essential services should be security, elevator service and regular maintenance needs.

Security is clearly something that is a concern to all tenants. Unlike a house, entry into a building gives one access to many people's homes. In some buildings in my ward, this means 400 units. I would argue that it is a vital service that all outer doors on the ground floor be locked at all times and that every building have a fully functional entry security system. I would also suggest the following: that any apartment building with more than 50 units have a security camera on all entrances and that buildings with more than 150 units have at least one full-time security guard in addition to the camera security.

Why is security so important? Far too often, I have heard stories of people being attacked and robbed in various areas of their own building. The number of people who complain about car break-ins and theft is very high. Most of the vandalism and damages that occur to buildings are caused by people who do not live there. The safety of tenants and their belongings can no longer be ignored. Security has become a vital service.

It can be said that most tenants live in high-rise buildings, yet it is far too common to find buildings with 10, 15 or 20 storeys that have elevators which do not function properly or are turned off at the superintendent's will. Buildings that have several hundred units or more and are home to over 500 people must have adequate elevator service. It is clear that in these cases elevators are vital, particularly for the elderly, for the incapacitated and for the very young.

Finally, the issue of regular maintenance and cleaning: Nothing can destroy a building and the homes of many people quicker than a property manager who does not have regular cleaning and badly needed repairs done in a timely manner. Landlords who permanently put off repairs to units and general maintenance to the building are taking advantage of all their tenants by taking a full rent cheque and giving little or nothing in return in terms of maintenance.

Since the annual guideline for rent increases is based on increasing costs for utilities, taxes and maintenance, it stands to reason that a good argument can be made for the inclusion of maintenance and cleaning as a vital service. After all, if maintenance is not performed on a timely and regular basis, this will only invite further health and safety issues for both the residents and the owners of the buildings.

In closing, I want to leave you with a small picture of the situation out there. My ward alone has 119 tenant buildings with a total of 13,460 individual units. These buildings are home to 32,920 people. This is based on the Metro statistics for November 1992. This is only a fraction of all the tenants in the city of North York, but my ward is the most densely populated and has a higher number of tenants per capita than any other Metro ward in North York.

These people are a vibrant part of our community, yet they seem to be the least protected in a number of ways. Today, you have the opportunity to help protect them a little further when it comes to their homes. Please don't let this opportunity go by. Ensure that this legislation is passed.

I want to add one more thing. There are many people here from the community who are home owners and not tenants. They fully support the legislation and they're here supporting the legislation today because it affects their homes, their single-family dwellings, if these buildings are cleaned up and made safe.

Mr David Johnson: Maria, I assume that when you're talking about installing cameras in all the buildings with over, I think you said, 50 units, and when you talk about adding security and cameras in those for over 150 units, then you're contemplating that both of those would be charged back to the tenants, through the rent increase.

Ms Augimeri: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: In terms of many of the problems that you started out with, and you listed many defects -- 25 defects here, 32 defects there etc -- and the long period of time it takes, it's certainly my contention, having lived through it, that obviously most of that would not be part of the vital services unless, as you say, maintenance is brought in, but in terms of what's before us here today I doubt much of that is Consumers' Gas or hydro or whatever that's --

Ms Augimeri: But some of them were structural defects, as I mentioned. Those would be included in vital services, I assume.

Mr David Johnson: Maybe. I'm not aware how they would come in under the definition that's before us today.

It's my contention that it's the process that is causing a lot of the trouble. For example, in North York or East York, basically you have to notify the landlord of problems in the first instance, and usually that's done on a somewhat amicable basis, and then go out and inspect. Two, three, four weeks later -- there has to be a time frame; the procedure that's in place now requires a time frame -- if they're not corrected, then a notice is issued.

Then there has to be another time frame -- it could be two, three, four weeks; it's not incumbent for four weeks -- and then an order to comply and then another period of time. Then the landlord has the right to appeal to a tribunal, and the tribunal can put it off, particularly if it's in the winter. If it's still not done and another inspection is done, then it has to go to court, and to get a court date can take for ever.

Other than introducing maintenance as part of this bylaw, don't you agree that the present system that's in place, which is set up by the province of Ontario -- this is not the municipalities making it up; this is a system that's put in place by the province of Ontario -- is very time-consuming, very long? It's almost impossible for municipalities to go through the current system on a timely basis to give the tenants the kind of living accommodations they need. Really, we should be looking at that process here as well as the vital services bill.

Ms Augimeri: I agree totally. In addition, I'd like to say that I'd like to see maintenance included in there, but of course you can't just have it open to maintenance and cleaning. You'd have to have it spell out that it would be maintenance and cleaning only to the point where it would affect health and safety.

Mr David Johnson: Some of the problems you'll have in some of the things you have put in will be in terms of defining: defining what is maintenance, defining, for example -- I don't know if you mentioned garbage. Maybe you didn't, but other deputants did. I wonder, on maintenance, for example, how are we going to define that across the province, if we look at this across the province of Ontario? I assume you would agree that this should be applied not just to North York, but across the province of Ontario.

Ms Augimeri: Definitely.

Mr David Johnson: If it is, who is going to define what is a suitable level of maintenance and when a municipality should come in? Do you leave that up to a municipality and have different rulings on one side of Victoria Park and the other side, depending what municipality you're in, or should the province define that?

Ms Augimeri: I think it should be provincial so that it would be one level of maintenance for all. That's right.

Mr David Johnson: So the province of Ontario would set a definition as to what is an appropriate level of maintenance and then have a general bill across the province, and if in a particular apartment that's not met, then that municipality can step in, do it as a vital service, in a sense, and charge for it.

Ms Augimeri: What I found is that so many months go by after the notice of violation has been issued by the city that people give up and stop complaining.

Mr David Johnson: I think that gets back to the process. The process is just so time-consuming with the notices, the orders, the municipalities have to give, and they're bound to do that today.


Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation, Maria. Going back to the surveillance in underground parking lots, it's strange that over the last couple of weeks I've heard of people who have had their cars stolen or broken into. When you ask, "What did your landlord do?" there's not much they can do about people getting into the basement, into the garage.

Ms Augimeri: One landlord on Jane Street found a solution to the locked-door problem. He left the door perennially open with a mechanical arm, so that the door to the garage is always open. So every night they have break-ins and auto thefts. That's his solution.

Mr Fletcher: Yes, that's what I was getting at. There isn't much about a person getting in, but as far as the surveillance cameras are concerned, do you think they should be in not only the parking lots but also the lobby and the hallways?

Ms Augimeri: I didn't mention them in my presentation on the parking lots, but that's a good idea. I only mentioned them in the entrances to the building.

Mr Fletcher: I think they should be. Coming in at 11:30 at night, anyone, whether male or female, I don't care, it's a pretty scary thing in an underground parking lot. What about surveillance cameras in all hallways, if this is going to be province-wide --

Ms Augimeri: It's a good idea. In my presentation I addressed the issue of the entrances to the buildings because I think that's one of the areas that has to be addressed first.

Mr Mammoliti: Thank you, Ms Augimeri, for coming. I appreciate your taking the time out of your schedule to be here. I know we share some of the same concerns and I appreciate your backing the bill.

You talked a little bit about home owners and how some home owners might feel that this bill be necessary to carry through the process, but you didn't elaborate. I'm wondering whether or not you can tell us why home owners believe this bill to be important, especially if some amendments are made, such as security.

Ms Augimeri: There are presidents and vice-presidents of the local home owners associations here, sitting behind me. At a public meeting that was held about two and a half weeks ago, what came out was that home owners feel that their properties, their single-family dwellings are devalued, are lowered in value, if they happen to be near one of these apartment buildings that is owned by, for want of a better word, a slum landlord.

What happens is that the exterior of the building falls apart. Garbage is thrown on to the balconies and it's very visible from the streets and from their homes. Garbage is dumped where it ought not to be. Entrances to the building are unkempt. The parking lots are unkempt. Violence flourishes and break-ins flourish. The local police know about it, of course, but there's very little that can be done. For all those reasons, these people are here supporting the bill.

Mr Mammoliti: You'll know my stand on what's happened around public housing and the policies around public housing in our community. Public housing has cleaned up its act to a degree, especially when we talk about security. They've got the cameras in the lobbies. They've got the locks fixed on a regular basis. They have windows and broken glass fixed on a regular basis. Would you agree that the problem that we're experiencing now, in 1993-94, has been some of the privately owned buildings that exist in the community, and that's why Bill 95 is important to us in our community?

Ms Augimeri: I don't think my office has had a complaint of a similar nature for an MTHA project. They've only come from the privately owned buildings.

Mr Daigeler: Thank you for appearing before the committee. You're representing yourself today, I presume. You're a Metro councillor, right?

Ms Augimeri: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: You're here on your own behalf today?

Ms Augimeri: I was elected by quite a few people.

Mr Daigeler: No, my question is, you are not here --

Ms Augimeri: Representing a group? No.

Mr Daigeler: -- speaking officially for either your municipality or the Metro council.

Ms Augimeri: No.

Mr Daigeler: That raises the question in my mind why we don't have anybody here from the municipal level where this bill is supposed to take effect. Here is something that the municipality will have to do and we haven't heard at all from it what it thinks about it. This strikes me as highly unusual.

Ms Augimeri: You mean North York didn't send a representative to your committee?

Mr Daigeler: No.

Ms Augimeri: I'm surprised.

Mr David Johnson: I wonder if they know about it.

Mr Daigeler: We have heard nothing about it, and you're the only politician who has come. That's my question: Are you representing North York or whatever?

Ms Augimeri: I'm very surprised.

Mr Daigeler: Normally you'd like to hear from the people who are supposed to do the job whether they're prepared to do the job and how they feel about it. I find that a very serious problem and I'm wondering whether you'd like to comment on this. Have you heard from the municipality at all?

Ms Augimeri: On today's hearings? No.

Mr Daigeler: And on the item? Are they willing to accept this responsibility, as far as you know?

Ms Augimeri: I have to clarify that I'm not part of North York council. I haven't been for years. I'm part of Metro council. It's the regional council.

Mr Daigeler: That's the area you represent.

Ms Augimeri: That's right.

Mr Perruzza: On a point of order, Mr Chair: It's my understanding that the city has sent a letter. The bylaw enforcement division of the city of North York --

The Chair: What is your point of order?

Mr Perruzza: -- has sent a letter supporting the bill. That's the point.

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

Mr Daigeler: The area that you represent doesn't take in some of that municipality?

Ms Augimeri: All of it.

Mr Daigeler: I'm from Nepean. I'm just wondering --

Ms Augimeri: Oh, let me explain.

Mr Daigeler: -- whether you happen to know how the city feels about this.

Ms Augimeri: My ward is situated within the city of North York, totally.

Mr Daigeler: How does the city feels about it?

Ms Augimeri: Through the specific examples I mentioned in my presentation, I know they felt very frustrated that they couldn't do what they wanted to do, the people in the bylaw department, and I know that they were frustrated that it was taking a very long time, which is something that Dave Johnson brought up earlier.

Mr Daigeler: But you wouldn't know how the council feels about it.

Ms Augimeri: No.

Mr Turnbull: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I will comment to Mr Daigeler that I have a letter --

The Chair: No, what's the point of order?

Mr Turnbull: -- from Mayor Mel Lastman --

The Chair: You know that's not a point of order, Mr Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull: Well, I'm answering Mr Daigeler's question then.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): It's a clarification. I think he should be allowed to do it.

Mr Turnbull: I think it is germane to this discussion.

The Chair: That may all be true, but it's not a point of order.

Mr Perruzza: Let's have unanimous consent to hear from Mr Turnbull on this.

Mr Turnbull: Can we have unanimous consent?

The Chair: Mr Daigeler, you have about a minute.

Mr Daigeler: That's fine.

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

Ms Augimeri: My pleasure.

The Chair: We will be taking this bill up very shortly clause by clause.

Mr Daigeler: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Since some members have referred to something from Mr Lastman -- I have not received anything from Mr Lastman. Has anybody else?

Mr Turnbull: Yes. I have a letter -- unfortunately I don't have it with me -- stating that he believes it would be appropriate to have this legislation province-wide.

Mr Daigeler: Mr Chairman, the point really is our committee. What individual members have really is of no interest here. The committee has not received a formal communication from the city of North York.

The Chair: Not that I am aware of.

Mr Daigeler: Okay. Thanks, Mr Chair.

Mr Mammoliti: I will take it upon myself to hand out copies as early as I can to members of the committee. I know that Mr Perrone, who is the bylaw enforcement individual at North York, has sent out a letter to all of us that clearly indicates support for Bill 95. Also, we have Maria Rizzo, who is a councillor and who has given me an indication that she is quite prepared to put a motion at the North York level to create such bylaws in support of that.

Mr Daigeler: My question has been answered.

Mr Mammoliti: Your question has been answered, so there's no need for me to go on.

Mr Daigeler: No. I think what you're trying to do now is the clause-by-clause debate. As far as the committee is concerned, we have not received a communication. That was my question.


Mr David Johnson: I have a question of Mr Mammoliti, who's raising this bill, which is on the same topic. I wonder if you would describe to us the steps you took in terms of working with the city of North York, since this is a piece of legislation that affects the city of North York. I'm sure that on anything that impacts on the municipality, you'd want to work very closely with the municipality, so perhaps you would tell us what steps you took to develop this with the municipality in question. I know that I talked to the mayor's office myself, but this was a couple of weeks ago, I guess, and they didn't seem to be too aware of it. But you must have worked with the municipality somehow, so perhaps you could tell us --

Mr Mammoliti: The invitation went out to the municipality. The invitation went out to the city, to Mr Perrone, who of course runs the department and runs up against these problems on a regular basis. The response I got from Mr Peroni was that he was in favour of Bill 95 and that he and the bylaw enforcement officers encourage Bill 95 to pass. That leads me to believe that, as it stands and as the bill is structured, North York is in favour of it.

Mr David Johnson: North York being in favour would be more a political decision than a staff decision. I wonder if you could tell us what steps you took in terms of communicating with the council of North York. Did you write, for example, to the city clerk to have the council alerted so that you could have political input on this?

Mr Daigeler: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Since we are really sort of in an in-between thing, I think it would be proper to move to clause-by-clause, and then I think this conversation would be quite in order.

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, I agree.

The Chair: I think that would be appropriate. One of the things the committee might consider, and we really haven't scheduled it, is an opportunity for an opening statement by Mr Mammoliti and an opportunity for response by the critics at that point. This being a private member's bill, the procedure is a little bit murkier, shall we say, than on a normal government bill.

Maybe that might be an appropriate way to proceed before we get into the actual clause-by-clause consideration of the bill. If that's agreeable, Mr Mammoliti, would you like to make some opening remarks?

Mr Mammoliti: Very quickly, over the last few years, we in our particular community -- I know it to be a fact that other communities have experienced similar cases where vital services to tenants in buildings have lapsed. In this case, in these hearings we hear that people want the definition of "vital service" to be amended to include security.

In some of these areas, not only do tenants feel that this is necessary and that this bill is necessary, but the home owners around the buildings as well feel that this bill, as Councillor Augimeri has stated, would clean up not only the buildings but some of the problems that exist around those buildings.

I believe there's a point to be made on those suggestions and that we can't continue with the status quo. We cannot afford to leave everything up to the municipalities when it comes to legislation. They're not able to deal with it unless this bill goes through. What this bill does is permit the municipality of North York, at this point, to pass bylaws that would mean the guarantee of vital services to the tenants.

If the amendments go through, it would mean the vital services to home owners around those buildings as well, and to the tenants. For that reason, there is really no need to continue a huge debate about this. I think everybody at this table agrees that we need to give the municipality the authority, the right to pass these bylaws, and unless we give them this power, I'm not sure it'll happen.

Some have said and will say that it's up to the province to come up with this legislation. Some will argue that it's up to the minister to deal with this. I can assure you that I too have talked to the minister about this and that I agree: It should be a provincial piece of legislation. I'm going to continue saying that. However, I haven't seen much action at the provincial level in and around this, and I think the number of pieces of legislation that are going through the House at this point is a reason for it. For that reason, I had to come up with something that would meet the needs of our constituents in Yorkview in the municipality of North York. I'm hoping that you can see why this is important to us.

I would be supporting any amendments that would come forward to expand it to include the rest of the province, but at this point it's the community that I'm here to represent. I've taken what I think is my right as a member in the form of a private member's bill that would deal with the problems that exist within our community. This is the only forum I have, as a backbench member, to do that and I hope I have the support of the members. I know the majority of you support the private member's bill even with the amendments, but I hope you can understand that while some of you have a concern with the ministry, perhaps you should be taking that concern up with the minister and the ministry itself and not jeopardizing a positive step to the municipality in North York.

I know that London has passed a similar bill, and Ottawa, I believe, has passed a similar bill, if I'm not mistaken, and they seem to be happy with it. I'm hoping that this bill will pass and help the people and the residents of North York -- not only the tenants, as I specified earlier -- and that on any other concerns people might have about provincial jurisdiction, maybe we should be taking that up with the minister and not getting all bogged down and cloudy about who's responsibility it is. It's my responsibility as the member for Yorkview and as one of the MPPs for North York to make sure tenants are represented, and in this case even home owners are represented in this piece of legislation.

I'll leave it at that and we'll get into some clause-by-clause. I know there are some amendments that we need to talk about. We've heard some concerns from witnesses here today. I think that for the most part everybody's in favour of most of them and I think we can get through this fairly quickly.

Mr Daigeler: Just very briefly, even though I'm not the critic on this particular item, I think Mr Mammoliti's quite right. This is a private member's bill, so I think he is to be congratulated on putting this forward. He's doing well to put forth a concern that's obviously present in his riding and to try to address it within the framework of his responsibility as a member. That's praiseworthy and I'm quite prepared to support that.

The only concern I had, and I voiced that a little bit earlier through the hearing process, is that I would have liked some official -- and I say "official" -- comment from the city to have it at least on the record which way they feel. Frankly, the only people who could speak for the city are obviously either the mayor or somebody who's mandated on behalf of council to speak for the city. I don't think an individual letter from a bureaucrat, as it were, would fit the bill. Presumably, if they were really opposed, then probably they would be here, so I take it that their absence is at least tacit agreement with what is coming forward.

Nevertheless, I still would have liked the city to appear and say how it feels about this, because it will have to implement it. It gives them responsibility, and if they baulk at it, then what good is the whole thing? But I don't want to hold it up because of that. I'm just expressing a desire, that's all.

I did want to ask, if that's proper -- Mr Mammoliti can perhaps respond at the end -- did this bill that Irene Mathyssen had proposed go through the House? Did that receive third reading or was that just at committee?

Interjection: Bills and regs.

Mr Mammoliti: No, it did.

Mr Daigeler: That was a private bill?

Mr Mammoliti: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: Oh, it was a private bill. That's a different thing than a private member's bill.

Mr Mammoliti: It was a private member's bill; I'm sorry. It was her private member's bill and there was another one in Ottawa that was passed, the Ottawa vital services act.


Mr Daigeler: I think the one on Ottawa is a private bill, which is a different thing than a private member's bill. A private bill gets advertised across the whole province and so on. It's a different process. When you are saying "bills and regulations," that's a different committee; that's a very different thing than a private member's bill. Perhaps it could be clarified later on what kind of a bill that was. I'm asking that because that may affect the likelihood of the government supporting this bill or refusing to. Anyway, I'll leave it. We may be able to hear about it later.

Mr David Johnson: Just on that last point, I'm still less than a year into this House, but I was on the bills and regulations committee when Irene Mathyssen's bill came through. It wasn't her bill, but she was sort of sponsoring it as the person there from the city. It was approved but I think, as Mr Daigeler has pointed out, it was a private bill. I'm not sure if that's material or not. Having said that, I see our lead person is here so I'll make my comments as we go through this and turn it over to Mr Turnbull, who's arrived, if I can do that.

Mr Turnbull: It's quite abundant from the responses that we've had from the people coming forward today and also from the response we've had from AMO and TAPSO, that there is broadly a consensus that it would be appropriate to have this legislation apply to the province, and indeed it is my understanding that there is support from the government members in this committee.

It has come to my attention that there are some problems with the way the amendments have been drafted and perhaps with the way in which the original bill was drafted for Mr Mammoliti. In view of that, and I know we have a later date this week for finishing off clause-by-clause, I will be asking for unanimous consent that we stand down consideration of my amendments until that time. I will have some amendments to bring forward somewhat different to the ones I brought forward today which we believe will be able to address some of these concerns and make it province-wide in its scope. With the goodwill of the committee, I believe we can achieve the desired results expressed by the witnesses.

With that in mind, I would just comment that the chief of legislative counsel for drafting legislation is sitting beside the clerk at this moment, if we want to have any questions to him as to the appropriateness of this.

The Chair: Does that complete your comments, Mr Turnbull?

Mr Turnbull: Yes, and I would hope I would get support, unanimous consent, from the committee for this.

The Chair: Is there someone from the government side who wants to make any kind of an opening statement? Mr Mammoliti, would you like to conclude your remarks?

Mr Mammoliti: I note, Mr Turnbull, that you've asked that the committee consider standing down all your proposed amendments at this point.

Mr Turnbull: The reason for that is because I believe that the amendments with which we can come forward will be relatively simple and will do two things. Number one, they will fix up some of the problems with the bill as drafted now, your bill, because there are some clauses which are in conflict with one another and in fact with the Municipal Act. As well as that, I believe we can more elegantly approach the question of making this province-wide in its scope.

Mr Mammoliti: Is there any way we can do that this afternoon or do you need that couple of days to deal with it? It's my understanding that we want to try and expedite things if possible.

Mr Turnbull: I've just been speaking to the head of legislative drafting, who is sitting beside us now, and perhaps he could answer that. He believes he needs until Thursday.

The Chair: Maybe I could be helpful as the Chair --

Mr Turnbull: Perhaps you could be.

The Chair: -- just to indicate to members that it's not possible to stand down something that hasn't been put.

Mr Daigeler: That's a good point.

Mr Turnbull: You silver-tongued devil.

The Chair: Therefore, as we go through the bill clause by clause, when we come to a clause where you may wish to offer an amendment, it is possible at that time to ask not that the amendment that you're not going to make be stood down but that the section be stood down.

Mr Turnbull: Okay.

The Chair: I should remind the member that this requires unanimous consent of the committee and it would have to be done on a section-by-section basis. As I call the section, someone would have to ask for the unanimous consent and the committee would have to grant it. Is that helpful to you, Mr Turnbull?

Mr Turnbull: Yes, it is. Thank you, Mr Brown.

Mr Fletcher: I guess we're ready to go into clause-by-clause then. Could we take a five-minute recess? Is that okay with everyone? I just need about five minutes.

The Chair: I think that might be a good suggestion. Is everyone agreeable to a short recess? We will reconvene the committee at 20 minutes to 4.

The committee recessed from 1526 to 1541.

The Chair: The committee will come to order. We are now to commence clause-by-clause examination of Bill 95. We'll start with section 1. Are there questions, comments or amendments?

Mr Mammoliti: Which section are you on?

The Chair: Section 1. The first one I have is Mr Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull: I move that the definition section of the act be amended so that the definition of "city" is amended by adding the words "and all other local municipalities throughout the province" after the words "North York."

After the discussions we've had, while I would like us to debate the merits of this, I would hope that we could revisit the specific wording after legislative counsel has a chance to polish the wording a little bit. As agreed, we could do that on Wednesday afternoon.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Turnbull. I, however, am compelled --

Mr Turnbull: You're going to say there is no agreement.

The Chair: -- to rule the amendment out of order because it goes beyond the scope of the legislation that was presented at second reading.

Mr Turnbull: It's quite clear from all of the presenters today and indeed from AMO and TAPSO that the thrust of all these groups is that it should be province-wide. It seems to be fundamentally wrong --

Mr Daigeler: Are you allowing debate on this now?

The Chair: I wasn't quite clear what Mr Turnbull was attempting to debate. Obviously, he cannot debate the ruling. If he's debating section 1, that's a different story.

Mr Turnbull: I think it is important that it be put on the record that there is a clearly stated need for this to be provincial in its scope.

The Chair: So you're speaking to section 1 then?

Mr Turnbull: Yes, I'm speaking to section 1. We really should be making this change. I believe it would be appropriate, if you're ruling this out of order, for us to ask for unanimous consent from the committee for support to change this to being province-wide. I would ask unanimous consent.

The Chair: What you're asking for is unanimous consent to find your amendment in order?

Mr Turnbull: In essence, yes.

The Chair: Do we have unanimous consent?

Mr Daigeler: Mr Chair, I think what we're doing here is highly unusual and I really would wish that we proceed in the way we normally proceed, which is that you ask for comments and questions on section 1 or whatever it is.

The Chair: It is permissible for him to ask for unanimous consent. I will now ask for --

Mr Daigeler: He hasn't really. He said "in essence," or whatever. I'm not clear at all what we're doing right now. What are we on right now?

The Chair: The Chair understands Mr Turnbull to have asked for unanimous consent.

Mr Daigeler: First of all, are we in the debate on section 1?

The Chair: I think Mr Turnbull has reverted to speaking about his amendment, which he is asking the unanimous consent of the committee to find in order. Is that correct, Mr Turnbull?

Mr Turnbull: That is correct, Mr Chair.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): Could I speak to that? I apologize for being late this afternoon, but I want to say just a couple of things. I think this process is a good one in the sense that we appear in this Parliament to be moving in the direction of a larger than usual number of private members' bills making their way through the system and becoming the law of the province. I suspect that Bill 95 may reach a similar fate, though I'm not yet sure.

I appreciate what Mr Turnbull is about here and I know of his interest in these matters, but quite apart from how we feel on the subjects before us, I do think that as legislators we have an obligation to be fair to all concerned. I see before me, and I certainly have had an opportunity to talk to my colleagues who heard the representations earlier today, that all of the deputants are from the Metropolitan Toronto area, as you would expect on the basis of the bill currently before the committee, Bill 95, which is specifically An Act to provide for the passing of vital services by-laws by the City of North York.

Mr Turnbull has made the point that this is a policy we might and should apply to the entire province. Indeed, we might wish to do that, but this would not be the way, I would respectfully submit, to do this. There are presumably tenants' groups and landlords in communities like Northumberland and Durham region and Renfrew county and Simcoe county and the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton that would have an interest in and have a right to attend at a legislative committee where such a change might be made province-wide so that they could have their views expressed.

It may very well be that I would want to support such a policy across the province, including the county of Renfrew and the city of Pembroke, though I'm not at all able here today to make that judgement, simply because I have not had the opportunity to canvass the people of my county and my region with respect to the efficacy of such a policy.

To take a private member's bill and by virtue of a unanimous consent apply the principle of the private member's bill province-wide without notice seems to me extraordinary and in my view would be unprecedented, though the principle of the honourable member's intention may be something we would want to consider for province-wide application. That I simply do not know. But I have to tell you that I would personally, strongly be very disinclined -- I'd be opposed to giving unanimous consent on procedural grounds. I think the Chair is absolutely right in ruling the motion, however well intentioned and however right the policy might be, out of order because the procedure is, I think, unprecedented, unfair and unacceptable.

Mr Daigeler: In addition to what my colleague just said -- obviously the Chair will have to rule on that -- I would consider it ultra vires for a committee to declare by unanimous consent what the House has set up for the committee. Perhaps the Chair could clarify for me, because he hasn't spoken yet, whether he is accepting this particular motion, because I cannot see how we as a committee could unanimously change the due process rules of the House. Frankly, even if you were to rule that this would be acceptable, I think I would ask for a higher authority to clarify this because I personally would consider this ultra vires.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Daigeler. I understand, although I am unable to cite the particular cases, that this has been done. There is a precedent for committees asking for unanimous consent. Therefore, it is in order and I will now ask for the unanimous consent.

Shall the committee grant Mr Turnbull unanimous consent to place his amendment? There is not unanimous consent.

Back to section 1.

Mr Mammoliti: I move that the definition of "vital service" in section 1 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"`Vital service' means fuel, electricity, gas, hot water, water, steam, security measures such as locks and any other means by which security or surveillance may be maintained, pest control and garbage removal; (`service essential')"

I think it's quite clear that people who were in front of the committee and represented certain parts of North York and certain organizations in North York have experienced a number of difficulties. Of course, fuel and electricity and gas and hot water have been an ongoing concern of the municipality, and the services provided by landlords, or the lack of service in those areas. What we've also heard today was that they'd like the definition to be expanded to include areas such as security, for obvious reasons, and pest control. Of course, garbage removal has come up frequently today as well, that being a problem in the municipality.

For those reasons, I think it's within our jurisdiction and I think we should be looking at amending. I agree with the amendment to include the expansion and of course to include security and pest control and garbage removal.

Mr David Johnson: First of all, and I guess in terms of speaking to this particular aspect, I would like to say that I am supportive of the bill that is before us. The bill was put together to deal with vital services that had come forward in a couple of situations and there needs to be this type of thing.

I myself have talked with the mayor's office in North York. I think it's a pity that the political aspect of North York wasn't brought into this in a broader sense, and I can only say that. I'm going to give you compliments that there may be a few technical problems but other than that it's a good bill, and it should be supported. On the other hand, it's too bad that when an affected municipality is involved, they weren't in from ground one to have the opportunity to work with this and have input in it etc. They were invited, as I understand it, through a staff member. There was no official correspondence to the municipality, and that's the proper way to do it. Any other invitation does not count. The only invitation that counts is through the clerk of the municipality, through the mayor's office, to invite proper consideration through the city.

However, having said that, now we're starting to wander into areas that I have some doubt about and I haven't had a chance to think out. One aspect I'll ask you about, Mr Chairman, is that the bill itself is entitled "Vital Services." You have ruled out of order Mr Turnbull's motion because it goes beyond the scope of the bill. Do you get into ruling whether garbage or pest control, for example, is a vital service? Does that go beyond the scope?

There's certainly the Metro tenants' federation that was here this morning. To quote their actual words, if I have it here, they indicated that garbage is not life-threatening, and that response certainly left me with the impression, and I think those of us who were listening, that they didn't consider garbage to be in the same vein as the gas, the electricity and the hot water -- well, certainly gas and electricity at any rate, and that sort of thing.

I guess one question that comes up is, does it fit the title of the bill? Even if the answer to that is yes, I still have other questions as to how this pertains. The other vital services -- the fuel, the electricity, gas, those sorts of things -- are generally supplied by a third party. So I think the bill is kind of set up in that vein. For example, in section 4, we talk about a supplier. Who supplies the security, for example? It's the landlord that supplies the security. Maybe those who are drafting the bill will say if there's a technical problem there or not or if you can just be liberal -- small-l liberal -- and read that in the spirit it's intended. But as you broaden these things and just throw them in, you run the risk that what you're throwing in just doesn't make any sense and can cause problems with the rest of the bill.

Thirdly, how do you measure security? We've had one or two suggestions here this afternoon from the last deputant, but bear in mind we're dealing now, after Bill 120, with basement apartments, we're dealing with duplexes, we're dealing with sixplexes, we're dealing with small apartment buildings, we're dealing with huge apartment buildings. This would presumably give all -- well, just North York, I guess, since we've cleared that issue. This would give North York the power to then provide that any of those would have to have a camera system or a person on surveillance or some fully functioning security system or whatever. It just leaves me a little bit queasy that there isn't some good definition of what we mean by "security system" and how it applies to all these different categories of situations.

Again, garbage: How are we going to define garbage removal? I presume you're sort of leaving it up to the municipality and whatever it says, whatever it chooses to implement on a single-family home that has a basement apartment or on a high-rise apartment building that has 500 units in it or anywhere in between is okay.

In the area of pest control, how do you define that? Anybody who's been involved with any size of apartment building will know that it is totally impossible to ensure that all cockroaches will be removed under any circumstances.

Mr Mammoliti: They have them in basement apartments too.

Mr David Johnson: And basement apartments too, probably. Cockroaches will hide --

Mr Daigeler: Especially North York cockroaches.

Mr David Johnson: -- in the smallest little crevices, they'll hide in the garbage chutes, they'll hide everywhere. You can fumigate 100% of the units in an apartment building and you can't get rid of them. They'll be back. It's only a matter of how long it's going to be before they come back.

One of the problems many landlords face is that a number of tenants will refuse to have the treatment. They are against chemicals. A lot of people in this day and age are against chemicals. They don't want the chemicals in their apartment no matter what you say about how safe it is or whatever. They refuse to have the treatment. All you need to do is to have a little family of cockroaches hiding in that unit and, bingo, it's just a matter of days before they're spreading back through the apartment.

To have the electricity on or off is definable. It's quite easy. It's either on or it's off. To have the fuel, it's either on or off, that sort of thing. That makes sense. But the other things you're plowing in here are a hundred shades of grey, and I just don't know what that means. I don't know how municipalities -- in this case North York, but presumably this is going to be a model at some time that we're going to be looking at across the province of Ontario. I would have to consult with North York before I could support an amendment like that.

I think it would be preferable to deal with the bill in the form it was brought forward, in the spirit it was brought forward, with the real vital services, to deal with that, and then if we're talking about something broader and if we're talking about something across the province, to have those kinds of discussions and consultations with municipalities and AMO and that sort of thing and deal with that when we know what we're talking about precisely.

I don't know if there's anybody here from staff who can respond to those kinds of concerns. I would certainly appreciate it if there was.


The Chair: To be helpful, just to clarify it in your mind, I believe the amendment to be in order but it does raise some questions in the Chair's mind about what other acts of the province of Ontario regarding rental accommodation might be impacted. It strikes me there may be. Maybe legal counsel could be helpful, or maybe you can't.

Mr Donald Revell: I wish I could be, but I don't think I can in the circumstance.

Mr Mammoliti: David, I wish that I could pull out some of your speeches on the issue of basement apartments or accessory apartments, where you talk about local autonomy and where you argue that the grass-roots decision needs to be made and that municipalities need to determine certain things and how they do things. Here in the five-minute speech that you just gave you were speaking completely opposed to what you're saying on other bills and what you're arguing on other bills.

What this does is give the municipality the right to look at and the right to implement bylaws around these areas. You heard for yourself today that tenants are concerned about garbage, but in a much broader sense than what you might think garbage might mean.

Garbage can mean a number of things. We heard deputants today talk about situations in my community and in North York where garbage removal to them means the removal of needles from play areas and condoms from driveways and from areas where children play. This is the type of garbage that you've heard today needs to be addressed. If you think that it should be more specific in terms of the language, then I'd be prepared to look at it being a little more specific. But this is the type of thing that you heard today being a problem in North York, being a problem in areas I represent.

In terms of cockroaches, Mel Lastman talks about cockroaches being bigger in basement apartments but that's just, I think, an ongoing joke that we all talk about. Cockroaches and the extermination of cockroaches in this piece of legislation in no way would say that any landlord would be incumbent on getting rid of the cockroach problem. We all know it's almost impossible to do. But what this does is it sets out what I think is a fair process for the municipality to be able to determine even the types of chemicals, for that matter, that are going to be sprayed in buildings. We may even be giving the municipality the right to determine a health and safety concern that many tenants have with this piece of legislation.

I hope that you're listening to this argument because I think it's important. On the one hand you're saying on other pieces of legislation that we need to be paying attention to local autonomy and their particular rights as a municipality, and in this particular case, after deputant after deputant saying they want it to pass and want it to pass with the security component attached to it, giving them the right to do it at the local level -- you had a councillor talking about that, giving them the right to do that at the local level -- I can't understand why you would be opposed to such an amendment.

Mr David Johnson: I've got to reply.

The Chair: There's generally, in clause-by-clause, a give and take between the person posing the question and the person responsible for answering it.


The Chair: Mr Daigeler, your turn is coming.

Mr David Johnson: I'll only point out again, and I'll try to do this briefly, that North York was not, to my knowledge, officially notified of this bill. They may have been sort of indirectly through some staff member or something. I quote AMO's letter of February 9, "Unfortunately, we were only recently made aware of this bill." They go on to say, "We would have appreciated a more lengthy notice period and therefore an opportunity to make more detailed comment."

I'm not even sure who they're attributing the fact that they were notified. I certainly called them up and I know David Turnbull contacted them, and I think there was one or other of our contacts who did that.

My point is, and I think I made this earlier, that if you're making changes that are significant you should go out and have the consultation. I think Sean Conway actually alluded to that earlier. You should have the consultation with the municipalities. We are making changes on the fly here. The member who's putting the bill forward is indicating that we're giving municipalities various authorities, but the fact is we're not consulting with them and that's what I'm saying we should be doing if you're going to make serious changes. We had no representation here today from any local municipality. Not one local municipality was represented here today. Certainly North York wasn't, not one municipality, so none of them are aware of this, and particularly North York in this case has not been fully involved.

Yes, we should give municipalities authority. I agree with that, but it should be done after we have consultation, and that's not what's being proposed here today. There's just all sorts of stuff that's being thrown in without any consultation whatsoever.

Mr Mammoliti: David, this is permissive legislation. It's totally up to the municipality and how it wants to deal with the bylaws. There's also precedent around this, and again I can't understand why you would be opposed to it. It's giving them the opportunity to decide on their own bylaws in North York. You heard today many of the representatives in North York, both home owners and residents of high-rise buildings, who have a concern and wanted these amendments placed.

Mr Daigeler: I think Mr Johnson really put on the record quite well already why some of the proposed parts of the amendment are not very good. One point I want to make in addition is with regard to security and surveillance, making that part of the vital services.

The question was asked earlier of the Metro councillor who was here whether she would accept that as a chargeback to the tenants and whether the cost for all this would be acceptable under the rent review legislation, and she said yes, she would. Well, she would, but would the government? We have obviously no guarantee whatsoever that these would be costs that would be permissible and to what extent they would be permissible. Frankly, I am extremely hesitant to put the whole area of security on the back of the landlord. I think it's a very dangerous precedent.

I can understand the problem. Certainly the people who came here identified a serious problem. I'm not quarrelling with that in the least, but the question is, is it the role and responsibility of the landlord to be a policeman -- that's where I have some very serious questions -- and who pays for that? Is it the problem of the landlord if there's drug traffic?

I'm not saying that the drug traffic is no problem. That is a problem, but I think that's a problem for the police and that's perhaps a problem for the government. I don't think it's fair to say that the landlord, out of his or her costs, has to assume the social problems, as it were, that we're experiencing in the province. Unless I have really ironclad guarantees that the government is going to reimburse this, where the landlord would, I'm not prepared to enter into that arena where all of a sudden the landlord would become responsible for security. He or she may offer that as a bonus to the tenants, but on principle I think that's a responsibility of the police and of the government but not of the landlord.

That's why I like the way the bill is put forward and why I don't favour this particular amendment even though I understand what the deputants said and what Mr Mammoliti would like to see happening with this amendment.


Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I don't know whether anybody can provide this clarification for me, but I think it would be relevant to know, under the property standards legislation, for instance, to what extent a municipality could provide -- for instance, with respect to security and surveillance, does it have the right to prescribe certain requirements as to security? The other thing is that I would assume garbage removal would be something that is covered under property standards legislation now. Pest control I assume would be covered under health provisions. I'd just like some clarification if that's the case.

Mr Mammoliti: I can clarify it in terms of an experience. The experience, under all of the three, in North York has been that the process that exists at this point doesn't seem to be working. This comes even from some of the municipal representatives I've spoken to. In a lot of cases it's a lengthy process and it might take that extra few days or extra few months to deal with it in terms of the getting something done. This process will give the municipality the right to create bylaws around these areas. It's an expedited process and it's something that makes the community happy: local autonomy.

Mr Mills: It would seem to me that at this point in time in the discussion we are going from point to point and round and round. It would also seem to me, in my experience, that in all probability it looks like this amendment won't carry. In view of that, if that happens, I suggest we call the vote and I have another amendment to make if this is defeated, and hopefully this issue will be resolved.

Mr Fletcher: To this section.

Mr Mills: To this section.

The Chair: That's fine. I still have Mr Turnbull and Mr Johnson.

Interjection: Are you calling for a vote?

The Chair: He didn't say.

Mr Conway: If we do this right, we can make the Chairman earn his money this afternoon.

Mr Turnbull: One of the concerns I have with this amendment, and I alluded to it during the questioning of the witnesses, is the question of surveillance. First of all, this bill doesn't take any account of the ability of the landlord to be able to charge back for extra services that they would be providing, and it also doesn't adequately reflect the fact that there are all different sizes of buildings. Are we suggesting that we would have television surveillance of a sixplex? The amendment doesn't speak to this at all and that essentially is something that any tenant would be entitled to.

If this bill were passed with this amendment in it, tenants would be entitled to ask for surveillance as part of the basic package they were paying for and yet there's no reflection of the cost.

It's also pretty unrealistic in the sense of, who's going to be manning the monitors? Let's not just take the sixplex; let's take a building with 25 units, and there are lots of 25-unit apartment buildings around. It's normal with a building of that size to have only part-time supervision of the building. There isn't a superintendent on duty at all times, so who would be manning the video monitors? It isn't realistic and it doesn't reflect ability to charge back for that service to the tenants. It's a recipe for disaster.

There's so much discussion in the province, quite frankly from all parties, about the need to get the provincial economy moving. Unfortunately, when we come to landlord and tenant matters, for the last few years it has always been a "them and us" attitude no matter who you happen to be.

Surely we've got to get landlords and tenants back working together again. It isn't the landlords who are throwing out the condoms and the needles in the parking lot. We're going to have to get some reasonable reflection of responsibility from tenants and landlords. You're not going to get it through this kind of amendment, so I'm going to vote against this amendment.

Mr David Johnson: Just responding to the question, having come from a municipality not too long ago, I can say by personal experience that we certainly applied the property standards bylaws to pertain to security measures. You will find a number of apartments, and I agree this is a problem, where doors have broken or malfunctioning locks. More common actually are doors that are propped open. They're propped open on many occasions by the tenants, particularly going out the back way because they may not have a key or whatever, so they prop it open when they go out so that when they come back in some time later, they can get back in rather than having to go around the building.

There are problems that way. The municipality I was in followed up as hard as we could. Wherever there were broken locks, then we insisted that they be replaced.

Garbage: I'm not sure what's meant here. In terms of some of the deputations, it almost seems like it's more of a really bad litter problem than a garbage problem. It sounds like the garbage is in one place but then there are cases of litter outside. I know that in East York has been a problem from time to time and certainly we've applied the bylaws and insisted that they be cleaned up, and you do get action over a period of time. I think municipalities do have authority in that regard. We pursued it in East York, and I would assume that if North York were encouraged, it would do the same thing.

The Chair: Further questions and comments?

Shall Mr Mammoliti's amendment to section 1 carry? All in favour? Opposed? Mr Mammoliti's amendment is lost.

Mr Mills: I have an amendment.

The Chair: Mr Mills has an amendment.

Mr Mills: This is section 1. I move that the definition of "vital services" in section 1 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"`Vital service' means fuel, electricity, gas, hot water, water, steam and elevator maintenance service (service essential)."

The Chair: Have you got a copy of that, Mr Mills, for the clerk?

Mr Mills: Yes. I would like to advise the committee, and I've spoken about my own particular circumstances not only in front of this Bill 95 but also when we discussed Bill 120, that I live in an apartment just handy here where we were denied elevator service. I live on the 23rd floor. I had some discussion with a number of senior citizens in that building and it was pointed out to me their fear of heart attacks and related illnesses. I spoke to the superintendent of the building who advised me that given those sorts of circumstances, they would take steps to freeze an elevator to get someone down to the ground floor to an ambulance.

Nevertheless, that didn't satisfy me. I think we should include the elevators as essential in a building for the safe wellbeing of the residents. I would just like to recognize my discussion with my colleague Mr Paul Wessenger in putting together this amendment.

Mr Conway: What we've got then is the "vital service" definition, which is essentially the one in the bill with one item added, and that is elevator maintenance service.

Mr Mills: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: Why don't you just say "elevator service"?

Mr Mills: Well, whatever.

Mr Fletcher: "Service" could be just going up and down.

Mr Wessenger: It's the maintenance we're concerned about.

Mr Mills: Yes.

Mr Wessenger: That was the major problem with some of these buildings.

Mr Turnbull: I think Mr Mills's amendment speaks accurately to what the intent of the bill was and so I certainly believe we should be supporting it.

Mr Conway: I do as well. I'm quite happy to. I live in a public housing unit at the corner of Bay and Bloor and I'm on the 46th floor.

Mr Daigeler: He needs the exercise.

Mr David Johnson: No wonder you're so slim, Sean.

Mr Conway: I'm very sympathetic to the point and I agree with Mr Turnbull. I think it's a good amendment and I'm happy to support it.

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): I'm happy to support my friend's amendment. It makes a great deal of sense, because after all we can't maintain elevators that don't exist. It doesn't say that elevator services should be available; it only says that those that are should be maintained. It makes a great deal of sense and I think the member's brought forth an excellent point.


The Chair: Further questions, comments regarding Mr Mills's amendment? Are all members certain about what exactly Mr Mills's amendment is?

Interjection: Yes.

The Chair: Good. Shall Mr Mills's amendment to section 1 carry? Carried.

Further questions, comments or amendments to section 1? Shall section 1, as amended, carry? Carried.

Section 2: Questions, comments or amendments to section 2 of the bill?

Mr Turnbull: I move that the definition section of the act be amended by adding the following definition before the words "vital service":

"`Other local municipalities' means all cities, towns, villages and townships in the province of Ontario other than the corporation of the city of North York."

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Turnbull. That's out of order. Further questions or comments?

Mr David Johnson: I'm just trying to find it now but I think the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations raised the issue of whether "landlord" was sufficiently defined. I'm looking at clause 2(1)(a). It says "requiring every landlord." It's only a question. I don't know if there's any staff here or anybody who can say -- how about the legislative counsel? There's no definition of "landlord" and all of a sudden the word appears. Are you happy that there's enough precedent for that?

Mr Christopher Wernham: Yes, I think you can take the ordinary meaning of the word and be satisfied that it will convey the intended meaning.

Mr David Johnson: That's just an issue that the Metro federation raised, so I'll pass on then.

Another point that they raised was on clause 2(1)(e), where it says "providing that a person who contravenes." I think it was their point of view that here you may have a corporation in charge rather than a person. I don't know. I wondered again if there was any agreement or disagreement on that point that it should read "a person or a corporation." Is it always a person?

Mr Wernham: Under the Interpretation Act, the word "person" includes "corporation."

Mr David Johnson: Under subsection 2(2), the Metro federation raised the point that it should indicate the current tenant. I think it was their point of view that tenancy arrangements could vary and that the previous tenant might have been responsible for providing services, might leave and then a new tenant might come in and might not be responsible.

I'm looking at the third page of their brief, subsection 2(2) down at the bottom. They say: "This subsection should specify that `the current tenant' has expressly agreed to assume the costs of the vital services. The current tenant(s) should not be bound by the agreement a previous tenant entered into with the landlord." It seems to me to be a valid point. Do you have any objection?

Mr Wernham: No, I have no objection. I would have to consider the material more closely.

Mr David Johnson: Can we come back to that?

The Chair: It's possible. If the committee wishes, we could perhaps deal with subsection 2(1) of the bill and then stand subsection 2(2) down until we have legal counsel have a look at the proposed --

Mr David Johnson: I would ask that we do that. I'm being advised across the floor that it's not a problem, but you never know. Perhaps they could have a look at it. Could we stand that down, then?

The Chair: Before we do that, why don't we pass the first part? Shall subsection 2(1) carry? Carried.

Mr David Johnson: I would ask that subsection 2(2) be stood down. Do I have to specify until when, until legislative counsel has the opportunity to review the concern expressed by the Metro federation of tenants?

The Chair: Actually, it's Mr Mammoliti's choice, but if we would like to stand it down, I need unanimous consent. Agreed.

Mr Mammoliti: Until when?

Mr Wessenger: Until we finish the other sections.

Mr David Johnson: Until 15 minutes from now.

Mr Mammoliti: Not until next Wednesday.

Mr David Johnson: No.

Mr Mammoliti: Okay.

The Chair: All right, then we'll deal with subsection 2(3). Questions, comments or amendments?

Mr Turnbull: I move that section 2, subsection (3)(b) of the act be amended by replacing the word "municipality" in the first line with the word "city."

All this will do is bring the wording into alignment with subsection 2(1). It says "City council may pass," and in definitions we're talking about "city." I think this is just a drafting error. It cleans up the wording of the act.

Mr Conway: If it's just a matter of technical conformity, then I think it should be supported, and I'm sure that's all it is, but knowing of the member's enthusiasm for a broader application, I wouldn't want to leave anything open.

The Chair: Mr Wessenger, did you have a comment?

Mr Wessenger: No, I was just going to ask if leg counsel could answer that question, whether it's the proper word. This is obviously a leg counsel drafting matter, leg counsel's opinion. This is at clause (b), "designate areas of the municipality in which the bylaw applies." The motion is to change the word "municipality" to "city." I just want to know whether that's appropriate from a drafting point of view.

Mr Wernham: Yes, it would look to be an oversight.

Mr Wessenger: It would look to be an oversight. Okay, that's fine.

The Chair: Further questions or comments regarding Mr Turnbull's amendment?

Shall Mr Turnbull's amendment to clause 2(3)(b) carry? Carried.

Further questions and comments to subsection 2(3)?

Shall subsection 2(3), as amended, carry? Carried.

Mr David Johnson: I discussed this with the legal counsel. I guess it's quite a stretch to think that anything other than to the current tenant would be what would be considered. I think we have sort of jointly concluded that the concern of the Metro tenants' federation is covered by the present wording. If you want 110% sure, you'd put the word "current" in there.

The Chair: Do I have unanimous consent to revert to subsection 2(2)? Agreed.

Mr David Johnson: I'll just move approval then of subsection 2(2).

The Chair: Shall subsection 2(2) carry? Carried.

Shall section 2 carry? Carried.

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): It should have been section 2, as amended.

The Chair: Was there an amendment?

Clerk of the Committee: Yes, Mr Turnbull's.

The Chair: I'm sorry. As amended. No, that's (3). Shall subsection 2(2) carry? Carried. All right.

Now we're dealing with subsections 2(4), (5), (6) and (7). Are there questions and comments or amendments to those subsections?

Shall section 2, as amended, carry? Carried.

Section 3: Are there questions, comments or amendments to section 3?

If there are no questions, comments or amendments, shall section 3 carry? Carried.

Section 4: Questions, comments or amendments to section 4?


Mr Turnbull: I move that section 4, subsection (4) of the act be amended by adding the words "provide the person otherwise entitled to receive the rent with an accounting of the rents received for each individual dwelling and" after "the city" in the first line.

The Chair: And the reason for the amendment, Mr Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull: This is just to provide some clear accounting so that people know how the money is being spent.

The Chair: Are there further questions or comments?

Mr David Johnson: It's kind of hard to consider these amendments when they come at the last minute, but the Metro federation of tenants suggested that it be specified that the notice to the tenants that they make their payment to a city official be in writing. It doesn't specify that here. It may be assumed; I don't know. Probably for their protection it seems to me to make good sense that the tenants would be notified in writing, that there would be some kind of written notice that would go to all the tenants that --

Mr Mammoliti: I think that's a given, don't you?

Mr David Johnson: It doesn't say that, though, and I think that's not as much a given as the previous one I looked at. That's probably what the author intended but it just doesn't say it here.

They also asked that the notice must specify that "a payment by a tenant under" this section "shall be deemed not to constitute a default in the payment of rent due under a tenancy agreement or a default in the tenant's obligations for the purposes of the Landlord and Tenant Act."

Those words are in there under subsection 4(2), but if you go by the letter here, a verbal notification would meet the requirements of the bill the way it is, as far as I read it and apparently as far as the Metro federation has read it. Consequently, a notice of those exact same words, that if they pay their rent to the city then they won't be in default under the Landlord and Tenant Act, could also be verbal.

I think the tenants' federation just wants to pin this down so that there's no lack of clarity. I don't think there's any harm in that and I think that's probably what was intended at any rate. I'm going to make the amendment that we add the words "in writing" after the word "tenant".

Mr Mammoliti: We're debating an amendment already?

The Chair: We were debating Mr Turnbull's amendment.

Mr David Johnson: Oh. Well, you said any other discussion.

The Chair: On Mr Turnbull's amendment.

Mr David Johnson: You waited long enough to cut me off.

The Chair: You would be surprised. Sometimes the Chair has some problem with relevancy or determining it.

Mr Daigeler: Seeing that you didn't want to be interrupted before, Mr Chairman, I thought I would let Mr Johnson proceed, but I don't have any problem with Mr Turnbull's amendment. I think it's only reasonable, because the city ultimately will have to do all of this and in a law one shouldn't put in too many regulations, but in any case I'm in favour of it.

The Chair: Further questions or comments in regard to Mr Turnbull's amendment?

Mr Mammoliti: That's fine.

The Chair: Shall Mr Turnbull's amendment to subsection 4(4) carry? Carried.

Now, Mr Johnson, I think you had a particular interest in --

Mr David Johnson: I won't go through the preamble again.

The Chair: -- subsection 4(1); is that what it is?

Mr David Johnson: I'm just going to put forward, in line with what the Metro federation of tenants has requested, that the words "in writing" be added after the word "tenant" in subsection 4(1), which is in the fourth line.

Mr Mammoliti: Sorry, say that again, David.

Mr David Johnson: Subsection 4(1) would read "an official named in the vital services bylaw may direct a tenant in writing to pay any or all of the rent." I think their concern was that this could be some kind of verbal thing that could be confused or whatever, because if the tenants had something in writing that would protect them too, you see. They've got it in writing then and there's no confusion. That's the easiest part. Then the next part is they ask that the --

The Chair: We're going to deal with one amendment at a time.

Mr Conway: Always start with the easy one.

The Chair: Do we have Mr Johnson's motion in a definable form?

Clerk of the Committee: I have here that Mr Johnson moves that the words "in writing" be added after the word "tenant" in the fourth line.

The Chair: Is there discussion of Mr Johnson's amendment? Shall Mr Johnson's amendment carry? Carried.

Mr David Johnson: The follow-up to that is that they've asked that -- I don't think we need the follow-up to this. I think subsection (2) -- see, they've asked us --


The Chair: Would you let us in on this conversation, Mr Johnson?

Mr David Johnson: That's why I say when these things come up at the last moment -- all right, I'll quit when I'm ahead.

The Chair: Thank you. Are there further questions, comments or amendments to section 4?

Shall section 4, as amended, carry? Carried.

Section 5: Questions, comments or amendments to section 5? Shall section 5 carry? Carried.

Section 6: Questions, comments, amendments? Shall section 6 carry? Oh, sorry, I was a little premature.

Mr Conway: Just a question really to my colleagues on the treasury bench: Do we know what Her Majesty's government feels about this particular measure?

Mr Mills: I think Her Majesty's government is very happy --

Mr Conway: Favourably disposed.

Mr Mills: Yes.

Mr Conway: That's my assumption.

Mr Wessenger: I think it should be added that there was a previous bill passed for the city of London, very similar, which had no difficulty.

Mr Mammoliti: That had security in it.

Mr Conway: Just as we conclude this, it does seem, on the basis of what I've been told and what we have heard from the redoubtable Mabel Dougherty, that well-known non-partisan at AMO, that this probably is something that, as Mr Turnbull has indicated, deserves some province-wide application. Is the government considering some kind of amendment to some general statute to give a general power of permission?

Mr Mammoliti: In discussion with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, that is the case. I understand discussions are under way within the ministry to find a way of doing that. I'm not sure where that's going to go.

Mr Conway: That's good. Thanks very much.

The Chair: Shall section 6 carry? Carried.

Section 7: Questions, comments or amendments?

Shall section 7 carry? Carried.

Mr Turnbull: Before concluding proceedings -- I presume you're going to go to the title of the act now -- I would just ask if it would be possible for unanimous consent from the committee to report back to the House the identified need by the presenters, the Metro tenants' organization, AMO and TAPSO, that this should be province-wide legislation.

The Chair: I'm not sure what you just attempted to do, Mr Turnbull.

Mr Fletcher: In your report to the House, he wishes that you would say --

The Chair: No, that would be out of order. Mr Conway: But I think we could certainly agree, and I'm no expert --

The Chair: Order. Shall the bill, as amended, be reported to the House? Agreed.

Mr Turnbull: Why would that be out of order?

The Chair: The standing orders require the Chair --

Mr Turnbull: Perhaps Mr Conway could clarify this issue, being the senior politician here.

Mr Conway: No, I am no hell on this technical stuff. I have great deference to the Chair and his advisers. I think the way that would be dealt with, it seems to me, is on the third reading of the bill when we have an opportunity back in the House to address the question.

I think you make a very good argument that this thing should be clearly identified as an area that calls out for some province-wide action. Your amendments make that point. It's just a question of how you do that. Under the system we've got, given what you want to do, understandably the best way to deal with that is on third reading when the bill is reported back to the full House for final discussion and passage.

Mr Turnbull: Perhaps if we were to have a unanimous vote from this committee that that was the thrust of the evidence, it would at least add some credibility in preparing for third reading debate.

The Chair: I understand the standing orders require that the Chair report the bill, and that is about the extent of the conversation the Chair can have in the Legislature. I think Mr Conway makes some good points. There are a number of other opportunities. This bill conceivably will still have to go to committee of the whole, and third reading, which will give members of both this committee and members of the Legislature in general an opportunity to put the case that you're advancing.

I think the committee should congratulate Mr Mammoliti on successfully piloting the bill through this process. We will adjourn till tomorrow at 10 o'clock, when we'll take up our colleague Mr Wessenger's bill.

The committee adjourned at 1642.


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