Wednesday 16 February 1994

Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, Bill 21, Mr Wessenger / Loi de 1993 modifiant des lois

en ce qui concerne les terrains à bail, projet de loi 21, M. Wessenger

Wilmot Creek Homeowners' Association

Ruth Hinkley, vice-president, government liaison

Gerry Whalen, chair, rights and obligations committee

Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation

Phyllis Baker, chair

John Rodger, vice-chair

Roy Robichaud; Howard Creighton

London and Area Tenant Federation

Leo Bouillon, executive director

Sandycove Acres Home Owners' Association

Dorothy Lea, acting president

Peterborough Community Legal Centre

Martha Macfie, staff lawyer

Connie Flemming; Carolyn Crowe

Keith Davidson

Barbara Macdonald


*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

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC) for Mr David Johnson

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

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Mammoliti

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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West/-Ouest PC)

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Richmond, Jerry, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1005 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


Consideration of Bill 21, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to Land Leases / Projet de loi 21, Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne les terrains à bail.


The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): Even though a few members are late, we have a very tight agenda and I think we should get started.

The first presenter this morning is the Wilmot Creek Homeowners' Association. You'll have 20 minutes, and if you'd like to leave some time for questions and answers it would be appreciated. Please go ahead.

Mrs Ruth Hinkley: Thank you, Mr Daigeler. My name is Ruth Hinkley. I'm vice-president, government liaison for the Wilmot Creek Homeowners' Association. At my side is Gerry Whalen, an association director and chairman of the association's rights and obligations committee.

We speak today on behalf of the 960 members of the association; that is 96% of the 1,000 residents of the retirement community of Wilmot Creek. We have attached to our brief a profile of the community, and this is appendix 6. It provides information about the houses, the amenities and the rental costs. The latter has a bearing on Bill 21 in relation to the need for financial disclosure. It is noted that as well as the 24.4% retroactive to the 1989 recent rent increase there is still an appeal pending for a 1990 15% increase.

We appreciate the opportunity to speak today to the proposals in Bill 21. Also, we express the hope that there will be an opportunity at a later date to speak to the 20 or 30 amendments that are proposed, as we learned yesterday. In that regard I note that on the brief before you we do comment on the reserve fund and the right of first refusal. Both, as stated by Mr Wessenger, are slated for other amendments.

However, we are pleased that through the Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, recognition has been given to the reality of land-lease communities and land-lease community homes in the province of Ontario. This is an important action by the government, and appreciation is expressed first to the present government and second to members of past governments who attempted to help their constituents in such communities.

In the case of the Wilmot Creek tenants we recognize that it has been the efforts of Mr Gordon Mills, MPP, Durham East, since he took office in 1990, that have led to the recognition of land-lease communities and the problems that were not dealt with through the Landlord and Tenant Act. In that regard we note that rather than amendments and additions to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act and the Planning Act, preference is for a separate act which would relate only to land-lease communities.

This proposal was put forward to the interministerial committee established by the previous government to carry out a review of planned retirement communities. As well, it was part of a submission made by the Provincial Council of Women of Ontario in its brief to the government in 1990. The support of that council is much appreciated by the members of our association. A profile of the Provincial Council of Women of Ontario can be found in appendix 4. The association is aware that many of the tenants' concerns were put forward in the council's 1990 brief. We have attached a copy of the resolution as appendix 4.1.

A summary in appendix 3 outlines actions through the year with respect to concerns of the tenants, and these include meetings with the interministerial committee. We express at this time concern that the committee report has not been available to the association and other communities.

A number of the issues put forward to this committee and in submissions to other government committees have been addressed in the additions and amendments to the various acts under Bill 21. We are hopeful they will be seriously considered by this committee and enacted into law, a first step towards dealing with other issues put forward in response to Bill 21, the Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act.

Our comments and recommendations to proposed additions and amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act and the Planning Act are covered on pages 1 to 5 of this brief.

In summary, item 1, page 1 concerns the expansion of part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act to include the designation "land-lease community and land-lease community home." The redesignation of our community and homes, separate from "mobile home park and mobile home," has been a priority for many years. The designation "land-lease community and land-lease community home" is acceptable, as are the amendments and additions to the act.

We note that the association's preferred designation is "planned retirement community." However, we are aware that the landlord favours "adult lifestyle community," which, in a sense, with a combination of retirement communities, does set out what our communities are.

Item 2, page 1 concerns consent for sale. Subsection 125(3) of the Landlord and Tenant Act permits a tenancy agreement to include sale "subject to the consent of the landlord" and would require written reasons from the landlord if he does not consent to a sale.

The members of the Wilmot Creek Homeowners' Association submit to you that a landlord should not have the right to say that a tenant cannot sell a house even if in written form he states the reason for the denial of the sale. We would recommend that subsection 125(3) of the act be rescinded.

Item 3, page 1 concerns the use of for-sale signs. The association members acknowledge that a right should exist for a tenant who wishes to sell to indicate this by the placing of a sign. However, the members voted against the placing of signs on Wilmot Creek properties. But notwithstanding this vote it is imperative, we think, that the houses that are listed for sale, if they don't put up for-sale signs, be shown as being for sale in the sales office of the landlord.

Item 4, page 2 concerns the right of first refusal. In the comments we have acknowledged that this right provides specific avenues for a landlord to retain the character of the community. An example is shown of the action when a house in Wilmot Creek is sold by a real estate agent. In such a case the tenant accepts an offer to purchase which is below fair market value and the landlord exercises his option and purchases the house. The landlord gives the tenant 5% less than the offered price and the tenant is still liable for the real estate agent fee.

Our members feel and recommend that there is a need to recognize the right of first refusal, but we do not think that a 5% reduction should be taken by the landlord. An administration fee of $1,000 is suggested.

The comments in item 5, page 3 concern the proposal for the institution of a reserve fund, and as I noted earlier, we have heard that this may be a passé remark. It sets out the criteria for a reserve fund study. The association recommends that the committee reconsider the need to impose in law a reserve fund. As noted previously, Mr Wessenger has already reconsidered this.

With regard to exemptions and financial disclosure, on behalf of the members we urge that the committee include under the act a requirement for financial disclosure by the landlord, and on page 3 we note specific reasons for the request.

Page 4 covers the Rental Housing Protection Act. The association recommends that the committee accept the need for protection under the act for land-lease communities and land-lease community homes.

The Planning Act, on page 5: The association submits that the expansion of the act to include the community and home does not respond to the tenants' concern that section 41 of the act be amended to ensure adherence or better adherence to municipal standards for roads, sewers and lighting, and again we have stated reasons for this request.

On pages 6 and 7 we note issues that were not dealt with, and this is the need for prescribed leases and for the designation, in law, of a mode of assessment that does not include amenities in the structure value.

Also, we wish to advise you at this time that this committee, the Wilmot Creek Homeowners' Association, supports the brief that is to be presented by the Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation. We were very involved with the Sandycove group in getting the federation started and we do commend to you that brief.

Gerry and myself ask for your consideration of the issues we bring forward, and we will attempt to respond to your questions.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): Thank you very much for coming before the committee. I presume you're aware that yesterday the owner --

Mrs Hinkley: That's right. We were here yesterday.

Mr Daigeler: -- was here and spoke to the committee. Are you aware or do you feel that there have been any serious problems in your community that need legislative action?

Mrs Hinkley: Yes, and as I say, one of the things that we're most definite about is the need for financial disclosure. In the case of Wilmot Creek, Mr Rice, who was here yesterday, is the developer, the sales agent, the construction -- he looks after everything, and we feel that there is the possibility of certain things being applied against our maintenance fees that would more rightly be under construction items.

We found, when we had the opportunity to review all the material that was being put forward with regard to this rent increase of which I've spoken, instances where we could question the fact that something was applied to maintenance that should have been applied to construction. So this is one reason we feel the need for financial disclosure.

Mr Daigeler: But wouldn't that already be covered? Of course, you could answer that or perhaps somebody else can. Wouldn't these kinds of disclosure requirements be covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act?

Mrs Hinkley: No, under the Landlord and Tenant Act there's no disclosure. We do get an audited statement some time in September of the year following the statement that we get, and what we have found in many cases is that when we go to the landlord to question the maintenance statement, of which there's a copy in this, we don't get answers.

So what we are suggesting under that is that consideration should be given to the residents who pay for the maintenance, that they have a right to be involved in the budget process even, because if we're not going to get any answers afterward, why can't we be involved? We do know that there are newer communities of our type where this action is taken; the people are involved. Gerry, you may want to add something there.

Mr Gerry Whalen: If you look at appendix 1 you'll see that we've included the Ridge Pine Park maintenance schedule and operating costs. One of the things that we questioned on that particular copy was that there seemed to be some duplication in terms of maintenance. If you go down, it says ground maintenance in the amount of $93,000, and if you go down towards the bottom you'll see park maintenance at a cost of $26,000. We asked about this -- it seemed to me that the charges were duplicate -- "What's the difference between ground maintenance and park maintenance?" We never did get a straight answer on that.


As well, it says a cost of $60,000 for automobiles that they're charging as operating costs. We asked about that as well: "Are we supporting leasing of automobiles in the cost of the maintenance?"

Those are some of the questions that we've asked them. We've never gotten any answers to them.

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I'm sorry I missed the first part of your presentation, but I want to thank you very much for coming in. I've had a chance to go over it briefly.

I have a general question for you. I understand, I think, where you're coming from on this, but what I don't understand is, if there are a number of residents who are having problems with the owner of the park in a general way, why it is they don't have the ability to move. They do have that ability, I think.

Mrs Hinkley: You mean have the right to move out of the park?

Mr Arnott: Yes.

Mrs Hinkley: Yes, some of them do. I will say that Wilmot Creek is a marvellous place to live. The people are wonderful. In spite of all the problems we have, I don't think you would find more than a few people who say, "I don't like living in Wilmot Creek." I think that is the reason that more people don't move out. Of course, it's the association board which has the authority from the community, 960, to deal with the landlord. In many cases they gripe a lot, but they depend on us and we do get some action.

This is a particular case where we feel it is very, very imperative that we have something to say, because as so many people say, we're paying for this, so why don't we know what's going on? If you just ask for a division of a certain cost, surely the landlord -- and this has taken place over a year before. But people do move out, and probably within the next year there will be many, many more trying to move out because of the cost of the increase.

Can you respond to that, Gerry?

Mr Whalen: I think you've made your point very well. I might say that I think the connotation of that particular statement would not suggest that people can't move, although you might look at it at this particular time. The feeling in the park is that it's like a concentration camp, unfortunately. We're forced into certain things within the park, and the landlord has all of the power and we really don't have any.

I might add at this point, too, that we are presently trying to negotiate with the landlord on certain issues that obviously are not in Bill 21, but other issues within the park, and hopefully we'll get some dialogue and some response to the negotiations with the landlord one way or another.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Thank you, Ruth, and Mr Whalen, for being here today, because this has been a long battle. I've somehow seen today that we're turning the corner and tomorrow we'll see the light at the end of the tunnel. You should be commended for all your work and all your efforts at Wilmot Creek to bring about some changes to the situation that you find yourself in. I'm very pleased to have it on the record and I hope everybody's listening, before they leave, that you represent 96% of the people who are tenants at Wilmot Creek or owners out of 1,000 residents.

In so far as the amendments go, there has been a lot of issue made about the amendments to this bill, and I can tell you that mainly they are housekeeping amendments that follow when a private member's bill is introduced, subject to some dotting of i's by the Minister of Housing. This is a red herring which says that we can't deal with this bill because we've got 27-odd amendments. You'll find, if you stay around, that the crux of this bill is changing maybe as many as only four or five real amendments and the rest are housekeeping. So I want to dispense with that red herring.

Also now, what I want to talk to you about is the petition. I know this petition contains almost 700 signatures from the folks in Wilmot Creek. I know that seniors went around that park in the most diabolical weather since the 1920s to gain these signatures. It's a pity there's not more of the opposition here, because I want to tell them something. These petitions, believe it or not, contain names of their very supporters of their parties. This isn't NDP ideology, that we're trying to ram through anti-landlord legislation. The people who signed this support your party, and your party too, Mr Chairman, and I want to bring that to your attention.

The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): Thank you, Mr Mills. Question?

Mr Mills: I wanted to bring that to their attention, Ruth, because I think they should recognize their commitment to your residents as well as I recognize my commitment to my constituents. I really get aggravated when I hear all these red herrings thrown about, "Well, we didn't have time to do this; we didn't have time to do this," and we know that this has been before.

Now, I want to ask you, because I have to ask a question to make this legal because the Chair will jump on me --

The Chair: You're already a minute over your time, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: We had the owner of Ridge Pine Park here yesterday, and it would seem to me that you folks down there were living in Utopia, that there were no complaints and no concerns. I'm particularly annoyed to hear about this fee, that not only do you have to pay real-estate fees but you have to pay them a fee, so this really tops down your equity in your homes. Would you like to make a comment about how you feel that is being so absolutely unfair?

Mrs Hinkley: Well, we certainly think it's unfair because people go to the real-estate agent to make a sale. In many cases it's estate sales and they don't know that they can go through the company. But many of the residents will not go through the company because of their feelings against the company. Then, when they get an offer and have accepted that offer, making it formal, it has to go to the company, and at that time the company would exercise its option because the house is below market value and they would purchase it in order that they could fix it up and sell it again at market value, if it needed fixing up. But if there was an offer for $50,000 and the house was worth $80,000, they would deduct from that $50,000 the 5%, the 95% law that's in our leases. Then the resident, because the real estate agent has brought the offer forward, has to pay the real estate. So out of $50,000, they're paying $5,500 for the sale.

Now, we're saying that the company would have administration fees, and we suggest that an administration fee would be put forward rather than the landlord taking the percentage.

Mr Rice yesterday, as you said, made it sound like Utopia. Now, it is Utopia if you ignore the problems, because we have wonderful living down there. But you will recognize that there are problems when we have a rights and obligations committee which has just formed with a lawyer, and we're paying a lawyer to try to come to some agreement with Mr Rice.

For instance, we have a swimming pool. It's very small, and we feel that because the residents pay for the swimming pool, there should be two or three hours in the day when just the adults can be in without all the grandchildren. During the summer, you know, all the grandparents have the grandchildren. Mr Rice will not agree to this. As a result, there are problems every summer with the people taking their children in at any time, and the adults who pay for the use of the pool, Mr Conway, do not have the right to be in the pool when they want. They pay for it and don't have the right to use the pool, and Mr Rice will not agree to the tenants having a specific time for themselves.

Mr Mills: Thank you. I'm glad Mr Conway's here because I know he's going to support this legislation --

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: -- because a lot of these 700 names are Liberals.

The Chair: Probably most -- no.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Oh, Mr Chair. That was a slip, wasn't it?

The Chair: I lost it for a moment. Ruth, thank you very much for appearing this morning.



Mrs Phyllis Baker: Good morning, everyone. I would like to present the vice-chairman of the federation, Mr Jock Rodger. Jock and his wife own a home in Tecumseth Pines near Tottenham, Ontario.

We are pleased to be able to be here this morning to present some comments and a lot of questions. I will just preface my brief by saying that when the bill was presented in the House, Mr Wessenger, I felt that it was only the beginning.

The 11 member associations of the Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation welcome this opportunity to comment on Bill 21, the Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993. The federation members met on September 21 to discuss the proposals contained in Bill 21 -- and I hope you understand that we're looking at a broad spectrum of communities here -- to determine if all or if any of our concerns previously submitted to members of the Legislature over a period of several years had been addressed. We are pleased to say that some matters have been specifically addressed, and these will be noted. Requests for clarification in wording and/or intent and questions will also be forthcoming.

The amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act: The terms "land-lease community" and "land-lease community home" are acceptable and considered to be a forward step. However, preference is still generally for the designation "planned retirement community" for persons aged 55 and over. We realize, Mr Chairman, that the act does not only apply to retirement communities.

We accept section 125, the amendment that "A landlord shall not withhold the consent referred to in subsection (3) without giving written reasons to the tenant whose right to sell, lease or otherwise part with his or her mobile home...." We accept that.

Right of first refusal: We had a lot of discussion on that, and the consensus finally was that owners of homes in a land-lease community have the option to use the services of a real-estate agency if they wish or sign an agreement of sale with their landlord to sell privately. Mrs Hinkley has already gone over this in great detail.

When an agreement of sale is submitted by the vendor to the landlord for approval, according to the lease, the landlord should have the right to prohibit the sale if the offer is below market value. We feel that when homes are being sold below market value, it affects everyone.

Most leases have the following provision: "That when a bona fide offer is made, the tenant shall grant to the landlord the prior right to purchase the said dwelling on the same terms and conditions in the said offer except that the purchase price shall be 95% of the purchase price contained in the offer." We have no further comments on that at this time.

For-sale signs: The federation did not request this section 125.2(1) but decided after a lively discussion not to dispute its inclusion. It was agreed that for-sale signs could be a right.

We had a lot of discussion on the reserve funds, and I will comment on part of that when we are talking about the Planning Act. I think the one that really hit most of the members was maintaining roads in a good state of repair. On that section you have, "You are advised that the building of roads in a land-lease community is done under the provisions of a site plan and is one of the most contentious issues related to wear and tear and maintenance." I think this issue has come up at every meeting I have attended over the last six or seven years.

We feel that the establishment of a reserve fund or fund for the purposes stated is acceptable in some cases, but we have a question: Will this cause an additional financial burden on the owners of the land-lease homes? How is this going to be financed by the landlords? We believe that regulations pertaining to these clauses should be very clear and precise.

Under the Planning Act, the inclusion "land-lease community home" is acceptable. We are concerned that land-lease communities and land-lease homes built under the provisions of a site plan will continue to cause problems for the residents because municipal standards have not been in effect.

Expanding the application of the site plan control area provisions of the act to sites for three or more land-lease community homes is acceptable provided that the municipalities require that roads, drainage and lighting conform to standards.

Under the Rental Housing Protection Act, the proposed changes are acceptable, but we feel will require further study by members of the federation.

Since all of our concerns have not been addressed in Bill 21, we will continue to ask for the following: That all agreements of purchase and sale list separate values and costs for: the cost of the house, including all extras; premium for use of common facilities, if any; premium for a location within the community. In some communities purchasers paid an additional fee for the location within the community and also established a prescribed form of lease with renewal option.

Closing comments: We believe that planned retirement communities called land-lease communities are an acceptable form of housing for persons over the age of 55.

Some communities have been in existence for over 20 years. You will be hearing from Sandycove Acres, a retirement community near Stroud established for over 20 years.

There are other communities that started as seasonal trailer parks and have evolved into retirement and/or family, non-seasonal, land-lease communities.

Unfortunately, over the years, the concept of this type of housing has not been fully understood by local municipalities and the government. If comprehensive legislation had been in place, we would possibly not now be undergoing as many problems and difficulties at the present time. These range from poorly planned site plans, improper drainage, poorly designed and maintained roads, poor management practices, lack of financial disclosure, assessments, rent controls and others.

Constituents of these communities have informed the members of the current and past legislatures of ongoing problem areas.

The Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation was started in 1988 -- it actually became an entity in 1988, but much work had been done prior to this -- as a means of coordinating resources, human and monetary, in an efforts to obtain comprehensive legislation pertaining to land-lease communities.

Since that time, the federation has submitted briefs and has met with government representatives to inform them of the problems that exist in some areas. We have also pointed out the positive aspects of living in these communities.

We were hopeful that the interministerial committee struck by the Liberal government, continued by the present government, would finally submit a report that could be used as a guideline. We realize that reports of this nature are internal documents, but ask, will it ever be completed?

Financial security for all persons concerned, home buyers and owners, landlords and developers, must be of prime importance, and efforts should be made so that the equity in the home is secure.

Recently, the honourable members Elaine Ziemba, Ruth Grier and Tony Silipo stressed the importance of wellness, community wellness services and supportive housing.

If seniors are to live in a safe, secure and supportive environment, every attempt should be made to make that environment as stress-free as possible. We believe that communication between all parties is of vital importance. Landlords/developers should be open to dialogue from owners of land-lease homes, home owner associations and the federation.

Members of governments at all levels should realize that if land-lease communities are to continue to be an important form of housing, they should make every attempt to assist by drafting appropriate legislation.

I wish to thank those members of the House who over the past three and a half years have listened to members of retirement communities and the federation, and I omitted it here, but I would add the members of the previous government who also assisted.

We sincerely hope that the enactment of Bill 21 will in some measure result in a broader understanding of the concept and operation of planned retirement communities.

I want to end on a personal note. I would like to thank Gord Mills, MPP, Durham East, who is my member, for his help and advice.

This report is respectfully submitted, Mr Chairman. John and I would be very happy to answer questions.


Mr Arnott: Thank you, Mrs Baker, for your presentation. I totally agree with many of the comments you've made in your presentation, especially that land-lease communities are a very acceptable form of housing for seniors, as well as, I would argue, others. Three or four years ago, we had an affordable housing problem in Ontario and I thought that more emphasis on this would have alleviated the affordable housing problem to some extent. I think you're absolutely right as well that seniors have a right to live as stress-free as possible. I think that's where you're coming from on this bill.

I understand yesterday there were 27 amendments put forward by Mr Wessenger, who is promoting this bill. Have you had a chance to review those amendments?

Mrs Baker: No. I haven't seen them. You said it's important, that you feel this is a good form of housing, but the way it's going, it's not going to be a good form of housing for anyone. I'm sorry to say that, but it's the truth.

Mr Arnott: If the current trends continue.

Mrs Baker: If the current trends continue. It's not really affordable for a lot of people any more with the situation. From where Mr Rodger and I are sitting, there's far too much confrontation now between individual home owner associations and their landlords. This is a concern.

Mr Arnott: Are there many homes for sale in the park that you live in right now?

Mrs Baker: I have no idea.

Mr Arnott: More so than there were a couple of years ago?

Mrs Baker: Oh, more than there were, yes, but I couldn't tell you.

Mr Arnott: Would you relate that to the problems that are occurring right now, that more people are wanting to sell and leave?

Mrs Baker: Possibly.

Mr John Rodger: Yes, I would say so. We have several people moving out for financial reasons, and in the odd case they have sold at a lower-than-desirable price, lower I think than the market value. So I think a certain degree of hardship is being pushed on to these people at a critical time in their lives too.

Remember, some of these people are getting up into their 80s, and in their mental state and physical state, they're not in too good shape to argue against the landlords. I know in one particular case in our development, Tec Park, there was no disagreement with the landlord, but this lady just gave up and sold the house at a loss and has regretted it ever since.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): Thank you very much for your presentation. It seems on some of the issues there may be an agreement. The Ontario Land Lease Federation was here yesterday and made a presentation with respect to some of the issues you've raised. I would like to just run through some of its suggestions.

First of all, with respect to the question of signs, they object in many cases to a for-sale sign being on the lawn in the land-lease community. A suggestion as to an alternative method of signage would be to restrict the sign to the mobile home and also provide a central bulletin board where people could put the information with respect to the sale of their home on the central bulletin board which would be available to all persons. Do you think that would be an acceptable alternative?

Mrs Baker: To most of the members of the federation, no for-sale signs definitely, period. We felt there could be a right, but most of the federation members were very much against that clause.

Mr Wessenger: So the suggested alternative would be more acceptable?

Mrs Baker: Personally?

Mr Wessenger: Yes.

Mrs Baker: No, but I can't speak for everybody in the federation.

Mr Wessenger: Personally no, but do you think maybe to the members of the association it would be?

Mrs Baker: I don't think it would be acceptable. Jock, do you want to comment on that?

Mr Rodger: We have a notice board at our community centre or recreation centre which lists all the houses and is updated by the landlord. It gives the addresses, and usually it's the tenant's prerogative whether to publish the asking price or not. Then the people are at liberty to go and see the house or arrange to see the house. We did have permission from the landlord to put signs of 8 1/2 by 11 in the windows. Some of them from real estate agents have become much larger than that and they just look like -- I don't agree with that at all; a small sign, yes, but not the large ones in the window.

Mr Wessenger: The next point that was raised is with respect to the first right of refusal. As you know, my bill renders it void, but we've tendered an amendment which again was I believe endorsed -- well, I don't know whether it was endorsed, but I think a lot of presenters for owners seemed to be quite prepared to accept it; that is, first right of refusal would be permitted provided first of all that the owners had to exercise their first right of refusal within 72 hours, and it had to be on the same terms and conditions with no price discount. That again was by the Ontario Land Lease Federation, which represents the owners. They were agreeable to having no discounted price. So I think that would be an improvement to the existing situation.

The last point is just a point of information. There will be amendments. I will be voting against the reserve fund provision, because I think at the present time it is too problematic to proceed with.

Mrs Baker: The way it's drafted, it's kind of complicated.

Mr Wessenger: In the present economic climate and with these other considerations.

Mrs Baker: That's why I asked that question.

Mr Wessenger: Right. Thank you very much again for presenting.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I'm just interested to hear the last exchange from Mr Wessenger. You're planning to vote against the amendments. Do we know in whose name the amendments now stand?

Mr Wessenger: No, Mr Conway. The bill contains provisions with respect to a reserve fund.

Mr Conway: I know that.

Mr Wessenger: I will not be voting against the amendments, but the reserve fund will be deleted, I assume. That will depend of course on the vote of the committee, but as far as I'm concerned, I'll be recommending that the reserve fund be deleted.

Mr Conway: I appreciate that clarification, Paul.

Mrs Baker, thank you very much for quite a good submission. Again, I suppose I have more an observation than a question. It's clear from your very helpful presentation that there are obvious problems and I'm quite sympathetic to the points you've made. You've struck I think a very good balance in raising the concerns and the issues. Mrs Marland, Mr Arnott's colleague from Mississauga, is not here today -- not here yet, at any rate -- but she made very effectively the point over the last couple of days about the need to balance the various interests of people in this situation.

The committee has heard some horror stories from tenants in mobile home parks. My colleague Mrs Fawcett has a situation down in the very eastern portion of her electoral district near Trenton that is just indescribable, the conduct of a bad cat that none of us I think is very happy about.

On the other hand, we've had a whole host of operators saying, "If you do some of this stuff, you're really going to put an end to our involvement and our viability," and without people to invest in these often mom-and-pop operations, they're just not going to be there.

One of the points you've raised is this business about the interministerial committee that was at work in the late 1980s which many others have commented about as well, because it never really did see the light of day. I must say my inclination is to favour government legislation that goes through a regular channel, that brings everybody together so that we have a very good canvass of all the various points of view.

Mr Wessenger has advanced a bill that intends well, but clearly a lot of people don't feel that they know what's going on. They have not been consulted. There does seem to be some concern that what we're trying to do here is pull pieces of existing legislation together to address a very special set of circumstances in mobile home parks and land-lease communities. I take it your view is that something has to be done, and if nothing comprehensive is done, this bill should be favoured.

Mrs Baker: It's better than nothing. I have said all along, and the federation feels that way, that it's a beginning. We were hopeful, when this was all discussed that this was coming, we would have something quite specific pertaining to our type of home. I realize some of the problems that exist, because like I said in the brief, some of these parks have evolved from trailer parks and they've grown like Topsy.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today.



Mr Roy Robichaud: We have a short presentation concerning our eviction from Lonesome Pine Park. My name is Roy Robichaud. With me is my friend Howard Creighton; also my wife, Ruth, and my daughter-in-law, Elaine.

On October 7, 1992, eviction notices were given to the whole park. The reason: a court order arranged between the town of Innisfil and Alex Shakell, owner of the mobile home park. Mr Shakell implied that a court order stipulated that the town ordered that he obtain vacant possession of the park in order to upgrade that park. He claimed then that he was given no choice in the matter.

This was a complete fabrication on the part of the landlord. The truth of the matter was that the town had worked out an arrangement that would allow the residents of the park to remain while the work was being done. It was the owner's request that the order stipulate that the residents be removed. The potential benefits to the landlord were:

(1) Vacant possession would break the rent cycle and upon completion of the renovations would allow him to set new rents at a level of his discretion.

(2) Replace the present residents' homes with new ones and obtain commissions from the mobile home vendors for allowing them on the property.

The residents of the 28 mobile homes were approximately 65 people, the majority of whom was composed of senior citizens. These were or are our homes. The notice he served was incorrect, not even properly served and did not allow the time of 120 days prescribed by law to vacate. The only value in this was that of intimidation, and to this end it did intimidate all but five remaining residents to vacate. They have sold these homes for a fraction of their value, ie, 20%, gone bankrupt or simply walked away from them with nothing. A group lawsuit and several individual lawsuits are in progress.

After one year a court decision overturned the evictions, stating that as we were not made party to the court order we were not required to abide by it. This was only the beginning of an extremely expensive legal recourse which has brought to light excessive rent, hydro and tax charges to this point.

In conclusion, Mr Shakell, to further his financial interests and greed, decided to throw the old tenants out and bring in new ones to pay for the upgrading of his park. He advised us that he was sorry for us and he had prayed for us, but there was nothing that he could or would do to help or compensate us.

The status of the park as of January 21, or as of today: Of the 28 original residents' homes, five still reside and the upgrading of the park has not begun. The remaining residents have been served with further eviction notices and are contesting them.

This was an unconscionable act to suggest that a group of hardworking people and senior citizens lose everything with no chance to rebuild or restructure their retirement years.

This bill in progress will protect mobile home owners from being victimized and, as well, it will police landlords. They will be unable to force whole communities into financial ruin when they have to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees just to protect their interests. We thank you for listening.

The Chair: Thank you. We will have questions, but before I start I just want to make clear to the members of the committee that asking questions that relate to ongoing court proceedings is not proper. Being the Chair, I don't know what those proceedings might be, so the presenters may have to tell the members that they're intruding into grounds they shouldn't be in. I should also remind the presenters that while the committee enjoys parliamentary immunity while here, your comments are on record and could conceivably be used in a court action.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you, Roy, for coming today. In case the members don't know, Lonesome Pine Park is in the town of Innisfil which is in my riding, and this will give you some indication of my concern with respect to the whole question of the Rental Housing Protection Act. It's a similar situation to the Trenton park -- very much similar.

Mr Mammoliti: You don't need to justify, Paul.

Mr Wessenger: Right. What perhaps I'd like you to indicate to the members is, you make the point about the cost and the financial loss to tenants, and I'd like you to give some idea of what the financial losses would be for the average person who was a resident and how it occurred.

Mr Robichaud: The average selling price for these places onsite, on their location, would go from $80,000, which is the high, to maybe $28,000 or $25,000, which is the low. In my case, I purchased my property for about $37,000, and I've upgraded steadily over a period of five years. If I were to remove my mobile home from its site, I might get $4,000 for it. On the other hand, if I can't find a buyer, I might get nothing. Mr Creighton's is a little better. He could explain his a little more to you.

Mr Howard Creighton: My mobile home, I even argue the point that it's classed as a mobile home; I argue that it's basically a single modular home. The purpose of the wheels under it is to get it from the factory to the site. Once it's on the site, you haven't got a hope in Henry of moving that thing. It's a permanent structure. I paid $60,000 for this mobile. You can't just go and take out a loan like I do with my trucks and say, "In four years I'll pay this back." You have to put a mortgage on these things.

Then you come upon a situation like this, where you have to fight the guy. Myself personally, I'll fight to the end. I've spent $25,000 fighting this sucker, and I intend to keep on going, because what he's doing is very illegal, and I think it's very fraudulent. Just because some guy wants to rent out his property for you to use, there should be some protection that he can't just come in one day and say, "Okay, you're history." I've got a lot of money invested, it's costing me a lot of money, and as things stand right now, there's nothing there to protect us. There's nothing at all. This guy can come in and do whatever he wants; it's his property.

This bill is showing some promise that we're going to have a leg to stand on, that this guy is going to have to go back and re-evaluate what he's doing and do it the proper way and find out that he can't just come in and disrupt a person's life because he wants to make more money. We were put in there so that Mr Shakell can make a few bucks renting his property. Now he's come up with a scheme where he figures if he can get everybody off the property, this is breaking the rent cycle. He doesn't want to move you from point A to point B on the property; he wants you right out on Yonge Street, right off his property so that he can do the park the way the town wants him to. Then he can bring in all new mobiles or double modulars that I hear are going to be coming in there. He figures he can charge big bucks. So it was just basically through greed that he brought us in there and greed that he's throwing us out, and we haven't got a leg to stand on.

Mr Conway: You scared me; not since Roy McMurtry threatened us with sub judice.

Mrs Joan M. Fawcett (Northumberland): Thank you very much for coming forward. I certainly am embroiled in a similar thing in my riding, and I wonder if there are any relations there at all.

Mr Creighton: I think the Black Donnellys.

Mrs Fawcett: Do you have a tenants' association?

Mr Creighton: The five of us that are left are it.

Mrs Fawcett: Was there one previously?

Mr Robichaud: No, there wasn't really one.


Mrs Fawcett: So there was never an association that met regularly with the owner to discuss problems.

Mr Robichaud: We're the more recent residents of the park. This has been an ongoing problem which a lot of us weren't even aware of when we bought these places, or obviously we wouldn't have bought them. But, no, we don't have an association. There was one back in the 1980s that worked through a legal case involving the township and Mr Shakell and themselves.

Mrs Fawcett: So it seems like there might have been one, but only when there was a real problem that you had to deal with, rather than something where you work together with the owner to make a good situation.

Mr Robichaud: The final result of that was that the units as they stood there then, in 1987 I believe, were found to be legal non-conforming, so the landlord went back his merry way and continued to do business and sell new lots on the property. To the best of my knowledge, he was not even supposed to do that. Quite frankly, from what I understand of the situation, he should not have permitted the sale of my place, me buying the place from the previous owner, unless I took it off the property. That's the way I understand it now, but he sanctioned the sale then.

Mrs Fawcett: You feel that Bill 21 as it is now, the bill that you know, will help your situation. Of course, you know, then, that a lot of what is there in Bill 21 isn't going to be there, we don't think, with all the amendments.

Mr Creighton: There are parts in this bill that -- I couldn't just place where they are in there, but there are going to be some things that he's going to have to basically work along with us. Even as far as the sale of the properties goes, the way it stands up there now and previously was if you wanted to sell your mobile, you basically had to sell it to Alex Shakell or somebody whom he sanctioned. Let's say for argument's sake you sold that place for $50,000. You had to give Alex Shakell $5,000, 10% of the selling price, just for his blessing that you can sell your property.

Mrs Fawcett: And you didn't understand that at the beginning when you moved in.

Mr Creighton: No, none of this stuff.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): Can I just ask a couple of questions about when you bought. You claim that you have to get a mortgage on this.

Mr Creighton: Yes.

Mr Stockwell: Did you not have to show clear title to the bank to get the mortgage?

Mr Creighton: The way they --

Mr Stockwell: Oh, you didn't go to the bank.

Mr Creighton: Oh, yes. The way they set this deal up, I know -- I'm not stupid -- that mobile homes, you can't just put them on any corner in town.

Mr Stockwell: No, I understand, and he was legal non-conforming.

Mr Creighton: I didn't even know anything about any of this stuff when I bought this. I went to Armstrong Trailers in Richmond Hill. This is where I bought it. You know the place in Oak Ridges?

Mr Stockwell: No, I don't.

Mr Creighton: All right, but anyway, right on the bill of sale I had them put down that unless I had an approved place to put this mobile, then I wasn't going to buy it. There's no sense me putting out this kind of money if I can't put it anywhere.

Mr Stockwell: Right, I understand.

Mr Creighton: They set up the deal. They told me to go up and see Alex Shakell and they set up the deal.

Mr Stockwell: But you got a mortgage, you're saying.

Mr Creighton: Yes.

Mr Stockwell: And you got a mortgage on -- what did you register the mortgage against?

Mr Robichaud: Howard, was it a mortgage or a consumer loan?

Mr Stockwell: You got a consumer loan?

Mr Robichaud: I don't know. I'm just asking Howard.

Mr Creighton: I don't know what they call it.

Mr Robichaud: Is it a consumer loan or a mortgage? There is a difference. I think that's what this gentleman is trying to point out.

Mr Creighton: What you have to do is go to the bank, borrow the money and pay the mobile off.

Mr Stockwell: Okay, so you got a loan.

Mr Creighton: I got a loan from the bank, but they put it through like a mortgage.

Mr Stockwell: The next question is, your lawyer who closed this deal for you -- I assume you had a lawyer.

Mr Creighton: No.

Mr Stockwell: You didn't have a lawyer.

Mr Creighton: No.

Mr Stockwell: You placed the unit on the land, signed the agreement.

Mr Creighton: I bought this mobile on the stipulation that they could find me a spot to put this mobile.

Mr Stockwell: Did you sign an agreement, though, with Mr Shakell, to place the unit on his property?

Mr Creighton: No, but you didn't have to sign an agreement with him to put it on there, as long as he got his kickback from Armstrong Trailers.

Mr Stockwell: So you signed nothing.

Mr Creighton: No. As long as he got his money from Armstrong Trailers, the deal was that they --

Mr Stockwell: So, in reality, basically you got a straightforward consumer loan to buy the unit, you went and placed it on his property and you didn't sign any agreement, or rental agreement?

Mr Creighton: No. You couldn't even get a lease out of him.

Mr Stockwell: You couldn't get anything?

Mr Creighton: No. The way Alex Shakell put it, and I'm a firm believer in a handshake --

Mr Stockwell: Not any more, though, I bet.

Mr Creighton: I don't trust my brother any more. We sat at his kitchen table, the wife and I, and we talked. I asked him about a long-term lease and that, and he said: "Mr Creighton, I already said you don't need a lease. As long as you pay the rent, abide by the rules, keep your nose clean, you can stay as long as you want." We shook hands on it.

Mr Robichaud: Let me make a point about the lease.

Mr Stockwell: Did you have a lease?

Mr Robichaud: No. What good is a one- or two-year lease on a property like that? A 10-, 15-, 20-year lease is something reasonable. One or two years is worth nothing.

Mr Stockwell: I agree with that. Nobody had a lease.

Mr Robichaud: No, there was no lease. The park had been in existence for something like 20 years.

Mr Stockwell: And there wasn't a lawyer involved; you didn't have a lawyer.

Mr Robichaud: I had a lawyer involved. He checked for liens and so on and so forth.

Mr Stockwell: That was it?

Mr Robichaud: That was it.

Mr Stockwell: Did he advise you to get some kind of lease?

Mr Robichaud: No.

Mr Stockwell: He didn't.

Mr Robichaud: No. We admit we were gullible; we admit that.

Mr Stockwell: No, I'm not suggesting that. I didn't say that at all. Obviously hindsight's 20/20. I was curious. You mentioned a mortgage. I thought that if there's a mortgage you have to show title and so on, and there would have been a search and so on, but there wasn't.

Mr Robichaud: Possibly, when Bill 21 comes into effect certain amendments will be made to bring this in line so it will be necessary for all parties to be fully aware.

Mr Stockwell: Have you seen the 27 amendments?

Mr Robichaud: I have read it over once. I have not studied it; I intend to.

Mr Stockwell: Okay.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee this morning. We like to hear people come down from your area and tell us directly about your experience.



The Chair: The next presentation is the London and Area Tenant Federation.

Mr Leo Bouillon: Good morning. My name is Leo Bouillon. I'm the executive director of the London and Area Tenant Federation. In my capacity as a representative of a provincial-wide organization called United Tenants of Ontario, all calls related to trailer parks are directed to our office in London.

Over the past year we have received calls from Grand Bend, Strathroy, Rodney, Windsor, Sudbury, Hanmer, Barrie, Thunder Bay and Fort Frances.

In our area of London-Middlesex there have been three tenant associations formed to assist tenants within these trailer parks. In most cases the problem is obvious: Tenants are not aware of their rights.

Before going into detail, I should point out that in our findings, there is an association of trailer parks which boasts a membership of 350 province-wide. This would seem to explain the similarity of rules and regulations presented to tenants. These findings were based on newspaper articles and calls from Toronto concerning the trailer park association.

Issues brought forward by tenants in trailer parks in this area are: an attempt by a landlord -- and I stress by the landlord -- to convert the property himself to co-op; threatened evictions for smoking on campgrounds; overcharging on taxes; threatened loss of trailer because the landlord owes back taxes; and additional fees for an extra person occupying a trailer over three people.

Those who wish to live in trailers or trailer parks should be able to enjoy their investment and not have to worry about their landlords who try to impose archaic rules and think themselves omnipotent. Tenants need to be educated as to their rights concerning these and other problems. The landlord has offered his land or trailer park; therefore, he is legally bound to meet certain standards.

I have seen several parks that are exceptional in that tenants participate in social clubs, the clubhouse being supplied by members and encouraged by the landlord. Therefore, I would suggest that if landlords would cooperate with tenants and supply what they are charging for, their relationship would be much more satisfying.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of Bill 21. The Landlord and Tenant Act is not clear enough. Bill 21 spells out exactly what the trailer park is and expands the legitimacy of a trailer park and more stability to those wishing to live in trailer parks.

There has been a surge of people going to these areas over the past several years. People find it relaxing getting away from the cities, and others need to relocate due to significant increases in housing. For whatever reason people choose this lifestyle, I implore you to closely examine the impact this proposed legislation will have for those already in trailer parks and for the future of others.

The Vice-Chair: Are you complete?

Mr Bouillon: Yes, that's it.

Mr Conway: I just want to thank you very much, Mr Bouillon, for your presentation. You mention in the second paragraph of your brief that over the past year you've received a number of calls from Grand Bend, Strathroy, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, among others. Do I take it from that that the number of complaints about land-lease and mobile home park-type setups is increasing, as far as you can judge?

Mr Bouillon: Yes, and I think the fact that people know they can call us has increased the number of people calling. Again, one of the things that seems to come up most often --

Mr Conway: I should ask, by the way: Just how long have you been in business in your capacity? How long has the London and Area Tenant Federation -- it's been around some time, I take it?

Mr Bouillon: We're into our second year. We're fairly new, but I belong to United Tenants of Ontario now. It's been two and a half years. As I was just pointing out, one of the main concerns from callers seems to be that, again, they don't know what their rights are. Leases are a thing of the past. A lot of people don't even realize that or have never signed a lease: maintenance, deterioration of property. Once the park itself may be started -- a number of years ago it started out with good intentions and then the landlords just neglected to keep up the property.

Mr Conway: I believe you were in the audience when the previous group was here talking about Lonesome Pine, I think it is.

Mr Bouillon: Yes.

Mr Conway: Are those situations fairly typical, from what you have heard?

Mr Bouillon: It's quite common. Again, the calls that we're getting are pretty well similar in that people are complaining they've got nowhere to go and they're at the landlord's mercy.

Mr Arnott: Thank you very much for your presentation. I have a question relating to a presentation that's come to the committee from a constituent of mine, Don Vallery, who is the owner of Pine Meadows Retirement Community, and I would recommend to all the committee members that they take a look at it. He says:

"In summary, this piece of legislation has obviously been created by a small group of tenants and bureaucrats that are clearly more for the rights of tenants than for the landlords and are operating without total understanding of all the issues and implications. If this bill passes without major changes, the result will be deteriorating parks and communities and will lead to slum conditions being created. If a landlord cannot make a reasonable profit, why bother?

"The landlord owns the land, not the tenant, and should have the right to operate his business as he sees fit. If a tenant is not happy at a park or community, they can always sell."

How do you respond to that sort of comment?

Mr Bouillon: That is a very typical statement, very common. It's always used. "If you don't like it, move." And as the previous gentlemen said, some of these mobile homes you can't just pick up and move. These are structures that are permanent. Like I said, it's very, very typical of the answer that is actually given to tenants.

The parks are deteriorating now, so I don't know why they're complaining that if this legislation were to come through, it would make it even worse.

Mr Arnott: Not all parks are deteriorating, though.

Mr Bouillon: No, no.

Mr Arnott: And I can tell you, having canvassed through this at election time, it's beautiful; it's absolutely beautiful, this park.

Mr Bouillon: I've made mention here that I have seen trailer parks that are exceptional. That's true; they're not all bad. But for those that are having the problems, it's a very real problem. It's a nightmare. Again, the added bonus to the landlord, "Well, if you don't like it, move it." What's the tenant supposed to do?

Right now, I just received a fax late last night from a tenant who is being evicted for forming a tenant association. This poor lady's having a heck of a time. There are some very serious problems and concerns out there.

Mr Arnott: Have you had a chance to study the 27 amendments that were introduced yesterday?

Mr Bouillon: No, I haven't, unfortunately.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Mr Bouillon, for being here this morning to make that presentation.

I happen to sit in the Legislature next to the member for Middlesex, Irene Mathyssen, who unfortunately is on another committee and can't be here today. I can tell you that she has a very great interest in Bill 21. I sit next to her and over the past year or so we've discussed the horror stories of the places in hell in Middlesex, what the folks have to put up with, similar to my friends here from Stroud.

My question, to counteract the question from Mr Arnott, is that you're the executive director of the London and Area Tenant Federation. Would you say, in honesty, that those memberships represent the broad political spectrum, ie, you've got Conservatives there, you've got Liberals and you've got NDPers, I presume.

Mr Bouillon: Oh, definitely.

Interjection: And Reform.

Mr Mills: And Reformers. Why I asked you that is I think this bill, Bill 21 -- somehow people have got some ideology that this is NDP stuff against landlords and I want to make it very clear to this committee that this is a non-partisan bill. It's protecting the rights, and it protects the rights equally, of Conservatives and of Liberals.

I hope that they listen and they support Bill 21, because I hear all these red herrings about amendments and I can tell you that they're just red herrings. The amendments that are succinct to this bill are very few but they are obviously -- and my colleague the member for Northumberland had a horror story here yesterday of great proportions. How anyone can question the validity of this bill or the requirement for this bill after hearing those sort of questions, astounds me.

Mrs Fawcett: Because I want the bill to help.

Mr Mills: This gentleman here is saying that Bill 21 -- let me get this right -- this gentleman is saying, "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of Bill 21." This is a man on the ground, I cannot emphasize it and he says it spells out exactly what a trailer park is.


Mrs Fawcett: Which bill? The bill we've got now or the bill it's going to be?

Mr Mills: So I'm urging everybody to support Bill 21 and let's move on from there. Thank you, sir, for coming here today.

Mr Bouillon: As a matter of fact, when I do talk to tenants and mention that there is proposed Bill 21, they're ecstatic. So I'll just point that out.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee. We appreciate your presentation.


Mrs Dorothy Lea: My name is Dorothy Lea. I'm acting president of the Sandycove Acres Home Owners' Association, which is in Mr Wessenger's riding. Mr Paul Burkholder is my support member.

Thank you for the opportunity to present our comments and concerns related to Bill 21, the Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993.

Our presentation will include three sections and a brief summary. Section 1, background considerations to provide context; section 2, specific comments and/or recommendations regarding the content of Bill 21 as drafted; section 3, general overall concerns and problem areas that have not been addressed in Bill 21 that we believe warrant and require legislative attention; and section 4, summary.

Section 1: Background. Our association represents the residents/home owners in the largest and longest-established land-lease community, to use Bill 21 terminology, in the province. Established in 1971, this community has grown to 1,165 homes, soon to be 1,186, and a population of approximately 2,100, almost all of whom are retired or semi-retired seniors. There are some owners who have been here over 20 years. Our association has an active membership representing over 900 homes.

Using landlord-provided common facilities, our residents/home owners have developed and operate a wide range of social, cultural and recreational activities and programs contributing to and actually constituting the lifestyle that makes the community a success.

The owners/developers of this park have extensive land development and commercial operations in this area and elsewhere in the province, including two other land-lease communities: Wilmot Creek and Grand Cove Estates.

While our residents/home owners appreciate and enjoy the lifestyle they have helped create, there have been over the years a variety of differences of opinion and points of stress and disagreement between us, as residents/home owners, and the landlord owners/developers.

The genesis of Bill 21 is a House resolution in 1987 by the then member from this riding, and Bill 21 itself was introduced by the current member from this riding, Paul Wessenger, Simcoe Centre. We are founding members and active supporters of the Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation and endorse their brief, being presented separately.

Both directly and through this federation, we have had numerous contacts with and submissions to various ministries, committees and the interministerial committee appointed to review this whole legislative area, and we are deeply disappointed that the report of the interministerial committee has been withheld from us who are so directly concerned.

Please note that this submission relates only to the sections of Bill 21 that would impact our land-lease community. While we appreciate that there is a clear legislative need to deal also with mobile home parks, we are really not in a position to speak to the specific issues involved.

Section 2: Specific comments and recommendations of draft Bill 21.

(a) Amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act: While we are very disappointed that completely new, exclusive legislation is not proposed for land-lease communities akin to the Condominium Act, we do applaud and support the establishment of this category as recognition that they are indeed a distinct type of housing arrangement. We note the growth in recent years, despite the legislative handicap, and suggest that future demographics would lead to expanded, continuing demand.

We also support the proposed requirement on the landlord to provide written reasons for refusal to consent to sale or other disposition of a land-lease community home. Actually, we believe this concept should be expanded to rule out the continuing liability of the vendor of a home, on assignment of a lease, as now contained as small print in many leases. Surely the value of the home involved provides the landlord with adequate security for the land lease, without keeping the original lessee as contingently responsible.

With respect to the proposed invalidation of the normal lease-agreement-imposed first right of refusal as it applies to land-lease communities, we have mixed feelings. In these land-lease communities, a community interest culture has evolved, and while human rights considerations preclude establishing direct exclusions, we believe that this first right of refusal does provide a mechanism where a landlord, who may well have community maintenance as motivation, can act to avoid a sale to a party that clearly might be disruptive to this culture. We see it as a sort of safety valve. Many of the lease agreements currently in use, however, provide for a discount on the purchase where the landlord exercises this first right of refusal. This clearly is an unfair provision that should be prohibited.

As well, we believe that the residents/home owners should be provided in the legislation with a similar first right of refusal should the landlord contemplate sale of the property or be faced with bankruptcy. These concerns would require that amendments to the act make provisions for land-lease communities that may be different from those for mobile home parks.

Similarly, the proposal to give tenants the right to place for-sale signs is not one of the areas that has been of concern to us. Normal turnover of homes in our community has been in the order of 10% to 12% per year, and with the current resale market slow, there are currently more than 10% of the homes for sale; in our case, well over 100. A forest of signs would clearly not be desirable and our association would discourage their use. Again, while we cannot assess the application of this to mobile home parks, we do not believe this prohibition should be extended to land-lease communities.

The concept of reserve funds for property maintenance and operation is not an area that has been causing us concern. We are aware, of course, of some situations in land-lease communities where the proposed system would have value in bringing such costs into the open and assuring that they are adequately provided for, so the concept may well be warranted.

Originally, our park operating and maintenance expenses and a variety of other expenses were organized as a pass-through charge. Although this system seemed reasonable as a principle, it was a constant source of conflict and concerns due to the vital need for an audit process, the absence of mechanisms to ensure effectiveness and efficiency, and that for accounting purposes, it included quite heavy soft costs. For example, 1992 mortgage and loan interest was $579,264, and management fees were $166,427. The various rent control statutes folded these costs into the rent figure, and should rent control ultimately end, we now believe it preferable to have this all-inclusive rent concept continue.


To us, then, the long-term problem is maintenance standards and their adequacy, and the reserve fund concept really doesn't speak to this at a meaningful level. It will not be clear until the operational regulations under the reserve fund proposal are issued what the specific effects on our situation will be. We assume our landlord will be exempt, because a statement of expense is currently issued as a requirement of many of our leases, and some of us, as a result of a litigation settlement, receive audited statements. We conclude that the "sure cure" for our problems in this area would be a standardized form of lease for land-lease communities, as outlined in part 3 of this brief following.

(b) Amendments to the Planning Act: We fully endorse the Bill 21 provisions that would bring land-lease communities under site plan control, that now are in our municipality, and also the provision requiring individual site registration for new land-lease communities. Requiring existing land-lease communities to be registered by individual sites would be an advantage to us, but we realize that this would impose substantial, probably unjustifiable, costs on the landlord.

(c) Amendments to the Rental Housing Protection Act: While we realize that this section of Bill 21 may be of great significance to some mobile home communities, often established on land in transition, we do not see it having relevance to our specific situation.

Section 3: General concerns and problem areas. Over the last several years, in our contacts with the interministerial committee and with various ministries and MPPs, we have identified a number of legislative problem areas. Some of these would be encompassed by Bill 21 provisions, although as noted earlier, we really would have much preferred separate, exclusive legislation applicable to land-lease communities only. These unresolved legislative problem areas not included within the scope of Bill 21 will continue.

The following here is a listing, with brief explanatory notes, of the areas we believe have yet to be addressed.

(a) Prescribed lease form: Our landlord is currently using his eighth version of his standard lease form, originally adapted from a commercial space lease. These leases have become progressively more favourable to the landlord with each revision. Many of the early 1970s leases are expiring, and the captive market of these tenants is faced with stepping into a much less favourable contract. Many so caught are following our advice to carry on without a lease while we, as their representatives, attempt to negotiate a more balanced contract.

In these negotiations, it is absolutely clear that the landlord has little motivation or desire to accept a less preferential lease format, and after two years, little real progress has been achieved. This is most unsatisfactory, but month-to-month lease extension is the only lever we have in these negotiations. Without exception, independent lawyers advise against signing even earlier lease versions, distorting the free market value of resale homes. It is a tribute to the market attractiveness of the lifestyle involved that some purchasers proceed, often without specific legal advice.

We believe that this warrants a mandatory, reasonably balanced standard lease format. See our comments concerning the maintenance standards under the discussion of reserve funds in part 2 of this brief above.

(b) Require that sales transactions separate the values for (1) the home and improvements, (2), the premium for access to the common facilities, namely the lifestyle, and (3) the premium for site size or location. Such separations and values would clarify matters for purchasers as well as rationalize a variety of questions related to assessment and maintenance of common areas by the landlord.

(c) Require enhanced standards, appropriate to the population of seniors, for health and safety-related facilities and services; for example, safe facilities for pedestrians.

(d) Require some form of tenant participation in capital budget planning once a land-lease community is functioning as such.

(e) Require condominium-style disclosure provisions and a cooling-off period for purchasers.

(f) Require municipal tax abatement for services not provided; for example, garbage collection.

(g) Maintain consumer protection strategies such as new home warranties, Landlord and Tenant Act protection etc.

Our summary: We applaud and endorse the Bill 21 initiative that would recognize land-lease communities as a specific housing category, and the control proposed on landlord refusal to consent to resales. For this latter item, we think it could be improved by also eliminating contingent responsibility after a resale lease assignment.

On the proposed elimination of the first right of refusal and the question of for-sale signs, we have mixed feelings. On the former, we actually would welcome a tenant first-right-of-refusal provision.

The proposed reserve funds concept does not seem to resolve the problems we have experienced, although we recognize that there are land-lease communities where it would be a clear step forward. We believe a mandatory lease format structure could be a more effective approach in this area.

Finally, while we do recognize Bill 21 as a desirable step forward, there are a number of significant other areas of concern that we feel require legislative attention, and ultimately we would like to see all-encompassing, specific legislation for land-lease communities on the pattern of the Condominium Act.

On behalf of Sandycove Acres Home Owners' Association, we wish to thank you for your attention.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I congratulate you on your presentation. It's very comprehensive and very constructive, which we appreciate.

It's rather ironic, really, that we don't have legislation for land-lease communities, because there are so many similarities to condominiums, and of course we're in the middle, for about five years now, of trying to get a new Condominium Act, because it needed improvement. But it's like anything when it's introduced: It has to be revised through experience, and I think that's what we're dealing with in this subject, because it's a new type of living environment.

I'm not sure from your comments whether you would accept for-sale signs in the windows of buildings.

Mrs Lea: We would prefer not to. Mr Wessenger indicated earlier about perhaps notices on bulletin boards. The only problem there is, we have three large recreation centres as well as an administration office in order to cover the total park.

Mrs Marland: But the administration office might work okay, might it not?

Mrs Lea: Yes. They have a separate sales office.

Mrs Marland: Yes. You know that the reserve funds, according to what Mr Wessenger tells us, are out anyway.

Mrs Lea: No. We're not aware of these 27 amendments. We haven't been given the opportunity to read these amendments.

Mrs Marland: That's what's making this hearing such a farce, because you're in here making comments on legislation that you don't --

Mr Mills: Come on. It's a red herring, and you know it.

Mrs Marland: Excuse me. You're asked to comment on a bill and, really, you don't know what the bill is going to be that you're asked to comment on because of the changes in it.

Mrs Lea: Well, we were asked to comment on that which was there at the time, and that's what we've done.

Mrs Marland: That's right. I know, because that's all you could do.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you very much for appearing, Dorothy. I certainly have appreciated you and Paul and the assistance you've given with respect to this bill, and I appreciate your support for it. Perhaps I'll take this opportunity just to explain that most of the amendments to the bill are of a technical nature. I will just outline some of the substantial ones. There are four or five substantial amendments.

The first one that has been put forward is to change the proposal with respect to first rights of refusal. Now, first rights of refusal will be allowed, but they must be at the same price and the same terms and conditions as the offer received, and there are 72 hours in which the owner has to accept that. So that amendment will be put forward by myself. That's the first substantial amendment.

The Chair: You won't have time to explain --

Mr Wessenger: No, I just thought I'd explain there were four or five. The other one will relate to signs.

Mr Mills: They keep throwing this red herring at us. They keep tossing it out.

Mr Wessenger: Yes, I think it needs correcting, what has been put forward by Ms Marland.

The second one will relate to signs. We haven't quite determined how the final of that one will be, but there will be an amendment there. The other substantial amendment we're going to bring is, we're going to make the bill apply to unorganized territories; and the last one, we're going to include infrastructure under the bill. Those are the four substantial amendments. We're also deleting reserve funds, I should indicate. That's not an amendment; that will just be voted down.

Mrs Marland: Oh, I see. It's going to be voted down.

Mr Mills: It's all a red herring.

Mr Wessenger: So those are the substantial amendments that I will be bringing.

Mrs Marland: So it's all cooked, ready to go, right?


The Chair: Thank you. Mr Daigeler.

Mrs Marland: It's not a cooked bill?

Mr Mammoliti: Margaret, that's enough.

The Chair: Mr Daigeler has the floor.

Mr Daigeler: At this point no amendments have been introduced, and certainly normally there's a vote. We'll see what happens. We'll see whether we will come to the clause-by-clause, but I do think this has been --


The Chair: Mr Mills and Mr Arnott, this is not helpful to the people who have come to speak to us.

Mrs Marland: You talked to these people. Why don't you talk to the whole province?

Mr Mills: We have.

Mrs Marland: You have not.

Mr Mills: I sent it out in my newsletter. I don't know what you people do.

Mrs Marland: We didn't even know about it.

Mr Mammoliti: Can you reprimand her?

Mr Mills: Come on. You were in the House when it was introduced. I sent it out in my newsletter.

The Chair: I can take a recess, if you'd like. Carry on, Mr Daigeler.

Mr Daigeler: Frankly, I've learned quite a bit over the hearings, and in that regard I'm thankful. I certainly know more about it than I ever knew before. I'm not sure whether I wanted to know all of this. In any case, I do have a park in my own riding as well.

What I still don't understand, frankly, is that difference between -- what is the proper name now?

Mrs Lea: Land-lease communities.

Mr Daigeler: -- land-lease communities and the mobile home parks. Sometimes a distinction is made, sometimes not. How would you see the difference?

Mrs Lea: The difference is quite noticeable in that up in Sandycove Acres, I would say one third of the homes are site-built homes, meaning they're structured right on that property, or they are modular homes and modular homes are permanently on steel pillars. They're there for ever and a day. They come in on flatbed trucks, the modular-type homes, they're erected on site on steel pillars. Everything then is confined to that particular home. As I say, the others are site-built homes, cement block foundations, and partitioned homes are built right there and then, permanently on that piece of property.

Mr Daigeler: What's the difference of that then from normal housing?

Mrs Lea: None.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Daigeler. You can pursue this later, I'm sure, in clause-by-clause. Thank you for coming this morning. You were most helpful.


Mrs Marland: Thank you for that comment.


The Chair: Order.

Mr Mammoliti: Can we repeat the comments on a mike, perhaps? I wanted to know who that was. I wanted to know what he said.

The Chair: As you would know, Mr Mammoliti, and all committee members and, for that matter, everyone in the room, interjections are always out of order by members, but they are impossible to be made by members of the general public who are here. There is a way, always, of getting things on record. The person can ask and be a deputant to the committee and he can therefore make a presentation, as many others have done.

Mr Mills: I think it's indicative of the frustration of the people. That was the president of Wilmot Creek.

Mr Mammoliti: What did he say?

Mr Mills: He's choked up about it.

Mrs Marland: Frustration with the government is what he said.

Mr Mills: No, no.

The Chair: Order. Do we want to take a recess or do we want to continue the hearings?

Mrs Marland: Let's continue.


Ms Martha Macfie: First of all, I'd like to thank the committee for providing us with this opportunity to make oral submissions on Bill 21. I represent the Peterborough Community Legal Centre. The legal centre is one of more than 20 community legal clinics across the province. We provide free legal advice and representation to low-income tenants in Peterborough county.

Since it opened in early 1989, many of the tenants the clinic has assisted have been rural tenants. I think that's because of the nature of Peterborough county itself. In fact, one of the first tenants that the clinic helped was a tenant of a local mobile home park known as the Lakehead Trailer Park. The clinic has successfully represented mobile home park tenants on an ongoing basis and on a number of issues since 1989. I'll just recap a couple of those issues where we were successful.

On one case, the district court of Ontario found that the mobile home park and other provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act applied to our client's tenancy where the park was open full-time May to October and on the weekends during the balance of the year and where our client had no other residence in Canada.

In another instance, on appeal by the landlord to the Divisional Court, the court held that the landlord could not use the representative actions provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act to name all of the tenants in one court application in an attempt to terminate all of the tenancies. The landlord brought a motion for leave to appeal before the Ontario Court of Appeal and lost at that level.

In another case, a rent review administrator for the Ministry of Housing found that the Residential Rent Regulation Act applied to our clients, who were residents of a mobile home park. Most recently, in a case just this fall, the Ontario Court (General Division) found that the owners of a mobile home trailer park had failed to meet their repair and maintenance obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act and on an interim basis, an emergency basis, ordered the landlord to provide vital services and on a final basis ordered repair and maintenance, as well as general damages, punitive damages and abatement of rent. So we've had some involvement with tenants of mobile home parks.

On initially reviewing Bill 21, we intended to speak primarily on the non-seasonal issue. I understand that the proposed amendments, hopefully, address our concerns. So late yesterday I realized that the presentation I had planned to make today probably was unnecessary. I phoned Mr Wessenger's office and was able to get a copy of the proposed amendments.

What I'd like to do is deal specifically then with the issue of reserve funds, because I understand that they've now been dropped from the legislation. I'd also like to say at this point that I don't feel I've had enough opportunity to prepare a presentation respecting reserve funds and I would appreciate either an opportunity to come back before committee or some additional time to prepare written submissions on this point.

I'd like, first of all, to start by saying that the legal centre and the tenants we represent support the idea of a legislated reserve fund for all tenancies. I'm not just talking about mobile home parks or land-lease communities; I'm talking about reserve funds for all tenancies. We represent low-income tenants. These are tenants who have been shunted off to the least -- well, it's supposedly affordable accommodation, but in most instances it is the least adequate. It is inadequate housing. For these people, for our clients, maintenance standards and repair standards are critical, and reserve funds for all tenants is one way of addressing this issue.

I could tell the committee about clients of mine who have not been in mobile home parks; I could also tell them about clients in similar situations in mobile home parks who have been basically shipped around from slum landlord to slum landlord in the city of Peterborough and, despite court applications, there has been virtually no meaningful success for them in getting a landlord to adequately repair and maintain a premises.

It is submitted to this committee that the reserve provisions would essentially lend some teeth to what is now section 94 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which deals with repair and maintenance, and section 128, which deals with repair and maintenance in mobile home parks.

As I've indicated, many of the tenants who contact us live in rural communities. These tenants have unique characteristics to other tenants across this province, in particular to urban tenants. These tenants are constantly facing a problem of a scarce supply of housing and, in particular with respect to mobile home tenants, there is a scarce supply of housing or lots for these particular tenants. Most rural tenants, particularly mobile home park tenants, are low income. Many are seniors who have put their life savings into their mobile home. Finally, most mobile homes are difficult or impossible to move. So those are some unique characteristics of the tenant group we deal with.


For many low-income people, the idea of moving into a mobile home park seems great on the surface. It gives them an opportunity to feel like they have a sense of ownership over something, that they can make a difference and that they have some control over their accommodation. But in fact, as we've found out in Peterborough, tenants in mobile home parks do not always have good maintenance standards and good repair. The landlords often fall down in those areas.

To illustrate the point, I'll just tell you a little bit about the Lakehead Trailer Park. In the early 1980s, the tenants purchased, by way of long-term leases, lots and they moved their own trailers or mobile homes on to these lots. The tenants paid $10,000 up front, and the lease provided that they would continue to pay monthly maintenance fees. The maintenance fees were to be based on previous years' audited maintenance expenditures.

In about mid-1980s, 1987, around there, the park was sold to some fairly unscrupulous types and the previous owner took back a mortgage. Of course, there was a default on the mortgage and just this past winter we've seen the original owners take back the park. In that intervening period, between about 1987 to just this past winter, the park has fallen apart, basically. The new owners refused to do any repair and maintenance in the park. I think their goal from the outset was to gradually evict the tenants so that they could have the property, so they attempted to use very unsavoury ways and means of getting rid of the tenants. Fortunately for most of the tenants, there was a strong tenants' association and they were able to hang in there, but for some of the tenants, they were forced off. They lost their life savings.

What happened during that period of time as well was that the tenants quit paying their maintenance charges because there was no maintenance or repair happening in the park. This past winter the park reverted back to the original owners. Those owners essentially carried on the reign of terror. Come May 5, when the park was to open, there were no vital services. There was no water, there was no hydro, there were no sewage services, and this is in a park that is now basically in an extremely dilapidated state.

We were able to obtain, I believe it was in June, an interim order requiring the landlord to provide the vital services. We could not get a court date until mid-October in order to get a final order from the court saying that all of the repairs and maintenance had to be done. Basically, we've got tenants who should have moved in on May 5 continued on to around the end of October, who didn't have the use of their park, their homes, for that six-month period of time. It still remains to be seen whether or not the landlord is going to actually do the repairs that it's been ordered to do.

We submit that a reserve fund in the facts of the case that I've just told you about would have helped, particularly a reserve fund that would be transferred from owner to owner, particularly a reserve fund that is integrated with the rent control legislation, and by that I mean properly integrated so that if a landlord is not living up to its obligations with respect to a reserve fund, there would be penalties imposed in terms of above-guideline increases under the rent control legislation. We submit that it would be possible to phase in a reserve fund that would not prove to be too onerous on landlords but that would prove to be of immense benefit to tenants in mobile home parks across the province.

Those are my submissions. As I indicated earlier, I would greatly appreciate an opportunity for more time to prepare written submissions on this point. I did not intend to speak on reserve funds today -- I intended to speak about the problem with the definition of "non-seasonal mobile home" -- and I would greatly appreciate more time to prepare written submissions on reserve funds.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you very much for bringing us your expertise in dealing with tenant problems. You did indicate a large number of problems with respect to attempted termination of tenancies. Is that in more than one park in your area?

Ms Macfie: Yes, it certainly was. At three separate parks in our area the landlords have used various ways and means: cutting off vital services, compelling or forcing tenants -- we've heard about it from some previous speakers -- to sign new leases that impose greater restrictions on the tenants and greatly reduce their rights. There have been, nothing specifically proven, but certainly allegations of landlords going in and vandalizing property. It's been pretty horrific for the tenants in these parks around Peterborough.

Mr Wessenger: Your experience is, then, that there are many difficult landlords in this area.

Ms Macfie: Yes.

Mr Wessenger: Did you encounter from time to time difficulties with respect to landlords trying to restrict or limit the sale or transfer of owners' homes as well?

Ms Macfie: Yes, that has been an ongoing problem and I would hope that Bill 21 addresses some of the problems in that area. I've just had a chance to review the proposed amendments briefly and I think the proposed amendments will help. Bill 21, as proposed to be amended, will help some of our clients.

Mr Daigeler: How do you think Bill 21, in the amended form, will actually be an improvement over the current situation? From what you're describing, there is a legal remedy available. It may not be working as fast as it should, but I'm not really convinced, from what I've seen or heard so far, that Bill 21 will significantly improve that situation. Where do you really see a dramatic change through Bill 21 to some of the problems that you have identified?


Ms Macfie: I think the legislation will make it clearer as to who is covered and who isn't covered. It will clearly bring a large group of people under the Landlord and Tenant Act and other legislation. I would have hoped that the reserve fund provisions in particular would help in terms of the repair and maintenance problems, simply because if they were incorporated and connected with the rent control legislation, there would be basically an enforcement mechanism there. I think it's important because there's a lot of uncertainty right now as to who exactly is covered right now by the Landlord and Tenant Act, and I think Bill 21 clarifies that.

Mr Daigeler: This is difficult, because we haven't had a briefing from the ministry, but it's my understanding that they're covered by the LTA. What they are not covered under is the Residential Housing Protection Act.

Ms Macfie: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: That's new, but under the Landlord and Tenant Act they're already covered.

Ms Macfie: It's not absolutely certain. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act, you go to court, you show the judge the indicia, you prove basically that you are a tenant and that you are entitled to protection under the act. In the facts of the case that we talked to the district court, that was a six-month tenancy. The landlord was saying, "This is a member of the travelling and vacationing public; this is not a tenant who deserves protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act." This legislation makes that a lot clearer.

Mrs Marland: Ms Macfie, are you a lawyer?

Ms Macfie: Yes, I am.

Mrs Marland: Is your clinic funded by government?

Ms Macfie: Yes, we are; indirectly.

Mrs Marland: Yes. The program is funded by the government.

Ms Macfie: The funding comes from the Ministry of the Attorney General, is channelled through our funder, clinic funding, and the funds disbursed to the individual clinics. My employer is a volunteer board of directors at the clinic.

Mrs Marland: Right. I appreciated your honesty and your openness when you said you had no time to prepare for a discussion on the reserve funds and that you received the amendments yesterday and you would have liked more time to prepare to comment on what the amended bill would be. That's the point that I've been making for two days now, and I appreciated you coming here and saying that, because that's the whole essence of what we're dealing with. I can appreciate your frustration.

Do I sense that most of the cases you've given have been in -- you referred to the Lakehead Trailer Park as one of the worst examples, and certainly a horrible example it is. Are most of them mobile homes or trailer parks, or have you represented tenants in land-lease communities of the retirement community, the new concept that we also have heard from?

Ms Macfie: I believe most of the ones that we've dealt with, and possibly all, have been mobile home parks.

Mrs Marland: Do you think from your experience that we should direct the government to develop legislation that deals with each of them, with their own specific needs separately, because there are different needs and there are different conditions in a mobile home park as compared to a land-lease retirement community?

Ms Macfie: Well, legal clinics across the province have for a long time been advocating for reform of the Landlord and Tenant Act. I personally would like to see one package of legislation. It would be easier for us, as clinic lawyers, and for tenant advocates to deal with one piece of legislation that hopefully is accessible in terms of its language and in terms of the procedures that are used under the legislation that is accessible to our clients.

So I like the idea of this coming about as an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act. Of course, there are further amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act that I'd like to see as well.

Mrs Marland: When the Lakehead Trailer Park --

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. We appreciate your --

Mrs Marland: You do; thank you.

The Chair: Yes, we appreciate it very much. Thank you for coming today.

Ms Macfie: I had asked for further time in filing written submissions, and I was wondering if, to prepare, you could --

The Chair: The clause-by-clause is scheduled to start at 3 o'clock this afternoon, but certainly the committee always accepts submissions. I'm just the messenger here.

Ms Macfie: When does that clause-by-clause review conclude?

The Chair: When it concludes, I guess, is the best answer I can give you.

Ms Macfie: Okay. Thank you very much.

The Chair: We will be in recess until 2 o'clock this afternoon.

The committee recessed from 1207 to 1400.

The Chair: The standing committee on general government will come to order. The purpose of the committee meeting is to listen to public deputations with regard to Bill 21, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to Land Leases.


The Chair: Our first presentation this afternoon is Tall Trees trailer park. Good afternoon.

Mrs Connie Flemming: Good afternoon.

The Chair: The committee has allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. You may use that time as you wish. You should begin by introducing yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, your position within the organization, and then you may begin.

Mrs Flemming: This is Carolyn Crowe, and my name is Connie Flemming. We're from Tall Trees Mobile Home Park in Barrie. We've come to give a little bit of an understanding of what it's like to live in a mobile home park. We both live in the mobile home park --

Mrs Carolyn Crowe: We're both owners of mobile homes.

Mrs Flemming: -- and own a mobile home. We all got together and we all kind of basically wrote something that everyone could understand. This is our opinion of the situation that we have gone through.

First, the days of believing that mobile homes and their inhabitants are in some way inferior are long gone. This perception was brought by some backward-thinking people who had no understanding of the situation. It is a truly affordable form of housing.

Why should young people starting out in the housing market be forced, if they can even accumulate a large down payment, to buy a large home that does not fit their beginning needs, or the senior citizens who have maintained a large home and raised their families and are now looking for a more compact way of living which will allow them to own a small area they can call their own, other than some concrete apartment building which some of the residents, mainly senior citizens and younger people, cannot afford.

The regulations put forth in Bill 21 are necessary and way overdue and are needed to end the unjust treatment of mobile home owners. As I said, we are here today to represent Tall Trees Mobile Home Park but, more important, to provide a brief history of what happens to a mobile home park community when there is a lack of basic provision in the law to protect them.

When we and other families invested and purchased our units, we were led to believe that the landlord at that time was in the process of drafting a 10-year lease, which we also had sat down and helped him draft, and that an expansion was being implemented. However, within a few months of taking possession -- and some of us hadn't even yet moved into our mobile homes which he had sold to us -- a general meeting was called and we were informed that the land had been sold. When the deal closed, we all received eviction notices from the new owner. These eviction notices were to be the first of many.

At this time we had a mixture of retired couples and young working families, many of whom had been living there for years. As you can well imagine, the stress and uncertainty of our futures was enormous on all of us, but it was the elderly who suffered the most, as was evident by one of our neighbours having a heart attack and the other one having a disabling stroke.

We all desperately searched in vain for some assistance and/or answers from the previous owner or the owner now. It was apparent early that the new owner was not interested in the park, and for-sale signs soon appeared on the property. However, he was unable to sell, so he offered to let us stay on. He tried to illegally increase our monthly rent by over 200% in one shot, which we ended up going to the rent review board with. We continued to fight and were successful in defeating this large increase.

Then we began to receive eviction notices like flyers for any reason whatsoever, whatever he could think of. Many of the seniors were intimidated by these tactics and gave in, using most of their remaining savings, their retirement funds, to have their mobiles moved hundreds of miles away from their families and the situation, or even from the place that they loved to live in, and that's if they were fortunate enough to find an opening in another park and be accepted.

It was a very sad time for all of us. Some tenants received eviction notices due to lack of proper formal notice from the landlord regarding taxes which were then due within three to four weeks after those notices were given. Being late with the rent cheque just one or two days was due to the fact that the superintendents could not be located, yet another eviction notice was received. Then another notice was received, this time because the landlord wanted the land cleared to develop and all the time the land remained and still remains up for sale today. Needless to say, the time commitment for these notices has come and gone but not without the home owners having to endure more stress and uncertainty.

I will not continue with this particular aspect as I'm sure you'll understand. Suffice it to say that this form of harassment and intimidation still continues today.

The next step was ambivalence on the owner's part, as was evidenced by the deterioration of our roads and surrounding landscape. We have photographs here which can be circulated around to anyone who would like to see them. For instance, we have a large glass-enclosed pool and it's now shut up with boards because the glass has been shattered. It has glass panels on the top and the sides and a foot of algae-infested stagnant water lying in it. By the way, we had proposed to the landlord that if he would just open it up and allow us the use of the pool we would maintain it, but the owner was not interested and it was not to his advantage.

Many amenities which were included in our rent when we purchased were simply taken away one by one until there were only the very basic services. We had the pool, we had a children's playground, we had shuffleboard, we had quite a few amenities and right now all we have is -- and when it came to maintenance things all we have is the superintendent now doing the very basic things for us, like fixing the road, and what else?

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): That's fixing the road.

Mrs Crowe: Yes, that's fixing the road.

Mrs Flemming: Yes, and we have to beg.

Mr Owens: Must be non-union workers. Any unionized worker wouldn't do a job like this.

The Chair: You'll have your opportunity later.

Mrs Marland: It flows along quite nicely without the interjections.

Mr Owens: Thank you for that sage advice, Margaret.

The Chair: The deputants have the floor.

Mrs Flemming: Along that note, there are a lot of horror stories that we could tell you, as you'll see with the photographs: being stuck in the mud up to your car's bumpers trying to simply drive out of your park, or even if we did go up to the superintendents and explain to them that the road did need to be fixed, we had a lot of verbal harassment from those superintendents.

Our park and all the families remaining have been forced to live in limbo since this nightmare began in 1989. For almost five years we have endured, not knowing our fate nor having any recourse to follow. Along with that, the city had to step in to enforce bylaws that were not being met by the owner.

For instance, we had to have them come in to have obnoxious weeds cut down. We had to have health inspectors come in because there was raw sewage spilling out of the adjacent lots. We had to have them come in to get rid of the garbage because we have children in the park and it's a very dangerous situation for the children to be playing in the park. We had an open trench that was waist-deep. I went in it and we had to have them come to fill that in. We had to have them come to cut down dead trees which were falling on our mobile homes, unfortunately. We had one right outside our bedroom window and we had asked many, many times for the owners to cut it down and we finally had to call the city in. That's the only way it seems that anything ever gets done.

No one should be forced to live like this. This is Canada and we shouldn't have to always beg to have something done, especially when it came to getting things done through the superintendents.

It is no longer reasonable to turn our backs on this situation. It must be brought to a speedy resolution. I believe that land owners who own and maintain mobile home parks can realize a profitable and very viable business enterprise. We need only look to our neighbours to the south and west, all over the place, to see that mobile home owners, landlords and municipalities can live in harmony and all can mutually benefit from this form of alliance.

In conclusion, this bill is timely and essential. Tenants of apartment complexes have more protection than us, yet in most of our cases we have to invest a substantial amount, if not all, of our hard-earned savings into what we were led to understand would be a form of secure housing or a means of being able eventually to enter into a larger housing market as our needs changed.


We have all the documentation, newspaper clippings of our plight, and photographs to back up all statements noted in this deposition. At this time we would like to take the opportunity, on behalf of the mobile-home owners of Ontario, to sincerely thank Mr Paul Wessenger and his team, Simcoe Legal Services and our aldermen Dorian Parker-Ross, Dave Morrison and Sam Cancilla for working so hard to have the sense of vision to bring this overdue problem to light, and also the Ontario Legislature for fulfilling its mandate to protect all of the Ontario citizens whenever an unjust situation arises, such as the one before us all today.

In a nutshell, that's what we've been through. Just so you have an understanding, we have newspaper clippings. These are the eviction notices here of three families. There's a handful of them that we've received. We have all the documentation from the city. We have done everything that we can absolutely do to fight with the city -- this is just more paper -- everything that we can think of. We went through Mr Morrison, our alderman, to try to help us with our plight. We finally fought with city council. In the end, we haven't really come to a resolution. We're kind of locked into this. Obviously, we can't sell our homes because nobody's going to buy because of the situation that the land is up for sale. We're stuck there.

Mrs Crowe: I'd just like to add that during my plight, which isn't as long as Mrs Flemming's -- at the young age of 21 my husband and I got married and bought a mobile home two weeks before our wedding and moved into this park with, unfortunately, a verbal five-year lease on the land, with the understanding that it was going to be expanded, they were going to reopen the pool, they were going to pave the roads. This beautiful scenario was painted for us and less than nine months later the owner gave us eviction notices.

Had we known there was no security in this park -- we probably should have looked into a little more -- we would never have bought a mobile home. We bought the mobile home because the company we bought it from was placing it on this lot, which we thought was a secure way, and at our age we could not afford a full-size home and didn't need a full-size home. Needless to say, nine months later we did get these eviction notices and we fought them.

Part of our problem stems from the fact that in Barrie the land that we are on, which is 27 acres, was not always in the city of Barrie. It was considered part of the township of Innisfil and was zoned for mobile homes and campgrounds. During some shifting around Barrie acquired this land and never zoned it. Therefore, what brought us into the city council and all the problems with it was that he was trying to get a zoning put on to the land. We didn't have a leg to stand on because the land wasn't zoned under the city of Barrie.

After some fighting with the landlord, we did get a semi-contract in that he agreed when he was ready to develop the land, the empty lot that was beside us, he would then give us eviction notices and would buy us out of our mobile homes, some of which have $40,000 mortgages on them. If we didn't have that sort of protection behind us, we would end up paying for a mobile home, storing it somewhere, because the closest place we could find was Huntsville to place our mobile home, but then we wouldn't be able to work and we'd end up on the welfare system because there's no work in Huntsville.

This is the kind of situation that's all loopholes. You can't buy a lot within the city of Barrie or the township surrounding it without spending $100,000 to ready the mobile home, so you might as well go out and buy a regular home. It's been very frustrating and turned some of us into very bitter people towards land owners and things that normally should be a happy situation. I really think the protection that Bill 21 would bring us is something that mobile home owners really need.

Mrs Flemming: We'd just all like to invite each and every one of you to come down and walk through our places and see that it's just a normal home and we take care of it like everyone else does out there. We all have yards and we take care of our yards. We have gardens just like a normal place.

Mrs Crowe: And dogs and kids.

Mrs Flemming: Yes, dogs and kids and everything else. It's really not a substandard-type of living that society today puts upon mobile home owners. If anyone has anything to add, I'll just let this float through and you can all take a look at this. We don't mind.

The Chair: The members would probably like to ask you some questions of clarification.

Mrs Flemming: Sure.

Mr Daigeler: Certainly the situation that you're describing is pretty drastic and dramatic and hopefully can be addressed. Because this is a private member's bill, we can't really ask the ministry officials whether Bill 21 will in fact be the solution to your problems, and that's just where I'm not really that sure, because you're describing a very complex legal, municipal, zoning, everything else --

Mrs Crowe: It is.

Mr Daigeler: -- and frankly I'm afraid about that. I'm not sure at all that Bill 21 will in fact be that --

Mrs Crowe: I'm not sure it would be our total solution. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time to prepare for this. In reading parts of the bill, I don't totally understand everything. The way it was partially explained to us is that it would allow us the protection of being able to sell our mobile home, because if we were to sell it on the lot where it sits right now, as soon as the ownership is transferred the land owner can evict the new owners because the land is rented to the person and not the mobile home, from the way I understand it.

It would give us that protection in that if we put up a for-sale sign, we would be comfortable in knowing that the new owners would at least have as much of a fighting chance as we do instead of being evicted. It has happened in our park where one mobile home was sold, the new tenants came from out west, not knowing anything about it. They had been here, bought the mobile home, went back home, and when they came back to move into the mobile home with their two kids and their dogs, they were given eviction notices. Of course they didn't leave; they had nowhere to go. The landlord continued to cut off their water, cut off their hydro, and went in and started to move the mobile home while the people were in it. I think that's the kind of protection we're looking for.

Mrs Marland: I think you need protection for that situation you've just described and I'd like to ask Mr Wessenger if his bill will remedy and give protection to the kind of example that's just been given.

Mr Wessenger: Yes, I'd be very happy to. By the way, thank you for appearing today. I appreciate your coming.

Mrs Marland: Just answer my question. It's my time. You'll get your time.

Mr Owens: I thought you were commenting on how smoothly things were going.

Mr Wessenger: The amendments to the Rental Housing Protection Act in effect will not allow the owner to close the park without the approval of the municipality. At the present time, as I understand your situation, the family that owned the park, and it was a well-run park --

Mrs Marland: No, excuse me, Mr Wessenger --

Mr Wessenger: You asked the question.

Mrs Marland: It's my question and it's not fair that he's starting into his diatribe about the bill in general. The example they gave and the protection they're looking for of this family who bought a home, a unit, and then the landlord turned around and said that although they owned it they had to move it -- does this bill stop that?

Mr Wessenger: This bill will not allow a landlord to unilaterally terminate tenancies. At the present time, if the landlord sells the property to a developer for redevelopment or wants to convert the land to any other use, then upon four months' notice under the Landlord and Tenant Act at the present situation, all tenancies can be terminated.

My bill will bring them under the protection of the Rental Housing Protection Act, which means that the landlord will not have the ability under the Landlord and Tenant Act to unilaterally give that four-month notice and end the tenancy. So, yes, that will give them the security of tenure. In addition, of course, the rights with respect to first right of refusal and the right to have advertised their property for sale will benefit them and make their home more marketable.


Mrs Marland: No, I won't. Thank you for all the answers.


Mr Owens: Thank you for your presentation. I represent the riding of Scarborough Centre, so in terms of the effect it will have on my local community, we don't have trailer parks in Scarborough. But I do have constituents -- and I think everybody in the city knows somebody who owns a trailer. As well, in my role in reviewing the Co-operative Corporations Act, we ran across a couple of horror stories where property owners attempted to convert using that piece of legislation to avoid their obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act, so I appreciate your comments.

You gave the committee a bit of a clue about the financial investment you're talking about. In terms of the property and the home itself, what kind of investment are families asked to make, approximately, a range of some kind?

Mrs Crowe: My mobile home is probably one of the newest in the park. I bought it in 1990 and it's a 40-foot mobile home. It's not as mobile as the title makes it, but it cost me $52,900 when I bought it, and that was without the land. That did include the first-year rental in the deal with the company that we bought the trailer from. The company paid the land owner $10,000 to move us into this park and set us up for a year. After that year we had to incur the regular taxes, utilities. We do pay our own taxes on the mobile home, unlike when you rent. Your taxes might be tucked in there somewhere. We pay an outright $700 on a 40-by-12-foot mobile home.

Mrs Flemming: Usually when there is a mobile home that is situated on a lot, it will go for anywhere from, I would say, $25,000 -- that's an old mobile home -- to, I'd say, very nice, newer mobile homes of $65,000. You eventually pay your own heat, hydro, if you're on a well, propane. We're assessed by the city of Barrie, so we do pay our own taxes.

Mr Owens: We're not talking about an insignificant investment with respect to the family then. I appreciate that, and, again, I appreciate your thanks to Paul. As government caucus chair, I can tell you he's been strenuously lobbying on your behalf. This bill will give you a means to a remedy that you currently don't have with respect to protecting your investment and ensuring that your landlord and other landlords will live up to their obligations and not be able to toss you out.

Mrs Flemming: I'll just use us as an example: We purchased the mobile home at the end of August and we hadn't even moved in; the ink on the papers wasn't even dry yet. We had brought some boxes in and we learned that the land had been sold, because there was a little piece of paper stuck in our door saying that there was a general meeting that night. We hadn't even moved in. We put down $10,000 on this and we spent $30,000 on this mobile --

Mr Owens: Welcome to the neighbourhood.

Mrs Flemming: Yes, welcome to the neighbourhood. Then we had it up for sale. We had a buyer for it. In fact our real estate agent was going to come that day and later that afternoon we received an eviction notice. So we had to back out because I could not do that to someone else. I'm sorry, but I couldn't do that and live with myself, because that person had a family with two children. I couldn't do that to him and have him in the same boat as us.

Mr Owens: I appreciate your honesty.

Mrs Crowe: I just wanted to add something to your first question, Mr Owens, on the financial end of it as well. When mortgaging a mobile home, which I found, after the first year, does become very, very difficult, because it doesn't have the stability -- we kind of killed ourselves in one way, because we went to the newspaper with our fight about the first eviction notices, therefore around town it was discovered that we had no lease on the land or anything.

To get a mortgage renewed or refinanced through any bank in town was next to impossible. Actually, what I was told was they would amortize the chattel mortgage. You're looking at loans now where you can get a seven-year mortgage on a house for 7%. My mortgage rate for a five-year amortization at the bank is 13%.

Mrs Flemming: We all pay chattel mortgages.

Mrs Crowe: We pay chattel mortgages. We cannot get a regular mortgage on a house.

Mr Owens: It's highway robbery.

Mrs Flemming: Yes.

Mrs Crowe: Even if you own the land, you cannot get a normal mortgage on the house.

Mrs Flemming: You'd need at least 10% down. Each bank has its own stipulations on how much it wants down.

Mr Owens: You should write Paul Martin a letter and tell him the banks are ripping off the people.

Mrs Crowe: But they would amortize the loan over the length of your lease, so if you had a month lease, you had a month-long amortization on your mortgage.

Mr Owens: And a $5-million-a-month mortgage payment.

Mrs Crowe: Hey, no problem.

The Chair: Thank you for coming today. You've been most helpful to the committee.


Mr Keith Davidson: Good afternoon. My name's Keith Davidson. I'm from Hamilton, Ontario. For about the last 15 years I've been using one specific trailer park outside of Hamilton in Cayuga, Ontario. It was only the last three years that I was what they call a full-time tenant, like a seasonal camper, where I actually went from a period of June 1 until Thanksgiving. That's what they classify as seasonal camping.

Unlike the situation in the last presentation, this is not a mobile park; it's a trailer park, where all the trailers are set on sites and used for six months. You lease the land and the services of the park for a six-month period. What I'm going to read is just a general outline of what I've gone through over the last five years. This involves not only police and lawyers but the bureaucracy of the Ontario government to look into this situation.

The recent proposed changes to the land-lease legislation are a step forward, but they exclude a large sector of persons who should be covered. Persons who rent land for mobile homes and seasonal trailers should not be excluded. Approximately 400,000 residents of Ontario are in this position and have no protection in law. It is possible to be evicted at a moment's notice for just asking why the rent is going up.

These persons contribute millions of dollars to local economies and contribute millions in tourist dollars, yet they have no rights or protection. As an example, a family of four in a trailer park in a small town in southern Ontario purchases local merchandise, gas and food at restaurants and shops. They keep their dollars in Ontario, creating jobs, and are a source of taxes through their buying power. If the local park were to close or if the majority were to leave, a small local town could suffer badly through lost tourist dollars. The Ontario Legislature has been aware of many complaints in situations regarding trailer parks and mobile homes and has done nothing to correct this problem. If 400,000 people and their money suddenly left and crossed the border to the United States, alarm bells would ring throughout the province.

There are many well-run trailer and mobile home parks in Ontario creating jobs and supplying a reasonable price for summer living and recreation. We do not need more regulations to cause hardship for small family-run businesses, but we do need legislation to resolve disputes. As it now stands, a person can be evicted at will with no recourse. If there is no other local park, a trailer owner can actually lose thousands of dollars. This is a common occurrence in Ontario.

If you receive a $10 parking ticket, you have the right to appeal before the court for a decision. The Landlord and Tenant Act is up in the air on the subject of trailer parks; even land-lease laws evade the subject. If you shot someone in front of 100 people, you are still innocent until proven guilty. In my case, I was evicted from a park because I questioned high rent increases and the lack of proper maintenance of the park. Before this happened, I formed a park campers' association with the park owners' consent. This was soon cancelled and I was evicted as an example to others in the park to toe the line. I lost thousands of dollars because I was not allowed to sell my trailer onsite and also had to tear down my sun room.

I had been camping in this park over 15 years and never had a problem until new owners and management took over. The park manager and owners broke into my trailer in front of witnesses. At this time I was in town getting Ontario Provincial Police protection because I was threatened with bodily harm by the park manager. Due to the fact that this was classified as a civil matter by police, I was instructed to lay charges with the local justice of the peace the next day. After going back to the park, I found out about the break-in and that all the witnesses were told that anyone backing me up would also be evicted. I went to the local JOP the next day and explained the situation and was told that I had no recourse under the present law as written.


I made arrangements to move out over the next few days, this after being harassed by the owner and manager, including a 3 am visit by the park manager. A family which backed me up was also evicted at the same time. I went to different lawyers to fight the eviction and to receive damages, and because of the wording of the legislation no case could be brought. The Ontario Human Rights Commission said because I was not a visible minority or an ethnic minority that they could not help either.

I contacted my local MPP for Hamilton East. I supplied documentation and examples of other situations of persons in other Ontario parks. He felt at this time that the situation warranted intervention from the government of the day. Correspondence was sent back and forth from Mr Sweeney, the minister of the day.

Then the election was called, and I was put in limbo. Even government members' assistants contacted me through the election. Pending legislation was put on the back burner. I made this an election issue with local candidates. Even Bob Rae's office contacted me at 11:30 pm one evening for background information. When the NDP was elected and my member became a minister, I was forgotten about because there were other pressing issues before mine.

Now, after five years and considerable time and money, possible new legislation can be implemented to protect persons like myself. Let's not let this protection drop between the cracks again. The House has time to implement legislation before the next election, before another hole is dug.

I ask the committee to draft legislation to read, "When 10 or more trailer/mobile homes lease land for a period longer than 30 days consecutive, that these residents be deemed tenants under provincial land lease and the Landlord and Tenant Act of Ontario."

A person's rights of citizenship should not be lost because of land-lease agreements, as now is the case. Let's make the law equal for all renters and owners. As Canadians, this is a basic right, and all should have the right to justice and freedom to ask our legislators to ensure this freedom is on an equal playing field. Thank you for your time.

Mrs Marland: As the chairman of a committee that's actually been meeting next door to this committee room and has been reviewing the Ontario Human Rights Commission, I'm wondering about this statement, "The Ontario Human Rights Commission said because I was not a visible minority or an ethnic minority that they could not help either." Did they say that in writing to you?

Mr Davidson: I tried to get it in writing. They would not give it to me in writing. I even reported that statement to my local MPP.

Mrs Marland: Who is who?

Mr Davidson: Bob Mackenzie, Hamilton East, the present Labour minister. He basically called me a liar and said I made up the statement, but that's what I was told.

Mrs Marland: That's totally unacceptable, of course, and it's pretty remarkable.

Mr Davidson: I thought so too. I brought that up to my lawyer at the time, and he said that without any written verification, there was nothing I could do about it. But, as you can see, I've never let it lie.

Mrs Marland: You've introduced another aspect to this whole debate that's evolving around this private member's bill. I'm convinced that we have to have individual legislation for the retirement land-lease communities, because I think they are an entity in themselves. As somebody said very well yesterday, and I even wrote it down, "If we're trying to get one size that fits all, we might end up not fitting anybody." I think perhaps that's one of the main faults with this bill. There's no question there are problems in different communities, for some of the same reasons and some different reasons.

What I wanted to ask you is, if we were to do this thing properly, which would mean the government bringing in a bill and giving some time to the intelligence of our civil servants, who are very competent -- they're far more competent than the members of Parliament in drafting bills. If we were to draft bills to address, say, the retirement land-lease communities and then look at trailer-mobile home parks, do you think from your experience that we should look at trailer and mobile home parks in the two categories of whether or not they're used year-round?

Mr Davidson: The situation I would think that we should be looking at is, we don't need more bureaucracy for the parks. I can understand that situation, that's the last thing we need. But what I'm looking for in the legislation is protection for people like myself when there is a dispute, so that it can be resolved. Right now there's nothing.

Mrs Marland: But to have the protection, the bureaucracy has to draft something that then becomes the benchmark for how that operation is acceptable.

Mr Davidson: Yes, I agree with that. We need a mechanism and right now we don't have it. I took a copy of the Landlord and Tenant Act to my lawyer and under one section of the act I was covered, then you go to about the fourth page from the end and it says you're not covered. That one sentence disallowed me from any recourse in the courts. I couldn't do anything.

Mrs Marland: But the Landlord and Tenant Act was drafted and there are parts of that that we totally disagree with too, and that was drafted for a specific purpose. It was not drafted for this purpose. I think purpose, direction or legislation that is drafted with a specific purpose is the only thing that's going to work.

Mr Davidson: What you find in a lot of situations, as the young ladies before me would probably verify, there are a lot of seniors in parks who live on a fixed income. How can a landlord explain, "Well, your rent's $1,000," and come up to you the next day and say, "By the way, your rent's gone up $500. Either pay it or be out in the morning," which is legal right now.

I presented Mr Mackenzie with some documentation through one specific park near Dunnville, Ontario, where it was a violation of your lease not to sign the lease. If you disagreed with the lease, there was a little clause in there that said that on failure to sign that lease the owner can give you one half-hour's notice to vacate and charge you on a prorated hourly lease until you move.

Mrs Marland: What did Mr Mackenzie say about that?

Mr Davidson: We had sent quite a few letters and faxes back and forth to the previous Liberal government, and like I say, what had happened was the election was called and everything got put in limbo. I have had a lot of contact through some various ministries and parliamentary assistants, the Toronto Star actually picked up on the story and the Hamilton Spectator did a story on the subject, and we've gotten nowhere.

When I talk about maintenance in the park, my trailer was adjacent to the washrooms, the septic tanks had never been emptied and you could not even sit outside and eat. You had to shut your windows because the stench was so bad. The wiring was improperly done and every time someone had a shower, they got an electric shock.

Myself and a few other people had gone to the park manager at the time to have the situation rectified, and this is where my problems started: I was a troublemaker. Within that time frame of a week, I was evicted. It is absolutely true to this very day, anyone that park managers knows who is associated with me will not be able to rent a spot in that park. That's the way it is, and the way the law is written he can do it.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. Mr Mills?

Mr Mills: No, I have no questions, thank you.

The Chair: Parliamentary assistant?

Mr Wessenger: No questions.

Mrs Marland: You could ask some questions for Mr Mackenzie.

The Chair: We'll go to the official opposition.

Mr Daigeler: So what you'd like to see is that while we're at it, we might as well do a proper job.

Mr Davidson: Let's do it.

Mr Daigeler: And let's do it. If that takes a little bit longer, do you have any problems with that?

Mr Davidson: What's "longer"? Is it going to be another five years?

Mr Daigeler: In government we never know.

Mr Davidson: The one thing I disagree with is -- I understand we need legislation to look at this situation. You're not going to get proper legislation by having a bunch of government bureaucrats write up something. What the government needs is someone like me or the ladies before me to sit down and help draft it. We experience the problems, we see the problems, we deal with it.


Mr Daigeler: Of course there are always two sides to the story and the legislators will have a responsibility to come forward with solutions that hopefully cover both sides. I don't think we can just sit down with any one particular person and let that person draft the law. I think you will understand that.

Mr Davidson: But right now, the way the law is written, it's all one-sided now.

Mr Daigeler: Yes, that's fine, and that's where we have hearings such as this one here, where there are proposals put forward, and why there are consultations and why I think that is a useful process. This takes a bit of time. Consultation does take time, but I think it's worth it.

You are raising a concern that hasn't been brought forward and you say that while this whole matter is being looked at, there is this element that hasn't been considered and it should be part of it and you're asking us to take the time and include it. I appreciate that and I will make that point later on.

Mr Davidson: The park that I was in was located in Cayuga, Ontario. Actually, employment levels in that town are based on when that park is open for that six-month period: your local IGA, the gas station, the beer store. There are approximately 200 trailers onsite, say, 600 people. What happens if that park was to close tomorrow? Where are those 600 people going to go? There's no other park close by, even if you can get into a park. What would it do to the local economy of that little town? We're all going to pay for it.

What we're asking is not to create a lot of bureaucracy but to give a guy like me a chance. I look at it this way. I'm a Canadian citizen. The way they treated me, I felt like a third-rate person. I have never, ever been given the chance to go before a judge or a tribunal and give my side of the story.

That park's been sold about five times over the last five years. I've talked to the new owners, "Let bygones be bygones." The manager's not coming back, I don't care. They've issued a no-trespass notice against me. I did the out-of-ordinary thing. I picketed the park, and of course the newspapers picked up on it and this is where it's gone from there. But there's no way of me being able to go back.

I'd been there 15 years. All my friends are there. A friend of mine had his 75th birthday there. I couldn't go.

Mrs Marland: Is your trailer still there?

Mr Davidson: No, I had to pull it out. They actually did break into my trailer and, when I had gone to the justice of the peace to lay criminal charges, he wouldn't even accept my charges. I later found out through legal representation that he had to accept the charges. If that had been dealt with then, I wouldn't be sitting here right now because at least I would have been in front of a court of law to give my side of the story, which I've never, ever been given.

Mrs Marland: Does the JP have a trailer in the park?

Mr Davidson: He also sits on the local Lions Club with the owner of the park. There is absolutely nothing I could do.

The Chair: Thank you for coming and bringing a new perspective to this issue.


Ms Barbara Macdonald: My name is Barbara Macdonald and I've been employed at the Wilmot Creek Retirement Community park in the sales office for the past six and a half years. For three and a half of those years, I lived in the park as well.

I do not hold a realtor's licence but I do sell homes for the builder, Ridge Pine Park. I'd like to be recognized today as a salesperson as well as an individual who believes in and enjoys Wilmot Creek as well as the people who live there.

I would like to address two of the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The first item is the right to place a for-sale sign in the home or on the leased land. Wilmot Creek is a unique community. It is a country club lifestyle for seniors, and to see 50 or 60 for-sale signs posted throughout the park would, in my opinion, make the park look like a shanty town. We try very hard, as the landlord, to keep the park looking neat and tidy and attractive, not only for the home owner but for the prospective buyer.

When I am taking a prospective purchaser on a tour of the park, the question is asked: "Why are all these people selling?" Even though I answer, "Some are going to nursing homes. Some are going back to live near their children. Some are just not suited for the park," the main reason is common knowledge: Working with seniors, there is a higher turnover. Even though we all realize this fact, we do not want to be reminded that we are getting older, and in many cases we don't even want to admit it to ourselves. That's why I'm 39.

Mr Conway: Hear, hear.

Mr Mills: Me too.

Mrs Marland: Definitely me.

Mr Daigeler: Gord, the only problem is that you show it.

Mrs Marland: No, he doesn't.

Mr Conway: Too many people have been watching those Trudeau Memoirs.

Ms Macdonald: A question I also have for the committee is, "Where do you draw the line?" It is a selling tool when I can explain to the buyer that in the lease he is signing there is a clause which prohibits signs and advertising within the park and therefore he will not be bothered with that door-to-door salesperson, the vacuum cleaner salesperson, the Avon lady etc.

Your reply may be: "What's the problem with that? It's allowed in town." I agree it is, but the facts are that in town you will not be called by the home owners' association to say, "Remove that Avon book from the washroom," and "Who allowed it there?" Not only that, the president of the home owners' association called the lady in question, who also owns a home in the park, and said, "Please remove that book; it's not allowed."

If someone gets by the entrance and comes into the park to go door to door handing out a flyer or selling whatever it may be, he will not get any more than 10 houses into the park because I will get a phone call saying: "Please send staff. Get him out of here. He's not wanted." You do not have that happening in town, and maybe a lot of you might like it that way.

Any of the home owners I have spoken to have stated that they do not want sale signs. It is my opinion that if these signs are allowed, there will be less sales for both myself and other real estate agents, and as well the home owner will not be able to sell his home as quickly as he can now.

Yes, I would really like to have all the sales and all the commission that goes with it, but in reality some sales are going to go to real estate. I do not have a problem with that as long as a purchaser is well informed, as long as the purchaser understands the community, can afford the community, understands the lease, knows the rules and regulations, knows when the increases come into effect and is happy. I believe he will then get to know me when he lives in the community, and I can pick up the referral sale when he refers his brother or his friend.

The landlord advertises on CFRB and TV. Real estate only advertises in the local paper, and that does not give all the information as per this ad. This ad shows a picture of a home in Wilmot Creek among all the other homes in Bowmanville or in Newcastle etc. It says: "Retire in style. Kitchen, dining room, Florida room, fireplace in living room. Shows beautifully. Asking only $76,000." That's it. Nowhere does it mention leased land. Nowhere does it mention maintenance. The people are not informed, and it makes for an unhappy home owner later on.

One ad was in the paper and I phoned ReMax. I spoke to a Carol Hallman and I pretended to be a buyer, a person interested in buying a home at Wilmot Creek. This lady replied to me that every lease in Wilmot Creek came due and expired at the same time. That's dead wrong. She mentioned nothing about maintenance or anything to do with it. If I had been a buyer, I would not have known all the facts. When I inquired about the lease, she had no idea on it. She didn't know the rules or regulations or anything that went with it.


The lease is a specialized selling item. As it is now, people who come to Wilmot Creek, even to look around, do not see signs. Therefore, if they want information, they must come into the sales office, and when they come into the sales office, I can explain to them about the lease and about the maintenance, about the first-right-of refusal and everything that goes with them.

At Wilmot Creek 65% of the sale is lifestyle and community, the lease and the monthly payments. If you can sell those things well, the house will sell itself. If signs are posted, the purchaser does not have to come into the sales office. They can go direct to ReMax or whoever, and what do they know about the lease?

That leads me to the second item, the first right of refusal. First of all, I'd like to make it very clear that the home owners at Wilmot Creek may sell their home one of three ways: They may sell privately, they may go back to real estate or they may come back to the landlord. I'm selling on behalf of the landlord, and I sell both new and resales.

Since 1988 176 resales have been sold, and during 1993 I sold 34 resales and 9 new. If they sell through real estate and they keep the fair market value, we do not exercise the first right of refusal. I mean, let's face it, the name of the game is money, and if it is at fair market value and you can't make any money on it, why would you exercise the option, because you can't make any money, right?

Just two months ago, 151 Wilmot Trail sold through real estate for $85,000. We never exercised our option. On the other hand, 193 Wilmot Trail sold for $64,900. This home was one of our most popular models and it had more upgrades. We exercised our option, put in drywall and painted throughout and resold at $79,900.

In most cases we exercise our option to make sure the value of the home does not drop below market value. Quite often, when they're advertised in the local paper, it is an estate sale where the children cannot afford to pay the expenses. The home has not cost them anything and they just want to get rid of it. If it's sold at $45,000 or $50,000, then we will exercise the option, make any repairs and sell at market value. This way the neighbours' homes do not go down in value. In most cases the executors do not even realize the landlord sells resales.

In September, 17 Cove Road, and in December, 16 Bluffs Road, sold through real estate, and because of the first right of refusal clause, the offers crossed by desk. I then set up an appointment with the purchaser and the agent. In both of these cases, the purchasers had never been shown a lease, even though it was an assignment of a lease, had never seen the rules and regulations, did not know when the increases came into effect, and to top it off, one purchaser was given the wrong rental amount by $120 per month.

All this took place after they had signed a legal and binding agreement to buy the house. I had to then explain to the buyer the first right of refusal clause, the rent amounts and any applications for rent increases and what the rent would be if the landlord received the applications applied for.

When I sell the home, the purchaser has all the facts before they sign an agreement to purchase. I also give the buyer a tour of our recreation hall, which is private property, so the real estate cannot do that either.

The real problem is, if the purchaser is not happy moving in, how can we expect to get a referral sale? By the way, out of those 34 resales, 14 of them were referrals. Plus, on a tour, I don't want to be tapped on the shoulder down in the recreation hall and have someone stop me and say, "I wasn't told this and I wasn't told that." I want the new buyer to be able to talk to the home owners and find them happy and contented with their lifestyle.

I feel if the first right of refusal is not allowed, the value of the homes will go down. The vendor will not receive the selling price he should have and the purchaser will not know the facts and will therefore be unhappy afterwards.

I would also like to add to my brief something I wrote last night. Ridge Pine Park has just received an order from the rent control board for a substantial increase retroactive to 1989. This would increase the number of homes for sale, in my opinion, to around 200 units. If signs are allowed, even in the window of the home, it would be a disaster. Let's say the landlord has 100 to sell, real estate has 50 and the other 50 are private. The signs are in the windows. If there are any sales at all, I see the following happening.

Ridge Pine Park pays CFRB to advertise and to bring the client to Wilmot Creek. I take the tour, I sell the lifestyle and the lease and I show a resale. The purchaser then has fair market value. He then goes into town to, let's say, ReMax and is shown an estate sale. The purchaser now has a below-market value. They recall seeing all these private-sale signs in windows and they return to the community, knock on the door and they buy a private-sale home at a lower value, less the real estate commission, because it's not listed with the realtor, right?

The results are: Ridge Pine Park lost advertising dollars and the sale; Barbara Macdonald lost the commission; the home owner lost the sale and is upset with the company and the neighbour who sold; ReMax lost his advertising cost and he also lost the sale; the ReMax agent lost commission; the home owner from whom he was showing is upset with real estate and the neighbours, who sold privately.

Even given everything I have said, the big losers are Wilmot Creek and the home owners. We are selling a lifestyle where everyone is happy living together, enjoying all the amenities and helping each other. Our biggest asset is our people, but now we would have friend against friend and neighbour against neighbour.

I thank you for the opportunity of presenting my concerns before the committee makes a decision on these two items.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Ms Macdonald, for coming here. I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not an anti-Wilmot Creek person. I've been there many, many times, I think it's a wonderful place and you're quite right, it's a wonderful lifestyle; it makes you feel good to be there. I know I've stood down at the pool there with the Minister of Transport, I think it was last summer or the summer before, and he said, "Gord, let me know how you get in here."

Ms Macdonald: Did you send him to the sales office?

Mr Mills: No. I just want to put that in perspective.

Mr Conway: The Minister of Transport asked you that question?

Mr Mills: Yes, he did.

Mr Conway: We'll talk in private afterwards.

Mr Mills: Okay. Anyway, I just want to get it on record that I am far from being anti-Wilmot Creek. I recognize all the amenities there and how nice it is. I've been a guest in the Wheel House many times and I just can't speak highly enough of it.

Nevertheless, the fact is that as the representative for the riding that lies in, the people have come to me with some concerns and I have an obligation to do that, albeit free from any prejudice against Mr Rice or you or anyone else, and I hope you understand my role in this.

Ms Macdonald: Certainly.

Mr Mills: Having said all of that, I agree with you about these signs and I have a lot of empathy, because the people who live at Wilmot Creek have nearly rung my constituency phone off the hook with the increases you've had under the process that took place, as though suddenly I can magically say, "That's not true." But I can't do that, as everybody knows. So I have a lot of empathy with what I perceive to be some sales there that are going to be forced sales because folks who got in there on a limited income may be finding they can't keep there any more.

Ms Macdonald: I agree.


Mr Mills: Recognizing that, and being of, I think, service to my constituents in that way, anything I can do or suggest that would help them effect a sale to someone who may be in a different bracket is my responsibility too. Mr Wessenger isn't here at the moment --

Mrs Marland: He's out writing his amendments.

Mr Mills: But I have a lot of empathy, to such an extent that I'm going to introduce an amendment to subsection 125(2) about the signage, because recognizing the intent and what Mr Wessenger had in mind here, I also think that I have to sort of bring to the attention of the committee some of the concerns that you've mentioned in so far as the tenants at Wilmot Creek signing, and above all the image of "This is a fire sale" and the whole process that goes on.

I have some personal empathy with what you're saying. A guy lived next door to me -- this is off the subject a bit, but he died and his children wanted to get rid of the house. So they sold this massive house. The man bought it for $197,000; they sold it for $125,000. If I ever wanted to sell my house and go into a seniors' place or something, the real estate agent would say, "Well, that house there sold for $125,000 and this one here is not so good." I understand what you're saying.

Ms Macdonald: Exactly.

Mr Mills: Exactly. Thank you.

The Chair: Do you have a response?

Mrs Marland: I'm feeling better already.

Mr Mills: Are you? Good. See, we're easy to get along with.

The Chair: Maybe we'll go to the official opposition.

Mr Conway: Listen, what does one say? I drive by Wilmot Creek every week, and I hear the ads --

Ms Macdonald: Do you stop in?

Mr Conway: Well, I'm, you know --

Ms Macdonald: You're 39. I know.

Mr Conway: I don't think he would ever sell me on that lifestyle, though I'm very impressed at how --

Ms Macdonald: Try me.

Mr Conway: No, I don't think -- now, what does a person say in response to that?

Mrs Marland: I hear there are no trees.

Ms Macdonald: That's about the only drawback.

Mr Owens: He's reaching for his chequebook.

Mr Conway: But there is a problem and I think the committee is well aware of the problem around the signage. That seems to be a real issue, and I'll be happy to see an amendment. There are others circulating, one of which I think I have in front of me, in that respect.

I just thank you for your submission. I'm really bothered by this because there is a very real problem, but this is a multifaceted problem and there is no doubt that something ought to be done.

Ms Macdonald: I agree.

Mr Conway: As a member of the previous administration, I'm wholly guilty of the inaction about which there have been proper complaints advanced by several deputants over the last number of days. But I'm quite concerned about the way in which this is being done, and not because it's not well intentioned; I believe it to be. But we've had a couple of submissions from Wilmot Creek. I haven't had a chance to assess yours against the previous one this morning, but there are different worlds emerging here.

Ms Macdonald: The tenants are very upset at the moment because of this rent increase. I would love dearly to help them. I enjoy these people, I see them dearly. Part of the problem is, the fact has been there since 1989. They were aware of it; they knew the application was there. But the thing is, when they moved into the park there may have been two of them. One passed away, and with him his pension passed on too, leaving the one person with one pension.

Mr Conway: But I think this tension simply points to the range of interests that are at work in this witches' brew. There are a whole series of conflicting interests. I understand entirely your position and I think I understand entirely the group that was here this morning.

The job of this group of Solomons is of course to find an adequate redress that will solve most of the problems that have been identified. I have this sinking feeling that with the very best of intentions, Bill 21 is not going to solve some of the most serious of the problems that have been eloquently brought to the committee. But who am I? I appreciate your submission.

Mrs Marland: I don't know, Ms Macdonald, if you were here when we started this afternoon with the Tall Trees trailer park, but I sat here listening to Connie Flemming and Carolyn Crowe and looking at them as my own daughter or my sons, who could quite easily get into the situation that they're in. I'm sure it only points out that, as Mr Conway says, it is going to take a Solomon.

I think, with all due respect to Mr Wessenger, he has tried to address a problem through an experience in his riding, but the more we hear from everybody, the more convinced I am that Bill 21 isn't the solution either, because your concerns are different than the concerns of Mrs Crowe and Mrs Flemming and they're all valid; they all have to be addressed one way or another.

Were you here this morning?

Ms Macdonald: Yes, I was.

Mrs Marland: The gentleman who left, who was very upset, spoke to me yesterday and he said something about how I didn't understand that he had a $160,000 investment and he had --

Ms Macdonald: That was $160,000 probably in 1989, when the market was at its peak.

Mrs Marland: Does he live in Ridge Pine Park?

Ms Macdonald: Yes, he does.

Mrs Marland: I wondered, because he said, "You're going to see 250 homes up for sale this spring."

Ms Macdonald: That's true; you will. I say 200.

Mrs Marland: Listening to you, I wondered if this was the same property, because he didn't tell me where he lived.

Ms Macdonald: It is the same property.

Mrs Marland: The point is, under the Rent Control Act in 1989, what was the percentage increase?

Ms Macdonald: It was 24.4%.

Mrs Marland: So 24.4% in one year? That was the application?

Ms Macdonald: Yes.

Mr Owens: That was the Liberals' Bill 51.

Mrs Marland: Yes, it was the Liberal bill in 1989.

Mr Conway: Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Mrs Marland: But the point is, that is a substantial increase in one year. The thing that is wrong here, and I want to ask you if you agree with this, is it's something that in retrospect none of us sitting on the committee has the remedy for. That is, the rent appeal process, which no longer exists because the acts have been changed twice since 1989, has allowed for either side to appeal, and because of the backlog of appeals, these people -- I have tenants in my riding who have been hit with rent increases like that and there's nowhere they can get the money to pay. And 1989, we're talking about five years' back rent at 24% a year. It is a tremendous hardship that these people face.

Ms Macdonald: Exactly. It is.

Mrs Marland: What do you see as a remedy?

Ms Macdonald: I don't know exactly what the remedy is. Like I'm saying, I would love to be able to help them. The facts were there in 1989. They all were aware that it was applied for.

Mrs Marland: Could you tell me how old Ridge Pine Park was in 1989?

Ms Macdonald: It started in 1984.

Mrs Marland: So it was only five years old. Why was it such a big rent increase in one year?


Ms Macdonald: I don't know all the facts and details on that. I only get involved with the selling. But the fact is they all knew that this percentage was applied for. They then had a choice: They could stay or they could sell. In many cases they could have afforded it but, as I say, one partner may have passed away. They weren't counting on that, and with that one partner, as soon as they died, the pension died, so they were left on half the income that they ordinarily would have. They could have sold.

Mrs Marland: Except the market was down in 1989 too.

Ms Macdonald: The market was down, but it may have been better to sell in a lower market and not have taken the chance. The fact is they gambled that the company wouldn't get that percentage and the company gambled that it would and it won.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Macdonald. We appreciated your presentation. Again a new view.

I've asked the clerk if he will distribute all amendments that we have received to date to all members. We will then take a short recess while the clerk, legal counsel and the Chairman have a look at these amendments so that we can decipher them somewhat as far as whether they're in order or not and such things. Then I will provide an opportunity for Mr Wessenger to make an opening statement, and any other members who wish to make statements, and then we will start the clause-by-clause, if that's acceptable to the committee.

Mrs Marland: Just a question on process here. Are all the amendments that are being --

Mr Owens: We win, Margaret.

Mrs Marland: What I was going to say, being perfectly honest, was, are all the amendments that are being distributed government amendments? The first package I look at says PC. I did not instruct my staff to prepare these amendments, so I don't even know what these amendments say.

The reason I didn't -- and, Steve, you'll understand this -- is that I couldn't direct my staff to prepare amendments when it's the same thing that we've dealt with yesterday and today: How do you prepare amendments to something when you don't even know what the form is going to be except the printed bill that has gone through first and second reading? So I don't know what to say about these PC amendments, because I have to study those myself too at this point.

The Chair: Of course, Mrs Marland, no amendment actually exists until it's made. These are really for information.

Mrs Marland: Okay.

Mr Mills: I just want to ask a question about process. You mention that all the amendments have to be over there for someone to look at.

The Chair: I didn't mean that. I meant that the amendments that we are presently in possession of will be distributed so people can have a look at them. If there are additional amendments that people know they want to place, I would appreciate if they can be given to the Chair at the earliest possible moment so we can distribute those to members so they can have a look at those.

Mr Conway: Can I just make a request? Because I think an adjournment is a very useful thing. This is a very interesting process in which we are now engaged. We have got a private member's bill on a matter of very significant province-wide impact.

I would like to know when we return whether or not in practical terms we are dealing with a measure that has been or is likely to be, as I believe it will be, favoured by government endorsation. Because if we are engaged in something other than that, it is one course of action. If, however, we are really looking at a government initiative in another name, which I understand, then I think that's really important not just for the committee but for people out there.

So if I could just have some indication at the beginning of the next session, that is, after the recess, what it is we are dealing with. Are we dealing, as I now believe we are, with essentially a government initiative standing in the name of the very fine member for Simcoe Centre? I think that will be useful.

Mr Mills: I would say that assumption is right.

The Chair: I understand also that there are representatives of the Ministry of Housing in the room.

Mrs Marland: I hope so. We have to have somebody who knows what's going on.

The Chair: I would just make this request as the Chair. As Mr Conway points out, this is a private member's bill and we may need some technical advice as we go through --

Mrs Marland: In fact, we should invite them to sit over here.

The Chair: -- and we would appreciate seeing some people from the ministry here to aid us in our deliberations. At this point I think we'll take a recess. Is 15 minutes enough or do we need more?

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): That sounds good.

Mr Conway: I'm not the one who's going to be answering these questions in six months' time.

The Chair: Well, let's take 20 to be safe.

The committee recessed from 1516 to 1536.

The Chair: The standing committee will come to order. First we'll approach this bill by having the sponsor of the bill, Mr Wessenger, make an opening statement, followed by people from each of the parties and any other member who wishes to make a statement.

Mr Daigeler: Yes, on the procedure, I appreciate what you just said and I welcome that. But in addition to that I think we should follow as closely as possible the normal process for bills and discussion of bills by committees, even though this is a private member's bill.

We've started with the hearings because of the time considerations, but I think in addition to the opening statements we normally have ministry officials come before the committee to give some background on the details of the bill. If we have any kinds of questions of clarification in relationship to other bills and so on, ministry officials answer that for us, and I'm sure you are aware there's considerable time spent to hear from the ministry officials on technical points. Frankly, given the nature of this bill I do think it would be most proper to hear from ministry officials as well at the appropriate time.

Now I'm in your hands. Obviously, the officials have to be advised, whether they're here or whatever. But in addition to the opening statements I do hope that we will have some time to hear and question ministry officials on this bill.

The Chair: I'm not exactly clear what you're suggesting. Do you wish the ministry to participate in the opening statement?

Mr Daigeler: No, after the opening statement, the way we have it normally. We normally have the minister, an opening statement, then the critics respond, this kind of thing, and after that, usually there's a presentation from ministry officials and questions and answers to ministry officials. So that second phase I would like to see happen as well. As to when it happens, obviously you have to arrange that with the ministry officials.

Interjection: That's not in the standing orders.

The Chair: Well, I think Mr Daigeler's right. Normally that is the procedure in how we operate. But I guess I confess also some concern that this is a new procedure for the Chair with a bill of this complexity.

Mr Wessenger: Perhaps I could indicate that there is legal counsel from the Ministry of Housing here --

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): And policy advisers.

Mr Wessenger: -- and policy advisers. I think there's no reason why they couldn't be available to answer questions with respect to the bill, especially since this is a technical bill. I think that would certainly assist the members. Certainly, if you want initially to have some general questions I don't think there's any --

Interjection: It isn't a government bill.

Mr Wessenger: It isn't a government bill but they are here, available to answers questions. There's no question about that.

Mr Daigeler: If they're available to answer questions, I will do that then after we've finished with the opening remarks. We'll go from there.

Mrs Marland: Sitting here on this committee at the moment without Mr Conway I feel like a war veteran because I'm sitting here with nine years' experience, and in my nine years of experience this is an absolutely new experience. I have not experienced this kind of procedure and I think what Mr Daigeler is asking for is very reasonable.

We have here a real anomaly. We have a private member's bill, and even comparing it to a recent one of our colleagues' bills, Dianne Cunningham's private member's bill on bicycle helmets, it did not proceed the way this is.

My concern is that, first of all, we certainly have to have some agreement that the subject itself has become convoluted because of the many concerns and many genuine, valid comments that we've heard that put the subject itself into more than one category. Now we've got Mr Wessenger with his own amendments and possibly other amendments coming from Mr Wilson, who's parliamentary assistant to the minister. Do you have amendments from the minister?

Mr Gary Wilson: Yes.

Mrs Marland: So you see, the thing is that we are into a bit of a dog's breakfast here, to put it politely.

Mr Gary Wilson: I think also erroneously.

Mrs Marland: I really would like to think that we can proceed with some order. Because of what has gone on, I think it is important for us to hear from the minister. If Mr Wilson can speak on behalf of the minister and we can have ministry staff -- I mean, it's been a very interesting procedure. Poor old Mr Wessenger. You see him in the hall and he's surrounded by these butterflies, he comes in here and he's surrounded by more butterflies. I'm sure at this point he probably doesn't know what amendment is up.

Mr Gary Wilson: He's used to that.

The Chair: Mrs Marland, I'm looking for some instruction on how we're to proceed.

Mrs Marland: All right. Then my instruction to you, Mr Chair, is that we would proceed as Mr Daigeler has suggested, that we do it as we do with government bills, which is that we have opening statements by the proponent of the bill, and if the Minister of Housing is also a proponent of the bill, it's important that we hear from the Minister of Housing or her parliamentary assistant. Then I think you have to hear from the two opposition critics or their representatives.

The Chair: I suggested that we begin by having Mr Wessenger make a statement and Mr Daigeler and then you, because you're the critic for the third party, then anyone else who wishes to make a statement. This being a private member's bill, I think we should proceed understanding that's the case and allowing all members an opportunity to speak on this.

Mr Fletcher: On a point of order, Mr Chair: Does the independent member have the right to speak also as his own critic?

The Chair: My understanding is this is a private member's bill. Party discipline does not apply during private members' hour.

Mr Fletcher: You're allowing the critics to speak. I was just wondering.

The Chair: There is some rotation. This will be a new experience for us all. I intend to recognize members during the clause-by-clause as they put up their hand and not in any other particular order, so I would presume --

Mrs Marland: I'm going to speak on Mr Fletcher's point of order. We had quite extensive meetings of the Legislative Assembly committee, and I think maybe Mr Owens was there for some of them, on the rights of independent members, and the government chose to be very exclusive about the rights of independent members.

I think we shouldn't start saying that maybe Mr White has the same rights as an independent member in all aspects of his presence on this committee. So we'd better be a little careful or else I'm going to move a recess till we dig out what the Legislative Assembly said about what it is you give up when you become an independent member, and there are disadvantages to being an independent member.

The Chair: I understand that point of order, but normally, Mrs Marland, you understand that during clause-by-clause the Chair generally just recognizes every member as they put up their hands to speak, and it could be five government members in a row or all the opposition members in a row. It's just the way they appear rather than by any political party.

Mr Fletcher, do you wish to make an intervention on how we are to proceed?

Mr Fletcher: No.

The Chair: Oh, I was wrong then. Mr Mills, did you?

Mr Mills: Just briefly. I sat on that committee that you are talking about, Margaret, and it was a different sort of circumstance altogether. We were talking about an independent's right to sit on a committee, and that was different.

Mr Owens: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: This has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

Mr Mills: No, but that's just a point to bring back.

Mr Owens: With respect to my colleague, we have a bunch of people sitting in the audience here who have a significant problem on their property. Let's deal with that issue, and we'll debate the other issue later.

The Chair: I agree with you.

Mr Owens: We're not here to fight city hall today. Let's do the bill.

The Chair: What I intend to do is what the normal procedure of the committee would be. Mr Wessenger will go first, followed by a representative of each of the political parties. Any private member who wants to make a statement can do so, and then we will start with the clause-by-clause. Ministry officials are available to ask technical questions of.

Mrs Marland: Okay. What time are we sitting to and what time do we have on this bill tomorrow?

The Chair: We have all day tomorrow. The committee recesses at 5 o'clock.

Mrs Marland: Are we not dealing with Bill 95 tomorrow morning?

The Chair: We would if it hadn't been completed on Monday afternoon.

Mrs Marland: Okay. So we have all day tomorrow. Thank you.

The Chair: Now, I think we're settled. Mr Wessenger.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you, Mr Chair, that I might finally speak on this matter. I was just reviewing my notes when I spoke on this on second reading, and I think I can repeat some of the comments I made there. They're just as applicable now, and even perhaps more so than they were at the time.

I indicated at the time that this legislation would enhance the protection for tenants of land-lease community homes and tenants of mobile homes, and that is the intention of this legislation. I also indicated that the legislation is complex and technical, and the reason for that is because the law of landlord and tenant is also very complex and technical, as is planning law, as is perhaps the Rental Housing Protection Act.

I indicated that I knew there would be amendments to the bill because, unfortunately, private members don't have access to the expertise of ministry policy people or draftsmen when they're preparing a private member's bill. So this private member's bill was prepared on the basis of working with legislative counsel.

I indicated that I would look forward to suggestions for improvements to the legislation resulting from the public hearings, and also I was looking forward to the input from the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of the Attorney General, if applicable, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs with respect to this legislation, because I realize that with a private member drafting in a technical area of law, you're going to need the assistance of the Ministry of Housing.

I'd like to indicate that the majority of the amendments that have been put forward are technical in nature. They have been suggested by the Ministry of Housing as improvements to the legislation. They have been clarifying definitions in the legislation, and that is what the majority of these amendments will be.

The act basically amends the Landlord and Tenant Act to clarify that land-lease communities are under that act. It provides legislation with respect to certain substantive items concerning first rights of refusal, signs on property, consent in writing and several other items. It also amends the Planning Act to provide that new mobile home parks or land-lease communities would be developed either under a plan of subdivision or under a site plan agreement.

The last item was the provisions with respect to the Rental Housing Protection Act, which would bring all mobile home parks and land-lease communities in Ontario under the provisions of that act.


From the hearings today, you can see why I had a particular concern with that item, because in my own riding we heard from two particular mobile home parks where the owners have attempted to terminate the tenancies. They had no protection because the Landlord and Tenant Act provided, on four months' notice if they land is being changed to a different use, that they could get those orders. I am very concerned about the loss of equity that people suffer when this termination occurs.

I would encourage members, in dealing with this legislation, to take into account my comments with respect to the fact that it is a private member's bill. It did not have the expertise in the initial draft, and I would hope that they would, in a spirit of generosity --

Mrs Marland: But you're a lawyer.

Mr Owens: Don't hold that against him.

Mr Wessenger: Well, it did have lawyers' expertise, but there's quite a difference between lawyers' expertise and the expertise of a ministry, which has the whole policy division. It is much better at the technical aspects than an individual doing it on their own.

With that, I certainly would encourage the members to support this bill and the amendments thereto so that we have a very workable piece of legislation that will meet the immediate needs of those people who are facing the loss of their equity investment, will improve the marketability of their investment and give them greater security of tenure.

The Chair: Mr Daigeler, do you have some remarks?

Mr Daigeler: Yes. I think I should say first of all that we've been encouraging private members to come forward with projects and private bills and ideas. Mr Wessenger has followed up on that suggestion, and I think he's to be congratulated on that. I think it's a good step to see private member's bills and suggestions coming forward, being discussed in the House and reaching committee stage. I think that's good. I'm in favour of that. I think Parliament itself can only benefit from that if there's a certain independence and also a certain creativity on behalf of individual members of the House. I think we see the same movement at stake at the federal level. My leader has put forward ideas in that regard.

So I think it's good to have a private member's bill before the House and before the committee. At the same time, I do think we have seen with this experience that some edges in the process have to be smoothed out, and it's not quite as simple as simply putting forward a bill and then getting it approved and there it is. I think the very purpose of having three readings and having committee hearings, public hearings, committee discussion and clause-by-clause is to try and review bills and make sure that they are as appropriate as possible, that the provisions of the law don't have to be changed very shortly thereafter, because it's extremely complicated to do that.

Generally with government bills there is, not always but normally, some time between the hearings and then clause-by-clause and these things get a bit digested. Frankly, I think for the most part that's very good.

In fact, my favourite topic is Bill 77, and the members are going to hear more about this, I'm sure, as the days go by. There too, I'm going to insist that there will be more public hearings on it, even though it's a government bill, because people have not been given a full opportunity to speak to it yet and give their advice and their opinions to the government.

On this bill that is before us I think we see the same occurrence, that through the public hearings process we have found that there is a serious problem. We have seen that there is an attempt to address it, but at the same time we've heard very clearly that there are some major shortcomings in the bill. I guess even Mr Wessenger recognizes that.

Some people are also saying it should be extended, it should be widened further. Certainly through this process of public hearings we have heard some very important comments that raise some very important questions about the bill, and before we recommend it to the House we should take some time for sober second thought, as they used to say for the upper chamber in Ottawa.

Given the significance and the importance of the matter that's dealt with by this bill, I would say that the government should look at this experience, should carefully analyse what the public has said and what we've heard in this debate, and it should be coming in with its own bill, as has often happened, frankly, in the House.

Private members have put forward their ideas. They have started a process and they have pushed, and then the government -- I think all three governments that have been represented in Ontario have done that -- has come in with its own bill and it has benefited from the work that a private member has done. It would seem to me, subject to further debate obviously, which we're having, that this is what should happen with this bill.

I have certainly learned a lot about the concerns that apparently exist with the land-lease communities and mobile homes and the different other forms of that kind of housing. While we're at it, I think we should be doing as good a job as possible. As Mr Wessenger has said himself, as a private member, he does not quite have the resources of the government at his disposal, and I do think that we should hear further from the ministry at this point and get some answers. But in the end, it would seem to me that we're not ready to give the final stamp of approval, in my opinion, to this particular bill, because there have been just too many questions that have been opened up in the public hearing process that require some further consideration.

Now, of course, the argument could be made, and I'm sure will be made, that perhaps if this doesn't get passed right away, certain situations that are most unfortunate and that we all regret and that we want addressed are not going to be addressed right away. I've asked that several times of the witnesses: whether Bill 21 will in fact solve the problems that they described. I'm still not assured at all that the retroactive situations we were hearing of are going to be solved with this bill.

Therefore, I don't think we're in that much of a rush to have this approved in order to solve the problems that have been identified. In order to really solve the problems that have been identified, I think we have to take a little bit more time. I'm not saying that this should be postponed ad infinitum. I think the government has already at its disposal considerable work.

At one point, one of the ministry officials came and spoke about this interministerial committee that had been set up and a report that it had been preparing, and that we couldn't get because apparently it was advice to the minister. Apparently even a freedom of information request was made and this document still couldn't be had. But it clearly shows that some work has been done by the government on this, both by the previous government and by this government, so the ministry does not have to start from zero.


Also, the work that we have done I think moves this matter a giant step forward. I don't see the need for the government to take an extraordinary amount of time in order to come in with its own bill, a bill that will reflect the points that have been made here and most likely should receive quite a quick -- I mean, there still will have to be some kind of consultation, because several of the members of the public who came before us did specifically request another opportunity to be heard once a more refined version is before them. Nevertheless, I don't foresee that as a long-drawn-out process. I think it has to be a due process and I think it can be done. Some of the issues that Mr Wessenger, to his credit, has identified as serious problems that need to be addressed can be addressed by the government and by the House. I'm sure we on our side of the House are going to be very cooperative in that way and that there will then be a bill before the House that will stand and will actually do the job that Mr Wessenger has set himself out.

At this point, frankly, I'm just not convinced at all that with all these amendments, with all this paper that we have before us and with all the questions that have been raised during the public hearing process, we are at a stage to recommend to the House final approval of this legislation. I don't think we've reached that stage. I'll wait to see what my colleagues have to say and then we'll go from there.

Mrs Marland: I would like to say at the outset, first of all, I probably would have preferred that when Mr Wessenger made his opening statement a few moments ago, he hadn't just re-read his second-reading Hansard. I think what we've gone through -- I've been very impressed with, I would say, all the deputations we heard yesterday and today. I think we've heard a lot of, frankly, quite poignant stories: not actually stories, but accounts of what people are experiencing. As the Housing critic and spokesperson for our PC caucus, I feel very concerned about a number of the things that I have heard yesterday and today.

I want to personally thank everyone who has been here the last two days, because they have made a very valuable contribution in terms of the ability of all the committee members to look at this bill and try to deal with amendments that will be coming and to debate this bill honestly. I would have expected, really, that the mover of the bill might have responded to some of the things that people have brought to this committee room in the past two days.

I think one of the major concerns is that, whether we like to hear it or not, there has been a lack of consultation. There has been a lack of even -- I respect, and I say this sincerely, Gord: Mr Mills said that he sent it out in his newsletter and so forth and did inform his constituents, and I commend him for it because that is something that is a vehicle of information. But I really think that when the government knows who all the operators are in the province -- and when I say "operators," I don't mean that critically. I mean that as a colloquial description, I guess, of the people who are in the business of planning and building retirement land-lease communities, people who are in the business of owning property and giving an opportunity for people with mobile homes and trailers to go somewhere that's a beautiful recreational escape for them. On the one side, those are the business people, and with the government knowing who these people are, because I'm quite sure they all pay business tax in one form or another and I'm sure the government's quite happy to take that -- I think if there's any community that they know, it's those people.

I realize it's harder for the government to reach the individuals who use these facilities, especially the seasonal trailer parks and mobile home parks. Nevertheless, I think that when you're talking about people's livelihoods in terms of the business aspect on the one hand, and then on the other hand you're talking about people who have made a lifetime investment in a piece of property, namely, their mobile home, their less mobile, more permanent structure, whatever terminology you want to use for the buildings, we're talking on both sides a substantial investment.

I think government has a responsibility, when they are seeing a piece of legislation, be it their bill or a private member's bill -- I think there's an outright obligation on the part of the government, which has the ability and the facilities to notify those people who will be first and mostly affected. When that doesn't happen, it really concerns me.

The other thing I also want to say just at the outset is that I felt very uncomfortable about something that happened here this morning. I now understand who the gentleman was who was so upset in the audience. The one thing I wanted to point out, and I'm putting this on the record because I feel very strongly about it and I certainly am not known for not speaking my mind --

Mr Conway: Hear, hear.

Mrs Marland: If there is one individual in our Legislature right now of 130 members who is absolutely straightforward and honest, it's Mr Hans Daigeler. When he asked this morning a question which was, "Could you explain to me -- " and excuse me, Hans, because I don't have Hansard to quote you accurately, but you said something to the effect of, "Could you explain to me what is, in real terms, the difference between the different kinds of structures?"

Coming from what particular member, that was a very sincere question. On the other hand, I understood the frustration of the individual who was in the audience watching this legislative committee that is going to make a decision on his $130,000 investment. He's looking at all of us as committee members and he's thinking, "My God, they don't even know what the difference is with the structures."

I said something about basements. I know they don't all have basements; I know some of them are on concrete pads and so forth. Then you get the comment about, "Why don't you come out and see them?" You know, the reason for that elevated heat is the fact that the public come to us in a public process of hearings like this and they think we're experts. They think at least we know something about what they're here --

Mr Mills: Everything.

Mrs Marland: Yes, something about everything. Especially, they expect us to know something about the subject that we're talking about.


Not every member in the House is as honest as Hans, who is willing to say, "I'm going to be debating this bill" -- he didn't actually say this, but this is what he was meaning, I think. He's going to be debating this bill, as we all are. We're all going to be discussing the amendments, and he wanted to be the best informed that he could be. When I ask questions, I do it for the same reason. I'm never embarrassed to ask questions because I may be sitting on this committee today; I may be sitting in the committee room next door discussing health, social services, finance, auto insurance, whatever. We know, as members, that on any given day we can discuss half a dozen different subjects. The reason we are elected to do that, in my opinion, is because we hold a very real responsibility to try to separate the forest from the trees.

When we come down here and listen to deputations on something as important as those areas that Bill 21 covers, we have to do it to the best of our ability and with as much commitment as we can give it. I felt unhappy this morning because I felt what we saw was a reaction from the public, who perhaps think that we're all experts on everything, and then the frustration for this gentleman was, "Look who's going to be making the decision on my future." I simply put this on the record because of the fact that if the public didn't have us, then all we would have is the bureaucracy dealing with everything. We are here to represent the public to the best of our ability, whether or not we have a mobile-home park or a trailer park or a land-lease community in our riding.

I admired Hans Daigeler this morning for asking a question --

Mr Owens: Lyn is on the phone.

Mrs Marland: -- that for all of us probably to some degree had to be clarified.

Mr Mills: Take the halo off.

Mrs Marland: Some people don't have the courage to ask those questions. They sit back and let somebody else ask them, but it doesn't mean they know any more than the person who's asking the question. They just don't have the intestinal fortitude to ask the question.

Speaking to the fact that I think the bill should be withdrawn, we can't underestimate what it is we're trying to resolve here. There were a number of people yesterday who in essence were talking about, I think as I said, the elephant-gun-to-kill-the-fly approach.

We also are in another box or another catch-22 this afternoon. That is, we have a bill that we know there are amendments to; there are more amendments and so forth coming. We also have heard the deputations today and yesterday. We also have an envelope here with I would guess maybe another 30 comments, letters and briefs in it. I'm looking at something that was also an addition, an enclosure, as an exhibit this morning.

Mr Clerk, this number 26, does that mean it's the 26th exhibit or submission?

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): Yes.

Mrs Marland: This happens to be from Larry O'Connor, the government member, the MPP for Durham-York, who is supporting a brief that was presented to the committee this morning. You know what I find very difficult? There again I'm being very direct. We haven't had an opportunity to read all this material because it is a private member's bill and we are forced into dealing with it the same day that we've heard the presenters or the day following the day we heard the presenters yesterday. I would like to read the balance of this material that's submitted to this committee.

Generally, you do not go into clause-by-clause the same day that you've heard presentations to a committee. That's another thing that I'm not happy about in this process. If I were the proponent of the bill, if I were Mr Wessenger -- I don't know; I haven't asked him -- I would prefer not to deal with clause-by-clause until there has been some time to go through and analyse what everybody is saying about a subject that, unless I were in the business or lived in one of these -- I've decided there are at least three types of operation here that I'm not an expert on, but I can learn and I can make an educated judgement.

When we are looking at this whole subject -- I said this yesterday and I'm going to repeat it again -- we have to look at equity for two sides, whether we're talking about the land-lease community, the trailer home park, the mobile home park. We have to respect and I hope that the government members believe in property rights to some degree. I know that when we had the constitutional debate in the past few years I did listen to some of the NDP government members discuss property rights and what was wrong with them.

But I think you can't bring a bill before the Legislature that looks at protecting only one side. Mr Wessenger is concerned for the tenants and their property rights, and I respect his sincerity, because in this case we're not talking about tenants in an apartment building where they are wholly inside somebody else's building; we're talking about tenants who bring their own building and live in their own building and live in their own investment on somebody else's land.

I guess there is a little bit of an irony here when I think of the government's position on the Workers' Compensation Board's new office building. Here we have a $220-million ivory tower being built in Toronto, 30 storeys, on what? A land lease. On the one hand you can't separate yourselves, as government members, from the land-lease philosophy in terms of someone who is in that business, and yet support the investment of $220 million by the WCB --

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

Mrs Marland: You were talking. You would have heard it if you hadn't just been talking, Gord.

Mr Mills: I'm talking about the bill.

Mr Owens: I was listening and I still don't understand it.

Mrs Marland: I'm talking about the business of being in land leases. If we are talking about equity for property owners we have to talk about real property and we have to talk about structure.

When I look at Cedar Grove park in Mississauga, which is in Mr Sola's riding, I look at a family that has owned that property in excess of 40 years, I look at what I think is close to 300 homes, I look at people who've lived in those homes, some of them for 40 years, a lot of them senior citizens and I think there is such cause for concern on our part for both of them: on the one hand the Pallett family that wants to retire and sell its property; on the other hand all these were mobile homes that the people have built their gardens around and built their sunrooms on and so forth and done all their landscaping and their driveways. They've spent money making an investment to have their home on what is private property, privately owned by the Palletts.

Now the Palletts are in their 70s. They want to retire. They're entitled, in a free country, to have the equity out of their land, and yet we are concerned, as a community, about where these people will go who have lived there all of these years knowing that first of all their homes really aren't mobile any more, and even if they were mobile, where are you going to take them? There certainly is no land in the greater Toronto area; I know for sure there isn't any in Mississauga. Can you imagine trying to start a trailer park in the greater Toronto area now where these people could go and be re-established, and the trauma for seniors leaving this place where they've lived for 40 years and moving away from their doctors, their friends, their churches and essentially their community?


It is a complex subject. Because it's so complex and because I believe in equity for both sides I do not think a private member's bill is the way we should go. The public has a right to be protected by this Legislature and the public are the people in this province who own property, whether it's just land or it's a building, the people who are in business and the people who are the tenants who lease their pieces of property.

My concern is that I think this bill is not the solution. I think we have heard enough in the last two days, all of us as intelligent, committed representatives of our own individual ridings, and bearing in mind that when we sit on this committee we actually are speaking for and representing all the other ridings in the province that aren't represented, because we're just here representing our own ridings; we have to be speaking and looking to the interests of the entire province. As we do that, you have to become more and more convinced that one approach to this very complex subject in the form of this private member's bill cannot be the solution.

I would like to ask if Mr Wessenger would consider, since he has these 24 sections in this bill -- you did have 27 amendments and I noticed we had another couple of amendments. I don't know how many amendments Mr Wessenger has now to the bill. I was wondering if he would consider withdrawing the bill. If he would make that consideration, I would give him a commitment on the part of our caucus that we would work with the government to find a solution that is equitable for everyone who is impacted by this subject matter. I ask you that, Mr Wessenger, through the Chair.

The Chair: Mr Wessenger will reply to all the statements when they are complete.

Mrs Marland: All right. Then I will wait with great anticipation for his response. I hope, while he considers that response, that he views very seriously the fact that on both sides of this issue we are talking about lifetime investments. I was very interested listening to people yesterday, and I think actually Mr Maxfield is still here -- obviously for Mr Maxfield and I think Mr Morgan, these are small family businesses. I talked to a couple that didn't make a deputation here yesterday. They're from the Brockville area. They bought a park only three years ago, just a young couple that bought it as a business. That is a lifetime major business venture for them, and ironically enough for them everything is going fine. They must be good operators. They only have 21 units. They're all seniors. Everything is going along beautifully.

I think what we have to be committed to is recognizing that there are good people, excellent people in this business in all three categories, and there are some very bad operators who, to put it very politely, might be referred to as scoundrels in business. I wouldn't like to use anything stronger but there certainly are stronger words that would be just as appropriate.

Mr Owens: Why don't you give us a couple?

Mrs Marland: Because I know you. I don't need to give them to you, Mr Owens, because you do have your own vocabulary.

Mr Heard from the Golden Horseshoe Court Developments said yesterday -- I referred to this earlier this afternoon -- "Perhaps what's happening here is that you're trying to get the one size that might fit all that might end up not fitting anybody." I think for that reason we would certainly be interested in a separate act for land-lease retirement communities and we also would like to see a separate act dealing with mobile and trailer home parks. Interestingly enough I would say to the government members -- Derek, you might like to hear this --

Mr Fletcher: I don't think so, Margaret; I'm not sure.

Mrs Marland: -- the letter from Mr O'Connor in which he said, "I have been involved with groups from my constituency such as the Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation at Sutton-by-the-Lake, and I am in complete sympathy with their concerns." Now he'll be able to send this quote from Hansard out because I've read it for him, but that group was here this morning and --

Mr Mills: We don't do that sort of thing.

Mrs Marland: No, but he's very sincere about this and he --


Mrs Marland: Well, you told me. You did. You said you informed the --

Mr Mills: Yes, but not quotes from Hansard, for goodness' sake.

Mrs Marland: Anyway, one of the things that his presenter from the Ontario Owned-Home Leased-Lot Federation said this morning was, "We believe that planned retirement communities called land-lease communities are an acceptable form of housing for persons over the age of 55." Another quote I'd like to make is -- for the sake of Hansard, I am reading this from Ms Phyllis Baker's brief this morning -- "If seniors are to live in a safe, secure and supportive environment every attempt should be made to make that environment as stress-free as possible." I was very happy -- because my daughter's in the hospital and I had to miss this presentation this morning -- to read her brief when I had time at lunchtime and very happy to read the letter of Mr O'Connor, a government member, saying that he is in total agreement.

So we do have government members who agree with seniors' housing. As the Housing critic for a party that also believes in seniors' housing and adults-only communities and adults-only buildings, I am elated to know that at least one member of the government caucus supports that viewpoint of our caucus.

I will stop at this point with the question that I put on the record for Mr Wessenger -- I will look forward to his answer -- and the other point, that our goal would be to have individual acts to address the individual problems and challenges for the two, particularly the two, perhaps even three categories of living environment housing choices for the people of Ontario.

Mr Mills: I promise to be very succinct in my remarks.

Mr Daigeler: You have broken other promises before.

Mr Mills: I want to start off by saying that you remarked about a --

The Chair: Through the Chair, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: There was a gentleman who was frustrated this morning and I just want to convey to you that the gentleman is under a great deal of stress, and I'll explain that personally afterwards so that's off the record, just to clear that up.


I just want to talk about my involvement in this legislation. When I went to Wilmot Creek in 1984 or 1985 when it opened -- my wife and I went there to have a look at the place -- I never thought for one minute that I'd be sitting some years later talking about Wilmot Creek and Bill 21.

Nevertheless, when I was elected, the folks down there came to me and said, "We had some encouragement from the previous member who sat for Simcoe Centre, Mr Bruce Owen, which I'm sure you're all aware of, that this land-lease problem was going to be addressed." They were under the impression at Wilmot Creek that somehow Mr Owens had put in some mechanism whereby this was going to be addressed, you see.

Mr Owens: Mr Owen.

Mr Mills: Mr Owen, I'm sorry; not you. Anyway, I said I'd look into this. I looked into it and I found out, of course, what you all know now, that it was just a resolution and it really had no substance to it in so far as it hadn't gone anywhere.

I was very lucky when I was elected in 1990 to have a very bright intern, who was a lawyer, come to work with me. His name was Don Figel. I'll get that on the record because I'm going to send him a copy of this.

Don was a very articulate, bright young fellow, and it's a pity the folks from Wilmot Creek are not here, because I said to Don, "I've got a real problem here and you can get your teeth into it." That young man worked on it for four months, and he interviewed goodness knows how many people in all kinds of ministries. We tried to get our hands on that interministerial document, you see, and everywhere we went he came back and told me, "Gord, they won't give it to me." Now we know that we couldn't get it even under the FOI.

Eventually, he compiled a report on what he perceived as the whole nub of the problem with land-lease lots and other types of housing, and he produced a big report. I'll never forget the night we went down to Wilmot Creek to deliver this report and report on it. There were 500 people in the Wheel House that evening, as we sat there and went through it.

Mrs Marland: What is this Wheel House you've referred to?

Mr Mills: The Wheel House is their recreation centre. It's a wonderful recreation centre, and I invite everyone to go and see it.

Anyway, we had 500 people there and we went through this --

Mr Conway: They probably need you to get in, Gordie.

The Chair: Interjections are out of order.

Mr Mills: We went through this document with all the residents, and we explained to those folks how difficult it was. We had the Ministry of Housing involved, we had the Attorney General involved, we had the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. We couldn't get answers. It was a dog's breakfast, as Mr Conway would say.

We really got a feel for what the problems were, not only in Wilmot Creek, because this spread, and I have other mobile homes in my riding. One up at Janetville, for instance, is a nightmare; it's a different sort of operation. I think there's one that Joan and I share out at Marysville, and all these people suddenly became interested in this.

So I felt somewhat obligated to pursue this. It's been a goal with me to get here today to talk about this, and I don't mind admitting that.

In our caucus we discussed this. We have 32 ridings that identified themselves as having this type of problem. We had meetings in our caucus and we discussed the problems. I can tell you that this is all across Ontario, and the report back that we had from our membership was that there has to be something done about it.

I commend my colleague and friend Paul Wessenger, whom I've known for many years, for coming up with something like this. It's no secret that I even approached the Premier about it, that it's such a problem.

Mrs Marland: What did the Premier say?

Mr Mills: He agreed it's a problem.

Mr Arnott: Why isn't it a government bill?

Mr Mills: Well, that's another story, one I won't share with you.


The Chair: Through the Chair.

Mr Mills: I just want to point out that contrary to what has been suggested, that the public per se hasn't known about this or hasn't been in on this, it's been very widely discussed across Ontario, certainly in the members' ridings in our caucus. We have had a broad base of opinion, and I tried to emphasize it here. I've got 700 signatures there from the folks at Wilmot Creek, who said to me, as I think it says on there -- if you'll bear with me, Mr Chair, it says, "We're asking you to proceed as expeditiously as possible to third reading of Bill 21."

I think it only fair for me to tell you that those 700 signatures on there -- I would suggest to you, Mrs Marland, that many of them represent a Conservative allegiance, and at the same time, to Mr Conway and Ms Fawcett, a Liberal allegiance. I would say that when I got back to the all-candidates' meeting at Wilmot Creek, when I went down there to talk to the folks in 1990, I can tell you there were precious few NDP people there, and that's quite honest. So I'm saying to you that this isn't --

Mr Fletcher: There are probably fewer now.

Mr Mills: Well, there's more now, I hope. But these folks here are representing an opinion that they want Bill 21 passed, and I'm just passing that information on to you. I think you should support it, because none of these people are making any bones about it, and it tickled me pink that when I went down to Wilmot Creek in the federal election I saw all these signs. So I know their party affiliation. There was, I think, one NDP sign down there, but all the rest were Liberal and Conservative.

So you can see that this isn't a party thing, and that's why I'm appealing to you to support this bill. I think Mr Wessenger's worked very hard on this. We know that perhaps it doesn't address all seasons and all men, but we've heard people who have come here and --

Mrs Marland: And women.

Mr Mills: I beg your pardon. We've heard people who have come to this committee and said, "Look, we need to do something about it," and I'm saying to you that we are here to do something about it. We can criticize everything that anyone ever does, but I'm saying to you that this is a step forward.

I hope people don't think we're anti-landlord or anything, but I've spoken to Mr Rice, who's here this afternoon, about this bill and he said to me, "You know, if you can introduce a mild amendment," which I'm going to do later on, "I'm quite happy with this." So I'm saying to you folks over there, here we have a key player who says to me, "You do that, and I'm happy with it." I can't see what the big concern about it is.

I'm not going to prolong this discussion. I'm going to support it. I'd like to commend my colleague on it. It's been a long, hard battle, and I know that the folks I represent look to me in some small measure to help resolve the problems that they've had and foresee, not only in the different types of parks in my area. So, Mr Chair, I hope that we can carry on and get this thing put to bed. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you. I have Mrs Fawcett on the list.

Mrs Fawcett: Certainly the last three days have been most interesting and enlightening on both sides of the issue, but I think the one thing that disturbs me is that the process we find ourselves in on this particular bill is somewhat precedent-setting. Certainly I know that I have been in the Legislature a limited number of years, but I haven't seen this method of a private member's bill, and in asking some of my colleagues who have been around a little longer, I don't think they have seen this process either.


I have a little bit of experience in that I did have a private member's bill passed, with government support, but it certainly didn't take the form that this particular private member's bill is taking. Mind you, it was quite a different kind of bill in that it was one for the firefighters of Ontario and, more in particular, the volunteer firefighters. So it was a very positive bill that went through, and I'm very grateful to both ministers of Transportation who did support the bill.

But this one is certainly very different, and it presents some problems in how we deal, completely, with the whole thing, because you never quite know what the rules are. You know that there are standing orders, and it would seem that there's nothing really out of line completely, yet it's just not the normal procedure. I guess that's the one wonderful thing about this job: There's something new and different every day you turn around.

One thing I would like to know is whether or not it's possible to get a complete package of NDP amendments. We've got two government amendments now, we have nine amendments from Mr Wessenger today, I believe, but then there were the 27 and I don't know whether they add on to the nine. Then there were six PC amendments, and I don't know where they stand right at the moment. So really, it's been quite interesting.

Getting back to the actual problem, we have certainly heard compelling arguments on both sides of the issue, and I believe, as legislators, finding the answers to the problems on both sides, to me, requires more time than we are going to have here. Certainly there are the bad actors and they need to be dealt with, and I have first-hand knowledge of bad actors, but I also have --


Mrs Fawcett: Well, businesses in the riding, two trailer parks that I know of that seem to be operating all right. Mind you, I'm sure there could be problems, but maybe there is a mechanism there that they have of dealing with the problems. I think that's something that people on both sides of the issue -- it would be really to their advantage if, you know, compromise could be worked out instead of maybe government having to come in and solve everything. Yet I know that's possibly pie in the sky, that we do need legislation that is going to assist.

But as my colleague beside me referred to Solomon earlier today, I wish we had a Solomon who could come down and solve this, because we know, and I certainly would agree, that the operators who try to run a good business deserve to be treated in a different manner from the operators who do not, and the ones who do not definitely need to be penalized. I think those are things we have to look at.

I believe that there was a lack of consultation and even notification about this whole thing. I believe that's why we really do need to, in some ways, stop this right now and start all over again with a proper process where everyone who wants to be heard can be heard and we come as a proper legislative committee with all parties agreeing on a method to solve the problems.

So I'm happy that we were reminded of the interministerial committee, and I would suggest that it would be really advantageous to somehow get knowledge of exactly what was found out, but I understand the rules and that it may not be possible.

I hope we can somehow eliminate the Mexican standoffs that seem to be happening in some ridings and come to an agreeable solution to the problems, but I really do wonder if that's possible at this very time and under these particular rules that we seem to be operating under at the moment.

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): I won't take much time. I did want to make a few comments, very simple ones. First of all, I want to comment upon this process of the private member's bill and wholeheartedly congratulate Mr Wessenger for taking the initiative and showing the perseverance to get this bill to this state. Certainly I believe under the previous government there was some action around a private member's bill, but prior to that there had been somewhat of a freeze in that whole area for some four or five decades.

Mrs Marland: Prior to that land-lease communities didn't exist.

Mr White: I think Mr Daigeler and Ms Marland and Ms Fawcett point out that this is a unique process in the sense that the Ministry of Housing, I believe, has assisted Mr Wessenger in some of the amendments. However, despite its cooperation -- and I think the ministry should be commended for its assistance of Mr Wessenger -- it is a bill that he's putting forth as a private member, not as a member of the government.

I'm sure Mr Wessenger knows of some of my own concerns and will support me in those in months to come. This bill, I understand, has some substantive agreement and some substantive support across the way with the Liberal and Conservative members and with many members of our government and myself. I also support this bill, for a number of reasons. I understand Mr Owen, Mr Wessenger's predecessor, was concerned about the bill and was concerned about these rights and was attempting some redress to this issue. I'm impressed that Mr Wessenger has carried on that struggle that his predecessor, a member of the previous Liberal government, initiated.

I think, though, to suggest that we should delay it, we should rework it, belies the fact that the people in these developments have for many years felt and still feel a tremendous urgency to have their concerns met and dealt with by law. I know certainly the members of the trailer park association whose development is in fact right across the King's Highway 2 from my office in Whitby are very concerned. They have felt an urgency about this issue. Mr Emoff, who was here yesterday, has called my office innumerable times saying: "When is Bill 21 going to be passed? When will we have these rights?" To suggest that we should put it off I don't think would allow them the certainty they deserve and have deserved for some time. To reintroduce formal government legislation may in fact mean the delay of those rights, not just for a period of months, but it could well mean the delay of those rights into the next term.

While I congratulate Mr Mills, Mr Wessenger and other members of the government caucus for pushing forward with these issues, I would also like to say that when I look at the amendments that have been put forth, I have some concerns about whether they might not water the bill down to the extent that it may not continue to meet all the ends it was desired to meet. I'm looking forward to hearing Mr Wessenger's comments on those amendments and hope my concerns will be allayed during that discussion.


Mr Arnott: I want to keep my remarks fairly brief on this, but I must say that this Bill 21, which is purported to expand the rights of the residents in land-lease communities, or trailer parks, as they're more commonly called, has created some degree of interest in Wellington county. I mentioned earlier Don Vallery, who took the time to make a presentation to this committee, which all committee members have, and again I would recommend to them that they read it.

I find myself in an unusual position arguing irregular process with the NDP, because I find so often the role is reversed. In this process, we see a private member's bill. We all know in history and in the history of the practice of this place private members' bills typically do not become law but they're seen as an opportunity for an idea to be raised, to be put forward, arguments to be registered for and against, and then at some point, if the government of the day agrees with the underlying philosophy of the private member's bill, it comes forward as a government bill and then proper scrutiny is applied to the bill. This doesn't appear to be the process with this one. It appears that the government is in fact supportive of this private member's bill and that in fact they wish to make it the law of the land.

I have to say I'm concerned about that, because we've seen a minimum, I guess, of a day and a half, two days of public hearings on a bill which we all agree will have deep and profound consequences. We've seen 27 amendments which were brought forward to the committee yesterday and additional amendments brought forward today.

Again, I have a constituent, Don Vallery, who took the time to make this presentation, who is very interested in the bill, who has people who live on his land, leased land in his area, who also have an interest in this bill. I'd like to have the opportunity to consult with them on this to bring back their views. I'm not going to have that time, because I've got the amendments tonight. I suppose I could try to seek them out, but it's literally impossible to get their meaningful input on the amendments in order to again bring this back to the committee. I'm very concerned about that.

I don't think what we've seen, the way this bill has been handled through this committee, has been good business practice for the business of government. The people who came forward today did not get an opportunity to see the amendments -- and I asked that question of several of them -- they did not get an opportunity to read the amendments that had been brought forward yesterday, so in many cases they were talking about something different than what we already understood the bill to be at that point. I don't believe it was fair to the deputants the way this was done. I'm certain that if the amendments could have been prepared a month ago and if the deputants could have been informed of the intention of Mr Wessenger to bring forward amendments, at least they would have had a better understanding of what the bill was going to be. In that sense, as I say, I think the way it was done was unfair to them.

I also agree that if we come to the consensus that there has to be legislation to prevent the excesses of some of the things that have been happening, some of the things we've heard over the last couple of days that clearly indicate the government needs to act to ensure that these abusive situations where the people who lease property from people who own the land, in this case, where those land owners abuse the situation and the power they have as the land owner, then the government has to act -- if we accept that that's necessary, I think we should agree that there needs to be an appropriate balance, and I'm not sure this bill achieves a fair balance between the rights of the people who own the land and those who lease it.

In the case of Pine Meadows again -- I keep referring to my constituent -- people are purchasing houses, beautiful houses, $129,000 -- that's a fairly nice house in Wellington county -- and then leasing the land. Those people have a very significant investment and that ought to be recognized in legislation, as well as Mr Vallery, who has undertaken significant investment to develop the park the way it is. As I say, it is beautiful.

I suppose I'm fortunate in Wellington county in that I haven't had situations come to my attention where any of the owners of these properties were acting in any way that would lend itself to problems. In many cases the owners actually live in the communities on the land that they lease to others. They're leasing to their neighbours, and everybody learns to cooperate and there are no problems.

I have another question too, and I hope the parliamentary assistant might answer it. I'm wondering why, in many of these cases of the people who want to complain or feel they've been aggrieved, redress through the courts is not available to them. I assume it is. It might be difficult for some, but I assume it is. I wonder why that's not enough.

I'll probably close with that point, but I find this process extremely irregular and the time frame we're given to respond to the amendments is just not enough.

Mr Conway: I have some comments about a very interesting, substantive matter and procedure that underlies it. I want to say that I'm of course not ordinarily a member of the committee. I'm here substituting for someone. I can't remember who at the present time, but that's neither here nor there.

Unlike other members, I have not had in the last 15 years, that I can think of, a major problem with a mobile home park. I can remember nearly 20 years ago, in the early days of my public life, a particularly intractable problem up in the Petawawa area where we had a situation that caused a lot of grief. So I just simply want to say that I don't have the experience that some other members have had in this particular regard, though I have had some.

But I want to say a couple of things about the procedure that we're pursuing here, because on the one hand I like the idea. I think the notion that private members can initiate more legislation than has customarily been the case around here over the decades is probably a good thing.

My experience with private members' bills becoming law in the last 20 years is not great because in fact there wasn't very much. There was the odd bill. The sainted Ross McClellan, currently of the Premier's office, I think put on the statute books a bill that was unanimously agreed to having to do with moving up the beginning of daylight saving time. That was the kind of thing, quite frankly, that private members were allowed to do by the executive council.

Mrs Marland: Mr Kennedy established Arbour Day.

Mr Conway: Yes, and then, as my friend from Mississauga points out, her very distinguished predecessor, Doug Kennedy, from Mississauga enacted legislation in the name of Her Majesty enshrining Arbour Day. Those are the kinds of things that have in fact customarily been associated with and allowed to private members.

Now, some people might say, "Why is it so?" There are a number of reasons, but one of the reasons that I think has to be understood is that matters of greater public policy affecting the entire province are by definition simply more complex and complicated.

I look around the room; I see a lot of very good people. I don't mean to be immodest, but I think I'm probably the only one here who has in a previous life had the responsibilities of being a cabinet minister doing major legislation. I can think of two or three bills that were worked on by hundreds of people, in one case probably thousands of people, and with great diligence and great effect. They were advertised, there were white papers and green papers and there were drafts, and at the end of the day, and the end of the day came years into the process, I was struck by just how many unanticipated consequences, how many pieces were out there for somebody else to fix. It wasn't anybody's fault. That's just the nature of governance in a province that has 10 million people in as varied a community setting as Metropolitan Toronto and Shining Tree, Nickel Belt.


So I simply want to say that we are I think engaged here in a process that is unusual. I'm sure I could be contradicted, but I can't remember a time when a private member's initiative was allowed to proceed, clearly with the support of government, to deal in relatively short order, notwithstanding all that we've all talked about --

Mr Owens: The gambling, Mahoney's and Dianne Cunningham's.

Mr Conway: Again, I would suggest that is of a different order. If you don't believe me, enact Bill 21 and stand by for the consequences because undoubtedly Bill 21 will address certain issues that are out there.

I'm not at all persuaded that Bill 21 is going to solve some of the most serious problems that have been complained of in this committee, but I am no expert whatsoever. I do know this: Doing this, this way, will give new life to the theory of unintended consequences. It will fall to some poor minister of the crown, not any of us because, of course, that's why they get paid the big bucks, get the chauffeur, the title and all of that staff support. But somebody out there is going to, if Bill 21 passes, within about, I suspect, six months, maybe six weeks, be busily beavering away on picking up the pieces, because you just simply can't do this kind of surgery, however well intended you are.

I know the member from Barrie. He's a very fine fellow. He knows a lot about a lot.

Mr Daigeler: He can send that Hansard now.

Mr Conway: He can do whatever he wishes. I simply point out that we don't normally undertake this kind of significant, province-wide legislative initiative in this fashion. That doesn't mean to say we can't, but if we choose to, I've got to tell you, we have got to amend the process.

The member for Durham East is eloquent as he reminds us of all of the problems that he has personally experienced and to which he can point with great effect over the course of these hearings. But I can tell you, in a province of 10 million people, there are thousands of people out there none of us has heard from who have problems we haven't even begun to contemplate that will too become part of this policy.

I suspect that the embargoed document that was initiated by that awful former government contains within it some very interesting material. I might be wrong, but I can't imagine that the group that worked on that didn't mine the ore in such a way as to identify a number of issues that probably have not been canvassed in this particular hearing.

I want to say that it may very well be that the time has come to change the way we do business with private members' items, but I have to tell you, if we're going to make that change, I think we have got to change significantly the way in which we canvass the province, the way in which we advertise.

Quite frankly, I am a member of the Legislature. I came in here this week. I had no idea -- I now do, but I got it as of about yesterday -- that this Wessenger bill is kind of a happy Trojan Horse. This isn't a private member's bill, really; this is government policy. There's nothing wrong with that, but I found that out yesterday. Out there in the vast expanse of Ontario, there are hundreds of people at least who have a material interest in this who, if this proceeds in this connection, are not going to even hear about the existence of Bill 21 until it is either completed or well down the path. I say again, we have an obligation, having regard to our total mandate, to take regard of those people.

Now, as I say, it won't fall to most of us, because those people are, when they figure this out, going to go lickety-split to the poor Minister of Housing and maybe the Minister of Municipal Affairs and maybe the Minister of Finance and/or the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, because there'll be scores of mom-and-pop owners out there, there will be all kinds of tenants and property owners who own the owned home portion of these land-lease properties, who are going to say, "What?" You could see it just in the course of the testimony.

I haven't canvassed it with the care that Mrs Fawcett and Mrs Marland and others have done, but I've sat here listening to people coming from the same community with rather different perspectives around the problem. I think it's clear to anyone listening that there are two or three categories here that have to be dealt with, and it's not at all clear to me that the mechanisms here in fact adequately address the issues and the problems in each of the categories.

It now being 5:05, I'm happy to move adjournment and resume this in the morning.

The Chair: The committee will stand adjourned till 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The committee adjourned at 1706.