Wednesday 19 January 1994

Residents' Rights Act, 1993, Bill 120, Ms Gigantes / Loi de 1993 modifiant des lois en ce qui

concerne les immeubles d'habitation, projet de loi 120, Mme Gigantes

Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing

Lenny Abramowicz, staff lawyer, Neighbourhood Legal Services

Julie Haubrich, community worker, Christian Resource Centre

George King, rooming house tenant

Ontario Real Estate Association

Jamie Edwards, president

Ross Godsoe, first vice-president

Jim Flood, director, government relations

Citizens for Citizens--Hamilton

David Beland, chair

Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign

Fiona Stewart, member

Ann Fitzpatrick, member

Francisco Rico-Martinez, member

Fair Rental Policy Organization of Ontario

Philip Dewan, president

John Rozema, board member

Peel Consultation Committee

Ron Miller, policy planner, planning and building department, city of Mississauga

Keith Ward, acting commissioner of housing, regional municipality of Peel

John Marshall, planning and development commissioner, city of Brampton

Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organizations

Beatrice Levis, co-chair

Morris Jesion, executive director

Lifestyle Retirement Communities

Larry Popofsky, senior vice-president of operations

Nancy Douglas, general manager, Churchill Place facility, Oakville

Southrim Enterprises Health Care Management Services

Daniel Scully, representative


*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 Sorbara

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

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Dadamo

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

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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L)

Ministry of Housing:

Dowler, Rob, manager, planning and development policy, housing advocacy and planning branch

Irwin, Terry, senior policy adviser, housing planning and policy division

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

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



The committee met at 1030 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


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

The Chair (Mr Mike Brown): The standing committee on general government will come to order. The purpose of the committee meeting today is to consider Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property. We have a full schedule of presenters today as we continue our public hearings, which will go on for the next four weeks.


The Chair: I'm pleased to welcome the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing. You've been allocated one half-hour by the committee for your presentation. The committee always appreciates some time to have a conversation about your presentation during that half-hour. Welcome to the committee, and would each of you introduce yourselves for the purposes of our electronic Hansard.

Mr Lenny Abramowicz: Sure. I'll handle the introductions initially and we'll try to watch the time to allow for questioning towards the end.

Before we begin our presentation, let me introduce our speakers and tell you a little bit about our coalition. My name is Lenny Abramowicz and I'm a staff lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services, which is a community legal aid clinic serving low-income residents in downtown Toronto.

On my right is Julie Haubrich. She's a community worker at the Christian Resource Centre. The Christian Resource Centre is a church-based community agency which operates more than 50 rooming houses in Toronto. Although it could claim exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act or from the tenant protection laws in this province, the CRC voluntarily complies with the laws.

On my left is George King. He's a rooming house tenant in an east-end house which is operated by a non-profit housing provider who has chosen to operate outside of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing was established eight years ago to secure basic tenant rights for all tenants in Ontario. Our members include several tenants and roomers rights groups, legal clinics representing the needs of low-income seniors and disabled tenants and several non-profit housing providers in Metro and other community agencies.

We first got together in 1985 to respond to the growing number of garbage bag evictions taking place in Toronto rooming houses. Sometimes the tenants had fallen behind in paying the rent, but often the evictions were prompted by less savoury motives. Rooming house operators regularly ignored rent review laws; if their tenants refused to pay illegal increases imposed upon them, they were summarily thrown out. Other landlords sought to convert their rooming houses into more lucrative operations such as luxury flats and trendy offices. Such conversions were legal at the time if the building was vacant, so tenants were ordered to leave and encouraged on their way by physical intimidation, cutoff utilities and midnight lockouts.

Ms Julie Haubrich: Our coalition brought many horror stories to the public's attention and was successful in convincing the Legislature to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act to protect most roomers and boarders from these abuses. This bill, introduced by the NDP, amended by the governing Liberals and supported by the Progressive Conservatives, was passed in June 1987.

However, some roomers and boarders were left out in the cold. Those who lived in accommodation for the purposes of receiving care, therapy and rehabilitation were excluded from the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act. So were tenants who lived in accommodation where the landlord had some sort of funding arrangement with various government ministries. Our coalition did not like these exemptions. They were vaguely worded, broad and, we believe, unnecessary. But the government did not accept our arguments and so they were incorporated into law at that time.

Mr George King: In the past few years the abuses created by these exemptions have affected the lives of many tenants and caused our coalition to reactivate itself. We have seen some non-profit and church-based housing providers treat their tenants as despicably as the worst slumlords in Ontario. We have talked to seniors in unregulated retirement homes who face massive rent increases and the threat of economic eviction. We have allied our coalition with several groups of disabled tenants like the developmentally handicapped adults in Peterborough who face forced relocation because their landlord has decided to shut down operation.

Our consistent and persistent message to the government has been: Stop discriminating against these tenants. They are already disadvantaged by poverty, illness, disabilities, patronizing labels or the frailties of age. Don't handicap them further by denying them the protection under law other Ontario tenants have as of right.

Mr Abramowicz: The introduction of Bill 120 is the first step towards righting this wrong. We congratulate the Minister of Housing for bringing forth this necessary and commendable legislation. It will bring under the Landlord and Tenant Act all accommodation where landlords purport to offer care.

Landlords of for-profit care homes will also be under the Rent Control Act. Landlords who receive funding from the ministries of Health, Community and Social Services and others will no longer be exempt from tenant protection laws merely because of this funding. The Residents' Rights Act protects care homes from conversion to other use, and conversion will only be permitted if prior municipal approval has been obtained.

Bill 120, in essence, enfranchises some of Ontario's most vulnerable tenants by extending to them the rights and the privileges that the rest of us already enjoy and take for granted. Our coalition supports Bill 120 and we urge all political parties to do so as well just as all of you supported the extension of the Landlord and Tenant Act to roomers in 1987.

I should point out that today we are here to discuss particularly the Lightman proposals of Bill 120, not the accessory units issue. Although we certainly support the ministry's proposals in this regard, it is our belief that as long as municipalities have the right to evict tenants because their units do not comply with the zoning laws, tenants in basement apartments will also face the threat of garbage bag evictions.

If anything, we would like the minister to expand the bill to include tenants in unlicensed rooming houses under the provisions of Bill 120, but today we are focusing specifically on the positive measures introduced by the ministry to help residents in so-called care homes.

There are some refinements, though, to Bill 120 which we believe are necessary if it's to achieve its goal of protecting all of Ontario's tenants. We have submitted a written brief that we've given to you, which gives a detailed analysis of our concerns and our recommended solutions. We do not have time to deal with each of these in our verbal presentation, so in the time remaining, we would simply like to highlight a couple of the issues of paramount importance to our coalition.

Ms Haubrich: Bill 120 establishes for rent control purposes a new category of housing, namely, care homes. Care homes will be only partially subject to rent control. The charges they make for care services or meals will not be regulated.

Who decides what qualifies as a care home? The landlord. The legislation requires all care home operators to register their properties. The definition of care home is so broad any accommodation can qualify even if it only intends to provide care, and operators of boarding houses stand to gain financially by choosing to register their properties as care homes.

Boarding homes, which have been subject to rent controls since the mid-1980s, are not supposed to be affected by Bill 120. A traditional boarding house offers room and board for only one weekly or monthly rent which is subject to rent control. For example, a landlord who charged $600 per month for room and board in 1993 will be limited to a 3.2% charge in 1994. Nothing in Bill 120 explicitly deregulates the charge for meals in boarding houses.

But if that boarding house operator registers his property as a care home, he may register separate charges for the accommodation and the meals. At first the total amount charged per room in the boarding house turned care home may not exceed the current maximum legal rent for the unit, which is $600 in our example. Once registered, though, the care home may raise the cost of meals at will, provided the tenant gets 90 days' notice.

Boarding house tenants whose rents are currently fully covered by rent control will lose a significant amount of protection. In our example, let's say the maximum rent is apportioned as $100 for the room and $500 for meals when the building is registered as a care home. A few months after that, the landlord can legally raise the charge of meals to $800 per month without any justification or appeal and the tenant may end up paying $900 a month total for room and board instead of the $620 he would pay under the current law.

A tenant who cannot and does not pay her meal charge will not be evicted for arrears of rent, but she also will not get fed. For people too ill or unskilled to cook or for roomers who lack access to kitchen facilities, cutting meal services is tantamount to evicting them.

Our coalition strongly opposes any measure which would reduce rent protection Ontario boarders already have. We believe the simplest and fairest way to deal with this problem is to ensure that meals provided in care homes are subject to rent control just as they are in boarding homes.

As long as care homes coming under rent control for the first time are permitted to register up-to-date information on the cost of meals they provide, future regulations should not be an unfair burden. Guideline increases will more than compensate care home operators for the cost increases experienced in the provision of meals, as history shows.


In the last three years, rents regulated under rent control have been permitted to increase by 16% while the cost of food and salaries of food providers and kitchen staff has risen by less than half that amount. Care home operators who offer optional or partial meal plans should be permitted to levy a separate charge just like landlords who offer parking, and future increases in the per-meal charge would be regulated by rent control.

The alternative to regulating meal costs in care homes is to define care homes and care services more narrowly so that boarding home operators would not be able to characterize their houses as care homes, thus escaping rent control. This might present problems since the approach taken in the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act is to define care very broadly and to make clear that all accommodations offering or purporting to offer care will be subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act.

It is essential, whichever approach you take, that boarders do not lose their current protection and that definitions in the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act are reconciled to each other.

Mr Abramowicz: Bill 120, as presently drafted, exempts a certain type of narrowly defined accommodation from the Landlord and Tenant Act. Housing occupied by a person solely -- and I underline "solely" -- for rehabilitative or therapeutic purposes will not be subject to tenant protection laws if certain criteria or conditions exist. These would include that the majority of residents have a home to go back to, that they are at a rehabilitation centre for a specific time period or until specific goals are met and that the average length of stay is no more than six months.

We accept this exemption since it is meant to apply only to legitimate rehabilitation centres which offer short-term -- and I emphasize "short-term" -- programs in a residential setting but are not in the rental housing business. An example of the type of rehabilitation centre that would probably be exempted by this section would be drug or alcohol rehab centres where people go in for a six-week program and then are discharged and go back to their homes.

The danger, however, is that unscrupulous landlords and those offering a combination of care and long-term housing will try to escape Landlord and Tenant Act coverage by claiming this exemption. Our coalition believes this would be inappropriate. It is our belief that once an individual has been living in accommodation for over six months or has nowhere else to call home, then the housing aspect to the accommodation must be recognized in addition to the therapy or rehabilitation components. The resident's basic tenancy rights at that point must be recognized as well.

Thus, our message to you is: Do not weaken the criteria that presently exist in this section. Otherwise it is our fear that you may unravel all the good that Bill 120 will do. It is essential that any exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act be very narrow and clearly worded.

Mr King: The final issue which we will touch on is one of the arguments you will hear from housing providers who do not want to be subject to tenant protection laws. They often say that the tenants they serve have special needs and are hard to house. These landlords say that the Landlord and Tenant Act is too cumbersome for them, that it takes too long for them to evict tenants they want to get rid of. They will beg you to allow them to continue to operate outside the Landlord and Tenant Act or to introduce a fast-track eviction to the act.

First, their argument is based on several dubious assumptions. How many of the 47,000 tenants who will be helped by the Lightman provisions of Bill 120 are really hard to house? Most are seniors or disabled tenants. Others are low-income tenants living in nonprofit accommodation. Are these landlords saying that seniors, disabled or poor tenants are intrinsically more difficult to deal with than other tenants?

If that's their argument, we don't buy it. We also find it odious that some non-profits are attempting to organize their tenants to oppose Bill 120 using misinformation and scare tactics.

Second, there is an assumption that these housing providers should be trusted to operate unsupervised because they are good non-profits helping vulnerable tenants. This assumption is dangerous. As the former residents of Mount Cashel and Grandview correctional facility will tell you, there is no guarantee that charitable or even governmental organizations helping the underprivileged will always behave appropriately.

The truth is there are good non-profits and bad nonprofits. Some of our members live in non-profits where they have experienced ongoing harassment, lockouts, invasion of privacy and even threatened lawsuits. This is a type of care no tenant needs. It is time to end the imbalance of power between these landlords and their tenants, not institutionalize it.

Third, because they do not operate under the Landlord and Tenant Act now, many are unaware how to use the act effectively. For most types of eviction the act is reasonably expeditious while preserving a tenant's right to due process. Court delays do occur, and we would support a recommendation to commit more resources to the courts so that cases might be processed faster.

We are also open to considering a system which prioritizes court cases so that serious ones are bumped up on the list. We do not agree with proposals to shortcircuit the process for all Ontario tenants because a handful of landlords are resisting regulation under law.

Mr Abramowicz: We are, however, sensitive to the needs of vulnerable tenants whose health and wellbeing are threatened by violent, disruptive or intimidating behaviour. We could live with an interim removal of such tenants under certain special circumstances. We expand on this topic in our written brief and set out the criteria that would have to be attached to such a removal order in the written brief that we've presented.

As a coalition which counts among its members tenants, landlords and legal advocates, we believe we are a unique deputant on Bill 120. We, as a coalition, have worked hard to understand each other's concerns and to ensure that our proposals are adequate, fair and realistic to all the parties involved in this type of housing. Consequently, we truly think that you should pay special attention to our recommendations, which represent the consensus of all the different stakeholders around this issue.

We would now be pleased to answer any questions the committee has at this time on the proposals we have put forward regarding the Lightman provisions of Bill 120.

The Chair: Thank you. In rotation, Mr Cordiano.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Certainly this is quite an extensive brief, and I would like to have some time to read through it, of course, to digest some of the details, but if I may just ask a couple of questions around, firstly, the question of care and bringing that under rent regulation, if you will, rent control, I have a couple of concerns with respect to that.

Firstly, defining what care really is, I suppose, could be done, and probably will be done, if that is what results at the end of the day. But, furthermore, rent regulation or rent control officers would be the most inappropriate individuals to determine whether care was in fact being offered in the home in a proper fashion. I would be extremely concerned that those officers would be ill equipped to deal with those types of decisions.

Around the question of meals and food, my concern would be that if you regulated prices for meals, then in effect you would have a floor price, which would be a minimum amount that needed to be spent by landlords, and that minimum is, of course, a ceiling on price, but a minimum on standards. There is no guarantee under that type of arrangement, that framework, that quality would be maintained. So you would have a deteriorating situation with respect to the provision of meals because they're just meeting minimums. That's a real concern. How do you respond to that? Have you thought about that at all?

Mr Abramowicz: To try to deal with both issues, first, I don't think we're as concerned about the concept of rent control officers being the ones doing the valuation, because I think it must be kept in mind that Bill 120 only deals with the regulation of the cost component of the services.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the reality is that Bill 120 doesn't deal with the specifics of the quality of the care. Perhaps for that one would have to go back to Professor Lightman's recommendations, the other 140 recommendations he had in his proposal or in his study, and enact some of those, and some of them are being enacted.

What Bill 120 does is it specifically includes under rent control the cost of the services, and that's what rent control officers would be dealing with. They wouldn't be so much looking at the service and saying: "Is this adequate? Is it inadequate?" They would more be looking at what the cost of it is and seeing whether the charge for it is appropriate and whether an illegal charge has been attached to it.

Mr Cordiano: But, see, again that speaks to the same point around meals. Quality would end up suffering if you didn't have some measures of control around quality. If you're just dealing with the price floor, a minimum price or a set price or a ceiling, if you will, on price, then you would not have a guarantee of quality. That quality may suffer as a result, because as prices are being constrained, you have no guarantee that the quality is going to be maintained.

Mr Abramowicz: Sure. My feeling of what laws do, the Landlord and Tenant Act, rent control and many other laws, is to set a minimum standard. They don't allow people to go beyond that. What they do is to set a basic level of protection for the individuals they're attached to. That's what we hope this law will do.

The reality is that, just as now, there are different operators out there in the marketplace. There are some operators that probably try to approach the higher end of the market and some the lower end of the market. What we hope that these laws will do, and specifically the rent control provisions that you're talking about, is set a minimum standard and not allow people to engage in, say, gouging practices and not allow people to derogate from basic minimum standards.

With respect to other things, then the reality is that there are other factors that are going to have to get involved. The market is one of the issues that will be involved in determining where people go. If one place is offering better food than another place, then maybe people will be move to the other accommodation.

The other issue, Mr Cordiano, if you're suggesting that perhaps we need further regulation to ensure that not only are the prices regulated but as well the quality of the services, including the food, I'm not sure you'll find anybody disagreeing with you in this coalition.


Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): Thank you for your brief. We appreciate your advice. You've touched on many aspects of the bill and you've touched on probably the most controversial aspect of the bill, which is, as perceived by some of the municipalities, that this bill will intrude into their legislative responsibility for zoning.

We've heard some concern about that. We've heard the minister's response, which is that this is meant and intended to legitimize an existing situation, ie, there are a lot of illegal basement apartments. This simply recognizes that there are a lot of basement apartments out there and we're just legitimizing those.

Do you anticipate, in your opinion and your experience, that this bill will increase the numbers of basement apartments in the province significantly?

Mr Abramowicz: I guess, as an opening point, what we, as a coalition, have tried to do is we've limited ourselves to deal, if at all possible, with the Lightman recommendations in Bill 120. As a coalition, we haven't spent a lot of time or developed a great deal of expertise to deal with the basement apartments. Perhaps other groups such as INC, ie, Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, would be better served to respond to that.

As a coalition, our position is basically that the reality is that there are tenants living in basement apartments at this point and right now they're living in some kind of nether world with no rights. We believe that any legislation that will extend to tenants in basement apartments and, frankly, tenants in unlicensed rooming houses would be welcomed.

It's not a detailed answer, but perhaps we would let other groups respond specifically to those issues.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): Yesterday we had a presentation from the Ontario Residential Care Association, and my recollection is that they indicated that the average age of their clients was somewhere in the vicinity of 83 years old. One of the problems they pointed out is that the care needs change, are not constant, and as the care needs increase over a period of time some of their facilities, some of the people they're speaking for, the operators, simply don't have the level of care that would be required to give to that person.

Their concern is that if they come out of the provisions in the Landlord and Tenant Act, they would not be able to arrange for the person to move somewhere else into a facility, to an operator that has the level of care the person needs. If the person chooses, for whatever reason, to stay put, then the person is there and perhaps not receiving the kind of care. There's obviously a problem at any rate. What is your response to that situation? How do you see that situation being dealt with?

Mr Abramowicz: I guess our primary response is that we don't envision that this will be a problem in a great number of situations. The reality is that most people want to be living in places that are appropriate to them and that, if an individual is in a situation where he or she can no longer get the services that are necessary for him or her, the vast, vast, vast majority will voluntarily choose to move to another accommodation where he or she can receive the appropriate care. Because of that, we think in some ways this is a bit of a red herring, that the reality is that for the vast majority of residents it's not an issue. They're going to go to a place where they can be best suited or best taken care of.

In certain circumstances where individuals do decide to remain behind, for whatever reason, because it's been their long-term home or for whatever reason, we believe in the principle that was enunciated in the Lightman report, that of the concept of delinking; that is, perhaps this is something that we are moving towards as a society now, to delink the concepts of housing and support services.

The situation where individuals wish to remain in their accommodation and are getting only a certain amount of care but perhaps there is a need for certain additional care, it might be possible -- not "might be"; this is something that's growing in today's society -- it's possible to bring in certain services to do the top-up necessary to allow individuals to remain in their housing, and perhaps that is an appropriate thing in certain circumstances.

The idea of delinking and bringing in other services is a solution to those unique cases where individuals are going to choose to remain in the accommodations that they are presently in when their service needs have gone beyond those that are available by the housing provider.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Thank you very much for your presentation. It's certainly very detailed and, as you point out, you also have a submitted brief that we will certainly be considering and noting the areas of your concern. Certainly our intention is not to weaken the rights of anybody who is protected now; we certainly want to go beyond that.

But obviously it would be helpful, I think, to everybody on the committee if we had a better sense of what the conditions are that we are dealing with in the various types of accommodation that are being considered under the title "care home," and I was wondering whether one of you could present perhaps some information on what the conditions are like in a care home, just to give us a more graphic sense of what we're faced with.

Mr King: I live in a non-profit housing provider in the east end which doesn't necessarily provide care but claims they provide care in order to get an exemption under the Landlord and Tenant Act. A simple explanation would be, it's like the Wild West. They can do anything they want. You have absolutely no rights. They don't even go out of their way to inform the tenants of these non-profits, these houses, that they have no rights.

In my situation, I had a cat. I had some problems with them, I questioned their authority, they changed the rules, "You can't have a cat, get out." It applies to anything. They can tell you to do anything. They can walk in the house and say, "Go in there, clean that bathroom, or you're out," and they do that.

Mr Gary Wilson: This is in your own unit?

Mr King: Yes. I live in a shared accommodation, boarding house type situation which is run by non-profit and they have total exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act. They can throw people out on a minute's notice.

Mr Gary Wilson: And you've seen that happen?

Mr King: Yes, I have. They attempted to throw me out. I have a court injunction preventing them from throwing me out. They've decided they have a right to tell me who I can and can't associate with and threatened me with eviction should I have guests that they don't approve of.

They walk in unannounced. I've seen them bring police into the house and search people's rooms without their knowing. It goes on and on and on. If you stand up for your rights, you get an ongoing campaign of harassment against you. They've threatened me with lawsuits. They've tried to insert their staff members on the board of directors of a legal clinic which was representing me. It goes on and on and on.

Mr Gary Wilson: Why would anybody want to live there?

Mr King: My main purpose for living there was it was cheap housing, bottom line, no other reason. It's rent-geared-to-income housing and a shared accommodation environment. They are good houses, they're clean, they're better than a lot of the other rooming house situations you get in the city, but the fact is you have to check your rights at the door.

Mr Gary Wilson: Is there any opportunity for you to discuss these conditions with the management of the institution?

Mr King: That was my first route, when I first ran into problems, to try and work it out within the non-profit. When I ran into a brick wall, I went to the ministry and the ministry said: "Listen, we have nothing to do with it. We hold these at arm's length and if you have a problem with it, you're going to have to take them to court." That's the only recourse you have in these situations, to take them to court, drag them through court cases, which take years, and you could be out on the street as it is. Two or three years from the time you're evicted, not too many people want to continue on with their court case.

Mr Gary Wilson: And you pretty well feel now that you are completely at their disposal as far as your privacy in your room as well as the other conditions?

Mr King: Oh, yes. They walk in unannounced several times a week and the more you object to their invading your privacy, the more they do it. They decide they're going to hold unannounced fire inspections and give you a day's notice and go into your room and then they don't even bother checking the smoke detectors in your house. It's just non-stop harassment should you question their authority.

Mr Gary Wilson: So as far as you'd be concerned you would consider the provisions under Bill 120 to be a clear improvement on that kind of a situation?

Mr King: Oh, definitely. Like I said, it's the Wild West right now. Like they say, there are vulnerable tenants living in these places, people on low income, recovering alcoholics like myself, people with disabilities. I think the best way to help these people is to empower them. You give them housing and no rights at all, you know, hold them under your thumb; that's not helping people. That's holding them hostage.

The Chair: Thank you. The committee thanks you for being here on this very cold morning to present to us.



The Chair: The next presentation will come from the Ontario Real Estate Association. Good morning. The committee has allocated 30 minutes for your presentation. Begin by introducing yourselves for the purposes of our electronic Hansard.

Mr Jamie Edwards: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and members of the committee. My name is Jamie Edwards and I am president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. With me this morning is Mr Ross Godsoe, first vice-president of the Ontario Real Estate Association and a realtor from Mississauga, and Mr Jim Flood, the association's director of government relations.

By way of background information, the Ontario Real Estate Association currently comprises over 40,000 real estate brokers and salespeople, organized into 48 local real estate boards, active in virtually every community in Ontario. Our mandate includes working with government to increase consumer protection through improved education and business standards for the real estate profession, enhancing the opportunity for all Ontarians to own and enjoy real estate and protecting the fundamental democratic rights of property owners in the province.

To accomplish these goals, OREA provides realtors with a vehicle to work with the government on a wide range of legislation and regulatory policy issues which affect housing and real estate. Bill 120 certainly qualifies as legislation that affects housing.

Before beginning our substantive comments, I would like to make it clear we are restricting this submission to the issue of accessory apartments and garden suites. We do not claim any expertise in the health care field or how this legislation might affect that industry.

As the committee is aware, Bill 120 is a successor to Bill 90, since withdrawn, and the consultation paper Apartments in Houses released by the government in 1992. OREA provided comments on both of those documents and we are pleased to be able to continue the discussion today.

Unfortunately, we do not support provincial legislation mandating accessory apartments "as of right." Our position is based on the following:

-- The legislation will not increase the supply of affordable housing; in fact it may reduce it.

-- The legislation will impose a province-wide solution to a perceived Toronto problem.

-- The legislation is an unwarranted intrusion on local government authority.

Proponents of this bill suggest it will expand the supply of affordable housing. OREA is not convinced that this will be the case. Bill 120, in and of itself, will not provide more housing. Its most immediate effect will be to legalize existing accessory apartments, not create new ones.

As the government is well aware, there are thousands of illegal apartments in Ontario at the present time, most concentrated in the greater Toronto area. Those who created these accessory apartments did so regardless of the law. We believe it is unrealistic to suggest that there are thousands of home owners out there just waiting to create accessory apartments once they become legal. In our view, those who were interested in creating accessory apartments have long since done so. There will be no stampede to create accessory apartments if this legislation is passed.

In the longer term, it is entirely possible that currently existing accessory apartments may be taken out of supply by owners who decide that the hassles associated with the Landlord and Tenant Act, rent control, building codes, municipal inspectors bearing search warrants etc, outweigh any financial advantages.

If the goal of government policy is to increase the supply of affordable housing, there are better alternatives. For example, we support programs like the Ontario home ownership savings plan, decisions to scale back the extortionate development charges being levied by some local and regional governments, and a speeded-up land development approvals process as effective ways to lower housing costs.

In addition, it remains our belief that if the current regime of rent controls is dismantled, the supply of affordable housing will increase.

As part of our research on this issue, OREA wrote to each of our 48 local member boards to request their ideas and input. One board's response contained the following sentiment, which was echoed by a number of others:

"Once again we have an example of the provincial government implementing legislation affecting all of Ontario to deal with a problem in the Metro Toronto area. If the big cities have inadequate housing and those municipalities attack the problem this way, then let them set their regulations accordingly. Elsewhere in the province, vacancy rates are high and adequate affordable housing exists."

To us, that illustrates another problem with Bill 120. This legislation is viewed as an example of Queen's Park attempting to solve a local problem by imposing their solution on everyone in Ontario.

Local problems demand local solutions. The London and St Thomas Real Estate Board, in a letter to the editor in October 1992, expressed realtors' feelings perfectly. They said, and I quote:

"The freedom to choose how a community will be shaped and how its wellbeing is best promoted has always been the prerogative of local government. We don't dispute the authority of the provincial government to set overriding policies and goals; we do dispute their ability to design provincial policies that will work in every community in Ontario. Indeed, this legislation is a stunning example of the provincial government's attempting to deal with a problem which exists in the Metro Toronto area -- inadequate housing -- by implementing legislation affecting all of Ontario, where vacancy rates are generally high and adequate affordable housing exists."

As stated earlier, we believe the proposed legislation is an unwarranted intrusion on the traditional authority of local government. Bill 120 will overturn thousands of decisions made by local governments relating to zoning and official plans and will result in confusion and a loss of control by both local governments and local communities. As organizations such as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario have explained, this legislation will result in a rezoning of thousands of communities across Ontario. This will be done outside the normal planning and zoning process and without any local public consultation.

It is our view that when someone purchases a home they investigate very carefully the type of neighbourhood they are joining. Location is still the most important aspect of real estate.

Once an individual has decided to purchase a home in a community, he has the right to expect his neighbourhood will not be fundamentally altered without some form of due process, public consultation and community involvement. Bill 120 is a violation of the trust that people place in government, both local and provincial.

Before touching briefly on the garden suites aspects of the bill, I want to make it clear OREA supports affordable housing initiatives. We support housing intensification and we support the establishment of basement apartments. However, that support is conditional on local zoning and approvals processes being followed, including full consultation with the neighbourhoods affected.

That principle seems to be respected to a considerably greater extent with the provisions relating to garden suites. As we understand Bill 120, garden suites will be subject to municipal regulation regarding the installation, maintenance and removal of a garden suite, the term the garden suite may be permitted and arrangements regarding costs to the municipality related to a garden suite.

OREA therefore does not object to provisions relating to garden suites because their establishment will be subject to municipal agreement.

Mr Chairman, that concludes our opening statement. We would be pleased to attempt to answer any questions your committee may have.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to thank you very much for an excellent brief, to start with, and pick up on a point towards the end of the brief where you say that once an individual has decided to purchase a home in a community, he or she has the right to expect in that neighbourhood it "will not be fundamentally altered without some form of due process, public consultation and community involvement."

That certainly is a right that I concur with 100%. The minister seems to be of the opinion that there has been consultation on Bill 120 and that the consultation has been adequate to implement Bill 120 and the consequences of it. I wonder what your opinion is on that.


Mr Jim Flood: I don't know exactly. I don't want to put myself in the position of contradicting a minister.

Mr David Johnson: Go ahead. I would.

Mr Gary Wilson: They're not even worried when they're wrong. You know there's lots of clarification on this.

Mr David Johnson: I guess the question is, do you feel that the people who have bought homes and made a decision to buy in a single-family community have had the kind of consultation that they would concur with this kind of legislation?

Mr Flood: No, I think we'd respectfully disagree with the minister.

Mr David Johnson: Okay. Now in terms of the affordability issue, I seem to recall having discussed with your association some time ago that the affordability issue, which is one of the main concerns I guess driving this bill, in fact here in the province of Ontario is greatly improved today. I wonder if you would comment. Do you have any statistics in terms of affordability today vis-à-vis a decade ago or so?

Mr Flood: Prices have certainly decreased, as have interest rates, and the threshold for people to afford houses has been greatly reduced. There is an adequate supply of housing out there, and I think the government at all levels should encourage people to get into ownership as opposed to renting. We've seen affordability increase.

What the government needs to do is instil the confidence, and it's not a new message to anyone in this room, for people to go out and make the decision. Interest rates are lower than the 18 years that I've been in real estate, but people are still not making the decision to buy because of their fear of job loss.

Our association even introduced an insurance program where purchasers could buy insurance for job loss. We're doing everything in the private sector that we possibly can to give them the confidence to go ahead. The affordability is there; the supply is there. It's a matter of pushing people over the edge.

Mr David Johnson: Have we ever seen a period when we've seen prices this low and interest rates this low? When you combine that in a relevant sense, it's got to be a wonderful opportunity to buy and be affordable.

Mr Flood: I think the short answer is no. The last statistics I saw were released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. They have an affordability index that I believe suggests housing is more affordable now than any time in the last 20 years.

Mr David Johnson: I'm not surprised. You indicate that this legislation might actually decrease the supply of affordable housing. I just think of my own municipality in terms of the many bungalows where there may be a basement apartment but where the ceiling height, for example, probably wouldn't meet current standards, where there may be a window space that may not meet current standards and the exit may not be quite up to the standards, although we're having a tough time getting the exact standards out of the government that it's proposing.

I wonder if you were thinking in terms of a home owner there, perhaps a senior citizen, who might have somebody in a basement apartment, but is faced with the possibility -- yesterday we heard that the sprinkler system, I think in a question by Mr Mammoliti, the fire chief indicated it might cost $3,000 to $5,000 to put a sprinkler system in one of these apartments, plus putting in an exit, plus improving the window space. Then if you had to tackle the ceiling height, you'd get into many, many thousands of dollars.

Mr Flood: I think you've illustrated the problem absolutely perfectly. In our view, I think what's going to happen is that a lot of people who have basement apartments now are going to have a building inspector in and discover that it's going to cost someplace between $10,000 or $15,000 to bring a basement apartment up to meet all the various municipal standards and they'll just say, "To heck with it, it's not worth the effort." That, in our view, could result in a decrease in the amount of affordable housing that's available.

Mr David Johnson: Is that $10,000 to $15,000 a figure you're saying could be representative?

Mr Flood: I don't know, in all honesty. Our association has not done any studies on it. Certainly if you get into issues like basement insulation and if you get into issues like sprinklers, and certainly some of the changes to the fire code that are coming can cost $2,000, $3,000, $4,000, it can very easily add up to someplace between $5,000 and $10,000.

Mr David Johnson: What we've been hearing, yesterday I guess, particularly from the people from Mississauga, is that there should be some beefing up of the enforcement. The fire chief in Mississauga in particular expressed concern because of the death there, that the fire departments and municipalities should have stronger rights to gain entry to inspect and make sure that the fire walls, for example, are properly constructed, just the basic ingredients, maybe that the wiring is properly done and that sort of thing.

Secondly, from the municipal people, there should be permissive legislation. If municipalities are given an overall goal -- and I think you've alluded to this in your brief, that the province should set overall goals or objectives, I suppose, but shouldn't try to legislate specifically. The municipalities should be allowed the flexibility to try to deal with those objectives in their own way, and one of the objectives, I guess, would be affordable housing. Is that essentially what you're saying? Maybe you could comment on both aspects: the permissiveness and the ability of the municipalities to get in and enforce.

Mr Flood: If I can start with the permissive part, there was permissive legislation, or policy, in the Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement, which said that the province set an overall goal of 25% and then allowed the municipalities to achieve that in the best way they saw fit.

We thought at the time and still think a numerical goal wasn't realistic, but setting policies and then allowing municipalities to meet goals, targets, whatever you want to call it, in a way that best suits local conditions I think is much preferable to just trying to pass a piece of legislation that says this is going to apply every place in the province regardless of what the neighbourhoods are like and regardless of what the municipalities think and regardless of how much consultation there had been with the home owners in those individual neighbourhoods.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Thank you, gentlemen, for appearing here this morning. I am very pleased to see that you agree with the so-called granny flat, because I'm here mainly to defend that. I think it's a very worthwhile part of this bill, but I see you're going to agree with that.

I want to turn to your role as the chair and members of the Ontario Real Estate Association. I see that your mandate includes "enhancing the opportunity for all Ontarians to own and enjoy real estate."

I have a daughter-in-law who's a real estate agent, and she tells me that the crux in making deals in many, many instances is the fact that there's an accessory apartment in the building. She said, "If I've listed a house and it has an accessory apartment, I'm home free to sell it," because people are looking for that to help in the financing of the mortgage, you see.

Also, before I get to ask you how you feel about this, I represent parts of Oshawa. Oshawa, as you know, is a General Motors town, and General Motors is in a state of flux, constantly laying people off etc. I held and was part of a public meeting dealing with Bill 120 in Oshawa. A number of people who came before that committee who are members of CAW Local 222 and work for General Motors were in favour of keeping their apartments in their houses and allowing apartments to be created in order that they could hang on to the house if in fact the auto industry goes downhill.

Given that sort of general scenario about the vital role that flats or whatever play in allowing people to own homes and allowing people to keep homes in tough economic times, I'm rather amazed at your opposition to this when I think, in my opinion, you should be presenting something for the rights of my daughter-in-law, who wants apartments in houses, belongs to your association, then you come here and you say you're against it.

It puzzles me, given that you say "the own and enjoy real estate." Surely accessory apartments are one of the components that will allow more Ontarians to own real estate and get into real estate in these tough times. I'd just like to hear what you have to say to that.

Mr Edwards: I hope Mr Mills is not suggesting that his daughter-in-law is selling homes with apartments that are not approved by the local municipality, because that's against the law.

Mr Mills: Get real. They're there.

Mr Edwards: If they are, then she's breaking the law, and that's unfortunate.

Mr Mills: Come on.

Mr Edwards: I'm very strong on this.

Mr Mills: There are 100,000 of them out there.

The Chair: Allow the presenter to answer.

Mr Edwards: It's the "as of right" we're opposed to. We cannot represent properties that are of illegal use or else we'd lose our licences, which you have control over anyway. So, Mr Mills, I would suggest that you talk to your daughter-in-law. Have your daughter-in-law call me personally, because full disclosure is what it's all about. If she's breaking the law, then those units are sold illegally and there could be recourse back to her on that.

We're not opposed to legal units, and I think what's going to happen, if this bill goes through, Mr Mills, is that those houses your daughter-in-law sold, those people who think they're going to get rent income from that, when they look at what it's going to cost to get those things up to speed, are going to be very upset.

If I extrapolate that to the new home side, even the building code that you brought in last year, which increased the basement height and the full wrap, increased the price of homes. For seven weeks most of the builders put their prices up and they sold no houses. You'll find that right from the Ontario Home Builders' Association because I talked to them on this issue. They're not in favour of this if it's going to increase the cost of houses. That goes back to what David Johnson was mentioning on affordability.

Anyway, Ross, you had a comment.


Mr Ross Godsoe: I think you put it very appropriately as far as the accessory apartments in buildings. I think it could be a very local issue. With all due respect to your daughter-in-law, Mr Mills, I believe in the profession it is an arbitrary situation with respect to disclosure if it's illegal. Again, as I say, it is a local issue.

I just want to touch a little bit further on this affordability issue with respect to housing and accessory apartments in basements. I think the whole key word here is "affordable" housing, and we support that 100%. However, Jamie just alluded very briefly, and maybe I could expand upon that, to the building code, and it's actually over the building code changes. For the last two years, that has driven the cost of housing up $8,000 to $9,000 per housing unit in 1992 and 1993. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the housing that was being built in the 1980s, and even the 1970s for that matter.

At the same time, as a result of the development charges, which you may or may not be aware of, through the Chair -- for example, the town of Oakville's increase in development charge is $9,800 per lot effective in June 1993, which again had additional costs to housing and certainly didn't help the affordability of housing issue.

Mr David Winninger (London South): It's interesting that some of the alternatives you suggest on page 2 of your brief have already been acted on: the extension of the Ontario home ownership savings plan, which the realtors in my area were quite pleased with, and also the Minister of Municipal Affairs announcement speeding up the land development approvals process to lower costs.

I'm glad to hear that your association does favour apartments in houses. Many of our own representatives in London do as well. One of the main problems, though, even though there's been a document around since the Liberal administration in 1989, has been land use policy for housing.

A number of municipalities have failed to act. For example, Mississauga, to my knowledge, has no legal apartments in houses. London, on the other hand, has gone a lot further, but there are vast parts of London that are still zoned single-family. Sometimes it's just because of arbitrary zoning; sometimes it's because the criteria established for apartments in houses are punitive.

The evidence we had Monday was that if apartments in houses are legalized, then the owners of those houses are more likely to convert, which kind of goes against the submission you make in your presentation. I just wanted to bring that to light and to reiterate the concern that people in my riding have around affordability.

In London the ceiling for the affordable house is $139,500. By having affordable accommodation, and evidence is that apartments in houses are more affordable, people are better able to save up a down payment or, as my colleague from Durham said, to defray their mortgage, utility and tax costs. Do you have any response?

Mr Godsoe: Well, going back to our submission, on the bottom of page 3, I think we make it very clear that we support the establishment of basement apartments. However, I think at the same time that support is conditional upon multiple zoning and the approvals process through the local municipality. I think this is where the issue really lies.

Even relating back to what Mr Flood's comments previously were, and that was that if we took every current, existing basement apartment and brought it up to standard, if you will, then the chances are, if I was in that situation, for example, I may sit back and take a look at it, and if it was going to cost me $10,000 to bring it up to local standards, which is where they should be, then I'd probably take a second look at it and therefore decrease the supply of affordable housing. But just in summary to your question, we have no problem with basement apartments, but they should be governed at the municipal level.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): My biggest problem with Bill 120 is the intrusion of the government in the planning process. It seems like the government has lost confidence in the local governments to make these decisions. Yet municipalities right across Ontario are being asked by the Minister of Municipal Affairs to provide them with an updated official plan every five to six years, with an updated zoning bylaw to accommodate the official plan. A lot of these official plans end up before the Ontario Municipal Board with maybe 300, 400 or 500 amendments before it becomes law. So municipalities are always three to four years behind in the updating of their zoning bylaw because it's before the Ontario Municipal Board, and you know the backlog before the Ontario Municipal Board.

I want to ask you what your thoughts are on the planning process in this province, because now we have John Sewell looking at zoning, looking at planning, looking at just about everything that goes on in this province as far as planning, but AMO and our municipalities are not consulted. It's being done through, let's say, a referee, if we can call John Sewell a "referee."

I'll be the referee for 834 municipalities. I want your thoughts on this, because you people, as real estate agents and brokers, you're always interested in zoning and official plans, especially if you're trying to, let's say, sell a subdivision. So what are your thoughts on the planning process in Ontario? What kind of a mess is it?

Mr Edwards: This isn't really the topic we came to discuss today, and I don't think there's enough time to go through our thoughts completely.

Mr Grandmaître: Well, take it; take the time.

Mr Edwards: But I'll let Mr Flood summarize. We'll do a Reader's Digest.

Mr Flood: The Reader's Digest version is that I think the planning process in this province is just absolutely, hopelessly complex. I don't think anybody understands it any more. I think it takes years and years and years to get major developments out of a builder's or a developer's mind into a position where you can employ people actually building the thing.

Mr Sewell has spent a lot of time talking to different groups right across the province, including us and including AMO, as you know. I think his recommendations to a large part miss the mark in terms of the development process and the development approvals process. We don't think, on balance, his recommendations are really going to speed up that process to any considerable extent. To the extent that it slows down the development approvals and the planning process, it's going to hurt the cost of housing and real estate right across the province.

Mr Cordiano: Can I ask you, do you think that this law could be amended and that a compromise could be accomplished if it were possible to allow municipalities to determine where accessory apartments are located in the municipality and to allow for municipalities to inspect, to have access to these apartments to be able to do the inspections without warrants, as is now contemplated in Bill 120?


Mr Flood: I think the answer is yes. I guess people like AMO would be in a better position to assess that question. Frankly, it's our sense that the ministry or the government do not appear to be too interested in negotiating that particular issue. As you know, they did have Bill 20 tabled in the Legislature and they withdrew it.

The government did have a perfect opportunity at that point to go back to groups like AMO or municipalities individually and try to negotiate a better deal perhaps than the 25% guideline that had been the law up to that point. They chose not to do that for whatever reason, so I'm working on the theory that the government is not particularly interested in negotiating the issue with municipalities.

Mr Cordiano: Would you support some amendments to that end if that were made possible in this committee?

Mr Flood: Yes.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today. The committee will be considering your views carefully during the clause-by-clause consideration in the second week of March.

Mr Flood: Thank you for the opportunity.

Mr Gary Wilson: Mr Chairman, may I again offer the services of a member of the Housing staff on the fire issue, which again Mr Johnson raised, just to clear up any of the misunderstandings that surround that issue. Perhaps just before we rise at noon, since we started a little bit late, members would be willing to stick around to hear Rob Dowler's presentation.

The Chair: Certainly. Of course, we attempted to do that yesterday. We had unfortunately lost a few of our colleagues. I think it would be good to hear from the Ministry of Housing following the next presentation.


The Chair: The next presentation is from Citizens for Citizens, Mr Beland. Good morning.

Mr David Beland: We have quite a mishmash this morning. We've heard from the social lobby, we've heard from the realtors and now you get an opportunity to hear from the neighbourhood.

Mr Gary Wilson: Good. We're all neighbours.

Mr Beland: Actually, we're going to be discussing the apartments-in-houses issue of Bill 120 as well.

Our organization, Citizens for Citizens, was formed in March 1990 to review Hamilton's draft housing intensification policy, and these are the two policy statements we actually reviewed. One of our original members actually is here today. Lois Brown is here who sat on the original committee. Our secretary, Michaelene Galan, is also with us this morning.

The committee presented a brief to the city of Hamilton to follow up the information, and this was our citizens' brief on the information. The study itself was a $75,000 study on housing intensification, just to look at mainly the apartments-in-houses issue and some other aspects of intensification.

Our committee was involved in the whole process right from the beginning and the final outcome was the development of Hamilton's municipal policy statement which was passed by city council in 1992. We helped draft this policy. As well, we helped draft the bylaws to support that policy.

Our committee focus is on neighbourhood issues: apartments in houses, inner-city decline and housing intensification. One of the directions that we had taken was to determine if there was a link between conversion and decline in the inner city. We set an action plan to look at refocusing direction away from the rural-urban fringe, and that's the direction that development has taken today. It pushes harder and harder on that agricultural land.

Our idea is to refocus this direction back towards the inner city, and we are looking at a stabilization plan of inner-city neighbourhoods and a revitalization of the inner city. All these aspects are linked together: the use of new agricultural land, the stabilization of the inner city, as well as rejuvenization of the inner core.

The executive of our committee is made up of two representatives from each of the six neighbourhoods across the east-central area of Hamilton, so that's about 12 or 14 members we have on our executive. We have 30 immediate resource people who help us with all our work and we have about 500 on our community mailing list who also act as a resource pool to our committee. The committee also shares information right across the city through community groups through an organization called the Executive Council of Hamilton Neighbourhoods, an organization that we also helped to form.

Our community information was developed from interviewing over 2,000 people in our east-central area, the area that was built prior to 1940 in Hamilton. We've also seized every opportunity to gain information, taking part in Hamilton's workshops on affordable housing and also the workshops on the task force for sustainable development. This of course is a major regional plan, the sustainable development plan, although just a draft copy of Hamilton-Wentworth's sustainable plan.

We continue to work with sustainable development in 1994 to implement the sustainable development plan. We have also made presentations at the Sewell commission and we've reviewed all the materials from that commission. We have also attended almost every seminar possible on housing and community issues in our area and even some outside our area.

I would like to mention that we also made a presentation at the Lightman commission since we had considerable information on care facilities and second-level lodging homes in our area. We are not making a comment on that part of the legislation today.

I have mentioned that we wanted to determine if there was a risk between conversion and inner-city decline, and we have. I am going to the brief section here on page 19.

Hamilton, like many cities, is suffering badly from inner-city decline, especially in the downtown core with vacant storefronts. As you move away from the downtown core on King Street and Barton Street, you see storefronts actually being boarded up with no hope of renting. The downtown Eaton Centre, which is similar to the Eaton Centre here in Toronto, has a whole floor of vacant space. You can imagine going down to the Eaton Centre and seeing the whole second floor vacant. Well, this is what happens when you go to Hamilton. Yet it seems that the malls on the outer ring of the city have very little vacant space, and in Dundas, which is a commercial strip just west of us, the storefronts are all full and it's a thriving community. Hamilton has the same number of people as these areas to support the downtown, yet decline continues. So we ask the question, why?

It seems that Canadian cities, and maybe right now provincial governments, have learned almost nothing from our American neighbours and are heading really on the same path of inner-city destruction. City planning has forced the middle- and upper-middle-income groups to the suburbs and has in turn forced the low-income groups very close to the inner city, right around the inner-city core, as a matter of fact.

In Hamilton, one can trace the decline of the inner city back to about the mid-1970s, when we started to see the number of converted properties increase around the inner-city core. It seems that for every middle-income family home owner who moved out, a low-income rental family has moved in. We certainly haven't anything against low-income rental families; I've been one most of my life.

The problem with this is that now 70% of the single-family homes -- that's 70% -- within three miles of the inner city of Hamilton have been converted. The replacement families unfortunately do not have enough disposable income to support the downtown stores, restaurants and services. So these businesses in the downtown leave and they head out to the outer core and they just leave the For Rent signs behind.

In the residential aspect of our community, speculators and absentee landlords own 90% of the converted buildings. This may be different than in other communities. We have actually heard the Minister of Housing say that older families with some extra space would create an apartment, or younger people looking to augment their mortgage payments would probably put an apartment in a house, but this has certainly not happened in the inner city of Hamilton.

What happens with the speculators and absentee landlords owning these properties is that maintenance is certainly never carried out. The owners have very little interest or no interest in their communities. They go ahead and cut down trees and tear off verandas. Just horrendous things have happened to our neighbourhoods, and we see that the direction of decline just continues.


Our committee, very early after researching our information, projected in the spring of 1990 that if the same direction continued in the inner city of Hamilton with the number of conversions that we were seeing and the decline that we were seeing, total conversion and inner city breakdown would occur -- I've put January here. We weren't quite that specific, actually, but we were looking at 1998 for a very, very serious problem within our inner city.

Just in the last few weeks in Hamilton, front-page stories in the Hamilton Spectator are outlining about further store closings, along with articles of inner city decline and despair.

We do have a plan of action, and I think it's really appropriate that we do, because we are in serious problems in the inner city of Hamilton. Hamilton's housing intensification policy, the policy that I alluded to a little earlier, really sets us in a direction away from this decline. The plan is to stabilize the inner-city neighbourhoods while meeting the future housing needs.

The following are two recommendations that Citizens for Citizens made which are now part of our housing plan and what we see as the key to saving our downtown core and neighbourhoods.

The first recommendation that we made was to remove the restriction on conversion to only those houses built prior to 1940. Since 1950 in the city of Hamilton, conversion has been allowed on properties that were built before 1940, so we have had apartments in houses for 40 years or better in the city of Hamilton, in the inner city at least.

Our belief here was that in creating apartments right across the city, we could take pressure off the inner city and also it would give the other neighbourhoods some responsibility for creating housing, although you can imagine they actually didn't think much of this. We did get this approved. It took considerable lobbying, but we have this as part of our housing plan. We have apartments in houses right across the city of Hamilton presently and this was approved in 1992.

This was conditional, however, on redirecting the traditional conversion area of the inner city to these outer areas that haven't been converted. The two key aspects of our bylaws was to continue the existing bylaw of one parking space per unit, and this is a manoeuvrable parking space since we are a shift-working community. Most of the remaining properties, the 30% that are non-converted in the inner city, we found would not meet this minimum requirement and so that would be a direction towards the outer areas.

Along with that issue, though, parking -- as probably you can see in our brief -- is just a major cause of concern in the inner city and almost every one of the 2,000 interviews we went through brought up parking as one of their major concerns and problems. We believe we have to maintain our parking bylaws in order to create any sort of a stable community within the inner city.

The next recommendation was to continue the existing bylaw of our 700-square-foot apartments. Again, most of the 30% of the non-converted homes couldn't meet this requirement and our research found as well -- it's just as important, I think, as our research found -- that couples and young families would stay in a fairly good-size apartment, a 700-square-foot apartment. If it was any smaller, these people would tend to look for another apartment.

This is what we have where small illegal apartments have been created in our area, a real transient movement of people. Just a considerable amount of our information supports around this type of area, and actually the effect on the children of this moving on a continuing basis has been very devastating in our community.

With these above bylaws in place, we believe that the speculators, the people who convert these houses, will look at the thousands and thousands of houses that we have made available in the outer ring of Hamilton to convert, rather than staying in the inner city and going through the problems of adjustments, the planning and development meetings and the committee of adjustment meetings where they usually run up head to head with groups like ours.

We think that Bill 120, as it is presented, just throws the doors open to these speculators. We've sort of been running a guerilla war with them for almost two decades now and we think that they have done just incalculable damage to our inner city. We don't see that there is any benefit to throwing the doors open in the inner city because we already have 70% conversion. So there just really is no reason to take that risk.

Just under another consideration, Hamilton's housing intensification plan melds into Hamilton-Wentworth's sustainable development plan, Vision 2020. This work is unparalleled anywhere in Canada. The United Nations established the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI, as a committee to evaluate communities worldwide on the basis of the quality of their living environment. In 1993, Hamilton-Wentworth was selected by the committee as the only community from Canada to join the 21 model communities around the world. This is a very important area, Hamilton-Wentworth, and the work that we have done on sustainable development in housing.

We do have a concern about Bill 120 even in the areas outside the inner city. The province seems to believe that throwing the doors open to conversion will create a great number of apartments and take the pressure off the raw land needed, the farm land. John Sewell states that cities would act like a sponge to absorb people.

This is good in theory, but in practice we have seen in the inner city that creating small apartments is directly proportional to the number of problems created, and the number of problems created again is directly proportional to the number of middle- and upper-middle-income groups that move away from that problem. This in turn puts pressure on the new agricultural land because these people never look back. They always look to the new development up front, the new development to move forward to. This again will put the pressure on the agricultural land.

I'll just go over the questions and recommendations before we open the floor. The questions we have are, if the world community accepts Hamilton-Wentworth as a model community, can the province recognize this status? Can the province recognize the uniqueness of Hamilton-Wentworth and help develop the model that we have created, rather than detract from the model with Bill 120? Our fear is, are some areas like the inner city of Hamilton expendable at the price to be paid for implementing Bill 120? Is it not better to develop and protect inner cities, to redirect the focus of attention of the middle income rather than to ensure the profits of the speculators and absentee landlords?

I do have one somewhat personal question in the line of a heritage district. I have worked eight years to develop two heritage districts right in the centre of the east-central area to add some stability to our community. The heritage districts presently restrict use to single-family use, which is the original use of the properties. What we ask is, will Bill 120 protect the heritage districts or will it once again throw the doors open to the hammers and the crowbars of the speculators?

The position of Citizens for Citizens is certainly not to avoid the concept of apartments in houses. In Hamilton I've put the first, but actually for the most part we were the only organization that recommended and supported apartments in houses right across the city.

The province, we feel, should certainly set the policies for apartments in houses. But where the objectives of this policy have been reached, such as in Hamilton's pre-1940 area, then the municipality should be allowed to control the policies through its local bylaws so as to meet the challenges of inner-city decline. This could be done quite easily through such things as special planning areas.

If the policy is to be implemented locally and the bylaws just discarded, we look again at some type of a phasing-in program for inner cities so that we can start balancing off those communities that have a high level of conversion for those that do not.

We think to ignore the recommendations and disregard these special needs of the inner-city area would have the same irreversible negative effects which we have witnessed in North American cities in our research.

The uniqueness of Hamilton's long-standing contribution to apartments in houses and Hamilton's recognition by the international community as one of 21 model communities around the world should be considered before implementing Bill 120. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much, Mr Beland, for your presentation. I certainly found it thought-provoking and very thorough, and I certainly appreciate the qualified support for Bill 120. I see that this is dated August 1992 and is in response to the consultation paper put out by the ministry in June 1992 and of course this very graphically shows that there was an extensive consultation over the provisions that are now in Bill 120. I'm pleased to see many of the suggestions you had then are still current now.


I would like to ask you, though, a couple of things and one has to do with the absentee landlord phenomenon. You have raised some concerns about the absentee landlord and some of the characteristics that befall some properties at least. I'm just wondering whether you think there are alternatives to stipulating that a converted property must be owned or owner-operated, as it were, that the owner has to reside in the facility? Are there ways that the community can police the characteristics of the property through bylaw, for instance?

Mr Beland: That was the very first thing we looked at. We were hoping that in some way or other, we could control this situation through some type of controlling the absentee landlords. But more or less under the Charter of Rights and even though we don't have property rights entrenched in the Constitution, there's still a group of rights there that are sort of acceptable at any rate and we sort of head in that direction.

We couldn't see that there was any possibility of taking an action. Both the planning department and our committee as well as others researched this for a considerable length of time and in fact there wasn't any way of handling that situation. So we had to look at ways around the situation rather than handling it directly.

Mr Gary Wilson: Could you be a bit more specific by "that situation"? I'm thinking of noise, for instance, and unkempt yards. What are you thinking of when you talk about the circumstances that are associated with absentee landlords?

Mr Beland: What we see is for the most part you can very seldom ever get hold of an absentee landlord and they look at a bottom line. They just take the money out of the community until there isn't any money left and then if worst comes to worst, we see the power of sale signs.

But what happens is that the municipality can't get hold of the absentee landlords and the tenants will very seldom ever complain, we have found. They'll just move to a new property rather than put in a complaint, and that certainly has been a problem that even the tenant advocacy groups have pointed out to us in the Hamilton area.

Mr Gary Wilson: With better enforcement of bylaws, mightn't that be one avenue then that there would be some result from complaining?

Mr Beland: I think the problem is that the issue is so great, we have a very large number of problem situations, and we have found that on average, working with the planning department, if we are looking at trying to clean up a bad situation, we're very lucky if we could maybe get one in every two months by the time we track the guy down and we find where he is and we send him notices and we try to help the people who are there.

It's a real laborious situation and even if we had the right-to-entry situation, we couldn't see that would really help that situation much. These people are experts in the field and we are trying to look at a broader situation to try to handle the current conditions rather than trying to focus on each individual absentee landlord.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'd like to say I appreciate your highlighting of the inner city problems that are associated with, I would say, things like unemployment; the lack of money in effect. But I was wondering, by opening up all parts of the city to conversion, is it not possible you would have the pressure on the inner city relieved by people who are able to and in fact would find it more appealing to live in other parts of the city and therefore that would free up inner-city apartments for others who would prefer to live downtown or who don't have a car, for instance, as many people who live in apartments don't have cars, so that this would mean that it would lead to a more balanced nature?

Mr Beland: We focus on very neighbourhood issues and understanding people, and right now the understanding in Hamilton is that no one wants to really live in the downtown area. So we are trying to set in motion a plan that will more or less clean up the downtown area. I don't like to use the term "clean up," but I like it to balance out a little bit.

Mr Gary Wilson: You referred to all those For Rent signs.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Wilson.

Mr Mills: I'm next, Mike.

The Chair: My apologies, Mr Mills. Mr Cordiano.

Mr Cordiano: Of course, the government's theories are going to be blown out of the water. I just want to congratulate you for a very thoughtful, very thorough brief. Actually, it was quite devastating for government members because what you have provided us --

Mr Mills: Come on now, speak for yourself. Devastating -- get real.

Mr Cordiano: It's unfortunate that the minister wasn't here today, because she would have been enlightened by your views. I think what you've provided us here today is a snapshot or a fast-forward of what might in fact result after Bill 120 is brought into law. I think, quite frankly, you've pointed out exactly the problems that will face a city like Metropolitan Toronto.

We already see a decline in the inner city of the city of Toronto. In fact, when intensification of the magnitude that you're speaking of takes hold as a result of Bill 120, which is an unplanned, unmanaged kind of intensification which will result, it will lead to a further devastation of the inner city. The politicians in the city of Toronto are already complaining of a loss of assessment dollars, and that will further be exacerbated by, I believe, what will result as a result of Bill 120 and the intensification of it.

Mr Beland: We are really worried about our downtown core. Right now we have approximately 5,000 vacant units in the pre-1940 area of Hamilton. The people from the Mountain and from what we call the outer ring or the rural urban fringe will not move into the downtown area. Our plan is to start to stabilize these neighbourhoods, not only to stabilize them, but to have the publicity out there that they will be stabilized. We have undertaken a whole series of projects like the heritage districts and some work on redeveloping our downtown core as well, and we hope that this will start to refocus that direction away from those outer areas.

Mr Cordiano: My colleague has a point to make, but I'm just going to add this: What you're seemingly telling me is that this has resulted in the exodus of what amounted to a family setting in the inner core. That no longer exists in the inner core of Hamilton; they've removed themselves from the inner core.

Mr Beland: They've gone. The renters, for the most part, are good people. The problem is that the absentee landlords let the properties run down, and they have to move to another property, and so we get this transient situation. These are the types of stability issues that we are handling and that's why these special planning areas, such as I have outlined, or something along this line, are absolutely necessary for our inner city.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm sure the city of Hamilton will be grateful for your group and your input and not only the time that you've put into this brief but the time you've given to the citizens of Hamilton.

The city of Hamilton, I read recently, wants to give itself a new vision, a new Hamilton -- never mind the rah, rah, rah Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Steel City; they want to give themselves a new vision. Was this the result of your group's study?

Mr Beland: We were only part of that study, and this is part of our sustainable development plan for the region of Hamilton-Wentworth with what's called our Vision 2020. Part of the sustainable development plan was based on our housing intensification plan, along with the environmental issues, the harbour remediation and quite a number of other issues as well. We are looking at refocusing a whole direction back towards the inner core, taking the pressure off that agricultural land, which I think everyone believes is very important. I know John Sewell, certainly in his reports, has. We've taken some great action at doing some work on our harbourfront.

I can see some little signs there that maybe we're going to move forward, but I'm afraid Bill 120, as it's presented today, is just going to snap the rug out from under us in the inner cities because the people who are converting -- I know them very well -- are still looking at converting the inner city. They don't want to move out to that outer ring, so we have to have that redirection.

Mr David Johnson: Excellent presentation. My grandfather owned one of those lovely homes in the city of Hamilton that I suspect now is converted. You mentioned 5,000 vacant units in the city of Hamilton. What sort of rents would be charged? Are these high-rent units or affordable units, or how would you describe them?

Mr Beland: Actually, a lot of the units in Hamilton are the very affordable units that are to rent, and the reason is because we have had a lot of doubling up of people to try to meet the hard economic conditions that we have. We see a lot of rents in Hamilton at $390 a month. I don't think you could have touched that for many, many years. These same apartments were maybe renting up to $500 just a few years ago, so the rents have dropped back so far just to gather people.

I did hear the Minister of Housing here a little while ago saying that the rental apartments available were in the higher end, but in Hamilton actually the reverse is true. It's almost low-end apartments.


Mr David Johnson: I suspect that's true in many communities, certainly here in Hamilton. From what you're saying, and I concur, if I was a speculator and I felt that the price of homes was about to go up because the interest rates are low and house prices have come down, then I would rub my hands in glee with regard to Bill 120 because this Bill 120 presents all sorts of opportunities.

Mr Beland: Exactly.

Mr David Johnson: You think the price of houses is going to go up, and now you can buy, within the law you can split it in two, get some income out of it until it goes up to where you can make a profit, sell it and have no regard for the community, or whatever. That's the kind of problem that you're concerned about.

Mr Beland: That's exactly the problem. If we can't redirect these people to the outer ring -- of course there is always pressure on the inner area because that's where the services are, and the restaurants; that's where the action is. So we have to redirect them out there in order to balance those inner-city neighbourhoods.

Mr David Johnson: I see on a chart on page 7, "Statement Update," if I'm reading this correctly, that Hamilton does not permit below-grade apartments. Am I interpreting that correctly?

Mr Beland: It has to meet a height requirement, and you're going to stretch my knowledge. I think six feet, nine inches is the height requirement in Hamilton basements. In the older city there aren't very many of the older apartments that can meet the six-feet-nine condition. I don't want to be quoted 100% on that; I'm just going from memory.

There is also a provision that a certain percentage of the basement has to be out of the ground; the windows have to have so much light coming in, in other words. I can't exactly tell you what that is, somewhere around three feet, but it has to have some light coming into the window. That also provides an access for escape as well.

Mr David Johnson: Okay. But under Bill 120, those restrictions --

Mr Beland: They would be removed.

Mr David Johnson: They would be removed, so that would presumably cause some problems there.

Mr Beland: Our apartments, for the most part, are not basement apartments in Hamilton. We're almost all second-floor or third-floor apartments.

Mr David Johnson: Yes. You've got many of the bigger homes, the older homes. The 700-square-foot restriction, could you tell us how you came upon that?

Mr Beland: We talked to a great many people. We found that the tenancy in the east-central area of Hamilton was down to six months, that people were moving every six months. We started to say, there's got to be a problem here, because there was a real pressure put on our schools and even our recreation centres to come up with programs to maintain children in those programs.

When we started to talk to people, when we started averaging out some sizes a little bit, we could see that if we had about -- actually, it was over 700 square feet that we came up with, but our bylaw said 700 so we didn't want to make any changes to it. We found that people would stay in apartments that were that size. Even up-and-coming young couples like a little bit of room to entertain and what not, and they would stay in an apartment that was a little bit larger.

But once you got too small, under 700 square feet, the pressure was on for people to find a little bit bigger accommodation, and that's what we were finding. People were moving in, saying "This will do for now, but then just as soon as we find another apartment we'll move." This is the type of thing that goes on just continuously. Don't come to Hamilton on the first on the month or you can't go down the side streets for the moving trucks. It's incredible.

Mr David Johnson: Mr Arnott has a question.

The Chair: He may.

Mr Arnott: No, I don't.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We appreciate that. As I've told other groups, we will be considering this piece of legislation during the week of March 6 in clause-by-clause examination.

I believe, Mr Wilson, that you were hoping to have the ministry at this point clarify a matter?

Mr Gary Wilson: Yes. Rob Dowler from the Housing ministry.

Mr Rob Dowler: I'll be quite brief in my description of the process that gave rise to the draft fire marshal regulations which Mr Hare referred to yesterday.

Originally, when the Bill 90 consultation paper came forward, this document here in 1992, the last chapter in that document did contain draft fire code regulations, or rather draft regulations which pertained to matters concerning fire safety. That was circulated quite widely among municipalities, enforcement officials, general citizens, ratepayer groups and other folks across the province.

The single biggest concern we heard in regard to fire safety was from enforcement officials, and the view that was expressed most often was that the provisions that affect fire should generally be included in the fire code, as opposed to in a proposed regulation made under the Planning Act. In response to that concern, we contacted the office of the fire marshal and we worked very closely with it to convene a task force in the first and second quarters of 1993, last year.

The task force, as Mr Hare indicated, consisted of fire and building officials, landlords, enforcement officials, tenants, individual representatives with an interest in the area of fire safety and fire protection engineers. That group came up with the draft standard which is proposed to be made under part 6 of the Ontario fire code, and that draft standard, I believe, was circulated by Mr Hare yesterday. I'm sorry, it was part 9 of the Ontario fire code that it would be proposed to be put under.

The draft standard addresses many of the issues that the committee has heard about in the last few days from the people who appeared before it, issues such as notification and the proper installation of smoke detectors; issues such as containment of fire, fire separations and the extent to which a fire can be confined to one dwelling unit; and issues such as exiting and the provision of a single or multiple paths of exit in the event of a fire.

The draft provisions generally conform to the existing provisions in the 1993 amendment to the Ontario Building Code which pertain to apartments in houses. As our minister indicated in her Monday presentation, those building code provisions are now law. They were issued in the summer of 1993. The intent, which I believe was expressed in our staff presentation on Monday and in my minister's remarks, is to make the regulations under the Ontario fire code law at the time Bill 120 becomes law.

These two initiatives do very much go hand in glove with one another. They were consulted on together in the initial document which was circulated as part of Bill 90. I think it is the government's intention, as expressed on Monday, to bring these two initiatives together in law at the same time.

As I indicated in a comment that I made on Monday to the committee, it would be very difficult for us to proclaim the draft fire code regulations, which I think there's quite a bit of support for, in advance of Bill 120. The reason is that if the fire departments were to make orders under the draft fire code regulations, the municipality would be placed in an awkward position, because it would have to issue building permits to clear work orders for properties which do not conform, in most cases, to municipal zoning.

If the property is not a permitted use under municipal zoning, the chief building official would be compelled to issue the building permit, but I think we all agree that it would be very awkward for the building official to issue a building permit for a property that he knows does not meet zoning, does not meet applicable law, to use the language of his legislation.

It is our view that it's very important that Bill 120 and the fire code regulations go ahead at the same time. I think it's also our view that those standards should address many of the concerns that were raised before the committee in previous days.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): I think this is quite important, what we're hearing here. I just don't know whether we perhaps can continue this in the afternoon. If there is a cancellation, perhaps we could have some debate on this, because my question still is, since you are obviously stressing that those two things go together, are we going to get an opportunity to see it?

Mr Dowler: As I indicated, the draft standard is in the public domain and we could certainly make it available to this committee. It is a matter which is still under discussion, however. It is a draft standard.

Mr Daigeler: I just refer to what the Minister of Transportation did in my area, which was helpful. He put before the committee the draft regulations for the graduated licensing system. At least he gave us an idea of what was being discussed. I think the more that you can share with the committee in terms of the regulations that you're planning to put together, the more helpful it's going to be.

Mr Gary Wilson: They wouldn't be any different, would they, from what Chief Hare circulated yesterday?

Mr Dowler: To be quite honest, I haven't read what Mr Hare did circulate. We could make a current copy of the draft, emphasizing again that these are draft and that there are some matters that our building code officials are discussing with the office of the fire marshal. If the committee is willing to look at them as a draft document, that's acceptable.

The Chair: You are to make that available to the committee then.

Mr Dowler: Yes.


Mr David Johnson: Specifically, there was a question of the right of entry. Can you tell us what these new regulations are going to say with regard to the right of entry of the fire department into houses, into basement apartments and into accessory units?

Mr Dowler: The existing provisions in the Ontario Fire Marshals Act contained in subsection 18(1) would continue to stand. Those provisions in 18(1) and in a subsequent section under that act do give the fire department fairly broad powers of entry, at least relative to other acts that I'm aware of in the province, such as the Rent Control Act and the Building Code Act.

There is a specific provision made under the Fire Marshals Act for fire officials to gain entry without a search warrant in situations where the official does believe there's a threat of fire or of imminent danger to life. We could make those sections available to the committee as well, if that's helpful.

Mr David Johnson: Sure, we would like to see both, but I think there's a general consensus from the fire chiefs that what is there today is inadequate and certainly, from my experience, first, it's inadequate to get in, because what is the fire inspector going to do, get in a row with the home owner? The home owner says, "No, you can't come in." What are you going to do? Break down the door? Bring the police. Force entry. They can't get in. It's pretty clear today.

Second, if they do get in, there is a difference of opinion as to what powers they actually have when they get in. There are many who feel they're restricted to looking simply for fire violations in the sense that is there a proper extinguisher, are there piles of oily rags or things like that.

If there are other infractions, building infractions, possibly property standards infractions, maybe even infractions to do with the hydro, they have very limited powers and they're really not able to act in that capacity, their scope of power is very narrow. It doesn't really come to grips with all the problems they may be able to see. Do the new regulations address this concern?

Mr Dowler: I think it's important here to separate issues that relate to questions of authority and what's actually in the provincial statute from matters of local practice and what the enforcement official may be comfortable with. I think you heard from Chief Hare yesterday on the latter types of issues.

On issues of authority, which is really all I can speak to as a provincial official, I think you can see in the statute fairly clear provisions that are made whereby a fire marshal, deputy fire marshal or district deputy fire marshal may take any person that he or she deems necessary into the inspected premises to assist with the inspection. That could include, I believe, a property standards officer, or I think there is in fact a specific provision made here where a police officer could be brought in if there is a real difficulty gaining entry.

Again, what's written in the statute, what I would want to convey to the committee, is a fairly broad provision for powers of entry for fire officials. You have indicated that some officials have different levels of comfort as to how far they want to go with this authority. I think some of those issues were described yesterday, but the statutory powers for fire officials are quite broad.

Mr David Johnson: You mention exit requirements. What specifically will the new regulations say with regard to exit requirements and basement apartments? Will each basement apartment have to have an outside exit that doesn't go through the main dwelling?

Mr Dowler: No, the draft standards refer to four exiting conditions. In cases where a unit does not exit directly to an outside portion of the premises, there would have to be additional provisions made for fire separation and notification. If there is an exit available directly from the unit to the outside, the separation requirements and the notification requirements would be slightly lower than if that were not the case.

The Chair: I was just going to suggest that if we're going to ask specific questions, it might be wise to wait for the draft regulations to actually be in front of us before we pursue that line. Given the fact that we're by adjournment time and I'm losing many members to other appointments, perhaps we could restrict the conversation a little bit. I have two other members still on the list, and we may have only two members left if we continue this way. So, Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Grandmaître: No, I'm going to wait for the written report.

The Chair: What about Mr Wilson?

Mr Gary Wilson: Definitely. I'll get a rain check on that.

Mr Grandmaître: Maybe I should add that whenever there are major changes or amendments to the building code or the fire code, it puts a lot of pressure on municipal inspectors, plumbing and electricity and the fire chief and his prevention group, because there's always the zealous inspector who will walk into your brand-new place, it's only a year old, but with the new fire code, he will want to change all these great new inventions. That's my concern about these major changes. I think they should be done very gradually.

The Chair: Thank you. Gradually we're losing all our members. I would remind the committee that at 2 o'clock we will reconvene. It is helpful to the Chair to have representatives of all three parties here so we can begin on time, given the fact that we have a very difficult afternoon in terms of scheduling.

The committee recessed from 1218 to 1403.


The Chair: Our first presentation for this afternoon's hearings is from the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign.

Ms Fiona Stewart: Good afternoon. My name is Fiona Stewart and I'm a member of the campaign. Next to me is Ann Fitzpatrick, and next to Ann is Francisco Rico-Martinez. I will be beginning with some comments about our support and looking at four cornerstones of the bill, Ann will be making some key recommendations on some improvements to the bill, and we will all be available after the deputation for questions.

The Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign is a coalition of 138 groups across Ontario that support changes to the Planning Act to allow apartments in houses "as of right." Collectively, these supporting organizations have day-to-day experience with thousands of low-income tenants across Ontario who live in illegally zoned apartments in houses. In addition, many home owners have supported our goals.

Today we are limiting our comments to the apartments-in-houses portion of the bill. Our coalition also supports the other portion of the bill; however, we will not be discussing it today. Our comments cover two main areas: firstly, the four cornerstones of support for the bill, and secondly, key recommendations.

The first cornerstone of support, housing as a right: It is the role of all governments to develop a vision and appropriate laws to uphold rights and protections of all citizens, including the most disadvantaged. The province takes the abstract concept that housing is a right and through Bill 120 protects these rights by overriding the discriminatory restrictions that are pervasive in cities and towns across Ontario. It is the appropriate and necessary role of the government to be a steward of human rights if these rights are not upheld at the local level.

It is unfortunate that the province has had to intervene at this point in history, but it is necessary and it is extremely urgent. Decades of devolving planning regulations, including giving extensive power to municipalities, have resulted in an abject neglect of some people's fundamental human rights. Municipal planning regulations, bylaws and zoning continue to restrict legal apartments in most areas in Ontario. Too often, municipal planning rationales masquerade as an objective, neutral process. This is a coverup of the main agenda: to maintain exclusive or "snob" zoning designed to keep out certain types of people, including, but not limited to, low-income tenants.

Historically, the effect of maintaining exclusive single- family designations has been to legitimize a form of segregation by income and effective segregation by race, family status, gender and age. This form of planning simply ignores the human rights of many of the most disadvantaged tenants in our province.

The principle underlying the bill says no to discrimination in zoning, no to the walls built around residential communities where only those who can pay for a down payment and make mortgage payments have the privilege of choice, no to keeping out low-income tenants and other diverse groups. The principles underlying Bill 120 say yes to inclusive communities that are planned for all people, not just higher-income groups.

This bill is an important intervention in an area of planning where municipalities have historically failed to take a proactive approach to ensure housing and human rights. Bill 120 brings Ontario closer to upholding the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Our next cornerstone is equality for tenants. The bill brings equity and fairness to apartment tenants. These tenants are invisible citizens presently. They live in these units often without basic knowledge that they are even living in an illegal unit in a house. They have become second-class citizens in this province.

This bill makes it clear that these tenants have coverage under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. All tenants deserve to know their rights, and these rights should not be applied like a lottery: Maybe they'll be covered, maybe they won't. This is certainly the case for apartment dwellers in houses in Ontario presently.

Bill 120's underlying principles speak to the right of all tenants to a basic living standard, including tenants in houses. The province is making provisions for fire and building code standards and reinforcing municipal obligations to support property standards. This is long-overdue provincial intervention in the lives of tenants who have been neglected and who have been in fear to report abuses of standards.

Our third point is equality for home owners. INC receives frequent calls from home owners who want the right to put a second unit in their home safely and legally. Sometimes it is for an aging parent. Other times it is to help pay for a mortgage to keep their homes in these hard economic times. By making one apartment in a house a right across Ontario, the government is allowing every home owner the same rights. This also protects some home owners from being harassed and fined in one area while another is allowed to convert an apartment. Examples of home owners who have faced large fines even while this bill is debated have been shared with the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign.

It is our position that allowing apartments in houses makes sense for many people and is good planning. Historically, apartments in houses have been used as part of the housing stock. Why such opposition to sanctioning a solution that 100,000 home owners have acted upon, with or without legal zoning? Why not sanction the choice of home owners to convert part of their underutilized home for tenant use?

Good planning starts at the human scale. Bill 120 provides a framework to facilitate, not dictate, flexible housing solutions. It allows flexibility as households age, get smaller and experience changing economic circumstances, and as housing stock becomes underused. It opens up options for many diverse groups: for house-poor seniors who have too much space and not enough income, for single parents who don't want to live in a high-rise accommodation, for small families who want their children to have a backyard to play in, for new Canadians who want to live in houses but who can only afford to rent.


Good planning reflects environmental issues and concerns. Better use of housing stock and prevention of urban and suburban sprawl can be supported by legalizing apartments in houses. Municipalities have not always been the best stewards of our green space and limited land. Municipalities seem to be saying, in their singular opposition to Bill 120, that good planning is acquainted with zero-growth plans for so-called stable, single-family-zoned residential areas. Apartments or rental housing are only supported in selected areas or in some cases on a main-street plan. This is despite the demographic shifts that show in many single-family areas a decrease in the population in suburban neighbourhoods. This shrinking in household size in established communities is what is putting the very stability of these areas at risk, as many people fear, not apartments in houses.

How can small neighbourhoods stay vital and support local infrastructure, businesses and healthy community life? Some suburbs are becoming like ghost towns, with very few people coming and going during the day and evening. Municipalities try to argue that apartments in houses are bad planning and point to issues such as parking to defend this case. They point to a shortage of services and lack of infrastructure. This becomes a quite circular argument.

First of all, planning as a discipline is not and never has been a perfect predictor of social and economic needs and realities. Demographic shifts and new realities often are not planned for adequately even when the information is available. Our current housing situation is a perfect example, where we have many small households needing rental housing at a time when many municipalities have actually encouraged the development of monster homes.

It is critical that apartments in houses not be blamed for some of the shortfalls in planning as a whole. Apartments in houses make good planning sense. They have been used very inappropriately as the scapegoat for many existing local problems. It is time to accept them and plan for their safe and secure future existence.

I will now turn the discussion over to Ann Fitzpatrick, who will be discussing the key recommendations.

Ms Ann Fitzpatrick: We will be providing a very detailed brief on some complete recommendations, and I'm only going to be touching on a few. We'll also be supplying you with our detailed brief on the consultation that was held in the summer of 1992 on apartments in houses, as well as a detailed report on an inquiry on safe apartments in houses that we held last June with input from many groups.

Bill 120 is a first step and it's definitely a step in the right direction around apartments in houses. However, we would like to have you consider some amendments and changes to enhance human rights and planning and tenant rights.

The first thing that we'd like to say is that we don't think that limiting one apartment per house as of right should be limited to one unit. We think that the as-of-right provision around additional units in houses should be more open and inclusive as long as these units can meet fire and local property standards as they're developed.

We see this as a halfway measure and another form of exclusionary zoning. Clearly, if municipalities establish minimum unit sizes, as set out in the building code, this could prevent home owners making several closet-size and very inappropriate apartments. However, as you know, in many communities with older housing stock and large housing, they could very reasonably accommodate two or three apartments.

Secondly, it's critical for us that the regulations and the law of Bill 120 as it relates to apartments in houses be retroactive. Consultation on this government's intent to legalize apartments in houses dates back to the throne speech in 1992. Further than that, the Liberal government, in its housing policy statement in 1989, was indicating that it wanted municipalities to look favourably at this form of housing.

In the meantime, while we consult, debate and discuss, tenants are getting evicted, home owners are getting fined and dismantling perfectly good units that are in violation of zoning. The courts have not recognized this pending legislation in a number of cases that we're aware of. We say it's time to get the word out that this is going to be law and that people need protection.

Thirdly, we would like the province to provide educational resources to assist home owners and tenants to understand the obligations and rights under key legislation such as the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code. This is key, because this form of housing has been illegal and has been in existence for 10 years. Many home owners don't understand what the rights and obligations are, and indeed many tenants don't even realize.

We also recommend that home owners who are getting permits to convert be provided with some useful and optional information that they may make their second units accessible. It is much cheaper to develop accessible units at the point of conversion than it would be at a later time when they may want a senior relative to live in that unit.

We also believe that the province should be providing some low-interest loans or funds to assist with conversions to accommodate accessibility or improve safety standards, targeted at some home owners with low incomes.

The next set of recommendations we have relate to strengthening some tenant rights. We feel that the Rent Control Act, and specifically the rent registry, needs to be expanded to include these single units. Currently, the rent registry only covers buildings of units of four or more. We think that this is very important.

Another protection for tenants we'd like strengthened is the eviction time for owners who want the apartment back for their own use. We recognize the rights of home owners to have the unit back for their own use, but we would like this time period extended to 120 days to give tenants adequate time to find alternative housing. We also fear that this provision could be used as a loophole to evict certain tenants where other grounds may not be present.

We cannot state strongly enough how we oppose the greater rights of entry that municipalities have been pushing for. Bill 120 will be overriding the local zoning, which specifically is what puts tenants in fear of coming forward to voluntarily invite inspectors in. We are hearing from tenants that it's the zoning that's the impediment. They don't need warrants and people coming into their unit. They would be more than willing to invite them in to bring their apartments up to grade.

Our final points relate to what we think is the importance, because of chronic municipal opposition to these units, of the province monitoring the implementation of Bill 120 and some specific suggestions on how we believe municipalities should be exercising enforcement powers so that property standards on tenants in apartments are exercised as fairly as with tenants in other units. We certainly support safe and decent housing, and we would hope that municipal intent would be similar to other apartments, ie, the intent to maintain that housing stock, assist landlords in upgrading it however possible and preventing the eviction of those tenants through the loss of tenure wherever possible.

Our fear, quite frankly, is that enforcement at the municipal level will be very heavy-handed and will be motivated with the intent to close down units even if there's one minor violation.

Finally, we recommend that this bill leave an opening in the regulations for later provincial changes and amendments to establish fair minimum standards for apartments. We say this in the event that local municipalities fail to set any reasonable minimum standards regarding ceiling height and unit size etc. The province has set some maximum-minimum regulations to ensure that Cadillac-type provisions aren't established in municipalities, but we're a little concerned around minimum standards. There is a precedent for this kind of fail-safe mechanism in the Rent Control Act, where municipalities that have no property standards regulation fall into the provisions under that act, and we ask that you look at that as an example.

In conclusion, we think that this issue has been documented in planning studies for decades. I myself and many of the members of our coalition have made deputations before mayors in the Toronto area and across this province. We believe that it's time to move on this bill now and certainly consider some of the amendments that we've suggested. Thank you.


The Chair: We will start with Mr Daigeler and then Mr Grandmaître. Try to be relatively short: three to four minutes.

Mr Daigeler: A rather quick question then, although the answer may be long. I understand your concern and where you're coming from. However, in view of the position that you have taken, I'm wondering what role you would still give to local government. I think in the approach you have taken, you obviously give a lot of importance to the provincial government, but traditionally we have had three levels of government in this country. I'm just wondering whether in your view there is a function still for local government, and if so, what that would be.

Ms Fitzpatrick: We think local government has a very important role and we regret that on the issue of apartments in houses it has been neglected at the municipal level for so long, to the point that it requires provincial intervention. We think the role of municipalities is to recognize this housing, to develop some minimum standards and to enforce safety in those units. We think there's an important role at the municipal level, definitely. What we've seen is that municipalities have turned their eyes to these units, allowed them to exist, ignored the rights of the tenants who live there and accepted a huge housing stock across Ontario of tenants who are like invisible, second-class tenants.

What we're saying in terms of the provincial role is that we don't think the municipalities have behaved responsibly to date around these tenants and their needs and the needs of home owners. We're asking the province simply to watch, because with the 1989 housing policy statement, as you're all aware, most municipalities didn't comply with even responding to those statements. So we're basically saying, "Please take up your role as municipalities and meet the housing needs of all your citizens, not just people who can afford to buy a home."

Mr Daigeler: Obviously the role that you're giving to the municipalities is as the enforcer of the provincial rules. Of course, our local governments don't accept that kind of description. They see their role very much as a planning function as well, determining themselves at the local level what the future of the local level should be. It shouldn't be just dictated to by the provincial government. Obviously there's a different vision of what local government should be.

Mr David Johnson: I just wonder how it is you feel that municipalities get away with being so irresponsible and so negligent. They go to the electorate every three years, they're elected by all the people and people seem to vote them back in.

We had the city of Hamilton here this morning which does have a policy in support of accessory units. They've had many accessory units in that city for quite a number of years. I might add that they've indicated they have some 5,000 vacant units, which they described as being very affordable. We had the mayor of the city of London yesterday. The city of London for some time has been quite at the forefront of pursuing the affordability issue. The mayor of Oshawa was here yesterday indicating that a high percentage of the units there are affordable. But still, they're apparently irresponsible. I just wonder, how do they get away with it in view of the fact that this is a democratic society and everybody has a vote? If they're so irresponsible, why do people vote them back in?

Ms Fitzpatrick: I think it's a fairly complex issue. There's been a lot of confusion in this province about the legalization of apartments. Many people create apartments in their homes not even realizing they're breaking a law until a building inspector comes and closes their apartment down. So they're voting sometimes without full knowledge of exactly what issues they're voting for.

In my recollection of local municipal politics, at least in the greater Metro area, I don't ever remember basement apartments being on anyone's political agenda. I think politicians have tried to keep the issue quite repressed. The reality now is, and we all know this, that there are over 100,000 units in this province. The municipalities are being dreadfully neglectful of them. It's quite obvious that if there are 100,000 of these units, people want them. They are absolutely necessary in towns like London, in towns like Kingston, in any university town. Those towns could not survive without apartments in houses because of their student population.

Additionally, I think that it's just been such a long time that they have behaved so irresponsibly, it's time to give the power back to the province. They've had a chance. This issue has been an issue for a long -- since the planning of the 1950s. That's how far we're going back.

Mr David Johnson: What happened to power to the people, basic people --

Ms Fitzpatrick: Which people?

Ms Stewart: What people?

Mr David Johnson: People who vote in a municipal election, people who vote in any election.

Mr Francisco Rico-Martinez: That is a good point. Which people are you talking about? For instance, talking about visible minorities, we have our rights to stand by and we have the right to the choice of where to live and we don't have a choice sometimes.

For instance yesterday, during the deputation about London, I was saying that that city for me doesn't exist. I have friends there and they have a different point of view and a different view about London itself and about services, about planning, about needs, about different things. So maybe we are talking about two different cities, one city for the visible minorities, immigrants and newcomers and other kinds of low-income people, and you are talking about another city for people who can afford some kind of accommodation and can afford to buy a house.

That is the thing that we have to stop. We have to have one city for each single person and we have to fight for equity, and equity for everybody, not just for the people who can afford to buy a house.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much for your powerful presentation. My colleague George Mammoliti has a question. So I would like just very briefly, first of all, to say thanks for putting the lie to an observation that Mr Johnson has made in the past that this is only a Toronto problem and that we've come up with a province-wide solution. You've clearly shown that it's a problem that exists across the province.

But the question I'd like you to just briefly respond to is, is owner occupancy a requirement? Would you want to see that in the legislation, and if not, why?

Ms Stewart: I don't think it's necessary in the legislation. When I hear about people talking about speculation and absentee landlords, it's been my experience that the sorts of people who want to invest in basement apartments and apartments in houses have a vested interest in keeping those apartments in good shape when they're doing a resale.

When it comes to this whole issue of speculation, as a former committee member of the Fair Tax Commission's committee on land speculation, I believe it was our good friends the Conservatives who told us that there was obviously absolutely no need for land speculation because speculation didn't even exist. So that would be the line I would carry there.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): The point about the municipal governments I agree with completely. As a matter of fact, Mel Lastman and his famous "Nobody" quote I don't think has anything to do with Bad Boy and the store. I think it has everything to do with this particular piece of legislation and how many people he wants to see living in basement apartments.

But nevertheless, I want to touch on an area that I feel strongly about, and that is how the ethnic community feels on this. I note in the sheets that you've given us that there are a number of different ethnic groups that support you and support this piece of legislation. I want you to be very specific in terms of why this legislation is being supported by most ethnic community groups, and the difference for some of those ethnic groups between living in a home or living in an apartment building, because that is an issue. If you can be very specific on this, I'd appreciate it.

The feedback I get back in my community is that of course family means a lot to a lot of the ethnic groups, that in a lot of cases a family might buy a home and might want some relatives renting the basement and in a lot of cases it has everything to do with child care, it has everything to do with the things that you responded to earlier to the member for the Conservatives and it has a lot to do with visible minorities and family, in my opinion. Respond very directly, please, on what this does for the ethnic community.

Mr Rico-Martinez: Talking about our cultural background, for most of our people we're talking about ethnospecific communities that are newcomers, if you want. We don't have these kinds of discussions about legal or illegal apartments in our countries. If you are lucky you have a place to live, and that's it. So when you come here you don't have this idea to choose if the apartment is legal or not. So you go and you start to live anywhere because you are pushing to find a place to live, especially with this weather. You have to find a place to live, and after two months you become aware this apartment is illegal and you are there without language, without the knowledge about the community, without any kind of information and it's another barrier for newcomers in order to access the Canadian society.


Ms Fitzpatrick: If I could just add --

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr Mammoliti: Oh, you did it, you did it.

The Chair: One moment.

Mr Mammoliti: Go ahead.

Ms Fitzpatrick: I was just going to say that we've heard from various communities various reasons why they want the choice to have access to residential communities when they don't have the income, and it's very true that some communities, like the Tamil community in the Metro area, have told us that they like to live with extended family, but they also like some privacy issues. Obviously, within health and safety standards, perhaps the whole family could rent an entire house right now and that would not be in contravention of zoning, but they may want a separate unit in the basement for the extended family member, so there are various reasons.

Also adding to the point around newcomers, new Canadians, and what they're aware of in terms of their rights, some of them have come from countries where they have been persecuted and so forth by governments and by authority figures and this puts another layer of fear knowing that they're breaking a municipal zoning law by their housing, and I think it's quite frightening. They're desperate so they will accept some pretty awful standards without complaining.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today. The committee will be considering this bill commencing in March, clause-by-clause review.


The Chair: The next presentation will be made from the Fair Rental Policy Organization. The material has been distributed to all members. Good afternoon.

Mr Philip Dewan: Good afternoon. First of all, just an introduction: I am Philip Dewan, the president of the Fair Rental Policy Organization. With me is John Rozema, who is a director of our organization and a landlord based in Sarnia, Ontario, who also has interest in the long-term care sector.

FRPO, as I think most of the committee members probably know, is the largest landlord organization in the province. We represent individual and corporate residential landlords, property managers and associated firms, ranging from the individual owning one or two units to large corporate landlords with many thousands of units. Our mandate is primarily to lobby on their behalf and represent them in discussions about provincial regulation, focusing on rent control but obviously encompassing any issue which touches on the rental housing sector.

We don't represent basement apartment owners, for the most part, and there's only a very small minority of our people who have interests in the long-term care sector, so we haven't really given Bill 120 the same degree of scrutiny that we would Bill 121 or some of the other issues that we've appeared before you on. We don't intend to make any particular comment today about the basement apartment issue. Just for a change of pace, we're not going to talk about basement apartments at all for the simple reason that we don't have a position on it. A lot of our members obviously see basement apartments as competition in a market out there that's already very competitive. On the other hand, I think we do support any measure that would provide the supply, and certainly a lot of supply has been provided over recent years by accessory apartments. Whether or not the municipalities' concerns about standards and ability of enforcement and so on are reasonable, I'll let them make their case. We're going to keep our comments to the extension of rent controls to the long-term care sector.

However, we do want to say at the beginning that we do have some real concerns about the process involved here and the fact that these two issues have been lumped together in the first place. It's certainly not the norm that we look at a piece of legislation that encompasses two very distinct and separate issues and tries to put them before the Legislature and the people as one piece. We certainly don't think this is in the best interests of an enlightened public debate to have it carried forth this way.

That being said, we'll go on and talk a bit about the extension of rent controls to long-term care facilities. A lot of the specific details that were presented to you yesterday by the Ontario Residential Care Association, and I'm sure by other groups which will come forward over the next little while, provide far more detail in terms of the specifics of the bill than we want to get into today.

Basically, our major message is that we have not found, as people have been working under the Rent Control Act since August 1992, either flexibility or even capability within the system to deal with the areas that are already regulated, never mind facing any additional burdens at this time. We think if there is going to be an attempt made to bring in a whole new sector, such as long-term care, which involves a wide range of different responsibilities not faced by your normal residential landlord, ie providing individual medical or social service-related attention to their customers, that there should be very little faith that the system can handle it, based on what we've seen so far.

There are lots of examples we could give you of some of the problems that are already occurring even within those areas that have traditionally been covered by the rent control legislation, both in the Rent Control Act and in the prior legislation. It took months and months of uncertainty and sort of legal wrangling within the ministry to even sort out the situation with regard to suite hotels, which is a very small example in a situation that ostensibly had been covered by the act for quite some time. Yet there were situations where individual owners of hotels were being told that units that were rented out for any long-term stay within that hotel were going to come under the Rent Control Act, even though that clearly was not the policy intended when it was passed.

A much bigger example probably is with mobile home parks, which are specifically included in the legislation. All of the provisions that were drafted in terms of capital requirements and operating costs and so on within the Rent Control Act as a whole were clearly intended for your normal residential apartment. Yet those rules are being stretched in some way to encompass mobile home parks without recognizing the vast differences that exist there, the fact that these places are required to establish infrastructure, much like a small village or municipality in the province, a whole road system, sewer system, water-pumping systems and so on. It's quite a different situation than the normal apartment. There's been no flexibility again within the system to try and recognize those sorts of differences. None of this bodes very well for the ability of either the act or the people who administer it to be able to adjust to the realities and provide the flexibility needed to take into account the special requirements in the long-term care sector.

There's another difficulty that we look at if realistically we're facing another change in the Rent Control Act within the foreseeable future, and that is that we have now been over a year and a half since the Legislature passed Bill 121; the government still does not yet have the capacity to even adequately administer what it's already approved, never mind bring something else into play. We've been asking since August 1992, when the bill was proclaimed, to receive copies of the rent control manuals that are provided to the rent offices, which are supposed to give them direction on how they administer the act, how to make a rent determination given a particular set of circumstances.


The first of those manuals finally started coming out a number of months ago and they dealt with very elementary issues, operating the computer system at the ministry and so on. The most fundamental guidelines of all, the rent determination manuals, are still not available. So a year and a half after the law has been in effect they haven't yet figured out how to advise their own staff on administering the current act. So again, it doesn't give any great comfort in terms of their ability to bring into the system a whole range of new operations which, as I said, cover responsibilities not faced by the normal residential landlord.

For all of the reasons that we've stated and that ORCA and others have stated at much greater length, we believe it's unwise to proceed with Bill 120 the way it is and that there should be specific legislation to govern the long-term sector. Some of our people may find that in fact a bit strange. They think if they're saddled with rent controls we shouldn't show a great deal of sympathy to anybody else who's brought into the same situation, but there's not a lot to be gained by taking that sort of attitude. We'd like to make sure that everyone in the province suffers as little as possible.

Recognizing that the government appears determined to go ahead with this, though, there are a couple of recommendations we would make, if Bill 120 is going to be amended, to try and make it as practical as possible.

The first group of recommendations, I guess, relate to a number of issues that we believe should be clarified before the bill is passed or proclaimed, or at least those sections of the bill relating to long-term care are proclaimed. First, we'd like to see a full review of all of the relevant legislation -- the Rent Control Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act -- to identify problems that are specific to the long-term care sector, since those acts were drafted without any consideration that this type of situation was to be encompassed. So it's not just a matter of looking at Bill 120; you have to go back to the source acts and look at those areas as well. We believe a report on those issues should be brought back to either this committee or a relevant legislative body to allow some public comment and let those issues be ironed out.

We also believe that the proclamation should be delayed until the committee's recommendations coming out of that report have been not only made but actually implemented so that we don't face the sort of delays we've had in the system since the RCA was implemented or when Bill 51 was implemented a number of years ago.

Finally, there should be a training manual for rent officers concerning the application of the act to the specific concerns of the long-term care sector that is produced and circulated before proclamation so everyone knows what the rules are and on what basis the adjudications are going to be made and that it's all clear and up front.

The last point we'd make is that it's likely that most rent officers in the province are rarely going to see a case brought before them that involves long-term care facilities. There is not that large a number of these operations in comparison to the 1.2 million rental units in the province, which presents a very real dilemma in that you have sporadic cases scattered around for which each rent officer in essence is going to have to train himself anew as they arise and try to become familiar with the specific issues and concerns of that sector.

We think if the government is proceeding on this front, it may want to look at having a small cadre of rent officers who are given special training with regard to the application to the long-term care sector and that they would hear all cases anywhere in the province arising with regard to that sector so that we at least have some body of expertise built up and that some people have additional training in this area rather than leaving it to whichever rent officer happens to be assigned.

Those are our general comments. I'd like to let John make a couple of specific comments about his experience since he's operated directly in the sector and can talk about some of the human side of it.

Mr John Rozema: First of all, we like to keep flexibility in the system. Under the Rent Control Act it states that 24-hours' notice must be given to enter an apartment. I hope that all people don't take that seriously, because now if somebody doesn't show up for lunch, for instance, they call that apartment and if there is no answer, they go up and knock on the door. If there is no answer, they will use a master key and enter. It has happened that somebody was found in distress, had fallen or something like that, and couldn't even answer the emergency system.

So there are many ways that flexibility has to be entered; it should remain in there, as there is now.

Another area is where the need for care increases. Somebody might come back from hospital, so instead of having the basic package of meals and housekeeping and so on, he needs additional care. Maybe there's bathing or something. Well, you can't very well give 90 days' notice. In the meantime, the problem might be gone or even the resident might be gone. It's just not workable in that case.

Another general kind of point I'd like to make: This is quite a different environment, really, from apartments, where I think rent control was brought in mainly because of the shortage of apartments. In retirement facilities, there is quite a surplus, really. I think every one has a vacancy.

The way it works, you've got to be very good to keep your facility at all filled up. It's a fairly small community that you work in. The care givers in a certain city or area know each other, and if a certain facility doesn't do a good job or for some reason the people who are there are not happy, that's spread pretty quickly and you're done; you can't survive in that business.

After all this being said, though, I still think there is a need for regulation of that industry. Because like in any profession, there is a very small percentage who do not act professionally. But to put it under this housing act, I think it just creates a lot of problems, not only for us as operators but for the government and for the enforcement agencies to do it.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll start the rotation with the Conservatives. Mr Johnson, five minutes.

Mr David Johnson: These are a few of the concerns that we have heard. For example, the Ontario long-term residential care association has expressed the concern that you just mentioned with regard to the needs of a client changing, for example, and a higher level of care than may be available in that particular facility.

There was a deputation this morning, I think, from the Coalition for Protection of Roomers and Rental Housing that said that kind of situation hardly ever arises and that the bill should go ahead, notwithstanding that particular concern, because that concern doesn't happen often enough to worry about. I wonder what your response would be to that.

Mr Rozema: Oh, it often happens where somebody for some reason -- it may just be a matter of the flu or something like that -- all of a sudden needs much more assistance than normally. It may only last for a week or two where, for instance, they need assistance with bathing or with dressing, whereas normally they don't. So we want to be able to respond to that, and we often do. But if it looks a little bit more long term, then the family or the people themselves want to make arrangements for additional care that they're paying for.

Mr David Johnson: In a situation like that, if this was implemented and 90 days were required, or whatever, how would you deal with it? What would happen?

Mr Rozema: Perhaps all the rates would have to go up to build in a cushion or something like that. I don't know.

Mr David Johnson: The concern that was mentioned at first, and I think it's part of one of your recommendations, is that in terms of the long-term care facilities there's perhaps the basic rent side, but there's the care side as well. While I guess the operators aren't probably totally enthralled with controls on the rent, the main problem seems to be the care and who would have the expertise to know how the care should be controlled. If you're looking at rent control officers -- now, your suggestion is that there be a few who would be trained.

Do you honestly think that could work? These are people who are basically associated with a housing background. It seems to be a fish out of water, in a sense. It's completely outside of their jurisdiction and their background to understand the care giving that your facilities are involved with.

Another suggestion is to put that into another ministry. Of course, another suggestion is to legislate the rent side but not the care side, just leave it out of the whole formula. Where is your position on that?

Mr Rozema: I certainly support Phil's comment that it would be better to deal with some knowledgeable rent officers than with people who just don't know the area at all. That could create chaos.

We are dealing with vulnerable people, but they're not alone. There's a whole system of care givers in every community who gets to know about them. So there is, if no moral obligation on an operator to be very professional and have high standards, certainly there's a financial need there too because of the very competitive system that we work under.

Mr David Johnson: In terms of what's paid for the service that you give, from your view is it easy to separate the basic rent from the care?

Mr Rozema: I don't know. We've been struggling with that. I guess you just have to arbitrarily kind of split it up and say, "This is accommodation; this is care."

Then the problem would arise if you split it up and then, say, there is a bedsitting room that is large enough for a couple. A couple moves in; then how do you do it? You have to divide it up separately again.

I tried to understand Bill 120 on that aspect, but Phil and I together, actually, we couldn't quite figure out how that works.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Johnson. My apologies, Mr Arnott, but Mr Winninger has the floor, and his colleague Mr Mills would like an opportunity.


Mr Winninger: This is partly a response and partly a question, I guess. Yesterday you may have been here when Dr Lightman indicated why he felt it was justifiable to link these two bills together in Bill 120. What he suggested was that we're extending protections under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act not only to residents of unlicensed retirement and boarding homes but also to tenants of apartments in houses and that's why the two flow well together.

I was reflecting on a time before I was elected in 1990 when I used to represent a lot of tenants and tenant associations before rent review panels and the courts. At that time I frequently ran into your former president, Julius Melnitzer, before he underwent a sudden change in career and went to his reward where ironically he pays no rent. But at that time, he was defending landlords that were seeking annual increases in rent of 20% and 30% and 40% and 50% a year. There was a cry from the tenants for us to change the Residential Rent Regulation Act so this would no longer be possible. Hence, the Rent Control Act which limits increases to statutory guidelines plus 3%.

It seems to me that even though there may be a few bugs in the system that remain to be ironed out, we've dealt with the problem of affordable housing in so far as it affects legal apartments. The problem is, though, we have many municipalities, as you know, that have dragged their heels when it comes to allowing conversion. If we simply delay things for all these further studies, I'm wondering first of all what we do with all the illegal apartment dwellers, and secondly, I'm wondering what about all the tenants we've heard from during these hearings who have or know people who have undergone green garbage bag evictions overnight and seen their rent and care charges soar overnight. What do we do to protect those people?

Mr Dewan: I guess I would say that we've suggested all along that these two issues should be severed. There's nothing to prevent you from going ahead on the aspects of Bill 120 related to accessory apartments if you can develop some consensus there. We haven't really been addressing those concerns, the issues raised by the municipalities and others about standards and so on.

What we are suggesting here is that the extension to long-term care is a separate issue that deserves a lot more consideration and that there are very different needs for these groups that are not reflected in the Rent Control Act. It was never drafted to cover these situations, nor was the Landlord and Tenant Act, and before you leap into extending to a group without really having given it that sort of scrutiny, there should be some time to sit back and see how you do that and how you apply the definitions. What you do on the accessory apartments issue is another front that we're not really concerned with at the moment, quite frankly.

Mr Winninger: My colleague has a question as well.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'd like to go back to this issue of the care as opposed to the accommodation cost of the total bill and just how that is regulated. As you know, it is delinked in the approach we're taking in the legislation, so the accommodation cost is different from the care cost, simply to provide some flexibility in the differences in care cost to reflect the needs of the person receiving the care. I'm not quite sure from your interchange with Mr Johnson whether that was clear. You seem to be suggesting there's some kind of 90-day period that you have to warn the client there's a change in fee. Right?

Mr Rozema: That's how I understand it, yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: Oh, okay. Because that is not the way it works. You don't have to have that as far as the change of cost.

Mr Dewan: Right. I think even with nothing on the care side being encompassed other than registering the component, whatever the dollar amount there, there are still going to be concerns raised: first of all, where that goes from here, but also just the notices that go out to tenants in terms of what their care levels are.

How do you put this diplomatically? We've seen enormous problems over both the previous and the current legislation with the rent registry and simply taking what everyone thought was a very straightforward calculation of determining what rents were for an apartment at a given level and registering them province-wide. The glitches are still in the system and you're getting notices going out to tenants which are getting a lot of people stirred up because they're being informed that there are illegal rents in their building, and then when they go forward and actually investigate the circumstances, it's a difference of two cents and it was an error that the ministry made because they weren't supposed to do that. When you start sending out that kind of information to individuals in a care type of situation, you can cause a great deal of angst.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Wilson. I have Mr Cordiano, or -- I have Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Grandmaître: Am I ever glad he's missing. Thank you, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Hansard will record that.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes.

More and more people are blaming municipal, provincial and federal governments for their lack of transparency. They want open government, they want legislation that's understandable and applicable and they want to make it clear to everybody that the government is not out to make your life or our lives miserable.

You did talk about the dangers of omnibus legislation, and this is what this bill is all about. I'm surprised that in 1994 we introduce such legislation to make it more complicated to understand rent control, the Landlord and Tenant Act and so on and so forth. This bill will only confuse people. Never mind the accessory apartments and the basement apartments. Half an hour ago people were saying municipal governments are responsible, not the provincial government but the municipal governments, for their lack -- or maybe their stringency as far as municipal bylaws.

You've had experience at the municipal and provincial levels; more at the provincial level. What are your thoughts on this bill especially, Bill 120, and omnibus legislation? Are we making it more difficult for our people to understand provincial legislation? Never mind municipal bylaws; talk about provincial legislation.

Mr Dewan: Certainly from our perspective this is a big step backwards. If you're trying to make the public policy process accessible to people and open to the public by taking an approach, a tactic, really for political reasons of trying to dilute the criticisms on one side by throwing one issue in with another, it certainly doesn't foster an open dialogue with the public or allow them a real opportunity to get into the issues.

I think if the government wanted to go ahead on these two fronts, and clearly they have a commitment to do that, everyone would have been better served by carrying on with the piece of legislation which they'd already introduced on accessory apartments and introducing a separate bill on the issue of long-term care and letting the relevant groups go to those different hearings. We might well be at one of them and not at the other, and some of the other people in the room vice versa.

Mr Gary Wilson: It's about residents' rights, though.

Mr Dewan: Lots of things are about residents' rights. I mean, we could put the fire code in here if we want to.

Mr Grandmaître: I want an answer to my question.

Mr Dewan: There are lots of ways to protect tenants if you want to stretch it as far as possible, but you've got to be realistic in trying to look at what we are debating here.


Mr Grandmaître: This type of legislation is a lawyer's delight. Everybody will be in court. You know how it works: If you speak to six lawyers, they'll give you six different interpretations of the law. So it's going to be a court's delight and lawyers will be making money.

You didn't address the basement apartments dilemma, but you compared this to competition because --

Mr Dewan: No. I think what I said was that some of our members would be concerned about competition at a time when the market is competitive out there, right now, but the fact is that most of these units are there. They're already competing with them. There are 100,000 or whatever of them around, according to the estimates.

In general, as an organization, we support efforts to increase rental supply, but I could make a pretty good argument that this will decrease supply or it will increase supply, depending which side you want to believe on how people are going to be affected out there. Quite honestly, I don't know what the answer is overall, so we have not taken a position on this.

We certainly do favour measures to increase rental supply, and not just building high-rise apartments. Certainly, accessory apartments can be an important source. But it's not at all clear from the comments coming from all sides that the government has really come up with an answer that is going to do that and may not in fact do the opposite.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing this afternoon.


The Chair: The next presentation will be from the Peel Consultation Committee. Good afternoon. You've been allocated one half-hour by the committee for your presentation. We always enjoy at least some opportunity to discuss your presentation with you during that 30 minutes. You may begin by introducing yourself and your position within your organization for the purposes of our Hansard recording.

Mr Keith Ward: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and we'll certainly try to oblige in terms of leaving you time for questions. My name is Keith Ward. I'm the acting commissioner of housing with the region of Peel. John Marshall is the commissioner of planning and development with the city of Brampton. Carl Brawley is a planner with the city of Brampton planning and development department. Ron Miller is representing the commissioner of planning and development for the city of Mississauga. We also have with us Ms Cathy Saunders from the Brampton planning department.

I'd like to thank the committee for the opportunity to appear. Just so you know where we're coming from, Peel staff and the staff from our three area municipalities, Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, have been getting together to discuss residential intensification issues since the Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement was proclaimed. Because we had that group in place, we were able to develop some comments on the former Bill 90 and we have done so as well with Bill 120.

What we are presenting here is a collective position which emphasizes certain key points. Each of the area municipalities will also be submitting individual positions separately, and you'll probably be seeing some of the faces beside me at the presentations from those municipalities. We will leave behind a copy of a written position paper on Bill 120 so your clerks can distribute that to you subsequently. All we can do here in 15 minutes or so is to try to summarize our position for you.

First, we should make it very clear that the region of Peel and its area municipalities object fundamentally to the imposition of the accessory apartment aspect of this bill. We also object to the rushed way in which these hearings have been handled. I won't use the rather unparliamentary language of our council members when we had to talk to them yesterday and push this through them so that we could get some endorsement from them before coming to you, but they certainly made the strong point that if we in municipalities tried to handle our meetings like this, we would be in a lot of trouble.

All three area municipalities were well advanced in implementing the Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement. That statement called upon us to identify areas and conditions under which various forms of intensification would be permitted. We feel we've been undercut in those efforts by Bill 90 and by Bill 120, so we've had to retrench. We're not able to do some of the progressive things we were actively looking at and we've been forced to try and figure out what Bill 120 means to us and hold the status quo.

We would also point out that the legislation, in our view, contrasts with the directions recommended by the Sewell commission, which municipalities have generally supported and which provincial staff has generally supported in terms of the province establishing policy directions and leaving it to the municipality to implement. This legislation effectively gets into detailed land use regulation, in our view. It overrides our core planning functions. We have responsibility to project and to develop hard and soft services for our residents.

Provincial staff appears to be sanguine about the takeup of conversions under this legislation. We're not so sanguine. At a minimum, we think there will be uneven distribution of accessory apartments, which will complicate our planning of services. We point out that within Peel and a number of municipalities there are some unique concerns in that there are combinations of serviced to unserviced areas within a given municipality which will force the concentration of accessory apartments into the serviced areas. In our case, that's Bolton within the community of Caledon, and that's certainly going to have an impact upon its services.

We believe this legislation is going to create problems for municipalities. We think that because the legislation is a provincial creation, it's incumbent upon the province to prove there won't be any problems and to give us the tools to deal with any problems that might arise. We're not being given those tools adequately.

We believe the legislation will not avert unfortunate incidents. We know you've heard about the fire fatalities in Mississauga repeatedly already. We would challenge the province to show in practice, not just the theory of the legislation but in practice, step by step, that we're wrong, that we can avert those things through this legislation.

I'm now going to turn it over to Ron Miller who will address a couple of issues.

Mr Ron Miller: With respect to the implementation of Bill 120, provincial staff has indicated that public meetings will be required for official plan and zoning bylaw amendments. At the same time, there will be limited discretion on the part of the municipalities with respect to regulatory standards such as parking and unit size.

Within this context, we are concerned that public meetings will essentially be a farce. The public will be presented with a fait accompli, leading to a great deal of frustration and confrontation on the part of the residents of municipalities. This will ultimately be a costly exercise. We recommend, therefore, that Bill 120, which already amends or is intended to amend the Planning Act, waive any requirements for public meetings intended to implement the provisions of the bill.

With respect to inspections, under this legislation inspections will occur largely on the basis of complaints. That's because there are no other controls proposed such as registration or licensing. Most tenants will not complain because they have no knowledge of the provisions of the fire code or the building code. On the other hand, owners will not come forward because of inspection fees, any costly renovations required to bring the unit up to standard and a possible loss of the unit itself. As a result, most accessory apartments will not be subject to appropriate legal standards.

We are concerned with respect to the whole issue of right of entry, that it may be difficult to provide evidence to justify the issuance of a search warrant. We have requested that guidelines from the province be issued to municipalities to assist in obtaining warrants and in prosecutions.

One final note on this issue is that there is a conflict between the Building Code Act and the Planning Act. Under the Planning Act, inspectors are required to advise occupants that right of entry may be refused. However, under the Building Code Act, such a warning is not required. As a result, there's an internal conflict between the two acts which we think should be rationalized.


Mr Keith Ward: John Marshall will cover the next few points.

Mr John Marshall: The first point I'd like to cover relates to development charges. Throughout the consultation process, the province has resisted municipal requests that the Development Charges Act be applied to accessory apartments.

As you're aware, each unit in a municipality creates capital costs for recreation facilities, fire stations, transit roads etc. In Brampton, for each new apartment unit constructed, the development charge would be $4,700. If no development charges can be applied to accessory apartments, the cost will have to be borne by other new units; that is, the occupancy per unit, because there's an accessory apartment there, will increase. Therefore, the charges will have to reflect that. The simple impact of that is that it will hamper affordability of housing, since that's passed on to the home buyer, and undermine an already hurting home building industry.

The second point I'd like to make relates to municipal resources and liabilities for implementing accessory apartment provisions. We feel that by legalizing accessory apartments we'll put great pressure on municipal inspection services. Owners bringing their units up to code for insurance or mortgage purposes, or protected tenants putting pressure on them to do so, will create a very much increased demand for municipal inspection services. Basically, the costs are being downloaded on the municipality to regulate these units. We feel that the province should provide inspection and legal services directly or provide financial support for them.

The third point I'd like to cover relates to town housing and particularly the parking related thereto. In municipal zoning bylaws, the normal requirement for parking spaces is two spaces per unit. There's no overnight parking on streets in Brampton. Therefore, parking generated by a town house unit and an accessory apartment would have to be accommodated on the site.

The statistics we have indicate that there are 1.98 cars per town house unit in Brampton. Therefore, the two spaces per unit just cover what is generated by the owners of a town house unit. Each additional accessory apartment would amount to over one space per unit: 1.14 spaces per unit. Clearly, the parking situation will not work in town house areas. You add visitor parking to the mix and basically chaos is going to result in these town house areas. As a matter of fact, the main source of complaint that we have related to accessory apartments is related to parking and the chaos it creates on local residential streets.

Mr Miller: Continuing with the issue of regulations, we believe there is a large potential for disaster in implementing Bill 120 if regulations do not control some of its undesirable impacts. We first suggest that a task force be created to develop regulations and that task force be comprised of all affected parties, such as planning, building, legal and fire officials from the municipalities; lenders and insurance industry representatives because they also have a stake in the process; as well as home builders, renovators, landlords and tenants themselves.

In implementing these regulations, to avoid confusion, we would request that the municipalities be allowed to use their own definitions of detached, semidetached and town houses, simply because it would be very difficult to merge the provincial legislation with our own zoning bylaws.

Mr Marshall has already touched upon the issue of parking. We would request at least one additional parking space for the accessory unit. As well, municipalities should not be compelled to permit on-street parking, tandem parking or the loss of the front yard for parking purposes.

Finally, the absolute minimum size applied to all accessory apartments should increase slightly with the number of bedrooms.

We haven't touched much on the issue of garden suites. The permissive nature of the legislation regarding garden suites is largely welcome, although we have a few concerns and suggestions on how it can be improved. The advice of our legal department is that the enforceability of the agreements under the legislation is questionable, and the provincial staff have been unable to provide to it sufficient legal comfort.

The definition of "garden suite" in the legislation refers to a unit which is portable. This will permit a mobile home as well as a trailer to be used for a garden suite. The legislation should be amended to ensure that the garden suites will meet the technical standards envisioned for such a unit. Finally, garden suites should not be considered as a detached unit within the legislation, otherwise the legislation will permit an accessory unit within it, thereby resulting in the creation of four units within a building lot.

Mr Keith Ward: All of our points so far have dealt with the carryover from Bill 90, and obviously we'd had some time to consider Bill 90 previously. Because we haven't had much time in dealing with the amendments on the residential rights aspects of this legislation, we've been forced to focus on the basics of that part of the legislation.

We are concerned about the supply impact of the care home resident protection provisions. Our bottom line essentially, if you will, is that you've now extended protection under three separate pieces of legislation to these facilities. We are fairly convinced that this will mean the death of new supply within this sector unless that supply is fairly heavily subsidized. You will discourage any kind of private or voluntary supply within the care home industry, and that certainly has to be a concern for the providers.

I would say that position has been developed in consultation not just with us as municipal staff but through our work ourselves with a number of people who are in the service business. They're saying they are worried about this legislation, and they are concerned that maybe it doesn't make any sense for them to try to create a new group home and things like that.

The Landlord and Tenant Act provisions, for instance, provide a very blunt instrument in the exemptions which are defined. We certainly would call for some refinement of those exemptions. As you know, the bill calls for exemptions on the basis of specified other acts. If you're covered under Correctional Services, you're okay, and if you're not, if you've got another act that sponsors the program, then you're exempt.

What we're saying is that there has to be a lot more refined approach taken in specifying those objections, and that refinement should be developed in consultation with the various service agencies and so forth, so that there's a recognition not of the legislation but of the actual living arrangements that exist in those properties. For instance, in a congregate living arrangement, one might want to act against a problem tenant in a different way than one would act against a tenant where the tenant has their own unit, a self-contained unit, but those arrangements could be sponsored under precisely the same legislation. So to handle them in the same way doesn't make any sense.

We also think there should be distinct provisions for quick eviction in care homes, so there's an additional measure that we're looking for in the Landlord and Tenant Act. Again, that input is coming from service providers directly. They're very concerned about the implications of this legislation for the successful maintenance of their care.

The Rental Housing Protection Act is of particular concern to us as municipalities because of course we administer that act, unlike the Rent Control Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act. It's extension does raise a number of problems. We don't believe the information will be available, unlike the rental market generally, to allow us to focus on a very narrow segment of the market and to screen applications for conversions or demolitions or whatever within that particular segment of the market. So we have some difficulty seeing how the administration of the Rental Housing Protection Act will work on the ground.

We also believe this will be the nail in the coffin. If a potential care provider thinks he might get around the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act and be able to cope with those provisions, the Rental Housing Protection Act says, "Once you're in, you can't get out." That's the bottom line. The obvious answer for somebody who's a little bit nervous about this is not to get in in the first place. So for both administrative reasons and for supply reasons, we recommend quite simply that the Rental Housing Protection Act be deleted from the bill.

That concludes our presentation. We'd be happy to answer any questions.


Mr Mills: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming here this afternoon. There are a couple of points I want to raise with you. In 1989, the previous government issued the Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement. Among other things, they said that municipalities should amend their official plans and zoning bylaws to allow one or more accessory apartments as of right. This was in 1989. My first question is, what have your collective municipalities done as far as amending bylaws and changing zoning to permit this is concerned? In other words, how many legal apartments have you got in your region at this time?

Mr Marshall: I'd like to respond to that. The city of Brampton recognized the problem in the late 1980s. We had a number of local conferences dealing with this entire issue. It was our intent to deal proactively with it through our official plan, through an analysis of our situation and allow accessory apartments in areas that could sustain them, where the built form could absorb accessory apartments in municipal facilities.

We were looking for changes in the legislation in three areas: in terms of licensing accessory apartments; inspection, allowing zoning inspection to occur at municipal discretion; and changes to the assessment legislation so that additional apartments could be assessed to reflect the cost that they bring to bear on the municipality.

We brought papers to this government asking for changes in that legislation. We met with Mr Hampton and outlined how we wanted to proactively deal with the situation. We heard nothing. There was no movement at all. Now we have legislation coming down on us that just takes the power out of our hands and legalizes them. That's what's really frustrating to municipalities. The policy statement that was passed under the previous government had the greatest intentions. We were on track to go along with it. But we need some power to deal with the problems that we're held accountable for by our residents. There was no movement at all to give municipalities those powers to regulate this problem.

Mr Mills: So to date you haven't done anything about it, nothing.

Mr Marshall: The only thing we have done is that in the Springdale community of Brampton we are allowing accessory apartments in new homes; that is, a convertible home where, as part of the secondary plan, which is an official plan document, we are allowing, as of right, two units within a building. They are specifically designed to accommodate accessory apartments.

Mr Mills: I could go on, but I want to ask another question about mobile homes.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): That will be the final question.

Mr Mills: It'll be my final question. I'm very interested in granny flats. I've got a funny cartoon here. I'll show you. It says, "Granny flats -- there goes the neighbourhood." There are grannies on a motorbike.

Anyway, you say you feel that "portable" could mean trailers and goodness knows what, all those nasty things. I wonder if you've considered that section 34 of the Planning Act will give the municipalities complete authority to regulate the type of construction. So to suggest may put it mildly --


Mr Mills: Yes. Trailers and that are not on. The municipality is going to have the authority to say it's got to be of a standard for a garden suite.

Mr Keith Ward: The Ministry of Housing staff has taken a similar position and that may be true. We're not totally satisfied that this is the case. As Mr Miller said, there's some concern about the enforceability of some of those agreements as well.

Certainly, if it's spelled out clearly in the legislation, and we can't see any possible harm in spelling it out that way, then it makes it absolutely clear to everybody. If a municipality wants to accept the trailers, that's quite a different story, but we don't want there to be any suggestion that there's a compulsion to accept trailers, and that's not the intent.

Mr Mills: I wouldn't like to think we're going to have mobile trailers all over the place.

The Vice-Chair: We'll be moving on to the Liberal caucus and may I remind everybody there are about three minutes per caucus.

Mr Grandmaître: Let's talk about accessory apartments and basement apartments, the illegal type of apartments that exist at the present time.

It seems that municipal governments have been wanting more power, as indicated by my friend Mr Mills, but they weren't given this power, the right to inspect, to go in and do a building inspection. You pointed out -- I forget your name -- that there was a difference between having access to these apartments or any apartments under the building code inspectors and also the --

Mr Miller: The Planning Act.

Mr Grandmaître: The Planning Act. Can you explain that difference to me?

Mr Miller: It's an internal conflict in that under the Planning Act, an inspector must advise the occupant that right of entry may be refused.

Mr Grandmaître: And he may need a warrant.

Mr Miller: And therefore a warrant would be required.

Mr Grandmaître: Very good.

Mr Miller: For an inspection under the Building Code Act, the inspector is not obligated to give the occupant that warning. It's simply a matter of a conflict between the two acts that needs to be rationalized.

Mr Grandmaître: But a municipal building inspector can't have this easy access that you just mentioned.

Mr Miller: It would depend on which act he's doing his inspection under.

Mr Grandmaître: Let's say plumbing, electrical. You wouldn't have this free access.

Mr Miller: That's correct.

Mr Grandmaître: You would still need a warrant.

Mr Miller: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: This is what municipal governments have been asking for since the 1989 legislation and this is what this government hasn't given, that kind of power. Most of these illegal apartments were built without the knowledge of the municipal government, without even a building permit.

Now we will be asking municipalities to identify these illegal and legal apartments. As you mentioned, this is a provincial creation. Now they're giving municipalities the right and the power to have some access and to declare these apartments legal. From now on they are legal, but most of them cannot qualify under the building code and the fire code and so on and so forth.

Mr Gary Wilson: You don't know with them.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes, well, your minister said it. The minister said most of these apartments are illegal. What will happen to these tenants? That's my question, Mr Chair. I fooled you.

Mr Keith Ward: I don't think we can answer that. In some cases, there'd be a political decision. As Mr Miller said in his presentation, we can't get in and inspect everything anyway. We're still only going to do it on the basis of complaints, so it will probably be the nature of the complaint that will determine to some extent the resolution, but we are concerned about our liabilities. If we do inspect and find that there's a problem in the property, we don't have the resources to keep chasing it down and making sure that there's some remediation of the problem. We're very leery about our ability to respond properly in those situations.


Mr David Johnson: It brings back memories, actually. I can recall being before people named David Peterson, Chaviva Ho_ek and I think John Eakins back before 1989, indicating that municipalities need the tools to deal with the safety issues and the basement apartments. Yet we still don't have them today, or at least you still don't have them today, I guess I should say, and in this bill, we still don't see them today.

I think you're being a little modest when you're asked what you have done. From my experience, municipalities have put a great deal of effort into the issue of affordability and intensification, and I think you've rightfully, certainly in Brampton, described that you have come forward with a plan, but a plan that requires certain cooperation from the province of Ontario and the province of Ontario has not responded to that. That's the case, I can tell you, in East York; we did the same thing. My suspicion is that across the province of Ontario that in fact is the case.

If the issue here is of affordability of accommodation -- and I don't know, I'm just asking this question without knowing the answer, so maybe I'll be surprised -- my guess is the affordability issue today, considering the cost of houses has come down, the mortgage rates are low, considering vacancy rates are coming up in many municipalities and we're hearing that rents in some cases are actually going down, is as good as it's been in a decade or two. I wonder what you're seeing.

Mr Keith Ward: Affordability has certainly improved, both on the rental market and on the ownership market, but yet there is a problem on the demand side in that a number of people of course have a deteriorated income situation from what they used to have, as well. If, for instance, you look at waiting lists, they're going through the roof. So it's a bit of a dichotomous situation in that you've got a lot of people who are better off but you have a growing segment who are worse off than they have been.

Mr David Johnson: In my last minute or two, I think the issue that you raised with regard to the parking sort of points out that this is an issue that differs from municipality to municipality, and in Brampton you indicated that in the town houses it was 1.98 cars per unit.

Mr Marshall: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: Plus the accessory units, another 1.14.

Mr Marshall: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: That would be considerably different, I suspect, in downtown Toronto.

Mr Marshall: Yes, it is. I have the statistics here.

Mr David Johnson: You can give me the statistics as well, but doesn't that highlight the fact that municipalities are different and that when you're taking into account planning and you're taking into account something like this, municipalities need some flexibility to deal with these issues because they're facing different circumstances and different problems?

Mr Marshall: Certainly our zoning bylaws would be designed to reflect our per unit car generation. The other statistic, Metro Toronto, instead of 1.98 for a town house unit, it would be 1.49; considerably lower because of the transit, more intensive development. For apartments it's 0.80 cars per unit versus 1.14. Therefore, I would expect Metro or certain parts of Metro would have significantly lower standards than ours and would be able to absorb the accessory units easier than a suburban municipality like Brampton.

Mr David Johnson: That's why municipalities need to have different powers to deal with local circumstances in different ways.

Mr Marshall: I agree.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We appreciate you appearing before the committee. As you know, all of these comments hopefully will be taken into account, and I'm sure you'll follow the developments with interest.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenters are the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organizations, Morris Jesion, executive director.

Mrs Beatrice Levis: Thank you very much for the opportunity, although it's unfortunate timing that it comes on a day when seniors are advised to stay home.

The Vice-Chair: It's only because of the cold.

Mrs Levis: Right. The Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organizations is a seniors' organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for seniors to become involved in and participate in society. OCSCO also acts as a forum to bring a representative group of seniors together to share information, raise issues of common concern and engage in group activities related to those concerns. For instance, our organization has dedicated much time and effort to the new long-term care reform talks that have been taking place for some time.

Our membership consists of 56 organizations representing over 450,000 seniors across Ontario. Over the last year, OCSCO has been involved in education and advocacy on many issues such as long-term care, the Advocacy Act, cutbacks to social programs, and in addition, the issues of seniors and housing.

While there are different housing options for seniors in Ontario, one will recognize that these alternatives are primarily based on income level and physical ability. Some seniors are physically and financially able to own their own house or rent a private apartment. There are those well seniors who live according to their limited income. Their options would be subsidized housing or boarding homes.

There are those seniors who may need a certain amount of help to cope with everyday living. These seniors, again depending on income level, may live in nursing homes, homes for the aged, a privately owned rest and retirement home, and possibly a boarding home. It is only through this legislation, Bill 120, that seniors living in the unregulated rest and retirement homes and boarding homes will be entitled to the same protection and safety as seniors living in regulated facilities.

Increasingly, seniors are choosing to remain in their own home and community to preserve their independent way of life. This has a profound impact on the quality of life for seniors. Aging in place has clearly become the preferred way to live.

Seniors today feel that the issue of housing is a top priority and one the Ontario government should take seriously. One of the most significant housing issues affecting seniors is the scarcity of affordable housing in many parts of Ontario.

The seniors who own their own dwellings need options available to enable them to continue to afford it. Those seniors who rent their accommodation need protection and safety standards to live safe and secure lives. OCSCO believes the residents' rights bill addresses these areas.

There is a section in our brief which indicates something of the income levels of seniors and you'll note that some 56% of seniors are below the $25,000-a-year category, which does not indicate, in urban areas at any rate, a very high standard of living.

Seniors in unregulated accommodation: The inquiry of Dr Ernie Lightman's commission into unregulated residential accommodation uncovered many instances of seniors being subject to unhealthy living environments. In these unregulated rest and retirement homes many seniors have been subject to physical, mental, sexual and financial abuse. The seniors were subject to eviction with little or no notice. There was little respect for their privacy. They were denied access to visitors. Often these tenants have been prone to a sudden steep rise in costs; that is, rent and care. These conditions have made for unsafe living conditions for many seniors. Bill 120, the residents' rights bill, addresses these issues.

OCSCO has been addressing these housing issues for many years and we congratulate the Ministry of Housing's current legislation, Bill 120, the residents' rights bill, for responding to these problems. OCSCO fully supports this legislation.

We would now like to discuss several issues of Bill 120 on which OCSCO commends the Ministry of Housing. Particularly, we will focus on the legality and adoption of apartments in houses, the garden flats, into the Rent Control Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act, and also the changes to the requirement for rest and retirement homes to fall under these housing laws.

Apartments in homes: OCSCO supports Bill 120 because of, first, affordability. The residents' rights bill gives seniors who are living in their own homes the financial ability to continue to do so by permitting them to create an apartment in their home. This will enable the senior to legally charge the designated amount for rent, thereby generating income for themselves so that they can afford to stay in their home for as long as possible.

Legalizing apartments in houses will also create a more affordable housing option for seniors. Generally, this type of rent is less expensive than conventional apartment units. Therefore, some seniors can now afford to live in these types of units on their limited income.

Secondly, garden suites: Bill 120 also gives seniors the option to live in a garden suite. This, in essence, allows them to live on their own while being close to other family members who can provide security, companionship and assistance with some daily living duties. Garden suites maintain both parties' privacy and independence and allow seniors to stay in their community. This, in effect, will decrease the cost of institutional care.

The residents' rights bill will allow for both types of living environments, that is, apartments in homes and garden suites, to be legal and safe for seniors and everyone in the community. Under this legislation, apartments in houses and garden suites will have to be designed under strict health and safety standards. We're presuming this. As both of these types of living arrangements will be under the Rent Control Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act, tenants will be protected from such abuse as involuntary evictions and rent hikes. This legislation will give tenants living in these new dwellings the same rights as tenants living in apartments.


The legislation, however, does not provide for a quick removal of tenants who may cause harm to themselves or others in the house or dwelling. Therefore, OCSCO recommends that the legislation include a section for a speedier process of eviction for tenants who pose this threat, or some way of temporarily removing such tenants pending settlement of the dispute.

Seniors in rest and retirement homes: OCSCO supports Bill 120 for changes it has established in the area of unregulated rest and retirement homes and boarding homes. OCSCO believes that seniors living in care homes should enjoy the same rights, security and protection under the law as other tenants. As discussed above, this is not often the case in Ontario. The rest and retirement homes operated on a commercial, for-profit basis don't always provide for protection.

The Ministry of Housing, through Bill 120, has addressed this issue by ensuring that the rest and retirement homes become subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act. With this legislation, standards will be improved and the senior will be assured of security of tenure and protected from involuntary rent increases.

OCSCO believes that by having these facilities fall under the legislation of the Rent Control Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act, it will stop the abuse of overcharging for rent, the unconditional evictions and the threat of abuse that are so widespread.

As these facilities will also come under the protection of the Rental Housing Protection Act, it will also protect the tenants from having their building destroyed or converted without the approval of the municipality.

These two major changes for tenants living in rest and retirement homes will ensure better living standards, protection from abuse and give them the same rights as other tenants.

We note that under Bill 120 residents in care facilities will pay for care and food separately from their accommodation costs. While there is provision in the bill for notice of 90 days to be given for increases in the non-rent charges and the official filing of notice for increases, we are concerned that there is no provision in Bill 120 for any other protection from unwarranted rates of increase. We fear there may be exploitation for non-rent items provided. We urge the government to put limits on this section of charges either through the Rent Control Act or some other mechanism.

OCSCO would like to thank the Ministry of Housing for inviting our comments at this hearing. We look forward to seeing the residents' rights bill make a speedy passage through the Legislature to allow for seniors to live more independent, safe and secure lives.

Mr Cordiano: I guess the main area of concern that I have deals with care provisions in homes. By and large, by eventually putting that under the purview of rent control, or mandating that care be regulated under rent control, and charges for it, in that you would have a ceiling price for those care provisions, that would eventually lead to a deterioration in the quality of service or the quality of care. That's my view essentially. I would be concerned that once care comes under the purview of regulation or rent control, once you do that, then that care will suffer, the quality of that service will deteriorate eventually. Are you not concerned about that?

Mrs Levis: No. Because of some unfortunate occurrences that we are aware of in the city of Toronto, what we've been concerned about is sudden increases in costs that bear no relationship to the cost of living at the time. We recognize that care costs need some increases from time to time as the cost of living increases, but what we're concerned about primarily is some mechanism to make sure that the increase does not become exorbitant.

Mr Cordiano: Okay, fine. Do you have another question?

Mr Grandmaître: Yes. I think you were making an allusion to rest homes or retirement homes that are receiving provincial grants or subsidies. What about the commercial homes, the private homes receiving no government subsidies? Do you think these should be regulated too?

Mrs Levis: I think there are two aspects to this, and one is, as the bill does, separating the accommodation aspect from the care aspect, because one of the big problems, it seemed to us, is that up till now people have not had security of tenure. If they're a resident of a care home, that is their home. That's where they live permanently, or at least as permanently as life makes it, so that type of security, we feel, is needed by residents of care facilities.

That's why we welcome the inclusion of this, as Dr Lightman has pointed out in his inquiry, and we certainly supported his recommendations when they came out and certainly felt, as he did, a little put out that it took so long to act on these recommendations. So that's one aspect of it. We feel that no matter where people live, that's their home, and they need protection for that type of accommodation.

Now, the care aspect is another matter. I think, as we've pointed out, depending on the income, there are retirement homes where the charges are quite high and the accommodation is quite luxurious, and that's fine for those people who can afford it.

Mr Grandmaître: Should they be regulated? Should they be under the Landlord and Tenant Act?

Mrs Levis: To the extent that the tenants, or the residents, have the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act, that they have security of tenure. You see, one of the problems that we've come across is people who fall ill -- they have a stroke, something happens -- have go to an acute care hospital for a time. When they come back, they are more impaired physically than they were and very often they're given a notice to leave. Some of these retirement homes say, "We can't cope with people who need more care." What we're saying is that if this is their home, they should be permitted to come back. Now, the care provision is another matter.


Mr Arnott: I have a couple of questions.

With this bill we've heard from a number of presenters that it's an omnibus bill, and that means it deals with a number of somewhat unrelated items dealing with housing. That makes it difficult because those of us in the opposition may support specific aspects but others we may be against. So it becomes a judgement as to whether you're going to support the whole thing or parts of it, and that's our challenge.

The issue of basement apartments, though, is one of the most controversial elements in the bill, and the issue of safety that's come forward, most notably yesterday by the chief of the fire department in Mississauga. It's a really important concern that we have to look at. Do you think that this provides adequate mechanisms to ensure that all basement apartments that may be created as a result of this bill -- will there be adequate protection to make sure that those tenants are going to be safe in their apartments in the event of a fire?

Mrs Levis: This of course is partly the responsibility of municipalities to regulate and I would hope that they would make the regulations for the new basement apartments such that they will be safe. This is one of the reasons why we feel that this aspect of the bill should be supported, because there are so many apartments now that are not safe. In the future we would like to see apartments that do exist have that security of whatever is required by the fire department and by other regulations for exits and for alarms and that type of thing.

Mr Arnott: So it would be up to the municipal level of government to ensure the safety. Okay.

With respect to garden suites, more popularly known as granny flats in our area, I think most people are very supportive of the concept in principle, and then it becomes an issue of which level of government has the right to establish mechanisms for approval and for inspection, I suppose. Do you think those mechanisms are going to be adequate in this bill to ensure that approval mechanisms are there and that this will be looked after appropriately through the municipal level of government?

Mrs Levis: I can just make a general statement. Here again it is partly the municipal regulations that are going to guarantee that. I don't really like the term "granny flat" because maybe grandpa also might be there.

Mr Arnott: Sure.

Mr Winninger: You're in trouble now, kid.

Mr Arnott: I know. That's what we call them up home. We're comfortable with it, but some may have another preference.

Mrs Levis: However, I can see this in suburban areas and in small towns and so on. I don't quite see it in downtown Toronto. I would hope that there would be the requisite regulations about exits and fire alarms and safety measures.

Mr Arnott: The Lightman report, I think, was shocking to just about everybody who would have read it, some of the appalling things that have been happening in the recent past, actually, and the need for the government to take some action in that respect. It appears to me that with this bill the government is bringing in new measures to regulate tenancy for residents in rest homes, yet there doesn't seem to be adequate regulation surrounding care through this bill. Do you think this bill goes far enough towards recognizing some of the problems that came through in the Lightman report?

Mrs Levis: I think that some of the recommendations of the Lightman report are not looked after by this bill, certainly. I don't know whether the government intends to proceed on some of the care issues. I can see why some of it would be separated because of dealing with housing in this bill. But yes, we are concerned about what provisions would be made on the care side.

Mr Mills: Thank you very much for coming. I think your brief makes so much common sense, of all the briefs that have been here so far. I want to commend you for that. I'd also like to thank you for this chart, "Seniors are not rich," because my colleagues have all got the wrong impression about me and that puts it right.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): How many pensions has he got?

Mr Mills: Anyway, thank you very much for that.

We hear from the opposition and I hear presentations to say that this is not really good news, yet here we are in a country where we're pressed to the limit for health care and health care costs, and I think the proposals that you make and what the government is making allow seniors to remain in their homes longer, to remain self-sufficient longer, to have less impact on our social services and our health care system. Why on earth people are not supporting this for those reasons alone is beyond me. But I'm not going to get political.

I want to talk about the garden suites. It's my understanding, and I'd just like to ask you if you concur with this, Bea, that seniors, when they are among their family, seem to go on for ever. But I have experience and I know folks whose children say, "Look, Mom, we can't do this any more; you've got to go into a nursing home," and from that day on there's a deterioration in the mental and physical wellbeing of that person. They just go downhill. Is that your experience of seniors, briefly?

Mrs Levis: Yes, certainly we've seen instances where, particularly with the cuts, may I say, in social services and in homes for the aged, which are centred on recreation types of thing, there is definitely a connection. One of the problems with many seniors is that you get used to living in a certain neighbourhood and a certain area under certain conditions. You want to stay there as long as possible because that makes you feel more secure. You know where you're at and the people in the stores know you and so on. So it relieves your mind a great deal to have that security, to be able to live where you're used to living and where everybody knows you and you know everybody else.

Mr Mills: And the seniors --

The Vice-Chair: I think that you might want to leave some time for your colleague.

Mr Mills: Okay. I beg your pardon. Thank you.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Thank you, Mr Mills. Like my colleague, I want to thank you for your warm and supportive presentation on the legislation. It addresses a number of issues with respect to affordability and protection that I think we in this room all share.

In terms of allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer, as you were just mentioning to my colleague Mr Mills, and what could be viewed perhaps as companion piece of legislation, which is a long-term care strategy or long-term care legislation, do you think that will be a good way to dovetail the two issues in terms of having not only seniors, for that matter, but folks who are requiring long-term care to be able to remain in the community, perhaps living in an accessory apartment while being able to opt into the kinds of services that are envisioned by the long-term care strategy? Could you comment on that?

Mr Morris Jesion: Yes, I agree with your direction. I believe the long-term care reform that's going on in this legislation is very compatible in terms of providing seniors with independence and security, having care provisions set out. I think there has to be consultation and working with the long-term care reform area to make it even more compatible, but we're certainly satisfied that it's moving in the right direction.

The Vice-Chair: This concludes your presentation. We thank you for appearing and we hope you can fight the cold out there.



The Chair: The next presenters are Dynacare Health Group, Larry Popofsky and Nancy Douglas.

Mr Larry Popofsky: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman and members of the standing committee on general government. My name is Larry Popofsky and I am the senior vice-president of operations for Lifestyle Retirement Communities. I am appearing today with Nancy Douglas, who is the general manager of one of our retirement communities, Churchill Place, in Oakville. As a registered nurse and as an instrumental part of the Lifestyle team developing resident care policy, Nancy also provides leadership and guidance to our resident care managers.

Lifestyle Retirement Communities has been operating retirement residences since 1987. We have at present eight residences on six properties in Don Mills, Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington. These residences are geared to active, healthy seniors, typically in the 75-plus age category, who are seeking freedom from the chores of daily living such as housekeeping, laundry and preparing meals. They are looking for a friendly, comfortable, functional and secure living environment where they are well cared for without losing their independence. Lifestyle Retirement Communities is committed to providing top-quality accommodation and a full range of personal services to senior residents and their families at affordable prices.

Currently, the average age of our residents is 84. Lifestyle has approximately 500 employees, of whom 300 are full-time workers. Over 75% of our workforce is female.

In order to meet the needs and changing care requirements of an aging population, Lifestyle Retirement Communities has developed three levels of service, which results in a true continuum of care: apartment-style living for the independent senior; full-service living, in which each resident is provided with an individual care plan; and assisted daily living, or ADL, which provides more specialized care on both a short respite term and long-term basis. Nursing response is available 24 hours a day and there are house doctors always on call.

Our presentation today concerns the impact of Bill 120 on our ability to continue to provide top-quality accommodations and care as demanded and required by our residents and their families.

We are familiar with rent control legislation and agree that residents should not be subject to unreasonable and arbitrary increases in their rents. In fact, Lifestyle's policies concerning increases to occupancy fees have always included a 90-day written notice prior to an annual increase. The past two increases have equalled the increase set forth by the province for tenants of apartments subject to the Rent Control Act. Our major concern with Bill 120 and the reason we are here today is the adverse effect we believe the implementation of the Landlord and Tenant Act will have on the quality of life enjoyed by our residents.

As mentioned earlier, our typical resident is in his or her mid-80s, with many who are well into their 90s. As individuals reach this age, problems associated with the natural aging process bring tremendous anxiety to both the residents and their families. Health maintenance and safety become of paramount importance. Families look to us to care for the residents' current needs, as well as monitoring and reacting to increased care requirements as residents grow older and more dependent.

To give you some examples of the problems we anticipate from the application of Bill 120 as it is currently proposed, I would like to call on Nancy Douglas.

Ms Nancy Douglas: To begin with, I would just like to share a few relevant statistics with the committee to give you some insight as to why people choose to live in a retirement community such as Churchill Place.

First, the 70-plus age group is a fast-growing segment of the population. The Metro Toronto planning department's demographic production of August 1990 shows this group going from 237,000 in 1986 to 412,000 by the year 2011. From Focus of the Future, Statistics Canada, July 1988: "But while seniors maintain their own homes, statistics show that when they reach their mid-70s, more Canadians tend to rid themselves of home maintenance and look for residential accommodation or institutional care."

And from About Time -- Getting Older, Ministry of Community and Social Services, February 1988: "What is really interesting about this group (50-plus), particularly those in the 75-plus age bracket, is that they depend heavily upon recommendation of friends and relatives when making purchasing decisions. Approval of their offspring, particularly daughters or daughters-in-law, is of prime importance to them when making decisions pertaining to proposed changes of residence."

The individuals who make the choice to move from their present homes to our retirement residences do so for a variety of reasons. Many of these are based on their families' decisions around a loved one's anticipated health care needs, which are seen to be better handled in the environment of a retirement community. Our residents and their families have definite expectations about the level of care that retirement communities should be able to provide. My concern is that with the introduction of the provisions under Bill 120, we may be forced to follow procedures which will jeopardize the health and safety of our clients. This brings with it increased exposure to liability, as individuals' and families' expectations will not change.

Some specific examples of how Bill 120 may adversely impact on our residents include the following.

Our nursing care plans for certain individuals may require daily monitoring or the administration of the residents' medication. Often these activities are carried out in the residents' suites for reasons of privacy, convenience and comfort. Similarly, procedures such as dressing changes and assistance with ambulation require access to the residents' suites.

A rough estimation would place this requirement for daily monitoring at approximately half our residents. While it is clear that the legislation contemplates access for activities such as housekeeping and response to the emergency call bell, what consideration has been given for allowing the ongoing provision of other health care related activities as they may be specified in an individual resident's nursing care plan? This concern is increased when it is unclear whether a resident is able to grant consent for entry, for example, with our meal census.

When residents advance in age, their health care needs may change and require a move to a suite or a facility which can provide a higher level of care. This transfer would not be permitted under the new legislation. A typical example at Churchill Place concerns Mr N, who formerly resided with his wife in the mainstream of the building. He has a diagnosis of severe diabetes and now suffers from several related health problems.

In a conference held with the family, options were discussed with both Mr and Mrs N, their son and daughter-in-law, their family physician, our resident care manager and myself, the general manager. It was decided that the best option for both Mr and Mrs N would be for Mr N to transfer to our assisted daily living unit within the residence. In this way, both spouses could reside in the same building, continue to enjoy each other's company and to receive the required level of care and support. At present, the Landlord and Tenant Act does not allow a retirement facility to move a resident from one area to another which is designed to deal with specialized needs.

A similar situation could arise from the transfer of an individual to a long-term care facility, either for health reasons or financial reasons. For example, consider the case of Mrs C, who, upon admission, required a minimal amount of care but who has now been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease and must be cared for in a secure environment. A family conference revealed that Mrs C was not in a position to afford ADL care on a long-term basis and therefore would require a transfer to a nursing home facility. The procedure for handling this so-called incompetent resident and the process for transferring out of a retirement community for health and/or financial reasons is further confused by the implementation of Bill 120.


Many of our residents do not require nursing care as such, but they and their families wish our residence staff to provide a level of monitoring for safety reasons. For example, a meal census is carried out by our nursing staff three times daily to assess that each resident is well. In addition, supervision is provided by the chef manager to provide for any special dietary needs. Finally, family conferences are held on an ongoing basis to alert all parties to any changes in health care needs or status. There is considerable confusion in the industry about whether Bill 120 will continue to allow retirement communities to provide these services.

Again, because of changing health needs of residents, there may be a change in the variety of services which are needed. Such services include laundering of personal clothing, delivery of meals directly to suites, and assistance with bathing. For example, currently we have Mrs M, who's ready to return from the hospital, and for a period of likely four weeks she will require expanded direct care services until she regains her strength and mobility. It would appear that provisions under the bill as it is currently written do not allow for this kind of flexibility to increase the level of service and to charge an appropriate fee for that special period of time.

As well as providing care for our permanent residents, we are often asked by seniors, family members, hospital discharge planners and Red Cross homemakers to provide respite care. In this way, we are able to provide a valuable service to the citizens of our community.

Recently at Churchill Place, Mr B was comfortably housed following his successful cardiac surgery for a period of three weeks to receive nursing supervision, dining room and daily housekeeping services. Mr B stated that he recovered quickly and happily due to the efforts of our staff.

Another example concerns Mr and Mrs A, who normally live with their daughter and their son-in-law and who wanted somewhere to stay during their daughter's four-week winter vacation. They moved to Churchill Place to take advantage of the full service program which they required, and, because of all the scheduled activities, they reported having enjoyed their own vacation as much as their daughter had enjoyed hers. It would appear that Bill 120 does not allow for this kind of arrangement to be made.

Finally, there is the very difficult matter of a resident who must be removed because he or she may be a threat or a serious nuisance to other residents or to themselves. Bill 120 does not appear to have provision for this transfer, except by way of the Mental Health Act, form 1. In my personal experience as a psychiatric nurse at the Clarke Institute, this form is only used in the most extreme of cases and would not be applicable in the majority of situations that are common to retirement residences.

Mr Popofsky: I would like to thank Nancy Douglas for her valuable input on how the element of care in our residences would be jeopardized by the implementation of Bill 120 as it is currently written.

Mr Chairman, we thank you for the opportunity to make our presentation and would welcome any questions.

Mr David Johnson: Thank you very much. It's really useful for us to hear from people who have experience right on the line, and I must say you conveyed a number of messages that we've heard before. Certainly there's an increasing awareness of the problems you face.

You mentioned the problem about being able to gain entry into the units under the Landlord and Tenant Act unless there's consent to enter, and having to give 24-hour notice to enter. What sort of problems would this create if that in fact happened?

Ms Douglas: The one problem I addressed briefly was our meal census, a security measure we take. All our residents are able to come and go from their own private suites as they wish, but they and their family also want a provision that at least three times during the day we know they're well and don't need our assistance. The nursing staff checks the dining room to see who is not present at that meal, and then our routine is to call that resident's suite. Perhaps they've had a nap and slept through, or perhaps they are having a health problem and do need our attention. We would then go up to the suite, if there's no answer by telephone, to ascertain whether there is a problem. This is obviously something that cannot be planned for; there's no way we would know 24 hours ahead of time, as I understand the bill requires, whether that visit were necessary. That would be one example.

Mr David Johnson: Another problem you've alluded to, and I just wonder how you would manage this, is that particularly as people get up into their eighties -- and your average age is 84 -- care needs could change, and there's severe doubt under the bill about what would happen if somebody needed additional care that you don't provide, and you can't move them unless there's consent. Of course, if there's consent this all works out, but if for some reason the person we're dealing with doesn't want to move and wants to stay put, what are you going to do if he or she needs some kind of care that you don't have? What happens?

Ms Douglas: I can only speak to what presently happens. I can't speak to what will happen in the future because I'm not sure what's going to happen with this bill and what, if any, changes will be made to it.

First of all, I've heard a lot of talk about the transfer and eviction process, and I would like to address that. In all my experience, it's not ever a sudden thing that happens. It's an ongoing process. There is always communication between myself, my staff, the family and the family doctor to keep them informed of what is happening and to be looking ahead down the road to what changes may be forthcoming.

Many of our residents already have filed long-term care papers through their physicians. I'm located in Halton region. Halton region has the worst ratio of long-term care beds to population, and our residents simply can't get a bed there very easily; we have people who've been waiting two years for placement. We try and come up with some care plan in the interim to keep that person as safe and as healthy as possible, but it is very difficult.

Mr David Johnson: And if they refuse to move and you can't evict them, you're going to have a problem.

Ms Douglas: Yes.

Mr Arnott: Just one short question. Are the examples you've used based on actual things that have happened or are they hypothetical?

Ms Douglas: These are real people who are living in Churchill Place as we speak.

Mr Arnott: How would Bill 120 preclude you from providing respite care in the future?

Ms Douglas: It's my understanding that under Bill 120, the agreement has to be for a long-term basis, that it can't be for a period. We've had people who've stayed to convalesce for as short a time as one week, and there is no provision for a contract for one week.

Mr Arnott: Certainly the ability to provide respite care is an important aspect of maintaining seniors in their own homes over a longer period, as long as possible, which is I think one of the government's objectives.

Ms Douglas: There's a real need in the community for respite care. The discharge planner calls us on a very regular basis asking for that kind of accommodation, for many and varied reasons but, as you said, Mr Arnott, generally for the independent senior who lives in his or her own home but, due to illness or surgery, for a time needs extra help on a 24-hour basis as opposed to a homemaker making a short daily visit.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. Mr Owens.

Mr Owens: I'll yield my time to the parliamentary assistant.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Winninger, are you yielding your place too?

Mr Winninger: Yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: As questions on some technicalities have been raised, I would like to ask Terry Irwin from the ministry to talk to the specific issues about the various situations regarding the care provisions, if that's permissible to you.

The Vice-Chair: You can certainly do that within your own time.


Mr Gary Wilson: Absolutely; you'll get your turn.

Mr Terry Irwin: I'm not sure where to begin, Mr Wilson.

Mr Gary Wilson: We could address specifically the issue of the 24-hour notice.

Mr Irwin: This comes up a number of times. Let's take the example of the meal census that you've mentioned, where you knock on the door and the tenant responds and allows the person to come into the room. There's no problem with that. You've obviously discussed this with the family and this is an ongoing arrangement.

Ms Douglas: What if the resident cannot respond?

Mr Irwin: You use common sense, and it certainly could be deemed to be an emergency situation.

Mr Popofsky: Would that not be subjective, though, sir? Who determines what is an emergency? The act does not specifically, to my understanding, classify what an emergency is. The difficulty is that it would be a subjective approach on the part of the person entering the suite, and you may cause someone to be upset as a result.

The Vice-Chair: I suggest, to make things clear, that questions should be addressed to the Chair and redirected.

Mr Popofsky: My apologies.

The Vice-Chair: Of course, Mr Wilson, if you want to give the ministry official all of your five minutes, that's fine, but you have the floor.

Mr Irwin: It's not a problem. Certainly if the tenant does not give consent to enter, the Landlord and Tenant Act preserves that right. By the sound of it, it's a situation you've worked out with the tenant and the family, and on the surface there appears to be no reason why the tenant would refuse that right.

Mr Popofsky: But can.

Mr Irwin: But can, yes.


Mr Cordiano: Could I ask a question of --

The Vice-Chair: No, Mr Wilson still has the floor.

Mr Gary Wilson: I think there was another issue you were concerned about: if the provision of care had to be increased. Could you respond to that?

Mr Irwin: There's nothing in Bill 120 that would require a landlord to provide extra care. If they're not offering that care service in the complex, there's nothing in this bill that would require that. Mr Owens talked before about the government's redirection of long-term care. A third party could provide that extra care, if that's an appropriate situation or available. Certainly the government is working towards that over the longer term. Otherwise, the situation is as it is now: You work with the tenant, with the family, and try to find another accommodation for them. But there's nothing in the bill that would require the landlord to provide that care.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Winninger, did you want to ask a question?

Mr Winninger: Just to build on the comments of the ministry official, it would seem to me that in the present system there is considerable flexibility, provided you have the consent of the resident or, if the resident is incompetent, the consent of a substitute decision-maker. As you've observed, in extreme cases you may have to invoke the provisions of the Mental Health Act.

I'm not sure from my reading of the bill and what the ministry presented and the evidence of the various deputants that we've changed in any substantial or material way the manner in which care is delivered. In fact, we've expressly excluded care, so if a patient is seeking a short period of respite care or temporary care, there can be a contract for services to provide that care, short-term or longer-term. If you have to move a patient up to more intensive care, you would seek the approval of the resident or you'd get the substitute decision-maker to help make that decision. Frequently, families cooperate in making those decisions, and to some extent our Substitute Decisions Act and advocacy legislation will provide those necessary supports.

I know you used the word "may" quite frequently in your presentation, so there may be some uncertainty for you surrounding the legislation and how it will be interpreted. Hopefully, through consultation with the ministry, you can lay some of those concerns to rest.

Ms Douglas: Excuse me, Mr Chair. Could I ask Mr Winninger --

The Vice-Chair: That would not be permissible.

Ms Douglas: Well, has the substitute decision-making passed? Is this presently in effect?

The Vice-Chair: It has not been proclaimed yet.

Ms Douglas: Thank you.

Mr Winninger: I was using the term because right now we have substitute decision-makers like committees and guardians that assist as well.

The Vice-Chair: Your time has expired; we will turn to the Liberal caucus.

Mr Cordiano: I'm not going to try to rehash some of the areas we dealt with with the Ontario Residential Care Association, but let me ask you these specific questions: Have you ever had in any of your facilities what's euphemistically called a garbage bag eviction?

Ms Douglas: No, I haven't, and I've been associated with Lifestyle Retirement Communities for four years. I know of no evictions, and certainly not the garbage bag variety which were so well publicized and of which we are all very aware. They've had a very high profile.

Mr Cordiano: I know you have very well run residences. With respect to discharges of problem tenants, how do you handle that situation?

Ms Douglas: Each situation, of course, is very individual, as problems always are, so there's not a blanket answer to that. I guess the beginning point is that at the time of admission there is always a communication between ourselves, the prospective resident and their family. They know what our scope of practice is and so on, and they know what our limitations of service are. They know what they can expect from us in service.

As I mentioned before, when any changes occur, either in health or problems, which are not always related to health, it's an ongoing communication, an ongoing process. We work together very closely with social work. Yesterday, for example, for lunch, we had Judy Donnelly, who's the executive director of the Halton placement coordination service, with us. If people need other facilities, we are very instrumental in helping them find other accommodation.

Mr Cordiano: The whole question I'm concerned about is with respect to this emergency entry, a situation where you have to deal with it very quickly, and that's not dealt with in the act in a satisfactory way, as you have pointed out and as other people have pointed out. I don't think the ministry has satisfactorily answered that question even today. I pointed this out to the minister, that we have grave concerns around that, that you are going to put residents in a vulnerable situation if this is not dealt with in the bill by way of amendment.

I hear what you have to say around that. I just want to agree with your point of view, that we have problems with that, and hopefully some of the amendments we'll be putting forward will be accepted by the government.

Ms Douglas: We have been given a trust by the family and the residents to provide a level of care and a level of service and a level of protection. We would just like to know that that is going to have some accommodation in the bill, that we're able to proceed in that way.

Mr Grandmaître: You would qualify as a private enterprise. Have you ever received subsidies from the government?

Mr Popofsky: No, sir.

Mr Grandmaître: Do you feel that the government should regulate you? You haven't been depending on any government -- municipal, provincial or federal -- and now they want to walk into your place and regulate you.

Mr Popofsky: Frankly, I'm totally opposed to Bill 120; however, I recognize perhaps the realities of the day. We have no difficulty with the rent regulation component. That is to say, we have always followed on a voluntary basis the same provisions that apply to traditional rental accommodation.

Where we have some difficulty, however, with this bill as it currently stands is the pragmatic implementation of some of the other aspects which directly relate to traditional rental accommodation. The facilities we have are not traditional rental accommodation as contemplated under the Landlord and Tenant Act and as contemplated under this specific bill.

What we are suggesting, perhaps, is the implementation of certain amendments, a closer look on the part of those who are responsible for the writing of this bill, to think very, very clearly of specific facilities such as ours and those the members of the Ontario Residential Care Association have under their jurisdiction, as opposed to tainting us with the same paintbrush, if you will, as boarding houses and rooming houses.

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



The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Mr Dan Scully from Southrim Enterprises Health Care Management Services.

Mr Daniel Scully: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I've distributed a three-page brief of my remarks. I'm sure I will be repeating some of the points that were made earlier in your proceedings, but I think three points in particular deserve very close and serious scrutiny, so I've set them out here.

By way of background, I've been involved in the health care field for more than 20 years, both in the nursing home profession and also in retirement lodges. Our company provides consulting services to hospitals and other elements in the health care system, and we also manage non-profit apartment complexes under the non-profit housing program.

Due to the prominent role of health care in retirement homes, it is inappropriate to adopt housing controls and make them apply to the health care section. I would add to that, "without amendment."

Residents enter retirement homes for the purpose of receiving care or to have care readily available, not because they enjoy the lifestyle, necessarily. In fact, there is little difference between a nursing home patient and a retirement home resident other than the degree of care required. The average age in both types of projects is practically the same; that is, 80 to 85 years.

Retirement residents are usually frail, with multiple health concerns. Due to the advanced age of the typical retirement home resident on admission, the average length of stay is relatively short. Fairly intensive efforts are expended monthly in dealing with transfers of residents to more appropriate care settings than retirement lodges.

The first major issue I'd like to review with the committee is the issue of rent controls. I would agree with the previous group where they said they really don't have any problem with rent controls per se, and this is our experience as well. I would suggest that our operations would be quite similar to those of Lifestyle. Our increases in each of the last three years that our project in Hamilton, for instance, has been in operation, have been substantially below the guidelines imposed on non-profit housing projects.

However, I say in my brief that rent controls should be replaced with a requirement that owners give residents proper notice of increases. There is a substantial vacancy rate across the province. This has been my experience over the last 20 years, and it hasn't changed: 80% to 85% occupancy has been my experience over the time I've been involved in the health care field, and it's certainly the case today.

This affords residents easy ability to transfer to another facility should increases be inappropriate. The major problems concerning rate increases have occurred when operators entice residents to enter a facility with rates lower than market in order to fill up. When fill-up occurs, the operator may be faced with a large gap between current rates being charged and market rates.

This problem would be covered by requiring residents to be advised on admission of the difference, if any, between the proposed rate to be charged and the market rate which the operator would charge if he were not offering incentives. Competitive conditions in the market, that is, supply outstripping demand, will ensure that residents are offered the lowest rates possible. To allow the current legislation to pass unamended would give future new residents entering suites where the previous tenant was paying reduced rates an unfair price reduction -- unfair to the operator and unfair to other tenants paying market rates.

Mr Chairman, I'll give you an example of this situation. Let's assume that rent controls are an inevitable result of this legislation, a situation I indicated earlier I would have no problem with, keeping our rate of increase and our rates below the guidelines. We've certainly been able to do that in the last several years of our operations. However, again using as an example this property in Hamilton, when we opened the residence we offered a pre-opening rate to those residents who would agree to come into the facility on opening, and we signed up approximately 15 individuals at pre-opening rates. These rates were approximately 15% below the rates that tenants or residents were charged after we opened. In the intervening years some of these original residents have moved on, but we have more than 10 of these original residents still in the facility, and their rates are still 15% below the so-called market rates we charge new tenants because the rate of increase we have given to these individuals who were on the pre-opening special, 3% or 4% or whatever, was based on their pre-opening special rate.

As I understand the current legislation, on November 22 or thereabouts we are to advise the ministry about what rates are in place. Approximately 15% to 20% of our rates are at this pre-opening special level. As I further understand it, what would happen in that situation is that if one of these rooms is vacated, the new resident coming in would not be paying the same rates that the other tenants are paying but a rate based on the special pre-opening price, which only applied to those who came in when the facility opened.

I think this is something that possibly is not widespread. It probably applies mostly to newer facilities that have opened in the last few years, ours being one of them. We have been treating the existing residents with sensitivity, keeping the increase in rates below the guidelines for those apartment buildings under rent control. But if this legislation passes in the way it's currently drafted, then as these pre-opening suites get vacated they will always be at a lower price than exactly the same accommodation occupied by people paying market rates.

Another point I'd make is that I don't agree with certain things which have happened in the industry over the years, where tenants who are in an existing facility -- I'm thinking of one in Toronto which is quite notorious, where they were given an 18% rate increase. I don't agree with that at all. That is something that needs to be controlled. However, I don't believe it's widespread.

In any event, in an effort to address that problem, I think the legislation causes an unfair situation in cases in which operators may entice residents to come into a new facility, where because of the losses that are usually generated, they want to fill up as quickly as possible so they may offer a pre-opening or a special rate, having in mind that when that suite is vacated they would want to move that rate to the proper market rate. I would submit that as long as the tenant or resident knows they're getting a special rate, that the real rate for the room is, let's say, $2,000 and they're paying $1,500, I think that's the significant point that needs to be addressed in the legislation: that when that tenant or resident vacates that suite, that special rate no longer applies, necessarily. It may be in the operator's interest to offer again to a new tenant a special rate, but that would be the operator's decision to make, I would submit.

The problem -- and coincidentally, this happened at our Hamilton property just recently. A group of residents came to us and said, "Why are we paying more for the same type of accommodation as these other people?" the other people being on the pre-opening rates. This problem would just be compounded under the current legislation.


Accessibility to rooms: I'll be very brief because I thought the last submission was very clear and made the point very well about accessibility to rooms, and I take the committee back to the overview. I think this is where the basic thrust of the legislation falls short. It's simply not possible to take what is housing legislation applicable to self-contained rental units and just have it apply to congregate living facilities, basically a hotel with a health care component. That's basically what we're talking about: All the meals are taken in the dining room, there is interaction required on a daily basis, and then there's the health care component.

In my opinion, I don't think proper care and thought has gone into the drafting of this legislation to ensure that these special requirements of retirement lodges with health care components, which we all have, are properly addressed. I would suggest to you, Mr Chairman, following up on the last submission again, that in the case of an individual who has a smoking problem -- for instance, he or she may smoke copious amounts of cigarettes and fall asleep, let the cigarette drop on the floor or the bed -- it's a hazard not only to that party but also to all the residents in the facility. There may not be an emergency, under the words in the legislation, sufficient for staff to go into that particular tenant's or resident's room and check to make sure that the cigarette is extinguished, this type of thing. Even though we may try to put controls in place and work with the family to make sure that smoking is curtailed in a case like that, the tenant may not decide to go along with it.

There may not be -- and I would submit there are not on an ongoing basis -- occasions where we could say there is an emergency or a potential emergency happening so that we can gain entry without getting the tenant's permission.

Another example that happened to us is that one of our residents committed suicide, unfortunately, and notwithstanding the fact that we knew there was a previous attempt and we were checking on this individual on a regular basis, he was determined to take his own life and we were unable to stop it. I would submit to you that that's another situation which would require staff to be able to attend in residents' rooms without, necessarily, the tenant or resident giving permission for entry. Certainly in that case of the suicide the resident did not want anyone in his room.

The final point I make is transfers, and again I would agree with the submission made by the Lifestyle group. Let me give you a couple of examples just to press the point. I don't really know whether there would be a great concern about in-house transfers under the current legislation. If residents don't want to receive health care that the operator feels is required, I don't think they should be forced to receive that. I don't think they have to do that in hospitals; they shouldn't have to do it in retirement homes.

On the other hand, if by doing so they are putting their lives in danger, what is the responsibility on the part of the operator and especially on the part of the registered nursing staff, whose standards of practice dictate that they would have to intervene in a situation like that? What do we do in a situation where someone refuses care and they need care? I would submit to you that that would put the operator and staff in serious jeopardy and liability. I think the legislation needs to be reviewed from that standpoint as well.

Let me give you a couple of examples. We have had in the recent past two male residents come to us. On the first one I would give you just a bit of background. He is a veteran. We had him living alone in an apartment but he had fallen and went to hospital. He recuperated somewhat, but came to us in a weakened condition. Because of the three meals a day, the daily nursing care and so on that we provide, within about six months his health had improved substantially. Unfortunately, also at the same time, he decided that he would return to his drinking. He had a drinking problem but was supposedly under control when he came to us. He would send for daily deliveries by cab from the liquor store and, unfortunately, when he became drunk, which was daily, as it turned out, he became violent.

One occasion occurred where we had to cancel and stop short the Christmas party because he came down drunk and was using his cane to attack the other residents, many of whom are very frail. I was approached personally by almost the entire resident population saying, "If you don't get that person out, that person who doesn't belong here" -- because we had worked with this person to try to control the drinking and the violence -- "then we're leaving." They didn't want to do that, but the point is that there are occasions when it is necessary to transfer an individual because of health problems or because he's a danger to himself or others, is not appropriate in the type of residential setting that we find in retirement lodges.

This dumping people on the street and so on is intolerable. I don't know of any situation of that myself. We certainly don't do it, and I don't think any operator who is a member of the Ontario Residential Care Association would even think of doing that.

In this case, we worked with the social service agencies and Veterans Affairs. Veterans Affairs said: "If you decide you want to drink and cause problems and so on, then you will go to this other place." But under the proposed legislation -- and he certainly tried to resist. He said: "I'm not moving. I like it here." He was eventually moved. From a health standpoint, he's able to carry on, but he's in his own, self-contained apartment, not having to share meals, not having a communal, congregate living situation to deal with, and he's not disturbing other people as he was in our facility. I suggest that this type of situation comes up more than just occasionally. It needs to be addressed in the legislation. Those are my comments.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much, Mr Scully, for your presentation. It certainly was inclusive and I think very thoughtful. My colleague Steve Owens would like a question too.

I'd like to begin with a comment that what we're trying to do here, of course, is to make sure that all residents in care homes have rights that are considered in their treatment. So when you mentioned the case you did right at the end, it suggests to me, at least, do we want to deny rights to all residents just to take care of that case if that is the only way -- I assume that's the only way -- of handling a case, that is, summarily removing the person? I think that's the balance we're looking for.

There are provisions, as you know, under the Landlord and Tenant Act to evict people from accommodation, and that does provide a setting where people's rights are taken into account. In more urgent cases, there are other steps that can be taken to control behaviour that is inappropriate or threatening both to the person and to other residents. Again, this is what we're trying to achieve in the bill, to bring in rights. I think you yourself alluded to the fact that there are cases where people are treated unfairly or inappropriately because they don't have the standing that the legislation now will give them under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Scully: In a situation where we're trying to cover off the problem of an individual, the odd case where someone, for instance, has a drinking problem and is violent, this type of thing, and how do we protect the rights of others, it's not just that I decide this is inappropriate. We have the medical adviser, the health team and the family, if there is one. In that case, there wasn't a family, but usually the family, as I think has been alluded to earlier, and we work out a solution which is appropriate for that individual in the expert and professional opinion of everyone involved. I knew myself that this was a problem we'd have to take care of, and probably by a discharge, but before that happened we'd try to work with the individual. People shouldn't be just summarily discharged. We should try to work with them, but if we can't, then there has to be another site or residence looked at.


I mentioned earlier that I manage non-profit apartment complexes; they're covered by rent control. If this individual was in one of those suites and he was reluctant and wanted to fight me over moving out -- we have cases every month where we have to deal with people who just don't want to leave, don't want to pay the rent. We can't have a situation like that in a health care setting, where it could take months to deal with a person who is getting worse and worse with alcohol and violence and so on. It's not that they're killing someone. The violence I'm talking about, they'll strike someone with a cane or they'll disrupt something. That might not even be sufficient under the current legislation to evict. He'd have a case in court, I would think, to explain himself. It's the reluctant party who has a health problem who disrupts the lifestyle of the other tenants or is a danger to himself that I'm talking about.

Mr Cordiano: I couldn't agree with you more wholeheartedly, and say that those are exactly the concerns we express about the legislation. I sure hope the government is ready, willing and receptive to amendments that would deal with those particular situations. At the very least, being unable to deal with a problem tenant in a way that considers the safety of other tenants in a facility concerns us a great deal.

You touched on some other concerns we have with respect to care provision in facilities such as the one you operate and others. We're quite concerned about that, being able to distinguish between what is care and what is something along the lines of provision for health care services, how those are defined; what an emergency situation is. Those are all things we're quite concerned about. You pointed out the particular circumstance where smoking can be a problem but no one has a right of entry into that tenant's facility to deal with that tenant. I just want to support what you were saying and ask you how you might make changes to the legislation. We don't have time to go into that, but at some future point I think we're probably going to ask other witnesses who come before us to address some of these concerns with respect to how we might change it, if it's possible to do that within the framework of the legislation that's before us.

The Vice-Chair: Do you want to respond?

Mr Scully: I just want to say thank you to Mr Cordiano for the suggestion of perhaps offering some more detailed thoughts. When I was on the board of directors of the Ontario Nursing Home Association it was our practice, prior to legislation being introduced, to work with government and to express concerns we would have with proposed legislation. I thought that worked out fairly well, and perhaps there would an opportunity to do that with this legislation as well.

Mr Cordiano: To reiterate, if you have recommendations around aspects of the bill you would like to see changed -- and I know you addressed some in your brief -- it would help us to know what might work in a practical, pragmatic sense so we could bring that forward and draft amendments that could go a long way towards doing that. We'll do that ourselves, of course, and we're hopeful that the government is receptive to these amendments, but on the areas around care provision, emergency access, some of those things, I might get in touch with you to ask for your advice on the drafting of those amendments.

Mr Arnott: Thank you very much for your presentation. I think the concerns you've expressed have considerable validity in this instance. What the government says it's doing is that there'll be new rights created in the area of tenancy, but what you're saying is that it might be at the cost of patient care.

You've indicated that rent controls are not applicable in this circumstance and that instead there should be some requirement that gives residents proper notice of rate increases. What would you consider proper notice?

Mr Scully: I certainly haven't heard that the intent of the legislation is to force the average rates charged downward because someone thinks they're too much, that too much is being charged, that people are being gouged and so on. I haven't heard that, so what I must assume is that the intent of the legislation is to make sure that situations like the Grenadier, that infamous place I mentioned earlier in Toronto where people got 18% rate increases all of a sudden, don't happen.

What happened in that case was that the people who came in in the early days of that facility's operation were given special rates, but they weren't told they were special rates. They were given a special rate to entice them to come into the facility. This is the exact situation I refer to on the second page of my brief. After a couple of years they were still losing money but by then they were close to being filled, so they said: "Well, we've got to catch up now. We're just going to introduce an 18% rate increase."

That probably would have been quite acceptable had the tenants or residents known when they came in that at some future time -- perhaps there would be a two- or three-year moratorium -- the rates would have to go up, that you were being given a special rate. I think that is perfectly acceptable. That probably needs to be addressed, because there's a sensitive and appropriate way to handle the question of filling up a retirement home or giving a special rate for a room, if you're a mature home, that you might want to offer to one tenant, for any particular reason, that you might not want to offer to others. But as long as your increases per year to that tenant, as long as that tenant or resident is in that accommodation, are under the guidelines, then I think justice would be done in a case like that.

Mr Arnott: Do most new rest or retirement homes setting up feel compelled to offer a special reduced rate to entice people to come in in the initial instance?

Mr Scully: There are different ways of doing it. There haven't been, in the last three or four years, that many new facilities. There's an oversupply in the market, and as a result there hasn't been much in the way of new construction. But there are other ways of handling enticements, such as a number of months of free rent, things of this nature, so that the tenant or resident always knows what the rate is. The end result is the same, a reduced amount of money coming out of their pocket, but they know what the rate is.

The unfairness of all of a sudden announcing huge rate increases, which has happened, is the part that I think needs to be addressed by this legislation; not to protect residents from being given high rate increases while they're already there, because they have -- except in maybe very rare cases in a remote location where they don't have another home to go to, but certainly in most cases -- the opportunity to go to another facility if the rates are excessive. That's what keeps operators honest, in my opinion: the possibility of that happening. If they give a huge rate increase, then if it's unacceptable to the tenants they're going to lose a lot of tenants; there are lots of vacancies to absorb any people who want to move.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We appreciate you appearing before the committee. Your remarks were certainly important and will be part of the considerations later on when we look at clause-by-clause.

This concludes the sittings of the committee for today. We are meeting tomorrow at 10 o'clock. As far as we know at this point, the presenters will be here. The committee is adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1659.