Thursday 20 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

Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations

Deborah Wandal, policy coordinator

City of Mississauga

John Calvert, director, policy planning, planning and building department

Ron Miller, policy planner, planning and building department

City of Waterloo

Brian Turnbull, mayor

Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division

Hugh Tapping, volunteer staff assistant

Carol Roup, senior director, policy research and branch services

Sandra Tudge, community mental health consultant

Town of Newmarket

Raymond Twinney, mayor

Plamondon, Susan, municipal solicitor

London North Community Association

Mary Lynn Metras, representative

Bonnie Hawlik, representative

Crisis Housing Liaison (Sudbury)

Barry Schmidl, president

Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

Don McLean, second vice-president

Concerned Citizens for Civic Affairs in North York

Terence Sawyer, treasurer

Colin Williams, president

City of Brampton

Peter Robertson, mayor

Peter Richards, councillor

Carl Brawley, policy planner


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

*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

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

*Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*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:

Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South/-Sud L)

Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC)

McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L)

Ministry of Housing:

Gigantes, Hon Evelyn, minister

Douglas, James, policy advisor, housing development and buildings branch

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

Wilson, Gary, parliamentary assistant to the minister

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

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



The committee met at 1001 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 business of the committee this morning is to deal with public deputations regarding Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property.


The Chair: The first presentation will be the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations. Welcome. The committee has allocated one half-hour for your presentation. We always appreciate at least some time to discuss that presentation with you during the 30 minutes.

Ms Deborah Wandal: All right. My name is Deborah Wandal. I hope you all have the presentation from the federation. As well, I've prepared an outline.

Just for those of you who might not be familiar with the federation, we are a grass-roots tenants' organization, and we do have thousands of tenant members across the greater Toronto area. We work with tenants to organize them in their buildings in order to help them deal more effectively with their tenancy problems. We also have a tenant hotline which we operate eight hours a day and on which we hear many of the problems that tenants are currently facing.

It's interesting that while tenants living in apartments in houses call us regularly as to what they can do to enforce their rights, we seldom heard from care home tenants, because they were all too well aware that they actually had no rights at that time.

I'd like to start by talking about some of the principles that we feel underlie this bill and that we feel are important in order to ensure adequate housing for all.

In order to create a town, a city or a province that is shaped by something other than the myriad self-interested concerns of its many inhabitants, we need a vision and a set of principles to guide us. We would like to congratulate the Honourable Evelyn Gigantes and the government for acting on their vision and standing by their principles.

It's easy to proclaim that housing is a right and that every person has that right to claim this basic dignity and self-respect. In support of such statements, Canada has joined as a signatory to a number of international covenants. However, people aren't sheltered by these noble sentiments, nor are they kept warm by the best of intentions.

Any trickle-down effect from these ideals to life on the street must happen in the planning arena, we believe. There is no such thing as an innocuous planning issue, because all planning issues are social, political and human rights issues. They are shaped by our values, and they shape the dynamics of our daily lives. As such, planning is a process that interweaves principles and the pragmatic. To that end, the Planning Act anticipates the overlapping of interests between the province and the municipality. Under this act, the province has both the right and the responsibility to declare a provincial interest on issues which require a larger perspective.

Moving beyond the narrow self-interest and the status quo can be difficult to do at the local level. As Mr Mahoney of the Liberal Party has said in Hansard, December 6, "All that residents need to know and all that should concern them is the quality of life in their community." But if the residents' community isn't an inclusive one, then whose quality of life is being considered and whose is being ignored?

When you don't even have a community yet because you are homeless, who is taking your quality of life into account? Mr Mahoney talked about how he persuaded his constituents that psychiatric survivors needed a place to live. But what if no community could be so persuaded? Sadly, it is the case that residents' concerns usually extend only to what is and shouldn't be happening in their own backyards. What then about the quality of life of these psychiatric survivors? How are their needs taken care of?

Mr Stockwell has stated that there are excellent communities and that they have been created under the current system of planning priorities. But we don't believe that these communities have been created for the majority of constituents and we believe they don't meet the needs of the majority of constituents.

Mr Cordiano has remarked, and I think this is quite revealing as to whose needs are reflected in the current planning agenda, "Where people choose to live is important and is a personal decision. I think people should have the option to do that, especially when they're willing to pay extra for it."

We agree with Mr Cordiano that planning for people's housing needs involves providing a range of choices and balancing of interests. But if making choices is a personal decision, then why should municipalities further the personal decisions of those willing to pay extra by creating single-family enclaves for them, but do nothing to promote the personal decisions of tenants, single moms, refugees, newcomers?

By catering to the élitist choices of those who want to exclude everyone from their neighbourhoods who cannot afford to buy a house, municipalities are completely precluding many others from even realizing their much more modest choices. Apparently those who are not just willing but of course able to pay more for their housing have more rights to choose and to have their choices respected than do those who pay less.

As a result of these exclusionary zoning practices, there is virtually no choice for many tenants, no opportunity to live on a residential street. Municipalities prefer, it seems, to deal with tenants' housing needs by segregating them in high-rise ghettos. Like apartheid, it works just fine, as long as you don't consider it from the perspective of the blacks.

Tenants' only alternative to high-rise housing seems to be housing developed under main-streeting projects. Mr Johnson has stated that he has no problem understanding that home owners might want to live in different kinds of areas, some quiet and suburban, some bustling and centrally located. Shouldn't tenants also be able to decide that they may not want to live in a high-rise tower? What if they want a backyard for their children or to plant a garden? What if they want to be part of the community as well?

We believe that municipalities are simply not listening to tenants. We have heard from councillors in Metro cities that in the past tenants have neither been seen nor encouraged to see themselves as contributing ratepayers with the right to put their interests before council. When tenants are not heard, municipalities don't act on their behalf and the tenants remain invisible.

There are many groups of people whose needs and circumstances have been largely invisible. Care home tenants are certainly one group. The current situation of apartments in houses is a perfect example of this invisibility and the inequality and second-class treatment such invisibility spawns.

Mr Stockwell has stated that he believes that the "individual choice of a neighbourhood to tolerate a violation works pretty well," but for whom? Certainly not for the tenant living in that unit, with too precarious a hold on their tenancy to dare to even try to exercise their rights, nor for the home owner who is waiting for the neighbour next door to complaint.

Now, it's true that municipalities generally haven't been closing down these units, but I think that this indicates and reveals a policy of inaction that is fuelled by municipalities' reprehensible complacency and refusal to meet their own responsibilities.


The tenants living in these units and the home owners who install them are also constituents and they have the right to have their interests and needs heard. Where will these constituents live if they cannot remain in these units? How will Mississauga and Scarborough and London adequately accommodate people who may work in their cities, shop in their cities, make positive contributions to their communities in many ways but have no housing and have no way of having their housing needs addressed?

The municipalities were aware of these units and that many of the tenants were living in substandard housing and yet they did nothing. They blame tragic fires on the existence of the units themselves rather than acknowledging that they have done nothing to provide adequate, safe, legal housing for the people who are forced to live in illegal and therefore unregulated and possibly unsafe units.

We can only infer that municipalities sanction this limbo in which tenants and home owners are suspended. By refusing to deal with this reality, municipalities can ignore people's needs and interests and indeed pretend their wonderful communities work, except of course for those whose conveniently invisible needs can only be met through an underground economy.

The opposition has been using arguments against this bill similar to those raised around busing and forced integration: "You're not doing any favours for the people who live in basement apartments. There's going to be resentment in the community." This is a familiar refrain when anyone from some disadvantaged group enters an arena traditionally reserved for others, be it in the schools, the workplace or the neighbourhood.

Such arguments are apt, because what is being rationalized here is a form of discrimination, an indulgence in racism, classism and sexism. Some people euphemistically express this as a concern about the character of the neighbourhood, by which they mean keeping the right people in the neighbourhood and keeping the wrong people out. They base this fine-tuned distinction on people's race, income, age, disability, family status. They stereotype everyone who's a newcomer to Canada, a senior, a young person, a single mom, a low-income person or family working for minimum wage, a person with a disability or special needs.

When people think of tenants these are the groups they think of. That's fair enough. What isn't fair and what is discriminatory is the negative judgement and the rejection of them. People are afraid of differences and therefore homogeneous communities appear safe to those who fit in because they are familiar. But it doesn't take much to appear different, nothing much more than not owning property.

In the tenant movement we've experienced all of this before. A few constant themes have threaded their way through the struggle for tenant rights and protections. First, those with property must be completely protected against the propertyless classes because tenants are unruly, unkempt, even dangerous and simply do not live like other people. So they can't be trusted with rights; they will only abuse such power and everyone will suffer. These were the arguments that we have heard made in every battle: the battle for security of tenure, the right to privacy, to organize, the rights for roomers and boarders. The same dire warnings would be issued.

Secondly, there's the historical assumption that rights and powers must be vested only in those with property and that those without property simply don't deserve rights. Apartments in houses is yet another battle for tenants. Now it's not only about home owners or landlords wanting complete control over their property and its occupants but about home owners exercising complete control over entire neighbourhoods and their occupants.

Many argue that these neighbourhoods weren't planned for multi-unit dwellings. This is true, but it's also true that they weren't planned as communities for single seniors or for families with one child or for three- or four-car families. In fact, any neighbourhood planned in the 1920s and 1930s or the 1950s and 1960s simply isn't responsive to today's needs. Many of them were planned for large families and, in contrast, demographics indicate there are now many smaller households which must be housed.

With 40% of marriages ending in divorce and a large percentage of women-led households suffering economic disadvantage, the nuclear single family is no longer the bedrock of our society. As well, changing household composition, variations on the extended family and diverse cultural norms create a whole range of housing needs.

This is the practical reality then: Huge areas are devoted to an underutilized form of housing which is now accessible to a dwindling percentage of the population. This housing needs to be reused in order to meet the current housing needs and access problems of many others. These neighbourhoods have outlived their usefulness in their current format.

Municipalities could learn a planning lesson from all these illegal units. They're an indicator of what people actually need and where they actually want to live. Now, if municipalities don't keep pace with changing demographics and plan for the real housing needs of their constituents, the province has a responsibility to take on that role.

We believe the province has done this by using Bill 120 to open up choices. It allows choices to be made, as permissive legislation; it does not dictate, as has been suggested. It does give each home owner the right to a measure of control over their own property but it does not give anyone the right to control what will happen in the entire neighbourhood.

It's something of an irony that the NDP government's Bill 120 really allows the market to dictate what will happen. What will be the demand for apartments in houses, what will the supply be? If there is no demand, municipalities won't have to worry about a duplexing explosion, but if there is a demand and a corresponding increase in supply, this will mean that there was a need for housing which municipalities just weren't planning for. It will also indicate that there was a desire on the part of owners to install these units, leading us to conclude that perhaps there was only a vocal minority rather than unanimous opposition to this bill.

Perhaps these single-family neighbourhoods are becoming less viable and unable to sustain themselves through market demand. Wanting to preserve the character of a single-family neighbourhood is a little like feeling nostalgia for the air of refinement that once pervaded the hallowed halls of learning before they allowed the plebs, which is a phrase used in the House, to get a higher education. No doubt something was lost with the intrusion of such ordinary folk, but renewed economic and social vitality in neighbourhoods, continuity of family structures, these are what can be gained through inclusionary zoning.

Back in 1990 the Liberals themselves prohibited municipal bylaws that distinguished family households from households of unrelated people because such distinctions were discriminatory. While there were dire predictions that untold numbers of unrelated people would live together, this had to be dealt with as a potential problem, but no litany of such possible repercussions could justify the continuation of discriminatory practices.

Bill 120 moves tenants' housing rights another step in the right direction. For many tenants, their choices as to where they might be able to live, however, are still very limited. We believe this bill just doesn't go far enough. Tenants can still be segregated by exclusionary zoning on the basis of their particular housing needs. Care home tenants who are going to be helped by other portions of this bill and rooming house tenants will still not have the right to live in residential neighbourhoods.

If equality of all tenants is an informing principle of this bill, then integral to that equality is the right of all tenants to access housing and live where they please. More than one additional unit, as well as rooming houses and care homes, should be allowed within the existing envelope of residential homes, provided that safety and property standards can be met. The limits on both the availability and the range of housing types in residential neighbourhoods must be removed and tenant housing "as of right" allowed in all residential areas.

I have some quick comments to make about affordability and standards. We actually don't believe, unfortunately, that this will provide necessarily affordable housing, in large part because while there is token coverage under the Rent Control Act, there is no provision for registering these units, and it's been quite clear that when units aren't registered, there's no way for tenants to actually ascertain what the previous tenant was paying, there's no check on landlords simply increasing the rents as one tenant moves out and another moves in.

With respect to standards, we are concerned that municipalities that are so adamantly opposed to this bill are going to do nothing to try to cooperate in realizing its intent. We are concerned that some municipalities may make a concerted attempt to actually enter units and use the opportunity to close down any unit that doesn't comply with any kind of property standard. They have this power currently under the Planning Act. We want provincial monitoring to ensure that there is not such a selective enforcement of bylaws with respect to apartments in houses.


Alternatively, we are also concerned that there may be some municipalities that are going to wash their hands of apartments in houses and decide to do nothing, and not meet their obligations to respond to requests for inspections by tenants living in apartments in houses. These tenants will then be left without recourse to secure and well-maintained housing. Should this occur, we want the provincial government to assume the inspection and enforcement role of that municipality.

Under the Residential Rent Regulation Act, there were provisions that empowered the province to step in when municipal enforcement mechanisms were inadequate. We think these provisions should be transported into the RCA. We would also like the Rent Control Act regulation that requires damp-proofing of basement units -- and currently this provision only applies in unregulated areas of Ontario -- we'd like this provision to be included in the regulations of the Planning Act as a standard which each municipality's own bylaws must incorporate.

We are opposed to search warrants because we believe, and it's certainly been our experience, that tenants who live in legal units are in fact constantly trying to get inspectors to come in and look at their places and make work orders for compliance. We don't believe that tenants will refuse entry to inspectors if they're no longer fearful of eviction due to zoning violations.

We would also like to see a public education campaign with the passage of this bill because there are going to be many landlords who are not aware that they have obligations. There are going to be many tenants who are not aware that they have rights and obligations. This is opening up a whole new field of people who are entering the landlord-tenant relationship for a first time and they need to become familiar with the legislation.

The final remark that I'd like to make about apartments in houses is that we found that many of the arguments from the opposition were about what would happen if we pass this legislation or if we don't have incredibly stringent regulations or we don't give landlords unfettered power.

These are all worst-case scenarios that are being presented, and such events, sometimes tragic, do happen. However, the parameters and focus of any piece of legislation or bylaw do not get set by these worst-case scenarios. We don't set speed limits at 10 kilometres an hour because people may get killed at any speed higher than that. While fire safety officials recognize that someone may break a leg jumping from a window 20 feet up, none the less we don't require fire escapes at that height.

Similarly, we shouldn't access legislation because every house in Ontario may turn into a duplex and we shouldn't give all landlords the right to simply remove a tenant because a few tenants may came from hell. Instead we make legislation that weighs certain rights and freedoms against necessary protections and controls and that is based on what we can reasonably expect from people without resorting to discriminatory generalizations.

Do I have about two minutes?

The Chair: No, you have about nine minutes.

Ms Wandal: Okay. I'd like to make a couple of comments about care homes. Again we laud the government for standing by its commitment to the equality of all tenants under the law. Believing that a tenant is a tenant is a tenant and that all tenants are entitled to the same rights and protections is definitely a step in the right direction.

We have, however, a real concern about the meals exemption and we believe that the fact that charges for meals in care homes are not covered by the Rent Control Act essentially abandons tenants in care homes to the similar kinds of situations they faced when they weren't covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act. When they have no control over their meal costs and when they are unable to pay an arbitrary increase in those meal costs, then they are subject to the same kind of constructive eviction that existed when the Landlord and Tenant Act didn't apply and landlords could actually just throw them out.

This loophole will create a desperate situation for the many tenants who have no cooking facilities or who, because of age or disability, are simply unable to shop for or prepare their own food. Exempting meals places them in a vulnerable position. Food becomes the lever the landlord can use to keep tenants compliant and uncomplaining about other abuses of their rights.

We believe that it's the low-income tenants and others, such as seniors, the disabled, who are most vulnerable and are most drastically affected by this provision. It's also the case that as meals are still covered by the Rent Control Act for boarding houses and rooming houses, there is no practical reason why meals cannot similarly be covered for care home tenants.

Our other concern is that the fact that meals are exempted for care home tenants provides a strong incentive to rooming house and boarding house landlords to consider themselves a care home. We believe the legislation actually creates a large window of opportunity for landlords to carry out this miraculous conversion before the RHPA comes into effect with the proclamation of this bill.

Those are my only comments. I can refer to other portions of the presentation in questions. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. We have two minutes per caucus, probably about one question each.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): One question each?

The Chair: I'm just guessing, but two minutes isn't a long time.

Mr Grandmaître: Very good. Thank you. You seem to put a lot of blame on municipalities for not respecting their own bylaws, zoning bylaws or planning laws, official plans. You also mention that municipalities have power under the Planning Act to have access to these illegal apartments or accessory apartments. Where in the Planning Act do municipalities gain this power?

Ms Wandal: Under both section 1 and section 34 there are provisions for inspectors to go to a unit and say that they wish to enter. If they are refused entry, they have the right to get a search warrant and to search the place in order to determine --

Mr Grandmaître: So automatically people will say, "Get a search warrant." They won't welcome people. I'm sure you realize this.

Ms Wandal: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: There are 100,000 of those units in the province of Ontario, but they say that 40,000 of them are located in Toronto. A lot of them, maybe 50% or maybe 75% of these units, were built without a building permit, so it doesn't give the municipal building inspector any access to find out if the plumbing, electricity and so on and so forth, the safety of these people is looked after.

I think municipalities should be given more power to enter these units and to see that they respect at least the minimum housing criteria. If municipalities are given more power, more people will be thrown on the street because they're living in illegal apartments --

The Chair: And the question is?

Mr Grandmaître: -- what will we do with these people?

Ms Wandal: I think that given the Land Use Planning for Housing policy statement, which is still in effect and which was brought in by the Liberal government, there is a real directive in there to be proactive about maintaining and preserving housing, upgrading housing, rather than getting rid of it.

Municipalities should be putting pressure on landlords to comply rather than simply using the opportunity to close units down. There's a very broad spectrum of what isn't up to standard and then what is completely unlivable and, while a place may not meet every standard, that doesn't mean that over time a landlord cannot bring it into compliance and that's what the municipalities should be working on doing. As I said, we believe that once these units are legal, tenants will be asking inspectors to come out and check the units. There won't be a matter of trying to get into a unit that a tenant is reluctant to give access to.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): I don't know how these municipal rascals get to hold their position, you know, when you consider they don't meet the needs of the majority of the people, but then I guess, as you say on page 3, it's one person, one vote and who knows how people are going to vote.

Ms Wandal: And very few vote.

Mr David Johnson: I wonder why it's all or nothing in this situation when municipalities have come up with different proposals. The city of Hamilton yesterday, for example, had a clear policy, as I understand it, on accessory apartments. They didn't allow them in certain circumstances and they allowed them in other circumstances. Many municipalities, such as the one I represented, looked at owner-occupied units.

I might say that many people do rent houses and have backyards. It doesn't have to be a basement apartment. They can rent the whole house or they rent part of a duplex or whatever and there's absolutely no problem and that works quite well. Why is there not the possibility to allow municipalities to deal with this in terms of their local circumstances?

Ms Wandal: I would say that again under the Land Use Planning for Housing statement -- that came out in 1989 -- municipalities were told they had a two-year period in which to amend their official plan, amend their bylaws, take clear, positive steps in the direction of fulfilling the provisions that were in that policy statement. Two years came and went and there was a mere handful of municipalities that had even begun to look at making the appropriate changes.

I agree with you, Hamilton certainly has done. They have a very progressive planning department. They've been pushing for this and they in fact did take some steps to allow apartments in houses, but that is not sufficient. There were so many municipalities that absolutely dug in their heels and said, "Never will we do any of this," I think that necessitated -- it's four years after that policy statement came out, and municipalities by and large have done nothing.


The one other point I'd like to make is, you're right, people can rent a whole house. That is often much more expensive than renting a unit that actually meets your own needs. Many people don't need a whole house. That's part of the issue, that these areas are being underutilized, and I think you yourself mentioned that in the House, that in East York those homes no longer house the numbers they once did.

Mr David Johnson: The two-bedroom bungalows there, right?

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Thanks very much for your presentation, Ms Wandal. It's very informative and certainly thorough in its approach. I'd like to ask you about one thing that has been raised, and that's the issue of owner occupancy and what your view is on the suggestion that accessory apartments should only be in places that are owner-occupied.

Ms Wandal: We have a very simple position that we just don't think that is either necessary -- it's almost as though tenants can't live without some kind of supervision, that there has to be like a chaperon on the premises to make sure that they're never doing anything wrong. It's simply ridiculous.

We really believe you can have tenants living next door to you and there is no reason to necessarily think that they are going to be any less good human beings, that they are going to have any characteristics that will make them difficult neighbours, than if somebody moved next door to you and owned the house and then you could never do anything about the issue of a problem over a fence or a driveway or whatever.

Mr Gary Wilson: What about in areas like around universities? Have you looked at that issue at all?

Ms Wandal: We actually haven't addressed that specific issue, but I think that is covered generally by our belief that, in residential areas, any person who wants to live in a residential area, whatever their housing needs are, whatever specific kind of housing meets their financial ability or their particular family relationship, if it's offered, if someone chooses to build it or provide it in that area, they ought to be able to live there. So if there are places around the university that are willing to house students, they should be housed.

Mr Gary Wilson: Also, I was interested, you mentioned an information package you'd like to see as part of this bill. Could you elaborate on that?

Ms Wandal: Yes. The Ministry of Housing actually does quite a good job of providing all kinds of information to tenants and to landlords about what their rights are, what steps they have to take. I think landlords need to know that there is a process for evicting tenants, that, contrary to myth, tenants get evicted all the time and there is a way of doing it and it doesn't take nine months, it takes six weeks to two months. They need to know that there are legal means they can take so they're not as ready to jump in and try illegal tactics. Similarly, tenants need to be aware that these places are in fact now legal.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation. As you know, clause-by-clause on this bill will commence in March.


The Chair: The next presentation, the city of Mississauga, Mr Calvert. Good morning. You've been allocated half an hour. If you would like to introduce yourself and your colleague for the purposes of our Hansard recording, you may begin.

Mr John Calvert: Thank you, Mr Chairman. My name's John Calvert. I'm the director of policy planning in the planning and building department for the city of Mississauga. This is Ron Miller, also in the planning and building department. You saw him yesterday.

Mr David Johnson: Or his twin brother.

Mr Calvert: Yes. I'll be building on what you've heard from the mayor of Mississauga, the fire chief and the Peel coalition that made a presentation that Ron was part of yesterday. We hope to address just the issues that haven't been covered. I apologize up front if there's any repetition on behalf of what's already been said, but I'll try to stick to the land use planning issues that our department and our city council have addressed.

I guess first, the city of Mississauga has been involved with intensification and specifically accessory apartments since the policy statement, the Land Use Policy for Housing statement that came out in 1989. We have followed through that and have responded to that. We've responded in a report, through our city council, on the consultation paper first and then on Bill 90, and we'll be providing this committee with a report as to the recommendations our council will be dealing with. That report goes to our planning and development committee next Monday, so we'll be forwarding it to this committee once our committee has dealt with it.

I think it's fair to say up front that Mississauga supports the concept of intensification and supports the concept of accessory apartments in particular, with certain restrictions and regulations that we will identify.

The approach we want to take this morning: As I said, I'll just give a bit more of an overview and Mr Miller will go through the specific recommendations, one by one, that our planning and development committee will be dealing with on Monday, which represent the collective position of the city of Mississauga regarding the initial comments on the land use housing policy statement on Bill 90 and now on Bill 120. So we'll have a collection of all the recommendations.

As I said, our involvement has been right from the start with the residential intensification study. We responded to the requirement by the policy statement to study where areas in Mississauga were suitable for various forms of intensification. We retained a consultant and undertook the residential intensification study which, when it concluded, recommended that accessory apartments be permitted in the zoning bylaw throughout the city but be restricted to certain zones in certain detached areas and semi-detached areas.

It recommended that accessory apartments be prohibited in small lots, small-lot detached and semidetached, in all town houses, multiple-family and apartment dwellings on the basis that the land use activity in these areas is already quite intensive and there's less opportunity to physically accommodate the unit.

I guess overall our concerns were addressed in that report and, as Mr Miller will get into in a few minutes, we supported the concept subject to the proper location throughout the municipality and subject to certain amendments to the legislation that would reduce the land use, the zoning, financial, fire, safety and property standards aspects of the impact on the community.

We're in a position now that we've looked at it; we've identified all of the issues. As I said, we have this report going to our planning and development committee on Monday, which will then be forwarded to this committee, and Mr Miller now will go through the specific recommendations that will be discussed by our committee.


Mr Ron Miller: As my colleague mentioned, I'd like to again reiterate that Mississauga's not opposed in principle to accessory apartments, but we seek certain amendments to the legislation itself as well as other pieces of provincial legislation to reduce some of their land use, financial and property standards impacts.

First of all, we suggest that because municipalities such as Mississauga, and also throughout Ontario, do not have the transit system as is available in Metropolitan Toronto, we have higher car ownership rates and higher demands for parking. Because of the small amount of parking available in our town house complexes as well as in areas where we have small-lot detached and semi-detached dwellings, we recommend that those forms of housing be exempted from the bylaw.

For all other forms of housing, we suggest that the Municipal Act be amended to permit licensing or some form of registry of accessory apartments. The issue here is that these apartments are phantom units. We don't know they exist or where they exist. We have no effective means of enforcing the fire code or the building code, as well as the zoning bylaw. Licensing or some form of registry will allow municipalities to do that in an even, proactive manner.

We've been advised that there is no provision in the Landlord and Tenant Act to enable a landlord to evict a tenant if the unit must be closed because it cannot be brought up to standard. Consequently, we recommend that the Landlord and Tenant Act be amended to include a requirement that all rental premises, including accessory apartments, be required to comply with all municipal statutes, regulations and bylaws.

Dealing with finances, accessory apartments are specifically exempt from the Development Charges Act. We have calculated that in Mississauga alone this will mean a loss of $10 million in development charges. Consequently, we request that the Development Charges Act be amended to permit municipalities to impose a development charge on all accessory apartments.

In terms of the Assessment Act, the Assessment Act does not currently address or assess accessory apartments as an additional dwelling unit. We request that the Assessment Act be amended to assess accessory apartments in a similar fashion to duplexes. We believe this would be a fair and equitable treatment of houses containing accessory apartments.

You've probably heard a lot of municipalities request owner occupancy. It's believed that by ensuring the owner resides in a house containing an accessory apartment, undesirable behaviour will be controlled and the property standards will be maintained. We agree, however, with the position that such a requirement is not only unenforceable but also unworkable and perhaps undesirable in practice.

The issue here is really the issue of maintaining appropriate property standards. It's very difficult for municipalities to enforce their standards and obtain prosecutions in court. My legal staff advises me that when prosecutions are obtained, the penalty is merely a slap on the wrist and considered a cost of doing business by the landlord.

The city of Toronto and the city of Windsor have previously obtained specific provincial legislation which would enable them to improve and strengthen their property standards and also obtain prosecutions in the courts. Consequently, we recommend that all municipalities be permitted to strengthen their property standards through private municipal legislation enacted by this province. We believe this would be a suitable, effective means of addressing the whole issue of property standards without getting into the area of owner occupancy.

You've already heard from our fire chief on the concerns of fire safety, so I'll not belabour the point that we believe the fire code should be amended to specifically address accessory apartments. As well, I believe he may have recommended to you the requirement for a sprinkler system.

A close reading of those regulations published under Bill 120, the predecessor of this act, indicated that existing accessory units would not be required to comply with all aspects of the Ontario Building Code. We're requesting that any regulations pertaining to Bill 90 require that not only future accessory apartments but also existing accessory apartments be required to comply with the basics of our Ontario Building Code.

As I mentioned, again dealing with property standards, our legal staff have indicated that it's a very lengthy, cumbersome process to obtain convictions under the Planning Act related to property standards bylaws. We suggest that the Planning Act be reviewed in this regard to shorten the process related to obtaining convictions with respect to property standards. Again, it's an effective means of addressing property standards without getting into the whole area of owner occupancy.

In order to enforce all these standards and regulations, we need to improve somewhat or facilitate a reasonable power of entry by municipal staff. As you know, under the Planning Act as it currently stands, the owner or the occupant may refuse power of entry to an inspector, who is then required to obtain a search warrant. To assist in obtaining a search warrant, we would request some guidelines from the province in terms of the evidence necessary to obtain a search warrant and obtaining any prosecutions under the act.

In addition to these legislative changes I've already mentioned, we request certain amendments to Bill 120 and its related regulations. As I mentioned yesterday, any public meetings required to implement the legislation within our zoning bylaws and our official plans will be a fait accompli and will be deemed largely a farce by the public who are attending. We request that the Planning Act waive the requirements for public meetings to implement this bill.

I also mentioned yesterday that there's a conflict between the Building Code Act and the Planning Act. The Building Code Act does not require inspectors to advise occupants that right of entry may be refused whereas the Planning Act does. We'd request that those two acts be rationalized so that there's no internal conflict. It would greatly assist our inspectors.

The whole implementation process, enforcement and inspection process that municipalities will be required to undertake will result in some costs to municipalities in both labour and other means. We would request some form of grants to the municipalities to offset the implementation and enforcement costs related to this provincial legislation.

To mesh the requirements of this bill with all the various municipal definitions of detached, semi-detached and town house, we would suggest simply that municipalities be allowed to use their own definitions for those types of units. As one of those persons who often writes zoning bylaw amendments, I can tell you that it's very awkward to mesh one piece of legislation with another piece of legislation, especially when these definitions or these terms are used throughout a zoning bylaw.

In terms of parking, again we would request that at least one off-street parking space for the accessory unit be required and that municipalities not be compelled to permit on-street parking to satisfy this requirement or to permit the paving over of front yards to accommodate the parking space.

The definition of a residential unit in Bill 120 permits egress to the outside via another unit. Our fire department has recommended that the definition of a residential unit in the bill be revised to meet all the fire code requirements so that the accessory unit will have egress directly to the outside of the building or some other means of fire-protected egress.

Dealing with garden suites, Mississauga generally supports the legislation, subject to some modifications to ensure that the garden suites will be subject to the Building Code Act by prohibiting the use of mobile homes and trailers and that the garden suite definition not permit an accessory apartment within them.

Finally, with respect to the unregulated care homes, Mississauga generally supports in principle the legislation. Our only concern is the administration of applications under the Rental Housing Protection Act. I am one of those who reviews applications now under that act. To do so, I require data on household incomes and vacancy rates, which are supplied by CMHC. To the best of my knowledge, those data are not available for unregulated care homes. We request either that those data be made available by the province or, if that's impossible, that the unregulated care homes not be subject to the Rental Housing Protection Act.


Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): Just a brief question: Have you any estimate of what this downloading is going to represent in terms of cost to your municipality if indeed there's no additional provincial financial assistance for the associated costs that you're going to be looking after as a result of this bill?

Mr Miller: As I mentioned, in terms of development charges alone we would have a loss of $10 million. We haven't yet calculated the exact administration costs.

Mr Calvert: We expect, as part of the legalization process, inspections and other forms of administrative operations will take place, and that could be quite costly in terms of staff time and other requirements.

Mr Arnott: What about the effect of accessory apartments, assuming there's an expansion of them in numbers, on your sewage capacity as a municipality? Has that been looked into at all?

Mr Miller: In Mississauga sanitary sewers and water services are the responsibility of the region of Peel, therefore we haven't looked at them. It's merely a matter of jurisdiction.

Mr Arnott: I think in our area, in Wellington county, the riding I represent, where we have a number of small municipalities almost at their limit for sewage capacity, this represents a problem. I don't think there's been any provincial government study as to what effect this may have, assuming an increase in the number of accessory apartments, and that concerns me.

Mr Calvert: Yes, we would have to look at that in each area, to look at the capacity and certainly the older parts of Mississauga, to see if there's sufficient -- that's just one of many services that we would have to look at in the hard services. We haven't done it, to answer your question, but it would have to be done to make sure they can be accommodated.

Mr David Johnson: You mentioned about egress directly outside and I wasn't just clear on that. Are you suggesting that every basement apartment should have an exit directly outside?

Mr Miller: Yes, either an exit directly outside or else a fire-protected exit through another unit.

Mr David Johnson: Okay. You also mentioned that all these units should comply with the Building Code, and I just wondered in Mississauga what the biggest problem would be currently in terms of complying with the Building Code.

Mr Miller: For the individual units, of course, we have no knowledge because we don't know where they exist or have access to them. I am only advised by our building inspectors, upon their close reading of the legislation or the regulations under the former bill, that the requirements for existing units did not meet Building Code requirements.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much, Mr Calvert and Mr Miller. Nice to see you back, Mr Miller. Unfortunately, we've so little time to discuss what I consider to be a very reasonable approach to the issue. There's a lot that I think we agree on on this. I think we can clarify a few of the things. For instance, all accessory apartments would have to meet the Building Code requirements at the time of passage of the bill, so that depending on what your regulations said, your property standards could be at the OBC requirements, for instance, and that would guide the legality of the units.

The second issue you raise has to do with the parking. I would like a member of the ministry staff to come forward to tell you about that just so we have that clear. If you don't mind, Mr Chair, could I ask James to do that?

The Chair: Certainly. It's your time.

Mr James Douglas: I'm James Douglas. I'm from the Ministry of Housing and I would like to clarify what the draft Planning Act regulations say about parking. Under the draft Planning Act regulations, municipalities would still have the authority to prohibit on-street parking. That was never in doubt. What the regulations do say is that if on-street parking is permitted, then on-street parking spaces could be considered towards the required parking for the converted house. However, municipalities can prohibit on-street parking altogether.

When it comes to front-yard parking, there's nothing in the regulations that prohibits a municipality from requiring that a certain percentage of the front yard be landscaped. In other words, a municipality can require that a driveway be a certain width or a certain percentage of the lot frontage. There is no danger that the regulations would allow home owners to pave over their front yards. The legislation does say that the driveway space between the house and the street can be used as part of the parking requirement but, again, the actual width of the driveway would be regulated by the municipality.

When it comes to the number of onsite parking spaces required, the proposed standard was basically two for a converted house. It is recognized that this is a fairly controversial aspect of the regulations and staff have been in contact with AMO and others about developing an appropriate standard that would meet the needs of municipalities plus other concerned persons.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Has all our time gone, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Your time is gone, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I never heard you mention how much time we had.

The Chair: There's a clock on the wall, Mr Mills.

Mr Grandmaître: Tell me a little more about your development charges or what you're proposing to do in Mississauga. Will you be asking for a private member's bill to permit these development charges for accessory apartments?

Mr Miller: Yes. As I mentioned, the development charges legislation expressly exempts accessory apartments from development charges.

Mr Grandmaître: At the present time.

Mr Miller: At the present time. We would request that legislation be amended to permit.

Mr Grandmaître: And this is supposed to go before council on Monday, did you say?

Mr Calvert: Before planning committee on Monday.

Mr Grandmaître: What is your recommendation on development charges? How will they work? They will be different from lot levies, so explain to me the proposed development charges for these accessory apartments.

Mr Miller: Basically, under the legislation the municipalities are allowed to charge development charges to offset the costs of capital construction related to growth. What we would do is divide the costs of the growth by the number of units. The result would be that the accessory apartments would be paying for their small fair share of the capital growth in the city. These services include all municipal services, municipal transit, parks and recreation services, library --

Mr Grandmaître: The soft and hard services.

Mr Miller: The hard services provided by the region and, as well, for education purposes if the issue of education is resolved in the courts.

Mr Grandmaître: Tell me -- you can take a guess -- what would be the normal development charges for, let's say, a 750-square-foot or 800-square-foot accessory apartment? What would be the development charges on such an apartment?

Mr Miller: I really couldn't say. I'm not close enough to the actual costs to give you an estimate. I'm sorry, I can't answer that question.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing this morning. As I've mentioned to others, the clause-by-clause examination of this bill will commence in the week of March 6.



The Chair: The next presentation is the city of Waterloo, Mayor Brian Turnbull.

Mr Brian Turnbull: Thank you, Mr Chairman. It's a pleasure to be invited down here today.

I'm going to address Bill 120 almost entirely from the point of view of a university city. I believe that you've had other delegations from other municipalities that I'm hopeful have addressed the problems that this bill may cause to what I'll call an ordinary city. I've taken it upon myself just to address the problems of university cities, and they are, in many ways, significantly different from normal planning problems. I brought down a little handout. Has that been distributed? Yes.

The city of Waterloo is very proud to be the home of two important universities: the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. We have more university students per capita than any other city in Ontario, possibly in Canada. It is the city's university era. The universities are making us what they are today and we're very proud to have them. They do cause us some problems and I'm going to outline some of those problems to you.

For many, many years, about eight to 10 years, we have worked very hard at attaining two goals: One is to keep the neighbourhoods in the core and around the universities as attractive locations for family living; secondly, to encourage an adequate supply of student housing that is affordable, healthy and safe.

In many cases those two goals conflict and the challenge has been to achieve a balance between them. For at least eight years or so we have been working very hard to achieve that balance. We had a student housing task force. All of the players, students, university administration, city hall, neighbourhood groups, landlords, were involved in the task force. The successor to that task force is still meeting monthly to iron out issues as they come forward.

We have achieved many successes. It has been extremely frustrating because it is very difficult goal to achieve this balance. It's highly controversial and we have spent a great deal of time, as a city organization, trying to wrestle with these problems.

One of the successes that we have achieved: We got into what we called our neighbours program. The program consisted of a neighbourhood guide which goes to every household. The neighbourhood guide outlines the key bylaws that affect a neighbourhood, and anybody in the neighbourhood is asked to advise us if they feel their neighbours are not living up to these rules. We also have a mediation process as part of this program. I believe it was in 1991 we won a national award for an innovative municipal program based on this program. I have extra copies of this if anybody is interested.

We've been working very hard at this for eight years. Typically, when the family goal wins, the student housing goal loses and vice versa. That's been our typical, I won't say our practice but our experience. This bill is somewhat unique in that it would have an equally negative impact on both of those goals. I've just outlined I think five reasons why that would happen.

It would allow concentration of students in neighbourhoods close to the universities. At some point the balance in that neighbourhood tilts. People who are in families decide they don't want to live there any more. They leave the neighbourhood, leaving the students to take over the neighbourhood. This hasn't yet happened in Waterloo and we're very pleased with that, but it is in danger of happening. It has happened in Kingston. You may have heard of the student housing ghetto, as they call it, in Kingston. Kingston and all the rest of the Ontario university cities are trying to avoid that type of situation.

We wish to continue to try to achieve the balance between the students and the families. The legislation would remove the tools that we currently use to achieve this balance. Because it's important to the students to be located close to the universities, they would tend to move in and the existing stable neighbourhoods would be at risk.

In neighbourhoods close to universities, modest housing is rented to students at rental rates that are not affordable to low-income people. As a result, the lowincome people are edged out of large portions of our city and of many university cities. Although the legislation would permit the creation of additional units, those units around universities would not be affordable as typical households because the university students can afford -- when you put five in a house at $250 or $300 per bedroom, that adds up to much more rent than your normal family can afford for that typical three-bedroom house.

Thirdly, the bill would significantly hamper our ability to license lodging houses. We have been licensing lodging houses since about 1987. We now have over 700 dwellings. There are about 650 dwellings that are licensed and another 60 or so that are in the works. We have over 700 dwellings that either are or will be licensed in the near future. This was another program that came out of the student housing task force. It is strongly supported by all of the players: the landlords, the students, the universities, the city, the families and the neighbourhood associations. All the players in the city that are interested in student housing like the licensed lodging house approach.

The licensing bylaw protects the health and safety of the tenants particularly, and it somewhat protects the interests of nearby resident families. It's used as a guideline for universities, students and the students' parents, particularly in that first year at university when they come to town and they try to get good accommodation for the freshman students. The universities will recommend a list. In order to get on that list, you have to be licensed. There are many other advantages to that which I won't go into in any detail.

Item 4: There are two specific safety issues that we could not enforce if we complied with the provisions of Bill 120. We feel that particularly in a subgrade situation where you have students living in a basement, it's important to have a second exit. My understanding of the bill is that it not only does not require the second access, it allows the first access to be through somebody else's dwelling. That, to me, is so wrong it's hard to believe that it's in the bill. It's very unsafe from a fire point of view.

I have attached to my outline a letter which I received yesterday from one of our fire prevention officers, going into in much more detail than I am able to some of the physical problems that we now enforce and that we would not be allowed to enforce under the terms of this bill.


Secondly, under item 4, a typical three-bedroom house that now accommodates students would house up to five students. Many students, if you think of it, would have a stereo in their room, a microwave, a computer. This bill would allow that number of students to increase to 10, and my understanding is there's no requirement that the wiring in the house be upgraded. This is potentially a very unsafe situation.

In conclusion, this proposed legislation will adversely affect the quality of living for families in many neighbourhoods in university cities. It will permit unsafe properties to be rented to students. Please defeat it and allow us to continue to work for a balance in our neighbourhoods in university cities.

The Chair: Thank you very much for a very good and concise presentation.

Hon Evelyn Gigantes (Minister of Housing): Thank you, Mayor Turnbull. It's good to have your presentation. I'm familiar with the kinds of situations that arise in towns that have post-secondary education institutions. There are four in the city of Ottawa, two colleges and two universities, because we have a lot of French-speaking residents in Ottawa too. So I'm very interested in the issues that you raise.

I'd like to understand first of all, could you explain to me what the definition of a lodging house is in your bylaw?

Mr Brian Turnbull: We do not require a lodging house licence for people who have three or fewer students living in their dwelling; four or more, we require a licence.

Hon Ms Gigantes: If I were the owner of a property that had students and was licensed under your lodging house provisions, why would I bother to go through the building code requirements, the fire and safety requirements, to create a new unit when I could rent out the space without subdividing the house, when I could rent out as much as I could get in the market as long as I was meeting your bylaw requirements? Why would I do that?

Mr Brian Turnbull: I'm sorry, could you rephrase that?

Hon Ms Gigantes: Yes. If I had what you've described as a three-bedroom house, if I owned it and there were five students in it, why would I bother creating a second unit? That would just cost me money. Obviously, if I were licensed under your lodging house, I would be renting out to students without having to meet any of the extra requirements that the building code would require now for the creation of another unit within that house. Your bylaw would already allow me to rent out, meeting your bylaw standards, so why would I be interested in creating another unit?

Mr Brian Turnbull: Our licensing bylaw would limit you to either five or six students per unit.

Hon Ms Gigantes: Yes.

Mr Brian Turnbull: Under this bill you can double the number of units on that lot.

Hon Ms Gigantes: Yes, but you --

Mr Brian Turnbull: So we're now talking either 10 or 12 students on that lot.

Hon Ms Gigantes: If you could fit it in. But why would I try to do that? I would have trouble fitting it in, in most instances. I find it hard to understand the argument that says students rent in bulk, as it were, in a property and landlords are now going to try to jam in twice as many students. I don't think that's the case at all, because there will be extra expense involved in trying to create a new unit. If I've got six students in a house with three bedrooms, that's probably as much as I'm going to be able to jam into the house.

Mr Brian Turnbull: But then you can add a second unit on in the backyard and the cost of the second unit is more than justified by the $1,500 in rent you're going to get from five more students.

Hon Ms Gigantes: I wouldn't be able to add a unit on in the backyard under this legislation; I'd have to go to your municipality and seek some kind of change in the zoning to do that. This legislation would permit me to create a unit within the house: one unit. So I don't see what the advantage to me as a landlord would be. I don't see the impulse on that side.

I'd also like to point out that you don't find in the legislation the description of the requirements under the building code because they are required within the code. I'd like you to understand and I'd like your fire prevention officer to understand that the building code requirement is that where an exit is through another unit, there must be a second exit. So I think there's a misunderstanding there.

Mr Brian Turnbull: I would think there is a misunderstanding, yes.

Hon Ms Gigantes: It would be helpful if your fire prevention officials took a look at the building code which was proclaimed in July 1993 and which includes those provisions.

Mr Brian Turnbull: Are you saying that this bill is different than the building code?

Hon Ms Gigantes: The bill does not spell out the building code requirements. The building code spells out the building code requirements. Those code requirements are not written into the bill. That's the normal form of legislation, as you will probably be familiar with it, where the regulations are separate from the bill.

Mr Brian Turnbull: No, I'm not at all familiar with the normal process on provincial legislation. I'm going by what my advisers are telling me, and they're telling me that this legislation will allow unsafe situations.

Hon Ms Gigantes: I don't know if Rob or one of our other officials could add to what I've been saying. Rob, do you have any comment on that precise point?

The Chair: It would have to be very brief. The rotation goes to the Liberals in about 20 seconds.

Mr Rob Dowler: On the issue of specific standards, Minister, perhaps staff could come back at a future point in time. Or I think yesterday we indicated that we would table the draft fire code regulation, and we could include the building code regulation in that for the benefit of the committee. To do it justice, it would do it longer than the time available.

Hon Ms Gigantes: We'd certainly be prepared to send it to Mayor Turnbull.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): I think that's precisely the point that I've been frankly pressing from the beginning. One of the problems why people are confused and why we also continue to be very concerned is because we don't have the regulations before us, not even in a draft form. Now, yesterday we were promised that we would see some of them. The minister said in her opening remarks that these accessory units will still have to meet certain health and safety standards, but we don't know precisely what they are.

So really I think the problem is, and why I think you are in the situation that you're in, that you didn't receive at the time when you received the draft legislation as well at least the draft regulations that will come with these. That perhaps -- we don't know -- will eliminate some of those safety concerns that you have.

I find this rather interesting, this idea about the lodges and the licensing for lodges. Let me ask you, first of all, what are the conditions to qualify for this lodging licensing in your municipality?

Mr Brian Turnbull: They have to deal with fire safety in terms of access, proper wiring, proper siding. I don't mean siding, I mean wall panelling. The fire department is probably the key player in issuing that licence. In fact, recently we have turned over the whole program to the fire department. As opposed to the city hall issuing the licence, now the fire department issues it with help from city hall. There's parking as well.

Mr Daigeler: Are there any kinds of zoning considerations that are part of this lodging licence or not?

Mr Brian Turnbull: We allow either five or six students in a single-family-zone dwelling.


Mr Daigeler: Anywhere in the city?

Mr Brian Turnbull: Yes, in a dwelling. If it was a semi-detached dwelling, they could go on either side. One of the provisions of our zoning bylaw, which we have just approved as a result of a neighbourhood density task force that we set up, is that there is a minimum distance separation. I don't know whether you're familiar with the city of Guelph.

Mr Daigeler: Not too well.

Mr Brian Turnbull: The city of Guelph brought that in and about a year later, we considered it and brought it in too; it's been approved by council and it's in front of the Ontario Municipal Board.

Mr Daigeler: In view of what you have in place already, which frankly strikes me as very efficient, do you have any kind of problem with illegal apartments at the present time?

Mr Brian Turnbull: I spoke to the woman who is primarily responsible, from the city hall point of view, for issuing these licences. Her guess was that there might be 50 out there that are not licensed that would be "illegal."

Hon Ms Gigantes: Those are lodging houses.

Mr Brian Turnbull: That's right.

Mr Daigeler: But what about --

Mr Brian Turnbull: Fifty compared to 700.

Mr Daigeler: -- the apartments that we're talking about otherwise? These are specifically, I guess, directed towards student housing.

Mr Brian Turnbull: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: Do you have any kind of problem with either the supply or the illegitimacy of basement apartments for other renters?

Mr Brian Turnbull: For a mother-in-law sort of thing?

Mr Daigeler: Yes.

Mr Brian Turnbull: They are there. We don't see it as a problem. It is not something that comes before us on a monthly basis the way the student housing situation does. You can tell by reading the real estate ads: They advertise a second unit in what is supposed to be a single-family zone. So you can tell that they're out there, but in terms of neighbourhood problems, no, it is not a problem for us.

Mr Daigeler: And in terms of demand, you don't have a problem either? One of the arguments for this legislation is that it will lead to additional supply. You don't have a problem that people are looking for additional housing in your area?

Mr Brian Turnbull: No, not that has been brought to me. I have to say that I think there's a certain defensible rationale that in a large house, particularly if it's a family member, the family member should be allowed to have their own unit, a mother-in-law or a granny flat type of situation. I think there's a certain rationale there and I would support that. But in order to achieve that, it certainly isn't worth the grief that it will cause university cities on these other measures.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to thank you for a very thoughtful presentation today. It brings back memories. I was one of those students back in -- should I say? -- 1967, 1968.

Mr Mills: God, you must be old.

Mr David Johnson: I graduated from Waterloo, but at that time I shared an apartment, I think on the fourth floor, fifth floor, whatever, in --

Mr Grandmaître: Illegal or what?

Mr David Johnson: -- one of the apartment buildings there. No, it was a legal unit. But I guess it highlights the difference in our municipalities. We had the city of Hamilton before us yesterday with an entirely different situation, a different stock of houses and different problems, and now we have problems in the city of Waterloo. You're saying one of the problems, for example, that you would face that maybe others wouldn't, because of the requirement for students to be housed near the university, that I presume there's quite a demand from owners of properties to convert them into -- do we call them lodging houses for students? Is that how it would be phrased?

Mr Brian Turnbull: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: Under this bill, Bill 120, a house that was large enough now to contain what you would call one unit and which you have licensed for five or six students, could by law split into two units.

Mr Brian Turnbull: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: According to your regulations, then they could have five or six students in each unit. Is that, in a nutshell, the concern that you have?

Mr Brian Turnbull: Yes. To that, I might just add that monster houses in many cities in the province mean one thing; in Waterloo, it means a triplex with five bedrooms in each unit. So you get 15 students occupying that particular lot. Many of our inner-city neighbourhoods allow a duplex or a triplex. In our city, when you build a triplex these days, you build it with 15 bedrooms in it.

Mr David Johnson: I assume that there would be certainly demand to do that, because you've indicated that the prices are a little bit higher. I don't know what the range of the prices would be. Is this a business or is this something that people would do, live on the property, or is it a moneymaking scheme?

Mr Brian Turnbull: The places where the owners live on the property, we have almost no problems. It's absentee landlords that are the problems. Often our best landlords are people who make a business of it. The problem landlords are the ones that come from Mississauga, buy their child a house and then they let the kid live there while they're at university. They're really not looking at it as an active investment at all. They are the problem people. The absentee landlords are the problem people.

Mr David Johnson: I presume there would be an incentive in a case like that, where there was somebody in that situation, to split it in two and get twice as much revenue. If you want to look at what the rationale and the incentive is, it's money, I presume.

Mr Brian Turnbull: What is intriguing and a problem for us is that right now in the city of Waterloo as a whole there is a surplus of student housing. Even in September you see "Room for Rent" signs. This never happened before. You never used to see that in September before. You might see it in January, but not in September. Even so, the new units are still being built, even though there's a surplus, because there's this very powerful demand for the students to be close to the school.

We worked out a deal with the student councils whereby we subsidized bus passes for students so that they would be encouraged to get on the bus and go a little further away for their housing so they wouldn't create this ghetto problem. Only a handful of students took us up on that subsidy. They want to be close to the university, and economics is very much a second consideration for them. It's the location that's their primary consideration.

Mr Arnott: Thank you, Mayor Turnbull, for coming here today to present your opinion on this bill. Elizabeth Witmer, your member, would have liked to have been here, but due to other commitments she's unable to be here. But she asked that we thank you as well for attending.

I'm not going to subject you to my years of living on Avondale Avenue and attending Laurier and what that was like, but I do recall it very well. I think the city of Waterloo over the years has done a remarkable job and a commendable job of balancing the need for adequate student housing very close to the university as well as family units in the close proximity of the university. It's tragic that the effect of this bill, as you've articulated, will throw a lot of that planning out the window and impact negatively on the city as you have attempted and as you've achieved that particular balance.

Mr Brian Turnbull: It is an ongoing struggle. This issue is not a new one, and it's not particularly related to this provincial administration. It goes back at least one, possibly two administrations. It has been the most challenging, most frustrating issue over the last eight years that I have ever had to deal with in a lot of years of experience on local council.

The Chair: Thank you, Mayor Turnbull. We appreciate your coming down in this cold weather to meet with the committee this morning.



The Chair: The final presentation of the morning, the Canadian Mental Health Association. Good morning. You may commence by introducing yourselves for the Hansard recording system and begin your presentation.

Mr Hugh Tapping: We are here on behalf of the Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association. In terms of your own mental health, take a break, take a deep breath, grab a coffee before we get into this. We're asking you to really shift your focus and change gears here. We're going from a very specific issue to a very broad one with a lot of specifics, some of which we don't know what to tell you.

My name is Hugh Tapping. I am one of the thousands of volunteers in this province who work with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Beside me is Sandra Tudge. She is a mental health consultant, community mental health consultant officially, and is the person who has largely put this presentation together for you. Next to her is Carol Roup. She is our senior director for policy research and branch services.

We have approximately four parts, three people to do it in. It won't take very long. I hope you have before you our presentation. We are not going to read it at you. We'll take you through it. We hope and pray that at your leisure later you will actually read every word we say; we hope.

Ms Carol Roup: Just a couple of details about our organization that I think might be helpful to you. The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division, is an incorporated, registered, non-profit charitable organization chartered in 1952. As Hugh said, approximately 4,000 volunteers are active in direct board and committee service in a network of 36 branches located in communities across this province. Ontario division and branch services and programs are funded through government grants, United Way and supplementary fund-raising activities.

Since our founding, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division, has made a significant contribution to the development of housing policies and programs in this province. In March 1993 we submitted a response to a number of issues addressed in Professor Lightman's report and what follows is a response to the legislation resulting from that report, namely Bill 120.

I want to talk a little bit about principles of housing, the principles we support around supportive housing. We perceive that in recent years a shift of social attitudes has begun and persons with emotional, mental and psychiatric disorders are increasingly being viewed as citizens rather than consumers of mental health services, and we certainly applaud that shift. Citizens have the right to expect permanent, affordable, safe housing of their choice.

The CMHA, Ontario division, has endorsed the principles of supportive housing and we're pleased to see that the Ministry of Housing has provided directives in the document Consultation Counts, which I'm sure you're familiar with, for permanent supportive housing and the delinking of support services from tenancy.

Our organization believes that housing for consumers of mental health services should be provided under the following principles: choice -- consumers control their own lives, including informed choice regarding living situations and supports; permanency -- consumers can maintain their housing as long as they wish; affordability; and the option to accept or decline support services without jeopardizing accommodation. We feel these are absolutely essential principles of supportive housing, in particular for the population we serve. These principles we believe provide the framework for the submission.

You may be interested to know that currently seven of our branches own housing stock and 20 of our branches operate housing programs. The proposed amendments to the legislation have implications for both our housing stock and our housing programs; quite significant implications.

The Canadian Mental Health Association would like to respond to four specific areas. They impact on our branches' programs and on the consumers for whom the programs are designed. These areas are housing supply, the inclusion of care homes under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act, the exclusion of the fast track eviction process, and finally, the delinking of services and accommodation.

I'd like to turn it over to Sandra Tudge, who's a specialist in supportive housing.

Ms Sandra Tudge: I'd like to start by addressing the area of housing supply. Many consumers of mental health services in the past have been forced into unregulated housing situations and as a result have lacked decent affordable housing and have faced discrimination by landlords. The Minister of Housing has addressed this need for more affordable housing in Ontario. This need is of great concern to consumers because many have limited incomes.

Vacancy rates in some parts of Ontario have increased over the past several years, but they don't reflect the availability of affordable housing, as indicated for example by the Central Mortgage and Housing Corp's rental market survey which indicated that rental market housing that is available is at the high end of the market. Therefore Ontarians have few alternatives for affordable housing.

As well as a lack of affordable housing, consumers have also historically faced discrimination in accessing housing because of the stigma of mental illness. Because this is the case, consumers need more alternatives for affordable housing than other citizens.

The Ministry of Housing has developed coordinated guidelines and criteria for access to Jobs Ontario Homes and social housing in general. We hope these access guidelines will include special issues that mental health consumers face in obtaining and maintaining housing. Furthermore, we wish that the Ministry of Housing will ensure that consumers are aware of their rights and are supported in taking action against landlords who discriminate against them.

We commend the government for developing 20,000 new non-profit housing units through the Jobs Ontario Homes program. We also urge the provincial government to request that the federal government support Ontario in the creation of additional non-profit units.

We are pleased to see that 10% to 15% of the Jobs Ontario units will be set aside for persons with support needs. However, we cannot underemphasize the need for the Ministry of Housing to work with the Ministry of Health to establish resources to support consumers who are residing in these units. A comprehensive mental health system based on the government's mental health reform priority areas of crisis, case management and consumer and family involvement is critical for consumers to maintain their housing.

In addition to building new non-profit housing, we urge the government to conserve and refurbish existing social housing to ensure its continued availability.

CMHA, Ontario division, recommends the ministry provide consumers with rent supplements as well as social housing in areas where there is a lack of this type of housing. Rent supplements provide an alternative choice for consumers who would like to live in social housing but must face long waiting lists, or where social housing is just not available.

As an alternative to rent supplements, the Ontario adult benefits program, as described by the government document Turning Point, could address the lack of social housing and the long waiting lists by providing increased benefits for accommodation. However, until the reform of the social assistance system is implemented, rent supplements will continue to be necessary.


I would now like to address the inclusion of care homes in the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. CMHA, Ontario division, supports the coverage of care homes under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. This coverage is consistent with the principles of supportive housing, as consumers will be assured to have a lease which is no different than any other person's in Ontario.

Our organization recognizes the need to exempt accommodation occupied for the purpose of rehabilitative or therapeutic purposes where the length of stay is less than six months and the housing is not the person's permanent residence. However, we do urge that the definition of this type of accommodation be clearly defined in the regulations based on consultation with service providers and consumers of mental health services.

CMHA, Ontario division, does not want to see consumers forced to move from place to place for six-month periods in order to receive treatment. We don't want to return to a graduated housing system where consumers must move from high-support to low-support homes for short periods of time until they are "ready to be integrated into the community." Our organization's experience indicates that this model is not sufficiently supportive of consumers and may actually facilitate setbacks in an individual's recovery.

CMHA, Ontario division, urges the Ministry of Housing to protect tenants who are currently living in unregulated rest homes which will be covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act once this bill is passed. There's a risk that in the period between the Legislature's first reading of the bill and the proclamation of the legislation, landlords will begin to systematically evict those vulnerable adults whom they would not be able to evict as readily under the new legislation. Therefore, we recommend that sections 1 to 3 of Bill 120 come into force as of November 23 rather than waiting until royal assent.

CMHA, Ontario division, believes that education and training are an essential aspect of the changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. Our branches across the province will need to be assisted in changing their programs and related documents. They will require support in developing the information package as prescribed in the legislation. It is important that there be a recognition of the need for sufficient time and resources for all housing programs across the province to effect these changes.

I would now like to pass it to Hugh Tapping, who will address fast-track eviction and delinking.

Mr Tapping: Fast-track evictions and the delinking of accommodations from mental health and other services that people receive are probably the warmer potatoes for us and I suspect for this government.

I'd like to preface my remarks by trying to remind you all that CMHA, Ontario division, is an umbrella organization. We coordinate, but there are 36 separate branches in 36 unique communities, each with its own board of directors, each with its own programs. After a couple of decades of hearing talk and promises and being involved in consultations and so on, frankly it took a while for people to start to believe that something actually might finally be changing. We welcome that.

At the same time, this organization doesn't and cannot create a committee because the government needs to hear from us or needs to hear from that field or something. The committee that is working on this will be working on it for the next year. It's going to have some serious implications for some of our branches, some welcome implications for others, but it's going to be an interesting time trying to stay together on this one.

Fast-track eviction is the proposal that was made in Professor Lightman's report that if a person has a psychiatric diagnosis, which is a somewhat different thing than being overtly crazy but never seeing a doctor, there would be a provision to turf that person out very quickly. Philosophically, obviously, we don't like the sound of that one. This sounds very much like an exemption from the rules that everybody else gets to live with based on a disability. Some of us have questions as to whether or not this would even be permissible under human rights legislation. Philosophically, we hate it. At the same time, something is going to have to be done sometimes, in very certain circumstances. That's quite obvious. It's the old question of balancing the individual's rights and the rights of the collectivity, the group around her or him. We see a potential for abuse in this.

We recommend to this government that you do some further investigations even after this legislation is passed. We have questions still which perhaps in a year's time will be answered or answerable. There need to be some definitions about the circumstances, for instance, where this fast-track eviction could be used. We would prefer it to be based on behaviour rather than on diagnosis and apply to anyone. If I start manufacturing bombs in my apartment, my landlord should be able to get me out of there before the neighbours find out or take it upon themselves to evict me and so on.

We're not too sure, also, how often these circumstances actually arise. How often it is necessary to do this is something no one even dares to give us a guess on. We also wonder about what would happen with this fast-track provision with things like the domiciliary and the emergency hostels, crisis services and so on. If we're going to be allowing people to be turfed out, do we want it literally to be to the street, and that's supposed to teach them a lesson? There need to be safeguards in place, sanctions for people who would use this fast-track provision inappropriately, and there need to be sanctions in place for those who break those rules.

The implementation of this fast-track thing is another tricky one. The Ministry of Health has cut back on a thing called vacancy allowance. Is a provider of housing, whether for-profit or non-profit, going to be required to hold that apartment? You can imagine the implications for cash flow there. I don't think we need to get into that. It is a question.

What about those landlords who legitimately do act in the best interests of all involved? Legal aid will pay for the tenant who's appealing, but what about the landlords, the costs that would be incurred for legal advice as well as the opposite of that, the revenue forgone from holding apartments vacant?

So to summarize fast-track evictions, I guess if you must then you must, but be very, very careful. We think that a more proactive role of supporting people to live in communities would make a big difference too. The previously referenced government intentions to see more peer and family supports in place, crisis responses and case management, would make a difference to the need for these fast-tracks and also for the results, the outcomes, of those fast-track-type evictions.

Many of our branches already are in the business of offering services resembling, if not being identical to, what the government means by case management -- crisis response, family supports, self-help groups and so on. We welcome this, we want to see more of it and we think that would reduce this whole thing to perhaps an academic issue.

The delinking of accommodations is the next topic. As it stands now, right here in Toronto, within not very many blocks of us, there are people living in an apartment which they're told is their own apartment but their landlord is also their service provider. That means that if your landlord takes it into your landlord's corporate mind that you've got problems you're not dealing with, that you're not addressing, in your own life, then perhaps the threat of being evicted might get you to start showing up more regularly to your doctor's appointments, to your medication clinic or whatever.

Speaking personally, to me that is an institution. I grew up in that system back in the 1960s. I'm a person who survived what passed for the system in those days. A lot of what I see in Toronto and elsewhere in this province is that we've moved from the back wards to the back streets that Professor Lightman talked about into a little bit nicer-looking and more middle-class thing, but it's still an institution. If you don't comply with your treatment, then you can be threatened with and actually find yourself evicted. Imagine living in that sort of situation, folks. Cancer patients, AIDS patients, everybody else doesn't have to. Why should we?

We also urge you to remember, as this delinking of accommodations and services goes forward, that there are many models. Don't try to impose one ideal thing. We've seen too many versions of that over the years. I think all parties could agree to that.


We have 36 different branches; let us let them figure out how to do this, rather than impose it upon us. Some of our branches have millions of dollars worth of real estate. Fine, le's stop being in the real estate business. But let's let them figure out for themselves how to go about doing this. Let's not have a thing where one policy from one ministry causes another ministry to have to find some extra money, because the real estate market is rather terrible, and if they have to go out and quick, quick sell their real estate in this market, who's going to cover the difference between what they're paying for it and what they're going to get now?

The government, I do believe, wants to see people remaining housed, so do be careful that you don't, by means of this or any other piece of legislation, impose. Let the local communities figure it out on their own. Likewise, let them figure out how to deliver those supports that we mentioned. Let's let it take some time, and if necessary, maybe we might even have to invest some dollars in this transition. The mental health education plan from the tenant support services of the Ministry of Housing is a nice example of the kind of partnership we're talking about. Many of our branches are involved in that and will continue to be.

The Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association -- and here I am reading very carefully and quoting: "We believe that every resident of Ontario, including those of us who are consumers of the services available in our mental health system, is entitled to a home which is permanent, which is private, which is safe and where human rights are respected." We urge passage of Bill 120 so that all tenants receive the same protection.

Thank you. Questions?

The Chair: Mr Grandmaître, time is relatively short. Three minutes.

Mr Grandmaître: I'll refer to your brief on page 2. I agree with you: "In addition to the lack of affordable housing, consumers of mental health services have also historically faced discrimination in accessing housing; the stigma of mental illness still permeates our society." What is your association doing at the present time to educate people who don't appreciate their next-door neighbours?

Mr Tapping: We have recognized that our efforts in the past have not been terribly successful. It's a timely question. I wish we'd had a chance to talk before this, and you could have done a slightly better leading question. I'll turn this over, actually, to Carol. I think she's better able to explain this than I am, but I'll summarize it quickly by saying if you remember Participaction and that whole program, we're working on trying to develop something similar to that. It's not just a TV commercial; it's a whole approach.

Ms Roup: If I were to name one single problem, bar none, in the mental health system, it would be stigma, the whole issue of how people are treated in communities and community attitudes. We are launching an enormous public education campaign. We're just getting into it now and we hope this will continue for several years. We have the ministry's support to do it. I think this will be one of the most important things we do. We have our branches on board with that and throughout this province we hope -- and I say in a small way, because in order to do it in a big way I think you actually need billions and not millions -- to change attitudes. I think we have made some impact over the last decade. Hence we have new kinds of legislation coming forward and actually passing, but I think we have a lot of work to do there.

Mr David Johnson: I guess maybe the point that comes up -- and I'll just let you elaborate on it; we're very short on time. While you're here in support of Bill 120 with reservations, I gather, in terms of fast eviction and one or two other warm potatoes, it seems to me that your basic message -- Bill 120 really deals with tenancy, I think, as opposed to the care side of it. It seems to me that you're really trying to tell us, I believe, through this presentation, that there needs to be a whole lot more emphasis on care. I wondered in particular where you see the priorities there. You mentioned a couple of areas, but I'd like to you to expand and prioritize.

Ms Roup: I think the emphasis does have to be on the care. As Hugh said, we are in the business of being landlords and I guess that's a historic thing, because it was the only way services housing could be provided to vulnerable people. There was a time when we were encouraged and supported to get into housing stock and be the providers of service. I think through the decade that's worked very well, but our experience now does tell us delinking is needed and it's now a preferable approach. We would obviously focus on services; that's our business. I guess the implications for us in terms of housing stock are enormous, but we do have the support to emphasize service.

Mr David Johnson: Is there any aspect of service -- you mentioned crisis, case management, a few areas -- that you feel need to be emphasized more than others?

Ms Roup: I think the priorities of mental health reform are the priorities of our board in the main. We would add a couple of others, but housing, case management, crisis and the involvement of consumers and families happen to be our priorities, too. Our branches now are in the heavy consultation process to work out with their communities which of those they should emphasize. Many do all; some do just the case management; some do crisis. But I think there's a lot of emphasis now on partnership planning in communities and who is best equipped to provide some of these things. That kind of consultation is heavily on the go now.

Mr Mills: Thank you very much for coming here this morning. I really thought your presentation was very interesting. In our constituency offices we are constantly faced with situations that you think you've seen everything, but you haven't seen everything.

It's very strange that quite recently I've been faced with two situations involving two persons with psychiatric disorders and in these cases they were children of very elderly parents. They arrived at my office and I thought, crumbs, what's up; they looked so upset. It happens that their son was booted out of some accommodation. Here we have a couple in their 70s who have absolutely no idea of where to turn or what to do. I must say it made me scratch my head as to what we could do to help these people.

Do you see Bill 120 coming to grips with some of those issues, that we wouldn't have that situation? Do you think that's going to be a help?

Mr Tapping: Yes. The trouble is that the way government works, and probably is desirable, is that it doesn't try to accomplish everything at once for everyone. There is this bill, there is this very ministry that we're talking about, there are other ministries that are involved as well. They all are going to have to do things differently and do different things, including far more consultation and simple talking to one another in order to make this whole -- you see, for me, I grew up in that system. I don't really care about mental health reform as it's portrayed in legislation. What I concern myself about is reforming the mental health system, not through legislation but seeing our society adapt to itself and change. Bill 120 is part of it.

How can the Ministry of Health talk about reforming the mental health system while literally thousands of people who are in it can be on the street this afternoon? The obvious threats to a person's own stability at that point, the obvious threats to the budgets for the homeless shelter, the psychiatric emergency ward and so on, are obvious. They're all interlinked. There is no one answer, in other words.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing this morning. We will be considering your views as we take up the clause-by-clause consideration of this bill March 6.

I remind members the committee resumes at 2 o'clock this afternoon and would ask that you attempt to be prompt so we can begin on time.

The committee recessed from 1200 to 1401.


The Acting Chair (Mr Bernard Grandmaître): Our first presenter this afternoon is Mayor Raymond Twinney of the town of Newmarket. Mr Mayor, good afternoon.

Mr Raymond Twinney: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman, and thank you very much to you and the members for receiving us today. It's a great opportunity to be able to appear before you.

Although I am here and my statements will be made more or less, we feel that this bill is a fait accompli. We understand that and we're not here to try to say that it should not be passed, but we are here out of great concern, a concern that we share, I'm sure, the health and safety and the legal rights of all families: apartment dwellers and home owners, landlords and tenants.

This bill, Bill 120, will legalize thousands of illegal basement apartments overnight but will not make those units safe overnight. In a statement made by the Housing minister last November, Evelyn Gigantes said, "Tenants living in illegal units often live in poorly maintained or unsafe conditions," and I totally agree. Not only do they live in poorly maintained or unsafe conditions, but as soon as you pass this bill they will be doing so under the protection of the law.

Not only do we as municipalities have no way of inspecting these underground units for health and safety, we don't even know where they are, and because we don't know where they are, we don't know a lot of things about them.

We don't know that there isn't faulty electrical wire that may cause a fire. We don't know whether the people living in these underground units may be living in cellars and not getting enough daylight. We don't know whether they're getting enough heat in the winter and we don't know whether they're getting enough fresh air.

We don't know whether they have a smoke detector or whether there is adequate fire separation between the units. We don't know whether the basement windows are big enough to escape through in case of a fire. We can't tell if these families are getting enough water pressure to do all their household chores. We don't know that the landlord hasn't drywalled the furnace in and cut off the air intake, possibly creating a fire hazard or causing carbon monoxide to filter back into the living area.

We don't know how many children are living in these units, whether they have a backyard to play in or whether there'll be spaces for them in the local school. We don't even know that these people exist. We can't be sure we'll enumerate them for election purposes. We can't include them in our planning projects.

We have no records of these people and what kinds of conditions they live in. What kinds of rights can they possibly have when according to our records they don't exist?

Again I quote the minister, "This legislation will give them the same rights as other tenants in Ontario." I don't think so. Have you ever driven around in a parking lot and not been able to find a spot, and if you didn't find a spot, you've taken a chance and parked on the side of the road and found a parking ticket on your windshield when you returned? I bet most of you have, as I have, and we know how frustrating it is. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you did this on a regular basis? If you were a basement apartment tenant, you would probably be doing this. Most basement apartment dwellers have no rights to parking and this bill doesn't give them any.

We already have dangerous traffic situations in neighbourhoods where we suspect illegal basement apartments. We have cars parked end to end on narrow, open-ditch roads, blocking fire hydrants and forcing children to walk in traffic. We have vehicles parked on front lawns, across sidewalks, in side yards, everywhere and anywhere all because single-family dwellings were not planned, not built and not inspected for more than one family.

We have heard the province talk about the home owners' rights to create apartments within their homes as long as reasonable standards are met. In our eyes, the only reasonable standards are safe standards, standards that can be monitored and enforced, standards that will let us know how many people we're talking about so they can be included in our planning of services accordingly.

We have no dispute with your objectives. We do want affordable housing in Newmarket, and Newmarket has provided single-family and multi-unit housing based on sound planning principles. We can assist you in making basement apartments, garden suites and granny flats into another form of affordable housing, but only with guaranteed health and safety and planning standards.

As far as we can see, this bill guarantees only one thing very definitely: the financial gain of home owners who already have these apartments, at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers. This bill, once you pass it, will invite home owners who live in single-family houses to generate a second income by constructing apartments in their basements. You'll be giving the average home owner a licence to construct a dwelling with no safety inspection.

Who's going to be responsible when things start to go wrong? What about the rights of home owners who choose not to install a basement apartment? Where will their visitors park when basement tenants take up all street parking?

When the province came out with affordable housing requirements, Newmarket worked hard to meet that demand. We put in just under 1,000 units in the last four years. Many of those are condominium developments with narrow private roads, no street parking and very limited visitor parking. We do not understand how we are going to fit this type of development and the people into the system. We know that our infrastructure is what keeps our cities alive. Without adequate water supplies, sewers, roads, hydro power and gas lines, we cannot service our residents.

This bill means a potential 10% increase in Newmarket's population over the next couple of years, people we haven't planned for. That's too many people too fast, too soon. And that's only assuming one out of every five home owners will build an apartment. This is not just guesswork; this is done by the survey of our land use for municipal housing that we were asked to prepare in 1992 by the province. It's actually done by survey.

A surcharge in a sewer is not a safe and healthy thing. What happens is that the sewers can't handle the amount of raw sewage flowing through them and the sewage climbs up into the manholes, manholes that our works employees service on a regular basis. We have provincial health and safety standards that prevent us from putting our workers in an unsafe and unhealthy situation.

Ever since Bill 90 was introduced in 1992, people are assuming they have the right to build a basement apartment and have been doing so illegally. This is proven by what has just taken place in a fairly new section of our municipality of approximately 1,000 new single-family dwellings, where in the last year and a half we have had a demand increase of 1.5 megawatts of hydro, resulting in a need to upgrade the station. This is an increase of 15% on this hydro station. This station supplies 90% residential and 10% commercial. This increase cannot be explained by the normal 3% which we attribute to appliances and air conditioners. We and Hydro have concluded that it is the illegal basement apartments that are responsible for the increase, with the prime source of heating being baseboard because that is the cheapest way for the landlord to provide heat.

Not only is the upgrade of the hydro station going to cost our municipality $500,000 to meet the demands -- and if we don't upgrade, that means the lights go out -- but this is also contrary to the provincial guidelines for wise use of energy and the goal of getting away from electrical heat. It may be a cheap way for a landlord to provide heat, but it's a very expensive way for a tenant to buy heat, and he probably pays the heat on top of his rent.

The Housing minister is right in saying, "The thousands of tenants living in these settings haven't had the same protection, the same rights or the same security enjoyed by other tenants in Ontario." But the only way this legislation will change that is by allowing municipal governments to inspect the development of all secondary units, not just garden suites, to guarantee the health and safety of all occupants and maintain quality of life for all residents.

Evelyn Gigantes was recently reported in the papers as saying that restrictive municipal zoning bylaws were responsible for the tragic deaths of two people living in a Mississauga basement apartment. I strongly disagree. Wide-open zoning would not have saved their lives nor made their unit safe. But inspections would have made their unit safer and possibly saved their lives. The only way we can inspect these units is if we are given the authority to do so.


There are many ways we can make sure that these units are brought to safe standards. By inspecting units under construction, we can help the home owners avoid costly or even dangerous construction mistakes. By regulating the location and number of units in a particular area of town, we can help the tenants find parking that won't overload our roads or block our sidewalks. By keeping track of the units, we can report back to you on the success of basement apartments and work together on any problems which might still exist for these people.

As mayor of a municipality, my first interest is the safety and welfare of my residents. This bill will take a lot of that interest out of my hands. I need your authority to allow me to keep these people safe and healthy.

Some of my senior staff are with me today: Susan Plamondon, my solicitor; the chief planning official; the chief building official; the chief fire official; and my executive assistant.

We have taken the liberty of drafting some suggested amendments to this legislation which will allow us to put our concerns into action. I am asking you to take a look at this document and to consider our concerns. I am asking you to go one step further in order to make your legislation as foolproof as you can, as much in the interests of the people you are trying to help as you can, by allowing us to be involved and working with you.

At this time, I would like to introduce again the municipal solicitor of our town, Susan Plamondon, who will bring some comments on behalf of the staff and their concerns.

Miss Susan Plamondon: You have before you, I think, a copy of our submission that contains within it the remarks Mayor Twinney just made. It also contains some background material which obviously I don't propose to read to you, but which I would commend your reading at your convenience.

I realize this committee's been working very long hours and has heard from a large number of interested people and will be continuing to do that, but we like to think we're coming to you with an idea, a constructive suggestion, not just complaining or arguing bitterly about what the legislation is going to do to us.

We hope this is seen as a constructive suggestion, a practical suggestion to encourage, if you will, the illegal basement apartments, because that's largely what's going to result from this legislation. Most of the additional units, and our housing statement supports it, at least in our community will come in the form of basements below grade, or partially below grade, dwelling units.

Basically our idea is this: Leave the legislation alone as far as it goes, not to suggest any specific amendments to change the as-of-right component, except to say that as a matter of land use planning and with respect to zoning bylaws themselves -- and I'm not talking about the official plan provisions but specifically the zoning provisions -- we can't prohibit the erection or installation or the creation of the units, but you can't actually use the unit unless it's been inspected by the municipality. In other words, it only becomes legal if it has been inspected.

For existing dwelling units, which we all know exist, we hope that would encourage the landlord who believes he complies with the standards that are being suggested or imposed by the province, not necessarily the municipal standards but the ones we believe will be promulgated by regulation and which we assume to be, because we haven't seen them yet, similar to those contained in the consultation paper that was published in 1992; provincial standards, not necessarily the ones the municipality would prefer, but the provincial standards.

Those landlords would then be able to tell their tenants they're an inspected unit. The tenant will be able to know it's an inspected unit and the municipality will know it's there. The infrastructure is actually in place to do it, because the province of Ontario has already delegated to municipalities the authority to inspect pursuant to the provisions of the Ontario Building Code. We all have the infrastructure in place to implement this suggestion.

In point of fact, based on some of the research we've done, in many cases, if the unit doesn't comply, it can be made to comply at a relatively small cost. We're talking largely here about the public health and safety components, the fire separations. We hope you'll include the idea of interconnected smoke detectors between units so that the residents of the other unit will know if the smoke detector in the other unit has gone off.

The idea is a very simple one. It may be almost too simple and it may be flawed, but we really believe that if you create the environment in the legislation to encourage existing landlords to come forward and have their units inspected, and encourage those home owners who will have the right to create the units to have their units inspected or to consult with us about the better way to do it or how to do it safely, and allow us to inspect it and issue perhaps the equivalent of what's called an occupancy certificate -- we do it now for brand-new construction. Why wouldn't that same sort of approach be appropriate for a unit that's created in this manner?

It's almost too simple. It won't catch all of them, but it will catch a lot of them and we'll at least hear about and be able to help those who do comply and we'll know where they are. Some of the municipal objectives I think you will admit are very legitimate in terms of long-term land use planning and population projections for planning purposes, for servicing purposes. That information is necessary in terms of the operation of municipal government.

Being able to have a record of where these units exist has got to help us; not to say they can't exist but to know where they are. Where we do have a bad landlord, we will have the ability to prosecute, and I think that's in everyone's interest, to encourage people to do it right, to do it safe, to meet the rules and to ensure that the residents, the very people who need housing in this form, will be able to live with some degree of comfort, just like everybody else in the province.

We've taken the liberty of drafting some sections. There are two approaches that we drafted. They're found towards the back of your paper and basically they say what I just said. You can either do it as a matter of zoning -- in other words, give municipalities authority to pass zoning bylaws that would prohibit the use of these units unless they are inspected and conform to the requirements, wherever they come from -- or the other alternative is to actually make it an offence, as a matter of the Planning Act, for any person to permit the use of a unit unless it has been inspected.

We hope you'll have a look and have your legislative drafters have a look and consider them. We believe it'll work. It won't catch them all, but it'll work.

We also would like you to consider, in addition to recommending that sort of an amendment, a couple of things that are contained in this heading that we call "Suggested Amendments and Recommendations," and the first one, of course, is what we've just suggested: Amend the legislation to say it's only legal if it's inspected. I know you'll be hearing from representatives of the fire prevention people and others, building safety standards. We would suggest that Bill 120, however it finds its way through, not be proclaimed in force until whatever amendments are appropriate in the context of the public health and safety legislation are considered. It should happen in tandem and certainly not before that's done.

We note the bill proposes to permit the minister by regulation to exempt classes of housing from the operation of the permissive sections of the Planning Act that you're proposing, the as-of-right intensification. That's good because we can think of at least three classes of housing that right off the top should be considered for that kind of exemption. I hope it's not inappropriate to tell you about them because they are very significant and some of our background material supports the need for them.


The first are usually in condominium form but they may not necessarily be in condominium form. Detached houses, semi-detached houses and row houses that don't front on municipal streets, in other words, are served by internal private driveways that are not maintained by the municipality, should not be the subject of this kind of intensification because the internal roadways in and of themselves are in general terms far too small to permit any kind of reasonable parking standard.

In many cases, and more particularly in recent years, I think you heard the mayor tell you that we've approved about 1,000 town house type units, many of which are in this form. Basically, the municipality gave the density to the developer, going in the front door in terms of number of units. As a matter of good planning and subdivision design, had there been a clear indication when these units were being approved that intensification would be permitted to occur in them, we might have asked for consideration, even if we couldn't impose it, of more visitor parking, or not agreed to a substandard pavement width or shorter driveways. We might have encouraged the designer to come up with something better. We hope that you'll consider those kinds of units as being inappropriate for intensification in this manner.

Another provision that exists in the town of Newmarket zoning bylaw, and I suspect can be found in many other zoning bylaws, is a provision that says where the finished floor of a dwelling unit, or of any building, is located below the level of the sanitary or storm sewer services for that lot, it shouldn't be used as a primary residential purpose. If there is a problem, heaven forbid, that tenant is looking at a very serious problem. So as a class of dwelling units, we think that where that intensification would occur under those circumstances, it should be clearly prohibited and exempted from the as-of-right privileges.

The other provision in the town of Newmarket's zoning bylaw which exists and is partially handled in the regulations -- until we see them, we don't really know -- is that we have two definitions in Newmarket's zoning bylaw: One's for "basement" and one's for "cellar." A basement: no problem. Nine times out of 10, the building is well suited to conversion to permit an additional unit. But if it's a cellar that we've defined as a storey, two thirds of which is located below grade, we don't think that makes for quality of housing for the prospective tenant that's acceptable.

We would urge upon you consideration of a regulation that would exempt from the as-of-right conversions a structure in which the storey of the building that would form the additional unit is really a cellar.

Looking at the clock, I think we've run out of formal submission time. That's the essence of the proposal. If it's not inspected, it shouldn't be legal. Everybody stands to gain if you do that. The prospective tenant stands to gain, the province stands to gain, the municipalities stand to gain and the good landlords stand to gain. The only people who stand to lose are the bad landlords, and heaven knows we've all been trying over the years to find ways to get to the bad landlords.

Market forces will work over time. People will know they can call the municipality and find out if the unit's been inspected. If they have a choice and can learn to ask the landlord, "Are you inspected or not?" -- simple question, or they can call us on their own -- they'll choose to live in the better ones. The bad ones will disappear hopefully over time.

Mr David Johnson: I think you've really bent over backwards to try to make this work, I must say, of all the submissions I've heard. I just wonder, without the right of entry, do you think it's possible for this to work? In other words, you're assuming they won't use the unit unless it's inspected, but I really wonder how many people will come forward for that inspection. If there are complaints, or if it's been brought to your attention that there may be a unit in this basement, but you have no right of entry to go in and inspect, then it seems to me you're still going to have a problem.

Miss Plamondon: The bill does do something to help tenants in that situation where you have a tenant who wants to complain. That's one of the real problems now. The tenants don't want to complain. They're afraid that they're going to be thrown out, that the municipality's going to come in, and that raises an issue I meant to mention and that's the notion of a moratorium, which I'll deal with.

We think tenants might come forward because now, as a result of the bill, as a matter of land use, the landlord isn't going to be able to say, "Out you go because the use isn't permitted." The use will be permitted, and that's been, in our experience, the legal reason given to evict tenants under these circumstances where we hear about it. We think there will be some initiative from the tenant.

Mr David Johnson: So if they feel the matter can be rectified, brought into conformance with a reasonable cost that the home owner will actually pay out, then they'll probably come forward.

I wasn't clear: What's the difference between a basement and a cellar?

Miss Plamondon: A basement would be any other structure that has any portion of the floor below grade but more than a third of it is above grade.

Mr David Johnson: So if two thirds or more are located below grade --

Miss Plamondon: It's a cellar.

Mr David Johnson: That's a cellar. Certainly in East York, almost all buildings would have cellars on that definition.

Miss Plamondon: I don't know. I don't know your municipality, but the idea would be that you could define "cellar" as something else. That's what it happens to be in Newmarket. But the notion is, find that level, whatever you consider is appropriate, and prohibit it.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Your Worship, Ms Plamondon, I want to thank you for your presentation and your constructive suggestions. Ms Plamondon, you answered my first question around the reason why tenants haven't complained in the past, because there has not been a remedy or a means to a remedy in the event that tenants are frustrated with the conditions they live under.

I'm intrigued by your idea of a registry. I'd like to have your view on how you would see the registry functioning. In this time of economic restraint on all levels of government, how do you see the registry being paid for? Who do you see the registry being held by? How would you see granting access, given various Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act regulations with regard to information?

Miss Plamondon: We maintain at the moment building permit records. I don't see this process as being substantially different from that. In many cases, the conversion should prompt an application for a building permit, in any event, okay?

Mr Owens: That's the operative word, though: "should."

Miss Plamondon: That's right. I think that's one of the dangers of the bill the way it is now, because it's a bit of an inducement to people. They're going to think -- because they're not going to read the bill. They're going to hear that they can do it and they're not going to realize that in many cases -- they'll be very innocent -- they should be getting permits for some of the conversions they do. Not every one is going to require a building permit, but some of them will and they won't know. It's something, because it's done within the confines of the building, that we don't see and even the neighbours don't see. "I'm finishing the rec room." Who's to say what is really going on? That's what's happened over time and we know it will.

The registry, in my view, would be very like the records we maintain now for building permits and occupancy certificates, so I see it being a municipal function. Frankly, the complaints are going to come to us. They have historically. They're going to continue to come to us. It's in the municipal interest to do that. As for freedom of information and protection of personal privacy provisions, if we maintain the registry not by owner name but by street address, the information is public: "Yes, it's been inspected. Yes, it conforms."

Mr Owens: You're talking about the gold seal of approval as perhaps a selling feature. How would I, then, a perspective tenant, be able to follow up with the landlord's presentation that his or her unit has in fact been inspected and given the gold seal of approval?

Miss Plamondon: Two things could happen, I think. If something like an occupancy certificate is issued to the landlord for the unit, he can clearly show that to the tenant if the tenant asks for it. Or if the tenant has reason to believe it might not be safe or doesn't trust the certificate or it's too old or simply forgets to ask the landlord, they can always call the municipal office and check with the building department or wherever the function is assigned and say, "What can you tell me, if anything, about 123 George Street?"


Mr Grandmaître: A very interesting submission: Mr Mayor, there's a lot of "I don't know" and "We don't know" in your submission. I'll forget about the "don't knows."

Mr Twinney: In fairness, the "don't knows" are because it's a true fact that we don't know.

Mr Grandmaître: Let's talk about something you do know and that's your survey. I was interested in your survey. On page 5 of your submission, you say, "This bill means a potential 10% increase in Newmarket's population over the next couple of years." At the present time, Mr Mayor, how many, let's say, unregulated or unacceptable basement apartments or cellar apartments would exit in Newmarket?

Mr Twinney: We estimate 2,000.

Mr Grandmaître: You estimate 2,000 illegal apartments?

Mr Twinney: We don't have any legal basement apartments per se, maybe very few that may be in an area where a unit has been changed into a two-dwelling unit or into a triplex, but in a normal single-family dwelling area, we do not have the zoning change, the special development areas.

Mr Grandmaître: Then let me address the lawyer. How come these units were built without a building permit?

Miss Plamondon: Because we didn't know they were going in and in some cases --

Mr Grandmaître: How about your inspectors?

Miss Plamondon: We can't get in. If they do them without a permit, we can't get in.

Mr Grandmaître: You can do it with a search warrant.

Miss Plamondon: Yes, but justices of the peace don't like to give you search warrants and things like that.

Mr Grandmaître: I know. That's why I'm asking you the question.

Miss Plamondon: That's the problem, and frankly this bill does nothing to help us with that.

Mr Twinney: If I could add to that also, we're not out to persecute --

Mr Grandmaître: No.

Mr Twinney: -- and so we try to accommodate, and where there are home owners who are reasonable, who keep their tenants, then we aren't after these people, we understand, but where there are blatant problems --

Mr Grandmaître: Deficiencies.

Mr Twinney: -- deficiencies, health problems, many things that we do get, then we have been going in, but it is almost impossible, because as the solicitor suggested to you, they don't want you to get in because of their fear of getting kicked out.

We did a survey to what may take place in future "if you had a right," and the survey came back somewhere between 5% and 17%, so I used the middle of the road.

Mr Grandmaître: Let's say, Mr Mayor --

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr Grandmaître: Is that it?

The Chair: That's it.

Mr Grandmaître: Maybe I should be the Chair.

Mr Twinney: That's right.

Mr Grandmaître: Well, you see how many questions the Chair gets. Thank you very much for appearing today. I think your presentation will be most helpful. The committee will be considering this bill clause by clause during the week of March 6. Thank you for appearing.

Mr Twinney: Thank you, members of the committee, for hearing us.


The Chair: The next presentation will be the London North Community Association. Good afternoon. The committee has allocated one half-hour for your presentation. You've been here for a few minutes so you've seen how this works. If you would introduce yourself and your colleague for the purposes of Hansard, you may begin.

Miss Mary Lynn Metras: Mr Chairman and members of the committee, we thank you for this opportunity to speak before the committee. My name is Miss Mary Lynn Metras and on my right is Mrs Bonnie Hawlik, a representative of the London North Community Association. I'm also a city councillor but I'm not representing the city in any capacity today, but I am a resident within the London North Community Association.

The London North Community Association, to explain a bit, is an umbrella organization that represents nine different ratepayers' groups within our city. As well, the London North Community Association has had contact with associations outside our community such as Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo and Windsor. Our neighbourhood associations have had similar problems regarding lodging houses creating multidensity from single, detached homes.

Many of my comments today are strongly worded. To date, we have lobbied and appeared before many representatives and committees to express our concerns, all to no avail. Since this may be my last chance, somewhat like Custer's last stand, before what I would be will be the inevitable enactment of this legislation, I feel I must be more direct.

Please do not make the mistake of thinking I am radical such as this legislation Bill 120 is. Please don't also cast aside my comments. Both of us, Mrs Hawlik and myself, are sincerely frustrated, and so are many of my neighbours, by the constant stonewalling of the government on this issue. While we support the philosophy of the legislation, the global application is absurd.

To begin, how many of you live next door to a house where your neighbours go up on the roof for a beer? How many of your neighbours park six to eight cars on the lawn? How many of your neighbours let the grass grow a foot and a half high? How many of your neighbours put their mattresses on the front porch for a week and their couch and chairs on the lawn? How many of your neighbours never shovel their drives or sidewalks, never pick up the junk mail and leave the garbage on the porch for two to three weeks at a time until the maggots start to show? How many of your neighbours have 100 people over every week or so for a beer bash which spills over on to the adjoining property, use their trees to urinate on and their grass to park on? How many of you have had to phone the police every other week on your neighbour?

The real question is, how many of you would put up with it?

Noise bylaws, untidy lot bylaws, property standards bylaws, parking bylaws and charges for zoning infractions are ineffective in regulating a transient population. By the time the complaints are dealt with in the court system, the culprits are long gone and new groups have moved in.

However, the problem is not exclusively a student problem. We aren't opposed to students in our neighbourhood. We've always had them there. We're a university town. It is a planning problem, though. Our neighbourhoods became destabilized with the introduction of Bill 128, now section 35 of the Planning Act. Consequently, our neighbourhoods have suffered an immense increase in the number of conversions. Homes are owned mostly by absentee landlords who have purchased near the university area to speculate and exploit their prospective tenants. Some absentee landlords own up to 25 or more lodging houses. The number of people crammed into these homes is often as many as seven to 10 tenants.

In an effort to address the safety concerns, the building code violations and to protect our neighbourhoods from this increasing density and destabilization, the city of London, with the blessing of the Ministry of Housing, has implemented a lodging house bylaw effective July 1, 1993. Lodging houses in existence prior to the bylaw can apply for legal non-conforming status and receive a licence. Three lodgers can live within a single-family home, but renting to more than three requires a rezoning to consider such items as parking, fire and building code requirements.

Under sections 4 and 5 of Bill 120, the province intends to strengthen section 35 of the Planning Act. We believe this move with threaten our lodging house bylaw.

This provincial government's arrogant attitude and indifference towards this issue of lodging houses, safety concerns and our neighbourhoods is somewhat alarming. This government does not seem to appreciate that single-family neighbourhoods, or for that matter multifamily neighbourhoods, are delicate organizations.

Single-family neighbourhoods are an important value and tradition in Canada. Change is ongoing in the community and we accept that, but destructive change, such as this bill introduces, compounds our problems and is unnecessary. Toronto's solution for Toronto problems won't work for London's unique situation, and what I have always said is the best government is the one that's closest to the people.

What we've done here is list the number of long-term risks that we feel deserve closer attention. One of these is the elimination of local input and accountability in planning decisions. This legislation is a direct attack on that democratic process because individuals no longer have the right to be heard regarding intensification proposals.

Another risk deals with losing our single-family zoning. Two values, I think, residents of Ontario aspire to are freedom of choice and freedom to buy the home of our choice. Various types of neighbourhoods in a free society should be allowed to flourish, including single-family neighbourhoods. Our homes are our largest financial investment. Increasing density for an urban area is a good thing in appropriate areas, but the dictated global action plan presented in Bill 120 impacts our community financially, socially and environmentally, robbing our citizens of their rights. In fact, it's an outright invasion of our property rights and an opportunity to influence planning decisions at the local level.

Another risk that deserves attention is the potential for more substandard housing to occur, which is already evidenced within our community. Mrs Hawlik's slide presentation later will give us an opportunity to foretell the effects that section 35 of the Planning Act and now Bill 120 will have even more for us.

Essentially, this legislation will create more neighbourhoods of absentee landlords. The New Democrat do-gooders are issuing absentee landlords a licence to print money at the expense of our neighbourhoods.

Another long-term risk that we feel deserves closer attention is how will capacity of our existing municipal services designed for existing densities handle increased sewage, electricity and traffic demands long-term? Over time, who will pay for increased servicing and the increased number of inspections of these illegal units that will be legalized? In reality, our tax dollars will be spent by the municipality's building division on complaints regarding illegal units and as well taxpayers will pay for increased services that will be needed.

The combined results of enforcement woes and subsequent reduction in our property values will serve no other than the pious NDPs with a wish to have all citizens equal, regardless of their efforts or investments.

At this point, I will hand over to Mrs Hawlik this part of the submission and then I will end up and conclude.


Mrs Bonnie Hawlik: The following slide presentation was prepared for our municipal election and also presented to the Sewell commission.

It addresses the concerns of home owners relating to unregulated and unlicensed lodging houses in our neighbourhoods. The slides were taken in many different neighbourhoods at all times of the year. However, they all have a common thread: the absentee owners and the overconcentration of rental housing which has disrupted and changed the character of our neighbourhoods.

When the provincial legislation struck down the municipalities' right to regulate land use with respect to occupants' relationship, it was a signal to speculators and real estate agents that buying up and converting even very modest properties to lodging houses would offer a very high return on investment. However, in order to accomplish this every available nook and cranny in a house would be utilized for sleeping quarters regardless of building or fire codes. It is not uncommon for dining rooms, living rooms and even furnace rooms to become rental space to optimize the profit. In many, if not most cases this would be accomplished with a minimum of expense, which leads to substandard accommodation.

The city of London and neighbourhood groups have been working together for many years to address the situation. Once again, bylaws and zoning amendments instituted by our municipality to try to protect the stability of our neighbourhoods are threatened by the passage of Bill 120.

The ads and rental notices you will see will help you understand how our neighbourhoods have become investment driven. When you look at these pictures, you will see there is no regard for parking bylaws or safety of pedestrians and children with their bikes and trikes or any regard for property maintenance.

Many of the parking problems are compounded by the large numbers of tenants having large groups of friends, which also multiplies the number of parties and increases the rowdy behaviour. The yearly decline of these properties is so noticeable and disheartening to us all.

The first slides deal mainly with parking, and the second segment shows the lack of property standards when large groups of unrelated, unregulated people live together in a house just like yours or mine, zoned in most cases as single-family.

Enforcement of any bylaws is virtually impossible because of the sheer magnitude of complaints. The fact of the matter is that things are getting much worse and we are losing families daily. This is an indication that we must get to the root of the problem. When a street loses the balance between owner-occupied homes and absentee landlords, who will monitor the situation? Neighbours get frustrated and move out and thus the domino effect.

These are the illegal parking spots for the property with that 1-800 number.

The tenants in this type of accommodation are transients. It's not unusual to have tenants from September to April, a completely different crowd from May to August and a new group again in the fall. Most often, tenants must sign a one-year lease, whether they are here all year or not. So much for affordable housing or any type of property upkeep. Whether it's legal or not, side yards and front yards are often paved over.

This house boasts six legal parking spots. Where do you think we might find them? This house was also featured in a London Free Press article. The bathroom light fixture was held in place with Q-Tips. Imagine the landscape after the snow. This parking lot is within yards of where my children play. On an average day in the neighbourhood so many cars and people come and go, if the neighbours don't know who belongs here, how on earth would the enforcement officers? Scenes like these are common throughout many neighbourhoods.

This is one of the houses advertised, owned by that gentleman who advertised it. Remember: large yards and parking. Seven tenants and all their vehicles reside here. This was once a two-bedroom bungalow, and I might add is across from my driveway. Once an illegal parking spot becomes common, it gives rise to more. This past year this house continually had four cars in the drive and on the lawn. Only one spot was deemed legal here. Monitoring and enforcing these parking violations requires continual efforts by the city of London's traffic division, as well as it being a virtual waste of our tax dollars.

You'll be interested in this story. The ink was barely dry on the sold sign when the seven-bedrooms-for-rent sign was posted. The last time we checked, London was still in the 519 area code. This was a three-bedroom house. Seven bedrooms and seven or more tenants bring at least that number of cars. Any wonder you see the for sale sign on the house next door? And you wonder why that lady gave up and left our neighbourhood. That house is now owned by an absentee owner. What a surprise.

Property standards hardly exist with this type of accommodation, and dandelions herald spring. Real estate agents have long been promoting this use in our areas and have been known to discourage families from locating in neighbourhoods with a high percentage of absentee owners, referring to areas surrounding the university as student ghettoes. Often they advertise homes in these areas as student stuffers and advertise in out-of-town newspapers encouraging this type of investment in what used to be considered one of the best areas in London to live.

That's Mel in the window, Mel Gibson.

It's common knowledge that there have long been problems on campus relating to alcohol abuse, personal safety and traffic. These problems have followed the students into our neighbourhood.

"For rent, three rooms, or sublet six." Another 416 number, and this is that six-bedroom house, as is this the rear entry to it.

A family swing set overlooked Corey's House of Slave Chicks. I think that says "Waterloo sucks," not Western, but they're great slogans for families to grow up with. What message is being given to our youngsters when snowmen hold beer bottles and have anatomically correct body parts?

This ad appeared over two years ago. Even then, calculating this at an average of $325 per room times seven, someone was making money. It's the neighbours who lose, many of whom have taken their cases to the Assessment Review Board to have their taxes lowered because of the effect these properties have had on their value of their homes.

These next slides exemplify the province's idea of intensification -- another way of intensifying, anyway. We call them add-ups, add-outs and add-unders.

This particular low-density home has four entrances.

This already illegal triplex has made yet another unit at the back. The addition here is larger than the original house, and what was left of the lot became parking, with the garage as a drive-through.

What other neighbourhood do you know whose residents throw out the entire household spring and fall? These photos were taken either two weeks before or two weeks after the scheduled big cleanup.

London's lodging house bylaw should be given the chance to make the absentee owner more accountable for his commercial enterprise while offering safer, affordable accommodation, which should be everyone's first concern. With the passage of Bill 120, this becomes impossible, as it intends to remove the municipality's ability to license lodging houses and further encourages this rampant intensification in all neighbourhoods everywhere and anywhere in Ontario, as of right, without public input.

Miss Metras: Our association does not object to affordable housing policies which are properly and fairly created, as assessed and implemented by our municipality with public input. The rosy picture painted by the Ministry of Housing's advocates in their quest for residential intensification is not occurring within our community, and you can see that.

Central government should not continually accrue power without accountability. This legislation may have some merit with local options, provided it can be implemented by local option. For those municipalities that seek to attain provincial objectives, they should be allowed to participate. For those that don't, they are represented by local ratepayers cognizant of local conditions with direct accountability. This course of housing destabilization which we are teetering on is nothing but class-busting by a socialist government in an attempting to destroy our single-family neighbourhoods.

Finally, I leave you with this message: Try to stay tuned to the other municipalities while in the province of Toronto. I repeat again, the best government is the one closest to the people, and your New Democrat government is out of touch with the real world and only in touch with Toronto's world. We are from London, Ontario.


Mr David Winninger (London South): Thank you for your presentation. Even though you're with the London North community, and I've spoken with Mary Lynn on many occasions, I'm from London South. I hope we can continue to be one community, even though sometimes we don't share the same ideology.

I'll tell you what my problem is. The city of London, as the mayor recently said on Tuesday, acknowledges that there should be apartments in houses, and in fact you have an office at city hall that advises landlords on how they can convert to apartments in houses and the province helps fund that office.

My problem is this: We have people all over London with affordability problems. We have illegal apartments all over London. I acknowledge there are good neighbours and bad neighbours, good landlords and bad landlords, good tenants and bad tenants. To tell you the truth, I've lived in multiple-family areas where the standards were better than some single-family areas I've lived in.

What you're wanting us to do here, I think, is segregate off areas of the city, and in London there are large, single-family areas of the city, where you don't want people to occupy apartments in houses because of some problems, mostly around the university, that I think the president of the student council there and the president of the University of Western Ontario and city hall, where you're a councillor, are working to solve. This is my problem with your position today.

Miss Metras: Can I respond a little bit? Unfortunately, we've gone through this conversation a multitude of times, Mr Winninger and myself, and it is a big problem around the university area. But I think the problem here is that the city should decide. We should have local accountability and I think Mr Winninger is missing the point on that. The other thing is that we should have the right to choose the type of housing we want in our city and we should have the right to plan that.

I haven't got a problem with students in the neighbourhood. As I said before, we are a university community and we've accepted that, but what you saw on there and the $325 a month for those basement apartments for seven or 10 people in a house is not affordable. There is some other exploitation that's going on up in the north end that I could show you and talk to you about in the real estate ads, and you will see them there. That is not affordable.

I can also tell you I've been in the houses and they are serious, the things that are going on as lodging houses. We've tried over and over and over again and we've been so frustrated by this because this government does not accept the fact that a house rented by students who rent a house for hire or for gain by an absentee landlord is not a lodging house to them, but it is a lodging house. I'm sorry. When they own up to 25, it's a lodging house.

Mr Winninger: But, Mary Lynn, an apartment in a house still has to respect the property --

Miss Metras: In the right area.

Mr Winninger: -- health and safety laws --

Miss Metras: In the right area, David.

Mr Winninger: -- and you can't just have as many people --

Miss Metras: No, you can't globally put it where you want.

Mr Winninger: Sorry. No, I just wanted to say, you can't have as many people occupying an apartment in a house as you want because there's square --

Miss Metras: Maybe you could read the brochure.

Mr Winninger: Hang on. There are square footage requirements laid out --

Miss Metras: No.

Mr Winninger: -- under the health bylaw as to how many people you can have in an apartment.

Miss Metras: There may be that, but maybe you'll read the ad in the back of the book and it shows you exactly that in one unit you can have five to 10 tenants, and the man is renting it that way. That's exactly what they do in London and it's a big nuisance to have to go around the city and try to find all these people. Like this business of no right of entry --

Mr Winninger: I know my colleagues have some questions too.

The Chair: Mr Grandmaître, please.

Mr Grandmaître: Thank you, Mr Chair. I think what the city of London is looking for is what 834 municipalities in Ontario are looking for, the power to legalize these apartments, and not only legalize them, but to control zoning. What municipalities are looking for is the authority, not only a bylaw that you can't enforce but a bylaw with power to give municipalities the right to go in and inspect and --

Miss Metras: That's right, and reasonable hours.

Mr Grandmaître: -- render these unattractive units liveable. I hope you're not the ambassadors to your London Chamber of Commerce because if you were ever to show these slides, I don't think you'd get too many visitors.

Miss Metras: No. Yes, it's on our main street too.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes. As a municipal councillor, what has council done to resolve this situation?

Miss Metras: What we've done is we've got the lodging house bylaw in place, as I said, with the blessing of the Ministry of Housing, I think. We're moving along. We're starting to enforce that. We've sent letters out to people we think are lodging houses. The inspectors have notified them and talked to them and they're going in and they're starting to do that. It's difficult.

Mr Grandmaître: With a search warrant?

Miss Metras: No, no search warrant, just knock on the door and hope that --

Mr Grandmaître: Good luck.

Miss Metras: Yes. It's been turning out pretty good but we are going to face a court case to make sure that this is not a residential unit versus a lodging type house. We have to prove that it's not a residential unit.

Mrs Hawlik: I would just like to add that these houses are rented just like in the ads, by the room. They aren't apartments in these houses. They are literally flop-houses. There are bedrooms everywhere. We have been in and seen the conditions. They're like rabbit warrens.


Mrs Hawlik: In the compendium -- may I -- sorry.

The Chair: No, speak through the Chair, please.

Mrs Hawlik: Through the Chair, my understanding is in the compendium, part V, it says it will restrict the municipality's ability, prevent the municipality's ability to license lodging houses. That is part V.

Mr Gary Wilson: No, it won't prevent it; no.

Mrs Hawlik: I'm sorry. Then I misinterpreted the compendium.

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): Mr Chairman, this is my neighbourhood and I admire --

Mr Gary Wilson: What, there?

Mrs Cunningham: Yes, that might even be my street. I don't know but --

Mrs Hawlik: A couple of blocks away.

Mrs Cunningham: A couple of blocks. But I should tell the members of the government that long before they were members of this government this community, I think, has shown some leadership in the province of Ontario with regard to trying to find a fair solution to the kinds of problems that were predicted there, and other communities in the province of Ontario have as well, especially communities where we have university students and more opportunities to see these kinds of things happening.

I'd just like to say publicly that I'm very proud of the work that the London North Community Association and other associations in London, including associations in Mr Winninger's riding, have done to provide the province of Ontario over probably a 10-year period with good information and good advice so that we can have good decision-making with regard to residential property. After all, this act is about residential property.

I think it's ignorant that people come and sit on this committee who don't know what this act is all about. Mrs Hawlik was quite correct in her observations with regard to part V. The bill amends paragraph 63 of section 207 of the Municipal Act to ensure that the power of a municipality to licence lodging houses does not extend to residential units. How blatant.

Mr Gary Wilson: Could we have clarification?

Mrs Cunningham: How blatant that the residential units cannot in fact be supervised, cannot in fact be governed by the municipality as to standards but --

Mr Mills: I thought this was asking questions, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Order.


Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, I think we listened to some three questions by Mr Winninger. I'm just helping, I think, another constituency that comes before this committee that is asked questions and then argued with. Today, I happened to sit here. The government member said that wasn't so and I'm just saying it is so.

To go on to part, this amends the Planning Act to ensure that the official plan --

Mr Gary Wilson: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: We've been going through these committee hearings now for a couple of days and we've reached some kind of a process that allows us to look at questions like this where there appears to be some confusion.

The Chair: What is it specifically?

Mr David Johnson: This is chewing up our time. Is there a point of order here, Mr Chairman, or is this what's going to happen --

The Chair: What is the point of order?

Mr Gary Wilson: The point of order is that this is getting us nowhere as far as learning what's actually in the bill is concerned. I would like a ministry person to come to offer some clarification on this.

Mrs Cunningham: I'm sure we can do it outside this person's time.

Mr Gary Wilson: All right; it's okay.

The Chair: Mr Wilson has raised a point of order that is not a point of order. It is something that could be raised in between delegations.

Mr Gary Wilson: Do you think it's a waste of time to get clarification?

Mr David Johnson: It's a waste of time. Do it on your own time.

Mrs Cunningham: You do it on your time like we do it on ours.

The Chair: Order. We have about one minute, Mrs Cunningham, if you're hoping for a response.

Mrs Cunningham: I, like my colleague -- all of us -- get questions on this bill and I think it's our responsibility to be able to answer. When we get people with this kind of expertise, of course we should be asking questions. But I must say that I am appalled. The last time I came, the city of London was here and Mr Winninger continued to say that 70% of the citizens, it was well-documented, favoured basement apartments, which is not even the question. Of course they do. The question here is, they wouldn't favour them if they knew their municipalities were not in control.

Mr Winninger: On a point of order, Mr Chairman --

Mrs Cunningham: I would like to ask a question.

Mr Winninger: This is a point of order.

The Chair: Mr Winninger, on a point of order.

Mrs Cunningham: I think you've already ruled people out on points of order.

Mr Winninger: I have not, throughout these proceedings, used the term "basement apartments." I referred to apartments in houses.

The Chair: That is not a point of order, as you know.

Mr Winninger: I would like Mrs Cunningham to correct the record.

Mrs Cunningham: I stand to be corrected: apartments in houses. As far as I'm concerned, that's even worse. Can I ask a question?

The Chair: No, thank you. The time has expired.

Mrs Cunningham: I was interrupted twice and I couldn't even get my question out.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today.

Mr Gary Wilson: Could I get a clarification now?

The Chair: If the parliamentary assistant would like to ask for one.

Mr Gary Wilson: Could I get that clarification now?

The Chair: If the committee would like the clarification now, that's fine, or we could wait till after all presenters have presented today. If I have unanimous consent, we can listen to a clarification right now. Agreed.

Mr Douglas: I will clarify the provisions in Bill 120 which deal with lodging houses. Bill 120 contains an amendment to the Municipal Act which would clarify that while municipalities can continue to license genuine rooming houses, they can no longer license rooming houses which in effect are residential units occupied as single housekeeping units. This is the term that is used in the legislation. Basically, a single housekeeping unit is a group of individuals who form a household.

It is irrelevant whether that household is a family household or a group of individuals who operate in the same manner as a family household; in other words, a group of individuals who share the premises in a joint and undivided manner, who each participate in the operation of the household and who are there voluntarily is a single housekeeping unit. A group of students where students each rent rooms individually, don't know each other and just use their individual rooms as accommodation, would be a genuine rooming house and municipalities could continue to license.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): That's up to the municipalities.

Mr Douglas: That's correct.

The Chair: Mr Johnson, I hope we can be brief here.

Mr David Johnson: I'll be brief. If such a unit is set up using Bill 120, in a sense, and the municipality has not got the power or the right of entry, how does the municipality know how it's being rented or what's happening inside?

Mr Douglas: The municipalities would be required to obtain a search warrant if there was a concern that a unit was being occupied in a way other than as a single housekeeping unit.

Mr David Johnson: And they'd be required to give evidence in a court, some sort of physical evidence, which they can't get, so they don't get the search warrant.

Mr Douglas: That's identical to the case which exists today. Where lodging houses exist, some are licensed and legal; clearly, others exist which are illegal.

Mr David Johnson: So you admit that in a circumstance like that, a municipality wouldn't know if it's a lodging house or a legal apartment or what's going on.

Mr Douglas: The legislation makes it easier for property standards officers to obtain search warrants by removing the requirement that they specify the evidence to be seized as a result of the search.

Mr David Johnson: But they still have to give evidence to the court.

Mr Douglas: That is correct.

Mr David Johnson: It's like one millimetre easier, "I need this much extra authority," and you're giving them this much extra authority.

Mr Douglas: It's still necessary for them to show reasonable grounds that an offence has occurred. That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: Yes, which is impossible.

The Chair: Could you just please identify yourself for the purposes of our Hansard?

Mr Douglas: James Douglas, housing development and buildings branch, Ministry of Housing.

The Chair: Thank you. Before we get to Mr Schmidl, who has been patiently waiting, I would just like to bring to members' attention that we do have a letter addressed to the clerk that has been circulated providing some information about the housing policy statement and some other matters, just so the members all recognize they have that on their desk.


The Chair: The next presentation is by the Crisis Housing Liaison (Sudbury), Mr Schmidl. Good afternoon and welcome to Toronto. You've had 30 minutes allocated to your presentation.

Mr Barry Schmidl: It's nice and warm in Toronto to answer your questions compared to Sudbury.

Members of the committee, I'm very pleased to be here before you today to present our comments and recommendations on the legislation you're considering, Bill 120, also known as the residents' rights bill.

By way of introduction, please let me describe the work that Crisis Housing Liaison does in our community of Sudbury. Our primary purpose is to ensure that all citizens of our community have safe and secure affordable housing. We do this in many ways.

Our housing registry program helps people find housing in the Sudbury area. We secure housing vacancy information from landlords and maintain an inventory of currently available rental housing units. This vacancy listing is given to tenants following a needs assessment and an orientation to the housing search.

We also provide counselling to people in crisis due to lack of affordable housing and help them get the necessary support to overcome their barriers to housing. This may include financial assistance or linking with other agencies like the Canadian Mental Health Association and the multicultural centre.

In 1993 we helped more than 2,300 men, women and children find housing in Sudbury. Nearly 30% were homeless when they came to us for our help.

Through our tenants' association development program, Crisis Housing Liaison also assists people in the preservation of tenancies and the improvement of living conditions. Tenants and landlords learn how provincial legislation works to provide property standards and terms of tenancy agreements. We also advocate for policy changes with governments to help resolve the barriers to safe and secure affordable housing for all.

This of course brings me to you today in support of Bill 120. The Residents' Rights Act is an important piece of legislation for tenants across Ontario and for tenants in Sudbury. This bill both helps preserve existing tenancies and permits the development of affordable housing.

Despite an increase in the vacancy rate in Sudbury in the last year, there remains an affordable housing crisis in our community. Affordable housing options do not meet the demand. There are over 800 families and single people waiting for subsidized housing with the Sudbury District Housing Authority.

In a survey of people with unmet housing needs in 1990, 72% of respondents said they were paying more than 30% of their gross household income on housing. Just over 32% were paying more than half.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp has reported that average rents in rental units have risen higher than the rent control guideline every year since 1990, although they do not expect this trend to continue into 1994.

The new rental units that have come on the market and pushed the vacancy rate up last year are too expensive for most tenants in Sudbury. Over 35% of families in Sudbury had a household income of less than $30,000 in 1991. Only a handful of these people could afford the average $716-a-month rent for a new two-bedroom apartment in Sudbury.

Clearly, the citizens of Sudbury need more affordable housing. The residents' rights bill helps to address this need. The permitted development of apartments in houses, as addressed in parts IV and V of the bill, will help increase the supply of affordable housing in two very important ways.

Permitting the creation of an apartment in a house creates new rental housing in an old space and creates rental revenue for the home owner, which helps defray his or her own housing costs. This makes home ownership more affordable for more people. As well, the stock of rental units in a traditionally more affordable unit type will increase. This means tenants will have more affordable housing options.

Apartments in houses is a welcome and appropriate solution in Sudbury. Permitting the development of existing unused residential space means the current housing stock in our community can be rejuvenated to meet with the changing character of our households.

Like cities all over Canada, Sudbury's average household size has decreased significantly over the last two years, and there is actually a table on the next page that will give you the data about that. Homes designed for families of four and more are now occupied by households of about two.

Also in keeping with the national and provincial demographic trends, the number of households in Sudbury has increased although our population has declined. The greatest increase has been among one-person and two-person households, as demonstrated in table 2, and there are graphic depictions of the demographic characteristics at the back of the handout that you have. This means that the demand for smaller housing units in Sudbury is very strong. The permitted development of apartments in houses will help meet this demand.


Bill 120 not only facilitates an increase in the supply of affordable housing, it does so without taxing existing municipal services such as water and sewer. The legislation allows home owners to convert unused rental space into rental accommodation. This is residential space previously used by former family members.

In these changing demographic times, we're talking about smaller and more households, but not more people. There can be no further stress on services if the population has in fact decreased since the homes and services were first constructed.

In the matter of apartments in houses as a southern Ontario or a Toronto solution, a solution which increases the stock of affordable housing is a welcome solution in northern Ontario and in Sudbury.

At this time I also want to take the opportunity to address the fearmongering which has developed around the issue of apartments in houses. Crisis Housing Liaison advocates for both the legalization and the regulation of apartments in houses. With the passing of Bill 120, all apartments in houses in Sudbury will be subject to the fire safety standards set in the fire code. Similarly, structural standards for newly created units in houses will be set by the building code.

We see these provisions as necessary and appropriate to ensure safety in these units. No tenant should need to fear for his or her life because of the state of their housing. The Residents' Rights Act will help ensure that this does not happen in Ontario. Passing Bill 120 is the responsible way to protect tenants who live in apartments in houses.

The extension of rights to residents in care homes is an equally important aspect of Bill 120. The most vulnerable of our society, people who must depend on others to maintain independence, will be affected by this legislation. Including residents in care homes in the protection provided to other tenants through the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act will help preserve tenancies.

With residential protection there will be a decrease in the infamous garbage-bag evictions. Landlords will have to provide adequate grounds for evictions and will have to follow due process. The significance of this fact cannot be understated. These are tenancies of people who have many more barriers to housing than most tenants. Their housing crisis often takes on many additional dimensions.

With fewer illegal evictions, there will be less stress on both tenants and community services. In Sudbury this includes provincially funded agencies such as ours, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Sudbury Community Legal Clinic.

Social service agencies which help low-income people deal with housing and poverty issues are currently performing to maximum ability in Sudbury, as with the rest of the province. The legal clinic, for example, has been on a case load restriction for the past three years due to the high demand for services. Over half of the summary advice given at the legal clinic is in landlord and tenant law. A decrease in demand for housing support services is welcomed by both service providers and tenants alike in Sudbury.

However, the exclusion of regulatory measures for care services and meals may negate the residential protection intended by Bill 120. Tenancies will still be put in jeopardy if landlords of care homes are allowed to arbitrarily increase charges for care services.

We recommend that the standing committee on general government create provisions to regulate the charges for care services in care homes. If tenants cannot get the care they need, the usefulness of their housing in the care home becomes void.

With consideration of this one recommendation, Crisis Housing Liaison is very happy to support the passing of Bill 120. The benefits of the Residents' Rights Act to our community will be significant. It will help preserve existing tenancies and permit the development of affordable housing. Let me assure you once again that these objectives are of a very high priority in Sudbury. Thank you for your attention to our presentation. I'd be pleased to answer any questions you have.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Conway.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I pass.

Mr Arnott: Thank you for coming to Toronto today and giving us your views. Your argument is based on the premise that there's a lack of affordable housing in Sudbury right now. How do you know that?

Mr Schmidl: We know that not just from our experience as an agency or the volunteers and staff -- we have their anecdotal experience -- but also through figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp and other generally accepted providers of statistics. The fact is that the vacancy rate has gone up in Sudbury and everyone recognizes that, as it has gone up in other places.

The problem is that the vacancies in the more newly built units are considerably higher than those in the older ones because the rents are higher. It's fine to have vacant two- or three- or one-bedroom units, but if you can't afford to live there it's just not part of the options that you've got.

Mr Arnott: You still have the rent registry. How long has it been since that was set up -- not the rent registry, I'm sorry, the affordable housing registry that you maintain?

Mr Schmidl: The housing registry we've maintained in one form or another since our organization began, about 1985, I guess. It's been upgraded and changed slightly along the way.

Mr Arnott: That's the primary function of the agency, I guess.

Mr Schmidl: That's been our major function all the way through, yes.

Mr Arnott: What's the vacancy rate in Sudbury now?

Mr Schmidl: I don't know the exact figure off the top of my head. It's around 4%.

Mr Arnott: And at the present time, how many units do you have available in your registry?

Mr Schmidl: It varies on a day-to-day basis. We do include everything that is vacant, even including the upper rental market. I'm afraid I couldn't give you a ballpark figure even as of like today because I will tell you there are significant monthly variations. The vacancy rate and the number of units that we have available always go up in April and May when students leave and they always go down in the fall when students arrive because just like the people who were just here from London North, we have a university and a college too.

Mr Arnott: Do you have any guess as to how many illegal basement apartments are in Sudbury at present that will become legalized with the passage of this bill?

Mr Schmidl: I'd hate to give you a number because I know I'd be wrong. I know that there is a significant number of them but I couldn't hazard a guess. I know that there are a lot of, not just basement apartments, but there are apartments in houses that are not well maintained by their owners, although I don't think the situation is the same as was just portrayed by the people from London North. That's a different city; it's a different situation.

I think there are a number of legal apartments that aren't in that great shape either. I think one of the benefits of the bill, though, is that tenants will be less afraid that their unit will just be shut down if they complain to the city and ask that property standards inspect it.

Mr David Johnson: You mentioned that the previous deputation from London was a different situation. I think that's what we're finding. We had a deputation from Hamilton, for example, yesterday which is a completely different situation, then London, and your deputation is different. I wonder why, since all the municipalities seem to have something different about them, different housing stock or university or different conditions, everybody says Toronto is different from everybody else. That's one thing everybody agrees on.

Mr Schmidl: Especially people from Toronto.

Mr David Johnson: Especially people from Toronto, okay, well, whoever.

Mr Owens: Or Sudbury.

Mr David Johnson: Or Sudbury or London before. Wouldn't it make sense that municipalities, rather than have one law that treats everybody precisely the same -- and certainly we've heard of initiatives in some municipalities such as Hamilton, for example -- wouldn't it make sense to allow the municipalities to have some flexibility to deal with the affordability issue, meeting those local circumstances?

Mr Schmidl: I believe that the legislation -- you can correct me if I'm wrong -- gives municipalities the right to set standards for quality and for safety of the units. I really think affordable housing or lack of affordable housing, no matter how it manifests itself as a problem, is a common problem in most of Ontario.

I wouldn't necessarily directly compare rural southern Ontario to urban northern Ontario or rural northern Ontario to Toronto or something like that, but what I've seen, from speaking to people in different parts of the province at different meetings or discussions about Bill 120 or whatever, is that there is an affordable housing problem in this province. Government can't address it entirely by assisting people in building cooperative and non-profit housing. This is a way for the private market to address that problem.


Mr David Johnson: Do you think there's any danger of that perception being out of date? We had the Ontario Real Estate Association before us, for example. I don't know what your views are on that particular association, but its view is that in terms of purchase of a house, the affordability's as good now as it has been in the last two decades. You're talking about the vacancy rate in Sudbury for tenants being about 4%. In Metropolitan Toronto I would think it's somewhere between 2% and 2.5%.

I can tell you that in my by-election of less than a year ago, knocking on doors, I ran into many buildings, and these are not just the high-priced buildings -- I don't have that many high-priced buildings in my riding -- where there are vacancies; there are lots of vacancies in the low end as well as the high end. I'm wondering if we're trying to solve a problem that existed back a number of years ago.

Rents are coming down. I'm hearing from tenants who are saying their rents have either levelled off or actually gone down. Is there a possibility we're solving a problem that municipalities, number one, are grappling with in their own way and, number two, was much more severe a number of years ago?

Mr Schmidl: As the vacancy rate has gone up in Sudbury, it has gone up elsewhere. It used to be as low as 0.3% in Sudbury. However, I'll tell you that our agency sees just about as many people as we used to who need affordable housing. The Sudbury District Housing Authority has just about as many people on its list for accommodation as it used to. I really think there is still that need for affordable housing out there, and I think this is a way for the private market to deal with it as opposed to just the government dealing with it.

I live in a non-profit housing project and I think it's a great place to live, but government and community organizations can't deal with the entire affordable housing problem. I think this is an excellent way for the private market to deal with it.

Mr Owens: I'd like to thank you for your supportive presentation, and I'd also like to thank the Sudbury Star for the thumbs-up editorial in support of the Minister of Housing and the provincial legislation.

I think a couple -- not just a couple, your presentation certainly resonated with me in terms of attacking the issue as not just being a Toronto problem, as some other presenters have characterized the issue of the need for affordable housing or the need to legalize basement apartments, and that in fact in communities like Sudbury there are problems with garbage-bag evictions and unsafe units.

The other method I was pleased that you attacked was the issue with respect to servicing. What I hear in my community, the riding of Scarborough Centre, as well is that it's going to overburden the services. In fact, when you look at the kinds of demographic tables that you've presented that populations are declining -- particularly in my end of the world, which is the southern part of Scarborough, an older part -- that as your table demonstrates in your part of the province populations are declining, this is where these apartments are opening up as parents begin to age or younger people are moving back into the neighbourhood.

My question is a supplementary to the question that was asked earlier with respect to the presentation from the Ontario Real Estate Association and the issue of affordable housing. I think I'd like to focus that issue a little bit more crisply. The people that are on your waiting list and the people that are calling the Sudbury community legal services for summary advice with respect to L and T issues, are these the kinds of people that would be walking into the Royal LePage office and asking to see the listings with respect to the purchase of a new home?

Mr Schmidl: Hardly likely. I think that's the best way to put it. There are a few people who are in the situation where if they have the opportunity they can rent or they can buy, but the vast majority of the people I was talking about who would benefit from this as tenants don't have home ownership as an option at present in their lives.

Mr Owens: They don't have the concerns whether or not they can use the RRSPs as part of their down payment or whether or not that low-interest mortgage that the Royal Bank or the Toronto-Dominion Bank is advertising is going to have any impact on their purchase decision?

Mr Schmidl: I'm sure that a lot of them would like to buy a home and would like to use their RRSP and such, but they don't have an RRSP because they can't save up any money to put in an RRSP.

Mr Owens: That's right.

Mr Schmidl: I think they'd like to have that problem, but they don't, and it's not an option for them.

Mr Owens: So in resolving their primary concern, which is of course their housing issue, this bill goes a long way to resolving that concern, giving them a safe place to live with a reasonable assurance of protection?

Mr Schmidl: I would say it goes a long way to addressing that. Certainly, the more apartments in houses that are built according to the property and safety standards of the relevant municipality and the fire code and all that, that sort of relevant legislation, the more people will be able to move out of the real slums, the dangerous firetraps, for lack of a better word, and into more decent housing. Some accessory apartments aren't fit to live in, that's quite true, and if there are options, people are going to move out of them. There have to be more of these apartments for people to move into and out of firetraps.

The Chair: Thank you, Barry, for appearing today. You will be followed by another Sudburian.


The Chair: Next we have, from the Sudbury Fire Department, Fire Chief Don McLean. Good afternoon, chief. You may begin now.

Mr Don McLean: Today I'm representing the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs as the second vice-president of the association. Basically, we have some very grave concerns about apartments in basements and accessory apartments, and I would like to list a few of them.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs goes on record that we are not opposed to affordable housing such as apartments in basements but have grave concerns that many of these types of units do not meet a minimum life safety standard.

The concerns of the Ontario fire chiefs are also echoed by other groups, such as the Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association and professional and volunteer firefighters throughout the province of Ontario.


As the fire chief of the municipality of Sudbury, I have witnessed many basement fires where injuries and even deaths have occurred. My municipality does not differ from any other municipality, and all are subjected to basement apartments without proper and legal regulations and safeguards.

At this time I would like to discuss some of the concerns and life safety on behalf of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs.

First, we have some concerns. I'd like to outline a couple of probably the more grave concerns that we have -- the registrations and/or licensing. It is imperative that all basement or accessory apartments be registered and/or licensed through the local municipality. This would afford the fire service an opportunity to inspect these types of apartments, which at present are either non-conforming or illegal occupancy.

We also feel that getting them licensed, the fire department would have a handle on which ones of these units are in our city. We would be able to at least inspect them and have the proper mandate for them followed.

Also, the power of entry: Bill 120 must contain provisions allowing local fire inspectors the right of entry to inspect such premises. At present most of these apartments have never been subjected to any form of fire or life safety inspection. These powers must also be included in the Fire Marshals Act.

Some of the life safety features: We're going to start with, first of all, means of egress. Most of these apartments do not have proper access to exits. Because they're in basements, the exits out of those apartments don't meet the requirements for the minimum width, and most of them are either cluttered with all types of boots, coats etc, especially in the winter months, because they have no storage area in any of these apartments.

The minimum number of exits and their location: We feel strongly that anyone who's going to live in basement apartments should at least have two exits out of them. Basically, a lot of people are using windows as exits which do not meet the requirements and which are not even big enough for anyone to get out of.

The protection of exit stairways: When we're talking about protection, we're talking about fire separations. Again, these apartments are built normally beside, around furnace rooms etc, and they do not have any fire separation. If a fire does start in the stairway or in the furnace room, normally their only means of egress is then blocked and they cannot get out of the house.

The flame spread limitations within the means of egress: Again, most of these exit ways out of there are usually done in panelling because it's cheaper and it's to easier maintain etc, but there is absolutely no fire spread limitation on it. If a fire does start or progress into the exit, then there is no way for anyone to get out of there because they're into an inferno at the present time.

Also, the exit door swings: We have concerns there also so that they swing in the proper direction. I think I'd be safe to say probably 90% of them would not swing in the proper direction.

The indication of exit locations and direction: Again, I'll cover some of that in the emergency lighting, but we would like to have some form of exit location and also some form of signs that indicate the way out of that area.

Also, I've addressed the windows: The windows below grade must not be considered as alternative exits. Basement windows are inadequate in size and normally have maintenance problems such as security bars, landscaping, window wells, natural elements etc. Basically, we cannot accept windows as an exit for some of these reasons, plus many other reasons.

Fire alarm and detection: We are recommending that all basement apartments be equipped with smoke alarms which are electrically interconnected with the rest of the building. The reason that we're asking for them to be interconnected is that just in case there is a fire on the main floor, the interconnected smoke alarms would then give a signal to the people down below and give them early egress out of that building.

Emergency lighting: Be required to illuminate the means of egress in accordance with the Ontario Building Code. Again, these basement apartments, 90% of them, are below grade, and if anything happens, they're completely in the dark. We're asking for emergency lighting that would illuminate at least the stairway out of the basement apartment.

Fire separations: As I mentioned briefly a while ago, most apartments are built next to furnace rooms, electrical rooms and must be properly separated. Again, as I mentioned, they're being separated with panelling and any other cheaper form of separation. Again, there is no fire separation, there is no spread rating on any of this material, and what we are getting is a very quick ignition and a very rapid fire that progresses.

Also, portable fire extinguishers: We are looking at every home having a portable fire extinguisher and that each dwelling unit has one also.

Hydroelectric service: We're saying an inspection by the Ontario Hydro branch must be a requirement to ensure safety of the occupants. In most cases, these apartments are supplied power from the existing panel which was installed as a requirement for a single-family dwelling.

Basically, what we're saying is that when these homes were built they were built according to the codes and the requirements for a single-family dwelling and what has happened is that they've put in a basement apartment and they're also feeding that apartment off the same power source. Again, they're using them for electric stoves, ranges etc. Basically, we are asking that the hydroelectric service be brought up to date.

Recommendations: Because basement apartments have been add-ons which have been constructed without approvals and proper separations, it is recommended that all basement apartments be sprinklered in conformance to the requirements of NFPA 13D standard for sprinkler installations in residential dwellings.

Some of the municipalities have already gone to their local councils and have asked that new construction and also existing construction be sprinklered. We feel that sprinkling of a basement apartment is not really a costly item and it would take care of a lot of the unnecessary evils that we have in those buildings at present.

Also, in summation, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs is confident that if the above-listed life safety features are built into basement apartments, it will still allow for affordable housing, at the same time protecting the citizens of this province who live in basement apartments.

I've made my presentation fairly short so that we could spend some time on some questions. I highlighted the areas of concern and I'd like to leave it open for a longer question period because I think there probably will be quite a few questions pertaining to this.

Mr David Johnson: That was an excellent presentation. The obvious concern of the fire chiefs for safety comes through, and we certainly applaud you for that. I'm sort of starting from the back and working forward, so I almost feel a bit apologetic, but the first thing I'm going to ask you about is something to do with cost.

You indicated that you didn't think there'd be a great deal of cost in terms of the sprinkler system, having that introduced in terms of all basement apartments. I think there was somebody yesterday -- it might have been the fire chief of Mississauga -- who thought that the cost would be in the range of $3,000 to $5,000 per unit.

Mr Don McLean: For a full unit, that's correct.

Mr David Johnson: In your estimation, would that be for a sort of typical basement apartment? Of course, it depends on how big it is and that sort of thing. When you're thinking of cost, would you be thinking in that range for a basement apartment, about $3,000 to $5,000?

Mr Don McLean: Yes, that would be the ballpark figure, because we've had them in Sudbury also. You're probably talking about Chief Hare; he has had them also costed out. Because when we do basement apartments in Sudbury, we usually cost them out and give the owner at least an estimate of what it's going to cost so that he knows beforehand.

Mr David Johnson: I may be going a little bit more towards the front of your presentation. You mentioned the power of entry. This is of course a topic that's come up, and I think it's fairly crucial if these units are to be safe. You've indicated, I think, here that, "Powers must also be included in the Fire Marshals Act," to, I assume, allow you the power of entry to get in and inspect. Is that what you had in mind?

Mr Don McLean: That's correct, yes.

Mr David Johnson: You mentioned several different facets throughout, though they're certainly the typical kinds of things, the fire wall separations maybe you'd be looking at, but you also mention the wiring and you mention the problems with regard to Ontario Hydro and the fact that, I guess, the power supply is basically adding on to what's there already. It may not be safe; it may be home-done sort of wiring.

Under the power that you seek, the power of entry, would you have the authority to bring in other -- what's the word I'm looking for here? -- authorities, such as the Hydro, such as the property standards of the building department, if you see problems that pertain maybe to its jurisdiction as opposed to yours?

Mr Don McLean: Yes, we have that power right now when we're dealing with commercial and high-rises etc. We bring in Ontario Hydro in many instances basically. I also ask in here that they be licensed by the municipality so that we know where they are. Also, when you license them, then there will be the restriction that they have to meet the minimum guidelines, and part of the minimum guidelines would be that they have an Ontario Hydro check of the hydro service itself.

You're correct in the first instance. Most of these buildings have been built years ago and a lot of them are still sitting out there with 60, 100 --

Mr David Johnson: Yes, 60 amps.

Mr Don McLean: Basically, you can't run two homes off that size of system. This is why we have some grave concerns towards the hydro.

Mr David Johnson: Is there a difference of opinion on that, though? I was certainly of the opinion -- and I don't know if you know Chief Miller from East York?

Mr Don McLean: Yes.


Mr David Johnson: It was always my impression that he felt somewhat limited in terms of, if his people could get in, what they could look for or what they could inspect for. They were limited to -- I don't know if it's the Fire Marshals Act, but at any rate, their particular responsibilities. They really weren't allowed to look for property standards violations or that type of thing.

Mr Don McLean: I think every municipality is a little bit different. I was in fire prevention in the city of Sudbury for years before I became fire chief. We had no problem with bringing in authorities and having them in there. It may be that sometimes we may have overstepped our jurisdiction, but our concern was the life and safety of the people who were there. Basically, we didn't have that much of a problem. I know there are other municipalities, and Chief Miller's is probably one, where they do have some problems, but I can honestly say that in Sudbury we didn't have similar problems.

Mr David Johnson: Okay. I wanted to get into the exit business a little bit, because I think you said that you felt there should be two exits.

Mr Don McLean: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: You have problems with many of the windows, apparently. You mentioned problems with window wells and that sort of thing. First of all, for a window to meet your specifications so that it could be considered as an exit, what would be the characteristics of such a window?

Mr Don McLean: We don't normally even attempt to give them windows as a second exit, but if we do, and we have on occasion because of older buildings, we have a restriction that they have to be a minimum of at least three feet so that people can get out of them. Most of these windows that we're looking at now are probably 16 or 18 inches in width and they're roughly four and a half or five feet from grade level. So it makes it almost impossible for them to get out.

Mr David Johnson: Exactly. Three feet in width, with no window well. That kind of thing.

Mr Don McLean: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: Other than that then, and most units wouldn't have that, you'd be looking at two doors somehow.

Mr Don McLean: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: One door leading straight outside? What characteristics of the two doors would you need?

Mr Don McLean: In most cases, the other door would lead directly to the outside, because it would have to be cut out and also brought up to grade level. It would be an exterior staircase leading to the outside of the building.

Mr David Johnson: Okay, because many of these apartments are right underground, so you'd have to excavate them, put in a door, that kind of thing. Is that what you'd be recommending?

Mr Don McLean: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: I didn't sense that that's what the regulations were.

Mr Don McLean: No, they're not. That's one of the concerns that we're addressing. I'm not speaking about the fatalities they had out in Mississauga over the Christmas holidays, but in many cases where we've had fires -- and we've had some deaths in basements -- if there had been a secondary exit out of there, we would probably have saved some of those people. That's our concern.

Mr David Johnson: There's no question. Your comments with regard to the internal exit routes I think we can all understand, with the boots and the coats. Many of them are very narrow. What is the kind of width that you'd be looking for in an exit?

Mr Don McLean: We'd like to meet the same minimum width that is afforded us at the present time in the building code, and the minimum width of those is 42 inches. Basically, that's what we're looking for. Some of them are well within the 42 inches, and even if we could get something that's 36 inches, I think we'd have a compromise here. The thing is, if we can get someone to give us a 36-inch width, at least it's something that we could live with.

The other concern we have is that when those staircases become engulfed in fire -- and in those staircases, because of the material they're using, the panelling etc, it's just a ball of fire that rolls -- it makes it almost impossible for our firefighters to even get to the bottom of the stairs to help anyone who's in need in the building.

Mr David Johnson: And if they do get down there --

Mr Don McLean: If they do get down.

Mr David Johnson: -- those stairwells are usually wood, I guess, and you'd have a heck of a time getting back out if there's just an 18-inch window, as you've mentioned, and the stairwell is going up in flames.

Mr Don McLean: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: So those are the kinds of things that you'd be recommending to the government to do. Under those circumstances then, any basement apartment, from a fire point of view, would be acceptable as long as it meets these kinds of restrictions.

Mr Don McLean: Right. All we're asking for in this brief is that we have some minimum life safety standards. Even by putting some of these standards in, it is not going to meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code, but we feel at least we've got enough security in here that we will be able to live with this anyhow.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Johnson. Mr Wilson and then Mr Mills.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you, Mr McLean, for coming to Toronto to give us this submission. I know you're doing it too on behalf of the Ontario fire chiefs' association.

Mr Don McLean: That's correct.

Mr Gary Wilson: I certainly found it an interesting presentation, although the one thing I found a bit regrettable is your focus, I guess, because it's in your title here, on apartments in basements. Of course, what we're after are accessory apartments; that is, in effect, two units in any dwelling, or at least a restricted number, and the ideas that the apartments could be anywhere in the house. So it isn't only in basements, although I realize that is a particular focus of concern.

I'd like to turn to that now partly because of one of the things that you say at the outset. It has come up that some people have suggested this is a Toronto problem and the legislation is a made-in-Toronto approach. You quite clearly say, "My municipality does not differ from any other municipality and all are subjected to basement apartments without proper and legal regulations or safeguards." Of course, that is what we're trying to do, to bring these apartments into the open, to make them legal so that we can apply some safeguards that will lead to a healthy and safe situation.

I'd like to turn then specifically to some of the things that you mentioned. First of all, I'd like to ask you whether you are aware of the draft regulations for the fire code that have been discussed this past year and that are due to come into effect when Bill 120 is passed.

Mr Don McLean: Yes, I'm aware of some of them, because when we have our executive meetings we speak at length on them and we have particular executive members of our association who sit on some of those committees. So basically we get an update on them on occasion.

Mr Gary Wilson: What's your opinion of the draft regulations?

Mr Don McLean: The opinion I would have to leave to our person who sits on that, but I know at some of the last meetings they felt there were some minimum changes that they would be able to live with. Basically, as I mentioned before, they come up at our executive meetings and they are discussed at length. The person who is our chairperson on that committee is always attending the meetings and brings us up to date on the changes and proposed changes.

Mr Gary Wilson: Okay. As you know, there have been amendments to the building code as well last year, because up till 1993 there were no elements in the code that applied to second units. This is what it does. It specifically refers to issues of exit, for instance, and smoke detectors and fire separations. So those things are being considered and some standards are being set out, again with the building code and through the fire code.

Of course, the thing is whether the standards are going to be met. We expect that with second apartments being legal, people will come forward and apply for building codes to put them in and therefore have the inspection so that people can be assured that what has been put in place is safe.

The second way is that by legalizing them, people will be able to complain, the tenants in them already, if they feel something is unsafe. I think this is in part due to efforts like your own organization, which has gone into the community to make people aware of what is safe. In fact, just listening here, I realize, although we don't have a second apartment in our house, certainly we do a lot of living in the basement. I think that applies to any home, that people should be aware of conditions that exist in their basement so that they will be aware of what factors might be at play here.

I guess I want, though, to turn to the issue of access to them that people in your position need to make sure that places are up to standard or that good conditions exist. It seems to me that the powers of entry are quite firm or strong in the Fire Marshals Act as it exists now. I am just wondering what your experience with it is. Have you had problems getting into places that you think might have safety problems?

Mr Don McLean: I think we're no different than any other municipality. We've had problems but we've also had to get a warrant in order to get in, especially if we thought there was a life-threatening situation. But it's not always the easiest route to go because sometimes it's very difficult to get a search warrant, especially if you haven't been through the building and you are probably just getting it at second hand. So it makes it very difficult. That's why we're looking at the power of entry through the Fire Marshals Act. It would give us the right to enter at reasonable times and inspect if we thought there was a problem.

I'd like to also answer one of the questions that you mentioned a while ago, about the apartments only being a problem in Toronto. I don't know where that insinuation started, because the thing is, we have more than our share of basement apartments that are occupied by university students and elderly people. In years gone by we have not had a very high vacancy rate, so a lot of single-family dwellings in our city have installed basement apartments so they could accommodate university students, elderly people etc. We have the same problems as they have in Toronto -- maybe not to the magnitude that they do here, but it is still a major problem in our city.

Mr Gary Wilson: That's what we found too, that it does exist all over the province. That's why we feel this is a sensible approach to be taking to it. Certainly we value your coming here to tell us about the situation in Sudbury, because it does confirm that it does exist outside Toronto, and your experience with the issues that arise in second apartments is certainly going to be valuable to our deliberations. Thank you for coming. My colleague Gord Mills has a question he'd like to ask you.

Mr Mills: At last having made the list and the opportunity to speak, I'd like to thank my colleague for asking everything that I was going to ask. Nevertheless, I must make it clear here, chief, that I'm not speaking here in my capacity as the parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, because I don't want you to misconstrue my thoughts. Anybody who reads your recommendations has got to say they make good common sense, and I agree with that.

I do have a question about fairness and about the sprinklers. Everyone's talking about basement apartments; my colleague said basement apartments and the need to put sprinklers in there. It poses the question: Would we have to have sprinklers if the apartment wasn't in the basement? Would it be fair to say that all the other houses haven't got sprinklers, that they would have to have them?

Look at the use of our basements -- my own as an example. We finished it, my grandchildren come over and sometimes they sleep down there. Would it be fair to say to me or would it be appropriate to say to all those situations, "You folks should have a sprinkler system in that type of containment when people sleep there," whether or not it's an apartment?.


Mr Don McLean: I think we have to look at it realistically, that in your condition, when you have the grandchildren over, it's only a sporadic type of atmosphere that they're sleeping in there. Basically what we're looking at is in apartments, they live there, they cook in those units, they sleep in those units 365 days of the year, so it's a little bit different than what you are insinuating, and other people who have their grandchildren over for a couple of days. We don't see a problem there.

We're addressing a problem where they're in there for 365 days of the year. The cooking is probably the greatest concern because that's where a lot of our fires start, in stoves and grease on stoves etc. Basically I think I have to agree with you that the problem you brought up is not one of our major problems.

Mr Mills: What about when the apartment is not in the basement? Still sprinklers?

Mr Don McLean: I'm only looking at the sprinklers, as it mentions in here, for basement apartments because it affords them the opportunity then to at least get out of that basement apartment. We have had much success in our municipality in basement apartments.

There are still a lot of people out there who want to make sure their apartments meet the minimum life-saving standards. Some of them still have some morals and they call in the fire department and say, "I want to put a basement apartment in," and if it's legal, zoning etc, then we will go to them and ask them to sprinkler at least the furnace room area and the electrical room area. We've had great success in doing it and at a very minimum costing. We haven't got the whole basement apartment sprinklered, but we have at least the area we're concerned with sprinklered.

Mr Mills: Okay, thanks very much, chief.

Mr Conway: Chief McLean, thank you for your presentation. Unlike many of the others in this committee, I don't have any expertise and very little sensitivity to many of these issues, since my constituency is largely very rural. But I've been listening over the last number of days to the submissions and they broadly fall into two categories: Either Bill 120 is the New Jerusalem of some tenants' rights advance or, on the other hand, it's some kind of nightmare that is going to substantially undermine neighbourhoods and threaten public safety.

Your brief raises, as did the brief yesterday from the chief of the fire department in Mississauga, very serious questions around public safety and I think, for the public at large, this issue, certainly in recent weeks because of certain tragic events, has focused on some of these public safety and, more specifically, fire safety issues.

My question to you really builds on something that one of the previous members was touching on and that is the proposed changes to the fire code. Let me ask you this: On the basis of the several concerns you have raised in this brief and what you know of the draft proposals for fire code changes, is it your considered opinion that the proposals being talked about and likely to be implemented will satisfy your concerns around most, if not all, of the issues contained in this brief?

Mr Don McLean: I think, and again, I'm just going to be repeating myself, that we did have a few concerns with the changes in it and they were addressed by our association. I feel with the proposed changes that we had, along with the paper, that our association could live with those changes.

Mr Conway: To the best of your knowledge, has the government indicated a willingness to accept additional amendments arising out of some of your ongoing concerns in terms of these draft regulations?

Mr Don McLean: They've been submitted and I think they're going through the proper procedures.

Mr Conway: Because the fire departments have raised in the public mind and in this place very real and significant concerns about this whole business, and we have no reason to doubt what you're telling us. The question we, it seems to me, have to address in the public interest is, are there mechanisms that are being contemplated that can be applied to essentially allay the concerns that you've outlined? I want to know from where you sit now that these proposed regulations that I presume will be brought forward will to the best of your knowledge address most of the concerns contained in this brief.

Mr Don McLean: It will address most of the concerns that we have and I'm probably not out of line in saying that it'll probably never meet the total requirement that we would like to see. I don't think there's any fire chief in the province of Ontario who would be happy unless he could get the maximum, but what we're talking now is minimum life safety and, yes, we could live with it under the minimum life safety aspect.

Mr Conway: This has been obvious from some of the earlier questioning. There is a view of human psychology which seems to suggest that a number of the really serious problems in some of the long-standing and illegal accessory apartments are going to be substantially addressed because they will now be loudly and routinely complained of. Is that your expectation of how people will behave in places like greater Sudbury?

Mr Don McLean: I expect we're going to get some people who are going to do exactly what you said, because right now a lot of them are living in fear of being evicted from their apartments and we're talking here affordable rent and basically I can see that, not as the major problem, but I can see that being a problem in Sudbury where that's going to happen.

Mr Conway: I've been listening to the submissions. Apparently we've got just thousands of awful situations out there, jackpots of an indescribable horror. It's somewhat comforting to know that new accessory apartments will be governed by a new regime that will be as indicated. But we've got what, 47,000, is that the number somebody used? It's several tens of thousands of these illegal accessory apartments.

Mr Mills: A hundred thousand.

Mr David Johnson: No, 114,000.

Mr Conway: There's a pile of them and I've seen some of them in some of these university towns and they're not a pretty picture. I'm being told that most of that backlog, most of that problem is somehow going to be dealt with over time because people are now, because these are as-of-right, legalized units, simply going to come forward and municipal property standards people and fire folks like yourself are going to come forward and complain about these things and order either closure or compliance.

I just sit here and say to myself that I'm from Missouri and I'm a little sceptical that's going to happen to a substantial extent. I don't doubt that it will happen in a number of cases.


Mr Don McLean: We're probably more fortunate than some of the other municipalities in that we have been afforded the opportunity to go into a lot of homes. Basically, we have asked for and have been well received by the owners, because they are putting up a lot of university students. We have a university in our city that's fairly large also and we run into quite a few of those problems.

Basically, as I mentioned before, we've been afforded the opportunity to at least clean some of them up. We don't have them all cleaned up, and I'll be the first to admit it, because we don't know where they all are. If we do get the licence so that we can get in and give the persons who are living there at least some minimum safety standards, then we would be happy.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing. The committee will consider the clause-by-clause beginning March 6.


The Chair: The next presentation will be from the Concerned Citizens for Civic Affairs in North York. Introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Terence Sawyer: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman. Thank you for allowing us to be heard.

My name is Terence Sawyer. I'm the treasurer of that organization, and on my left is Mr Colin Williams, who's the president. We would be quite willing to answer any questions after our submission.

We are generally supportive of Bill 120, but we will be asking you to make changes in detail to that bill to reduce the hazards and to make a law of greater general benefit. Our comments are directed more to part IV of the bill and not to the one of care giving. However, we would like to point out to you that we feel in that area such provisions should be made for community involvement in those care provisions. It is the community that can monitor it far better than any committee coming from a central area.

We'd also like to feel that we were going towards a more law-abiding community and society. You've sat here for the last four days and listened to people talking about illegal apartments. It's rather interesting to me that they've allowed this to go on for so many years, and the current tendency is to eliminate that illegality.

We feel there's not the public will to enforce the bylaws. In our view, it's not healthy that we have laws on the books, whether dealing with land use, sales taxes, liquor or tobacco, which are openly ignored by a substantial number of people, and that includes government and local authorities. Equally, it is unhealthy that a law be enforced in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner.

In July 1993 there were changes made to the building code to adopt standards for basement apartments, and this bill proposes the legalization of such apartments. But it provides no mechanisms to encourage house owners to bring their properties up to standard, or for the municipalities to ensure that those standards are met.

We believe that registration is an essential part of this bill. We suggest that for a very small fee, the second dwelling unit in a detached house, semi-detached townhouse, be registered with the assessment department annually and recorded on the assessment roll. This would provide the municipal building department with cases possibly needing inspection. It would provide notice to the tax authorities that there may be some income from this situation.

To afford people like the fire department and others knowledge of what was in the building, we suggest that a small plate is put on the outside of the dwelling indicating that there is an A unit and a B unit, with names, whatever you prefer.

What we're afraid of, though, is this: When you start talking about basement apartments, these should not be taken away from the number of affordable housing units that are required in every city and municipality. In simple terms, if 10,000 units of affordable housing are required and 2,000 basement apartment are registered, you still need 10,000 affordable housing units.

We feel that to encourage people to keep the law and to register their properties -- although these illegal apartments have been going on with a nod and a wink for a very long time and they don't meet standards, even the reduced standards which applied in the new building code of 1993 -- we ask that these properties be brought up to standard. To encourage those people with these apartments, provision must be made to provide loans to the property owners. You can do this through the municipalities or the provincial government. Such loans would be a charge against the property, similar to a mortgage, and have a rate of interest slightly above the municipal debenture costs.

We hear of terms of enforcement. If you have a good law and it's fair, it is quite easy to enforce. Therefore, it is upon the municipalities, we believe, that the effort must be made to ensure that the rules of the game are simple and generally understood. We feel that municipalities have a great role to play in this, to inform property owners, which doesn't require a great deal of printing and all the other things. Twice a year, most of us get a tax assessment or the equivalent. In there could be a notation covering the requirement or the requirements for basement apartments.

Many municipalities have claimed that their powers of enforcement are not there. Funnily enough, the bill does not necessarily address this issue. Perhaps there's a need to provide guidelines in this direction as to what efforts should be made before a search warrant is issued and what you consider are reasonable grounds for issuing that warrant so that an ordinary person can understand them. Therefore, do we need such things as photographs or sworn evidence in front of a lawyer or something like that?

I sat here and I heard somebody talk about the real estate board. It's rather interesting when you see these advertisements in the paper from a regulatory body that advertises properties today and mentions quite openly that this property has a basement apartment. It's rather interesting that they contribute towards the illegality.

I'm not going over the previous speakers on egress, but the safety issue is one of prime importance, and we urge that you require that full standards of the building code apply. They were revised in July 1993 in recognition of the intent to legalize basement apartments.

I heard the chief from Sudbury speak, and he's quite right about exits, but I didn't hear him mention what we call crash bars or push bars, whatever you like to call them. No exit is of any use if you have to turn a handle; you must have a bar to get it open.

Again, it is a rather controversial issue, but we do not feel that handicapped people should be allowed to rent basement apartments. That is based upon what we know today about means of egress being limited through other parts of the house and what I would call limited and reduced access through windows.

I do not agree with the previous speaker who suggested that you needed a full doorway to get out of a basement; on the other hand, the provision of a window or opening which must be of reasonable size, and I would say somewhere in the region of 30 inches wide and five feet deep, which doesn't come down to grade level but is quite accessible from outside and inside -- you would have to provide, again, another staircase, but this need not be. The 42 inches which he was suggesting as the code, or 30 inches, something must be in the code to cover that.


In that building code of July 1993 we felt that there was certainly weakening of standards, particularly with height in the basements, which we believe is limited to six feet, five inches. This, in our opinion, is a rather oppressive height. As I've mentioned, we do question basement windows for means of egress, but on the other hand they can be adapted to give a greater access without a great deal of expense.

You heard the previous speaker talking about sprinklers. Sprinklers can be provided for a lot less than $3,000 to $5,000 for a home unless, which is applied in factories and large apartment builders, you take directly off the street main. The ordinary household can take it straight off their own connection in through the service. There is no reason at all why it should go right back to the street. Therefore, I would suggest to you, Mr Chairman, and the others, that the $3,000 to $5,000 is an excessive sum.

I have read some of the reports about the problems which occurred in Mississauga and I wondered whether these are exaggerated in relation to the number of fires in households throughout the province. I heard them speak about smoke alarms, but a large majority of our homes today are heated with natural gas. One of the most essential features, we believe, in the basement apartment where you get a division of property is that you supply a gas alarm. A gas alarm will certainly indicate very quickly whether you have a problem. That's when you get out, even though you don't have a fire.

I'd like to go to property maintenance standards. Since the regulations have not yet been published, it is not clear what powers a municipality will retain to ensure that exterior changes are compatible with a neighbourhood. Adequate onsite parking: We have tremendous problems in Metro and probably in other cities where parking is not adequate. If you provide these apartments, then you must have a standard for parking. Similarly, landscaping and paved areas outside the homes must comply with local zoning bylaws.

We believe the municipalities should have the leading role in this development and in the maintenance of them in their communities. There should be clear policies from the province which set out the ground rules which permit and encourage the municipal role.

Regarding occupancy, what we have found is that where these supposed illegal apartments prevail, you have an absentee landlord. We feel that the property owner must occupy part of that residence on a continuous basis. The absentee landlord unfortunately does not keep the community in good order. This owner occupancy of the building is not an unreasonable restriction for the enormous change in living patterns which is proposed in the bill. Similarly, to provide for the death of the owner, ownership by the person's estate could be permitted for, say, two years. I'm certain that all of you are aware that when development does progress in a city, there are what we know as blockbusters who come in to basically run down the community. We are afraid that perhaps this may be a disruptive effect on the neighbourhood.

In conclusion, we recommend these thoughts to you for consideration and we are quite prepared to answer any questions you may raise.

Mr Owens: I'd like to thank you, Mr Sawyer, for your thoughtful presentation. One of the issues that has caused, I guess, some level of concern for the folks in my riding in the city of Scarborough is this issue of owner occupancy and how do you deal with a non-owner-occupied dwelling in terms of the property standards and the other issues that may arise. I haven't yet come up with an answer. I just have no ideas in terms of why we would want to treat a property based on owner occupancy differently in terms of property standards.

For instance, in the city of Don Mills, where your association is located, how do you deal with a home owner who resides on the premises but doesn't cut his or her lawn, who has parties that last until 2 or 3 in the morning and all the other attendant difficulties, and why would we be wanting to deal with these properties in a different way than we would deal with either properties with basement apartments or those that are not owner-occupied?

Mr Colin Williams: Our feeling is that where there is owner occupancy, the owner is going to give greater attention to the needs of the neighbourhood than where there's an absentee landlord. Our suggestion is that it be a requirement that the owner of the property be one of the occupants of the two premises. Regarding your general inquiry about the situation in the city of North York, where we live, the city has building standards and these standards are enforced from time to time.

Mr Owens: In terms of, again, zoning by occupancy or allowing these basement apartments or accessory units by occupancy, how would you envision a regulation or a clause in the bill that would address what I view as the potential for multiple situations and variables with respect to when the owner is in residence? Are you talking about family members, or how do you define "owner"? Is there a period of occupation?

I see in your brief you've talked about how in the event of death the estate could be permitted to rent the premises for a period of two years. That's one potential situation, but I just see that there are a number of issues that I just really don't have an understanding of how you would address through regulation or legislation.

Mr Williams: I would have thought it would be fairly simple to have a rule -- I'm no lawyer -- that says it's illegal to subdivide a property which is not occupied by the owner of that property. It must be fairly simple to say that in legalistic words.

Mr Owens: But is that a fair way to deal with accommodation needs across the province, just a blanket statement? You're right, it is a very simple statement and a very easy way to deal with it, but in terms of fairness and the ability to deal with a person's particular needs with respect to housing, I'm not sure how, again, that would be sensitive to those needs.

Mr Williams: It's our feeling that --

Mr Owens: I'm not a lawyer either, by the way. Maybe that's why we can sort this through.


Mr Williams: Okay. It's our feeling that the number of such cases where there are absentee landlords is relatively small compared with the tens of thousands that were mentioned before. However, there's the probability that this proportion would grow if these are legalized, which they are of course not at the present time. If there's proper registration, as we're suggesting here, then it seems to us there's some measure of control.

Mr Owens: Yes, I'm intrigued --

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Owens.

Mr Conway: Thank you, gentlemen, for a very interesting submission with a lot of thought-provoking advice. I just have really one general question. Unlike, for example, my friend here from Don Mills who's had a long and distinguished career in municipal government, I've had none of that. I've spent my time in politics at the provincial level.

One of the things that has struck me about things like municipal bylaw enforcement and some of those issues is that, by and large, my experience is that most people are fairly well behaved most of the time but, I'll tell you, you encounter -- and I've been in this place now for the better part of 18, 19 years and my sense of it is that examples of non-compliance and misconduct are probably increasing a bit. Some of it is just so absolutely indescribably flagrant that, I've got to tell you, if I were on a municipal government or a local enforcement person I don't think I could be relied upon to respond within the limits of the law because some people just do the damnedest things. Their concept of citizenship and community is, to say the very least, idiosyncratic and, to say the most -- well, I won't say the most.

You rightly raise the questions towards the restoration of a law-abiding society and compliance. I wonder, what do we do with those individuals? They rightly feel this is a pluralistic society and that your concept of noise and my concept of noise, your concept of art and my -- I remember on my street one day a few years ago somebody took an old toilet bowl and planted it right on the front lawn as a statement of artistic merit. I thought it was kind of interesting. Now, not too many people on the street agreed with him. In fact, there was quite a lively debate.

That is a very modest example. As I say, some of the examples are just so outrageous and the question is, what do we do about that? I think my friend Johnson here and others on local government might say there is redress. If you've got an endless amount of time and money, we can do something, but that's going to be a charge on the overwhelming majority of the rest of you in Don Mills or wherever else because you pay the bill and I'm your trustee.

What do we do about that as elected officials? How do we try to create a better sense of citizenship and culture? We seem to have come to a point where everybody's out there madly pursuing individual rights and "Don't trouble me with any sense of a corresponding community responsibility. If you do, I'm going to take you through every tribunal and appellate court in the land to prove that I'm right and you're wrong."

Mr Williams: You raise a number of interesting thoughts and I'll try to respond to these. I'd like to respond briefly and then turn over to my colleague.

The first point is that municipalities have claimed that their existing powers of enforcement are inadequate. To the layman, sometimes, there's a suspicion that this is more an excuse than a reason, but it seems to me that this is something that should be addressed and it does not appear to be addressed in this bill.

Mr Sawyer: I believe you have that degree of enforcement, but I believe that local communities, excluding wherever we're talking about, do not follow this, you see.

My question to anybody regarding law enforcement is very, very simple: How many car drivers have broken the speeding law and never been picked up? They know it's illegal and I think if you all volunteered to go and pay your fine, you'd save the police a lot of jobs and that sort of thing. So you have the enforcement there but it is not being followed. People are just walking away from it.

Mr David Johnson: I add my thanks for your presentation today. Actually, I think that with the whole package that you presented, if it were possible, it would be accepted by a large percentage of the population as perhaps a reasonable compromise. The critical aspect at the end in terms of the owner occupancy I suspect is one that the government (a) is not too interested in, and (b) will, and I'll admit, have some difficulty with, because having been at the municipal level, I know it's the advice I've received, that that will be a difficult one to implement. It's not quite as simple as just saying that those who own a property can divide and those who don't can't. There has to be a legal mechanism behind it to do it. Certainly the legal advice I've had in the past is that it will be difficult. But I think it points out, and it's probably your experience, that the problems municipalities are facing around this whole issue largely come where there is an absentee landlord.

Mr Williams: There's another meeting going on here. I'm sorry.

Mr David Johnson: Well, you can ignore them.

Mr Williams: It's very difficult to concentrate.

Mr David Johnson: I don't know what your experience has been here having dealt with North York, but certainly in East York, and I believe North York as well, the bulk of the problems come where there's an absentee landlord. That's purely a fact of life at the municipal level. What experience have you had in that regard?

Mr Williams: I don't think we have specific experience, but it is commonly accepted and there are some examples. I know of it. People who live in the premises they own look after them more carefully than others, and with greater concern for the effect of their activities on their neighbours.

Mr David Johnson: One other large benefit is that they're easier to get hold of. If there's a problem, you know where to get them, whereas if they're an absentee owner, then they may live heaven knows where. Tracking them down and getting their attention and getting action is most difficult.

I can tell you that the process the municipalities have to go through is (a) to notify them, and then they're allowed a certain period of time, by law they have to have a certain period of time, and then you follow up with an inspection, with an inspector who's very busy and doing a lot of other inspections at the same time. If nothing has happened, then there's a notice of violation and another period of time hence to transpire, and then I think it's a notice to comply beyond that and another period of time. We're not talking a couple of days. By law, you have to allow generally a month in between. Then you run into of course the winter period, and if some of the work requires outside activity, generally you have to give until the spring to do it. There's also a property standards tribunal that enters into the fray and it can further delay the whole thing.

Once one problem is resolved, what can happen then is, where you have the kind of person Mr Conway was talking about who's not a good citizen, another violation pops up two minutes after the first one has gone through the whole process, which may also involve the court system. So it's a very difficult system.

I don't know if this is a question or not, but --

Mr Gary Wilson: It hasn't been so far.

Mr David Johnson: This is why municipalities are complaining. It's just like pulling teeth to get any action on the property standards problems and zoning problems. I think you're very right to say, if that's what you are saying, that a resolution could be to have the property owner-occupied and have municipalities have more authority. In that case, what you put forward just might work.

Mr Sawyer: That is what we are suggesting.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, for appearing today. As I've told other presenters, the clause-by-clause consideration of this bill commences March 6.



The Chair: The final presentation today is from the city of Brampton. Good afternoon. The committee has allocated 30 minutes for your presentation. If you would like to begin by introducing each of the people at the table for the purposes of Hansard, that would be appreciated. We always appreciate some time for dialogue following the presentation. You may begin.

Mr Peter Robertson: Good afternoon. My name is Peter Robertson. I'm the mayor of the city of Brampton. I'm here with Councillor Richards, Councillor Hunter, Mr Carl Brawley and Cathy Saunders, members of our staff.

I wish to express the city of Brampton's concerns to you with respect to Bill 120. As you will hear in the presentation which will be made by Councillor Richards, the city of Brampton has been actively involved in attempting to resolve the problems of accessory or basement apartments for a number of years. It established several public forums and committees, and Peter's going to report to you about that.

I hope that you will fully consider the comments we're about to make with respect to Bill 120 and give the local municipalities the right to have some degree of control over their own destiny.

We're really here today to discuss the relationship we have with you, potentially a workable partnership between municipalities and the provincial government. The outcome will be a statement or a measure of the province's trust in our competence and our accountability as a municipality.

There is a clear consensus among municipal leaders that we are capable of regulating and managing the issue of accessory apartments if we are given the tools. It is essential that the province stop invading the basic powers and roles of the municipal government. We're the only level of government that is capable of implementing the planning of a community. It should be the province's role to listen and to provide legislation and regulations and tools for us at the municipal level to build sound communities.

With those comments, I introduce Peter Richards.

Mr Peter Richards: Good afternoon. I'm a city councillor of Brampton. I'm also chair of the accessory and basement apartment ad hoc committee. I'd like to thank you very much for having us this afternoon. I'd also like to thank the support from our two local reps, Mr Callahan and Carman McClelland, for showing up. We appreciate it.

The city of Brampton has always been a supporter of housing intensification and affordable housing initiatives. Our municipality is known as a forerunner in innovative housing types, with numerous existing and proposed affordable housing units in our city.

Within our community we have created a zoning category which would permit convertible accessory dwellings in residential buildings. These units have been placed in areas that can accommodate the additional population and traffic that would be generated from these units.

Bill 120 appears to suggest that municipalities such as Brampton have not been actively pursuing the initiatives set out in the housing policy statement to provide areas of intensification and affordability with respect to residential development. This is simply not the case.

Bill 120 is a broad-brush piece of legislation that would ultimately create extreme difficulties in proactively planning for these intensified units, as we have been doing, and instead leaves municipalities with the responsibility of reacting when it will be too late to provide adequate services for the residents of these units.

Bill 120 appears to represent a provincial mandate to force municipalities to comply with the municipal housing policy statement without adequately considering the consequences.

We continue to stress that not every municipality is structured or has the same needs as Metro Toronto. Bill 120 seems, however, to reflect a Metro Toronto frame of mind. Each and every municipality has its own uniqueness with respect to transportation accessibility, environmental features and economic base. You cannot generically impose these specific regulations on all municipalities. Who better to understand the needs and character of the municipality than its residents and political representatives?

It would seem that the province, through the recent recommendations from the Sewell commission, agrees that municipalities should be given more autonomy in planning their own development, that the province would set very broad policy directions and municipalities would be responsible for local interpretation and implementation. This bill, however, completely contradicts this initiative.

To make matters worse, the method of consultation in this matter has been inadequately handled, with little notice for response and very little, if any, attempt by the province to educate the public about this bill and its implications. The concept of due public process has been ignored with this proposed legislation.

It would appear that the province will place the responsibility on the municipality to hold public meetings after the fact. To go through the process and make the public believe that they actually have some valuable input into the planning process is unjust. By the time this input is requested, the legislation forcing the municipality to amend zoning bylaws and official plans will be in place and comments from the public at that point will have absolutely no impact on whether or not these amendments are enacted.

Many residents of Brampton purchased their homes with the belief they had purchased in an area that would remain low density. In fact, many paid higher prices for their property to ensure that this would take place. Those rights will be completely removed from those residents. How will these people be compensated for the loss of their property rights?

The province, through Bill 120, is proposing to impose on the municipality accessory dwelling units without providing a method of collecting revenue to supply community services for these residents.

The city of Brampton and numerous other municipalities have supplied the province with an analysis of the impact that these units will have on municipal services. Without these needed funds, services which may already be lacking will suffer that much more. We continue to request that the municipality, either through licensing, the Development Charges Act or the Assessment Act, be given the legislative jurisdiction to generate much-needed revenue.

There are a number of planning uses with respect to this bill. The amendments proposed to the Planning Act will make it virtually impossible to properly plan our community. We will have no method of determining the number of residents residing in any one given area of the city, making it impossible to plan for adequate services such as roads, especially schools, and recreational facilities.

The bill offers no real difference in the intent of the definitions of lodging houses and accessory units, leaving the area neighbours to live with an unlimited number of people in any one household, creating parking problems, among other things.

The province appears to have failed to consider the rights of property owners with the introduction of this bill. Although we all agree that those less fortunate should have the right to housing, the rights of property owners seem to have been ignored. You cannot implement this type of legislation by totally ignoring one sector of the community.

Perhaps the most direct impact to be felt by the as-of-right provision for accessory apartments is the safety of the tenants residing in them. The province claims to have introduced Bill 120 to ensure the rights and safety of tenants in these units. It is our belief that this legislation will do the opposite.

At least under current zoning and property standard bylaws, the city can require owners to bring their accessory units up to standards or remove them when right of entry has been achieved. If Bill 120 is passed as proposed, only new units will meet the code standards, assuming that a building permit is applied for. All those existing substandard units and any new ones constructed without permits will continue to exist with the protection of the new legislation. The tenants of these units will remain in danger.

What makes the province believe that creating legislation to make these units legal will bring those owners who have units or want to construct units into city hall to apply for a building permit? The Ontario Building Code has recently been amended to add additional standards relating to accessory units. Does the province honestly believe that those owners will be applying for permits to retrofit their existing units at additional expense to their investment? Even those who are proposing to construct units will be reluctant to apply for permits as they will have to comply with more restrictive building standards. This bill appears to be simply a mirage of people's good intentions.


The reality of the situation is that there are in fact unsafe units existing, and more will be constructed despite this bill. These unsafe units will, however, have the protection of Bill 120, making it even more difficult for the municipality to ensure that the units are safe.

If the intent of the province is to sincerely protect the rights and safety of the residents of these units, then give the municipality the right to do exactly that. Give us the right to enter these units and require that they be retrofitted to meet the Ontario Building Code requirements for second units. There are numerous pieces of legislation that give inspectors right of entry. These officials use their judgement and discretion to conduct inspections. Trust the municipal bylaw officer to carry out his or her duty with the same discretion. Allow us to license or register these units to ensure that the safe conditions of those units will continue.

Let's deal with realities. People have died in these types of units, and if the province does not give the municipality the right to protect the tenants through retrofitting, then more will die. That unfortunately is reality, as we all saw in a recent fire in Mississauga. At the very least, the province should not make any decision on Bill 120 until the current inquest into the Mississauga deaths has been finalized, and recommendations of the same are fully reviewed and considered by the province.

In closing, I am sure these concerns are not new to you, but perhaps it should say something to you if consistency in concerns prevail.

To be blunt, the city of Brampton is terrified of this legislation. We acknowledge that the province is attempting to make affordable rental housing available to residents of Ontario. This government, however, needs to fully consider the implications of this legislation, not only on the municipalities' ability to adequately plan their communities but most importantly on the health and safety of the occupants of these units.

We ask you to fully consider not only our comments but those of Ontario residents, other municipalities and agencies who really do care about their communities.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): First of all, I'd like to say that during the Peterson government, this municipality, my municipality, did put 25% affordable housing in its official plan. I think in that respect they've done a great deal to provide housing. The Peel Non-Profit Housing Corp in Peel is outstanding as an issue of providing affordable housing.

The difficulty I saw arising was when the legislation, in order to get a search warrant, said you had to search and seize. It would be simple enough to simply change that to search and/or seize and allow the proper search warrants to be obtained so that evidence could be obtained of illegality, not for purposes of prosecution but for purposes of making the accommodation safe.

It seems to me what's happening here is you're trying to impose a Toronto scenario or a Toronto solution to a problem that doesn't exist for every person in the province of Ontario. It may well be one for Toronto, but for Brampton, where we have in some cases 40-foot lots, we could very easily have a significant fire that would make the Chicago fire look like a picnic.

You could put in ways of dealing with it in terms of establishing evidence to determine that there's illegality. In the Sunday shopping legislation, we put in the fact that if an advertisement appeared in the paper indicating Sunday shopping, that was evidence sufficient to get a search warrant.

What I suggest to you, and I think my municipality has put it forward very well in a very significant brief, is that in order to solve a problem which has been one that no government of any political stripe has dealt with, you could deal with it very easily in the way I've suggested.

I think by doing it the way you're doing it, you're actually expropriating value from people in my community without compensation. Our municipality is quite prepared to allow basement apartments in heretofore unzoned areas in order to accommodate the cost of affordable housing, but what this government is doing is unprecedented. It flies in the face of all English justice and equity. In fact, you're taking value away from people and you're not compensating them. I suggest you think twice about it because it may come back to haunt you.

Mr Carman McClelland (Brampton North): How much time do we have left?

The Chair: About three minutes, or maybe two and a half.

Mr McClelland: Two minutes, okay. A couple of quick questions. I want to touch base -- thank you, lady and gentleman and friends, for being here. There are three points but I think we'd be better, in terms of time, to limit it to two.

I want your comments with respect to the issue of adequate services and the accountability and potential liability that would rest with the municipality which would, on one hand, be compelled, without the tools of planning and provision of services, and then being held accountable to provide those services if, God forbid, another tragedy -- where accountability would rest and subsequent liability.

The other thing I'd invite your comment on is with respect to the economies that are involved either with Bill 120 or ultimately, in the absence of the proper tools given to the municipality to license and therefore inventory the number of individuals and units in a community -- it seems to me that what you have there is just an open invitation for a lot of cash economy taking place.

I'd appreciate your comments, not only with respect to the impact on the municipal economy, but the economy generally and the transactions that take place there. Perhaps Councillor Hunter, mayor, Councillor Richards -- however you choose to address those two points, liability and the economic issues. There is another one, but I don't think we have time to deal with it.

Mr Richards: I'll just take it and, by all means, anybody else can answer on this. I'd like to take a quick stab with an example regarding the economy and this underground cash flow that seems to be going on. I've a friend who lives in a semi and he gets a £24-a-month pension from England. This has to be declared on his income tax as income.

However, adjacent to him is a gentleman who has a basement apartment, an accessory unit, who's receiving $900 a month for this unit and nowhere does that show up as income. Nowhere does that show up for anything that has to be taxed.

A couple of questions: Can the tenant then put in for his Ontario rebate? What happens to this cash that this gentleman is receiving? There seems to be an underground economy here going on. That was my assertion.

Mr Robertson: I'll just jump in with the school issue. We haven't found a way of financing schools in a new and growing community. Your government hasn't found a way either. We're behind in the construction of schools, as you know. We rely on school buses and portables as the solution.

The issue is: If basement apartments or accessory apartments are going to be approximately 10,000 families in Brampton, isn't it reasonable to allow the municipality to share with the school board some degree of revenue, whether by licensing or some other format as a way of counting how many children are coming into the school system and then helping to pay the bills?

That's the economic reality in our community. We can't plan for the children in schools and then we can't build the schools.

Mr David Johnson: I just want to say up front that I'm getting a little bit of an inferiority complex here, everybody talking about this as being a Metropolitan Toronto problem.

I want to assure you that the municipalities in Metropolitan Toronto are equally concerned about this as in Brampton. We've heard from London and Hamilton and many other municipalities right across the province of Ontario. I think it's almost unanimous.

It's the perception of the government that if this goes through, which in all likelihood it will, tenants will come forward in great numbers and will demand an inspection of their accessory apartment. In that way municipalities like Brampton will then go in and make sure that everything is up to par. I wonder what your reaction about that assumption is.

Mr Robertson: I think Peter addressed it well in his report. He said that because it will likely cost money to bring it up to code, that likely won't happen.

Mr David Johnson: From some of the deputations we've heard, there could be a considerable amount of money involved -- water sprinkling I guess is one aspect and exits and that sort of thing.

Another area involves the right of entry of the municipality, which of course today is extremely limited. It's the government's opinion that Bill 120 contains additional powers of right of entry and essentially resolves the municipal concern about not having an adequate right of entry into these sorts of properties. I wonder what your reaction to that is.


Mr Richards: It seems to me that to obtain a warrant for entry there has to be something wrong. There has to be an offence committed against a bylaw or what have you. If these are legal, what are our grounds -- excuse me, it's a legal basement -- they have legalized these, whether it's an old one, new one or what it is, they're legal. What are our grounds now to obtain a warrant? That's where we're coming from. They say it might be easier to obtain a warrant. For what, if it's legal? I realize it can be split down a little bit more; there might be a concern whether it meets code and everything else but you don't know that if you don't officially know that the apartment's there and are not given the wherewithal to officially know that apartment is there. So again --

Mr David Johnson: I've lived through this, certainly, from my former role --

Mr Richards: It's catch-22.

Mr David Johnson: -- and I know the frustration of bylaw staff, fire staff, zoning inspectors, you name it, from the municipal level and you really just can't get in today. It's my estimate, and I see you're winding up for a response, that under this bill it's very marginally improved, if at all.

Mr Robertson: If you trust the provincial assessment department to go in and look at the home, we're asking for the same kind of rights and trust, that our staff will be able to go in and make the place safe. That's what we're interested in. If you have to go and line up to get a search warrant -- 1,600 search warrants, 10,000 families -- what kind of bureaucracy are you building there?

Mr David Johnson: It's going to be impossible. I know the situation.

In Brampton, I think you mentioned that you had zoned certain areas, have you, for accessory apartments up to this point?

Mr Robertson: Yes, we have.

Mr David Johnson: So you've taken actions. You've already tackled the program. We've heard that you have been responsive in terms of affordable housing, and maybe you would tell us what you've done to start with and what your reaction is to when the government says that municipalities are not being responsive in terms of affordable housing or dealing with this whole area.

Mr Richards: Brampton certainly has been a forerunner in this. The Springdale community has what we call convertibles, which are accessory units. The parking has been planned, everything has been planned out so that this is not an upset to the community.

Also, the people moving into this community are warned that these things are there. So it's not a matter of building into, say, an R1 and all of a sudden you're inundated with basement apartments. They know that certain numbers of these are already there, plus we have the quadruplexes. Quadruplexes are there, so yes, we've certainly taken a forerunner at this.

Mr Carl Brawley: If I can just add to that, Peter. Basically, we're using the zone in new development areas like greenfield situations, but we established the standards in the zone in a manner in which we would come back into the builtup area and on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis, with that neighbourhood's input, potentially apply that zone in the builtup areas as well. So we would come back through and retrofit the existing city, so to speak.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Johnson. Mr Wilson.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you, delegation, for the presentation. It certainly raised some important issues and we'll certainly take them into consideration as we discuss the bill and as it goes to clause-by-clause, but I'd like to discuss some of the issues with you that you have raised. I'd like to go back right to the beginning, actually, to the title of the bill, which is called Residents' Rights Act. What we're attempting to do is treat all tenants equally as they would in any kind of accommodation.

Mr Robertson: Is that all residents or all tenants?

Mr Gary Wilson: All tenants equally.

Mr Robertson: Wouldn't that be called then fair tenants' rights?

Mr Gary Wilson: Residents' rights. This is the highlight, that we're trying to bring up tenants to the same rights that residents have throughout the community. This comes to, and I'll again highlight this, the issue of licensing; that is, other units in the municipality aren't licensed. What you seem to be proposing to do is just license accessory apartments, which would create problems for tenants in those apartments because they then run the risk of the owner losing the licence, which would cast their occupancy into jeopardy. It's not done anywhere else; no other accommodation is licensed. So this is one of the problems we see with the licensing approach.

Also, there's no incentive for property owners to license their accessory apartment because that means added cost and possible problems through the licensing agency. So it's through reasons like this that again, going back to --

Mr Robertson: Gary, can I interrupt?

Mr Gary Wilson: Sure.

Mr Robertson: I think you missed our point. We're not really keen on licensing it per se. We're looking at how we can get a count of the people. How can we count the number of people who go to school and how can we find a source of revenue?

When you have an apartment that is in an apartment building, in practical terms you get development levies and then you get taxes. Somebody pays the bill. In a basement apartment nobody pays the bill. That's what we're addressing. If you can find, as a committee, a better way than licensing, then that's fine, but we really need to have them pay some bills.

Mr Gary Wilson: The estimates, I think, in Brampton are 5,000 to 8,000 illegal accessory apartments.

Mr Robertson: That's what your staff said, but we're way over 10,000.

Mr Gary Wilson: You're over 10,000. So you're not getting any revenue from those, right?

Mr Robertson: Not at all.

Mr Gary Wilson: That's why we see our proposal, bringing these apartments to make them legal, at least allows the opportunity for revenue.

Mr Robertson: How? How do you get revenue?

Mr Gary Wilson: By making them legal there is more of an incentive for the municipality to know they exist. It's as simple as that. As it is now, you don't know.

Mr Robertson: How?

Mr Gary Wilson: There's going to be a divide here: the accommodation that's there already, the accessory apartments there, the ones that will be created after. It's true the ones that are created after Bill 120 comes into effect will be much easier to find because they will go through the building permit process which puts them on --

Mr Richards: Not necessarily, Gary; I'm sorry.

Mr Gary Wilson: Not necessarily, but --

Mr Robertson: Very few of them have come in for a building permit.

Mr Gary Wilson: Not yet. Of course they haven't, but that's because they're illegal. Once they're legalized, then the incentive will be there.

Mr Robertson: But then what do we do, collect $23 for a building permit? How do you pay for their schooling?

Mr Gary Wilson: Again, they will generate some revenue. Our figures show that there will be revenue from taxes that are paid on the property because of the value of the apartment.

Mr Robertson: That's $50. Can you educate a kid for $50?

Mr Gary Wilson: It can be as high as $250 --

Mr Richards: Excuse me, Gary, if I may. The difference between a house that has a finished basement, a finished rec room, and a house that has a basement apartment in it, the assessable difference is $52. We worked it out on a house, a normal-size house. That does not educate, that does not pay for the municipal services, the extras. We have to have a way of being compensated.

As the mayor referred to, if you had an apartment building that had 50 units in it, they would be charged development charges and taxes on that building. If you have a street now with 50 basement apartments on it -- I've got one that's close to that -- you're saying, "Oh no, that's no extra charge to the municipality." Well, it certainly is. What's the difference between the $50, okay? We have to have a way of knowing they're there and having some form of revenue from it.

Mr Gary Wilson: We agree entirely that you have to have some way, but at the moment you don't because they're illegal.

Mr Richards: I think we use the word "mirage," because people are definitely not going to be charging into city hall to get a building permit to take away from their investment already, to standardize their house, which has already been redone, redone to codes. So a guy's going to rush in and say: "This is a great opportunity. I can now go spend $6,000, retrofit my place." For what? He doesn't have to. He can go retrofit it himself, if he wishes to. But he doesn't have to. We appreciate that if it's caught and all that then, fine, he's in trouble. But, again, how do you catch him if you don't know he's legally there?


Mr Richards: How do you get into his home, exactly, if it's legal?

Mr Gary Wilson: Yes, but there are several ways. The tenant, first of all, has a great interest in knowing whether the accommodation is safe. Up till now, because it's illegal, they have a great risk bringing it to the attention of the municipal authorities.

Mr Richards: I'm not an expert on the Landlord and Tenant Act, but we have always said that if you're in a basement apartment you get a lease and there are protections under that lease, whether it's a legal basement apartment or not, and they have a way to get back at their landlord through that. That hasn't changed any. I think this is again a mirage that people are going to rush in and get permits. It's not so. We have to have a way of knowing they're there.

Mr Gary Wilson: It won't happen unless they are legalized. I'd like to leave a bit of time for Steve Owens.

The Chair: Thank you. The time has expired.

Mr Owens: On a point of order, Mr Chair: I think there has been some misinterpretation with respect to the powers of the entry as envisioned by Bill 12, and I'd like ministry staff to provide a clarification to the committee.

The Chair: We can certainly entertain that once we've said goodbye to our presenters. Thank you very much for appearing today. We appreciate your presentation. The clause-by-clause review of this bill will commence in the week of March 6.

Mr Owens has requested that the ministry provide some information. Do we have consent for that? Agreed.

Mr Owens: Bob, listen to this. This is important.

Mr Callahan: Is that right?

Mr Owens: Your interpretation is not correct.


Mr Callahan: All right. If it's earth-shaking, like the withdrawal of the bill, I'll be happy to sit down.

Mr Douglas: James Douglas, Ministry of Housing. The Planning Act is amended in Bill 120 to create a separate class of search warrant for Planning Act offences. Up to the present, the Planning Act has relied on the Provincial Offences Act.

What this new class of search warrant does is remove the requirement that the person applying for a search warrant specify the evidence to be seized. This will facilitate the issuance of search warrants by a justice of the peace or a provincial court judge. However, it is still necessary for the person applying for the search warrant to show reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed.

Mr Callahan: Does it still contain "search and seize," and if it does, what the devil are you seizing in an illegal apartment?

Mr Douglas: That's the point. It no longer requires that you seize evidence. That is gone.

Mr Callahan: What is the exact wording?

Mr Douglas: The wording says you can apply for a search warrant to search the premises. The seizure of evidence is optional now; is not mandatory.

Mr Callahan: Why don't we just leave it at that? That at least helps the problem along. I don't know why you got to hammer the thing to death.

Mr David Johnson: The problem is still the reasonable grounds, though, proving reasonable grounds, and the experience in the past is that you have to go in and see and have somebody say, "I was in, I saw a violation," or "I saw a problem," or whatever, and then the judge will accept that. It's a catch-22. You go to the door, and you're denied entry. So you can't get the sort of evidence you need to prove reasonable grounds to get the entry.

Mr Douglas: The Attorney General has advised that municipal bylaws that would allow people to enter a property without just cause would quite likely be contrary to the Constitution. The Charter of Rights has been interpreted to mean that people have a right to a high degree of privacy in their place of residence. The Fire Marshals Act allows for searches without a warrant, but that's because it is deemed that fire offences are a genuine threat to life and safety. Similarly, under the Building Code Act, there's provision for a warrantless entry in emergency situations.

Mr David Johnson: But when you boil it all down, the right of entry has changed very little under this, under normal circumstances.

The Chair: I think right now we're looking for clarification. I can envision a lively debate as we go through the clause-by-clause on this particular section. Mr Owens, further clarification?

Mr Owens: As a non-lawyer, I'd like to ask ministry staff, is it not the view of counsel that simply moving from language with respect to seizure to the test of reasonableness is a significant move and that there is a body of jurisprudence with respect to tests of reasonableness that would be applied in cases such as this?

Mr Douglas: There is an extensive body of common law which indicates what "reasonableness" means, and organizations such as the Ontario Association of Property Standards Officers have indicated support for this change.

Mr Owens: In terms of the comments made with respect to a burgeoning bureaucracy, it is in fact the view of the courts that a person's civil liberties are more important to the individual within this country and in this province than --

Mr Callahan: So are their property rights, which you're taking away without compensation.

Mr Owens: Private property is not an issue under discussion at this point; we're talking about the powers of entry, and you ask your constituents --

The Chair: I am certainly looking forward to clause-by-clause examination of this particular section.

Mr Callahan: You guys have never heard of the Magna Carta.

The Chair: Thank you very much for providing that enlightening clarification. I would remind members that the committee reconvenes at 9 am Tuesday in Ottawa.

The committee adjourned at 1706.