Tuesday 25 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

City of Ottawa

Jacquelin Holzman, mayor

Federation of Ottawa-Carleton Tenants Associations

Dan McIntyre, executive director

Housing Help

Michael Wilson, executive director

Lisa Jamieson, housing educator

AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa

Terry Milne, executive director

West End Legal Services of Ottawa

Mary Garrett, community legal worker

Margaret Duncan

Don Francis; Tom Howcroft

Community Housing Resources Coalition

Donna Pettey, staff member, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ottawa-Carleton branch

Stella Andriopoulos, executive director, Ottawa Salus Corp

Ann Popovich, representative, Project Upstream

Heather Smith Fowler, chair

Regroupement francophone d'Ottawa-Carleton

Anne Smith, représentante

Marco Leboeuf, représentant

Alex Munter

Dick Stewart; Nick Tunnacliffe

Diane Holmes


*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:

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND) for Mr Dadamo

Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L) for Mr Sorbara

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

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND) for Mr Wessenger

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Morrow

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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Gigantes, Hon Evelyn, Minister of Housing

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

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



The committee met at 0904 in the Delta Hotel, Ottawa.


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


The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The purpose of the committee meeting this morning is to hear public deputations with regard to Bill 120. The first presentation this morning will come from the mayor of the city of Ottawa, Jacquelin Holzman. The committee has allocated one half-hour for your presentation. We always appreciate some time to discuss your comments. You may begin.

Mrs Holzman: Thank you for being here to listen to the community. My understanding is that even my own community association hasn't been able to get on the schedule, so I know there are many who want to talk to you because this is something that's of great concern.

To put it in one sentence, in my view, Bill 120 should be withdrawn and revised. The bill deals with two issues that are of great importance to me, but in ways which cause me great concern.

The first issue is residential intensification. Ottawa city council has been dealing with this issue for some time now through our official plan process. Council is firmly in favour of residential intensification where it is appropriate, but this legislation tells city council and many community groups that we do not know, and cannot know, what is best for our own neighbourhoods. This legislation tells us that once again Toronto knows best. On behalf of the residents of Ottawa, our community groups and Ottawa city council, I am stating for the record that we reject the idea that Toronto knows best.

The second issue that I'm going to be addressing is the protection of vulnerable people in care homes.

For nine years I was chairman of the regional municipality's homes for the aged. I was also chairman of a provincial advisory committee on rest homes and retirement homes that presented its report to the minister for senior citizens' affairs in April 1989. The problems identified five years ago and again in the Lightman report are largely, and sadly, unaddressed by this proposed legislation.

I am confident that I speak for many people involved in the care of vulnerable people, including the families of residents, the workers in care facilities, social workers and care givers who go into these facilities. I believe that the 47,000 vulnerable persons in care homes in Ontario are entitled to legislative protection that is tailor-made to address their problems.

On both of these issues, residential intensification and the protection of vulnerable persons in care homes, Bill 120 is a great disappointment.

Speaking to residential intensification, the proposed legislation would permit the addition of one apartment unit in every detached, semidetached and row house in Ottawa.

Throughout the city, our residents insist that intensification not be allowed to degrade the quality of life in a neighbourhood. But in some neighbourhoods in Ottawa, like mine, the sewer system is already overloaded and we are engaged in a major long-term program of sewer improvements. In some areas, basements are occasionally flooded with raw sewage backed up from overloaded sewers. All this makes it clear that local control is essential for the safety and health of our residents.

Specifically, there are five key areas of concern that I have with respect to the residential intensification aspect of Bill 120.

First, non-resident landlords: A fundamental flaw in the legislation is that it cannot require that one of the units be owner-occupied. This could lead to blockbusting. A large percentage of Ottawa's property standards complaints come from properties that are not owner-occupied. Increased property standards concerns will result from a lack of firsthand awareness of problems. The issue of community pride and sense of ownership, the erosion of community values, is not addressed.

The city of Ottawa recommends that municipalities be permitted to require owner occupancy as a condition of the creation of accessory units.

The second area, performance standards: Existing performance standards must be maintained, for example, the fire code, which would avoid the problem that just happened in Mississauga; the building code; minimum standards as specified in zoning bylaws; parking standards, to name just a few.

Specifically regarding zoning, lot size and area must be maintained. Tandem parking is not a preferred method of achieving parking requirements. It can lead to illegal front yard parking. Front yard parking is discouraged because of concerns about the environment, safety and aesthetics.

In many areas of Ottawa, residential parking is already a problem. Many houses in the downtown core were built before it was common for a family to own a car, whereas today it is common to own two or more cars per family. Adding an apartment to each residential unit will increase the demand for parking on streets and in the front yard of many homes. Habitual parking problems will not make life in our communities better, and the loss of front yard green space will degrade the quality of life in our urban community. Apartments in houses should be encouraged only when they fit into community values, community ambiance and community services. This is best determined by municipalities using the Planning Act.

Regarding fire and property standards, over the last five years, 52% of Ottawa's major fires have occurred in single, semidetached and row houses, the specific housing types to which this proposed legislation applies. Suggested standards for retrofitting these housing types to accommodate an additional unit are less than the standards for new construction; instead, the standards should be improved, not reduced.


The city of Ottawa has specific concerns in the area of egress -- the second means of escape may be through another unit or through a small-size window -- and secondly, concerns with the whole question of smoke detectors. The preferred option would be interconnected smoke alarms rather than battery operated smoke detectors from which the batteries can and are frequently removed.

Additional resources will be required to conduct inspections required by this legislation.

The third area is intensification. The city of Ottawa supports extensive intensification as a means of providing additional housing units while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. There are many ways to encourage intensification, apartments in houses being just one.

The province, in forcing this particular form of intensification throughout the city without recognizing the standards and nuances of individual neighbourhoods, could seriously jeopardize community support for other forms of intensification such as infill, redevelopment and affordable housing such as non-profit and co-ops etc.

The fourth area is the area of municipal responsibilities. Bill 120 legislation allows the province to establish regulations setting maximum property standards and municipal zoning standards in certain areas and prohibiting other standards altogether. The provincial regulations would replace the standards in local bylaws which conflict with the provincial standard. The province is treading on municipal turf with Bill 120.

The average taxpayer is already confused about which level of government is responsible for which issue and this jurisdictional confusion will only be increased by legislation in which the province becomes involved in an issue that is clearly a municipal responsibility.

Local official plan policy, zoning bylaws, property standards: These must continue to be municipal responsibilities in order that such standards may be tailored to and reflect existing local development patterns. Bill 120 overrides the community consultation requirements of these issues and removes accountability from duly elected local councillors.

The effect of the proposed legislation is, in essence, to strip municipalities of their authority under the Planning Act to regulate local residential zoning matters, such as permitted uses, housing form and density.

The fifth area of concern, the provincial housing statement: The sense is that the apartments-in-homes legislation is a response to what the province perceives to be a slow response from municipalities to the provincial housing statement. I would like to take this opportunity to correct this perception.

As I indicated earlier, the city of Ottawa supports extensive intensification as a way of taking advantage of existing infrastructure and getting the most value out of infrastructure tax dollars. However, there are three reasons why the city of Ottawa may appear to have been slow in responding to this policy.

First, it takes time to put in place the proper procedures, such as a comprehensive official plan and zoning bylaws. Our own new official plan demonstrates Ottawa's commitment to intensification. The plan is currently awaiting approval by the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. Our commitment is there but the planning process is slowing us down.

Second, the country is currently in a recession. Private sector development dollars are presently in short supply. Time is required to allow the economy to catch up with intensification process and policies.

Third, it takes time for public acceptance of a new approach. Time is required to reverse the trend to suburban expansion. Time is required to accept different standards for city living. Community culture cannot change overnight. It is unrealistic to expect that it will.

As illustration of some of the points I have raised, just consider for a moment a neighbourhood like Glabar Park, my neighbourhood. Glabar Park is currently zoned single-family and there are some 1,500 homes in the area of about 100 hectares, certainly low density. I moved into that area in 1957.

The proposed legislation would allow each one of the 1,500 homes to become a double unit. Traffic on local streets would surely increase. It could even double. There are few streets with storm sewers and the sanitary sewers could well be inadequate to handle the increased load. As well, the water pressure is very low in some sections of my neighbourhood, and local schools are already crowded.

For the past 10 years, Glabar Park's neighbourhood groups have been fighting the expansion of a nearby shopping centre because of the fear of, among other things, increased traffic on local streets. To justify the expansion of the shopping centre before the OMB, extensive environmental studies, including traffic studies, were required.

Bill 120 promises to allow an extra 1,500 residential units to be added to our community without any assessment of the environmental, social or economic impact. No provision is made for community groups to express their views with any sense that they will be considered in the decision-making process. For my neighbourhood, as for all neighbourhoods in Ottawa, the insensitivity of Bill 120 presents a real threat.

Bill 120 rezones my property, my neighbourhood, my city, with a stroke of a pen from Queen's Park, with no staff report from our city, no public hearing, no city council approval and no appeal mechanism, while every rezoning application, even in my own neighbourhood, to create a duplex, every zoning application in this city, goes through an agonizing scrutiny and public participation. It's not unusual that it will take over a year, and many times more, and that is even for those applications that council is ultimately going to approve. This totally violates that whole process.

The other area I want to speak to regarding Bill 120 is also one that I'm quite aware of, and that's the protection of vulnerable people in care homes.

This government has a responsibility to pass legislation that will help protect the 47,000 vulnerable people in care homes across the province. Bill 120 does not even attempt to address the real problems in care homes. Specifically, it does not address the problems of the quality of care in congregate living. In fact, in my opinion, this legislation will make matters worse, not better. There is a saying that a doctor's treatment should at least not make the patient worse. I fear this legislation will create more problems than it solves.

While the exact number of persons in Ottawa who will be affected by the proposed bill is not known, the 116 residences currently registered in the city as special-needs housing accommodate 2,132 people. This number includes close to 900 people with severe and persistent mental illness currently living in supportive housing, such as supervised boarding homes and other programs.

In addition, an estimated 1,800 seniors live in various care facilities, making a total of almost 4,000 vulnerable people in care facilities in Ottawa. I really don't want to see their lives made worse by inappropriate legislation.

A good start in making this legislation more appropriate would be to include a care home section in the Landlord and Tenant Act and a care home section in the Rent Control Act. With these two sections, the desirable objectives of the acts could be achieved in a way that recognizes the reality of the congregate living situation and tries to achieve a proper balance between individual rights and the rights of fellow residents.

Let me just give you two little anecdotes to illustrate the reality of congregate living in two well-run facilities, one providing residential care and the other a seniors' apartment building for independent living, but with support services offered.

A lady in the residential care facility maintained her physical vigour to an amazing degree and she was well into her 80s. However, she was becoming cognitively impaired, and this led her to be disruptive in the care building. One of her favourite acts of misbehaviour was to hit other residents with her cane. She would also use her cane to hoist their dresses. So she was really becoming difficult in congregate living situations.

The professional staff knew this lady was no longer a suitable resident for the residential home. The local geriatric assessment unit was called in and they agreed. When the placement coordination service found her a new residence, she was placed without delay.


The Landlord and Tenant Act as proposed would not have protected this lady but would have made the situation worse. Her family would have been liable for at least two months' rent, and she could well have taken the care managers to court and resisted the move for a long time.

In the second scenario, a recently widowed man is living in a seniors' apartment building. He's lost his driver's licence because he has memory lapses. He was driving without a licence until his family took away his car. He doesn't eat well and he's losing weight. Food is rotting in his refrigerator. He doesn't wash regularly. His apartment is a mess and it's infested. In the common areas of the building, he is disruptive. His family is unable to handle the stress.

The geriatric assessment unit once again has recommended that he be moved into a residential care facility where he should be able to function adequately in the more structured environment. The challenge for all involved is to get him to move. He doesn't want to, but it is clear to all informed people that it is in his best interests to move.

The proposed legislation will not make the life of this gentleman any better. More likely it will make it worse. The legislation provides no mechanism for conflict resolution other than eviction, and if challenged, this could be a long and costly process.

The Ontario Residential Care Association has highlighted this in its brief and I fully endorse it. As an absolute minimum, I recommend that Bill 120 be amended to ensure that care home operators can evict without long notice when an adverse assessment has been made by a body comparable to our geriatric assessment unit. In such eviction cases, the government should be the body required by statute to provide alternative appropriate accommodation.

The other report I spoke to briefly was Rest and Retirement: A Report on the Regulation of Residential Care Facilities. It was prepared by the Advisory Committee on Rest Homes for the minister responsible for senior citizens' affairs. It was submitted in April 1989 and I was the chairman of this advisory committee. There are so many things in here dealing with this vulnerable population and I urge you to go through it.

In conclusion, I say that the residents of Ottawa are entitled to control the development of their communities through the municipal planning process. The Toronto knows best solution, as proposed by Bill 120, is unacceptable to Ottawa. Residential intensification may be desirable, but it cannot be made the right of any and all home owners.

On vulnerable people, there are 47,000 living in care homes in Ontario. They're entitled to legislation that makes their living situations better, not worse. Improper eviction is a problem and we know that, but Bill 120 is not the answer.

In conclusion, I ask that Bill 120 be withdrawn and revised.

The Chair: We have only three minutes per party.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Madam Mayor, welcome. Your presentation this morning is a very good one, but one we've heard repeatedly in the last week. People are very concerned about Bill 120, but yours is a little different. I want to point out that on page 2 of your presentation you refer to the non-resident landlords. You say, "A fundamental flaw in the legislation is that it cannot require that one of the units be owner-occupied." Can you tell us, how can the government, how can this committee, how would you write the legislation to impose this on owners, that they should occupy at least one of the units?

Mrs Holzman: I think you quoted where it says the problems, and that is one of the problems. You can't legislate that one of the units be owner-occupied, but non-resident landlords have created an exceptional problem with many of our property standards, the quality of the buildings. That's not to say that all non-resident landlords are a problem. I'm simply saying that here is just another example of Bill 120 not being realistic.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): I appreciate, Mayor, your opposition to Bill 120, but would you not see an obvious pattern here that runs through not just this legislation but other legislation as well, that as with Bill 77 as well, we have an obvious attempt here to diminish, as you indicated yourself, and possibly even eliminate the powers of local government, that the provincial government knows best, as you said in your brief, and takes away the powers and the responsibilities and the decision-making of the people who are elected at the local level?

Mrs Holzman: I'm glad you mentioned Bill 77. I didn't know how I was going to weave it into my conversation. That was going to be my parting note.

Mr Grandmaître: Now it's on the table.

Mrs Holzman: Bill 77 has had far more involvement and discussion, every municipality, the region, community groups, business community, landlords, board of trade --

Mr Daigeler: They said they don't like it.

Mrs Holzman: -- all are coming onside to say that --

Mr Daigeler: That is not true; Ottawa says so.

Mrs Holzman: -- the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton has too many municipalities, has too many mayors, has too much government, too much bureaucracy, too many school boards.

Mr Daigeler: You say that, but not Nepean.

Mrs Holzman: You mentioned Bill 77, and thank you for allowing me the opportunity.

What we see as far as Bill 120 is concerned is that Bill 120 is trying to resolve a problem in Toronto. In Toronto, there's a major problem with a lot of illegal units. If I may, since I don't have this in writing, I would like to tell you that we believe Bill 120 is trying to resolve a problem that's prevalent in Toronto. Toronto has thousands, millions, I don't know how many illegal basement apartment units. We don't have that in this city. We don't have the problem that you have in Toronto and that the mayor of Toronto will speak to when she speaks to you, so we don't need a Toronto-type of legislation to be imposed on Ottawa.

Yes, we are working towards intensification. Yes, we are working to have infill and group building projects and all of the other methods of having more people living in the city of Ottawa, getting them closer to their jobs, getting them out of their cars etc. But Bill 120 isn't the answer to our problem; it may be the answer to Toronto's problem.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): As a former mayor within Metropolitan Toronto, I can say that most if not all of the Metro municipalities agree with you; not that it's a Toronto problem, but the problems that you've raised. I want to congratulate you and say that you've expressed what just about every mayor we've heard is expressing: the concern that the provincial government is running roughshod over local planning, the concern that the municipalities are dealing with intensification in their own way.

I think we have to recognize that each municipality is different and each municipality is making a concerted effort to deal with housing, intensification and affordable housing in a proper manner to suit its community, considering the services, the sewers, parking etc. I think that's a consistent message.

I wonder if you would briefly comment on the right of entry. You haven't mentioned that. This is a concern many municipalities have raised, that they do not have authority to enter to ensure that standards are proper in the basement apartments.

Mrs Holzman: Your first point was that each municipality is trying to solve its problems. Yes, each municipality is trying to solve its housing problems, and we don't need provincial legislation like Bill 120 to do this.

The right of entry is absolutely critical. When you're dealing with individuals who are vulnerable, who are in care, the right of entry has to be immediate. If you believe that there is somebody in a residential care facility who has collapsed, or worse, you've got to have immediate entry.


Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): Mayor Holzman, it's interesting that in your brief you talk about the province treading on municipal turf. It suggests that they're galloping on it. When you're talking about the fact that apartments in houses should be encouraged where they fit into community values, you also talk about community ambience. I'd like to ask you what your reaction is, as mayor of your municipality, to the Minister of Housing's comment that what the municipalities are doing with their zoning bylaw is in fact snob zoning.

Mrs Holzman: I certainly would never comment on what the minister is saying about our zoning bylaw. I would simply say that my planning committee and our councils have been criticized for years that we are anti-development or pro-development, usually anti-development, that our process is so convoluted, that there's such a lot of indecision and that if we don't speed up and make our zoning process better, people are going to walk away, so I have to be faced with that.

I know that anybody who wants to come forward and put a third unit in a duplex in our city, if it's not allowed by zone, has to go through a horrendous process, and frequently we turn it down. We turn it down because it's too crowded in the neighbourhood, because the water supply isn't adequate, because the sewers may not be adequate, because we don't want cars parking in front yards.

Mrs Marland: But is it élitist? Is it élitist to say that we can't have any zoning in this province that permits one unit per lot?

Mrs Holzman: My brief does not speak about that at all. My brief talks about the fact that people in all neighbourhoods are concerned about front yards. They want grass in the front yards. They don't want rows and rows of cars parking in the front yard. In fact, council has approved a bylaw that says you have to have a certain amount of green space in a front yard. This has nothing to do with élitism. This is all over my city.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): I'd like to go back to the question Mrs Marland asked you. It's a vision question. As the chief executive officer of this city, you say: "Apartments in houses should be encouraged only where they fit into community values, community ambience and community services. This is best determined by the municipalities using the Planning Act." Your worship, can you describe for me your vision as to where these accessory units would fit?

Mrs Holzman: I draw your attention to the top of page 2, for example, regarding zoning: "Lot size and area must be maintained. Tandem parking is not a preferred method of achieving requirements." I'd already spoken about front yard parking.

We're very concerned that we have some ability to look at fire standards and property standards etc. Those are what I mean by "fit." I don't mean by "fit" that you can squeeze in a unit. That's not what I mean by "fit." It means having regard to all of the other environmental issues that I've raised in my brief.

Mr Owens: I certainly wish I had more time, but I'll yield the floor to my colleague Mr Fletcher.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): It's a pleasure to be in Ottawa again. I always enjoy coming to Ottawa.

Mr Grandmaître: That's good.

Mr Fletcher: Well, it's a beautiful city.

As mayor, you're close to the people in your city. I'm just wondering, have you had a lot of people say that once Bill 120 is passed they're going to rush out and start building accessory apartments in their homes? Is there going to be a major flood of people doing this that you've heard of?

Mrs Holzman: Even if there is one, city council has the responsibility to approve, or not, changes of zoning. You are taking that responsibility away from city council.

When a shopping centre wants to change its zoning or when somebody wants to build an apartment building on top of a residential piece of property, why are they not allowed the same consideration by the provincial government? They have to abide by the Municipal Act, by the Planning Act, by our bylaws, and that means city council is responsible for change in zonings. This is a change of zoning, nothing more than a change of zoning with the brush of a pen from Queen's Park.

Mr Fletcher: As you know, this committee is travelling around and also meeting in Toronto. It is legislation that can be amended, will be amended, will be changed, and that is why we are travelling around, to hear what people are saying about the proposed legislation. The public consultation that's going on now is very important to drafting a good piece of legislation. I want to thank you for your input. It's been very valuable.

Mrs Holzman: Thank you very much. Do support Bill 77. City council's position is clear.

The Chair: Thank you very much for making that presentation to the committee.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): On a point of order, Mr Chair: I thought I heard that the government is willing to amend this legislation. I would ask the minister if that is her intention.

The Chair: It isn't a point of order, but --

Hon Evelyn Gigantes (Minister of Housing): It's not a point of order.

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


The Chair: The next presentation will come from the Federation of Ottawa-Carleton Tenants Associations, Mr McIntyre. Good morning. It's good to see you again.

Mr Dan McIntyre: The last time we had a chat was about rent control.

The Chair: I think we had two chats, both in this room perhaps, about rent control.

You've been allocated one half-hour for your presentation. As you know, the committee likes to have a conversation about that presentation during that half-hour.

Mr McIntyre: Thank you, and hello to everybody; a lot of familiar faces and friends around the table and a few new ones.

As the Chair has stated, my name is Dan McIntyre. I'm the executive director of the Federation of Ottawa-Carleton Tenants Associations. We're now in our 12th year of representing the interests of tenants in the Ottawa area. We've spoken to this committee or other types of committees on many pieces of legislation in the past and we welcome the opportunity to speak about this one this morning.

The federation supports the passage of Bill 120. This bill will have a net positive effect on the supply of safe, affordable housing and it will extend rights to the most vulnerable of tenants. This legislation is win-win. There are several kinds of winners and most of these are due to the apartments-in-houses provisions of the bill.

The winners: First of all, tenants who need affordable housing; lots of those. Apartments in houses create another choice. This housing should be affordable and we expect that most home owners will make good and fair landlords. Tenants will be protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and municipal property standards. Many people who are currently on lengthy waiting lists for subsidized housing could be served by this legislation.

Home owners are winners in this legislation. There are home owners who could use some extra money. We've often been told in discussions surrounding property taxes of various areas of reform, and hopefully we won't get into that too much, but many people in our community are asset rich and cash poor. We know that average household sizes have been reduced by over one person per household.

There are empty-nesters who could make use of the space that was used by their now-grown children. There are people who are having real difficulty paying their mortgages and/or their property tax. There are often first-time home buyers who may need extra income to realize their dream home. There are people who just like the chance of earning some extra money, and this is an opportunity presented to them.

Landlords must earn their income. That's a position we've held for many years. It's not that you just open the doors and the money rolls in. Home owners must realize that a tenant pays rent to have a well-maintained and comfortable home. The landlord is being paid to provide that. It is another issue to deal with those who would take the benefits of owning an income property and not meet their responsibility.

Tenants and home owners living unlawfully: The original draft said "living in sin," but we thought we'd tone it down a bit. All of the reasons for this bill have existed for many years. That's why thousands of illegal units exist today. These units and the people in them will now be legitimized and brought under the protection of relevant tenant legislation. Further, tenants living in unsafe conditions or with low-quality landlords will be able to seek improvements with much less fear of losing their home.

Supporters of property rights: Most home owners will have no interest in this and will not participate in this opportunity. That will be their choice. However, many of those will take the position that it should be the right of their neighbour to provide this type of unit if they so choose. Many already take a live and let live approach.

Senior citizens: The granny flat provisions are particularly for them, as well as the tenant provisions, and this will enable more seniors to live in a happy, comfortable neighbourhood situation.

Vulnerable tenants: The extending of rights to tenants living in care facilities enhances their ability to live in dignity and enjoy security of tenure as do other tenants. As in many cases, those providers who are reputable should have no real problem with these extensions.

Are there losers with Bill 120? There certainly are opponents. Some have called this the death of the single-family home. Others have said this will put a strain on infrastructure. Others claim that streets will be clogged with cars. Some say that tenants ruin neighbourhoods. Municipalities -- the mayor this morning -- have said that this infringes on their rights to plan and to zone. Others worry about absentee landlords. Obviously, we don't buy the views of these opponents, and let me deal with those issues in order.

The death of the single-family home has been much exaggerated. Single-family homes have been around longer than Confederation and will be with us for evermore. They exist because there is a market for them. People who want to buy these houses and live in them with their own family will not be impeded. However, what has ended is a right to insist that every other household on your street be just like yours. By the way, Bill 120 is not the only thing that ends that.


The strain on infrastructure: Household sizes have decreased. This bill allows for creation of one apartment in a house within existing walls. It does not allow for adding on to houses etc. The bill does not create people but does enable better use of existing housing space. The infrastructure was designed for that space.

Parking problems: Parking spaces have been built and can be regulated by site plans by the municipality for the existing housing. Many families have two or more cars now; many do not. A tenant with a car is not going to rent a unit if parking can't be made available. Street parking can be regulated.

Tenants ruin neighbourhoods: Much of this concern is rooted in prejudice, and I'm sure none of the members would take that view. There are people who are less concerned with their neighbourhood than others. Some are home owners and some are tenants. Tenants can be evicted; home owners can't. We submit that a clean, healthy environment will be respected by most people.

Absentee landlords: As I say, actually, this one does concern us, but Bill 120 doesn't change this much. There are absentee landlords now: duplexes and much larger properties, as a matter of fact. Right now, a property owner can rent out a single-family home in its entirety.

I'm not here to debate the merit, but she mentioned Glabar Park. If I had the money, I could go buy a home in her community and rent it out to somebody in its entirety. There's no provision saying it can't be rented out now. The owner could rent it out to the Hell's Angels, and there's nothing the neighbours can do about that.

The answer lies in enforcing laws rather than restricting rights. The main one I would refer to is the property standard bylaw, which is a municipal responsibility, and no one foresees that changing in our lifetime, I guess.

The city of Ottawa currently spends about $6 per year per residential unit to enforce its property standards bylaw. While the city of Ottawa, as compared to other cities, has a very good record on property standards, that's inadequate and relatively typical. This bylaw is the answer to property standards and it needs more resources for enforcement. That's where your answer lies.

To deal with the municipalities' rights and obligations to zone and plan, we understand and appreciate where the mayor's coming from and other mayors who have come before you, and AMO, and the concerns of municipalities that their domain has been invaded. It would have been preferable if municipalities had been able to fully act on the very strong suggestions of the previous government to implement this on their own, but they didn't. Instead, we find ourselves in a jurisdiction dispute.

If the politicians at the cities and the province want to have fights, the parties will fight, and I find politics a great sport to watch, but this is one that tenants want to take a pass on. People who need this housing and can provide this housing and are needing this housing and are providing this housing don't want to be in the middle of a political fight. They'd rather get on with their lives. We don't want to be denied because of a jurisdiction dispute.

Municipalities will know that they still control official plans, property standards, site plans, most zoning matters, building permits and adjustments. They will also know that they have always been subject to provincial override by the Ontario Municipal Board and have therefore never had an absolute right in these matters.

Tenant organizations, community groups and politicians have been talking about affordable housing for years. This bill is not the ultimate remedy, but it helps. We ask you to expedite passage without further delay and without amendment.

Mrs Marland: Mr McIntyre, you've certainly made some very interesting statements, to say the least. I particularly like the comment about, "Landlords must earn their income."

Mr McIntyre: As do you, and as do I.

Mrs Marland: Landlords also make a significant investment in order to provide housing of any type for tenants to reside in. For those of us who have been tenants, we are very grateful that landlords make an investment.

Unfortunately, we don't have enough time for me to ask all the questions I'd like to ask you, but you talk about an infrastructure being designed for the space that is within a single-unit home. That's a very interesting comment. I don't know what your background is in municipal planning or municipal bylaws, but certainly the infrastructure is designed for what was approved when that house was given a building permit. Single-family homes are given building permits with one kitchen, to start with, so that does have an impact.

You also go on to say, "Tenants can be evicted." You have to have been a home owner and have had a tenant and tried to evict them for anything other than non-payment of rent. The fact that you're saying this is a good way for first-time home buyers to have extra income to realize their dream home -- I know personally seven constituents who have lost their dream home because they couldn't evict their tenants and their tenants were not paying their rent. The income from that extra unit was the security for that young couple to pay their mortgage. They had to default on their mortgage because it took them 10 months to evict that tenant for non-payment of rent.

The main question I wanted to ask you is that you're focusing on the property standards bylaw, and unfortunately I didn't get the act open soon enough to locate where it is in this act. You're saying that the property standards bylaw is the bylaw that is the answer and it needs more resources for enforcement. The property standards bylaw is one of several bylaws that this bill exempts. The fact is that the very tools you're saying the municipality has to control problems are exempted by this act and I wondered if you knew that.

Mr McIntyre: What I know is that the property standard bylaw for the city of Ottawa, the city of Nepean, the city of Gloucester, the city of Vanier applies to rental properties, home-ownership properties on a wide basis to ensure that they meet minimum standards. There are a series of officers who are empowered to go and enforce that legislation and are only limited by resources. The buildings that would create apartments in houses would be covered by property standards under this legislation.

Mrs Marland: But the fact is that where the act says those bylaws cannot --

Mr McIntyre: You cannot pass a property standard bylaw that makes it impossible to create an apartment in the house. What you can do is create property standard bylaws -- I think we have property standard bylaws -- that, for example, provide for requirements for lighting, working electricity, heating, wiring, utilities, all sorts of matters of safety to the resident and to the occupier of the home. That's not going to change. In fact, it's going to be better for those people currently a little bit afraid to pick up the phone because their unit is illegal.

Mrs Marland: You're saying the property standards bylaw -- I'm only going by what you've said --

Mr McIntyre: Which is a city bylaw.

Mrs Marland: I'm quite familiar with the fact that it's a city bylaw. The point I'm making is that you're saying that's the solution. What I'm suggesting to you is that there are a whole lot of bylaws, including the property standards bylaw, that are exempt under this act. This act supersedes all of these other municipal powers that come under the Planning Act and the Municipal Act. You can't on the one hand say, "Well, we're going to use it here but we're not going to use it there," which is in fact what is happening with Bill 120.

Mr McIntyre: I gather you get to make that speech several times around the province. Let me assure you --

Mrs Marland: I'll pass, Mr Chairman. I don't wish to continue this discussion.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Let him answer the question.

Mr David Winninger (London South): Do you want to cut him off?

Mr McIntyre: In the 30 minutes that I have --


The Chair: Order. Mr McIntyre has the floor.

Mrs Marland: I've been ill for five days.

The Chair: Order, Mrs Marland.

Mrs Marland: It's the first day I've been on the committee so your comments about making a speech around the province are a little inappropriate.

Mr McIntyre: My point is that I have 30 minutes and you're making a speech full of holes. I would simply like to say that the property standard bylaw of the city of Ottawa will cover all the properties that would happen in the city of Ottawa. The bylaw in Nepean -- I can't remember, Mr Daigeler, if it's still just zones, different areas for the bylaw, but the one in Vanier and Gloucester is all-inclusive and therefore this will be extra protection to make sure that these are safe houses, that these are places people can live in, pay the rent and know that if there is a problem, the municipality has the responsibility.

My point is that the municipality is not putting as much into the resources needed for that bylaw, but that's another debate. That's not something the province has any control over. So property standards will exist and we look forward to protecting the tenants who will live in these houses.


Mr Mammoliti: Nice to see you again, Mr McIntyre. I take great offence when I go around the province and hear the mayors pitting one group against another. In my particular municipality, the mayor of the city of North York said that this legislation will have people fighting with knives, I think the quote was, in the streets.

Mr McIntyre: That doesn't happen now?

Mr Mammoliti: He's obviously trying to pit the tenants against the home owners with that remark. Today we heard from the mayor of Ottawa who, in my opinion anyway, clearly tried to pit Metro against Ottawa, and I take great offence to that. I'm a resident of Metro and I don't think that this piece of legislation does that at all. I'm glad to see that you touched on that in your brief.

But your mayor also said that we're taking all the rights away from council with this legislation. I heard nothing positive from your mayor about this legislation.

Mr McIntyre: Mr Mammoliti, I'm a little reluctant to listen to your political speech on this as well. Let's get the politics out of this. Let's get it done.

Mr Mammoliti: What positive things would this piece of legislation bring to the council in Ottawa?

Mr McIntyre: There are a number of our councillors who support this legislation. I don't know if a formal vote has been taken, but I know the councillor for Wellington ward supports it. I haven't spoken to George Brown, who's a friend of mine, who's fought for affordable housing in this community for years. A number of councillors would find a lot of pleasure in this.

I've been in territorial battles that were in different parts of my life and, yes, it hurts a little bit if somebody says, "We're going do it this way." That's the way it goes, though. If you guys want to fight among yourselves, if you want to fight with the municipalities, which want to fight with you, go ahead. But tenants need housing; they need affordable housing. There are some home owners out there who can provide it.

The ultimate irony, in my opinion, is that there will not be a heavy takeup on this. There will be a few new units created where people want it and that will be good. To suggest it's going to overrun communities is a problem.

I understand the mayor's position. I certainly understand the concerns of safety and everything else. The bottom line is that I don't agree with the conclusion she's reached on this, and I think that home owners and tenants who will benefit from this legislation will not either.

Mr Owens: I represent the riding of Scarborough Centre. There's an informal calculation of approximately 10,000 accessory units in Scarborough. I want to follow up on something you said in terms of the takeup.

There seems to be a view expressed here this morning by your mayor and other municipal representatives that all of a sudden we're going to have this explosion of accessory units that are going to be a drain on services and will destroy neighbourhoods. I think you talked about the decrease in the number of members per household. Is Ottawa like Scarborough in the fact that the population is declining and that these are the kinds of areas where basement apartments are found, so that the strain-on-services issue is moot?

Mr McIntyre: First of all, I can't answer the question fully because I don't know enough about Scarborough to discuss any comparatives. It's our sense that there is a lot of family-type housing that is being underused now. My mother comes from a family of 11 children. You don't see families like that any more. I never saw the house she grew up in, but I imagine it was quite large and I imagine it still stands somewhere in Stratford -- maybe you're from Stratford -- and I imagine that more than one family now lives there. I think that type of opportunity exists.

We have a lot of people looking for decent, affordable housing. Some of this will not be the answer for them.

Mr Owens: But it's an option.

Mr McIntyre: It's an option. A lot of home owners are not going to want to be landlords. That's a choice people make. But some people are going to see an option. Some people are going to rent it to their own kids I think, because of the need to have a little bit of space. There's a TV show where the kid lives up on the garage kind of thing. These things will happen on a small scale.

What's happened in Scarborough is demand-driven. Obviously, the supply of affordable housing has not kept up with the demand, so this unlawful market has existed. Now it will become lawful, except as I understand it, if the places are unsafe and unfit, they won't be legitimized.

Mr Owens: And that's a good thing.

Mr McIntyre: I think so.

Mr Cordiano: I'm a little reluctant to ask any questions, because at the end of your brief you say that this legislation is perfect, that there should be no further amendments, and just pass it.

Mr McIntyre: If you're trying to suggest that I'm saying it's perfect to end the problem of affordable housing, no. I'm saying that it's fine to create another choice and to legitimize some situations that exist now, so let's pass it.

Mr Cordiano: Do you believe that this legislation needs to be amended, to be improved?

Mr McIntyre: No. Let's get on with it.

Mr Cordiano: Okay. I have no questions.

Mr Daigeler: Thank you very much, Dan. I presume, at least that's the title of your presentation, that you're representing the Federation of Ottawa-Carleton Tenants Association and not where you live today.

Mr McIntyre: That's right.

Mr Daigeler: Perhaps I should just clarify for the members of the committee that the mayor of Ottawa is perhaps the mayor for you where you live but not for your association as such.

Mr McIntyre: I think the mayor would agree there's divided opinion on this.

Mr Daigeler: Based on your experience, which includes Nepean, I think you put your finger on the most important problem. You said in response to a question that most likely there won't be much of a takeup on this bill. I think you probably are right. There are people out there who think that's the solution to the housing crisis, which I understand you're not arguing, but I think there are some people in the government who see this really as a major solution. I doubt very much that it's going to be, precisely because there are supposedly going to be regulations, which we haven't seen yet and we're still waiting for them, with regard to fire and safety which are probably going to make it quite difficult, at least I hope so, and expensive to make these existing illegal apartments legal.

Mr McIntyre: And it won't work.

Mr Daigeler: From your experience in the Ottawa-Carleton area, how many units would you say could be made or will be made legal if we have the regulations that the minister has promised?

Mr McIntyre: Are you asking how many current units are illegal that would be made legal or how many would happen?

Mr Daigeler: I'm thinking particularly of those that are illegal. Frankly, I'm on speculation, because I don't have any figures on it.

Mr McIntyre: So am I. No one publishes a figure that I'm aware of that says there are x number of illegal apartments in Ottawa. I think the ministry has taken some educated guesses, has done some surveys, and we understand that some exist. People don't call our tenant hotline and say, "I live in an illegal apartment," so we don't have a checklist that says, "We've had this many calls from people." We don't know that number. We suspect it exists because of just the way things tend to happen.

I was asked by people in the ministry when the ink was just drying on the drafting of this, as I was often asked for opinions when your party was in government. In about three or four years we'll be saying, "What was the fuss about?" I hope I'm wrong in a sense. I hope thousands of people will take this up, but I don't think it's going to happen, because I don't think home owners bought a home to become landlords.

I think there are going to be some people who are going to say, "Jeez, the taxes went up because of MVA," or, "I can't meet the mortgage," or, "I got laid off." "How can I make ends meet?" And someone's going to say, "Just make an apartment in your house." They'll say, "Jeez, I'd never want to do that," or "Oh, I could do that." Those are some of the people who can take this thing on. I don't know how many home owners are having difficulty with all the layoffs that are happening in different places, around Canada actually, but we're dealing with the province today. I hope there's more takeup than I suspect there will be, but I don't suspect there will be huge numbers of apartments in houses.


Hon Ms Gigantes: Mr Chair, on a point of information: I understand that the draft fire regulations have been distributed to members of the committee in Toronto on Thursday. Is that right, Mr Clerk?

The Chair: I'm not aware of it.

Mr David Johnson: I certainly haven't received it. I checked with my office yesterday.

Mr Daigeler: Perhaps to the members of the government, not to the members of the committee.

The Chair: We can clarify this issue later. Thank you very much, Mr McIntyre. We always appreciate your presentation to the committee.

Mr McIntyre: We aren't going to be condoning a situation where tenants are living in firetraps, so we hope there will be some safety protections built in.


The Chair: Next presentation is from Housing Help, Mr Wilson. Introduce yourself and your colleague for our Hansard recording, then begin. You have 30 minutes.

Mr Michael Wilson: Beside me is Lisa Jamieson, the housing educator at Housing Help, who works on public education and policy for us. I'm Michael Wilson, the executive director of the agency.

Housing Help is a small non-profit that's been in existence since 1989, when we saw about 10,000 clients. We saw upwards of 28,000 this last year. We see people who have housing problems, people looking for housing and trying to find a way to live in Ottawa-Carleton.

Housing Help would like to express its support for Bill 120. The residents' rights bill is a laudable piece of legislation that extends rights to previously unprotected groups, people living in self-contained apartments in houses and people living in supportive housing.

First I'd like to speak to you about the need for Bill 120 in the context of Ottawa-Carleton.

In Ottawa-Carleton, social housing waiting lists have reached unprecedented high levels and private market vacancies are the second lowest in the nation; usually, they're first. Housing Help assists low-income people in Ottawa-Carleton to find and sustain housing.

The housing struggles of the people we serve are becoming more and more severe. For people with support needs, Ottawa-Carleton's dismal rental conditions and insufficient supply of mobile, community-based support services often mean that they have little choice but to live in supportive care housing. Thus, in order to have a roof over their head, people in need of support often give up their basic rights, rights that other tenants have.

While Bill 120 will not eliminate the need for affordable housing nor the need for mobile community support services, it will protect people where they are currently living and at the same time will offer some potential to increase the supply of affordable private market housing. Clearly, Bill 120 does make sense.

The proposed amendments to the Planning Act and the Municipal Act that this bill addresses will have the same impact as Bill 90, the withdrawn apartments-in-houses legislation, which we also supported.

More than 100,000 tenant households in Ontario presently live in jeopardy. They risk homelessness because they occupy illegal apartments in houses, illegal because restrictive and exclusionary municipal zoning does not permit them.

We do not have a clear idea of how many apartments in houses exist in Ottawa-Carleton, but according to the municipal housing statements of Gloucester and Cumberland, in the eastern part of this region alone there were an estimated 1,000 apartments in houses. This eastern area represents just 21% of the region's population density and approximately 20% of the region's single-family housing, town houses and row housing stock.

With Bill 120's amendments to the Planning Act, tenants in apartments in houses will gain security of tenure and they will be able to enforce property standards and other bylaws and legislation without fear that the landlord will evict them. Yet Bill 120 is not a sweeping acceptance of apartments in houses. In order for these units to be permitted, they will have to comply with basic safety codes set by the building code and fire code.

Further requirements for apartments in houses will be specified in Bill 120 regulations, regulations which we strongly suggest and recommend are developed in consultation with tenant groups as well as technical agencies and departments. Tenant advocacy groups are committed to ensuring that Bill 120 will result in safe and secure housing for tenants in apartments in houses.

We must emphasize that the amendments to the Planning Act are also crucial to the 100,000 home owners who presently rent a unit in their home. Often this unit houses a family member or helps to pay the mortgage; in other words, it is a necessity. With the passage of Bill 120, neither tenants nor owners of apartments in houses will have to live in fear: fear that they will lose their home, fear that they will have to move away from or evict a family member or fear of losing a critical source of revenue. Bill 120 will permit an alternative type of rental housing development which is affordable, resource-efficient and desirable.

A clear majority of eastern Ontarians, 71% surveyed by Environics in 1992, indicated strong or some support for allowing home owners to add a self-contained apartment to their house. In fact when the city of Ottawa was operating the home planning advisory service, the majority of the 1,000 annual contacts were inquiries about creating apartments in houses. None the less, a vocal minority, including municipal government representatives, have opposed provincial legislation to permit apartments in houses.

Critics of the legislation indicate concern that the infrastructure will not be able to support double-density neighbourhoods.

Housing Help believes these concerns are grossly exaggerated. Household sizes have decreased considerably over the years, thereby actually reducing the strain on the infrastructure in older residential neighbourhoods. Furthermore, this legislation merely permits one apartment in single-family houses, semidetached houses and town houses. Obviously not every home owner will opt to create an apartment in their home.

Bill 120 also makes positive amendments to subsections 35(2) and 49(1) of the Planning Act. We are happy to see that the Planning Act will specifically direct municipalities that they cannot pass a bylaw that distinguishes between persons who are related and persons who are unrelated in respect to the occupancy or the use of a building. The addition of subsection 35(2) to the Planning Act will ensure that such discrimination will no longer exist in municipal zoning.

What still remains to be addressed are the more subtle forms of discriminatory zoning which restrict certain types of residential uses, ie, group homes, emergency shelters, rooming houses etc, from certain neighbourhoods. While we realize that Bill 120 does not look at this issue, we hope the provincial government will pursue this in the future.

The addition of subsection 49(1) of the Planning Act, dealing with the search warrants, could benefit all tenants, not just tenants in apartments in houses. Presently, if a tenant is unavailable or reluctant due to fear of the landlord's repercussions for their complaints, unable or unwilling to allow an inspector into their apartment, the municipality has to go to court to obtain a search warrant. City of Ottawa zoning and property standards inspectors have told us on many occasions how difficult this can be. Under the present system, bylaw enforcement officials must indicate what they intend to seize from a unit before obtaining this warrant.

The new amendment will allow inspectors to obtain search warrants in order to do inspections without having to demonstrate that they intend to seize anything. For example, Housing Help has had clients who were without heat in their apartment, and when the city of Ottawa property standards inspector went to investigate, he could not gain access to the boiler room. It was locked and the landlord would not cooperate. This is exactly the type of situation where the inspectors need to be able to obtain search warrants expediently without being required to demonstrate to the courts what they intend to seize. It's rather difficult to seize a boiler or a locked door.


Clearly, the purpose for improving access to search warrants for bylaw enforcement officials must be for the intention of inspecting and ordering compliance with standards as opposed to inspecting an order to close the unit down. This is a strong issue for us.

In order to ensure that municipal bylaw enforcement across the province reflects this principle, we recommend that the province amend the Planning Act to encourage municipalities to repair and preserve the housing when an owner will not, and permit municipalities to do repairs and readily recover the cost from the property owner. The City of Ottawa has recently approached the province, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, in order to have a bylaw passed to permit them to do exactly this.

Where the issue is zoning violations, the Planning Act should reflect a principle of preservation of the housing stock by clearly outlining steps for how zoning infractions could be remedied.

Bill 120 also proposes changes to the Planning Act and the Municipal Act which will facilitate the provision of garden suites as another form of affordable housing. Ottawa-Carleton participated in the provincial demonstration project on "granny flats," with four units being available in our area. Interest in the garden suites alternative was demonstrated by the sizeable waiting list for the four flats. The local success of the program prompted regional council to amend the regional official plan to specifically identify granny flats as an acceptable housing option.

Bill 120's amendments to the Planning Act and the Municipal Act will have the positive impact of securing the tenure of tenants in apartments in houses, ensuring the safety of the units and offering the potential of increased affordable housing alternatives in our community.

I'd like to address the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act.

The number of cases of abuses and garbage bag evictions experienced by residents in supportive housing highlighted during the Lightman commission hearings prompted Bill 120's amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. Although we did not present a brief to the Lightman commission, we too can testify to local situations in supportive housing where tenants have been evicted abruptly and unfairly. In one case, a woman was told to leave her unit by the end of the day because staff found her behaviour abusive. The woman had been speaking to the housing staff in defence of another resident who our client felt was being unfairly evicted. In another situation, a woman who was temporarily hospitalized due to mental health problems was visited by the staff of the home, not in order to support her, as you might anticipate coming from supportive housing, but in order to have her sign an agreement to leave her apartment. Although she had done nothing wrong, apparently she was too depressed for the supportive housing provider to carry on with her in the residence. There are just two examples of situations where, had they had the same rights as other tenants, these women would not have lost their housing.

An estimated 47,000 people across Ontario live in unregulated care homes and therefore are at risk of abrupt eviction, lack of privacy and uncontrolled costs for care and accommodation. By bringing residents of supportive housing under the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act, they will gain security of tenure, they will gain the dignity of knowing that they have the same rights as other tenants and they will have more control over their own housing.

Coverage under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act will also be a means of clearly separating accommodation from support services, clarifying the types of support services being provided and thereby enabling residents to have more control in determining what support services they are receiving. This is a step forward, one way of practically applying the principle of separating the provision of supportive care from housing, a position expounded by community groups as well as three of the ministries of the government: Health, Community and Social Services, and Housing.

One major problem, however, with the proposed amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act is that the definition of "rent" does not include meals. Currently under the Rent Control Act, the provision of food in boarding homes is considered to be a separate charge, but still part of the rent; therefore, meals are covered by the Rent Control Act, ie, increase and notification. However, for units with a care component, the proposed amendments specifically exclude meals as part of the definition of "rent." This has a couple of potential negative aspects or impacts.

Tenants presently living in boarding homes who are already covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act and Rent Control Act will be at risk if the owners decide to offer some minimal type of service in order to be classified as supportive housing. Tenants would no longer have the food component of their housing covered by the Rent Control Act, allowing landlords to increase the cost of meals whenever and however much they like.

Residents in supportive housing would have their accommodation costs controlled, but not their food costs. Residents would thereby be at risk of economic eviction if providers drastically increased food costs, an insidious measure that might be taken by providers who do not want to comply with the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act. Conversely, residents would also be at risk of losing necessary food services if the landlord decided to stop providing meals.

Of course, providers will also be at risk if the food is not covered in the rent definition. With the proposed definition of "rent," if a resident does not pay the food costs, the provider does not have any grounds for evicting that tenant under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Clearly, tenants and providers would be better protected if food costs were reflected as a separate charge in the definition of "rent" for units with a care component.

We recommend that the definition of "rent" in the Rent Control Act be changed so that meals are included in the definition of "rent" for units with a care component.

We admit that including supportive housing under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act will in some cases be challenging to implement. Most problems are likely to occur in situations when residents share their room with another resident, if they do not get along with the other residents or if a resident goes into crisis. However, the problem lies with the design of the accommodation and the insufficient community support and crisis intervention services that will assist people where they are residing. Clearly these are systemic problems which need considerable governmental support in order to provide what is required. However, systemic problems and fears of how difficult it might be to implement this legislation are in no way justification for continuing to deny rights of people who are also tenants.

One thing that will help in cases where problems occur in supportive housing and living conditions of the same is a more efficient court process. In Ottawa, it takes nearly three months to get a court date for applications under the Landlord and Tenant Act. This backlog must be eliminated. Tenants taking landlords to court will benefit and landlords taking tenants to court will benefit from a court system which can run on an up-to-date basis. Housing Help recommends that the province provide the resources necessary to reduce the backlog in the landlord-tenant court.

The need for public education on Bill 120: Our final comments on Bill 120 deal with the necessity of ensuring that all the people affected by this legislation are fully informed of their rights and requirements under this law. It would be ludicrous to pass a residents' rights bill without ensuring that the people affected are able to find out about their rights.

Home owners with apartments in their homes must be familiar with the regulations that govern the physical requirements of their apartment. It is very unfortunate that the city of Ottawa could no longer afford to cost-share the home planning advisory service with the province, as it would have been a very appropriate agency for informing home owners about the provisions under this new bill, to assist home owners through the provincial process for converting their homes and to monitor how many owners are building apartments in houses. We recommend that the province increase its funding of the cost-shared home planning advisory service to 80% in order to better assist municipalities to operate this service.

Furthermore, it will be very important to ensure the owners of apartments in houses are informed of their rights and requirements under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act. We recommend that upon passage of Bill 120, the local rent control offices, in conjunction with the local landlord associations, coordinate information sessions targeted at landlords of apartments in houses.

Likewise, operators of supportive housing will need to become familiar with the requirements of the bill as well. We recommend that the rent control office develop information material for supportive housing providers in consultation with supportive housing associations and coalitions. In addition, we recommend that the province consult with and provide resources to local groups such as the housing coalition in Ottawa-Carleton in order to provide training to supportive housing providers on their requirements under the bill.

Of greatest concern to us is ensuring that tenants affected by Bill 120 are very informed about this law. For tenants in apartments in houses, we recommend an extensive mass media promotion to ensure that their housing is now legal and to give them information on the resources to contact if they are having problems where they are living. Furthermore, we recommend that the province require municipalities to provide information on houses that are being converted to include an apartment, and that the rent control office then be required to send a letter and information material to the occupant of the apartment as well as to the landlord.

For people living in supportive housing, the strategy of informing them about their new rights must be sensitive to their particular needs, which could include developing materials in different languages, including Braille, using simple language and using video media.

Finally, we recommend that the ministry consult with tenant and special-needs advocacy groups to develop appropriate information materials for people living in supportive housing. Furthermore, we recommend that funds be made available to tenant and special-needs advocacy groups to go into supportive housing and provide information to tenants about this bill and about their rights.

We thank you for this opportunity to present to you this morning. We look forward to your questions.


Mr Winninger: Your detailed recommendations are certainly very helpful. I believe that some of your concerns may already have been met -- for example, even though you still require reasonable grounds to get a warrant for inspection, the requirement procedure has been relaxed, that the minimum area requirements for apartments other than bachelors at 344 square feet seems reasonable and the provision of natural lighting the same as you get in renovations. Finally, if you're a third-floor accessory apartment and you don't have an interconnected smoke detector system, then you'd be required, as I understand it, absent additional standards, to have a separate means of exit. So I think some of your concerns are already being met, but certainly the other concerns you express need to be considered as well.

Mr Owens: My question is with respect to abbreviated eviction proceedings. This issue has come up in a number of presentations. I'm a little bit nervous about codifying abbreviated evictions. Can you provide the committee with your views and some advice on that?

Ms Lisa Jamieson: I don't think we would recommend at all for an abbreviated eviction process. The process needs to be the same for everybody. Part of our concern, though, is that there are some delays in landlord-tenant court and that affects both tenants who are trying to take their landlords to court as well as landlords who are trying to take their tenants to court. It's more an issue of just resources to the existing system to make the process run more quickly, not to change the law at all in terms of landlord-tenant and the time lines, but just how quickly can you get a court date.

Hon Ms Gigantes: I'd like to ask specifically about your recommendations around the inclusion of food costs in the rent control component. I think one of the things that went on in the minds of people in considering how the legislation should be drafted was the understanding that in some care situations people may opt in and out of care and they may opt in and out of food services, which is a somewhat different situation from the normal rent control situation, where services are fairly stable. So that was one concern and I'm wondering about whether you've thought about that.

The second item, which has to do with the temptation for boarding homes to convert if there is no inclusion of food costs within the care home section, it seems to me that that might be inhibited by the fact that the legislation suggests there could be no eviction for non-payment of food or care services. That would not be very attractive to a boarding home operator.

Ms Jamieson: I think you're right, that is a possibility to counter the other, but I think that there are potential problems for all the different parties in this, in that if it were looked at more thoroughly and looked at covering the cost of meals in the Rent Control Act, obviously what you're saying is that ability to opt in and out, maybe needs to be studied a bit more thoroughly as to how that could be implemented in that kind of procedure, but I think that everybody is potentially at risk the way it is now.

Mr Cordiano: Obviously you don't think this legislation is perfect, then, and needs further amendments, so I'm going to ask a couple of questions just where the minister left off around meals not covered under the Rent Control Act. My concern is that if you bring those in under the auspices of the Rent Control Act, you set a limit or a ceiling, if you will, for costs and ultimately you're going to set a floor for the quality of those meals. I think once you do that, that's going to be the standard by which operators will provide food. If there isn't a realistic reflection of what costs are, which will be determined arbitrarily by bureaucrats, essentially, you could have a deterioration of quality of services provided and that goes as well for provision of care, which might be brought under rent control as well.

By the way, I think by and large if you look at most rest and retirement homes and homes for the aged, there is a 25% vacancy rate right across the province, which is quite substantial, which means there is a regulatory effect in place now keeping prices and costs pretty low.

Mr Michael Wilson: In response, our recommendation comes from a desire to see this bill function within a consistency with other legislation. So because boarding homes are included under the Rent Control Act at present, providing food with accommodation, we thought this was an important part to look at. Indeed, there may be a lot of variables and I think that the implementation of regulations will have a very clear effect on this. I don't know that it's just an arbitrary decision by a bureaucrat.

I take your warning seriously. The whole question of profit gain is there and at the moment we still see landlords who collect their rent and feel they don't need to do any repairs because they need a profit margin and they don't do that. But at the same time, we're searching for consistency with existing legislation so that there is not a contradiction and not a loophole so that someone could jump out of their present situation and then find a way to raise rents without applying it to the housing but applying it to the food costs. So we ask the government to search this legislation to make sure that it's consistent and also that the food variable be considered.

Mr Cordiano: I can appreciate where you're coming from. I just have a great deal of concern with implementation and how that affects tenants. At the end of the day, I think when you speak of consistency, quite frankly, with the Rent Control Act, there is no experience in these areas for those officials to monitor and regulate meals and to monitor and regulate provision of care. There is no track record there in that ministry, first off, if you do believe that they should be regulating and monitoring these prices.

The Chair: Are you hoping for a response, Mr Cordiano?

Mr Cordiano: Yes I am, of some kind.

Mr Michael Wilson: I believe I've given a response.

Mr Cordiano: Yes, pretty well. I just make the point to reiterate that there isn't that kind of practical experience or history of the ministry being able to determine that area of concern and to say that they do have expertise in that monitoring. Anyway, I'll pass to Margaret.

Mrs Marland: I'm wondering if you could leave us a copy of the comments that you read from, because what was pre-circulated isn't what you read.

Mr Michael Wilson: No, what we circulated was a copy of the recommendations I presented. The full documentation will follow.

Mrs Marland: You will leave a copy of that brief.

Mr Michael Wilson: Yes, we'll mail it in to you.

Mrs Marland: You're the executive director of Housing Help. That's a paid or a voluntary position?

Mr Michael Wilson: It's a paid position.

Mrs Marland: You referred to some of the advantages of Bill 120 and you made a reference to the fact that no longer can municipalities pass bylaws excluding or controlling the number of unrelated people in a building. Is it your impression that that's the case now?

Mr Michael Wilson: Not locally, but there is evidence that this does happen across the province. It is a large question within planning decisions in municipalities that zoning not be done by people but by use of property.

Mrs Marland: I think you should know in your position that this is not a possibility in this province. The precedent for trying to control the number of unrelated people living in a unit was taken to the Supreme Court of Canada about 15 years ago by Barbara Greene, an example of a rooming house in North York, so municipalities cannot pass bylaws controlling the number of related or unrelated people in a unit, because the precedent stands for that challenge having been upheld, so it's not a legal possibility for municipalities in Ontario today.

I wondered if you could tell us what Bill 120 is going to do to improve the care of residents.


Mr Michael Wilson: You mean in care facilities.

Mrs Marland: In retirement and rest homes, those areas that are controlled by Bill 120.

Mr Michael Wilson: We are supportive and we agree with the bill's position that tenure is a basic, given right. People pay a certain proportion of money for the housing they live in and the question of qualitative care or sufficient care or how someone is treated is a very separate issue from whether someone is entitled to have some sense of security where they live. Looking at this bill, what we see is a consistency across the board that people pay for a place to live. At that point, it becomes their home. It is no longer the property, in the sense of the owner of the property being able to dictate to them unfairly whether they will stay there or whether they will leave. This bill does address that.

Mrs Marland: At that point it becomes their home?

Mr Michael Wilson: That's what I said, yes.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing this morning.


The Chair: The next presentation is the AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa, Mr Terry Milne. Good morning, Mr Milne. We have allocated one half-hour for your presentation. You've been here for a few minutes; I think you know how it works.

Mr Terry Milne: I had initially been told 15 minutes; I may get you ahead of schedule here somewhat.

My name is Terry Milne. I'm the executive director of the AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa. The AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa is a non-profit agency that provides supportive housing to persons living with HIV and AIDS. We operate two programs: the first, Bruce House, a five-person group residence. It provides 24-hour support for those making a transition to community living and for those who require a higher level of support and care. The second of our programs provides rent-geared-to-income apartments to 26 people living with HIV and AIDS and their partners and a lower degree of case management support.

The AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa is also a community organization advocating for the needs of persons living with HIV and AIDS, but we are more than advocates. Our board of directors includes program clients and people living with HIV and AIDS, and those living with HIV and AIDS also represent a significant portion of our staff.

It is a community-based organization responsive to the population we serve. We support the principle of Bill 120. For the most part, we believe it captures the very worthwhile work done by Dr Ernie Lightman. It's important, we believe, that all citizens of this province enjoy equal tenancy rights, yet we do have some concerns and questions and I would like to briefly outline these.

First, regarding the amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act: We recognize and support the end of tenancy rights for some and no tenancy rights for others. We do not want to support the view that the potential difficulties of special-needs housing requires limited rights for some of those who access it. What is required is adequate supportive housing, housing that meets the range of support needs of people living with HIV and AIDS. To provide a full slate of tenancy rights without the resources to operationalize those rights puts increased pressure on already overburdened agencies and does little to advance the rights of consumers.

Failure to back up these rights with adequate resources would likely have two results. The first is that housing providers will continue to be blamed for intolerance and inflexibility, even when this is not accurate. Second, hard-to-house individuals may be put in an even more vulnerable position if housing providers become less willing or less able to work with people with especially difficult needs.

Clearly, then, the need is to extend tenancy rights to all residents of this province and at the same time commit to providing adequate supportive housing for all those who need it. One in the absence of the other might become an empty gesture.

Regarding the Rent Control Act, we understand and support the principle of separating housing and support services so that housing is no longer contingent on the maintenance of support services. This would allow individuals to determine the level and type of service they wish to receive and this will go far towards empowering people who are in a very vulnerable position.

Like others in the community, however, we are left to wonder how this part of the legislation might be implemented. We wonder if it is the intention of the government to dismantle the domiciliary hostel program. Under this program, through which Bruce House is funded, we are required to provide 24-hour support, meals, medication supervision and a range of other supports.

If residents choose to access only some of these services, what will the implication be for the payment of per diems? We, like others, currently operate at a deficit, and the loss of this funding stream would impact our ability to deliver what we are told by our district health council is a necessary, although already inadequate, program.

Clearly, the implementation of changes to the Rent Control Act will require careful thought and extensive consultation with the community. It would be difficult to justify endangering supports that are already woefully inadequate.

Finally, we have concerns regarding the process of implementation and the availability of information available through this process. Supportive housing providers need information regarding these changes.

I can tell you from my contacts in the AIDS community that there is little or no awareness of this legislation and its impact. We have, until yesterday, had no contact with the ministry and indeed have been unable to obtain background information on this legislation from the ministry.

The ministry will also need to provide information to communities regarding rights and responsibilities under the legislation. Individuals need to know what their rights and obligations are and where they can obtain assistance.

Finally, the ministry should work in a more collaborative way with housing providers. Many of these are small, community-based agencies meeting urgent needs with often inadequate resources. They will need the help of government in extending these rights in a meaningful way to their client population.

I want to thank the legislative committee for hearing these comments. I want to reiterate as well our support for the legislation. It is our hope that we can work with the government to extend these rights to the people we serve in a meaningful way. I welcome any questions you might have.

Mr Cordiano: I'd like to thank you for your presentation. Obviously, I'm concerned. As the Housing critic for our party, I'm deeply concerned about the question of separation of housing from support services and how that affects individuals and affects the ability of organizations such as yours to maintain funding levels to maintain the kind of provision of care that is necessary for tenants in a supportive living arrangement. I don't see that this legislation properly addresses that concern. You've expressed concern around that. Do you believe support services should be included in the Rent Control Act as something that should be monitored and regulated, with a view to regulating prices for those services, or do you think we should leave those out of the Rent Control Act?

Mr Milne: No, I think the legislation clearly made a worthwhile contribution. The entire tenor of Dr Lightman's report was that those two things should be separated. We support that. What we are concerned with -- and this is a question; this isn't a hard-and-fast answer -- is that in doing that, in doing something that's very much needed, that we not put in jeopardy those programs already operating at the margin, that we not put in jeopardy their ability to deliver services. I don't think that's an insurmountable obstacle.

Mr Cordiano: You may have situations, and I've heard other groups that have come before us that have talked about this -- it's hypothetical, of course; it hasn't happened -- where you may not get payment for support services. Obviously, the housing portion of payments will be up to date, but the support services payment may be held back by a tenant. If we do bring those under the Rent Control Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act then would apply. Leaving them out leaves you with no recourse through the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mr Milne: In our case, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most people in this situation receive public funding under the dom hostel program. I think clearly in the regulations, and I just want to say this again, there has to be some provision made for those organizations which live and die by that funding.

Why that cannot be done and also have supports in housing separated escapes me. To me, the two are doable if this is well thought out and done in consultation with the community. One doesn't necessarily suppose the other.


Mr Cordiano: That brings me to another question. You mentioned the fact that there was no contact made with you by the ministry, there was no effort to consult with your group prior to the drafting of this legislation?

Mr Milne: No, and this was written in some frustration, not with a ministry as such but as a community. I have to tell you, most of my experience is in mental health and some of the issues around mental health. I've been involved with this community now for about a year, primarily as a board member with our organization. We tend to be the poor cousins in the housing business.

I phoned around this week and talked to most of the AIDS housing providers in Ontario. Very few of them had any awareness of this legislation beyond the fact that indeed it was here and some response had to be made.

I would encourage the government to make some effort to make contact with this community, tell them what the impact of this legislation is going to be on them and work with them, because virtually all of them are in the situation we're in where they operate on a shoestring. They're just making it now. They're terrified when they first see this legislation. Once I read this through, I was fairly comfortable with what it's doing, as long as it works in our favour in the regulations, but I think some consultation and some collaboration is in order.

Mr Cordiano: I just find it unacceptable that the ministry would not have consulted. In fact, I know that Dr Lightman obviously made an effort to talk to a variety of groups. Perhaps the AIDS groups around the province were not included in that process.

Mr Milne: I don't know if they were when Dr Lightman did his work. I was part of the mental health community when Dr Lightman did his work and I can assure you he consulted us fairly completely.

Mr Cordiano: I don't recall that there was anything in particular, but that's something we may discuss at a later time.

Mr Milne: My concern isn't that this has happened; it's that from here on in a more collaborative stance be taken by the government and that we be included a bit more, just to be brought along. We're in a somewhat different position than maybe most dom hostel operators.

Mr Cordiano: I think it's rather unique. Just to move on to the question of accessory apartments in houses, do you support that portion of the bill, the portion of the bill dealing with accessory apartments in houses, basement apartments and similar accessory apartments?

Mr Milne: That's something we really haven't looked at because it really has very little impact on what we do.

Mr David Johnson: Most of my questions have been touched on in that in the previous questioning the lack of consultation was certainly one point that I wanted to follow up on. You're representing the AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa. Have you been in contact with your colleagues in other cities, and is this a similar situation in terms of the lack of consultation, not only here in Ottawa but in Toronto or Hamilton or London?

Mr Milne: I can't speak for them. Most of them have little awareness of what the legislation is about.

Mr David Johnson: The information we've had from government sources is that in fact the consultation process has been very extensive, that literally hundreds of groups have been involved, and that this is quite a groundswell of consensus in terms of what's coming before us. So I find it interesting -- I don't dispute what you're saying, because we've had municipalities saying exactly the same thing.

Mr Milne: This can be taken too far. My colleagues in mental health are, to a person, here today. Most of the people that I work with in various policy areas in the community have all been aware of this. I really feel quite strongly this is an opportunity for the provincial government, both the government itself and the bureaucracy, to recognize that this segment of the housing community exists. We're a fairly small player and I guess I'm asking more for recognition than anything.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to understand a little bit better your point with regard to the separation of housing and support services. Your needs are very particular, I guess perhaps unique. There has been a lot of concern expressed that the housing component be separate from the care component and, to the contrary, we heard this morning that they should be rolled together and they both should be controlled. I don't quite understand where you're coming from in this regard. It sounds to me as if you're saying that they should both be controlled but in different fashions.

Mr Milne: I didn't speak to the idea of control. My primary concern is that the people we deal with are quite vulnerable, and they're also often facing issues that make provision of service to them quite difficult. Where you bundle up service and housing, you make them more vulnerable than they have to be.

Let me give an example. We deal with a range of people for whom substance abuse problems are an issue, but they are also people who are facing the dilemma of being diagnosed with HIV and facing the onslaught of AIDS. How unfair is it to make their housing contingent on their ability to adhere to a plan of treatment imposed by some care giver? It's not fair; it's not just.

Housing is a right we all have. When I pay my rent this month, I'm going to get to live where I live, regardless of whether I obey my doctor's orders or not. Why should they have to live any differently?

Yes, both supports and tenancy and rent should be regulated to some extent. Should they be regulated under the same act? I guess I'm taking it from a service provider's point of view. Should people's right to have a residence be contingent on their adherence to a plan of treatment? That's clearly ludicrous. You or I would refuse to live that way.

Mrs Marland: I think you're bringing some very important viewpoints to this committee. I would like to ask the minister, since she is here this morning, whether you would make a commitment to Mr Milne that your staff will listen to the input of not only the AIDS Housing Group of Ottawa but this very specialized group of care providers in the province. I'm sure you're concerned to hear that your staff have not responded to their questions and that your staff haven't been involved in talking to such a significant representative in this province in the drafting of this bill. Would you be willing to make that commitment this morning?

Hon Ms Gigantes: I'm delighted that Mr Milne's here and reminding us that we have to make more efforts to reach out and involve groups who are active on housing issues, groups such as the one you're working with, Mr Milne, and I certainly am quite prepared to encourage the support of the Ministry of Housing staff to make sure that if our consultation and discussion process has not up to now been adequate from your point of view, we remedy that. I'm delighted to say that.

Mrs Marland: Thank you for that commitment. Being part of a category of our Ontario residents who would certainly be among those Dr Lightman was identifying as vulnerable, it's really quite disappointing this morning to hear you haven't been involved thus far.

Mr Milne: If you took all the AIDS housing providers, other than Casey House, which is a different kettle of fish, and lumped them together, I don't think the entire budget would come to $2 million. We are very small players. Believe me, we get overlooked in far more disturbing ways than this in the course of any week.

What I'm asking for is that we begin from this point on to work together. I've identified a problem. I don't want to sound partisan here, but this government has taken Dr Lightman's work and operationalized it in a way that we as service providers can live with and that we as advocates can live with, and that's a very delicate piece of work. We would certainly be disappointed if, having identified our needs to the government, we weren't to be consulted from this point on.

I think one of the more minor points I raised was the difficulty getting information, and my concern in raising that was that from here on in we work collaboratively, not that I'm trying to raise a huge concern that to this point we were missed. We're easy enough to miss.


The Acting Chair (Mr Bernard Grandmaître): One short question.

Mrs Marland: There is a huge concern on my part that no matter how small you are, you haven't been able to get information you've needed, and I think as of this morning we now have that remedied.

Having said that, what I would like to ask you is, do you think that part of the difficulty of this bill perhaps could be that where we're dealing with retirement and rest homes, in that part of the bill, perhaps some of those aspects, especially any part of control that governs care, really are not a responsibility, in fairness, of this minister but rather of the Minister of Health? Do you think the overlap between the two ministries is a bit of a problem inasmuch as in this bill it only comes under the Minister of Housing and it doesn't do anything about the care concerns Dr Lightman also identified?

Mr Milne: Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of this legislation is that the provision of care that has fallen -- and again, I'm taking the community perspective, not the government perspective. We are divesting the provision of housing of its care component. We're not bringing something into housing that doesn't belong there; much the opposite, from my point of view, we're taking something out of housing that never did belong there and making it a separate issue. Now, where that is subsequently regulated I don't know. Maybe that's an open question we can talk about now or at a later date.

I have to tell you, I'm on the outside looking in to the government process, and I'm saying the problem was that we had all this lumped together. The problem, albeit probably not to everyone's liking 100%, has now been addressed by pulling these things apart, as Dr Lightman recommended. Clearly, that was the whole tenor of his report. Now we have some of the details to work out, but that has been done, has it not?

Mr Owens: Mr Milne, I want to thank you for your presentation. I think it's fair to say that as part of the group that could be viewed as hard to house, even as a subset, men and women who are HIV-positive and persons living with AIDS form a separate subset and still face discrimination on a number of levels with respect to their housing needs. I'm pleased that you're here this morning and further pleased that the minister has made comments with wanting to work with yourself and other providers, again with respect to your group.

I think -- and this is a personal view as a person who was a volunteer with the AIDS Committee of Toronto back in 1988, which was long before Hollywood had discovered AIDS as an entertainment vehicle -- in looking at the housing needs, this bill does a couple of things.

One, it is going to give safety standards and a level of comfortable housing to a group of individuals who, once a diagnosis is rendered, their life simply implodes or explodes, however you want to characterize it.

Secondly, in terms of the care issue, our government, through the Ministry of Health, has worked on the long-term care legislation. This minister and the ministry, with respect to operating agreements with co-op housing and non-profit housing, have addressed, again, specifically the hard-to-house groups. So in terms of the supportive housing issue you addressed, it's not being left out and this piece of legislation superseding and not addressing those needs.

I guess I don't particularly have a question, other than to say I appreciate your comments here this morning, and certainly if there's anything else that we as this committee can do in terms of addressing your issues, please feel free to forward information to us.

The Chair: The question is, don't you agree?

Thank you very much for coming this morning and making this presentation. For your information, the committee will be considering this bill clause-by-clause during the week of March 6.

I have some housekeeping matters. The first one would be of interest to members. The checkout time at the hotel is 1 o'clock. There are two rooms available to the committee to leave their belongings in if they wish.

Mr Owens: My room has been nationalized by the Liberals.

Mrs Marland: Is that the party room?

Mr Winninger: You better get the skeletons out of your closet.

The Chair: Another piece of information I might impart to you at this point is that we have a change to the schedule regarding tomorrow in that at 4:30 the mayor of North York, Mr Lastman, will be appearing before the committee. You might want to make a note of that.

Mrs Marland: I have a scheduling question for tomorrow as well. I don't know whether that's appropriate to do with the subcommittee when we finish this morning's deputations or just to mention it now.

The Chair: Let's do it now.

Mrs Marland: I guess it's governed by the fact I've been told that two spaces have come up for tomorrow. Is that the case, Mr Clerk?

Clerk of the Committee (Mr Franco Carrozza): I have no idea.

Mrs Marland: No. Okay. There is a group in Toronto that I think it's very important the committee hear from. It's the Massey Centre for Women; it's a women's transitional housing. I think everybody on the committee would like to hear from the representatives of the Massey Centre. If there was a cancellation when we're in Toronto -- I'd heard there was one tomorrow; that there were two actually and one was going to be taken by the mayor of North York. I'm simply asking the subcommittee to consider the Massey Centre for Women.

The Chair: Once we know whether there's actually vacancies, we can talk in subcommittee about that.

The other matter I wanted to bring before members -- and this has been raised today. We received a package from the ministry last Thursday and the last paragraph said the office of the fire marshal will be sending additional information on the draft fire code amendments and powers of entry under the Fire Marshals Act. Today we have that from the ministry and the clerk will distribute that to all members.


The Chair: The next presentation will come from West End Legal Services. Please introduce yourself and your position within the organization.

Ms Mary Garrett: My name is Mary Garrett. I'm a community legal worker at West End Legal Services. For those of you who don't know me, I should advise you that I have a reputation of talking in stories and you'll find that as we go through this.

West End Legal Services is a community legal clinic funded by the Ontario legal aid plan. We opened our doors in the west end of Ottawa-Carleton in February 1982. We are a general poverty clinic and, like the rest of the general clinics in our system, more than 50% of our case load is in the area of housing. In 1993, we gave legal advice on 1,796 legal questions on housing-related matters while opening 250 files to represent tenants in matters of eviction, repairs and rent-related issues.

We have seen a lot of abuse in the 12 years that we've been fighting for tenants' rights: abuse of tenants, abuse of process, and abuse of the circumstances. The abusers, more times than not, have been the landlords. However, we recognize that the system, other agencies and, to be fair, on the odd occasion, the tenants are also abusers.


Based on our wealth of experience we wish to inform you that we support Bill 120. We see the need for more safe, affordable accommodation any way we can get it. We need to legitimize apartments that already exist so that tenants can enforce their rights under the municipal property standards bylaws or the legislation such as the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act.

We need protection for tenants from those landlords who find the loopholes and manipulate the law to benefit themselves no matter what.

We believe that Bill 120 achieves this to some extent because it will correct some of the injustices that we have encountered over the years and which are depicted in the following cases.

It has been our experience that some people will bend and manipulate the game if they do not like the rules they are given to play with. In one case a tenant, on the advice of a rent review officer, made a complaint against the landlord because of an overpayment in rent. It was during the time of the Residential Tenancies Act.

As part of bad negotiations and intimidation by the landlord, the tenant agreed to vacate his unit and pay an illegal rent increase. This is when the clinic got involved. We challenged the increase and the agreement. The tenant eventually got back a settlement in the amount of $10,000 of illegal rents that he had paid for a period of four to five years.

When the tenant left -- and that was before we got involved -- the landlord knew he did not want to be involved with rent review again. How did he accomplish this? He rented the house to a man on old age security and his daughter who was receiving family benefits as a single-parent mother, and then had them sign a commercial lease.

The landlord is a prime example of why we need Bill 120, for people like him who would use the possibility of services as a way of exempting him from the Landlord and Tenant Act or the Rent Control Act.

In another case, a man called me and stated he was receiving a pension of $1,060 per month. His rent was $1,100 per month. How does he do this? He shares his home and a lease with two other unrelated people. This is not uncommon any more. The rest of his story is not uncommon either. One of the people who shared the lease skipped out and the third is threatening to leave because he cannot afford to pay half the rent. When we asked why he chose these accommodations, the man said he had no place else to go.

The hardest part of our job is telling someone they have to move because they can't afford the rent and there is no place we can suggest as an alternative because we know the waiting list for subsidized units is too long and there is nothing out there to encourage private landlords to provide low-cost residential units.

With the changes to the Planning Act and the Municipal Act proposed by Bill 120, some of this need can be accommodated. Home owners could share portions of their homes as apartments. This would provide shelter to tenants while assisting the home owner in paying the mortgage.

While some home owners will not want to participate in this opportunity, others will. In fact, these apartments exist now in communities even where home owners cannot put apartments in their homes due to zoning restrictions. They provide an income to the home owner and while the tenant may get a roof over his head, he gets little or no protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act or municipal bylaws, due to their illegal status.

On the point at hand, our clinic represented a young student who rented a basement apartment with a couple of other persons. Each tenant had a separate agreement with the landlord. Each tenant paid about $320 a month in rent. None of the tenants knew each other before they moved into the unit. The bedrooms they lived in did not comply with the minimum property standards. Two of the three bedrooms did not have windows. In fact, there was only one small basement window in the apartment. The apartment was cold and damp and in need of repairs. Our client threatened to call property standards if the landlord did not make the needed repairs, excluding of course the structural changes the tenant did not know were in violation of the building code. The landlord's response was simple: "Get out."

How can we ask a judge to stop an eviction when the apartment is not legal from the standpoint that it was not zoned properly, that there were no building permits to allow its existence, that it does not comply with the building code and property standards bylaws and it does not comply with the fire code? How are we to force property standards to issue an order against a unit that is not supposed to be there? Where are the tenants to go on such short notice? Where are the tenants to go to find other legal accommodation as cheap as the illegal unit they are forced to leave? We can make an assumption that the people who can afford decent, adequate legal apartments are not going to rent insufficient, unsafe illegal apartments for the cost savings it provides or for the adventure they may get from it.

A landlord who would put three young men into an apartment which is too small, too damp, too run-down, a fire trap and charge them $1,000 for that privilege will not be the kind of person who will encourage the tenants to enforce their rights under the law. If there is a loophole at all, the landlord will find it. In this instance, the loophole is that this apartment is not legal and accordingly he must move everyone out. Is there anyone who believes this apartment is not going to be re-rented? Is there anyone who believes this apartment is going to be fixed up so that it meets all the safety codes and conforms with existing bylaws? Unless there is legislation in place that will force the landlord to comply, nothing will change.

With the passage of Bill 120 and a set of regulated standards for apartments in houses, this landlord will then be in a position to apply for a building permit and make the changes required to make the apartment safe and legal. The tenant will be in a position to apply to property standards for an order having the bylaw adhered to. The legal clinics will be able to apply to the courts for the enforcement of the tenant's legal rights.

Now on search warrants: At the present time, the only way a city employee can gain access to areas they are not invited into is to get a search warrant. To do so, they must show reasonable and probable grounds as well as the need to seize evidence. With the proposed amendments to the Planning Act, municipal employees such as property standards bylaw inspectors will be able to obtain a search warrant without the express requirements to seize evidence. Most tenants who require municipal employees to enter their premises do not wish or need evidence seized. They need an inspection to see where the problem is.

Our office received a call one Saturday morning in November a few years ago from a man who was two weeks late in paying his rent. When he awoke, he found that he had no electricity in his apartment. His unit was electrically heated. As well, his fish had died and his food was spoiling in the refrigerator. His landlord was not cooperative, stating that he was going to do nothing unless the rent was paid up and, I might tell you, paid up now. In this case, we were fortunate that this happened on a weekend when property standards officers were not working because we were able to get the police to go into that apartment building. The police were able to encourage the landlord to get them into the utility room where they found that the landlord had cut the power off to the tenant's unit because the rent had not been paid. They also found the landlord had cut power to 20 other units as well for the same reason. Had this happened on a Monday or had the police decided not to get involved because this is a civil matter, the city inspector may not have been able to get into the utility room, because he would not have been able to get a search warrant.


In another case, our client lived in a ground-floor apartment of a house which had been converted into three apartments. The furnace was in the basement and access to it was through the basement apartment. Our client was having problems with the landlord because of her calls to the property standards department. The tenant who occupied the basement apartment was a friend of the landlord, who lived out of town, and therefore was not as cooperative with our client as he could have been.

The tenant in the basement apartment went away for four or five days in the middle of winter, closing the furnace vents to our client's apartment before he left. Our client called property standards, but no one could gain access to the basement furnace room while the tenant occupying the basement was away.

Education: Not all landlords we deal with are like the ones we described in the previous cases. There is a great number of landlords who create problems simply because they do not know what they are doing. They have never bothered to find out the rules that they must follow. They all understand that to sell insurance or real estate, a person must be licensed to ensure that they know what they are doing. The same goes for those practising medicine or law. As well, you must be licensed to run a business, be it a department store or selling goods from your car.

However, the same people who believe these things believe that all you need to be a landlord is an apartment or a house to rent. They do not stop to think about the laws or the rules. Many of the small landlords we see operate under this premise: "The tenant lives in my house and pays me rent, but it's my house, so I can come in any time I want to. I do not have to fix it unless I want to. I can decide how high or how low the heat is turned on and who can visit this house." These are landlords, mind you, who are renting apartments in houses. These are not rooming house owners.

It is not enough to change the rules by passing Bill 120. We submit that government must also educate those affected about the changes and how each is affected by the changes. Since these changes will produce more small landlords, it will be a good opportunity for the government to produce a booklet on the obligations of the landlord. It should explain the laws that they must adhere to, such as the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act, the Human Rights Code and the Income Tax Act etc. It should also point out the tenant's rights so that the landlord will know not to infringe on them. It should carry a warning to those persons who cannot abide by the restrictions imposed by legislation that they should not become landlords.

We thank your committee for the opportunity to meet with you. We trust that when you go back to Toronto to your deliberations, you will remember the people our office represents. The persons who are on their own have no power to protect their homes. They need to rely on laws that will keep them safe. They need to rely on others to make a place available for them to live. They need to rely on a system that will work and give them rights, even if they have insufficient money. Bill 120 will not do all of this, but it will help to achieve some of it.

The Chair: Thank you. We have about four minutes.

Mrs Marland: I'm glad you've identified a problem of absentee landlords, because that is an amendment we will be bringing to this act, that if basement apartments are to be legalized under Bill 120, at least they are owner-occupied. You've identified the problem when the owner isn't in the same building. Are you a lawyer?

Ms Garrett: I'm a legal worker.

Mrs Marland: You're talking about the fact that under Bill 120, the remedy will simply be for the tenant to get their unit inspected and then the landlord will be in a position to apply for a building permit and make the changes required to make the apartment safe and legal. Is it your understanding that Bill 120 will have the power to force the owner of the basement apartment to bring it up to standards, or will the owner have a choice of getting out of the basement apartment business and not having to spend any money?

Ms Garrett: Landlords always have a choice on whether or not they want to remain landlords or whether or not they want to retire that business. Bill 120 does not change that. What it does is it gives the tenant an opportunity to say, "If you're going to be in the business, if you're going to collect my money, you're going to have to provide me with a safe, secure place to live, and if you don't, there will be availability for other people to provide that service."

Mrs Marland: So it is your understanding that Bill 120 doesn't guarantee safe tenancy to basement apartment tenants, because there's no mandate to require the landlord to spend the money that might be necessary to make that unit safe. In other words, the tenant may lose their accommodation.

Ms Garrett: But it still provides more protection than there is now, because there are landlords out there who can simply say to a tenant: "Basement apartments aren't legal. You have no legal rights." If the tenants know that this bill has been passed, they can then at least examine and investigate, and they don't have to stop searching for their rights simply because they've been intimidated.

It also allows for landlords who got into this business without checking what their rights are -- because they knew they had no rights. They knew they weren't allowed to have an apartment, so they went ahead and they did things, they built an apartment that didn't conform.

Mrs Marland: My concern is that we have unsafe basement apartments. My other concern is that we will have tenants losing "this alternative for affordable housing." Frankly, I don't think basement apartments are my vision for affordable housing in Ontario in the first place. I know they're not. But my concern is that it's not quite as simple for the tenant as it sounds, because it sounds on the surface as if the tenant just has to phone the municipality and say, "Come and inspect this unit where I live." While they are at risk in living in an unsafe unit, they also risk being evicted because the owner may not have the money to upgrade the apartment to meet the new standards.

Ms Garrett: I understand that there are going to be, if not already, some recommendations by other groups in Toronto who are going to suggest that money be available for landlords who want to upgrade for apartments. I'm not here to speak about everything.

Mrs Marland: Where would the money come from?

Ms Garrett: You'll have to ask that group when they come before you.

The Chair: I have Mr Owens, Ms Gigantes, Mr Winninger and Mr Fletcher, all in four minutes.

Mr Owens: I've had enough air time today, so I yield my time to Mr Fletcher.

Hon Ms Gigantes: Ms Garrett, if I could ask you about the question of education, because I think that what you raise is an important question there; I believe, as you have stated, that there are landlords, particularly landlords of one unit within a house, who are not aware of their responsibilities and their rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act and under the Rent Control Act.

When we introduced the rent control legislation and proclaimed it, we undertook an extensive public education program at the Ministry of Housing, including television ads and so on. I'd like your assessment of whether that was the kind of program you'd look for in terms of education for landlords and tenants, or if you have suggestions about how to make it better. But could you suggest how we can put the need strongly enough that we don't get opposition criticism that we're wasting money?

Ms Garrett: I wish I could answer all of that, but I'm sure there are groups that you can consult with on this topic. I think it was important that we got news out to tenants that there was a law change with rent control. Having been part of the original rent control appeal board back in the dinosaur days, one of the problems I found with that system was that tenants didn't know they had the right; they were all landlord applications.

So I think it's important that tenants and the general public have to be aware that the law is out there. I don't think you can leave it just with a television ad, because that's gone. People need something in writing, the same as you did here, to watch. So I think it's important that the tenants and the landlords know that something is being written and they could get it.


Mr Winninger: Just on this question of education, I think you know the Ministry of Housing has a booklet now that spells out the obligations of landlords under the Landlord and Tenant Act. I take it you'd like to see that expanded maybe to include a section on apartments in houses and perhaps care homes?

I also think when a home owner applies for an apartment, they should be given a brochure, a book, some kind of training guide saying: "These are your obligations. You have to know what you're responsible for."

Ms Garrett: I think it's more than just, "This is your obligation under the Landlord and Tenant Act." It's going to sound ridiculous, but we do a duty counsel at court and we see this all the time. Landlords show up and they say: "I don't care about that. That's the government's problem. I'm not responsible to these acts." You have small landlords who don't know that they have to follow the Landlord and Tenant Act. They don't know that they have to follow the Rent Control Act. They don't know that they cannot walk into a house that they rent across town at 2 o'clock in the morning to see how high the heat's turned up. They just don't know it. "It's my house; I'm responsible for it; I can go into it."

If somebody's going to be a landlord, they have to have a pamphlet or something that says, "You are responsible." I'm hoping eventually they'll have to be licensed, because I'm a strong believer that if you're going to be a landlord, you should also be licensed, the same as if you're going to sell real estate or anything else. But we don't have that system now, so at least have a system where the landlord will have a book so that he doesn't go into court and say he doesn't know. I believe 90% of the problems with small landlords happen because they don't know that their home is not their home any more. They give up that right when they rent to somebody else.

Mr Winninger: Mr Fletcher had a question as well.

Mr Fletcher: It's probably too late now.

The Chair: Actually, it is too late, but I feel charitable, Mr Fletcher. We're ahead of time.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation. This is a question I asked the mayor this morning. If this legislation passes, and likely it will, do you see people running to have apartments in their houses? Do you see the whole city of Ottawa running to have an apartment in their house to rent out?

Ms Garrett: I don't see a lot of home owners going out and doing it. I hope I can expect to see a lot of tenants calling up property standards and saying: "Okay, now it's safe for me to call you. Would you come over and check it out? I want to know if my kids are safe."

Mr Grandmaître: You say that 50% of your case load is housing-related issues.

Ms Garrett: Over 50%, yes.

Mr Grandmaître: You've dealt with close to 1,800 legal questions on housing. I know that you're providing services for the west end of Ottawa. I know other legal aid services are established in all parts of Ottawa-Carleton. Would you know how many illegal basement apartments exist? The mayor couldn't answer this, but who knows, you may know better than the mayor.

Ms Garrett: I think the problem is that people do not phone up and say: "I'm living in an illegal apartment. Can you help me enforce my rights?" What they do is they go to the landlord and say, "Fix this," and the landlord says: "Why? You're not supposed to be here, and if you call property standards, you're out in the street."

Mr Grandmaître: You mean tenants don't know they're living in illegal apartments?

Ms Garrett: A lot of times they don't know that the area they're living in is not zoned for it, because there might be five or six on the block. I remember when I moved five years ago out of public housing and into the private market, I looked at several basement apartments, and when I asked the landlord if he had a building permit for this apartment, it became already rented.

Mr Grandmaître: How come the tenants' association doesn't help these tenants to identify illegal apartments, and then don't rent them? It's a landlord-tenant responsibility.

Ms Garrett: The problem is it's not up to the tenants' association to police the municipal bylaws on whether or not these things are zoned.

Mr Grandmaître: No, I'm not saying that.

Ms Garrett: We don't have the money to go door to door and ask whether or not the landlord has an apartment in his basement that's legal. We don't have the authority to do that. Unless tenants call us and register with us a problem they have, we have no way of communicating with them.

I don't have the figures on how much money the tenants get now from government to operate tenants' associations, but I remember the first year that Mr Cooke presented a cheque to the United Tenants of Ontario in the amount of just over $200,000, and as a tenants' group we were ecstatic. This was wonderful. Then our treasurer said "Yes, that's six cents apiece." There's not a lot we're going to do on policing the system on six cents apiece, particularly when United Tenants doesn't get that amount now. The funding, like everybody else's funding, is less than six cents a tenant now.

Mr Grandmaître: Another concern of mine is whether the existing illegal apartments that will be rendered or made legal will respect all municipal bylaws, zoning, fire codes and so on and so forth. How many would you say will be converted -- if I can use the word "converted" -- or made to respect all of these municipal bylaws? Mayor Holzman said this morning this will create 1,500 additional units for the city of Ottawa.

Ms Garrett: I don't think it will create that many additional units. I think they're going to have to start counting some of those units. They're there.

I was listening to Ms Holzman and I was astonished that she said we don't have a problem here. We do have a problem. The problem might not be in her neighbourhood, but in the middle-middle class or the lower-middle class or below that where people are struggling the problem is there. People are having to open.

I do want to say I hope that just because I gave you examples of the landlords that our clients meet -- I can't give you any statistics on this -- I'm hoping with humanity that there are more landlords out there, whether with illegal apartments because of the necessity, who are not like the ones I reported. I really do believe the majority of landlords are decent people. It's just that I get very few calls from tenants saying: "I have a problem. My landlord's following the law and it's just great living here."

Mr Grandmaître: So the right of access -- you've mentioned this in your brief -- this is a very complicated system that we're having to live under.

Ms Garrett: It's better than the system of one client I had who was in a wheelchair; she had no legs. There was no subsidized housing, so in September three years ago she had to live in a tent on public property until we could find accommodations for her.

I think the city might not like basement apartments, and as this lady said, basement apartments might not be her choice, but I sure would rather live in a basement apartment than in a tent in September.

Mr Fletcher: Was that in Ottawa?

Ms Garrett: In Ottawa, yes.

Mr Cordiano: Why was she living in a tent? I can't imagine why that would be the case.

Ms Garrett: Because she had no place else to live, not on her income.

Mr Cordiano: I think that's outrageous, Minister, how someone would end up in a tent when we certainly fund hostels right across the province to the tune of millions of dollars. I can't understand why someone would be put in a tent.

Hon Ms Gigantes: When did this occur?

Ms Garrett: This was about three years ago. The problem was that she got kicked out of her apartment by a landlord and it took us a while to find a place available. There is not enough affordable housing that there are vacancies available when people come to them.

Mr Cordiano: Someone wasn't doing their job in the housing sector.

Ms Garrett: The problem is that today we have an opportunity with Bill 120 to create more houses that more people can get to.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation this morning. As I mentioned to other presenters, we will be undertaking the clause-by-clause examination of this the second week of March.

The final presentation of this morning is from Margaret Duncan. We are a couple of minutes early.

Hon Ms Gigantes: She's coming from outside town.

The Chair: We may want to take a five-minute adjournment. If she doesn't come we will adjourn to the afternoon at 1:30.

The committee recessed from 1130 to 1137.


The Chair: The final presentation of the morning comes from Margaret Duncan. Ms Duncan, the committee has allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. You may introduce yourself for Hansard and start when ready.

Mrs Margaret Duncan: I would like you to know that it is a privilege for me to be here this morning with you and I would say that apartments in houses has been something that I'm very interested in and have followed your legislation closely. I'm hoping this will become law as soon as possible. I am not speaking from a very technical point of view, because I find that difficult, but I would say that I am speaking from experience with apartments in houses because we have one in our house.

My first point is that it's one of the oldest methods of accommodation and housing that I know of and one of the most proven methods of housing. We all remember our grandparents and the so-called young couple and how efficiently that worked. It provided accommodation -- sometimes the old aunt -- and I think it was also a lesson to us all in human behaviour. You learned how to get along with the people with whom you lived.

Sometimes the apartments were completely separate but sometimes they weren't. That was the olden times, but with the economic times that we are facing presently, I'm quite sure the extended-family concept is coming back, especially in the care of the elderly; that is, sharing part of your home, which is the concept that is being dealt with. That is for background.

In my opinion, it is economical for the tenant and for the home owner. As I've stated, economics are a very big concern today. For the tenant, it should be open to anyone, not just the grandmother or grandfather. It can be another person non-related and it works quite well.

It is usually a plus for the home owner. It always is, because maybe they have outlived the big house. It could be the mature couple who have no more use for the big house and can divide it appropriately and it provides an income.

For the person who is renting, or the persons, it provides, in my opinion, a kind of a sheltered protection. Some people don't like the big condos and the big apartments; this provides often company beside you. It certainly helps the young couple who would have purchased their first house and as yet do not have a family, or maybe a small family. If they have a large enough facility, they can develop an apartment, which helps them with their mortgage payments. Of course, for the mature couple who wish to remain in their own home but the big house is far too big, it provides them with much-needed income, for the mature couple or the mature widow or widower, as well as someone living in the house for security and for friendship. It provides needed accommodation for singles and couples. I've said it's friendlier.

We all know that some of the existing apartments in houses are of inferior quality. We've heard about that from basement apartments and attic apartments, that sort of thing. When the inferior apartments are legalized, they will be subject to all the rules and regulations which govern rental accommodation in this province. From what I know of rental accommodation, I think that some of these apartments should be upgraded. The legality of the new legislation will allow them to be upgraded; they will have to be upgraded.

I very much favour new and improved criteria for apartments in houses, which of course would upgrade low quality and inferior accommodation. In other words, I'm suggesting that there be quite reasonably strict criteria for developing new apartments. Then, of course, this would apply to the older ones, and they would all be upgraded, working within the rent controls.

I would also say that in my opinion the legislation should apply to both rural and urban areas. I'm rural. I think that both have needs. As I mentioned, we've had an apartment in our house for maybe 20 years, after the family left, and we have a large house. We enjoy the income, plus it's providing a facility for someone. In our particular case, we had quite a sized family, and there were a lot of people in a house with one septic system. Now there are just three people, my husband and I plus the tenant, so there is no added burden on the septic system. In fact, it's considerably less than what we had. So I don't see the environmental aspect being a problem. We all know in rural areas we have to keep our septic systems up to par. An apartment in the house in most cases is actually less than what we had before. So that's from a practical point of view.

But I also favour it in the urban areas. Now, I hear municipal politicians saying it's going to deteriorate their zoning bylaws. I can't favour that. But I do think that there should be firm restrictions on parking. I don't think one apartment should allow more than one car or possibly two. I think that has to be spelled out clearly in the bylaw so that it's not lowering the value of the houses in the neighbourhood. I think the legislation has to be clearly spelled out in that area.

The other thing that I hear from municipal politicians -- and I have to admit I am one of them, but I'm speaking on a personal basis this morning. But I hear my neighbours talking about old people, everybody, can have an apartment in their house; they can just tear down a wall. Well, if you have to pay for that and if you decide that you're going to have an apartment in your house and you spend the money to fix it up and it doesn't work out, then it's your house. I don't think anybody should take lightly what they're doing. They'd have to think it over very carefully. It costs quite a bit of money to bring it up to par. I think you people had a program, and I'm not sure if you do now or not, for apartments in houses, but it's quite a large expenditure to do it and you look at it from a long-term point of view.

Those are my remarks at this time.

The Chair: You have provoked some interest. I will begin with Mr Owens. You have a very short time.

Mr Owens: Thank you, Chair. I'll keep my questions circumspect, then.

In terms of your perspective as a property owner and a landlord, you seem like you're not representing any major advocacy group.

Mrs Duncan: No, I'm not. Not really.

Mr Owens: Exactly. One of the issues that's come up during these hearings is the power of entry. It seems to be the view of some of the opponents of this legislation that the power of entry is not permissive enough.

Mrs Duncan: I don't understand.

Mr Owens: The power of entry is giving somebody the ability to enter your premises. The question is, do they need a search warrant? Should they have a search warrant or should they simply be able to walk into your premises and say, "Mrs Duncan, you have a basement apartment. You have an accessory apartment, and we're here to look at it"?

My question to you is, as a citizen of this province, do you think it's appropriate for property standards officers to still have a requirement for a search warrant to get in to take a look at your property, or should they just be able to simply knock on your door and walk in and provide an inspection?

Mrs Duncan: I will speak again on a personal basis. That wouldn't bother me. I would be happy to have somebody come in and offer constructive -- I would like to live within the law. If changes are to be made in upgrading, I would welcome that, but that's my own point of view. I'm not a suspicious person and that wouldn't bother me.

Mr Daigeler: The apartment that you have, that you're building, is it legal or is it illegal?

Mrs Duncan: I don't think it's not zoned for it, no. It's not zoned. It's been there about 22 years. We got in just under the line. I think it's legal non-conforming.

Mr Daigeler: I see. Special zoning.

Mrs Duncan: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: Would you say then that the apartment -- I don't want to put you on the spot.

Mrs Duncan: No, that's okay.


Mr Daigeler: You may not want to say this on the record, but I'll ask anyway. But I'm advising you --

Mr Grandmaître: Be careful.

Mr Daigeler: -- that you have the freedom not to answer. Would you say your apartment meets all the health and safety regulations?

Mrs Duncan: Yes, I would say so, very closely. That's the thing: It's in our house and we're conscious of fire and we're conscious of septic systems and water. I would say it comes very close. We keep it in good shape.

Mr Daigeler: But you've had no inspection or anything of that nature?

Mrs Duncan: No, we have not.

Mr Grandmaître: Did you have a building permit?

Mrs Duncan: When we developed it, yes, we did.

Mrs Marland: Could you tell us what your elected position is, Mrs Duncan, please?

Mrs Duncan: I'm the reeve of Ramsay township and I'm the warden of Lanark county at this time, newly elected. My council know I'm here, but I have no resolution to speak on behalf of council.

Mrs Marland: No, you've been very clear about that.

Mrs Duncan: I don't think they would oppose me; I just didn't get time to discuss it with council members.

Mrs Marland: Did you know that under this bill your existing basement apartment will not be legal because they will not be permitted where there are septic systems?

Mrs Duncan: I've been aware of that, yes. I would like to see that included in the legislation.

Mrs Marland: You don't agree with the exemption --

Mrs Duncan: I would like a checkup and I can't see why it wouldn't be satisfactory.

Mrs Marland: So you don't agree with the exemption for septic systems?

Mrs Duncan: No, I don't.

Mr David Johnson: I was talking to the Ottawa fire chief and he was unable to get on the agenda today but he had several concerns and I'm wondering what your feeling would be with regard to his concerns. For example, he felt that in the basement apartments there should be two separate means directly outside.

Mrs Duncan: Separate? Two separate entrances?

Mr David Johnson: Yes. The draft legislation, for example, permits one exit or entrance through another unit and he feels that this is not acceptable. He feels that there should be two; one could be a window perhaps, but he doesn't like windows because there could be people with disabilities, for example, who may not be able to get through a window. Since he's not able to appear before this committee, what would be your views on that.

Mrs Duncan: I'm very conscious of fire protection and safety; that's one of my concerns. I would favour two entrances if possible at all. The difficulty that you might have with entering through another one would be if it was locked and there was an emergency. I would have concerns about that, but it would have to depend on how friendly the tenants were. Hopefully they are friendly but certainly two entrances are much more acceptable.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Duncan, for appearing today. We realize you have come some distance to be here and we appreciate that.

I would remind members before we adjourn for the morning that the afternoon hearings begin promptly at 1:30. We have a small rental problem of our own here in that at 4:30 we must vacate this room, so it's very important that we keep the afternoon session on time.

Mrs Marland: Since we are all in here in the building and it is only about seven minutes before 12, would the committee agree to reconvene at 1 o'clock instead of 1:30 and accommodate the fire chief for the city of Ottawa? We do not have anyone in that capacity listed as a deputation today and I think the committee members would want to hear from non-partisan fire chiefs.

Mr Fletcher: Just to clarify the point: You said that the fire chief couldn't get on. Yes, the fire chief could have gotten on and I think, if they would have phoned the clerk or gotten in touch with the clerk's office, they would have been on the list; is that correct, Mr Clerk?

Clerk of the Committee: That's correct, sir.

Mr Fletcher: So it's not that they couldn't get on. It's just that they didn't attempt to get on, okay?

Mr David Johnson: They can't now.

Mr Fletcher: You're right, they can't now because the agenda is set.

Mrs Marland: Would you support my motion --

Mr Fletcher: No, I wouldn't.

Mrs Marland: -- that we start at 1 o'clock?

Mr Fletcher: No, I wouldn't support your motion.

The Chair: Order. Do you wish to make a motion?

Mrs Marland: I'll make that motion, Mr Chairman. We have an hour and 40 minutes for lunch, which we certainly do not need. It's important that we hear from the fire chief of the city of Ottawa. I move that we hear him at 1 o'clock, which is starting our afternoon schedule half an hour early. I think we're all willing and interested to hear from the public, particularly the fire chief.

Mr David Johnson: I second that.

Mr Mammoliti: I don't know about anybody else, but I have to go and check out, because I understand there's a time limit on that. That's going to take me, I believe, about a half-hour to do.

Mrs Marland: It takes five minutes to check out.

Mr Mammoliti: I also need to take care of some business that has come up this morning from my office. I've heard that I need to deal with a number of matters. That's probably going to take me a lot more than the remaining half-hour. I'm not going to support this motion because of the amount of work that I have to do. It doesn't leave us much time to squeeze in lunch at that point as well. For that reason, I can't support the motion.

Mr David Johnson: I wonder if we could look at this in the vein that, yes, it's tight scheduling and it has been brought up here at the last moment. We've heard other fire chiefs, and they're very concerned about this. I think that Mrs Marland put it in the vein that they're non-political and they have concerns that we all want to hear.

But it is tight scheduling and perhaps some of us will find it impossible to be back by 1 o'clock. But my guess is that each party would be well represented, even if one or two or three of us were not able to be here at 1. I'm sure that some of Mr Mammoliti's colleagues would be here, and certainly that would offer the chief to be on record and to give his views. Could we look at it in that vein, if one or two of us couldn't be here, that the others would carry on and hear him?

Mrs Marland: You've been in and out all morning.

The Chair: Order.

Mr Winninger: Mr Chair, we have so far heard from a number of fire officials. I expect we'll hear from a number more. It seems to me that most of the members have arranged their day based on a schedule that was pre-determined that allows us to return a few of the phone calls and do some of the work we need to before we reconvene in the afternoon. Quite frankly, I think we should stick to the original schedule, reconvene at 1:30 with the presenters -- we're already timely -- that have been slotted in. For that reason, it would seem to me that we should just reconvene at 1:30 as originally planned.

Mr Grandmaître: I was going to suggest that we meet with the fire chiefs at 4:30.

The Chair: We do not have this room at 4:30.

Mr Cordiano: Is the room booked after that?

Clerk of the Committee: That's my understanding.

Mr David Johnson: Do we come under the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act in this room?

The Chair: It's a commercial arrangement.

Mr Grandmaître: Are we being evicted? Would you check that out, Mr Chairman?

The Chair: We will check, but I think we have trouble with both the hotel and our airline reservations.

Mr Grandmaître: Then how about 1:15?

The Chair: We have a motion --

Mr Grandmaître: Give them 15 minutes.

Mr Cordiano: They don't want to do it; let's just forget it.

The Chair: We have a motion for 1 o'clock.

Mr Cordiano: Let's take a vote. It's obvious that the government members don't really want to have the fire marshal come before the committee.

Mr Fletcher: That's not true.

Mr Cordiano: We're trying to make an effort to accommodate him. You're obviously not willing to do that. Let's vote on it. No further discussion is necessary. I move that the motion be now put, whatever you call it.

Mrs Marland: I'd like a recorded vote.

The Chair: Mr Cordiano has moved that the question now be put. All in favour Mr Cordiano's motion --

Mr Owens: Mr Chair --

Mrs Marland: Do you want a 10-minute recess?

Mr Owens: Yes, I do.

The Chair: Well, it's a 20-minute recess.


The Chair: Mr Owens has asked for a 20-minute --

Mr Cordiano: Oh, 20 minutes?

Mrs Marland: He only wanted 10 minutes.

The Chair: The rules require a 20-minute --


Mrs Marland: Ten minutes. We agree with that.

The Chair: We will take a vote on Mr Cordiano's motion at 10 minutes after 12.

The committee recessed from 1200 to 1211.

The Chair: Mr Cordiano has moved that the question now be put. All those in favour?

Mrs Marland: I've asked for a recorded vote.

The Chair: A recorded vote.

Mrs Marland: Yes, I want every one of you who wouldn't listen to the fire chief to be on the record.

The Chair: All in favour of Mr Cordiano's motion that the question now be put?

Interjection: What's the question?

Mrs Marland: You're in favour of --

The Chair: -- of Mr Cordiano's motion that the question now be put. All in favour?

Clerk of the Committee: You agree it's in order.

The Chair: The question now be put and I've agreed it's in order. Call their names.


Cooper, Fletcher, Mammoliti, Martin, Owens, Winninger.


Cordiano, Grandmaître, Johnson (Don Mills), Marland.

The Chair: Carried. The question will now be put, Mrs Marland's motion. All in favour of Mrs Marland's motion that the fire marshal appear at 1 o'clock?


Cordiano, Grandmaître, Johnson (Don Mills), Marland.

The Chair: All opposed?


Cooper, Fletcher, Mammoliti, Martin, Owens, Winninger.

The Chair: The motion is lost.

Mrs Marland: I mentioned earlier this morning about the committee clerk trying to accommodate the women's transitional housing people in Toronto at some time -- from the Massey Centre. I would like to move a motion that we direct the clerk to accommodate that group. At the moment the clerk's direction, I understand, is that they're taking them all on a first-come-first-served basis of that 80-person waiting list.

We do not at this point have a group like this scheduled and I think it's important for us to hear from a women's transitional housing organization about the pros and cons of this bill.

Mr Mike Cooper (Kitchener-Wilmot): In conjunction with the previous discussion, I think what's happened is that the clerk has rightly done the advertising, taken the list of people who wanted to present and fitted them into schedule. If there is a cancellation I have no problem with slotting these people in.

The point is, there are people who have done it on a timely basis and gotten on the schedule. I did take part in Mr Johnson's conversation, just briefly, with the fire chief and he rightly, like a good committee member, did make the suggestion that he could offer a written submission, which committee members may or may not read but the research people do read these submissions. This is the right way to deal with the committee, to have the written submissions from people who couldn't get on the schedule.

Mr David Johnson: The only other point I would make and perhaps reinforce, that Mrs Marland has indicated, is that this group I think is somewhat unique. They offer service to unwed mothers. I'm not so sure we've heard from any other organization or indeed we have any other organization listed that would have that sort of background.

They are concerned -- they have various points of view, let's say, with regard to the fathers, I guess, of the children. I don't think we're going to hear that from anybody else.

If it does come in, and I'm sure they'll write in if that's the only avenue, but they'd really like to give that message first hand to the members because they're afraid a written submission will get lost in a flood of papers. I think it's quite a unique kind of situation.

Mrs Marland: It is a different concern and I think you'll want to hear from them.

Mr Winninger: I was called on behalf of this group last week and I put a request in with the clerk to have them included on our list. So I would support the motion.

The Chair: The members understand that this motion takes precedence over the motion that the clerk is presently working under? All right. Further discussion?

Mr Cordiano: I also support the motion. It's justifiable given the nature of the group and the circumstances.

The Chair: The clerk would like some clarification.

Clerk of the Committee: I will say what I believe you are saying, and tell me if I'm wrong on this. What you'd like me to do is, as soon as there is the next cancellation, to place this group in that time slot, immaterial of the previous motion of the committee. This applies for this group only. Thank you.

Mr Owens: Do you have reason to believe there will be a cancellation?

Mr Grandmaître: Who knows?

Mr Owens: So we are expecting these folks to prepare material, to come in and sit for the whole day on the slim possibility that they may have a slot?

Mr David Johnson: They're not located far away.

Mr Owens: I know. They're on Broadview Avenue.

The Chair: The clerk would like to answer.

Clerk of the Committee: Mr Owens, what we usually do is, the day before they are to appear, groups for instance like Ottawa, we call each individual on the list and ask them if they are to appear. Were there to be a cancellation on that day, the minimum they will get is one day's notice.

Mr Daigeler: Let's vote.

The Chair: Further discussion? Shall Mrs Marland's motion carry? Carried.

The committee will reconvene promptly at 1:30.

The committee recessed from 1218 to 1331.


The Chair: Our first presentation for the afternoon is from Thorncliffe Place Retirement Home, Donald Francis.

Mr Don Francis: My name is Don Francis. I operate an 80-bed retirement home in the west end of the city of Ottawa; actually, in the city of Nepean. I've taken the liberty of bringing another owner-operator with me, Mr Tom Howcroft, to speak specifically on the GWA aspect and how this proposed legislation will affect his type of operation and how he services his clientele. I want to thank the committee for allowing us to speak.

In my own home, I've talked with my residents extensively. I've had three or four meetings about this over the last year or two, after Dr Lightman's report came out, and generally I believe they're supportive of our position and concerned that the proposed legislation will affect the services they hire us to provide.

Every philosophical theory, code of behaviour and ideological stand starts with a commitment to a set of goals, and it's always important to know what people believe in order to understand what they're trying to do. As individuals with a professional commitment to long-term care in this province, we assert that we are dedicated to: the creation, encouragement and promotion of quality care; the establishment and enforcement of standards designed to protect the rights of residents to a safe, nurturing residential care environment; individual respect for the right of every one of us to live as independent a life as possible at all stages of the aging process; and the right of individuals in this province to earn an honest living without taking unfair advantage of others.

In our work with older adults and other physically challenged and emotionally needy adults, we've remained committed to the goal of respecting the rights of others to make decisions for their own wellbeing. We've also gained a tremendous and rewarding insight into the fact that older adults in particular are knowledgeable, hardworking people possessed of the integrity of the individual that marked an earlier generation of Canadians. We believe that these people are entitled to be involved in decisions affecting their quality of care, and we regret that the government has chosen to attempt to enact this legislation in what we feel is a hasty manner.

We believe the residents of our long-term care facilities are owed more consideration than the government has chosen to give them in this legislation and these hearings, and we are here on their behalf as well as ours to lodge our concern.

The government has, in times past, stated a commitment to a consultative decision-making process that values the input of all members of society. We have developed this presentation in the expectation that as owners and operators of retirement care facilities, our input -- thoughtful, considered and made with the best interests of our residents at heart -- will be given the equally thoughtful consideration we have been assured the government provides to all members of society. Above all, we urge the government to continue to keep the best interests of the residents of long-term care facilities at heart. We believe that can best be achieved by avoiding the temptation to regulate care activities through housing legislation.

As members of the Ontario Residential Care Association, ORCA, we have tried to be a part of ongoing efforts over the past five years to seek appropriate regulation of our facilities. We will continue to be part of that effort, even if the government does not make what we consider to be appropriate legislation for Ontario residents in care facilities.

The sense of community: A residential care facility is very much a community. Neighbours become friends, family becomes a solid topic of conversation, stories of past, present and future plans are exchanged, and the daily tasks of living a good life are completed. The community we work in, however, is very much a caring community: People generally do not come to live in our facilities unless they need some form of personal or medically related care. Province-wide, the average age of people entering a retirement care facility is 83 years. Most have trouble preparing their own meals, bathing, administering their own medicine or doing their own housekeeping. Some need 24-hour security and professional care support. Some of them are isolated by the sporadic provision of community services, such as home care and Meals-on-Wheels. These organizations are fine, they do an excellent job, but cannot provide the one thing all of us need: a social, caring environment.

People are not forced into our long-term care facilities. The decision to enter a retirement home is generally made by the resident or his or her family with the advice of the resident's physician. Above all, residential facilities are not just rental housing units. People do not come to our facilities unless they need specialized care in a communal environment. Unlike boarding homes, residential care facilities offer personal care and medical supervision. Many owners and operators are members of the Ontario Residential Care Association, an organization dedicated to setting and meeting standards within our association. It is an organization dedicated to continually improving the quality of life for our residents.

This brings us to one reason we believe the application of the Landlord and Tenant Act provisions to residential care facilities is inappropriate. We are not simply warehousing the elderly and infirm; we are caring for them in a warm, supportive environment. Our facilities provide socialization and/or interaction programs. We make available community outreach activities, pastoral services, meals, housekeeping, laundry services, transportation and personal care programs. We provide 24-hour security and professional care support and we provide assistance with bathing, eating, dressing and medication. We listen to their worries and help where we can. We encourage the establishment and success of residents' councils to bring concerns and interests of residents to our attention.

We are totally committed to the comfort and care of the people who live among us. That is what care means to us. We do not appreciate being lumped in with lax, perhaps even disreputable owners and operators of other types of residential housing that do not provide care for their residents. A boarding room does not contract to provide care. We do.

The Lightman commission did not address these differences in housing options that are available and this, in our view, is a gross omission. In effect, the Landlord and Tenant Act provisions will seriously and negatively affect our residents' sense of community. Under the act, no tenant can be asked to leave except in accordance with the legislation. An important characteristic of retirement homes is their communal nature and the close day-to-day interaction of all residents and staff. Consequently, a resident who becomes aggressive tends to diminish the quality of life for all. Often, it is the residents themselves who determine the acceptable physical, mental and emotional norms of the individual facility.


With a 75% occupancy rate on average across the province our experience has shown that residential care facilities that provide poor care or charge too much do not thrive. For us to run a successful and financially viable home for our residents, we are all under a tremendous pressure to continually improve our service while keeping the ultimate cost to residents down. Residents have been known to vote with their feet, and our experience shows that market competition is an excellent mechanism for helping ensure that retirement home owners provide the kind of caring service that residents need, expect and deserve. The fact is, we do not need rent controls to keep costs competitive. The rent control legislation for residential care facilities simply does not make sense in this market.

We are in this business because we care about older adults and those younger adults whose mental or physical conditions require further attention. We are a member of our provincial association, the Ontario Residential Care Association, an organization which promotes quality care. There are, however, people in the business who do not run exemplary homes and who do not provide adequate care for residents of their facilities. We state categorically that we want those people out of the business or at least forced to improve the quality of care they provide. This is housing legislation, which will not determine anything on the care side of the equation.

Members of our association have agreed voluntarily to abide by internally set standards, and our association has lobbied for the past five years to have those standards extended into a formal, province-wide system with a formal dispute resolution system. This government has ignored our request to help improve standards in residential care facilities. Retirement and residential care facilities that are part of our association can offer the public a guarantee that they are getting quality care in an environment that is safe, caring, supportive and responsible. But more could be done to extend that guarantee.

We also state categorically that we believe housing legislation is inappropriate to the retirement care setting in Ontario and that it will damage the quality of life and endanger the health, safety and quality of life of many of our residents. We believe that retirement homes should have separate legislation, possibly as part of the health care system, to deal with the issues facing this sector. The residential care sector should probably fall under the Ministry of Health, with standards for care monitored by municipalities.

We are concerned about the imposition of rent control and how it will affect the long-term viability of retirement homes. Investors are staying away from the rental housing market because of rent control and the same thing is going to happen to the residential care environment. People are not going to want to invest in residential care facilities and it will be almost impossible to raise the capital required to update and continually improve the safety and comfort of residential care facilities. The money won't come from residents because the government, the system, will not allow it; the money won't come from the lending institutions because the property will not hold its value; and the money more than likely will not be available from government. Look ahead 30 to 40 years, to when you will be making a late-life lifestyle decision, and imagine how you would feel going into a residence that hasn't been renovated in several decades. We too will be the losers under rent control.

The proposed amendments to the act will also negatively affect the residents' quality of life by limiting staff ability to give each resident the individual care they need. Specifically, because it stipulates that no tenant can be asked to leave except in accordance with the legislation, it will be very detrimental to residents who are in need of more care than the retirement home can provide. When residents are admitted to a retirement home, it's under the express understanding, usually in writing, that the resident will be transferred to a more appropriate setting if his or her condition deteriorates to a point where he or she cannot be properly cared for in the facility. The proposed legislation will mean these transfers cannot take place, putting the resident's care at risk. It will also jeopardize the care of others in the home, since an extraordinary amount of staff effort and resources will need to be focused on those who need the most care.

The government has indicated it plans to prevent large fee increases for the care component of retirement home fees. The reality is that the medical and personal care is expensive, and we are unable, and unwilling, to cut payments to staff in order to stretch dollars to the limit. The economics of the situation indicate that the facility would be unable to afford to hire additional staff because monthly fees will be limited by the act. Other residents will ultimately bear the brunt of the burden because there is only so much a dollar can do.

The Rent Control Act, as I perceive it, is a system that has arbitrary limits. They don't care what the costs are; there are arbitrary limits. We shouldn't have arbitrary limits when we're dealing with care with residents.

Housing legislation will be detrimental to residents who should be transferred from one section of the facility to a higher care level. Some facilities have wings or floors designed to accommodate special care needs, and the legislation as it is now written could prevent the staff from moving special-needs residents to the appropriate area where they could obtain more appropriate care.

Housing legislation will be detrimental to residents who tend to wander or are a danger to themselves. A facility tries to ensure it is aware of a resident's whereabouts through monitoring, but the Landlord and Tenant Act does not seem to allow for this extremely important safety-related need. I note that Dr Lightman in his submission to this committee was very critical of a facility that failed to adequately supervise a wandering resident.

We often see situations where this is a concern. For example, one elderly resident, a couple of years ago in my facility, was suffering from dementia and other ailments. She began leaving the building at every opportunity. She was oblivious to traffic. We met with the family to discuss the options to ensure her safety. They suggested locking the perimeter doors of the facility, but we advised that that would discriminate against other residents and would violate safety and fire codes. Ascribing one individual staff person to shadow her was economically unfeasible and the family insisted they could not afford the extra cost of a private nurse. The family was unwilling to assist us by spending more time with the resident or by taking her home pending more appropriate accommodation.

The family was clearly abdicating responsibility in this circumstance. Under the proposed legislation, they could do so more easily. The residence would be powerless to force an eviction or transfer to more appropriate accommodation because being a danger to yourself is not a reason for termination in the Landlord and Tenant Act. It is not one of the named reasons to terminate a lease.

Housing legislation will be detrimental to residents who are a danger to others. It sometimes happens in our communal living environment that an individual cannot restrain their temper and ends up taking it out on other residents. For example, we currently know of a situation where an elderly resident had a disagreement with a tablemate in the dining room. After punching his tablemate in the face, he was told by the administration that his behaviour was unacceptable and that he might have to leave as a result. He responded that they would have to force him out: "You're going to have to make me leave." The next day, he again lost his temper and threw a walker across a crowded dining room, picked up a metal walker and threw it right across the room. Luckily, no one was injured in this instance. However, this man was clearly a danger to other residents.

The proposed legislation could prevent the administration from taking prompt measures to ensure he did not injure other residents. If we have to go through a protracted period of notices and going to court to get an order for an eviction, somebody like that can do a lot of damage in the interim. And remember, the average age is 83; these are frail people. Push an 83-year-old down and the likelihood of a broken hip is pretty high.

Housing legislation will be detrimental to residents who want to utilize short-term stay options at neighbourhood retirement care facilities. Retirement homes currently accommodate short-term contracts for vacation, respite and convalescent care. They also provide short-term agreements with hospitals for cancer patients or with municipalities for general welfare assistance (GWA) residents. Although these arrangements can be of tremendous benefit to both the care-giving family members and the residents themselves, the Landlord and Tenant Act does not permit this kind of flexibility.


Housing legislation will be detrimental to residents who may need support assistance on short notice. The proposed legislation allows entry by the landlord in certain circumstances and in the case of an emergency. What will happen when circumstances are unclear? I'm thinking of an emergency. It may be an emergency, it may not; you don't know. What if a resident is not responding but there's no other indication of an emergency? If the legislation does not allow entry, then staff will hesitate: "We're breaking the law if we enter this room without proper authorization" They'll hesitate in a situation where it's unclear, and that will result in instances where care will be delayed to someone who is in an emergency situation. Our residents want and need us to enter without hesitation. We knock on the door first, but then we enter to provide the various services and ensure the safety of our residents.

I have had personal experience in this specific regard. Recently, a resident in her mid-90s fell after midnight when she tried to visit the washroom. She is a very competent lady who enjoys her privacy. She does not want to be checked during the night and we leave her alone, because that's what she wants. When she fell she broke her hip and was unable to get to either the emergency cords or the telephone in her room. She was stuck on the floor. She was missed by our staff at breakfast. She didn't appear at breakfast, so somebody said, "Where's this lady?" and they went looking. We entered the room. The lady was almost unconscious, so she wasn't in a position to give permission for entry, and we found her. It was interesting that as she was loaded into the ambulance she commented that if she'd been in an apartment she could have been on that floor for days.

It is imperative that the legislation recognize the special circumstances in residential care and allow non-emergency access.

Two final concerns: subletting and the GST. The proposed legislation allows residents in a residential care facility to sublet their rooms to others, and this is not acceptable. It is standard practice in retirement homes for the administration to do a full assessment of a perspective resident's needs, interests and abilities. If the facility cannot meet the perspective resident's needs, problems will occur. The perspective resident and possibly existing residents can be at risk.

Currently, residency fees in retirement homes are an all-inclusive housing package, and as such they are GST-exempt. The separation of accommodation charges from care charges will probably mean that the care charges are subject to the federal goods and services tax and maybe the provincial tax too. The proposed legislation will increase the cost of accommodation in a residential care facility.

We strongly encourage the government to consult with the seniors and others affected by this legislation, and we're concerned that consultation has been to date so limited. Consumers of care services provided in a residential care facility have the right to be involved in decisions made affecting their care and they should be an important part of the government's action in this regard. Although we realize the government is interested in taking action on behalf of residents, we are very disappointed that this has not already been done.

Our goal is to care for our residents in the most humane and attentive way possible. We consult with our seniors when implementing some of the changes in our facilities, and as owners and operators we listen to our residents' councils when they bring forward suggestions and complaints.

We have very serious concerns when a government does not even inform the Council on Aging about this upcoming legislation in order to give it time to review the proposed legislative changes, analyse them with resident needs in mind and prepare a response. That organization speaks for older adults and is fully aware of the issues facing people in a retirement care facility. They should have been heard; they should have been at these hearings.

We're concerned that district health councils, the very bodies charged with the planning of our health care system, have not been consulted about this initiative.

We're also very concerned that one week before the hearings were to be held in Ottawa, the government's own minister, Evelyn Gigantes, did not mention these legislative changes to listeners of a radio talk show right here in town or to residents of Unitarian House when they asked her, face to face, on November 20, 1993.

Finally, we are concerned that the government would even consider putting care of 30,000 Ontario residents currently living in residential care facilities under the jurisdiction of the Housing ministry. If these people simply needed lodging, they would be living in any one of thousands of apartment units designed exclusively for seniors. These people need care, attention, encouragement and assistance, not simply a roof over their head. The fact that government does not recognize that these people need special assistance should be of very grave concern to Ontario residents.

Putting residential care facilities under the Landlord and Tenant Act may satisfy a desire to deal with an issue that is not fully understood. However, it does nothing to actually assess the nature of residential care in our province, nor does it do anything to help us work towards improvement of quality care available to all residents of this province, particularly those who are not quite as able as we are to make our way independently in this world.

Putting retirement care facilities under the Landlord and Tenant Act and rent control does nothing to monitor the quality of care provided within a retirement care facility. It effectively removes us from the long-term care reform initiative under way in this province, and long-term care reform is an initiative we support and encourage.

Putting retirement care facilities under housing legislation ignores the fact that we fill a recognized care niche in the community and in so doing save the government millions of dollars. Hospitals refer patients to us when there are not enough beds to look after them appropriately, and we take care of the overflow people waiting to get into nursing homes and other long-term care beds. In fact, we currently save the government a tremendous amount of money.

We believe this rent control initiative does not address the needs of our residents, and it certainly does nothing to ensure that the quality of care delivered to the people of Ontario in retirement homes is attentive, caring and responsible.

The government has made it clear that it intends to force the legislation through. We ask the committee, on behalf of our residents, to review the wording of the bill so as to address the technical problems we have raised. Action is needed, of course, to ensure excellence in the care provided to the residents of Ontario's long-term care facilities, but we recommend an enlightened action, one that will not compromise our ability to care for the people who are in our safekeeping. Thank you.

The Chair: There are about five minutes left. Perhaps you could paraphrase what you are about to read.

Mr Tom Howcroft: I have four pages and I will try to slide through, but it is addressing a very serious issue, one that was addressed on several occasions this morning.

How a community tends to the needs of the disadvantaged individuals living within it is a measure of the importance it places on basic human-centred values. While most Ontario adults are able to earn a living, establish meaningful relationships with other people, provide shelter for themselves and their families and, in general, successfully navigate the turbulent waters of day-to-day life, there are many others who simply cannot make their way without a substantial amount of assistance.

Some of these people, approximately 8,000 of them, are living in Ontario retirement homes. They receive general welfare assistance, and the funding for their care is provided by the municipal, provincial and federal governments through a cost-share arrangement.

Application of the Landlord and Tenant Act to the living arrangements of these people is a potentially disastrous concept.

GWA residents constitute a very diverse part of our resident population. They include individuals who are psychologically disabled and people who have suffered head injuries. Some have personality disorders, some suffer from multiple sclerosis, and others are experiencing the onset and continuation of early dementia. Some of our GWA residents have physical disabilities and some are recovering from years of alcohol and drug abuse.

The labels we use for the challenges these people face suggest, but don't fully describe, the difficulties these people have in simply getting through the day. It is very, very hard for some people to cope with a task that most of us take for granted: Getting dressed, eating a meal, holding a conversation with other individuals and purchasing a package of gum can represent enormous mental, emotional and physical difficulties for the people in our facilities. Some have major psychological, psychiatric and mental difficulties that make them prone to aggressive and violent outbursts. Some have suicidal tendencies. Some have emotional sensitivities that make them chronically frustrated and fearful. Many cannot handle money, purchase a bus ticket or travel a bus alone.

Under municipal regulations, up to three GWA residents can share accommodation in one room of a retirement residence. These people require a supervised setting but do not have the financial means to afford the accommodation. They need help, and we provide it.


Under a purchase-of-service agreement signed with the municipality, retirement homes provide our GWA residents with three meals a day, three between-meal snacks, a five-to-one staffing ratio 24 hours a day.

We provide them with assistance with bathing, dressing and personal finances. We provide in-house and ongoing counselling, coaching with life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and making bank deposits. We supervise any medication they are required to take and supervise their government allotment of spending money, on a monthly, weekly, daily, and sometimes twice-a-day basis. We also facilitate access to other community support services. Many of our GWA residents are vulnerable and all of them need to be protected so that they are not taken advantage of.

In many cases, we have to be available for immediate crisis intervention to handle aggressive, potentially violent behaviour and intervene with individuals who may be undergoing a psychotic episode. In these situations, we are the front-line workers.

Caring for GWA residents is a very big and very serious responsibility. Bringing retirement homes under the Landlord and Tenant Act is inappropriate and potentially dangerous: It could possibly hamper our ability to intervene in crisis situations; if a resident becomes ill with a contagious disease, we may be unable to isolate him or her from their companions.

It is impossible to determine how much of the per diem rate should be allocated to care and how much to accommodation. The whole discussion is irrelevant. The per diem we receive to provide care, accommodation, meals and services for each GWA resident, $34.50 a day, is not a lot of money. In the real world, an individual could not obtain all the benefits we provide for that amount. It probably does not even pay for the accommodation portion.

Determining how much of the total is eligible for rent control would be impossible. In fact, involving retirement home owners in the discussion is irrelevant because we do not determine the rates for GWA residents. The rates are established by the municipality with guidelines set by the province. We have no say in what the ceiling will be.

The legislation's other provisions would prevent us from carrying out our legally required, and morally imperative, responsibilities for GWA residents. We strongly recommend the government drop its plan to implement this legislation. While it would put all residents of retirement facilities at risk, it would especially endanger the lives of 8,000 of the 30,000 people currently living in Ontario's retirement care facilities. This we cannot afford to do.

We strongly urge the government to enlighten its approach to the access arrangements it is currently planning to change with this legislation and help us continue to ensure that care provided to Ontario residents in residential facilities is geared towards the ultimate benefit of the residents.

Sorry I went over a little bit, but I wanted to get it out.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today. The committee will be taking up this bill for clause-by-clause consideration in the week of March 6.


Ms Donna Pettey: Good afternoon. My name is Donna Pettey; I'm a staff person at the Canadian Mental Health Association here at the Ottawa-Carleton branch. With me are Stella Andriopoulos from Ottawa Salus Corp and Ann Popovich from Project Upstream, two supportive housing programs in Ottawa for people with severe and persistent mental illness, and Heather Smith Fowler, the chairperson of our housing coalition.

We're here today as representatives of the Community Housing Resources Coalition, but we're also here today to provide different perspectives on how Bill 120 will affect how housing and support services are delivered in this community to people with mental health problems. As a general statement, we can say as a coalition that we believe all citizens of the province have the right to equal treatment under the law, and in that we support Bill 120 as it applies to supportive housing, with the inclusion of some of the points we're going to make today in our presentation as a frame of reference for our support.

The Community Housing Resources Coalition has existed as a committee of the Canadian Mental Health Association here in Ottawa since 1986, and in that time we've worked in many different ways -- advocacy, research, program development -- all towards the goal of increasing adequate and affordable housing and support services for people with severe mental illness. The coalition has representatives from the housing sector, both supportive housing providers and public and social housing providers, the emergency shelter sector, community and hospital support workers, and family members and consumer survivor representatives as well.

If we look at supportive housing in Ottawa-Carleton for people with mental health problems, most of that housing is currently exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act; that would affect approximately 1,000 individuals, the majority of whom live under and within the domiciliary hostel program. Other programs, though, such as the two represented here today, are non-profit housing, so there are some resources in that as well.

Over the years, the housing coalition has responded to a number of policy initiatives from a number of different governments, provincial and local, which affect the provision of housing and support services for people with mental health problems. We've submitted a housing and supports plan as part of mental health reform to the district health council, outlining clearly what housing and support services have to be in place if we're to create a truly supportive community here.

The recommendations in our plan clearly reflect the policy directives of the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services: the need to develop sufficient permanent housing options and a variety of permanent, flexible, portable support services for people.

While this option is often criticised as being too narrow and only offering one choice, we've always believed that the number of housing options that can be created through this is limited only by our lack of imagination. Regardless of whatever anyone's particular philosophical view is, the fact remains that in Ottawa-Carleton, as in other Ontario communities, our existing system of housing and support services for individuals with mental health problems is very inadequate to meet the demands placed upon it.

To give you some indication of how inadequate, in a region the size of Ottawa we have exactly eight case managers to support 100 people, one daily living support worker to support 10 people, and one continuous care team to support 100 people. That's it in terms of portable, flexible support services, and there are absolutely no crisis response services available at all available to people if they get into crisis in housing situations. These may seem, on a surface level, to be unrelated to what we're talking about today, but as I think you'll find as we move through our presentation, it's absolutely crucial that we consider these questions as well if we are really concerned about providing good housing for people in this community.

The changes proposed under Bill 20 will greatly impact on how this already inadequate system functions. Stella and Ann are going to talk from the supportive housing perspective, and Heather's going to sum up at the end with some specific recommendations we have developed as a coalition and will be submitting to you in written form.


Ms Stella Andriopoulos: Ottawa Salus Corp is a not-for-profit organization established in 1979 and providing housing and professional rehabilitation services for adults recovering from psychiatric illness. We are funded primarily by the Ministry of Health, the community mental health branch. We own and operate three halfway houses or group homes and we lease 26 apartments as part of our co-op apartment housing program. As well, we provide case management services to clients living in non-Salus residences. At any one time, we serve approximately 100 clients. I'm here today on behalf of the board of directors of Salus to explain to you why rehabilitation programs such as the halfway houses of Salus should be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The primary purpose of our halfway houses is rehabilitation, not accommodation. Our programs are transitional, and we provide temporary residences. We work in a partnership with our clients to assist them to learn life skills and social skills so that they may move on to more permanent accommodation and be successful in their future permanent housing. We actively assist in securing that housing. The length of stay in our homes is flexible and ranges from nine months to three years. The program ends when the client feels he or she has met the goals of his or her individualized program.

Our three halfway houses have nine, 10 and 20 clients respectively, living together in a spirit of cooperative living and often sharing double bedrooms. The clients learn to cook, clean and do the necessary housekeeping chores to keep the houses running smoothly. The clients are assisted with identifying personal goals, and support is given to attain these goals. Life skills trainers are present in the homes 24 hours a day.

Prior to entering our rehab programs, all potential clients are made aware of the nature of our programs and that certain behaviours are not acceptable for reasons of safety and security to all residents and to the rehabilitation goals that each client has set for him- or herself. We work with a very challenging population. We admit clients who have severe and chronic schizophrenia with a past history of several relapses. Women who have experienced severe sexual abuse and who may now be trying to cope with self-mutilating behaviours also live in our homes. We have clients who have been convicted of criminal acts, including manslaughter, and are mandated by the courts to live in our homes. And we admit clients who have a mental illness as well as drug and alcohol problems or who may have a mental illness and a chronic physical problem such as sight impairment. Also, we accept some clients who have mental illness and who are also developmentally delayed.

One of the reasons we accept such a wide range of clients is due to the lack of resources similar to Salus in the region. It is extremely important that, with such a wide range of presenting problems, we work hard to establish a safe and secure environment so that the clients can work on their goals. Thus, acts of aggression towards staff or others are not permitted, nor is alcohol or drug abuse. Threatening behaviours which make clients feel unsafe and insecure are not tolerated.

On occasion, perhaps only three or four times a year, in consultation with the other clients living in the homes, we are forced to discharge clients from our programs immediately and without notice. In these situations, the rights of the individual cannot override the rights of the group if the rehabilitation program is to remain central in the process.

We believe that if such rehab programs fall under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the accommodation becomes the primary purpose and the rehabilitation focus is undermined. We must have the same flexibility to act as a three-month alcohol recovery program, which would be exempt because the average length of occupancy is less than six months. Salus offers structured and professional rehab services for persons having psychiatric illnesses. In order to successfully operate our programs, we cannot be bound by the constraints of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Our recommendations for changes to Bill 20 are:

An organization that provides rehab programs in a supportive setting for a temporary period should be exempt from the Landlord and Tenant Act. Programs such as Salus would have to apply for an exemption under certain guidelines and criteria. Also, part III, subclause 27(2)(c)(iii), should be changed so that the six-month average length of stay allows for a flexible length of stay.

My final point: As mentioned earlier, Salus also has 26 co-op apartments. Counsellors work with the clients to assist them to set goals for themselves and to help them with their life skills. This program offers permanent homes to these clients, and the leases for these homes are in the corporation's name.

We recommend that these homes be included under Bill 120. However, we would also recommend that where tenants share kitchen and washroom facilities and the safety of other residents is compromised by an ongoing tenancy of another resident, a process be provided for a quick temporary relocation of a tenant until a full landlord and tenant hearing can be organized within five working days. This accelerated process would allow for a speedy eviction process if necessary.

Please remember that housing is a complex, multidimensional issue and that one remedy for all the problems tenants encounter is an impossibility. Surely there are other ways to develop standards and guidelines for rehabilitation housing programs.

Ms Ann Popovich: I'm here today as president of Project Upstream, a non-profit, charitable corporation. We were incorporated in 1985, and since 1988 we have been funded by the Ministry of Health.

We provide housing and support to 22 residents. We have two group homes. I should state at this point that we do not own any of our housing options. We have agency leases with organizations like City Living and the Centretown Citizens Corp, and we have some apartments with a co-op. We provide housing and flexible supports to 22 residents; nine of these are in our two group homes.

Our housing is permanent. By that I mean our residents can live with us as long as they want to live with us. The support we provide is flexible, which means of course that at times our residents will require a great deal of support, particularly at times they may be having a recurrence or relapse of their state of health.

We have had challenges over the years with some of the difficulties Stella has mentioned. One of the things we have found, though, is that there are avenues to cover some of these situations. If someone is becoming ill or is psychotic and aggressive, this is a matter very much related to the Mental Health Act and we do have provisions where we can act very quickly under that act. There have been times when, as support, we have had to use all of our energies and efforts to support a person's being admitted to hospital because of those health and safety issues.

Our residents are a very important part of our organization. We hold annual think tanks, as we call them, planning days, and the residents have theirs. This year, theirs will precede our board planning day because we want very much to incorporate their initiatives and goals into our board planning. We could potentially have a board of 15 members; at present, we have 13. Two of those board positions are occupied by residents, and our residents are consulted on an ongoing basis on any matters to do with policy.

I feel very strongly that we do need to have changes to this act. When we talk about integrating into our community people who have had mental illness or who have ongoing mental illness, we absolutely cannot do it by giving them fewer rights and freedoms than the rest of us enjoy. What we then do is create mini-institutions in our community. That's not to say that I'm not concerned there will be difficulties and that we will face challenges if we change this. Change always brings difficult issues we will then have to deal with, because we don't live in a perfect world.

I feel very strongly that the support we provide to our residents has to be of the nature of making them realize that there's an accountability factor we all face living in society and that ongoing support does not exempt them from some of the same checks and balances we would all encounter if we were to breach the laws and regulations that govern the rest of us. If clients are aggressive to one another, certainly that becomes an issue for the police. If I were living in a situation with another person and I became aggressive, they would have every right to charge me. There are mechanisms in place currently that we can use for people we would consider dangerous or a threat.

For the most part, I feel these changes will be good ones. I don't think they will come without challenge. One of the challenges we face as a fairly small organization -- we currently have two full-time equivalent staff positions -- is that there just aren't enough supports. I think you've probably heard this from every quarter today. Although I'm being redundant, it's an important point. A lot of the crisis services that are being proposed are things we need very much. Currently, we provide 24-hour crisis support to our residents, but at times it can be very difficult because we do this with a combination of paid staff and volunteer support.


The other initiative we feel very strongly about is that even at the times we have had to negotiate one of our residents leaving to go and live somewhere else, this did not take place in the form of an eviction. One of our commitments to our residents is support, and if we summarily evict, we're not just evicting them from housing: Because our housing and support are linked, it means we're evicting them from our support. We have made every effort in the past that if a person is not doing well in one of our living environments, there's a lot of discussion and a lot of support with the person around exploring options, trying to make it work. If it absolutely can't, every effort is made with the resident to link them to something else that would fit better for them.

When people leave our housing, whether because they've decided to move on or whether because, as I've just said, the fit isn't right, we make a commitment of three-month availability of ongoing support, either to where we're linking them or to wherever they have chosen to go. Not all residents choose to follow through on that three months, but that option is there and is always offered.

My other interest in this issue is as a parent of someone who does live in psychiatric supported housing. I really feel that part of the learning process for anyone to reintegrate into the community is to learn to be a fully participating member of society. If it requires support for that to happen, that's very important, but the rights and freedoms have to be there.

Ms Heather Smith Fowler: I'm going to make a brief summation of our points. As you can see from what Ann and Stella have said, our delegation represents a wide range of opinions on Bill 120. As chairperson of the coalition, I want to remind the committee that our delegation supports in principle Bill 120 but that the concerns that have been expressed here today are real and will have real implications for the people this bill is designed to try to support.

It's important to remember that the circumstances that lead to eviction are rooted in the total inadequacy of care and support that constitutes our mental health system. Failing to recognize this and rectify it with action beyond these changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act, which are very needed, is going to perpetuate the situation in which housing providers find themselves. They're blamed for not being tolerant or flexible enough to support people who are hard to house.

Specific recommendations are, for example, that the government link the implementation of Bill 120 with the service development priorities of mental health reform, specifically case management, crisis services, peer and family support systems. Consumers and survivors need to have access to the support systems they've identified as being necessary to help them live in the community with the rest of us.

The government must also link the implementation of this legislation to the emergency shelter reform, because emergency shelters and family members bear the brunt of the system dumping people who are hard to house or problematic as tenants.

I have one brief comment on the changes to the Rent Control Act. The changes proposed, where a person is charged rent apart from the care services and meals, definitely reflect the position our coalition has taken to try to delink housing and support services, so that somebody's housing isn't dependent on anything other than that person fulfilling his responsibilities as a tenant.

We have some questions about the implementation of that, however. Locally, in the domiciliary hostel program Donna mentioned, many of the changes proposed wouldn't be permitted by the contract for services the hostels have with our regional social services department. For example, for the set per diem rate operators are required to provide 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, supervision of medication etc. If somebody chooses to eat elsewhere, for example, or not take their medication, does this mean the region will end up paying a reduced per diem to the operators? It's questions like these that have to be answered.

Given that these changes imply that the Landlord and Tenant Act will apply to supportive housing, there need to be resources directed to the community so that tenants have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities; otherwise, changing the system to extend these basic rights will be a hollow gesture. They must be aware of their rights and able to exercise them, especially if those rights are being violated.

Finally, housing providers need assistance as well to plan for the potential impact of these changes.

I don't know if there's much time for questions, but we're here if you want to ask them.

The Chair: About a minute and a half per caucus.

Mr Cordiano: We'll try to perform miracles in a minute and a half. Your presentation speaks right to the heart of the matter with respect to Dr Lightman's recommendations, and some of the concerns we've expressed in these hearings regarding fast-track evictions and questions around the provision of care; the mere fact that this is a type of tenure which is unique, that there are certain characteristics of the type of tenure your tenants are offered that make it quite unlike other circumstances. I hope the minister is listening to this attentively. She's here today. It was indicated earlier by one of her members that perhaps there will be changes to the legislation to allow for some of these concerns, by way of amendment when we get to clause-by-clause.

I don't have anything else to say. I don't know if you can comment on what I had to say in 30 seconds.

Ms Andriopoulos: I just want you to imagine this: If I have mental illness and I'm abusing alcohol and I've got a woman next to me who is a recovering alcoholic and has mental illness, Stella the landlord cannot evict me because I'm abusing alcohol, under what you're proposing, until one appears before a hearing. Is abusing alcohol a condition for receiving an eviction under the present amendments? These proposals don't make sense to me. I think that's a summary of what I had to say.

Mrs Marland: These proposals don't make sense to us either. I hope the government members are listening to the areas of concern you've identified, because we will be looking for their support for our amendments to address the concerns. They are very grave, very serious concerns you bring to this committee today, and we appreciate very much the fact that you've gone to the effort to do that. Recognizing the rights of individuals versus the rights of the group in a communal setting living is -- it blows my mind that the bill is drafted the way it is. I can't believe these concerns have not been identified by the people, if not in this ministry, in the Ministry of Health.

Ms Andriopoulos: There are no standards of operation under the Ministry of Health community mental health program for a program such as ours. The Landlord and Tenant Act shouldn't be the policymaking tool for developing standards.

Mrs Marland: You have an Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, don't you?

Ms Andriopoulos: No, Salus Corp is part of the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, which will be doing a presentation next week in Toronto.

Mrs Marland: I just wondered whether they had met with the government.


Ms Pettey: Could I respond, just briefly, to that comment? I wanted to reclarify as well, though, the position -- and it's addressed in our written brief -- in that when congregate living arrangements are discussed, I think you also have to consider that you can't remove the rights from everyone living in that situation and use the rationalization that it's because they're sharing bedrooms and that when this is the type of housing form that our system has developed.

Most people don't even want to be in anyway, but the system offers no other choice for them. In fact it penalizes individuals and removes rights from them for living in a building form that our system has seen to providing to them that is inadequate itself. It's kind of an unfair catch-22 situation for people.

Mrs Marland: We do have examples that are better.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I can't help but meld the presentation before with yours in terms of some of the concerns that have been raised and will come forward. Certainly pieces of legislation that are put in place then need to be worked with by people in circumstances that oftentimes don't present uniformly or in the same manner. So there will be challenges for all of us as we try to make this work in the interests of equity and fairness and protection for all people.

You say you're in support of that kind of equity --

Ms Pettey: Absolutely.

Mr Martin: -- and you're saying that there will be some challenges as it rolls out and we need to be aware of that in providing it.

The criticism that was made earlier, that I want to hear very briefly from you about, is that we haven't consulted widely enough. It seems to me Lightman consulted for two years. Did you present to him your concerns, and do you feel that you were heard in the report he came down with that had some 150 recommendations upon which this legislation is built?

The Vice-Chair (Mr Daigeler): Will you put the question.

Mr Martin: I guess I had one other brief one.

The Vice-Chair: You don't really have much time.

Mr Martin: The Salus Corp residents have a maximum stay of three years. What is the average stay?

Ms Pettey: In terms of the Lightman commission, as a housing coalition we made a presentation and submitted a brief. Lightman only looked at domiciliary hostel and unregulated accommodation. It did not include non-profit, rehabilitative housing such as Salus. When we presented to the commission all of our recommendations, which we felt were fairly reflected in the final report, had to do with our perceptions of the domiciliary hostel program in Ottawa-Carleton, as it is the biggest provider of housing services for people with severe mental illness. We did present, it was well consulted, and we felt that it was a very fair outcome from that.

Ms Andriopoulos: I might add that Mr Lightman came to our home on Fisher Avenue and said: "Sorry, Stella, we're not going to visit your other two homes. This is not why we're here. We're not here for this kind of rehabilitative program. This is not the purpose of our commission." So he didn't visit the other two homes.

The Vice-Chair: Does someone want to answer the second question?

Ms Andriopoulos: The average length of stay at Salus Corp? It depends. It's a very individualized program, but the average length is definitely over six months. It could be eight months in one program. Some of our programs have different goals. Three years is not necessarily a maximum. If a person needs three and a half years, we allow for that as well. That's because of the Graham committee and the suggestions from the Graham committee report.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. We appreciate your presentation. You are going to submit something in writing as well.

Ms Pettey: Yes, we will by Monday.

The Vice-Chair: If you'll send it to the clerk, please, he will give it to the members of the committee. We certainly appreciate your presence today as well. A very interesting presentation.

Mrs Marland: We look forward to getting that.

Mr Cordiano: On a point of order, Mr Chair: This is a fundamental point that we were dealing with, and I would ask the committee's unanimous consent just to allow the minister to respond to that for a moment. I think what Dr Lightman did was to consult with a variety of groups, but obviously this is not an area that he did consult these groups on and yet --

Mr Fletcher: It is not a point of order.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Cordiano has asked --


Mr Cordiano: Could I finish the point of order, sir?

The Vice-Chair: No. Order, please.

Mr Fletcher: Have the standing orders changed?

The Vice-Chair: Mr Cordiano requested unanimous approval of the committee to ask a question of the minister. Do we have agreement? No, we don't.

Mrs Marland: No, they're scared to hear the answer.


Le Vice-Président : Les intervenants présents seront le Regroupement francophone d'Ottawa-Carleton, si vous voulez, s'il vous plaît, vous asseoir.

Comme vous le savez probablement, vous avez 30 minutes pour votre présentation. Nous aimerions bien avoir quelque temps pour la période de questions. Vous pouvez faire votre présentation en français ; nous avons la traduction simultanée. Alors, s'il vous plaît, si vous pouvez vous présenter vous-même pour le Hansard et commencer, s'il vous plaît.

Mme Anne Smith : Je m'appelle Anne Smith et je suis accompagnée de Marco Leboeuf. Nous travaillons tous les deux à Action-Logement, qui est un organisme communautaire d'aide en matière de logement pour la région d'Ottawa-Carleton. Nous faisons aussi de la revendication pour les locataires.

Nos services à Action-Logement sont offerts dans les deux langues officielles et nous avons aussi du personnel qui parlent le créole, l'arabe et le somalien. En 1993, nous avons eu 17 000 clients, et environ 65 % de ces clients étaient à la recherche d'un logement.

Nous sommes ici aujourd'hui surtout pour parler au nom du Regroupement francophone d'Ottawa-Carleton sur le logement. Ce comité est composé d'intervenants de 13 organismes francophones communautaires. Ces organismes travaillent auprès des locataires et des personnes sans logement permanent. La mission du Regroupement est de promouvoir l'accès au logement abordable pour les familles et les individus à faible et à moyen revenu.

Donc, je vais laisser la parole à mon collègue Marco, et je crois qu'on pourra répondre tous les deux aux questions, s'il y en a.

M. Marco Leboeuf : Pour le Regroupement, le projet de loi 120 aura pour effet d'augmenter le nombre de logements sécuritaires et à prix abordable ainsi que d'assurer la protection de certains locataires qui n'en avaient pas auparavant, tels les résidents de maisons de soins et lesdits logements illégaux. Nous supportons donc l'adoption du projet de loi 120 le plus tôt possible.

En réaction au projet de loi, le Regroupement a fait part de quelques commentaires et questions dont je viens vous faire une synthèse aujourd'hui. Le mémoire du Regroupement sera envoyé d'ici peu, mais pour la présentation d'aujourd'hui, nous nous sommes inspirés des principaux éléments du projet de loi sur la protection des résidents tirés du communiqué du ministère du Logement qui a été diffusé le 23 novembre 1993.

Nos réactions face aux changements qui seront apportés à la Loi sur la location immobilière : Les changements sur les droits de résidents de maisons de soins est primordial. Ils ont le droit à la vie privée et à la même protection que les autres locataires. Par contre, nous sommes concernés à savoir qui informera ces résidents et leur famille de leurs droits. Nous suggérons donc au ministère du Logement de travailler de pair avec les organismes communautaires pour que ce travail d'information et de sensibilisation soit fait de façon coordonnée et efficace.


Quant aux changements apportés à la Loi sur le contrôle des loyers, encore une fois, plusieurs locataires bénéficieront de ces changements. Par contre, une grosse question nous est apparue.

Comme vous le savez, pour les pensionnaires et les chambreurs, il y a une clause qui dit que si nous partageons la salle de bains et/ou la cuisine avec le propriétaire, les deux lois ne s'appliquent pas. La question que nous nous sommes posée c'est, pour les maisons de soins -- et nous avons eu la définition ; nous n'avons pas trouvé de réponse -- est-ce que cela va s'appliquer ou est-ce qu'elles vont être catégorisées à part ? La question qui se posait : si un propriétaire décide d'avoir 20 chambreurs dans une maison de soins et décide de partager sa cuisine, est-ce qu'ils vont être protégés ? Donc, c'est juste à savoir s'il va y rester une faille pour les maisons de soins avec cette clause qui dit que ces personnes ne sont pas protégées.

Une autre question : est-ce que le ministère a mis en place un processus d'information auprès de ces locataires sur leurs nouveaux droits ? Une inquiétude qui est sortie c'est qu'il semble, d'après nos lectures, que cette partie du projet de loi 120 est en vigueur depuis le 23 novembre et nous n'avons reçu aucune information ou vulgarisation, aucun document à ce sujet.

Tous ces changements apportés qui ont pour effet d'augmenter le nombre de logements, tels les appartements dans les maisons ou encore les pavillons-jardin, sont pour nous des changements appréciés. Nous savons tous qu'il y a un grand manque de logements. En Ontario, et plus particulièrement à Ottawa, le taux d'inoccupation était, selon le rapport du SCHL, de 1,8 % en octobre 1993 à Ottawa. Nous sommes, par contre, très inquiets par rapport au nombre d'inspecteurs. En effet, à Ottawa, le nombre est passé de douze à quatre en moins de dix ans. À Cumberland ainsi qu'à Gloucester, il n'y a qu'un seul inspecteur par ville ; à Vanier, on en compte deux. Nous voulons que le gouvernement tienne compte de ce fait dans l'allocation de ses budgets. En augmentant le nombre de logements, il faut tenir compte aussi qu'il faudrait augmenter le nombre d'inspecteurs.

Une suggestion qui est apparue : Ottawa actuellement est en train d'instaurer un programme proactif. Il serait donc apprécié d'instaurer et de maintenir ces programmes comme Ottawa va le faire.

Pour ce qui est des normes de salubrité et de sécurité, ce que le ministère suggère sont des normes raisonnables. Ceci n'est pas assez spécifique. Il faut que ces normes soient adéquates et il faut être certain qu'elles ne seront pas moindres que celles déjà en vigueur dans les municipalités.

Je finirai en encourageant le gouvernement à continuer d'appuyer les organismes communautaires tel Action-Logement, afin de s'assurer que les locataires aient accès à l'information et connaissent leurs droits afin de les faire respecter.

Le Vice-Président : Est-ce que ça termine votre présentation ?

Mme Smith : Oui.

Le Vice-Président : Merci beaucoup, et j'ai bien compris que vous allez envoyer quelque chose par écrit à monsieur le greffier. Alors, il y a cinq minutes pour chaque caucus.

Mr David Johnson: I will be speaking in English, if you don't mind.

You mentioned inspectors and the concern with regard to inspectors, and I think this is a most valid concern. The observations I would make on that would be that certainly fire inspectors will be required and certainly property standards inspectors will be required.

We've had a deputation, for example, from the fire chief of the city of Mississauga, indicating that 87 man-years, or person-years let's say, of inspection duty would be required to meet the needs of the accessory apartments. That doesn't even touch on property standards. There may be other bodies involved. Hydro may be involved in terms of inspecting.

In addition, concerns have been expressed by municipalities, even with the so-called strengthening of the right of entry, that even so, their powers to enter to do the inspection are still inadequate and they will not be sufficient for municipalities, either through the fire department or property standards or building department, to do the kind of inspections that they feel will be required to ensure the safety.

Since you've raised this as a particular interest and my sense was that you were indicating that perhaps funding, perhaps some sort of grant, may be the answer in terms of provincial support, if the provincial government is going to say, "This is the way we have to go," is the provincial government also going to fund the inspection program in addition to telling the municipalities that they have to do this? If that's what you're saying, number one, then number two, what sort of financial support do you think the government should give to the municipalities to accomplish this?

Mme Smith : Pour la première question, je crois que c'est ça. On est en accord avec ce que vous dites dans le sens qu'il faut qu'il y ait assez d'inspecteurs pour être capable de voir ce qui existe dans certains logements. On parle juste présentement des logements qui existent sans parler même de ce qui s'en vient. Mais on a des cas et des cas de gens qui viennent nous voir qui appellent les inspecteurs et les inspecteurs nous disent ce qu'ils voient dans ces logements-là. C'est absolument abominable, l'état de certains logements. Donc, il y a beaucoup de travail à faire et les inspecteurs arrivent à peine à fournir à la demande actuellement.

Donc, oui, ça prend plus d'inspecteurs. À savoir comment l'argent va être donné, je ne suis pas certaine, et je ne suis pas certaine non plus comment ça va être alloué. Mais nous, ce qu'on dit, c'est la position du Regroupement. Tout le monde est assez inquiet à savoir s'il va y avoir du personnel en place pour faire face à la nouvelle demande.

Mr David Johnson: You mentioned that some people -- or perhaps some municipalities, I'm not sure -- have indicated that there are not the powers or the authority to do the proper inspections today under the existing system.

Have you been able to analyse this particular bill, and is it your opinion that the additional powers that are in this bill will permit a proper level of inspection? I must say that there have been municipalities before us that have indicated that even with the provisions of this bill, they will still not have enough power to do the inspections to ensure proper conditions for tenants.

Mme Smith : Je ne suis pas certaine quoi vous répondre là-dessus. Je ne peux pas vous répondre là-dessus, sauf que notre problème à nous c'est que quand on fait appel aux inspecteurs pour certains de nos clients qui sont des locataires, on attend longtemps avant que la visite soit faite. Donc, c'est juste à ce niveau-là qu'on peut vous donner une réponse. À savoir si les pouvoirs sont assez importants dans le projet de loi, je ne crois pas que ce soit une analyse que le Regroupement ait faite.

Mr David Johnson: To shift now to the home care side, perhaps you heard some of the deputations before us who are expressing concern that they need to move certain individuals, individuals who are causing difficulty in the home care, whether it's care for the elderly, whether it's care that involves clients with psychiatric problems or whatever. The Landlord and Tenant Act will present a problem to them, will present a problem to the people they're trying to help and will present a problem to other residents in the facilities.

In view of the fact that we've heard this message over and over again but your message seems to be that the bill should go through in its present form and that there not be exemptions for these kinds of concerns, could you elaborate on that?. Do you understand the problems that some of the other operators have brought to us?


M. Leboeuf : C'est un peu contradictoire dans nos valeurs. Nous travaillons pour les droits, la revendication des droits des locataires. Effectivement, quand on regardait le projet de loi, on s'est posé la question, qu'est-ce qui arrive dans les maisons de soins si un patient devient dangereux ? Dans le mémoire qu'on va envoyer, on souligne le fait qu'il faudrait peut-être qu'il y ait un processus à part, parce que si quelqu'un devient dangereux, un psychopathe qui délire, est-ce qu'on peut attendre six mois avant que quelque chose soit fait ? Non. Ça, c'est une chose qui est évidente.

Mais, par contre, nous, on défend les droits des locataires, et non, on ne veut pas qu'il y ait une jurisprudence ou quelque chose qui arrive qui fait que, éventuellement, les maisons de soins pourront décider du jour au lendemain de dire, «On renvoie quelqu'un parce qu'il ne fait plus notre affaire.» Non, c'est toujours une contradiction dans nos valeurs par rapport à notre mission, qui est la défense des locataires.

Effectivement, en écoutant parler tantôt, c'est vraiment une image qui nous est revenue de la discussion qu'on avait eue. On comprend très bien le point de vue des autres services qui disent qu'il faudrait qu'il y ait quelque chose en place. On est d'accord avec ça. Il faut qu'il y ait un système peut-être à part. Quand on dit que le projet de loi doit passer, oui, mais il y a toujours des amendements qui peuvent être apportés à une loi et à des règlements. La suggestion n'est pas de changer le projet de loi mais peut-être de modifier certaines choses. Mais ça va faire partie du mémoire qu'on va envoyer.

M. Winninger : Si je vous ai bien compris, vous avez indiqué qu'il faut avoir des inspecteurs additionnels ?

M. Leboeuf : Oui.

M. Winninger : Il me semble que ce projet de loi va augmenter le pouvoir des inspecteurs. Par exemple, on ne doit pas encore saisir la preuve des infractions. Est-ce qu'il y a ce mot en français, «infractions» ?

Mme Smith : C'est la même chose.

M. Winninger : Il me semble que les inspecteurs, avec ce pouvoir additionnel, peuvent faire leur travail plus vite et plus efficacement. Est-ce que vous êtes d'accord ?

M. Leboeuf : Oui, effectivement, on est d'accord avec le fait que d'augmenter leur pouvoir, c'est une bonne chose. C'est le nombre duquel on parle. Avec le projet de loi, si on regarde les nouvelles prévisions, d'avoir des maisons dans les sous-sols, qu'ils soient plus ouverts, les pavillons-jardin, on prévoit qu'il va y avoir une augmentation de logements.

Actuellement, oui, il y a un problème au niveau du pouvoir pour que les inspecteurs puissent intervenir, c'est vrai, mais aussi au niveau de la surcharge de travail quand on pense qu'il y a un inspecteur à Gloucester pour desservir tout l'endroit. Oui, c'est vrai qu'actuellement il n'y a pas beaucoup de logements à Gloucester, mais si ça augmente, il ne pourra pas fournir à la tâche même si son pouvoir est augmenté.

C'est en ce sens où on dit qu'il faudrait peut-être que le gouvernement regarde pour savoir si le nombre d'inspecteurs est suffisant par rapport à la population. Quand des gens ont des abominations dans leur appartement, ce n'est pas dans trois mois qu'il faut intervenir ; c'est tout de suite, maintenant.

Il y a des gens qui nous téléphonent : «Ça fait une semaine qu'on n'a pas de chauffage ; j'ai un petit bébé,» et l'inspecteur ne peut pas s'y rendre. La personne est mal prise, puis nous, il faut qu'on passe un processus aussi. On ne peut pas intervenir. On n'est pas la loi. On est là pour défendre. On peut faire de la médiation ; on peut aider en téléphonant au propriétaire. Mais les inspecteurs sont souvent le dernier recours des locataires. Lorsque c'est un délai qui est trop long par rapport au pouvoir qu'ils ont mais aussi par rapport au nombre de cas qu'ils ont, on se pose la question, est-ce qu'il faut y avoir un processus mis en place pour répondre aux besoins des locataires au niveau des inspecteurs ?

L'hon Mme Gigantes : Brièvement, pour répondre à votre question sur le cas où on partage la cuisine, si je comprends bien, et j'ai consulté les experts du ministère, la question est si le propriétaire est un de ces partageants. Sinon, la législation dit que c'est très clair. Okay ?

La situation d'urgence que vous avez mentionnée est une question de l'application des autres lois comme la Loi sur la santé mentale et l'application, j'espère, de la loi des avocats ; ce n'est pas les avocats. Comment le dire en français ?

The Vice-Chair: Advocacy.

Mme Smith : Des défenseurs ?

M. Grandmaître : Des défenseurs.

L'hon Mme Gigantes : Les défenseurs. Il faut avoir l'application des autres services et d'autres morceaux de législation pour répondre à une situation d'urgence. Ça permet aussi l'intervention du propriétaire au cas d'urgence. Puis, je pense que c'est nécessaire de penser à tous les morceaux de législation, aux projets de loi qui touchent à une situation comme ça.

Aussi, si nous n'avons pas un marché noir dans la situation des appartements dans les maisons, c'est une situation où la municipalité peut avoir plus d'accès à la taxation parce qu'il y aura des revenus...

M. Grandmaître : Additionnels.

L'hon Mme Gigantes : Additionnels. Merci, Bernard. Ça veut dire qu'il y aura une addition à la taxation pour la municipalité où on peut trouver des fonds pour les autres inspecteurs, n'est-ce pas ?

Le Vice-Président : Je m'excuse. Le temps pour le caucus gouvernemental a expiré.

M. Grandmaître : Je suis tout à fait d'accord avec madame la ministre lorsqu'elle dit que les propriétaires qui opèrent présentement d'une façon illégale vont recevoir des argents additionnels. Mais, par contre, il faut réaliser qu'une fois identifiés comme étant illégaux, ces appartements, les unités, et qu'ils seront rendus légaux, une évaluation foncière sera faite de l'édifice et les taxes municipales vont s'élever. Alors, c'est six de l'un et une demi-douzaine de l'autre.

Alors, pour retourner à votre présentation, je crois que la plupart de vos clients, si on peut les appeler vos clients, ce sont des gens de Vanier, de Gloucester et d'Orléans peut-être. La grande majorité, c'est dans Vanier ou Gloucester. Vous avez mentionné dans votre présentation que 55 % des 17 000 appels concernaient le logement ou le manque de logements.

M. Leboeuf : La recherche de logements.

M. Grandmaître : Est-ce que Action-Logement a fait une évaluation du nombre ou a fait un sondage pour identifier le nombre d'unités illégales qui existent présentement ?

M. Leboeuf : Ça ne fait pas partie de notre mandat. Comme on ne travaille pas avec les propriétaires, le seul service qui est offert aux propriétaires, c'est l'affichage des logements. Donc, un propriétaire peut nous téléphoner ou venir nous voir et nous dire, «Moi, j'ai un appartement ou j'ai une maison à louer», puis on va l'afficher. Mais on ne travaille pas avec les propriétaires.

M. Grandmaître : Vous ne demandez pas au propriétaire qui veut s'enregistrer avec votre groupe si l'unité est légale ou illégale ?


M. Leboeuf : A priori, je pense qu'on prend pour acquis que s'il vient nous voir pour afficher un logement, c'est que c'est un logement légal. Je pense que faire toutes les démarches pour savoir si --

M. Grandmaître : Non, je comprends.

M. Leboeuf : C'est évident que si on demande au propriétaire, «Est-ce que c'est légal ou illégal ?» il va nous dire, «Notre logement est légal.»

M. Grandmaître : Oui, je comprends.

M. Leboeuf : Les démarches à entreprendre pour savoir s'il est enregistré ou pas, ce serait très long. On n'a pas le personnel en place.

M. Grandmaître : Non, c'est sûr. En plus de ça, je ne veux pas vous donner la responsabilité additionnelle d'identifier ces unités-là, loin de là. Mais, par contre, un bon pourcentage de ces unités-là qui sont situées surtout dans la ville de Vanier sont illégales. Elles étaient illégales il y a 15 ans ou 20 ans, alors elles sont demeurées illégales.

Ma peur est due au fait que le stock, si on peut l'appeler le stock d'habitation, surtout dans Vanier, c'est du vieux stock. C'est du stock qui existe depuis 40, 50, 60, 75 ans. Est-ce que vous pensez que les propriétaires de ces vieilles propriétés-là qui ont besoin d'être rénovées pour être rendues légales, vont dépenser les argents nécessaires ? Est-ce que ça vaut la peine ?

M. Leboeuf : D'après ce que nous avons compris du projet de loi, c'est que maintenant les locataires de ces appartements-là, s'ils déposent une plainte, vont être protégés, ce qui n'était pas fait avant.

M. Grandmaître : On peut les fermer. On peut fermer ces unités-là qui sont illégales.

M. Leboeuf : Mais le locataire va être protégé, ce qui n'était pas fait avant. Un locataire qui portait plainte, c'était, «Ben, ce logement est légal,» puis tout ce qui reste à faire, c'est de sortir, d'accord ?

M. Grandmaître : C'est vrai. Est-ce que la loi va protéger ces locataires-là ?

M. Leboeuf : La loi va mieux protéger ces gens-là. Si la loi met la main sur un logement illégal, j'ose espérer qu'il va y avoir des mesures prises face à ces propriétaires-là pour aider dans la démarche.

M. Grandmaître : Ah, bon, pour aider. C'est ça que je veux sortir de toi.

M. Leboeuf : L'objectif, ce n'est pas de faire mettre en prison. On est au courant qu'il y a des personnes âgées parfois qui sont seules maintenant, qui ont une maison et qui n'ont pas assez d'argent et qui vont ouvrir un petit appartement pour aider à payer. On peut comprendre parfois qu'il y a des choses qui se passent. Ce n'est pas nécessairement de taper sur les gens qui ont des appartements illégaux.

Oui, il y en a, des abuseurs, mais non, il y en a qui ont peut-être juste besoin d'un petit coup de main pour les rendre légaux. Je crois qu'il y a deux poids, deux mesures. Mais notre position face à ça, ce n'est pas notre mandat, les propriétés. Ça appartient au ministère du Logement de décider. Nous, on défend les droits des locataires et on dit que peu importe où tu habites, tu as des droits. Pour les gens qui sont dans des logements illégaux, qui habitent dans un grenier qui n'est pas isolé, avec un petit bébé de trois mois qui est en train de geler, il doit y avoir des choses mises en place pour aider ces gens.

M. Grandmaître : Un programme au niveau provincial pour aider ces gens-là, c'est ça ?

Le Vice-Président : M. Grandmaître, votre temps a malheureusement expiré.

Je vous remercie de nouveau pour votre présentation. Nous attendons votre mémoire que vous allez envoyer à monsieur le greffier. Merci.


The Vice-Chair: The next presenter is Alex Munter, councillor for the city of Kanata, and I think he has various other previous occupations to his credit.

Mr Alex Munter: My name is Alex Munter. I'm a city councillor in the city of Kanata, representing Katimavik-Hazeldean ward, and I'm here to comment on part IV of the legislation, specifically as it pertains to granny flats and apartments in houses.

I'd like to give you a little bit of background on the city of Kanata, which is a relatively recently incorporated municipality in 1978. Urban development in Kanata only started in the mid-1960s, so our oldest urban housing stock is coming on to 30 years. It's predominantly new housing.

We have quite a serious lack of affordable rental accommodation in our municipality. We have seen the construction of a number of co-op and non-profit housing projects and we have some market rental, but it's hard to find an apartment in the city of Kanata.

Our economic development task force, which was composed primarily of business people in the city of Kanata, reported last year that the lack of affordable housing is in fact an impediment to the continued economic development of Kanata, which is the anchor for the high-technology industry in Ottawa-Carleton: Mitel and Newbridge are headquartered in Kanata. Digital, Bell-Northern Research, Quantum Software all have plants in our city.

Who needs housing in Kanata? It's people, for example, who work on the assembly line at Mitel or Digital and who would like to live in Kanata but can't. We have people who have a change of family circumstance through divorce or other reasons who can no longer afford to live in the home they currently own who would like to remain in Kanata but can't stay, and young people who grew up in Kanata. When I moved out of my parents' home six years ago, I owned a business in Kanata. I wanted to stay in the municipality and I was very lucky to get the last one-bedroom apartment that at the time was vacant. Unfortunately, not much has changed in six years. The reason I am quite excited about part IV of Bill 120 is that I think it will help free up the market to create some affordable housing in our municipality. It's certainly not a panacea. As we have the Minister of Housing here, we would ask her to look kindly on future applications for co-op and non-profit projects in our municipality. It's part of the solution and it will help with supply.

We've heard a lot in the debate about this piece of legislation, about how people in communities like Kanata are appalled at the prospect of apartments in houses. In late 1990 our municipality conducted a very thorough study for the update of the municipal housing statement. We surveyed all households. We got 3,420 replies out of, at the time, 11,000 households. So that's one in every three households. It's a fairly thick report that deals with a whole range of issues.

On the question of intensification, we asked a number of specific questions. We asked, first of all, would you consider creating a separate apartment in your home? Most people wouldn't: 77% said they're not interested in doing that; 15% said they would consider it. We also asked, would you consider some other form of home sharing: renting a room, room and board? A number of examples along those lines were listed: 10.7% said they would consider home sharing and 76.4% wouldn't.

The key question was the next one, which asked, would you object if your neighbours were to share their home in any of the ways listed above? To that question, 67% said, no, they would not have an objection if their immediate neighbour were to renovate their home and have an apartment in the house or share their home: 23.9% suggested they would have a problem with that.

As a result of that housing statement, the previous city council in the city of Kanata, which I was not a part of, adopted the update on the municipal housing statement, which, in its text, included -- and this was adopted by the previous city council -- addressing these and other issues, primarily affordability of housing issues.

"It is the policy of the city of Kanata to use its power and authority to ensure the availability of a wide range of housing of various types of construction and tenure. This housing stock shall consist of units which may be owned freehold in condominium or cooperative tenure or which may be rented. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, this power and authority shall be applied to" -- and then a whole list of initiatives that the council adopted in principle. Included in that list is "to amend zoning bylaws to permit accessory dwelling units or other means of intensifying the use of municipal services in the built environment."


Kanata, when it was created in 1978, was created out of parts of other municipalities: part of the township of Nepean, part of the township of Goulbourn and all of the township of March. Each component part had various different zoning bylaws, and 16 years later, we're still in the process of consolidating it.

As a result of that, in Beaverbrook, which is old Kanata, which is one of the most prestigious parts of our city, the zoning bylaws currently permit accessory apartments. In other zones in other communities, they're ambiguous. and in a number of zones they're not permitted. We haven't quite got along in terms of the consolidation of all our zoning bylaws. That will take a number of years. Once this bill is passed, that will help speed along at least one element of that consolidation.

There are of course accessory apartments now in the city of Kanata. Not as many perhaps as in other older municipalities, but I believe that as the demographics change -- and we see now the construction of new homes in Kanata. The past few years have been primarily smaller homes; the larger homes that were built up until the mid-1980s and through the 1970s, there's not much demand for that type of housing any longer.

I think that the market over time, through this legislation freeing up the ability of the market to change some of that form of housing to provide apartments -- certainly anyone who's gone door to door has run across in Kanata in neighbourhoods with larger houses existing apartments in houses. In the discussion of legislation that I was following with the previous deputation, certainly the legal recognition of those apartments will help the municipality in terms of regulating them.

That's basically all I had to say. I'd be happy to answer any questions about this.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you for your presentation. You've probably already answered this in your presentation when you were talking about the respondents to your survey, but do you foresee a big rush from your community to line up for accessory apartments?

Mr Munter: No, and in fact the question that asked that said that only 15% would consider it. I'm certain that every household that will consider it won't necessarily follow through on it. So the notion that neighbourhoods will be drastically, irrevocably and dramatically altered by this legislation is a hard one to imagine.

Mr Fletcher: When people do start coming forward, perhaps the 15% or whatever, do you see spinoffs with the economy -- construction, home renovations?

Mr Munter: I think that the increased availability and access to affordable rental accommodation, to me the bottom line, that's what is the benefit of this legislation. That brings with it, of course, on an economic level -- you see, the problem we have in our retail sector, for example, is that because there is such a shortage of rental housing in the city of Kanata, the firms that are employed in our retail sector have a hard time finding people who can afford to work for low wages and rent, and there are few places to rent in Kanata.

As a result of that, we have significant leakage out of the municipality in retail dollars, people who again in a different survey -- we do a lot of surveys in our municipality -- identified that they would like to shop in Kanata but can't. So it's a circle, right? No one element of public policy will solve the problem, but I think this helps.

Mr Martin: I guess it's safe to say that coming from a municipal council context, you're a bit of an anomaly in terms of your support for this.

Mr Munter: That would be safe to say.

Mr Martin: You've presented the basis upon which you have made your decision. What do you think is the basis upon which so many others, who seem to be so fearful of this, have made their decisions?

Mr Munter: I would like to point out that at our council we did have a discussion of this. Our council was very, very careful not to oppose the principle of apartments in houses. That wasn't the issue for the councillors on our council, who were excited about this. The concern that they had was about municipal turf and that the province was overriding, in their view, the municipal jurisdiction, the municipal power to make decisions in its official plan. That's a debatable point.

To me, the overriding provincial interest and the reason that I'm glad that the province is taking the step, it's the availability of affordable housing, affordable rental accommodation. Unfortunately, our municipal council, which in August 1992 said it was going to have a public meeting on this issue still hasn't. The policy of our council -- it still stands -- is in support of the principle of apartments in houses and I'm sorry that the principle has been lost in a big debate over turf.

Mr Owens: In terms of the municipality, would you see it being helpful with respect to regulation as perhaps establishing a registry so that, if I was a prospective tenant, I could go and check and see how 123 Street in Kanata complies with the bylaws and meets the regulations? Would you see that as being something that municipalities would like to take a look at doing?

Mr Munter: It would certainly be helpful for tenants and there's obviously a cost involved. In this context I think our city, as most other municipalities, would be reluctant to take on that additional type of cost.

Hon Ms Gigantes: As a supplementary to that, it would be the case, would it not, that somebody entering the field of being a landlord of an apartment in a house, under the proposed legislation, would be going and getting a building permit? So that would provide an automatic way for a tenant to check, because there would be a record with the city property branch that a work permit had been sought there.

Mr Munter: That would be correct.

Mr Cordiano: Do you think Bill 120 essentially emasculates municipalities by stripping them of their zoning powers?

Mr Munter: No.

Mr Cordiano: No? Just wondering.

Mr Winninger: Shot down in flames.

Mr Cordiano: That was a tough question.

Mr Munter: You weren't expecting a yes, were you?

Mr Cordiano: I don't know what else I could ask after that. It's kind of hard to follow up on that question.

Mr Grandmaître: Are you speaking for the city of Kanata or you're on your own?

Mr Munter: I believe I'm representing 67% of the people of the city of Kanata. I'm here on my own. The official position of the city of Kanata, if you'd like me to read it, as I said --

Mr Grandmaître: I do have a copy of what the city of Kanata is for or against. I was talking to your mayor on Friday and she's all for intensification, that it should be done the right way. I can recall back in 1978 when the then mayor of Kanata was in favour of granny flats as long as the proper zoning was there. At that time the city of Kanata was in fact requesting money from the provincial government to upgrade, to improve, to update its official plan. Was this done?

Mr Munter: Actually, the funding for the update of the municipal statement was funded by the previous government through the Ministry of Housing and that was part of that exercise. We did have pilot projects.

Mr Grandmaître: And granny flats and accessory apartments are part of your new zoning bylaw?

Mr Munter: No, they are not. It's part of the exercise of the consolidation of our official plan. This lays out the principles which include granny flats, but our council has not yet adopted changes to its official plan.

Mr Grandmaître: So it was never discussed at planning board or even city council?

Mr Munter: This legislation was discussed and in our capital budget for this year, I believe, there are additional funds to complete the exercise. Consolidation is something that has taken two or three years. It started in 1991, so we're still in that exercise.


Mr Cordiano: Does the entire council that you are part of support Bill 120? Do you know?

Mr Munter: Our council has been scrupulously careful not to condemn the principle of apartments in houses. The majority of members of our council do not appreciate what they see as an intrusion by the province into municipal planning jurisdiction.

I disagree with them, as do other members of our council.

Mr Cordiano: So they would feel self-conscious if I asked them the same question I asked you?

Mr Munter: I wouldn't presume to speak for other members of our council.

Mrs Marland: You say in your riding some major companies are looking for affordable housing for their employees. Do you really believe those major corporations that you refer to want their employees' affordable housing to be in the form of basement apartments? Is that your vision? How long have you been elected?

Mr Munter: I was elected in November 1991.

Mrs Marland: Right. So you're a young man with a vision for your ward?

Mr Munter: Thank you. That sounds like something I could put on an election leaflet, Mrs Marland.

I'd like to think so. I have a vision for Kanata which includes -- and we have tried in the city of Kanata over the past number of years. We talk about planning, about changing the direction of our municipality, about providing different forms of housing, about having a greater base of employment, about changing the nature of our city. Part of that -- not the solution to all our housing problems, but part of that -- includes apartments in houses.

Mrs Marland: But you've got to have higher goals. Pardon the pun.

Mr Munter: Trust me. I have higher goals than basement apartments.

Mr Mammoliti: Is it degrading, Margaret?

The Vice-Chair: Order.

Mrs Marland: You said you had a survey where --

Mr Mammoliti: I used to live in a basement apartment. She's offending me like you wouldn't believe.

The Vice-Chair: Mrs Marland has the floor, please.


The Vice-Chair: Order, please.

Mrs Marland: I'll answer your question but not on my time, Mr Mammoliti.

You said 15% answered in the affirmative to "Yes, they'd be interested in an additional unit." I probably could bet you $1,000 that part of that question didn't say that that additional unit would be under the Rent Control Act and therefore if you, as a landlord, absentee or otherwise, in that unit, rent that unit to people on the condition, after you've interviewed them, that you think that they're going to be suitable tenants and one of the things that might be important to you and your family is that that tenant doesn't smoke and when they move in, you discover they do smoke, you can't evict them because they're smokers.

Do you think you would have got 15% affirmative response to renting additional units if the public ever, ever thought that their single unit in their private home would be under the Landlord and Tenant Act and therefore evictions would be very, very difficult to obtain if there was a strong incompatibility with that person living in your own home, sharing it with you?

Mr Munter: I couldn't bet you $1,000 because they don't pay municipal councillors in Kanata enough to be able to do that, but I can't answer that question. I would expect that somebody who was interested in becoming a landlord would look into the obligations and the requirements that being a landlord entails and, if they were not prepared to take that risk, they wouldn't do it.

If you're suggesting that nowhere close to 15% of people would actually erect or construct apartments in houses, I think you're right. I don't think it would be that high. I think it would be much lower. But over time, I think it would add a few hundred units, 200 or 300 units, and when you consider that's the equivalent of three co-op housing projects or more, that's not bad.

Mr David Johnson: Actually the position of the city of Kanata is quite similar to the position of just about every other municipality. I have yet to hear a municipality that's opposed to intensification; I have yet to hear of a municipality that's opposed to accessory apartments.

As a matter of fact, we've heard municipality after municipality that has accessory apartments in some form or another and just wants to look at the issue with their own control, with municipal control, in light of their own municipal circumstances. Now your personal position is obviously different, but from what I hear Kanata's position is quite identical to the position of just about every other municipality.

I wondered, in terms of the percentage of the population of Kanata where accessory apartments would be as of right -- and I think you mentioned, was it Beaverbrook?

Mr Munter: Beaverbrook, that's right.

Mr David Johnson: What sort of percentage of those residents who have that provision today legally, as opposed to the whole municipality, what would be that proportion?

Mr Munter: Sorry, how much of Kanata is Beaverbrook? Fifteen per cent.

Mr David Johnson: Oh, is it only Beaverbrook?

Mr Munter: The zoning bylaws for Beaverbrook are the only ones that explicitly permit accessory apartments.

Mr David Johnson: So then in 85% of Kanata, it's not legal to have an accessory apartment.

Mr Munter: No, in about 20% or 25% it's ambiguous -- the only word I can use -- and in the balance it's prohibited.

Mr David Johnson: The study that you mentioned that is the basis of your personal support for this was done a number of years ago.

Mr Munter: It was done three and a half years ago.

Mr David Johnson: And through that period of time -- now the minister seems to think it's quite easy to sort of bring this in and plunk it in place, and I wondered, instead of the ambiguous areas and the areas where it's not legal, why Kanata hadn't just proceeded with that kind of support that you seem to think is out there, or they hadn't just gone ahead and done the whole thing.

Mr Munter: Kanata at the moment has approximately 15 to 20 different zoning bylaws under the official plan, for a city of 45,000 people. That comes from the fact that the municipality is constituted from parts of former municipalities. There is this exercise that has been going on for a number of years and should be wrapped up in the next year to 15 months of consolidating the bylaws. We just haven't got that far. I would anticipate that there would have been a discussion around this issue at that time. I don't know what the outcome would have been.

Mr David Johnson: I guess this raises the issue of what municipalities will be looking at in terms of once Bill 120 goes through. You've given us a little bit of insight into the problems that Kanata has faced in terms of the different bits and pieces. I don't think this is necessarily, although Kanata may be more exaggerated in that degree, having more municipalities that have been brought together -- but I suspect that this is going to be a common problem that municipalities are going to face after Bill 120 in terms of making their zoning bylaws comply, in terms of making the official plan comply.

I think what you're telling us is that there's time that's required, there's an expense that's required, there are staff resources that are required. This is a bit of an exercise. Obviously, you personally would like to see this have been completed by now, but your municipality has only been able to do 15% in something like three years. From what you're telling us, it's quite a fair exercise and when you extrapolate that right across the province of Ontario, that's going to be quite a cost.

Mr Munter: The reason it's quite a fair exercise is that our official plan is much more complicated than just the issue of accessory apartments, right? I mean, it's a frighteningly large document. I think this is a fairly minor and small change which will be easy to accommodate and will not generate a lot of expense, to edit and change the one page of our official plan that will be affected by this.

The Chair: Thank you for taking the time to come down and meet with the committee this afternoon.



The Chair: The next presentation is the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

Mr Dick Stewart: Thank you, Mr Chairman. My name is Dick Stewart, and I'm the commissioner of the social services department for the region of Ottawa-Carleton. My colleague to my right is Nick Tunnacliffe, who's the commissioner of the planning department for the regional municipality.

I'm going to make some fairly brief comments and then turn the microphone over to Mr Tunnacliffe. I'll preface my comments by saying that my comments reflect the opinion of the social services department of the region. They do not as yet reflect the opinion of the standing committee of council, the social services committee, nor of council. It's our intention to present these issues to our committee for their consideration in the very near future.

I'm going to confine my comments to one aspect of Bill 120, and it is the aspect of the fact that residential care homes will no longer be exempted from the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act. It's that single issue that I wish to speak to you about this afternoon.

Before I launch into that in some detail, I wish to say that this region -- in fact before this region was a region and when social services were a local municipal responsibility, the city of Ottawa at that time, some 40 years ago, started a process of working with the community in the provision of something called residential care. The city and now the region, through staff resources and other ways in working with the community, have developed a network of service in collaboration with residential care homes. We have a long track record in this business.

Today the social services department at the region provides supports, both financial and personal supports, to 775 residents in some 24 different residential care homes.

Our department is committed to the principles of client self-determination and of client rights. I think that our actions in many areas uphold those principles. We believe, however, that these principles can and should be approached in many ways and in different ways and should take into consideration the special circumstances of vulnerable populations.

Boldly put, we are recommending that the province abandon this proposal to make residential care homes subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act. We believe that this step will erode clients' rights, will reduce the availability of housing to people with special needs, and we propose that you give serious consideration to building on the model of standards for service and standards for supports that do exist in this community today as a result of the cooperation between the region and various community organizations and the operators of these homes.

Since 1981 our region has been pushing for regulation. We've been advocating for regulation in the rest home business. In the absence of such regulations, in 1986 we introduced a fairly complex, sophisticated contract with our residential care home providers. We've backed that up with currently 13 dedicated staff who are responsible for the placement and the personal supports for those 775 residents that I referred to a few minutes ago.

At the risk of being crude, Mr Chairman, and being somewhat provocative, I would categorize the exemption of care homes from the Landlord and Tenant Act as essentially regulation on the cheap. Mr Lightman in his report talked about a bill of rights and a rest home tribunal and various other recommendations in chapter 9 of his document.

We believe that there is grave difficulty in dealing with this unregulated level of care by regulating only one aspect, and that is, bringing in the provisions of the LTA. We believe, frankly, that a more comprehensive approach must be taken to this. We believe the cornerstone of Dr Lightman's document was chapter 9 and we would want you to turn your attention to that.

We understand that many community groups and organizations and advocacy groups will be supporting Bill 120, the removal of the exemption from the LTA for rest homes, on the basis that it treats everybody under the law fairly and equitably, and that's an admirable principle.

We contend, though, that this amendment, this direction in Bill 120, will actually work in the opposite; it will work to the detriment of residents. We believe that the "hard-to-serve" or "less-desirable" potential residents of residential care facilities, now with a remedy at hand, a legalistic remedy under the LTA for eviction, even with its caveats and protection, will result in rest home operators, not only in Ottawa-Carleton potentially but across the province, proceeding to take those steps. Whereas at this point in time, they cannot do that.

In fact what happens is that the third party in this equation, namely, the social services department of this region with its 13 staff, act as mediators. They act as the buffer, and what we see today is that those hard-to-serve and those less-desirable residents, where we believe and the residents believe that the placement is appropriate, are maintained in those facilities and we can work those issues out. We fear the erosion of the support services with the implementation of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

We also believe that operators, human nature being what it is, looking at the Landlord and Tenant Act and having to respond to that, will be in the future more selective in whom they're willing to accept as residents in their homes. This amendment then will have the result of actually reducing the housing options potentially for the hard-to-serve and the most vulnerable.

In point form, we believe that this will move the residential care facilities closer to boarding homes and farther away from the facilities that provide long-term care for people with high special needs. If you think for a moment that the residential care homes are not part of the long-term care system, please, Mr Chairman, I'd ask you to think again.

We receive very regularly referrals to our department from the placement coordination services, the body in our community charged with the responsibility of placing people in extended care facilities, nursing homes etc. They are looking to our services through the residential care homes as a component in the continuum of care. That's the role they've played since the 1950s and one they continue to play. If provisions of Bill 120 which affect the LTA are brought in, we fear that role will be reduced.

In summary, we're concerned about this amendment and we believe it's going to have the opposite effect than the intended effect, which is to ensure the rights and privileges of individuals living in these homes.


Mr Nick Tunnacliffe: From the planning perspective, I want to discuss four points where we have some concerns with the proposed legislation.

At the outset, I want to say that the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton supports the concept of providing a variety and mix of affordable housing options through accessory apartments and garden suites. We've done this through the development of a regional official plan, which was one of the first in the province to address this matter and was approved in 1992. Several of the area municipalities have now or are now changing their official plans to bring them into conformity with the regional policy.

However, we're opposing the legislation, as it's drafted, for several reasons. The first one is almost a point of principle. We're concerned that the province is using legislation to intervene in what has historically been the purview of the municipalities, and that is the matter of zoning.

It has been accepted practice that the way the province has influenced land use planning policy has been through the development of policy statements and, as recently as last year, the Sewell commission's final report reiterated that view, that the province's role should in fact be to set a broad policy direction through policy statements. We believe that Bill 120 undermines municipal efforts to plan for and develop policies on accessory apartments appropriate to communities by using this mechanism.

One of the problems we've got into here is that the provincial expectation regarding the time frame to implement the 1989 housing policy statement has been unrealistic. It has taken longer than expected for many municipalities to develop their official plan amendments and then to implement that new policy through zoning bylaw changes.

As I referred to earlier, Ottawa-Carleton was first out of the blocks and we did get our plan approved by the minister in July 1992. Five municipalities -- that's Ottawa, Vanier, Gloucester, Cumberland and Osgoode -- already have their official plan amendments approved. Five are working on policies. Many of those are adopted before the region for approval, and only one has not yet started work on that. In Ottawa-Carleton we believe the planning process which was set up in 1989 is working quite well.

Our first recommendation to you is that you should really try to create a carrot out of this situation by giving the municipalities more time to implement the policy statement on housing so that you would amend Bill 120 and make it only applicable to those municipalities that haven't adopted acceptable policies on accessory apartments by the end of this year. That would provide some incentive to those municipalities to go through the process they've already started, and it would be a positive thing rather than a negative one.

However, if you are to proceed with Bill 120, we have three concerns with it, as it's drafted at the moment, from a planning perspective.

The first is the accessory nature of the apartment. The terminology used by the province has changed from the 1989 policy statement where you talk about "accessory apartments" to in this bill "two residential units," and we think that reflects a shift in policy which causes us some concern.

The words "two residential units" suggest to us that you are looking for the creation possibly of two equal-sized units or the duplexing of existing houses. The words in the current policy statement "accessory apartment" suggest that the apartment will be truly accessory, ie, smaller than the parent dwelling.

We believe that the community is much more likely to accept accessory apartments when the principal residence is owner-occupied. There's research to show this and we've quoted that in the paper.

We would ask you to modify Bill 120 to recognize the accessory nature of the additional apartment and to permit municipalities to regulate the size of the units so that this could be achieved.

The next area where we have concern relates to the types of units where the policy would be applicable. Bill 120 permits the creation of two residential units in a detached house, a semidetached house and a row house. This means that the potential density increase in row houses could be significant, and it may be that the servicing might be overstretched or things like car parking and amenity space might not be available to the proper standard.

We believe that allowing a second unit as of right in town houses should only be at the discretion of the local municipality, based on some sound planning criteria.

Our recommendation is that row houses be deleted from the legislation and this would allow municipalities to continue to regulate accessory apartments through official plans and zoning bylaws for this type of unit.

Our final concern relates to regulations or rather the lack of them. Bill 120 specifies that regulations may be passed. There's no indication as to what would be in those regulations, and we believe that they too should be subject to consultation and therefore they should be available before the bill is enacted.

We'd both be pleased to answer questions.

Mr Grandmaître: Mr Tunnacliffe, you pointed out that five municipalities have already amended their official plan to reflect your official plan. What will happen to these five municipalities who have spent thousands and thousands of dollars to update their official plan to reflect the regional plan? What will happen to their official plans? They will have to be reamended.

Mr Tunnacliffe: Reamended or the policies overruled by the legislation in so far they may conflict.

Mr Grandmaître: Can you put this by me again?

Mr Tunnacliffe: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: It could be done through?

Mr Tunnacliffe: The legislation. To take the example of the row houses, if in a municipality they've decided in their wisdom that unless certain car parking or amenity standards were provided, second units wouldn't be allowed in row houses, then the legislation presumably will override those local official plans. That's going to cause confusion. You'll have a local planning document saying one thing and you'll have some legislation saying another, then we have to go through a process to bring them together.

Mr Grandmaître: You're asking the province to regulate the size of these accessory or new units. How would you go about this?

Mr Tunnacliffe: No. What we're asking for is that the municipalities be given the right to regulate the size. So they could in fact allow for an accessory apartment as opposed to the duplexing, ie, the splitting in half, let's say, of a larger house. The second unit would clearly be secondary to the main use and therefore it's not going to impact on the community as much, and we think it will have greater acceptance by the community at large.

Mr Daigeler: Mr Stewart, you're raising some excellent points in a very reasonable and rational manner, and I do hope the government will carefully look at what you're putting forward here.

With regard to the planning dimension of the bill, you, Mr Tunnacliffe, rightly make reference to the regulations that we haven't seen yet. We did get something today and, Mr Chairman, I'd like to ask the Minister of Housing whether what we received today as possible fire regulations would be the extent of the regulations that will accompany this bill, or is there more to come?


Hon Ms Gigantes: The answer is that what you received was a draft and it has been circulated to fire officials at the local level, so there may be changes or there may not.

Mr Daigeler: That I understand, but are there any other kinds of regulations with regard to health or property standards or anything like that, or will the regulations be simply confined to fire regulations?

Hon Ms Gigantes: There have been changes already to the Building Code which I believe you've also received information about, changes that were declared in June 1993. Those affect existing buildings, existing apartments in buildings, and also new apartments.

Mrs Marland: Mr Stewart and Mr Tunnacliffe. you've brought some very important points forward. Personally, speaking for the PC caucus, we have been gravely concerned about the fact that, in essence, we have two bills in one here anyway.

If we had dealt with Bill 90 in the original on its own, it is a very significant piece of legislation, but now we have this rest and retirement homes added, which is also very significant legislation. I think the areas you've identified are exactly the areas that we're concerned about, the fact that you don't by regulating one aspect of an operation necessarily resolve or provide a remedy for what may or may not have been a long-standing problem in a particular operator's situation.

As you say, that wasn't the spirit of the Lightman report either, and it's unfortunate that it has happened this way. Our concern, like you, is that the legislation doesn't do anything to regulate the care. When we're talking particularly about vulnerable people -- and we did have a presentation earlier this afternoon from the Canadian Mental Health Association -- those are the cases where they are the most vulnerable clients, who are at greatest risk of exploitation.

The bad situations that we've all read about in the media for the most part are not in the major operators of retirement and rest homes around the province, because that's not the business they're in. As somebody said, it's competitive enough and there's a high-enough vacancy that they're just not going to get the clients if they operate in those terrible examples that we've had.

But the point is some of those examples have existed and we're not challenging that, we're just saying that this bill does nothing for them. In fact it may end up being that these people are going to be worse off, which is a horrific thought of how government meddling can get itself into where it shouldn't be in the first place and, second, where there's just no resolution to a problem.

I think it's interesting that you talk about the size of the units. I hadn't thought before about that aspect that you've introduced this afternoon when we did talk under Bill 90 about accessory apartments. The minister keeps talking about how it's just going to be such a perfect world. As far as I'm concerned, it's going to be Alice in Wonderland. Your point about the size of the apartments -- the minister really believes that everybody is going to go out and get a building permit to create these units.

That just isn't going to happen. Everybody isn't going to go out and get a building permit, and that's where I think we'll get into a situation where people will continue to have illegal apartments and they may have more than one, they may not understand that, now basement apartments are legal, it means only one. The size factor is a very good point that you bring to us this afternoon.

What I really wanted to ask you -- of course I don't agree with basement apartments anyway, but I support you 100%, and that will be an amendment we'll try for. Our caucus will be more than happy to move an amendment that row houses be deleted from the legislation. We will be making all kinds of amendments, not expecting to get support for any of them.

Mr Cooper: If they're good ones, we'll support them.

Mrs Marland: Have you discussed this aspect of row houses with other municipalities? Is that a position that other municipalities -- starting with all their concerns, is that their primary concern?

Mr Tunnacliffe: We've discussed it with the municipalities in this region. I haven't discussed it with other municipalities beyond that, but certainly it's one of the concerns we have.

Mrs Marland: So you don't know if other regional municipalities are interested in that?

Mr Tunnacliffe: No. I'm sorry, I can't help you.

Mr Owens: You mentioned the long-term care issues. I think you're absolutely correct that one doesn't look at Bill 120 and see these issues dealt with.

However, I think it's the view of the government, and I'm going to ask whether or not you subscribe to that view, that pieces of legislation like the long-term care reform that's in process with respect to allowing individuals to opt in along the continuum of care until or if they ever need to be put in a more permanent, higher-level care facility, things like the Advocacy Act, if in fact that will protect residents, whether it's in a home for the aged or a basement apartment with a son and daughter-in-law living upstairs or in another situation -- looking at some of the issues that are being explored under the mental health reform that our government is engaged in, do you not see these pieces of legislation and reform programs being the correct place for this kind of issue to be addressed rather than amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act?

Mr Stewart: Certainly I would prefer to see a more comprehensive approach to this, which is what our brief said. I would prefer to see the focus on both improving and ensuring residents' rights and ensuring supports for people to exercise their rights by whatever means.

The point you've made about long-term care reform, I want to respond to that. The fact is that rest homes are seen to be outside the long-term care reform initiative. The point I'm trying to make in my presentation this afternoon is that that's a very false position to take, because we do see the residential care system as a continuum of care.

In this region -- it may be somewhat different than it is in other regions in Ontario -- but there is a high level of persons with psychiatric illness, psychogeriatrics and indeed the frail elderly residing in those residential care facilities. I support initiatives that look at a more comprehensive way to ensure the rights of those residents. Protecting one aspect, which is tenancy rights, through the Landlord and Tenant Act is only a small piece.

Mr Owens: It's one issue.

Mr Stewart: Yes, but by itself, without those other issues being done, our contention is that it may indeed erode the current system we have in Ottawa-Carleton, which we're very proud of in terms of the collaboration we have with community organizations and the providers.

Mr Owens: Absolutely. If I can speak for the minister and for the government, it's certainly the view of our government that to deal with things in isolation or as a patchwork is not the way to go, but in terms of weaving the whole cloth, this is clearly the approach that we've taken. With the cooperation of municipalities and regions like yourselves, we're going to be able to deliver the best kind of policy to areas like Ottawa-Carleton.

The Chair: My apologies to Mr Fletcher and Mr Cooper, who had wanted to intervene. Thank you for appearing today.

The next presentation will come from Diane Holmes, who's a councillor in the city of Ottawa.

Hon Ms Gigantes: She always comes right on time.

The Chair: This is right on time.

Hon Ms Gigantes: I'm a little fast.

Mr Daigeler: Should we recess for five minutes?

The Chair: I would recess the committee for a few minutes, but we're under some very tight time restraints on the room. It would probably be best to sit here for a few minutes and wait and see if she appears.

Mr Daigeler: I'll take a look.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Daigeler.

The committee recessed from 1603 to 1614.


The Chair: The committee will reconvene. The last presenter of the day is Diane Holmes, a councillor in the city of Ottawa. Good afternoon. You have until 4:30 to make your presentation.

Mrs Diane Holmes: Thank you very much for holding until I could get here. I apologize for being late.

I wanted to say that I am a very strong supporter of the bill as presented; among other things, a very strong supporter of having more easy access for inspectors, both zoning inspectors and property standards inspectors, to have access to housing.

Just as an example, in one of my residential areas there is a private language school which is a commercial use in a residential area. It has been there for about five years now and the city has refused a zoning application to turn it into a private language school, but we have not been able to get the language school out of the building, so it's still there after five years because we cannot get access to the building. Our zoning inspectors cannot get inside because the owner of the building refuses to allow access and no judge will give a search warrant for the access to that building.

The language school continues there, totally in opposition to the city council's wish to have a residential area without this commercial intrusion, but the community certainly assaults me on the sidewalk whenever they see me to say, "Why is that language school still there?" To try to explain that our own city inspectors can't even have access to the building is very difficult to explain and the community doesn't understand it. They want their residential neighbourhood protected and maintained. They don't want to hear excuses from bureaucracies about not having any enforcement for our zoning bylaws.

The other thing I wanted to talk about was how supportive I am of the apartments-in-houses part of this bill. I represent the downtown ward of Ottawa where 85% tenants are my residents. For most of the older areas of Ottawa, apartments are allowed in houses as part of the zoning. It is the newer suburban areas of Ottawa where apartments are not allowed in houses at the moment in the zoning bylaws. So we have residential neighbourhoods in those newer more suburban parts of Ottawa where we are closing schools because there are not enough people living in those areas, not enough families living in those areas.

The provincial government happily seems to be building new schools in the outlying suburban areas of Ottawa-Carleton while they sanction closing schools in the downtown areas of Ottawa-Carleton. It sort of boggles the mind. The region continues to put in more sewers, more water, more roads, all happily co-funded by the provincial government. Thank you very much for all your money for urban sprawl while the infrastructure downtown goes to waste and we keep closing schools. Does this make economic sense to anyone? It doesn't make economic sense to me.

I would hope that we will see this bill go through in order to have apartments in houses. I am intrigued that they're called "basement apartments" in many cities. Most of the apartments in my ward in houses are not in the basements. One is on the second floor and one is on the first floor. That is how most of the conversions have happened in my ward. There are many older, bigger houses and most of those houses over time have been converted to one, two and three apartments; usually one on the first floor, one on the second floor and, if there's enough room on the third floor, then the third floor gets an apartment as well.

That certainly has worked extremely well in the older parts of town. It has kept the residential makeup family units; it has allowed us to keep our populations up by being able to convert these buildings to apartments. I would hope that we would look at that as being a situation that all of our neighbourhoods can cope with.

It is the neighbourhoods in the outlying areas that have the wider streets and more area to park in their laneways than the downtown ward that I represent that has narrower streets and few laneways, yet we cope with a denser population and with apartments in houses. I would hope, from an urban sprawl point of view, from an economic investment point of view, from using our infrastructure to its best capacity point of view, that this bill will in fact go through the Legislature.

Thank you again, Mr Chair, for allowing me to speak. I greatly appreciate that.

Mr David Johnson: I assume, councillor, you opposed the city of Ottawa when the vote was taken.

Mrs Holmes: I certainly do and I am on record as opposing that position.

Mr David Johnson: The city of Ottawa's position of course is not the same as your own, but you were unable to sway your --

Mrs Holmes: I was. I was a minority vote, you might say, and realizing that the city was coming to speak to you, I thought you should know that there are some councillors who don't agree with the city position.

Mr David Johnson: We're aware that no matter what the issue there is always somebody on the other side.

One of the points put forward by the city of Ottawa is that they felt a lot more supportive in terms of owner-occupied residences, in terms of the accessory units or basement apartments, that if the owner lived in the property, that would be much more acceptable.

Mrs Holmes: I don't see how you can possibly legislate that.


Mr David Johnson: If it was possible, is that something you could support?

Mrs Holmes: I would not agree with that. I think someone who owns a house should be able to rent it to two units, if they so desire, or live in it with a rental unit, if they so wish. That should be up to the owner of the property.

Mr David Johnson: Another issue that has been raised by a number of municipalities concerns the ability to enforce the standards, whether it's property standards, fire standards, you name it.

Speaking from my own experience of less than a year ago yet, when I was at the municipal level, I know that, at least in the part of the province where I lived, it was very difficult to enforce the property standards, for example. You could knock, but either the tenant, the owner or whoever answered the door could tell you to get lost and you had no right to go in and enforce the standards.

Now it's certainly my view that Bill 120 does improve that marginally, but the municipality still is going to have to show -- what's the word?

Mrs Holmes: Cause.

Mr David Johnson: Reasonable cause. My staff, certainly in East York, indicated to me that that was a major stumbling block, that unless that's removed, there's still going to be a problem. I'm wondering what your views on that are.

Mrs Holmes: I would think that's then what comes down in regulations as to what is cause. If cause is an inspector's statement that somebody in the building has complained -- either a tenant has complained or a neighbour has complained -- that would be certainly sufficient. If it's anything that is more difficult, then I think we are having a problem.

Mr David Johnson: Good, okay. That would certainly be my view on it. I doubt very much that that's what the legislation is going to say, but I think you've expressed that very well.

I guess you haven't seen the draft fire regulations.

Mrs Holmes: No, I haven't.

Mr David Johnson: I suppose they've been circulated around. One of the issues with the fire departments has been the access to basement apartments. There's grave concern, because these basement apartments are a great danger, according to the fire departments that have made deputations to this particular committee. Because they're located underground, the access is difficult, getting people out is difficult, that sort of thing.

The fire departments that appeared before us have strongly recommended, almost insisted, that the entrances and the exits be of a high calibre. Indeed, the Ottawa fire chief who was here this morning wasn't able to make a deputation but told me he felt that it would not be acceptable to have an exit through another unit; that the two exits must be directly from the basement apartment out. I wondered what your view on that would be.

Mrs Holmes: I assumed that any of this apartments-in-houses was subject to fire code regulations and building code regulations. So I'm expecting a certain height. They're going to have to be a certain height, the fire exits are going to have to be meeting the fire code. I made that assumption. I don't think any city would be interested in going forward -- I can't see the provincial government interested in going forward -- with legislation that does not meet basic fire code and building code regulations.

Mr Owens: Mr Johnson essentially probed an area that I'm interested in, which is a running discussion that we've had with respect to the power of entry. He's much too shy to tell you that the "Get lost" he heard was when he was canvassing. But the question that I have is in terms of your constituents in your ward under the proposed power of entry and the problem that you mentioned at the beginning of your presentation.

Do you see the as-drafted version as being a fairly significant step in the direction to enable property standards officers to enforce property standards bylaws in the city?

Mrs Holmes: Yes, I think it's going to be very helpful. One of the other problems that is fairly common is that, if there are 15 units in the building and unit 2 complains about a problem like broken windows or no heat or heat loss, at the present time the inspector just goes to apartment 2. Certainly we'd like to have the ability to go to the other 14 and see whether that heat loss is prevalent throughout the whole building, which it might be; or if there's a tenants' association in the building, they would like all of them looked at, but most of them work and there's only one who can allow somebody in the building, but they all want their units to be looked at. That is the kind of access that we want to see coming through this new piece of legislation.

Mr Owens: But not the kind of access that would allow property standards enforcement officers to just walk into units because the grass isn't cut or there's a junk car sitting in the driveway that someone's complained about.

Mrs Holmes: I wouldn't think so.

Mr Owens: Good. Thank you.

Mrs Holmes: There still has to be privacy of the units and there has to be 24-hour notification. The tenant, in my experience, is usually the one who invites the inspector to come in because there's a problem with the unit.

Mr Cordiano: I suppose you believe there's really no role for municipalities to play in determining a zoning question around this accessory apartment's ability to exist as of right. I suppose you agree with that.

Mrs Holmes: I agree.

Mr Cordiano: It's a blanket kind of approach, that there are no questions around density and that parking will now become a problem, that existing infrastructure will be able to accommodate the influx of additional population in a variety of areas.

I know in my city, in the city of North York, there are real problems with sewage backup, some of the sewage problems that have occurred with flooding etc, basements that have flooded and sewage backing into the basements. It's a very real problem in parts of North York. Obviously this would not take that into account and there would be no consideration for what additional capacity is available to accommodate additional population. You don't see that as a problem in the Ottawa area?

Mrs Holmes: No, we have similar backup sewage problems in some parts of our city. We put money into the capital program and we solved that sewage problem. I don't see why North York wouldn't be doing the same thing.

Mr Cordiano: It's not a problem in your city, but in North York it's a serious problem. To get at it would require some serious expenditures and they haven't really gotten at it in a satisfactory way. In fact some of the construction has accommodated the existing capacity, but not built for additional capacity or not taken into account an additional influx of people. Some of the work that's been done has been to alleviate temporary problems. But you don't foresee that as a problem in Ottawa obviously?

Mrs Holmes: No, I don't and I must say that 60% of the people who live in Ottawa are tenants, but there are many neighbourhoods who think that tenants are second-class citizens. We have many councillors around the city of Ottawa who think that tenants should be separated somehow from home owners, that they're a different class and we shouldn't allow them in certain neighbourhoods.

Mrs Marland: Wow.

Mrs Holmes: I'm talking about some of my fellow councillors, and may I say I do not agree with that philosophy and I don't agree with that's how you should plan your cities.

Mr Mammoliti: Some MPPs think that as well.

Mr Cordiano: I think it's appropriate to point out that perhaps a certain form of housing and a certain type of tenure is no longer possible under this, and I think that's what you're referring to.

Perhaps those people would say that a certain type of tenure, that is, single-family dwelling units, is something they desire in certain communities. We're just saying that shouldn't be an option any longer because, quite frankly, that would no longer be an option after this bill is passed. That's really what we're talking about, that in fact there would not be that option that it would exist anywhere in the province, theoretically, even though as a practical matter it may continue to exist into the future.

Mrs Holmes: I realize that will be possible for all home owners who wish to take this route to have another apartment in their home for rental, for their own financial reasons, for family reasons or for whatever reasons.

Hon Ms Gigantes: But is that really the tenure of the property owner or is it the tenure of the neighbour?

The Chair: Thank you for coming to see us today.

The committee will be considering this bill clause by clause during the week of March 6. Thank you to all the members. I would at this point adjourn till tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock in Toronto.

The committee adjourned at 1630.