Wednesday 26 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

Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto

Joyce Barretto, board vice-president

Ann Fitzpatrick, housing advocate

United Tenants of Ontario

Barbara Hurd, coordinator

City of Etobicoke

Brenda Burns, solicitor

Donald Ramsay, fire chief

Laurie McPherson, director, policy and research

City of Scarborough Fire Department

Thomas Powell, fire chief

Andy Everingham, director, fire prevention

Labourhood Homes Resource Centre

Paula Randazzo, director

Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing

Lorraine Katryan, coordinator

Neighbourhood Legal Services

Esther Ishimura, community legal worker

Bob Ninham

Gil Brereton, community legal worker

Massey Centre for Women

Nancy Peters, executive director

Dr Joan Campbell, board president

East York Tenants' Association

Mary Jo Donovan, president

City of North York

Mel Lastman, mayor


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

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

*Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

*Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

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

Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L) for Mr Sorbara

Murdock, Sharon (Sudbury ND) for Mr Fletcher

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND) for Mr Morrow

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

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Harcourt, Scott, manager, existing stock policy, housing policy branch, Ministry of Housing

Malkowski, Gary (York East/-Est ND)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

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

The committee met at 1003 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


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

The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The business of the committee this morning is to deal with Bill 120, An Act to amend certain statutes concerning residential property. We are continuing a process of public hearings which began last week and will continue for the next couple of weeks.


The Chair: Our first presentation this morning is from the Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto. Good morning. The committee has allocated you one half-hour for your presentation. You may use all of it for your presentation or reserve some of it for questions and answers. If you would like to introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, that would be appreciated.

Ms Joyce Barretto: Good morning. My name is Joyce Barretto. I'm vice-president of the board of the Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto. In my other life, I'm vice-president of Oswenda Investment. We are private sector landlords who deal with both commercial and residential real estate.

On my right is Ann Fitzpatrick. She is the housing advocate for the society who will be presenting the children's aid position on Bill 120.

Our presentation is approximately 15 minutes long and we'll then open the floor for questions. Appended to this presentation is some additional information on Metro CAS and housing statistics across Metro and Ontario.

The comments from the Metro children's aid society will be limited to the apartments-in-houses portion of the proposed legislation.

We are here to express strong support for Bill 120. The bill will provide additional protection and options for our clients who have a tremendous need for affordable and safe housing.

I will now go into a little bit about the mandate of CAS. Metro CAS is the largest child welfare organization in North America and throughout its 100-year existence has been responsible for the protection of children under the age of 16 within the mandate of the Child and Family Services Act. The society also provides a high quality of substitute care for children and develops child abuse prevention programs.

Our number one mission after the protection of children is to support families so that children can stay in their own homes wherever possible. Metro CAS has realized through our years of experience in working with children and families that providing counselling and support cannot be successful if some of the families' root problems are not addressed. For some families, their income and housing problems can multiply the level of stress and have an adverse impact on their ability to care for their children.

Metro CAS has historically advocated for housing solutions in keeping with our policy that "Everyone has a right to adequate, affordable housing, and furthermore it is the role of all levels of government to set and enforce policies in such a way to ensure that this occurs."

One example of this advocacy has been our instrumental involvement in the setup of the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, known as INC, which has been promoting zoning that allows apartments in houses. INC is supported by many groups across Ontario, including child and family services organizations such as Halton CAS, Catholic CAS, the CAS of Timiskaming, Jewish Family and Child Services, Native Child and Family Services, Family Service Association of Metro Toronto, Children and Youth Services of Brantford and Women's Place Kenora. This is only one of the many groups that are involved in this organization.

A quick profile now on Metro CAS and the families, children and youth with whom we work.

In 1992, we worked with over 9,000 families and served over 19,000 children who live in Toronto, Etobicoke, East York, city of Toronto, Scarborough and North York. Our clients include many single mothers, children in care, low-income families and youth, many youth on independent-life programs. These families, children and youth are among some of the most disadvantaged residents in Ontario.

An estimate of 83% of the families involved in the child welfare system live below the poverty line. Some 49% of these were single-parent families, mainly female-headed. This is very large compared with only 12% in Ontario and about 25% in Metro at large. About 54% of our clients were on some form of social assistance, while only 37% live in rent-geared-to-income housing. One out of three families are new Canadians from diverse racial and ethnic groups, many who are refugees and many who have unique housing needs.

Three hundred wards of Metro CAS were youth aged 16 and over who were living independently in the community. They receive an independent living allowance that is a paltry $567 a month, which equates to $6,804 a year. This is well below the poverty line for a single person, which is $14,951.

Finding decent and affordable housing is frustrating and very difficult for our clients. Families involved with the Metro CAS find that housing costs can consume up to 70% of their income. They often have to use food banks just to get by. Other families find housing that's more affordable but is unsafe and below generally accepted standards. Families sometimes find housing in high-rise buildings that is not their first choice, since they would prefer to live in a residential area with a backyard.

The Ontario Human Rights Code was amended in 1986 to guarantee the rights of families with children to rent apartments, and banned adults-only accommodation. However, many of our families continue to report discriminatory practices where landlords refuse to rent to them because they have children. In other situations, families and youth report they are turned down from rental accommodation because they are on social assistance or because they are told that their income is too low to rent a particular apartment.

Many teen mothers and small families that we work with turn to apartments in houses as an important housing option they can access. Some of these apartments seem to be very safe and affordable, but they are illegal because of restrictive zoning in all municipalities except the city of Toronto.

Some landlords are excellent and fair. Other landlords have been reported to use the illegal status of housing to intimidate tenants into silence. As a result, tenants lives in fear that if they complain about the safety of their housing, they may face eviction. Some landlords violate tenants' privacy and enter the apartment with no notice or consent. In other cases, the housing is not meeting current safety or building standards. A few examples of the problems that we have heard about are things such as furnaces that are exposed, cracked windows, inadequate heating, no smoke alarms, unsafe railings on stairways, blocked exits, loose wiring and broken appliances.

The illegal designation of these apartments means that it is impossible for our clients to exercise their right to report offences without the very real risk of losing their accommodation. In too many situations families and their children are left with two unsatisfactory options: they put up with the low-standard housing or they have to leave.

The legalization of apartments in houses will be a step forward in providing another safe and generally affordable option for the families we work with and for youth in CAS care who are moving towards independence.


Ms Ann Fitzpatrick: I'd now like to outline some of the social and economic impacts of the housing problems that our clients face.

We believe that the failure of all levels of government to address housing solutions for families and youth wards leaving care has adverse impacts on the lives of children in Metro and in Ontario. The costs are twofold: Part of the cost is difficult to measure as it reflects the emotional wellbeing and stability of children and their parents in how well they can cope with inadequate housing. Some are coping remarkably well; for others the result is child abuse and neglect.

The other costs are more tangible and can be measured in terms of dollar expenses paid by taxpayers to the services that become very heavily utilized by families under stress. These services include counselling, special education, hospitals, treatment centres and child welfare services like the CAS.

The Metro CAS recently completed a study with the University of Toronto that looked at the impact of housing problems on children coming into care in 1992. This study validated that there is a link between housing and admissions to care. Housing problems were a factor in one out of five of all child admissions to care, or 18.4% of child admissions. In 1992 figures, this meant that housing was a factor in the admissions of up to 239 children. These situations involved very serious child welfare concerns as well, such as abandonment, physical abuse and neglect.

We need to be very concerned about the kinds of impacts that housing problems may have on child abuse, neglect and admissions to our care. Our findings have duplicated the kinds of findings in American child welfare literature and symposiums, including the Child Welfare League of America.

Social research has documented the devastating impacts on children when separated from their natural parents, even when it's necessary due to abuse and neglect. Separations that are in part a result of housing problems and stresses should be prevented wherever possible. Removing a child from his or her natural parents requires intensive counselling and many supports.

To add to this emotional cost, there is a huge financial cost for residential care. For each child who comes into care, the cost to the Metro CAS and taxpayers is about $1,500 per month. The total costs for all the children affected could be up to $5 million when the average length of time in care is taken into consideration. It is difficult to fully assess and estimate the long-term emotional and financial costs of family breakdown due to housing problems. It's also difficult to assess the long-term costs of youth who are leaving the care of the Metro CAS, who frequently become very alienated within their communities when they struggle to access basic supports such as housing.

If we and our politicians ignore the impacts, it can be devastating for the children, the families, the youth and our communities. Homelessness, transient housing, overcrowding, expensive housing and unsafe conditions are facts of life for too many of our clients. Their needs and issues must be a priority.

I'd now like to outline why we are supportive of legalizing apartments in houses.

We see Bill 120 as one small step to assist families and youth with expanded housing options that are safe and relatively affordable. The Metro CAS has been advocating over the last three years to legalize these units in the Metro area and in Ontario. An estimated 50,000 of these apartments exist across Metro.

The CAS has written letters to all of the mayors across Metro and we've taken part in deputations and briefs to the councils in Scarborough, East York, North York and Toronto to support this direction. Our board of directors has also written to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Housing to support legalizing this form of housing and to support Bill 90 in principle, and now Bill 120 within some standards and regulations. The Metro CAS board has also sent letters to all of the presidents of the children's aid societies across the province and this issue is being considered by several of their boards.

There are a number of advantages to Bill 120 that we recognize:

(1) Most tenants do not know that these apartments are not legal when they first rent an apartment. We all know that apartments in houses are out in the open in many respects and the zoning restrictions are not public knowledge. We know that in Metro Toronto and many other communities they're advertised blatantly in newspapers, in real estate magazines and on signs in windows.

This proposed change to the Planning Act will be a step forward in recognizing these thousands of rental units in houses and thereby recognizing the rights of the many tenant households affected. This form of rental housing is part of our available housing stock, and as such it should be legalized and regulated.

(2) As Joyce mentioned, apartments in houses that are safe can provide another option for families and young people living independently. The option for tenants to live in a residential area, in a house with a backyard, is very desirable for many people and may be beneficial for them in comparison to high-rise living.

(3) Tenants who live in these apartments must be entitled to the fire safety and property standards protection and enforcement that other tenants can expect; similarly, they should be entitled to the same tenant rights as other tenants under all tenant legislation.

(4) We believe zoning and local bylaws that restrict apartments in houses have the effect of discriminating against some of the most disadvantaged groups in our communities, including many of the families, children and youth with whom the CAS works. Bill 120 is a first step to remedy some of these issues.

I'd like to conclude by saying that we have an opportunity this year; it is the United Nations International Year of the Family. Governments at all levels should be ensuring that the basic needs of all families be addressed, including their housing needs. Canada is also a signatory to the UN Convention of the Child, which also commits governments to support the basic needs of all children, including housing, and to support their families so that children can remain at home with their parents wherever possible.

Planning for accessible, affordable and safe housing solutions for all citizens in our communities must be a priority. Investment of time and resources to develop effective policy and program solutions to the housing needs of some of the most vulnerable children, youth and families in Ontario will save money and resources in the long term.

The policy of legalizing apartments in houses is just one small reform that will help many of your most disadvantaged constituents. In our view, legalizing apartments should not limit other forms of municipal and provincial planning to ensure the right to housing for all and for a range of permanent housing solutions for low-income families, children and youth.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Thank you for your presentation. I think it highlights not only the housing problem in Ontario but the good work that you people have been doing. A very good brief.

Let's talk about three things. Let's talk about zoning; let's talk about safety; safety, fire code, respecting zoning bylaws and property standards bylaws, all of these great things.

My problem with this bill is not because we're providing, or we will be providing, basement apartments. My concern is, how safe are these apartments? We've recognized that we have more than 50,000 of these illegal apartments, if I'm not mistaken, in the Metro area. My biggest concern is that out of the 50,000 illegal apartments in Metro, maybe only 10% or 15% or 20% will eventually become legal apartments, for the simple reason that most of these apartments were built without a building permit, not only because of the restriction of the zoning bylaw but because these people took shortcuts to provide basement apartments.

My concern is, once we identify them, if these people are willing to come forward and say, "Look, I don't mind a building inspector visiting my place and leaving me with a number of work orders to render my apartment or apartments legal." Will this bill resolve all of these problems? I say no, for the simple reason that, again, it's not only housing, it's the affordability of housing your clients. I think that's very, very important. I don't think that limiting or making zoning bylaws in this province will accommodate these people.


Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Have you got a question there?

Mr Grandmaître: Yes, I do have a question. You'll have your turn.

Mr Gary Wilson: I know. It's also so interesting.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm glad you find it interesting. That's about the only thing --

The Chair: Perhaps you could direct your statements to the Chair.

Mr Grandmaître: Thank you, Mr Chair. Maybe you should talk about who's interrupting.

Talk to me about the safety of these apartments, or the lack of safety of these apartments, to accommodate your clients.

Ms Fitzpatrick: I'm the housing advocate for our agency so I deal with the social workers who come to me with questions around the housing issue and ask for assistance in helping clients find housing.

What I've been finding from our experience is that some of these units, from the social worker's perspective, are quite safe, but there are concerns around the relationship sometimes between the landlord and the tenant. That's where they would like the Landlord and Tenant Act protections that they're not able to access.

You're quite right, some of these units, by our social workers' perspectives -- they are certainly not building inspectors -- they would have some safety concerns, as we mentioned. In some cases they're minor kinds of issues that are identified that would not cost a lot of money, in our view, to bring up to standard. In other cases they may be more major.

Certainly there will be some fallout from this bill. Perhaps some of the more substandard housing units will be closed. We think that is probably a good thing for the safety of children and families. We believe that there would be also other home owners who would want to follow procedures and put in safe units for children and family.

In addition, it provides for our clients, where there are minor problems, the ability to get some enforcement. We have tenants who live in high-rise buildings as well where there are some issues with balconies and there are other safety issues in high-rise buildings. Those create some safety concerns for us as well, but we certainly wouldn't be saying, "No more high-rise buildings in the Metro area." What we'd be saying is, "Let's give those tenants the right to get their property standards enforced." That is what we're looking for in legalizing apartments in houses: enforcement.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): I'm perhaps getting back to the same question where you've indicated that many tenants are concerned about raising concerns with their apartments because of what the landlord will say.

From my past experience as mayor of a municipality, we've certainly had complaints from tenants with regard to their accommodations. In a situation like that the municipality goes back, talks to the landlord and inspects etc and finds that most landlords are very responsive. Indeed, the problem perhaps wasn't communicated properly, or who knows what, but at any rate it gets resolved.

I wonder if you have any kind of statistics, since you're sort of in the middle of this, with regard to the number of people who have raised this concern that you've mentioned in your brief. They're in illegal apartments and they've come to you and they're afraid to complain to their municipality about conditions.

Ms Fitzpatrick: We don't have exact statistics on the number of families this is affecting in Metro. But I know from doing workshops with staff, from inquiries from a lot of our pregnancy and aftercare workers and our social workers, that this is very much a form of housing many of our families are using in the various municipalities.

These are the issues that they phone me about, whether their tenants can phone legal clinics. I always advise them, by all means, to phone a legal clinic when they're in doubt. Legal clinics give them the advice that they will proceed and assist them as though they're covered by the Landlord and Tenant Act and hope that the courts find it such. But the findings have been very inconsistent.

For a lot of our tenants what ends up happening is what Joyce said. They end up leaving and they go to a shelter or they get doubled up with another family and what ends up happening with those units is they just get to another unwitting tenant who then goes through the same pattern.

Mr David Johnson: There's certainly anecdotal evidence, but sometimes when you get to the bottom of anecdotal evidence, you don't know whether that means there are hundreds of people or thousands of people who are afraid to complain or if it's just a few people. We're hearing about them, so I just wondered.

Ms Fitzpatrick: We have workers who are visiting clients in these homes and they describe the situations to me and that's anecdotal. It also came out in the study that we did with social workers. The issue of illegal basement apartments came up in that study as well and in some of the case stories that were shared with me.

Mr David Johnson: Many municipalities are dealing with this in different circumstance and we just heard in Ottawa, I think, five of the municipalities indeed have passed some sort of legislation permitting basement apartments under certain circumstances, that sort of thing. Sometimes it seems like it's all or nothing. Either you have to have basement apartments everywhere or else you're a criminal. Which one? I don't know, but that's the kind of the way this is sort of portrayed.

I wondered if you had the opportunity to see what some of the municipalities are doing and if you felt there was some sort of compromise here where municipalities could retain some of the control but still meet the needs of the people.

Ms Fitzpatrick: As Joyce mentioned, we're members of the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign, and I've certainly been to meetings in Barrie and some other communities. We've been up to Sudbury and heard what some municipalities have said. I've read some of the local bylaws. I know Etobicoke was looking at an owner-occupied provision. The children's aid has not gotten into the bill in that kind of depth. I believe our position is that we support them as of right across all the municipalities as long as safety and building standards are established.

Mr Gary Wilson: I want briefly to apologize to Mr Grandmaître, but as you know with this Chair who's so quick to cut us off, we have to allow the presenters some time to respond.

Mr Grandmaître: Have you got a question?

The Chair: Shoot the messenger.

Mr Gary Wilson: You were saying that the owner occupancy isn't an issue you've really considered and it's not something you'd like to comment on.

I want to commend you for all the work you've done in support of this going around to area councils as well as the material you brought in in support of your document, Child Poverty in Metropolitan Toronto, Report Card 1993. I find that very effective and I hope other children's aid societies are copying that approach because, as you point out in your presentation, it's so important to make sure we do everything we can to make sure that children in need, throughout our society, are helped. If apartments in houses can do that, then we should be supporting it.

I will turn it over to my colleagues for their questions.

Mr Grandmaître: Their questions? That was a great speech.

Mr Gary Wilson: Short, short.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Welcome. In Yorkview 65% of the social assistance recipients are single parents; that's 65%, actually, of people who live in the current public housing are single parents.

We've heard from a number of deputants in terms of style of living and how accessory apartments, I've heard, are a much better way of living than some of the other and current accommodations that might exist in Metro in that there's a sense of responsibility in shovelling the snow and cutting the grass. Tenants tend to pick up that shovel and cut the grass frequently, whereas in other styles and forms of living, it doesn't happen.

Could you give me an indication of the difference, and I think there's a positive difference, between some of the current accommodation that exists in Metro for some of these single parents, and accessory apartments, the positive side to accessory apartments? If there's any negative side to that I'd like that as well.


Ms Barretto: I guess the best thing about accessory apartments is that it gives people a choice. They aren't obligated to live in MTHA housing, which would be a 20-storey high-rise where they've got two- and three-year-olds who have no place to play except the hallways or in very small, confined living areas. If they have a choice they have a backyard and they're much more accessible to safe neighbourhoods and playgrounds. Right now they're playing in a concrete jungle. They have no options. The local schools are often farther away. This way they have a right to find where they want to live.

Mr Mammoliti: What does that do for the upbringing of the child?

Ms Barretto: It's immeasurably more successful. If children feel they're in a safe environment, if they feel they're somewhere where they're going to be cared for, where they can enjoy walking down the street safely, where they go and mix with their friends in a much better atmosphere once again than playing in hallways, it's just going to make a better stability for those children, and also for those parents to know that when they send their children out to play, there's a backyard to play in that's more than likely fenced, that there's grass --

Mr Mammoliti: Moral values.

Ms Barretto: Yes, everything is going to be affected. Where you live and where you sleep at night and where you do your homework are affected. If you have a noisy neighbourhood and a noisy building that you live in versus a nice, quiet stable home, it affects your day-to-day living.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mammoliti. My apologies to those other members who have indicated interest. The time unfortunately has expired. Thank you for your presentation. The committee will be reviewing this bill clause by clause during the week of March 6.


Ms Barbara Hurd: My name is Barbara Hurd. I am the coordinator of United Tenants of Ontario. Can everybody hear me? I'm told I speak too low.

The Chair: No, that's fine.

Ms Sharon Murdock (Sudbury): We have speakers in front of us.

Ms Hurd: Okay. Good morning, members of the standing committee on general government. I wanted to start by introducing something about United Tenants of Ontario. We were founded in 1989 as a non-profit democratic organization with the goal of safe, affordable housing for Ontario tenants. Our members are from all parts of Ontario, from Kenora to Goderich to Hawkesbury. We live in private rental, basement apartments, rooming houses, on the streets and in non-profit, public and cooperative housing. Our members are individual tenants, tenant associations and federations and many other supportive groups and individuals.

At each of our annual meetings over the past five years we have educated tenants in housing law and issues, developed the province-wide tenant movement and elected our 21-member provincial council. At our last annual meeting, UTOO members dealt with some important issues.

We took our concerns about basement and illegal units to the steps of London city hall, urging that council to support the legislation legalizing the units and protecting tenants. When the Minister of Housing addressed us at our conference, we questioned her closely about the commitment of her government on this very urgent concern of ours. We have supported coverage by the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act, the demands of tenants living in housing that provides or purports to provide special care. We are glad to have an opportunity now to speak to you about these issues.

Of great assistance in our work on these issues were Persons United for Self-Help in Ontario, which is known as PUSH; the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign you've just heard from, INC; the Advocacy Centre for the Handicapped; the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Boarders; and the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations.

These groups are vitally interested in the proposed legislation before you and have done a great deal of research and consultation on the issues contained therein. I believe that if you give serious consideration to their submissions you will learn, as we have, and will be able to put the finishing touches on this law.

Each year, we have organized campaigns on issues of concern to tenants. Last year the issue was tenants and taxes, and meetings were held in Sudbury, Windsor, London, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton, with the help of local tenant organizations.

Some of the members of this committee might be surprised to know the extent to which tenants are taxed on their homes. Tenants living in buildings of seven units or more can pay taxes that approximate the value of three to four months' rent per year which, if you were paying $900 a month, is $2,700 to $3,600 per year.

According to the Ontario Fair Tax Commission in its report Fair Taxation in a Changing World: "Highlights," on page 93: "Tenants are overtaxed compared with single-family home owners. In most municipalities, multiple-unit residential properties are assessed at between two and three times the rate of single-family homes."

I feel that it is necessary to remind members of all parties in this Legislature that they should pass Bill 120, not only because all tenants deserve coverage of the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act and not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because they are taxpayers and should be recognized as such. This fact seems to escape most politicians and UTOO feels that it needs restating.

There is this persistent myth that tenants are not taxpayers and not contributors to society. Tenants across this province could legitimately claim they suffer from taxation without representation. Most tenants don't receive tax information, garbage and recycling services, and very little in the way of enforcement of property standards in their buildings. It should not come as a surprise that tenants now turn to the provincial government to take the steps the municipalities refuse to take and end exclusionary zoning.

I want to now address, in a little bit more detail, the question of illegal or basement units, the portions of this bill that deal with that. The concern is that it's unfair to municipal councils and people living in single-family dwelling zones. I think members of the committee would agree that it's unfair to accept taxes from people -- and I'm talking about the people who live in basement apartments -- who are least able to afford them and not heed their calls for safety and security in their homes. Is it fair to maintain the status quo where tenants cannot challenge their rents or are forced to live in substandard housing that could threaten their families' lives?

Where the municipalities refused to recognize that people were denied basic rights under the current laws, it is only reasonable that tenants looked to the province for help and reasonable that the province felt compelled to act.

On the other side of the equation, what is the harm that will be wrought by the introduction of the legislation? The Conservatives have stated that all singe-family dwellings in the province will immediately become two units. This appears to be a contradiction: If so many home owners are opposed to this law, as is claimed, how many conversions will actually take place?

Those opposed to the law say it will destroy neighbourhoods. There are estimated to be 100,000 units across Ontario neighbourhoods today and we have not heard stories of illegal units being responsible for their social disintegration.

Quite the contrary, the point of the legislation is to improve and make safe second units, which can only mean an improvement in the quality of life in the neighbourhood as a whole. Further, intensifying the use of land and buildings supports efficient use of resources. Supporting extended families by allowing garden suites and keeping elderly relatives out of institutions can only be a positive social development.

Another concern we have heard is that there was not enough consultation with municipalities. The Liberal government in 1989 produced a policy statement on basement apartments, among other things, and later prohibited municipal bylaws that distinguished single-family households and households of unrelated people. When it assumed the government, the NDP's throne speech made reference to it.

The introduction of Bill 90 in fall 1992 should have indicated which way the wind was blowing. I think there was time enough to know what was going on. It looks from here like the municipalities wanted this whole issue to go away.

Single-family zoning is discriminatory. It means that certain neighbourhoods are like private clubs: If you have money enough to purchase a house there, you are welcome; otherwise you can't come in. Public dollars and policy cannot be allowed to cater to private interests and neglect the legitimate rights of others.

Though we wish to see speedy passage of this long-awaited bill, we want to sound a note of caution about increasing the powers of property standards inspectors. Given the municipal opposition to second units in houses, our fear, along with others, is that inspectors will be looking for justification to close units down instead of requiring repairs or otherwise remedying the situation.

Please consider that these apartments are the homes of people with limited resources. Being forced to move is stressful, costly and disruptive to the employment, education and social aspects of people's lives. The Ministry of Housing should give serious consideration as to a means of preventing this, because once the process is under way, it would be extremely hard for a tenant to stop it.

This desire for increased powers of intervention strikes us as highly ironic since municipalities have told tenants in legal units that they cannot send inspectors to look at the deficiencies in their buildings because there are not enough inspectors or they are too busy.

We do not believe that power of entry is the problem. Legalization of the units should increase voluntary access by property and fire inspectors if it means that tenants are not going to get evicted if they let them in.

We wish to support the position of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations that a public education campaign be conducted to let tenants and landlords know about this legislation and their rights and obligations under it. Very often people, when contemplating becoming small landlords, tend to think of the extra income and may overlook the work and responsibility that goes with it. Tenants with new rights need information on what they are and how to enforce them.

To conclude our remarks on this aspect of the bill, we wish to thank the Minister of Housing for her hard work and recognition of this important issue for tenants. As consumers, taxpayers, workers, parents, seniors, students and new Canadians, tenants demand it and deserve it.

I wanted to direct some remarks towards the other aspect of the bill, which is the extension of tenant rights to tenants in care homes. United Tenants of Ontario is in full support of the extension of coverage by the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rental Control Act to people who live in rooming houses and non-profit projects that provide or purport to provide care services. It is very important to us that these people are given that protection.


Other than to make the point that where meals are provided, they should be covered by the Rent Control Act in these places, we feel it is time to act and give the protection that the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act afford. ARCH, the Coalition for the Protection of Roomers and Boarders, PUSH and the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organizations have raised concerns about some aspects of these particular provisions. We ask that you make use of their expertise to ensure that the legislation works.

In our brief to you we have included six resolutions passed by our members at our annual meetings on the subject of non-profits and vulnerable tenants. I won't read them here, but ask that you review them when you can. They're attached.

UTOO very much supports non-profit housing but this support is qualified by the recognition that tenants with special needs must have at the minimum the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Rent Control Act to challenge the exclusive and unilateral power of their landlords. Why should having special needs mean you have no recourse to the law?

This is the opportunity for provincial decision-makers to move our society forward, to be able to call ourselves progressive. Let us show the world we can do the right thing for all of our citizens and pass Bill 120 into law. Thank you for your time and attention.

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): Thank you, Ms Hurd, for your presentation. It's clear to see that this bill is of great interest to tenant groups and I think your presentation's been very helpful to me in terms of better understanding where you're coming from.

I have a couple of questions with respect to the text of your presentation. The first one was the quote on the amount of property tax paid by tenants and the numbers you gave. Did those numbers come out of the Fair Tax Commission report, or where did those originate?

Ms Hurd: Yes. The research that was done by our members when we were preparing materials for our campaign on tenants and taxes did look to the Fair Tax Commission materials. We had a fact sheet and I thought that I had a lot of extra copies; I was going to bring them. But I can still provide that material. The quote is directly from the Fair Tax Commission report. Those figures are from our research based on materials that were presented or provided by the Fair Tax Commission.

Mr Arnott: I've never disputed that a tenant would pay a portion of their rent going directly towards the property tax that their landlord in turn pays. Certainly, if property taxes are increasing, it's likely that rental rates are going to increase in a free market too.

Ms Hurd: It could do that, yes.

Mr Arnott: The second point, you mentioned that the Conservatives have stated that all single-family dwellings are likely to become two units. I don't think, to be fair, we've said that. I think the potential though exists, in my view, for a significant increase in the numbers of basement apartments, if you want to call them apartments in houses, in a totally unregulated environment, such that there will be really an untold additional demand on local services.

Ms Hurd: I think that there have been some studies done that show that household size has decreased. I think also that over the years, especially if you're talking about the suburbs, household size, lot sizes, have increased. I think those are the things that put pressure on services: more roads, more pipes, more wire, more everything is required to service the buildings that exist there now. I think if there are two families sharing a home, especially the size of many of the places in the suburbs of Metro, if you're talking about Metro, there could be a lot of sharing of resources.

Mr Arnott: Where I come from, rural Ontario, Wellington county, some of the small towns have tried very assiduously to plan their growth and they're telling me that they've got a certain amount of sewage capacity there and they're just trying to figure out what the impact will be if there are a number of additional basement apartments on the sewage capacity that they've got. It's difficult for them to plan that without having any estimate, and the government hasn't provided one, of what the increase may be as a result of the basement apartments in terms of the demand on that particular hard service.

Ms Hurd: I would think, given that there will be regulation and requirements of building permits and standards to be met before a unit can join the world of apartment units, that this would sort of mitigate against a huge rush of units. I don't know. Do municipalities know how many developers are coming to their neighbourhoods and how many houses they're going to build at any given time?

Mr Arnott: They try to plan it, yes; in our riding they certainly do. It's difficult to know who's going to be coming six months down the road, but at least you can say no if you don't have sewage capacity and that sort of thing.

Ms Hurd: I would think if they have a plan for sewage capacity of fairly large subdivisions, an additional couple of units in a neighbourhood, I don't think, is going to make a huge difference. I don't think it's going to be the pressure that people expect.

Mr Arnott: There's probably a larger issue here, and that is the responsibility of municipalities. They have been given the responsibility for local planning, and I see this bill as a direct contradiction to that historic responsibility that has been devolved from the provincial government to local government. Do you think it's generally a good idea that local government has planning responsibility, or would you think it would be better to be doing it from Queen's Park?

Ms Hurd: I don't know if the intention of the bill is to plan communities. I think it is to address a major rights question, which is the rights of tenants in units that have been created. Why should they be on the fringes of society? Why is it so difficult and why is it such a problem for a person to put a unit in their basement? I think what we see in society is that people start doing certain things and then society and its institutions have to sort of catch up with them, and change and adjust and move forward.

But my concern, from the point of view of my organization, is the question of the rights of people who, just by virtue of not fitting into a zoning scheme, can lose their homes because a property standards inspector has decided the ceiling is an inch too short; you know, the kind of interventions that property standards can have where there's no effort to try and remedy a situation, to try and fix and support housing instead of just closing it down.

As has been pointed out, I'm sure, in other deputations, judges have gone in both directions on the question of whether the person is a tenant or not. At one point I did work for a legal clinic. This is 10 years ago in Scarborough, where we started identifying that problem. At first we thought, "Well, they might be covered under the Rent Control Act," but they weren't in some cases, and in some cases they were. We just could not advise people. We decided the only way to go was legalization. We had to look for some rights for people in the Landlord and Tenant Act and in clarifying zoning. We had to recognize that the zoning question was pivotal and that this was the problem.

Mr Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre): Thank you, Barbara, and your organization, for your support of this legislation.

Representing a riding in Scarborough, and the generous estimates being somewhere between 10,000 and 14,000 accessory units currently in existence, I quite appreciate the fact that you've attacked two red herrings that seem to be launched in every opponent's presentation: first, the fact that all of a sudden we're going to see a dramatic increase in accessory apartments, which I don't believe is going to happen, and secondly, that the province is zoning municipally by fiat, which again is not true in any way, shape or form.

I like the fact that you particularly pointed out that certainly while the Liberals saddled the horse or put the gas in the car, they saw the writing on the wall in terms of the opposition from municipalities and did what good Liberals do, which was nothing, with respect to this issue. However, you're quite right that municipalities saw this coming, as being the wave of the future.


My question to you, Barbara, on behalf of the other tenants whom you represent and on behalf of the tenants whom you soon will represent should this legislation become law, is, can you tell about some of the difficulties that might have been prevented had the Liberals gone forward with this kind of legislation back in 1989?

Ms Hurd: I'm not sure. Do you mean if they had convinced the municipalities?

Mr Owens: If basement apartments had been legalized, tenants had had rights and safety standards had been put into place, what kinds of things might have been prevented?


The Chair: This works a lot better if we just have one member speak at a time.

Mr Owens: This is the kind of respect that you get from your colleagues.

Ms Hurd: My general response would be that there would've been recourse to the law for the tenants who live there. It's generally a problem because of a whole lot of things about lack of resources. A lot of tenants don't know they have rights but, in particular, basement apartment unit dwellers did not know. Often, if they had been living close to their landlords or land owners, it might have made them a little hesitant to even investigate and they would have put up with a substandard living situation.I think many evictions would not have taken place, but I don't have any statistics on evictions from basement apartments.

Mr Owens: Because you can't keep statistics on what's not legal, essentially.

In terms of some of the calls that you may have received at the Scarborough legal clinic at which you were at one point working, can you describe for the committee the nature of the calls that you would have received?

Ms Hurd: Oh, lack of heat, lack of water, lack of privacy, changing of locks, stuff out on the front lawn.

Mr Owens: What kind of summary advice were you able to give to these tenants?

Ms Hurd: I was the administrator; I wasn't actually giving the advice. But we would proceed as if the person was a tenant; we would have to. If we didn't, we would just have to leave them sitting in the snow with their stuff on the front lawn. You would have to proceed to court and you would do what you could to use whatever parts of the law to let yourself back into the unit.

Mr Owens: Depending on the judge you got on a particular day would determine the success or not of the case that the lawyer or community legal worker would be advocating.

Ms Hurd: That's right.

Mr Owens: So this bill will in fact provide good protection for those people and will have a body of jurisprudence for legal workers.

Ms Hurd: Exactly.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): What I'm concerned about, frankly, is that I don't think the objective the government has set itself, which is, by the way, shared by both opposition parties and by pretty well everybody who has appeared before the committee, and that's housing intensification, is really going to be advanced much by this bill.

Yesterday, in Ottawa, I think most people said that. Even those who were strongly in favour of going forward with Bill 120 said they didn't think there was going to be much of a pickup and that the situation probably is going to continue the way it is, the reason being that, rightfully so, under this bill you still can legalize your apartment only if it meets certain fire standards. It may not meet certain zoning standards, but the costly stuff is obviously fire and safety concerns. It's quite questionable whether the home owners of many of these existing apartments will go to the expense that is required under these regulations, which is the way it should be.

My question is, is it worth taking away a very significant power from the municipal level of government in order to achieve what? That the situation stays the way it is? I'm just wondering whether you would want to comment on it and, in particular, whether you have any thought as to how many apartments will actually become legal and then what happens to those that continue to stay in existence and continue to be illegal.

Ms Hurd: That's about five questions there. Could you restate it? Do I think there's any point in using this kind of a tool to deliver intensification?

Mr Daigeler: Right. To first of all take away the powers from the municipalities to do zoning considerations, because this is this what this does. But it does it, in my opinion, by not really achieving its own objective.

Ms Hurd: I thought the objective of the legislation was to correct a series of rights of tenants. That's what I saw as the objective. As far as intensification goes, I think intensification has been created through the legal means of creating apartments in zones where you cannot have apartments, when you cannot have two units in a single-family dwelling. I think that has been achieved to a certain extent. I don't think there's going to be a huge rush, so I don't know if intensification is going to be the achievement of the bill.

I don't think it's a wonderful thing when the province has to tell the municipalities what to do, but in fact the municipalities all across the province are created by the province and have to meet policies and overarching programs and standards that society agrees upon through the Planning Act and through the Municipal Act. So if certain things are not being done by municipalities and it has become a really important social issue where society is changing and moving in a direction and the municipalities aren't going in that direction, I think it's therefore required that some action be taken.

That's what our members, I think, would say, that the question of their rights is an important question for them, and whether intensification is achieved or not achieved is somewhat secondary.

Mr Daigeler: I find that rather interesting, and I appreciate that for you the main concern is rather the protection of the rights of the tenants and you don't really see intensification as a major objective of this. If I understand the government right, it does see housing intensification as one of the major objectives of this bill.

I'm just not sure whether you're going to achieve your objective either, because I'm pretty well convinced -- it remains to be seen; maybe I'm wrong -- but I think we're going to continue to have quite a few illegal apartments in which the tenants will continue to have no rights because they're not meeting the regulations and so on. What are we going to do with these? There the tenants will continue to have no rights. So really, is it worth it? That's my question. You answered it, and I appreciate the way you explained it.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing this morning.


Ms Brenda Burns: Good morning. My name is Brenda Burns. I'm a solicitor for the city of Etobicoke. To my right is Mr Bob Webb, the chief of fire protection for the city of Etobicoke. To my left is Ms Laurie McPherson, Etobicoke's director of policy and research in the planning department. To my immediate left is Chief Ramsay, the chief of the Etobicoke Fire Department.

We'd like to begin our presentation today by stating that the city of Etobicoke does support the issue of controlled accessory apartments. We support this issue for apartments that are sensitive to our existing community and safe for both the apartment and home residents.

As you may not know, the city of Etobicoke was one of the first cities to include provisions for accessory apartments in our new official plan. In connection with that new official plan, the city underwent extensive public consultation with our community.

The city's new official plan policy permits accessory apartments in owner-occupied detached or semidetached dwellings. This was later modified at the request of the Ministry of Housing to include duplexes and other ground-related dwellings, provided that there is adequate onsite parking, that there is unaltered exterior appearance and that there is no overcrowding.


In terms of implementing the zoning amendments, there were several conditions. Those are that the city adopt standards under the health and safety act to prevent the overcrowding; that the city is given suitable legislative authority to enforce the owner-occupancy provision; that the Ontario fire marshal's office amend the Ontario fire code to address the minimum fire safety requirements for these apartments; and that the province permits the municipalities greater right of entry into residential dwellings to inspect suspected infractions of any regulations. We should let you know that these sections of Etobicoke's new official plan are currently deferred pending this legislation.

The city of Etobicoke has several concerns about this bill. First of all, we're concerned that it include the authority to allow municipalities to enforce the owner-occupancy requirements. Second, we're concerned that it provide a standard area requirement per tenant to address overcrowding.

We would also like to see it contain stronger right-of-entry provisions and allow municipalities to determine appropriate parking standards for accessory apartments, based on local conditions. We would like to see it allow municipalities to have control over exterior changes to dwellings to accommodate these accessory apartments and have these changes based on zoning code provisions.

We would like it to consider the implications of permitting accessory apartments in condominium and town house developments and also allow that dwellings containing these accessory apartments be counted as two units and that the accessory apartment be counted towards the municipality's 25% affordable housing requirement. Finally, we would like to see a reassessment for tax purposes of properties containing these accessory apartments.

I propose to go through these briefly, and if you have any questions, perhaps after I've gone through them you can ask. In terms of the owner-occupancy requirements, the municipal housing statement, on which Etobicoke's new official plan was based, recommended that accessory apartments be owner-occupied.

The public concern that we've heard is the belief that the owner-occupied requirement is much more sensitive to neighbourhood concerns and that without these provisions excessive conversions or duplexing could take place.

The owner-occupancy requirement is more likely to disperse the units randomly and not cause increased demand for local services in any particular area. We would seek a change to Bill 120 so that it allows municipalities to require owner occupancy and provides the legislative authority for that enforcement.

In terms of overcrowding, Etobicoke's new official plan calls for a standard to prevent overcrowding before permitting these accessory apartments. Bill 120 does not provide such a standard. In order to prevent this overcrowding, we would suggest that Bill 120 provide for a realistic minimum floor area per person.

In terms of the right of entry, Etobicoke's official plan seeks greater right-of-entry power before permitting these apartments. This is needed to inspect for infractions of provincial and municipal laws, especially the fire and building code infractions. Currently a city official needs either the consent of the resident to enter or a search warrant, and to obtain that search warrant, the municipality must specify the reason for the search and the evidence to be seized.

Bill 120 purports to make that easier by removing the evidentiary requirement, but there's still a tremendous obligation on the municipality to provide enough evidence that there are reasonable grounds that an offence is or has been committed. That's a difficult obligation to meet without first inspecting. It's sort of a never-ending circle.

We would suggest that there is a provision for a warrant to inspect issued by a justice of the peace. It has also been suggested by our fire department that the municipal address of homes containing either garden suites or basement apartments be altered to reflect either a G or a B. If there is a garden suite or a basement flat, this would assist in responding to 911 emergency phone calls.

In terms of the parking, Etobicoke's official plan does contain a provision for adequate onsite parking, and this is due to the concerns of local residents about parking on local streets. The bill's parking standards would take precedence over the municipal standards, and the bill's standards are that there be two parking spaces for units with accessory apartments but that this requirement can be met through legal street parking within 100 metres of the dwelling. We think this is not satisfactory and that each municipality should be able to set its own parking standards in response to the local community's concerns.

In terms of external changes, our official plan prohibits exterior changes to houses with accessory apartments, to minimize visual impacts on neighbourhoods. The bill does not allow a municipality to prevent modifications required to accommodate accessory apartments. We think that exterior changes should only be allowed to any homes with accessory apartments if they conform to all municipal standards. These municipal standards, of course, were set up to preserve the character of our city's neighbourhoods.

With respect to the town house units or condominium town houses, our official plan originally did not permit accessory apartments in town houses, but it was changed. It was included on the condition that all other official plan requirements, including owner occupancy, onsite parking and the no-external- change requirement would be met.

Since the majority of town house developments in Etobicoke have limited parking, in essence, this would prohibit accessory apartments, based on our onsite parking requirement in the official plan. So Etobicoke essentially does not support accessory apartments in town houses unless all other criteria as we've mentioned today in the official plan are maintained. We also think Bill 120 should consider the implications for condominium town houses; that is to say, the status of controls in a corporation's bylaws or individual development agreements versus Bill 120.

In terms of the density calculation, under Bill 120 homes with accessory apartments could not be considered as two units when calculating density, and density cannot be used to restrict accessory apartments. Theoretically then, the actual density in area could reach twice the approved density. This puts a strain on services. As you know, services are planned according to the number of units and persons per unit.

The provincial housing policy statement indicated accessory apartments within existing dwellings are not part of the 25% affordable calculation for new residential units the city is responsible to provide. We feel that they should be counted towards this 25% affordable calculation because the entire purpose of accessory apartments is to increase the supply of affordable housing.


With respect to municipal finance, it's been said that these accessory apartments will increase the tax revenue for a municipality due to the increase in the house value. Under the current drafting of Bill 120, the city of Etobicoke anticipates a greater pickup for the accessory apartments than it had anticipated under the new official plan. That's because the new official plan in Etobicoke had greater restrictions. Therefore, we anticipate an even greater burden on city services. We would need, therefore, a reassessment of these homes with accessory apartments in order to set the wheels in motion to benefit from the tax revenue and partly offset the services burden.

The city of Etobicoke does realize that due to its location it's a relatively expensive community in which to live. House prices are expensive, and it recognizes that accessory apartments meet several needs of its community. They allow seniors to remain in their homes longer and they provide low-cost housing for young couples or singles or other people. Accordingly, as I've already mentioned, the city of Etobicoke was one of the first communities to consider and support the issue of accessory apartments in its new official plan. It did so, I suggest, with significant public consultation in order to be sensitive to the needs of our community. It also did so before this legislation or Bill 90 was drafted. We think that the controls as set out in our new official plan should be paid attention to, as I've outlined to you here today.

Those are our submissions and our brief. I hope, if there are any questions, we can answer them for you.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): Thank you very much. Will we receive what you said in writing?

Ms Burns: No. If you'd rather, I can provide it to you, but I thought we'd just be here today.

The Vice-Chair: If you can, I think it would be useful. It's helpful for the committee and also for the ministry, because you have a number of technical points that you raised. I think it would be useful to leave it with us.

Mr Owens: Thank you for your presentation, Ms Burns. I'd like to ask you about the issue with respect to owner occupancy. This is something I've had to work through in terms of my feelings around the "neighbours from hell," I guess is the way you would characterize the problems that you would have in Etobicoke and the city of Scarborough.

In working through this issue, I came to the conclusion that it's very difficult to deal with the neighbours from hell differently in a single-family dwelling; if you have a family that parks its cars on the front lawn and doesn't cut the grass or has loud parties till 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning or all the other things that aggravate people on the street, how you could have two different ways of dealing with the single-family dwelling versus the residents with an accessory apartment.

Some of your colleagues from I guess Peel and Hamilton, from their legal departments, have come in and said that they've tried to wrap their minds around the issue as well but couldn't figure out how to do it vis-à-vis charter issues with respect to zoning by occupancy. How did you get around that and what advice did you get with respect to charter issues?

Ms Burns: I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, but it seems to me that our concerns with respect to owner occupancy -- I think I've outlined them to you here today -- can be met through a variety of methods. One is an agreement which can be entered into similar to the agreement as provided for garden suites in terms of ensuring that the owner is an occupant of the home. It's already provided for those types of suites; I think a similar type of agreement can be provided in this case.

Mr Owens: There's a finite relationship in terms of the garden suite or the granny flat, if granny or grandpa, a grandparent, passes on or decides too that they have to move a different type of accommodation. But, again, what we're talking about is zoning by occupancy. I'm not understanding how you can do that and why you would want to treat one type of dwelling, the single-family dwelling where the nuclear family lives, versus the house beside that single family dwelling that happens to have an accessory apartment and why there would be two standards in terms of zoning and enforcement.

Ms Burns: I suppose I'm a little confused as to where you're coming from --

Mr Grandmaître: We all are.

Mr Owens: These guys are paid to be confused, especially the Liberals.

The Vice-Chair: Quiet.

Ms Burns: Those two situations I think are quite different. You've got a situation where you've got two homes and one home has an accessory and the other doesn't. So it seems to me that as a qualification or as a requirement in order to have one of these accessory apartments, the owner should be under certain obligations. I think those obligations are to his or her community and to his or her neighbours.

Mr Owens: I agree, but why shouldn't the --

The Vice-Chair: I'm sorry, Mr Owens, but if you want to leave some time for Mr Wilson, he's next.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for your presentation. As the parliamentary assistant, I'm really pleased to hear this qualified support for Bill 120 and your movement in the past, even before, as you pointed out, Bill 90 and now 120, to move on the issue of accessory apartments.

I think what we're looking at here is just a question of the kind of standards that are in application. You do give a very complete presentation which, as the Chair suggested, would be easier to respond to, in detail at least, once we see it and we have it on record. We will be responding both through the regulations that will be part of the bill, as well as the clause-by-clause where you will hear the reasons how we are taking things into account.

Generally, I would say that what we're trying to do here is put in standards that are reasonable and that will mean that municipalities won't be able to restrict the placement of accessory apartments through standards that are unreasonable, in effect; that is, through the size of the unit, for instance. As far as parking goes, for example, the bill doesn't say that if on-street parking is prohibited by municipal bylaw, then that would be overridden. There are these issues, which the regulations will address, that will work in with the municipalities, we think, in a reasonable way.

Just to go back to Mr Owens's issue, though, in part the owner-occupancy would be treating the tenants of apartments in houses differently from tenants in other places. For instance, you would be under the --

The Vice-Chair: And the question is?

Mr Gary Wilson: Okay, I'll put a question. What would happen to a tenant living in an apartment in a house where it is sold? How would you fit it in some obligation on the part of the buyer that they would have to accept the tenant?

Ms Burns: Again, I think the city of Etobicoke would look to regulate that type of thing through agreements. As I've already mentioned to Mr Owens, we would hope those agreements would be similar to the garden suite agreements with respect to owner occupancy and obligations on indeed the owner of the home and the tenants themselves.

Mr Gary Wilson: Sure, but I think you can see the problems: Why not apartment buildings, for instance, having the same kinds -- and it gets incredibly complicated.

Ms Burns: I think these are quite different situations. This is a more sensitive situation for our communities.

Mr Grandmaître: I think your message this morning is very clear. You'd like to cooperate with the provincial government, or Bill 120, but what you've told us this morning is, "Give us the tools and we will cooperate and make Bill 120 more reasonable."

My question would be to the fire chief. Have you seen the proposed amendments to the Fire Marshals Act?

Mr Donald Ramsay: Yes, I have a copy of the draft in front of me.

Mr Grandmaître: Good. Can I get your comments on some of the amendments? Are they acceptable?

Mr Donald Ramsay: They deal with the items that are of concern to the fire service at the present time.

Mr Grandmaître: Why don't you deal with the right of entry?

Mr Donald Ramsay: The right of entry has always been a problem for fire service people in that the requirement for a search warrant when the owner says no presents particular problems for us, because we find that search warrants are not easy to obtain and we have trouble finding the right evidence to support a search warrant when we know, from whatever source, that there is a problem.

The right of entry, while it is a legal thing, may be better addressed with a type of fining system whereby if you don't provide access, the fine system would make it incumbent upon the owner, I guess, to look at how much it's going to cost him if he doesn't let us in.

Mr Grandmaître: Miss Burns referred to a warrant to inspect. Could you expand on this warrant to inspect? I think you're on the right track, instead of a search warrant.

Ms Burns: Basically, it's just an idea we've kicked around a little bit, but it makes it a little easier for us to enter and to inspect for these infractions. As it is now, it's practically impossible. These are potentially very dangerous suites downstairs, and we need to have the tools. I think that having it being issued by a justice of the peace, there still remains a controlling power over these warrants. They can't be just issued for a whim. For instance, the city can't issue them to itself, but if a justice of the peace goes and allows us to inspect to provide evidence, then I think that's one step towards being able to ensure that these accessory apartments are safe.


Mr Grandmaître: You did say that you deferred your official plan for the simple reason that you wanted to implement some of the actions of Bill 120 into your official plan; for instance, parking, zoning and so on and so forth.

Ms Burns: Actually, the ministry deferred our official plan.

Mr Grandmaître: That's interesting.

Ms Burns: It must go to the ministry for approval. They have several options. They can refer it, or several sections, to the Ontario Municipal Board or defer it. In this case it went in and parts of it were deferred. These sections pertaining to accessory apartments were deferred pending this legislation. But we don't seek to change it. We're hoping the legislation will react to our official plan.

Mr Grandmaître: So the ministry has deferred it. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs or the Ministry of Housing?

Ms Burns: Municipal Affairs, but I believe it's done at the request of the Ministry of Housing.

Mr Grandmaître: I see. So we're all wasting our time here.

Ms Burns: Perhaps you can tell me.

Mr Grandmaître: Bill 120 will go through and your official plan will reflect the requirements of Bill 120. That's a democratic way of dealing with official plans. Now, can I talk about the minimum floor space that you alluded to?

The Vice-Chair: If it's within 20 seconds.

Ms Burns: That's right. If that's your question, we do believe that there should be a minimum floor space requirement per person and that it should be calculated using the floor space of the basement or whatever unit, not the house itself. I'm not sure exactly what figure we want to use, something like nine square metres comes to mind, but that would have to be settled on. But certainly it should be calculated on a unit basis.

Mr David Johnson: Thank you for your deputation. It reminds me of some of the aspects that we went through in East York. I recall that Etobicoke did come forward with a position on this and you've indicated to us that the ministry has deferred it. I just can't recall the timing on that. When was this sent to the ministry?

Ms Laurie McPherson: The official plan was approved by city council in 1990 and it received partial ministry approval in 1992.

Mr David Johnson: So the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing have had Etobicoke's position on accessory apartments --

Ms McPherson: July 1990.

Mr David Johnson: -- which would permit quite a number of accessory apartments, basement apartments, in Etobicoke, since 1990 and you have yet to receive approval?

Ms Burns: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: We have been told by the ministry that municipalities have not been responding to the accessory unit issue.

Ms Burns: I think Etobicoke has, in fact, taken a very active step towards looking at the issue of accessory apartments.

Mr David Johnson: There's one thing I just wanted to get clear off the top because some of the comments perhaps muddled where Etobicoke's position was on Bill 120 itself and I just want to ask you directly: Does the city of Etobicoke support Bill 120 in its present form, as it has been written?

Ms Burns: No.

Mr David Johnson: No. Thank you. That will make that clear. But you have come forward with a policy that was sent to the ministry in 1990 which would support a vast number of basement apartments, a vast number of accessory units, and this was done in consultation with the people of Etobicoke and this was the consensus that was arrived at by the people, by the staff, by the council?

Ms Burns: Yes, that's right.

Mr David Johnson: Good. Back to the right of entry, which has always been a major problem, I know, with municipalities, and you've described it full well. The fire department I know has problems getting in, the property standards people, and everybody that needs to inspect. The concept of warrant to inspect that has been alluded to earlier seems interesting. Is that something that's in place now, or is there such a thing today as a warrant to inspect?

Ms Burns: Not to my knowledge, no. We're quite restricted in terms of warrants, search warrants or any special warrants.

Mr David Johnson: I'm just guessing, but I can assume your concept would be that it would be something that would be less onerous than the, what do they call it today, the search warrant, I suppose.

Ms Burns: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: The reasonable grounds that would have to be proven I assume would be less onerous than the warrant to inspect.

Ms Burns: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: And this would be of use to the fire department, for example, and the property standards?

Ms Burns: That's right, for both our fire and our building departments. I think they have interest in ensuring that these apartments are safe.

Mr David Johnson: I think this is something that would be useful to develop a little bit further, because it's certainly the government's position that just removing the necessity to seize evidence is going to make this process a whole lot easier and the reasonable grounds will not be a problem and if you need to get in you'll get in. I dispute that, based on my experience, and I see by you nodding your head that you dispute that too. Perhaps you'd expand on that.

Ms Burns: I think you want to be careful that you don't give extraordinary power to a municipality to just barge in on any apartment, any home, that they wish, but I think you can govern that through, as I say, a justice of the peace. I think we have to reduce the obligation in terms of the onus on a municipality to provide any kind of reason for the search warrants to be provided. I think they have to be provided easier. Hopefully, it's only for all of the tenants' safety that these would provided in any event, so I think, yes, you're quite right.

Mr David Johnson: Obviously, you feel that the owner-occupied aspect is possible under law.

Ms Burns: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: The government has questioned the technical feasibility of doing that and I guess it has something to do with the Constitution or whatever, but you have a legal background and it's your view that if minds were set to this, it in fact could be put into law?

Ms Burns: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: Maybe just a question to the fire chief: The draft fire code regulations are out and for a basement apartment -- they suggest two accesses, one of which could come through the main dwelling unit. You may not have seen these; I don't know. I'm sure you've talked about them at some length. As I understand it, one method of exit could be a window and one access could be through another unit. It has to go outside but it could be through another unit.

I've certainly had differences of opinion on that from other fire chiefs. Some fire chiefs say windows shouldn't be accepted because you may have disabled people and no matter how big you make the window they can't get through it. Other people say you should not allow an exit through another unit because how can you guarantee that somebody isn't going to lock that exit through the other unit. I don't know what your views are.


Mr Donald Ramsay: The draft does address both the exit or the means of egress through a dwelling unit and a window. I'm sure it's been alluded to before that the window is not, in the fire department's estimation, the best means of egress, particularly with basements that have windows that are small in size and are too high off the floor to be able to reach them, plus the fact that it is difficult to exit through a window. If anyone's ever tried that, you don't go through windows easily. In smoke conditions, if you're talking about a basement, the smoke that you're going to have to go through is at the window level. Ideally, what you'd like to see are two means of egress. Two means of egress to grade would be ideal, but the draft doesn't address that because I don't think we could ever achieve that.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much for your comments and thank you for your presentation. We would appreciate if in due course you could send us something in writing, because I think that would also be helpful for the ministry and may increase your chances to be respected in the final draft.


Mr Thomas Powell: My name is Tom Powell. I'm the fire chief of the city of Scarborough. I have on my left-hand side Director Andy Everingham, who is in charge of the fire prevention division of the City of Scarborough Fire Department, and his assistant director on my right-hand side, Mr Brian Miskimmon, who also runs a fire prevention division there, here with me to assist me if you catch me with any questions I'm not too familiar with, particularly when you get into the technicalities of the code.

Today I'd like to take this opportunity to voice my concerns regarding fire safety in accessory apartments in houses. It's a common assumption that 15,000 to 20,000 basement apartments exist in the city of Scarborough. This number is obtained by the premise that there are 10% basement apartments within a municipality. The 10% in our city works out roughly to about 16,000 if you take three people per apartment.

Many of these units, we have found, lack the very basics in fire protection for the occupants. This has been shown on three occasions in Scarborough, where tragic fire deaths have occurred within the past year. That accounts for 50% of the fire deaths in the city.

It is a fact that these basement units are there, and I want to address the minimum safety measures required to ensure a degree of fire safety for the occupants.

The provision of minimum fire safety standards for these accessory apartments would without doubt substantially reduce death and injury from fire. Bill 120 does not address our concerns regarding these units. In fact, it does not contain any reference to the changes or improvements in the Fire Marshals Act or the Ontario fire code.

In reality, a draft regulation for inclusion into part 9 of the Ontario fire code is in existence. This draft regulation, entitled "Two Unit Residential Occupancies," addresses most of my concerns. This proposed regulation 9.8 of the fire code provides for the installation of fire safety equipment, containment of fire, early-warning devices and the provision for at least one fire safety exit from each unit.

Containment will provide approved minimum fire separation between units, floors and service areas such as furnace rooms. This separation is usually a non-combustible barrier, such as drywall, and covers combustible elements in partitions such as wood studs, ceilings and walls. This will contain a fire in a particular area for a period of time, depending on the thickness of the drywall.

For means of egress, a minimum of one fire-safe exit is required. That exit must serve only one unit, open directly to the exterior from that unit and have direct access to the grade. If this safe means of egress cannot be attained, then two means of egress may be required, one of which may be a window. However, this window is not a viable option for many persons, including children, the physically challenged and even occupants who may be impaired through alcohol or drugs.

The regulation should also provide for early warning and detection. This should be accomplished by the installation of smoke alarms, which may be of an interconnected, hard-wired type or battery-powered.

It should also be required that a complete electrical inspection by Ontario Hydro be performed. Many of these houses originally had an electrical supply and outlets sufficient for single-family dwellings. However, after the addition of a basement apartment, almost twice the amount of electrical power is required. This electrical inspection will ensure that power supply, wiring and the number of outlets are safe and adequate for two households. An additional stove, refrigerator, television and other electrical devices may seriously overload an older electrical system.

Regulations would indeed provide an increased level of fire safety for most residents. However, most of these features can be rendered ineffective. For instance, studies have shown that many tenants do not maintain the fire protection provisions. Batteries have been removed from smoke alarms, fire separations have been breached and doors have been propped open.

The most effective means of protecting the occupants of accessory apartments is a residential sprinkler system. I support the concept that residential sprinklers be provided in basements of two-unit residential occupancies. Residential sprinkler systems will control and even extinguish a fire before it reaches a size to endanger the occupants. By installing the residential sprinkler system only in the basement, the cost is greatly reduced and will enhance the other safety features outlined in the draft regulations. In fact, as a fire chief, I consider the installation of residential sprinklers to be of prime importance.

A study conducted in April 1991 for CMHC suggested that installation costs for the installation of residential sprinklers was approximately $18 per square metre. The average basement apartment that the Scarborough fire department has inspected was approximately 75 square metres in area. The theoretical cost therefore of the average basement apartment would be $1,350. That is approximately two months' rent. Surely the increased safety of the occupants is worth that meagre outlay. Taking into account the cost of furnishing an apartment, including kitchen, bathroom, carpets and the cost of furniture, the expense of adding residential sprinkler protection is a sound business decision.

Our experience has shown that up to 25% of basement apartments are owned by absentee landlords. Therefore, it can be deduced that these units are rented for profit only. Basement apartments rent from $750 to $1,000 per month, permitting an income of between $9,000 and $12,000 per annum. Surely out of these revenues, it would not be a major hardship to provide the very best in fire protection for the occupants in basement apartments. The installation of residential sprinkler systems, along with containment features, early-warning devices and fire safety exit facilities will indeed provide an acceptable level of fire safety for the occupants of the basement apartments.

The proposed draft, when included in part 9 of the fire code, would be enforced by fire service personnel, either fire prevention officers or on-duty firefighters. Bill 120 proposes that the enforcement agency obtain search warrants to gain entrance to the premises. These are very difficult to obtain. The previous speaker, I think, dealt with that.

The Fire Marshals Act provides the fire service with the right of entry. However, this is extremely difficult to use in single-family dwellings. Some municipalities, ours included, charge property owners with obstructing a fire prevention officer in his or her duty when they attempt to gain entry. In a high percentage of instances, this is effective. It is extremely time-consuming. Bill 120 must, in our opinion, contain provisions to require the property owner to admit the inspector for the purpose of conducting a fire safety inspection and set fines for refusing entrance. These powers must be included in the Fire Marshals Act.


Owners of accessory apartments in the house must be required to register these units with the local municipalities. The registration of these units would be advantageous in many ways, including assisting the local fire department in scheduling an inspection, review of the plans, reinspection and prosecution where infractions of the regulations occur, not to mention the fact that the operational firefighters will find a tremendous advantage to know that they're approaching a multiple-occupancy and not a single-family dwelling. The owners of these properties would also be required to maintain the accessory units in acceptable condition enforced through an inspection program.

It is my hope that your committee will take action to put in place regulations improving fire safety in accessory apartments in houses by adopting the following recommendations.

(1) The fire code should be amended immediately to include the draft safety regulations for accessory apartments in part 9, retrofit.

(2) Bill 120 should include provisions to allow municipal fire safety officials the right of entry without the need for a search warrant to ensure compliance with the minimum safety standards.

(3) Bill 120 should contain provisions to require owners of accessory apartments to register the properties with the municipality in which the properties are located.

(4) The Fire Marshals Act should be amended to have fines collected for prosecutions under the fire code paid to the local municipality, as is currently the practice with the building code.

(5) The building code should be amended to require the installation of residential fire sprinkler protection in all residential premises constructed or renovated to accommodate basement apartments.

Mr Chairman, that's my presentation. Thank you very much for giving me that opportunity.

Mr Daigeler: Thank you for your presentation. At the beginning of your remarks you mentioned three unfortunate fire deaths within the past year. These occurred apparently in basement apartments. Where these legal basement apartments?

Mr Powell: The definition of "legal" is questionable. They did not conform to the zoning bylaws of the city of Scarborough.

Mr Daigeler: Was there ever any kind of inspection, to your knowledge?

Mr Powell: No, we were not aware of those basement apartments. There were six deaths in the city of Scarborough; three of them were in the basement apartments.

Mr Daigeler: So they could be considered as illegal apartments.

Mr Powell: By definition of zoning, yes.

Mr Daigeler: What's the liability of the owner in these cases then? Would you know? Was there anybody sued or something like that?

Mr Powell: There were no legal actions taken against the owners of those buildings, no. There are some liabilities within the Criminal Code for people who fail to carry out the directions of a fire prevention officer and there is a death. We have not pursued that. We found, I believe, that in this particular instance all of the smoke detectors -- and I'd stand corrected by the director -- within those basement apartments were not working.

Mr Andy Everingham: They were present, but they were inoperative.

Mr Daigeler: To your knowledge, then, nobody has brought this matter before the courts, not necessarily in your municipality, but anywhere else? I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that there would be some sort of liability of the owner if there's no proper fire protection. But anyway, to your knowledge, this has not been tested in the courts?

Mr Powell: No, sir, it has not.

Mr Grandmaître: What about fire prevention in your municipality? How many full-time people are working on fire prevention and doing inspections?

Mr Powell: We have a full-time fire department of 527. Perhaps I can defer that question to the director.

Mr Everingham: I have, including myself, a staff of 18 on prevention.

Mr Grandmaître: Do you consider this adequate?

Mr Everingham: To handle basement apartments, if and when Bill 120 passes, no.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): Thank you very much for your presentation. I think the most important issue is the matter of fire protection because it is indeed a matter of life and death. I really appreciate you looking at the whole matter and coming forward with very firm recommendations.

I was interested in the hydro inspection, and it'll be a municipal hydro service. Do you tie in with them on inspections, and what right of entry do hydro inspectors have? I know Ontario Hydro inspects rural outdoor installations and it just tells you, "If you want hydro, do this." So you do it.

Mr Everingham: When we make requirements for upgrading of electrical problems or indeed when we run across electrical problems, we can issue a fire marshal's electrical order, which gives Ontario Hydro the right to enter and conduct an inspection as required.

Mr Eddy: And indeed cut the service off if nothing is done?

Mr Everingham: If it's not corrected, they can remove service. That's not done through the municipality.

Mr Eddy: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to thank you, too, for an excellent brief.

Let me get back to the question of the fire-safe exits. Chief, you've indicated that there should be at least one exit that goes directly outside to the exterior of the property. The draft regulations don't necessarily provide for that, as I interpret the draft regulations. They say that dwelling units should be served by at least two means of escape arranged in such a manner that one means of escape must be through a door which may lead through another dwelling, and the second can be through a window and the window has to be of a certain size. But if you have those two, then you don't necessarily have to have one exit directly outside, as I interpret it.

The sense I get is the fire chiefs are sort of reluctantly going along with that. Is that how you'd describe it, or am I wrong?

Mr Powell: I guess it's not fair to say that we're reluctant to go along with it, because we have participated in the draft. I think it's fair to say that you're correct, we have some concerns and I have outlined those in my presentation, that small children, people who are physically handicapped, perhaps under the influence of alcohol or drugs are going to have a great deal of difficulty getting out through a window.

Mr David Johnson: As I interpret this window, for example, it says that no dimension should be less than 460 millimetres. I don't know, when I was brought up, it was inches, so I'm trying to visualize 460 millimetres. Is that about 18 inches?

Mr Everingham: It would be 18 inches, yes.

Mr Powell: That's a technical question.

Mr David Johnson: I just wonder, if we look at the people around this room here, how many would have trouble getting through a window that had the dimensions 18 inches.

Mr Everingham: It also has a minimum overall size, but it can't be less than that.

Mr David Johnson: So one could be two feet wide or something by 18 inches, and it would be up, of course. Most basement windows would be up right at the top.

Mr Everingham: But there are provisions to make sure that it's no more than I believe 900 millimetres, which would be about three feet, from the stepping point into the window.

It might be noted as well that if this option is used, then the interconnected smoke alarms are required, which would provide early warning for both units. In other words, if there was an incident in the upper unit, the people down below would have early warning and perhaps be able to use that means of egress.

Mr David Johnson: One of your recommendations is fire sprinklers, of course. This is where you seem to be very adamant, and we've heard other fire chiefs speak. I think perhaps you're the most adamant in terms of the sprinkler system. Others have certainly said it should be there, but you're really saying, "You must have it." This is a strong recommendation I think you're making.


I can only anticipate that the government may say, "If we don't put it up on the main floor, why should we have to put it in the basement?" I think the circumstances are different in a basement apartment and I want you to have the opportunity to say why you think they're different and why it's important to have it in a basement apartment.

Mr Powell: Thank you for the question. I think it's important. You're quite correct, I am perhaps a little bit stronger than most, but I do know there are other chiefs out there who strongly support this. The problem with basement apartments is that they're not originally designed to have a full-family unit within them. They were originally designed as part of a home for some other purpose -- a family room, storage, whatever you want to put in a basement -- but they were not usually designed to house a full family. It's my belief that they need that additional protection, and it's a very low-cost item. As I pointed out to you, $1,300, in terms of somebody making a profit of $12,000 a year, is a very small amount, and he only has to do it once. They don't have to do it every year. I think it's a very small amount that could be used by the landlord, whether he be residential or whether he be absentee, to make his own property safe. I think it's a business decision as well as a safety factor for the occupants of the building. Yes, I am strong, and I thank you for giving me that opportunity.

Mr David Johnson: We've discussed the windows. Somebody may have to get out through a window, and that differentiates from a main-floor unit again.

Mr Powell: The combination of all of the factors in the proposed 9.8 and the suggestion of sprinklers is going to make it a lot safer place for the occupant. Our concern is purely safety. We've purposely avoided all the other issues that you're probably facing. We're dealing purely with safety here.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to carry on then with the right of entry, and this is something that I think bears reiterating. There is an impression in some people's minds that with the new provisions in Bill 120 it will be quite easy for building departments, property standards people, fire departments to gain entry into these apartments, even if they're not invited in. There's the feeling that the changes will make it such that you can just get right in, no problem at all. I think you've indicated that you still have concerns, but I think this is a main point. Again, I'd like you to have the opportunity to express your concerns in that regard.

Mr Powell: That is a very serious concern of ours. In Scarborough, for example, since September we have had to issue legal proceedings to gain entry on 12 occasions, or 10 or 12 occasions, between those numbers.

Generally speaking, when we issue the request we get entry. In fact, I think there was only one occasion -- I stand to be corrected again -- when we've actually had to proceed within the last number of months. We believe that's going to be another thing that stands in the way, if we have to go get a warrant. We have to have justification for the warrant and we have to be able to get that justification. We can't get it unless we can get in.

Mr David Johnson: It's catch-22.

Mr Powell: It's catch-22; that's right. So we're in a position where we know there's a problem in the building. We can't get into the building. The landlord, for whatever reason, may choose to obstruct us, for whatever his or her reasons may be.

We feel that we need the ability to be able to get in for the safety of the occupants, and the safety of the occupants on both levels, whether it be an absentee landlord, for example. That's why we're asking for that authority be put into the Fire Marshals Act.

Generally speaking, firefighters and fire inspectors are well received. Usually we approach a building and a large number of people will allow us in the door. But there are those few who like to test the system, and when they test the system, warrants are a definite barrier for us. That's why we need that access.

Mr Owens: Welcome, Chief Powell. I want to thank you for your presentation. I think that your recommendations make some sense. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. I'd like to go back to the right-of-entry issue. I think you are absolutely right. If the fire department turned up at my door and said, "Mr Owens, I'd like to come in and look at your premises," I don't think I would have a problem in terms of letting you in. I don't think most reasonable people would either. I guess my question would be, how would you attend at a premises? Would it be on a complaint basis or for the purposes of inspection? How does that work?

Mr Powell: All of the instances we have dealt with to this point in time have been by complaint only.

Mr Owens: By a neighbour or by the resident?

Mr Powell: It could be anybody. Usually we don't disclose that.

Mr Owens: That's fine.

Mr Powell: I'm pleased to hear, Mr Owens, that we can come to your house and inspect your house. We'll be there tomorrow.

Mr Owens: No. Get away from me.

Mr Mike Cooper (Kitchener-Wilmot): Get those paint cans away from the furnace.

Mr Owens: Those 12 people living in my basement would object, though.

In terms of your comments with respect to the sprinklers and costing, I think that's an excellent point. I think once you get past the warm and fuzzy side of housing and things like that, it's clearly a business issue and people will make money from it. In terms of high-rise buildings, one wants to maintain the investment and protect the investment. I would imagine that insurance companies would be looking quite closely at residential dwellings that put in an accessory apartment to see what kinds of protections they would put in. So I think your comments with respect to sprinklers are quite reasonable from both the safety perspective and again in terms of the maintenance of the investment.

You've done some work on the draft fire regulations for the government. It's my understanding, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, that at this point you're satisfied with the provisions to date, with what the government has in draft.

Mr Powell: Yes. The draft form, as I indicated, meets most of my concerns but it doesn't meet all of them. Naturally, you can't expect everything.

Mr Owens: In terms of your commitment to the process, you will continue of course to work with the draft, and as it is only a draft, certainly looking for improvements.

Mr Powell: Yes, we will, Mr Owens. We've been working closely with the fire marshal's office on this particular issue.

The Chair: Just for your information, Mr Cooper is also interested. You may continue, Mr Owens.

Mr Owens: I just have one last question. Far be it from me to preclude my colleagues. In terms of what's happening now in the city of Scarborough, and I don't want to play politics with people's lives, and in terms of the three people that you talked about in your brief as dying in basement apartment fires, in terms of the overall thrust of the bill in regulating and providing tenant protection, do you see this as a good thing to happen in the, you're saying, up to 20,000 units in the city?

Mr Powell: I try to stay out of the political issues of whether or not they should exist. My concerns are purely in safety. If this brings the question of safety and approves that, then I'm heartily supporting that. I think that's a very important element of any legislation, the safety of the occupants of the building. I'd rather not speak on the issue of whether it's an appropriate bill or not an appropriate bill. If you're going to do this, I suggest you put the safety issues in there.

Mr Owens: Absolutely. Thank you, Chief.

Mr Cooper: I'd like to thank you for your presentation. I guess I'll try to tie this all up within one. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a phenomenon where basically city dwellers moved into their basements and they started creating rec rooms and living rooms. I was wondering whether or not this changed your job, as this will change it now that we've progressed into basement apartments.

To tie that in, you were talking about the registration of basement apartments. I know in Kitchener, we lost our fire chief because he was found on the basement steps. I know the work you've done in fire prevention. You've worked with the government on workplace health and safety, where you get the book and you know exactly what you're going into. Is this just an extension where you want it registered so you know exactly what you're going into? I know you really go for prevention and you'd rather not respond to any fires, but when you do respond, I know you like to know exactly what you're getting into. Would Bill 120 help all this?

Mr Powell: If there's some requirement within Bill 120 for a registration and notification of the fire department, and if there's some provision where the fire department can gain access and if there's some provision for inclusion of all those articles I've talked about, then I would say yes, I'm supporting it.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, for appearing this morning before us. Your information was helpful.

The committee recessed from 1201 to 1401.


The Vice-Chair: If we can start the afternoon sittings of the standing committee on general government, we're dealing with Bill 120. The first presenter this afternoon is Paula Randazzo from the Labourhood Homes Resource Centre. You have half an hour, and if you'd leave some time for questions and answers, it would be appreciated.

Ms Paula Randazzo: I've provided written documentation for your own use. I have to apologize for some of the typos. I was still typing this out this morning, so it's sort of a rush job.

I'd like to first thank the government for the opportunity to present our response to Bill 120. I'd also like to introduce myself. My name is Paula Randazzo. I'm the director of Labourhood Homes Resource Centre.

Let me tell you a little bit about Labourhood. Labourhood was created in 1989 as a joint initiative of the Hamilton and District Labour Council and the social planning and research council. It was further incorporated in 1992.

Labourhood is a non-profit organization, directed by a volunteer board of directors from organized labour and community groups in the Hamilton area. I've listed these groups because I wanted this committee to understand the broad range of people and organizations that participate in Labourhood.

They include the labour council; the Steelworkers; the Auto Workers; the Canadian Union of Public Employees; the Office and Professional Employees Union; the Hamilton-Brantford Building and Construction Trades Council, the Labourers' International Union of North America, the Canadian Union of Educational Workers, the Ontario Nurses' Association, Local 70, the Hamilton Housing Help Centre, the McQuesten legal clinic, the Hamilton and district health council and the city of Hamilton planning department.

Labourhood's mandate is to work with the labour movement to provide good, permanent, affordable housing in accordance with the democratic principles of the union movement. Labourhood's goal is to provide leadership and education in the development and self-management of housing projects sponsored by the labour movement. Labourhood also conducts research and advocacy in the housing field.

Labourhood will meet the challenge to provide increased access to permanent housing by encouraging labour organizations to meet the needs of inadequately housed individuals and families by building community support for the creation of affordable housing; raising community awareness of housing issues; providing an education program to ensure the full participation of members, tenants and sponsors throughout the successful development, management, administration and functioning of a housing project.

Labourhood strongly supports Bill 120 and commends both the Ministry of Housing and the NDP government for this courageous step forward for tenants, home owners and seniors. The following has included our reasons for support as well as some recommendations that would strengthen the intent of Bill 120. I'll outline the reasons for support first.

Labourhood commends the Ministry of Housing for recognizing housing as a right. This bill adequately addresses exclusionary zoning bylaws, thereby opening the doors to a broader range of choices for tenants and home owners. Furthermore, the bill extends protection and provides security for tenants, especially those tenants who have been unfairly subjected to what is called garbage bag evictions.

Municipalities were given the opportunity to address intensification and the vast majority have chosen to ignore it. I believe there is only one municipality in Ontario that actually completed that a couple of years ago, and that was Hamilton. This legislation will ensure that planning departments plan for more than single families.

I've listed more specific reasons why we support the bill.

(1) The bill is cost-effective. Housing intensification is a cost-effective technique for developing more housing units.

(2) It is environmentally responsible. Adding an apartment in an existing house makes use of existing building stock and current services such as sewers, roads and schools. In addition, it will avoid greenfield development, thus creating more compact and sustainable communities.

(3) Seniors: The legislation will enable many seniors to keep their homes by helping to offset the cost of maintaining their houses.

(4) Shortage of affordable rental housing: Allowing more apartments in houses will not and should not be the answer to the lack of affordable housing. However, it is one of many solutions needed. Apartments in houses will add to the housing stock. These units are a necessary step in the right direction. More accessory units and an increased supply of non-profit housing will result in increased availability. This may result in some reduction of rent levels in the private market.

(5) Discrimination in zoning: Exclusionary bylaws or zoning in effect prevent people who can't afford to purchase a home from renting in a single-family neighbourhood. We believe this is unacceptable and we are encouraging the change. Due to changing demographics -- smaller households, fewer nuclear families, immigration etc -- there is a need for all kinds of housing types. Presently, these needs have not been planned for by municipalities.

Labourhood believes that zoning bylaws should not be used to govern who lives where. Certain neighbourhoods should not be reserved for certain kinds of people. Bylaws that restrict certain areas to single-family homes preserve privileged residential areas and make it illegal for anyone who cannot afford to buy a home or rent a whole house to live there. Usually, it is not the apartments which are protested, but the people living in these apartments.

Consequently, these inequitable zoning bylaws result in systemic discrimination against particular groups of people. The groups most adversely affected are those needing protection under the Ontario Human Rights Code. For many reasons, for example, less access to economic resources or outright discrimination, these people are often excluded from lower-density neighbourhoods which are generally well served by community, education and recreational services.

Housing intensification will allow communities many opportunities to change existing neighbourhoods and to meet our diverse housing needs. This bill will allow housing needs to be sensitive to changing households, composition, size and diverse cultural norms and traditions. Bill 120 will allow society to provide accommodation for our aging population, low- to moderate-income groups and our extended families.

The elimination of zoning bylaws which discriminate against certain kinds of people and stop us from meeting our housing needs is an important and giant leap for the NDP government to be taking.

(6) Present zoning ignores realities and tenants' rights. Municipalities are quite literally ignoring the reality that thousands and thousands of people are currently living in illegal units. With the passage of this bill, tenants in over 100,000 units in this province will finally have access to the same rights that other tenants have struggled for.

Although there are organizations, particularly in the Hamilton area that I speak about, that call themselves housing activists, we refer to these organizations as housing deactivists. They believe there should be two standards for individuals and couples, one for people who are living in 500-square-foot or 600-square-foot apartments and one for people living in 700-square-foot apartments. Should the same rights not apply for all tenants living in apartments, as long as those units all meet the required health and safety standards?

Labourhood strongly believes that as long as the unit is up to the health and safety standards then it doesn't matter whether it's 500 square feet or 700 square feet and that the proponents of the 700-square-foot apartment are really only looking at a way to be exclusionary and to keep certain kinds of people out of their neighbourhood. They're not housing activists, they're individual activists.

Living in illegal apartments because of unfair zoning bylaws means that tenants live in legal limbo. The courts have been inconsistent on whether or not those tenants are covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act. As a result, tenants can be defenceless against a variety of problems in their units, including illegal rent increases, illegal evictions and property standard violations. Tenants in illegal apartments cannot make complaints regarding violations of health and safety standards; it is also the same inspectors who shut down illegal units.

Tenants who live in illegal apartments cannot rely on the enforcement authorities available to other tenants: the courts and municipalities. Consequently, tenants are forced to endure inadequate living standards and are unable to enforce their rights to privacy and freedom from harassment. Living in an illegal apartment can be living as a second-class citizen.

With the passage of Bill 120, the NDP government has recognized that no person should have to live as a second-class citizen and in fact has provided much-needed security for tenants.


(7) Rights of tenants to share accommodation: Labourhood supports the government's efforts to eliminate the practice of controlling where people live by regulating their relationship with their housemates. We believe that municipal zoning should not design neighbourhoods according to residents' relationships. Zoning must be according to the use, not who is the user.

(8) Additional protection in Bill 120: Extending protection to tenants whose housing has a care component under the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act is a major step forward. There are thousands of tenants, mainly frail, elderly people, as well as former psychiatric patients and people with developmental difficulties, who have been denied the protection afforded by the laws of this province. These people have been very vulnerable to abuse by their landlords. However, Bill 120 will provide much-needed protection for these people.

Labourhood congratulates the NDP government for extending protection to these tenants. Hopefully, these tenants will have security of tenure, the right to privacy and the right to safe and healthy living conditions.

I would now like to list some of our recommendations for changes to the bill.

(1) We believe it should include meal costs in the definition of "rent" for tenants living in housing with a care component to ensure meals are subject to the regulatory provisions of the Rent Control Act. By not including meals in the total rent, it opens the door to a new kind of intimidation and exploitation of victims. In effect, tenants could be constructively evicted. As well, food could become a lever to keep tenants from making complaints or exercising their rights. Arbitrary increases in meals add little protection for those tenants most needing security of tenure, tenants who need protection from garbage bag evictions.

Providing information packages for new tenants before meal costs can be increased and 90 days' notice before an increase is valid will not be sufficient protection for many tenants, who will be unable to pay these unregulated costs, regardless.

(2) Include in Bill 120 guidelines for physical accessibility for apartments in houses. Further legislative amendments are also necessary to ensure that the needs of persons with physical disabilities are recognized with the legalization of apartments in housing.

Municipalities should be required to incorporate a physical accessibility assessment in any approval of a building permit for the creation of an accessory apartment in an existing house. If a proposed accessory unit an be made accessible, the home owner should be informed of funding that is available for making the unit accessible.

The Ministry of Housing should monitor accessibility of accessory apartments over the next two years. If intensification reduces the percentage of accessible units on the market, the ministry must ensure a higher proportion of accessible units is provided by non-profit housing developers and Ontario Housing Corp.

(3) The Landlord and Tenant Act and the provincial government should be superior to municipal planning. A number of concerns arise with Bill 120 around inspections. Municipalities could institute a very vigorous inspection and close down units for very minor infractions or quite simple standards. Conversely, an equal concern would be if the municipalities decided to do nothing at all. If they refuse to do inspections, tenants will still have no recourse and no rights.

(4) Landlords should be required to register the rents of accessory apartments. Once the rents are registered, the rent control office should be required to send landlords information about their obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

(5) The Landlord and Tenant Act should be amended to require landlords of accessory units to give tenants 120 days' written notice for evictions resulting from landlords' own use.

(6) More resources to tenants' advocacy organizations: The government should put more resources into tenant advocacy organizations to expand their services so that they may provide community education, summary information and legal representation to accommodate the needs of tenants in accessory units and tenants in housing with a care component.

(7) This one might be a little radical for you. The Ministry of Housing should coordinate with the Ministry of Education and Training to institute education on the Landlord and Tenant Act etc throughout the high school system. Providing advocacy resources is not enough. If the government truly wants people to know what their rights are and how they can exercise their rights, it needs to provide real life skills to students in the classroom. This would be an extremely effective way of maintaining rents.

For example, if you educate through the high schools and other educational institutions, like English-as-a-second-language programs or adult basic education, to pass on what their rents are to the next tenant, what they paid, this would lessen the need for a rent registry. For instance, if tenants, before they actually move out, let the new tenant coming in know what they paid for rent, then the hundreds of thousands of apartments would have some kind of mechanism for people to know whether they're being ripped off or not, number one.

Number two, people need to know that there are health and safety standards that could be met and can be met and should be met and that there is a mechanism in our municipalities to get that done. That doesn't happen enough through tenant advocacy, and the only way we can really do that is if the government takes on active education and does that through the school system. That actually goes for health and safety, labour relations, employment standards, the Human Rights Code. Becoming an adult doesn't necessarily mean you just springload into knowing your rights and obligations under the laws of our province.

(8) That the government produce and distribute plain-language pamphlets in many languages for tenants to increase awareness of the new legislation and its implications for tenants. Education for tenants on this new piece of legislation will be crucial. We all deserve to know what our rights and responsibilities are.

(9) That the government set maximum parking space requirements and that no additional parking for accessory apartments be required. The advantages of on-the-street permit parking should be seriously reviewed.

Municipalities need to be planning for people, not cars. We are a car-based society. Parking is and will continue to be a problem in all commercial and residential areas. Apartments in housing has not caused this problem. Tenants tend to own fewer cars than home owners.

I'd like to personalize this example a little bit. I live in downtown Hamilton in one of the highest density neighbourhoods in this city. I live in ward 2, which is in the centre of the city. I live in a single-family home, which I own. I have three cars in my family, my own, my husband's and my step-son's. It's a semidetached house. The house attached to me has three apartments in it and only one of the householders in that whole three-unit complex has a car. Suggesting that opening up housing to tenants necessarily doubles or increases parking is just a mechanism used by opponents of Bill 120 and intensification to fearmonger.

(10) That the government reconsider the one unit per house and allow for any number of units within the envelope of an existing structure as long as health and safety standards are maintained.

I respectfully submit this on behalf of the board of Labourhood Homes Resource Centre and I'm open to any questions anyone might have.

Mr David Johnson: Thank you for your presentation. I might just indicate that actually several municipalities have responded to the accessory apartments issue. We heard this morning that Etobicoke actually formulated a position and sent it along to the Ministry of Housing in 1990 and has yet to hear back from the ministry. You mentioned Hamilton as another municipality that has taken quite a position, and there are several others. We heard yesterday in Ottawa that five of the municipalities had taken a position and others were well on the way. So municipalities actually have responded.

I guess the ministry is saying that it hasn't done precisely 100% of what the ministry has felt should be done, but municipalities have reacted in their own way with their own policies considering their own communities, their own neighbourhoods, their own conditions, which vary from municipality to municipality, including Hamilton.

I wondered if you were aware of the group Citizens for Citizens --

Ms Randazzo: Very much so.

Mr David Johnson: -- which has done a great deal of work in the city of Hamilton and appeared before us last week. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to be a group that involves aspects of the city of Hamilton. They looked at this question in the city of Hamilton and their recommendations were considerably different than your own. They were very concerned with homes being purchased by speculators, not only with the impact on residential communities but the loss of business. They've indicated that because of what was happening, businesses were being forced to close in Hamilton and there was a quite a loss of business in that city.

Ms Randazzo: I'll comment on that first. Citizens for Citizens should really have been named Citizens for Themselves. The Citizens for Citizens use fearmongering about such things as businesses shutting down. As I said, I actually live in the neighbourhood of Citizens for Citizens, and I've lived there all my life. Actually, my great-grandfather built a number of the homes in ward 2 and ward 3. So I'm very familiar with Hamilton and know it is a falsehood to suggest that businesses are shutting down because of intensification.


In fact, ward 2 and ward 3 have the highest level of illegal duplexes in the city. We estimate there are 10,000 illegal duplexes. To suggest that Bill 120 is actually going to create more in those neighbourhoods is false. What it will do is make those illegal apartments legal, and hopefully we'll be able to collect some increased taxes on them and make sure that those tenants have secure rights, number one.

Number two, Citizens for Citizens has very much used tactics of fearmongering, talking about parking, talking about different things. We have been active on the same issue with Citizens for Citizens since Hamilton started its intensification report way back in at least 1989. I have to say that Citizens for Citizens call themselves housing activists, but they do not participate with any of the other housing advocacy organizations in the city. They do not advocate that I know of; not at any one time have they advocated for housing. They only advocate to stop housing. I guess they would be more practically called "de-activists."

Labourhood is part of an organization called the Social Housing Action Committee, which has at least 40 different housing advocacy activists and organizations on it, including groups like the Kiwanis, the social planning and research council, the legal clinics, various other housing groups, the health council; the list is 40 long. We have been active in all housing issues, from non-profit housing to intensification to subsidies, and have been quite critical. We don't carte blanche support anything that comes along just because it's housing.

Citizens for Citizens, on the other hand, is only active around stopping housing, and it is really only in their own backyard. They really don't care about the mountain or the west end or the east end; they really only care about ward 2 and ward 3.

The Chair: Thank you. The time constraints require us to move on to the next person.

Ms Randazzo: Sure.

Mr David Johnson: That's all I get?

The Chair: That's all you get. I'm sure someone else will explore this further.

Mr Owens: I'm glad I have the opportunity to continue the discussion started by Mr Johnson with respect to downtown Hamilton. I don't want to misinterpret what the group told me while they were here, but my impression was that it was their philosophy that if there wasn't this thing called intensification their part of the world would be a glowing and bustling part of the Golden Horseshoe, notwithstanding any kind of major economic problems that the city of Hamilton is facing with the steel industry having some trouble and just general economic conditions around the area.

If the government decided to not do this, if we just decided to do what the other two parties have done and what municipal governments have done, which is just to shrug shoulders and turn a blind eye to what's going on, what kind of impact would you see in your community in terms of working people and those who used to be working? What kind of an impact would this have on their housing?

Ms Randazzo: It raises a number of issues. The fact of the matter is that this bill is not going to create thousands of new units; it's going to make legal units that already exist. Although groups like Citizens for Citizens do the fearmongering thing, that tomorrow every house on the street is going to be duplexed and there's going to be a biker in each house parking their motorcycle on the lawn, this simply is not going to happen.

Mr Owens: If not the living room.

Ms Randazzo: If not in the living room, right. This is simply not going to happen. One of our concerns about the bill is that by doing this it really doesn't create that much more affordable housing, number one.

Number two, the fact of the matter is that especially with the recession, people want to live and need to live where the services are: They need to live where the buses are; they need to live where the hospitals are; they need to live where the schools are. If you're a single parent with two kids and you don't have a car, you do not want to live out on Rymal Road in Hamilton; you want to live downtown, where you can walk or at least bus to different services.

That clearly has been the choice of citizens in Hamilton, because there are 10,000 illegal units in those neighbourhoods. People want to live there. People are going to live there. I'm not exactly sure what the impact would be, because the units are there. The difference would be the quality of life of the people who live in a lot of the units.

For instance, on this scaremongering about basement apartments, the fact of the matter is that thousands and thousands of people live in basement apartments. If we make them legal and make them part of the code, then the tenants who live in those apartments can phone up and say, "Excuse me, this apartment is not up to snuff," and not have to worry about being evicted. I think those are concerns that people who are worried about their property values don't consider.

Mr Owens: I appreciate your presentation and I certainly appreciate the support of the groups you've listed in your brief. My experience with labour is that we've been on the forefront in terms of the provision of housing both through the dollars and down to construction of that housing.

Mr Grandmaître: Let's go back to the number of groups that are being supportive of your organization. Can I ask you what the Hamilton district health council says about Bill 120?

Ms Randazzo: I can't speak on behalf of the Hamilton district health council. I can speak on behalf of their representative they send to Labourhood and her position.

Mr Grandmaître: Very good.

Ms Randazzo: On the Labourhood board we voted and it was unanimous in support of what I put as our support of issues in this document. So that would be their issue. They believe very much in a sustainable community. They believe in cost-effective ways of keeping communities healthy.

Mr Grandmaître: Do you know, for instance, if the district health council was consulted?

Ms Randazzo: You'd have to ask the delegate of the health council. She's their official representative. I can't speak on her behalf. I couldn't answer that. You'd have to ask her. I'm only the director of the organization making a brief on behalf of 15 board members. I assume that by the fact she's speaking at the table she has the authority to say what she says. I assume; I don't know that for sure.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm asking you that question for one reason and one reason only. I'm told that the district health councils in the province of Ontario were not consulted about Bill 120. That's why I was asking you.

Ms Randazzo: As organizations themselves they may not have been, but certainly that person sitting at our table has an opinion from the perspective of the health council, what she thinks about it. Maybe the health councils should be making presentations themselves to address that issue.

Mr Grandmaître: In your presentation, you put a lot of emphasis on tenant education. How about landlord education? This government is spending all kinds of money to provide tenants with access to regional offices for the LTA, Rent Control Act and so on and so forth. What is being done to educate landlords? I'm one of them and I've never received a letter from the ministry or the minister or this government, telling me that there's a course for landlords.

Ms Randazzo: I'd like to put that in perspective as well. First of all, I actually would have included, had I had another 20 minutes, issues on landlords. I actually do firmly support that landlords should be getting information and education, just like employers. Everyone should know their rights and obligations. Then I think half the problems wouldn't be there.

I would not suggest that all landlords are bad landlords, I do not believe that. I actually believe most landlords, especially in apartments in housing, are just trying to make ends meet, number one.

Number two, I know an awful lot of tenants, probably hundreds of thousands, have not got a letter sent through their door either, saying that these are their rights and obligations and there's an educational on for them. The money is given to organizations to try and advocate on their behalf and reach those tenants, but let's face it, the hundreds of thousands of tenants in Ontario do not get notice of educationals about their rights either.

Mr Grandmaître: Would you say that a lot of them don't care?

Ms Randazzo: No. I would say, as I stated in my brief, that I believe if we put education like this into the high school system and adult education system, then this wouldn't even be an issue. You as a landlord wouldn't have to have a special school and I as a tenant wouldn't have to have a special school because we would understand our rights and obligations as both landlord and tenant under the act because it would be part of our education system.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing before us.



Ms Lorraine Katryan: My name is Lorraine Katryan. I'm the coordinator of the Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing, which is a subcommittee of the Scarborough Housing Work Group.

We are a community-based group of home owners, tenants and community organizations and we have a common goal of promoting housing intensification, and in particular the legalization of apartments in houses. We have been in existence since 1986 working on this issue.

We would like to applaud the provincial government for having the vision, foresight and courage to introduce Bill 120, to do the right thing despite some loud opposition.

Because of the focus of our mandate, I will only address the apartments-in-houses section of the bill, although we also support in principle the care homes section. We would also like to express our support for the comments already made by the Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign and the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, among other groups.

In some ways, it's very gratifying to actually be here and see this issue being looked at seriously. I'm proud to say that Scarborough is really the home of this issue. We have watched it from its inception grow and become a viable issue that is now put forward here for your perusal.

You have probably heard all the arguments that support the legalization of apartments in houses because it makes good planning sense. For example, the human face of those who need it: the home owners, many of whom are seniors; young couples; empty-nesters; families hit hard by the recession; families that want their aging parents or young adult children to live near them yet independently; single parents struggling to keep their children in the family home after a breakup.

Who are the tenants? Again, seniors, young people, students, new Canadians, people on social assistance, single parents, single people who don't want to live in high-rises, families and everyday people like you and me.

Beyond this, there is the broader community interest. Legalizing apartments in houses is one component of housing intensification which is a very important concept that we in our growing, huge cities need to be realistically grappling with these days. Legalizing apartments in houses will help to prevent urban sprawl, help to preserve green space, farm land. It's a good use of the existing housing stock at virtually no cost through efficient housing intensification at a gradual pace that primarily fills the gaps rather than creating mammoth new subdivisions. In short, it revitalizes and regenerates communities. But this is not the focus I want to deal with today because you already know them, even if some of you choose to disregard them.

I would like to talk more about the experience that our committee has accumulated over the years, particularly in its dealings with Scarborough council, and our conclusions that much of the opposition to legalizing apartments in houses is based in simple, pure discrimination.

We would of course also like to commend the province for the courage to take this bold, progressive step forward, to stand for what is right and true and meets the needs of the real people. They have succeeded in bringing forward a vulnerable, silenced segment of society who are forced to live in illegal situations, even under extreme antagonism in front of irate, irrational ratepayers and antagonistic council members.

I'd like to reiterate one point that seems obvious but seems to be often overlooked: These apartments exist, they are needed, they will continue to exist and they will continue to be needed whether or not any government chooses to recognize them. People have a basic ability, often, to meet their needs, even if it has to be through underground economies.

We all need to face this reality now and stop kidding ourselves by pretending that planning has done its job sufficiently. Many people were not planned for and did not count when municipalities planned their growth, and it's these people who didn't count before who have therefore been forced into these illegal situations because of lack of money, because of the recession and lack of other options. We are now giving this government the opportunity to finally plan properly for the future and for their neglected constituents in order to ensure that the appropriate rights and regulations are firmly in place. If municipalities want to thrust their own constituents out into the cold, where on earth, I ask, will they put them?

People who are opposed to this issue tell us that we need municipal control here and that the province should keep its paws out of municipal business, but this rhetoric belies the real truth. This issue has always been in municipal hands, but what have they done? They have refused to pay attention to what their own constituents need and have preferred to hide their heads in the sand. Now we are at the stage where we need the province to step in and enshrine the basic protections for people. Many municipalities have studied this issue to death, with plenty of provincial funding, yet they still have refused to do anything and have neglected their responsibilities.

The Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing, or SOS as I'll refer to us, is in a rather unique position in that we have studied this issue very closely for many years and have seen first hand how a municipality will procrastinate and evade the issue, manipulate due process, and how they are quite prepared to listen to a hysterical minority of the population while disregarding the real needs of real people. They have made a mockery of the system and it is a farce to argue that the municipalities are closest to the people. To that I ask, which people? Only the rich who want to hoard resources for themselves and who are used to screaming the loudest?

I'd like to brief you a bit on the experience that has happened in Scarborough, but bear in mind that through talking with other community groups, it has become clear to us that our experience is by no means dissimilar from what happens in other municipalities.

It's important to realize that municipalities are ranting and inciting hysterical, irrational reactions and fearmongering in order to clutch on to a power they themselves have abused. Fear has been instilled in many home owners and tenants by threatening the very home that they have and through antagonistic public forums that favour only certain voices.

Scarborough began several years ago by attempting to have a study on basement apartments done. They hired Frank Lewinberg, who I understand will also be speaking here. When they didn't like the results of his study because he was leaning towards favouring legalizing apartments in houses, they pushed him into resigning. They wanted him to change the results of his study, which he refused to do.

The city then took it on and held public meetings in all wards. Many councillors produced inflammatory and anti-tenant stereotyping and were very intimidating of supporters of apartments in houses. For example, there was one public meeting where a councillor was egging on the opposition, and they were almost the only ones who had a chance to speak up, but when he called for a show of hands of who was supportive of legalizing and who was opposed, it was about half and half. Yet those who were supportive had no opportunity for their voices to be heard. They were afraid of having their units closed down and they were afraid of the antagonistic atmosphere in the meeting. This was typical.

When the staff report was finally completed on this study, council then tried to bury the report by just receiving it and filing it away and doing nothing about it. We saw this as a sneaky, cynical move where they intentionally changed agenda items when most of the audience, the media and many of the councillors were not present for the vote. Yet this is a study that cost approximately $120,000. They were trying to say to their constituents that they did not have the right to even hear the results of this report.


A public outcry arose and they decided to reopen the issue finally. They decided to have one public meeting; it started out the entire city. However, nine out of 14 councillors one by one autocratically decided that their wards should be excluded from that public meeting because they "knew" their constituents were not interested in having basement apartments legalized in their wards. Finally the public meeting happened for five out of 14 wards. The councillors used intimidation and scare tactics with the residents and groups in favour of legalizing. They cross-questioned each speaker, sometimes leaving them up there for over an hour, asking them antagonistic questions and legalistic, technical questions that led one resident to say that the next time she came before Scarborough council, she would have to make sure she had her law degree first.

The meeting went to midnight. There were still a dozen supporters waiting to speak. Finally, it had to be deferred over to a second meeting. That meeting was similar and went to 3 am.

Finally, at the end of that meeting, what did we have? We did make progress. There was a vote for one ward in the whole city to begin the process of legalizing apartments in houses, and that was because that councillor, Marilyn Mushinski, was very supportive of the issue.

In summary, council's treatment of local residents and community groups was appalling and clearly designed to discourage, embarrass, harass and scare any speaker in favour of legalizing. One councillor even called one of his constituents at home and threatened her.

We have also talked to a number of home owners in several municipalities who have been harassed by their local inspectors for having illegal apartments. Regardless of how safe it really was, they were harassed by overzealous municipal inspectors who followed the letter of the law, thereby making life miserable for the home owner who relied on this income for the apartment, and threatening to remove the home out from under the tenant who was left completely in limbo with no rights.

We know municipalities don't want to give up their power base, but we think the time has come that the province must step in and ensure the rights of the people who really need this housing.

Let's get down to what the real issue is here. It's discrimination. There is a cynical attempt by the privileged few to keep certain groups of people out of certain élitist neighbourhoods, groups that are being scapegoated for all the societal problems of the day. We've heard countless comments by irate residents and ignorant municipal councillors over and over again that are blatantly racist, sexist, classist and anti-tenant. While many of the arguments against legalizing are often couched in polite planning terms or such misleading statements as "the preservation of the single-family neighbourhood," these are really polite ways to mask the real agenda of zoning apartheid: keeping "those people" out.

A favourite one is parking and services. A small minority of the population, who are even less likely than most to have cars, get blamed for the parking problems that really are caused by an excessively car-dependent society in which many people aspire to own their own cars and in which many well-to-do families often have several cars.

With regard to services, a small segment of the population that lives, belongs and has always lived in the community gets blamed for poor municipal planning and for the natural rise and fall in the birth rate, even though they are often just repopulating homes in areas in which the density has dropped anyway.

However, opponents to apartments in houses would rather see these tenants and home owners displaced from their homes and communities and dumped into the streets and the already bursting-at-the-seams shelters instead of using up excessive housing space. But I ask, do we ever hear these same opponents trying to evict the wealthier families down the street who have several cars, a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi and who use much more than their share of the services, but own their homes? Do we ever hear the opponents trying to evict the white families who have a houseful of children for overcrowding or charging them extra taxes for the increased services they use? No, nor should they be.

But why the selective blaming and the attempts to cause only certain kinds of people to become homeless? Why only the ones with less money and resources, who are more likely already to experience discrimination and hatred in this society?

We find it odd that the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives, who normally encourage free market enterprise and solutions that emerge naturally from market forces, take such an unusual position opposed to these apartments. These apartments exist because people need them and are resourceful and independent enough to find their own solutions that harm no one.

In conclusion, it is our goal that no tenant or home owner shall ever in this great province of ours be forced to live in fear as a second-class and less-important citizen. This government has seen fit to redress this. This bill means that everybody matters and that everyone gets to play equally and fairly on the playing field regardless of who owns what.

Mr Owens: Lorraine, welcome to the committee. After four years of our meeting and going back and forth on this issue, we finally are at the point where we can look forward to having a bill that will take care of the people you describe as being discriminated against.

The opponents of this particular piece of legislation said that what the province is doing is trampling on the rights of municipalities to make their own zoning decisions, their own planning decisions. I think what you've described for us, however, is a process where the city of Scarborough -- I think you quite diplomatically described the process that the city of Scarborough went through and the kinds of reactions that these elected officials had towards their ratepayers, whether they were living in single-family dwellings or in basement apartments.

Could you tell the committee perhaps in a little bit more detail about some of the other meetings and the kinds of things you and your group and your tenants have had to go through to try and get the municipality to do what it says it wants to be left alone to do, but have not done to this point?

Ms Katryan: I'm sure I could stand up here all day and talk about the experiences we've had with our local council. Rather than getting into greater detail, I will just summarize that it's been our experience that councillors have perceived what they consider to be the more important constituents to be opposed to basement apartments, and have refused to look at the many polls that have shown between a two-thirds and three-quarters majority of the population in favour of legalizing. What they have done is that they have listened to a small minority who happen to be richer and have more resources and have refused to listen to people who own and people who live in these apartments.

There's a story where we were trying to point out to a local councillor the amount of fear that existed in people who wanted to come forward but were too afraid to. He told us a story about a friend of his who had an illegal basement apartment. He invited the friend to the public meeting in his ward and the friend said: "Oh no, I wouldn't dare go. I might have an inspector follow me home afterwards and force me to tear out my apartment." The councillor laughed and said: "Don't be silly. That's ridiculous." Yet the home owner didn't go, and he had the personal assurance of his friend, the local councillor, that this would not happen. That's the extent of the fear that exists.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thank you very much for your presentation. It's very graphic and I think sets out very clearly the reasons why this bill should be supported. I'd like to ask you, though, about a couple of things we've heard. One is the need for owner occupancy being one of the conditions for a second apartment.

Ms Katryan: I think this is a red herring that is being waved around a lot these days. The point of this bill is that tenants need their rights protected; home owners need their rights protected. If only certain tenants get their rights protected, then you're setting up a dual class system.

There's also the presumption that tenants will be bad neighbours. Anyone can be a bad neighbour and anyone can be a good neighbour. Perhaps we need to be looking in our municipalities and our communities for better ways to deal with bad neighbours. But to presume that a tenant is going to be a bad neighbour, or a worse neighbour than a home owner, is clearly discriminatory and one that we would not support.

Mr Eddy: Thank you for your presentation bringing out some facts. We haven't heard from Scarborough city council, I don't believe, but we did hear from the Scarborough fire department this morning. I noticed in your presentation that you said something about following the letter of the law. I'd like to ask about some of the safeguards for the residents if apartments are legalized.

The recommendations of the fire department were about access, grade level and exit in case of fires because of the problems of going through other accommodation, and many other matters such as wiring and that sort of thing. I tend to think there aren't halfway measures here, that your wiring is really either adequate or it's outdated and should be replaced, like mine, and so many other things: the fire code. They were asking for some changes.

Also, there was right of access in some way, and not going through a search warrant, which is a very awkward thing and isn't the purpose of the thing, to make sure that apartments meet the requirements of the fire code and the building code; access and those sorts of things. Would you comment on that? It's the safety aspect that I'm really concerned about.

Ms Katryan: We're also very concerned about the safety aspect --

Mr Eddy: I was hoping.

Ms Katryan: -- and that's certainly one of the reasons we've been working on this issue so long and so hard. It's our understanding, and we've been told by many officials, that fire inspectors have complete right of entry and that people do not have the right to turn them away. It's the zoning and building inspectors who do not have the same kind of absolute right of entry; nor do the police, for that matter.


Mr Eddy: Without a search warrant type of thing.

Ms Katryan: Right. However, I would put back the question to you. What tenant, who has an inspector come to the door and say, "I want to make sure your unit is safe; I would like to check it for you," would turn them away? So I don't understand why there's even a need for broader rights of entry than already exist.

Mr Eddy: In fact, that was a response this morning: Who would turn anybody away when it's an inspection from a safety aspect? But apparently there are people who do that, who say, "No, you do not have right of entry and we will not give it to you," so they have to go through the only way now, obtaining a search warrant, apparently, to gain access. I think there should be some easier way if it's the safety provisions of the living accommodation of families in basement apartments or indeed any type of apartment.

Ms Katryan: I hope then we would all recognize that by granting greater powers of entry this would not only apply to people in apartments in houses, but this would apply to those of us who are home owners who perhaps don't have quite up-to-date wiring.

Mr Eddy: Agreed.

Mr Daigeler: I'm just wondering whether you ever ran for office yourself. I'm asking that question because I feel that in a democratic society, if you have a disagreement with elected officials, you try and get yourself elected rather than try and eliminate that level of government. I'm just wondering whether you ever presented yourself for office.

Mr Katryan: I'm sorry, I have no interest in running for elected office, but what we do find is that tenants are largely typically ignored, particularly by local municipal councillors and often their buildings are not even canvassed during election time at all.

Mr Arnott: If this bill passes, Bill 120, and basement apartments are suddenly legalized, do you think there will be more basement apartments within six months in Ontario than there are today?

Ms Katryan: To refer to Scarborough's own study, the report done by its planning department, there was no evidence to indicate that the number of apartments in houses would increase at any greater rate than they already are, which is at a fairly slow rate -- approximately 200 a year, I believe they quoted -- which doesn't, of course, count the units that are also coming off the market.

Mr Arnott: Scarborough would probably have more basement apartments, say, per capita based on population than many other communities across the province. I don't know where it would rank. Would it rank towards the highest?

Ms Katryan: I don't know that.

Mr Arnott: I wouldn't think it would be typical, let's just say.

Ms Katryan: Scarborough's study estimated about 14,000 units, with a population of over half a million.

Mr Arnott: I guess if you assume that there will be no significant increase or that there will be no greater increase than there is normally, you're assuming that literally no one who wants a basement apartment doesn't have one and you're assuming that people don't respect the municipal zoning laws.

I have a feeling that some people will have desired a basement apartment in their house and checked into it and found that it was not legal and therefore didn't move ahead. When this bill passes, a considerable number of new basement apartments will suddenly appear, beyond what we're expecting.

Ms Katryan: I don't think that's a realistic expectation. I think some will come on stream, but in essence, the people who have wanted them, many of them, have already put them in. Who is going to populate them? The people are already here. We're not going to get a sudden population explosion because people in some far-off corner of the world hear that, "Aha, Ontario has legal apartments in houses." I really fail to understand the argument that we'll be suddenly duplexing Ontario and doubling the population.

Mr Arnott: I wouldn't expect the population would double, but I find that some people who are espousing the concept of this bill, and I think you include it in your presentation as well, have suggested that this would limit the urban sprawl that's already occurring and would promote intensification. That would lead me to think that there are going to be more people in basement apartments, as opposed to a constant number, after this bill passes.

Ms Katryan: I can only again refer back to Scarborough's study, which estimates that there will not be a sudden explosion of new apartments in houses, as well as other cities that have legalized them throughout North America, where there was no sudden explosion. The principle of housing intensification looks long term and over several broad principles.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing today.


Ms Esther Ishimura: Good afternoon. My name is Esther Ishimura. I'm a community legal worker at Neighbourhood Legal Services. Gil Brereton is an intake community legal worker, also at Neighbourhood Legal Services, and Bob Ninham was a tenant at one of the buildings we're going to talk about today. He'll make a little presentation as well.

We're really here today to support very strongly the changes in Bill 120, especially those that deal with the care facility and the present exemption under the law. We do not really want to deal with the legalistic arguments. I'm sure you've heard those. Instead, we want to give some case examples which illustrate why it's so important to make this legislative change.

We deal all the time with people who come in who have been evicted summarily, who have been charged high rents and we've been unsure of what to tell them, because when their landlords claim they're a care facility, we're not sure what the courts are going to say. At this point, the law is very unclear which facility is exempt and which is not.

I want to bring a couple of cases to your attention. One was in a non-profit sort of apartment house. It was run by people who had a religious connection, I'll say. There was some care being given at this rooming house, so it's quite likely it would have been exempt under the law.


The tenant who moved in, though, thought that he was just contracting for housing. He got a self-contained unit. He knew that he was paying for food, but after a while when he'd been there he received a pamphlet which told him what the rules were. The rules included that he was supposed to go to common meals, that he was supposed to go to weekend retreats and that he was supposed to go to prayer meetings. He didn't, and after a while there were problems and discussions about the fact that he wasn't participating properly in communal life.

Then, about a year after, he was admitted to the hospital for a couple of weeks and found out that he'd been evicted while he was there, and there were no court papers. So we had a landlord who was using the "care" exemption as a way to evict tenants who were not fitting into what they thought was the proper communal life.

We have another example of a landlord who runs a for-profit rooming house in our neighbourhood, which is in the east end, around Sherbourne. This rooming house has about 13 rooms in it. It advertises on the entrance just rooms for rent.

This was also a case where someone was evicted. He was arrested and put in jail for a couple of weeks. As soon as the landlord found out that he was in jail, he immediately locked his room and rented it to someone else and put his belongings in a garbage bag in the basement. Again there was no court process, and when we contacted the landlord he said there didn't have to be one because he was a care facility. Our client had never gotten any care and never thought he was going to get care. He had just rented the room.

Gil will tell you other examples of what happens at that particular rooming house, because we've had a whole number of people who have come to us from them. As well, Bob also stayed for a time at that place and perhaps he can tell us what happened to him.

Mr Bob Ninham: When I stayed at the Salvation Army, and I wanted to get out of that place very badly, I was approached on the street by one of the people who work at 180 Sherbourne. She asked me if I was looking for a room. I told her I was. So I took it to my welfare worker so I could get out of that Sally Ann. I was never notified that this was supposed to be a care facility and I was assuming I was renting this room for myself.

I was in about two weeks and the next thing I knew some other guy came into my room. I asked what was going on, and that's when they told me this was supposed to be a care facility, so they were renting the bed to me, not the room to me. I was never reimbursed.

Ms Ishimura: Bob stayed there a number of months, and every month he and whoever was put in his room all paid $400 each for the room. As well at that place a number of people paid the rent, and then they would leave because they didn't know why these other people were sharing with them. Their money wasn't reimbursed either. So this becomes a very lucrative way to make money if you can charge $400 by the bed and have a high turnover constantly in the place and not refund anyone and just evict them if they complain.

Ms Gil Brereton: I've seen many tenants who reside at the rooming house Esther referred to. Two tenants came to see me. One had paid a full month's rent the day before. The morning he was in my office he had been thrown out at the whim of the landlord. No part of his rent was returned to him, and he had nowhere else to go to live.

Another tenant paid a full month's rent and found out he would be sharing one room with four other occupants. He did not realize this was the accommodation he had rented. He thought he was going to get a room for himself and no one else sharing it.

As I said, both these tenants did not receive back any part of their rent that they had paid and they had nowhere else to live. They were on government assistance, and because the rent they had paid came from their government cheques, they were forced to go back on the street or into hostels and wait until their next assistance cheque to find any alternative housing.

The other tenants I have seen reside at Keith Whitney. They are also being evicted at the whim of a landlord. One was evicted because he allegedly caused damages in the amount of $59 and did not have the money to pay for it, so he was thrown out. Another tenant was evicted because they did not like the guest that she invited to her room. Again, as I said, all these tenants had nowhere else to go. They ended up in hostels or back on the streets.

The difference between these tenants and the tenants who reside in premises that are protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act is we can go to court and argue on behalf of tenants who are protected, but we can't argue anything for the tenants who are not protected. We can negotiate with landlords for tenants who are protected but can't do any negotiating on behalf of tenants who aren't protected.

These are a few examples of the cases that I have seen; there are many others. A lot of tenants do not come to us because the law is unclear and we can't assure them that we can get them back into their premises or get any part of a refund or all of the rent that they have paid. Unfortunately, these were homes for these tenants and now they are forced to go back to where they were in the beginning, before they rented what they thought would be a permanent home to them.

At the premises, the rooming house, the tenants did not receive any care. The tenants I have seen said they did not know it was a care facility. They did not see any services being provided by the people at this rooming house.

Ms Ishimura: So in our experience, whether in fact a place is a care facility and so should be exempt under the present legislation, we still see by the behaviour of some of those landlords that we don't want those places exempt. The other examples are places that are pretending -- to some degree are not -- to be what they're not and just using that exemption. For either reason, we very much support the changes that we see coming so that the situation will be very clear and only in a very limited situation will people be able to use that exemption.

The only other thing we would like to comment on just very quickly is something that's missing, and that's just a further protection for roomers that we're concerned about. The bill does not talk about rooming houses and, more importantly, what happens if a landlord loses his licence for a rooming house. What will happen to the tenants? At this point, the city could theoretically go in and close the building down.

We would like, in the same way that there's protection being given to granny flats, to see that there be protection of all types of housing: more importantly, to the tenants. There may be sanctions that have to go against the landlord, there may be repairs that have to be made, but the tenant should be protected while that's happening. Somewhere in the legislation add something that says that no tenant would ever lose their tenancy just because a rooming house wasn't legal for a time. That's all.

The Chair: Thank you. You are prepared for questions now?

Ms Ishimura: Only if they're nice.

Mr Grandmaître: I agree with you that roomers and care facilities should all be regulated and operating under one law. I realize that there's a good number of landlords that are exercising their own law and their own eviction laws. These tenants should be protected.

Let me ask you, Bob: You said that you wanted to get out of the Salvation Army badly. Why badly?

Mr Ninham: Because of the people who lived there. It was a hostel and the kind of people who lived there are not the kind you want to hang around all the time.

Mr Grandmaître: You didn't feel you were secure?

Mr Ninham: Leave a pair of shoes on the floor, the next morning there might be only one there. Believe me, it's that bad. There are a lot of drug addicts in there too.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm going to go back to, let's say, the private operators. I know they should be regulated, but do you think they should come under this bill? Because they do meet all the necessary requirements of Bill 120. I'm thinking of where there's lodging and food and care, because these people will now have to pay, let's say, to be a resident and will have to write a second cheque for their food in order to protect their tenure. Do you follow me? These people will be paying GST and provincial sales tax on their food. Do you think that's fair?


Ms Ishimura: My concern is that all of the tenants have the right not to be evicted summarily.

Mr Grandmaître: Agreed. Agreed.

Ms Ishimura: That's mainly what we were discussing.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm talking about private operators, those who are respecting the law.

Ms Ishimura: Those who are respecting the law won't have any problem by being covered by the law.

Mr Grandmaître: These people are operating within the law, are regulated by the province of Ontario, but they do receive one monthly cheque for food and care combined and they don't pay any GST. But now under this new bill, these people will have to pay GST.

We were talking to people who were paying, let's say, $2,000 a month because that's their lifestyle. They've saved and that's the way they want to live. A lot of them are over 80 years old. They say, "Why should I be taxed an extra dollar?" or something, but quite a bit for food. Right now, care, food and their lodging -- everything -- is included in this one monthly cheque. By dividing the cheque, they will now have to pay GST. I think it's very unfair. Very unfair.

Mr Gary Wilson: Are you sure about that?

Mr Grandmaître: Oh, yes. They will be paying --


Mr Grandmaître: Am I addressing these people or --

The Chair: No, you're not. For the moment, pretend they're not there. They have their turn later.

Mr Grandmaître: I just want to remind them.

The Chair: Your conversation is to be with the presenters.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes. Keep this in mind, you guys.

Ms Ishimura: I'm sorry. This is not a point that I can lend any clarity to.

Mr Grandmaître: But I do agree with you that all rooming houses and lodging facilities should be regulated, because a lot of people are taken advantage of. A lot of landlords are taking advantage of that situation. I do agree with you.

Ms Ishimura: I think everything should be regulated and all the tenants should be protected. If there's a problem with the food, that's a separate little problem.

Mr Gary Wilson: Mr Chair, may I, through you to Mr Grandmaître, offer this --

The Chair: Mr Wilson, you have an opportunity later.

Mr Gary Wilson: Just to clarify --

The Chair: No, you have an opportunity later.

Mr Grandmaître: You want to see me outside or what?

The Chair: Mr Daigeler.

Mr Daigeler: Actually, I am prepared to give some of my time to Mr Wilson if he has an answer.

Mr Gary Wilson: Great. Thank you very much, Mr Daigeler. I would like to ask Scott from the ministry to come forward and talk to this issue about the charges there are now, the GST provisions.

Mr Scott Harcourt: I'm Scott Harcourt from the Ministry of Housing. With regard to taxes, our understanding is both the federal GST and Income Tax Act would have to be changed before residents would have to pay taxes. As both of those statutes read now, in fact, they would not be charged taxes either under GST or under federal income tax.

Mr Grandmaître: Can I get this in writing? I'll tell you why. Because your own ministry in Ottawa last week, at Rideau Place -- I can give you the address: 550 Wilbrod -- said, and they brought this up. I was very surprised. I never talked about GST. They brought it up.

Mr Harcourt: It has been a concern that some of the rest and retirement home operators have come up with. Their concern is that the federal government will in fact change their legislation in order to charge taxes on this.

Mr Grandmaître: Could you provide this committee with some sort of a written note?

The Chair: Thank you. I'm sure the ministry will provide us with something in writing during the clause-by-clause examination so that we understand this matter. Mr Arnott.

Mr Arnott: Thank you very much for coming in today and presenting your views. I don't have any questions, but thanks once again.

The Chair: Then we have Mr Owens.

Mr Owens: I sit here listening to presentations like yours from NLS and from the members of the community that NLS would represent, and I can't help but shake my head when I think about the opponents of this legislation, especially with respect to the care home issues.

I think that what the government should have done was provide copies of Pat Capponi's book, Upstairs in the Crazy House, for people to read as briefing material, so that people have a clear, clear understanding of the kinds of conditions that people are forced to live in, with absolutely no rights, no means to a remedy in any way, shape or form that we would view as our rights in this province. So I want to thank you for your support and your recommendation with respect to rooming houses.

Mr Gary Wilson: Of course, adding to Steve's source, we have Ernie Lightman's report too that so graphically describes some of the appalling conditions that we're trying to correct through this legislation. Of course, it's the basis of the part of Bill 120 that applies to care homes.

I would like to ask you about a couple of things. One is whether you've given any thought to an issue that's come up here, and it's been referred to as fast-track eviction. The concern appears to be that there are cases where, as the legislation is outlined now, it could present a problem for the operators of homes because of issues that arise where a tenant can be a threat both to himself and other tenants. I was just wondering whether you've thought about that and whether you might be able to offer some thoughts about what we could put in the legislation to address this issue.

Ms Ishimura: I guess our concern about fast track is that it's a problem that's not just applicable to the people whom we're dealing with today; it's a problem that's everywhere. If there's a need to fast-track evictions, and there may be, then I think it would be a general legislative change to the Landlord and Tenant Act, for example, that would apply to all tenants, so that it would have a process that would affect everyone.

A lot of tenants we deal with who are not protected, who are in these care facilities, are in self-contained units -- maybe they share a bathroom, maybe not; maybe it's completely self-contained -- and very often there are not big differences between their type of housing and the type of housing of the people who are already protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act. There's no particular reason to make a special fast track for these types of situations.

As well, I think there are other laws that already exist. There are police who can be called, there are inspectors who can be called. If there's an emergency anywhere, whether someone has a knife in the hall in an apartment building or in a rooming house, you have to do something. It's the same situation.

So either I would suggest that people can rely on the present laws or in fact we might look at something that would benefit all the tenants across the province.

Mr Owens: We already have fast-track eviction processes: "Here's your garbage bag. Take your belongings and get out."

Mr Gary Wilson: I'd like also to ask you about another thing that has been raised, which is the access to rooms, where the concern appears to be that operators won't have access to rooms where the tenant might have problems, that if they have to follow, as they see it, the provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act, it would mean that they couldn't respond to emergencies. Could you comment on that situation?

Ms Ishimura: I think the act is clear that you can respond if it's an emergency. So I'm not sure why, particularly, the operators are concerned. I think they will, if there's a genuine emergency, be able to get in. I think if it isn't, then they will be limited. A lot of them may find that a problem because a lot of them go in quite frequently to check on all kinds of things, but I think the tenants will appreciate that being restricted. But again, if there's a real emergency, they'll be able to get in.

Mr Gary Wilson: You don't see that as a problem then?

Ms Ishimura: No.


Mr Gary Wilson: Also, I'd like to speak to your concern about the loss of rights, the concern that tenants would have of course if a rooming house lost its licence. It appears where it's a rooming house without any care services, it already is under the Landlord and Tenant Act, so there would be the provisions that exist there. A licence simply couldn't be lost; they would be able to speak. There would have to be provisions made. If they were a care home, under the legislation as it is proposed, they would fall under the Rental Housing Protection Act, and it couldn't be taken off the market through a landlord's wish to remove it from the care services. So the tenants are protected in that way.

Ms Ishimura: I think there's some question about whether, if you lose your licence and it becomes an illegal rooming house, is it protected, or not under the act. I'm not sure that it's clear enough.

Mr Gary Wilson: Are there care services involved in this?

Ms Ishimura: No.

Mr Gary Wilson: We'll consider that. Scott, have you anything more?

Mr Harcourt: No.

Mr Gary Wilson: Okay. We'll take that under consideration. Thanks very much for your presentation.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before the committee today. You've brought us a different perspective I think than we've heard, at least in the last little while.

Mr Daigeler: Mr Chairman, since we have a little bit of time before the next presenter, could I ask the parliamentary assistant something? At the beginning of the hearings, I asked ministry officials, when they made their presentation, whether we could have something in writing on the response of the municipalities to the housing intensification policy by the previous government, and I was assured that we were going to get something. We haven't received anything and I'm just wondering whether that is still coming or not.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'm sure it's on its way. I'll look into that to find out when it will be here.

Mr Daigeler: Several times, reference has been made to the compliance or non-compliance of the municipalities, and I certainly would be interested to see precisely what has happened.

The Chair: I take it that the parliamentary assistant has committed the ministry to provide that to us.

The Chair: Are there further points of interest? If not, we'll call the next presenters. They have been here for some time, the Massey Centre. Members would note this is a substitution and it's pursuant to a motion made yesterday.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): By whom?

The Chair: I'm not sure, Mrs Marland, but I would tell the presenters that it was unanimous.

Mrs Marland: I wore the same suit so you'd recognize me today. Anyway, I do appreciate the committee accommodating this group. Thank you, Mr Chairman.


Ms Nancy Peters: Thank you very much. My name is Nancy Peters. I'm the executive director of Massey Centre for Women. I have brought with me today Joan Campbell on my right, she's the president of the board of directors, and on my left I have Monica Auerbach, who is the director of central services. We'd all like to take this opportunity to thank you for hearing what we have to say about the impact of Bill 120 at the Massey Centre for Women. Joan will be making an initial presentation and then we're all available for questions.

Dr Joan Campbell: It's been most interesting listening to the presentations before us. I've learned a lot.

Our intent is not to attack Bill 120, because I think there are many valuable parts to it and it addresses very serious problems. Our concern is that we are a unique organization whose very existence is threatened by this legislation, I think inadvertently. I don't think anybody wants to kill us, but certain provisions of your bill would make it impossible for us to continue to operate.

I want to explain a little bit first about the Massey Centre for those of you who are not familiar with what we do, and then I want to sum up what I see as the impact of the bill and what we need to continue to operate.

Introducing the Massey Centre: The Massey Centre for Women is a multiservice complex that provides a secure environment within which young single women can bear healthy infants, learn to become good mothers and gain the maturity, the education and the skills needed for them to become independent, self-supporting heads of families.

Thanks to the successful completion of a major expansion project in 1992, with funds from the Ontario Ministry of Housing and the Toronto United Church council, what was originally a traditional maternity home -- it was called Victor Home in those days -- has been able since 1992 to offer supportive and transitional housing to young mothers. This was made possible by Project 30,000 funding at that time. The whole plan was conceived in those terms as transitional housing and would never have been built in the first place if it had not been for the provisions of that portion that gave us exemption from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The residential complex at the Massey Centre can accommodate approximately 50 prenatal and postnatal young women at any one time. The residential programs are offered in three phases: phase 1 houses 22 prenatal women who are waiting to have their children; phase 2 consists of 10 closely supervised one-bedroom units where new mothers and their infants can live for a period of up to six months; phase 3 enables 17 single mothers and their children to stay on for an additional period of up to two years while they finish their schooling or otherwise ready themselves for independent living. A staff nurse is available on call at all times.

In addition to its residential facilities, the Massey Centre owns and operates a 48-place day care centre and a parent-child resource centre that serves nearly 200 families every month. It also houses a section 27 school run in cooperation with the East York Board of Education, and it runs a young mothers' employment program that offers employment and career counselling. All these programs serve members of the community as well as the resident mothers and their children.

While many of the centre's programs are funded in whole or in part by government agencies at all levels, notably by the Ministry of Community and Social Services and by Metro, the Massey Centre could not exist without substantial support from the private sector. To repay moneys borrowed from the United Church for the expansion project and to cover the operating costs of its innovative quality services, it depends heavily on annual donations from the church, foundations, corporations and private individuals.

Today's Massey Centre is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through interministerial cooperation -- Housing, Community and Social Services, Education. Its focus on prevention and early intervention is in line with the latest policy directions of both the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health, with which we work in close contact through the district health councils.

The centre enjoys a wide and growing reputation and many have come to regard it as a model to be copied throughout Ontario and North America. A great deal of credit for this must go to the new supportive and transitional housing facilities which have been operating since 1992. These enable the centre to provide young single mothers with the time needed to learn to become good parents and to gain the strengths required if they and their children are to escape from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that faces many people in their situation. All this we believe is threatened by Bill 120.


I want to say something about the rationale for transitional housing at the Massey Centre. The 17 town house units in particular, what I called phase 3, were built with the help of the Ministry of Housing as supportive transitional housing and therefore were exempted from the Landlord and Tenant Act. This exemption played a role in obtaining permission to build the housing, which was only given in 1990 after an Ontario Municipal Board hearing was satisfied that the new residences posed no threat to the neighbourhood.

The average age of the occupants of these town houses is 17, but quite a few of the mothers are very young. They are there because they do not yet feel ready to live on their own and to parent a child while doing so.

Throughout their time in residence at the centre, every effort is made to link the young women with community services and to prepare them for independent living. As soon as occupants of the town houses feel they are ready to go out on their own, the centre encourages them to find suitable accommodation in the community and helps them to do so.

Young mothers in our view have the right to decide for themselves whether they wish to live at the centre. If they opt for residence, they are fully aware that they must abide by the centre's rules. This may be quite difficult for some of them to accept. Some of them have never accepted rules in their lives when they come to us, but they go into that believing that what we have to offer makes it worthwhile sacrificing a certain degree of their usual independence. When a young mother applies for a town house, she knows what these rules are and accepts that there will be certain conditions and restrictions if she gets accepted. They have the choice of living in the community and still accessing many of Massey Centre's programs and services, so they don't have to go into residence to be part of the Massey Centre community.

The existing regulations for residents are quite generous and are under constant review. A residents' association works together with the staff and the board of directors to ensure that they are no more onerous than necessary for the safety and efficient operation of the centre.

As regards male visitors, men are permitted at the centre between 7 am and 11 pm daily and until 1 pm on weekends. In an effort to prepare the young women for independent living, the staff place great emphasis on helping the young women build their self-esteem and develop healthy relationships. Most of the residents find the centre's rules and restrictions a help rather than a burden as they strive to gain control over the circumstances of their lives.

Many though not all of the town house residents are graduates, if you like, of the prenatal program and of the six-month apartment program at the Massey Centre. Although residents may stay in phase 3 for up to two years, they do not all choose to remain at the Massey Centre that long. Thus there is no question that this is transitional housing. Fulfilment of the Massey Centre's mission requires that the town house units continue to be regarded as transitional housing.

Unless there is a clear limit to the time any individual can remain in residence, moreover, it will become impossible to create vacancies on a regular basis and so to accommodate other young mothers who may wish to take advantage of this opportunity to prepare for independent living. There is always a waiting list for these units. If some women are allowed to stay over a longer term, other young women and children who need them will be prevented from enjoying the benefits of phase 3 of the program.

Now I come to the most important, crucial issue for us; that is, the issue of security. As explained above, the town house units were created in order to provide a secure environment in which young single mothers and their infants would be safe while they learned to be good parents, complete their schooling and/or job training and develop the personal and social skills needed to become independent heads of families.

The issue of security is paramount. The majority of women at the centre come from violent and abusive backgrounds and often are still subject to negative influences from their past. Their stay at the centre gives them a chance to make a break from the destructive relationships in which many of them are involved. The regulations that prohibit overnight male visitors, allow for the removal of threatening individuals from the units and permit the discharge of residents who engage in drug activities, prostitution or violence are all essential to provide these vulnerable young women with a safe and secure environment while they make changes in their lives.

As far as the children are concerned, it should be remembered that the infants of teenage mothers constitute a high-risk group. Moreover, it is known that the first two years are critical in a child's life. Because some of the mothers are able to stay at the centre until their children reach the toddler stage, the staff can help ensure that their infants are well cared for and that any problems are identified and dealt with promptly. A safe environment is essential if these high-risk children are to thrive.

There are only two other additional concerns related to safety that I'd like to mention. I don't know how many of you have seen the Massey Centre, but it's actually one physical complex. It's a group of buildings very close together, including the day care centre; it's a separate building but it's right there. It's a physically integrated complex of buildings. Anything that endangers women and children in the town house units also threatens the security of the residents in phases 1 and 2 that I've described; that is, the prenatal and the apartment units. It also threatens the young women and children in the community who access the Massey Centre's programs: the school, the parent-child resource centre; the day care; the young mothers' employment program.

A final point on security: The loss of the current exemption would also endanger the staff, who have a hard enough time as it is, and potentially the immediate neighbourhood.

To sum up, the future of the Massey Centre is put in doubt by the changes proposed in Bill 120. If the centre loses the exemption granted to it when its transitional housing was built, this would first of all undermine the security of all the young women and children at the centre; secondly, it would take away the right of the mothers to opt for a secure and supportive setting that protects them from the negative influences to which they are subject and gives them a chance to break the cycle of violence, abuse and poverty for themselves and their children; third, it would severely limit the number of women able to access the services at the centre; fourth, it would in our view damage the centre's relationships with its neighbours; and finally, it would make it virtually impossible to raise much-needed additional funding from private donations, particularly from the United Church.

For these reasons, the directors of the Massey Centre do not feel that the board can continue to take responsibility for the transitional housing unless it retains certain rights that are threatened by this bill: the right to discharge residents who engage in drugs, prostitution and/or violence, the right to remove threatening individuals from the units and the right to prohibit overnight male visitors.

It would be a shame, in my view, to destroy what has been recognized internationally, not only here in Canada, as a model that should be followed. The Massey Centre is unique, but we're hoping it will spawn more of its kind and many other people are looking to us. We get visited regularly by people from abroad and from the United States. They recognize that we're doing something special because we're not just a maternity home; we do give people a chance over a longer time, and these are very young people who need that time to get on their feet and put themselves and their families in a secure, healthy and independent way of life.

Mr David Johnson: I didn't realize that the Massey Centre was recognized internationally. I've certainly had the opportunity to visit and I've always thought it was an exceptionally well-run organization. In my time as mayor, I suppose there were one or two complaints with regard to the construction activities, sidewalks or whatever, but in terms of the running of the facility itself, it's always been a first-class organization and a real credit to the municipality. You provide an excellent service, not just to East York but on a very broad basis, obviously.

I guess the question arises about the security that you've emphasized over and over again. The problem, as I understand it, is that there are male companions or whatever -- are they all male?

Ms Peters: So far they have been those kinds of power relationships, yes.

Mr David Johnson: And you're talking about drugs and you're talking about violence and you're talking about a secure environment, which obviously is key in the kind of service that you're providing.


If Bill 120 was to go through in the fashion that is before us today, what in your estimation would be the consequence? How would it impact directly on your service?

Ms Peters: I think it's important in discussing the relationship of Bill 120 and Massey Centre to look at the typical resident, the typical young woman who comes to us. She's been physically, emotionally and often sexually abused. A very high proportion of the young women who come to us have had very dysfunctional family backgrounds. In looking at what they're trying to do, to have reached the point where they're coming to Massey Centre to ask for some alternative way of living and to provide a different kind of life for their children, because they certainly do not want their children to be experiencing the kind of violence that they've experienced in their lives, they come to us hoping to leave that part of their life behind.

But what happens is that a number of them have been living on the street, a number of them have dropped out of school, and in doing that, in order to support themselves, they may have become involved with pimps, they may have been prostituting. They have varied backgrounds with those similar kinds of positions in them. So, when they are looking at how they can change their lives, they want to leave those groups.

Currently what happens is that they're followed by the negative influences. They come to Massey Centre. We have them established in housing, we have them established in programs, but the people whom they're trying to avoid do come. We have had instances where the young women have continued to be physically abused. The staff will intervene at this point. We call the police. The first question we're asked is: "Are you under the Landlord and Tenant Act? Because if you are, we will not access." The young woman has to have the police access, whereas currently we can immediately access the apartment with police support and we're able to protect not only the mother but also the child. It's important to realize we have two clients at Massey Centre. We have the mother who is trying to make a change and we also have very high risk infants.

We work collaboratively with a number of community organizations, not only the police, to try and keep a level of interaction so that when the women move back into the community they're supported by public health services. They're supported in a very different way by Metro children's aid societies, as helping organizations, rather than perpetuating the image that the young women cannot parent their children. They can parent very successfully but they need to have help in achieving self-worth and self-esteem and understanding that they're people who count and power relationships do not benefit them and they don't need to continue to be involved in them. We see under Bill 120 that this perspective that we can have in helping them achieve independence will change.

Mrs Marland: I'd like to thank you very much for your presentation today because I think, as you said at the outset, that the concerns you have are simply an oversight of the ministry in drafting this bill. As you've also identified, there are some good parts to Bill 120 dealing with the aspect of tenancy for vulnerable people.

But I think in this case we probably would hear from quite a few more facilities similar to yours -- one in my own riding, as a matter of fact, that's very similar in the program -- but they're not aware yet of the impact of this bill. I think that when more of these facilities like yours around the province are aware it will only be a matter of time for the ministry to address the concerns you have.

The point that you make that is so critical is in fact that you do have two clients. We have to be very concerned about the fragile lives of these young mothers but also the even more fragile lives of their babies and their children when they finally get an opportunity to be in a facility like the Massey Centre. It's a wonderful new beginning for both the mother and child.

Have you had any contact with the Ministry of Housing since the bill was drafted and you saw the content of it?

Ms Peters: We've had concerns about the bill since we heard that there were changes that were going to be happening. We heard about that in the summertime.

We were assured by a couple of senior policy people that Massey Centre would still be able to continue its exemption. We then heard from a housing consultant who had worked on the Massey Centre project that we may want to look further into the details of this situation. So we met with Janet Mason in the Ministry of Housing to express our major, major concerns about the impact of the bill on the transitional kind of program that we're providing. That's when it was confirmed for us that most likely Massey Centre would no longer fit under the exemption clauses.

Mrs Marland: Would not?

Ms Peters: Would not, so we are going to be losing our exemption, and that was confirmed by the Ministry of Housing.

Mrs Marland: Oh, my goodness. So what you're telling us is that you've met with the ministry and the ministry is still not listening to your concerns.

Ms Peters: At the policy level.

Mrs Marland: At the policy level. That's very significant. Holy doodle, you'd better get doing the homework, George.

Mr Gary Malkowski (York East): I'd like to thank you for coming and making your presentation. I think it was excellent, and the Massey Centre I think is an excellent model. I encourage all members who haven't been there to go and visit because they'd really get an understanding of the program.

When you're talking about the issue of security I would agree with what you were saying. Women and young children, it's very important for them to have security. I'm just wondering, if I'm understanding correctly, you'd like an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act, right? Or you don't want an amendment to it? Which is it? The issue is that you do not want to be under the Landlord and Tenant Act, am I correct? That's the point you want to make clear to the committee. So now I would like to ask you, could you perhaps give us a specific recommendation that could be made and an amendment that would satisfy your concern?

Ms Peters: We've spent a lot of time thinking about this particular question, which we were certain would be asked. It's very important, after much, much discussion, to realize that Massey Centre is asking to continue to be exempted from the Landlord and Tenant Act.

We are providing a unique model for Ontario and North America. We're providing a way that is different in managing issues of poverty and violence for women. We're looking at ways of helping young women move back into local communities and looking at ways for young women to have opportunities to complete their education, to learn about appropriate housing models that are in the community. Certainly, a major part of what we do is help them to learn how to access the community organizations that they feel will be helpful for them.

It's important that the committee understands that what we're doing is helping young women to provide choices in living for themselves and their children. To be under a bill such as the Landlord and Tenant Act is going to change the whole focus of what the model is attempting to do to make a difference for the women and children in Ontario. So in looking at whether or not there's a way to amend the act so that we can somehow fit under it, I feel, after much discussion with the board of directors, that is just not what we're looking for. We're looking for a way to continue this unique model as an option for the future children of Ontario.

Mr Malkowski: I think it's beneficial then to ask the committee to consider the continuation of your exemption so that you can preserve the model that you have. Perhaps if that's something you would recommend, you could send that to the committee.

Ms Peters: That is certainly our position.


Dr Campbell: Yes, that's exactly what we're asking, to keep our exemption and to keep it on the grounds that we are genuinely transitional housing.

There may well be other groups that fall under the same thing -- and to have an arbitrary six months' cutoff when the whole thing depends on giving people a choice: they can stay two months or they can stay two years. For the first time we've given the opportunity to these young women that doesn't exist elsewhere. It would be a shame to cut it off. We simply could not continue to function. We're not in the housing business. We're in the service business. We're trying to create and educate and develop independence.

Mr Owens: I don't have a question but I do want to thank you for coming before committee. You do have an excellent centre. I pass by it almost every second evening on Broadview Avenue on my way back home to Scarborough Centre. I do take the opportunity to promote your service with Scarborough legal services that I deal with through my riding office.

I want to thank you for noting your concerns as well. Our ministry people have heard your concerns and are prepared to try and do some work to assist you to continue the good things you're in the process of doing at the Massey Centre.

Mr Grandmaître: How was this exemption granted? Was it a municipal exemption or Ministry of Housing?

Ms Peters: It was through the Ministry of Housing at the time the project was being developed. It was part of the planning stage. I understand -- I wasn't there at the time -- it was partly related to the Project 30,000 funding and the criteria that were used with the Ministry of Housing. It was also in looking at -- very much program-related -- at the transitional model of the project itself and of the program that we were providing for the young women, with the goal of them ultimately moving out, back into the community.

I think it would be interesting for the committee to know that certainly our experience -- which again is very short because it's a new project -- has been that the young women are moving out into the community, some of them before two years, and they're actually moving into the community around the Massey Centre and continuing to use some of the services we provide.

They're also developing their own support networks and a number of the young women have moved in with each other to form a partnership of living together and caring for their children and sharing those difficult times.

Mr Grandmaître: When was your last meeting with the Ministry of Housing?

Ms Peters: It was just prior to the hearings beginning; it was January 13 of this year.

Mr Grandmaître: Who was the ministry person who advised you that your exemption would be denied?

Ms Peters: We met with Janet Mason.

Mr Grandmaître: And her responsibility?

Ms Peters: She's the director of policy. We were advised that the way the legislation was being written, it certainly appeared that we would lose our exemption and that it may require a legal opinion. At that point it looked like we did not meet the three criteria around young women having a permanent residence and there are a couple of other criteria that we couldn't meet. Our young women live on the street, often, before they come to us.

Mr Grandmaître: What kind of assurance did you receive, if any, from Janet that she would follow up on your exemption and make sure you would be protected?

Dr Campbell: She suggested we come and present a brief to this committee.

Ms Peters: There were no assurances.

Dr Campbell: She said we should present a brief to this committee. She's very much in favour of our project. Nobody up top opposes our project.

Mr Grandmaître: It seems everybody is in favour of your project and --

Dr Campbell: It's just the legislation isn't drafted right to permit us to continue, that's all; a minor detail.

Mr Grandmaître: I suppose in clause-by-clause we'll have to make sure your exemption is ongoing.

Mr David Johnson: There should be an amendment.

Dr Campbell: There must be a way. We're not lawyers so we can't say how you should word it. You've got to work that out, but it's got to be done.

Mr David Johnson: Maybe the parliamentary assistant can help.

Mr Grandmaître: If I may, through the Chair, I'd like to ask the parliamentary assistant: What will you do with the kind of message that you've received today? Will you be talking to the minister about the Massey Centre problems and what assurance would you give these people?

Mr Mammoliti: Is this a point of order? Is he allowed to ask this question?

Mr Grandmaître: You're not the parliamentary assistant.

Mr Gary Wilson: Is that your question, Bernie?

Mr Grandmaître: That's my question, yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: I appreciate the question, and unfortunately I wasn't able to be here for the whole presentation. I understand, and I'm reading over your brief since I got back, that you made a very strong impression on the committee, and I'm not surprised, because it's very well set out.

Through my colleague Mr Owens you heard that the ministry is certainly concerned about making sure that everything is done to meet the issues that you've raised here. We certainly will be looking at it in the clause-by-clause analysis of the bill. Certainly, as I say, I've heard the discussion by the committee and everyone is, I think, impressed by the points that you've raised. So it will certainly be given every consideration.

Mrs Marland: The real need. You're impressed by the real need.

Mr Grandmaître: You can expect a letter next week then from the ministry or the minister saying that your exemption has been granted.

Mr Eddy: It's unanimous.

Mr Grandmaître: Good luck. Keep up the good work.

Ms Peters: Thank you. You've restored our faith.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing before the committee. As you might know, and you probably will be interested, the clause-by-clause examination of this bill commences the week of March 6.


Mrs Mary Jo Donovan: Mary Jo Donovan. I'm the president of East York Tenants' Association. We're an umbrella group for the borough of East York in tenant advocacy. We appreciate the opportunity of speaking to this committee.

We support the bill and we also support the views of others who have been here today, namely United Tenants of Ontario, Inclusive Neighbourhoods Campaign and the Scarborough Second Occupancy Steering Committee on Housing group that just spoke this afternoon. We intend to confine the bulk of our remarks to the section of the bill dealing with apartments in houses, but we'd like to make just a couple of remarks about the care home portion of the bill.

First, we see that the basic issue is that a person should not be obliged to forgo all the rights of a tenant in order to get a back rub. However, some provisions should be made for a speedy relocation of those residents who develop problems which may require some type of intervention not available at the care home. This temporary relocation should have no effect on a valid tenancy. A trip to the hospital should be treated no differently than a trip to Florida. As long as the rent is paid, the tenancy remains intact, even though the stay in the hospital may be longer than expected.

In this regard, some adjustment to the policies regarding shelter allowances for those on social assistance may be necessary. The same amount for shelter should continue to be included in the cheque so that the rent can be paid even if the hospital stay is a lengthy one. It is important that the person have a place to return to.


If charges for care services are under a separate contract and may not be considered as part of the rent, then we have difficulty accepting the idea of a rent control officer becoming involved. Another means should be found for dealing with the regulation of these charges. I realize that this is not in the bill, but it is mentioned as a possibility.

The balance of our remarks will deal with apartments in houses and will really be of a general nature. There have been a lot of very well informed, detailed submissions made here by tenant advocates, and I'm not going to duplicate that. I do, as I say, support what's been said.

I really think that parking is a separate issue, but we've had it forced on us. We're supposed to deal with it in this bill, and I think the final draft of the bill with regard to the fire safety issue in basement apartments and the difficulties that may arise from a tandem parking situation.

The majority of basement units have their entrances towards the rear of the house. The kitchen is also usually located at the rear. This means that you have to pass the kitchen to get to the exit, and I understand that kitchens are where most of the fires start. The logical thing would be to have the emergency exit towards the front of the house, which is a window, and generally the windows in a basement apartment lead out into the driveway, which is quite often a mutual driveway. If you have tandem parking, it is a good possibility that one of the cars would have the wheel of the car right beside the emergency exit window, which would effectively reduce it to not an emergency exit any more.

I think you have to look at that and find some solution for that, so that if there's going to be tandem parking it won't interfere with an emergency exit. Also, tandem parking could on occasion interfere with firefighting equipment gaining access to the part that they need to get access to. So I really have a lot of problems with that business of tandem parking. Maybe somebody already has a brilliant solution to it that I just haven't heard of.

The other thing that I think has to be done for fire safety is that this emergency exit should be clearly indicated from the exterior of the house, outside, so that people know where the exit is, especially firefighters. If somebody's trying to get out, that's likely where they'll be and they could at least go to that window first to help them.

I think that there should be a really intensive publicity campaign from all concerned, from the fire departments and others, and the government, to inform tenants that they have a right to a fire safety inspection and I think that, if they know they can do this, they will do it. Tenants don't want to burn to death, they want to be safe, and not everybody realizes that something's a hazard unless an expert comes in and says, "You really shouldn't have that there," because of this or that or the other reason. It should be very clearly pointed out that of course the access from the inside to this emergency exit would have to be clear of any obstructions.

I used to own a house in north Toronto some time ago. It had a basement apartment. I chose to live in the basement apartment and rent the main floor. It was a bungalow. When I bought the house I changed the windows so that all of the windows in that apartment could be lifted out for easy exit into the driveway. I upgraded the fuse-box, put some breakers in it, and it wasn't expensive to do. It was $300 or $400. It wasn't a big deal in other words. I think that a lot of these places can be upgraded with very little cost. There are others that probably shouldn't even be in existence, likely cost what they should have cost in the first place when they were first put there.

My children were very little and we used to have fire drills and I would wake the children up at 3 in the morning, put a heavy wool hat over their faces and they had to get up and get out their bedroom window. We got it down to the point where they could do it in one minute after being woken out of a sound sleep. People have to be responsible for their own safety too.

Once these units are legal, even if there is a minor flurry of new units, these new units will quickly replace the old ones because tenants are going to move from the substandard old ones into the new ones. The substandard old ones will either have to be brought up to standard or else they won't be on the market any more, unless they're improved. Tenants aren't going to stay. If there's a new one there and it's good, they're going to move to it. Tenants move around all the time. There's probably a 30% turnover in most buildings.

It's obvious from the questionable remarks of some that the concern is not really the number of people but the fact that some of them are tenants. The mayor of Mississauga and others have long been aware of the existence of thousands of accessory apartments in their respective municipalities and have done nothing to ensure that these units were safe and up to standard. With the passage of this bill, Mississauga and elsewhere will have to get their act together and do what they should have done long ago.

It would be difficult to find a street in East York where there isn't at least one basement apartment, and people have advertised basement apartments in East York and put signs on their front lawns. So everybody knows they're there. I think that the attitude in East York is far more enlightened than elsewhere.

Because they are typical of a lot of intemperate viewpoints, we feel compelled to make some comment on the frozen attitudes of our neighbour to the north. I'm not only presuming to do this because this is a provincial issue but because I'm a member of the board of Flemingdon Legal Services and I have a peripheral contact with the North York situation.

So far they've denounced social housing, deleted rooming and boarding houses from consideration in a 16-year attempt to come up with a housing policy and deferred the issue of accessory units pending the outcome of this bill. There was an ill-conceived plan to arouse public opposition with a scare campaign by inserts in the water bills. As far as we've been able to find out, this was a dismal failure. The information we have is at least 70% of the people in North York are in favour of this.

A number of municipalities have launched an all-out attack since the introduction of the bill, but one of the most extreme in their public statements has been North York, with their horror stories about tenants, wild parties, little old ladies in fear of their lives. The evidence indicates the majority of so-called neighbours from hell are not tenants but other home owners. At least when you're dealing with a tenant, the Landlord and Tenant Act provides a ready solution. The eviction process takes a couple of months and the tenant's gone. With a troublesome home owner, you are obliged to put up with an ongoing aggravation or else move.

At a public meeting of the North York planning advisory committee -- this was some time in September 1993. They're still trying to come up with a housing policy after 10 years. They just won't face the reality of changing population trends. But the attitudes and the remarks were so blatantly offensive, the people who had been invited there to make deputations were dumfounded.

One of the councillors had the audacity to say that bad tenants should be dragged out and shot. I mean, let's get real here. To compound this outrage, not one of the other members challenged him. No doubt he's going to claim, if you ask him, that this was intended as humour, but I hardly think that we can call this humour. It's simply not funny. It's reprehensible that elected officials could publicly insult close to 50% of the population with apparent impunity.

If you're a decent, hardworking person with a low income looking for a good, affordable place to live, the policies of North York council are designed to let you know that you're not welcome. Loopholes in this bill had better be eliminated before third reading or North York and others of their ilk will find a way to exclude people for all the wrong reasons.

Across the province, we have a wave of alarm and consternation, as though the tenant population was suddenly going to run amok because basement apartments are legal. Some of the comments and objections are really very difficult to take seriously. They give rise to a mental image of banner headlines in Moncton and Regina, announcing the coming availability of legal basement apartments in Ontario and the sudden influx of people from east and west clamouring for these units, full of joyous anticipation at the thought of having their very own basement apartment -- just what they've always wanted. In the absence of this scenario, we fail to see where all the people are coming from to fill the thousands of new units which those opposing the bill have anticipated in their dire predictions.


As to the pristine communities like Forest Hill et al, we would like to offer a word of reassurance for those in the clutch of panic and the grip of fear at the prospect of an imminent invasion cluttering up the neighbourhood: You can relax, because it's not going to happen.

However, it bears pointing out that basement apartments already exist in these areas -- they are just referred to by different names; like maid's quarters, for instance -- and are often used by young adult family members as separate living quarters, and should be scrutinized with the same concern for fire safety.

In closing, I would like to say that with all the bizarre and extreme attitudes which have been expressed in discussions of this bill, I am thankful that most of my dealings as a tenant advocate are with Mayor Michael Prue and the East York council and staff who are, by comparison, eminently progressive and enlightened. After hearing from people in North York and Scarborough, I'm beginning to think that East York is an island of sanity in a sea of silliness. It boggles the mind some of the stuff that you're hearing.

I'd like to thank the committee for its kind attention. I'll do my best to respond to any questions you may have, but I'm not fully conversant with all of the aspects of the care portion of the bill, so I would confine my comments to those things which I've already mentioned.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you very much, Mary Jo Donovan. That was a great presentation. As president of the East York Tenants' Association, you do a wonderful job and you're a wonderful resource to many of the tenants. I know they look up to you and your hard work.

I would like to ask you something. What has been your organization's experience with basement apartments? Does your organization often get calls, or will tenants ask, or do they mention at all the absence of inspections and that kind of thing? What kinds of things are you hearing?

Mrs Donovan: Basement apartment tenants probably don't know we exist, because we have no way of accessing them, and they're not generally eager to come forward, because of their illegal status. I am sure that once the bill is passed and they have a legal status, we will hear a lot more from them and we will do more to try to access them.

There's not really much we can do for tenants in the illegal units at this point, but when they are legal, then we'll be able to tell them: "Call the complaints department. Get the inspector around there. Get the place fixed." There isn't any reason why it will be a problem after the apartments are legal.

Mr Mammoliti: Mrs Donovan, thank you very much for coming today. Who was the councillor who said that some of these tenants should be shot?

Mrs Donovan: That was Milton Berger, I believe. Let me check the name here; I've got it with me. Yes, I'm sure it was Milton Berger.

Mr Mammoliti: Hopefully he'll be here today with the mayor.

Mrs Donovan: The reprehensible, really bad part about that was that the people had been invited there to a public meeting to make deputations on housing policy. There were about 20 deputants there. There were about 70 people in the room, and after all their deputations, they were just totally insulted by this awful attitude. It wasn't just what was said; the whole attitude of the council members --

Mr Mammoliti: I note that you're going to be in front of this committee on Bill 95 in a couple of weeks. That bill deals with vital services in high-rise buildings. The relevance of this bill to 95 is absentee landlords, in my opinion, and I hope we can get into that in a couple of weeks.

Over the last couple of weeks I've heard the opposition talk about absentee landlords when it comes to accessory apartments, but I haven't heard a word from anybody about absentee landlords in high-rise buildings. For instance, one landlord who owns a high-rise building in my riding happens to live in China. That poses a great problem, but I haven't heard anything from anybody at any time about these absentee landlords.

What's your opinion on absentee landlords and the whole argument around why landlords should be there in homes in this type of situation, Bill 120? Do you believe that they should be there, and if not, why not?

Mrs Donovan: I don't believe they should be there or they shouldn't be there. I believe that they should do what they're supposed to do, whether they're there or not, which is maintain a decent piece of property and not let it go to rack and ruin. What's the difference if they're there or not? The important thing is that they live up to their obligations as a landlord.

I personally, if I was renting a basement apartment, would prefer to have an owner-occupied other unit, but that's just my personal preference. Some people may not care, or some people may prefer not to have the landlord living right there, especially if the landlord's inclined to be fussy and demanding or something. All landlords, including the ones who are offshore, should maintain their buildings, maintain their apartments, keep them in decent condition, safe and secure.

Mr Gary Wilson: Thanks very much for your presentation, Mrs Donovan. You certainly provided us with a lot of information, I think, as somebody who's actually been in the locations. For instance, your experience with windows is very relevant to our deliberations here, because that has come up, with some suggestion that it wouldn't be that useful a method of getting out of an apartment. But you've found through your own experience that it is manageable.

Mrs Donovan: Oh, yes.

Mr Gary Wilson: I'd like to ask you, though, just briefly what you'd say about the suitable size for an apartment. For instance, 700 square feet: Does that strike you as a minimum size for an apartment, a second unit?

Mrs Donovan: There are square footage requirements in all apartments. Municipal bylaws have square footage provisions for apartments already. You don't want six people living in a 10 by 10 room, let's face it, but I don't think the regulations for basement apartments should be any more onerous than they are for any other apartment, and they should take into consideration the fact that it is a basement apartment and there may be portions of the ceiling which are lower than others. I wouldn't recommend a basement apartment for somebody who's six foot six, personally; they should choose something else.

Mr Gary Wilson: Unless they want to live there.

Mrs Donovan: Unless they like hunching over. Most basement apartments simply have lower ceilings. When you go to get a basement apartment, you're already aware of that. You realize that it has lower ceilings. As long as it isn't some kind of a safety hazard or something, as long as the ceiling material is sufficiently fireproof or whatever -- it's supposed to be to prevent the rapid spread of rising flames -- I don't think people should be running around being really concerned that you have to have exactly this or exactly that. Just be reasonable. I just want everybody to be reasonable.

Mr Eddy: Thank you for your presentation and especially for speaking to the safety issues. That's my main concern, because safety issues are indeed in many cases a matter of life and death and I appreciate your speaking to them.

I'm rather convinced that the emergency exit should be to ground level. I don't think a window is sufficient, and certainly an interior stairway is very vulnerable, especially in view of what you said: It usually goes up near the kitchen or the exit is through the kitchen. Windows vary in size and accessibility, and I really think that there has to be an emergency exit to ground level. I realize that's much easier to build in a new facility, or indeed in some facilities, but really that almost has to be, so I'd like you to respond to that if you wouldn't mind.


You did mention about the many loopholes in the bill that need to be addressed, and I wasn't clear on those. Would you mind speaking to those?

Mrs Donovan: No, I said if there are any loopholes, they'd better be addressed.

Mr Eddy: Did you have any particular ones that you would speak to or recommend?

Mrs Donovan: Nothing specific, no, although I have a little problem here and there with things. But it's not something that I've really put down on paper.

Mr Eddy: So most of the things, in your opinion, have been addressed?

Mrs Donovan: Most of it seems fine.

Mr Eddy: What do you think about having the emergency exit as a stairway of some type to the outside? That's what I am so concerned about, the possibility of fire and an emergency exit, one that can be used in the case of emergency. I noted what you said about the tandem parking etc, real concerns.

Mrs Donovan: I'd like to know what you mean by the emergency exit being at ground level.

Mr Eddy: Going to the outside.

Mrs Donovan: You don't want a window well.

Mr Eddy: I think that's most awkward. I think it has to be a stairway to the outside.

Mrs Donovan: Let's face it, In houses a lot of the times the way people escape from burning houses is through windows. It's not through doorways.

Mr Eddy: Yes, I agree.

Mrs Donovan: So why make a difference for a basement apartment?

Mr Eddy: There's a tremendous difference in size.

Mrs Donovan: A proper-sized window in a basement apartment is just as easy to get out of as it is if you were getting out of a window in a house. Most basement apartment windows are sufficiently large for people to get through, to get out.

Mr Eddy: They're not usually as accessible in that they're usually higher than a window in a --

Mrs Donovan: You have to have a little stairway or something there to get out. Yes, that's fine.

Mr Eddy: I see.

Mrs Donovan: In my situation, the children's bed was right under the window. All I had to do was stand up on the bed to get out. So we didn't find it a problem. There's such a variety of window styles and everything available on the market now, you wouldn't have any problem. Even if the home owner didn't want to put in all new windows, they could at least find something that was suitable for an emergency window. I haven't any doubt about it.

Mr David Johnson: I wish to thank you, Mary Jo, for your presentation as well. I want to say that in my dealings with you, you were always reasonable. You're a reasonable person, so I hope we can be reasonable in dealing with yours.

Perhaps just to carry on with the aspect of the concern from the fire chiefs, we've had a number of fire chiefs before us in this committee and they are expressing these concerns with regard to exits from the basement apartments.

The draft regulations that have come forward specify a certain size for the window if it's going to be used as an exit from a basement apartment. But one of the dimensions need not be any greater than 18 inches. I know that caused some concern for the Scarborough fire chief, who was here this morning. I wondered what your view would be on that. Eighteen inches seems a little on the small side to me.

Mrs Donovan: I'd have to say, if I can get out of it, then it's probably big enough.

Mr David Johnson: Can you get out of an 18-inch window?

Mrs Donovan: I don't know.

Mr David Johnson: Mind you, the other dimension could be two or three feet, but we're talking something that's a foot and a half by something else.

Mrs Donovan: I don't see a problem with that, although I would want to see the physical thing. But I'm sure that before that was put in the proposed regulations, somebody examined it, that an engineer or somebody did give it some thought. I'm not about to second-guess them right here and now.

I don't think our windows were any higher than that. They were about 30 inches wide by about 18 inches.

Mr David Johnson: How high would they be? They would be up towards the ceiling. They'd have to be right at the ceiling.

Mrs Donovan: No, they were a little bit below the ceiling. They weren't right at the ceiling. If you go down in your own basement, you'll see that your windows that let light into your basement are not flush with the ceiling. There is a space between the window and the ceiling usually.

Mr David Johnson: Some of the deputations that we've heard have strongly recommended that there be a registry of these apartments; if Bill 120 goes ahead and legalizes a basement apartment in every residence, that the municipality have a registry of the apartments so that it knows where they are and can inspect them and ensure proper standards and that sort of thing. The bill as it stands to date does not provide that this would happen. I wonder what your view on that would be.

Mrs Donovan: I think they should be included in the rent registry so that people have some protection from unfair rents, for that matter. I don't see why the municipality needs to have a registry for them. Of course, the obvious reason is because they want to be able to reassess the property and collect more taxes.

But I think that what you're going to find is that eventually these things will all work themselves out, and sooner or later you'll have a situation where everybody knows where the apartments are, they've been inspected and the tenants have smartened up and insisted on having a decent place to live and have stopped being afraid to come forward.

You've got to have an educational campaign going on here to get these things. They can't happen overnight. But I think in a couple of years, after the bill has gone through, you'll see a big difference and you'll see people coming forward and things getting done.

Mr David Johnson: I see right behind you the mayor of North York sitting there, and he would say that, if this does go ahead, he probably would like to reassess the units and get the money. But the municipalities do not have the right to reassess. The responsibility for assessment rests with the provincial government.

Mrs Donovan: All these changes in tax and the Fair Tax Commission and all this stuff, I assume something will come out of it.

Mr David Johnson: You're an optimist, I suspect.

Mrs Donovan: Sure. Somebody has to be.

Mr David Johnson: Maybe. You raised an interesting issue. We hadn't heard that before, windows facing into driveways. The real concern, and I can understand where you're coming from, is people having to come out through these windows into a driveway facing a car, a car that may indeed block the window. But I wasn't sure where you were taking it. Were you suggesting that these windows should be excluded from being considered as an exit or that cars should not be parked there?

Mrs Donovan: Oh, no. I think the window should be clearly identified from the outside so that people know enough not to park there. Also, if there's any way to avoid it, parking should not be permitted there. On the other hand, if you have a mutual drive and the two home owners agree that it's all right, that you can use the driveway to park in, there should be enough space between the car and that window to admit of an exit route.

The other thing is that the front end of the car should probably not go past the front end of the building. That would be my preference, that the front corner of the building and the front bumper of the car should have a couple of feet space between them so you can get past them. However, I'm sure that some really brilliant person will come up with a great solution to this problem, and I'll support them.

Mrs Marland: We're all concerned about the safety of tenants in basement apartments. I just wondered if you are also concerned about the cost of upgrading these apartments and the fact that this may in fact result in tenants losing accommodation that they presently have, even though it is unsafe.

Is that a concern of yours, that people will simply not be able to afford the upgrades necessary to make that basement apartment safe?

Mrs Donovan: If an existing illegal apartment is so unsafe that it requires $5,000 to fix it up, then people should not be living in it and endangering their lives. But I'm saying that there will be other units available once this is legal, and better units. These ones will either have to conform or get out of the business.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Donovan, for coming to see us today. We appreciate your presentation.

Mrs Donovan: I got carried away with the blue pencil, so I don't have a copy for you, but I will fax one tomorrow.

The Chair: Thank you very much.



The Chair: The final presentation of this afternoon is from the city of North York, Mayor Mel Lastman.

Mr Mel Lastman: Mr Chairman, this is Bobby Walman, my executive assistant at Metro council. I want to thank you for having me here today. Let me tell you, everything I'm going to ask you is completely reasonable, so I hope you're going to be exactly the same way.

North York council is not opposed to the legalization of basement apartments in single-family houses. This helps a lot of people on fixed incomes, this helps senior citizens, it helps a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn't be able to afford to buy a home to buy a home. However, there are some conditions that the city of North York is seeking: mainly, a way to get rid of problem tenants and a way to try to keep parked cars off our streets.

For example, an elderly gentleman called my office, very upset, completely frustrated over the length of time it was taking to evict an undesirable tenant who's renting a basement apartment in the man's home. The tenant has made his life miserable on a daily basis, with constant noise and people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. He didn't know it at the time; we found out after that it was a prostitute. That's the reason for the people coming and going in the evening.

Now, here's another example, attachment A. This happened in the city of Toronto a while ago and the same thing could exist very easily today. A tenant who rented a room in a house exposed himself to an eight-year-old girl who lived in the same house. Her mother and father own the home. They were both immigrants to Canada. Both worked hard and rented out rooms because they wanted to be able to buy this home and own a home. They had to go to court because this guy exposed himself and they didn't want this guy in their home any more. The guy wouldn't move. They had to take him to court.

Can you just imagine the trauma and fear of waiting many, many months until this thing came to court so they could get rid of this person? Now, remember, both work and the young girl gets home at 4 o'clock. Who knows when this guy gets home and what could happen. Meanwhile, the guy was still living under the same roof as their daughter and themselves.

How sickening the idea is that you have to force people to live with people they can't live with. That's what some of this is getting at. As long as a tenant pays his or her rent, the landlord or home owner or ma and pa, whatever it is, will be practically powerless. I am not talking about people who own high-rise buildings; I am strictly talking about people who own little, tiny homes 1,200, 1,500, 1,800 square feet. They're sharing their air space with someone else because they may want the revenue, may need the revenue and at the same time they're offering someone else a chance to get something at a lower rent.

Your proposed legislation plans to legalize basement apartments across Ontario in single-family homes and town houses and row houses. In the past, cities were able to forbid basement apartments and could limit the number of people living together in a single-family home. If there were bad tenants, the city could get them out. Under the new law, our city would no longer have any control. When we had the control, we in the city of North York only used it when there was a very serious problem, when these people were going to come to blows or when we saw they could no longer get along together, rather than let the thing fester and look for more crime.

Now you are throwing out our bylaws in favour of this new legislation that makes it impossible for North York to protect neighbourhoods from rowdy or unsavoury tenants who rent a room or basement in a private home.

Now, I'm not saying the landlord isn't wrong, but the landlord is the person who went out and put out the $200,000 or the quarter of a million dollars or the $150,000 or the $100,000 to buy the house in the first place. Someone has got to move, and it can't be the landlord, it's got to be the tenant, because the tenant is not going to take over the house.

This is not a high-rise building I'm talking about. Please understand it. I'm not even touching high-rise buildings, because what you've got in high-rise buildings is good and it's proper.

I left my glasses down at Metro. I'm sorry, I can't even see what I've got in front of me. Not only that, I've had the flu for the last three months.

Mrs Marland: Try these; they're straight magnifiers.

Mr Lastman: The colour matches my tie. Isn't it great? They're great. I can see. Thank you. There is pink somewhere -- yes, there is pink in the tie.

I'm concerned that the landlord won't even have to live in the house and there will be no limit to the number of people who live together in the same house -- and out of frustration, please understand, I was getting complaints, a lot of complaints. People were getting fed up.

We had some rooming houses move into North York where men were urinating on the veranda in the backyard. The kids were seeing this. They were drinking, beer bottles. This is not in all cases, and not all tenants are bad. I'm not saying that. Please understand it. I had a few instances where I had to do something.

At times I've been accused of being innovative, and I did come up with something called Dirty Harry. I did do this. I did get an inspector, dressed just as a tenant, renting a room, because we couldn't prove anything. Every time we went to this home, they'd say, "No, we don't do this." He did go and he did rent a room, and every time he'd rent a room, we'd nail them and we'd get rid of them, because, look, it was horrible the way these people were living: cockroaches all over the place, two, three people to a room. It was horrible. Nobody would live like that. Nobody would want anybody to live like that in our province, and I didn't want it in my city.

Once you rent to a tenant who turns out to be a bad apple, it's going to be practically impossible for you to get rid of that person as long as he or she pays that rent. There is nothing the city of North York can do or will be able to do to assist. It's insanity. In Ontario, it'll be easier to get a divorce than it will be to get rid of a bad tenant, and I understand that can be pretty rough at times.

Now, we need changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act. I'm not talking, I repeat, of high-rise buildings where the units are totally separate and the neighbouring residents don't have to have anything to do with each other or the landlord can say he wants to rent to his cousin or something like that. I'm not talking about any of that stuff. I'm only referring to the single-family homes where you share your air space and you can't get along with that person.

With Bill 120, elderly people can be victimized in their own homes by inconsiderate and disrespectful tenants. Not all tenants are like this, please understand, but it happens and it's happened many times in my city. We will have people sharing their homes with a tenant who they can't get along with. They can be at each other's throats, but they will be forced to live together and they're not even related. It's bad enough if you're related; you can't get rid of the person. But why force somebody to live with somebody they're not even related to?


We have neighbours forced to live next door to noisy or rowdy people. In the case of absentee landlords, the rental properties are often a mess and a complete eyesore to the neighbours. This is not in all cases; 90% of the tenants are great and they take an interest in the community and they look after the community, but what do you do about that 10% or 5%, whatever it is? It's not many, but you've got to give us some leeway; you've got to help these people who could be in real trouble.

I believe that home owners should be entitled to relief from distressing situations like the ones I've mentioned. I get people calling my office, crying on the telephone out of desperation because tenants are making their lives a nightmare. Municipalities are being left totally unprotected by this proposed legislation. We need a tough new Landlord and Tenant Act that protects landlord and home owner. Please understand that you can't force people to live together if they don't get along.

What about cars now on the street? This is an extremely important concern. It's not as important really as finding a place for a person to live, and I agree with that. Parked cars on the street cause problems in North York.

We have -- and I'm not bragging, honest; it's not like me to brag -- the greatest snow removal program in the world, including Florida. I kid you not when I say it.

Mr David Johnson: You even got a smile out of George on that one.

Mr Lastman: Snow clearing is vital, particularly with this winter we're going through right now.

Let me tell you the way it was. The snow would come down, the guy or the woman would come out, shovel out their driveway, along would come our snowplow and three, four feet of snow, and the guy would have to come back out and shovel out the driveway again and then it would snow again that same night. Within six hours, in most areas, we have all the snow removed; three, four feet, a windrow again.

Now, I'm not saying hold up this bill because of it, but you've got to give us something because, if cars are parked on the street, we can't give our customers, our taxpayers, the proper service because we have invented a system where we do not plug driveways. It works and it works well. We invented this system and it's excellent.

Please understand, people 50, 60 years old should not be shovelling three- and four-foot windrows from in front of their driveways without the danger of a heart attack or a stroke, and we can no longer do their driveways. The calls used to ring off the -- it used to drive me nuts and I swore, "We're gonna come up with a way, we're gonna invent something, we're gonna come up with something to end this," because you can't just keep answering the phone all winter long about windrows in front of driveways. It was driving me out of my mind already. I was determined. We got after our staff and we came up with this system and this system works. We don't plug driveways in North York. There are a lot of people in North York who are 50, 60, 70 years old who cannot shovel windrows. I don't want things to go back to the way they were.

What we're asking you to do is consider as well that cars on streets hamper the streets. Help us, get us school yards. Before you pass this legislation, get us school yards where the people can park their cars so they don't have to park them on the streets, or hydro rights-of-way or whatever, so we can keep clearing that snow.

We do every road in North York. We never plug a driveway and we do every sidewalk in North York and it's all done within 12 hours. Please understand that. You will never get a complaint from somebody about a windrow being plugged in North York unless it's a huge snowstorm and we have to do the roads first, then we come back and do the windrows. We make sure everyone can get to work, everyone can get to school and every senior citizen can go out and get their milk or whatever.

Consider as well that cars on the street hamper Neighbourhood Watch programs, as it becomes difficult to identify which cars belong on the streets. Okay, a lot of municipalities just put up signs. North York doesn't. We're the only municipality that hires people to work on these Neighbourhood Watch programs. We have award nights when we make special presentations where people call in and phone in to the police strange-looking cars. Strange people who are up to no good are caught and arrested and awards are given to these people. The program is working well in many areas of North York.

The province must work with us to make hydro rights-of-way, school yards and other lands available for parking before you make this move. This is not a light move. You can't just make changes without saying why is this working.

We also want the province to give our municipal investigators full powers of entry to get into properties to inspect and to see the conditions under which some people could be living. Some people could be living under very, very terrible conditions. I've seen it myself when I went out with this Dirty Harry guy.

Metro council is on record as wanting our concerns on parking and eviction resolved prior to enacting this bill.

Another point is taxes. North York council has called for the automatic reassessment of dwellings with apartments in homes to reflect a higher market value. Single-family homes with accessory apartments will bring more people into our neighbourhoods, which could place a strain on municipal services such as garbage, sewers, water and schools.

Then there's the issue of fire protection. If you intend to go ahead with Bill 120, I would strongly suggest sprinkler systems should be mandatory for basement apartments in homes.

I've attached a motion that I declared months ago and it's in front of our committees right now. My concern is what it's costing us for fire protection in North York. Just to staff one pumper costs us $1 million a year, because you have to have four shifts and it takes four people per pumper, so you're looking at 16 people times over $60,000.

"Whereas Canada leads the world in deaths due to fire;

"Whereas North York fire department is striving to reduce the threat to life and property damage with a very" -- gee, these glasses with this tie and this hankie, I'm not going to look too good when my wife sees this -- "aggressive fire prevention program;

"Whereas the technology is now available to provide sprinkler systems in single-family residential homes that are so effective that the fire could be put out before the fire vehicles arrive;

"Whereas sprinkler systems installed in homes could eventually reduce the number of additional fire stations, trucks, equipment and firefighters required, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in years to come;

"Whereas home insurance fire premiums could be reduced by as much as 40% with a sprinkler system;

"Therefore be it resolved that the city of North York request the province to amend the Ontario Building Code to require that all new single-family homes be equipped with sprinkler systems; and

"Further be it resolved that the fire chief, the commissioner of buildings, commissioner of public works and the treasurer be directed to report back on establishing a sprinkler system program for new single-family homes. Their report should include the costs of installation" and so on.


By the way, on the installation, I even have those prices. The technology is available to provide sprinklers in single-family homes that are so effective that the first could be out, as I said, before the firefighters arrive. Having sprinklers in your home would be like having a firefighter sitting in your home 24 hours a day.

It costs roughly $1.50 a square foot to install a sprinkler system in a new home. For example, it would cost $3,000 to install the system in a 2,000-square-foot home. It costs around $3 a square foot to install a sprinkler system in an existing house. It is worthwhile just to cover the basement area, the upper floor or whatever.

Mr Mammoliti: Leave time for questions, Mel.

Mr Lastman: Fine. I'll stop right now. My throat is killing me, so I'll just take a drink of water.

Mr Grandmaître: Mr Mayor, thank you for your presentation. You'll have to excuse us for dragging you out, especially when you're suffering from the flu.

Tell me in your very descriptive words how you feel about the government imposing on municipalities or -- well, let's use the word "imposing" its will on the planning and zoning bylaws. Do you feel that the provincial government is downloading again?

Mr Lastman: I don't want to get involved in that. Honest. All I want is one word in there -- I'm sorry; I should have mentioned this. I've come up with the proposed wording. It's on the last sheet:

"`Home-sharing' unit could be defined as a unit in an owner-occupied dwelling created after January 1, 1991," whatever the wording is there. All that means is that the owner, that the mom and pop, guy and gal, who own the house don't have to go to court. That's all. We tried. We did meet with the minister at the time, who was Mr Cooke, and we just couldn't get him to listen at the time. We just hope that you're going to listen now.

Mr Grandmaître: In attachment B, your resolution, how would your planners or city engineer describe a basement apartment? What is a basement apartment?

Mr Lastman: I have seen many. I have seen one basement with a furnace. The place looked terrible. They made it into about four different apartments and, other than the bed and the table, people didn't have room to even hang up their clothes. I don't know what it is. It could be anything.

I have seen some terrible ones with this Dirty Harry experience, full of cockroaches and everything else. But some basement apartments I'm sure are very nice. I know we have about 15,000 of them in North York. We don't care, as long as no one complains and there are no problems and people are living under proper conditions.

Mr David Johnson: Mel, I'm just trying to go through your presentation. It seems as if North York has come to the conclusion that it will support accessory apartments, basement apartments, on the basis that the municipal inspectors have full power of entry, on the basis that there be a provision for the eviction of bad tenants, on the basis that the parking be off-street.

Mr Lastman: We'd like it that way. We would really like it that way only because of the snow clearing. When you have a winter like this it's scary that people have to shovel three and four feet of snow out of their driveways maybe twice a week or something.

Mr David Johnson: Another basis is that you want the units to be reassessed?

Mr Lastman: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: To reflect the value?

Mr Lastman: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: I wasn't sure about the owner-occupied. Are you recommending owner-occupied?

Mr Lastman: Yes.

Mr David Johnson: So that the units would be owner-occupied. The government is saying that the bill, Bill 120, as it's before us, will allow you in North York a better right of entry, not a full right of entry but a right of entry to the extent that it will solve your problems. I don't buy it myself.

Mr Lastman: There is no right of entry. Unless we get in complete legislation they won't let us in. The only guy who can get in is the health inspector -- in fact I don't even think he can get in without the fire chief. You know, we were going out of our minds. Look, I didn't want this Dirty Harry thing. I didn't want to do that but I had no choice.

Mr David Johnson: That's the only way to solve the problems that you're facing, I know.

Mr Lastman: That I had at that time.

Mr David Johnson: I've been there.

Mrs Marland: Mayor Lastman, you don't share the concerns of the majority of the municipalities that are members of AMO about the aspect of controlling the zoning in their own municipalities from a planning point of view. For example, the Minister of Housing, Ms Gigantes, has said that if zoning were to control where basement apartments could be located, that is snob zoning.

So you don't share the concern of the other municipalities that want to be able to say where from a services point of view, infrastructure point of view, school accommodation and everything else, a practical point of view, whether or not there are sidewalks on that street -- you want to have the control about where this duplication of intensification of accommodation would exist in North York.

Mr Lastman: I felt we had to come up with something reasonable and I feel this is reasonable. I feel my council was reasonable. I feel Metro was reasonable in this. I feel there are people who want cheaper rent and I don't blame them. Maybe a lot of them need it, must have it. A lot of people must have the revenue and, if they can get along, I think it's just great. I have no problem with people renting basement apartments or whatever. I have no problem with that at all. But please don't stick me with people who hate each other and are ready to kill each other.

Mrs Marland: As long as they have control of their tenants.

Mr Mammoliti: Hi, Mel. Mel, you're a likable guy; I like you, Mel, and you're very easy to like, actually. As a matter of fact, most people in North York like you. But I've got to disagree with you on one point. You talk about Dirty Harry and you talk about the plan that you had to go into some of these units and the examples you give are cockroaches and lack of space. Go into your high-rises, Mel. Go into the city of North York high-rises. I know you didn't come here to talk about high-rises, but when you spoke about cockroaches and lack of space, that's exactly what's happening in your high-rises.

When you say Dirty Harry, maybe Dirty Harry should have gone into some of these high-rises and dealt with even the vital services that some of these landlords who live in China aren't giving those tenants. Maybe Dirty Harry should have done a little bit of investigating in some of those high-rise buildings and stopped some of these landlords from doing what they're doing and are still doing, quite frankly.

Mr Lastman: George, I have been in some these high-rises and I've seen the cockroaches and let me tell you they weren't nearly as big and there weren't nearly as many. Some of them maybe could have had driver's licences, you know. I have never, ever seen such dirty, filthy circumstances in Canada, or let me put it this way, in North York, as I saw in these basement apartments where they were renting to different people and a different guy in each hole.

Mr Mammoliti: Are you saying a different style of cockroach?

Mr Lastman: I think there was one guy sleeping standing up in a closet. I wasn't sure. I didn't want to open the door. I was afraid.

Mr Mammoliti: Mel, the suggestions you make, in my opinion, are quite reasonable and I think they're worthwhile looking at. But in terms of the exaggeration, in terms of bigger cockroaches in basement apartments than in high-rise buildings, I'm certainly not going to listen to that.

I think we need to look at the stuff that you're talking about. Easier access, you might have a concern with that and I think it's reasonable to look at things like that. "How can we best accommodate you?" But what about the language, Mel? You're talking about the municipality being an arbitrator here. You're talking about the mom and pop who decide to rent out their unit arbitrarily just saying: "I don't want these people any more. Kick them out." Who's going to determine that? Right now there's a process, Mel. Right now there's a process in the province. Who's going to have that authority? Is it the city of North York?

Mr Lastman: George, no. I don't think that authority is necessary. If the landlord can't put up with the tenant, as I said earlier, it's the landlord who makes the decision. Unfortunately, he's the person who's put the money, he's the person who has the home and you can't ask people to share air space who can't get along.

As I said, it's easier to get a divorce than it is to get rid of the bad tenant. I've given you an example of an eight-year-old girl who had a guy expose himself to her and they couldn't get rid of him. They had to go to the courts for months and the parents worked. What do you do in a case like that?

Mr Mammoliti: What do you in a case --

Mr Lastman: I'm not asking the question, I'm --

Mr Mammoliti: What do you in the case where a --

The Chair: Mr Mammoliti, the time has expired. Thank you very much, Mayor Lastman. We appreciate your presentation before the committee. For your information, clause-by-clause consideration of the bill will begin on the week of March 6. Thank you for coming.

Mr Lastman: And thank you very much for the glasses.

The Chair: For members' information, this concludes our sitting in Toronto for this week. Tomorrow at 9 am we will take up hearings in Windsor.

The committee adjourned at 1702.