Blue Mountain Village
Association Act, 1999, Bill Pr14, Mr
Mr Bill Murdoch, MPP
Mr Robert Comish
Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario
Act,1999, Bill Pr6, Mr
Mr Bob Wood, MPP
Mr David Holmes
Mr Trevor Kruse
Draft Report on 1997-98
STANDING COMMITTEE ON
REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)
Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay / -Timmins-Baie James
Mrs Claudette Boyer (Ottawa-Vanier L)
Mr Brian Coburn (Carleton-Gloucester PC)
Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)
Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale PC)
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)
Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex L)
Mr David Young (Willowdale PC)
Clerk / Greffière
Ms Anne Stokes
Staff / Personnel
Mr Andrew McNaught, research officer, Research and Information
The committee met at 1009 in committee room
BLUE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE ASSOCIATION ACT, 1999
Consideration of Bill Pr14, An
Act respecting Blue Mountain Village Association.
The Vice-Chair (Mr
Garfield Dunlop): Good morning, everyone. I call the
meeting to order. Our first item of business is Bill Pr14, An Act
respecting Blue Mountain Village Association. The sponsor this
morning is Bill Murdoch, member of provincial Parliament from
that area, and the applicant is the Blue Mountain Village
Association. Mr Comish, the counsel, is here as well. Mr Murdoch,
have you any comments?
Mr Bill Murdoch
(Bruce-Grey): I only have about a half-hour, so I won't
take too long. I'm just here to present the bill to you, and Bob
can probably answer any of the questions you'd like after he has
a small presentation. As you said, the development is in my old
area of Blue Mountain and I think it's going to be great for our
area if this happens, so I was very pleased to be able to
introduce the bill into the House. Bob, I'll just let you explain
what's going on.
Comish: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman and members of
the committee. I thought what I'd do this morning is not so much
focus on what's in the bill-I'd obviously be happy to talk about
any of the provisions you have any questions on-but focus on why
a bill is needed at all and what's the background to that.
As you probably are aware,
Intrawest and Blue Mountain Resorts are proposing to develop a
four-season destination resort at the foot of Blue Mountain. They
will be spending somewhere between $500 million and $600 million
to do that. The resort itself will consist of approximately 2,100
recreational residences on about 200 acres of land and there will
be two differentiated areas. The village core itself will contain
about 1,275 condo hotel units and about 100,000 square feet of
commercial space for restaurants and retail operations.
The village will be
essentially a pedestrian village. No vehicular traffic will be
allowed in it. There is a ring road that goes around the outside
of the village core and that will be the means by which the
people who reside in the village will access their condo hotel
units. There will be underground parking underneath each of the
condominium lodges for the residences. There will be extensive
public walkways, public plazas. There's going to be a very
significant millpond in the centre of the village, which will be
the focal point of the village, and a significant amount of open
landscaped areas. In addition to those sorts of things, there
will be a conference centre, a sports centre, an aqua centre and
possibly some other types of recreational activities within that
village core area.
Outside the village core but
on lands that are adjacent to it and which are really located
around the Monterra Golf Course, there's going to be another 825
multi-family and single-family residences, all within easy
walking distance of the village core.
This new village will be
essentially a virtual new town. It will be based, though,
primarily on the economic interests of the stakeholders who have
an interest in the village and the lifestyle interests of the
people who are recreational property owners. Other than the
people owning most of the single-family homes, most of the
condominium units will be occupied for probably only a few weeks
of the year by the actual owner. The rest of the time those units
will be in a rental pool generating income, obviously, for the
owner to look after the mortgage that no doubt he or she has
As I mentioned, there's a
fairly significant variety of different people who have an
interest in the village. There are the owners of the recreational
residences themselves, there will be the condo hotel unit owners
and there will be the commercial tenants. In addition, there's a
class of membership called associate members, essentially people
who do not have any real property interest in the village. These
would be people such as product and service sponsors, licensees
who operate businesses within the village or people who operate
businesses outside the village but who want to have a connection
with the village for the economic benefits that would be derived
from that association. Time-share owners would be another.
In addition, the stakeholders
also include Intrawest, which is the owner and developer of the
lands and will continue to be the landlord of all the commercial
space. The commercial space is located on the ground floor of
most of the condominium lodges. Blue Mountain Resorts will
continue to be the owner and operator of the recreational facilities up there: the
skiing, the golf courses, the tennis etc.
All of these stakeholders
have a significant economic interest in the village. Their real
property interest, with the exception of probably people who buy
single-family homes and intend to use them exclusively as
recreational properties-that's only a secondary interest for most
people. Their economic interest is in looking at this as a
property which they can use themselves on a part-time basis for
recreational enjoyment, but the rest of the time having that
property work for them by generating income on their behalf.
These economic interests are
entirely dependent on the village attracting large numbers of
tourists year-round. Right now about 750,000 tourists visit the
Blue Mountain resort area annually. We expect that by 2006, when
the village is completed, that number will go up to something
above two million visitors a year.
The principal function of the
association is to ensure that the village is operated as a
destination resort in order to attract on a continual basis
year-round this large number of tourists who need to be there to
support the economy of the village. To do that the association
will undertake a very extensive marketing program year-round. It
will develop also a year-round program of special events and
other attractions to encourage people to go up there on weekends
to enjoy a few days' holiday. The association of course will
ensure that the village is always maintained and operated at the
very highest standards that are applicable to world-class
To do this the association
will have a budget, we estimate, somewhere between $2 million and
$3 million a year. It's a significant business operation that the
association will be carrying on on behalf of all the various
You can think of the
association as essentially the glue that holds together this very
significant economic engine and ensures that it's always going at
fast-forward. To accomplish its mandate, the association needs to
be a creature of statute that has certain unique powers and
features that are given to it by virtue of this bill. These will
include things such as the requirement in the bill that all real
property owners must be members of the association. It creates
and authorizes various classes of members who are entitled to
have separate votes on separate matters to reflect the interests
that the various stakeholders do have, varying interests in terms
of both economic interests as well as lifestyle interests.
The association is given the
right under the act to place a lien on any defaulting member's
property. This is essentially required to ensure that all of the
other stakeholders are properly protected from any member who,
for whatever reason, decides that he or she doesn't want to
continue to be part of the team. It has an additional provision
that requires commercial landlords to be jointly and severally
liable for fees that their tenants are responsible for.
The act creates a level
playing field for all the stakeholders, ensuring that they're all
subject to the same rules and obligations, but reflecting their
various economic interests. It protects each of the stakeholders
from any member who defaults on its obligations.
While this is a unique
statute for Ontario, similar statutes have been passed in a
number of jurisdictions in North America, including Colorado,
British Columbia and Quebec.
The act has been reviewed
with a great deal of interest by a number of the ministries,
including municipal affairs and housing, consumer and commercial
relations, Attorney General, finance and tourism. Their concerns
and comments were carefully considered and addressed where
appropriate. I am personally not aware of any ministry that is
currently objecting to the bill in its present form.
Lastly, I should mention that
we have had KPMG do an economic impact study for this village. It
throws off, I think, some pretty impressive numbers. It's
anticipated that the construction, which we expect will take
probably five to six years, will generate a little more than
10,500 construction jobs. It will generate $157 million in new
government revenues. But more importantly, on a permanent basis
the new village and the expanded recreational operations that are
associated with that village will create an additional 4,140
permanent jobs and will increase government revenues at all
levels by another $44.7 million.
That is all I wanted to say
on this bill, but I'd be very happy to respond to any questions
anyone may have.
Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. Are there any comments
or questions from any of the committee members at this point?
Mr Raminder Gill
(Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): As in any situation,
I find this a great plus for Ontario and Blue Mountain. I had the
pleasure of being there in the fall. It's a great area to go and
visit. I'm sure it's going to be good for Ontario. At the same
I'm sure, as in any project, there are sometimes negative
concerns. Have you had any negative feedback, negative concerns
from any of the stakeholders?
Much to our surprise we've had virtually no adverse comments at
all. I've had occasion to talk to Mr Geddes, the mayor of the
town of Collingwood, and Mr Ross Archer, who's the mayor of the
town of Blue Mountain, both of whom have said, much to their
surprise, that this proposed development has received virtually
unanimous support from the people who live in the area. The only
concern I'm aware of has been voiced by people who are concerned
that in the long term the transportation situation will probably
have to be improved. If we're as successful as we believe we will
be, in terms of attracting visitors, eventually the road system
up there will need to be expanded to handle it properly.
To add to that, I've already met with David Turnbull and the
mayor of Collingwood and other people in Grey county. They are working with the
ministry to look at different routes into the area for traffic.
We're well on to that. To add to it also, Grey county approves
it, even the city of Owen Sound, because the spinoffs will be
enormous for our area, for both Grey-Bruce and Simcoe.
Mr Gill: Is
there any environmental impact, not that I can foresee any?
Not that we're aware of. Essentially we understand that there's
current capacity for sewers and that sort of thing now. Of
course, the developer is meeting all the requirements from the
town of Blue Mountain in terms of looking after all the
environmental issues that would be attendant on that kind of
Mr Gill: At
the same time I'd like to move-I believe that we are in
agreement. Can we? Not yet. OK.
Vice-Chair: We have some other questions here. Then
we'll get back to you on that one.
Mr David Young
(Willowdale): Just before I ask my question, does the
Ministry of Municipal Affairs have any comments that they wish to
share with us about this proposed legislation?
Vice-Chair: None. It's on my list here to ask.
Vice-Chair: I can ask at this point.
Vice-Chair: Would you rather?
I'd like to know what the ministry has to say before I pose my
Vice-Chair: That's fair.
Mr Brian Coburn
(Carleton-Gloucester): The process in working through
this has been very co-operative. The concerns that were raised,
as Mr Comish has indicated, have been resolved not only with our
ministry but with other ministries. This type of project that has
gone on in Quebec and in BC has been a pattern for us in getting
this one on track. It's something new. We have no objections and
First of all, this is very exciting. It undoubtedly will mean a
great deal for the communities surrounding the proposed village,
but it will also mean a great deal for the people of southern
Ontario and the people of Ontario generally. There will be a
great deal of employment both in construction and in the
operation of this facility, and a lot of fun as well.
I was still somewhat puzzled,
though, Mr Comish, why we required an act of this Legislature, as
opposed to this area simply being established as a condominium
development. At the outset of your comments you indicated that
you were going to address it. You probably did and I probably
just didn't pick it up. Am I right that the power to assert and
enforce, and thereafter remove, liens is really the essence of
why we have to become involved at this juncture?
That's certainly one of the more important reasons for having the
act. We looked very carefully at the new Condominium Act that is
about to become law at some point, when the regulations get
finalized, and we looked at business improvement associations and
at incorporating a non-profit corporation, which of course is
what we have here now making the application, and trying to do
all this-by the phrase "do all this," I mean creating all the
safeguards that are required to operate the village. We looked at
that to see if we could do it all by contract. We concluded on
the latter point that it was going to be a nightmare trying to
contractually ensure that everyone was bound by the same rules
and regulations. It works fine on your initial purchasers, but as
soon as the properties start turning over, it becomes extremely
difficult to make sure everybody is inside the tent.
With regard to the
Condominium Act, even the new act is still premised on the basis
that everyone essentially has a real property interest and
therefore their voting rights and their financial obligations to
the condominium relate to the real property interest. Here we
have people such as commercial tenants, who pay a fee based not
on their real property interests but on the revenues from their
sales. We have corporate sponsors. We have such a wide variety of
stakeholders that we reluctantly came to the conclusion that the
new Condominium Act, although it's much more flexible than the
existing one, still wasn't-
The right vehicle.
Mr Bob Wood (London
West): I'd like to say that I think this is a very
exciting project. I think it's a good bill and I endorse the
I would, however, like to put
one suggestion on the record. I understand a project similar to
this in Quebec has a private act, and a project similar to this
in British Columbia is done under a public act. I would hope the
Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations might take a look
at this issue and see whether we need a public act to permit this
sort of project to proceed in the future without having to go
through the red tape of a private bill. I would like to pass that
along to the parliamentary assistant for transmission to the
ministry or ministries.
Vice-Chair: Are there any other interested parties that
would like to comment on this or ask any questions? Seeing none,
are there any other questions to the parliamentary assistant?
Are the members ready to
vote? I'm getting a consensus that everyone's ready to vote.
We have an amendment to the
An Act respecting Blue
Mountain Village Association: Shall sections 1 through 16 carry?
Mr Gill: I
move-I believe we have agreement with the parties concerned-that
the first two paragraphs of the schedule to the bill be struck
out and the following substituted:
"Part of lots 17 and 18,
concession 1, the town of the Blue Mountains (formerly the
township of Collingwood), county of Grey, designated as parts 2,
3 and 4, plan 16R-5057.
"Part of lots 17 and 18,
concession 1, the town of the Blue Mountains (formerly the
township of Collingwood), county of Grey, designated as part 5,
The Vice-Chair: You've all heard
that amendment. Are there any questions on it?
Shall the motion for the
amendment carry? Carried.
Shall the schedule, as
amended, carry? Carried.
Shall form 1 carry?
Shall form 2 carry?
Shall the preamble carry?
Shall the title carry?
Shall the bill, as amended,
Shall I report the bill, as
amended, to the House? Carried.
Thank you very much. I wish
all the best to Intrawest.
ASSOCIATION OF REGISTERED DESIGNERS OF ONTARIO ACT,
Consideration of Bill Pr6, An
Act respecting the Association of Registered Interior Designers
Vice-Chair: The second item on our agenda is Bill Pr6,
An Act respecting the Association of Registered Interior
Designers of Ontario. The sponsor is Bob Wood. The principal
consultant is Mr Brian Hay. I'd like to ask Mr Wood if he has any
comments. By the way, Mr Wood has asked for the use of some
props. I've given him permission to use those at this time.
Mr Wood: We
actually have distributed this to the committee members, so we
may not even have to use them, but we'll use them if that's of
As the members are no doubt
already aware, ARIDO has a private act now which says that if
you're going to call yourself a registered interior designer, you
must be a member of ARIDO. This act makes two changes that are
substantial. One is to change the term from "registered interior
designer" to "interior designer." The reason for that is twofold.
One is that ARIDO has found that the public cannot or does not
distinguish between a registered interior designer and an
interior designer. Every year they run a publicity campaign
inviting complaints about registered interior designers from the
public. The vast majority of complaints they get are about
interior designers who are not registered. A survey was done. We
may as well put the thing up. All members should have a copy of
this. If anyone doesn't, please let us know and we'll distribute
The association asked Angus
Reid to do a survey of Ontarians, and what they found was that
the public, by a large margin, wants anyone who calls himself or
herself an interior designer to have recognized experience and
qualifications. That simply supports the practical experience the
association has had. They also found, however, that the public
doesn't want the government to say people can't do design work,
whether or not they're registered with the association. That is
also what this bill does.
The second change the bill
makes is to incorporate penalty sections. There effectively is no
enforcement under the old, current act, and for the legislation
to be meaningful there has to be a penalty if you don't abide by
it, and that's introduced as well.
Those, in a nutshell, are the
changes made. I'd like to introduce a number of people here from
ARIDO today. We have Trevor Kruse, who is past president of ARIDO
and practises in Toronto. You might wave or stand up as we
introduce you here just so that members of the committee know who
you are. Marilyn Donoghue is ARIDO's current president. She comes
from Ottawa. Mr Hay has already been introduced. We have a number
of other members and officers from ARIDO with us this morning:
Kelly Stobbe, president-elect; Alex Guinan, treasurer; Peter
Grimley, chair of the legislative committee.
Also with us today is J.
David Holmes, acting executive director of the Ontario
Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and
Technologists, who is prepared to speak in support of the bill,
should the committee wish to hear from him. Their organization
endorses the bill.
ARIDO has also received
letters and statements of support from the Ontario Association of
Architects, Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, the
Consulting Engineers of Ontario, the Council of Ontario
Construction Associations, the Provincial Building and
Construction Trades Council of Ontario, Ryerson Polytechnic
University, Interior Designers of Canada, the American Society of
Interior Designers and the International Interior Design
That is an introduction. I
think at this point I might invite the committee to ask any
questions they may have of myself. I may refer the questions to
some of the folks who are with us here today who are better
briefed than I am with respect to answers.
Vice-Chair: Mr Wood, does the applicant wish to say
Mr Wood: No,
but we'll be happy to answer questions. They've invited me to be
Vice-Chair: You're the spokesperson and the sponsor.
Mr Wood: So
we don't have a large number of presenters, but we have a large
number of people here to answer questions. So they may answer the
Vice-Chair: OK. Before we go to committee members, are
there any interested parties here who would like to make any
comments on this today?
Holmes: My name is David Holmes. I'm the assistant
executive director of the Ontario Association of Certified
Engineering Technicians and Technologists, OACETT. We were here
about a year ago for a similar revision to our act, and that went
through at the time. We represent 19,000 certified engineering
technicians and technologists in this province and have done so
I'm pleased to speak on
behalf of ARIDO, on behalf of our association in support of this
bill. We know that ARIDO maintains high standards of practice for
their membership. We believe that this legislation is important
to the whole design community. We count ourselves as part of that
community and feel that it's appropriate for all of the
professions to be recognized in this kind of act. Certainly the use of restricted
titles allows the public to identify qualified practitioners who
will provide quality services and with the appropriate
restrictions and penalties, if necessary, to prevent inferior
types of practice. We think this bill will encourage the design
professionals to identify themselves appropriately and maintain
and meet high standard of practice.
That said, I ask you to
support this bill. Thank you very much.
What are your members called now?
Certified engineering technologists, applied science
technologists, certified technicians. That bill originally went
through the Legislature in 1984. It was amended in 1998, just one
Mr Gill: So
out of the three names you mentioned, one of them is just applied
Vice-Chair: Are there any other questions?
Mr Pat Hoy
(Chatham-Kent Essex): I've just been handed a memorandum
to the Chair, Frances Lankin. It is a question surrounding
"Persons who are not members of the association will be guilty of
an offence if they use the title `interior designer.'" Have you
seen this particular memorandum from leg counsel?
No, I haven't.
Mr Hoy: It
states that your request is "a departure from the usual title
reservation provision in private acts. Private acts generally
reserve a title that is qualified, for example, by `registered'
or `certified.'" I guess the point here is that you are simply
saying the use of the title "interior designer" without really
stating whether the person was certified or registered-it does
state, "Fourteen such private acts have been passed since the
beginning of 1990." Your particular request is at variance with
all of the prior ones, and of course you're subject to a fine
here that is, in my opinion, rather substantial.
Why, if indeed you are the
Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, did you
not use "registered interior designers" in your request here,
that all persons use that designation? You did not use
"registered." You just said "interior designer."
Perhaps I should answer that. Mr Holmes, you understand, is not
with ARIDO. He's simply supporting it.
The answer to that is this: The association has found that people
do not make the distinction between "registered interior
designer" and "interior designer" when they run their ads. Most
of the complaints are about interior designers who are not
registered. When we did the polling, we found the public wants
the term "interior designer" to have a specific meaning with
respect to qualifications and experience. The public is saying,
"We want an interior designer to have defined qualifications and
defined experience." It is quite true, by the way, that of the 14
surveyed, two do what we're proposing to do and 12 don't. Twelve
have "certified" "registered" and so on.
The reason we're asking to
remove the "registered" is that the public, first, wants the term
"interior designer" to have the qualifications and experience
that ARIDO offers and, second, the public doesn't seem to make
the distinction. That's doubly so with those who don't have
English or French as their first language. It just doesn't get
through to the public.
However, within this act the association feels strongly enough
that they are imposing a penalty on a first offence of up to
$1,500. Obviously someone thinks that there is a significant
reasoning to go, as you state, with just the phrase "interior
designer" and remove the word "registered" before it.
That's absolutely correct. The answer is, the public thinks that.
That's what they said in the Angus Reid survey. They want the
term "interior designer" to have a meaning with respect to
qualifications and experience. ARIDO's practical experience tells
them that people do not make the distinction between a registered
interior designer and an interior designer. That's doubly so for
people whose first language is not English or French; the
distinction just doesn't get through to them.
Vice-Chair: I'd like to ask the parliamentary assistant
what comments come from the government side.
There are no objections from the government side, specifically
for those reasons: It's to eliminate that confusion so the
consumer does have some confidence that when they hire somebody
from that profession, there is competence attached to it.
Mrs Claudette Boyer
(Ottawa-Vanier): I had the same question as my
On the other hand, if
somebody wants to do interior decorating they can still do it,
but if I hear it right, they cannot use the name "interior
designer." That's the only difference. When I see "interior
designer," because it's registered, they have the qualifications
and they're members of the association.
Your point is entirely correct. It's very important to understand
that no one is prevented from doing anything other than using the
term. The public is quite clear, if you go back to the survey.
They don't want anybody stopped from doing this; they just want
the term "interior designer" to have a defined qualification and
defined experience. That's all they're asking.
I'd like you to explain to me, when you talk about French and
English, I don't see-
There are quite a few people whose first language is not French
or English, so they're new to this community.
So that's what you mean.
We find that those people don't always get the distinction
between a registered interior designer and an interior designer.
When it's not your first language-and there are a good number of
people whose first language is other than French or English-it
just doesn't sink in to them.
Mrs Boyer: If I go further and
say, as a francophone, if you write "décorateur
intérieur," that would be the translation for "interior
designer," right? OK, thank you.
How does one, at the present time, become a registered interior
Kruse: First, thank you very much for your time this
morning. The members of the association that we're here for
appreciate your time.
Since 1984, when our bill
was passed, in order to become a member you would have to have a
combination of seven years' education and work experience
combined, a four-year program with three years of experience or a
three-year program with four years of experience. Then you have
to sit for a qualifying examination, which is a two-day
international exam that's recognized by all of the interior
design associations, primarily in North America.
We also, for that bill, had
a grandfathering period, so people who had been practising as
interior designers up until 1984 had an opportunity to become
members of the association without having to have those same
qualifications of education and experience.
What is the membership fee?
Currently, $542 annually gives you your membership dues and all
the services that come with that, along with mandatory liability
errors and omissions insurance.
Just as a side issue-it may not be applicable, so I apologize if
it isn't-I'm a professional engineer. As I qualify, once I get my
degree I become an engineer, but after I work and I register and
I pay my dues of, I believe, $110, I become a member of the
association and I can be called a professional engineer. I'm sort
of trying to relate that in terms of fees, in terms of being an
interior designer and then becoming a registered interior
designer, sort of an analogy to the engineers. That's just a side
issue, to bring that into the open. It may not be applicable.
Vice-Chair: Are you looking for an answer?
No, just a statement.
We think it's a very helpful observation. Thank you.
Vice-Chair: Are there any other questions for the
applicant or for the parliamentary assistant from anyone?
Are the members ready to
I'll read this again: Bill
Pr6, An Act respecting the Association of Registered Interior
Designers of Ontario. It's sponsored by Mr Wood.
I'll ask the committee
Shall sections 1 through 4
Shall the preamble carry?
Shall the title carry?
Shall the bill carry?
Shall I report the bill to
the House this afternoon? Carried.
Perhaps on behalf of ARIDO I could thank you and all the members
of the committee for your consideration. I think this is going to
be very helpful to the association and our community
Vice-Chair: This won't stop my wife from going out and
helping her friend to decorate her house.
It's not going to save you any money.
DRAFT REPORT ON
Vice-Chair: We have one further item on the agenda for
our committee members. It's a consideration of the regulations
report. There's a couple of things. Brian's got a statement and
this gentleman will make a comment. I think we'll call the
meeting back to order and get rolling with this. Some people have
As a matter of interest, at the last standing committee on regs
and private bills there was a request from one of the members to
get some background information on the dissolution of
corporations for failure to comply with the requirements of
corporate law. I have that response from the Ministry of the
Attorney General. I'll just maybe table that with the clerk to
circulate that information to the members.
Vice-Chair: Mr McNaught would like to make a few
comments on the last thing on our agenda. I'd like to introduce
to you, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Andrew McNaught from legislative
research. He will make some comments on the regulations
McNaught: Good morning. I'm Andrew McNaught with, now,
the research and information services branch of the legislative
library, formerly, legislative research. You should have in front
of you a copy of section 12 of the Regulations Act and standing
order 106(h). The clerk has asked me to briefly outline the role
of the committee in carrying out the regulations part of its
Just by way of background,
the standing committee on regulations has its origins in the 1968
report of the Ontario Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights,
which is also known as the McRuer commission. In its report, the
commission observed that a large part of the law of this province
is contained in regulations made under the various statutes. The
commission also noted that, in contrast to legislation,
regulations are not debated in the Legislature before they are
In order to protect what
the commission described as the fundamental civil rights of the
individual, the commission recommended that the Legislature
establish an independent mechanism for supervising the making of
laws by regulation, and specifically it recommended that the
Legislature create a legislative committee to scrutinize
In 1969, in response to the
McRuer commission report, the Ontario Legislature enacted section
12 of the Regulations Act and you have that in front of you. The
main provisions are that, "At the commencement of each session of
the Legislature a standing committee of the assembly shall be
appointed" under section 12, and that, "The standing committee
shall examine the regulations" and when doing so it is to consider the scope
and method of the exercise of regulation-making power but not the
underlying policies or legislative objectives. In other words,
the committee is to review the way in which a regulation is made
but not to evaluate the need for the regulation. Finally, "The
standing committee shall, from time to time, report to the
assembly its observations, opinions and recommendations."
To assist the committee in
carrying out its statutory mandate, the Legislature has adopted
standing order 106(h), which you also have in front of you, and
this provides that in examining a regulation the committee shall
have regard to the nine guidelines listed in the standing
For example, you'll see
guideline (ii) provides that there must be statutory authority to
make a regulation.
The guidelines also state
that the committee cannot draw the attention of the House to a
violation of these guidelines without first giving the ministry
concerned an opportunity to respond to the committee with such
explanation as the ministry thinks fit.
Now, on behalf of the
committee, the lawyers in the research and information branch of
the legislative library-that's me-review all regulations made
under Ontario statutes each year and in accordance with the
committee's mandate this review is conducted by applying the
guidelines contained in standing order 106(h).
Potential problems with
regulations are identified and letters are written to the
relevant ministries inquiring about the regulations in question.
Once we've received responses from the ministries, a draft report
is prepared for the committee and that brings us to the draft
report which you also should have in front of you today.
That report is a report on
regulations made in 1997 and 1998. As indicated in the covering
memo, the report is divided into five parts.
Part 1 briefly outlines the
committee's mandate; part 2 contains some statistics including a
comparison of the number of regulations filed between 1989 and
1999; part 3 is a discussion of regulations that potentially
violate the committee's guidelines on regulations; part 4 is a
summary of a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Eurig
estate case, which involved some of the principles that are
expressed in the committee's guidelines; the last part of the
report contains appendices that set out the committee's terms of
reference and some further statistics.
The substance of the report
is in part 3, which is the section on regulations reported and
you'll find that at page 3 of the report.
It begins by noting that
we've reviewed the more than 1,200 regulations that were made
under Ontario statues in 1997 and 1998 and that we raised
concerns about 28 regulations with eight different
After examining the
responses we decided to comment on 13 regulations and the
committee's comments are arranged by ministry and involve the
four guidelines you see listed on page 3.
With respect to the
regulations falling under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of
Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of
Transportation, the ministry in each case has acknowledged that
there was a problem, or at least some uncertainty, and that
corrections will be considered the next time the regulations in
question are revised.
That leaves the regulations
made under the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry
of Finance, and it's these sections of the report that I would
draw the committee's attention to today.
The section on the Ministry
of the Attorney General you'll find at page 6. It deals with two
regulations made under the Administration of Justice Act. These
regulations set the fees payable by those who file a claim in
Small Claims Court. For this purpose, the regulations distinguish
between frequent claimants and infrequent claimants. A frequent
claimant is defined as someone "who files a claim in a Small
Claims Court office" and who has already filed at least 10 claims
with the court in that calendar year. An infrequent claimant is
simply someone who has filed fewer than 10 claims in that
You'll see from the table
at the bottom of page 6 that the fees prescribed by the
regulations are significantly higher for frequent claimants. We
raised the concern with the ministry that the higher fees appear
to penalize frequent claimants in an attempt to discourage claims
by a particular claimant. This would constitute a violation of
committee guideline number 6, which prohibits the imposition of a
penalty by regulation.
The ministry, in its
response, explained that infrequent users are usually individuals
or small businesses, whereas frequent users are generally larger
institutions. So on the basis that it would be fairer to ask that
larger institutions assume a greater share of the funding of the
Small Claims Court program, the ministry decided to set higher
fees for frequent users.
Our view, as we set out in
the report, is that the committee's guidelines are concerned with
the effect of a regulation and not the policy underlying it.
Since the effect of the higher fees for frequent users is to
impose a penalty on such users of the Small Claims Court, it
would appear that the regulation violates the committee's
guideline against the imposition of a penalty by regulation.
At the end of that section,
you'll see that we've asked the committee whether they want to
include this issue in the report or to exclude it from the report
altogether. I don't know if that's a decision that'll be made now
or if you want to look at it later and we'd come back another
I must confess I'm not particularly familiar with this process,
but it would be beneficial for me to have an opportunity to
consider the contents of the report and the submissions made by
the deponents now or the individual presenting it. That would be
my inclination, unless there's some compelling reason for dealing
with it today.
Vice-Chair: We can defer this.
Mr Young: Yes, that would be my
preference. I'm prepared to hear from others before we make a
Mr Hoy: I
can, in my brief look at this, say that it would appear that the
definition of "frequent claimant" is probably a problem from your
view. There's a general understanding of what the government is
trying to do, but the interpretation is not very clear. If the
committee wants to reserve on a decision to make judgment on this
particular recommendation within the regs, I'm willing to wait,
but I can understand in this brief interlude what the problem is
with this regulation of the Attorney General.
What is the main concern?
Is there a brief explanation? You said it was rather lengthy on
ag and food. Page 4.
McNaught: Yes, that is a very involved issue.
McNaught: At the end of the day, you'll see at the end
of that section on page 6 the Ministry of Agriculture agreed that
there could be some uncertainty with that with the provisions
we've identified, that they're in the process, I gather, of
drafting some new legislation and that they would take into
account the issues we raised. We've sort of left it at that.
Mr Hoy: So
you're going to move regulatory power to legislators?
McNaught: They're going to clarify the existing
Another way of looking at the Ministry of the Attorney General
fee schedule, if you want to call it that, is that the frequent
claimant fee is $120, but there's an incentive, not a penalty, if
you are an infrequent user; your fee is less. Instead of saying
we penalize the frequent user, we are really saying-one can look
at it positively and give it that spin.
McNaught: That's what the ministry tried to explain.
We're just saying, regardless of how good the underlying policy
might be just from a technical point of view, it appears that the
frequent user is being penalized for making greater use of
Mr Gill: I
agree. I think we should defer it if we can review this thing,
unless there's an underlying urgency right now.
Not being a regular member of this committee, I'd like leave this
thought with you. The Red Tape Commission is interested in these
issues as well. If you run into a situation where a regulation
appears to create a red tape problem, I hope the committee won't
hesitate to send that problem to the Red Tape Commission and
we'll see what we can do with it.
I also hope the committee,
if they want input from us at some point, will take this as an
offer to call on us. We'll come down and try and offer what
helpful advice we can. We work in a similar area and we hope that
we'll be considered a resource to help you in your work.
Vice-Chair: I appreciate that. I'm getting a
feeling-would people like to see this deferred at this time?
McNaught: There's just one other section I was going to
draw to your attention. Then you can go away and think about it.
That's at the bottom of page 7, the section on the Ministry of
Finance. In that section we discuss two regulations made under
the Fuel Tax Act and the Gasoline Tax Act. These provide for the
implementation of an international fuel tax agreement. These
regulations were filed on January 24, 1997, but were deemed to
come into force on January 1, 1997. In other words, they have a
retroactive effect. Committee guideline number 4 provides that
regulations should not have a retroactive effect unless clearly
authorized by statute.
In some provisions of the
Gasoline Tax Act and the Fuel Tax Act, there is authority to make
regulations that have a retroactive effect. However, we were
unable to find that authority in the particular sections under
which these two regulations in question were made. The ministry's
explanation appears to be that, because there is authority in
other sections of these statutes to make retroactive regulations,
this should be interpreted to be sufficient authority for any
regulation made under the act to be retroactive.
We've set out some of the
legal principles that you would apply in analyzing legislation,
and in particular retroactive legislation. You'll see that on
page 8 and page 9. Based on these principles, it's our view that
in order for a regulation to have a retroactive effect, there
must be specific authority in the section under which that
regulation is made. As we could not find such authority in the
two regulations that we've identified here, we've raised them as
potential violations of the committee's guideline on
retroactivity. Again, that's an issue you can take away with
What is the financial impact of not having made it retroactive?
Do we know?
McNaught: I don't know that.
That's a consideration, I'm sure.
McNaught: It's not a consideration of mine.
No, not right now. I'm interested in knowing that.
McNaught: I have no doubt that would be one of the
reasons it was made retroactive, but I'm not privy to that.
I'd like to move that these matters be deferred to our next
meeting. That's in June, isn't it? July? I'd just like to put it
off to the next meeting, whenever that may be.
Vice-Chair: Is it the wish of the committee to follow up
on that motion, to our next meeting, which is at the call of the
Chair? Do I hear that agreement? Agreed.
This meeting will be
adjourned until the call of the Chair for the next meeting. Thank
you very much, everyone.