Wednesday 8 December 1999

Blue Mountain Village Association Act, 1999, Bill Pr14, Mr Murdoch
Mr Bill Murdoch, MPP
Mr Robert Comish
Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario Act,
1999, Bill Pr6, Mr Wood
Mr Bob Wood, MPP
Mr David Holmes
Mr Trevor Kruse

Draft Report on 1997-98 Regulations


Chair / Présidente
Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-East York ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / -Nord PC)

Mr Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay / -Timmins-Baie James ND)
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 Services

The committee met at 1009 in committee room 1.


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.

Mr Robert 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 taken out.

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 destination resorts.

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 stakeholders.

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.

The 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?

Mr Comish: 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.

Mr Murdoch: 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?

Mr Comish: 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 construction project.

Mr Gill: At the same time I'd like to move-I believe that we are in agreement. Can we? Not yet. OK.

The 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?

The Vice-Chair: None. It's on my list here to ask.

Mr Young: All right.

The Vice-Chair: I can ask at this point.

Mr Young: That's fine.

The Vice-Chair: Would you rather?

Mr Young: I'd like to know what the ministry has to say before I pose my question.

The 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 no concerns.

Mr Young: 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?

Mr Comish: 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-

Mr Young: The right vehicle.

Mr Comish: Yes.

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 bill.

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.

The 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 schedule.

An Act respecting Blue Mountain Village Association: Shall sections 1 through 16 carry? Carried.


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, plan 16R-5057."

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? Carried.

Shall form 2 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill, as amended, to the House? Carried.

Thank you very much. I wish all the best to Intrawest.


Consideration of Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario.

The 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 assistance.

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 it.

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 Association.

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.

The Vice-Chair: Mr Wood, does the applicant wish to say anything?

Mr Wood: No, but we'll be happy to answer questions. They've invited me to be their spokesperson.

The 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 questions.

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?

Mr David 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 since 1957.

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.


Mr Gill: What are your members called now?

Mr Holmes: Certified engineering technologists, applied science technologists, certified technicians. That bill originally went through the Legislature in 1984. It was amended in 1998, just one year ago.

Mr Gill: So out of the three names you mentioned, one of them is just applied science technologists?

Mr Holmes: Yes.

The 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?

Mr Holmes: 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."

Mr Wood: Perhaps I should answer that. Mr Holmes, you understand, is not with ARIDO. He's simply supporting it.

Mr Hoy: OK.

Mr Wood: 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.

Mr Hoy: 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.

Mr Wood: 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.

The Vice-Chair: I'd like to ask the parliamentary assistant what comments come from the government side.

Mr Coburn: 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 colleague.

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.

Mr Wood: 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.

Mrs Boyer: I'd like you to explain to me, when you talk about French and English, I don't see-

Mr Wood: There are quite a few people whose first language is not French or English, so they're new to this community.

Mrs Boyer: So that's what you mean.

Mr Wood: 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.

Mr Gill: How does one, at the present time, become a registered interior designer?

Mr Trevor 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.

Mr Gill: What is the membership fee?

Mr Kruse: Currently, $542 annually gives you your membership dues and all the services that come with that, along with mandatory liability errors and omissions insurance.

Mr Gill: 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.

The Vice-Chair: Are you looking for an answer?

Mr Gill: No, just a statement.

Mr Wood: We think it's a very helpful observation. Thank you.


The Vice-Chair: Are there any other questions for the applicant or for the parliamentary assistant from anyone?

Are the members ready to vote?

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 members:

Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House this afternoon? Carried.

Mr Wood: 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 generally.

The Vice-Chair: This won't stop my wife from going out and helping her friend to decorate her house.

Mr Wood: It's not going to save you any money.


The 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 to go.

Mr Coburn: 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.

The 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 report.

Mr Andrew 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 mandate.

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 made.

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 regulations.

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 order.

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 ministries.

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 year.

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 time.

Mr Young: 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.

The 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 final decision.

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.

Mr McNaught: Yes, that is a very involved issue.

Mr Hoy: All right.

Mr 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?

Mr McNaught: They're going to clarify the existing regulation-making powers.

Mr Gill: 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.

Mr 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 it.

Mr Gill: I agree. I think we should defer it if we can review this thing, unless there's an underlying urgency right now.

Mr Wood: 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.

The Vice-Chair: I appreciate that. I'm getting a feeling-would people like to see this deferred at this time?

Mr 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 you.

Mr Gill: What is the financial impact of not having made it retroactive? Do we know?

Mr McNaught: I don't know that.

Mr Gill: That's a consideration, I'm sure.

Mr McNaught: It's not a consideration of mine.

Mr Gill: No, not right now. I'm interested in knowing that.

Mr McNaught: I have no doubt that would be one of the reasons it was made retroactive, but I'm not privy to that.

Mr Young: 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.

The 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.

The committee adjourned at 1110.