Wednesday 24 June 1992

Sher-Bassin Group Inc. Act, 1992, Bill Pr30

Patrick Johnston, solicitor, The Sher-Bassin Group Inc.

City of North Bay Act, 1992, Bill Pr17

Michael Burke, city solicitor, North Bay

City of North Bay and Township of East Ferris Act, 1992, Bill Pr32

Michael Burke, city solicitor, North Bay; solicitor, Township of East Ferris

Port Elgin Sportmen's Club Act, 1992, Bill Pr41

Murray Wolfe, club official

Murray Fenton, club official

City of Toronto Act, 1992, Bill Pr43

Morris Winer, solicitor, City of Toronto

Wayne Jackson, transportation director, public works department, City of Toronto

Bikur Cholim Act, 1992, Bill Pr48

Steve Shulman, counsel

Selma Elzas, coordinator

Ivan Araujo, treasury department, Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

Township of Mattawa and Township of Mattawan Act (Otto Holden Dam Bypass), 1992, Bill Pr50


*Chair / Président: White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

Farnan, Mike (Cambridge ND)

*Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

*Jordan, W. Leo (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

*Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

*Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L)

*Sola, John (Mississauga East/-Est L)

Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

*Murdock, Sharon (Sudbury ND) for Mr Sutherland

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes: Chyz, Nina, legislation counsel, Ministry of Transportation

Gray, Linda, coordinator, private legislation, Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel:

Klein, Susan A., legislative counsel

Hopkins, Laura, legislative counsel

Fensom, Avrum, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1001 in committee room 1.

The Chair (Mr Drummond White): I call this meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. On your agenda you'll notice Mr Harris has two bills up first. With Mr Harris's indulgence, as I am Chair and assisting with the third bill on the agenda, I wonder if he would mind if we dealt with that one first and let Mr Hansen chair. I assure you, Mr Harris, it probably shouldn't take too much time.


Consideration of Bill Pr30, An Act to revive The Sher-Bassin Group Inc.

The Acting Chair (Mr Ron Hansen): Good morning. The first bill we're going to deal with is Bill Pr30, An Act to revive The Sher-Bassin Group Inc. The sponsor is Drummond White. Would you introduce the solicitor, please.

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): I will indeed. Thank you very much, Mr Chair, and thank you, committee members, for the indulgence. Bill Pr30 is An Act to revive The Sher-Bassin Group Inc. If I might make a couple of points beforehand, Mr Sherwood Bassin is quite a noted celebrity in our area. This bill, I understand, has gone through all proper procedures. Mr Bassin unfortunately is not with us as he's in Montreal, but acting on his behalf is Mr Patrick Johnston, his solicitor. Could I ask you, Mr Johnston, to introduce the bill and the intent of it?

Mr Patrick Johnston: Thank you. I want to thank Mr Harris for stepping aside to let the Soo Greyhounds take precedence over the North Bay Centennials. The intent of the act is to revive the Sher-Bassin Group Inc. As a bit of background, Sher-Bassin Group Inc is a solely owned corporation by Mr Bassin. In 1986 there was an order for its dissolution under section 240 of the Business Corporations Act. Since the five years had passed, instead of going through the normal articles of revival, we were obliged to proceed with the private member's bill. The purpose, obviously, is to revive it because it is an ongoing, viable corporation presently carrying on business in the province of Ontario.

The Acting Chair: Questions from committee members? Are you ready for the vote?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill Pr17, An Act respecting the City of North Bay.

The Chair: If we could now resume our regular order on the agenda, Mr Michael Harris, MPP, North Bay, is presenting Bill Pr17, An Act respecting the City of North Bay.

Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Here from the city of North Bay is the city solicitor, Michael Burke, who can answer any questions if there are any specifics.

Bill Pr17 is a bill to increase the number of board members, particularly lay members, on the board of the Civic Hospital of North Bay. The Civic Hospital board's been through an extensive strategic planning exercise. As you know, all hospitals are re-examining their roles and place in the community and in the health care scheme of things these days. They found they had the lowest number of board members of any of the comparable hospitals around them. They also found they do not have the resources for a lot of paid people on the committees examining new legislation and new directions. These functions are performed primarily by board members. They're all volunteers; they're paid nothing. This bill will increase the number of lay members from six to 12, which I believe will bring it in line with the number of board members on hospitals of similar size in communities in the area. I believe it's pretty straightforward. That's the purpose of the bill and what it does.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Harris. Any comments, Mr Burke?

Mr Michael Burke: No, I can't seem to add anything to that.

The Chair: Thank you. Questions?

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): Mr Chairman, I see that Mr Harris is here this morning supporting this and consequently we've got no questions whatsoever on the whole thing.

Mr Harris: That's the first time I've ever heard that, Tony.

The Chair: Mr Ruprecht is usually so genial. Mr Parliamentary Assistant?

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): No questions.

The Chair: No questions and there are no objectors present. Are we then ready for a vote on the bill?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Harris and Mr Burke.


Consideration of Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the City of North Bay and Township of East Ferris.

The Chair: We now are on the second item on our agenda, which coincidentally is Bill Pr32 sponsored by Mr Harris, An Act respecting the City of North Bay and Township of East Ferris.

Mr Harris: Thank you very much. Bill Pr32 deals with septic tanks primarily. Trout Lake, which is a source of the water supply for the city of North Bay, is bounded by the township of East Ferris and North Bay. Some of the lake falls within the urban service area and some falls beyond the urban service area of both communities.

Mr Burke, city solicitor for the city of North Bay, is representing both the city and the township of East Ferris. Both would like bylaw amendments that will allow both municipalities to take a more active role in ensuring that the septic systems are not damaging the water quality of Trout Lake. I know there is an amendment that the Ministry of the Environment believes will make the bill more acceptable to it, and my understanding is that that amendment is acceptable to the city of North Bay. What the city is really doing is clarifying a few things that have given it concern. It will allow them with this bylaw to insist that septic tanks be pumped out on a regular basis. If that's not complied with, it will allow the municipality to see that it's done and then to levy the fees back on that.


The second aspect of it is to allow the municipality to impose a reasonable fee on the amount of sewage that is now going through the sewage plant owned and operated by the city of North Bay from the companies that are pumping out septic tanks and then putting this sewage through the municipal sewage system.

I think it's supported by all parties in North Bay. It's a very worthwhile goal and something that is certainly supported by the citizens of both the township of East Ferris and North Bay. If there's anything else the city solicitor wishes to add, I would turn it over to him to deal with the amendment as well.

Mr Burke: Perhaps by way of additional background I can tell you that the city has exercised fairly aggressive planning controls on Trout Lake since 1979 when it initiated a site plan control area on 150 feet of a setback of the whole lake. Fairly extensive engineering studies were done from 1986 to 1990. This was one of the steps recommended by those consulting studies. In preparing the bill and the draft bylaw that has been prepared to implement it, we have consulted widely with the health unit, the local Ministry of the Environment office, the Trout Lake Conservation Association and the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority, and it has been supported by all those groups.

The Chair: Thank you. Any questions from committee members?

Mr Mills: Yes, Mr Chair. We have counsel from the Ministry of the Environment here who is not opposed to this and who would only make comments if asked for by members of the committee.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mills. Are there any amendments to this bill?

Mr Hansen moves that clauses 1(1)(a), (b) and (c) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"(a) requiring the pumping out of septic tanks of private sewage disposal systems within such areas of the city or the township, as the case may be, as may be indicated in the bylaw;

"(b) establishing fees for the treatment of pumped-out sewage and for certifying compliance with the bylaw; and

"(c) authorizing the city or the township, as the case may be, to collect in like manner as real property taxes the cost of work done by the municipality when the owner fails to carry out pump-outs required by the bylaw and to impose a fee for doing so."

Are we ready to deal with the amendment and the bill? All in favour of the amendment?

Motion agreed to.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 2 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Harris and Mr Burke.


Consideration of Bill Pr41, An Act to revive Port Elgin Sportsmen's Club.

The Chair: Next on our agenda, Mr Elston is presenting Bill Pr41.

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): Thank you very much, Mr White. I have with me Murray Wolfe and Murray Fenton from the club. It's an organization that now needs to be revived. It fell into disuse because of some filing problems and inadvertences more than anything else. I think it's passed through all the various stages of checking. I don't think any difficulties have been brought to our attention. Mr Wolfe and Mr Fenton are here to address any concerns with respect to the bill. By the way, this is Murray Wolfe, and this is Murray Fenton, just so you know which is which.

The Chair: Any comments, Murray? Do any members have comments? Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Ruprecht: Mr Chairman, since this has Mr Murray --

Mr Elston: Elston. How soon they forget. I'm going to have to start speaking more in the Legislature.

Mr Ruprecht: The reason I was hesitating was because I was in Chelsea last Sunday --

Mr Elston: Chesley.

Mr Ruprecht: Oh, oh. Chesley, yes, that's an important distinction. As Mr Elston has discussed this matter in detail, I see no objection whatsoever. We're very happy indeed with what's here.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ruprecht. Any questions on this bill? No? Okay, then -- oh, I'm sorry. Mr Mills, any comments?

Mr Mills: No, but I always like to keep him on edge a bit, you see.

The Chair: Well, I'm glad I asked for Mr Mills's comments. Very insightful ones, too.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Elston, Murray and Murray.


Consideration of Bill Pr43, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

The Chair: I believe Mr Dadamo will be presenting this bill.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Mr Hansen will.

The Chair: Mr Hansen will be presenting this on behalf of Mr Marchese. Mr Hansen, could you introduce your colleagues?

Mr Hansen: Yes, Mr Chair. I'll be filling in for Mr Marchese on Bill Pr43, An Act Respecting the City of Toronto. I'm just going to give a brief outline. It has to do with speed bumps in private lanes and signage to be put up along the roads indicating where speed bumps would be. I think I'll turn it over to the solicitor, Mr Winer, and he can explain it to the committee.

Mr Morris Winer: Yes, it concerns speed bumps. We already have legislation respecting speed bumps; however, the Minister of Transportation requested that we seek an amendment to make it unnecessary for us to seek approval for each bylaw we pass concerning speed bumps. With me is Mr Wayne Jackson, director of transportation for the public works department. It's our understanding that the Minister of Transportation approves this bill.

The problem has arisen especially with respect to public lanes. As you know, there is a tremendous parking problem in the city of Toronto. Over the years the city has been paving its lanes in order to induce property owners, home owners and businesses to use the loading docks and garages in the back, in the lanes, and thus relieve the parking problem.

However, people seeing these lanes have started using them to make shortcuts to avoid left turns and have sped through, so it's our intention to insert speed bumps in the lanes in order to avoid a lot of danger. There are very little sight lines in these narrow lanes. Children play in them and it would be very important to slow down the traffic.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Winer. Mr Mills, any comments?

Mr Mills: I'd just like to say that I have counsel for the Ministry of Transportation, Nina Chyz, here this morning. I think it would help the committee and make the comment much more succinct if, before any discussion goes back and forth, I call on counsel to verify a few things. Nina?


Ms Nina Chyz: While the Ministry of Transportation does not oppose the repeal of the approval requirements for the installation of speed control devices, commonly known as speed bumps, on roadways within the municipal jurisdiction, the ministry does want it on record that it does not promote or endorse the establishment of such speed control devices or speed bumps, which it considers an unsafe method of controlling the rate of speed at which people travel.

The Chair: Any questions? Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Ruprecht: Yes, I have a question. Being from the city of Toronto and formerly on the city council, what would the ministry then propose in terms of controlling the traffic? In other words, what else do you think can be done in this kind of situation? Is there anything?

Ms Chyz: If there are speed limits established and people are travelling too fast for them or they're exceeding those speed limits, then it's a matter of enforcement.

Mr Ruprecht: I guess I'll stand my next question down until we get to Mr Jackson.

Ms Sharon Murdock (Sudbury): I have a question of the gentleman, if I may. I'm not from Toronto and when you were describing the situation, I was trying to think -- could you give me an example of where that would be, so I might know where it is? I have no vision of a private lane on a roadway.

Mr Winer: I think this would better be answered by Mr Jackson, who can give some technical information.

Mr Wayne Jackson: Actually, what we're talking about are public lanes. They are actually public highways -- we don't deny that -- but they are lanes at the rear, for the most part, of houses. A lot of lanes are at the rear of stores. They are narrow. You would see the lanes, for example, if you were on Danforth and you went behind the stores. Typically, they are 10 or 12 feet wide, if I can use imperial measures. They're throughout the city.

Ms Murdock: Okay, I've got it. We have those in Sudbury too.

Mr Mills: Speaking outside of my uniform as a parliamentary assistant but as a member of this committee, I have some concerns about speed bumps because I find them very annoying, to say the least. I not only find them quite annoying but I find them somewhat dangerous in that if you descend upon these bumps and you don't really notice they're coming up, things could shoot loose in your car, distract you from your driving and result in some sort of accident. Perhaps the best way to control unnecessary speed is through enforcement of the speed limit. I'm really not a proponent of speed bumps in any way, shape or form to prevent people from speeding. I don't think that's the solution.

The Chair: Do you have any questions, Mr Mills?

Mr Mills: I have no questions.

Mr Ruprecht: Obviously we're going to have a bit of a problem here, but I'm going to ask Mr Jackson, can you describe for this committee, especially for the parliamentary assistant, cases in fact where children were nearly nicked by speeding cars and/or any other problems associated with speeding in these back lanes.

Mr Jackson: Yes. Basically, what I'd like to impress is that we are talking about two different things. We're not talking about a public road like University or College or a street that you would normally drive down. What we are talking about are the narrow lanes at the rear of the buildings.

As I said earlier, these lanes are typically 10 to 12 feet wide. Enforcement's impossible. The police can't get in there to enforce. They have no place to set up radar traps. We've requested that and been told that they can't do it.

The purpose of paving the lane was so that they could be used year-round for parking to help alleviate the parking problem on the street, and what we have found since we paved them is that the children now have a great place to play hockey. Even though we are requesting speed bumps, we're not saying there's a great volume. What we're saying is that the number of vehicles going down isn't large; it's the speed they're travelling relative to the conditions. They are only 10 feet wide. There's nowhere to get out of the way if you're playing hockey and a car's coming down. We also find that some of the lanes are being used as pedestrian walks, specifically as back ways into plazas, for example, so we would have a fair number of pedestrians.

With any bump that's installed, the driver will be forewarned. In front of the bump there will be a sign that says "Bump ahead." There will be a sign at the location that says "Bump here." The bumps in fact will be painted yellow, so at least when there is no snow on the ground, it will be obvious there's a bump there. We'll follow exactly the same signs we now have on Balmoral and Farnham, two public streets.

We are in agreement that bumps should not be on typical streets. This is not the typical street. This is the back lane where we're having troubles.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): I grew up in the west end of Toronto, the Jane and Bloor area -- you know, Beresford, Windermere, Willard Avenue -- and they had laneways behind them and that's where we used to play as children. We played everything in there. In fact we sometimes played jumping from one roof to another, which was probably more unsafe than anything else, but one of our best games was hide-and-seek, and that was around dusk. Cars coming through usually came through at a pretty good clip and you could get seriously injured. Fortunately we didn't lose anyone to a vehicle when I was growing up, but the possibility was always there. It is a great place for hockey, I agree, that or a dead-end street, one or the other.

As far as the speed bumps are concerned, I can see the merit of having speed bumps in the laneways that go behind the buildings. It's easy for someone to step out from a garage, if there are garages on both sides, or buildings, and if you're not cognizant of the speed or anything else, it'd be easy for a fatality to happen. I can understand the request for the bumps. I think it's a good idea.

The Chair : Further comments or questions?

Mr Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): It would appear from reading the bill that it doesn't limit your authority to these laneways. What clause would limit you to using them on private laneways or narrow access roads?

Mr Winer: You are correct. At present they are not limited to the laneways, but we have not used them for any other street except Farnham and Balmoral.

Mr Jackson: That was about 12 years ago, plus they were put in on two public streets. Since that time, I would say at least 15 times the department of public works, through the commissioner, has gone on public record as saying we could not recommend speed bumps on regular streets.

Mr Jordan: But it gives you the authority if you should need it.

Mr Jackson: Yes.

The Chair: Further questions or comments? Hearing and seeing none, are we ready for a vote on Bill Pr43?

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

The Chair: Shall the preamble carry? If you wish to issue a dissent, Mr Mills, perhaps you could voice it. Shall the preamble carry?

Mr Mills: No.

The Chair: In my opinion it's carried.

Preamble agreed to.

The Chair: Shall the bill carry?

Mr Mills: No.

The Chair: In my opinion the bill carries.

Bill ordered to be reported.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen.



Consideration of Bill Pr48, An Act respecting Bikur Cholim.

The Chair: Next we have Bill Pr48, An Act respecting Bikur Cholim, Mr Joseph Cordiano presenting.

In the interim, I could remind members that a shake of the head is not equivalent to a voice vote; one has to vocalize one's objections.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): We are here to deal with Bill Pr48, looking for property tax exemption for Bikur Cholim, a hostel operated by this charitable organization. It is a registered charity with a Revenue Canada registration number. The organization is largely comprised of volunteers. The hostel and the operations of the organization include services for Meals on Wheels to the elderly, special needs to hospital patients, hospital visits and home visits, and the organization also acts in liaison to link the elderly and families with appropriate medical and social services.

The property, at 506 Coldstream Avenue in my riding, contains four apartments of one and two bedrooms plus a superintendent's apartment in the basement, and the apartments are available to families of patients who travel from elsewhere for medical care.

That's what we're dealing with here, and I'd like to present Mr Steve Shulman, who is the counsel this morning for the organization, along with Selma Elzas.

The Chair: Comments, please.

Mr Steven Shulman: Ms Elzas is the coordinator of Bikur Cholim, the applicant, and she's available to answer any questions you may have as to the operation of the property.

This property, as Mr Cordiano said, is a hostel which was opened in 1990, and it caters to people who come from outside of Toronto who have relatives in hospital here. It's important to note that this property serves a unique need in the community in that it is a Jewish organization, which doesn't mean it closes its doors to people from the outside, but it serves a particular need within the Jewish community to have a hostel that follows certain laws according to Jewish tradition, such as Sabbath laws and food laws. People don't pay to use the subject property. The best comparison I could give you that you may all be familiar with is the Ronald McDonald House type of operation.

Bikur Cholim is applying for this exemption because, as I'm sure all of you are aware, it's very difficult, for one thing, for a charity to operate, particularly in these times, and given that it runs totally on charitable donations it would be very difficult indeed for this organization to bear the brunt of municipal and school taxation. That's why they're seeking the exemption.

As well, it's important to note that, as has most of the precedent legislation that's been passed that has the same effect, this legislation requires a bylaw to be passed by the council of the city of North York. So if you decide today to allow this legislation, it doesn't mean there isn't another step. There is another step and certainly North York would look at this again. We have notified all concerned levels of government, North York, Metro and the board of education.

There's a couple of issues to point out in advance. I don't think there's anything particularly controversial about this legislation, and in the compendium we filed along with the draft bill we pointed out the precedent legislation we followed in drafting this legislation. There are a couple of issues, though, I would like to draw your attention to.

One is in terms of retroactivity. In the legislation we've asked for retroactivity to January 1, 1990. There are a few reasons for this.

The history of this is that Bikur Cholim, the organization, tried to get an exemption under the Assessment Act through 1990 and 1991 assessment appeals. They found out after the fact, after a wait of about a year and a half, that they could not do this through the Assessment Act, and that's how the process began in the fall of 1991 to move ahead with an application for this type of legislation. So there has been an effort. It hasn't really been a delay on the part of Bikur Cholim to move ahead with this process. It's just that they started with the wrong process through inadvertence; really, through misinformation.

As I said, we started this process in the fall of 1991 and advertising actually started in calendar year 1991. As well, it's important to note that it is not unprecedented to have retroactivity built into legislation of this kind. I don't know if all of you have the compendium; it has precedents in it, legislation that has retroactivity of this type built in to it, so this would not be the first time. So given the fact that Bikur Cholim really tried from day one to get the exemption, albeit by incorrect means, it's really through no fault of the organization's that it went down the wrong path.

In addition, as to the effect on Bikur Cholim's finances to have to pay that, going back now to 1990 and 1991 taxation, Ms Elzas can probably comment on that better than I could. As you're all aware, it's a very difficult time for charities, and I appreciate it's likewise a difficult time for governments at all levels.

However, as I said, North York will have the final say in terms of retroactivity. This leaves the option open to North York to provide the full retroactivity back to January 1, 1990, so ultimately it will have the say to be able to look at its finances and the municipal and school board finances as well, and representations can be made there. By no means are you imposing something on another level of government if you give North York the option to go back to retroactivity to January 1, 1990.

One other point. There is a representative of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs here. I was informed yesterday that Metropolitan Toronto stated that it hasn't had enough time to consider this. I understand that we all often have things sitting on our desks and we don't get to them until the very last minute, but Bikur Cholim has been involved in this process for several months now, and Metro has had this for at least a month. It is not, as I stated before, ground-breaking legislation, and my submission is that Metro really doesn't need more time. Even if they only brought their attention to it yesterday, it's a one-page or one-and-a-half-page piece of legislation that surely they've seen before.

I don't want to pick a fight with Metro here, and if it's the committee's opinion that you will not pass this legislation without Metro saying it has had enough time to look at it, then we will be agreeable to adjourning it and coming back at another time, because I don't want to jeopardize the legislation. That's clearly what I don't want to do. However, I spoke to the Clerk of the Legislature yesterday, who suggested that we come forward today so as not to delay any further, and make our submissions, and then of course you can decide. Please, if there are concerns, let us know about them before it goes to the vote. That's about it. If you have any comments in terms of the finances and the current situation, maybe you could share that with the committee.

Ms Selma Elzas: My name is Selma Elzas, and I just mention again that I'm the coordinator of Bikur Cholim. As Mr Shulman indicated, we are completely funded by private donations and don't receive any government assistance or any special funding of any type.

Over the past year to 18 months, of course, those donations have gone down dramatically, and a direct result of that is represented in our service delivery, which we try very hard to maintain in terms of a high level of accessibility for all our clients and users. But due to the deficit and due to the decrease, we've had to cut certain programs.

Paying back taxes would probably impinge on those allocations very dramatically. Already we've had to cut down on the size of our food program, the food program that was indicated, which goes to special-needs hospital patients, isolated and needy elderly people in the community, people for whom the traditional Meals on Wheels program is not appropriate. We also provide a lot of home support services in terms of homemaking and other kinds of needs that we assess and then try to fund.


Even though we are operated completely by volunteers in terms of the visiting and the service delivery, we do call upon resources in the community, which we then fund for people who aren't in a position to do that. We've had to cut services already. We also provide medical and educational support services that are not available elsewhere, which we've had to cut.

We've already seen a pretty fairly consistent decrease in the service delivery that we've been able to provide, and we therefore take it from here that any back payment of taxes would further impinge on the service delivery which we've fought and struggled to maintain, because we already have the mandate of serving people who fall between the cracks of service in our community. We just want to make sure they don't fall into the cracks any more.

Mr Cordiano: I'd just like to make one final comment to the members of the committee. These services are critical to my riding because there are a large number of seniors, elderly people, who reside in and around the service area of which we're speaking. I think we would seriously jeopardize those services if the operations of Bikur Cholim and other organizations like it were cut back; we would see some serious declines in services. That's happening throughout Metro Toronto, but we certainly could help by bringing this forward at this time. That's my plea to the committee.

The Chair: I believe we have a couple of interested parties present from Metro Toronto and the city of North York. Is that true?


The Chair: North York is not represented?

Mr Ivan Araujo: I represent Metro Toronto.

The Chair: Okay, so the city of North York is not presently represented. Would you join us at the table, sir, and introduce yourself.

Mr Araujo: My name is Ivan Araujo. I'm with the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, treasury department. I'm here representing the chief administrative officer of Metro Toronto, really to ask for a slight deferral so this private member's bill can be considered by the chief administrative officer. We anticipate we'd require about a week to 10 days to complete the review of this matter.

The Chair: We have on the list Ms Murdock, Mr Jordan and Mr Sola.

Ms Murdock: Thank you for coming. If there has been this much notice, as has been stated earlier, how is it that you haven't looked at it thus far?

Mr Araujo: I was advised yesterday by the Metro solicitor that the chief administrative officer has had no notice of this bill. I'm going to submit two possible reasons. Again, let me say I was told to attend this just about an hour ago, so don't shoot the messenger.

Ms Murdock: No, I won't shoot the messenger.

Mr Araujo: Maybe this information will help. First of all, in Metro Toronto there has been a slight shift in responsibility for reviewing property tax exemptions by way of private members' bills. This occurred about six to eight months ago. I'm with the Metro treasury department; we had responsibility for it. It's now shifted to the chief administrative officer's department, so in a sense we are in a state of transition policywise.

The other aspect is more physical. You may know we have moved to Metro hall from city hall. Again, no excuses, but off the top of my head, I'd say these are two possible reasons why we're in this position today.

I'm aware to some degree of the chief administrative officer's policy guidelines on this, but I would quite frankly prefer to let that be known to this committee at a time when he's had an opportunity to review it.

Ms Murdock: And you're saying 10 days?

Mr Araujo: I would say a week to 10 days.

Ms Murdock: This committee only sits when the House is in session, is that not correct?

The Chair: Yes.

Ms Murdock: And next Wednesday is a holiday. In other words --

The Chair: That's right. So if there's a session in the second week in July it would come back, or pending that, it would be about the last week in September.

Mr Cordiano: Could I make a point, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Certainly, Mr Cordiano.

Mr Cordiano: As Mr Shulman indicated to me previously, he was not aware of Metro's concerns until yesterday. I think it would have been more appropriate if we had had some earlier notice of the difficulties Metro was experiencing, and if this committee had been made aware of those difficulties we also could have scheduled our time more wisely so as not to delay this organization and waste the time of the committee.

That is my biggest concern here, that we will be delaying this further. As you pointed out, Mr Chairman, the next opportunity probably won't be for some time, in the fall sitting of the Legislature, if I'm not mistaken. This means at least a four- to five-month delay, so we're talking about a serious bit of time here, and I don't see that that should be the result of this.

The Chair: We have Mr Jordan, Mr Sola, and the parliamentary assistant also wishes to speak.

Mr Jordan: I'm interested in section 2, making it retroactive for two and a half years, relative to the amount of money we're talking about. Would whoever has that information be prepared to give it to the committee?

Mr Shulman: Yes. First of all, as to the situation in terms of the city of North York, the city of North York has been very cooperative from day one with this in that the city has not enforced taxes going back to 1990 because it was aware that, first through the process of the assessment appeal, trying to get an exemption via the Assessment Act, and second through this application process, Bikur Cholim was making these efforts.

The amounts we're talking about -- I was just looking at the tax bills -- are about $4,900 for 1990 and about $5,100 or $5,200 for 1991. That, may I remind you, is the year this actual formal process began in terms of advertising beginning and contacts to the legislative counsel commencing. So those are the two prior years before 1992. Those are the amounts we're talking about, which may not sound like a lot. I'm not saying -- certainly I understand the situation municipalities are in, but to this organization approximately $10,000 to $11,000 is very serious in terms of its operations.

Mr Jordan: When you say $10,000 or $11,000, is that the total amount, and then a percentage of that goes to Metro?

Mr Shulman: A percentage would go to Metro.

Mr Jordan: What percentage? Do you know?

Mr Shulman: Probably the Metro solicitor may have a better idea of that, or the ministry.

Mr Araujo: I'm with the Metropolitan treasury department. I would say that out of every 100 cents of a tax dollar about 25 cents goes to Metro, about 22 cents goes to the local municipality and the balance to the school board.

Mr John Sola (Mississauga East): I agree with the purpose of this bill, but I'm a little hesitant about the retroactivity portion as I think the legislative counsel for this committee in his report last year stated that was one of his concerns. I wonder if legislative counsel could go over that for us. I know that when the government brought in the rent control bill, we tried to use that in the House as an argument against the retroactivity portion of that legislation. I wouldn't want to be in contradiction with myself by voting for something I had opposed with another bill.


Ms Laura Hopkins: I understand that when the committee considered retroactivity as an issue around its last report, it was looking at it in the context of regulations, where it's a different kind of problem. Retroactivity in bills is not as much of an issue. I also understand -- and the representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs may be able to give you more advice -- that it's not unusual for a bill of this sort to provide for a measure of retroactivity.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): This is legislation allowing a local council to make a decision. The matter of taxes is a local matter, subject to the other two parties of course having input. I'm in agreement with the bill, including the retroactivity, because it does permit a local council to make a local decision, and I think the more we encourage that in this world, especially in this province, the better.

Mr Mills: I think we have to understand is that this will affect Metro and it affects schools. The position of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is to ask for deferment of this in deference to the position of Metro. I don't think we make a decision for one level of government without involving the other level of government, and it does impact very much on Metro. For that reason alone, I would ask for your indulgence and consideration to defer this, to allow Metro to have that input.

Ms Murdock: In terms of the deferral suggestion and the House sittings, we are supposed to sit the week after the long weekend, which is lucky for you. I'm wondering what the schedule of this committee is. If it was deferred, could it come back that soon or would it have to wait till September?

The Chair: We can bring a bill up every Wednesday morning that the provincial Parliament's in session. I'm not aware of the agenda, but if it was felt to be important, we could obviously have a fairly brief meeting if there was only one bill.

Mr Cordiano: I can appreciate Metro's difficulties, but I don't see that there are any real concerns here with respect to this bill. My concern is that as members of the Legislature we have from time to time said that when we hold meetings we should be efficient in our use of time. This does involve time. People have come here and people have made commitments. From my point of view, to defer this would simply add to those commitments and those costs. I think we owe that much to the people who have presented here today. Certainly they should have been notified in reasonable time that this matter might have been deferred. Therefore they would not have made their commitment to be here today, having been properly notified in advance with enough time to make those decisions. This is the concern I have.

Mr Mills: Just to clarify the last item, it's my understanding from staff that they've been notified all along about this and it wasn't a last-minute notification at all.

The Chair: By staff, you mean staff of Municipal Affairs.

Mr Mills: By Municipal Affairs, yes.

The Chair: But the question I think was whether notification to Metro was in order.

Mr Cordiano: Let's have the correction on that.

Mr Mills: I think we have to have comment from staff.

Ms Linda Gray: The applicant was notified that the policy of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is that they should notify all parties affected, particularly Metro, because in effect the bill impacts Metro without Metro having a say in the matter. It allows North York by bylaw to exempt the applicant from taxes, but Metro is tied in by the bill itself. So the ministry notified them that it would like to see resolutions of support from the municipalities and the school boards affected. We did not know ourselves until just yesterday that Metro itself was going to appear and ask for a deferral.

Mr Cordiano: That was the point we made earlier. You're not really clarifying; you're reiterating what I had said. The point was made.

The Chair: Quite right, Mr Cordiano.

The question before us is not really the question of support of the bill, but the question of deferral. That motion hasn't been put forth other than in suggestion. Do we have a motion so that we can debate it?

Mr Mills moves deferral of the bill.

Mr Mills: I'm looking at probably July 2.

The Chair: July 1 is a Wednesday. It would be July 8. That would be the next possible meeting of the committee, Mr Araujo. That would mean, of course, that we were sitting that week. It hasn't as yet been confirmed. Mr Cordiano suggests no.

Mr Mills: Maybe he knows more than we do.

The Chair: Can we have that in writing, Mr Cordiano?

Mr Cordiano: I'd be happy to speak to your House leader and try to negotiate that.

The Chair: So basically we would be looking at either July 8 as the earliest possible time for this bill to come back or perhaps as late as late September. The motion has been put on the floor to that effect. Shall we debate that motion or are we ready for a vote on the motion?

Mr Eddy: Vote.

The Chair: Okay, we are ready for a vote on the motion to defer. All in favour of Mr Mills's motion? Unanimous.

Mr Ruprecht: I object.

The Chair: I'm sorry; we're not unanimous. I thought I saw your hand, Mr Ruprecht; my apologies. Mr Ruprecht has clarified himself on that. None the less, that vote carries. Hopefully, we'll be able to resolve these difficulties. Mr Araujo, you can undertake to be in contact with Mr Shulman.

Mr Araujo: Yes, I will. I'll inform the department of what occurred today and I'll be in touch with the ministry as well.

The Chair: Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you again, although it's unfortunate that we were unable to resolve this more speedily.

The recessed at 1058.


The committee resumed at 1617 in room 228.


Consideration of Bill Pr50, An Act respecting the Town of Mattawa and the Township of Mattawan.

The Chair: I'd like to call this meeting to order. Before us we have Mr Ernie Eves, the member for Parry Sound, presenting Bill Pr50.

Mr Ernie L. Eves (Parry Sound): Thank you, Mr Chairman. This brings back old memories. I used to be the Chairman of this committee once, a long time ago, about 1981 or 1982, I believe.

I also would like to thank the committee initially for its indulgence in this matter, as well as the Minister of Municipal Affairs, whose staff helped immeasurably in drafting the legislation.

The purpose of the legislation is to give the municipality of Mattawa and the township of Mattawan the ability to negotiate and reach agreement with Ontario Hydro with respect to the Otto Holden dam site so they can construct a passage around the dam site for the Ottawa River waterway.

It's my understanding that there's an agreement between the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario. I've spoken to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation here who is very supportive of the project as well. By you people allowing the bill to go through during this spring sitting of the Legislature, they will be able, hopefully, to start construction of the project this summer.

If there are any questions, I'd be pleased to try to answer them.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Eves. Mr Sola.

Mr Sola: I was just motioning to the former leader of the Liberal Party to come in and partake.

The Chair: Any questions on the bill?

Mr Hansen: There are no objections?

Mr Eves: None that I know of. As a matter of fact, as I said, the Minister of Tourism and Recreation is very supportive, the Minister of Municipal Affairs is very supportive and not one single person has raised any concerns to me or the municipality, to the best of my knowledge.

Mr Hansen: It was advertised in the local papers?

Mr Eves: I understand that the proper notice or advertising has been done.

The Chair: It's my understanding from the clerk that there have been no individuals presenting concerns, that the Minister of Tourism and Recreation is, as you say, in favour and that the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs has no concerns, having canvassed his ministry.

Mr Hansen: On the government side, I don't have any concerns.

Mr Sola: On our side, we have no concerns. The proponent is so eloquent, I think we'll vote in favour.

Mr Ruprecht: I was going to ask about the parliamentary assistant, but as that is stricken off now, I just want to congratulate Mr Eves for showing up here and giving us this nice introduction. I know that when he does that he takes it seriously; therefore all of us should agree to support this bill.

The Chair: Indeed. We're then ready for a vote.

Sections 1 to 5, inclusive agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill ordered to be reported.

Mr Eves: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: We're now adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1621.