Wednesday 25 November 1992

Rainbow Halfway House Act, 1992, Bill Pr68

Drummond White, MPP

Doug Smail, director

Joyce Ostrander, president

P.J. Construction Limited Act, 1992, Pr35

Ron Eddy, MPP

Michael Gasch, solicitor

Modern Optical Ltd. Act, 1992, Bill Pr63

W. Donald Cousens, MPP

Peter Plagianakos, accountant

Catherine Sarantopoulos, owner

City of York Act, 1992, Bill Pr73

Tony Rizzo, MPP

George Bartlett, city solicitor


*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:

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND) for Mr Dadamo

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND) for Mr Sutherland

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

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

*In attendance / présents

Clerk /Greffière: Freedman, Lisa

Staff / Personnel:

Hopkins, Laura, legislative counsel

Klein, Susan, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1005 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr68, An Act to revive Rainbow Halfway House.

The Vice-Chair (Mrs Ellen MacKinnon): Ladies and gentlemen, I call the meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. We will proceed with Bill Pr68, an act to revive a halfway house. Its sponsor is Mr Drummond White, MPP. Mr White, would you please introduce the people you have with you?

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): I'm very pleased to sponsor Bill Pr68, An Act to revive Rainbow Halfway House. With me are Joyce Ostrander, the director and president of the Rainbow Halfway House, and Mr Doug Smail, who, along with his spouse, is a director of the halfway house.

The Rainbow Halfway House is a facility at the very west end of Whitby on Highway 2, and it has for many years received residents from the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital and has, to the best of my knowledge, an excellent record.

The reason a private bill is required is that there was a lapse and the head offices of the halfway house had moved, and therefore the notification wasn't properly received. I believe that all is in order with the public trustee.

Mr Smail, any comments?

Mr Doug Smail: Yes. As you said, Drummond, we moved from Agincourt. The head office was in Agincourt and when we moved to Whitby we did not receive notice of a need to renew every five years of the charity.

The Vice-Chair: Madam, do you have anything you'd like to add in regard to comments on the bill?

Ms Joyce Ostrander: I'd like to thank Mr White for sponsoring it, I'd like to thank the members for recommending the acceptance of it, and the officials and your staff for their patience in helping us to come to this stage without the benefit of a solicitor. I'd like to request that you recommend waiving the fee and the printing costs.

The Vice-Chair: Any members with questions or comments?

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): It's straightforward.

The Vice-Chair: Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Does anyone have a motion on the fees?

Mr Hansen: I move that the fees be waived in this case, and the printing.

The Vice-Chair: All in favour? Agreed.

I'd like to thank everyone. This is my first time. I'm not doing a good job, but I'll try to do better next time.

Mr Hansen: You're an excellent Chair.


The Vice-Chair: Well, it was pretty simple.


Consideration of Bill Pr35, An Act to Revive P.J. Construction Limited.

The Chair (Mr Drummond White): Next on our agenda is Bill Pr35. On behalf of Mr Cordiano, Mr Eddy is sponsoring.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): It's my pleasure, in the absence of Mr Cordiano, to introduce Michael Gasch, who is the acting solicitor for P.J. Construction Ltd and will advise you as to why he's here and answer any questions that members of the committee may have.

Mr Michael Gasch: First, I'd like to thank Mr Cordiano for sponsoring the bill and Mr Eddy for introducing me.

In a nutshell, P.J. Construction is a company that's been in existence since 1956, has engaged in real estate construction and the holding of real estate property and continues to hold real estate to this day. Some time in 1990 there was a request sent to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations from an individual who used to be a shareholder of the corporation requesting that her name be deleted from the corporate records as being a director of that corporation. Through the inadvertence of the directors, a new form 1 was not filed, and subsequently there was a notice published in the Ontario Gazette and ultimately the corporation was dissolved before the directors dealt with the requirements of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

As the corporation still holds property which it would like to deal with, it is respectfully requesting that P.J. Construction Ltd be revived.

The Chair: Are there any questions of the applicant or sponsor? Hearing none, are there interested parties here present? I don't believe we've received any correspondence. Are there any comments from the government, Mr Parliamentary Assistant?

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): The corporations tax branch has no difficulty with this and no concerns.

The Chair: Are we then ready for a vote on Pr35?

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much, Mr Eddy and Mr Gasch.


Consideration of Bill Pr63, An Act to revive Modern Optical Ltd.

Mr Mills: Now we're going to get tough here; lots of questions.

Mr Jim Wilson (Simcoe West): I just want to say that Mr Cousens, with his glasses, I'm sure has a conflict.


Mr Jim Wilson: I just want to cut off your arguments before we start.

Mr W. Donald Cousens (Markham): I'm very pleased to have with me Catherine Sarantopoulos and Peter Plagianakos. This is an effort to revive a company that accidentally become defunct, to revive Modern Optical Ltd. I certainly hope this committee will be as cooperative as I was for the previous two bills that came through.

The Chair: Do you have any comments on the bill, sir?

Mr Peter Plagianakos: No real comments. I'd just like to thank Mr Cousens for presenting the bill.

The Chair: Ms Sarantopoulos?

Ms Catherine Sarantopoulos: I have nothing further to add, thank you.

The Chair: Any questions for the applicants or the sponsor?

Mr Jim Wilson: I gather this is an inadvertent dissolution --

The Chair: Excuse me. We have a temporary problem with the sound system. We'll have to recess for a few minutes until proper recording can occur.

The committee recessed at 1013 and resumed at 1021 in committee room 2.

The Chair: I'd like to call this meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills back to order.

We have before us Mr Cousens, who is presenting Bill Pr63, An Act to revive Modern Optical Ltd.

Mr Cousens: Mr Chairman, are we starting over again? I'm very pleased to have a chance to do this twice. Maybe the second time I can really do it right.

I am here with Catherine Sarantopoulos, who is bringing forward this need to revive Modern Optical Ltd, and Peter Plagianakos, the chartered accountant with the firm. It's a company that went defunct and they just want to reactivate it. I'd appreciate your support inasmuch as I've been very supportive of the other bills brought before the committee this morning.

The Chair: Ms Sarantopoulos, any comments?

Ms Sarantopoulos: I'd just like to thank Mr Cousens for representing us, and that's basically it in a nutshell.

The Chair: Mr Plagianakos?

Mr Plagianakos: I guess I'd better respond to the earlier question. The reason the company went defunct is that Mr Sarantopoulos had relied on his accountant to file his tax returns and I guess something fell through the cracks: for the first five years they were not being filed. What I do know is that from 1982 and onwards the tax returns were filed and the money, whatever was owing, was forwarded to the Ministry of Revenue. As to why we didn't file for the first five years, I'm kind of at a loss and Mr Sarantopoulos can't really answer the question. All we can say is that he relied on his accountant to do the filing.

There's some goodwill associated with the company, and because we have filed in the past, we would like to continue Modern Optical. That is the reason we would like to revive the corporation.

The Chair: Any questions of the applicant?

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have no question, except to say that if Mr Cousens has studied this and has given us his analysis, I have no reason to object to this.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ruprecht. Very generous, sir. Further questions?

Mr Hansen: Mr Chairman, maybe we should check to see that we've got it recorded this time in case we need Mr Cousens here to go over it for a third time.

The Chair: As far as I know, there is no problem with the sound system. In fact, the speaker seems to be working amply well.

Are there any parties here interested? Are there any comments from the parliamentary assistant, Mr Mills?

Mr Mills: There are no objections from the Ministry of Revenue, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Are we then ready for a vote?

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Agreed. Shall the preamble carry? Agreed.

Shall the bill carry? Agreed.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much, Mr Plagianakos and Ms Sarantopoulos.

Mr Cousens: I would like to thank this committee. You've been very kind.


Consideration of Bill Pr73, An Act respecting the city of York.

The Chair: Next we have Bill Pr73, An Act respecting the City of York. Mr Rizzo is sponsoring. Mr Rizzo, if you could identify your friend, the applicant.

Mr Tony Rizzo (Oakwood): I'm here with Mr Bartlett, the solicitor for the city of York, and I am here to support Bill Pr73, An Act respecting the City of York, in order that it may implement bylaws that have been passed by the city council.

Mr George Bartlett: The legislation we're seeking is legislation that will enable the city to pass some bylaws to more effectively deal with, basically, property maintenance.

There is a number of aspects to the bylaws we want to pass. One aspect is to require the owners or occupants of properties to cut grass and weeds when they exceed 13 centimetres in height, which, for those who are still working on the imperial system like myself, is 5.1 inches; similarly, to require the owners or occupants to cut grass and weeds on abutting boulevards, which technically are part of the road allowance and not part of the private property but which, if you own a home, you know most people use as their own private property. It's to extend that bylaw in effect to those lands as well.

The third aspect is that where the owners and occupants of the properties or their predecessors have constructed retaining walls on the boulevard, we want the legislative authority to require them to maintain those retaining walls, rather than the city having to maintain them after the fact at the city's expense.

The fourth aspect, if you wish, deals with the notice requirements. The basic service that's provided is service by registered mail, but when that isn't possible for some reason, like the owner of the property is long gone or it's vacant and the owner's not around and registered mail comes back because the owner cannot be located, then we want the authority to placard the property, which is a procedure that's generally followed on property standards in those sorts of situations. That's the procedure that's authorized by the Planning Act with respect to property standards when service by registered mail is impossible.

That's basically the essence of the legislation we're seeking.

Mr Jim Wilson: I have a question, really to the clerk of the committee or research or counsel. It says in point 3 of the compendium that was provided that no precedent had been used in drafting the bill. But it seems to me, having been a member of this committee for a couple of years, that we've seen a lot of these property standards bills. Does that just refer to no precedent within the city of York, or are we looking at a bill that's different from the type of property standards bills we've passed in this committee previously?

Ms Laura Hopkins: No, it's not different from the property standards bills you've seen in the past. I used a precedent in preparing the bill for the applicant, but I didn't tell the applicant what precedents had been used.

Mr Jim Wilson: I see. Which other cities in the Metro area, for example, have the power to implement this type of bylaw?

Ms Hopkins: If I can have a minute to speak with the staff from Municipal Affairs, they're better acquainted with which particular municipalities bills have been prepared for.

Ms Linda Gray: A number of municipalities have passed similar legislation. I don't have a complete list with me, but the municipalities include Brampton, North York, the city of Toronto, I believe Richmond Hill.

The new aspect of this bill is the aspect referring to retaining walls. I believe this has not been done before.

Mr Jim Wilson: I only ask because something twigged in my mind that we sent one of these bills back, perhaps last year at some point, dealing with the cutting of grass on boulevards and that sort of thing. I can't remember the reason we sent the bill back.

Mr Hansen: I believe that was Mr Perruzza's bill. Either there was a discussion or there were some difficulties. We discussed it at length and came back and passed the bill, but I know there were some concerns. Maybe Mr Perruzza could enlighten us, since it was his bill he brought forward for the municipality.

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): In fact you're right in saying that the city of North York has a similar provision and had a similar bill passed, although there were some queries with respect to cutting the grass in industrial areas, in front of industrial centres on the boulevard sections. At the end of the day the committee, in its wisdom, passed the bill because it felt the city should have that kind of authority in order to keep a clean façade, even in the industrial parks throughout the city.


Mr Mills: I think the place Mr Wilson is thinking of is Ottawa. Would you like to speak to that?

Ms Gray: I believe that's true. In the bill presented by Ottawa, there was an amendment made to the bill, because Ottawa had wanted at one point, when Ottawa went in and did the work, to charge the fees and deem them as municipal taxes. The change that was made to the Ottawa bill has been reflected in the York bill and in terms of the way the fees are collected.

Mr Eddy: There is need for vegetation growth control, and I believe it has been asked by previous governments to pass such legislation to would apply to all municipalities, because indeed, even the most rural of townships in Ontario have problems with some property owners. I'm thinking of subdivisions with vacant lots. The Weed Control Act of the province just doesn't do the thing, because there are problems with the danger of fire, rodents, pests and all this sort of thing. So I'm in favour, but I would hope that the ministry would look at an amendment to the Municipal Act or the Planning Act, probably the Municipal Act, to give all municipalities some type of vegetation control legislation.

Mr Ruprecht: I have a question for the parliamentary assistant. Do you know of any other municipality which controls this kind of vegetation problem with animals?

Mr Mills: With animals? Two-legged or four? No, I don't.

The Chair: Perhaps we can graze along. Any further questions?

Mr John Sola (Mississauga East): I'd like to raise a question regarding the maintenance of retaining walls. What is the intent: safety concerns or to prevent eyesores?

Mr Bartlett: I guess I'd have to say it's both. It initially starts as an eyesore, but eventually becomes a safety problem.

The provision is restricted to retaining walls that have been constructed by the private property owner, not the city. There are some retaining walls which the city has constructed, and we will continue to be responsible for maintenance. The concern is that others have constructed retaining walls on city property. The city technically could go in and forcefully remove those structures, but that could have consequences on the private property. If they fall into disrepair, we could go in and simply remove them, but that seems not to be in the city's benefit nor the private property owner's benefit. So what we'd rather do is have clear legislative authority that if they are not maintained, we could go in and physically maintain them and keep them up at the expense of the owner.

Mr Sola: Does this pertain to private property as well as the public property?

Mr Bartlett: It's just for the retaining walls that have been constructed on the boulevard, which is public property, but by the abutting property owner.

Mr Jim Wilson: Just a quick question. While I'm supportive of this legislation, just following up on what Mr Eddy suggested, perhaps the parliamentary assistant could indicate whether the ministry is contemplating giving similar legislative authority to all municipalities dealing both with weed and vegetation control and retaining walls. It seems to me a tremendous amount of time is spent in this committee dealing with these particular bills, and there is probably a lot of municipalities out there that don't even realize -- I'm sure there are some in my rural part of Ontario that don't even realize they can come here and ask for this type of legislative authority, and there's an expense involved to the municipalities.

Mr Mills: I believe that Municipal Affairs looks upon these as a pilot project, and there may well be an omnibus bill later on down the road to deal with all this, so that every municipality has this option.

The Chair: Further questions? Mr Parliamentary Assistant.

Mr Mills: There are no complaints from our ministry.

The Chair: Are we then ready for a vote on the bill? I don't see that there are any objectors present. Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? Agreed.

Shall the preamble carry? Agreed.

Shall the bill carry? Agreed.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you very much, Mr Rizzo and Mr Bartlett.

Mr Bartlett: Thank you, members.

The Chair: We stand adjourned until next week at 10 o'clock.

The committee adjourned at 1035.