Wednesday 3 November 1993

Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged Act, 1993, Bill Pr56, Mr Grandmaître

Bernard Grandmaître, MPP

Joel Taller, solicitor, Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged

Steven Schneiderman, executive director, Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged

Institute of Municipal Assessors Amendment Act, 1993, Bill Pr50, Mr Perruzza

Derek Fletcher, MPP

Jack Lettner, executive director, Institute of Municipal Assessors

County of Hastings Act, 1993, Bill Pr52, Mr Paul Johnston

Paul R. Johnson, MPP

Larry Hartin, reeve and chairman, review committee, County of Hastings

William Bouma, clerk-administrator, County of Hastings

Carl Tinney, reeve, Township of Faraday

Ralph Swan, deputy reeve, Township of Thurlow

City of Kingston Act, 1993, Bill Pr59, Mr Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson, MPP

Norman Jackson, solicitor, City of Kingston

Rick Fiebig, treasurer, City of Kingston


*Chair / Présidente: Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND)

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

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

*Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND)

*Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

Jordan, Leo (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

O'Neil, Hugh P. (Quinte L)

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

*Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings/Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud ND)

for Mr Mills

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Hayes, Pat, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel:

Klein, Susan A., legislative counsel

Mifsud, Lucinda, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1004 in committee room 1.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): I'd like to call the meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order.


Consideration of Bill Pr56, An Act to revive Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged.

The Chair: We have a quorum so I would call forward the presenters for Bill Pr56, An Act to revive Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged. Is the sponsor, Mr Grandmaître, he coming along?

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I understood that he was over, but I'll certainly do to in his place.

The Chair: If you wouldn't mind, Mr Eddy, I see Mr Grandmaître behind you. You're fast off the mark. I know that you know these folks and would be very happy to introduce them to the rest of the committee and then make any opening remarks.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): They're big boys and I'll let them introduce themselves. This is the director, Joel Taller.

Mr Joel Taller: Joel Taller and director Steven Schneiderman.

Mr Grandmaître: Thank you, Madam Chair. Sorry, but I was in a committee.

Mr Eddy: Yes, I heard about that. What a job.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes, what a job.

Madam Chair and members of the committee, the Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged is applying to revive the Ottawa Jewish not-for-profit home for the aged. This corporation was dissolved by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations on September 8, 1992, for default in complying with the Corporations Information Act. Despite the dissolution, this corporation has been operating successfully and we're appearing before you this morning to revive this corporation. To my knowledge, there has been no objection.

The Chair: Very good. Mr Taller or Mr Schneiderman, did you have any comments to make at this point?

Mr Taller: I'd just like to add to what Mr Grandmaître said. The lodge commenced operations in 1965 with the intention of establishing accommodation for ambulatory aged. There's a staff of 55 full-time and part-time employees. There are 46 residents of the lodge itself, ranging in age from 70 to 99 years. There are six full-time and part-time nursing staff and there's one medical director and an attending physician.

The investigation of the records indicates that for some inadvertent reason the appropriate form didn't get filed in time and as such the corporation was dissolved. As Mr Grandmaître pointed out, it has continued to carry on operations. It's an accredited home for the aged and to my knowledge has filed all other forms and kept up with its filing requirements either for the federal government under its charitable status or for the provincial government under its status as a home for the aged.

The Chair: Very good. I was just going to quickly ask if there were any other interested parties in the audience who would like to come forward at this time. Seeing none, I will recognize Mr Hansen.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): I would say the government supports this bill. Our side has no problem with it.

The Chair: Very good. Mr Parliamentary Assistant, did you have any comments to make at this point? See, I didn't forget you this time.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr Grandmaître explained it very thoroughly there and certainly has taken away any questions. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not have any objections to this bill.

The Chair: I will turn to the other two members present. Any comments or questions?

Mr Eddy: No, I have no questions. We support the application.

Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): Simply to say that I have two homes for the aged, not Jewish homes for the aged but two homes for the aged, in my riding and they do excellent work. I'm sure you do excellent work and I'm happy to support your efforts.

Mr Taller: Thank you very much.

The Chair: Very good. I take it the members at this point are ready to vote? Agreed? Very good.

Shall section 1 carry? Carried.

Shall section 2 carry? Carried.

Shall section 3 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? Agreed.

The bill is carried. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your participation.

Mr Taller: Thank you very much.

Mr Eddy: You can now go back to work.

The Chair: Yes. Take a coffee along with you.

Mr Grandmaître: You're being very generous.

The Chair: I know.



Consideration of Bill Pr50, An Act to amend the Institute of Municipal Assessors.

The Chair: I would like to call forward the presenters for Bill Pr50, An Act to amend the Institute of Municipal Assessors.

I take it the gentleman sitting down right now is Mr Shea. Is that correct? Are you Mr Shea?

Mr Jack Lettner: No, ma'am. My name is Lettner. Mr Shea was unable to be here.

The Chair: All right, Mr Lettner. In the absence of Mr Perruzza, I'd like to introduce you to Mr Fletcher who will at least introduce you to the committee. If there are some comments you'd like to make, Mr Fletcher, about what is transpiring, we can move right along.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): On behalf of Mr Perruzza, I'd like to introduce Bill Pr50, An Act to amend the Institute of Municipal Assessors. It's up to you, sir.

Mr Lettner: Madam Chair, members of the committee, the purpose of this is we have a membership of some 1,300 people, and at an annual meeting to change bylaws or to vote on bylaws some 200 people show up. The members of the institute would like to have the option of a write-in ballot to change bylaws, change fees and change the working agreement of the institute, and that's the purpose of the bill.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Lettner. Are there any other interested parties in the audience who would like to come forward at this time? Seeing none, I'll open it to the parliamentary assistant to make any comments with regard to this particular bill.

Mr Hayes: Do I go first this time?

The Chair: Yes, nobody else raised their hand so it's your turn.

Mr Hayes: This bill does not actually affect the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Also, neither the Attorney General nor the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has any objections to this bill. But we do have two minor amendments, just the title, and I'm sure you're aware of that.

The Chair: Maybe you would read that into the motion.

Mr Hayes: I move that the long title of the bill be struck out and substituted with the words:

"An Act respecting the Institute of Municipal Assessors of Ontario."

The Chair: Are there any questions on that particular motion? Seeing none, all those in favour of the motion? It is carried.

And your further motion?

Mr Hayes: I move that section 3 of the bill be struck out and substituted with the following:

"The short title of this act is the Institute of Municipal Assessors Act, 1993."

The Chair: Are there any questions with regard to that particular motion? Seeing none, all those in favour? It's unanimous; it is carried.

Are there any questions on behalf of the members at this point? Mr Eddy and then Mr Johnson.

Mr Eddy: I expect the reason for this is simply that the members of the Institute of Municipal Assessors are scattered far and wide across the province of Ontario to the far corners, and the speaker himself of course may be somewhat remote from the city.

Mr Lettner: We have membership in practically every province. Most of our members are in the province of Ontario, but we have members in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

Mr Eddy: Oh, really? I didn't realize that.

Mr Lettner: The institute is set up to educate municipal assessors, and where they don't have an educational body in their province we have been doing that for them too.

Mr Eddy: I was not aware of that and you're to be commended for that, for an educational program that's received far and wide.

Mr David Johnson: Good to see you again, Jack. It may not be totally on --

Mr Lettner: I'm no longer in assessment.

Mr David Johnson: This may not be totally on topic, but you mentioned different provinces that are involved, different parts of the country. Is there anywhere across the country that has a 40-some years old, out-of-date assessment such as Metropolitan Toronto?

Mr Lettner: Not to my knowledge, no.

Mr David Johnson: That's what I thought.

Getting a little bit maybe more back on topic, but I'm glad you made that comment, I gather with the write-in you've looked at the possibility of control problems that you might have.

Mr Lettner: We have that, yes.

Mr David Johnson: You have that all in hand, do you?

Mr Lettner: I think we have everything together. The ballots are clearly marked and they come back into the office and we control them from there.

The Chair: Let us move forward and ask the question if we're all ready to vote on this.

Shall sections 1 and 2 carry? Carried.

Shall section 3, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Very good. You have a motion, Mr Hansen?

Mr Hansen: I'd like to move that the actual cost of reprinting be remitted on Bill Pr50, An Act respecting the Institute of Municipal Assessors of Ontario.

The Chair: Did you have any explanation with regard to that?

Mr Hansen: No.

The Chair: Just as a comment: There was a mistake in the title, so that's why that --

Mr Fletcher: Are we voting on this?

The Chair: Yes, there would be a motion here, so any other questions on that?

All those in favour of the motion as put forward? Carried.

We have all of our business transacted. Thank you, Mr Lettner. No, sorry. I have one final point: Shall the bill be reported to the House? Agreed. Very good.

I'd like to call forward Mr Wilson and the people here for Bill Pr59, which is An Act respecting the City of Kingston.

Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): They're not here yet, Madam Chair.

The Chair: They're not here yet.

Mr Gary Wilson: It should be soon.


Consideration of Bill Pr52, An Act respecting the County of Hastings.

The Chair: I think what we'll do is we'll move forward with Bill Pr52, An Act respecting the County of Hastings. If Mr Johnson would like to go to the table in front of us and join the presenters, please, perhaps you'd like to introduce the presenters.

Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): On my left is the warden of Hastings county, Joe Best; on my right is past warden Larry Hartin. I'm sorry, Larry, I'm not sure exactly what your official capacity is at this point in time, but we're going to find out soon, I know that.

Mr Larry Hartin: Chairman of the county review committee.

Mr Paul Johnson: On my far right is Bill Bouma, the administrator of Hastings county.

The Chair: Continue with any remarks.

Mr Paul Johnson: Would you like me at this time to move the bill and then we'll continue?

The Chair: No, if you would just make some introductory remarks and then the presenters or the applicants will have time for presentation.

Mr Paul Johnson: Okay. At this time then, first of all, I want to say, as the sponsor of Bill Pr52, that I have no opinion either pro or con with regard to the bill. However, it has been brought to my attention that there are a number of representatives from Hastings county who are not in favour of it. I think that should be on the record here.

Other than that, I might add too that in a regular meeting of council the motion to present the bill was passed by a vote of 20 to 17, I believe, and therefore that would give it the necessary impetus from the county to move forward through this process.

So here we are today before the committee to speak to Bill Pr52, An Act respecting the County of Hastings. At this point it might be appropriate to turn it over either to Mr Larry Hartin or to Bill Bouma.


The Chair: Mr Hartin, would you like to continue with your presentation.

Mr Hartin: If I could start off with just giving you a bit of background on the topic, as a result of the Tatham report and through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, different counties in the province requested restructuring studies. The province started 12 studies and allocated a resource person for counties to undertake an extensive review of their operations and their relationships with separate municipalities.

In September 1990 the county recommended that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs be requested to accelerate the allocation of a resource person for the Hastings county review study, and the county administrator was requested to draft a plan and timetable as to how and when to proceed with the county review. In the spring of 1991 the county was told that until the government analysed the results of the studies already under way, they were not going to allocate any people for any new studies.

The present government has indicated that it will not be considering any further county studies along the same vein as the original studies. This being the case, the county decided, upon instructions from council at its January 1992 meeting:

"That it be recommended that the county review committee not proceed with internal boundary restructuring at this time, but that it should diligently monitor and participate in any area development restructuring/planning that may in the future affect the county. And further that the committee make recommendations to county council as to the form and jurisdiction of county government, its committees and their relationship to municipalities within the county."

Procedures towards a county study: As the county was still committed to the idea of a county review, and taking action on the above-mentioned council decision with respect to the form of county government, on April 6, 1992, the county review committee moved the following:

"That this committee review the County of Hastings Act, 1973, and request input from the constituent municipalities and, further, that the county administrator send a letter to all these municipalities outlining the reasons for the review."

Letters to all municipalities were sent out in the summer of 1992, and the county received responses from 22 out of 27 municipalities. These responses were then reviewed by the county review committee.

The responses included a few suggestions for change, including changing to the ward system for election or discounted equalization assessment, but the county review committee believes that in a democratic society, the voting privileges have to be based on the number of electors who are being represented.

The main concern of the committee was the ever-increasing size of county council after every election so that Hastings county is now at 35 members representing some 63,672 electors and a population of 59,165, and also the fact that in Hastings county it is governed by the standing committee system where a lot of the working business is dealt with in these committees and then gets reported on to county council. It is difficult to ensure that all council members have an opportunity to serve on a standing committee due to the size of county council.

I might add at this time that we do have five standing committees with six members on each committee plus the warden, so you can see where there are 35 members of county council to the present day and there's only room for 30 members on these respective committees.

There will be, of course, a monetary saving, but this was not brought forward as a major consideration. We did look at the idea of the saving, but we didn't believe that was a major factor.

The committee also believes that a county councillor attending a county council meeting is representing the ratepayers of the community. At the last council meeting in September, a recorded vote was taken on an issue. Just to give you some indication of what happens with the two members from a respective municipality, four out of eight of the deputy reeves present that day voted against their respective reeves on this particular issue, thus cancelling out their votes. This happens quite frequently in our county system.

The Municipal Act, subsection 69(1), RSO 1990, chapter M.45, 1993 edition, states that the reeve is the head of council and the chief executive officer for this corporation.

After reviewing responses from different municipalities on the composition of council, the committee reported to county council in January 1993. A copy of the report is included in your compendium. This report was adopted on a recorded vote where, once again, two of the eight deputy reeves voted against their respective reeves.

As my concluding remarks, with the increasing size of council at every election -- and just to give you some background, in 1988, we had 33 members; in 1991 we had 35; in 1995 it looks like we could possibly have 37 -- it is therefore becoming increasingly more difficult to accommodate members on county standing committees. The proposed amendment would reduce the number of councillors to 27.

In the adopted rules of order, each Hastings county councillor may speak on an issue for 10 minutes. Therefore, full discussion by everyone is sometimes difficult to accommodate. A smaller council would allow for more debate and a more informed, effective, efficient and involved council. This would assist every member of council to carry out his or her responsibility to ensure the effective operation of the county. Representation by reeves only still ensures that each municipality is represented.

The cost of attendance at county council sessions would be reduced, although as I said earlier, this is not a major factor in the decision to recommend the change in the composition of council. Hastings county wants to continue to be accountable to its taxpayers by coordinating and providing for its citizens integrated public service through innovative and cost-effective policies and procedures.

I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to present this information to you this morning.

The Chair: I will turn to the other gentlemen present, if they have any additional comments to make on this presentation.

Mr William Bouma: Not at this time.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. Mr Johnson alluded to the fact that there are some people present who have some different views. I would ask them at this time to come forward. It may be that you'll have to vacate your chairs to allow the other people to come forward.

Mr Johnson, would you please take the opportunity to introduce these two gentlemen.

Mr Paul Johnson: On my left is Carl Tinney, representing the township of Faraday, and on my right is Ralph Swan, representing the township of Thurlow.

The Chair: Mr Tinney, if you'd like to begin then.

Mr Carl Tinney: I represent Faraday township. It's with great pleasure and honour that I've been invited here to speak in regard to this bill. As in my letter addressed to this committee on August 10 of this year, I feel that the amendment to the act would be detrimental to the electors, of my township anyway. An amendment would reduce the voice of the people in the township who want to have two representatives there. Unlike Mr Hartin, if my deputy reeve desires to vote against me, then I think my ratepayers are getting a better point of view, because I may be taking a singular view of this.

As stated in the resolution passed by the council and circulated to the representative municipalities of the county of Hastings for endorsement, removing the deputy reeves and their accompanying votes may prove expedient to the south, but it would definitely affect all municipalities from the north in a drastically negative way. As this county represents both north and south, the fairness of this decision is definitely in question.


I would like to point out to this committee that the following member municipalities supported this resolution: Tudor, Cashel, Thurlow, Wollaston, Tyendinaga, Herschel and Mr Hartin's own township council of Hungerford. Therefore, with the support of these fellow member municipalities, I would request that the committee give great thought and consideration before making a decision on this matter. The problem is that north of Highway 7 we are small townships and we need all the voices we can get, because we're pretty well controlled from the south.

Mr Ralph Swan: Madam Chairperson, it is a great pleasure that we are able to come here to voice our opinion and objection. The literature I received from the Ontario Municipal Board said no one was against this. Well, I presume when you receive literature that we are against it, it means that we're not totally in favour of it.

Now, I don't know if any of you members have read the previous literature I had sent in to this board or not, or if you've all got a copy of it or not, but you must remember that Hastings county is 54 kilometres wide and 235 kilometres long, consisting of the 24 townships and eight villages, which have 27 reeves and eight deputy reeves. The 27 reeves and the eight deputy reeves make up the total of Hastings county. For county council to eliminate the deputy reeves from the heavily populated area would reduce a fair representation on county council by the local taxpayer.

At present on county council we have seven members on each of the following committees: roads and bridges, homes for the aged, finance and property, personnel, planning advisory and land division, economic development. We also have three members who sit on the other committees, like Hastings joint social service and Belleville General Hospital, Hastings-Prince Edward health unit, Children's Aid Society for Hastings, Belleville and Trenton. We also have members who sit on the Quinte Exhibition and Raceway; suburban roads committee, which we share with the city of Belleville; North Hastings children's service; the museum board; and the 911 tricounty emergency service committee, which has five members.

There is representation on all of these committees, and we feel for the public to be properly served they either should keep the deputy reeves or go to a ward system. There is a lot of work required and sound judgement on these committees, and we feel that to have fair representation from the electorate we need to maintain at least the standard we now have.

Before there is a cut to keep only reeves and county council, we would request that you look at the ward system which is used by school boards in the province. They, at present, have only a few in Hastings county, but more wards could be added to serve the population equally. As the population increases in federal or provincial areas, you keep changing the boundaries to accommodate the electorate. Why could the same process not take place in local politics?

I hope this is not a waste of our time and yours, that you will consider the whole picture before you make your final decision. I feel that before a major vote on this should have taken place, before they were going to eliminate deputy reeves, it should have been a two-thirds majority instead of just a simple majority.

In the county of Hastings, the largest municipality is 17,000 and the smallest is 260. So therefore, if you eliminate the deputy reeves, there will not be the voice on county council. You heard the first speaker just speak about the deputy reeves voting against the reeves. Well, he also voted against what his municipality had said to county council. He did not abide by that. He voted against it. So here, again, if the reeves are not going to properly voice the opinion of their local councils, what are they doing there?

I'm not in county council for the money or the thing I get out of it. It's just for the good of the county and the people we work for. I hope you will consider this decision before you give this your royal assent. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Swan. I would take the time to assure you that your opinions are not only recorded for posterity as a result of these microphones, but definitely provide useful information in the decision-making process that will proceed.

I do have an obligation at this point to ask if there are additional people present who might have some comments with regard to this bill and call them forward. Seeing none, I will --

Mr Hansen: Excuse me, Chair.

The Chair: I have a question from Mr Hansen.

Mr Hansen: Yes. This -- let's call it -- restructuring going on within the county of Hastings, is this a new restructuring that just sort of came up in the last year or is this something that's been talked about for five or 10 years, so we have a better understanding?

Mr Tinney: This time, I think it just came up recently.

Mr Hansen: How much discussion went on? It was 20 to 17; was this at, say, one meeting or over a series of meetings that were carried on?

Mr Swan: I would say there wasn't proper dialogue taking place on it to give us proper -- to take it back to our local municipalities we represent. I felt it was voted on and acted on a little too soon. It should have been tabled with a little more discussion or we wouldn't be here today defending our position.

Mr Hansen: Not coming from the area, we are listening to both sides to make a decision as members of this committee, so this is why I've asked you some of these questions. I think maybe I should hear from the other side also, the same question.

The Chair: We have the two Mr Johnsons who'd like to comment, but Mr Johnson on this side was first.

Mr David Johnson: I'd just like to ask a couple of questions. Perhaps I'll start with Reeve Hartin, if I could. As I understand it, the objective of this bill is simply to reduce the size of the county council, is it? Are there any other objectives that you're hoping to achieve?

Mr Hartin: No, at the present time it's just to reduce the size of the county council. But as I said in my remarks earlier, one of the main concerns is that members of the county council aren't well enough informed because of the committee system and the vast number of members on county council, and we strongly feel this would give every member of county council a better opportunity to be involved in the workings of the committee system.

Mr David Johnson: Was there an objective with regard to cost savings associated with this at all? Is that one of the objectives?

Mr Hartin: A very minor one. The cost saving was discussed, but we didn't do it based on cost.

Mr David Johnson: The vote was 20 to 17. I assume that most of the members of this committee would probably be hoping that it would have been a bit more unanimous. Could you tell us how that's split down? There's been some suggestion that it was north versus south. Is there a split on a geographical basis on this vote?

Mr Hartin: I'd have to refer to our county administrator for the proper answer on that, but I do feel it was quite a mixed reaction. Maybe you could get the information from Mr Bouma, if he has it.

Mr David Johnson: I was just wondering, is this pitting one part of the county against another or is it just sort of --

Mr Hartin: My answer to that, I'd have to say no.

Mr David Johnson: Would it be primarily the deputy reeves who voted in the minority and the reeves who voted in the majority?

Mr Hartin: There were a number of deputy reeves who voted against, but --

Mr David Johnson: Of the eight, would all eight have voted against this?

Mr Hartin: No, they did not.

Mr David Johnson: All right. So it's split in that regard. You're hoping to have this implemented for the elections of next year then, obviously?

Mr Hartin: That's correct.

Mr David Johnson: All right. I guess I'll pass for the moment.

Mr Hartin: If I could just respond to one question that was asked before I came to the table here, Madam Chair: This process did start back in 1990, so it is not something that happened overnight.


Mr Paul Johnson: I want to say that certainly what we're dealing with here specifically is the bill and the notion, as Mr Swan indicated, that it would be nice if we had a ward system, is admirable and probably would be maybe in the best interest of representation. However, that's not what we are here to debate, unfortunately.

I did have a chance to meet with Mr Hugh O'Neil, representing the riding of Quinte and also the township of Sidney, out in the hall just before I came in, and unfortunately he had to go to another meeting and couldn't be here now. He indicated that he was supportive of this idea. I know that's hearsay at this point in time; I just find it interesting, though, that he does represent Sidney township and it is unfortunate that he can't be here.

I've got before me here the way the votes have been placed. I see there was a split in Sidney township between the reeve and the deputy reeve. I must go back and say I am not either for or against this bill per se, because I'm just the sponsor. However, let me say this: The two townships that I represent provincially, Thurlow township and Tyendinaga township, both their reeve and deputy reeve voted against supporting this bill, so it would certainly, I guess, give direction to me to be opposed to it on that basis.

However, given the notion that democracy as it's practised in the province of Ontario and within our municipalities is as it is, there was certainly a majority vote on the council of 20 to 17. Mr Swan raises an interesting aside to this, and that's the notion that maybe it should have been a two-thirds majority that would have maybe better represented the broader constituency of Hastings county as they dealt with this matter.

I just raise these as some interesting aspects of this proposal; however, I didn't want this opportunity to be passed by. I'll leave it at that for now.

The Chair: I believe, Mr Tinney, you had a response to make and then I will turn to Mr Eddy.

Mr Tinney: Yes, Madam Chairman. I would like to bring to the attention of this gentleman here that -- he was talking north and south -- this bill would eliminate all of the deputy reeves north of Highway 7, and some south of it as well. I come from north of Highway 7. That would mean we would only have one voice down there per township.

Mr Eddy: I'm interested in hearing from the county why the act is before us at all, because in the Municipal Act there are alternative systems for representation from local municipalities and county council, one of which of course is reeves only, but I believe in that case, the case of reeves only, the voting power on county council is multiples of 1,000, it seems to me, whereas if you go to limited deputy reeves, which apparently Hastings already has, the representation is based on 2,500 electors and indeed the voting power is based on 2,500 electors.

So the bill is before us and I expect it has to do with an alternative system of voting power for those reeves who will be representing local municipalities on county council. Could you give us some insight into that particular matter?

Mr Hartin: If I may, the voting rights of members of county council would be dealt with in multiples of 4,000, where any municipality with one to 4,000 electors, and I repeat electors, would get one vote; over 4,000 to 8,000 would get two votes; 8,000 to 12,000 three votes; and so on up to a maximum of five votes, which would be the case in Sidney township at this point in time.

All other municipalities would be treated the same way. Any municipality with over 4,000 electors would get the second vote. In my personal opinion, I feel that every municipality's being dealt with fairly based on the number of electors in that municipality.

Mr Eddy: In fact you feel that the proposed system would be a fairer vote on behalf of constituents and perhaps would be closer to rep by pop -- I know it's still a long way from that -- unless you go to a decimal voting system, or as proposed in Ottawa-Carleton, a basis of 1,000 votes so the smallest gets one. Do you feel that it is a fairer system then, voting on county council on behalf of residents? That's really what you represent on county council, the residents of the municipalities.

Mr Hartin: I strongly feel that this would be the fairest system we could come up with at this present time.

Mr Eddy: It's always a difficult decision to make, and very controversial, but I compliment the county in dealing with the matter and perhaps proceeding on a road to some changes to update, shall I say, county government. I wanted to compliment Mr P. Johnson, if it is the case that he does not wish to get embroiled in local county politics.

Mr David Johnson: There's another question or two I forgot to ask. I'll ask perhaps anybody who may wish to respond to this. In terms of the general public, we've heard of the process that you were involved with elected representatives. Could you tell me a little more specifically how the general public got involved and what their views might be on this proposal?

Mr Hartin: I'd have to say that as far as the general public being involved is concerned, I don't know to any great degree they've been involved other than just by members of county council like myself talking to them and telling them what our proposal was. The response I've had has been very positive.

Mr David Johnson: Have there been any meetings? Obviously you've had county meetings. Have there been any citizen groups or ratepayer groups, that sort of thing, that have been involved?

Mr Hartin: Not to do with this issue, no.

Mr David Johnson: So as far as you are aware, the people of Hastings county are not opposed to this proposal?

Mr Hartin: I haven't heard of any cases where they are.

Mr David Johnson: I wonder if --

The Chair: I was going to ask, did you want any of the other --

Mr David Johnson: Yes.

Mr Tinney: I'd like to respond to that.

Mr David Johnson: I'd like to hear from both sides.

Mr Tinney: I would like to respond that our council voted against this bill, and so did several others. I assume that the people who sit on my council do represent my ratepayers, and therefore I would suggest to Mr Hartin that yes, they have had a voice in it and 17 people said, "No, we don't want this bill." Therefore, there would be that percentage of ratepayers in those townships that would be against it.

Mr David Johnson: I can understand. I've been a mayor myself for a number of years and I know there are a number of issues that take place and you don't always directly have the opportunity to discuss each one of them with all of your constituents. I would never pretend that I spoke on behalf of all of my constituents on any given vote.

I guess I'm asking, are there any specific reasons, letters or deputations, of that nature, that would lead you to believe, beyond the vote of the 17, that the people of Hastings county are opposed to this suggestion?

Mr Tinney: I can only speak for the people I've actually talked to. I know the ones I talked to in my own township are against this bill when you discuss it with them because they feel that they're not getting a proper representation in the south part of the county. This is the problem that arises from this. We are so far removed from the south end of the county that you just don't feel that you're getting the proper representation.

Mr David Johnson: I understand that you're opposed to the reorganization and opposed to the loss of the deputy reeves. If that does happen, though, do you have any concerns with regard to the formula that is being suggested that Reeve Hartin, I think, outlined, that for every 4,000 people there's an extra vote for the reeve up to a maximum of five votes, I think? I haven't heard you speak to that. If this does go through, then is that a satisfactory arrangement? Does that represent some form of representation by population?

Mr Tinney: Not really, I don't think so, because the 4,000 eliminates everybody north of Highway 7 to one vote. Then it starts to pick up in the south. So what you're actually doing is, anything south of Highway 7 could overrule the north at any time.

Mr David Johnson: How many people are we talking about, north of Highway 7?

Mr Tinney: I really wouldn't have a clue how many people. They're small townships. It's just that, you get the feeling that what you want to get through down there most times doesn't materialize because you don't carry enough weight or votes to do much about it.


Mr David Johnson: The main thrust that's been put forward here is that this bill would allow for the greater participation of the members in the committee work, whereas at the present time you have more members, I guess, than you have committee spaces. What is your view on that?

Mr Tinney: My view is that in the rundown I did on it on all the standing committees and other committees that we have, each member would have two seats on all of those committees, standing and otherwise, the hospital committee and all these others. Each member would be able to sit on two committees if they were divided up equally. But the way it seems to run now, there are a number of people who are sitting on four major committees and there isn't room for the new people coming in.

Mr David Johnson: The reason I ask you is because apparently you have five committees and six members on a committee. Is that right?

Mr Tinney: That's right, yes.

Mr David Johnson: That leaves 30 spots, but you have 35 members at the present time.

Mr Tinney: Yes, but we also have other committees like the homes for the aged and those types of things that people do sit on. I have no problem with phoning someone who's on a committee that I'm not on to get information. I don't know why the problem would arise that we're not well enough informed.

The Chair: At this point, I would like to turn to the parliamentary assistant, Mr Hayes, for his comments.

Mr Eddy: Uh-oh.

The Chair: Come on now, Mr Eddy. Be positive.

Mr Hayes: This is a really good example of sitting on the fence. There have been precedents set in other counties, in Lambton and Simcoe and others for these types of bills. So as I said, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not object to this bill. Like I said, we're sitting on the fence.

Mr Eddy: I had hoped for a somewhat stronger position from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, given that the bill to restructure Simcoe county, whereby local boundaries -- of course, at the request of county council; I must add that -- will change representation on county council, the voting system, and given that there are alternatives in the Municipal Act whereby the Hastings county council indeed could have accomplished exactly what it's doing here by number.

But the bill is before us because I think it's been stated that they see it as a fairer system of voting than going to strictly deputy reeves only and perhaps the number of votes. I know it's a very difficult ordeal for a county council to reconstitute itself. But it does, I would expect, make for a smaller, more workable county council.

Mr David Johnson: This is a tough one, but I guess the bottom line is that you have to respect the democratic vote. I've been through circumstances that can identify with some of the situations that have been described here today, sitting on a regional council of 34 members, which is quite analogous, that council being the Metropolitan Toronto regional council, and representing a municipality where we had two members on that council, East York being the smallest member of Metropolitan Toronto and we had two members: I as the mayor and the other person not as a deputy reeve but as a regional councillor representing East York.

We didn't always vote the same way. There were occasions when I voted one way and he voted the other way and sometimes some of the members of council would get annoyed that we cancelled out each other's vote, but that's democracy. I can tell you that the people of East York wouldn't always be unanimous on every topic that came to the regional council, so to some degree, that may have reflected the view of the people.

I know that the deputy reeves have fulfilled an excellent service to the people of the county of Hastings over the past number of years and I can well understand their feelings in terms of this particular bill and the loss of their experience at the county level. That's certainly something that gives one pause.

The 20-17 vote is one that we all look at that and say, "Too bad it wasn't much more decisive."

Mr Paul Johnson: One vote could have changed it the other way too.

Mr David Johnson: I've been involved in a lot of votes myself on the regional council that were as close as that, one vote one way or the other. I'm afraid the majority rules and you respect that and you move on.

I must say that I give the county credit in terms of the scheme it's come up with in terms of the number of votes for every increment of 4,000 population. I think that's very innovative. Reference has already been made to Bill 77 and the Ottawa situation, and a similar scheme is being looked at there in terms of the organization of that particular region. I think that's perhaps a positive outcome.

While I understand the feelings of both sides, I think in this case the county of Hastings has had a vote. They've taken a position, and as a former municipal representative, I know that once that's done, the counties and municipalities generally expect their view to be upheld and acknowledged. In that case, I as well will not have an objection to this bill.

Mr Hansen: I'm going to support this bill. I have a rural area also, in Niagara, with some very small towns, and yet representation on the regional level is about what you're talking here.

I have a mayor who is trying to build a town hall and people are objecting in the community, but not the majority of them. These people are coming to me as the provincial member to get involved. This is something that I think we have to hand back to the municipalities. The municipalities and the counties are the ones that make the decision, because it is the people in this area who voted them in, and I think we have to go along and support the decisions made by these councils out there. It has been three years that it's been going on. It's not just a resolution at one meeting saying, "This is where we're going."

I feel it's been thought out. I think the people would have got to their representatives on how they want to do it. I have to wind up by saying I'm not going to take sides, but I believe the majority of 20 is still a majority in a democracy.

Mr Hayes: Just in response to Mr Eddy, who has quite a bit of knowledge of the municipal acts and municipal council over the years, the municipal act does not allow, at the present time, for them just to make these changes without coming with this bill.

An example would be where it talks about, "If a local municipality has not less than 16,000 municipal electors, the reeve shall have five votes." The Municipal Act allows for three, I believe it is.

Like I said, this is a county council decision and that's why I'm saying that Municipal Affairs is not objecting one way or the other on this particular bill.

The one concern that was raised, of course, was when you talked about the reeve and the deputy reeve voting in opposite directions. I would suggest that if municipal council decided to go one way on an issue and you had one person out of that council who didn't vote the way his municipal council or township wanted, then you'd have to deal with that probably through the electors.

Once the motion is made, Madam Chair, there is an amendment to this. It's just a housekeeping amendment when we get to it.

The Chair: Yes. Do we have another comment from Mr Eddy at this point?


Mr Eddy: Yes, just a very short item. Under section 27 of the Municipal Act, there are alternative systems for the composition of county council and that's what I was referring to. It was that there were reeves only, but it's tied to, I believe, a vote of 1,000 electors, and then there's the alternative of establishing reeves who go to county council on the basis of 2,500 electors. I think the vote there is based on 2,500.

So I guess, to conclude, the easiest way to do it would be to amend the Municipal Act and allow county councils indeed to determine their composition, realizing that every municipality of course must be represented in some way. That would meet the needs of the county councils across the province because there are several private bills for the composition of county council where the system and the alternative systems don't really fit to the satisfaction.

The Chair: Mr Hartin, you had a comment to make?

Mr Hartin: Yes, Madam Chair, just very quickly, the vote of 20 to 17 has been emphasized here somewhat this morning. I'd just like to point out to the members that our rules of procedure do allow for a reconsideration. Some time after the original vote was taken -- and I say "some time"; I can't tell you exactly, but it was at least a couple of months -- a member of county council did bring forth a motion for reconsideration and he couldn't get a seconder. So I think that sheds some light on the 20-17 vote on the original motion.

The Chair: Mr Swan, you had an additional comment to make. I think after your comment, we'll have to move to the vote because I believe generally there's been a pretty full discussion.

Mr Swan: I'd just like to refer to what Mr Hartin said. The reason they couldn't get a seconder, it had to be from the other side, the side that voted on the yes, and that was the reason that didn't take place at that time. So if the one person who carried two votes had voted on the yes side and voted on the no side, it would have been a reverse decision.

I'm very sorry to sit here and listen to you people give a deaf ear to Mr Hartin saying his municipality voted to leave the deputy reeves and he voted against it to keep the deputy reeves off. I'm very sorry to hear that you fellows didn't -- that didn't come across to you.

The Chair: May I ask if the members are ready to vote at this time? Yes. Shall sections 1 and 2 carry?

Mr Hansen: I believe we have a motion also that --

The Chair: I believe it's for section 3.

Mr Hansen: Three, okay.

The Chair: And I'm asking about 1 and 2. Shall sections 1 and 2 carry? Carried.

Shall section 3 carry? You have an amendment?

Mr Hansen: Yes, on subsection 3(1), I move that paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 of subsection 3(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "not less" in the first line of each paragraph and substituting "more" in each case.

The Chair: Any questions on that particular motion? Seeing none, all those in favour of the amendment? Carried.

All those in favour of the section, as amended? Carried.

Shall sections 4 through 7 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

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

The bill is carried as amended. Thank you, gentlemen, for your input today.


Consideration of Bill Pr59, An Act respecting the City of Kingston.

The Chair: We have one more bill today. That's Bill Pr59, An Act respecting the City of Kingston. Would Mr Wilson and the applicants please come forward.

Mr Gary Wilson: I just want to begin by commending the two deputants from the city of Kingston for their efforts in getting here, because they really made it in record time. I've done that trip a lot of times and I know --


Mr Gary Wilson: No, they came on Via Rail and I think that also is a commendable thing to do.

Interjection: They came coach.

Mr Gary Wilson: They came coach. I thought that would be fairly non-controversial. Anyway, I will begin by introducing Norman Jackson, who is city solicitor, to my immediate left, and to his left is Rick Fiebig, the city treasurer, and they have come to Kingston to talk about this bill.

The Chair: They've come to Toronto.

Mr Gary Wilson: Sorry, to Toronto, to talk about the tax assistance program that this bill represents, and I will turn it over to them briefly to describe what the bill involves and to answer any questions that the committee might have.

Mr Norman Jackson: I'll start, thank you, Madam Chairperson. The city of Kingston went to market value reassessment this past year and experienced some of the difficulties that have been experienced elsewhere, including Toronto, from what we read, and other places. We were facing the difficulty of dealing with some of the hardships that could result from something that was intended to make things fairer overall. In doing so, we found that, particularly in the residential sector, there was a need to deal with people who would suffer perhaps from seeing their taxes proceed quickly to where they ought to, but in a faster manner than would suit their status.

This bill has been proposed in the same manner as bills from other municipalities, including North York and Mississauga, and I understand Oakville, to deal with hardship situations involving two categories of persons: those who are on provincial or municipal assistance, and secondly, those who are elderly. Really, we believe the bill is confined to those groups and should not pose a financial hardship on other taxpayers.

Mr Fiebig is present, both as our treasurer and our acting chief administrative officer and can indicate that our present debt capacity in the city is well below Ontario Municipal Board limitations. We believe we have almost $55 million in unused debt capacity. We don't expect that this bill will result in significant increases in that capacity. We expect perhaps there would be several hundred applicants. We've already spoken with a number of people who are interested. There is interest definitely in the municipality and we hope to proceed this year with a local bylaw advertising and to proceed in the same year as the market value assessment took place.


As a result, if you're all in agreement with it, we hope that this could be read and passed in the House as soon as possible so we could do something this year. We understand there is some interest in when the bill may terminate, and since North York had to come back and seek a second bill for a later market value assessment, we're not proposing to have a sunset clause in it. Since there isn't a large debt that we're anticipating accruing from it, we would ask that there not be a sunset provision in the bill -- we haven't proposed one -- and in fact we could see ourselves in need of this legislation again in perhaps five years.

We would ask for your support and are prepared to answer any questions that may come from the committee.

The Chair: We have two committee members who have questions. The first is Mr Johnson and then Mr Fletcher.

Mr David Johnson: I don't think I have any basic objection to this. I know that at the municipal level, we've discussed doing this here within Metropolitan Toronto, in East York, for a number of years. The problem was where to find the money to pay for it, so I guess Kingston has somehow sorted that out. Just a couple of things come to mind.

There have been numerous reported incidents of fraud in the family benefits system, in the general welfare system, and I wondered if the municipality had come to grips with that, that you may have applicants who are not eligible recipients, but are somehow receiving family welfare family at any rate, and they may be applying for relief. Have you discussed that aspect?

Mr Norman Jackson: As a matter of fact, we have. We've seen the reference to greater policing of the system in other municipalities. I believe there was a discussion. I'm not sure, Mr Fiebig, whether anybody was hired to look at that, but I know we are paying attention to that. It has been raised and debated at the council level. Do you want to answer that, Rick?

Mr Rick Fiebig: The city is doing a review of whether they will hire an eligibility review employee. Presently we do not have one, so it's under review right now by our social services department. Each one of the applications we receive under this program would be reviewed, not only by the city solicitor's office and myself but also by the social services department.

Mr David Johnson: So you hope you would somehow weed them out.

Mr Fiebig: We would like to try, yes.

Mr David Johnson: Good luck. The program itself doesn't seem to be able to weed them out.

This is for just owners, so tenants would not be included, tenants in terms of people who are renting residential properties. In Metropolitan Toronto about 50% of the people are actually tenants. I don't know what the proportion is in Kingston. I imagine it is much lower. This is usually one of the issues that has come up around this, that this is geared towards home owners but tenants don't get an equivalent sort of situation. Was that discussed at all?

Mr Norman Jackson: I think that is a good point. We have not included tenants in this. In the city, we do have more tenants than some of our surrounding municipalities, per capita, but the problem that has been experienced has been more with the ability of home owners to meet the demands of the municipal residential tax rates. I think we're going to meet that demand first, and then deal with any problems later.

Mr David Johnson: I don't really want to get into a debate with you on it. It's not my intention. But if there was a tenant organization here today, the representative would say that they pay taxes too, but indirectly, because the owner of the building pays taxes and part of their rent is taxes, and if the municipal taxes go up through market value assessment or whatever reason, then their rents go up, so they usually look for the same kind of consideration.

Finally, this would be a lien against the property. Would this take precedence over any mortgage? Would this be first call once the property's disposed of? Would the city have first right?

Mr Norman Jackson: Yes and no. I guess there are two types of liens that could be in the legislation. We're proposing a lien that will be registered and will not take precedence over other encumbrances, other mortgages. It will, however, take precedence on the date of the death of the applicant. This is a deferred proposal only, so that upon the death, then we will have first call at that time. That's all we think we need. We have discussed with North York and Mississauga how theirs worked, and apparently it did work well. We don't think we need the precedence over an existing mortgage. We just won't loan if there's too much debt on the property. We'll look very carefully at that before we loan, and there will be criteria set out in the bylaw as to how we'll do that.

Mr Fletcher: Just on a couple of things: The deferral of taxes up to $1,000 per year is a little steep, isn't it? That's more than what most municipalities -- they're around $150 a year or something. I was just wondering where the $1,000 mark came from.

Mr Norman Jackson: We have looked at that carefully and we first off agree it is higher. The other $150 marks were at an earlier point in time when times were different in terms of what the value of the property was as well. We have looked at the number of applicants, the size of our municipality compared to some of the other ones which were larger and may have had some more concern about their own financial ability to carry it. We have an existing program with senior citizens under legislation at $100, and there are no more than several hundred applicants who take advantage of that, so we do not see a problem.

We do think we'll be putting some work into this, and if there's some work put into it, in looking at the average home owner's taxes of approximately $2,000, we think it's fair to go about halfway.

Mr Fletcher: Okay, that sounds good. I'm in support of the bill itself, so if my questioning kind of makes it look like I'm not, don't worry about that.

The other thing was the sunset clause. You explained about being opposed to the sunset clause, but I see the sunset clause as a form of protection as far as the continuance of deferral of taxes is concerned. You don't like the sunset.

Mr Norman Jackson: No, I don't think we do because, first of all, this is permissive legislation to enact the bylaw. We feel the municipal council could repeal the bylaw any time it saw fit.

More important, once we get into market value reassessment, we see it continuing in the future. We have put some time and effort and money into this. There is everything from advertising to printing costs and delays with implementing it, because other municipalities had to come back and do almost exactly the same thing.

Mr Fletcher: Right.

Mr Norman Jackson: We think we can handle this without a sunset clause.

Mr Eddy: I'd like to, through the representatives of the Kingston city council, commend the council for its humane approach to this problem of reassessment and much higher taxes. I've read the detail that was attached to the bill with interest and noted the figures and the increases, and I can understand the hardships, so we commend you.

I think it's well received, and I certainly support it with the view that I would hope in the near future the ministry would look at this matter and have a change to the act, allowing any municipality that wished to proceed on this basis to have similar permissive legislation. I think that's very important. I think it's important, when it comes to talking about the amount, to allow the councillors elected by the people to make some determinations, and the amount is one.

I also am opposed to a sunset clause, simply because the city can repeal the bylaw, if it so wishes, so there's control there. Congratulations and thank you.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, did you have any comments to make at this time?

Mr Hayes: Yes. The Minister of Municipal Affairs does not object to this. I was going to just point out the difference in the bill when you talk about the sunset clause and the amount, but that's already been discussed around the table, so we do not have any objections.

However, when it comes time for section 3, paragraph 1, I'll move -- unless one of the other members would like to move an amendment to this.

The Chair: Okay. I would take it, then, seeing no additional questions, members are prepared to vote.

Shall sections 1 and 2 carry? Carried.

Section 3? Mr Fletcher, would you read the motion.

Mr Fletcher: Yes, section 3, paragraph 1: I move that paragraph 1 of section 3 be amended by striking out "single-family" in the second and third lines.

The Chair: Any questions about that particular amendment?

Seeing none, all those in favour of the amendment? Carried. All those in favour of the section, as amended? Carried.

Shall sections 4 through 9 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

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

Mr Eddy: Today.

The Chair: Since Mr Eddy is making the comment, I will inform our applicants here that in fact I will report the bill to the House this afternoon. The final reading of the bill will happen fairly quickly, so you will not have to wait an exceedingly long time for this to go forward. I won't give you an exact date, because I could be wrong.

I do appreciate your time and the fact that Via Rail delivered you expeditiously to our committee. Thank you.

We're adjourned until we have an adequate number of bills to consider.

The committee adjourned at 1121.