Wednesday 8 June 1994

City of Ottawa Act, 1994, Bill Pr97, Mr Grandmaître

Bernard Grandmaître, MPP

Edythe Dronshek, assistant city solicitor, city of Ottawa

City of Ottawa Act, 1994, Bill Pr98, Mr Grandmaître

Bernard Grandmaître, MPP

City of Ottawa:

Bob Crothers, chief fire inspector

Edythe Dronshek, assistant city solicitor

Cathy Junop, manager, bylaw enforcement

Oaktown Property Management Limited Act, 1994, Bill Pr111, Ms Akande

Derek Fletcher, MPP

Hans von Monteton, solicitor, Oaktown Property Management

Town of Picton Act, 1994, Bill Pr112, Mr Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson, MPP

Jack Ward, solicitor, town of Picton

County of Victoria Act, 1994, Bill Pr106, Mr HodgsonT-308

Chris Hodgson, MPP

County of Victoria:

Laurie McLean, solicitor

Bryce Young, former warden

Lorne Chester, former warden

Clare McKay, chief administrative officer and county clerk

Withdrawal of Bill Pr62


*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)

*Hodgson, Chris (Victoria-Haliburton 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 Perruzza

Klopp, Paul (Huron ND) for Mr Mills

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Dias, Celine, legal counsel, Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services

Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation:

Larmer, Sheila, manager, libraries and community information branch

Kashul, Paula, legal counsel

Ministry of Municipal Affairs:

Gray, Linda, legislation coordinator, government liaison unit

Hayes, Pat, parliamentary assistant to minister

Tom Melville, solicitor, corporate resources management

Myhal, Taras, negotiator, municipal boundaries branch

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel: Klein, Susan, legislative counsel


The committee met at 1007 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr97, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to deviate slightly from the agenda and call Mr Grandmaître first, relating to Bill Pr97, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Thank you very much for accommodating us. On my right is the assistant city solicitor, Edythe Dronshek.

Bill Pr97 is a very short bill. It would amend the Public Libraries Act to ensure that one person recommended by the public sector and one person recommended by the Roman Catholic sector of the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board are appointed as members of the Ottawa Public Library Board.

Back in 1989, as you know, the French-language school board was created, the second one in the province of Ontario. The Public Libraries Act wasn't amended at the time to permit the appointment of a member to the Ottawa Public Library Board.

The addition of these two people will simply increase the number of members on the board. It will not eliminate any present members on the board. If you do have any questions, Ms Dronshek will certainly try and provide you with all the answers.

The Chair: Ms Dronshek, did you wish to add any remarks to those made by Mr Grandmaître?

Ms Edythe Dronshek: Yes, I do. City council has looked at this situation a number of times and written many of the ministries requesting that this public sector and the other sector obtain representation on the Ottawa Public Library Board. The position was that the actual Public Libraries Act should be amended.

When none of this happened, the council has requested on several occasions that the general legislation be amended and in 1993 instructed us to come and get a special act in order to give these people representation on the Ottawa Public Library Board.

The council takes the position that the Public Libraries Act deals with the school board representation in total, and therefore the council does not want to use its citizen membership for the appointments of the school boards. It feels that in fact the school boards should be represented. They cover the 11 area municipalities in our region. They have jurisdiction in that area. There is a large number of francophones in our area, and they deserve representation on the library board.

The council is not asking to remove any of the existing library board members, and at the present time there are two members from the Ottawa Board of Education and one member from the Ottawa Roman Catholic Separate School Board. This amendment would permit council to appoint one person from the public sector of the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board and one from the Roman Catholic sector or their successor boards when they're named after the regional reform regulations have been put in place.

The council feels this is important. The two school sectors have asked for this on numerous occasions, and they regret that they are not able to be here today. The public sector has forwarded an additional letter of support indicating that it is very desirous of obtaining membership on the board.

We take the position that this is really a local issue and the local council has asked that this membership and appointment be dealt with in this way.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Dronshek. Mr Hayes, on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and possibly other representative ministries, may have some remarks.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not support the proposal. As was mentioned, appointments to local boards are a local matter; council can and should adopt its own policies for selection of the boards; and it is not consistent with provincial policy of enhancing local accountability. It's also not an appropriate matter for provincial legislation, and we've turned down similar requests -- for example, the city of Toronto. It's really unnecessary legislation since other methods are available to the city if it wishes to restrict its board selection.

I also refer to a letter the minister wrote to the city solicitor on February 17, 1994. In that letter, it reads:

"As you are aware, in addition to representation from the largest public and separate school boards, the Public Libraries Act provides authority for the appointment of members of the general public to a public library board. This gives council the discretion to include in its appointments members representative of community interests as it considers appropriate."

While we appreciate council's concern for the francophone representation on the public library board, there already exists sufficient flexibility for council to appoint members of the French-language board to the library board, and also the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation is not convinced that legislation to compel such is really necessary.

We have a representative from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Peter-John Sidebottom, and also Sheila Larmer from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, if they choose to make comments.

The Chair: I forgot one point, and it is an omission. Do are any other interested parties who, wish to speak to this bill at this time. Seeing none, Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Grandmaître: In response to the parliamentary assistant, some 18 or maybe 24 months ago, Mr Hayes, I had written to the minister, Ms Haslam, at the time that this was brought to my attention. I was told to go ahead with those changes and that's why I encouraged the city of Ottawa to come forward with a private member's bill. So can I ask the representative of the ministry, why did you change your mind?

Ms Sheila Larmer: I'm looking at the letter written by the Honourable Anne Swarbrick to Mr Douglas Wallace, acting city solicitor, dated April 26, 1993, in which the minister states:

"The current act, while stipulating that at least the two largest school boards must be represented, provides flexibility for the municipality to determine the ultimate composition of the library board. It is the municipality's right and responsibility to decide what other representation is most appropriate for their area.

"Therefore, I encourage the city of Ottawa to use the discretionary authority already available to it to arrive at a composition for its public library board that will be representative of community interests. I am sure that future city councils, as elected representatives, will be motivated to ensure a continued appropriate representation."

We did not interpret this as saying, "Go ahead with private legislation."

Mr Grandmaître: I was referring to the previous minister.

Ms Larmer: I'm going to have to see if I have that letter. Can you tell me the date of the letter?

Mr Grandmaître: Oh, God, I forget the date. How many ministers did you have in that ministry?

Ms Larmer: Quite a few.

I'm sorry, I can only speak to the position of my current minister on this, just as it is.

The Chair: We have a couple of other questioners on the list. The first is Mr Fletcher.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): You have people who are from the public board, who sit on the board. How are they selected? Is there legislation so that they can be selected?

Ms Dronshek: Yes, the Public Libraries Act specifically deals with compositions from the school boards. This is why our council feels that it is not appropriate to use the citizen appointment area.

The act specifically says, based on the electorate, that we will have two members from the Ottawa Board of Education and one member from the Ottawa Roman Catholic Separate School Board. Based on the provision in the act, it divides it out with the number of electors and then it goes on to say that if you've got smaller school boards, they're not entitled to representation. It is only the two major school boards in the public and the separate system that are entitled to be electors.

So in fact the act does address the situation that we have now where we've got this new school board, and it specifically provides that they don't get representation.

Mr Fletcher: What are the alternatives?

Ms Paula Kashul: I am Paula Kashul, counsel for the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation. Under the Public Libraries Act, I believe, for a city the size of Ottawa, the school board shall have not fewer than nine and not more than 15 appointments. Of those appointments, three have to come from school boards, and that's set out in subsection 9(3) of the act. That's what Ms Dronshek was referring to. The remainder of the appointments are entirely up to city council and at their discretion, so if they wanted to appoint from the French school boards, they could appoint more members. It gives them the total discretion for the remainder of the appointments.


If they have 11 board members and you take three from that, they have eight that they can appoint whomever they wish. That's how it works, but three have to be from school boards. It's set out that the largest school boards have to be represented, but the smaller school boards could be represented the way the act is set up.

Mr Fletcher: Again, through Edythe, how come you came with private member's legislation?

Ms Dronshek: Basically, our position is that the act deals with the school board representation in total and it specifically denies the right to the smaller school boards. So in the spirit of the act, the school boards are already dealt with.

The government's position from the start has been that we should use our public citizen appointments to satisfy the needs of the school boards, and our council's position is no. The school boards are dealt with specifically in the act. Either amend the act or give us the authority to appoint these individuals. In fact, we have not appointed the members from the French-language school boards. They've been denied appointments because they don't fit within the general procedures for appointing citizens. We feel the school boards are dealt with in the act and the act should be amended to give this new board that was created after the act was put in place the membership it merits, or we were willing to come and get a private member's bill to give this school board its membership.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you. That clears it up.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): Mr Fletcher is saying it clears it up.

Mr Fletcher: As far as understanding.

Mr Eddy: It doesn't really clear it up as far as I'm concerned.

I'm pleased to support the application of the city of Ottawa because it's a local initiative regarding a local matter. I can well understand the view of the council for the city of Ottawa because, having dealt with regulations and acts over many years, as many of you have as well, in most cases, if it doesn't say you can do something, then you'd better not do it, and I think this is the point that's here. It's more pointed because school boards are dealt with. I understand the viewpoint of the council for the city of Ottawa, and I'm wondering what's the best way to deal with this.

I have no problem voting for the bill as presented, but we have this other problem where the ministry is saying it's not necessary and it won't approve it, so I'm wondering if there is any other alternative. Would counsel for the city of Ottawa think that if the city of Ottawa passed -- you refer to the act and appointments -- or did something in its rules of procedure or its bylaw it has about appointing members to the library board, constituting it as it sees pursuant to the provisions of the libraries act, had a letter from the appropriate minister stating that the ministry has no objection to it -- I don't expect the minister would want to approve it, but would state that there certainly is no objection -- would that suffice?

We have the problem here that the ministry is not going to support it, and therefore perhaps all government members may not support it. That could happen; it doesn't always happen. Is there any alternative? Could you give me your opinion on that if we went this other route and you had a letter from the minister stating very clearly that the city of Ottawa council has the authority under the present act to proceed to make these appointments?

Ms Dronshek: Our council has numerous letters from the ministry already requesting us to just use the public area for the appointments and to not pursue writing letters to the ministry asking the act to be amended. So what you're suggesting is what the council already has tried to do in the last five to six years.

Mr Eddy: Is it because of Ottawa's legal counsel's opinion that the act does not really make it possible? Is that the problem?

Ms Dronshek: No. The council has been advised of both situations. They've been advised of the specifics in the act; they've been advised that the ministries indicate that they should be using their public area for the appointments. Their position is that the school boards are dealt with and the citizen membership is a citizen membership and the school board is not a citizen membership. The school board has its own interests and it should be dealt with in the legislation.

Mr Eddy: Either in the legislation or indeed amendment to the Public Libraries Act providing for such other appointments from such other school boards as the appointing body may decide, or something along those lines. So it's an either-or situation to make it, in your opinion, completely legal.

Ms Dronshek: Yes.

Mr Paul R. Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): I know that to some degree we've tried to examine whether this is allowable or not, and I'm hearing yes, it is, but it hasn't been undertaken by the council.

Certainly as I've spent my time -- albeit a short time, Mr Grandmaître -- in this place, I see from, time to time, legislation, and sometimes I feel there's excessive legislation. I'm not saying that's necessarily going to be the case on this point; however, I'm hearing two different signals here. One is that this legislation doesn't need to exist because there are already ways and means to allow what your legislation is suggesting happen.

I'm still not clear. I heard what Mr Fletcher had to say and ask, I heard what Mr Eddy had to say and I heard what Mr Hayes had to say from the ministry. If you're allowed to do this at this time, then why is it necessary to have legislation to change?

I've heard also that you would like to amend the act that exists so that this can be allowed, but again, I'm hearing two different things. I want to know for myself, within my own head, whether it's necessary that this legislation go forward. If it's not, then why should it? If it is, then so be it.

Ms Dronshek: On a strict interpretation of the act, it would not be legal for the city to use its public citizen appointments for the school board. On a strict reading of the act, the school boards are dealt with. The rule is, when you deal with something specifically, your general provisions don't apply. So the other appointments are general and the school boards are specifically dealt with. Not only are the two larger boards dealt with and given representation, but the scenario where you have a lower board is dealt with and counted out because of its numbers.

Mr Paul Johnson: Does the ministry lawyer agree with that interpretation, or am I putting you on the spot?

Ms Kashul: No, I don't think we do agree with that.

The Vice-Chair (Mrs Ellen MacKinnon): Thank you, Mr Johnson. Are you finished?

Mr Paul Johnson: Yes. I'm still not entirely clear, but thank you.

Ms Christel Haeck (St Catharines-Brock): I have 16 years in libraries as a worker, and I have looked at your proposal here and I have to tell you that personally, as someone who has that experience, I would object to this particular bill. The reason why is that as I have seen library boards in action and dealt with the public that comes into the library, the school boards definitely provide public libraries with virtually all of the work that they do.

They provide no funding. They provide absolutely no support. In the 16 years that I was there, you can say that 30% of the work done on virtually every given day was focused on school projects at whatever level you want to choose. There is absolutely no support for resources, staff, the general running and maintenance of the library.


Under the circumstances, I understand that this is a representative issue, but when in fact the school boards have this kind of clout and provide no support for the library -- it is strictly from the municipality, from the municipal electors -- I really can't concur with this. It is a long-held personal opinion for the work that basically the librarians do on behalf of the school board. I think the school boards have a lot of say but don't actually put their money where their mouth is. I won't support this. I really feel quite strongly and impassioned about it, and I believe you have the mechanisms in the Public Libraries Act in order to achieve the kind of representation that you want.

There is adequate language there for you to comply. I believe you're changing the act. Having seen the evolution of the Public Libraries Act as it was amended in 1988, which was 100 years after it was first incorporated, I would say that there were several years' worth of work that went into that legislation and I would suspect that your public library board -- because I know that ours definitely kept our workers informed on a regular basis of the evolution of that bill and I suspect that we were not an anomaly in that regard.

The creation of the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board, which followed on the heels of that piece of legislation, the Public Libraries Act, probably didn't evolve overnight either, so as far as people being able to keep informed and to have their say on both pieces of legislation, I think there's probably been enough work going on that this piece of legislation is totally unnecessary and unwarranted.

Mr Eddy: This puts a different light on it, and I must say I don't think Ms Haeck is speaking to the question at all. The question is not who the city of Ottawa council wishes to have on the library board or the library board wishes to have on the library board. That isn't the question at all. The question is, how do we facilitate the appointing of those people that the council of the city of Ottawa wishes on the library board? That's the question, regardless of who it is, because the city of Ottawa should have the right to appoint who they wish. The question is, how do we facilitate that? The difference in opinion, I guess, is from two legal counsels, which is a situation I've suffered from during my entire life, having counsels with different viewpoints. That's why my spouse and I use the same solicitor; that's off the record.

However, the question I had was I would like the counsel for the city of Ottawa to follow up on her last words, to tell us the possible repercussions of the city of Ottawa proceeding illegally without, as they feel, specific authority to appoint the people who they wish to appoint. There are possible repercussions, and I just thought that should be on the record, because that's my concern: If the council proceeds to make these appointments without clear and legal authority, what are the possible repercussions? I know what they are, but I think they should be on the record.

Ms Dronshek: In my opinion, it puts into question the decisions of the Ottawa Public Library Board from the date --

Mr Eddy: Which could be challenged by the ratepayers of the municipality?

Ms Dronshek: Yes.

Mr Eddy: And this could be a very serious thing.

Ms Dronshek: Yes.

Mr Eddy: Further than that, it could mean that the members of the library board who made decisions could be individually responsible for the costs of some decisions.

I really don't see a problem with proceeding with the bill, and I'm in favour of that, unless the appropriate ministry feels that an amendment to the libraries act could come forward very soon to make it clear that a municipal council can appoint the representative of another school board, such other school board as it wishes. It's something quite specific in the act. I'm sure we could get the wording. I don't know if the ministry is prepared to do that. So I think that's what we're faced with: either this bill or a subsequent amendment to the libraries act so that we don't have any other municipality coming before us with a similar problem, because, as the parliamentary assistant has stated, indeed we've had others come before us.


Mr Eddy: Liberal legislation? That doesn't mean it's perfect.

I have a letter dated October 11, 1992, addressed to the Honourable Karen Haslam, who was the Minister of Culture and Communications at the time. That's what the letterhead says; but anyhow, the previous minister. It's from the acting city solicitor, Douglas R. Wallace.

One paragraph in this letter states, "The Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board is dealt with under paragraph 3 and is not entitled to representation based on the number of electors. However, city council wants a guaranteed right to representation for the Ottawa-Carleton French-Language School Board enshrined in legislation to bind future councils." We have a problem with one council binding future councils. So that's one of the areas.

Also, there's another letter, April 26, 1993, from the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Recreation stating that the libraries and community information branch would be reviewing the Public Libraries Act and the issue of representation on boards would be examined. When that would be done, I really couldn't say. Sheila Larmer will address that.

Ms Larmer: Although we are not under way with such a review at this time, we would be reviewing it from the perspective of whether it is necessary to continue enshrining any school board representation on public library boards, rather than with the view of broadening out and increasing the proportionate representation.

Mr Paul Johnson: Did I not hear in the beginning of these proceedings Mr Hayes say that similar legislation had been defeated or turned down? Was that consistent? Has there been a precedent set previous to today's hearings?

Mr Hayes: Linda Gray from the ministry will comment.

Ms Linda Gray: I think the similar legislation that was referred to was referred to in the context of legislation where a council had wished to bind future councils by legislation on appointment of local board members. The legislation that was referred to was the city of Toronto proposal where it sought to enshrine in legislation the membership of the committee of adjustment, and that's the precedent we are looking at here.

Mr Grandmaître: But the Toronto private member's bill didn't deal with public libraries' appointments.

Ms Gray: No. It dealt with --

Mr Grandmaître: Committee of adjustment.


Ms Gray: It dealt with appointments to local boards, and the ministry at that time stated its policy was that councils should not attempt to bind future councils when they make appointments to local boards.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): There seems to be a dispute or a difference of opinion on whether they can or cannot appoint members from the Roman Catholic sector of the French-language school board. I suggest that in order to get local control -- we are not binding future councils -- all you need to do is amend section 1 where it says "shall appoint" to "may appoint." That gives Ottawa the clarification it needs, that they can appoint them if they wish; it doesn't bind future councils and it allows for local control.

Mr Grandmaître: When you become the minister, Mr Hodgson, you won't like the word "may."

Mr Hodgson: We'll deal with that problem next year.

Ms Haeck: Not likely.

Mr Eddy: Madam Chair, I was most interested in the representative of the ministry saying that they would look at -- may look at? might look at? -- an amendment to the Public Libraries Act leaving it completely open, which of course would meet this problem. I know, as you stated, you're not reviewing the Public Libraries Act at the present time, but is it possible for a member to bring in that proposal? Is it intended that something would be coming forward in the near future or not?

Ms Larmer: It's certainly not on the legislative agenda at this point.

The Vice-Chair: Shall we proceed with the vote? Agreed.

Shall section 1 carry? In my opinion, the nays have it.

Shall section 2 carry? In my opinion, the nays have it.

Shall section 3 carry? In my opinion, the nays have it.

Shall the preamble carry? In my opinion, the nays have it.

Shall the title carry? In my opinion, the nays have it.

Shall the bill carry? In my opinion, the nays have it.

Shall the bill be reported to the House? In my opinion, the nays have it.

So the bill is defeated. Thank you very much for your presentation and your time and efforts.


Consideration of Bill Pr98, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

The Chair: We say we have the sponsor and the applicant for Bill Pr98. Are there any other members of the applicant's party who wish to come forward and join the applicant at the front desk?

Mr Grandmaître, if you would then introduce the members and make any opening remarks that you wish.

Mr Grandmaître: I'll make my opening remarks after the introduction of my guests.

Mr Bob Crothers: Bob Crothers, the chief fire inspector for the Ottawa fire department.

Ms Dronshek: Edythe Dronshek, legislative counsel.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm the same losing member.

Ms Cathy Junop: Cathy Junop, manager, bylaw enforcement, city of Ottawa.

Mr Grandmaître: Bill Pr98 deals with two things, actually, the Planning Act and the Fire Marshals Act. With your permission, there are only two short explanations, Madam Chair.

I'll start with section 1 and section 2 of the bill. "Subsections 31(22) and (23) and section 67 of the Planning Act provide for offences and penalties in relation to property standards and zoning matters. The purpose of the bill is to enable the corporation of the city of Ottawa to set out these offences and penalties in their bylaws (and rely on them for the prosecutions rather than on the Planning Act provisions). This would mean that the fines collected for contraventions of the Planning Act provisions would belong to the city (by virtue of section 324 of the Municipal Act) rather than to the province."

Section 3 deals with the Fire Marshals Act. "This provision would enable the council of the corporation of the city of Ottawa to pass bylaws assuming responsibility for the enforcement of the Fire Marshals Act in the city. It would also allow the city to set out the penalties and offences for violations of that act in their bylaw."

The Chair: If Ms Dronshek would like to explain the city's position on this bill, for the members.

Ms Dronshek: Yes. Sections 1 and 2 deal with matters under the Planning Act and it's basically to give the council the authority to place the offence provisions for the violations of its respective bylaws into the bylaw itself, rather than creating the offence under the Planning Act. This will achieve more effective enforcement in that they will be able to use the provincial offence notices and the set fine procedures that are in place for these types of offences.

We have encountered technical difficulties in implementing the set fine provisions because of the separation of the offence provisions from the bylaw under which the offence occurs. The city of London has obtained legislation in this matter, as well as the city of Hamilton, which came to this committee and had similar legislation approved. We are just asking for the same provisions.

With respect to the fire matters, there are two distinct problems. If I could give you a little background, the city has been active in prosecuting offences under the Fire Marshals Act and the fire code violations pursuant to a request of its fire department officials, even though there's no express authority to authorize the corporation to institute these prosecutions, as there is under the fire code's sister legislation, the Building Code Act.

Municipalities are creatures of statute, and that's why we come here. We're given limited powers and we work within the framework of the powers that we're given. At this point, the Fire Marshals Act does not give the municipalities any powers at all with respect to enforcement. In fact, it specifically dictates that the crown attorney or someone with the crown attorney's authority is the individual responsible for instituting these prosecutions and conducting them. There is no authority for the municipal solicitor to get involved in these prosecutions.

It would be necessary, according to -- mind you, they're provincial court decisions, one of which said the municipal solicitor has no status at all to prosecute these offences under the Fire Marshals Act and the second one was a modifying situation, whereby the crown attorney gave the municipal solicitor a letter of appointment declaring that he was acting as the crown attorney's agent. Can you imagine, the crown attorney's agent? The crown attorney is the principal and the municipal solicitor is simply his agent in these prosecutions. So that's the situation at this point. The municipality really has no authority to do anything with respect to assisting the fire department in prosecuting these offences.


Section 3 of the bill will provide the municipality with the specific legal authority to institute and conduct these prosecutions for the offences that are identified by the fire inspectors, who are both employees of the city of Ottawa and assistants to the fire marshal.

It would be efficient management and cost-effective to have the prosecutions handled by the local municipality. It would improve the enforcement of fire safety matters and relieve the provincial crowns from the duties of providing advice to the fire department officials. In fact, the question really is, do the crown attorneys have the time to deal with these fire department issues and give them the time and attention that they deserve in order to lay the charge and proceed to trial? The city is volunteering to undertake this workload and the tasks identified with the enforcement, and merely requests the legal authority to do so and, incidentally, some cost-recovery features with it. In assuming that it's the local municipality that has the main interest in ensuring that its citizens are protected in fire safety matters, it seems prudent that the municipal solicitor takes under tow the fire department officials and assists them in every way possible to do their investigations and lay their charges so that they are successful when they get to trial.

With respect to section 4, this is really a fees and charges matter. It's recognized that basic fire inspections are for the protection of citizens, and the fire department does the pre-fire planning operations for the citizens. The request is simply to acquire the ability to charge for things which we consider to be user requests over and above the general nature and manner of the fire department operations.

The examples which I included in the compendium are the requests to certify that there are no outstanding orders on a property when you're doing a sale or a transaction, including mortgages. We get a great number of these where we are required to either certify from our files or go out and do a physical fire inspection of the premises, and it's our position that the requesters should pay a nominal fee for this service.

With respect to summary fire reports, these documents are created for the requester, which is an insurance company. They require the relevant information respecting a fire. These reports would not be created if it was not for the requester needing it, and this is another situation where we feel there should be an ability to charge for the service. We have inspections for the applicants for liquor licence permits, where the board stipulates that there must be a fire inspection, which includes measuring the room dimensions and determining the occupant capacities. We also do inspections on an annual basis for day cares, nurseries, group homes etc which are mandated by the province, and these inspections are over and above the city's normal level of service for inspections. If this kind of service was not mandated by legislation, these premises would be falling into the ordinary work plan and be inspected as the situation occurs, rather than being given priority for the inspection.

With respect to trade and consumer shows, there's a need to have inspections to determine that fire safety matters such as overcrowding and blocking exits are not violated. The fire department inspects the floor plans. They consult and they do move-in inspections and daily inspections in order to ensure that this situation does not occur. It's felt that the organizer or promoter of the event who is making the profit should pay a small fee for this specific service.

In addition, we do get some requests where they want a dedicated pumper and crew in place for fireworks displays, and this is at the cost of the citizens at large. We do not have an ability to have a fee for service.

This request was never intended to impact fire emergency responses, and we have agreed to a motion to be put to you today to relieve this doubt by specifically stating that this restriction does not apply to fire emergency services and responses. There is no desire by the municipality to do this. We're just attempting to have the ability to charge fees for services which we consider are over and above and are generated by individual requesters rather than the public.

We have expressed concern on this ability to charge on a regular basis to the Solicitor General, and no legislation has been forthcoming. Some municipalities charge without any legal authority, but we have not done so. There is no legal authority to set up user service charges, and we would like the ability to do so. Perhaps Chief Crothers would like to elaborate on this.

Mr Crothers: As Mrs Dronshek has stated, the Ottawa fire department certainly has had long experience and some difficulty in dealing with the crown attorney's office with regard to violations of the Fire Marshals Act and the Ontario fire code.

My own experience has been such that in Ottawa the crown attorney's office has very little time to spend in the dealings with the prosecutions involving the Fire Marshals Act and the Ontario fire code. Past experiences indicate to me that really the crown attorney would meet with us about five minutes before we go into the courtroom, take a look at the charges and, at that point in time, explain to us that there was a problem related to the charges that we were proceeding with. So we found that our success rate in dealing with charges pertaining to the Fire Marshals Act and the fire code was very poor.

To that end, we approached the city of Ottawa legal department and asked it to assist us not only in prosecuting the charges but in giving us advice on the best manner possible in proceeding with these charges. We've been very successful in dealing with our legal department, and certainly we would ask your support in giving us the legislative authority to have our legal department continue with the prosecutions of both the Fire Marshals Act and the Ontario fire code.

With regard to the charges of fees for inspections, the same situation applies. We found that in a poll of departments across the province of Ontario approximately 90% of the fire departments are charging for services similar to what we are asking for here today, without legislative authority, so we're simply trying to legitimize the situations that are taking place right across the province for a level of service above and beyond what we normally provide for the citizens of our city.

Mr Hayes: From the perspective of the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services, we recommend that section 3 of the bill be voted down for the following reasons:

The city of Ottawa is currently free to prosecute violations of the Fire Marshals Act. Neither the Fire Marshals Act nor the Provincial Offences Act confers any exclusionary authority on the provincial prosecutor to conduct such prosecutions, and case law suggests a letter from a crown attorney on the letterhead of the Ministry of the Attorney General is sufficient to authorize a municipal prosecutor to enforce a legislation as an agent of the crown. We have representatives here who will verify that.

If municipalities are authorized to set out the penalties and offences for violations of the act in their bylaws, the result could be a lack of consistency and uniformity across the province in the area of fire safety.

The provincial fire marshal's office lends substantial support to municipal fire departments in their inspection and prosecutorial roles. The province, through the court system, contributes considerably to the enforcement of the Fire Marshals Act. Any changes to the current fines disposition arrangement should be dictated by a province-wide government policy determination.


Persons charged with a violation under the fire code may have the matter determined by the courts. Orders under the Fire Marshals Act may be appealed to the fire marshal's office and the fire code commission and the court system.

For the above reason, we recommend that section 3 be deleted from the bill, and that amendments, of course, be put forward to subsection 4(b) to ensure that emergency services are not subject to administrative or user fees.

I have representatives from the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services who can speak further on this issue. We have Joshy Kallungal and Celine Dias here if members care to ask questions.

We also have Kay Glynn from Municipal Affairs here this morning. As far as the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, we don't object to the part dealing with the Planning Act amendments, but through the Planning Act, however, these other concerns are outstanding.

Mr Grandmaître: In the great discussions that we've had over Bill 120, better known as basement apartments legislation, the fire marshal's people came before the committee requesting that this government change the Fire Marshals Act. Apparently there hasn't been any modification or amendment to the Fire Marshals Act for a good number of years, and this situation that exists not only in the city of Ottawa but throughout our 834 municipalities in Ontario -- 90% of our municipalities are charging a fee at the present time. What is the government's intention to prevent these municipalities that are actually breaking the law?

Mr Hayes: As far as opposing fees, the ministry is not opposing fees.

Ms Celine Dias: Celine Dias, Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services. The members, with the Chair's permission, have been provided with a brief, if I could take you through some of the case law there.

Tab 1 is the town of Oakville v Halton separate school board, and in that particular case, the justice of the peace accepted a letter signed by the crown attorney as sufficient authority to empower the town's solicitor to prosecute as agent of the crown. That case overruled the one found at tab 4 which Ms Dronshek referred to earlier.

At tab 2 we have a High Court of Justice decision, now known as the Ontario Court (General Division), Regina v Luz. The issue before the court was whether an Ontario crown attorney, by letter, could authorize the federal crown to prosecute a Criminal Code offence. The court held that the appointment of ad hoc federal crowns to prosecute criminal charges was a fair and practical way to proceed and to avoid wasteful and inefficient duplication of prosecutorial resources. The court recognized that the power to delegate to counsel or agent is a functional necessity of the office of the Attorney General, which requires no statutory authority.

The Crown Attorneys Act is an enabling statute that provides housekeeping procedures for the involvement of counsel and agents on behalf of the Attorney General.

A Supreme Court of Canada decision in Regina v Harrison, found at tab 3, considered the issue of delegation of authority, as to whether "the right of appeal given to the Attorney General or counsel instructed by him for the purpose" meant that the Attorney General had to personally instruct counsel or whether the authority could be delegated. The court held that counsel being an officer of the court, it is assumed that when counsel states that he or she acts with the authority of the Attorney General, he or she is in fact clothed with that authority. It is normally sufficient, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, that if counsel produces a letter which he or she received and believes was signed by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General or an officer of the department he or she understands to have the requisite authority, that letter is sufficient to prosecute.

The city of Ottawa can currently prosecute offences under the Fire Marshals Act. It does not require an act to do so. If municipalities are authorized to set out penalties and offences for violations of the act in their bylaws, the result would be a varying range across the province and a lack of consistency and a lack of standards.

The provincial fire marshal's office currently provides substantial financial support to municipal fire departments. The province also provides grants to the municipalities to carry out their functions, including fire protection. Financial assistance is also available through the operation of the Ontario Fire College, where training, accommodation and meals are provided at no cost to municipalities.

Persons who are fined under the Fire Marshals Act currently have an appeal mechanism provided by the act. I contacted the crown attorney in Ottawa yesterday, a Mr Andrejs Berzins, and he indicated to me that he's not aware of any enforcement problems in the Ottawa region. He has three provincial prosecutors who currently do prosecutions and he has absolutely no objection to providing the necessary authority in writing to the city to conduct such prosecutions as may be required. I'd be happy to provide his telephone number to counsel.

The Chair: I hope all members have had a chance to at least glance at the package that Ms Dias has prepared for all of us. Our next questioner is Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: Thank you for that information. The first question -- I have two -- is that a letter from the crown attorney for the Ottawa-Carleton judicial district then is sufficient, if that person will give a letter to the city or to the fire chief. Tell me, is that a letter that would cover all prosecutions under the act until rescinded or until the crown attorney is replaced, at which time there might be another letter from a new crown attorney? What I'm trying to point out, it is not a letter for each offence.

Mr Hayes: No, it's not.

Mr Eddy: Okay. That's clear.

The Chair: Just for the purposes of Hansard, would Mr Hayes or Ms Dias respond to Mr Eddy's question.

Mr Eddy: It's to clarify for what term and what number of offences, so to speak, the letter would be valid.

The Chair: Ms Dias, would you respond.

Ms Dias: The letter of authority from the crown attorney's office would not be specific to any offence or any period of time.

Mr Eddy: The other question I have then is of the applicant. In your opinion, do you feel that letter does equip you to do those things that you're requesting to do by legislation in section 3 of An Act respecting the City of Ottawa? Do you feel that clarifies it and that is sufficient, or should it be tried for a period?

Ms Dronshek: There are two problems. One is the expenditure by the municipality of its funds and staff time to do something that it's not specifically authorized to do. This deal between the crown and the municipality would be outside the municipality's framework of authority. So there could be an argument that the municipality does not have the legal authority to do this even though it has the letter from the crown, because in fact the municipality has no mandate to proceed and do these prosecutions.

So there are a couple of problems. You've got the act saying it's the crown. You're trying to create the legal fiction that the municipal solicitor is in fact an agent of the crown, who is his principal, when you structure the municipality to be distinct from the provincial crown's office. So the municipality and the provincial crown have no legal ties together, with the exception of this fiction that you're creating by means of this letter.


There's no guarantee that the letter would suffice. In fact, if you had a brilliant defence lawyer, which most of our people prosecuting seem to have, I think it would be an excellent argument to pursue. Of course, the second element is that the city is expending municipal funds on these fire matters, which is quite costly because the fire people do need a lot of help. They can't do this kind of prosecution on their own. They need time to come in and discuss what they need for their inspections as part of their evidence. Then they need assistance in figuring the sections that they want to lay charges under, as well as the specific wording of the charge and then it proceeds into the court system. So there's a lot of time to be spent with them prior to the day in court.

The Chair: Ms Dias also wished to respond.

Mr Eddy: That would be helpful.

Ms Dias: With respect to the expenditure incurred by the municipality, I would remind the members that the province in fact finances the administration of justice, the courthouses, the justices of the peace, the judges, the interpreters. The fire marshal's office also provides financial and other support to the municipalities to carry out their prosecutions, apart from provincial grants that are given to municipalities to assist them in their functions, including fire protection.

Mr Grandmaître: Can you identify the grants that are given to municipalities?

Ms Dias: They're unconditional grants given by the province for all of their functions, including those of fire protection.

Mr Grandmaître: You mean in spite of the unconditional grants?

Ms Dias: I'm sorry? Full fire protection is part of the unconditional grant -- that's right -- given by the province, generally to municipalities.

Ms Dronshek: If I might add, I think we're back into the basic municipal question that municipalities are creatures of the province and can only do what the province allows them to do.

Mr Hugh O'Neil (Quinte): I was just going to say that you can use that funding out of all the surplus funds that you don't have.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr O'Neil. At this point, having no other questioners --

Mr Eddy: Yes.

The Chair: Mr Eddy, I do have some major time constraints. We do have a bill from Mr Hodgson, one from Mr Johnson and we have another member who is in fact at another committee who has another bill. So I would ask you, if you could, in the interests of time, keep your question brief.

Mr Eddy: I try to do that on every occasion, to be precise. I mean, I'm not a wordy person, as you know, and very rarely enter into debates and most of the problems around this place, but on this occasion the question I have is about the mandate of the counsel of the municipality of the city of Ottawa to do this, even though the crown -- and I think that's the crucial and the main point, remembering that a municipality cannot do what it is not authorized to do. You must have specific authority to do anything a municipality has, and it has to recite that authority in any bylaw it has. If there's not specific authority, it better not do it.

I think what's being asked here in section 3 is for that specific authority to do it. I support it. I think it's proper. It's a very legal point and I see no problem for the province to allow the city to do it, to make it absolutely sure that when the crown attorney authorizes the city to proceed, a case isn't lost because all of a sudden the city doesn't have the mandate. That's what it's all about. It's a very easy thing to do, to make sure that the city has clear, legal authority to do this matter that the crown attorney will say in a letter you can do. But it needs that other part to make it all legal and proper or we've got this situation where they're downgrading. With those few brief remarks, I just want to say I support the application.

Mr Paul Johnson: Not to prolong the debate, however, I was just wondering if Mr Eddy could clarify something for me that he just said. Do you support the whole bill or just section 3?

Mr Eddy: I support the whole bill, but the parliamentary assistant was saying that section 3 would be deleted, that the ministry did not approve of section 3 and would request that it be deleted. That's why I'm speaking specifically to 3. I approve the bill. I think it's the way to go. The more things you can have done locally by local people for local problems --

Mr Paul Johnson: I understand that, Mr Eddy. I just wanted clarification. I wasn't sure what you said.

The Chair: At this point, I would like to point out to members that the clerk has just distributed two amendments, two handwritten motions. The first one, just to keep it clear, is again section 4, but it has (b) and (c) to it, and when we come to that point we will be dealing with that in its proper order. But I also want to point out to members that the previously printed motion is not going to be dealt with, so please do yourself the service of tearing it up so we won't get it confused. I will at this point place the question if members are --

Mr Fletcher: Madam Chair, if we are going to be voting, could we have a five-minute recess, please?

The Chair: I appreciate your comment, but I think members should also keep in mind that in light of the work that is before us, you might wish to consider a motion at some point about extending the sitting.

Mr Fletcher: Well, that's at that point. I'm asking for a five-minute division.

The Chair: You obviously have that. We will recess for five minutes.

The committee recessed from 1117 to 1124.

The Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, we had to recess just prior to my asking the question if members are ready to vote.

Mr Hayes: Madam Chair, I'd like Celine Dias again to clarify the stand from the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services on section 3.

The Chair: Miss Dias, if you would undertake that clarification.

Ms Dias: With respect to the definition of offences and violations, I must express the ministry's reservation on that, because if every municipality is allowed to define "offences" and "penalties" under the Fire Marshals Act in their bylaws, we would have such a varying divergence across the province, and there is sufficient concern that there would be a lack of standards or consistency.

We are distinguishing the fines from the user fees or administrative charges, and the ministry has no objection to the user fees or administrative charges. We are objecting to the fine disposition arrangement that the city is suggesting.

For those reasons, we would recommend that section 3 be voted down.

Mr Eddy: Could you repeat that point?

Ms Dias: With respect to the definition of "offences" or "penalties" in bylaws of municipalities; section 3.

The Chair: Miss Dias, the point about user fees, just to clarify for all members, is a different position.

Ms Dias: That's section 4.

Ms Dronshek: May I just say that with respect to section 3, subsection (1) is the provision that would allow the municipality to assume the prosecutions and assist the fire people.

Subsections (2) and (3) are a little different. They were to enable the municipality to get set fines for the offences so that they don't all have to proceed to trial in case there is a situation where payments can be made out of court. At the present time there are no set fines, and the municipality is not able to require them because the offences are set out in a provincial statute. So all that (2) was to do was to assist us in getting the fine structure in place so that we can use the set fine procedure.

Subsection (3) specifically says that we cannot exceed the fine limits that are set out in the Fire Marshals Act, so there is no ability for the municipality to be fooling around with the money amounts that the province has decided to set.

Ms Dias: We're still objecting to it. The fines and penalties are already set out in the Fire Marshals Act, and we see no need to redefine them. It would still lead to divergence. All (3) is saying is that they would cap it at the level set in the Fire Marshals Act, but there would still be divergence across the province.

Mr Eddy: Let's talk about Ottawa-Carleton. You've set up a council there that's completely divergent and different from anything either in Mars or the world. So why this now, all of a sudden? I think there should be some way of amending it to -- and I note what section 4 says, that the offence provision cannot exceed -- sorry, subsection 3(3). So surely there's some way to amend section 2 to meet the ministry's requirements and still give the city of Ottawa the right to do not what they want to do but what they should be doing and get on with this.

I think we have a problem here in that the crown attorney is very busy and hasn't been proceeding with prosecutions. So the city wants to do it, the city is willing to do it; why can't we let them do it? I think it's a plus for us in the province and for the city.


Ms Dias: If I may respond, the ministry has no intention to discourage municipal prosecutors from prosecuting under the Fire Marshals Act.

Mr Grandmaître: They're not doing it.

Ms Dias: All we're asking is that you get the requisite authority from the crown attorney's office, and when I contacted the crown yesterday, he did not indicate that there was any problem. He has three provincial prosecutors and he's happy to provide the necessary authority.

Mr Eddy: But the city does not have the mandate to undertake it because there's no specific authority for the counsel of a municipal corporation to so do. Is the ministry proposing that subsection 3(b) be deleted, or the whole section 3?

The Chair: They're asking for that section to be defeated. That's what was the recommendation. As we go through the vote, they are asking that that be defeated.

Mr Crothers: With regard to the statement by Ms Dias and problems related to the crown attorney's office, the statement was made earlier that in conversations with the crown attorney in Ottawa, they had no problem in dealing with fire code violations. I can state that's probably correct, the reason being that they don't handle the fire code violations in the city of Ottawa.

I had meetings, as I said earlier, with the representatives from the crown attorney's office in Ottawa, and he indicated to me very clearly that it was not a high priority, treating matters related to the Fire Marshals Act and the fire code. Consequently, we were losing cases under the violations of the fire code and the Fire Marshals Act. That's why we're asking for support to allow our municipality to handle these charges. It's a sad situation and it's a serious problem.

Ms Dias: I believe the question has already been answered. The crown attorney is willing to grant you the letter giving you the necessary authority. I just don't know whether he has ever been asked for that.

Mr Crothers: Do it under 3(1) then. Give us the authority under 3(1), through the legislation, to do it.

Ms Dias: There's case law right up to the Supreme Court of Canada which recognizes the delegation of authority, and that's what the crown attorney's letter will provide to you. You don't need an act to do it. Other municipalities are currently imposing it.

The Chair: I am going to be firm and move forward to the vote. We have definitely had ample discussion on this point, and we are getting into the situation of a lot of repetition. So at this point, are members prepared to vote? Agreed. I remind members that there are some amendments, so keep those in mind as we proceed.

Shall sections 1 through 3 carry? No? I would ask, those in favour of sections 1 through 3?

Mr Fletcher: I think you better go section by section.

The Chair: Okay, I could do that.

Shall section 1 carry? Agreed.

Shall section 2 carry? Agreed.

Shall section 3 carry?

Mrs Ellen MacKinnon (Lambton): I move that section 3 be deleted.

The Chair: I will ask those who are in favour of section 3 to please voice their response. Those in favour? Those opposed? It is defeated.

Section 4: Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher: I move that section 4 of the bill be amended by striking out "and" at the end of clause (a), and by striking out clause (b) and substituting the following:

"(b) preparing summary fire reports; and

"(c) providing services that are in excess of the corporation's usual level of service for fire matters."

The Chair: All those members in agreement with that motion, please signify. Agreed.

Mr Fletcher: I have another amendment to section 4.

I move that section 4 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:


"(2) A bylaw passed under clause (1)(c) shall not apply to fire emergency responses."

The Chair: All those in favour, please signify. Any opposed? None. Carried.

Shall section 4, as amended, carry? Agreed.

Shall sections 5 and 6 carry? Agreed.

Shall the preamble carry? Agreed.

Shall the title carry? Agreed.

Shall the bill, as amended, carry? Agreed.

Mr Eddy: You're leaving a very important part out.

The Chair: And who's opposed? Any opposed?

Mr Eddy: No. You're leaving a very important part out.

The Chair: There's one opposed. Okay.

Mr Eddy: Read the damn thing. You're not listening.

The Chair: Mr Eddy, order, please. Shall I report the bill, as amended, to the House? Agreed. Thank you.

To all members, thank you for your time and efforts. I would at this point --


The Chair: Order, please. We do have important business. Order. Mr Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson: I'd like to move a motion that we extend today's hearings if necessary. I've got people who have travelled a long way this morning to be here and they have a presentation on the last order. I'd like unanimous consent to do that.

The Chair: Members, we have a motion before us from Mr Hodgson that we extend our sittings beyond 12 to continue with our order of business. Is that agreed? That is so ordered.

I would like at this point to remind members that next week we have a substantial order of business as well and I have advised the clerk that we will be starting at 9:30, so you will be receiving a notice to that effect.


Consideration of Bill Pr111, An Act to revive Oaktown Property Management Limited.

The Chair: Mr Fletcher, on behalf of Ms Akande, who is doing double duty today in another committee, will introduce the applicant on Bill Pr111.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you, Madam Chair. For Ms Akande, I would like to introduce Hans von Monteton and Bill Pr111, An Act to revive Oaktown Property Management Limited.

Mr Hans von Monteton: I am Hans von Monteton and this application is brought in order to revive Oaktown Property Management Ltd. The charter for Oaktown was dissolved by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations on July 7, 1987, for default in filing annual returns. Notice of default was apparently forwarded by the ministry to the directors of the company but was not received by any of them, and none of them were aware of the dissolution until 1993. The applicants wish to revive the corporation in order that it may deal with the property it owns.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr von Monteton. I would ask if there are any other interested parties at this point who wish to come forward. Seeing none, I would advise members that Mr Hayes, who had to leave for a minute or so, advised me before his departure that, speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, there are no objections to this particular bill that he is aware of.

Are there any other questions at this time? Seeing none, are members prepared to vote? Agreed.

Are members in agreement with sections 1 through 3? Agreed.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Mr von Monteton, I thank you very much for your time and patience this morning. I hope you'll see that this committee is a rather active one.

Mr Fletcher: We agree on something, Ron.

Mr O'Neil: I hope the next two go that quickly.



Consideration of Bill Pr112, An Act respecting the Town of Picton.

The Chair: I would ask Mr Johnson, along with the applicant relating to Bill Pr112, An Act respecting the Town of Picton, to come forward.

Mr Paul Johnson: Thank you, Madam Chair. On my right is Jack Ward, solicitor for the town of Picton. The intent of Bill Pr112, An Act respecting the Town of Picton, is to reduce the number of elected councillors from six to four. For a further explanation I'll turn it over to Mr Ward.

Mr Jack Ward: The application for this private bill has been made necessary by the fact that council wishes to make this reduction in the number of councillors in time for the municipal elections to be held this fall.

When this matter came before council, it was realized that the time interval in order to do this was very short. It would mean that the approval through a plebiscite, with the Ontario Municipal Board's approval, would have to be obtained before September 7 in order to be effective at the municipal elections this year.

In addition to that, the expense of a general plebiscite was considered to be unreasonable, given the size of the municipality and the financial constraints that we're dealing with. As an alternative, we have therefore made this application for a private bill simply for the purpose of reducing the number of councillors, without requiring the assent of municipal electors.

I may say that there have been no submissions to council or to any member of staff concerning this matter, and we believe that the majority, if not all, of the local electors are in favour of this reduction in the size of council.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ward. I would ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward at this time. Seeing none, I would ask Mr Hayes, on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, to make some comments.

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is not objecting to this bill. There have been some precedents set. Of course, the towns of Napanee and Bothwell obtained private legislation in March in the same form as this bill.

The Chair: I understand that Mr O'Neil has some questions and comments.

Mr O'Neil: Yes. I think Jack has likely answered my question -- the parliamentary assistant to the minister. So you've had no objections to that. I just wondered what the reasoning was, why you would reduce it from six down to the four.

Mr Jack Ward: Two reasons: principally economy, to save the cost of the additional fees paid to councillors for regular meetings and special meetings, and we think it will increase the efficiency of council. We've actually reduced the number of committees so that we don't require as many councillors to staff committees as previously.

Mr O'Neil: Just to say that the town of Picton is not in my riding, it's in Mr Johnson's riding, but it's one of the nicest towns in the province of Ontario and I certainly will be supporting this application.

The Chair: I heartily agree with that assessment of the town of Picton, having spent many an hour there. Friends of mine live in Cherry Valley, so I --

Mr Fletcher: Maybe you should visit Guelph some time.

The Chair: I have too, and it has some very lovely architectural features. We could probably say that about all areas of the province.

Mr O'Neil: One of the nice reasons too is that before you can get to Picton, you usually have to go through either Trenton or Belleville to get there.

The Chair: No, I cut off on the Wooler Road. That's another situation.

Mr Eddy: I just commend the town for the application. I'd point out that it's another case where the Municipal Act is archaic and should be updated because the town should not be limited to seven or nine; it should be allowed to have a number as it's applying to do. I agree with the application. Thank you.

The Chair: It seems like we have a rather friendly feeling about this particular bill.

Mr Paul Johnson: In that case, Chair, if I could I make a comment, first of all I want to apologize to Mr Ward because this is a very clear bill and there's not any objection to it. As you know, I'm subbing on the committee today and I didn't realize that Bills Pr97 and 98 are going to be extensively debated.

I'm sure Mr Ward found it interesting. However, he did have to sit through some protracted debate on those bills and I apologize to him for that. Indeed, I concur with all those great things that have been said about the town of Picton. In my opinion, it is one of the nicest towns in all of Ontario, and since 1837, I might add.

The Chair: Especially as someone who lives in Athol, right?

Mrs MacKinnon: Will you be ending up with a council that has an even number?

Mr Jack Ward: No, we have nine now. We'll have seven after the reduction.

Mrs MacKinnon: Oh, all right. Because I thought that could be dangerous.

The Chair: I put the question to members. Are members then prepared to vote on Pr112? Agreed.

Shall sections 1 through 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.

Thank you, Mr Ward. I hope you report back that Mr Johnson is doing hard work here at the standing committee on regulations and private bills.

Mr O'Neil: We weren't going to get political here, were we?

The Chair: But he can also report on Mr O'Neil, the fact that he's doing a lot of good work here.

Mr O'Neil: I'd love that.

Mr Jack Ward: I'll certainly relate all the comments with respect to the town and the county.

The Chair: I've spent many hours there. I think other members probably have had a chance to wander through that lovely area. It has a lot of history. Speaking from the Niagara-on-the-Lake perspective, I think you and Niagara are some of the oldest areas of the province.

Mrs MacKinnon: You also had more snow than any other part of Ontario last year.

The Chair: It beats out Fort Erie, is that it?


Consideration of Bill Pr106, An Act respecting the County of Victoria.

The Chair: I call Mr Hodgson with the applicants relating to Bill Pr106, An Act respecting the County of Victoria. I personally want to thank the applicants for their patience. It has been a long morning for you.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you very much, Madam Chair. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if you expressed the same instructions to them that you did for Mr Johnson's riding when they go back.

I'd point out that at the far end is Ken Logan, warden of Victoria county, Clare McKay, the CAO of Victoria county, and Laurie McLean, the solicitor. Laurie will be the one explaining this bill, but I want to express to the committee that Victoria county is also a very historic and beautiful part of Ontario. I'm very fortunate to be able to represent this special place in Ontario.

Like all upper-tier municipalities, Victoria county's felt the stresses of mandated programs and the accountability to the taxpayer that's required when we're taking public money to provide public services. This is one step that they've been able to agree on to reduce the present size of county council in time, like Mr Johnson's application, for the fall municipal elections.


It also will make it so that in the future it won't grow as fast, because, as has been pointed out around this table a number of times, the outdated Municipal Act, as the populations grow, automatically escalates the size of county councils. This act is to deal with that.

I'll let Laurie McLean explain the details to you.

The Chair: I just want to say, on behalf of the Chair, I've spent some time in Omemee. Does that count?

Mr Hodgson: That counts.

Mr Paul Johnson: The Chair's a traveller.

The Chair: She's been known to be, yes. Not these days. It's usually in St Catharines-Brock.

Ms McLean, if you would please make your remarks.

Ms Laurie McLean: Thank you, Madam Chair. I might, in keeping with the spirit, indicate that the warden is actually from Omemee and is the reeve of the village of Omemee. So you have hit a familiar chord.

Before you for consideration, Bill Pr106, is the proposal being advanced by the county of Victoria. Were that bill to receive this committee's approval and ultimately royal assent, it would serve to reduce the number of members on county council, as Mr Hodgson has indicated, based on actual numbers and on the data that are available at the present time in terms of numbers of municipal electors. We're talking of 28 current members being reduced to approximately 22 members on a new council.

As set forth in the compendium of background information that was submitted with the application, the composition and voting powers on the council of the corporation of the county of Victoria are presently established under the County of Victoria Act, 1972. It is under that act that this county operates and not under the Municipal Act, although subsequent to the enactment of the county's last special legislation, the Municipal Act was actually amended and what now is the composition of county council is represented in the Municipal Act, although it's necessary for this county to seek, by way of private bill, an amendment to its existing private bill.

The proposal calls for numbers on county council and their voting powers determined by municipal electors in number multiples. The existing bill spoke in terms of 2,500 multiples, and the new one that is before the committee speaks in terms of 5,000 multiples. The bill itself is quite concise in terms of the numbers that are involved and in the votes that would pertain to each member.

The bill that is before you does indeed represent the political will of the elected representatives of the county of Victoria. It's a political will that was formed -- and I think this might be of help to the committee -- after much study, debate and deliberation. The history of this, as you may have noted from the compendium of information, dates back to discussions that started at council level in 1987. It has taken a number of years to get to this particular stage, and although there are undoubtedly other options available, the option that is before the committee and phrased in Bill Pr106 is that which is currently the wish of the residents, as representative on the current county council.

On behalf of the applicant, I would therefore respectfully ask that this committee favourably consider the bill that's before it. I would ask that it do so, as Mr Hodgson has indicated, as expeditiously as possible because of the forthcoming municipal election in the fall of this year.

There are indeed streamlining advantages, there are the economic savings to be borne by the implementation of the new bylaw and the new act.

I am available, Madam Chair, as are the warden and the clerk, should there be any questions that you or the other members of committee might have.

The Chair: Thank you. At this point I would ask if the other interested parties would please come forward: Mr Young, Mr Chester, and Mr MacKay.

Mr Hodgson: Mr MacKay is not here.

The Chair: Members should be advised that in your package there is in fact a note from Mr MacKay, but I don't believe it states his particular objection or concern. Mr Hodgson, maybe you could return to your seat and then allow the other interested parties to come forward. Please introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Bryce Young: Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Bryce Young, a resident of Victoria county. I'm here to support the county's request as outlined in its application.

In order to establish some credibility with you, it seems appropriate to tell you that I was a member of county council from 1982 to 1991 and was warden in 1987 and again in 1991. During this latter period I was chairman of the county steering committee on county government.

It is also pertinent to tell you that I served on the board of ACRO for three years and became quite familiar with the various reasons and the need for significant changes to the county's system of government.

The private member's bill before you is a small step being taken by the county of Victoria to correct to some extent the inequities that currently exist regarding representation on county council. This step took three or four years to get before you and several years before that.

Even though it may appear to be a short-term fix and primarily to control the size of county council, for you to reject it would accomplish nothing for anyone. To send it back for reconsideration would simply defer the issue for another three or four years, because this fall we'll have a new council.

The long-term resolution of the inequities of representation on county councils across this province rests here with the provincial Legislature. I'll try to elaborate on that statement.

Firstly, the province created the counties and regions in the province of Ontario and established the rules by which they would function. However, many changes have evolved over the last century, in particular the uneven population growth within the counties, hence the inequities of representation that we have today.

Whenever inequities appear in either federal or provincial electoral ridings, appropriate boundary adjustments are made as an acceptable democratic process. Yet counties are asked and, I must say, very democratically, to resolve these same inequities themselves within their counties. This generally would mean the restructuring of many of the municipalities and amalgamations of those municipalities within the county.

At the same time this would mean the elimination of many of the members sitting in county council who are voting on that issue: elimination of their own position. This is not likely to happen. As an example, you have a deputy reeve who sits beside the reeve; they've been good friends for years. Which one of them is going to vote to throw the other one out? It's not going to happen.


It is my opinion that if the inequities of representation by population can be resolved, then all other matters, such as county responsibilities versus lower-tier responsibilities, will be resolved internally. I would therefore strongly recommend that the province, prior to enacting appropriate legislation, conduct a poll of the counties, perhaps through the Association of Counties and Regions of Ontario, offering two alternatives, one of which much be chosen.

They would be generally as follows: The county be divided into, say, six divisions or wards, with each having approximately the same electorate. The boundaries could be a combination of geographical and/or municipal. Each division or ward would elect members to county council, perhaps two or three each.

I put a note in here where I was claiming some credit for Victoria county and I now have learned that it really was provincial legislation, but Victoria county had this system from 1897 to 1907. I was saying "ahead of our time," but it was provincial legislation. It was indeed ahead of its time because of transportation and communication and so on, but it may well be very appropriate today. The other option would be for the county to restructure its internal boundaries through amalgamations to achieve equitable representation by population both by actual representatives, ie, a maximum of, say, 20, and/or multiple votes.

If the province is to poll the counties, then the question should be restricted to this one vital question: representation by population. It should not be loaded up with a lot of other problems. It shouldn't become a Charlottetown accord.

I understand how the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, for instance, might want to take this opportunity to resolve some other matters. As a matter of fact, when I was writing this, I thought, "What a great opportunity to resolve this question of term of office for a warden," which I happen to think should be three years, or term of council, and I had it in here under one of these options. Now I know what counties go through and I thought, "No, hey, take it out of there." This question has to be dealt with on one principle: representation by population or electorate.

The results of that kind of poll could form the basis for appropriate legislation which should not and need not be partisan in nature, because the principle of equitable representation by population is universally accepted and embraced by the people in the province of Ontario and therefore should not become a political hot potato for candidates in a provincial election campaign.

Unfortunately, in 1990-91, when our county was struggling to restructure, the whole subject became a political issue. But if you restrict the question to representation by population, it should not become a political issue for anyone.

The Victoria county private member's bill should be supported by all of you, but you, the province, must act to resolve this long-term issue of representation by population.

Mr Lorne Chester: I'm pleased to be before you today. Mr Young and I agree on a couple of things anyway. I would agree with his initial remarks where he felt that the bill before you is a small step. I think the clerk has distributed to you my proposal, which in effect, to make a long story short, basically amends section 2 of the proposed bill.

I have a different idea. I would take Mr Young's comments about inequities several steps further. The net effect of my proposal is not to eliminate any municipalities but to eliminate all the deputy reeves. On the last page of my proposal, I've given you a very brief rationale, and I'll expand on that very briefly, of what my proposal or amendment with respect to section 2 will do.

It will effectively eliminate all the deputy reeves. The composition of county council will go from 28 down to 18, thereby saving substantial sums of money and also, in my respectful submission, making county council a more effective voice. Also, it will give each of the existing municipalities in the county, however small, one vote. For instance, Sturgeon Point, which is still probably the smallest municipality in Ontario, would retain its one vote on county council.

What it tries to address is what Mr Young referred to as the inequities. It tries to reflect the existing situation in the county of Victoria and provides for multiple votes, and I think it provides for multiple votes in a fair and representative way.

Who am I and why am I saying that, or what am I doing here? I was on municipal council in Lindsay for 15 years, 10 of which were as reeve, and as the reeve I sat on county council for 10 years. I was warden in 1985. I preceded Mr Young by a couple of years. I was mayor of Lindsay from 1988 to 1991 when Mr Young was chairing the steering committee on the restructuring of the county.

Right now I'm not on municipal council and I'm not intending to seek getting back on municipal council -- I've done my time -- but I think I can bring to the committee an objective viewpoint from both sides, having sat on county council and as mayor during the restructuring process.

It's that I'm concerned about, because the issue of the existing situation, which this bill tries to address in a small way, is that there are 28 members on county council now, if there is a recorded vote it goes up to approximately 32, and that leaves Lindsay with one eighth of the voting power on the present county council -- I'm using relative, general terms, but it's approximately one eighth -- when it has one quarter or 25% of the population, 25% of the municipal electors, and pays 25% of the financial tab to run the county. One of the inequities, if not the major inequity, that Mr Young has referred to in his submission to you is the fact that the town of Lindsay, in my respectful submission, having been there for a long time, is not getting its fair representation.

The amendment I'm proposing in section 2 for your consideration will not mean that the town of Lindsay will be able to gang up on the village of Sturgeon Point. It's only going to allow the town of Lindsay to have a fair representation. If the rural municipalities think something that's beneficial for the town of Lindsay, being an urban area, is not beneficial for the rural area, there will be plenty of votes to overcome any kind of power grab they see coming from the town of Lindsay.

It provides for multiple votes for the reeves, and the net effect would be that the reeve of the town of Lindsay would have the most votes, but he or she would be far short of coming anywhere near 50%. It would be closer to the 25% that reflects both the electing population and who pays the financial freight.

It's my respectful submission to the committee that if you vote against my proposed amendment with respect to section 2, you're voting against the principle of representation by population. Thank you for the opportunity of making the submission.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Chester. Members have other correspondence in your package, and I hope you have taken time to review that. Mr Hayes, do you have comments to make on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs?

Mr Hayes: First of all, I'd like to read a letter that was written by the Minister of Municipal Affairs to the warden of Victoria county, Ken Logan, on May 3, 1994. In that letter it says:

"I appreciate the background information regarding the county's rationale for pursuing a private bill to reduce the size of county council. While I applaud the county's attempts to realize cost savings through a reduction in the size of county council, I do not feel that such savings should be pursued at the expense of representation of population. I do not see equitable representation and cost savings as mutually exclusive. I feel that the county is faced with an opportunity to address both of these important issues.

"I'd like to reiterate my interest in the development of a local solution to the town of Lindsay's concerns with respect to representation at county council. I want Victoria and Lindsay to negotiate an agreement, under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act, that provides the town with equitable representation on county council. The boundary act process allows the parties a great deal of flexibility in negotiating a new system of representation at county council.

"Furthermore, I believe that the county and the town have the time to reach such an agreement under the boundary act before the municipal election is scheduled for this fall."

Therefore, Madam Chair, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is not supporting this.

Mr Taras Myhal is here from the boundaries branch, if you wish to ask any questions about this, especially about the representation by population.

Mr Paul Johnson: When you had a vote in county council with regard to restructuring of the numbers within county council, was there an absolute agreement from all the representative townships? Were there any people opposing this bill?

Mr Clare McKay: I'm Clare McKay, the CAO-clerk of the county. If the question is, was the vote unanimous, the answer is no, it wasn't, but there was a majority who voted in favour of the action you see before you today.

Mr Paul Johnson: That's all I wanted to know, because I sponsored the bill that Hastings county brought forward and indeed there were some objectors and it wasn't unanimous. However, democracy prevailed and the majority of the members of the council agreed that they wanted the changes. On that basis, I felt it was important that their wishes be upheld.

Mr Hodgson: Is this similar to Hastings?

Mr McKay: I believe it is, except that I believe Hastings had 4,000 as the threshold and ours is 5,000.

Mr Paul Johnson: Mr Hodgson obviously worked on this for some time, although he is the member representing Victoria-Haliburton now, knowing that he was previously also the warden of Victoria --

Mr Hodgson: I was the warden of Haliburton county. This is the other county. I represent two county councils.

Mr Paul Johnson: I stand corrected, and it's good to know that.

Mr O'Neil: Mr Eddy has raised this same issue on many occasions, that a county council puts something like this to be studied and then makes a decision, and then they come up here and it's turned down by the ministry. That's a concern to me.

The other concern is that when we have the people from the county of Victoria preparing this private member's bill and it gets this far, that they come before the committee, why isn't there some sort of negotiating or things taken back to the county that, "If you were to do this, maybe this thing would get through"? Has that happened? Were there discussions?

Mr Hayes: I just read out the suggestion the minister had made to the county on how to deal with this issue.

Mr O'Neil: Is that as far as it went?

Mr Hayes: I don't know if it went any further. I just want to add about Hastings -- and there are other counties -- that Grey and Hastings proceeded in fall 1993 to downsize their councils by applying for and achieving private legislation. The county of Essex asked for similar legislation and received it. Also, the county of Dufferin's bill was approved, as amended, on May 11.

Although some local municipalities within these counties objected to these proposals, the committee recognized that the bills represented the local will, reflected in the vote of the duly elected county council. But in addition, the proposals met the criteria used by the ministry to review representational issues, foremost of which is that the proposals improve representation by population. We feel that this does not. I ask Taras Myhal to address that particular issue.

Mr Taras Myhal: Taras Myhal, from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. If you look at the proposed voting structure under the bill, the variation from electors per vote would be greater than it is under the current county voting system at county council. We've done a calculation of that. The variation, if you looked at all 18 municipalities, is an average of 40.8% off the norm, in the current system, it's 30.6% variation off the norm, so it would be harming it by 10% or so.

Mr Hodgson: Are you referring to appendix 5?

The Chair: Mr Myhal is referring to another chart he has, which possibly we could get copied, because I do not believe any of us has that in our package and I think we should all basically be speaking from the same information. I ask the clerk to see that it is copied. Under the circumstances, we'll give her a few minutes to do that. Is there another point that you wish to raise, Mr Myhal?

Mr Myhal: I'd just like to say that under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act, a meeting took place last Thursday at Victoria county that discussed the issue of changing county council to reflect both representation by population as well as cost-savings issues. Discussions have begun on that letter that had been sent by the minister on May 3.

Mr Hodgson: What year did they start these talks in Victoria county? What was it, 1978, 1980?

Ms Laurie McLean: Madam Chair, 1987 is the date that the restructuring of county council is documented as having been formally before the council.

This is the first indication that has been given to me that MMA has these concerns to this extent with respect to this issue. There are certainly other issues that MMA is involved with in discussion with the town of Lindsay, with the township of Ops. The only indication I had on this issue was in a letter from this committee's legislative counsel back on March 24, 1994, that the draft bill had been circulated or distributed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for comment. No such comments have ever been received by me.


Although I appreciate that some of the concern that's being expressed is for better representation by population for the town of Lindsay, the town of Lindsay has not, with all due respect, opposed this private bill. They're well aware that it's proceeding, and if one reviews the compendium of background information and the recorded vote that was there taken, the representatives of the town of Lindsay were indeed among those voting in favour of the proposed reduction in numbers.

Although it is, I grant you and as has been admitted, a small step, the fact is that under Bill Pr106, the town of Lindsay's overall representation by way of vote will be greater than it is right now. It's not my intent to convey that that was the intent of this bill; it was not. This bill was designed to control and reduce the numbers on council. But incidental to that is a greater representation in terms of overall vote for the town of Lindsay. Therefore, by approving this bill, this committee is not defeating in any way the desire, if MMA wishes to proceed that way, of encouraging increased representation for the town of Lindsay on county council.

This bill would be and its approval would be, in time for the next election, a step forward. Certainly negotiations can still be carried on, but with all due respect, if those negotiations are as recent as last Friday, one questions whether there are going to be decisions made and in place in time to deal with the very practical financial implications. County council chambers may well have to be enlarged to accommodate the number of councillors who would be elected if the existing County of Victoria Act, 1972, is not amended. That's the reality.

Mr Myhal: On the question of representation by population, while there is a marginal improvement for the town of Lindsay, the chart will show -- and the charts will be coming in a minute -- that there is an average of about 10% representation by population for all 18 municipalities that is harmed by this particular proposal.

Mr Fletcher: One of the problems I had with some of the previous municipalities that came in asking for the same thing was the number of votes the larger portions of the municipality had. This is probably a step better than what was there in 1972, but the deputy reeve and the reeve having two votes when you get into a municipality that has a larger population is my biggest concern, the possibility of the larger centres having more votes and possibly making decisions that the smaller centres don't really wish to have. That's more my concern than anything else.

I expressed that concern last time, when we had the Grey-Bruce or the Bruce area. That's why I voted against that one: not because of the cutting down or anything else, but that one area where there could be a ganging up, if you wish. I don't know what kind of politics could be played in the municipality, but that is my biggest concern: the possibility of the wishes of the larger being imposed on the smaller. For that reason, I have concerns about this private member's bill.

The Chair: Mr Myhal, since the chart has been distributed to members, could you possibly explain it?

Mr Myhal: I'll go through very briefly what's presented here. The 18 municipalities that comprise Victoria county are listed on the left side. The two important columns, I believe, are the ones entitled "Variation." Under the current county council system, if electors per vote are looked at, in other words, if there were true representation by population based on electors, the variation should be 0%, but it's 30.6% if you look at all the municipalities. If you go to the proposed variation column, right at the end, the bottom figure is 40.8%. So with all 18 municipalities under the proposed system, the variation from the true representation by population would be 40.8%. That's the nature of the change in representation by population.

Mr Hodgson: I have a quick question relating to clarification. There's no requirement under the Municipal Act to fix representation by population on the upper tier of voting. There is none. Second, to look at what Mr Fletcher said related to this chart, Sturgeon Point has 270 people. They have a 92% variance. It's out of whack.

Last week he wouldn't allow the Bruce county proposal because it dealt too much with rep by pop. This week you won't allow it because it doesn't deal with rep by pop. I don't know how you can have it both ways. Mr Fletcher disagreed last week, in agreement with Municipal Affairs, that you couldn't go along with rep by pop, and this week we have a bill that's completely the opposite of that and they're saying they're in disagreement with that. That's related to this chart, by the way.

The Chair: Mr Hodgson, you had jumped the queue, but I will now turn to Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: Mr Hodgson can go ahead of me on a point like that because he's right on and I appreciate that he's raised it. He said, "You can't have it both ways," but unfortunately the Ministry against Municipal Affairs can have it both ways, and here's a case in point.

The other point I'd like to raise briefly is representation by population. We don't have it in the upper tiers. The ministry can't bring it in and won't face up to it. How about having representation by population in Hamilton-Wentworth, where the city of Hamilton is approaching 400,000 and the rest of the municipality's 100,000? How about having it in Lambton, where the city of Sarnia is so much larger? You can't have rep by pop unless you go to a decimal voting system. The ministry won't face up to it. All they do is come and knock these down.

What we're faced with here is an application from a county council that has been dealing with this matter a long, long time. They've come to a compromise position, and I want to commend the Victoria county council for deciding to reduce its membership. They have a great diversity in the population of the municipalities. Sturgeon Point was mentioned, the smallest municipality in the province. I suppose there's a solution to that situation -- I didn't say "problem," I said "situation" -- but I think that's up to Victoria county council to deal with, or the citizens of Victoria county.

I very much support the application. The ministry has alternatives. There is a system that's been in use in the province for many years for counties. There are two variations to that. Neither of those variations brings about rep by pop; in fact, they could very well distort it, as I believe the ministry has pointed out this one does. But it's with the blessing of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, because it's in the Municipal Act, and the thrust is to make county councils smaller in size and therefore more efficient and the many things that go along with that, which I support.

If the members -- and some of you do, probably -- realize the agony that goes into these decisions to actually reduce the size of county council and to dispossess people -- now, the minister has no compunction about doing that because we saw in the case of Westminster and London and the public utilities commission that it was done in the middle of a term. This at least fits in with the municipal term of office.


It is a step forward. It's the decision and the request of Victoria county council. There's no opposition to it. There is an alternative that's presented, which I appreciate having the opportunity to look at. Maybe it will be presented to Victoria county council and maybe, under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act, which has been ignored by the minister in many other cases, conveniently -- former minister, sorry -- something will come of that. We'll ask that it be considered by the council, but this is in time for the election coming up later this year and will therefore give the county the advantage of having a term under this new system to see how it works. I'm sure it will.

I'm at a loss to know why the minister is invoking the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act. Is that what it is, on this occasion? It's a misuse of the act, although I'm not surprised because, as I say, we saw a previous minister go right around it and ignore the law of the province. I'm not surprised, perhaps, at anything.

I hope the members will seriously consider this. I'm very much in support of it, and I would ask the ministry to please look at the Municipal Act and, for God's sake and for the sake of the citizens of counties and upper tiers, to bring in the system that they really want and then go out and try to sell it to the counties, because this is ridiculous. Counties do not know where they're at under the present system.

Mr Chester: I just wish to respond to a couple of points that were raised. This committee has a real opportunity here to effect some real change. You have the numbers in front of you, even the ministry's numbers, and it won't take much for each one of you to take a look at those numbers and say, "Well, let's do something about this." This bill that's before you does something about it. It may be a small step, but it does something about it. You have the chance here in passing the bill, or any amendment, to take it to the House, to make some change in the province of Ontario, and in particular to the county of Victoria.

I urge upon you to take a look at the numbers yourselves. If you're not satisfied with what I say or what Mr Young says, or anybody else on behalf of the applicant, look at it yourself. Don't toss it off and throw it away.

With respect to Mr O'Neil's original question, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has indirectly been involved since 1987, when I was on county council, and directly involved since 1989 with the report that was prepared by Charles Tatham. That was circulated to all the counties and they had to go through this gut-wrenching system of trying to look at and analyse themselves. It's very difficult for anybody to analyse themselves internally, but they went through that process and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs was directly involved at that time with that whole process. So it's been since 1989 that they've had direct involvement. That's five years to do something about this situation if it's such a problem.

Finally, as far as Mr Fletcher's comment, he's concerned about the larger will being imposed upon the smaller municipalities -- or the smaller will -- again I get back to the point that Lindsay is the only major urban area and we're not going to be giving Lindsay 50% or 49% or 40% representation. We're giving Lindsay what it deserves as far as representation by population is concerned. The rural municipalities, if they're that concerned about it, can gang up on Lindsay at any time. It's to try and bring back some fairness to the system, and you have an opportunity to sit back and look at the numbers and bring fairness in. I hope that you do not derogate from that responsibility.

Mrs MacKinnon: I think maybe Mr Eddy might have gotten around to some of my question; however, I want to put it anyway. Does the county of Victoria -- it is Victoria; it's not Victoria-Grey, right? -- have a problem with the idea of renegotiating or negotiating, whichever you want to call it, the boundaries of your county? Does that give you a problem?

Mr Hodgson: Everybody has a problem with that. The point here is that this restricts not only the present council down to 23, but it stops the future growth. The Victoria county structure right now was done by a private bill back in 1972, and this replaces that. They'll have to build bigger council chambers. This fall there's a municipal election, and the number won't be 28. There's an escalator based on how they presently do it, which will make the size of county council grow. I'll let Laurie deal specifically with the boundary changes, but this act deals with the future growth of county council and to restrict the cost for this fall. Go ahead, Laurie.

Mrs MacKinnon: I'm still confused.

Mr Hodgson: Laurie wants the answer to the specific boundary question.

Ms Laurie McLean: I believe the question asked was whether the county of Victoria opposes negotiation. It doesn't oppose negotiation of any kind and in fact is party to negotiations. But it does take two sides to negotiate, and someone has to ask you to negotiate. No one has asked us, save for the comment that the minister is making, to negotiate a change to the bill that's before the committee. Quite frankly and with all due respect to Mr Chester, I haven't even today seen his proposal. So no one has come forward and said, "The solution to the problem: County of Victoria, please negotiate and change the way you're constituted." That isn't what's come forward.

Certainly, there's a city status application by the town of Lindsay, and that is muddying the waters, with all due respect. If the town of Lindsay had a problem with this bill, I dare say the town of Lindsay -- because they do have a council, they have a CAO; they also have legal counsel -- would be opposing this; they're not.

I'm hearing the ministry officials this afternoon say that they're relying on the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act. We're not changing the physical geographic boundaries of the county of Victoria. No one is asking us to do that. The town of Lindsay is situate right in it, so there is no question that the physical boundaries of the county of Victoria are being changed.

I do not know, because there have been no discussions with me, what sections of this Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act the ministry is suggesting you should be refusing our bill on because it's in here and we're not negotiating. If they could tell me where in this act there is something that says that a county not changing any physical boundaries is subject to this act and should have its constitution and composition changed --

Mr Eddy: It's under (b).

The Chair: I would like to turn to the ministry staff, if they would then respond to Ms McLean's question.

Mr Myhal: Is the question what section of the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act we're negotiating under?

Ms Laurie McLean: No. First of all, I don't know who you're negotiating with, but on the basis of what section of this act are you basing your authority to say, "This bill should be denied because it does not comply with this act"?

Mr Myhal: Which act are you holding up there? I'm sorry.

Ms Laurie McLean: The Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act, RSO 1990, Chapter M.49.

Mr Myhal: Okay. There are concurrent boundary negotiations that have been going on between the town of Lindsay and the township of Ops, right?

Ms Laurie McLean: Correct; neither of them are here.

Mr Myhal: A letter of the minister in May 1994 discussed the ability of resolving the county representation issue through those particular negotiations that are going on, concurrent with them. I think that's the opportunity we're taking here.

Ms Laurie McLean: I just wanted to know what section under here we're following so I can look at it and see if there is something that's binding the county to negotiations between the township of Ops and the town of Lindsay.

Mr Tom Melville: Tom Melville, Ministry of Municipal Affairs. I don't have the act in front of me, and I can't speak to whether there are any party municipalities in respect of any negotiation now, but if there is a party municipality to a negotiation under that act, under paragraph 14(b)(15) the minister can make an order providing for the composition of council of a party municipality.

Ms Laurie McLean: The county of Victoria is not a party to that negotiation.

Mr Hodgson: This is nonsense.


The Chair: Mr Hodgson, excuse me. We have Mr Klopp and then Mr Eddy, and I think at that point we should probably ask the question if people are prepared to vote.

Mr Paul Klopp (Huron): Sure, I'm getting hungry. I'm sorry I haven't been in on this and I'm no expert by any means, but there was a question earlier when I got caught in the conversations here. You mentioned that maybe you'd like some more information on or clarification -- you've asked a number of questions but there was one that seemed to hit.

All I'm going to ask you is, after listening to the ministry, do you need more clarification or are you prepared to have a vote right now, yea or nay?

Ms Laurie McLean: The bill is what has been approved by resolution of the council of the county of Victoria and it is before this committee.

Mr Klopp: We've had a lot of questions here, you've done your best to answer and the committee's answered, and back and forth, so if there's a vote today you'd live with the way the bill is?

The Chair: And the answer is?

Ms Laurie McLean: The answer -- I'm sorry, Madam Chair -- is yes.

Mr Klopp: Because there is an option. You could ask to stand the bill down today. If there are a couple of questions you want to talk about, that's fine. I just want to find out where you guys are at.

Ms Laurie McLean: The answer is yes, we're prepared to proceed. If we are defeated on the basis of some piece of legislation that hasn't been substantiated to us, we want those answers. So yes, we still want answers.

Mr Klopp: I quite understand that. Thank you.

Ms Laurie McLean: But in terms of the county's position, we must have an answer to this. I know the suggestion was made that some other municipalities did proceed at an earlier date. We in Victoria-Haliburton riding, as I think the members of this committee will probably be more aware of than some other members of the House because of the recent addition to the House of Mr Hodgson, did sit for many months without a member.

In fact, when the former member, Rev Drainville, was sitting, he had indeed agreed to sponsor this bill and it was all set to come forward at that time. It was after I had received his commitment that it would come forward that he -- whatever the sequence was -- resigned from the party and then resigned from the House.

Mr Hodgson: I don't think it was about the bill.

Ms Laurie McLean: It's not over this bill, but it also was not that the county was doing nothing in the interim.

Mr Klopp: Madam Chair, in light of that --

The Chair: Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen.

Mr Klopp: -- I would push that we just call the question, as I think we've had lots of discussion, and let's just call the vote.

Mr Eddy: I think it's improper for Mr Klopp to have his speech when you mentioned two of us speaking; he's had his say and then it closes it off.

The Chair: Mr Eddy, he was recognized and he is subbed in on this committee. He has every right to have his say, the same way as others do.


The Chair: We do try to keep the heckles down to a dull roar, and in this room it becomes a roar very quickly. So we would ask Mr Klopp to keep that also in mind.

My last speaker on the list is Mr Eddy, and I know brevity will be your guideline.

Mr Eddy: Thank you, Madam Chair, for the pleasant way in which you chair this meeting and always bring us back to order so pleasantly. We do appreciate that.

The reason, of course, you were without a member for so long was that the Premier would not exercise his authority and call it until the time limit was up, and that's most unfortunate.

The ministry has mentioned the boundaries negotiations act. All I wanted to say, very briefly, is if it does proceed to some kind of a conclusion, if there's a change in the boundaries, then the ministry can very easily decide to change the representation to reflect that, when the bill comes forward regarding Ops and the town of Lindsay. It could happen in the middle of the term, even. That change can be tied in with that and doesn't necessarily have to affect this.

I think the opening that the ministry is saying is still there even if this bill is passed; that's all I want to say. Thank you very much for this last opportunity.

Mr Hayes: Actually I was going to get political here and I'm not going to. I'm going to suggest if Mr Eddy wants to continually bring up examples of things he doesn't agree with in this government, maybe I'll bring a list of some of the screwups that you guys have made over the years.

Mr Eddy: We paid for it in 1990.

The Chair: On that note -- no, no.

Mr Hayes: Deal with the issues, is what I'm saying.

The Chair: We are trying to keep this on an even keel and appreciate members when they do that as opposed to destroying that. Thank you.

I would ask members if at this point they are prepared to vote. Agreed.

Shall sections 1 through 6 carry?


The Chair: I'm going to go through section by section, then.

Shall section 1 carry? The ayes have it.

Mr Hodgson: It was carried?

The Chair: It was carried.

Shall section 2 carry? There was a nay. Excuse me. I must confer with the clerk here a moment.

Mr Fletcher: Let's do it by hand.

The Chair: Shall section 1 carry?

Interjection: Recorded vote.

The Chair: Shall section 1 carry? Those in favour, please signify.


Eddy, Hodgson, Johnson (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings), Klopp, O'Neil (Quinte).

The Chair: Those opposed?


Fletcher, Hayes, MacKinnon.

The Chair: The ayes have it.

Shall section 2 carry? Same vote.

Shall section 3 carry? Same vote.

Shall section 4 carry? Same vote.

Shall section 5 carry? Same vote.

Shall section 6 carry? Same vote.

Shall the preamble carry? Same vote.

Shall the title carry? Same vote.

Shall the bill carry? Same vote.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Same vote.


Mr Fletcher: Madam Chair, under other business, I move that Bill Pr62, An Act respecting the City of Stoney Creek, be not reported, it having been withdrawn at the request of the applicant.

The Chair: Would all members, having heard the motion, please signify if they are in favour. Any in opposition? That motion is carried.

I would remind all members that we will meet at 9:30 next Wednesday. I would also like to tell the committee that the reports on the regulations will be tabled tomorrow. That was our work of early in May. I want to thank all members for their patience and work today.

The committee adjourned at 1248.