Wednesday 30 November 1994

Simcoe County Board of Education Act, 1994, Bill Pr153, Mr Wessenger

Paul Wessenger, MPP

Simon Chester, solicitor, Simcoe County Board of Education

City of London Board of Education Act, 1994, Bill Pr151, Mr Winninger

Dianne Cunningham, MPP

Simon Chester, solicitor, City of London Board of Education

Mississauga Synchronized Swimming Association Act, 1994, Bill Pr150, Mr Mahoney

Steven Mahoney, MPP

Steve Jarvis, representative, Mississauga Synchronized Swimming Association

City of Mississauga Act, 1994, Bill Pr148, Mr Mahoney

Steve Mahoney, MPP

Joan Brennan, city solicitor, city of Mississauga

Andrew Paton, solicitor, Cash-N-Carry Wholesale Flower Market

Oshawa Deaf Centre Inc. Act, 1994, Bill Pr154, Mr Mills

Gord Mills, MPP

David Salmers, solicitor, Oshawa Deaf Centre Inc.

City of York Act, 1994, Bill Pr146, Mrs Poole

Dianne Poole, MPP

George Bartlett, city solicitor, city of York

City of York Act, 1994, Bill Pr147, Mr Rizzo

Dianne Poole, MPP

George Bartlett, city solicitor, city of York

Tony Romanelli, business property owner, city of York

J. G. Taylor Community Centre Inc. Act, 1994, Bill Pr117, Mr Hope

Randy Hope, MPP

Brian Knott, solicitor, J.G. Taylor Community Centre Inc. and solicitor-clerk, city of Chatham

Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region Act, 1994, Bill Pr137, Mr McGuinty

Dalton McGuinty, MPP

Dan Bordeau, executive director, Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region

Dean Karakasis, volunteer president, Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region


*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:

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND) for Mr Perruzza

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND) for Mr Fletcher

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs:

Coy, Lynette, senior economist, taxation policy

Hayes, Pat, parliamentary assistant to the minister

Melville, Tom, legal counsel

Murray, Paul, legal counsel

Wood, Margaret, policy adviser, local government policy branch

Riley, Mike, legal counsel, Ministry of Education and Training

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel: Mifsud, Lucinda, legislative counsel

The committee met at 0910 in committee room 1.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): I'd like to call the regular meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. I believe, Mr Mills, you had a request regarding the agenda.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Yes, Madam Chair. I'd like to suggest, in view of the fact that the folks are here from the Simcoe County Board of Education, that we proceed with that bill first in the absence of Mr Winninger. I'd hope Mr Winninger would come second, because much of the discussion around that piece of legislation will also be repeated in Mr Wessenger's bill. Hopefully, if we listen to the presentation from Mr Wessenger, Mr Winninger will arrive and then we can carry right on and save a lot of time.

The Chair: Actually, just to point out to all members, Mr Chester and his legal firm are acting for both boards of education, so I think there's some sense to what you say.

Mr Mills: For continuity.

The Chair: At this point is anybody objecting to that? No.


Consideration of Bill Pr153, An Act respecting the Simcoe County Board of Education.

The Chair: Mr Wessenger, would you like to bring your applicant forward. The normal procedure in this committee is that, as sponsor, you get to make a few opening remarks, introduce the applicant and then the applicant makes a presentation. You may be seated.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I forget, being a lawyer.

The Chair: I'm not the judge.

Mr Wessenger: You always stand when you're a lawyer. It's strange. You just can't escape from that background.

I am sponsoring Bill Pr153, An Act respecting the Simcoe County Board of Education. Appearing today is Mr Simon Chester from the firm of McMillan Binch, who represents the Simcoe County Board of Education. The purpose of the bill is to deem that Ontario Municipal Board approval has been given to certain capital projects.

By way of background, under the former law all capital projects of boards of education, if they required the issuing of debentures, required OMB approval. That law came into effect some time in 1994. Under the new law, if boards of education meet the financial criteria, they can issue debentures without the approval of the Ontario Municipal Board.

The Simcoe County Board of Education, since they were going to issue debentures after the new legislation came into effect, didn't believe they needed OMB approval so they didn't apply for it. Unfortunately, you can't get Ontario Municipal Board approval retroactively, so the only way to allow the board to issue the debentures is for an act to be passed deeming OMB approval to have been given. So that's the purpose of the act.

Mr Chester is here to answer any questions or give any more details with respect to the legislation.

The Chair: At this point, Mr Chester, you are then able to make some remarks regarding the situation at hand. Thereafter we'll be asking a series of questions, but this is where you get to shine.

Mr Simon Chester: Thank you very much indeed. I want to introduce in the audience Mr David Corkett, the superintendent of finance for the Simcoe County Board of Education, who will be available if there are any technical questions.

As Mr Wessenger has told you, this bill is solving a very minor technical problem that has resulted because of a gap in the transitional arrangements between the coming into force of the Capital Investment Plan Act, which was passed by this House on November 15, 1993, and the new regime, which effectively came into force when the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Education passed the regulations on April 27, 1994.

As Mr Wessenger has explained, under the old regime, before projects could be commenced, the approval of the Ontario Municipal Board was required if the projects were to be financed by long-term debentures. After April 1994, what happens is that the school boards have annual financial debt and obligation limits. These are global envelopes, if you will, within which capital projects can proceed.

The problem that we're facing this morning comes as a result of the school boards across the province having been told that the new regime was coming into force, that henceforth they would not be going off to the OMB, and the board of education for the county of Simcoe had thought that this meant that it was then subject to the new regime.

Mr Corkett and his colleagues at that point calculated the total global borrowing of the Simcoe board of education, found that it met the mathematical tests set out by the Ministry of Education, thought that it would be approved and ordered the construction work to commence. I should stress to this committee that the school projects have been built, the construction is complete, students and pupils in the Simcoe board are in fact using those facilities today.

The other thing I should stress is that there's nothing unusual about these projects. They would have been approved under the old OMB scheme. They are properly within the borrowing limits set by the new legislation. What we're doing here is simply fixing the transitional problem.

The bill has two sections. The first confirms the capital projects. It says, yes, they're approved and, by the way, under section 2, you will be deemed to have the approval of the Ontario Municipal Board. The OMB has no jurisdiction itself to give that approval today.

I should stress that we have advertised extensively and no objections have been received and that there has been extensive consultation with both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. They both approve of the bill and can see no other way out of our procedural dilemma. I would be delighted to answer any questions.

The Chair: At this point I am required to ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward at this time to speak to this matter. Seeing none, I would turn to the parliamentary assistant to give us some information on the ministry opinions.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not object to this bill, and it's my understanding none of the ministry branches either have any objections to the bill.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Hayes. I will turn it over to the members. Are there any questions that the members wish to ask at this time? Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I find it very well explained and I need to ask no questions at all.

The Chair: Mr O'Neil?

Mr Hugh O'Neil (Quinte): Not at all.

The Chair: My next obligation is to ask if members are ready to vote.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): We're all nodding yes.

The Chair: That doesn't record well on Hansard, I have to say.

Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Gentlemen, Bill Pr153, An Act respecting the Simcoe County Board of Education -- excuse me, one moment. I have failed in one area. We have a slightly different aspect of the bill that isn't normally on the list, so shall the schedule carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Bill Pr153 is carried, and, gentlemen, thank you this morning.

I'm looking for Mr Winninger. In his absence --

Mr Mills: Perhaps Mr Winninger didn't know the adjusted time of 10 o'clock.

The Chair: Actually, he did, and I suspect he might have run into a problem with the meeting this morning. But at this point I would ask Ms Cunningham, since you're a member from the London area, if you might at least introduce Mr Chester again in the new role of being with the board in London.



Consideration of Bill Pr151, An Act respecting the Board of Education for the City of London.

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): I met Mr Chester this morning and we did discuss the request by the London board with regard to this private member's bill and you were quite right. I think that he should proceed with his information and knowledge, and thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Cunningham, and Mr Chester, you're up again.

Mr Chester: Thank you again. I have with me Mr Jim MacKenzie, who is the manager of finance for the London Board of Education. I'm simply going to say this is the same story, same problem, the same solution and virtually the same provisions.

Mr Hansen: Are we ready to vote?

The Chair: Well, there are a couple of obligations I do have. Let's allow Mr Chester to finalize his remarks.

Mr Chester: I just want to add one thing, which is completely unorthodox. I am aware of the schedule of this House and I want to pay tribute to the extraordinary cooperation we've had from Ms Grannum and her staff and from Cindy Mifsud. I've never seen a legislative agenda moved along so smoothly. Thank you, Ms Grannum.

The Chair: In this committee we try to accommodate everyone who comes, as we have demonstrated on several occasions, and yes, the staff definitely deserve those commendations, because they do work very hard.

I do have to ask if there are any other parties who wish to come forward on this bill. Seeing none, and since members have indicated that they are prepared to continue -- but I do have to ask if there are any comments from the ministries. I suspect that there are not, but let's be absolutely sure. Mr Hayes?

Mr Hayes: No objections, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Thank you. From the comments of the members, I take it they are ready to vote. Let me just find my feet here.

Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the schedule carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you. Bill Pr151 is done. Thank you for your time this morning.

Mrs Cunningham: Madam Chair, can I take this opportunity to introduce Julie Harvey. She's visiting the Legislative Assembly today for the first time. She's a student from Pleasant View Junior High, and she's part of the program, Take Our Kids To Work Day. I just thought that you would like to meet her because this is really an important day in her life and in our life too.

The Chair: Good morning, Julie. It's nice to have you here.

At this point I would like to ask, is Kathryn Jarvis in the room? Very good. If you would come forward along with Mr Mahoney.


Consideration of Bill Pr150, An Act to revive Mississauga Synchronized Swimming Association.

The Chair: Our next order of business is Bill Pr150, An Act to revive Mississauga Synchronized Swimming Association. Mr Mahoney, some opening remarks from you, please.

Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): Just to tell you that Kathryn Jarvis was unable to come and sent her better half, Steve Jarvis, who is here to answer any questions that the committee members might have.

The Chair: Very good. Mr Jarvis, this is your opportunity to make a few opening remarks. Feel free to begin at any time.

Mr Steve Jarvis: I'm not sure what to say. I've never been through one of these before. The Mississauga Synchronized Swimming Association is a volunteer association of parents that try and help a bunch of girls in Mississauga go through synchronized swimming.

We have about 70 or 75 participants that range anywhere from an hour and a half to 20 hours a week in swimming, plus we run what they call the satellite program for about eight pools in Mississauga that support about another 80 girls on a one-hour-a- week basis.

Unfortunately, being a volunteer organization, some things slip through the cracks, and somewhere back in 1987 somebody missed the refiling for the corporation status for Mississauga Synchros. That's why I'm here, to try and get it back in place.

The Chair: Very good, Mr Jarvis. Is there anyone else at this point who wishes to come forward and speak to this matter? Seeing none, Mr Hayes, any comments on behalf of the ministry?

Mr Hayes: No. This doesn't really affect the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Therefore, we have no objection.

The Chair: Very good. Are members ready to vote?

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.

Mr Jarvis, you and your wife have been revived, as the term is.

Mr Jarvis: Me and my wife, we just happen to be deeply involved.

The Chair: Very good, and thank you very much for coming this morning.

Mr Mahoney, there was a request earlier for your second presentation to possibly move further down the agenda. At this point are you prepared to move forward?

Mr Mahoney: Who requested that?

The Chair: Shelley Pohjola.

Mr Mahoney: Shelley isn't here, but a representative from the legal department of the city is.

The Chair: Okay, so in fact you're ready to go at this time, or we can just shift it down further if that's to your liking.

Mr Mahoney: I'm ready.

Mr Hansen: What are we going to do at 10 o'clock if we get done early?

Mr Mahoney: I've got a meeting at 10 o'clock.

The Chair: We have a few others to go. Mr Mahoney then, if you could again open the remarks.


Consideration of Bill Pr148, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

Mr Mahoney: With me is Joan Brennan, legal counsel for the city of Mississauga. We want to ask the committee to pass a bill that would allow the corporation to regulate and fundamentally prohibit the itinerant selling of goods along highways.

We're talking about -- you've seen them I'm sure in your own communities -- flowers is one that comes to mind, the velvet Elvis Presley pictures and things of that nature. But it goes beyond that. It includes a truck at the end of Winston Churchill in my own community on the QEW where they sell lobster out of the back. I always wondered about the health safety precautions that may or may not exist and that kind of thing. I've seen them on street corners with teddy bears, just hundreds of them selling teddy bears. I guess the kids who go by with their folks get attracted to this kind of thing.

The argument of course is that the business communities in the plazas and the storefronts and the main streets and everything which pay realty taxes, business taxes etc contribute to the overall quality of life in our community and these folks do not. While they may pay provincial sales tax or GST, they would not pay any kind of municipal taxation. We think that this goes against the grain of the retail establishment in our community and we'd like some authority to deal with it.

The Chair: Ms Brennan, if you would then make the comment on behalf of the city.

Ms Joan Brennan: The purpose of the city of Mississauga's proposed legislation is to grant the municipality authority to remove any and all goods which are offered for sale on the highway in contravention of local bylaws. The authority, it is expected, will enhance the city's ability to enforce the applicable laws of both the city of Mississauga and the region of Peel. Both these bylaws prohibit the sale of goods on a highway.

"Highway" by definition means both the travelled and untravelled portion of the roadway, thereby including the shoulder and the boulevard. The authority for these bylaws is found in the Municipal Act, wherein municipalities are authorized to enact bylaws for prohibiting or regulating sales by retail on the highways or vacant lots adjacent to them. There is no provision made in the Municipal Act for the removal of goods unlawfully being sold on the highway, although authority for removal is granted for signs and motor vehicles elsewhere in the act.


Some may find it difficult to understand why municipalities are so intent on resolving this issue. In fact, before one court appearance, the judge advised me that he'd watched My Fair Lady the previous evening. However, we're not talking about Eliza Doolittle selling flowers on the steps of Covent Garden. In the city of Mississauga, it is common to see a vendor offering his or her goods by the roadside. Typically, these roads are four-or-more-lane arterials with no sidewalk, a gravel shoulder and grass boulevards.

Arterials are a classification of road which are designed and intended to accommodate high volumes of interdistrict and interregional traffic with controlled and limited access. We are not referring to pedestrian-friendly sidewalks on well-travelled commercial and retail areas. Sales are transacted by vehicles pulling off the road, drivers exiting their vehicle to complete the purchase and thereafter yielding back into the traffic. A pedestrian sale is a rare occurrence in the city of Mississauga.

Council is of the opinion that roadside sales are inappropriate, as they needlessly create dangerous traffic conditions which pose risk to property and person. As well, vendors do not pay realty or business taxes, unlike the legal businesses operating in the city. In this context, they are seen by vendors of similar goods to have an unfair competitive advantage.

Charges laid under the bylaw have proven to be expensive, both in terms of financial and time commitment, not only for the city but also for the provincial court, and, more significantly, charges have been proven to be totally ineffective in most cases. The vendors continue to sell their goods on the highway, blatantly in contravention of the bylaw which prohibits this activity.

The frustrations experienced by city council led them to consider alternative methods of enforcement. In 1990, the city of Toronto obtained temporary legislation to remove goods that were being sold illegally. In 1991, council recommended that private legislation be sought which would allow the removal of goods of those vendors who were not licensed or were not selling from a location for which they had a permit. The recommendation in this form was not pursued.

In September 1992, three members of council were appointed to form a street vendors ad hoc committee. The mandate of the committee was to review the necessity for establishing criteria and guidelines for regulating the sales of goods by street vendors. Extensive time and deliberations were expended by this committee in arriving at their recommendations, which were adopted by council. Opportunities were made available during the tenure of this committee for deputations from the public.

The committee completed its report in June 1993. Included in the recommendations adopted by council the following month was the direction to the office of the city solicitor to apply for private legislation to authorize the removal of goods being sold in contravention of city bylaws. Later in the year this recommendation was fine-tuned to be limited to goods sold on the highway, and this is the request that is before the committee today.

To fully appreciate the current situation in Mississauga, the committee should be aware that in August of this year, council enacted a vendors bylaw. Under this bylaw, vendors may obtain licences from the city to sell their goods on private property subject to meeting the criteria set out in the bylaw.

The legislation that Mississauga is requesting is currently extended to Windsor, Ottawa and Toronto. Toronto's legislation recently withstood a charter challenge wherein the seizure of goods was held not to be a violation of section 8 of the charter, being the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

With the roadside sales bylaw reinforced with the authority to remove goods from the road and the recently enacted vendors bylaw working together, council feels confident that outdoor sales can be effectively and equitably controlled. With these controls and regulations in place, the safety of the travelling public and the vendors becomes less of a concern.

Therefore, subject to any questions you may have, I ask, on behalf of the city of Mississauga, that you lend your support to this bill. Thank you for your attention.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Brennan. At this point, I am required to ask if there are any interested parties. I have listed Mr Andrew Paton, if he would please come forward. Is there anyone else who is interested in speaking to this matter? Mr Paton, since you seem to be the only one who wishes to speak on this matter, please feel free at this point to state your case.

Mr Andrew Paton: I'm a solicitor. I act on behalf of a number of vendors but specifically a company called Cash-N-Carry Wholesale Flower Market. They are suppliers of flowers to vendors across pretty much the greater Toronto area. They've been in business for some 30 years, having started in the city of Toronto in what we consider the good old days where you walked in and for $5 got a permit and everything was fine.

Cash-N-Carry has approximately 15 full-time employees and some 30 part-time employees, depending on the season and whether it's Mother's Day or Valentine's Day, and they supply on almost a daily basis over 100 vendors. This is a business, and for vendors generally it is a business: It's their livelihood.

We worked very hard through the years with both the city of Toronto and Metropolitan Toronto to arrive at a licensing process in those municipalities that was fair to vendors and fair to retailers. I was before this committee a year or so ago when the city of Toronto came to reinstitute, I would suggest, its powers, in that there was a challenge to its bylaw which ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada; the Supreme Court of Canada effectively struck down the bylaw and the city came back to this committee.

This committee and the Legislature did enact that private member's bill, and Ms Brennan mentioned it in her presentation. She also mentioned the street vendors ad hoc committee, which did meet for some time. We had the opportunity of appearing before that committee, and our purpose in appearing before that committee was to try to convince Mississauga that indeed vending is an appropriate undertaking in business.

The ad hoc street vending committee ironically outlawed street vending, and currently in Mississauga you cannot display or sell any kind of goods, and this includes -- and I'm not too sure Mississauga understands this -- your local greengrocer who, quite often, will put out fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk. If indeed that's the road allowance, that is outlawed, and under this particular bill that will be subject to seizure.

They have now allowed vending only on private property and in the parks. Interestingly enough, if you examine the legislation, which I'm sure you all will, you'll note that where they have a licensing procedure, they haven't asked for seizure. They've only asked for seizure where they have outlawed, and that's quite interesting.

In the background compendium, which I'm sure is before you, my understanding of section 3 is that they asked for similar legislation in, the city of Mississauga has indicated, the cities of Toronto, Windsor and Ottawa. If you look at that legislation, which I'm sure you will in your deliberations and consideration of this bill, the seizure provisions relate to a licensing regime. Those cities have come to the Legislature and have said, "We want to encourage vending, but we want to control it," and I suggest to you that that is appropriate.

This will be the first time that I'm personally aware of that the Legislature will just outlaw vending and allow seizure in that situation. In the other situations, you've said: "Fine. You have a licensing process. We will give you some added powers, which other people don't have, to enforce it." I've taken the position in front of Mississauga that that is not inappropriate; that is something that I personally think works. But I don't think you should just seize goods and totally ignore the fact that vending is -- obviously, people wouldn't be on the street selling things if there weren't a demand.


Ms Brennan and Mr Mahoney both in their presentation talked about realty taxes, business taxes. Windsor, Ottawa, Toronto, Metro have overcome the ghost of competitive advantage and have said, "First of all, we'll charge a licence fee," which is on a per-square-metre or per-square-foot basis higher than any realty or business taxes that are paid. They encourage it. When Ms Brennan talks about competitive advantage, what competitive advantage is there? If I'm a person who sells flowers or fruits or teddy bears or Elvis Presley paintings in a store where I pay business tax and realty taxes, it doesn't preclude me from going out and getting a vendor's licence.

It's interesting. With the municipal bylaw process, the municipality doesn't say: "At the corner of King and Bay, we'll only allow one bank. We're going to zone for one bank because we want to give another bank a competitive advantage." We've made this presentation before with respect to competition and how this country and Mississauga indeed were built on competition. What they are saying is, "We're not going to allow that competition" -- although, interestingly enough, and you will see it in your material, Mississauga through this process had a bylaw and continues to have a bylaw that didn't allow vending on the streets, except that they went wink, wink and nodded and allowed hot dog vendors.

If you go through your material, you will note, for instance, "Vendors on the Highway," in a report of the ad hoc committee of August 11.

"As indicated previously, the current bylaw prohibits retail sales on the `highway' as defined in bylaw 503-81.

"In 1992 (May 1-April 30), 27 licences were issued for the second year on a trial basis to refreshment cart operators for use at specified locations on public property. Several of these licences also enjoyed the use of a park location on weeknights and weekends."

This was a major complaint we had, and we continued to vend in spite of the bylaw because we were clearly being discriminated against, as were other vendors of either lobsters or Elvis Presleys.

The other thing is that Ms Brennan indicates it's unsafe to motorists, to vendors, to people buying goods. Obviously, in the wrong location that is true, and in Windsor, in Metro, in the city of Toronto, there are clearly spots picked that are safe. Back on November 4, 1993, I wrote to the chairman and the members of the ad hoc committee and indicated to them that, "We believe there are at least four sites," and we just picked four, "where we think there is appropriate traffic for a vendor -- enough people, enough customers -- and there are areas that people can either pull off or park; they're safe." That letter was never responded to. So to say this is being put in to save lives is clearly not accurate.

There is a need, a demand for vending. Mississauga doesn't want to recognize that. That presumably, under the Municipal Act, is their right, but I think this is a very, very unusual piece of legislation. There's no other legislation of this kind that has been passed that I'm aware of, and I would be interested if Ms Brennan knows of any, where the right to seize is not in conjunction with the right to license. I suspect it's a draconian and inappropriate way to enforce that type of bylaw. It's a control that may be needed where there's licensing, but it's not needed where there isn't licensing. I think it's inappropriate and I'm here to ask you not to pass the bill on to the House in these what I consider unusual circumstances.

The Chair: At this point I'm going to turn to Mr Hayes to provide some of the ministerial background to this bill.

Mr Hayes: Ministerial background?

The Chair: The information from MMA or other ministries, right?

Mr Hayes: There are no objections from any of the ministries. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is actually neutral on this matter, but we do understand that they can still license vending on private property. I guess that's the difference. We are not objecting to it.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): I have a question for the parliamentary assistant. This problem's common throughout Ontario. In my own riding of Victoria-Haliburton the town of Lindsay has had similar concerns. I'm familiar with the town of Whitby near Oshawa; they have similar concerns. Why hasn't Municipal Affairs looked at bringing in an amendment which would do this for the whole province and address some of the concerns about licensing and set up a format. To make every municipality in Ontario go through a private member's bill seems a little ridiculous to me. This problem's been around for years. I just wondered why they haven't done it.

The Chair: First of all, I don't think it's Municipal Affairs' area. I think it would be more Consumer and Commercial Relations if you were to deal with anything like that. That's my personal view, but we'll go to Mr Hayes.

Mr Hodgson: No, it's under the bylaws.

Mr Hayes: You do bring up a valid point and it certainly appears that there should be a blanket piece of legislation. At the same time, these particular issues dealing with vending machines have really only come from the large urban areas.

Mr Hodgson: That's not true.

Mr Hayes: It is true what I'm saying; it hasn't been brought up in this committee before. Maybe you have a problem there; I'm not disputing that. Do you want to add to that, Margaret? This is Margaret Wood from Municipal Affairs.

Ms Margaret Wood: Actually, this is the first time I've heard that street vendors are a problem in a smaller area. Generally the problems are in large metropolitan areas, from what I've seen in dealing with the issue for, I don't know, the last three or four years.

Mr Hodgson: If I may ask through the Chair to this gentleman, how many times have you been in court? I know of a couple of instances in municipalities where your company's gone to court to prove that bylaws aren't in effect. The problem, and why it hasn't gone further, is the legal expense incurred by smaller municipalities. They look at it and say, "Do we want to spend this kind of money challenging this or do we just want to let it go?"

The Chair: Mr Paton, did you want to respond? Mr Hodgson directed some of that question to you.

Mr Paton: My client is in court quite often. My client was the one that ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada on the Sharma case, which set law. We consider that a number of the bylaws are discriminatory, and that has been the normal attack. As I indicated to you, Mississauga allows hot dog vendors under a bylaw that doesn't allow vending.

The other thing I should indicate is that Ms Brennan in her presentation talked about the city of Toronto charter challenge, which she indicated had failed. I should indicate to the committee that it is under appeal, so you haven't heard the last of that. This law, if it passes, may or may not be struck down.

For someone who supplies as many vendors as my client does, it's worth the legal expenses, because they have a hundred daily and hundreds throughout the GTA area that make a living doing this. And it's a different product: You wouldn't take my clients' flowers and send them to your grandmother, because they don't go that way; you'd phone a florist and the florist would do it. We have a different product, an impulse product, and it's quite different.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Paton. Ms Wood, did you want to add anything to Mr Hodgson's questions?

Ms Wood: One thing I'd like to point out is that the minister has not received, as far as I know, any letters from smaller municipalities asking for more authority to regulate street vendors, so I guess that's what we've been going on. Because it appears to us that the problem tends to be confined to the larger metropolitan areas, in reality just a few of the 800-odd municipalities in the province, the way that we've tended to have it dealt with is to not object to private legislation when they bring it forward.

Mr Mills: I've listened to the presentations here this morning, and like my colleague Mr Hodgson, I live in small-town Ontario, and it's a problem. In Bowmanville, we have florists who make their living -- I just single them out as an example -- they pay taxes, property taxes etc, and these flower vendors appear on strategic locations on the corner. They're a hindrance to traffic and they seem to focus on special days, like Mother's Day and near Christmas and things like that. I know that the florists have spoken to the town council, and the mayor spoke to me about it, that this takes away from their livelihood in a very meaningful manner. I don't subscribe to the comment by Mr Paton that this is a special sort of market, that if you want to send your mother some flowers you order them from the florist. I don't think that happens.

I heard Mr Paton say it's fair to vendors and it's fair to retailers. I have difficulty with understanding how fair it is to retailers when these folks come in and they just set up an umbrella, a lawn chair, and about eight, nine or 10 buckets of flowers all around the intersection, usually obstructing good vision of oncoming traffic, and I suspect that the person who's selling those flowers, who sits there eight hours or whatever it is in the boiling sun with a cooler in front of them, is getting very, very poor remuneration for their efforts there. To say that given those circumstances, the retailing of flowers is fair to retailers, I have great difficulty with that.

To move right along, we know and the parliamentary assistant has said that this is allowed on private property, and I know that to circumvent local bylaws now these folks do go to garages and things like that on their lots when they're not open on the weekend. I believe in democracy and I believe in the parliamentary system, whether it be here, in Ottawa or at the municipal level, and I believe that Mississauga has a right to enact a bill that represents that city and represents the views of the people who were elected to govern that municipality by the people at large.

My thoughts, Madam Chair, are that I will be supporting Bill Pr148. It may be struck down. I don't know. I'm not a lawyer, but my position here this morning is to offer my support for that.

Mrs Ellen MacKinnon (Lambton): I have very, very mixed emotions about this whole situation. I'm thinking about my riding, which is very, very rural and at the appropriate time of the year, the various growers, be they farmers or be they gardeners, put their produce and their products at the end of their driveway, and they're there for all the world to enjoy, either to look at or to take home and use.

I'm just wondering, if Mississauga is given this power, where does it end? Do we have every municipality or every individual coming in here with a private member's bill, and we have a hodgepodge of legislation that would be almost impossible to wade through, at least for me, not being a lawyer?

I have great difficulty with this; I really do. I've been lobbied by the florists of the world, or at least of Ontario at any rate, asking to try to do something like this that would regulate or whatever it is in regard to the vendors. I personally have a great deal of respect for vendors. It has to be without a doubt the hardest, most difficult, least rewarding job in the world. I could not and I would not do it for anything, but I still have to admire them that if they have no other means of support they get out and do it. However, perhaps what is needed is that we as the government of Ontario should be allowing some type of legislation that would put an overall umbrella, if you will, on this whole aspect across the province and then let the municipalities work out their own regulations under that particular type of umbrella, as I called it before.

I have great difficulty with it because, as I said initially, what about the rural area when they put out their apples and their peaches and their potatoes and so on? Where does it go from here?

The Chair: Mr Hayes wanted to respond to your comments.

Mr Hayes: Yes, Mrs MacKinnon. This particular type of bylaw or act, whatever, wouldn't affect those people. It wouldn't affect farmers, for example, bringing out their produce. As a matter of fact, that's on private property in the first place, so it wouldn't really affect them.

Mr Hansen: At the street.

Mr Hayes: At the street, but this would not affect, like I say, the farmers in rural Ontario. That's really what I'm saying. If they're on there, they'd be on private property to begin with.

The Chair: Mr Wessenger, Mr O'Neil and then Mr Hansen.

Mr Wessenger: I do have some problems with this legislation in the sense that I must say on basic principles I'm against legislation which prohibits competition in the retail area, and that's what, in effect, this legislation does. It allows tremendous powers for the municipality to, in effect, prohibit all street vendors within the whole municipality, on any of the sidewalks etc.

I certainly believe in having a variety of vendors and I don't believe we exist as a Legislature to support the status quo of only established retail establishments. Surely we have to support the concept of competition in the consumer markets. I know in my own municipality when this matter came up -- and I actually was involved in making a presentation to council on this issue when they were trying to ban hot dog vendors from the streets. In effect, hot dog vendors, by this bylaw, can be banned from the sidewalks of Mississauga, for the downtown areas of Mississauga, to protect the "restaurants" who run their -- and I think that's quite a degree of power to be given.

My objection is not with the word "regulation." I could quite easily accept the private member's bill if it was the power to regulate, but the power to prohibit I find great difficulty with. That's my first concept in the sense that if I was voting for this I would vote against it. I'm adamantly opposed to this high level of restrictions. The second question is the more difficult one: Should we give municipalities the power to prevent competition? That's the second question. So there are two issues here.

The first one, I can't see why anyone would want to give the power to absolutely prohibit street vendors. Secondly, provincially, should we give this power to municipalities? If somebody can give me some precedent where another municipality has been given the power to prohibit, I might be inclined to say that since we've set the precedent it's up to the local body to make the decision on whether to restrict competition or not. But at the moment, I'm inclined on balance to vote against this bill.


The Chair: Our list at this point is Mr O'Neil, Mr Hansen and then Mr Mahoney. Definitely, our usual procedure is to allow the applicant to make some remarks as well.

Mr Mahoney: On a point of order, Madam Chair: I just wonder if there might be an opportunity, particularly for counsel, to clarify some things because --

The Chair: There will be, Mr Mahoney, but we do try to keep a list and I had put Ms Brennan on the list and definitely she will be allowed to respond. Mr O'Neil?

Mr O'Neil: I'd have a couple of questions of the people who are here this morning, and that is -- I'm not a lawyer -- that the bill would restrict these vendors from selling from roadsides or public property. Is that right?

The Chair: Is that directed at Ms Brennan?

Mr O'Neil: To both really, for comment.

The Chair: We'll have Ms Brennan first and then Mr Paton.

Mr O'Neil: Whatever you'd like, Madam Chair.

Ms Brennan: That's correct. The municipalities of Ontario as a whole already have the power in the Municipal Act under section 210, paragraph 73, to prohibit street vending. Where the city of Mississauga has had difficulties is in enforcing what's already in our bylaw, which doesn't allow vendors on the street. The street includes, by definition, the shoulder of the highway and the boulevard, so that's all we're asking for in this legislation. It's not any extraordinary power to prohibit. That's already there in the Municipal Act. It's just to spruce up and assist us in the enforcement, since the vendors continue to blatantly violate the bylaw.

Mr O'Neil: What you're saying, in other words, if the people who want to sell these flowers were to obtain permission from a private landowner -- say, a garage which was mentioned or some other private property owner -- that they could go on that property, they would have to, at that time, apply for a licence to sell from that property?

Ms Brennan: That's correct. We now do have a licence as of August of this year, a bylaw for hawkers and vendors, that if they can apply for a licence on private property, if they can have the consent of the owner and if they meet the criteria under the bylaw, one of those criteria will be meeting the zoning bylaw. Since that bylaw's come into force since August, hot dog vendors have come forward to city hall and have applied, have gone through committee of adjustment and have licences. Since August of this year, when the bylaw came into effect, there have been no flower vendors come forward and even apply for a licence to sell on private property. If they can make an arrangement with an owner and get their consent and meet the criteria, then yes, the city will license them.

Mr O'Neil: But could a problem arise? In other words, if the flower vendors wanted to sell within a certain area, that area, as you are saying, would have to be zoned with a commercial designation for them to sell?

Ms Brennan: It has to be zoned for outdoor sales.

Mr O'Neil: How restrictive are you on outdoor sales?

Ms Brennan: The zoning bylaw's very restrictive, when we went through it, as to which zones do permit outdoor sales for anybody. But as I say, some vendors have come forward and have worked with the system, have gone through the committee of adjustment, got the requisite variance and the licence from city hall.

Mr O'Neil: I guess my question would be to you, sir, then as to what your feeling is on the present system that they have set up and whether or not you or your clients could work with the city of Mississauga to permit the sales.

Mr Paton: First of all, Ms Brennan indicates there is a bylaw in place. If I might take a moment to give you a flavour of the bylaw: First of all, the zoning where you're allowed is very, very restrictive. I would submit they're doing indirectly what they're not prepared to do directly, so there are very, very few areas that you can do it in.

The second thing is the bylaw contains a number of provisions that I personally have said to the committee, and Ms Brennan actually took up a number of our suggestions -- one of the suggestions, and it goes to competition -- they had a provision in their bylaw that said, if there's a business improvement area established where the location is to be established, you must get the approval of the business improvement area.

Well, if I sell hot dogs and I'm a restaurant in a business improvement area, I'm going to approve a licence? Absolutely not. That was finally struck out. But there are other provisions. For instance, if my client goes to get on private property, to get a licence, there's a right of inspection under this bylaw that says: "Upon an inspection, the person inspecting is entitled access to the invoices, vouchers or like documents of the person being inspected."

I don't know of any other inspection law that you might have provincially and municipally where you can go in and inspect the meat to see if it's safe and then say, "By the by, I want to see all your vouchers and I want to see all your business documents."

There are other provisions that state that to maintain the licence, an applicant up for a licence who complies with the provisions of the bylaw is, subject to the provisions of this bylaw, entitled to be issued a licence except -- you can get a licence, except, number 2 -- "the past or present conduct of the applicant or any partner. In the case of an applicant which is a partnership or any director of a corporation....affords reasonable grounds for belief that the business in respect of which the application is made will not be carried on in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty."

Can you imagine? I go in for a licence on private property and the licensing official says to me, "We have reason to believe that your past and present conduct isn't honest and you're not dealing with integrity." Well, I think there's every profession, every business from politics down to vendors that has problems with integrity and honesty, but it doesn't deny you your livelihood. So this is why we are opposed to this type of bylaw.

But the major point that I'm here to say today is: Put a system of regulation in and then if you need added clout to enforce it, we can live with that. But to come and say, out of the blue, "We're just not allowing it and we need a hammer to enforce it." Interestingly enough, and I hope you understood my point, with respect to this bylaw that's now in place, which is extremely badly drafted, in terms of human rights and on and on, with respect to integrity and honesty and those types of things, it's bad. But they haven't said to you: "Where we license, give us some help. Let us seize." If I'm illegally on private property, why shouldn't they be able to seize? They haven't asked for that. They've just said: "We're going to stop this, no matter what. We're going to stop this competition." And it is competition; that's purely what it is. It's bad law, and there is no other municipality in this province that I know of, and that Ms Brennan can point to you, that has come and said: "We're going to prohibit. Give us this power." All the others have come and said, "We want a licence."

In the material you will see that Ms Brennan or one of her colleagues talks about Winnipeg, Edmonton and other places, and clearly in this province and in this country, the trend is to vending, not away from vending.

Mr Mahoney: Point of something: Could I take time, because I can get on a soapbox, too?

The Chair: Mr Mahoney, you're on the list, actually, and we do try to handle this in an orderly manner.

Mr Mahoney: With due respect, may I comment on that? Because frankly, I just heard a complete presentation that has nothing whatsoever to do with the bill that's before this committee. I heard a complete diatribe taking apart the city's bylaw on licensing. That's not what this is about and I'm concerned, Madam Chair, with due respect, that the committee will be influenced on a matter that is not before the committee with regard to the decision. I don't think you're hearing both sides of the argument, so I would just like that opportunity.

The Chair: Mr Mahoney, I understand that you have an interest; you are the sponsor of this particular bill. Members do have a right to answer and deputants do have a right to respond, and we do also try to deal with this in a polite and orderly manner. At this point, having said my piece, I'm going to turn to Mr Hansen, and you're the next person on the list, after Mr Hansen.

Mr Hansen: I know this is a problem in my area. Other than maybe Pat Hayes, I have the most greenhouses. The flowers that the greenhouses grow in my area are not for sale in my area but have the understanding that a lot of these plants are coming from Quebec, for Mother's Day in May. So they don't enjoy the income from producing these plants. But then I take a look at the seizure part and I'm looking a little bit more in regulation. I'm at a point right now, I'm going to hear more discussion on this before I vote because I'm not too sure that I would wind up wanting to pass this particular bill. So I'm going to listen to the rest of the questions and some of the answers from the presenters here.


Mr Mahoney: I apologize for my frustration, but I sat and listened to Mr Paton discuss the licensing bylaw of the city of Mississauga, which is not what is before you today. Let's be very clear that, as counsel has rightly pointed out, the ability to prohibit is already in the Municipal Act, so that's not what we're talking about here. There is a system in place in the city whereby the clients of Mr Paton's client, because Mr Paton's client, as I understand it, is fundamentally a wholesaler selling products to the vendors who would then sell them on the street, can make arrangements on private property to display and sell their wares in an appropriate fashion.

I would ask you all to think about your communities. We take a lot of pride in Mississauga in the fact that we have a number of what we refer to as planned communities. The community of Erin Mills, where I live, for example, is known throughout the world for the planning that went into place to develop this community. Of course, you decide where it's appropriate for various types of housing to exist, where it's appropriate for industrial, for commercial, for retail malls, for plazas, for gas stations, for just about anything you can imagine that goes into making up a large urban community.

Our city is fast approaching half a million people. As a result, we have a lot of congestion; we have a lot of planning concerns. To suggest that we should just, in the name of competition, throw out all the zoning bylaws and allow for people to pull up their car, flip open the hatchback at the back, wheel out the flowers or the pictures or the lobster, and start selling them in competition with the people who have gone through the proper planning process, I find that just absolutely absurd.

In fact, I think one of the things, in response to Mr Hodgson's concerns about why there isn't a broad provincial law -- I mean, that's very interesting because in reality municipalities, Mrs MacKinnon, like yours and many others around, have always said, "We know what's best in our community. Let us decide what's good for our residents and good for our community," obviously within a certain framework. But the reality is, they already have the right to prohibit this kind of stuff and it should be up to the municipality to decide whether or not they want to do that.

I would support Mrs MacKinnon when she says that she wants her farmers and producers of vegetables etc in certain times of the year being able to come out into the community and sell them and make them accessible to the people in that community. But at the same time, let me share with you a letter written by Mr Paton to the chairman and members of the street vendors ad hoc committee, in which he says in the letter, this letter dated November 4, "We would submit that there are a number of locations in the city of Mississauga that are appropriate for vending. In this regard, we would suggest you seriously consider the following locations."

I have you at a disadvantage because you wouldn't know Mississauga the way I know it, but all four of the suggested locations happen to be in my riding. Burnhamthorpe Road on the north side, west of Mavis: We're talking about the intersection of two four-lane roads. Burnhamthorpe would take between 10,000 and 15,000 vehicles a day along the east-west artery of Burnhamthorpe Road. We've always referred to Burnhamthorpe Road in our planning discussions in Mississauga as the University Avenue of Mississauga. It is a main entrance into the city core from the west and from the east. Highway 403 comes off less than a mile to the north on Mavis Road. It accesses into Square One. There's a farmers' market in Square One, by the way, run by the Mississauga Lions Club, which generates tens of thousands of dollars of money for charities throughout the city that this would be taking away from, a very successful farmers' market that many of the farmers from your own ridings may indeed come in and participate in and take a stall in. So that's Burnhamthorpe west of Mavis.

The second one is the Queensway, south side, west of Highway 10, just west of the entrance to Mississauga Hospital. Highway 10 would be Mississauga's answer to Yonge Street, without a doubt; probably 20,000 vehicles per day on Highway 10. It is a major four-lane road. The Queensway is also a major four-lane, east-west artery.

Erin Mills, on the east side, south of Folkway, is absolutely mind-boggling. It's called Erin Mills Parkway. In terms of planning, we would refer to it -- although it doesn't get quite as bogged down, but at times almost -- as the Don Valley Parkway. It is a major highway that runs north and south from the QEW up to the 401, through the heart of the western extremity of the city of Mississauga. I would estimate probably in the neighbourhood of 30,000 vehicles per day up and down Erin Mills Parkway. It's not only a major four-lane arterial, but it is a divided highway as well. Speed limits are quite high and in fact most of the speed limits aren't obeyed.

The fourth one is Dundas Street, on the south side, east of Woodchester. Once again, Dundas, 10,000 vehicles per day. Highway 5 is a major access route that is an alternative to the QEW during rush-hour problems for many, many people and is literally, as they say in traffic jargon, stop-and-go to slow in many instances, but in this particular area at the western extremity of the city, is wide open at times and the speeds get quite high.

I would ask the committee to recognize that Mr Paton's client will still be able to sell to their clients who will be able to get a licence from the city of Mississauga and set up and operate to sell their wares on private property. They could make arrangements with a local plaza whereby the merchants would have some input; they could make arrangements with a gas station where they're off the highway -- they're not out on the side of the road causing potential traffic problems -- and there would still be an ability to respect the zoning.

I can tell you that in my 10 years on municipal council and my seven years here, I've had literally hundreds and hundreds of complaints from residents because they don't like the unsightliness. They got involved in a planning process to approve places where these types of products would be sold. Not just the vendors, not just the retailers, but the citizens of Mississauga don't like to see this kind of thing being set up all over on the side of the road. They say, "Why did we bother with going through all the zoning hearings and the arguments put forward by various different people if you're just going to ignore them all and allow for this kind of activity to go on anywhere?"

With regard to the argument about it being the vendors' livelihood, they can still have a livelihood if they obey the rules and apply for a licence. I find it quite intriguing, as was pointed out by Ms Brennan, that no flower vendors have applied for a licence even though they are entitled to if they're prepared to do their homework and make the arrangements necessary to find agreements with private property owners to display and sell their products.

I respect Mr Paton's comments with regard to fighting this at a higher level. Maybe indeed he will do that and maybe indeed he will be successful at that. The point is, the city of Mississauga is saying to this committee: "You've already given us the power to prohibit it under the Municipal Act. We're being ignored. We need some more teeth so we can enforce the law that was already passed by the provincial Legislature. We only want to do it for the city of Mississauga. We do not want to affect other ridings and other communities around the province. We think they should have an opportunity to make those decisions on their own."

I would respectfully request that we try to stick to the issue, which is not Mississauga's licensing bylaw. That may be a battle for another day by this counsellor or another, but indeed it is a private member's act respecting the city of Mississauga which would give Mayor McCallion, her council and the staff some teeth to prohibit this kind of activity from taking place in areas where the citizens of Mississauga do not wish to see it. It is very clearly a matter of zoning and land use and what people expect to go on in their city. It does not prohibit competition in any way whatsoever but clearly lays out the ground rules under which that competition may take place.

Once again, I apologize for my level of angst this morning. I probably had too many coffees.


The Chair: At this point, I would ask members if they are ready to vote. Yes?

Shall sections 1 through 5 carry? Are there any opposed?

Mrs MacKinnon: I am. I'm opposed to the whole thing.

The Chair: Okay. It is carried.

Mr Mills: Maybe we should have a recorded vote.

The Chair: Would you like a recorded vote?

Mr Mills: Yes.

The Chair: Okay, a recorded vote. All those who are in favour of sections 1 through 5, please signify.


Cooper, Hansen, Hayes, Mills, O'Neil (Quinte), Ruprecht, Wessenger.

The Chair: All those opposed, please signify.



The Chair: Shall the preamble carry? Members, please signify.

Mr Hayes: Same vote.

The Chair: Same vote.

Shall the title carry? Please signify. Same vote.

Shall the bill carry? Same vote.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed. The bill is passed.


Consideration of Bill Pr154, An Act to revive Oshawa Deaf Centre Inc.

The Chair: We have our next order of business, Bill Pr154.


The Chair: Order, please. The noise carries in this room in strange and wonderful ways, and it's hard for everyone to hear with the private conversations. Mr Mills, you have the opportunity at this point, as sponsor, to make a few opening remarks and introduce the applicant.

Mr Mills: I'm sure that this bill, Pr154, will be much less controversial and hopefully will whistle through in a couple of seconds.

Anyway, to the point: I'm here at my pleasure to present to you an act to revive the Oshawa Deaf Centre Inc, and on my extreme right and your left is David Salmers. He's the solicitor of Salmers, Strike and Furlong from Oshawa.

What has happened here is that the Oshawa Deaf Centre was dissolved under the Corporations Act in 1987 for default in complying with the Corporations Information Act, and again, as happens so often with so many of these that appear before us, Oshawa Deaf had no idea that they weren't in compliance. They carried on business as usual, and then it came to their attention that they were out of order and they were in breach of the Consumer and Commercial Relations corporations tax branch, and they have since taken steps to rectify that position.

Mr Salmers here will comment on the bill, but I believe that there are no objections anywhere from any ministry about this. David, please go ahead.

Mr David Salmers: Thank you very much. I have very little to add. It is a non-profit corporation that services the deaf community for Durham region. It was incorporated by letters patent in 1982 and dissolved in 1987. It wasn't discovered till over six years later. The company has continuously served the deaf community, it has assets and it wants to continue to do so. It has to be revived to do so.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Salmers. I would ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward on this matter.

Seeing none, I would ask if there are any questions on the part of the members present.

Seeing none, I was informed -- and I'm sorry to be the one to inform you; Mr Hayes always does such a good job but he had to leave momentarily -- and he indicated that there are no ministerial objections to this revival, so I would ask at this point if members are prepared to vote on this matter. Yes? Okay.

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.

Well, Mr Salmers, Bill Pr154 has -- I'm sorry. Mr Cooper. You have to be fast in this committee.

Mr Mike Cooper (Kitchener-Wilmot): I move that the committee recommend that the fees and the actual cost of printing at all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr154, An Act to revive Oshawa Deaf Centre Inc.

The Chair: Members have heard the motion. All those in favour, please signify. Any opposed? Seeing none, carried unanimously.

Mr Salmers, you not only have your bill, but you have the costs covered. I hope that meets with your satisfaction.

Mr Salmers: We do appreciate that. Thank you very much.


Consideration of Bill Pr146, An Act respecting the City of York.

The Chair: Our next order of business will be Bill Pr146, An Act respecting the City of York, and we welcome Ms Poole and the applicant, Mr Bartlett, from the city. If you would then introduce your applicant, Ms Poole, and make a few opening remarks as sponsor.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): I'm very pleased to sponsor this bill on behalf of the city of York. This bill is basically to cover an administrative process to allow the city of York to collect the revenues from leases on the boulevards surrounding the roadways. They just wish to be able to collect the money from these leases in the same way as they are collecting their municipal taxes.

I would like to introduce George Bartlett, who is the city solicitor for the city of York and will give you further details about the ramifications of the bill.

The Chair: Mr Bartlett, if you would then on behalf of the city make any remarks.

Mr George Bartlett: As Ms Poole indicates, the bill is quite simple. It relates to the collection of boulevard leasing and licensing fees.

The city leases boulevards to property owners for a number of uses. One of the most common ones is front yard parking or boulevard parking. In the residential areas we call it front yard parking; in commercial areas it's called boulevard parking. In other places where we lease the boulevard, it's for roadside displays of merchandise or outdoor eating areas. In all these cases there is a licence fee for the use of the boulevard which is charged to the person occupying that space.

The leases and licences generally go on beyond one year, and what we're seeking is the authority, as the new year starts under the lease, to collect the amount by simply adding it to the collector's roll and sending it out with the municipal tax bill. It's really administratively to simplify our procedures so that separate bills don't have to be sent out on each of these matters.

The Chair: I would ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward on this matter. Seeing none, Mr Hayes, would you like to let us know if there are any objections from any of the ministries?

Mr Hayes: The Minister of Municipal Affairs does not object to this bill.

The Chair: Are there any questions on behalf of the members?

Mr Mills: The Minister of Municipal Affairs is not objecting, and that's good enough for me.

The Chair: How about any of the other members who are here?

Mr O'Neil: I would just say that because Mrs Poole is here to support this bill, that's why I'll be supporting it too, along with the contents of the bill, just to keep this a little political.

The Chair: We could get into a whole lot more but I don't think it would be wise, so I will ask the question. Are members ready to vote? Yes.

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.

Mr Bartlett, as you can see, Bill Pr146 has been carried and I hope that meets with your satisfaction.

Mr Bartlett: Yes, it does, and thank you, Madam Chair, and members.



Consideration of Bill Pr147, An Act respecting the city of York.

The Chair: Mr Bartlett, I understand you're doing double duty today as well as Ms Poole. Our next order of business is Bill Pr147. Ms Poole, would you like to make some opening remarks at this point?

Ms Poole: This bill has again been requested by the city of York in order to pass bylaws establishing demolition control areas and prohibiting the demolition of buildings and structures in that area without first obtaining a demolition permit.

There's a second purpose of the bill, that the council may refuse to approve an application for a demolition permit unless the owner of the land enters into a beautification agreement respecting the land pending development. Mr Bartlett will again give you the details.

Mr Bartlett: Thank you, Ms Poole. This bill seeks some additional demolition control authority for the city of York, but it's a very limited authority. The bill as originally drafted was somewhat broader. Through discussions with ministry staff and officials, some additional provisions have been included in the bill and the effect of the bill has been substantially lessened or narrowed.

Basically, what the bill would give the city the authority to do is to pass bylaws designating certain areas of the city as special demolition control areas. Once such a bylaw is passed, an owner of a property would not be able to demolish a building unless they obtained a permit from the city council, and the city council could potentially use the permit method to require the property owner to make what are called beautification measures. Really, they are provisions to screen the property or to landscape the frontage of the property so that it does not become an unsightly property during the period while it isn't occupied by a building and in use.

The act provides that, first of all, before council passes a bylaw, it would have to give notice and hear from the public. The act provides that anyone who was dissatisfied with the refusal of council to issue a permit or was dissatisfied with a condition imposed by council on a demolition permit would have the right of appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.

What the act does provide are substantial penalties if the property owner demolishes a building without obtaining a permit, but that's the only time the substantial penalties apply. If a person enters into an agreement with the city to do certain beautification works as required by the council's approval, and then fails to do the work, the remedy that council is given by this act is to do the beautification measures, do the landscaping, do the screening works, and charge the cost back to the property owner. But there's a maximum cap on the amount the city can charge back, and that's $30 per foot frontage, which I would submit to committee is a very minor cost, and that is in a sense the protection to the property owner. It's a very minimal charge we're seeking.

We're simply asking for the authority that if a property owner is going to demolish a building and leave the property vacant for more than a year, which is in the legislation, the city can require that they take certain measures to screen that property and to beautify the frontage so that it doesn't become an unsightly property and have a deleterious or negative effect on our commercial areas or industrial areas or our residential areas, if those are the areas designated by council.

The Chair: Are there are any interested parties who wish to come forward? Please take a seat at the desk and introduce yourself.

Mr Tony Romanelli: Madam Chair, committee members, my name is Tony Romanelli. I do not reside in the city of York. I have some property interests there and I was raised in the city.

I didn't prepare a big position on this. I wasn't sure of the format here, but I can respectfully suggest that up till now -- I've been sitting here all morning -- this is the most important thing that has come before you. I am of the opinion that's it's a veiled attempt to control demolition in the city of York in order to maintain the tax base.

There is no other municipality or city in the province of Ontario that has this legislation. The city of Detroit tried it. I don't know if any of you have been there lately, but property owners not being able to demolish their buildings and not having revenue coming in and still having to pay the municipal taxes had no other choice than to walk away from the building. Similar things happened in some of the adjoining areas to New York City proper.

There are already bylaws on the city of York books to ensure that one must get a demolition permit. There are further bylaws, property standards bylaws and lot standards bylaws, that allows the city to clean up any debris etc left behind and add it to the municipal tax bill, much the same as the gentleman here wants to do with his boulevard parking, which was quickly passed by the members here. I was going to object to it but I didn't know it was before you members today, and I figured I would keep my objections to this matter only. I didn't want to sound like a chronic complainer.

I'm sure you all will agree with me that before you knock down your property, whether it be your house, your business or your factory, it's considered very, very carefully by the owner of that property. No one knocks down a building for fun.

I must reassert that I feel the real purpose of this legislation is that the city of York has become somewhat an artificial entity. It has the highest tax rate in North America for similar-sized situations. When we moved there from the city proper in the 1940s -- I say the 1940s because my dad bought the land and then built and we didn't actually move in one year -- it was at the end of the streetcar line. There were literally thousands of acres, at least hundreds of acres, of vacant land. I guess there were a lot of reasons for a separate entity. If you went back a hundred years before that when we weren't dealing with fax machines and electronics and we were dealing with the horse and buggy etc, I guess the people wanted local representation.

The problem is going to solve itself no matter what kind of legislation any level of government passes. They may be able to forestall the inevitable, but the situation that exists, even in other municipalities in Ontario where they enjoy major municipalities, cannot be sustained.

The Chair: Does that end your remarks?

Mr Romanelli: Yes. I just want to stress that I have no objection whatsoever to the city incorporating into its present bylaws the right to charge or assess $30 per lineal foot of frontage, in order to put up a fence, what they call beautification. That is a very reasonable amount, but it's a secondary issue designed to take one's eye off the doughnut and look at the hole.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Romanelli. I ask Mr Hayes to present the Ministry of Municipal Affairs perspective.

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not object to this application if subsection 2(4) is amended.

The Chair: I believe the applicant is aware of what the amendment reads.

Mr Bartlett: Yes, Madam Chair. We have no objection to that amendment.

The Chair: I'm wondering if Mr Romanelli has a copy. You've received one. Have you had a chance to review it?

Mr Romanelli: No, I have not, Madam Chair.

The Chair: In the interim, I have three members who wish to ask some questions. First, Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I just wanted to advise you, Madam Chair, that I will be moving that amendment.


Mr Hansen: Mr Romanelli, you're in the wrecking business?

Mr Romanelli: No, I'm not. I'm just the opposite: I'm in the construction business.

Mr Hansen: Okay. I didn't know whether you were involved in wrecking. Are you out of Hamilton?

Mr Romanelli: No. As a matter of fact, my office is in the city of York.

Mr Hansen: It is? You don't own property in Beamsville, then.

Mr Romanelli: No, I don't.

Mr Hansen: Okay. I've mistaken you for another gentleman.

Mr Romanelli: That's all right.

The Chair: Mr O'Neil is next on the list -- he's just coming back -- and, if members don't have an objection, after Mr O'Neil asks his question, I'd like to ask one.

Mr O'Neil: Sorry, Madam Chair. I got a phone call I had to go out for; I may have missed some of the questions that were asked. I just wondered if Mr Romanelli has had a specific problem with York on this; in other words, why you're objecting.

Mr Romanelli: Honourable member, the city of York has had no specific problems requiring this legislation. They are calling it preventive legislation. I think you were out when I made my comments earlier. There is no municipality in Ontario that has this kind of legislation. I don't know if there are any in Canada.

As the honourable member Mr Hodgson suggested earlier, why is this in the form of a private member's bill anyway? Why does the city of York want unique legislation? There are much bigger urban areas, much bigger cities that have not found it necessary to have this kind of legislation. What is the purpose? If the province wants to amend the laws so that municipalities can control legislation, then let the province amend the laws. Do you want the city of Mississauga coming here next week to ask for similar legislation and then Sudbury etc, as Mr Hodgson, rightly I believe, suggested? This is my first time appearing here, I'm a strict amateur at this, but this is not a private member's bill.

Mr O'Neil: I would ask both the ministry staff and again the city to comment. Is there similar legislation anywhere else in the province? If there is, where is it, and if there isn't, why isn't there?

Mr Hayes: There is similar legislation, in the city of Windsor, for example, in an act which was passed in 1982. That act was intended to address a specific problem: It was dealing with the downtown core demolition and was restricted to the business improvement areas of the city of Windsor.

Mr O'Neil: That's the only other one?

Mr Hayes: Yes.

Mr O'Neil: Why is it that Windsor and York have asked for it if none of the other municipalities across the province have it?

Mr Hayes: If you would like to address that, just give your name for Hansard.

Mr Paul Murray: Paul Murray; I'm a solicitor with the ministry.

I can't speak to why the city of York is proposing this legislation. Perhaps the applicant can. But in terms of speaking to it, the city of Windsor is the only city I'm aware of that has similar legislation; as Mr Hayes noted, it was tied to areas that were designated improvement areas. This one is more restricted in some ways than the city of Windsor one, which didn't place limits on the amount that could be spent on the beautification. That was one point that was specifically addressed in this bill, so in that sense it's more restricted than the city of Windsor one in terms of the amount that could be spent.

Mr O'Neil: Then I'd ask the city, if we only have Windsor and you're the second one in the province, why it is you feel you need to bring this legislation forward.

Mr Bartlett: Mr Romanelli suggested that the intent of this legislation was really to prohibit demolition. The staff report that went to council that suggested we apply for this legislation made it clear that was not the intent. The city sees demolition of obsolete industrial buildings and buildings that are no longer functional as a proper means of revitalizing our industrial areas.

What we're concerned about is when a building is demolished and the property remains an eyesore. In terms of problems that triggered this, the one that was brought to my attention was the property on Lawrence Avenue in the city, the CCM property, as it was then called, that sat vacant for years and was a real eyesore in the community and destroyed, in effect, the whole Lawrence Avenue strip in the city of York while it was left vacant. In a sense, this is preventive legislation.

Now, I think for tax reasons primarily, there seems to be an incentive for property owners to demolish buildings more often than they did in the past. What we are concerned about is that when they are demolished, for whatever reason -- it may be for tax reasons that they're being demolished -- that the property not become an eyesore like the CCM property did. Yes, other municipalities have not applied for it to date except for Windsor. Others may come forward in future as they experience the same problems and as the tendency towards demolition maybe continues.

All we're seeking, though, and it's clear in the background reports to the legislation -- we're not trying to stop the demolition; we see that as a way of revitalizing our industrial and commercial areas. What we want is to ensure that if a property is demolished such as the CCM property was and left vacant for a considerable length of time, some measures be taken so it doesn't become an eyesore and have adverse impacts on abutting properties.

Ms Poole: I want to respond briefly to Mr O'Neil's question. I haven't discussed this with Mr Bartlett so he's free to correct me at any moment. In Metro we have a particular problem with high taxation of our commercial-industrial properties. Part of the problem is that if there is a vacant building they are not given favourable treatment; taxation still goes on for those properties.

If, because of the high taxation, a company has decided to move out of the city of York or the city of Toronto to one of the outlying areas, it becomes prohibitive for it to maintain that building, and in many cases the buildings are obsolete anyway. There is a very real possibility that there will be a number of these buildings demolished within the coming years. As Mr Bartlett has I think quite rightly pointed out, they've had one instance in the city of York of a property that was demolished and the property left in quite bad condition. I think this is preventive medicine, and I anticipate, given the exodus we've been experiencing in the downtown core of Metro of a number of our industrial property owners, this may be a real problem in years to come.

Mr Wessenger: I have a couple of questions. First, what are the problems with controlling this by means of property standards bylaws?

Mr Bartlett: On vacant properties, I understand the authority under the Planning Act is restricted to maintenance. If you've got a vacant piece of land, I do not read that legislation as giving us the authority to require it to be screened or the frontage of it to be landscaped. That's what we're seeking in this legislation.

Mr Wessenger: I haven't read the legislation that carefully, but what about the instance where you're seeking a demolition permit in order to construct a new building? Is there something in here that would mean it would not apply in that situation? It would seem like your time frame of 365 days would be somewhat short if you were demolishing a building and then intending to construct a new building.

Mr Bartlett: Clause 4(b) would exempt the property owner who holds the building permit for a new building to be erected on the site.

Mr Wessenger: So if there's a new building permit taken out, this doesn't apply.

Mr Bartlett: That's correct.

The Chair: Seeing no one else, I think now is my opportunity to ask a question. It stems to some degree from what Mr Romanelli had raised about the control of demolition and establishing particular zones. I'm wondering what those zones are. Those members around this table who are regular participants would know I personally have some concerns relating to heritage.

Ms Poole and Mr Bartlett, you both have mentioned the fact that this relates much more to industrial sites than to, say, older residences, but in fact some buildings of the industrial or commercial variety can definitely figure into heritage considerations.

When you're talking about establishing a demolition zone, what are you referring to? Are there direct strips of the town where you are saying, "This is an area where you can get a speedy demolition permit," or are you looking at a different process for developing, demolition and reconstruction, and heritage as well? I obviously seek your input, Mr Bartlett.


Mr Bartlett: In terms of heritage, under the Ontario Heritage Act currently there are controls on demolition and this in no way --

The Chair: Very limited.

Mr Bartlett: Yes, but this in no way supersedes those or replaces those or is in lieu of those. This legislation, as drafted, doesn't apply to a particular area. It gives council the authority after a public hearing to designate an area as an area to which the bill would apply.

As indicated, the report that led to the request for the legislation was a report dealing with industrial areas, because that's where the pressure is right now. As indicated, the CCM property was industrial property that was left vacant for a considerable number of years. But the legislation isn't restricted to that.

From our experience in commercial areas, when buildings are demolished they're quickly followed by other commercial buildings going up, so that to date it hasn't been a problem in those areas. Similarly, in residential areas of the city, experience is that when a property is demolished the land doesn't sit vacant for a long period of time. But in future, if a problem develops in those areas, the council would have the authority under this legislation to go through a public hearing process and, if considered appropriate, to designate one of those areas as similarly covered by the bill. But it was an industrial area concern that led to the legislation.

The Chair: Mr Romanelli, did you want to --

Mr Romanelli: Yes. I want to make it clear that I don't believe that Windsor has parallel legislation. To say that they have similar legislation doesn't clarify this matter to me very much. I don't quite know what the similar legislation entails.

The gentleman here keeps referring to the CCM property. The city of York neighbours have what they call a lot standard bylaw which gives them -- and I'm sure the city of York has it -- the power to go in and clean up a lot and add it to the municipal tax bill. As far as the beautification portion of this proposed legislation, there's obviously nothing wrong with that. There would be nothing wrong with asking for a letter of credit for $30 a foot per frontage before a demolition permit was issued. That would cover the area. They may already have that power.

So I don't want to see the members here get sidetracked, thinking that all this is is somebody is going to knock down their building, they're going to leave a pile of rubble. If the only history of this problem is the CCM property, which I drive by many times -- it was a vacant lot; the supply and demand created a vacant lot. There are going to be a lot of vacant lots.

General Motors out in Scarborough just found it necessary to knock down a million square feet because they couldn't afford -- I shouldn't say couldn't afford; obviously they could afford. They didn't want to pay the $2-million- or $3-million-a-year taxes. In one demolition, 3% of Scarborough's tax base was wiped out. I don't want to see it; you don't want to see it; nobody wants to see that kind of thing happen. Nevertheless, you don't want to pay another few dollars for an automobile either because General Motors has to pay taxes on an empty building.

General Motors, being a good corporate citizen, went to the planning department in the municipality in Scarborough and said: "Here, take the property. You can have it. See if you can find a tenant. See if you can find redevelopment. You don't have to pay us anything. But we have to get this tax burden off our back." That's why the increase in demolition is coming.

A client of mine, and I don't want to mention names here, did a similar thing in Etobicoke. It was a major decision whether they were going to stay in Canada at all. They had a million-dollar tax in addition to insurance. Has any one of you ever tried to get insurance on a vacant building? There's not an insurer out there that's interested in insuring an empty industrial building.

The legislation says if you don't like the position of the city you can go to the OMB. I'm sure you people have at least some experience with somebody else who went to the OMB. You can spend a lot of money and you can spend a year. As a matter of fact, I understand now that the OMB is so busy you may not get there for two years. So if Mr Smith goes in for a demolition permit in the city of York and they say, "Well, I'm sorry; you have to appear before a council. This is a demolition control area," and in the legislation it says the city may designate any part of the municipality or, for that matter, it says the entire municipality as a demolition control area, now what in the heck does that mean? I have no training in law. Some of you members do. Tell me what that means. "May designate the entire municipality as a demolition control area." What does that mean?

The Chair: I will pose the question to Mr Bartlett, since he's sitting beside you and he's probably in a better position to answer it. I'm only a librarian. Mr Bartlett's a lawyer.

Mr O'Neil: Never say "only."

Mr Bartlett: My understanding is that's standard wording that basically says council could designate the whole municipality or it can designate particular parts of it, and the discretion is with council. As I indicated, I wouldn't anticipate that when council exercises its authority it would do it city-wide, because the concerns are area-specific and they would presumably exercise it to do it by part of, applicable to part of, a municipality. But the municipality could designate the whole municipality and then make it applicable to all if they perceive the problem to be that wide.

Mr O'Neil: Madam Chair, why don't we go ahead with the vote on it?

The Chair: Okay. That's fine. Are all members ready to vote?

Shall section 1 carry? Carried.

In the absence of -- well, Mr Mills, yes. Mr Mills, you have something --

Mr Mills: Yes. I have a motion pertaining to subsection 2(4), Madam Chair, and I'll move that now.

I move that subsection 2(4) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"Changes to bylaw

"(4) If a minor change is made in a proposed bylaw after the holding of the meeting mentioned in subsection (2), the council may determine that no further notice is to be given in respect of the proposed bylaw and the determination by council in that regard is final and not subject to review by any court."

I think that amendment is self-explanatory.

The Chair: All members have heard the motion. All those in favour, please signify.

Shall section 2, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall sections 3 through 13 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 all for your contribution, including Mr Romanelli. It definitely provides us with some thought in the whole process.

Mr Romanelli: Well, I just hope that you people here, the lawmakers, are not part of the problem instead of the solution.

The Chair: Thank you.

Our next order of business is Bill Pr117.

Ms Poole: Madam Chair, just before you proceed, I'd like to first of all thank committee members for their agreement to pass both Bills 146 and 147, but I'd also like to mention that as well as Mrs Cunningham this morning, Mr Bartlett and I have a kid for a day in our offices. Mine is a young constituent, Brendan Haley, who's from North Toronto Collegiate, and Mr Bartlett has his son Chris with him today, so I'd like to welcome them to the Legislature.

The Chair: Well, I hope that they've found the experience an interesting one, not too boring. This committee sometimes moves a little faster than some, and I hope they realize it's a very hands-on experience for them and definitely for us to be able to have the students here seeing us in a very real way. Thank you for advising us of their presence.

Ms Poole: Madam Chair, I think the one thing that they did learn today is that time schedules can get shot out the window very quickly. I told them this would be a fairly quick procedure, and we'd probably be in and out in 15 or 20 minutes. Now, two hours later, they've had a real lesson in democracy. I think it's been interesting for them.

The Chair: Maybe you could advise your student friends that in fact we allotted extra time, knowing the pressures of the agenda, just so that we could get all of these bills through. So we recognized work was at hand.

Mr O'Neil: Madam Chair, Bill Pr137: What's happened to it?

The Chair: It's going to come next. We're just going to deal with Bill Pr117 first.



Consideration of Bill Pr117, An Act respecting The J.G. Taylor Community Centre Inc.

Mr Hansen: Madam Chair, I just want to make sure that Mr O'Neil has amendments to the bill that he can read ahead of time. I hope that all committee members -- because we all had the same concern last week and the week before.

The Chair: Yes, right here.

Mr Hansen: Okay.

The Chair: This is in relation to Bill Pr117. There are amendments being circulated. At this point --

Mr Hansen: I think --

The Chair: Excuse me, I'm going to be first. I had called Bill Pr117. I would ask Mr Hope and Mr Knott to come forward and therefore we can move this forward. Now, Mr Hansen, what was it that you had to say?

Mr Hansen: I just wanted to make sure that the members had a chance to read the amendment before we vote on the bill and have a chance --

The Chair: The clerk is circulating it, and at this point, we welcome Mr Hope and Mr Knott back to committee. If you would, Mr Hope, like to make some opening remarks.

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): Once again, good morning, committee members. We seem to be a normal fixture in this committee lately, as we try to discover ministries knowing what they're supposed to be doing and trying to establish a new direction. It's amazing, when you become a test model, how you try to find out the loops of society. We have had lengthy discussions about this before.

I'm joined today by the city solicitor, Brian Knott, who is getting grey with me at the same time while we try to deal with this situation. I'm sure the committee members are well familiar with what this is all about, dealing with the J.G. Taylor Community Centre, which is an initiative brought together by two community groups, which is going to be working with everyone from infants to adults in both physical fitness and training and skills development.

My ultimate goal would be that the legislation would be approved as printed, without amendments. I wish I would win a million bucks tomorrow too, but I know that's not going to happen because I have no lottery tickets. I'm not sure if Brian has opening remarks. We'd be more than willing to enter into the discussion quickly, get out of here, and get on with society.

The Chair: Mr Knott, did you have any clarifications to make at this point?

Mr Brian Knott: Thank you, Madam Chair, members of the committee. When we were here last week, the one concern was with respect to opposition by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and it centred around the lack of approval by the school board. Since that time, through consultation with the ministries of Education and Training as well as Municipal Affairs, the bill has been restructured and what you have before you are amendments to that bill and it's our feeling that they incorporate the necessary changes to meet the approval of the various ministries.

Mr O'Neil: We're handed this stuff, five or six sheets, just a minute or so before we start dealing or even while we're dealing with this, so I guess I'd ask Mr Hayes if he could tell us exactly what they say concisely, or whatever.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, did you want to continue on with the ministerial comments?

Mr Hayes: Yes. First of all, I'd like to say that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is not objecting to this bill, subject to, of course, these two amendments being passed, and also subject to Mr Hope's determination and hard work, along with Mr Knott here today. But there certainly was the concern from the school boards and we feel that these amendments will certainly address that particular area. I would suggest that someone move the amendment and then we can get into discussion, if you'd prefer it that way.

The Chair: Mr O'Neil, does that satisfy your quest for knowledge?

Mr O'Neil: As long as we're going to have an explanation of what it all means here.

The Chair: You will have every opportunity to ask a question and --

Mr O'Neil: I appreciate that, Madam Chair, and I know, you being the Chair, there'd be no other way to do that.

Mr Hayes: We do have somebody from the Ministry of Education and I would prefer them to explain, if they wish to do so.

The Chair: I believe, Mr Hansen, you wanted to read the motions, but let me call the order of business. We will begin the vote relating to section 1.

Mr Hansen: And the preamble, Madam Chair.

The Chair: The preamble is further down the list. Okay?

Mr Hansen: I just want to make you aware that I do have some changes here that I want to put on the record.

The Chair: I have the cheat sheet, so I know exactly which one we're calling here. So, section 1: Mr Hansen, are you going to read the motion, please?

Mr Hansen: Okay. I move that section 1 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:

"Taxes cancelled

"1(1) The council of the corporation of the city of Chatham, referred to in this act as the corporation, may pass bylaws cancelling the taxes payable for municipal purposes, other than local improvement rates, on the land, as defined in the Assessment Act, owned by the centre and known municipally as 177 King Street East in the city of Chatham if,

"(a) the land is owned, occupied and used solely for the purposes of the centre; and

"(b) the centre is a registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada).


"2(2) A tax cancellation granted under subsection (1) may be subject to such conditions as may be set out in the bylaw.

"School boards

"(3) If a tax cancellation bylaw is in effect, all school boards having a territorial jurisdiction over the land described in subsection (1) may, by resolution, direct the corporation to cancel the taxes payable on the land for school purposes.


"(4) A school board that passes a resolution under subsection (3) shall forward a copy of it to the corporation, the Minister of Education and Training and any other school board with jurisdiction over the land described in subsection (1).

"Further cancellation

"(5) If the corporation receives a resolution from all school boards having jurisdiction over the land described in subsection (1), it shall, by bylaw, cancel the taxes payable for school purposes on the land defined in subsection (1).


"(6) A bylaw passed under subsection (5) shall remain in effect so long as all resolutions passed under subsection (3) remain in effect.


"1.1(1) The clerk of the corporation shall notify the assessment commissioner of the contents of a bylaw passed under section 1.

"Collector's roll

"(2) The treasurer of the corporation shall strike from the collector's roll each year that portion of the taxes that is no longer due and payable by reason of a bylaw passed under section 1.


"1.2 For the purposes of section 421 of the Municipal Act, the entire amount of taxes cancelled by a bylaw passed under subsection 1(5) shall be charged back in each year to the school board to which they otherwise would have been payable.


"1.3 A bylaw or resolution passed under section 1 may be retroactive to January 1, 1994."

The Chair: All members have heard the motion. Is there any discussion? Mr O'Neil.

Mr O'Neil: The basis of this whole thing is that you have a community-based social, education, recreational centre which is for the good of the community, and because it's for the good of the whole community then all of the taxpayers share in the benefits of this community, so they're saying that they're not going to be charging them taxes. Is that not right?

Mr Hope: No.

Mr O'Neil: Well, explain it to me, then.

Mr Hope: That's not right. What this legislation says is the corporation is allowed to, is going to by resolution, pass a bylaw that says that they will not collect municipal taxes. What this is saying is that the school boards, whether they have moneys going to that school board or not, have a right to object to the exemption. So you're giving the school boards autonomy to make a determination whether they want the money from that property or not. It's not a matter of the explanation that you gave.


Mr O'Neil: I guess my only problem then is, one year down the road from now the school board could say, "We want the school taxes from it." Is there not a danger there in the bill the way it's worded where you're trying to get a tax exemption from everybody for this? You're still leaving in the clause that the school board can step in at any future date and collect the taxes on it. You're depending upon the goodwill of the members of the school board as to whether or not you have that. If that is really what you want --

Mr Hope: What I would like is the original bill that was presented forward, but you're asking legal and technical questions. I'll ask those at the behest of the beholders who've written this thing -- you talk about the brackets; we had to go over it -- through Mr Hayes, through the legal branch of the Ministry of Education or whoever the drafters were of this, to explain their position on this.

The Chair: Mr Hayes.

Mr O'Neil: If I may finish before Mr Hayes starts, if you don't mind --

The Chair: I was just trying to get one question and an answer.

Mr O'Neil: -- I guess what I'm saying is, they're asking for certain benefits which the original bill asked for, and I'm asking, have the ministry staff come up with a loophole for them that could possibly in the future backfire on what they want? Maybe Mr Hayes can include that.

The Chair: Mr Hayes, if you would then respond.

Mr Hayes: My understanding, and of course I can let staff respond further on this, is that even without this, the municipality can certainly rescind any bylaw that's passed here. That's my understanding. They have the right to do that even without having any amendments that affect it. If you'd prefer staff to respond, I'm sure they'd be glad to, but any municipality can just withdraw any bylaw. If we passed a bylaw yesterday and they chose to rescind it, they have the power to do that.

Mr O'Neil: I guess what I'm trying to do is to go along with what the applicants are asking for so that they're not hit with this later down the road or something.

Mr Hope: Mr O'Neil, to your concerns, the city of Chatham has agreed that they will totally exempt the property taxes from that. Where we're running into a problem is going back to the local boards. Whether they get money from that property or not, having the right to object raises some concerns.

I made it very clear what we would like, but what we would like and what we get are two different things. We're trying to make sure that this bill doesn't get lost, doesn't get defeated. We're working with the direction of the ministries to try to put something in place.

The comment that you asked, do we have to go back to the school boards each year and ask for exemption permission from those school boards, I would go through Mr Hayes to the legal people to answer that question for you.

Mr O'Neil: That's the question.

Mr Tom Melville: The bill as amended would provide, as you suggested, a mechanism whereby the school boards could revoke their consent to their portion of the cancellation of taxes. That is consistent, as Mr Hayes implied earlier, with the existing power of the municipality to repeal a tax exemption bylaw.

Mr O'Neil: I guess then what you're saying is you would have preferred the first bill. We have this second bill now with the changes that have been brought in. You're not happy with it, but it's better than nothing and you'd be satisfied with it going ahead the way we have it here today.

Mr Hope: Yes. We've been here trying to put this thing through since June, while people try to decipher a policy direction and what this new formula will look like, which they want to implement across in this private members' time, for these non-profit groups who are coming forward asking for municipal and education tax exemptions. They've been having a difficult time coming up with that. We've come up with something we don't agree with but we have to live with.

We'll take our chances with our local school boards in our area. They are cooperative. One thing I've got running for us in this whole legislation is that Mr Hayes and myself both have school boards that work very cooperatively together. Let's hope that common sense prevails in decisions that are being made by those local school boards in my area and Mr Hayes's area.

Mr O'Neil: I understand the bill we have following is a similar type of bill that we'll be dealing with. That's all I had.

The Chair: I must advise members there is a technical issue that we have address. Typically, in a situation like this where you have sections separated -- and this one wasn't necessarily appropriately separated -- we will have a vote on section 1, a vote on section 1.1, a vote on sections 1.2 and 1.3. They normally would have been separated and highlighted in heavy type but that is not what happened this morning, so at this point we will separate out the motion and have a vote on section 1 only.

All those in favour of the amendment to section 1? Agreed.

Section 1, as amended, please. All those in favour, please indicate. Agreed.

All those in favour of section 1.1, a new section? Agreed.

All those in favour of section 1.2, please indicate. Agreed.

All those in favour of section 1.3, please indicate. Agreed.

All those in favour of sections 2 and 3, please indicate. Agreed.

The preamble, Mr Hansen.

Mr Hansen: I move that the preamble to the bill be amended by striking out "to enable the council of the corporation of the city of Chatham to exempt the land owned by the centre from taxation for municipal and school purposes, other than local improvement rates," at the end, and substituting "to enable the taxes payable for municipal and school purposes on the land owned by the centre to be cancelled by the council and the school boards."

The Chair: All members have heard that motion. Any questions?

Mr O'Neil: Just a point here: Why do they say "except for local improvements"?

The Chair: Mr Melville, did you want to respond to that, or Mr Hayes?

Mr Melville: I can only say that many other tax bills exempt local improvement rates from the exemption as well. It's consistent with the past structure of tax exemption bills.

The Chair: All members, are you prepared to vote on the motion?

All those in favour, please indicate. Agreed.

Any opposed? Seeing none, carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry? Carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Mr Wessenger: Did we pass the preamble or just the amendment to it?

The Chair: I will rephrase that, thank you, Mr Wessenger.

Shall the preamble, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill, as amended, carry? Carried.

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

Mr Mills: I have a motion, Madam Chair.

The Chair: Please place your motion.

Mr Mills: I move that the committee recommend that the fees and the actual cost of printing at all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr117, An Act respecting The J.G. Taylor Community Centre Inc.

Mr Hansen: If it doesn't pass, Mr Hope is going to pay for the bill.

The Chair: It's about $662.

I would ask members, since they've heard the motion, all those prepared to vote?

All those in favour of the motion as read? Agreed.

Any opposed? Seeing and hearing none, that's carried.

I hope that, despite several trips, this meets with your satisfaction.

Mr Hope: No, it doesn't meet with our satisfaction.


Mr Hansen: Oh, come on, Randy.

Mr Hope: I'm being honest with the committee. It does not meet with our satisfaction. Yes, it's been very difficult, but we accept what has been given to us.

The Chair: Well, maybe you should have a discussion with Mr Knott, because he in fact --

Mr Hope: I guess beggars can't be choosers.


The Chair: No, it's not worth it. Thank you, Mr Knott, for your approval of our work.

Mr Hope: Pity you didn't tell us ahead of time.

The Chair: We have a piece of information from the ministry regarding the Ministry of Education and Training. That was handed out to members. Mr Hayes, continue.

Mr Hayes: The request is, Madam Chair, would it be the committee's wishes to have this explained by the Ministry of Education and Training, their position on property tax exemptions?

Mr Hansen: We read it already, Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes: You did? Thoroughly? And everybody understands it? That's good to hear. Thank you.

Mr Hansen: You can talk to Mr Hope at the back of the room.


Consideration of Bill Pr137, An Act respecting The Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region.

The Chair: Our next order of business is Bill Pr137, An Act respecting The Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region. Mr McGuinty, if you would like to come forward with your applicant. The normal order of business here, although things don't always happen in a normal manner here, is that you make some opening remarks and introduce your applicants at the same time, then turn it over to them.

Mr Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South): Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you, committee members, for considering this matter.


The Chair: Order, please. Allow the sponsor to make his remarks.

Mr McGuinty: What I propose to do is just simply state that I am very pleased to sponsor Bill Pr137, An Act respecting The Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region, and to introduce my colleagues who are with me here today, and then to allow them to make some brief opening remarks, if that's acceptable.

With me is Dan Bordeau, who is executive director of the Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton Region, and Dean Karakasis, who is the volunteer president of the association. I might add as well that this bill -- I did not have a chance to look at the one you just finished considering, but this one is quite similar in nature. With that, I will allow Mr Bordeau to begin.

Mr Dan Bordeau: As executive director, I am the staff person for the Lung Association and of course, being a volunteer, non-profit charitable organization, our board is run by volunteer members. With me today is our local president, Dean Karakasis, and Dean will be speaking on behalf of our association.

Mr Dean Karakasis: Madam Chair, I am not a kid coming to work for a day, but allow me to say that I have enjoyed this experience and I certainly got a lot out of it and I will report back to the board as such.

Mr O'Neil: You may get more experience too, before you're done here.

Mr Karakasis: I suspect so. The Lung Association is an organization that has been around since 1908, not always in its current name, but we are a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of respiratory health through fund-raising activities, support of medical research and our Lung Association community health programs.

We see ourselves as an organization that has always prided itself as being a partnership organization. We work very hard at fund-raising. We are best known for the Christmas seal campaign. We use that fund-raising to do many different activities, as I say, mainly in partnership. We see ourselves as being partners with the health field, to try and take the burden out of the health care system when it comes to having a place for people to come, not only just for information but for some physical treatment and for guidance and information and support groups.

We work with the educational system to go into the schools and run programs to help children understand the need not to begin smoking and understand the respiratory problems that arise from that. As such, we like to think of ourselves as investors in our communities and we use partner organizations to help accomplish our goals.

We're here today on a matter very similar to the one just passed. We're not privy to the pieces of paper that were flying around, so I don't know what wording was used, but the legislation that has been crafted on our behalf tries to set a platform for discussion with three local areas for a tax write-off of property taxes that are associated with our offices on Raymond Street. I'll point out that within the entire Lung Association body, there are only two organizations, two associates, within the 30-odd that have offices. So we're pretty unique that way.

Our goal is to use that funding now, if we could have tax write-offs, to help enhance our programs, again in partnership but this time in partnership with -- the legislation has gone forward recently from this government to help try and stem the tide of rising pulmonary problems within the province and the country as a whole. Our investment in our school system and school programs is about $14,000 a year. We feel that the need for the legislation that has brought the price of cigarettes down and what not needs to be propped up on another side, which is more education and more contact with young people in the schools. That's why we've put forward the request that we are doing.

We have already received approval from the city of Ottawa and the support of the mayor of the city of Ottawa for our proposal. We do not have at this time the support of the region, which has said that they are happy to have us come to committee to present, or the school boards. The letters from them have suggested they are looking for some sort of feedback at the provincial level. As such, the legislation was crafted in a way not to create a dictate to these organizations as to what to do, but simply to set up a foundation by which we can negotiate with them at a local level.

Mr O'Neil's comments are very true with us as well, that we will have to go through that process, but because we are a partnership organization and we work with these organizations, we feel that we're not at risk that way and we feel reasonably comfortable with approaching it in the manner that we have. That's all I have to say as sort of a preliminary statement towards this legislation.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Karakasis. At this point I must ask if there are any other interested parties who wish to come forward on this matter. Seeing none, I would ask Mr Hayes to give his input.

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Municipal Affairs does not support the association's request since it does not at the present time meet all the ministry's criteria. Specifically the support from the region is not there, and the school boards. At the same time, the committee should be aware that this bill would represent the first such tax exemption for a health organization, and there is concern about a flood of others maybe following behind on this. So at the present we do not support this application.

Mr O'Neil: Again, when the previous applicants came before us, you didn't agree to that either. We said to them, "Go back and we'll give you a week and you get those approvals from the people you're dealing with, the school boards and the municipality, and we'll do up the papers." You did whatever you had to do, and they came back with not what they wanted but giving them the go-ahead within a certain perimeter. Are you saying that this could possibly be treated the same way?

Mr Hayes: Yes, it could be.

Mr O'Neil: We knew this was coming up today and we knew that they'd be turned down just as the other case was. Why didn't somebody get in touch with them -- you did? -- and say, "Bring these approvals today and we'll do up the amendments, so we can get it approved and through today"? I wonder why that didn't happen.

Mr Hayes: For the record, the applicants were notified, yes.

Mr O'Neil: So I guess I'd ask the applicant, if you haven't been able to get that yet, can you get it so that you could maybe appear before us next week?

Mr Karakasis: I guess we have a little bit of a chicken-and-egg here. We have a letter from the superintendent of business and finance for the Ottawa Board of Education which says, "In response to correspondence received from the city of Ottawa for this legislation... `correspondence from the city of tax-exempt status for the Ontario Lung Association be received.'" That's the only position they would take on it.


They further say, "This means that the board did not take a position of either support or non-support of this request." When contacted, the implication to us was, they're waiting for some sort of provincial -- I don't know if guidance is the right word. As such, the legislation was crafted in a way to simply create a platform for that discussion. As I said, we have one of the three parties already in agreement, and if I only got that, that would be something of value to my organization.

Working with the school board, if we can get them to see the pros and cons of what we're doing, they have the opportunity of going from zero to 100% in terms of their exemption. That too I'm willing to negotiate. Our investment into the school board right now is about $14,000; the tax bill is about $8,000.

On a profit-and-loss statement alone, I think we can convince them that our service is valuable. By doing the legislation the way we've done, all we've done is set up a platform for that discussion. If the committee wants us to go back and get their permission first, then we just sort of go back and forth that way. The legislation doesn't force anyone to do anything and, in many ways, it just creates what we think is a conducive, broad-based scenario for discussion.

Mr Bordeau: If I may, just to add to my president's statements, when I did communicate with Mr Hicks at the school board, he made it very clear that traditionally the local school board did not deal with this matter. It was very much him saying, "Get a direction at the provincial level for me to be able to talk to you and to actually be able to negotiate a write-off."

So that's why we came forward with this position, knowing that the local school board is not going to be wanting to take a position either way until they get some direction, and we're hoping that through this bill, that direction will be given to at least enter discussions.

Mr Mills: I always like to be consistent in most things that I do, and I'm going to be consistent in the position that I adopted in this case and the case before. I think that we're hanging ourselves out to dry if we pass this bill without the support of the region and the school boards. They're elected people and they have a right to make those decisions. You get that first and come back and I'll be very supportive; without that, I can't be.

Mr Hansen: Sitting next to Mr Mills there, he must have read my mind because I was going to say exactly the same --

Mr Mills: Great minds think alike.

Mr Hansen: So Mr Mills has already made my comments.

Mr McGuinty: I just wondered if I might, just so that it's on the record, one of the things that Mr Mills indicated was that we would be setting some precedent, I think, in terms of granting special benefits to a health organization.

One of the things I got from the city of Ottawa ahead of time, because I thought that it was a rather unusual request to seek exemption or tax write-off, depending on how you want to term it, for an organization -- they told me then that in fact there are a number of organizations, just so that Mr Hayes is familiar with this.see list included with notes In Ottawa we have exempted our Arts Court, the National Capital Children's Oncology Care centre, the South Ottawa Services Foundation, which is Rotel, Ottawa Little Theatre, the Canadian Bible Society, the Jewish Community Centre, and oddly enough, the St Georges Tennis Club.

Just so this is on the record, these people are involved in an effort to address lung problems and they are acting in effect in concert with a piece of legislation put forward by your government in which I take a great deal of pride, the Tobacco Control Act. They are working in concert with that effort to reduce smoking, particularly among young people in this province.

I'm not clear as to something -- maybe the parliamentary assistant can confirm this for me -- were these gentlemen notified of your ministry's position?

Mr Hayes: Yes, they were.

Mr McGuinty: I think it was verbal.

Mr Hayes: Does staff want to respond to this? I'd appreciate it.

Ms Lynnette Coy: My name is Lynnette Coy. I'm with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Yes, the organization was notified. We faxed them the criteria that the ministry uses for the -- because of time constraints, we couldn't send them a formal letter from the minister.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr McGuinty, and we have Mr Mills and then Mr O'Neil. Mr Mills, you were on the record. You wanted to speak?

Mr Mills: Okay. I thought you said Mr McGuinty first. I just want to put it on the record, Madam Chair, that my opposition to passing this is, as I said, permission from other elected bodies. I have great empathy with the Lung Association. I too am a great proponent of our government's anti-smoking legislation and I've let that be known in the House, in my riding, so don't misunderstand me that I'm not in support of this organization, very much so, and I commend you for your work in the schools. Thank you.

Mr O'Neil: Could I ask the Chair or the parliamentary assistant to spell out for this group what it is they should do, and if they do it or get it ready, can we deal with it next week?

The Chair: At this point I would ask Ms Coy or one of the other ministry staff to come forward and outline what in fact has to be done in order to bring this forward. I think members should know and someone will have to move a motion of deferral. Again, your name is?

Mr Mike Riley: Mike Riley.

The Chair: Mr Riley will speak on behalf of the Ministry of Education.

Mr Riley: Yes, I'm counsel with the ministry. We see this bill as being very much in the same position as the preceding bill was last week. We do have concerns, the same concerns in respect of this legislation as we did with respect to the J. G. Taylor Community Centre. Those centre around, firstly, the ability of a municipal council to have a power of decision over what is a school tax base, and secondly, the exporting of the tax burden both from one municipality to the others within the school board and also from one school board in effect to all other school boards in the province.

As far as what's needed, I should inform the committee that after last week's meeting, there was a fairly extensive round of discussions held between policy and legal staff of our ministry and Municipal Affairs, which resulted in the motions to amend the earlier bill that you dealt with earlier. He seemed to change his mind in mid sentence a couple of times - I don't know whether I interpreted it correctly or notWe see this as significant progress and we of course supported that. I think there's further work to be done, but we are in the process of getting these into a form that is really satisfactory in all respects. However, we need sufficient time to do the necessary consultation and seek the necessary approvals to finalize it.

I would say to the applicants that certainly we'd offer to work with them towards the motions necessary to put the bill in a form that would eliminate our concerns.

The Chair: Mr O'Neil, does that answer your question?

Mr O'Neil: Yes. The only other concern I would have, you know whether it's feasible or not, that we will likely finish up next Thursday, a week tomorrow --

The Chair: In fact, if I may at this point provide you with some information as the morning has evolved and we have dealt with the business in a timely and expeditious manner, I have asked the clerk to get a sense of what is on the table for us to deal with next week. In fact we have a couple of revivals of corporations and we also have a series of tax exemptions, and in light of some of the discussion that we've had, I think we should probably start at 9. That would be my recommendation, and in light of the kind of work and discussion that goes on around these bills, I think in that three-hour time frame we could in fact complete our work and possibly deal with this as well.

If members are satisfied with that, they can move a motion for deferral to allow the consultation to continue. Mr O'Neil.


Mr O'Neil: And maybe away from this specific bill, but are you saying, Madam Chair, that next week we may have a couple of similar bills? I wonder rather than do the same discussion and then have them come back whether the ministry staff -- I know they're very busy -- should maybe be asked to deal with those people so that we don't have the same thing and have people back twice and go through the same thing over again.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr O'Neil. We have two other members on the list: one is Mr Hansen and one is Mrs MacKinnon. Then we'll return to you, Mr Hayes.

Mr Hansen: I would like to move a motion that Bill Pr137, An Act respecting the Lung Association, Ottawa-Carleton, be deferred -- I'm not going to say next week, but deferred -- to allow time. Either it's going to be next week, if they're ready to go, or when the House comes back, so the bill still lives.

The Chair: That is your motion, then?

Mr Hansen: That is my motion.

The Chair: The motion for deferral has been placed by Mr Hansen, and in his case he has not put a time limit on it. It would be an open-ended process. Mr Hodgson, would you like to speak to the motion?

Mr Hodgson: No.

The Chair: Mrs MacKinnon, would you like to speak to the motion?

Mrs MacKinnon: No.

The Chair: Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes: Yes, I think. Just for the applicants' information -- I'm sure they already know this, but also just keep in mind that you have four school boards that you're going to be dealing with, not two.

The Chair: Mr Karakasis?

Mr Karakasis: If I may, a question from Mr O'Neil was what we could do to make this better, and the answer was, we have to work on the legislation. That's not sort of what brought us here. What we're hearing conflicting back and forth sitting in our offices is people in our cities saying, "We won't do anything until the province does something," and people in the province saying, "We won't do anything until the city does." Someone has to break this for us.

Mr Hayes: Just on that, and I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything, but in my understanding what happens is, when there are applicants who want to pass a bylaw or private bill, that the criteria are sent to applicants and it's up front what applicants are supposed to do, and it's there.

Mr O'Neil: Don't you think all --

The Chair: Mr O'Neil, just allow Mr Hayes to finish.

Mr Hayes: But when you come before the committee, myself and the staff have to say that these are the criteria -- and it's not just directed at you, but others -- that you have not met the criteria that are laid out, and part of the criteria is getting approval from municipalities and school boards, for example, and various ministries.

The Chair: Mr O'Neil, do you have a final comment?

Mr O'Neil: Final? I can't guarantee that, Madam Chair, but my comment is --

The Chair: He's smiling at you, hoping.

Mr O'Neil: I think what Mr Hayes says is absolutely correct, that if you go back and tell your people that we've dealt with a similar case, and certain things were asked for and, when those certain approvals were obtained from the boards and municipality, it was approved, and it's the same case likely here, that they have to give you the approvals before we will deal with it, but previous cases similar to this have been approved.

Mr McGuinty: On a point of clarification, we have six school boards now in Ottawa-Carleton, and I'm just wondering: I guess there are four, in fact, that would touch on this, but do we not simply have to obtain a consent from the board to which taxes are being directed at this time?

Mr Riley: No.

Mr Hayes: The Ministry of Education and Training can address that.

Mr Riley: Our position is that -- and first, yes, there are six in Ottawa-Carleton, but in respect of any particular property there can be only four. I understand the property in question here is in the city of Ottawa, in which case the Carleton Board of Education and the Carleton separate board would not be involved, so you have the four to deal with. But yes, our position is that all boards, and this is the position that we have put forward, ought to give their assent rather than simply the one who may, for the time being, be in receipt of the taxes.

I guess the rationale for this is that for non-share capital corporations of this nature, there is an element of choice as to the direction of school support, and in the case of Ottawa-Carleton it could be one, two, three or four different boards, or some combination, and given that element of choice as to school support, we are concerned that there not be a situation developing where one board perhaps may offer an exemption and attract the assessment their way, grant the exemption, that does not lead to some kind of conflict among the boards. So that's what lies behind it, but yes, that's our position.

The Chair: Just as a point of information before we turn to Mr Hodgson: One of the things that has happened in this committee in the time that I have been Chair -- and this is to provide some history for members who are not regular members as well -- the fact is that in the process of dealing with these bills, whether it's a school board or whether it's a municipality, if in fact a private bill comes forward from an organization and asks for an exemption or whatever but has not gotten all of the necessary approvals, this committee has not approved it. In fact, it has required the applicant to go back and to do its homework.

I'm sorry the situation is evolving the way it is, and obviously the final decision will be as we vote on the motion. But one of the things that definitely occurs on a regular basis is that there is a set of criteria, and whether it's a school board situation or whether it's a municipality situation, the members have indicated a concern. So I hope no one leaves this place and sort of feels that this is only in the nature of a school board. In fact, it is not. There has been a great deal of consistency over the year and a half that I've been involved.

Mr Hodgson: Thank you, Madam Chair. I just have a question of information for the Ministry of Education people, and before I ask it, I'd like to thank them for their response to my query last week. It was excellent. Is there anything in the current legislation which prohibits a school board from issuing a grant in the amount of their current taxes to an organization such as this?

Mr Riley: Well, I suppose there's nothing expressly that prohibits it, but the result is the same unless there's some authority to provide a grant. In effect, the board --

Mr Hodgson: The board would have to pass a resolution stating that --

Mr Riley: Well, I mean, the statutory authority that would permit them to pass such a resolution, and I'm not aware if they do have that authority, no.

Mr Hodgson: Is there anything prohibiting it?

Mr Riley: Well, no, but unless there's some authority for them to do something, the basic premise is that they can't do it. Being creatures of statute entirely, their powers are set out and governed and limited by in effect the Education Act and any other legislation --

Mr Hodgson: Essentially we're going to be swamped next week again and for years to come. Wouldn't it be more plausible to just insert a clause that a municipality and a school board have the right to issue a grant if it's passed by resolution and done on a yearly basis, and then you wouldn't have the problem of exporting the tax burden to other municipalities or other school boards?

Mr Riley: I can't really speak to that. It's something more perhaps from our funding people who could address that. It sounds like something that could be considered. I don't know. I have with me today Walter Wasylko from our grant area who might have a response to that issue.

Mr Hansen: Madam Chair, has this got to do with my motion?

The Chair: Probably not.

Mr Hodgson: Yes, it's really relevant because if that's possible, then it avoids all this time you waste every week on private members.

The Chair: There were some logistical concerns because I think the question that Mr O'Neil raised, which is where a lot of this other conversation evolved from, was whether there will be enough time to bring this back in order that the different boards be consulted.

Mr Hansen: That's okay. I don't need an explanation. I had a meeting three minutes ago to go to.

The Chair: Well, we normally close at 12. What can I say? At this point --


The Chair: I'm trying to be actually. Members are being a little obstreperous this morning.

Mr O'Neil: We need a little give and take once in a while.

Mr McGuinty: Madam Chair, before a vote is taken on that motion, if we could ask, how would the matter then be brought back? If it's open-ended, how do we get it back on?

The Chair: As long as the consultations have been completed, then you would contact the clerk's office and the clerk would make the effort to schedule you as soon as possible. The bill has already been read in the House. That procedure has been gone through and some of the other basic procedures obviously have been completed in light of that. But then it's just a matter of contacting the clerk and making sure that we can schedule you appropriately.

Mr McGuinty: All right, thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. On the motion which is a deferral motion --

Mrs MacKinnon: Madam Chair, I still have a question.

The Chair: Is it on the motion?

Mrs MacKinnon: No.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs MacKinnon.

Mrs MacKinnon: I said that half an hour ago.

The Chair: At this point we have the motion for deferral and it is an open-ended deferral, just to remind members. All those in favour, please indicate. Any opposed? Seeing none, thank you, that motion carries. This is deferred.

Mrs MacKinnon, what is your request?

Mrs MacKinnon: It's too late.

The Chair: Thank you. I would hope that the applicant will work with the ministry in order to get this resolved.

Mr O'Neil: Am I to understand then, because the ministry staff have been good enough to work out what would have to be done in a similar case to this so these people know in any future applications we have they'd be told this is what you have to have before you should come before the committee, which saves us a lot of -- is that my understanding?

The Chair: I think that effort will be made to make sure that it's clear. At this point we are adjourned and we will hopefully see you soon.

The committee adjourned at 1151.