I’d like to welcome committee members and
anybody in attendance today, members of the public and the media. You can follow on your
agenda or tablet, computer or smart phone. The general government licensing committee
we gratefully acknowledge that the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory
of many nations including the Mississauga of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa,
the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations,
Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with
the Mississauga of the Credit. Are there any declarations of interest under
the municipality conflict of interest act? Seeing none, I need a motion to confirm the
minutes of our last meeting on October 7th, 2019.
Councillor Nunziata, all in favour? Carried. There’s speakers list on the green sheet in
front of you. We have one speaker listed for item number 13. Communications are in front
of you as well. We’ll go through the agenda gl9.1 is a revenue services division overview
they’re going to give a presentation. Number 2 is 9:45 hearing for apportionment of property
taxes November 18th, 2019. Number 3 is cancellation reduction or refund of property taxes as of
November 18th, 2019, that’s also a 9:45 hearing. Number 4 is a metropolitan Toronto police
benefit fund the termination wind-up and surplus distribution, Councillor Holyday is moving
the recommendations, all in favour? Carried. Number 5 is the Toronto civic employees’ pension
plan termination wind-up and surplus Councillor Nunziata is moving the recommendation. All
in favour? Carried. Number 63100 Weston road —
Councillor Holyday is moving the recommendation, all in favour.
Carried. Number 7, 351 Lake Shore boulevard east and 545 Lake Shore boulevard west, municipal
capital facilities Councillor Filion is moving the recommendations? All in favour?
Carried. Number 8, 462 birchcliff road designation of properties by the Toronto Public Library,
Councillor Holyday is moving the recommendation number 8, all in favour? Carried.
Number 9, 91 Guildwood parkway designation of a portion of the property used by the Toronto
Public Library as a municipal capital facility. Councillor Matlow moving the recommendations.
All in favour? Carried. Number 10 Councillor Nunziata is
moving the recommendation on number 10. All in favour? Carried. Number 11 proposed
amendments to corporate facilities display policy to enable non-profit fundraising, Councillor
Holyday has a question on number 11. Number 12 easement for enwave corporation
at 55 Lake Shore boulevard east. Councillor Holyday moving the recommendation in number
12shgs all in favored? Carried. Number 13 city hall council chamber modern
sglags options, number 14 delegated authorities for corporate real estate management functions
anybody like to move that? Number 14. Carried. Number 15, contract awarded by the
bid award panel during the 2019 summer recess period. Councillor Nunziata’s moving the recommendation
number 15. All in favour? Carried. Number 16, provision of non-competitive proprietary
software licenses from sap Canada incorporated for the sap enterprise hana solution, Councillor
Holyday moving the recommendations on 16. All in favour? Carried. Number 17 the Canada
clean fuels incorporated for supply of various fuels and services. Councillor Holyday is
moving the recommendations to number 17. All in favour?
Carried. Number 18 non-union employee separation costs for 2018.
[away from mic]. Sorry.
[away from mic]. You’ll hold that.
Councillor Filion holding number 18. Number 19 occupational health and safety report first
and second quarters of 2019, Councillor Holyday is holding number 19. Number 20 municipal
licensing standards additional information on enforcement strategies and service standards.
Holding number 20. Number 21 accessibility in the underground
path system. Councillor Nunziata’s moving number 21. All
in favour? Carried. We will go back to the beginning
number 1 revenue services division overview.
You will be familiar with the old add damage that there are 2 things certain in life that
is death and taxes. Unofficially revenue services has adopted as its addage there are 2 certainties
in life, taxes and user fees. So the divisional breakdown for revenue services you’ll see
the division is composed of a director, 5 managers, 22 supervisors and 227 full-time
staff. And our programs are shown across the top, the major functional areas are property
assessment and taxation, utility billing and parking ticket operations, operational support,
our customer service, and revenue accounting and collection.
Next. So our major operation then are property tax, utility billing, we collect municipal
land transfer tax, parking ticket operations, and municipal accommodation tax. And I will
walk you through each of those with a few facts and figures.
Next. In property taxes, we issue 1.5 million bills annually and that includes interim,
finally and supplementary omitted billings and we raise annually in 2018, $6.5 billion
through or property tax levy and of that levy 4.3 billion is the municipal portion of taxes
and 2.2 billion is the education portion of taxes. A copy of our tax bill is shown on
the right. Next. Utility billing and in utility billing
consists of water and sewer billings and billings for solid waste collection and management.
We issued 1.7 million utility bills in 2018, and we raised 1.2 billion in water and solid
waste revenues. We’ve added 2 new programs within utility billing, the solid waste rebate
program provides support to low income seniors and low income disabled persons on the solid
waste portion of their utility bill. That was new for 2018.
And we also have introduced add home dialysis rebate program, and that is to offset the
cost of increased water consumption where a customer or resident of Toronto is undergoing
home dialysis they have significantly higher water bills because of the dialysis treatment.
This is a rebate that offsets a portion of those increased costs. Next.
A parking ticket operations you will know in 2017, parking ticket changed over from
provincial to offenses ovened the provincial offenses act to an administrative penalty
system that is administered within the City of Toronto by city staff, revenue services
has worked with court services, legal services and the Toronto police service to design and
implement a dispute program for parking violation disputes that is faster, easier and more convenient
for the members of the public. You’ll see that our dispute times the average time to
process a dispute has been reduced to 53 days from previously 225 days under the provincial
offenses system. 73% of parking violation notices where people have filed disputes they
are using the online method to resolve their disputes.
So they apply online, they get an answer online and that has speeded up significantly the
process. We’ve also seen a significant reduction in drive away cancelations almost 46,000 drive
away cancelations in 2017, these are offenses where the person drives away before the issuing
officer can actually issue the ticket. We now have the ability under the administrative
penalty system to mail out those violations to those offenders. And so we have reduced
significantly the number of people that are getting away by driving away before their
ticket is issued. In 2018, we located $103 million in parking fines and fees. And that
was 2.2 million parking tickets. So we’re roughly 2 million parking ticket issued every
year. Our revenue services division also administers the municipal land transfer tax which generated
800 million in revenue in 2018. And we have started collecting municipal accommodation
tax, the hotel tax is now in place with approximately 35 million collected last year. And that money,
part of that money goes to fund tourism Toronto and the other half goes to fund city programs
and services. We will also in revenue services be responsible for the collection of the municipal
accommodation tax on short-term rentals which are your overnight, your Airbnb rentals. But
the authority to levy and collect that tax is pending the decision at the local plan
appeal tribunal. Next, programs operated by revenue services
include or cancellation and deferral program for property taxes, a water rebate program,
rebates for registered charities within the City of Toronto, property tax rebates and
property tax rebates for cultural centres and veterans clubhouses and legion halls.
And finally our customer service facet, given the number of operations, billings, utility
billings, property tax billing, parking ticket interactions, we deal with approximately 3.6
million customers per year. We field within revenue services over 140,000
calls that have been referred to us by 311. And we complete over 26,000 inquiries by written
correspond dense and serve 235 customers annually at our customer service counters. These are
pictures of 2 of our staff at North York Civic Centre and Toronto city hall. Typically reports
considered at general government and licensing committee you will be familiar with these.
These are actually on today’s agenda the apportionment of property taxes. This is a report that allows
us to split unpaid taxes from older parcels to the newly created parcels following the
severance. This is item 9.2 on today’s agenda. Council has delegated authority to the general
government and licensing committee to hold these hearings. This is a statutory hearing
that is required under the City of Toronto Act. And the apportionment of taxes allows
for the recovery of unpaid taxes on land that has been severed. Similar report is the cancellation
reduction for refund of property tax report also on today’s agenda. These are tax appeal
applications that are made to the treasurer which permits council to cancel, reduce or
refund taxes where a change has occurred mid-year. And so if your property taxes change mid-year
because of a change event, this allows us to adjust your taxes for that taxation year.
In your changes include when a property is destroyed by fire or demolished, become unusable
due to renovations or repairs, becomes exempt from taxation or reclassified due to a change
in use. This is also a statutory hearing that has been — the authority was delegated to
the general government and licenses committee to hold those statutory hearings.
Additionally, reports presented to GGLC include those reports that designate a property as
a municipal capital facility. You had four of those items on today’s agenda. And the
municipal capital facility is land where a property is used for a municipal purpose or
where a municipality occupies leased space that would otherwise be taxable. The best
example of that is where the city has a library that occupies space in a shopping mall. Ordinarily
that space would be taxable and the owner, or the tenant would pay taxes on that space
because it’s operated by a municipality for a public library, that space becomes exempt.
The city enters into an agreement with the landlord or the tenant to provide that municipal
capital facility, and the City of Toronto Act actually allows us to exempt from taxation
those municipal capital facilities. And as I said, eligible municipal capital
facilities include those used for the general administration of the city, properties that
are used culturally, recreationally, social and health services, transit and transportation,
community centres, libraries. Thanks. Additionally, reports considered at
the general government and licensing committee include the write off of uncollectable property
taxes from the roll and we will report to general government and licensing where all
collection efforts have failed. And we seek council authority to remove those properties
from the tax roll. We report twice annually on the city’s largest property tax debtors,
and we also provide an annual report on the status of outstanding payment in lieu of tax
from federal, provincial and municipal properties. Additionally revenue services prepares and
presents these reports not to this committee but to Executive Committee. We report annually
on the heads and beds levy on institutions. These are taxation amounts that are levied
on provincial institutions such as colleges and universities, public hospitals and correctional
facilities. And that rate for heads and beds has been set at $75 per provincial hospital
bed, full-time student or resident place. We also report annually on the levy on railroad
roadways and rights-of-way and on power utility and direction corridors.
And in 2019, we raised 7.1 million for that levy on rail way rights-of-way and power utility.
And briefly I will walk you through some recent customer service enhancements and where we’re
going in North York we’ve installed a cueing system where you take a number and it says
now serving number 14. This has significantly improved convenience to our customers who
can take a number and have a seat while their number is called instead of lining up. And
more importantly this provides extremely accurate statistics to monitor or average wait times
at our counters and the number of customers served.
We have updated and created a new system to allow online mailing address updates. So you
can now update your mailing address online instead of submitting a form manually and
submitting to us. We do approximately 1,400 address changes per month. Saving a lot of
staff time and over 21,000 have been mailing address updates have been made since April
2018. We’ve also have an online property tax look up tool. And we’ve put more information
in there so that it’s more user friendly and more helpful to our customers.
To show past payment history and detailed messaging where there are credits or overdue
amounts shown on your property tax account. New initiative, we are working with the customer
experience transformation team and the transformation office on Toronto’s new enterprise customer
service vision which is going to facilitate and expand self service options, provide better
and more consistent customer service, build trust and confidence in city service and to
optimize customer service delivery in a cost effective manner. And finally, this is — this
is my last slide, these are initiatives that we’re working on. We have actually approached
the Canada revenue agency, the cra to provide automated income verification. And this will
allow us to speed up the process and put more accuracy around verifying income for eligibility
purposes for our tax and utility relief programs. This is a pilot. We expect to have this up
and running early in 2020. We continue to modernize our tax and utility
billing system, and we are now looking at a full scale integration of all of our financial
information and our tax and utility billing systems with our sap financial systems.
We are looking at e billing options for property tax and utility accounts for those people
who prefer to receive their bills via email. We are facilitating and expanding online applications.
We have a lot of programs that people apply for right now it’s a very manual process and
a paper-driven form process. We are looking at moving our application process online.
And we are also looking to facilitate online remittances for municipal accommodation tax.
When you start taxing short-term rentals we will need a means to allow those operators
to pay and we will be designing working with corporate int on a system to provide online
payment ability. And we are undertaking further updates to our online utility look up to include
billing and payment history. That is what we do. Those are the types of
reports that come to general government and licensing committee. Are there questions?
Thank you. Appreciate the presentation. Questions of staff? Councillor Holyday.
Thanks for talking to us today. At the beginning of the presentation you financed 1.5 million
tax bills and 1.7 million utility bills. How many customer accounts do we have? For tax
bills compared to utility bills? Utility billing we have about 475,000 accounts.
Okay. And that is — that is residential, commercial,
industrial accounts. Property taxes we have approximately 860 million — sorry — 860,000
— sorry, accounts. And so would that — so — basically.
860,000 accounts on the property tax side we issue 2 bills a year plus supplementary
bills. But property tax account would be a single
detached house, townhouse, condominium, business, I guess or business unit and the overall building
owner, I guess. Property tax bill is usually for the property
itself. Okay.
Not to the tenant, not to portions within that property but the property itself.
Okay. Just over the parking tickets, 2.2 million parking tickets issued, but there’s a note
here that says 73% of parking violation notices choosing to use the online dispute process.
Right. How many people out of the 2.2 million dispute
their ticket? That — that number of disputes that percentage
of disputes was — sorry. Has remained fairly stable. It’s between 12 and 14%. So 12 and
14% of people who receive a parking ticket will file a dispute. The rest of the people
generally pay. So the aps and the online provision hasn’t
triggered more people to dispute it, it’s just mated it easier for them?
No, that’s why I say that number, the dispute, the total percentage of people disputing has
not changed significantly from pre aps to post aps.
Okay. I guess my last question is kind of an overarching one. You have an enormous amount
of information, right, there’s interesting things if you started to look at the data
around property tax bill, utilities, I’d love to know where the tickets are going, what
are they for, what are the dispute rates, what are the hot spots? Because that triggers
other questions. Right.
Right. Has nothing to do with revenue but has to do with the city. Can you talk a little
bit about what the rules are that you operate under in terms of sharing information? Is
there legislation in place, are there restrictions of their policies and as a member of council
what can I think about if you want to start using the data that could be used in different
ways? If it’s even at all possible? So that’s a very good question. And there
is — this is a two part answer because revenue services has in fact, a lot of information
on financial information and then that is sort of personal information.
If you can attach financial information to an individual’s name, that is personal information,
and we have limits on what we can disclose. However, we make available open data sets
that are available to the public, that have statistical information where we have severed
off any personal information. So for instance, you can get parking ticket data.
You can see all of the parking ticket by offence type, by where they were generated, the fine
amounts. You just can’t see personal information, in this case that would be the — who received
the ticket, license plate or — so that is severed in an open data set. We do the same
thing for taxes and utility in that there is information that is made available without
personal information. So, so wewe — in terms of property taxes, property taxes a lot of
that information is generally available certainly for commercial businesses as long as you’re
not identifying an owner name, the amount of property tax, the amount of taxes paid
by a property is in the public domain as long as you’re not attaching an individual’s name,
the owner’s name for instance. But if it’s a numbered company the property
taxes they pay for their property is information that’s in the public domain.
Is there a way to push the limit further, so there’s the concept of private information,
but there’s also the concept of uniqueness of the records. So to me, it would be really
interesting to know this particular building using this much utility services in terms
of water and in terms of waste. And you could match those altogether but you
didn’t — you never would have to reveal the particular private piece of information, but
you could connect the dots. And by the way, there’s a same car gets a ticket in front
of that building every week but we don’t know whose car that is.
Right. I’m interested because it’s a way to explore
further. What are the rules around that that hold us back?
Last question, Councillor. Thanks.
It is a question of information can be provided in aggregated form. But even in the — information
on individual consumes because that can be identified to you, your property or your business,
that is information that is not out there. As long as it can be related to a particular
operation that you can name, consumes, then that’s not releasable. But we do as I said,
we can provide information aggregated so that you’re not specifying individual parcels.
So you can provide block by block information. For utility consumption. The City of Toronto
is actually participating with a provincial initiative to have large building owners report
on their energy and utility consumption. So that information is out there, but it would
depend on the specific request how you wanted that information as to how we can release
it. Thank you, Councillor Holyday. Councillor
Nunziata. Yes. Thank you going back to the parking tickets.
So the — parking tickets on individuals disputing the tickets you have the percentage on how
many of them were cancelled through the dispute process?
That — that is — I will answer in the general. Of a hundred parking tickets issued we collect
about 83 of those parking tickets. They are — they are eventually paid. So that remaining
17% are tickets that are either reduced, withdrawn or never paid. So if you wanted specific numbers
on the outcome at trial, that would be a question for legal services because legal services
operates those screening offices. But we do report annually on parking ticket activity
and report to this committee. And it has an indication of how many — what the outcomes
are when they are disputed. Some are thrown out, some are reduced. You might get a 50%
reduction on a parking ticket, some are cancelled altogether.
Okay. As far as the cancellation reduction refund, you mentioned here, I don’t know what
page it’s on, but when a property is destroyed by fire, demolished, unusable due to renovation,
repairs. Yep.
So where do you — where does that information come from?
For example, if someone is doing renovations, so they — that information comes from the
building department? Like how do you gather that information so you know which properties
that you’re going to cancel, reduce or refund? Right. So in these cases it is the owner that
actually makes an application to the city. And says my property has changed.
It was demolished on such-and-such a date, or there was a fire that occurred on such-and-such
a date. So the owner makes an application to the city for that cancellation or refund.
Or reduction. We then using that owner’s information go to impact say for the assessed value this
property at the beginning of the year the property was whole, there was a fire that
happened halfway through the year, impact will then advise us what the assessment should
be reduced to reflect the damage from the fire or reflect that the property changed
from taxable to exempt. So if we know how much cda has changed then the number of days
and year that it applies to we can do the math from there.
Yeah, so if the public can’ted applies who clarifies the information from the city?
We would look at the information. We review the information that’s supplied.
Do you? By the applicant.
The applicant. And then we provide it to impact.
So they clarify that it’s correct information? Yeah, impact will actually go back to the
owner in those cases and verify. Verify.
Get the information that they don’t have. Okay. Thank you.
Okay. Thank you, Councillor Nunziata. Other questions
of staff from the presentation? Seeing none, thank you very much. Just want
to say of all the interaction was different people who collect money from me or my constituents
I find by far the best customer service I’m very happy to say would be with the city you
know like miles above the — if we all think of our interactions with the god help us the
utility companies, the cable companies so I think we’re doing a great job in this area.
And thanks for the good work. Other speakers? Councillor Filion, would you like to move
relate of the report? Sure.
Councillor Filion is moving receipt of the report. All in favour? Carried. Our next item
is number 2 apportionment of property taxes as of November 18th, 2019, it’s 9:45 a.m.
Hearing. I have no listed deputants. Is there anybody that would like to speak to this item?
Seeing none, I’m going to move the following amendment: That recommendation number 1 be
replaced with the following: The general government licenses committee approve the apportionment
of property taxes in a and b under the columns titled — excluding the following application
in appendix b roll number — known as 30, 36th street for the tax year
2018 in ward number 3. Questions of the mover.
Councillor Matlow. Are you able to just articulate what you’re
doing? Sorry.
Can you tell us what you’re doing? [Laughter].
Sure, we’re apportioning the taxes for this piece of property in ward number 3.
Is there — if not you is there someone who could just explain why this in particular
property? Just so I know what I’m voting on. Sure. Casey.
Through you, Mr. Chair, thank you for the question. So in this case the report that’s
in front of you identifies a number of properties where we are apportioning the taxes. So it
will show the old taxes and the individual apportioned amounts. This motion removes one
property where we have recommended an apportionment and the reason for the removal in this case
is because the taxes were fully paid. Okay.
So we no longer need to apportion the taxes in this case. This is being withdrawn from
the list of properties that we’re apportioning because we got our money on this one.
Thank you, casey. And Paul, you’re explanation was very clear too, thank you.
Thank you, Councillor, I couldn’t have said it better than casey. All in favour of the
amendment? Carried. Item as amended all in favour? Carried.
Item number 3 cancellation — as of November 18th, 2019. And I don’t think we have any
amendments. Is there anybody that would like to speak to this item? Seeing none, does any
members of the committee have questions of staff? Councillor Matlow. No, okay. Speakers?
I’ll move the recommendations in the report. All in favour?
Carried. We are going to go to item number 13, city hall council chambers modernization
options we have one speaker. [away from mic].
You have five minutes whenever you’re ready. Good morning.
13 13 [away from mic]. We’ll go back to 11. I’m just taking care
of the deputation first. [away from mic].
No problem. All right. I’m speaking on the report on page
3 of the with regards addressing security and life safety issues. The public washroom
access within the secure area the council chamber public washes are located in the council
chamber east tower elevator landing area which is outside the secure area. With the current
location of the walk through metal detectors members of the public who have already been
screened to enter the chamber must exit the secure area and therefore, must be rescreened
to reenter the chambers. So this is me. And December 28th, 2008, the washrooms were closed
to the public. Public washroom closed to the public with a key. I inquired with corporate
security they told me if I need to use the washroom I had to ask them to open it up.
And at the moment I got out of the washroom I was asked — I had to get — you had to
get rescreened although it’s just like 3 feet away from the screen table, so this issue
I’m glad that is coming to this committee for discussion and hopefully approval but
I have some questions. On page 8 of the report it says that we are going to locate City Council
while this structural improvements happen with the City Council chambers. My question
to the committee is: Will this recommendation related to the washrooms will be also allocated
to the new facility that will take place down the road because we want to avoid singular
situations like this and where I was given a toilet card to use the washrooms and I was
told that you know what we gave you a toilet card and you can go ahead of the line to go
to City Council chambers. What an embarrassing situation that was.
Any way I applied for accommodations under disability because I had diabetes and I had
mental illness. They denied it. They decide to deny my request.
These are the things we need to improve as we move forward, of course. Issues that happen
when council does not consult with appropriate committees. I’m talking with regards to Toronto
accessibility advisory committee of the city lead by Councillor Wong-Tam. You know they
should have come to them first and said look we’ve got this proposal because x, y and zed.
They could have come to them said this is what’s going to happen.
What would someone like diabetes like myself would experience if I had to be rescreened
20 times a day? You know this took almost a year but I’m glad it’s coming forward. And
I hope Paul Ainslie, Councillor Holyday, Filion, Nunziata, Matlow approve this request for
financial restructure of City Council chambers. Another thing I want to say is that access
to the water fountain is also between the secure area. So if I have to go and drink
water out of the fountain which is located in the same area, I had to get rescreened.
I sent an, mail to facilities management and they replied to me says I’m sorry, you have
to get rescreened if you want to get a sip of water, like this is ridiculous again.
So I hope you can introduce some kind of motion in addition to the request for financial changes
in the structure. So security to people with disabilities. It shouldn’t be that way. You
know what and I won’t — and I will not lie to you, I consulted with the — and this problem
is someone that perhaps was going to intervene because it was getting so ridiculous. Especially
that toilet card. It was outrageous. Thank you so much, Councillors.
Thank you. Questions of the deputant? [away from mic].
Councillor Matlow, questions of the deputant? No.
Okay. Not a problem. Thanks appreciate you coming in this morning
and your perspective. You’re welcome.
On this item questions of staff on this item? Councillor Matlow.
Well, sort of continue on for a — aside from — aside from security and accessibility,
is there anything else in the plan that is of an urgent — such an urgent nature that
it can’t wait until we understand the outcome of our request to bring our appeal of the
province’s decision on the council size to the Supreme Court?
Through the chair, from Toronto accessibility design guidelines and from the audits we’ve
done we don’t perceive there to be any impediments currently. The report before you will address
all accessibility requirements including physical disabilities, hearing impaired and visually
impaired. So we’re looking at the council chambers enhancing the council chambers by
addressing accessibility from that perspective, as well as taking the opportunity to update
and modernize council chambers. To say it plainly, and this is genuinely a
question rather than a comment but just so you know what I’m driving at, is there a way
to separate the more pressing and very reasonable concerns with regard to security and accessibility?
And spending the money right now on working on the feasibility of a whole overhaul of
the chambers before we know what we want the chambers to accommodate? Can we parse out
those 2 more pressing items? Through the chair, using an integrated approach
would be more cost effective long-term. Addressing accessibility and addressing security
they’re one in the same because we want to make sure that we provide access for all.
And incorporate the security as part of that have and not to do one before the other. They
both go hand in hand. How — from an accessibility perspective,
would our council chambers be fairly described as accessible or not?
Through the chair, I would say it’s very limited right now.
That’s why by modernizing it, and as we’ve reported in the report, approaching it from
a flex type council chamber will allow us to actually provide more accessibility inclusive
of the security requirements. Why on earth is it $400,000 to look at the
feasibility? Through the chair, that’s an upset limit because
we’re going to look at both from a design perspective to take care of — to look at,
— sorry — at the Toronto accessibility guidelines. We’re looking at the furniture fixture and
equipment. We’re looking at the security. So we’re looking at variety of different initiatives,
security accessibility, furniture fixture and equipment. So that’s an upset limit. We’re
just setting an upset limit. We’re looking — it’s not just from a design it’s technology
as well as furniture. What I don’t understand about that $400,000
if you were going to do a full gut renovation of a house it could cost you something like
that to actually do the work, have a modern kitchen redo the — you know, everything in
a home. So simply — so simply do the consultant side of it, the feasibility report side of
it before you even start doing the work, I don’t understand the cost.
Through the chair, so we’re just setting an upset limit we’re not saying we’re going to
spend 400,000. So you know, we’re just making an estimate.
We’re not saying we’re spending 400,000. So through the chair, if I could also — yes.
Respond. There’s aspects around the heritage aspect that we have to take into consideration.
That will be part of the review. But going back to your first question I think the one
thing that’s important that pat is describing because this is going to be more of a modular
approach, right, whatever council decides, whatever the appeal becomes, right, we can
actually adjust through this new process where you can’t today things are actually integrated
into the floor. We can with the new structure and how we’re doing this depending on what
comes out from an appeal or not. I just want to leave you with that.
Yeah. This allows us more flexibility that we do
not have today. When are we — have we been given any indication
as to when we will know if the court is going to hear the appeal?
I will let John respond to that, or — I’ll answer that. So no, we do not have any indication.
We’re in the early stages that have request for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of
Canada. You may have seen in the news or publically
that we just recently filed our materials with the court. So that’s first steps in the
process with you I expect will take many months to unfold.
Thank you. Thank you, Councillor Matlow. Questions of
staff Councillor Holyday. A brief one. I’ve noticed that the cell phone
reception is miserable in that chamber. I don’t spend a lot of time on my phone during
council I do send the odd text message and rely on the data. Is there a way to have a
look at that from technology perspective, because I know that the cell towers I think
are outside the building, but is there something that would be wooven, because I’m sure the
members of the public have the same issue. Yes, we have considered putting in wifi into
the council chambers. Sorry. Just for further clarity, beyond wifi,
but just the cellular signal which would be the carriers.
Through the chair, yes, we’re also looking at cellular.
Sorry for the clarification. Thank you.
Other questions of staff? Councillor Nunziata.
Yeah, just one. Where it says during the construction phase City Council would need to meet in an
alternate location, so what is the plan for that?
Mr. Chair, so we do maintain continuously plan for [inaudible] so we do have kind of
on a regular basis an idea about what we would do in the event of the chamber being unavailable.
We’d probably look at one or two things we’d either look at whether there a city facility
in the downtown district large enough to accommodate council or the alternative is we might actually
look at renting some space in a nearby hotel so that council members could still be close
to their parking, to their offices, to their staff, their resources and so forth. So we’ll
look at the cost benefit of those 2 options when and if the time occurs.
The council chambers at metro hall is it still there?
[away from mic]. Okay.
[away from mic]. 301 actually occupies the whole chambers,
yes. The whole thing. [away from mic].
They’ve been there for the last 9 years. Okay.
Yeah. [away from mic].
We can arrange a tour. Thank you, Councillor Nunziata.
Councillor Matlow, do you have another question? No, just a motion.
Sorry? I have motion.
Oh, okay. All right. Anybody else have questions of staff on this
item? Speakers? Councillor Matlow.
I have a motion to send this back to staff, but ask them to come back to us with respect
to the security and accessibility arrangements that they’d like to provide to the next committee
meeting. The reason I do this — by the way, I’m not suggesting we absolutely everything
else. I share Councillor Holyday’s frustration with the council chambers with respect to
access to wifi, the chambers themselves are clearly out of date in many respects.
But we also as we’re discussing reconfiguring and modernizing our council chamber, we’re
in the midst of asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear oural on the configuration
of council itself. And in fact, council has the opportunity during this term of office
to decide on how we’d like to design our next election as to how many wards we would like
to see. We may select to keep the status quo, we may select to go to 44 wards or 47 wards.
We haven’t had that debate yet. I think it would be premature to start selling the chairs
so to speak before we make that determination regardless of how the debate will resolve
itself. $400,000 that may be the most liberal request
of how much money you would like to be allowed to have. But I think it’s just an absurd number
to request and I say that with all due respect. I said earlier like literally you could gut
an entire house and rebuild it from inside out with $400,000. I’m in no mood to just
say here’s a blank check for $400,000 for a consultant’s report on the feasibility of
doing something never mind paying to actually do it. So I wanted — I want a rethink on
that, but certainly I think it would be irresponsible to neglect the fact that our collective security
meaning those of us who work there and those of us who are witnessing democracy and participating
in it, should have a secure public space to go to. And accessibility should always be
a priority. So that’s why I ask. Foe on those 2 areas, let us know — I want
to know for example, can you parse it out and do it effectively. If what you’re saying
is true and would be more expensive explain that to us. I want to understand for example,
does it need to be $400,000, can you ask for half that price tag? Go do another rethink.
I’m not comfortable to support it moving forward the way it is. And ultimately, cart before
the horse. I really do think that we need to make a decision about where we want to
go with this council chamber before we decide how to design it.
Questions of the mover? Councillor Holyday’s hands.
Thank you. Thank you for the motion. I just wondered if the Councillor could clarify the
spirit of this is these are the needs to have. Yeah.
Versus the nice to have. So you’ve pulled out accessibility and security, but I guess
the concept is those are like the minimum changes that need to be done versus the other
stuff which contributes to function and so on.
Which I want, by the way. This is urgent.
Yeah, I agree. Okay.
I agree with modernizing all the technology. Personally I would like to have that there.
But I do recognize the security and accessibility like we can’t — that has to move forward.
Okay. Thank you. Okay. Thank you. Other questions of the mover?
Seeing none, speakers? No other speakers? No. Okay. All right. So I’m last. So I’m going
to start off by saying I appreciate the intent of Councillor Matlow’s motion, but I also
look at the council chamber as what we need AODA accessibility requirements, emergency
requirements, technology, the buttons that we use upstairs in the chamber the last I
heard from the staff they’re buying them third party, those buttons aren’t available any
more. When we look at modernizing the chamber it can be done in a module component.
So regardless of whether we have 24 members or we go back to 45, it can be done in a modular
way to accommodate numbers. I think as we move forward, you know, security wise it’s
important. I think that you know, the comment made about $400,000, you know, on the face
of it, I don’t want to reach point where we’re saying to staff, you know, we’ve been told
the $400,000 is the upper level. I trust them from the work that they’ve done, that they’re
always as frugal as possible. I think that by settling a threshold staff meeting it and
something happens and they have to come back, something else becomes part of that, I think
that just delays this process. The chambers haven’t been renovated since 1998, I think
they’re long overdo and I would like to move forward with this report. Thank you. So we
have Councillor Matlow’s motion. So we have Councillor Matlow’s motion. All in favour?
Opposed? Councillor Matlow’s motion carries. So that
deals with that item. We do have a registered speaker for item number 20. Which is the Municipal
Licensing and Standards additional information on enforcement strategies and service standards.
Helen — good morning. You have five minutes to address the committee. After you’ve spoken
for five minutes any of the committee members can ask you questions for up to five minutes
and then the committee will debate this internally. You have five minutes to start whenever you’re
ready. Yes. Good morning. My name is Helen — and
I’m here representing about approximately 1,000 tenants in the City of Toronto. I was
also a board member with federation of metro tenant association and other groups. I am
very, very concerned that we are still discussing standards when it comes to 311 calls. Personal
experience and reports from many others, 311 call centre and the staff they’re fantastic,
they follow up, they call. They’re fantastic. That’s about the level of service we’ve received.
When it comes to rental properties many tenants in the city which constitute one half of the
residents of the City of Toronto, rarely get the same consideration as perhaps a homeowner
who is concerned about long grass in their neighbourhood. We have been dealing with issues
now for well over ten years. And I for one am tired coming here to city hall to discuss
the same issues over and over again while all we hear continuously is that our city
staff and our departments our public departments need more time. In a regular workplace I don’t
think that that’s a way a regular workplace works. I think we need to step it up. We don’t
need to — we must step it up. We keep speaking of ageing infrastructure, there are ageing
buildings throughout the city. We keep speaking of affordability, within
housing, the new condos that are going up are going to start looking like some of our
ageing infrastructure unless we do what is absolutely necessary to ensure that safety
and the health of our citizens of Toronto. It also includes city staff when there are
issues in a building and people are getting trapped in elevators city staff may also get
trapped. So we’re all at risk. All that we’re asking, and we’re not asking, laws in place
and needs to be adhered to. I hear a lot issues around heating. We’re in the middle of winter.
Many of my neighbours have been calling 311. We still don’t have proper heat.
We’ve been told were management that it may be some time at the end of the month, maybe
some time. Last year same thing, do you know how they kept the heat in the building? They
closed our ventilation systems last year. We called and called and called, and we never
had the — no one had the decency from the city to call us back to let us know and to
help us. We are on the tax roll just because you may happen to rent we’re all property
tax payers. And we the people expect to be serviced. I for one feel like a second class
citizen. I do. I feel like a second class citizen. This chamber was full last week of
people complaining and complaining and complaining bed bugs you name it. I understand that problem
will arise. No one is expecting perfection, no one.
And in our building we’re probably some of the most patient tenants that you will ever
find, however, I am — I don’t — you know, it’s — I don’t want to be here as much as
I am. And I don’t even understand that we’re still continuing to discuss the same issues.
When I hear City Council members in the past with the tenant issues committee, telling
city staff and a city department to get some teeth, it is embarrassing. There is no reason
to be embarrassed. I understand that everyone has a job to do. That enforcement officers
may be tired, we’re tired. We’re all tired. It’s time that we all come together including
the industry, come together so that way we can ensure that we have safe healthy buildings
that we can all take pride in because it is a dirty little secret that many visitors who
come to this city have no idea what many of us are experiencing on a day-to-day.
And I do appreciate your time. And I’m looking for solutions, not more meetings,
thank you. Thank you very much.
Appreciate you coming in this morning. Does anybody have questions? Can I ask what part
of the city you live? East York.
East York? Yes.
Okay. All right. Thank you very much. And just so you know we used to call 311 all
the time but it’s not working. I have — I have someone in my building he’s blind. And
he didn’t have enough heat. So a few of us help him. And he called the city finally about
heat. He didn’t have heat. They sent someone there to check and they said we’re going to
fix it. And again, we’ve been in meetings with senior executives, the management but
executives all the way to the top. And I remember a couple of years ago we were in their offices
having a meeting and they discussed heating. We were all sitting in the office in our building
with coats on, mitts on, hats on and we were freezing. And we decided to walk the building
so we can start to keep warm. There was a 311 call, lots had come in. The
file was closed. But yet on the same day it was closed, but
yet the boilers were not working. And this is — and that’s just one of thousands of
problems. Let’s move forward so we don’t need to be discussing this any more. That’s all
we’re asking for. Okay. And in your building in particular have
you reached out to your City Councillor. I have, and we’re in talks right now. Yes,
we also had a fire a couple of weeks ago. And apparently we’re waiting for the fire
report. Apparently the fire life safety equipment apparently wasn’t working inside the unit.
And we’re now dealing with the — with the fire marshal’s office and investigations.
I’m just — we’re not feeling safe. And from your comments you’re in a privately
owned building. Yes, it’s private. It’s private. And our building
used to be known as the jewel of East York. Okay. All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate
you coming in this morning. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Councillor Filion, you held this item, do you have questions of staff?
[away from mic]. We’re on number 20.
[away from mic]. I was just actually writing a motion.
Okay. Would you Luke to come back to number 20?
Yeah, because we still have some other items. Yeah, we can do that. So we’ll move back to
the beginning of the agenda number 11 proposed amendments of the corporate facilities display
policy to enable non-profit fundraising. Councillor Holyday you held that item. Do
you have questions of staff? Yeah, it’s a small one. I wondered if the
proposed amendments permit small things like bake sales to occur in our facilities? I know
we’ve got different organizations that host them.
Through the chair, no, no. It’s bake sales can occur.
They can? They can, yes.
Okay. So there’s no — there’s no restriction to say bake sales.
Okay. Because I saw something in here about requiring handmade products and that sort
of thing. And there’s no changes in here that would impact bake sales — no.
As a — through the chair, absolutely not. I want to get a cookie once in a while there’s
no problem. So would I.
That’s very good. Thank you very much. Okay. Councillor Nunziata, you have questions
of staff? We’re at 11, right?
Yes. Okay because I was at 11, we’re at 20, okay.
Just for staff, on 11, this is in response to the member’s motion by Councillor Fletcher
and Councillor Bradford, right. So can you maybe — can you explain what the intent of
their motion was? Because we do have the bylaws in that, but I’m not sure if that captures
what the intent of the motion is. So if you can just enlighten me.
The intent of the motion was to allow charitable organizations and non-profit organizations
to conduct fund raising events in civic centres. The way it had been revise in 2017, was that
they had to have a — they had to line themselves with a city division to do that.
So that restricted organizations like in this case the east rotary club that actually does
fundraising events to give back to communities, that actually restricted that. So we wanted
to make — to change that to allow for charitable organizations actually to conduct fundraising
events. [away from mic].
So that’s going back to before we amended the bylaw, right?
That is correct. But that — that excludes political parties,
right? That is correct.
Okay. Okay. Other questions of staff on this item?
Councillor Holyday, do you want to speak? Any speakers on this item?
[away from mic]. . Councillor Holyday’s moving the recommendation
on number 11, all in favour? Carried. We are on number 18. Non-union employees separation
costs for 2018 held by Councillor Filion. Do you have questions of staff?
I have some questions and I’ll obviously have to keep them public there’s a possibility
we could need to go in camera. Okay. I’m looking — sorry, let me find it
here. I’m looking at the chart on page 3. And it would appear that we have well, as
it states here that we have six people who with an average of almost 25 years service
who got an average pay out of $280,000 — $280,693, have I got those numbers correct?
That’s correct. So I have concern and I’ll look for either
your guidance, Mr. Chair, or staff guidance in whether we need to go in camera for this,
but I would be interested in a break down, I know you — I assume you can’t name individual’s
names, but what types of positions are those, and I guess I could ask this of the total
number of 21, in how many — I guess is it possible to get a breakdown of — I’ll ask
it that way, is it possible to get a breakdown of the reasons for these separations, terminations,
whatever you want to call them? I think maybe Councillor Filion if we’re going
to go beyond anything that’s in the report here that would be safer to go in camera.
Okay. So perhaps we could do that. We’ll do it at the end.
Last item then. Yep.
Yeah,. Okay. All right. So we’re going to hold down
item number 18, we’re going to go in camera at the end of the meeting. So we’ll hold that
down. We’re going to go to number 19 occupational health and safety report for the first and
second quarters of 2019. Councillor Holyday you held that item, do
you have questions of staff? I do, thank you, Mr. Chair.
I’ll ask you a couple of detailed ones and then I think I have an overarching one to
wrap up with. I thought I recall in the news maybe I got it wrong, were there any fatalities
or feats associated with city operations that we need to make sure that we’re aware of as
a committee? Seem to recall some reports on solid waste, but they may have been contractors
I don’t know. Yes, director of occupational health and safety
through the chair, under the portion of the report on critical injuries, we report out
to you as is required on all of our critical injuries. And under that there is a paragraph
there on where one fatality. Okay.
So you’re correct it was on may 29th a solid waste management services collection operator
sustained multiple fractures and internal injuries and later died in the hospital.
So there’s a description here on that. Okay. I also take note in the report that
there were some significant increases, slips, trips and falls increased by 41%. And transportation
accidents went from 8 to 19, and if you go into appendix a I think there was a spike
parks forest story and recreation comes to mind and the — in the number of reports.
And that just may be me going by memory, but needless to say there’s some jumps on these
tables. And so I guess my general question to staff is why are these reports coming to
the committee and what should the committee be doing with them? In light of you know,
a really significant thing like a fatality or notices in the report that say that there
are jumps. Should we be asking more questions of you? Should we be commissioning reports
or looking for assurances on this? I just want to make sure that we’re doing
our duty and not just looking at a report and throwing it to the side.
Yes, thank you. One of the reasons we report to you is you’re quite correct you have a
duty to be informed on this and you’ll want to see where there’s increases and be satisfied
that actions are being taken. In the report on page 8 with respect to the critical injuries
and the fatality, you will see all the actions that are being taken by solid waste management
for prevention in the future. So, yes, we do report those things to you. For each one
of these areas, we typically report on both what’s happening operationally at the divisional
level in terms of what they are doing. So that’s in each of the charts. And more at
the end of the report you’ll see sort of the corporate led things that are being done because
policies are created at the corporate level with procedures and training and then the
implementation is that the divisional level. So that is exactly what this report is doing
is highlighting where there’s an increase and confirming that actions are being taken.
I mean a good example of that on the very front page you’ll see that our biggest increase
in cost is mental health issues and stresses and PTSD. And there’s quite a number of corporate
actions on that and very comprehensive action plans in the first responders services for
PTSD prevention. So I think you just need to be satisfied that the organization is taken
action, and that these reports provide you enough information to satisfy your self that.
So we as a committee have to look at the corporate responses but can we rely on you as the central
authority to give us assurance that the — what’s happening out in the divisions are adequate?
Like is your analysis of their work part of this report, and could we expect you to flag
something that says you were dissatisfied or the committee should have its attention
on a particular item? We could identify that typically more the
process though is that all the divisions are looking at their data and corporately we’re
looking at the data. And where we see there’s an increase in something, so for instance,
for slips, trips and falls, we’re going to review our policy. It would be raised at the
corporate occupational health and safety coordinating committee that has divisional representatives
there and all of our union partners there. And every time we meet five or six times a
year. We put working groups together to say whether we need to revise the policies, procedures
or training. And then we moment it. So that would be the process. So right now big attention
on disorder, injuries, big attention right now on workplace violence and looking at violence
assessments in certain locations. And a lot of emphasis on mental health.
Some of those percentages in the graphs look like a big number like 40 but it might be
that for an organization this size we’ve gone from 9 to 12 or something.
It’s not a huge, huge number of vehicle accidents say for an organization this size. But we
look at all that. If there was a point where we needed further action to be taken beyond
the coordinating committee, yes, we would highlight it for you here.
Last — okay. Other questions on this item. Seeing none, speakers? Councillor Holyday,
you held the item, did you want to speak or move the motions.
[away from mic]. Councillor Holyday is moving the recommendations
on number 19, all in favour? Carried. Councillor Filion, we’re back to number 20.
Yes. I’ll start with questions of staff. Okay. A bit of a preamble to this, I did meet
with staff last week and was encouraged by their candour as to why their report didn’t
address the motion that we passed here several months ago. And to summarize a long conversation
and I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, so I’m frame this as a question, is
it correct that we in effect do not have performance standards for anything other than the first
reporting of a response to a complaint? You’re correct the focus to date has been
on that initial response. We fully recognize that that is not a got performance measure
and we’re moving forwards outcome measures again, so we clearly understand the resolution
and the outcome. So, correct, you have identified a gap that
the division has. It’s one we’ve had for several years. And
I’m glad that you’ve highlighted it because it’s something that needs to be addressed.
So when the motion asked for and this is the wording of the motion, that we adopted in
September, performance standards for actually dealing with and closing files related to
complaints and bylaw enforcement and investigative services, the reason we didn’t get that report
is we don’t have any performance standards in those areas.
That is correct. And what we have a large body of work to undertake to develop those.
I want to do it in a consistent fashion across all of our service lines. I don’t want to
do a knee jerk establish a risk standards that if we don’t have a strong understanding
of our data, of our volumes, of our staff, there’s a huge body of work that we need to
do that the corporation is also struggling with as well.
And I do appreciate the candour. I wish the report had just said that. We don’t have any
performance standards and so we’re working on developing some. I think perhaps the staff
that wrote it thought that it said that, but it’s, you know, kind of hard to gather. So
what I’m struggling with is why it’s so difficult to develop standards like I know that there
are some issues that are authority and it is hard to close a file, but there are many
kind of run of the mill issues where it should be easy to develop performance standards,
have got that wrong? No, it’s a part of the body of work that we’re
looking to undertake. There are simpler case files and there are more complex case files.
We need to do that work, and we need to understand the difference. The other piece of work that
we need to do and haven’t done priority-based. We have priorities in animal services and
we have priorities with our new noise enforcement, but we do not have priorities other than the
emergency appliances and vital services heat in investigation services. And with the number
of bylaws and the number of service requests we really need to establish priorities, and
those will also drive the service standards. And so is it not possible if this is a complicated
body of work to do, and it’s — in its totality, can we not have performance standards in areas
that are less complex where it would be relatively simple to develop some? Could we not have
those in the short-term? I think that’s fair. It’s part of a larger
exercise, but we do want to — if there is low hanging fruit, we will grab that fruit
and we will embark on that is correct yes. And on the yes of the North York staff, again
torques kind of cut to the Chase is it correct that the staff in investigative services and
bylaw enforcement who were previously worked in the North York Civic Centre and redeployed
to Scarborough, is it correct that they start their day now in Scarborough and then drive
to North York? So first to clarify only investigation services
was located in North York. We have reallocated staff to Etobicoke and to Scarborough where
they start and finish their day but they work in geographically in North York.
Right. So how — so they start their day and end their day in Scarborough even though they’re
working in North York and we have a municipal building in North York that they used to work
in? That’s correct. They start and finish their
day either in Scarborough or Etobicoke. And so if I can come back and pursue that
a bit then. Thank you.
All right. Thank you, Councillor Filion. Councillor Holyday, questions of staff?
Councillor Nunziata, he would like you to go first.
[away from mic]. Okay.
Being a gentleman. So thank you. So high grass and weeds, so
when a notice is given to a homeowner for high grass and weeds, so what is the length
of time do they have? As far as the notice? Because I — last year we had a lot of issues
with that where it took actually months before the grass was even cut. And then you’re into
winter. That’s correct. You’ll note on page 6 of the
report we walk through 3 different examples on long grass and weeds because there can
be different you know, characteristics, but it’s I believe it’s 7 days to have the grass
cut. But it’s not happening in 7 days.
Through you, Mr. Chair, Councillor Nunziata, the process first provides that we issue an
advisory notice which gives the property owner the opportunity to comply.
Right. And in the event they do then we escalate
our enforcement action to a notice of violation which provides them 14 days to comply. So
usually chief come — achieve compliance some time after 21 days.
Yeah, I know what you’re saying. But that’s not what’s being done. That’s the concern
I have. I just wanted to point that out that’s not being done.
Some of them are taking 3, 4 months. So I just — yeah, that is — we note your concern.
Yes. But it is also, again, because we’re focusing
on the priority calls while long grass and weeds agree is unsightly it’s taking us longer
to get to those because we’re focusing on the higher priority calls yeah. Okay. [away
from mic]. When it comes to — as you know just recently in the last year or two there’s
been a number of complaints about coyotes complaints and you know, when they contact
our office, we’re basically telling them that there’s nothing we can do.
And that we don’t remove the coyotes in certain parts because they’re everywhere now. So what
are we actually doing, or maybe there should be a better communication to residents, because
that seems to be a real issue. I know it’s happening in my ward, I don’t know other wards,
but they’re happening in the parks and — [away from mic].
Yeah. And you know when they contact us we’re basically saying, well, there isn’t — we
can’t do anything, right? So maybe you can respond to that.
Thank you, Councillor. We are doing education pieces for communities. We have one recently
that we’re sitting up quickly right now because there’s been a problem in a community. So
we do have community meetings to teach people and educate on how they should respond to
animals and to what is what happening in their community. We do also provide educational
material for people. We’re actually going door to door to inform people about what they
can do. And we do have to abide by the provincial laws that we cannot move and remove animals
unless absolutely necessary. Yeah. So that doesn’t re fly for constituents
when they hear that, you know, a lot of them are afraid, they’re in their back yards, you’ve
got kids. And you know, that’s fine telling them this is, you know, this is the information,
but I mean, can we not do more? Because it really is an issue, and it has
happened in the last couple years, like just giving them an information brochure, you know,
they feel that the city has some sort of responsibility. Like it’s sort of saying sorry, here’s a brochure
we can’t do anything, sorry. I don’t know, we have to look at doing more. I don’t know
why we can’t remove them if they’re coyotes in people’s back yards or in the parks. I
mean, it’s getting to the point they’re threatening them now.
Parents aren’t letting their kids out to play. So maybe you can just comment.
I mean, seasonally there are more issues when there are babies and stuff around for the
mothers to have to look after them. And they’re more threatening than if people are around
them. But, again, there are lots of techniques that can be used to keep them away from people.
And that’s the education we provide. And that’s the work that we can do and help in communities
to help with those issues. Okay. Thank you. Other questions of staff?
Councillor Holyday. I do. I’m going to use this to do a plug for
coyote watch Canada who came out to some public meetings I had and helped with the education
process. But I guess my question to MLS is in this chart on page 6, what is the bench
Mark for completing the work that you have to do?
Is it fair to say that the notice of violation is kind of a bench Mark? Because we had a
really passionate speaker about a great example of heat in an apartment building. And I would
think that that’s a fairly urgent call, but can MLS force the property owner to turn the
heat on? What’s our benchmark on saying, you know, we’ve done the critical component that
we are — that we’re able to do, and then there’s a different phase beyond that, I think.
So heat is a vital services and under the vital services bylaw they are required — the
property owner and land lord is required to provide heat within 24 hours.
So, but what’s the process, you get a call that, you know, somebody says look there’s
no heat in my building and I’m really concerned somebody’s breaking a law here, what happens?
311 processes the call, they give it to you, and what happens next?
Through you, Mr. Chair, Councillor Holyday, what happens next is an officer will go out
to the property, confirm that there to no heat or low heat contrary to the bylaw which
21 degrees, they’ll contact property management, someone on site, a landlord, a super, and
have them at the very least provide temporary service of heat until such time the heat can
be restored. Sometimes depending on the scope, it’s replace ago part or bleeding some — older
building or what have you, but usually the heat is back on within 24 hours of our response.
It was of a good example brought forward though and I’m sure there are situations that there
are problems that just doesn’t get resolved, what are the powers of MLS? What can you do
to — do you give them a ticket, do you seize control of the building, do you give them
a notice of violation? What is the next step that you can do within your continuum of powers?
Usually next step in enforcement, Councillor, is a ticket, you write a fine. And they’re
subject to that fine daily. So do we track stats to the point of the call
to the point of notice of violation, correct term for that, or something else that’s the
ticket that I talked about? Ticket is in response to failure to comply
with the notice of violation. Okay. So we have a bunch of steps that we
can do as a city under the law and various circumstances and are we tracking or performance
from the time calls into those various steps? The one thing I worry about is maybe there
are files that are closed but at some point MLS can’t force somebody to do something.
It becomes a court matter doesn’t it? So this is through the chair, part of our
issue with tracking and monitoring is our systems are over 25 years old.
We’re moving to a new case management system because we need to be able to track those
different steps and we’re not able to now or not able to do it very well.
Is there any sub process for those problem files where you’ve done your part, you’ve
got to the notice of violation, you’ve issued a ticket, or whatever it is that you can do
within your powers and you can do that all within minutes or you can do that within days,
we can talk at length about how you’re doing within, you know, the minutes, days, weeks
period, because that’s service levels. But then what happens beyond that why you’ve exhausted
all the pieces that you’ve got under the law. And what we’re looking for as public and members
of council is closure on the issue. Is it prosecutions, the court system?
How do we keep an eye on those things or am I misreading this, there aren’t many problems
that get to that level. We have the ability as you said earlier to
issue a ticket. We also have the ability in certain situations
to undertake remedial option ourselves. Okay.
[away from mic]. Okay.
Or through court process. And do we do we keep an eye on stats like
that or is there a conversation that begins to be had that’s larger in scope to say you
know, this is a challenge here, we’ve done or easy steps an now we’re into the process
where an owner just doesn’t want to comply or can’t comply or whatever it is that causes
the situation not to have the outcome that we want?
Through the chair, that’s something we need to do on a debrief on a number of files and
get a sense of what’s happening, how we’re doing, and again, that’s a big piece of where
we’re moving to to understand what we do, how well we do it and is anyone better off
are kind of 3 pieces that we note if our report on page 8 to try to understand how we’re doing.
Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Councillor Holyday. Other — I
think everybody’s asked — Councillor Matlow did — [away from mic].
Okay. All right. We’ll go to speakers,. Councillor Filion we’ll let you go first you held this
item. I had some more questions though.
More questions? Yeah.
Okay. So going back to the staff that were moved
from North York out to Scarborough. The workday is 7 hours minus a couple of coffee breaks.
So it’s 6 and a half hours, would that be right?
Through the chair, that’s correct. Okay. So that comes out to 390 minutes. How
much time does it take to travel from the North York Civic Centre, to — which is sort
of located in the centre of North York to the Scarborough civic centre?
[away from mic]. Is that with no traffic? At what time of day
is that? We did that through an investigation and google
maps. We studied a number of locations and that
is done at 12:30 p.m. On a Thursday.
Okay. So I’m — if I’m startled by the answer. So I’ll pursue that elsewhere because I wish
it was 19 minutes, but that is certainly not an average time. So I won’t go down that — I
won’t go down that rabbit hole. I’ll pursue that separately. Thank you.
You’re done Councillor, Filion? Yeah.
Okay. Thank you. Speakers on this item? Councillor Filion you held it.
[away from mic] general government an licensing committee request the deputy city manager
infrastructure and development services to report to the general government and licensing
committee in the first quarter of 2020, on the following: A, identifiable and measurable
performance standards for responding to complaints received by the Municipal Licensing and Standards
division and the redeployment of investigative services staff back to the North York Civic
Centre in order to reduce staff travel time. So on the first point after literally years,
I’d almost say decades of saying you know, what are the performance standards in this
area and how can we hold anybody accountable, I finally got an honest answer we don’t have
any performance standards which explains a lot.
So I do appreciate the candour, and I — but it’s so frustrating to keep making motions
asking for reports back and then you keep wondering why did the staff ignore the report
request,. And basically report on something entirely different than what they were asked
to report on. So just because of frustration on that, I’m
— I just wanted to bump it up to the deputy city manager who I know has some experience
in this area. So I’m sure she’ll kind of kick it back down to the staff under her any way,
but I just do want to a higher level of accountability on this just, you know, re — it’s absurd
that we have a department that has essentially no performance standards, and therefore, no
way of holding their staff accountable, and therefore, us having no way of holding them
accountable for the performance of their staff. So that kind of thing just makes me crazy.
And on the second point it makes no sense to me whatsoever, and no one has given me
any kind of a reasonable explanation of how it made any sense to take the staff who were
working in the North York Civic Centre in an area where all of the Councillors are concerned
about lack of investigative services and having them start and end their day in Scarborough
and that does not add 2 times 19 to their travel time, there is no way that you might
on one magical time you might be able to get from one to the other in 19 minutes, but as
a day-to-day thing it would not be anything resembling that at least for one of the trips.
So that just makes no sense to me. And unless — you know, so by my reckoning it would be
almost 20% of their working day that they would lose in travel time. And that’s just
kind of ridiculous that we did that and unless we’re going to add 20% more staff to make
up for it which would be self defeating, that makes no sense to me. So I would like a report
back on the hopefully the likelihood of moving those staff back.
Okay. Councillor Holyday, you have a question of the mover?
I did, thank you, Mr. Chair. I wonder if part b if the intent is to have
the ability to interpret it fairly broadly. Because to me, there’s a difference between
setting up a functioning office with a manager and support staff and cubicles and work stations
versus you know, another model which could be there’s a fleet car parking lot and you
start your workday there be, and uncertain times the launch point in the morning is a
different place with the idea that there may be some savings in travel time. I don’t know,
you know, there’s probably a hundred ways to do it versus actually opening an office
once again which has a different connotation. And I wondered if there was an intent to be
flexible on that. No, absolutely.
Absolutely. It could be a touchdown day you go right to
North York Civic Centre do whatever work you have to do and hit the road.
So the intent is just the travel time versus the idea of actually having an office there.
That’s right. Okay. That’s helpful, thank you.
Any other questions of the mover? Councillor Matlow.
So I had a motion, but I couldn’t have written it better than item a in Councillor Filion’s
motion because it was essentially the same thing. And by the way, I do endorse item b
that Councillor Filion written to, it just makes sense. With respect to a I’ll begin
with noise bylaws for example. If you live in an area like Yonge and Eglinton like Yonge
and shepherd or any other area where there is high concentration of development if you’re
a Councillor you will hear virtually every day from residents who are subject to noise
bylaw violations by various contractors. I’m looking at Joe — he and I have had many a
late night conversation where Joe has been extraordinarily helpful in providing member
service he can. But, you know, there aren’t a lot of resources
there. And there aren’t any reasonable expectations as to when those resources that even the resources
that we have can be deployed. Typically if you call 311 as residents have to do they’re
told someone will come to investigate within five days but doesn’t either help with that
resident’s problem that night that there is somebody drilling at 2 in the morning.
And it also doesn’t help people like Joe and others to retain the evidence that they need
to effectively gain a successful prosecution. In other words, I don’t even know why we do
it really. What is five days mean? Like does it really just mean we want to under
promise an over deliver because five days seems arbitrary and unhelpful. I can go through
a whole array of issues that are similar to that.
With respect to rent safe, there are, you know, we’ve had many conversations of late
with respect to the fact that we’re not just talking about whether it be tall grass or
some nuisance issue, we’re talking about somebody’s basic health and safety in their home. Like
any of us would want to have addressed. And we’ve received a promise from the city that
we’ve organized this wonderful thing called rent safe. And we were to have hired 12 msos
and only hired 5, but boy did we make a lot of announcements and sure did get those key
chains put together and made a big thing about it, but whether are the service standards.
In the council resolution said there need to be clear service standards. What are the
expectations if you call that a broken guard rail, when do you know that someone is going
to address it? What’s the time frame? That was ignored that wasn’t even addressed in
the rent safe update. And it’s frustrating because I’m seeing a series of big promises,
big expectations, a lot of people’s expectations unfulfilled thought the city and here at council.
And I’m also seeing a number of items going into council motions that are approved by
our democratically elected council. Then these things frizzle out into air and
staff start triaging themselves and go what can we do, not do based on the resources we
have, we’re not going to be able too deal with that. But then instead of come back to
council or at least the Councillor who moved the motion say you know what, we’re struggling
here, like we can’t do this by next January or like you’ve asked us too. It just disappears.
It doesn’t happen until one of us had to go to staff and go what happened to that motion
approved at counsel and still nobody said anything about it. I think look at every one
of my colleagues and each one of us have a story, it’s not right, not democratic not
the way this place should work. I also recognize part of the fault is ours we overload MLS
nearly every meeting we give them another big huge responsibility and don’t give them
the resources to get the job done. Every meeting we ask them to do five new reports
that we want them to do by tomorrow. And I get that and that’s not fair and reasonable
either. So we need to work better together. We have to be more disciplined about what
we’re giving them and we’ve got to make sure that they’re resource today get the job done.
When do you that though you need to hire and get the job done and don’t spend money elsewhere.
And also get reports done by the time you say you’re not — by the time we’ve told you.
And if you can’t come to us early and say you know what we’re having trouble here and
need to figure this out. So why do we need service standards? Because the public and
council has no idea what we’re actually expecting to do.
You have no idea how to keep yourselves in check as Councillor Filion said, how to even
hold your own staff accountable. And we’re living this world where we have all these
bylaws that are to protect people but they’re not actually doing this. We need to do either
one or maybe both of two things: Either we need to increase the resources and the ability
to be able to achieve the standards that we’re setting that are reasonable; or we need to
go into our bylaws and cut a few things out that we’re pretending to do and we’re not
and relieve you have that responsibility and get real about it. But one way or another
what we’re doing now is unrealistic, unreasonable and unhelpful. I look forward to the report.
Thank you, Councillor Matlow. Other speakers on this item. Councillor Nunziata.
Yeah, just a few comments and agree with Councillor Matlow. It was what, ten years I waited for
a report. We did at one time, I don’t recall seeing that get an update in all outstanding
motions that were made at council or at committee. I’m just wondering if we could at one point
get that back on the agenda so we know where we are as far as reports coming back. And
it’s actually correct we do move motions at council and then not knowing what the update
is, because we’re never informed, but also and I have said that over and over again as
well when we go through the budget process is that with municipal licensing we have had
and we have numerous motions to amend bylaws, enforcement and we’re not giving them the
resources that they need. And we really need to you know, we need — we really need to
hear from them exactly what they need, resources to implement the bylaws and the reports that
we — that we’ve adopted. And if they’re — like the clothing boxes, the payday loans, all
this, you know which was really important at council and we’ve debated it for years.
And what the update really is. And if we do have any updates on those motions and bylaws
that were passed and if you need more resources, I think you need to let us know. Because my
opinion and I’ve always said that is municipal licensing majority of complaints that come
to our office is through — for municipal licensing investigation. And the community
residents want to see results in a timely manner. And I mean, I want to thank you for
you know, what you have done. But I think we have to be a little more aggressive
and you know, and — the bylaw that is we have. And if it’s more resources that you
need then just let us know because — to me, that’s important in my ward.
Thank you, Councillor Nunziata. Councillor Holyday to speak.
Yeah, my colleagues inspired me to just echo some of the comments. I think that in some
ways we haven’t been fair to MLS with the amount of work that we ask them to do. I agree
with Councillor Nunziata, it’s not the top issue that would fill our telephone lines
in my office, but it is among the top 2 or 3. And you know, the thing I learned from
that is the issues are often fairly complex. The one thing I would say in the process in
developing standards is they’re a helpful tool for people to understand what the city
can do and what the city can’t do. And the example that I would use is, you know, sometimes
people call and say don’t we have a grading bylaw, you know my neighbours changed their
property and I’ve got some concerns with how the water goes. And you know, part of the
answer back is well, there’s common law that takes care of that. So as a city we don’t
want to replicate laws that are out there. The second thing there would be so many calls
I don’t think we could ever keep up with it as a city. I think we would end up into really
big conflicts in a neighbourhood where people would be getting notices in their mailbox
because of some slope in their backyard and surprised on that. And you have to weight
that out whether or not it’s health these and helpful in a city like we’ve got. But
I guess the last thing is, you know, we need to understand what people’s expectations are
and also need to understand what the city can and can’t do. So I’m not sure there’s
a day that in the situation the grading that the city would be in a position to you know,
drive a backhoe into a backyard and make remedies. And in some cases as in my questions I brought
up, you know the city can get to the point where they can issue a notice of violation
or a ticket but the city can’t force the owner to go and do something. That becomes a court’s
process and a prosecution. And I think it’s important to distinguish the two, the enforcement
of the bylaw versus the prosecution side. And maybe we need to have a discussion on
the prosecution side about compelling people to follow bylaws and work through the court
system in making sure that that’s efficient. But I think there is a healthy discussion
to have about the steps that it takes to get to that point. I’m not completely clear from
the report, but I do see some good figures in here about the early steps of us attending
on site and beginning to tell owners that there’s a problem in getting to that violation
stage. I look forward to more reports on this because as my council colleagues have said,
you know, this is something that we hear a lot about as Councillors in a big city like
we’ve got. A lot of these things root back to conflict between people and property owners
and this is a section of the city that I think is going to continue to grow. .
So I’ll be supporting this report and I look forward to more on it. Thank you.
Thank you very much, everyone. So we have Councillor Filion’s motion before us.
We’ll vote on that. On the screen. All in favour? Carried unanimously. Item as amended
— no, no item as amended. All right. Okay. So our last item is number 18 non-union employees
separation costs for 2018. So we have to go in camera. So I’ll be moving the again government
licensing committee recess it’s public session meet in closed session and — identifiable
individuals including municipal or local board employees and labour relations or employee
negotiations. All in favour? Carried. So just — so anybody that’s not
involved with this item or members of the general public, I have to ask you to leave
the room. And we’ll just take a couple of minutes to get things setup. Thank you.
Back in public. Item number 18, Councillor Filion held it, did you want to speak to it?
[away from mic]. Did you within a to move receipt of the report
for information? [away from mic].
All right. So Councillor Holyday’s going to move the report for information. All in favour?
Carried. And that was unanimous. Somebody has the bylaw?
I do. Councillor Matlow. Sorry I was looking for
a yellow sheet. Councillor Matlow, would you like to read
the bylaw? Yeah, I’m looking at the time. At 11:49 a.m.
In the year of our lord, that the general government and licensing committee pass and
declare as a bylaw a confirmatory bill to confirm the legislative proceedings of the
general government and licensing committee acting under delegate authority, — does anybody
have questions of the mover? I stand by this statement.
All right. Seeing none, all in favour of the motion?
Carried. Motion to adjourn? All in favour? Carried. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you, everyone.