(See Rural Council COMMUNIQUE - at bottom of page)

 


The Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton fully supports the...

Ottawa and all local Chambers of Commerce, along with the
Business Advisory Committee (BAC),

in their endorsement of the position of the

Joint Ontario Business Sector (JOBS) Coalition

with regard to the following:


 
From the Ottawa Citizen...

CITY SECTION
'Businesses will close' if fees rise
leaders: City's bid to gain greater taxing powers comes under fire

Ottawa business leaders warn that $20 million in new taxes and fees, endorsed by a city committee yesterday, would cost jobs and shut down businesses if approved by council.

"There will be a loss of jobs; businesses will close," said Christine Leadman, chairwoman of the municipal action task force for the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.

The city's corporate services committee recommended a series of fees and taxes intended to minimize an increase in municipal property taxes next year. The proposals will be sent to the provincial government for approval if they are ratified by full council on July 13.

The proposed changes are part of the city's attempt to draft a new City of Ottawa Act that would give the city more autonomy, particularly in raising revenue.

The recommendations include:

- The ability to decide how and whether to provide notice to the public before the city imposes fees, licensing requirements or makes decisions affecting the public;

- The authority to set licence fees above the rate of cost recovery to achieve other public policy objectives;

- The ability to charge a city land transfer tax (projected to be $900 on a $300,000 house), which could earn $9.6 million a year;

- To obtain a general power of entry, in order to enter into any municipally licensed business at any time the city inspector chooses;

- Exemption from minimum maintenance standards for municipal roads;

- Unfettered discretion to increase property taxes on businesses;

- The power to impose a three-per-cent tax on hotel guests, to earn about $6.9 million a year;

- The authority to add a $25 charge to provincial licence plate fees, which could earn $9 million a year.

Mayor Bob Chiarelli defended the fee and tax proposals, saying the city needs to find new ways to handle increasing costs.

While the new powers might, if approved by the provincial government, ease the pressure on the city to increase property taxes, business leaders regarded them as little more than a

tax grab. "It will be unbridled taxes that will be heaped on us through different ways," said Ms. Leadman. "Any broad, sweeping powers of this nature are very dangerous."

Ms. Leadman and other members of the business coalition -- which includes the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the Carleton Home Builders Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Ottawa-Gatineau Hotel Association -- argued that neither property owners nor the business community businesses can absorb more tax increases. In any case, the proposals would give the municipality too much power, they said.

Several business representatives told the committee they were frustrated because they only received the recommendations late last week and had little time to assess their potential impact.

City manager Kent Kirkpatrick said the city has to submit its proposals to the province by mid-July.

But Mr. Kirkpatrick said the city will conduct extensive public consultations before any of the proposed recommendations are put into place, assuming they receive provincial approval.

That assurance did little to appease the business group. Members said the city should have asked for public input before drafting recommendations.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005
 


  • The JOBS Coalition website is www.jobscoalition.ca

  • See the JOBS COALITION - POSITION PAPER  submission to the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Ottawa, immediately below:

  • See Business Advisory Committee (BAC) Motion at bottom of this page.



SUBMISSION TO

CITY OF OTTAWA

BUSINESS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

RE

PROPOSED NEW CITY POWERS:

REFORM OF CITY OF OTTAWA ACT

July 12, 2005

Joint Ontario Business Sector (JOBS) Coalition

Ottawa contacts:

Organization

Contact

Phone

Email

BOMA Ottawa

John Dickie

613-235-0101

jdickie@dickieandlyman.com

Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Judith Andrew

416-222-8022

Judith.Andrew@cfib-fcei.ca

Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Tasha Kheiriddin

416-203-0030

tkheiriddin@taxpayer.com

Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization

David Lyman

613-235-0101

dlyman@dickieandlyman.com

Ottawa Carleton Home Builders Association

John Herbert

613-723-2926

jherbert@ochba.com

Ottawa Chamber of Commerce

Katherine Hollinsworth

613-236-3631 x31

khollinsworth@rogers.com

Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association

Dick Brown

613-231-6932

dickbrown@ogha.ca

The JOBS Coalition website is www.jobscoalition.ca

JOBS COALITION - POSITION PAPER

JOBS is a coalition of like-minded groups who share a common interest in the possible reforms to the Municipal Act, the City of Toronto Act, the City of Ottawa Act, and related discussions sometimes characterized as a "new deal for cities". These are reforms being advanced by the Province of Ontario and City of Toronto, as well as the City of Ottawa and other municipalities.

The members of the JOBS Coalition are:

BOMA - Greater Toronto BOMA Ottawa Canadian Federation of Independent Business Canadian Taxpayers Federation 
Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization  Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario  Greater Toronto Apartment Association  Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association
Ontario Home Builders’ Association Ottawa Carleton Home Builders Association Ottawa Chamber of Commerce  Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association 
Real Property Association of Canada  RESCON 
Toronto Office Coalition  Urban Development Institute/Ontario

JOBS believes that the Province should carefully investigate specific municipal claims that they are unable to meet their financial needs, and consider changes to the Municipal Act to address any valid claims. The overtaxation of business in many municipalities must also be addressed. Consultation must involve all stakeholders.

JOBS members believe that any reforms to municipal powers, or any restructuring or reallocation of taxation and local service delivery, should adhere to the following principles:

1. No new taxes, fees or charges

o There is enough revenue in the system currently

o We need to prioritize and reallocate funding between the three levels of government to ensure that funding is directed towards priority needs

o Municipalities have a stable and reliable revenue source

o Increases to taxes, fees or charges would jeopardize job creation and Ontario’s competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global economy

2. No new broad abilities to license, regulate or prohibit

o Proliferation of regulation can be extremely damaging to businesses

o New powers would lead to a patchwork regulatory system across the province

o Broad new licensing or regulatory powers would be terrible for investment, employment and Ontario’s economy in the future

Mayor Chiarelli and Ottawa City staff have been meeting with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs seeking to add new powers for the City. In anticipation of budget pressures, the City is asking for approval of some of these new powers so they can be implemented by spring 2006.

A City report dated June 28, 2005 was released (and posted on the City’s website late on June 29) sets out 58 proposed new City powers. In the report, each of the proposed changes is briefly explained and potential benefits are listed. Potential disadvantages are not listed in the City report even though many of these changes could have dramatic effects on residents, business and other stakeholders.

City staff have acknowledged that they have not yet properly consulted with the public about these significant reforms.

In looking over the City’s proposal for new powers, some of the requests seem reasonable and JOBS members can provide support. However many of the City’s requests run counter to our principles for municipal reform. Many of the requests are an inappropriate delegation of Provincial oversight, while others require far more detail than has been provided to date before serious consideration can be undertaken. Attached are two listings of the 58 demands for new powers, along with JOBS comments and recommendations for action on each one.

Since the City has failed to consult properly with stakeholders and the public, City Council needs to do one of two things:

1. defer the report to consult on it properly; or

2. indicate clearly that the people of Ottawa do not necessarily concur with giving the City of Ottawa any of the 58 proposed powers. Rather, City Council is providing the Province with a list of areas to consider exploring with a view to reform.

The 58 powers cover the following areas:

A. New or increased taxes

B. Property and Civil Rights

C. Development Issues

D. New City activities

E. Housing policies

F. Interplay with Province

G. Controlling other bodies’ spending (police and conservation authorities)

H. Charging fees to other bodies (utility, telecoms and School Boards)

I. Licensing Powers

J. Enforcement Powers

K. New City Procedures

L. Miscellaneous

We have set out our comments in two formats. Pages 4 to 18 show the City request and our comments in the groups set out above.

Pages 19 to 32 show the City request and our comments in the order used by the City of Ottawa report. We have numbered the items 1 – x or 2 – y. Item 1-3 is from City document 1, item 3; item 2-4 is from City document 2, item 4.

JOBS POSITIONS ON CITY OF OTTAWA REQUESTS

CITY REQUEST REQUESTED ACTION REASONS
A) New or Increased Taxes    
1–4

Complete discretion respecting property tax policy issues (i.e. capping, ratios, classes, assessment duties and frequency).

That this request be rejected. JOBS will happily consult with the City or Province about how best to reorganize responsibilities or reallocate tax revenue to achieve healthy cities, a healthy economy, accountability and transparency. 1. We believe that the Province has a critical interest in property tax policy because of its effect on the competitiveness of industry and commerce in Ontario. A patchwork of conflicting policies would have a negative effect on the jobs and incomes of all Ontarians.

2. We agree that instability and unpredictability are problems which should be mitigated and will be happy to work with the City to try to design and recommend a system than mitigates them.

However, the over-taxation of business must also be addressed, and sooner rather than later. We all need healthy cities, a healthy economy, accountability and transparency.

1–15

Authority to establish fee structures (for waste, water and sewer charges, police and fire inspection changes, licensing fees, and building permit fees) based on public policy reasons not on costs as is presently the case.

That this request be rejected, as the current cost approach is fair and provides certainty. 1. We presume that presently Council can set fees below full cost recovery. The change sought is to allow fees to be set above cost recovery. The services in question are mostly basic City services. Cost recovery or partial (or no) cost recovery is appropriate, but allowing fees above the costs to discourage activities that are lawful is inappropriate. For example, let us say the City doesn’t like chip wagons because fried food is unhealthy. Then we could see the license fee for a chip wagon becoming $100,000 per year. Equally wrong would be the public policy: we need more revenue; therefore we will set fees above the costs. The power sought would be an open door to using licenses as disguised taxes.

2. Generally, the City should stay out of broad public policy areas since it does not have the resources to do the research and studies to develop sound, sustainable polices.

1–17

Ability to levy a portion of the land transfer tax for affordable housing.

That this request be rejected, as the Province already levies a land transfer tax. 1. If the Province allows the City to take a portion of the land transfer tax, the Province would need to reduce their share of the tax by an equivalent amount. That could be considered as a revenue

re-allocation provided it is set up in a way that achieves accountability and transparency.

2. The use of the proceeds of the tax for additional affordable housing than is now built would negate the potential benefit of the tax in reducing the City’s budget pressures.

3. For more comments on the proposed use of the tax, see SECTION C, comments on item 1–16 below.

1–25

The Province of Ontario provide some portion of the vehicle registration fee to be used to fund the provision of local transportation services (roads, sidewalks, public transit, etc).

Or it may be intended to be a new fee of $25 per plate.

Agreed, provided that the Province reduces its fee accordingly. As to administration, the Province should continue as the sole collector of the vehicle registration fee. 1. The City’s Property Tax Task Force recommended that the Province should give the City $25 per plate from the vehicle registration fees that the Province currently collects.

We agree that the Province should give the City this revenue from its current vehicle registration fee.

2. The reasons we support this additional revenue for the City are:

a) It applies to both residents and businesses more or less equally.

b) It was endorsed by the Property Tax Task Force (which included business reps and ratepayers);

c) Vehicle use is tied to roads and transit, one of the main City expenditure areas.

3. Ensure that the money is spent on the maintenance of the roads or public transit.

1–26

Authority to levy a tax on the income earned in Ottawa by visiting players in professional sports.

That this request be rejected, as the Province and Federal government tax income. Given the salaries that NHL players make, this seems like a popular idea. However, other professional athletes are not particularly well paid such as members of the CFL or the International League (the Lynx). Such a tax would provide one more reason for the Lynx to leave or the Renegades to fold or move.

In addition, such a tax would begin the slippery slope of municipal income taxation. Why stop at visiting players in professional sports, why not entertainers or public speakers? Why not ensure that no one who earns income in Ottawa can leave with out paying. Ottawa’s special tax? To make sure it works, let’s set up a tax collecting authority at the Ottawa airport to make sure that every $100 earned in Ottawa means $15 to the City in taxes. In fact, let’s set up the tax collector at all the exits from Ottawa. Let’s get ahead of the curve so that when every City in Ontario has its visiting person’s tax authorities set up, we aren’t too late to hire all the tax collectors and emigration officers we need?

Let’s stop the fantasy. Everyone, including hockey players, pays income taxes according to the rules worked out by the federal and provincial governments. Ottawa residents pay income taxes on money we earn in other cities. Just because Alberta took up a bad idea doesn’t mean Ottawa should to.

As an aside, such a tax may drive professional teams or performers away from Ottawa. NHL teams are mobile, and if this cost is added to the expected increase in Corel Centre property taxes, there may be no visiting players to tax.

1–27

Hotel Tax

That this request for a new tax to provide general revenue be rejected, although a compulsory marketing fee as approved by the OGHA is certainly acceptable. 1. The City of Ottawa conducted a facilitated consultation with the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, Ottawa Tourism, the Festival Network and the Chamber of Commerce in 2004 about the use of a Hotel Room Tax.  The outcome was a unanimous recommendation that any Hotel Room Tax be solely dedicated to tourism promotion.  It was further agreed the City should continue to fund Festivals (most of which are not tourism events) and any visitor services the city deems necessary.

2. Before it voted on the hotel tax idea, The Property Tax Force was told, incorrectly, that the Ottawa-Gatineau Hotel Association supported a hotel room tax. In fact, their support for a tax is subject to the conditions explained above.

1–28

Authority to assign a recycling levy (i.e. bottle returns, regulating use of paper/ plastic bags, etc). The CSED committee replaced this staff recommendation for a plastic bag tax, with the request that Council be given the power to regulate or prohibit the use of plastic bags.

 

That this request be rejected, as the decision on whether to discourage the use of plastic bags and other packaging materials is best left to the Province.

1. The Province already taxes packing materials and containers through the Stewardship Ontario program, and gives the proceeds to the Cities to fund re-cycling.

If a levy is collected through the existing provincial sales tax system, it is a sales tax. Since the cost of collecting and disposing of these materials is already funded through property taxes, anything more would be paying double for the same service.

2. This is an issue where the City will respond to public opinion negative to plastic bags. The Province is better able to deal with the science involved in the environmental issues and it should take back exclusive jurisdiction over those issues, not give more jurisdiction to the municipalities.

Where is the impact analysis of the cost of disposing of these materials now? Is the purpose of a levy to discourage use or to generate revenue to defray the costs of disposal?

Who is "the generator"? Ultimately, it is the consumer who will pay, but the consumer is already paying for waste collection and disposal, so the consumer will pay twice for the same piece of material.

What is the environmental impact of the materials vaguely described in the list? Nothing in this proposal would actually "reduce the negative environmental impact" because they still have to be disposed of. A "take-back" program doesn’t remove the materials from the environment, just from the City’s system, so there would be no net benefit.

3. This could easily turn into a tax grab.

This would open the door to other "municipal sales taxes" and it would be impossible for the province to collect, administer and disburse this for one city

B) Property and Civil Rights    
2–13 "Expropriation" of properties with abandoned buildings That this request be rejected, as ownership rights in property should be uniform across the Province, not subject to variation across municipalities. 1) There are some vacant properties where the City will not allow the owners to demolish; that is not "abandoning derelict properties".

2) Under the Building Code Act, the city already has enormous powers to enforce property standards, including entering (without a warrant) and repairing or demolishing buildings that don’t meet property standards and then add the cost to the tax bill.

3) We would need more detail is needed about what the City wants and why more power is needed.

4) We could agree to a right to enter (or notice) to board up or remove hazards and add the cost to the tax bill – but the City already has that power under the Building Code Act.

2–20

General power of entry at all times for all licensed businesses, including restaurants, pet shops, car washes, etc.

That this request be rejected, as too intrusive on the privacy of people going about their ordinary business. 1) The recommendation is to provide City inspectors with a power to enter all licensed businesses at any time of day or night, including restaurants, pet shops, car washes, etc., whether or not there is a complaint about the business. Such a power seems more compatible with Big Brother than with legitimate licensing concerns.

2) The City’s paper states that Council endorsed this proposal at its meeting of Nov 10, 2004. At that meeting the City endorsed AMO’s suggested technical amendments to the Municipal Act which included amending s.430 (Entry to dwellings) to establish a common uniform right of entry. It was acknowledged that no public consultation was undertaken before the AMO report recommendations approved by Council on Nov 10, 2004.

2–29

Principle of joint and several liability not to apply to Cities

That this request be rejected to be fair to City residents who suffer damage and financial losses due to the City’s negligence. 1) While we can sympathize with the City, the same problem exists for any other defendant in a lawsuit. There should be no special rule for the City.

2) Who is better to bear the loss of a victim where the City is partly at fault and a bankrupt company was partly at fault: the City or the victim?

C) Development Issues    
1–16

Authority to require affordable housing in new developments with a release ability to receive cash-in-lieu of meeting these requirements (i.e. inclusionary zoning).

That this request be rejected because it conflicts with important 20/20 goals. 1. The staff report says the City has not met the target for new dwelling. Therefore, we need to stimulate new development. That is an intelligent goal, but a City doesn’t stimulate development by imposing more conditions and costs on developers; instead, that discourages development.

2. If society feels obligated to provide affordable housing as a policy decision, it is counter-productive to load complete responsibility onto the shoulders of one small group called new home buyers. This approach will raise the price of housing to the point where sales decline significantly thus eliminating thousands of jobs in the Ottawa marketplace. Responsibility for the provision of affordable housing should be spread evenly across all taxpayers, not just one small group.

3. It is unwise to require developers to build new affordable housing. Newly built housing is inevitably expensive because it is new and built to the latest standards and in the latest styles and finishes. For a hundred years, affordable housing has been created as new (expensive) housing that has become old economical housing.

4. Forcing developers to build low price housing as a requirement to build any new housing will force up the cost of market value for new housing. That will drive up the price of existing housing (The effect can be seen more directly for developers who pay the cash-in-lieu. Since no other costs will fall, that added municipal fee will be added to the price of the houses that are developed and sold.) This proposed social engineering will have exactly the opposite result from its stated intention. Any Councillor who votes for this power (either now or to implement it), either doesn’t understand economic realities or wants house prices increase.

1–24

Amend the Development Charges Act including an exemption from the 10% statutory deductions.

That this request be rejected, as there are still important reasons for the 10% contribution. 1. The 10% discount was instituted to encourage a degree of fiscal discipline with the municipality in the specification of the municipal services (i.e., to avoid a "gold-plating standard").

2. The 10% statutory reduction also recognizes that existing residents will make some use of new facilities. A new or expanded road from a new subdivision to a regional shopping centre will serve not only the new subdivision which has to pay 90% of its cost, but also the residents of rural areas beyond the subdivision as they travel past the new subdivision and on to the regional shopping centre.

2–23

To regulate the exterior design of buildings and structures in all or part of the City of Ottawa.

That this request be rejected, as past programs have proven unworkable and ill advised.. 1.The City is now in the process of implementing the Downtown Design Review Pilot Project. It is questionable whether this pilot project will be successful, and whether it will produce good value for the City. Why is the City asking for the ability to regulate the exterior design of all buildings throughout the entire City before the Pilot Project even begins?

2. It is reasonable that a City should develop standards for design to ensure unity and compatibility amongst many structures in the same way that a developer does for builders in neighbourhood communities. However, it is quite unacceptable for Cities to regulate the exterior design of structures. The reality of medium and high rise residential approvals to date is that often, it is individual councillors who impose their own personal design tastes on projects. Councillors would never think to question structural design calculations or accounting principles however many feel that they are experts in planning and design. To allow councillors to extend this arbitrary power into all other building approvals would create a very disjointed and unworkable City as each new councillor brings their own unique interpretation of what constitutes good design. The City of Ottawa has demonstrated consistent failure in dictating design in the residential sector and so there is no reason to expect better performance in regulating in all structures.

3. The City should not spend taxpayers money on a "department of design" and highly-paid bureaucrats deciding what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not. What happened to market principles and freedom?

2–27

City to have first dibs on former school sites along with the district school Boards as if the City were a district school board.

 

Defer for more information and consultation.

We are not sure what the rights and obligations are for district school Boards for the purpose of acquiring property intended to be sold, leased or otherwise disposed by a district school board, and the time line has not permitted us to find out.

Would not be in favour of the City being able to obtain former school lands at below market cost.

D) New City Activities    
1–28

Authority to assign a recycling levy or to regulate or prohibit the use of plastic bags.

   

SEE ABOVE IN SECTION A.

1–14

Municipal corporations in any area

Consult more to reconcile the principle of non-competition with public-private partnerships. The City should not be competing with private businesses.

Business groups in the City have called for more ASD in current municipal services as a means to control costs. It would be contrary to this position to allow the city to create new corporations to compete with the private sector.

2–5

Health & environment powers

That this request be rejected, as health and environmental issues cross municipal boundaries and are best left with the Province. The City’s proposal to add these broad areas of jurisdiction states that the amendment would enable Council to consider a variety of initiatives in areas of health and the environment. Once we know what sort of initiatives the City would want to implement, we would then be in a position to decide if they are better in the City’s hands or the Province’s hands.

Notwithstanding the City’s comments that AMCTO endorsed this position, AMCTO’s position is that "…a more detailed investigation in the areas of Health, the Environment and Emergency Services, as possible new Spheres of Jurisdiction, to determine the extent to which municipalities should play a role in the delivery of services that fall within these Spheres." AMCTO’s stated that "Should there be any interest in proceeding with adding additional spheres, we believe that, in addition to addressing the municipal versus provincial responsibility with the sphere, any corresponding legislation must be clear with respect to fiscal responsibility for services provided within the Sphere and the responsibility for setting service standards within the Sphere, and the relationship between responsibilities assigned within the Sphere and those responsibilities already assigned to municipalities through other provincial statutes."

2–6

Protection of persons powers

Accept to the extent that the City already has these powers.  
2–18

Create a Registry of new businesses and charge a fee for it

That this request be rejected, as it will cost a lot of money, but produce little of value. 1.The City states that the rationale for maintaining a registry for businesses that need not be regulated (for health and safety, consumer protection, etc.) is to ensure that they are properly inspected and in compliance with various regulations such as zoning.

The cost in inspecting every new business (i.e. every home business, small business) would be enormous. Furthermore, if the concern was whether businesses were in compliance with all regulations, they would need to be inspected if there was any change in operation, size or location. The cost would be outrageously high and would have extremely limited benefit.

2. The City also claims that a business registry could "…promote economic development by directing and making users aware of the services that exist in the City." Businesses do an infinitely better job in marketing for their service or product than would be achieved through a simple business registry. Even if the City is trying to compete with the Yellow Pages, this justification is totally unreasonable.

2–21

Temporary care for animals

Accept.
A valid request for authority. However, there is serious concern about the cost and the ability for misuse. How would the City know that an owner has not made their own arrangements for pet care when an emergency strikes. Strict rules need to be imposed by the Province as to when the City can enter into a property to seize animals (e.g. notice must be provided, as many pet owners would have made arrangements with family or friends to care for the pet if the owner is hospitalized or incarcerated) and to define emergency.
2–26

Communication towers as a city business.

That this request be rejected, as the City is not and should not become a telecommunication business. The City should not be competing with private businesses.

It is one thing for the City to work with non-profit, public- and private-sector partners to ensure that high quality, equitable broadband access is extended to all Ottawa addresses, both urban and rural. It is quite another to expropriate or build towers and lease back space to telecommunication service providers as suggested in the City’s request.

E) Housing Policies    
1–6

Negotiate directly with federal government.

That this request be rejected, as a multitude of Federal- municipal agreements would be unworkable.  

The best solution is for Provincial negotiation with municipal input.

1–16

Authority to require affordable housing in new developments.

   

SEE ABOVE IN SECTION C

1–17

City Land Transfer Tax to fund affordable housing.

  SEE ABOVE IN SECTION A
2–30

Flexibility re refinancing debt on OCHC (City’s public housing).

Defer for consultation so that we can understand what the goal is.  
F) Interplay with Province    
1–4

Complete discretion respecting property tax policy issues (i.e. capping, ratios, classes, and assessment).

   

SEE ABOVE IN SECTION A.

1–7

Capping City’s contribution to provincial programs.

Accept as a goal. When the provincial programs are initially determined, a funding ratio is set. Over the years, the province may demand more or the city may choose to "enhance" the programme without getting agreement from the province to maintain the agreed-to ratio. The city should not make decisions on enhancing services without obtaining agreement from the province to increase their funding to maintain the agreed-to ratio.
1–20

No regulatory requirements from the province without full funding.

That this request be rejected, as it is too broad. 1.This request is too broad. The rationale for the request is very narrow. The issue for the City is that when the Province downloaded responsibility for a specific road (Ottawa Road 174), the City felt that the Province did not provide sufficient funding to pay for the maintenance and capital costs for the highway.

The City remains a creature of the Province. If the Province wants the City to take action for a specific purpose, the City needs to do it. We agree that the Province should ensure the City has sufficient resources to take on new demands, however there may well be appropriate occasions when the Province requires the City to take action without providing it with "full funding".

2–1

Define provincial interest in all statutes.

That this request be rejected, as it could limit the Province inaptly. The AMO proposal to define provincial interest in all statutes was written with the view that the Province occasionally "…uses its legislative powers to responds to perceived taxpayer concerns in areas that are clearly within the municipal purview and in which there is no compelling provincial interest." The City’s rationale goes further in that it seeks the provision so the City "…can consider involvement in fields of activity where doubt may now lie with respect its jurisdictional role." In other words, the City can do anything unless the Province has set out in legislation why and how it may have an interest.

Municipalities ought to remain creatures of the Province, and the Province ought to maintain a supervisory role over all functions and actions of the City.

2–2

Establish a dispute resolution mechanism.

Accept, provided that this is an additional non-binding dispute resolution mechanism and not a replacement for the OMB. Stakeholders need the appeal to a body that acts on policies and principles, such as the OMB. The OMB is needed to hold the City accountable under the Planning Act policies and to resolve conflicts between the City’s own policies and decisions. Elimination of the OMB would result in significant cost increases and delays for development, as well as job losses in Ottawa and the rest of Ontario.
2–28

No provincial minimum standard for roads.

That this request be rejected. 1.If there is a problem with the provincial standard, then it should be examined.

2.The City’s rational seems contradictory. If the City meets all provincial standards now why does it care if there is a lower minimum standard?

G) Controlling other bodies’ spending
(Police and conservation authorities)
   
1–18

Police.

Accept.  
1–19

Conservation Authorities.

Withdrawn by City.  
H) Charging fees to Other Bodies    
1–1

School Boards for pro-rated share of election cost.

That this request be rejected, unless such charges are already standard across Ontario. This is a shell game.

The City’s rationale is that "by charging back benefiting school boards 10% of the costs to administer such elections, the City can reduce election expenditures." No money would actually be saved, as the costs are still incurred. All that would happen if the City charged $300,000 to the school board would be that the education taxes would go up by about $300,000 (actually $300,000 plus the cost of the City justifying that the school boards should pay 10% and dividing the cost amongst the different boards). The taxpayer would still pay the same amount, or more because of the administrative costs.

1–2

Telecom and utility companies.

1–21

Reinstallation of utilities.

1–22

Right of Way use fees.

I) Licensing Powers    
1–11

Authority to appoint citizen members to the License Committee

Accept. Councillor time should not be spent acting as a license committee. In 2004 there were a total of 13 hearings (11 were appeals of dog muzzling orders, 2 related to taxi licenses). Citizen members can be easily trained to fulfil the role required.
1–12

Levying fines for license enforcement

That this request be rejected, as almost all of the violations in question can already be the subject of fines through other processes. 1. There are so few Licence Committee cases now (13 cases decided in all of 2004), the function could be folded into another body.

2. Since many of the cases before the Licence Committee are also before the Provincial Offences or Criminal court, it would be unfair to have two bodies issue separate fines for the same offence.

3. If the desire is to take the load off the Provincial Offences court, surely more resources should go to the Provincial Offences Court rather than creating a parallel court system.

4. An alternative solution could be to provide the Provincial Offences Court with the ability to suspend and/or revoke licenses and to disband the License Committee.

1–13 Licensing differently for different geography areas Accept provided that the geographic areas are designated (i.e. one specified urban area, one suburban area and one rural area) In principle, one fee avoids discrimination. However, because Ottawa has urban, suburban and rural areas, one size does not fit all; three sizes may be needed.
1–15

Ability to charge fees based on public policy – not cost

  SEE ABOVE IN SECTION A.
1–23

Permit for sidewalk sales

That this request be rejected. 1) Permits for sidewalk sales should not be a revenue generating tool.

2) Establish a rule that sidewalk sales are permitted by a business unless pedestrian traffic is substantially impeded.

2–14

Subclasses of licences

Defer for consultation so that we can understand what problem the City wants to address. The potential benefit listed by the City is that it would provide more flexibility to deal with particular situations. In principle, one fee avoids discrimination.
2–15

Expand City’s licensing powers to include "business protection"

That this request be rejected to maintain economic efficiency. If Cities do not allow "outsiders" to sell their product in their City and take their profits out, we would create hundreds of different markets. That would be highly inefficient.
2–16

No consultation required before licensing changes

That this request be rejected. 1) Licensing is a very important and potentially dangerous power.

2) The City’s rationale that "as a matter of policy, the City will consult where appropriate on all regulatory matters that have a public interest" is not a satisfactory reason to give them the authority to not consult.

3) Consultation allows interested parties to put forward their concerns before Council. City staff may not understand that a licensing amendment that appears minor would have dramatic effects.

4) It is crucial that consultation be undertaken with interested parties even if there is not a "public interest".

2–17

Licensing limousines

Accept. However, the City should consult with the limousine industry.
(2–18)

Registry of new businesses

That this request be rejected for cost and efficiency reasons. 1) The cost in tracking every new business that commences would be enormous and would have extremely limited benefit.

2) If the concern is that a business complies with zoning then every time a business moves it would need to re-register

3) Would every home business need to register, if so at what point (i.e. would a child’s lemonade stand need to register)

2–19

Delete Ministry’s ability to override City licensing schemes retroactively. The relevant section of the Municipal Act provides the Province with the ability to limit municipalities’ use of licensing and to exempt any business or class of business that were brought into a licensing or registration by-law.

That this request be rejected as Provincial oversight is important. The City’s request seems to be that if the Province decides to exempt a business then the process should be that the licensing scheme and any fees paid under it stand, while the Province can still cancel the scheme. (Under the current law the Province can require the license fees be returned for up to one year earlier.

At least until there are significant change to municipal governance, there remains a need for Provincial oversight of municipal decisions.

2–20

General power of entry

   

SEE ABOVE IN SECTION B).

2–22

Ability to seize property of itinerant vendors

That this request be rejected. 1) The rationale listed by the City is that they have encountered instances where the regulation of vendors on private property is necessary. For instance, says the City "flower vendors often set up in prime locations on particularly busy days without licenses and unfairly compete with permanent flower shops based in the City."

2) We fail to see the problem with the example of the flower vendors that set up in prime locations on Easter and Mother’s Day. Furthermore the City is asking for a wide-reaching power but provides no real justification. (If they want the power to regulate temporary flower vendors so that the vendors are at least 100 meters away from permanent flower shops, they should ask for that rather than wide-reaching general powers).

3) If there is a need to licence itinerant vendors for health and safety, nuisance, and/or consumer protection, do so. But don’t limit their ability to negotiate with private property owners.

4) The suggestion of seizing vendors’ equipment and supplies if they operate on private property is outrageous.

J) Enforcement Powers    
2–24

Charging for remedial work e.g. in grow operations.

That further consultation be undertaken on this request.

 

 

The City already has the power to recover the costs of remedial work by action or by adding the costs to the tax roll and collecting them in the same manner as taxes. It is unclear why different language is needed. If the City has been unable to recover costs, it would be useful to know why they could not before changing the language in the Municipal Act.

2–25

Charge property owners the enforcement costs of closing illegal operations that occur on their property.

That this request be rejected, as it has the danger of putting a totally unreasonable burden on an innocent party to a crime.  

1) Property owners are usually not aware of the illegal operation. In fact, the illegal operation usually costs property owners large amounts of money in lost rent and legal costs for their part of closing down the operation or restoring the property. The City’s proposal would further punish innocent victims.

2) Such chargebacks could be entertained if the City has to prove that the property owner agreed to the illegal operation, but such cases are rare.

K) New City Procedures    
1–8&9

No mandated municipal notice requirements

That this request be rejected.  

1. AMO’s rationale for removing specified notice provisions is that many municipalities give appropriate notice. That is no rationale for removing minimum standards.

2. If there are problems with specific notice requirements (e.g. notice to individuals may be better served if done by e-mail rather than registered mail) or if the desire is for more consistent notice provisions throughout the Municipal Act, they can be addressed without removing all mandated notice requirements.

2–4

Natural person powers re administration.

Consult to provide more information. It is unclear what the City wants; does it want to be get out of the restriction that it is a "natural person" for the purpose of exercising its authority under the Municipal Act, or does it want to get out of the restrictions in s.17.

The City’s "natural person powers" are currently restricted by s.17 of the Municipal Act which has specific prohibitions (e.g. limits on levels of taxes and charges, not being able to declare bankruptcy). If there is a specific problem with a provision under s.17 that is hurting the City’s ability to produce effective management and administration, then the City should identify the problem and we may be able to endorse a solution.

2–7

Authority to appoint and define authority of a Municipal Integrity Commissioners.

That this request be rejected, although we can accept the Province appointing a Province-wide municipal integrity commissioner. Principles guiding the integrity of municipal officials whether they are elected, appointed or employed should be uniform across the province. Therefore, an integrity official at the provincial level would be sufficient and apply to everyone in municipal governments throughout the province. That would enhance the independence and impartiality of the integrity commissioner.
2–8

Councillors’ pay to be set outside Council.

Accept but there should be restrictions on how the appointments to the pay setting panel would be determined.  
2–9

Local lobbyist registries

That this request be rejected, although we can accept requiring municipal lobbyists to register under the current provincial lobbyist registration system. 1) The City is supposed to be the level most accessible to the average resident. Many "municipal lobbyists" are unsophisticated in municipal process.

2) The benefit of a lobbyist registry is extremely limited. The cost to set up and operate such a registry far outweighs the potential benefit of such a registry.

2–10

Authority to define role of Auditor General (including free of MFIPA)

That this request be rejected since a city auditor is functioning for public benefit. 1) Since a city auditor is functioning for public benefit, public should be able to access information gathered in that process.

2) If Council recognizes that an Auditor General position must be seen as arms-length, independent and objective, why would Council ask for the ability to define the authority of the Auditor General.

2–12

Authority to hold electronic meetings

Accept provided that meetings are accessible to the public and the press, and the public can participate in the meeting. In other words video conferencing or audio conferencing is acceptable, but private bulletin board conferencing is only acceptable to the extent that the Municipal Act allows in camera meetings.
L) Miscellaneous    
1–3

Invest Hydro Ottawa funds. (Hydro refinances and pays interest, and then the City will invest the capital).

Accept that the City could increase the areas of investment, but the Province ought to continue to impose restrictions so as to ensure the preservation of the capital invested. According to the City report the City currently earns a 2.5% return. The City’s paper anticipates a return of 5-10% if have broader discretion. There is some concern that the City would take on too much risk in this investment.
1–5

Splitting tax bill by services.

 

Accept provided the City continues with only one bill (at each tax due date) with separate lines for the different services.

 
1–10

LRT to be exempt from Railway Acts

Needs more consultation with knowledgeable persons. At the July 5 meeting of CSED, the Ottawa group, Transport 2000 questioned whether exempting the LRT from Rail Acts would prejudice the City’s ability to link service to Gatineau, as well as prejudicing the City’s ability to share the rail line with third parties. These concerns need to be explored before allowing the City to exempt the LRT from Railway Acts.
2–11

Define meaning of Mayor as CEO

Accept. The Province should clarify what they mean by the Mayor being the CEO, especially when many municipalities have a Chief Administrator Officer (CAO) or a City Manager.

 

Numerically ordered version of table:

CITY REQUEST REQUESTED ACTION REASONS
1–1

School Boards for pro-rated share of election cost.

That this request be rejected, unless such charges are already standard across Ontario. This is a shell game.

The City’s rationale is that "by charging back benefiting school boards 10% of the costs to administer such elections, the City can reduce election expenditures." No money would actually be saved, as the costs are still incurred. All that would happen if the City charged $300,000 to the school board would be that the education taxes would go up by about $300,000 (actually $300,000 plus the cost of the City justifying that the school boards should pay 10% and dividing the cost amongst the different boards). The taxpayer would still pay the same amount, or more because of the administrative costs.

1–2

Telecom and utility companies.

 

That this request be rejected.

1.This is also a shell game.

2.The taxpayer will pay one way or the other, and new home buyers will pay a disproportional burden, contrary to the goal of affordable housing.

3. If the costs are transferred to utilities we will pay the costs plus GST and/or PST, and all the administrative costs of making the charges, thus increasing the cost to the taxpayer/consumer.

1–3

Invest Hydro Ottawa funds. (Hydro refinances and pays interest, and then the City will invest the capital).

Accept that the City could increase the areas of investment, but the Province ought to continue to impose restrictions so as to ensure the preservation of the capital invested. According to the City report the City currently earns a 2.5% return. The City’s paper anticipates a return of 5-10% if have broader discretion. There is some concern that the City would take on too much risk in this investment.
1–4

Complete discretion respecting property tax policy issues (i.e. capping, ratios, classes, assessment duties and frequency).

That this request be rejected. JOBS will happily consult with the City or Province about how best to reorganize responsibilities or reallocate tax revenue to achieve healthy cities, a healthy economy, accountability and transparency. 1. We believe that the Province has a critical interest in property tax policy because of its effect on the competitiveness of industry and commerce in Ontario. A patchwork of conflicting policies would have a negative effect on the jobs and incomes of all Ontarians.

2. We agree that instability and unpredictability are problems which should be mitigated and will be happy to work with the City to try to design and recommend a system than mitigates them.

However, the over-taxation of business must also be addressed, and sooner rather than later. We all need healthy cities, a healthy economy, accountability and transparency.

1–5

Splitting tax bill by services.

 

Accept provided the City continues with only one bill (at each tax due date) with separate lines for the different services.

 
1–6

Negotiate directly with federal government.

That this request be rejected, as a multitude of Federal- municipal agreements would be unworkable.  

The best solution is for Provincial negotiation with municipal input.

1–7

Capping City’s contribution to provincial programs.

Accept as a goal. When the provincial programs are initially determined, a funding ratio is set. Over the years, the province may demand more or the city may choose to "enhance" the programme without getting agreement from the province to maintain the agreed-to ratio. The city should not make decisions on enhancing services without obtaining agreement from the province to increase their funding to maintain the agreed-to ratio.
1–8&9

No mandated municipal notice requirements

That this request be rejected.  

1. AMO’s rationale for removing specified notice provisions is that many municipalities give appropriate notice. That is no rationale for removing minimum standards.

2. If there are problems with specific notice requirements (e.g. notice to individuals may be better served if done by e-mail rather than registered mail) or if the desire is for more consistent notice provisions throughout the Municipal Act, they can be addressed without removing all mandated notice requirements.

1–10

LRT to be exempt from Railway Acts

Needs more consultation with knowledgeable persons. At the July 5 meeting of CSED, the Ottawa group, Transport 2000 questioned whether exempting the LRT from Rail Acts would prejudice the City’s ability to link service to Gatineau, as well as prejudicing the City’s ability to share the rail line with third parties. These concerns need to be explored before allowing the City to exempt the LRT from Railway Acts.
1–11

Authority to appoint citizen members to the License Committee

Accept. Councillor time should not be spent acting as a license committee. In 2004 there were a total of 13 hearings (11 were appeals of dog muzzling orders, 2 related to taxi licenses). Citizen members can be easily trained to fulfil the role required.
1–12

Levying fines for license enforcement

That this request be rejected, as almost all of the violations in question can already be the subject of fines through other processes. 1. There are so few Licence Committee cases now (13 cases decided in all of 2004), the function could be folded into another body.

2. Since many of the cases before the Licence Committee are also before the Provincial Offences or Criminal court, it would be unfair to have two bodies issue separate fines for the same offence.

3. If the desire is to take the load off the Provincial Offences court, surely more resources should go to the Provincial Offences Court rather than creating a parallel court system.

4. An alternative solution could be to provide the Provincial Offences Court with the ability to suspend and/or revoke licenses and to disband the License Committee.

1–13 Licensing differently for different geography areas Accept provided that the geographic areas are designated (i.e. one specified urban area, one suburban area and one rural area) In principle, one fee avoids discrimination. However, because Ottawa has urban, suburban and rural areas, one size does not fit all; three sizes may be needed.
1–14

Municipal corporations in any area

Consult more to reconcile the principle of non-competition with public-private partnerships. The City should not be competing with private businesses.

Business groups in the City have called for more ASD in current municipal services as a means to control costs. It would be contrary to this position to allow the city to create new corporations to compete with the private sector.

1–15

Authority to establish fee structures (for waste, water and sewer charges, police and fire inspection changes, licensing fees, and building permit fees) based on public policy reasons not on costs as is presently the case.

That this request be rejected, as the current cost approach is fair and provides certainty. 1. We presume that presently Council can set fees below full cost recovery. The change sought is to allow fees to be set above cost recovery. The services in question are mostly basic City services. Cost recovery or partial (or no) cost recovery is appropriate, but allowing fees above the costs to discourage activities that are lawful is inappropriate. For example, let us say the City doesn’t like chip wagons because fried food is unhealthy. Then we could see the license fee for a chip wagon becoming $100,000 per year. Equally wrong would be the public policy: we need more revenue; therefore we will set fees above the costs. The power sought would be an open door to using licenses as disguised taxes.

2. Generally, the City should stay out of broad public policy areas since it does not have the resources to do the research and studies to develop sound, sustainable polices.

1–16

Authority to require affordable housing in new developments with a release ability to receive cash-in-lieu of meeting these requirements (i.e. inclusionary zoning).

That this request be rejected because it conflicts with important 20/20 goals. 1. The staff report says the City has not met the target for new dwelling. Therefore, we need to stimulate new development. That is an intelligent goal, but a City doesn’t stimulate development by imposing more conditions and costs on developers; instead, that discourages development.

2. If society feels obligated to provide affordable housing as a policy decision, it is counter-productive to load complete responsibility onto the shoulders of one small group called new home buyers. This approach will raise the price of housing to the point where sales decline significantly thus eliminating thousands of jobs in the Ottawa marketplace. Responsibility for the provision of affordable housing should be spread evenly across all taxpayers, not just one small group.

3. It is unwise to require developers to build new affordable housing. Newly built housing is inevitably expensive because it is new and built to the latest standards and in the latest styles and finishes. For a hundred years, affordable housing has been created as new (expensive) housing that has become old economical housing.

4. Forcing developers to build low price housing as a requirement to build any new housing will force up the cost of market value for new housing. That will drive up the price of existing housing (The effect can be seen more directly for developers who pay the cash-in-lieu. Since no other costs will fall, that added municipal fee will be added to the price of the houses that are developed and sold.) This proposed social engineering will have exactly the opposite result from its stated intention. Any Councillor who votes for this power (either now or to implement it), either doesn’t understand economic realities or wants house prices increase.

1–17

Ability to levy a portion of the land transfer tax for affordable housing.

That this request be rejected, as the Province already levies a land transfer tax. 1. If the Province allows the City to take a portion of the land transfer tax, the Province would need to reduce their share of the tax by an equivalent amount. That could be considered as a revenue

re-allocation provided it is set up in a way that achieves accountability and transparency.

2. The use of the proceeds of the tax for additional affordable housing than is now built would negate the potential benefit of the tax in reducing the City’s budget pressures.

3. For more comments on the proposed use of the tax, see SECTION C, comments on item 1–16 below.

1–18

Police.

Accept.  
1–19

Conservation Authorities.

Withdrawn by City.  
1–20

No regulatory requirements from the province without full funding.

That this request be rejected, as it is too broad. 1.This request is too broad. The rationale for the request is very narrow. The issue for the City is that when the Province downloaded responsibility for a specific road (Ottawa Road 174), the City felt that the Province did not provide sufficient funding to pay for the maintenance and capital costs for the highway.

The City remains a creature of the Province. If the Province wants the City to take action for a specific purpose, the City needs to do it. We agree that the Province should ensure the City has sufficient resources to take on new demands, however there may well be appropriate occasions when the Province requires the City to take action without providing it with "full funding".

1–21

Reinstallation of utilities.

1–22

Right of Way use fees.

1–23

Permit for sidewalk sales

That this request be rejected. 1) Permits for sidewalk sales should not be a revenue generating tool.

2) Establish a rule that sidewalk sales are permitted by a business unless pedestrian traffic is substantially impeded.

1–24

Amend the Development Charges Act including an exemption from the 10% statutory deductions.

That this request be rejected, as there are still important reasons for the 10% contribution. 1. The 10% discount was instituted to encourage a degree of fiscal discipline with the municipality in the specification of the municipal services (i.e., to avoid a "gold-plating standard").

2. The 10% statutory reduction also recognizes that existing residents will make some use of new facilities. A new or expanded road from a new subdivision to a regional shopping centre will serve not only the new subdivision which has to pay 90% of its cost, but also the residents of rural areas beyond the subdivision as they travel past the new subdivision and on to the regional shopping centre.

1–25

The Province of Ontario provide some portion of the vehicle registration fee to be used to fund the provision of local transportation services (roads, sidewalks, public transit, etc).

Or it may be intended to be a new fee of $25 per plate.

Agreed, provided that the Province reduces its fee accordingly. As to administration, the Province should continue as the sole collector of the vehicle registration fee. 1. The City’s Property Tax Task Force recommended that the Province should give the City $25 per plate from the vehicle registration fees that the Province currently collects.

We agree that the Province should give the City this revenue from its current vehicle registration fee.

2. The reasons we support this additional revenue for the City are:

d) It applies to both residents and businesses more or less equally.

e) It was endorsed by the Property Tax Task Force (which included business reps and ratepayers);

f) Vehicle use is tied to roads and transit, one of the main City expenditure areas.

3. Ensure that the money is spent on the maintenance of the roads or public transit.

1–26

Authority to levy a tax on the income earned in Ottawa by visiting players in professional sports.

That this request be rejected, as the Province and Federal government tax income. Given the salaries that NHL players make, this seems like a popular idea. However, other professional athletes are not particularly well paid such as members of the CFL or the International League (the Lynx). Such a tax would provide one more reason for the Lynx to leave or the Renegades to fold or move.

In addition, such a tax would begin the slippery slope of municipal income taxation. Why stop at visiting players in professional sports, why not entertainers or public speakers? Why not ensure that no one who earns income in Ottawa can leave with out paying. Ottawa’s special tax? To make sure it works, let’s set up a tax collecting authority at the Ottawa airport to make sure that every $100 earned in Ottawa means $15 to the City in taxes. In fact, let’s set up the tax collector at all the exits from Ottawa. Let’s get ahead of the curve so that when every City in Ontario has its visiting person’s tax authorities set up, we aren’t too late to hire all the tax collectors and emigration officers we need?

Let’s stop the fantasy. Everyone, including hockey players, pays income taxes according to the rules worked out by the federal and provincial governments. Ottawa residents pay income taxes on money we earn in other cities. Just because Alberta took up a bad idea doesn’t mean Ottawa should to.

As an aside, such a tax may drive professional teams or performers away from Ottawa. NHL teams are mobile, and if this cost is added to the expected increase in Corel Centre property taxes, there may be no visiting players to tax.

1–27

Hotel Tax

That this request for a new tax to provide general revenue be rejected, although a compulsory marketing fee as approved by the OGHA is certainly acceptable. 1. The City of Ottawa conducted a facilitated consultation with the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, Ottawa Tourism, the Festival Network and the Chamber of Commerce in 2004 about the use of a Hotel Room Tax.  The outcome was a unanimous recommendation that any Hotel Room Tax be solely dedicated to tourism promotion.  It was further agreed the City should continue to fund Festivals (most of which are not tourism events) and any visitor services the city deems necessary.

2. Before it voted on the hotel tax idea, The Property Tax Force was told, incorrectly, that the Ottawa-Gatineau Hotel Association supported a hotel room tax. In fact, their support for a tax is subject to the conditions explained above.

1–28

Authority to assign a recycling levy (i.e. bottle returns, regulating use of paper/ plastic bags, etc). The CSED committee replaced this staff recommendation for a plastic bag tax, with the request that Council be given the power to regulate or prohibit the use of plastic bags.

That this request be rejected, as the decision on whether to discourage the use of plastic bags and other packaging materials is best left to the Province. 1. The Province already taxes packing materials and containers through the Stewardship Ontario program, and gives the proceeds to the Cities to fund re-cycling.

If a levy is collected through the existing provincial sales tax system, it is a sales tax. Since the cost of collecting and disposing of these materials is already funded through property taxes, anything more would be paying double for the same service.

2. This is an issue where the City will respond to public opinion negative to plastic bags. The Province is better able to deal with the science involved in the environmental issues and it should take back exclusive jurisdiction over those issues, not give more jurisdiction to the municipalities.

Where is the impact analysis of the cost of disposing of these materials now? Is the purpose of a levy to discourage use or to generate revenue to defray the costs of disposal?

Who is "the generator"? Ultimately, it is the consumer who will pay, but the consumer is already paying for waste collection and disposal, so the consumer will pay twice for the same piece of material.

What is the environmental impact of the materials vaguely described in the list? Nothing in this proposal would actually "reduce the negative environmental impact" because they still have to be disposed of. A "take-back" program doesn’t remove the materials from the environment, just from the City’s system, so there would be no net benefit.

3. This could easily turn into a tax grab.

This would open the door to other "municipal sales taxes" and it would be impossible for the province to collect, administer and disburse this for one city

 

2–1

Define provincial interest in all statutes.

That this request be rejected, as it could limit the Province inaptly. The AMO proposal to define provincial interest in all statutes was written with the view that the Province occasionally "…uses its legislative powers to responds to perceived taxpayer concerns in areas that are clearly within the municipal purview and in which there is no compelling provincial interest." The City’s rationale goes further in that it seeks the provision so the City "…can consider involvement in fields of activity where doubt may now lie with respect its jurisdictional role." In other words, the City can do anything unless the Province has set out in legislation why and how it may have an interest.

Municipalities ought to remain creatures of the Province, and the Province ought to maintain a supervisory role over all functions and actions of the City.

2–2

Establish a dispute resolution mechanism.

Accept, provided that this is an additional non-binding dispute resolution mechanism and not a replacement for the OMB. Stakeholders need the appeal to a body that acts on policies and principles, such as the OMB. The OMB is needed to hold the City accountable under the Planning Act policies and to resolve conflicts between the City’s own policies and decisions. Elimination of the OMB would result in significant cost increases and delays for development, as well as job losses in Ottawa and the rest of Ontario.
2–4

Natural person powers re administration.

Consult to provide more information. It is unclear what the City wants; does it want to be get out of the restriction that it is a "natural person" for the purpose of exercising its authority under the Municipal Act, or does it want to get out of the restrictions in s.17.

The City’s "natural person powers" are currently restricted by s.17 of the Municipal Act which has specific prohibitions (e.g. limits on levels of taxes and charges, not being able to declare bankruptcy). If there is a specific problem with a provision under s.17 that is hurting the City’s ability to produce effective management and administration, then the City should identify the problem and we may be able to endorse a solution.

2–5

Health & environment powers

That this request be rejected, as health and environmental issues cross municipal boundaries and are best left with the Province. The City’s proposal to add these broad areas of jurisdiction states that the amendment would enable Council to consider a variety of initiatives in areas of health and the environment. Once we know what sort of initiatives the City would want to implement, we would then be in a position to decide if they are better in the City’s hands or the Province’s hands.

Notwithstanding the City’s comments that AMCTO endorsed this position, AMCTO’s position is that "…a more detailed investigation in the areas of Health, the Environment and Emergency Services, as possible new Spheres of Jurisdiction, to determine the extent to which municipalities should play a role in the delivery of services that fall within these Spheres." AMCTO’s stated that "Should there be any interest in proceeding with adding additional spheres, we believe that, in addition to addressing the municipal versus provincial responsibility with the sphere, any corresponding legislation must be clear with respect to fiscal responsibility for services provided within the Sphere and the responsibility for setting service standards within the Sphere, and the relationship between responsibilities assigned within the Sphere and those responsibilities already assigned to municipalities through other provincial statutes."

2–6

Protection of persons powers

Accept to the extent that the City already has these powers.  
2–7

Authority to appoint and define authority of a Municipal Integrity Commissioners.

That this request be rejected, although we can accept the Province appointing a Province-wide municipal integrity commissioner. Principles guiding the integrity of municipal officials whether they are elected, appointed or employed should be uniform across the province. Therefore, an integrity official at the provincial level would be sufficient and apply to everyone in municipal governments throughout the province. That would enhance the independence and impartiality of the integrity commissioner.
2–8

Councillors’ pay to be set outside Council.

Accept but there should be restrictions on how the appointments to the pay setting panel would be determined.  
2–9

Local lobbyist registries

That this request be rejected, although we can accept requiring municipal lobbyists to register under the current provincial lobbyist registration system. 1) The City is supposed to be the level most accessible to the average resident. Many "municipal lobbyists" are unsophisticated in municipal process.

2) The benefit of a lobbyist registry is extremely limited. The cost to set up and operate such a registry far outweighs the potential benefit of such a registry.

2–10

Authority to define role of Auditor General (including free of MFIPA)

That this request be rejected since a city auditor is functioning for public benefit. 1) Since a city auditor is functioning for public benefit, public should be able to access information gathered in that process.

2) If Council recognizes that an Auditor General position must be seen as arms-length, independent and objective, why would Council ask for the ability to define the authority of the Auditor General.

2–11

Define meaning of Mayor as CEO

Accept. The Province should clarify what they mean by the Mayor being the CEO, especially when many municipalities have a Chief Administrator Officer (CAO) or a City Manager.
2–12

Authority to hold electronic meetings

Accept provided that meetings are accessible to the public and the press, and the public can participate in the meeting. In other words video conferencing or audio conferencing is acceptable, but private bulletin board conferencing is only acceptable to the extent that the Municipal Act allows in camera meetings.
2–13 "Expropriation" of properties with abandoned buildings That this request be rejected, as ownership rights in property should be uniform across the Province, not subject to variation across municipalities. 1) There are some vacant properties where the City will not allow the owners to demolish; that is not "abandoning derelict properties".

2) Under the Building Code Act, the city already has enormous powers to enforce property standards, including entering (without a warrant) and repairing or demolishing buildings that don’t meet property standards and then add the cost to the tax bill.

3) We would need more detail is needed about what the City wants and why more power is needed.

4) We could agree to a right to enter (or notice) to board up or remove hazards and add the cost to the tax bill – but the City already has that power under the Building Code Act.

2–14

Subclasses of licences

Defer for consultation so that we can understand what problem the City wants to address. The potential benefit listed by the City is that it would provide more flexibility to deal with particular situations. In principle, one fee avoids discrimination.
2–15

Expand City’s licensing powers to include "business protection"

That this request be rejected to maintain economic efficiency. If Cities do not allow "outsiders" to sell their product in their City and take their profits out, we would create hundreds of different markets. That would be highly inefficient.
2–16

No consultation required before licensing changes

That this request be rejected. 1) Licensing is a very important and potentially dangerous power.

2) The City’s rationale that "as a matter of policy, the City will consult where appropriate on all regulatory matters that have a public interest" is not a satisfactory reason to give them the authority to not consult.

3) Consultation allows interested parties to put forward their concerns before Council. City staff may not understand that a licensing amendment that appears minor would have dramatic effects.

4) It is crucial that consultation be undertaken with interested parties even if there is not a "public interest".

2–17

Licensing limousines

Accept. However, the City should consult with the limousine industry.
2–18

Registry of new businesses

That this request be rejected for cost and efficiency reasons. 1) The cost in tracking every new business that commences would be enormous and would have extremely limited benefit.

2) If the concern is that a business complies with zoning then every time a business moves it would need to re-register

3) Would every home business need to register, if so at what point (i.e. would a child’s lemonade stand need to register)

2–18

Create a Registry of new businesses and charge a fee for it

That this request be rejected, as it will cost a lot of money, but produce little of value. 1.The City states that the rationale for maintaining a registry for businesses that need not be regulated (for health and safety, consumer protection, etc.) is to ensure that they are properly inspected and in compliance with various regulations such as zoning.

The cost in inspecting every new business (i.e. every home business, small business) would be enormous. Furthermore, if the concern was whether businesses were in compliance with all regulations, they would need to be inspected if there was any change in operation, size or location. The cost would be outrageously high and would have extremely limited benefit.

2. The City also claims that a business registry could "…promote economic development by directing and making users aware of the services that exist in the City." Businesses do an infinitely better job in marketing for their service or product than would be achieved through a simple business registry. Even if the City is trying to compete with the Yellow Pages, this justification is totally unreasonable.

2–19

Delete Ministry’s ability to override City licensing schemes retroactively. The relevant section of the Municipal Act provides the Province with the ability to limit municipalities’ use of licensing and to exempt any business or class of business that were brought into a licensing or registration by-law.

That this request be rejected as Provincial oversight is important. The City’s request seems to be that if the Province decides to exempt a business then the process should be that the licensing scheme and any fees paid under it stand, while the Province can still cancel the scheme. (Under the current law the Province can require the license fees be returned for up to one year earlier.

At least until there are significant change to municipal governance, there remains a need for Provincial oversight of municipal decisions.

2–20

General power of entry at all times for all licensed businesses, including restaurants, pet shops, car washes, etc.

That this request be rejected, as too intrusive on the privacy of people going about their ordinary business. 1) The recommendation is to provide City inspectors with a power to enter all licensed businesses at any time of day or night, including restaurants, pet shops, car washes, etc., whether or not there is a complaint about the business. Such a power seems more compatible with Big Brother than with legitimate licensing concerns.

2) The City’s paper states that Council endorsed this proposal at its meeting of Nov 10, 2004. At that meeting the City endorsed AMO’s suggested technical amendments to the Municipal Act which included amending s.430 (Entry to dwellings) to establish a common uniform right of entry. It was acknowledged that no public consultation was undertaken before the AMO report recommendations approved by Council on Nov 10, 2004.

2–21

Temporary care for animals

Accept. A valid request for authority. However, there is serious concern about the cost and the ability for misuse. How would the City know that an owner has not made their own arrangements for pet care when an emergency strikes. Strict rules need to be imposed by the Province as to when the City can enter into a property to seize animals (e.g. notice must be provided, as many pet owners would have made arrangements with family or friends to care for the pet if the owner is hospitalized or incarcerated) and to define emergency.
2–22

Ability to seize property of itinerant vendors

That this request be rejected. 1) The rationale listed by the City is that they have encountered instances where the regulation of vendors on private property is necessary. For instance, says the City "flower vendors often set up in prime locations on particularly busy days without licenses and unfairly compete with permanent flower shops based in the City."

2) We fail to see the problem with the example of the flower vendors that set up in prime locations on Easter and Mother’s Day. Furthermore the City is asking for a wide-reaching power but provides no real justification. (If they want the power to regulate temporary flower vendors so that the vendors are at least 100 meters away from permanent flower shops, they should ask for that rather than wide-reaching general powers).

3) If there is a need to licence itinerant vendors for health and safety, nuisance, and/or consumer protection, do so. But don’t limit their ability to negotiate with private property owners.

4) The suggestion of seizing vendors’ equipment and supplies if they operate on private property is outrageous.

2–23

To regulate the exterior design of buildings and structures in all or part of the City of Ottawa.

That this request be rejected, as past programs have proven unworkable and ill advised. 1.The City is now in the process of implementing the Downtown Design Review Pilot Project. It is questionable whether this pilot project will be successful, and whether it will produce good value for the City. Why is the City asking for the ability to regulate the exterior design of all buildings throughout the entire City before the Pilot Project even begins?

2. It is reasonable that a City should develop standards for design to ensure unity and compatibility amongst many structures in the same way that a developer does for builders in neighbourhood communities. However, it is quite unacceptable for Cities to regulate the exterior design of structures. The reality of medium and high rise residential approvals to date is that often, it is individual councillors who impose their own personal design tastes on projects. Councillors would never think to question structural design calculations or accounting principles however many feel that they are experts in planning and design. To allow councillors to extend this arbitrary power into all other building approvals would create a very disjointed and unworkable City as each new councillor brings their own unique interpretation of what constitutes good design. The City of Ottawa has demonstrated consistent failure in dictating design in the residential sector and so there is no reason to expect better performance in regulating in all structures.

3. The City should not spend taxpayers money on a "department of design" and highly-paid bureaucrats deciding what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not. What happened to market principles and freedom?

2–24

Charging for remedial work e.g. in grow operations.

That further consultation be undertaken on this request. The City already has the power to recover the costs of remedial work by action or by adding the costs to the tax roll and collecting them in the same manner as taxes. It is unclear why different language is needed. If the City has been unable to recover costs, it would be useful to know why they could not before changing the language in the Municipal Act.
2–25

Charge property owners the enforcement costs of closing illegal operations that occur on their property.

That this request be rejected, as it has the danger of putting a totally unreasonable burden on an innocent party to a crime. 1) Property owners are usually not aware of the illegal operation. In fact, the illegal operation usually costs property owners large amounts of money in lost rent and legal costs for their part of closing down the operation or restoring the property. The City’s proposal would further punish innocent victims.

2) Such chargebacks could be entertained if the City has to prove that the property owner agreed to the illegal operation, but such cases are rare.

2–26

Communication towers as a city business.

That this request be rejected, as the City is not and should not become a telecommunication business. The City should not be competing with private businesses.

It is one thing for the City to work with non-profit, public- and private-sector partners to ensure that high quality, equitable broadband access is extended to all Ottawa addresses, both urban and rural. It is quite another to expropriate or build towers and lease back space to telecommunication service providers as suggested in the City’s request.

2–27

City to have first dibs on former school sites along with the district school Boards as if the City were a district school board.

 

Defer for more information and consultation.

We are not sure what the rights and obligations are for district school Boards for the purpose of acquiring property intended to be sold, leased or otherwise disposed by a district school board, and the time line has not permitted us to find out.

Would not be in favour of the City being able to obtain former school lands at below market cost.

2–28

No provincial minimum standard for roads.

That this request be rejected. 1.If there is a problem with the provincial standard, then it should be examined.

2.The City’s rational seems contradictory. If the City meets all provincial standards now why does it care if there is a lower minimum standard?

2–29

Principle of joint and several liability not to apply to Cities

That this request be rejected to be fair to City residents who suffer damage and financial losses due to the City’s negligence. 1) While we can sympathize with the City, the same problem exists for any other defendant in a lawsuit. There should be no special rule for the City.

2) Who is better to bear the loss of a victim where the City is partly at fault and a bankrupt company was partly at fault: the City or the victim?

2–30

Flexibility re refinancing debt on OCHC (City’s public housing).

Defer for consultation so that we can understand what the goal is.  


City's website presentation of the proposed "New City of Ottawa Act": http://ottawa.ca/public_consult/ottawa_act/index_en.shtml


Below is the recommendation of the Business Advisory Committee on the City of Ottawa Act as presented to Corporate Services Committee on July 5th, 2005:

 
"At its 12 July 2005 meeting, the Business Advisory Committee approved the following motion with regard to the above-noted document:

WHEREAS the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) has serious concerns about the consultation process which was not taken with regard to the preparation of the New City of Ottawa Act; and

WHEREAS the BAC has serious concerns with the content of the noted document as presented by Mr. Kent Kirkpatrick, City Manager, at its meeting of 12 July 2005.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the BAC does not support the current document as submitted; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the BAC recommends that the City consult with the business community, Ottawa residents, and constituents, prior to submitting the New City of Ottawa Act to the Province of Ontario."

 
 

Position Statement of Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton (RCOC)
 concerning proposed changes to the City of Ottawa Act

(Sent to RCOC Members and to the City of Ottawa)


Subject: City of Ottawa Act - RCOC Communique
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005, and Thur, 11 Aug 2005

The City of Ottawa is asking the Province of Ontario for some broad new powers, under a revised City of Ottawa Act, which will further increase our taxes, reduce our services, erode the democratic process and invade our property rights. As President of the Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton (RCOC) and the West Carleton Rural Association (WCRA) and as a business owner and resident in the City of Ottawa, I am very concerned about the recommendations put forth by city staff and approved by council.

In February, I was asked to take on the role of President of the RCOC. I accepted, given that many of the issues coincide with those that we were working on in the WCRA. There was also the added challenge of the Ottawa Rural Summit, announced by Mayor Chiarelli in January 2005. I felt it was important to ensure that rural issues reached the ears of city staff, the mayor and council in a timely and organized manner. Both the RCOC and the WCRA hosted meetings with Moira Winch, Project Manager for the Rural Summit, during the issues gathering stage. Bob McKinley, Past-President of the RCOC, is sitting on the Steering Committee for the Summit which is to be held in November 2005. I hope all of you will consider attending. We are working towards and hoping for a successful meeting.

This is why I am particularly concerned about the recommendations for the New City of Ottawa Act. There has been little or no consultation with businesses or residents yet the changes to the act are significant. Some of these include:

  • Exemption from all specific notice provisions in favour of Councils discretion.

  • Authority to introduce a vehicle plate fee an additional $25 each time you renew your license.

  • Authority to charge a fee with respect to the Registry for Businessesthe intention is to have a registry of businesses, especially new businesses, that the City has difficulty tracking. How will a registry help with this problem?

  • Add health and environment to spheres of jurisdiction for municipalities.

  • Authority to establish a general power of entrywith respect to all municipally-licensed business, including dwellings that are operating as a licensed business (i.e. rooming houses) an invasion of property rights.

  • Authority to permit the regulation of vendors on private property and enable the City to seize vendorsequipment and supplies and hold them until the disposition of the licence hearing, or until the court appearance.  The City also seeks authority to dispose of perishable merchandise as it deems appropriate.

  • Authority to pass by-laws to regulate the exterior design of buildings and structures in all or part of the City of Ottawa as identified in the by-law, to prohibit the erection or alteration of such buildings or structures, the plans and specifications for which have not first been approved by an official or by a committee or board appointed by the Council, and where approval of plans and specifications for the exterior design of buildings is not granted to provide for an appeal process and to establish fees to cover the costs.

  • Authority to levy against a property owner (or to place the charge upon the property tax roll), the costs incurred by the City to close down an illegal operation.

  • Authority to own and operate communication towers as a business should the City be in competition with private industry?

  • Exemption from Minimum Maintenance Standards for municipal roads and authority to set local standards this is particularly worrisome given the current state of our roads. Is the City asking for permission to let them deteriorate even more?

In the rural wards, we have a large road network and we need safe, reliable roads. The City is promising to erect higher communication towers to bring high-speed internet to rural customers. But, this means expropriation of land by the City and likely taxpayersdollars going to fund the business.  We need to keep our rural businesses competitive and growing and levying taxes on businesses for a business registry, allowing general power of entry to municipally-licensed businesses and adding more vendor regulations is not the way to do it. We dont get sufficient lead time now to review new bylaws and regulations. How will exemption from all specific notice provisions recommendation improve on this? Adding health and environment to spheres of jurisdiction for municipalities has the potential to lead to a patch work of regulations across the province. Unjustified regulations regarding livestock, pesticide use, etc may be only the tip of the iceberg.

While some of the recommendations (not listed here) make sense and will lead to a more concise and coherent City of Ottawa Act, I cannot comprehend why the city is petitioning the province for changes that will lead to increased tax levies. Ottawa's 20/20 principles state that the City does not spend more than it can afford. It is time to focus on the basics such as road maintenance and get the budget under control rather than looking for new tax levy opportunities. Whether through property taxes, tax levies or user fees, it all comes from the same pockets. The City should continue to lobby the Provincial and Federal governments for a fairer distribution of taxes and responsibilities rather than increasing the tax burden on residents and businesses.


If you are concerned, as I am, about these recommendations http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/occ/2005/07-13/csedc/ACS2005-CRS-SEC-0037.htm (link to documents 1 and 2 at the end of the report), please express your views to the Mayor and Council (http://www.ruralcouncil.ca/Mayor_and_councillors.htm) as well as Premier McGuinty at dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org and John Gerretson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing at jgerretsen.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org.


Janne Campbell / President,
RCOC
janne@comnet.ca
832-4290


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