Item - 2022.PH34.5

Tracking Status

PH34.5 - Review of Chapter 629 and Other Property Maintenance Regulations

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

City Council Decision

City Council on June 15 and 16, 2022, adopted the following:

 

Policy Proposals

 

1. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards in accordance with Attachment 4 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, which:

 

a. adds an Article that sets out Order, Remedial Action, Entry and Offences including establishing that non-compliance with each standard in Chapter 629 is an offence;

 

b. adopts the technical amendments set out in Attachment 5 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards: Proposed Technical Amendments to Chapter 629 that aim to update, modernize, clarify and improve operationalization of the By-law; and

 

c. removes the requirements for gendered washroom signs in Section 629-37K, Schedule A-4 and A-5, and maintain the requirement that, where required, sanitary facilities must have a sign posted on the door or entrance that clearly indicates that it is a sanitary facility. 

 

2. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 632, Vacant and Hazardous Properties to add a provision that authorizes the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards or their designate, to require that an owner of a vacant or hazardous property obtain, at their expense, a written report by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Ontario; such report shall speak to relevant information and identify steps required to bring the property in compliance with applicable provincial legislation and municipal by-laws.

 

3. City Council amend Article 8 of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 363, Building Construction and Demolition by removing the requirement for a Right of Entry permit and instead prescribing the conditions for entry onto a neighbour's property, as outlined in Attachment 6 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards: Proposed Amendments to the Right of Entry Article in Chapter 363.

 

4. City Council amend City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards, and City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 719, Snow and Ice Removal, generally as outlined in Attachment 7 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, to move the snow and ice clearing provisions from Chapter 629 to Chapter 719. 

 

5. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report back following the implementation of the Vacant Home Tax's universal declaration system and compliance/audit database, on additional resources that may be required to support proactive and scheduled inspections of vacant-derelict properties.

 

6. City Council express its support for higher penalties when the City Solicitor applies for a set fine schedule for Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 629, Property Standards.

 

7. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to expand the established mediation referral program to include neighbourly disputes about surveillance cameras and Right of Entry.

 

Requests to the Province

 

8. City Council request the Government of Ontario to use data collected about elevator outages to draft regulations that establish repair standards and time requirements for elevator repairs.

 

Transition

 

9. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 441, Fees and Charges, by deleting the Application fee and the Renewal fee for a Low-Impact and High-Impact Right of Entry permit.

 

10. City Council direct that the amendments to Toronto Municipal Code Chapters 629, and 719 come into effect immediately.

 

11. City Council direct that the amendments to Toronto Municipal Code Chapters 632, 441 and 363 come into force on March 1, 2023.

 

12. City Council authorize the City Solicitor to introduce the necessary Bills to give effect to City Council's decision and City Council authorize the City Solicitor to make any necessary clarifications, refinements, minor modifications, technical amendments, or by-law amendments as may be identified by the City Solicitor, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, and/or the General Manager, Transportation Services, in order to give effect to Parts 1 to 11 above.

 

13. City Council authorize the City Solicitor to make application to the Regional Senior Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice for the establishment of set fines and/or revision to set fine order(s) under the Provincial Offences Act in order to give effect to Parts 1 to 11 above, and City Council authorize the City Solicitor, in consultation with the appropriate City staff, to determine the amount of the set fine to be requested.

 

General

 

14.  City Council recognize the importance of maintaining City properties to the standards set under City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards.

 

15.  City Council request the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to include in the report back to the Planning and Housing Committee, as part of their Phase II Report on the review of Chapter 629, the City’s process for complaints relating to City of Toronto properties.

Public Notice Given

Background Information (Committee)

(May 16, 2022) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on Review of Chapter 629 and Other Property Maintenance Regulations
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226069.pdf
Attachment 1: The Good Neighbour Guide for Use of Surveillance Cameras on Private Residential Property
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226079.pdf
Attachment 2: Public Questionnaire Results (2021)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226080.pdf
(October 3, 2019) Attachment 3: Public Opinion Research (2019)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226081.pdf
Attachment 4: Draft Amendments to Chapter 629
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226082.pdf
Attachment 5: Proposed Technical Amendments to Chapter 629
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226083.pdf
Attachment 6: Proposed Amendments to the Right of Entry Article in Chapter 363
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226084.pdf
Attachment 7: Proposed Amendments to Chapter 629 and Chapter 719 related to Snow and Ice Removal
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226085.pdf
(May 20, 2022) Public Notice
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226099.pdf

Communications (Committee)

(May 27, 2022) E-mail from Donalda Taynen (PH.New)

Motions (City Council)

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Stephen Holyday (Carried)

That:

 

1.  City Council recognize the importance of maintaining City properties to the standards set under City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards.

 

2.  City Council request the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to include in the report back to the Planning and Housing Committee, as part of their Phase II Report on the review of Chapter 629, the City’s process for complaints relating to City of Toronto properties.


Motion to Adopt Item as Amended (Carried)

PH34.5 - Review of Chapter 629 and Other Property Maintenance Regulations

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

Public Notice Given

Committee Recommendations

The Planning and Housing Committee recommends that:

 

Policy Proposals

 

1. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards in accordance with Attachment 4 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, which:

 

a. adds an Article that sets out Order, Remedial Action, Entry and Offences including establishing that non-compliance with each standard in Chapter 629 is an offence;

 

b. adopts the technical amendments set out in Attachment 5 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards: Proposed Technical Amendments to Chapter 629 that aim to update, modernize, clarify and improve operationalization of the By-law; and

 

c. removes the requirements for gendered washroom signs in Section 629-37K, Schedule A-4 and A-5, and maintain the requirement that, where required, sanitary facilities must have a sign posted on the door or entrance that clearly indicates that it is a sanitary facility. 

 

2. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 632, Vacant and Hazardous Properties to add a provision that authorizes the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards or their designate, to require that an owner of a vacant or hazardous property obtain, at their expense, a written report by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Ontario; such report shall speak to relevant information and identify steps required to bring the property in compliance with applicable provincial legislation and municipal by-laws.

 

3. City Council amend Article 8 of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 363, Building Construction and Demolition by removing the requirement for a Right of Entry permit and instead prescribing the conditions for entry onto a neighbour's property, as outlined in Attachment 6 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards: Proposed Amendments to the Right of Entry Article in Chapter 363.

 

4. City Council amend City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards, and City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 719, Snow and Ice Removal, generally as outlined in Attachment 7 to the report (May 16, 2022) from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, to move the snow and ice clearing provisions from Chapter 629 to Chapter 719. 

 

5. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to report back following the implementation of the Vacant Home Tax's universal declaration system and compliance/audit database, on additional resources that may be required to support proactive and scheduled inspections of vacant-derelict properties.

 

6. City Council express its support for higher penalties when the City Solicitor applies for a set fine schedule for Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 629, Property Standards.

 

7. City Council direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards to expand the established mediation referral program to include neighbourly disputes about surveillance cameras and Right of Entry.

 

Requests to the Province

 

8. City Council request the Government of Ontario to use data collected about elevator outages to draft regulations that establish repair standards and time requirements for elevator repairs.

 

Transition

 

9. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 441, Fees and Charges, by deleting the Application fee and the Renewal fee for a Low-Impact and High-Impact Right of Entry permit.

 

10. City Council direct that the amendments to Toronto Municipal Code Chapters 629, and 719 come into immediately.

 

11. City Council direct that the amendments to Toronto Municipal Code Chapters 632, 441 and 363 come into force on March 1, 2023.

 

12. City Council authorize the City Solicitor to introduce the necessary bills to give effect to City Council's decision and City Council authorize the City Solicitor to make any necessary clarifications, refinements, minor modifications, technical amendments, or by-law amendments as may be identified by the City Solicitor, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards, and/or the General Manager, Transportation Services, in order to give effect to Recommendations 1 to 11 above.

 

13.  City Council authorize the City Solicitor to make application to the Regional Senior Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice for the establishment of set fines and/or revision to set fine order(s) under the Provincial Offences Act in order to give effect to Recommendations 1 to 11 above, and that the City Solicitor, in consultation with the appropriate City staff, determine the amount of the set fine to be requested.

 

Origin

(May 16, 2022) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards

Summary

Toronto is a city with a diverse range of properties, from housing (for example, apartment buildings, multi-tenant houses, and individual residential units) to commercial and industrial facilities. To ensure Toronto's quality of life and economic competitiveness, it is critical that people live and work in safe and secure spaces.

 

Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 629, Property Standards (Chapter 629) sets the standards for maintenance of all properties in Toronto, and repair where it does not meet the standards. Chapter 629 is authorized by Ontario Building Code Act, 1992, and sets the minimum standards for such attributes as the condition of the exterior and interior, including dwelling units and common areas of buildings, the overall cleanliness of the property and the storage of waste. It applies to all residential and non-residential properties across the city. Chapter 629 has not been comprehensively reviewed since its enactment on January 1, 2001.

 

While Municipal Licensing and Standards began reviewing the By-law in 2019, work paused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to redirect resources to emergency response and recovery efforts. This work, which was completed before the pandemic, included extensive consultations and outreach through public opinion research, community pop-ups, and feedback from tenant and landlord associations, advocacy groups and housing interest groups. Staff have now continued this work and are reporting to Committee and City Council in two phases - the first of which is set out in this report.

 

This report responds to a number of directives from Council (including those related to vacant-derelict properties, dormant development sites, surveillance cameras, snow and ice removal, elevators, and nuisance lighting), and addresses technical and other amendments to modernize, simplify and clarify Chapter 629 and other property maintenance regulations.

 

To strengthen the enforcement of Chapter 629, it is recommended that an Article be added to the By-law that sets out Order, Remedial Action, Entry and Offence authorities in accordance with the Ontario Building Code Act, 1992. This includes establishing that non-compliance with a standard in Chapter 629 is an offence. It is also recommended that Council express its support for higher penalties when the City Solicitor applies for a set fine schedule with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. The introduction of set fines (tickets) will be an additional enforcement tool for By-law Enforcement Officers that is timely, and that will not be subject to appeal at the Property Standards Appeal Committee (unlike orders to comply, which are currently the primary enforcement tool for Chapter 629). The set fine combined with the new proposed Article will strengthen enforcement with the aim of improving compliance.

 

To further improve the transparency of enforcement authorities it is recommended that a section be added to Chapter 632, Vacant and Hazardous Property, to clarify that the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards or their designate can require an owner of a property to obtain, at their expense, a written report by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Ontario. These reports would review the conditions of a property and identify remedial actions required by the owner to bring the property in compliance with relevant legislation and municipal by-laws.

 

Vacant-derelict properties often present complex and wide-ranging challenges for the public which require cooperation among City divisions to address. Municipal Licensing and Standards and its partners are expanding existing enforcement-related staff working groups to implement a timely and effective enforcement response to improve the City's ability to manage and respond to non-compliant vacant-derelict properties which pose nuisance and public safety issues. This work will result in the development of clear, fair and transparent criteria and procedures to establish a path forward for problem properties within the city.

 

It is also recommended that following the implementation of the Vacant Home Tax and the collection of data related to the number and location of vacant residential properties, Municipal Licensing and Standards introduces a strategy to identify, monitor and proactively inspect vacant properties that are derelict. However, in order for this proposed strategy to be effective, there is a need for dedicated and enhanced resources. This would ensure that the City is able to continue to respond on a complaint basis to general property standards issues, as well as conduct regular proactive investigations for vacant-derelict properties. Resourcing requirements will be explored as part of Phase II of the review, following the implementation of the Vacant Home Tax.

 

The report further identifies how the City is addressing sites where building construction has been stalled through the implementation of a strengthened permit revocation process, including proactive communication with permit holders, which will be in place by the end of 2022.

 

During the public engagement process, residents identified other property standards concerns, such as timely snow clearing on private property. Chapter 629 regulates snow and ice clearing on private property, and requires that steps, landings, walks, driveways, parking spaces, ramps and similar areas of a yard shall be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall. However, a key challenge is that the current primary enforcement tool is the issuance of an order to comply which permits a 14-day appeal period to the Property Standards Appeal Committee.

 

It is recommended that the existing requirements for snow ice and removal for private property owners be moved from Chapter 629 to Chapter 719, Snow and Ice Removal, which currently sets out requirements for snow and ice clearing on sidewalks and from structures. Moving the private property snow and ice removal requirements into Chapter 719 enhances public transparency and clarity as all regulations related to snow clearance would be found in a single by-law. It also enables the City to introduce Part I offences ("set fines" or "tickets") with various amounts applicable to specific offences, which are not subject to the 14-day appeal period at Property Standards Appeal Committee.

 

As directed by Council, staff explored the feasibility of regulating or prohibiting surveillance cameras from recording video footage of any residential property beyond an individual's property. Staff recommend developing and publishing online guidance documents that may be referenced for best practices. When neighbour disputes arise, it is recommended that residents are referred to free, mediation services with the City's community partner, The Neighbourhood Group. While the City has the authority to restrict or prohibit surveillance cameras from recording beyond the property owned or occupied by an individual, the built form of Toronto would make it very challenging to restrict the camera's field of view, as properties are often very close together. Also, enforcing these regulations would be time and resource intensive, as By-law Enforcement Officers would need to submit an application to a Justice of the Peace and obtain a search warrant to review the footage and determine whether the camera is in fact properly situated.

 

Staff have identified Right of Entry as an area that could also benefit from the alternative dispute resolution process, such as mediation. Currently, the Right of Entry Article in Chapter 363, Building Construction and Demolition, establishes a process that allows the City to grant a property owner a permit to enter lands of a neighbouring property for the purpose of conducting work on their own property, even if the neighbouring property owner objects. A Right of Entry permit is usually sought by an applicant when a neighbour does not consent through mutual agreement, and there is no easement agreement. Often the relationship between neighbours has broken down by the time an applicant requests a Right of Entry permit and the City becomes involved in what would otherwise be a civil legal process. This creates a significant strain on city resources, as Municipal Licensing and Standards supervisors and managers must review and issue permits, as well as determine security deposits and compliance.

 

Although Right of Entry permits represent a small fraction of the population (an average of 6 permits per year), they require significant resources to manage. Therefore, it is recommended that the Right of Entry Article in Chapter 363 be amended by removing the process for a permit and instead establishing conditions in the by-law to allow for entry onto a neighbour's property, when warranted. If disputes arise, residents may attend a free mediation service offered by the City's community partner, The Neighbourhood Group, or otherwise handle the dispute through the courts.

 

This report also provides updates and discussion related to directives from City Council, including related to standards for elevators and nuisance lighting. Elevators are generally regulated at the provincial level and it is recommended the Council request the Government of Ontario to draft regulations that establishes standards and time requirements for elevator repairs. Issues related to nuisance lighting were explored during consultation and the drafting of this report. During consultation, there was limited public concern noted about the issue of nuisance lighting. Operational issues with the enforcement of a nuisance lighting provision were also raised, and staff do not recommend introducing any new measures related to the issue.

 

This report was written in consultation with Legal Services, Toronto Building, Transportation Services, Technology Services, City Clerk's Office, Toronto Fire Services and Revenue Services.

Background Information

(May 16, 2022) Report from the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards on Review of Chapter 629 and Other Property Maintenance Regulations
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226069.pdf
Attachment 1: The Good Neighbour Guide for Use of Surveillance Cameras on Private Residential Property
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226079.pdf
Attachment 2: Public Questionnaire Results (2021)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226080.pdf
(October 3, 2019) Attachment 3: Public Opinion Research (2019)
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226081.pdf
Attachment 4: Draft Amendments to Chapter 629
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226082.pdf
Attachment 5: Proposed Technical Amendments to Chapter 629
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226083.pdf
Attachment 6: Proposed Amendments to the Right of Entry Article in Chapter 363
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226084.pdf
Attachment 7: Proposed Amendments to Chapter 629 and Chapter 719 related to Snow and Ice Removal
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226085.pdf
(May 20, 2022) Public Notice
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2022/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-226099.pdf

Communications

(May 27, 2022) E-mail from Donalda Taynen (PH.New)

Speakers

Donalda Taynen

Motions

1 - Motion to Amend Item moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)

That

 

1.  Recommendation 2 be amended to delete "request" and replace it with "require" so that it now reads as follows:

 

"2. City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 632, Vacant and Hazardous Properties to add a provision that authorizes the Executive Director, MLS or their designate, to require that an owner of a vacant or hazardous property obtain, at their expense, a written report by a professional engineer licensed to practice in Ontario. The report shall speak to relevant information and identify steps required to bring the property in compliance with applicable provincial legislation and municipal by-laws."


2 - Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council