Administration and Finance Committee
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"7.1.1 COR-ADM-22-004, Bill 23 Financial Impacts in Waterloo Region
That the Regional Municipality of Waterloo direct Staff to circulate report COR-CFN-22-04, Bill 23 Financial Impacts in Waterloo Region, dated December 6, 2022, to all Members of Provincial Parliament and all Area Municipal Councils within the Region."
"WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo recognizes that there is a housing inventory crisis and an affordability
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo is the only municipality in Canada that relies almost entirely on
groundwater for its water supply, groundwater recharge areas which cross multiple municipal
boundaries are protected by the Regional Official Plan. As a result of the passing of Bill 23, communities
in the Region of Waterloo are particularly vulnerable to a fragmented approach to protecting ground
water recharge areas; and
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo delivers numerous services, including transit, regional roads,
wastewater facilities, and housing that are closely tied to regional scale land use planning strategies,
particularly as they affect the location, density and structure of urban development; and
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo Regional Official Plan provides policies and strategies to protect land
and natural ecosystems that replenish our ground water and reduce carbon emissions, while supporting
the efficient growth of vibrant communities and a strong, resilient economy; the loss of a regional
planning framework for the Region of Waterloo could negatively impact future generations; and
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo has received endorsement and support from two First Nations, the
Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Six Nations of the Grand River in support of our Regional
Official Plan amendment which is unprecedented; and
WHEREAS Bill 23 is legislation that will now have severe negative implications to the Region of Waterloo planning authority, the current Waterloo Regional Official Plan, Conservation Authorities Act,
Development Charges Act, Municipal Act, New Homes Construction Licensing Act, Ontario Heritage Act,
Ontario Land Tribunal Act, Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, Planning Act,
and the Supporting Growth and Housing in York and Durham Regions Act; and
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo is preparing comments on Bill 23 that will be submitted to the
province with the understanding that the timing of the introduction of the Bill has not allowed for a
thorough and comprehensive review and response by Waterloo Region Council within the original due
date given that the first regular meeting is December 6; and
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo acknowledges the affordable housing crisis and has developed a
comprehensive housing strategy that already exceeds provincial recommendations; and
WHEREAS the Region of Waterloo relies on development charges to provide the infrastructure required to support growth and new housing, for new residents and growing businesses, proposed changes
would therefore jeopardize the ability to finance and construct the very infrastructure needed to build
more housing; and
WHEREAS Bill 23 will impact city and regional finances and limit the ability of the region to properly invest in infrastructure to serve new homes, creating an increased tax burden on rate payers in the
WHEREAS BILL 23 does not address the current labour shortage that currently exist within the industr and does not mention how it will address the current labour shortage; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Region of Waterloo requests that the Province of Ontario to
reconsider Bill 23 and extend the consultation period on potential legislation, regulatory, policy, and
amendment to allow for fulsome municipal consultation; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Region of Waterloo requires the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing identify and outline the processes and proposed outcomes of this bill in relation to the
affordable housing crisis experienced across Ontario and its mitigating effects.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Region of Waterloo requests that the Provincial and Federal
governments develop sustained infrastructure funding to meet the needs of growing communities and avoid shifting burden of growth to existing taxpayers. That might mitigate some of the worst of the financial impacts of Bill 23.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution and report COR-CFN-22-04, Bill 23 Financial
Impacts in Waterloo Region, dated December 6, 2022, be forwarded to the Premier of Ontario, the
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, local and area MPPs, area Municipal Councils, as well as the
Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario and Ontario Big City
"9.1 Councillor Michael Harris Notice of Motion
Whereas the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo deems it both appropriate and expedient to rescind and repeal a prior decision to extend post-service benefits to Regional Councillors which was passed on November 8th, 2022 (“the Decision”);
Therefore, be it resolved that the Regional Municipality of Waterloo hereby enacts as follows:
Community and Health Services Committee
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Whereas the Region of Waterloo enacted Regional Bylaw number 13-050 with is entitled A By-law Respecting the Conduct of Persons Entering Upon Buildings, Grounds and Public Transportation Vehicles Owned or Occupied by The Regional Municipality of Waterloo dated December 11, 2013 (Bylaw 13-050);
And whereas the intent and purpose of Regional Bylaw 13-050 was to create a code of use with respect to the use of Regional property;
And whereas Regional Bylaw 13-050 provides the Region of Waterloo with steps and actions to be taken by the Region of Waterloo where a party, including individuals on Regional lands, is acting in violation of the said Bylaw;
And whereas Regional Bylaw 13-050 specifically provides that the Region of Waterloo may contact the Waterloo Regional Police Service (referred to as the “WRPS”), or any other police service having lawful jurisdiction, at any time to request assistance or to initiate any other action as the police service may deem necessary in the circumstances
And whereas Regional Bylaw 13-050 provides that the Director of Facilities Management and Fleet Services, or successor, shall have all necessary authority to administer the Bylaw;
And whereas Regional Bylaw 13-050 specifically provides that Designated Personnel, being certain identified Regional personnel or a Regionally appointed individual “may contact the Waterloo Regional Police Service, or any other police service having lawful jurisdiction, at any time to request assistance or to initiate any other action as the police service may deem necessary in the circumstances.”;
And whereas the Regional of Waterloo is also provided with powers under the Trespass to Property Act R.S.O. 1990 which provides for specific actions and powers that can be taken by the Region of Waterloo against any party that is residing on Regional property without permission of the occupier/owner of the property;
And whereas the Encampment Policy is intended to guide the Region in dealing with individuals in providing outreach services to individuals living rough on lands owned or occupied by the Region of Waterloo. The Encampment Policy stresses the importance of outreach and service delivery as the first point of engagement and the need to balance the need for providing supports to vulnerable individuals with the civic responsibility of maintaining the use of lands for the public and/or operational needs of the municipality.
And whereas the Encampment Policy provides that The Commissioner of the Regional department having operational responsibility for the Region-owned or occupied public lands shall be responsible for making a determination to provide notice to individuals that camping is to be discontinued and that personal goods, debris and structures are to be cleared by the individuals from a public space or right of way. The Encampment Policy further provides that the Commissioner shall consult with the Regional Solicitor and Chief Administrative Officer in making this determination and that Regional Council will be notified of a decision to issue notices to vacate.
And whereas the Encampment Policy further provides that the primary objective of any enforcement activity will be to ensure the safety of all concerned and respect for the individuals experiencing homeless and their possessions.
And whereas the Encampment Policy further provides that these activities may be co-ordinated with the Waterloo Region Police Service and other Regional departments to maintain the safety of staff. In circumstances where a site is not vacant, by-law enforcement officers will consult with the Regional Solicitor prior to initiating on-site enforcement. The Regional Solicitor shall be responsible for providing advice to Regional Council on any proposed enforcement activity on a site where individuals refuse to accept supports and have not vacated a particular property.
And whereas an encampment, beginning early in 2022, developed at the intersection of Victoria Street and Weber Street in Kitchener on Regionally owned land (referred to as the “Encampment”);
And whereas the Region of Waterloo commenced an eviction action on June 6, 2022, by posting a sign at the Encampment advising individuals to vacate the land by June 30, 2022;
And whereas no action was taken by the Region of Waterloo on or after June 30, 2022, to remove or evict individuals from the Encampment;
And whereas the Region of Waterloo has no immediate plans for the use of the lands upon which the Encampment is located;
And whereas on July 5, 2022, the Region of Waterloo brought an application to the Superior Court of Justice (referred to as the “Application”), the primary purpose of the Application was to ask the court for direction with the Encampment, and in particular to obtain the courts guidance to engage the WRPS in the eviction of individuals from the Encampment and to provide operational guidance with respect to any such eviction;
And whereas the Region of Waterloo in its Application makes application to the court to grant specific powers, which includes the following:
- b) A Declaration that the Respondents are in breach of By-law Number 13-050 of The Regional Municipality of Waterloo, A By-law Respecting the Conduct of Persons Entering Upon Buildings, Grounds and Public Transportation Vehicles Owned or Occupied by The Regional Municipality of Waterloo (the “Code of Use By-law”);
- d) An Order that any police officer with the Waterloo Regional Police Service, and any other police authority (the “Police”), shall have authorization to arrest and remove any person who has knowledge of the Order and who the Police have reasonable and probable grounds to believe is contravening or has contravened any provision of the Order;
- e) An Order that the Police or designated agents shall have authorization to remove any vehicles, personal property, equipment, structures, or other objects that are located on the Property;
- f) An Order that the Police shall retain discretion: i) as to the timing and manner of enforcement of the Order, and specifically retain discretion as to the timing and manner of arrest and removal of any person pursuant to the Order; ii) to detain and release any person without arrest who the Police have reasonable and probable grounds to believe is contravening, or has contravened, any provisions of the Order, upon that person agreeing to abide by the Order; and iii) to lay any charges or take any other lawful action;
- g) An Order that any peace officer and any member of the Police who arrests or arrests and removes any person pursuant to the Order shall have authorization to release that person from arrest upon that person agreeing in writing to obey the Order;
- k) An Order that the terms of the Order shall remain in force until varied or discharged by a further Order of the Court;
- o) Such other relief as counsel may request and this Court may grant
And whereas arguments with respect to the Application have been completed and a decision by the court has yet to be provided;
And whereas, prior to the Application, the Region of Waterloo Council approved a motion on June 22, 2022, directing staff to develop a plan to establish interim housing solutions for Regional residents experiencing homelessness including those currently residing in encampments;
And whereas, following the filing of the Application, the Region of Waterloo, in August 2022, received and approved a report from Waterloo Region staff entitled “Interim Housing Solutions: Recommendations to Community Services Committee” outlining an interim housing strategy approach for the Region of Waterloo (referred to as Interim Housing Strategy Report”);
And whereas the Interim Housing Strategy Report includes a Managed Hybrid Shelter/outdoor model, which is identified as any facility or property, the primary purpose of which is to provide a temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness and which does not require occupants to sign leases or occupancy agreement and includes managed spaces for outdoor tenting options.
And whereas the next steps listed in the Interim Housing Strategy Report included, among other items, direction to Regional staff to immediately work on adding spaces to the System and develop a Homelessness Master Plan for Council’s consideration in 2023;
And whereas the Region of Waterloo continues to work on implementing the approved Housing Strategy Report including, but has not yet established, a site for a managed encampment or operator for the managed encampment;
Engage Waterloo Region: Interim Housing Solutions:
From above link:
"Interim Housing Solutions Strategy
We are moving forward with an Interim Housing Solutions strategy to address this challenging situation, using four key tools:
- Stop evicting people from encampments before allocating Regional land or permanent accommodation,
- Ensure that any response to encampment issues, including security be a civilian led response which includes trained mental health and addiction workers,
- Provide additional funding to grassroots organizations and outreach groups working with encampments to ensure basic human needs are met,
And whereas the Region of Waterloo has the expertise, experience, necessary authority, and powers required to manage the existing Encampment, including the ability to evict encampment residents;
Be it resolved that the Region of Waterloo, including any employees, representatives and assigns, will not take any steps to enforce eviction of the individuals located at the Encampment, unless and until the issue of eviction has been brought before Regional Council and Regional Council, after a comprehensive review, passes a motion that permits the Region of Waterloo staff, its representatives and assigns, to carry out any eviction of the Encampment pursuant to Regional By-law 13-050, the Encampment Policy, the Trespass Act, any guidance obtained through the Application and any other relevant statute, bylaw or authority.
Be it further resolved that the Region of Waterloo will not take any steps to enforce the eviction of individuals on Regional lands located at 150 Main Street, Cambridge, Ontario unless and until the issue of eviction has been brought before Regional Council and Regional Council, after a comprehensive review, passes a motion that permits the Region of Waterloo staff, its representatives and assigns, to carry out any eviction of the encampment pursuant to Regional By-law 13-050, the Encampment Policy, the Trespass Act, any guidance obtained through the Application and any other relevant statute, bylaw or authority."
My NickeL (As Delegated)
Thank you for the efforts I know are to come from each of you throughout this term, even when or if I disagree with your collective decision, I appreciate the weight upon you to make such vital choices for this community.
There are people depending on you in many ways. We’ve elected you to weigh decisions that are life changing and often deeply impact us not only as individuals but as well in guiding who we collectively become.
I’ve watched over the years the news pieces, as I sure you have too, showing conflict ridden, often violent evictions of people whose ability to exist, their literal efforts to survive is all thats actually taking place. People ``shuffled” off, their possessions destroyed, their world shattered, trauma, pain….
"Nothing about this is inevitable, you have the power to choose.
We have in fact asked you to make the hard decisions by electing you."
We cannot become this and I don’t believe it to be who we are.
An encampment IS NOT adequate housing. An encampment should NEVER be the only choice a human has. But it is. Right now. For more reasons than I could list to you in my small allotment of time, here today.
I don’t have a solution. There is no quick fix. Yet I can't find myself OK with our current direction nor how it risks damaging our communal unity, how it may break us all.
We have housing and shelter plans. While we clearly need more of both, these things take time. Our interim housing solutions are progressing. We are learning. We are evolving. We are doing our best, all of us.
Every member of our community too has suffered the impact of covid in some form: isolation, financial struggles, health challenges… We are all tired.
"This is not a decision for the courts, but instead for you, our local leadership."
When the choice was made by those representing us last term to initiate the current application to the courts, respectfully, we took the wrong approach.
This is not a decision for our courts, but instead for you, our local leadership. You, those we’ve asked to be our voice. While you've just started in your roles, as you know there will be few small decisions, more often the choices you will need to make will deeply impact many peoples lives. This is one of those times.
If the judges verdict returns allowing the eviction, you can decide when to enact it or you can leave it in the hands of others, and turn away. I’m asking you to be the ones to make these decision, as we've entrusted you to do so in casting our most recent votes, and we believe you are capable of reflecting who we are in Waterloo region, we believe you capable of reflecting our hearts.
Just because the courts may return a verdict permitting eviction, it does not mean that we must do so, nor does not make it a right and moral action. Nothing about this is inevitable.
I'm asking for your bravery, for you to guide us in being a positive example, one of accountability and compassion, instead of seeing us aired as the next devastating news piece.
An encampment is not a solution, yet until we have better options, for many people and many reasons, it's the only option available. Penalising the individuals in these situations is not the way. In the world today, this is not life choice, but instead evidence of our systemic failures. We have many of them…
So I'm asking you to consider the human rights of these people, the charter rights of these people, and to support both of these.
I'm asking you to stand in your elected roles and to assess for yourselves the current circumstances and situation before evicting our struggling neighbours from their make shift homes, their effort to survive. I'm asking you not to abdicate responsibility for these choices to our courts.
I’m asking you to lead us, to unite us and to support us in doing better and becoming better people, but most importantly, I'm asking you to guide us in stregthening our community, not in tearing it apart.
Thank you for hearing from me today.
More around here...
Because there must always be music...