April 18, 1947

PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):

When was

that statute passed?

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

The order that has been lately under discussion is the general order setting up the wartime prices and trade board and giving it its general powers. Order 9029 is the one which clothes the board with certain specific powers in relation to leaseholds. As the committee is aware, the regulations that have been imposed from time to time, starting in 1940, have affected two main aspects of normal leasehold contracts, namely rents and the matter of possession.

I do not propose to dwell on this subject at any great length. It seems to me that we can, with little discussion or questioning, find in this respect the emergency which must be found in order to justify the dominion occupying a field which falls within the ambit of the provinces by virtue of their jurisdiction over property and civil rights within the province. I do not propose to discuss the first aspect of control. I propose to confine myself in some very brief remarks tonight to the second aspect, namely the possession of properties which are under lease or are tenanted.

The general attitude of the government with reference to decontrol in this field was defined by the Minister of Finance on March 25 when he indicated that the policy of the government was for gradual decontrol. I asked him some questions with reference to the policy of the government in regard to decontrol on a horizontal basis, assuming that conditions might improve. They are not improving now; it may be sometime before they will improve in the housing field at the rate the government is proceeding, but let us hope that in the course of time they will improve. When that time comes I asked, what is the basis on which the government proposes to approach the problem of decontrol? The minister indicated that his remarks must be general. If you examine the answers that he gave on that occasion you will find that his remarks were very general, and there is very little indication of the line which the government proposes to follow with reference to decontrol.

The time may come-and let us hope that improvement will come soon; there is little indication of it as yet-when the conditions which constitute the emergency in the housing field will be confined to the urban centres where conditions have been most acute. It may be that in the course of time it will be possible to confine these regulations within a narrower compass. But the steps which the government has taken to date have been in a particular direction. I refer in particular to the step recently taken by the government which is, I think, the first step taken toward decontrol since the freezing order was passed on July 25, 1945. That recent step was announced by the Minister of Finance in this house on February 24. His announcement will be found at page 702 of Hansard. The order of the wartime prices and trade board which he announced at that time is No. 688, dated February 17 of this year. I do not propose to read the whole order; but in essence it has this effect, that in the case of purchases made by the owners of tenanted properties from October 31, 1944, until July 25, 1945-the date of the freezing order-application might be made by such purchasers to the court of rental appeals for an order for possession of the property. and for dispossession of the tenant where it can be established that, having regard to the relative needs of the landlord and tenant for the accommodation and the relative hardship resulting from any order made by them, an order should be made granting the landlord possession of his own property. Then followed this safeguard with reference to time, to be found in section 6 of the order. It provided that any notice to vacate given to recover such possession shall be given in accordance with the law of the province but that in no event shall any such notice be shorter than three months. That was the first step in the direction of permitting owners of tenanted property to recover possession for their own occupancy.

I suggest that a second step is warranted, and the second step will fit in with the announced policy of the government with reference to gradual decontrol in this field. There is a special reason applicable in the case which I am about to propose. I am speaking of veterans who have purchased houses and who are not assisted by the first step of the government in this direction embodied in order 688, to which I have referred. Let us bear in mind that the freezing order was made between V-E day and V-J day, when the great majority of the men and women in the armed forces who were on overseas service had not returned. They were not here to

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protect themselves during the war up to the day when the freezing order took effect. They were not in a position to compete with other persons at that time in protecting themselves in the possession of property by purchase of it before the freezing regulations came into effect and at a time when they could, on notice, have taken possession for their personal occupancy or that of their immediate families. The notice prevailing generally prior to the period of the freezing order was a six months' notice, accompanied by an undertaking on the part of the owner to occupy the premises by himself or his immediate family for a period of not less than twelve months; and that undertaking had to be given to the rental authorities under the wartime prices and trade board.

I am suggesting that an exception ought now to be made in favour of veterans who have purchased houses in which to maketheir homes, regardless of date, and whorequire them for their personal use and occupancy in the same way as owners were permitted to do prior to the freezing order, or in a similar way, at any rate. I do notneed to go into detail, I trust, on this subject.

If there is any case which, without further discussion and without lengthy argument, ought to appeal to the fairness of all hon. members, it is the case of the veteran who, returning from service, finds that he has no housing accommodation adequate for the needs of his family and himself, purchases a property and is unable to obtain occupancy of it for himself and his family.

In case any hon. member should raise the question of administrative difficulties in connection with this matter, I suggest that if it was possible to overcome whatever administrative difficulties were created by the promulgation of order 688, any administrative difficulties inherent in the type of amendment that I am now proposing, can be met with equal, if not greater, facility. I would put it to the sense of fair play of all hon. members as to whether an exception ought not to be made from the present freezing regulation in favour of the man or the woman who has served this country overseas in time of war and who has returned to make a purchase after the date of the freezing order of July 25, 1945. As that order now exists, I suggest that it imposes an invidious and unjustifiable discrimination against the veteran. That is one proposal which I make and to which I propose to refer further in a moment.

There is one other suggestion that I should like to offer, though I do not make it now

[>Mr. Fleming.]

for the first time. As a matter of fact, I hesitate to remind you, Mr. Chairman, that I have already made this suggestion, I think, on no fewer than three previous occasions in this house. It is a suggestion which, if put into effect, would, I am sure, provide a greatly increased amount of housing accommodation on a shared basis, particularly in the urban centres. I refer to the necessity for lifting the freezing regulations in the case of tenancies of shared accommodation where such tenancies are created hereafter.

I made this suggestion first in the 1945 session. At that time I made it directly to the present Minister of Justice, who was then Minister of Finance. It will be found at page 3465 of Hansard for that session, on December 13, 1945. May I just read one or two sentences from what I said on that occasion:

May I offer a suggestion to the minister, in the hope that lie may think it constructive. On October 25, introducing certain legislation in respect of housing, the minister said something about the present freezing of tenancies. We know the freezing is necessary in the present situation, but we also know that the drastic freezing order has had the effect of discouraging many people from renting surplus accommodation. One can find many cases, some even in the city of Ottawa, where, to meet the needs of the situation, people would be prepared to rent some of their own housing space, if they did not feel that if they brought someone in they might not be able to get him out, no matter whether he proved difficult or not.

After some further discussion, the minister said:

I will give consideration to that suggestion.

There is no subsequent record in Hansard of any indication on the part of the administration as to its attitude in reference to this suggestion. That proposal was renewed, I venture to remind the minister, on March 25 of this year, to the present Minister of Finance. He took some note of it, but nothing has as yet been done. I would urge upon the Minister of Justice, who is in charge of this bill, that he will make a substantial contribution to the provision of more shared accommodation and more rooms for rent in urban centres if he will introduce an amendment or accept the amendment I am prepared to offer, which will have the effect of providing that the present freezing order shall not apply to tenancies of shared accommodation hereafter created. I can see the difficulties in the way of applying such an order to tenancies at present existing. What I am proposing, as I did in December, 1945, is that for the present this be confined to tenancies hereafter created.

Anyone who has had experience in the administration of the present order well knows that people are not satisfied with it as far as

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the quite inadequate rights reserved to the landlord are concerned to evict a tenant of shared accommodation.

The minister may say that the order makes provision for the eviction of a tenant who proves obnoxious, but I repeat that anyone who has had experience in the administration of that order knows that provision is virtually a dead letter. It is not simply that it ia exceedingly difficult to get orders under that section of the present regulations, though that is very difficult, to say the least. You have to prove a very strong case, such a case as is most difficult to prove, in order to get an order. It is not only that fact; it is also the fact that the very much restricted rights in that respect reserved to the landlord at the present time have the effect of creating in the minds of people who have surplus accommodation to rent, and who are willing to rent it, the fear that, if they take people into their homes and those people prove undesirable, they will not be able to evict them. That fact alone undoubtedly is having the effect of dissuading many people, particularly in the larger urban centres, from renting space they do not themselves require. I know that in many areas of my own city considerable housing accommodation is available on a shared basis which the landlords would be willing to rent if they were not faced with this bogey that, if they took in people who proved difficult, they would not be able to evict them. I make the suggestion to the minister with confidence that, if he will introduce such an amendment, not applying it under present conditions to tenancies at present existing but to tenancies hereafter created, he will take a long step toward increasing the housing accommodation available on a shared basis. By that one step alone he will increase available housing accommodation, when under present conditions he cannot increase it in any other way on anything like a comparable scale.

I do not ask the minister to take my word alone for this. I am not a voice crying in the wilderness, nor am I offering a novel idea in this respect. I would remind the committee that this proposal has been supported by labour and veterans' organizations, and I am going to recall to the minister two quotations I gave the house on March 22, 1946. which will be found at page 183 of Hansard for that day. These quotations were taken from a Toronto newspaper containing remarks by leaders of veterans' and labour organizations meeting to discuss the critical housing situation which existed in Toronto at that time and which exists today in even more critical form. The first statement was by Major Edwin

Meredith, a leading official of the Canadian Corps Association, who advanced the suggestion I have advanced to the committee this evening because-

-he said he was seriously alarmed about the housing situation in general and the problem of veterans' families in particular.

At the same meeting a prominent Toronto 'abour leader is quoted as having made remarks along the same line. I refer to Mr. Russell Harvey, a leading official and organizer of the American federation of labour in Toronto and a member of the Ontario labour relations board. This is what he is quoted as having said:

"There would be many thousands of additional rooms made available if some assurance were given," contended Russell Harvey of the Toronto district labour council. "The greatest fear of home owners is that they won't be able to get rid of objectionable tenants if they rent rooms that are now vacant."

It seems to me that is a pretty clear case for amendment in order to increase the available supply of housing accommodation. I am prepared to offer separate amendments, Mr. Chairman, in the hope that it may facilitate discussion of these two questions. If the minister is not prepared to accept amendments but prefers to offer his own after consultation with his officials, I should be very happy to put my amendments aside and welcome his. This afternoon I think the minister indicated a desire to meet halfway constructive suggestions for the improvement of these orders, and I hope he will see, in the suggestions I am putting forward, proposals that he may well endeavour to meet halfway. I might just read the amendments I am suggesting as suitable, without offering them at the moment. I realize that if they are to be offered they will have to go in separately, but I suggest to the minister that these are amendments which might well be worthy of his acceptance. As to the first suggestion, namely in favour of veteran purchasers of houses requiring to obtain possession for their own personal occupancy and that of their families, I suggest this:

That P.C. 9029, as amended to date, be further amended by the addition thereto of the following clause:

"Nothing in this order in council or in any order or regulation made thereunder contained shall apply to prevent the recovery of possession of housing accommodation, in accordance with the law of the province, by the owner thereof, where required for his personal occupation and that of his family, where such owner was a member of the forces, as defined in the War Service Grants Act, 1944; provided that any notice given to recover such possession shall be given in accordance with such law, but in no event shall such notice be shorter than three months."

Emergency Powers

May I make just two comments on that proposal. The first has to do with the definition of "veteran". I have taken that from the War Service Grants Act which defines "veteran" in these terms in section 2(f):

"member" and "member of the forces" mean any person who has been on service in the force* during the war which commenced on the tenth day of. September, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine.

"Service" is defined as follows in paragraph (i):

"service" means time served on active service in the forces while enlisted or obligated to serve without territorial limitations, or time served on active service in the Aleutian islands.

I am putting this proposal forward for the benefit of those who were absent from the country in the service of the country' and were not here to protect themselves and their families when other people were in a position to buy homes and obtain occupancy before the freezing order came into effect.

The other proposal I have to put forward is in these terms:

That P.C. 9029, as amended to date be further amended by the addition thereto of the following clause:

"Nothing in this order in council or in any order or regulation made thereunder contained shall apply to prevent the recovery of possession of housing accommodation, in accordance with the law of the province, by the landlord thereof in the case of shared accommodation, as defined in the orders made under this order in council, where the tenancy thereof is created after the date of coming into force of this act."

I think that will give sufficient time for the necessary administrative steps to be taken. In order to put the matter on record, unless the minister desires to move an amendment himself, I will move the first of these as an amendment. I do not wish to be dogmatic about the form and I do not intend to hold to my precise wording. If the minister desires to give further consideration to these proposals in consultation with the officials administering these orders I shall be very happy if he will so indicate. I urge, with all the earnestness at my command, that these are matters that are deserving of amendment under the present structure of rent and tenancy control.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

As I understand it, the hon. member has moved only one amendment?

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

Yes, although I have circulated the other. In order to keep within the rules, I have offered simply the one for the moment.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I think it is more systematic to deal with one at a time. I have not the War Service Grants Act, 1944, before me,

but do I understand that the definition of "member of the forces" in that act would include only those who served overseas?

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

The definition given in section 1 (f) of the War Service Grants Act refers to service, and "service" is defined in paragraph (i) in these words:

. "service" means time served on actual service in the forces while enlisted or obligated to serve without territorial limitation, or time served on active service in the Aleutian islands.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Unless my ears deceive me and my understanding is defective, that definition would include all members of the forces where they enlisted to serve without territorial limitation. It would not include members of the N.R.M.A.; but it would include everybody else; it would include the two or three hundred thousand men who did not leave Canada.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I want to make it clear to the minister that the suggestion I make is for the benefit of those who were absent from the country and unable to protect themselves. If the minister is prepared to take it the other way I shall be very happy to accept his view.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I am not prepared at all; I just wanted to permit myself the luxury of asking two or three questions. The second question I want to ask is this: Does it apply to members of the forces who purchase houses in the future?

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

No. I drafted this to mean that nothing in the present order or regulations made thereunder contained shall prevent the application of the law of the province in the case of recovery of possession by a veteran owner, provided that he complies with the law of the province in regard to giving notice of not less than three months.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The answer to my question is undoubtedly in the affirmative, but I just wanted to have it clear. According to that, the amendment would mean that a veteran could buy a house next week and the law of the province would apply to his recovering possession of that house. There is no limitation to purchases in the past- as was suggested by one of the hon. gentleman's colleagues the other day.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

Taking the converse luxury of answering the minister's question, may I say that if it is the view of the wartime prices and trade board, having regard to existing conditions, that they are not prepared to go that far, I would be quite content. It was my intention that the amendment should apply to purchases made hitherto in good faith. However I did purposely emphasize the fact that I am

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not being dogmatic about the language used. I am urging the minister to make these suggestions a matter of consultation with his officials. I do not pretend that the draft I have given to him is the last word.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I am not trying to embarrass my hon. friend; I am just trying to find out what he had in mind and just what was meant by the language of his amendment. It certainly means that if a veteran got possession of a house he could sell it the next day.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

No. There is nothing here to prevent the wartime prices and trade board requiring the filing of an undertaking to occupy for twelve months, which was the term of the order prior to July 25, 1945. Under that order the purchaser of a property intending to recover possession filed with the wartime prices and trade board his signed undertaking to occupy for a period of twelve months. There is nothing in my amendment that would preclude a similar regulation being applied now by the wartime prices and trade board. I think it would be a reasonable condition, because there is no thought of opening the door to allowing veterans to make brokers of themselves. It is intended simply as a means of relief to the veterans who have made bona fide purchases of homes and cannot get into them for the occupation of themselves and their families.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. KNOWLES:

I wonder if I might

support what the hon. member for Eglinton is seeking to achieve, although I am not too sure about the wording of the amendment he has offered. I think he has been exceedingly fair and constructive in suggesting that the matter be considered by the minister and his officials. He has also indicated that he is prepared to accept any other way of dealing with the matter. I would suggest that it could be done by amending board order 511 or by issuing still another board order in connection with this matter. The hon. member for Eglinton made it clear that certain veterans who had purchased homes when they were overseas and did not have the opportunity to take possession of them, as was the ease with civilians at home, were thereby discriminated against as compared with rivilians.

If reference is made to board order 511 I think a further point of discrimination will be noticed. Order 511 of the wartime prices and trade board contains three special provisions under which a veteran may obtain possession of housing accommodation, and perhaps the hon. member for Eglinton will follow me since I am trying to support his

case. I will read the first only of these provisions because the other two are ancillary. This is from board order 511 passed by the board under the provisions of the order we are discussing:

Where he owned the accommodation at the time of his induction into one of His Majesty's services and is now a discharged member entitled to the war service gratuity under the War Grants Act.

Incidentally that is where the way of defending these people came from.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

Leslie Alexander Mutch

Liberal

Mr. MUTCH:

Anyone with over eighteen months' service.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. KNOWLES:

Yes. The point is that if a veteran owned the accommodation before he was inducted, whether he went into the service in 1939, 1944 or 1945, he can, provided that he meets the other qualifications, get possession of the house he owns. But the veteran who may have joined up in 1939 and purchased a home when he was overseas in 1942 or 1943, thinking that when he got home he would be able to do what civilians at home were then able to do, namely, get possession of his home, finds that he cannot get possession. So that there is discrimination there not only between the veteran overseas and the civilian at home but as between veteran and veteran.

While the minister has made a point regarding purchases now being made, and it is a point that will have to be considered carefully so far as the amendment is concerned, I think he will agree with the reasonableness of the case made for the veteran overseas. I know the hon. member for Winnipeg South supports that case. Perhaps the object could be achieved more easily if it were taken up by the board and a board order were issued. I imagine, if that assurance were given to the committee, the hon. member for Eglinton would be satisfied, as I know I would be so far as this point were concerned.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I have an interest in this discussion from the fact that the department of which I am minister is responsible for providing emergency shelter. I point out that if the amendment proposed tonight were adopted the veteran would be able to take possession of the house he has acquired within the last two years as against the occupant, who might very well be a civilian, and it would be my job to provide emergency shelter accommodation for that civilian.

The veteran today has all the priorities that the state can give him. He has priorities in the rental of wartime housing and priorities in purchasing houses built under the integrated plan. Those two plans are providing the

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greater portion of low cost housing. He has other priorities on new construction, and he has priorities in the case of apartments that are built under certain government priority plans. Therefore the veteran has first call on low-cost government sponsored new construction. The civilian has none of these priorities.

I point out to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre that the veteran to whom, he refers has been taken care of. The veteran who bought a house in 1942 or owned a house prior to the war is taken care of by an order recently issued, which entitles the veteran who had purchased a house before July, 1945, to make application to the court of rental appeals for repossession of his house and, if he has a case that will convince the court that he is entitled to the house he gains possession of it. That is causing many eviction notices to be given, and I am well aware of those evictions because it is my duty to anticipate the evictions by providing emergency shelter. I could have given the figures hadi I been prepared to speak on the point tonight, but I shall be glad to give them on another day. Many evictions under that order have been passed recently.

But there is a limit to the amount of emergency shelter that can be provided at this time. Buildings of the type we have been converting to emergency shelter are no longer available. For example in the city of Toronto every building that I know of that could be converted to emergency shelter has been converted and the city has extended its activities to far outside the boundaries of the city. If my memory serves me correctly, there are about 800 evictions pending in the city of Toronto as a result of the board's order to which I have referred. I believe they will be taken care of, but almost every eviction today means an equivalent amount of emergency shelter. Usually the returned soldier is living in shared quarters, and the possession of his house therefore means one less housing unit available to the population as a whole. The family formation rate at the present time is away in excess of anything this country has known before, and it is that family formation rate which is causing the lack of housing quarters at the present time. The wartime prices and trade board1, which administers eviction control, and my own department, which administers emergency shelter, are working together to advance this problem of providing shelter for evicted families as rapidly as we can.

I assure the committee that eviction control must be the most difficult control of all to administer. I assure hon. gentlemen that the problem of emergency shelter is perhaps

the most difficult problem that is associated with housing. We are working together. I am happy to say that at the moment we have a roof over the heads of every family in this dominion. There was a time when we could not make that assertion. There was a time, before eviction control was instituted, when we had the papers flooded with photographs of families evicted on the street with no shelter available. Fortunately, through eviction control we have prevented that from happening. That is one disaster that no government can face with equanimity, the possibility of a family, whether a veteran or a civilian having no shelter available, because, after all, human suffering is human suffering. We cannot advance the decontrol of evictions to the point where we have Canadian families evicted on the street without suitable accommodation to go to. That is the practical difficulty in carrying out the desirable proposal of my hon. friend. I can assure him that the officers of the wartime prices and trade board and all the officers having to do with housing are putting forth their best efforts to hasten the day when the step which he proposes can be taken; but I can assure him that, after the most exhaustive study of the problem and from recent discussion of it with my own officers and with the officers of the wartime prices and trade board, the step which has been taken recently is one, the full consequences of which will be felt only over the next four or five months. I can say that it is the considered opinion of everyone closely connected with this problem that that step must be absorbed before any further step can be taken which will increase the number of evictions of families in this country.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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LIB

Benoît Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

I should like to say a few words very much along the same line. The remarks I intend to make are of a general nature and they will apply to civilians as well as to returned men. It is in connection with the termination of leases. I quite realize that the amendment suggested would cover cases, and perhaps an undertaking by the minister that board orders would be amended along the same line would have the same result. I have in mind civilians who have purchased houses after July 25, 1945. The necessity for these regulations is not nearly so great in the country and in small towns as in congested areas. As a matter of fact, when these regulations were first introduced they affected only the more congested areas in Canada. Eventually they were extended to the whole of the country. I live in a small town of about 7,000 population. I

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believe that if a certain amount of decontrol were effected along the lines which I am about to suggest it would not create a situation such as that described by the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply.

My suggestion would be that the order passed recently-I do not remember the date of it or the number of the order-to which the minister and the two last speakers have referred, whereby people who purchased houses between the fall of 1944 and July 25, 1945, could apply to the court or to the rentals administrator to show cause why they should be given possession, should be extended to purchases made after July 25, 1945. There are a number of people who purchased houses after that date without realizing what the law was and who were unawrare of the change which had taken place. Prior to that date, they could purchase a house and obtain possession after six months' notice. I have in mind the case of a young man with five or six children who has been living in the second story of a large building. He purchased his house shortly after July 25. It is a self-contained house. It just happens that the gentleman who occupies the house has two grown-up children who are in boarding school. He and his wife both have a business. They sit very comfortably in this little house. They refuse to give possession to this good neighbour who has six young children and who is occupying a second-story flat. My suggestion is that the order be extended to self-contained homes of a limited value, let us say under $5,000. It could be limited also to rural sections and to small towns. In such cases it would relieve a number of people affected such as the gentleman I have in mind, and it would not cause any serious disruption. It would not mean many evictions, but it would give a certain amount of relief to these people who bought, houses in good faith, thinking that-in the near future they would be in a position to obtain possession.

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PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

I have a case which I wish to bring to the attention of the minister. It is an important case affecting a veteran who had a house prior to the war. On his return from the war he was unable to gain possession. I think this case is of general importance. It went through the courts in Toronto, and I have had considerable discussion with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of Finance concerning it. It shows the sort of difficulties that we are running into. Here is a veteran, I shall call him Mr. M, who rented this house, say, from the evidence I have here, prior to the war. On his return from the war in 1945 he received an agreement

from the tenant to the effect that the tenant would be prepared to vacate the premises on such and such a date or after a period of so many months from the signing of the agreement. What happened? The veteran asked the tenant to vacate. The tenant said, "No, I cannot vacate because I have no other place in which to live". He took the matter to the court and the court judged that the owner had no right to evict. I shall read the judgment because I think it is important. I took the matter up with the Minister of Veterans Affairs because this man is a veteran. Incidentally I shall send the complete file to the minister when I have finished with it. The Minister of Veterans Affairs said:

So far as this department is concerned, this is not a matter over which our officials have any jurisdiction. I attach for your information a copy of memorandum recently prepared by the director general of rehabilitation in regard to rental control regulations. As I have no information as to when Mr. M purchased the property in question, I do not know whether this order would apply in his ease. However, I shall forward your letter under acknowledgment to the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance took it up and said this:

Mr. M attached to his letter two photostatic copies of a notice his tenant had given him that he would vacate the accommodation. The latest photostatic copy reveals that on April 18, 1946, Mr. R gave notice that he would vacate on or before the 31st of May, 1946. It appears to me that Mr. M should have exercised his civil rights at that time as rental regulations provide that dispossession is under provincial law if the tenant

"has given to the landlord, after the making of the lease for the accommodation, but not as a term of the lease or a condition of obtaining it, a written notice of his intention to vacate the accommodation on a stated date, and has failed to so vacate."

That is the end of the legal quotation. Then the minister says:

However, there is a possibility that Mr. M may have, after May 31, 1946, again created the relationship of landlord and tenant. If so, in my opinion, he would then come under rental regulations.

They took the matter to the court in Toronto and judgment w7as given against the landlord in the following terms; I think it is rather interesting:

Like most of these cases, both parties are urgently in need of the accommodation, and it will be a hardship if the case is decided against either of them, but of course, I have to decide the case according to the law.

The tenant is a monthly tenant of the landlord and on December 7, 1945, signed a notice addressed to the landlord in these words: "I

hereby submit notice to vacate and give up the premises of such and such an address, Toronto 9, Ontario on or before the thirtieth of April, 1946, A.D., signed-

Emergency Powers

That is signed by the tenant. If this is a valid notice of intention to vacate, the landlord is entitled to possession. There was, however, a considerable conversation on the occasion when this notice was signed. To begin with, the notice was prepared by the landlord at the dictation, apparently over the telephone, of his lawyer; therefore it should be construed strictly as against the landlord. It does not say he gives notice he is going to vacate, he says he submits notice to vacate, but I am inclined to think that taking the words with the meaning which is closest and most sensible that it should be construed as a notice of intention to vacate. However, it was given under the following circumstances as I find the facts. The landlord said he wanted to get married, and he intended to get married in the month of April, and he wanted possession of the premises. He said he was entitled to a veterans' allowance, through the war, and he could not obtain this allowance unless it was spent on this house, and he needed to have something to show the veterans' authorities that he owned the house and had a right to possession. The discussion was a friendly one, and in a previous discussion the tenant told the landlord that if he -wanted to get married, he would try and vacate the premises for him, and I think on that occasion he meant to, and said he would get out in April, if he were able to do so. In other words, if he were able to find other accommodation. The landlord replied that he would not put him on the street, but asked if he would sign the paper, as he needed it, which the tenant did. That is the evidence, and I do not think it was ever intended or ever understood that that notice should be used as a basis of an eviction application. If the tenant had understood by signing the notice he was waiving his right and protection under the wartime rental regulations, I am quite certain he would never have signed it. Perhaps his unfamiliarity with the law does not help, but I think what does protect him is the fact the notice was given for a particular purpose, and it was not intended by either one of them that it should be used as a waiver of the tenant's rights and as the basis for an application. The situation created by the improper use of this notice was the cause of the tenant giving the second notice, and therefore I find it must not be regarded as a notice of intention to vacate. For these reasons the application will be dismissed.

That, Mr. Chairman, is an involved case but it shows, I believe, the length to which veteran owners are put in the effort to regain possession of their own houses. Here apparently was a man owning a house before he enlisted. He is unknown to me, but I give the facts as I read them on the file. He went overseas and came back and got married and wanted to get possession of his house. Apparently, from the evidence, he gets an agreement from his tenant that the tenant is willing to vacate. His tenant then refuses to vacate because he cannot find other accommodation, and the court rules that under the wartime rental regulations the signed agreement by the tenant is not a valid agreement.

I would not bring this particular case to the attention of the committee if it were not one

of many that have come to my notice. In fact I have received a great many more of these cases than of any other types of complaint about housing and rental regulations, and I suggest that serious consideration be given to the amending of these regulations to allow a veteran who has had overseas service if you like-I would prefer to leave it at service overseas, men who were out of the country-to regain possession of his own premises.

I realize the difficulty of evictions. My riding is one of the most congested in the whole dominion. No one know's better than the minister of reconstruction and myself the difficulty we have had about emergency shelter along the lake shore area in the three municipalities outside the city of Toronto. I know the situation and I know what we are up against. Here is the case of a veteran- this man happens to be a fit veteran, but I have several cases of veterans who have a disability-who cannot get possession of his own house, even though the tenant is willing to vacate if he can find other accommodation.

1 realize that the question is a difficult one. I realize, as the hon. member for Eglinton does, that you cannot be dogmatic about it, but I feel there should be some amendment to or alteration in these regulations whereby it may become easier for a veteran with overseas service, or a veteran suffering disability, to regain possession of his own house. I will not make any specific amendment, but I wish to put the matter up to the minister most sincerely, because in my opinion it is causing a great hardship. In judging these matters we realize that we cannot have perfection. We are bound to base our judgment on the greatest good for the greatest number, and I submit that the minister and the department should give the most serious consideration to seeing that some amendment is made in these regulations to meet the type of cases that I have brought to the attention of the committee.

Topic:   EMERGENCY POWERS
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF CERTAIN ORDERS AND REGULATIONS
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April 18, 1947