Toronto Buildings Review

10th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Attention: Nancy Martins

RE: PH23.15 Toronto Buildings Review

Dear Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao, Chair, and Members of Planning and Housing Committee,

The Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations (FoNTRA) represents over 30 residents associations in Midtown, North Toronto and North York.

FoNTRA representatives were part of the consultation process leading up to this report, including a meeting with Will Johnston, Chief Building Official. Our focus in that meeting was on residents as “customers” as residents are impacted by various functions undertaken by Toronto Buildings.

Errors in the reports on variances required for Committee of Adjustment applications and the errors in the use of waivers by applicants cause confusion and delays at the Committee of Adjustment hearings as well as approval of incorrect variances. There is also confusion and concern about issues that are now covered by the Building Code, such as responsibility for safely and damages to neighbouring properties related to construction next door, whether  lot lines or party walls. Also variable and lack of enforcement can be an issue.

A key direction of the Review is the shift to a functional organizational model, and away from a geographical one. While we support this as likely a superior model to address the changes in a digital world we are also concerned that there may be a loss of knowledge and experience with local conditions, and that this needs to be considered as the form of the organization on the ground is established.

We note that the review recognizes that public education and partnerships are critical components in the new service delivery model and that establishing dedicated industry and residents roundtables to “collaboratively identify issues and develop collaborative solutions”. And further that a new customer service will be responsible for this critical function, may result in a loss of knowledge and experience with local conditions. All of this needs to be considered.

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

c.c.: Will Johnston, Chief Building Official and Executive Director, Toronto Building
Dylan Aster, Project Director (A), Business Transformation, Toronto Building