The matter is now past and here is a summary of the relevant facts.

Readers will recall from previous articles that this problem was created and foisted unto the BIAs by three sources.

  1. Mike Major of the Office of Economic Development (OED)

  2. John Kiru of Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA)

  3. Steven Waugh and Rob Matthews of Ontario 1Call, (ON1Call) the provincial agency in charge of implementing Bill 8.

The first two individuals are joined at the hip; the second one, Kiru, doing as he’s told by Major.

None of the above individuals had the authority to entangle the BIAs with this matter – they acted outside City Council.

When some BIAs resisted to this oppressive burden, Councillors Janet Davis and Mike Layton got involved and requested a staff Report be provided to City Council on this issue. (Councillor Davis was notified by email on April 6, 2017 of this travesty. The email was from a member of Danforth Village BIA).

Davis’ request for Report, dated June 5.2017

The Report which followed was a vague recital which failed to emphasize the pivotal role of the bureaucrats who had created this problem. Instead, it was a bland commentary reciting the ‘new’ arrangement without naming names, as if the matter had simply self-evolved.

Staff (of OED and PW) was also asked for recommendations. The response from two city departments, the Office of Economic Development (OED – the same guys who had created this mess) and the Department of Public Works, (PW) was to recommend that the costs of this programme be split 50/50 with the BIAs.

This recommendation was immediately supported by Kiru of TABIA who had also been complicit in creating this mess.

At first, Councillor Paula Fletcher favoured this recommendation and moved its approval by Council. When it eventually was tabled for discussion, Councillor Jim Karygiannis requested the matter be ‘held over’ to a future meeting. This ‘hold’ enabled Karygiannis to bring Fletcher and other Councillors on side and support his amendment; which was to have the BIAs relieved of this burden and have the City assume full responsibility for providing locates.

While this was unfolding, some background lobbying activity included the following:

  • Robert Caplan, Chair of Mount Dennis BIA wrote an appeal to Councillor Jaye Robinson, Chair of the Public Works Committee, pointing out this inequity.

  • Masum Hossain, Chair of Weston Village BIA wrote to the City Clerk’s office, decrying the same inequity.

  • Briar de Lange, Executive Director of Bloor-Yorkville BIA wrote a letter to all of Council, requesting their support for the 50/50 motion.

  • Peter McClelland, Chair of Forest Hill Village BIA  sent the City Clerk an email copy of the BIABuzz article which addressed this matter and was featured on BIABuzz’ website.

  • BIABuzz emailed articles and notifications to all Toronto BIA Chairs, describing the problem and advising the BIAs to oppose ON1Call and seek complete relief from this burden. These messages were simultaneously emailed to the City Clerk’s office for distribution as well as to all the personal email addresses of the Councillors.

The matter was finally put to rest at the Council Meeting of December 8.2017 where the vote was taken as streamed below;

1   Councillor Karygiannis lobbied from the beginning, introducing a motion to amend the 50/50 proposal and have the City assume full responsibility and (100%) costs.

2   Councillor Fletcher initially supported the 50/50 split recommended by staff. This recommendation was supported by TABIA, the OED and Public Works.

3   Councillor Fletcher subsequently altered her position and supported Karygiannis’ amendment. Other supporters included Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Councillor Michael Thompson; both speaking eloquently against the unfairness of this burden as well as its wasteful costs. The discussion and decision can be viewed on video. Click here and forward the time to the 21:00 minute mark.

The vote was 26 -10 in favour of Karygiannis and Fletcher.

The Councillor insisting on the 50/50 split, was Jaye Robinson, Chair of Public Works Committee.


The Committee Report as submitted for Council approval:

The final resolution:

Editor’s Note: Any BIAs who were complying with these demands are now free to desist without repercussions.



2 thoughts on “ON1Call Denouement

  1. Hi.
    I’m really pleased to read that the ON1Call debacle is finally over. As a former chair of The Junction BIA, I expressed my concerns about this issue to Mike Major and John Kiru back in 2015 when it first arose. Their response was underwhelming to say the least. I also brought my concerns to our councillors and, honestly, they just didn’t get it! My main points at the time were that a) this was a City issue rather than a BIA matter, and, b) that BIA’s (especially smaller ones) were simply not equipped to deal with this type of process.

    All the best.

    Jim Roche

  2. Thank you, Mr. Roche;
    If I may point out, lobbying Mr. Kiru in this regard was a waste of effort. MR. Kiru is an extension of the OED and acts according to its instructions. Although Kiru/TABIA purport to represent the BIAs, that’s a specious excuse used to justify the fees they charge the BIAs.

    Let’s ignore that nonsense and deal with reality. The programme was initiated by Mike Major, manager and his superior, Mike Williams, General Manager at OED. (They are both visible on the video, seated directly behind Councillor Karygiannis, answering his questions with studied equivocations).

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