Re: Toronto Life Article
June 26, 2021
Re: Toronto Life Article
Toronto Life magazine published a feature article this week entitled “Clash of Islanders.”
The writer, who lived on the Island for some ten months a few years ago, beautifully captures the spirit of living on the Island and the pleasures and day-to-day trials of living in our small, quirky community. However, in the attempt to distill a complex and multifaceted series of challenges our community recently faced into a single magazine article, some inaccuracies and mischaracterizations have been printed to which the Trust is compelled to respond.
- First, the article misrepresents the Trust board as a group of “mostly long-time Islanders.” It is a provincially appointed board of four Islanders and three city residents as well as two non-voting provincial and city liaisons, all of whom contribute to decision-making. Although all are volunteers, board members are chosen for their governance and other strengths and are trained and held to professional standards similar to those of Ontario public servants.
- The alternative dispute resolution mechanism referred to in the article is not found in the legislation. It is available only in the case of a lease breach. Lease transfers do not have such an option because there are only two possible answers to the question, “Is this transfer allowed?” Yes or No. When the proponents of the transfer brought a motion to the court to have the Trust’s application dismissed so that the decision on the transfer could be made instead by a community meeting, the judge was emphatic that the community could not decide how to interpret the law.
- The Trust has never evicted any tenants, nor is the Trust empowered to do so. The seven renters (two families) referred to in the article were asked to leave by their landlords.
- Although the article implies otherwise, the facts are:
- the decision to proceed to court was made by the entire board
- the former chair did not vote on any board decision to do with the matter in question
- the Trust received unsolicited written undertaking from the former chair’s partner and son that neither one would put an offer on the disputed property
- the former chair’s partner did not attend the court hearing. It was the then-vice-chair, Alison Rogers, who sat beside the former chair throughout the hearing.
It is important to note that the reporter did not interview the former chair of the Trust, Lorraine Filyer, at any time. The writer’s opinions presented about Lorraine’s motivations, actions or supposed decisions were gleaned from reading posts on myneighbours, from interviews with unnamed sources or from the public court documents.
Alison Rogers on behalf of the Trust Board
Toronto Island Residential Community Trust Corporation