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July 21, 2017
City of Toronto takes enforcement action at Scarborough rooming houses
Yesterday, Toronto Fire Services, the City's Municipal Licensing & Standards Division, and Toronto Police Service took coordinated enforcement action at several Scarborough properties being operated as rooming houses by Comfort Residential Group Homes and Drews Residential Services. Toronto Paramedic Services was present to assess residents as required. Staff from Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and the Office of Emergency Management assisted with services and supports for displaced residents.

"Our focus is to make sure that all residents are living in homes that are properly maintained and in which personal safety is never compromised," said Matthew Pegg, Toronto Fire Chief. "Toronto Fire Services will enforce the Ontario Fire Code to the full extent of the law."

Multiple Fire Code violations, property standards violations and zoning charges were laid against the leaseholders of the properties and their corporations.

One of the properties, operated by Winston Manning, had previously been issued an Immediate Threat to Life (ITL) notice under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act for individuals living in a basement dwelling and the residents were removed. During the inspection yesterday, individuals were found to be living in the basement. Another ITL notice was issued and one rooming house resident was relocated with assistance from the City. The other two individuals living in the basement include Manning and another operator of Comfort Residential Group Homes.

Fire Code violations include the failure to maintain fire systems, insufficient smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and insufficient exits from the basement of a dwelling.

"It takes a significant amount of effort to coordinate the services and resources required for this type of action," said Tracey Cook, Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards. "The City is doing its part to enforce all of the legislation available to us and ensure the safety of residents."

At four properties, non-permissible zoning charges were filed against Comfort Residential Group Homes as the corporation, three charges against Manning as the leaseholder and one charge against Simone Sewell as the leaseholder. Cecelia Dixon and Drews Residential Services were also charged regarding a fifth property. A non-permissible zoning charge means that the rooming houses are being operated in a residential zone where they are not permitted.

Property standards violations include those for waste not removed, cockroach and bed-bug infestations, broken windows, insufficient/unstable hand rails and holes in walls.

In total, three rooming house residents were relocated to ensure their safety. The residents of these homes are not responsible for any of the violations.

An individual convicted of an offence for contravention of the Ontario Fire Code is liable to a fine of not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both. A corporation convicted of an offence is liable to a fine not more than $100,000. A director or officer of a corporation may be subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both.

The Planning Act provides that upon conviction for a violation of the City of Toronto Zoning by-laws, the maximum fine against a corporation is $50,000 and an officer and director of the corporation may be subject to a maximum fine of $25,000.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at and on Instagram at

Media Contact
Jennifer Wing
Strategic Communications



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