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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The People's Rep Speaks Out On Mississauga Industrial Fire

Danny Downey

The City of Mississauga is investigating whether the business or property owner had obtained an occupancy permit for the warehouse, Mayor Hazel McCallion said in the below video, McCallion is quoted as saying that:
The most recent inspection of the building she’s aware of was done a year ago and at the time it was empty.
 99% chance she is right, it only takes a 2 minutes to confirm this with the zoning office, if something was at that address.  Let me explain how I helped a consumer get a full refund for a purchase and how it relates to the problem facing Cities and the Government of Ontario.

In the Same City of Mississauga, a lady had contacted me because she had a consumer complaint and felt after other attempts with Government and Social Agencies she would get me to assist her, I felt happy to freely assist her at no charge.

Here's the the story:

A lady buys a bedroom set from a furniture store set up in Mississauga and  paid in full for her purchase. Her receipt says no refunds and only exchanges. It also says they can change the delivery date for delivery. The problem: 3 or 4 months later she still has no bedroom set. She was told a month or so after the purchase, she could have a refund and after showing up, they refused and offered an exchange. She waited and waited still no delivery. She contacted me for help.

I send a letter and outlined a case for full refund that I would seek in Small Claims Court if we had to go. When you say that the delivery date can be changed, I would imagine any judge would agree that means at a reasonable time frame and with good reason. If that was the case people can say soon it will be delivered and it could be expensive cars and be scamming all kinds of people by offering cheap prices for expensive cars. On the first and second day I waited for an answer while doing a little investigating on this company. I called the Zoning office in Mississauga and spoke with a very nice gentleman who was very helpful who I thank for doing a great job. I wanted to know who owed this company, I needed a name of someone to serve court papers to after I explained the story. To my surprise, the Zoning office was not aware of a furniture store being at that location. 

It's not really known what the actual laws are in regards to setting up a business and when you occupy property for business purposes, I'm still looking for answers for many clients in Toronto. People seem to be under the influence that unless you are selling food, smokes, cutting hair, selling pets, and things of that nature you do not have to consult most Cities in Ontario to get permit. Things like opening up a furniture store, a book store, ad agency, things of that nature where no need for public health need to be involved, people seem to be under the influence you just need to have you business licence from the Government of Ontario and your good to go.

I'm not sure if in this case if the space where today's fire happened in Mississauga was for operating a business or just storage. I do know however, for operating a business, under law you can not in any way advertise a business via signs or printing pf any material with a business name unless that business is registered in some legal form (sole-proprietorship, partnership, Incorporated company and so on.) with the Government of Ontario. In the case I wrote about above. I came to realize no operating licence was on file for that specific address of the furniture company operating in Mississauga. There was however a Inc Company with a similar name not exactly as their sign or receipt issued business name. That Inc company was located in small town Ontario. Does not make a difference if you have a INC. Company, you still need to have an operating licence from the Government of Ontario for the location you are conducting business.

So armed with this information, I made the company blink and issue a full refund to a tune of over a thousand bucks for the woman. I still don't know the owners of the company after paying a fee to find out. I have filed a complaint to the Government of Ontario Companies branch because under law a business operating at a location must have a licence for a space they rent operating a business. 

In this case of the fire at this industrial complex, i'm not sure if they we're operating a business or just storing goods. In either case, the need to be held to account for what has happened. Like it was reported Fire Fighters should have known what was on the premises. What does it take, next time we will have a death? You might even go as far as saying this was  criminal negligence causing harm. The officials of Mississauga need to send a clear message and really small fines for not following bylaws simply will not do.

This is what Mississauga and other Cities need:

They need to have clarification for what is needed for people who are interested in setting up a business in Ontario and who are seeking to rent a premise to carry out business at that address. 
Cities like Mississauga need more inspection of what is being carried out in their cities. 
Most of all there needs to be more penalties and they must be harsh, especially in this case of today's fire to send a clear message for people who do not follow the rules.

I send my get well soon and best wishes to the firefighters and their families and loved ones in Mississauga and hope the Government of Ontario and Cities/Towns in Ontario can get their act together that will not only help firefighters responding to a call but as well as assist consumers who have issues with companies and businesses in Ontario.

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