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后院噩梦: 割草花了$1300!
My backyard nightmare: $1300 grass cutting job

刘先生在中国滞留数个月后于2010年10月返回多伦多的家中。刚进家门不久,后院的变化就吸引了他的注意。

When Mr. Liu came back to his Toronto home in Oct. 2010, after a few months’ stay in China, he quickly noticed the changes in his backyard.

除了长草皮被修剪过之外,刘先生还发现放在后院的单车、屋顶瓦片和庭院家具等都不翼而飞。是小偷顺手牵羊还是恶作剧所为?

Apart from the long grass getting a trim, he also noticed that his backyard property– bicycles, roof tiles, and patio furniture – were gone. Were they stolen by random thieves or the result of vandalism?



但很快刘先生就震惊地发现,这些东西都是被多伦多市府运走了。更让他出乎意料的是,市府还向他开出了割草、清理拖运“庭院垃圾”以及检查物业的费用账单。捧着这些总额高达$1300元的账单,刘先生直呼“后院噩梦”。

Liu shockingly realized that they were hauled away by the city of Toronto. To his further surprise, the city has billed him for the costs of cutting grass, hauling away “yard waste”, and inspecting the property. The total amount of the bills reached as high as over $1300, which Liu calls it his “backyard nightmare”.

刘先生的这些账单分类如下:

Here is the breakdown of the bills:



清理拖运庭院垃圾:$881.5元

Hauling away backyard waste: $881.5

割草:$259.2元

Cutting grass: $259.2

两次物业检查:$212元

Two inspections on the property: $212

但刘先生注意到,两次物业检查费为分别为同一天进行对同一个物业耗时一个小时的检查工作:一次是检查过长草野草,另一次是检查后院垃圾。

Liu noticed that the two inspection bills refer to two separate one-hour inspection work on his property done on the same day: one was for long grass and the other was for backyard waste.



捶胸顿足的刘先生质问道:“这不是抢钱么?市府是否滥用职权向业主乱收费?市政执法人员私闯民宅,并拖走后院物品的做法难道不违法?是谁给他们如此之权力?”

“Isn’t this a cash grab? Is the city abusing its power in billing homeowners?” He asked, clenching his fist. “Isn’t it illegal for by-law officers to break into my property and take away backyard stuff? Who has given them the authority to do so?”

刘先生因此提出投诉,指控相关的市政执法人员擅自闯入业主家中,偷窃业主私人物品,并滥用职权向业主乱收费的行为属于刑事犯罪。

Liu filed a complaint against the by-law enforcement officer, accusing him of committing criminal offences by breaking into homeowner’s property, stealing their personal belongings, and abusing its power in billing homeowners.



实际上,市政执法人员为了处理市府条例违规投诉而进入你的后院,并运走被视为是影响市容的后院垃圾的物品并无违法之处。某种这种情况下,即便业主在门口挂上禁止擅入的警示牌也无济于事。

In fact, there is nothing illegal about municipal law enforcement officials pursuing some bylaw complaints by going into your backyard and hauling away the stuff deemed as yard waste – even if the homeowner hung out a No Trespassing sign.

市府执法人员甚至可以翻越住户围栏并进行拍照。奥里利亚市的市政执法人员就曾翻越尼科尔家的围栏,以视察其是否违反市府命令,而尼科尔家门口所挂的禁止擅入的警示牌并未阻拦住执法人员。

They can even climb over your fence and take pictures, as the City of Orillia did to Barbara Nicol when a bylaw officer took it upon himself to check if Barbara had complied with an order from the city. Her “No Trespassing” sign afforded her no protection.



在加拿大,打理自家后院花园是业主的基本职责之一。但是要想维持清爽整洁的后院,业主就必须勤于浇水、施肥和修剪。如果业主任由草坪疯长且后院杂乱不堪,则将会成为市政附例执法部门的打击对象。

In Canada, taking care of your backyard garden is an essential part of homeowners’ responsibilities. Watering, fertilizing, and cutting are the necessary household chores to maintain a healthy and clean backyard. Homeowners who fail to maintain a well-manicured lawn and a clean tidy backyard will be in the cross-hairs of city’s by-law enforcement actions.

多伦多市府牌照标准局发言人罗宾逊(Tammy Robinson)通过电子邮件向《大中报》表示,多市附例要求业主将草皮高度维持在8英寸以内,不按附例要求行事的条例违规者,将受到执法部门的惩罚。

Tammy Robbinson, media officer for City of Toronto’s licensing and standard office, told Chinese News through emails that the City’s by-law requires homeowners to keep the length of the grass less than 8 inch long, and enforcement action is taken if homeowners fail to comply with the by-law’s requirements.



罗宾逊在电邮中称:”如果市府部门接到有关长草和杂草的投诉(我们的调查是基于投诉进行),首先会向业主发出通知书,让他们了解多市附例并要求他们在14天内修剪草皮/清除杂草。”

“If a complaint is received regarding long grass and weeds (our investigations are complaint-based), a letter is first sent to the property owner letting them know about our bylaw and asking them to comply by cutting the grass/weeds within 14 days.

电邮还称:“如果业主对维护物业的要求置之不理,那市府只能采取‘极端行动’了。”

“The City only does the work as a ‘last resort’ if the property owner does not comply with the order to maintain the property,” reads the email.



在市府承包商对刘先生的后院进行清理前,市府曾向他发出检查通知书,但是由于刘先生出门在外而他的妻子又不谙英文,因此这份通知书一直被丢在一旁,直到这笔执法行动费出现在刘的物业税账单中。

An inspection notice was sent to Liu’s home before the city contractors came in and cleaned his backyard. But as Liu was away and his wife wasn’t able to read English, the city’s notice was ignored until the charges for enforcement actions were added to his property tax bill.

由业主买单的执法行动包括雇佣承包商割草和清理拖运庭院垃圾。除了手续费,承包商可按远高于市场价格$0.5元/平方米的标准向业主收费。

The enforcement actions include hiring contractors to cut the grass and to haul away yard waste at the costs of homeowners. Contractors are allowed to charge homeowners at a rate of  $0.50/sq.  metre on top of administration fees – a staunch premium compared to market rates.



无论业主是否阅读过市府事先颁发的视察通知书,市府都会采取相应的执法行动。罗宾逊称,当局不会因为业主存在语言障碍而减免执法收费。

By-law infractions are pursued regardless of whether property owners have read the inspection notice. According to Robbinson, service fees are not waived or reduced due to homeowners’ language barriers.

罗宾逊表示:“如果居民具有语言障碍或无法读懂相关信息,可联系311寻求翻译帮助。”

“If a resident has difficulty speaking or understanding information provided, they can contact 311 and an interpreter will help them,” says Robbinson.



安省法院高度重视公众的安全和健康,认为其重要性远超过对隐私权的保护。因此法院会赋予市政执法人员对违规投诉调查的权力,以及对市府命令执行效果的视察权力。

Ontario courts recognize that the values of public safety, health, and well-being outweigh the values secured through privacy protections. The courts give by-law officers the power to pursue an investigation stemming from a complaint, or an inspection following an order by the city.

实际上,在涉及市政附例违规行为的调查时,市政执法人员的权力大过警方。根据安省市政法,警方在没有搜查令的情况下不得翻越住户围栏和进入居民家中。但安省市政执法人员即便没有搜查令,也可以任何合理时间内进入私宅完成执法行动。

In fact, municipal by-law officers are more powerful than cops when it comes to pursuing investigation into municipal by-law infractions. Under Ontario Municipal Act, while police officers cannot climb your fence, and enter your property without a search warrant, Ontario municipal bylaw officers are allowed to enter into your private property to pursue enforcement at all reasonable times – without a warrant.



市府直接驳回了刘先生的投诉,并表明市政执法人员有权进入私人物业检查附例违规行为。

The city has squarely denied Liu’s complaint, indicating that by-law officers are authorized to enter private properties to conduct inspections regarding by-law violations.

市政附例部门主管在给刘回信中称:“在我们进行调查后,我没有发现有任何证据支持这些指控。”

“I have not found any evidence to support this allegation in our investigation files,” reads the response letter by the by-law department director.

编注:本文曾在2015年2月《大中报》上发表。

Note: The story was published in Chinese News in February, 2012.




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