March 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Public hearings into the franchise relationship. Four days of traveling public hearings: Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa and London. Ontario, Canada. Traveling public hearing: extremely rare, if not unheard of, under the Mike Harris government.
Approved by the former Ontario Minister Robert Runciman over a beer with Tony Martin at the Queen’s Park members’ bar. Two men who share a love of democracy as expressed in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
- 35 life stories told in 20 minute chunks to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bill.
- 4 expert witnesses given 45 minutes (John Sotos lawyer, Susan Kezios franchisee expert, Dr. Gillian K. Hadfield scholar and Richard Cunningham franchisor advocate).
- and me, Les Stewart, franchisee advocate.
I had the tremendous honour of traveling throughout Ontario as before these life stories were twisted into the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. I seemed to have made an impression on the politicians.
Of the current MPPs (107), I know 29 of them. One Minister since I was 17 years old. 45 minutes from my house to their House.
It happened once.
It can happen again.
— The Legislative Assembly of Ontario, looking north to the main doors, University Avenue, Toronto Ontario
The public hearings that led to the Ontario Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 started on March 6, 2000.
- The first expert witness was Ms. Susan Kezios from the American Franchisee Association (her testimony, above to right).
- Mr. John Sotos was the next of the five expert witness (40 in total :: 4 days :: 4 cities) was a Toronto attorney called (his full testimony, left).
Mr. Tony Martin, a politician from Sault Ste. Marie asked Mr. Sotos a question:
Mr Martin: Would it be better to have no legislation than to put a piece of legislation in that gives people a false sense of security, given some of the statistics?
Mr Sotos: That obviously is a no-brainer. The purpose of legislation is remedial, it’s to correct a problem. If the legislation doesn’t achieve that, then I think it’s misplaced.
“That obviously is a no-brainer.”
- summum ius summa iniuria – The more law, the less justice
Tony Martin isn’t much to look at.
He’s is the kind of person you pass in the street without noticing: a real no body.
Except for the franchise industry.
He is, in my opinion, the most feared man in franchising.
Here he is listening to Susan Kezios in Toronto, Canada at the public hearings on March 6, 2000. Ms. Kezios was an expert witness brought in from the American Franchisee Association in Chicago, USA. Her testimony is here.
Martin got the Ontario government to pay to bring Susan in.
And here is Martin with Gillian Hadfield (expert witness testimony). Again, he got the government to bring her in from USC. How he got Bob Runciman to schedule 4 days of public hearings in the first place…well, that’s a great story!
Kezios, Hadfield, Martin: all three are the most successful and the 3 most feared people in franchising.
The winner is one who knows when to drop out in order to get in touch.
An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him.
— Marshall McLuhan 1911 – 1980
I need to check in with the second next month although everyone has their role to play.
- First expert witness, March 6, 2000, Toronto, Canada.
Resulted in the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000. Thanks to Bob Runciman who has gone onto his just reward.
BTW: This may be cryptic, but it is not unnecessarily so.
Some information requires care in transmitting and must be done in person. Words can hurt but iIf you don’t understand, that’s okay.
Trusting yourself enough to choose who to trust is 99% of the solution.
1. From his wikipedia page:
He has been listed as one of the leading franchise law practitioners in every published edition of the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada.
In the 2005 and 2006 editions of Who’s Who Legal Frank was ranked as one of the most highly regarded franchise lawyers in the world, and as the most highly nominated practitioner outside of the United States.
In the 2006 edition of the Lexpert Legal Directory he was ranked as the most frequently recommended franchise lawyer in Canada and Osler was ranked as one of the most consistently recommended major full service law firms in franchising.
Further under Professional Affiliations:
- American Bar Association (Forum on Franchising)
- Canadian Franchise Association (Past General Counsel and past member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors)
2. Mr. Zaid gave testimony before the Standing Committee on Regulation and Private Members Bills of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on March 6, 2000 in consideration of Bill 33, Franchise Disclosure Act on behalf of the business law section of the Canadian Bar Association. This bill resulted in Ontario’s first franchise law, Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000.
The Acting Chair (Hon. George Smitherman) exercised his discretion in allowing additional time for questions. I know this because I was in the Committee room listening very carefully to Mr. Zaid. I had just come back from lunch with Susan Kezios and John Sotos.
This is an excerpt from the transcript.
The Acting Chair: We’ve got a few minutes left for questions. We’ll start with Tony Martin.
Mr Martin: Certainly, your presentation flies in the face of some of the information presented to us, particularly this morning by Susan Kezios from the American Franchisee Association, who suggests other than that franchisor systems flee states where there’s good legislation. I suggest that maybe bad franchisors flee, and who would argue against that?
Were you the counsel for the Pizza Pizza franchisor?
Mr Zaid: I was one of the counsels.
Mr Martin: Were you the counsel in the Bulk Barn case for the franchisor?
Mr Zaid: I’m involved in that.
Mr Martin: You’re not the person who sent out the letters of threat to anybody who would intervene in any way in terms of that action?
Mr Zaid: I’m not going to answer that question.
Mr Martin: OK, thanks.
The Acting Chair: Further questions? Seeing none, thank you very much for your presentation.
The motto on the Legislature’s Coat of Arms, AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM, challenges the legislators to “Hear the Other Side.” Also note that the Mace (top and crossed on the Shield of Arms) is the traditional symbol of the authority of the Speaker of the Assembly.
Mr. Martin served as the Deputy Speaker of the House at that time. I had the great privilege of acting as a volunteer industry researcher to him.
I had the great fortune of meeting Susan Kezios, the president of the American Franchisee Association in 2000.
She was brought to Toronto from their Chicago, U.S. offices to give expert witness testimony to the Ontario legislature Standing Committee on Regulation and Private Bills on March 6, 2000.
As you can see, Susan knows her stuff and is fearless in speaking her truth.
The American Franchisee Association was very important to me establishing the Canadian Alliance of Franchise Operators.
She is, however, not without a well-developed sense of black humour. As an example, this is how she left the 13 or so Canadian politicians and various industry hangers-on after her 45 minute “lively” chat about the state-of-the-union in North American franchising:
The Acting Chair: Thank you for your presentation. Safe trip home.
Ms Kezios: Thank you, especially with all the franchisors out there, right?