Mr Ted Arnott (Waterloo-Wellington PC)
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex PC)
Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton West / -Ouest ND)
Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)
Mr Monte Kwinter (York Centre / -Centre L)
Mrs Tina R. Molinari (Thornhill PC)
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt L)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr Tom Prins
Staff / Personnel
Ms Elaine Campbell, research officer,
Mr David Rampersad, research officer,
Research and Information Services
The committee met at 1001 in room 228.
The Chair (Mr Marcel
Beaubien): Good morning. It is after 10 o'clock, so I
will bring the meeting to order. I hope that everyone has
received a copy of the amended report. Is there any discussion on
Mr Ted Arnott
(Waterloo-Wellington): Mr Chairman, shall we go point by
point through the amendments that were changed so that all the
committee members would be-
I'm willing to entertain anything from committee members.
He appears to have highlighted these areas. I assume the ones
that are underlined are the changes we discussed.
Rampersad: Yes, those underlined are the phrases that it
was suggested we replace the existing phrases with. The existing
phrases, the old ones, have been crossed out, as it were.
Mr Doug Galt
(Northumberland): Chair, I haven't managed to get to my
office since the last time we left here. Is there an extra
Mr Galt: My
apologies that I haven't studied it in great detail, but I'm sure
I can catch up.
We'll go through the report with the amendments.
Rampersad: On page 1, in the middle of paragraph 3, the
original draft said "GDP for 1999 as a whole was 5%." It was
suggested that we change that to "is estimated to be 5%." The
last sentence of that paragraph initially read, "It is estimated
that GDP growth for the year 2000." It was suggested that that be
changed to "Based on private sector forecasts at the time, it is
estimated that GDP growth for the year 2000 could range between
3.7% and 4%."
In the fifth paragraph on
that page, which begins with "The employment picture," the second
sentence initially had read, "During 1999, 173,000 new jobs,
mostly full-time, were created." We were asked to update that so
it would read, "198,000 new jobs were created."
Just for my help-I wasn't here for part of that morning. The
second paragraph under "Economic Outlook" says that 90% of
Ontario's exports go to the US. The figure I have always heard in
the past was 80%. I see you are shaking your head; 90% is the
right figure, is it? OK. For some reason or other, I had always
heard 80%, and it was one I had highlighted originally.
The Chair: I
think we are only going by some of the figures that were given to
us by, I think, the truckers' association-
Rampersad: And McCallum.
Mr Galt: OK.
I was just double-checking.
Rampersad: A number of people other than the minister
and the ministry had suggested that 90% was probably the
Mr Galt: OK.
Rampersand: On page 2, the third paragraph, the first
line read initially, "For the fifth year in a row the deficit
target will be exceeded." It was suggested that be changed to:
"For the fifth year in a row the deficit target should be
exceeded. Ontario is on track to eliminate the deficit in the
In the next paragraph, first
line, after "$1.1 billion," initially the sentence read "since
the 1999 budget," and it has been changed to "over the 1999
budget plan" and the following sentence has been changed to
reflect what the committee said. It should read, "Significant
additional expenditures for the third quarter of the fiscal year
1999-2000 include a $200-million increase in expenditure on the
OPSEU pension plan, $196 million for hospitals." Initially we had
had "health" and it was suggested that perhaps "hospitals" was
more appropriate. That was checked in Hansard and, indeed,
"hospitals" was mentioned. The word "for" is to be replaced by
"as a result of the Canada-Ontario social housing agreement."
In the paragraph after that
it was suggested we delete the second sentence beginning with "At
the same time." That has been done.
Page 3, under "Debt
repayment": It was suggested that the opening sentence be changed
to read, "Once the budget is balanced," instead of "Having
achieved a balanced budget," because the budget has really not
been balanced yet, at least not formally anyway.
In the middle of that
paragraph, after "$2 billion" initially we had "during," which
has been replaced by "over," as the committee recommended.
Further down, under the
heading "Taxes," second paragraph, first line, the phrase "it was
pointed out" has been changed to "other witnesses have argued."
The second sentence has been
changed to make it clear that these witnesses have continued to
argue that social services could be jeopardized, as it were. The
last sentence has been amended somewhat to read, "Some witnesses
proposed that," to make it quite clear that presenters had made
In the last paragraph on that
page, the first line has been changed to reflect what the
committee said so that we now have "Ontario's general personal
income tax rate" instead of "Personal income taxes." As you can
see, as I just noted, we should actually say "personal income tax
rate has already been reduced."
Page 4: The first paragraph,
the first line, the phrase "The marginal tax rates" was changed,
amended with a qualification to "High top marginal rates." The
third line was also changed to reflect that amendment, so we now
have "top marginal rates," "they are penalized when the top
marginal rates begin to be applied at the income level of
$63,000." Again, two lines down, we have included "top marginal
rate" to reflect what the committee suggested.
In the following paragraph,
second sentence, the original sentence was changed to read,
"Among other things, the province is unable to introduce policy
measures other than rate changes without federal
The first line of the
following paragraph was amended slightly to read, "The Minister
of Finance stated that the `made for Ontario' personal tax
system," instead of simply saying, "The `made for Ontario'
personal tax system."
In the following section,
"Corporate Taxes," the correct name of the business tax review
panel was actually given, as opposed to the initial name, which
was not entirely correct.
On page 5, "Payroll Taxes,"
we clarified that the EHT has been totally eliminated for
self-employed individuals and businesses with payrolls under
$400,000. Under the section headed "GST-PST Harmonization," the
second sentence, it was made clear that witnesses argued that the
current system created regretted compliance costs etc.
On page 6, since it was felt
that the first sentence was perhaps inappropriate, it was deleted
and the second sentence was amended to read, "Some witnesses were
concerned that the introduction of the province-wide assessment
system...." And toward the end of that paragraph, the penultimate
line has been amended to take into account the changes suggested
by the members of the committee so that it therefore reads, "it
has resulted in a number of municipalities postponing
Mr Monte Kwinter
(York Centre): There's a typo in there.
Rampersad: No, that's a deletion; there's a slash across
it. Perhaps it hasn't come out too clearly.
In the last paragraph on that
page, entitled "SuperBuild," it was suggested that the term
"private sector investment" should be changed so that the
sentence would read, "These proposed partnerships are the key to
leveraging government's initial investment of $10 billion over
five years to attract matching investment from the private sector
and other non-governmental partners." And further down, at the
end of that page, the last line, we were asked to qualify
"education" by inserting "post-secondary" to clarify one of the
On page 7, the section headed
"Transportation," it was suggested that we indicate that
witnesses had suggested that this indeed was the case. So I
inserted the phrase, "It was suggested by one witness" that in
the past, too many provincial transportation projects have been
not taken into account etc. I inserted that phrase since I
thought perhaps it might be best that-
Mr Galt: I'm
really concerned about this transportation one. There is a part
of Ontario that's east of Yonge Street. The corridors into the US
being Windsor, Sarnia and Niagara Falls, Ottawa is closer to New
York City, and we need some of that infrastructure in eastern
Ontario. There is something east of Yonge Street. I think most
people in Toronto have forgotten that there is anything out
The Chair: I
think you make a very valid point; however, if you look at the
presentations that were made in front of the committee, I don't
think anybody talked about crossing east of Yonge Street. Really,
if we're going-
Mr Galt: I
just had to protest a little.
The Chair: I
know. You make a very valid point, but really, to be fair, there
was no discussion with regard to crossing-I don't know if east of
Yonge Street is the right boundary, but I'll settle for that.
Maybe in our new task force we can get that one sorted out.
Rampersad: We turn now to the section entitled "Red Tape
Commission," the second sentence. At the instruction of the
committee the phrase "since its institution" was changed to
"between 1995 and 1999." At the end of that sentence, initially
we had "amended 149 others." In fact, the number of statutes
amended is 150, so the "149" has been changed. We changed the
phrase "approximately 1,300 pieces of outdated legislation" to
read "more than 1,300 regulations that the commission considered
outdated have been revoked." The last sentence was amended to
indicate that the witnesses made reference to the commission-that
"There was consensus that the commission be made permanent."
"Agriculture," the fourth
sentence: Initially we talked about "The reduction of government
support." It was suggested that we indicate "According to a
number of organizations representing agriculture," so that the
sentence has been amended to read beginning "According to a
number of organizations representing agriculture."
Looking further down to the
section "Trucking," questions were raised about the taxes, the
total revenue from taxes, as well as the cost of diesel fuel. I
was asked to check those figures. Indeed, those figures were
mentioned by the Ontario Trucking Association. I clarified that
sentence by changing it to read, "According to the Ontario Trucking Association, the
various taxes on the industry result in revenues of approximately
$200 million per annum," and then went on to talk about the price
of diesel fuel being "approximately 176% higher than it was a
Further down that page, under
the section entitled "Small Business," we had talked about
venture capital funds. It was suggested that we clarify who made
the remarks about venture capital funds, so the sentence has been
amended to read, "According to representatives of small business,
venture capital funds are appropriate for only a very small
percentage of the sector."
Elaine Campbell will walk you
through the rest of the report.
Campbell: The first place to go is the top of page 10,
under "Snowmobiling." I haven't added anything there, but there
had been some discussion in the meeting on Monday about the need
to elaborate on what the government has done with respect to
funding assistance to the snowmobiling industry or activity.
I went back to the Hansard
and found that there had been nothing specific said about the
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp or $5 million. I had inserted
the reference to the NOHFC for the purposes of clarification but
there was no mention in the Hansard about the actual amount of
money that the province was contributing to that particular
activity. I guess my question is, do we just leave the paragraph
as it is or is there a need to insert a direct reference to the
amount of money?
We've had this discussion about several other references prior to
this. I think that my position, and the one that I would
recommend, is that we do exactly what we've done in every one of
them. If it was not mentioned at the hearings, I don't think we
should be inserting it at this point. If the government side
wants to, in their recommendations, expand on it and put all this
information in from their particular point of view, I have no
problem with that. This section of the report should reflect what
was presented to us without any editorialization on our part.
That's the position we took earlier and it's the position I think
we should continue to take.
Any other comments?
Mr Galt: I'm
not so sure I'm clear on it even yet. What I was hearing in
Kenora was that the fees for the trail were non-competitive with
the fees for Manitoba and North Dakota and possibly some other
states that I don't recall. That was a concern they had, and the
concern related to the fact that they were set for all of Ontario
and then some of it came back to the local association. They were
saying they wanted to have a lower fee in northern Ontario, at
least that was a concern I was hearing, that they weren't being
competitive. Was that not on the record someplace?
It was. I took the liberty of focusing in on the items that were
raised more often-and more clearly, actually.
Having said that, I'm not so sure that setting those fees has
anything to do with Ontario as a province, if it was more to do
with the association. As I say, I was never totally clear. It
never got totally sorted out whose responsibility it was, but
certainly they seemed to think it was a big issue up there
because the snowmobilers were not coming in. When we hit
Timmins-what was there? Forty snowmobiles in the yard. It was a
big thing for the hotel that we stayed in that night. That was my
concern from there and just how that fit in. I'm just expressing
Are you suggesting there should be an amendment?
Mr Galt: I'm
not suggesting there should be, because I'm searching for what
the information really was. I'm not so sure it's a provincial
responsibility, but it was a concern I heard from the
I got in touch with the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs to
get some clarification. I think, like you said earlier, Mr Galt,
there may be another side to the issue. I'm not still not too
clear on the politics of what is going on there, so I felt maybe
it was better not to include that in there.
Mr Galt: I
think, Mr Chair, probably just leave it as is. I've sort of
expressed that that did come up there. It's something that, if
anyone was in discussions with Mr Eves, might be brought forward
at that time.
The direction is to keep things as they are.
In the next paragraph on
mining, there are a number of items here. To begin with, in the
first sentence of the paragraph, "Provincial Revenues" has been
changed to "Provincial government revenues." In their
presentation, the Ontario Mining Association reported that the
mining industry contributes $1.5 billion to government revenues,
but they made that statement under the heading "Value of Mining
The number "160,000" has been
changed to "106,800" in the first sentence of that paragraph. The
latter number is what appeared in the Ontario Mining
In the second sentence of
that paragraph, "In northeastern Ontario alone, over $1 billion"
has been changed to "In northeastern Ontario alone, approximately
$1.2 billion." The latter figure is what appeared in the
presentation made by the Porcupine Mine Managers'
In the fourth sentence,
"Ontario mineral exploration experienced" has been changed to
"Ontario mineral exploration expenditures experienced." The
Porcupine Mine Managers' Association had made several references
to expenditures earlier in its brief.
Also, in the fourth sentence
of that paragraph, there was some concern over the use of the 36%
figure. We were asked if the figure was maybe not 34%. I went
back to the Hansard and I found that the figure 36% was what the
Porcupine Mine Managers' Association presented in their brief to
When the Ontario Mining
Association appeared before the committee, they had in their
brief figures for 1995 and 1998 as well, but their percentage
change over the same time
period was 34%. So it's a case of using the 36% from the
Porcupine Mine Managers' Association as opposed to the 34% from
the Ontario Mining Association.
The Ontario Mining
Association also had a dollar figure for 1999, and I worked out
the percentage change for that from 1995 to 1999 and it was
44.6%. So the sentence could be left as it is with a reference to
that figure being one provided to the committee by the Porcupine
Mine Managers' Association, or we could change it to 34% and say
that that was what the Ontario Mining Association had said.
Or alternatively you could say "between 34% and 36%." Would that
be another way of-
That's a compromise.
But just looking at the sentence, it doesn't really attribute it
to anybody in particular.
Well, the suggestion here is that we attribute it through
clarifying. So is it the committee's direction to say "between
34% and 36%"?
It would be my suggestion that we use the 34% attributed to the
mining association, in that they're a larger association perhaps
than the other group and might have access to more up-to-date
I like the idea of the 34% to 36%. Why don't we just say
"representatives of the mining industry have stated that Ontario
mineral exploration expenditures have experienced a 34% to 36%
decline in investment" and attribute it to the industry? Because
we had the Porcupine group, we had the Ontario Mining
Association. The number is between 34% and 36%, who knows? It's
just an estimate on everybody's part.
Are we agreeable to this?
Moving on, at the bottom of page 11 there was a very small change
made in the paragraph under "Universities." The word "the" has
been removed from the final sentence.
On page 12, the first
paragraph under "Health," the word "care" was added between
"health" and "system." I think we should separate "healthcare"
into two words there.
Then on page 13, the first
paragraph, there were some changes made to the final sentence:
"Consideration should also be given to implementing incentive
programs with varied payment schedules and to recommendations
made by Dr Robert McKendry."
Moving on to page 15, you'll
notice that we have inserted the recommendations which were voted
on and passed at the meeting on Monday.
Any further discussion?
Christopherson (Hamilton West): No, other than to thank
I'd just like to take one minute to read through the
recommendations that the committee adopted. You don't have to
read them. I'm asking for a minute of the committee's time to
take a quick glance over them.
Christopherson: As long as your lips don't move when
you're reading, Ted.
Mr Arnott: I
need my fingers to count.
OK. If there's no further discussion I'm going to need a motion
to approve the amended report, including the changes on pages 3
and 10 that we made this morning. The change on page 3, Mr
Christopherson, was strictly a typo whereby we changed at the
bottom, "The rate has already been reduced by 30%." Then on page
10, I think you were here for that.
Christopherson: I've reviewed it anyway and I was fine
with all the changes.
Could you repeat that?
Page 3, at the bottom. I think it reads-
Change the word "have" to "has."
Yes, "has already been reduced by 30%," right.
Christopherson: When we vote I would like it to be clear
that it's strictly on the report part and not the recommendations
we adopted two days ago.
That's right, although they make up part of the report.
Christopherson: OK, so you're going to take a vote then
on the report and the recommendations?
That's right, yes.
Christopherson: We really didn't gain much for all that,
Mrs Tina R.
Molinari (Thornhill): A procedural question: Are we not
voting now on the changes that have been made that are in fact
the changes that we've discussed?
Christopherson: The report, as amended.
For the report, as amended right now.
Christopherson: If we include the recommendations, we're
not going to vote for it. So all the co-operation we did is nice,
Molinari: We can vote for them separately. You can vote
Christopherson: I asked them, and apparently not. The
recommendations will form part of the committee report. We are on
record as having said the other day we're OK with the report. But
it's the final vote that matters. When we vote, obviously we're
going to be opposed.
Molinari: For it to reflect the committee-
First of all, we would vote on the report, as amended, with the
changes on pages 3 and 10, and then we'd have a vote on the
entire report, which includes the recommendations.
Molinari: Then that would force the opposition to vote
Interjection: Unless they wanted
to support it.
Molinari: Technically, could you not separate the two so
that they'd give the-
Kwinter: We are separating them.
Yes, we are.
Mrs Molinari: No, by separating
the report from the recommendations, so that they can vote
against the recommendations and vote in favour of the report.
Kwinter: Mr Chair, if I could-I don't have to speak for
you; you can speak for yourself. What has happened is that we are
going to vote to accept the report, as amended. After that, we
then have the report, which is the amended report plus the
recommendations, and we're going to vote on that. That can't be
separated, because the recommendations are part of the
So the first thing is that
we have to vote for the amendments. We then have a final report
that has been amended, and that's what we're going to vote on.
Because the recommendations are part of it, we will have to vote
against it, but that's not a problem. You're still going to get
it passed, so just do it.
Molinari: I think it's procedurally incorrect, but
I don't know if it's procedurally incorrect, but I thought it
made sense, so I think we'll proceed with the amended report with
the corrections on pages 3 and 10. I need a mover.
Kwinter: I'll move it.
Moved by Mr Kwinter. I'll pose the question: All those in favour?
That's carried unanimously.
I'll entertain a motion to
accept the report with the recommendation.
I'll now pose the question: All those in favour? Opposed? It
carries, three to two.
I also need a motion
authorizing the Chair to table the final report.
All those in favour? Opposed? It carries, three to two.
Kwinter: Mr Chairman, on a point of clarification:
Should there not be some reference to the point that this is not
the final report, that there is going to be a minority report
which is going to be included-
Kwinter: -and then to table the total report, as opposed
to this not being the report?
I think we made it fairly clear that you have until March 21
Kwinter: I just want to make sure we have that on the
record, that it's clarified.
Yes, and that will be attached to the report itself. I took that
as a given.
Next, we need a motion that the report be sent for translation
and printing after we've received the dissenting positions from
the opposition parties.
Christopherson: So moved.
All those in favour? That's carried.
I need a motion that a copy
of the draft report be forwarded to the Minister of Finance.
Molinari: So moved.
All those in favour? That's carried.
That's it, I think. There's
Kwinter: May I move adjournment?
Before that, I just want to thank the opposition members for the
co-operative approach they have taken to this piece of work over
the last number of weeks. We thank you very much for your
participation, and thank you, Mr Chairman.
Mr Kwinter has moved adjournment, and we are now adjourned. Thank