Wednesday 1 June 1994

City of Toronto Act, 1993, Bill Pr43, Mr Marchese

Derek Fletcher, MPP

Dennis Perlin, city solicitor, city of Toronto

County of Bruce Act, 1994, Bill Pr115, Mr Elston

Murray J. Elston, MPP

Milton McIver, warden, county of Bruce

Pat Stock, treasurer, Amabel township

Bill Ferris, reeve, Amabel township

City of Toronto Act, 1994, Bill Pr79, Ms Akande

Zanana Akande, MPP

City of Toronto:

Dennis Perlin, city solicitor

Kay Gardner, councillor

Dr Perry Kendall, medical officer of health

Paul Oliver, president, Ontario Restaurant Association

Jan Westcott, executive director, Brewers of Ontario

Carmi Cimicata, executive director, Bacchus Canada

Diane Stefaniak, executive director, Ontario Hotel and Motel Association

Jane Meldrum, representative, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Margaret Sprenger, representative, Fetal Alcohol Support Network

Dr Norman Giesbrecht, senior scientist, Addiction Research Foundation

Dr David Korn, chief executive officer, Donwood Institute


*Chair / Présidente: Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton ND)

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

*Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND)

*Hodgson, Chris (Victoria-Haliburton PC)

Jordan, Leo (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND)

*O'Neil, Hugh P. (Quinte L)

Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

*Ruprecht, Tony (Parkdale L)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Akande, Zanana L. (St Andrew-St Patrick ND) for Mr Perruzza

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND) for Mr Mills

White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND) for Mr Hayes

Wilson, Gary, (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Iles ND) for Mr Fletcher

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Elston, Murray J. (Bruce L)

Ministry of Municipal Affairs:

Dhar, Satish, senior policy adviser, local government policy branch

White, Drummond, parliamentary assistant to minister

Clerk / Greffière: Grannum, Tonia

Staff / Personnel: Klein, Susan, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1004 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill Pr43, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

The Chair (Ms Christel Haeck): Ladies and gentlemen, I call the meeting of the standing committee on regulations and private bills to order. I'd like to deviate slightly from the agenda and call Bill Pr43, An Act respecting the City of Toronto. I ask the sponsor, Rosario Marchese, to come forward.

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): In the absence of Mr Marchese, perhaps someone else could sponsor the bill.

The Chair: Ms Akande, perhaps you could. Oh, Mr Fletcher? Fine.

Ms Zanana L. Akande (St Andrew-St Patrick): You thought I was closer to Toronto.

The Chair: Well, there is a close relationship between Guelph and Toronto. It's called a GO line, I guess. Would Mr Fletcher please introduce our guests and turn it over to them.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Thank you, Chair. On behalf of Mr Marchese, I would like to introduce Mr Dennis Perlin and Bill Pr43, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

The Chair: Good morning, Mr Perlin. We haven't seen you for a few months.

Mr Dennis Perlin: Good morning, Madam Chair. Glad to be back.

Madam Chair and members of the committee, I had a discussion with Mr White, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. There has recently been an opportunity presented by the Ministry of Transport, which was not supportive of the bill with respect to the reduction of the speed limit, to perhaps work out amendments to the bill that will allow support from that ministry, and perhaps also to work out certain objections we have received from Metro.

The request, therefore, to the committee at this point is, would the committee entertain a two-week deferral to allow those discussions to be undertaken to see if amendments could be made to the bill that is before you, in the hope that objections could be worked out, at least from the various ministries, and then, subject to your due consideration of it as to whether it is appropriate or not to pass, to come back.

Mr White: Yes, I'll --

The Chair: I'm the Chair. He's just trying to jump in, a former Chair who has to be kept in line. In any case, the procedure would normally be to open it up for questions and comments, so at this point I will recognize Mr White and ask if there are other questions from the members.

Mr White: Thank you very much, Chair. I'd like to move deferral of Bill Pr43, with the understanding that it should be brought back before the end of this session, most likely in two weeks' time.

The Chair: Would members like to speak to that motion?

Mr Hugh O'Neil (Quinte): Madam Chairman, we have no objections to that whatsoever.

Mr Chris Hodgson (Victoria-Haliburton): No objections.

Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): No objections.

The Chair: Are all members prepared to vote on that motion? Agreed? Agreed.


Consideration of Bill Pr115, An Act respecting the County of Bruce.

The Chair: Mr Elston, my apologies. I didn't recognize you sitting there.

Mr Murray J. Elston (Bruce): Is that good or bad?

The Chair: It must be the new tie. In any case, I ask you to call your applicants forward and introduce them to the members, with any opening comments you'd like to make.

Mr Elston: Actually, I'd just like to introduce the warden of the county, Milton McIver, and the reeve of Amabel, Bill Ferris, who will make some remarks concerning the bill. This is not dissimilar from my colleague from Victoria-Haliburton's bill. There are lots of county governments now going through the issue of representation, trying to make some changes that will more fairly reflect the population and voting patterns. If Mr McIver wants to begin, we might start there, and then Mr Ferris can follow up with some comments as well.

Mr Milton McIver: Thank you, Madam Chair and members. As Murray has indicated, the county of Bruce is looking at the private bill it has submitted. We were hoping to see some of our inequities addressed with regard to our voting system in Bruce county. The county actually, about three years ago, did complete a restructuring report, and although we didn't choose the amalgamation aspect of it, we were trying to come up with some more equitable way of representation by population. I would just like to read a brief we have here now.

I would like to thank you for providing us with the opportunity of appearing before you in support of private Bill Pr115, An Act respecting the County of Bruce. While I am aware that background information has been provided, I would like to very briefly outline some of the present concerns county council has identified in the current voting system and how the proposed system will address these concerns.


Over the last 140 years, serious representation inequities have developed within Bruce county. All municipalities in the county, regardless of their status or size, have one representative on county council. County council has attempted to deal with this situation by introducing a weighted voting system whereby representatives of larger municipalities are able to exercise additional voting power at county council.

Even this multiple voting system falls significantly short of the accepted democratic principle of representation by population. Under the current system, each member of council is entitled to one additional vote for every 1,000 electors, up to a maximum of four votes. Therefore, every municipality that is in excess of 3,000 electors does not realize a vote for that portion of electors over the 3,000.

While reviewing the voting system, council has considered the principles of county composition related to votes, as outlined in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs document entitled Toward an Ideal County.

"(1) All local municipalities on county council should be represented." Of course in Bruce we are all represented on county council.

"(2) Representation on county councils should be based on the principle of representation by population, with a variation rate of 25% of the average number of electors per representative deemed acceptable. A larger variation may be inevitable in some situations, but should be recognized as a weakness in equitable representation."

Under the current voting system, the number of electors per vote ranges from 400 to 1,900. The system proposed truly reflects representation by population.

"(3) Notwithstanding principle 2, no one municipality should have a majority of representation on county council."

No one municipality would have the majority of representation on county council. The largest councillor vote, of 15, represents less than 11% of the total number of votes.

In 1973, Bruce county was one of the first counties in the province to proceed with special legislation to reduce the number of members of council and to implement a weighted voting system. We would appreciate the support of the Legislature in allowing us to proceed with this required updating of our system.

That completes my presentation. We would like you to look favourably upon our request. With that, I'll pass to my colleague.

The Chair: Mr Ferris, I believe you're considered one of the interested parties in this. Is Mr Stock with you? Does he wish to say something?

Mr Pat Stock: Mr Ferris will speak on my behalf.

The Chair: Okay. Are there any other interested parties who wish to speak on this issue? Seeing none, Mr Ferris, please continue.

Mr Bill Ferris: Amabel township, being the largest municipality in the county of Bruce, has been long seriously concerned about the inequities of the voting system in the county government in Bruce county. Over the 20 years or so I've been on council, this is about the third time we've attempted to correct this situation through various studies and organizations. It always seem to be left in limbo, and a lot of money and time has gone down the drain. Once again, we're here at Queen's Park to attempt to correct this situation. I'll just read our presentation, if you'll bear with me.

The county of Bruce completed a restructuring report in 1992. In essence, the reduction of the county from 31 municipalities to eight municipalities was turned down by the members of county council. The township of Amabel supported the reduction to eight municipalities, but there was obviously nothing further we could do in that regard.

In the restructuring report process, it was acknowledged that the voting authority on county council in its current form is substantially outdated and reflects neither representation factors nor financial commitments to the operation of the county of Bruce. We are here today to support the private bill, which is endorsed by Bruce county council.

If the province wishes to follow the guiding principles set up out in the 1990 county reform guidelines document entitled Towards an Ideal County, there are only two alternatives: to legislate restructuring, or adopt this private bill to address voting authority inequities. As a member municipality, we cannot force restructuring, so please do not leave us in limbo by failing to deal with this proposed bill which in itself may bring a sense of reality to the vastly outdated system.

In our opinion, the private bill does address the county reform guidelines in the areas of representative government and representation by population, while ensuring that "no one municipality should have a majority of representation on county council." This is achieved by changing the voting authorities to realistic values as proposed in the private bill. Supporting documentation is available for your review.

We have a further page and an outline of the voting powers of the various municipalities. Under the present system, you can have four votes and no more, but the small municipalities have the opportunity of gaining more votes through an increase in population. For example, a village with 1,000 electors presently, gets two votes by getting 1,001 electors. This throws the whole thing out of proportion more than it presently is. The small municipalities are gaining more votes, while the large municipalities are frozen at four votes, regardless of what their population or voting factors are.

The situation is getting worse and continues to be an aggravation to the larger municipalities in the county. I hope you will support this bill as presented. It seems to be a workable alternative to the present.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ferris. At this point, I'll ask Mr White to speak on behalf of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Mr White: The attempt by Bruce county and by its excellent representative is an excellent one to deal with the issue at hand, which is representation by population. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, however -- while we see in some areas a weighted voting system such as presently exists in Bruce county, where you have some situations of four votes for one council member, the extreme of one member having 16 votes is nowhere else in this province practised.

The other issue that's been brought up is representation by population. Weighted voting is not the same thing as representation by population. As was brought out, Amabel was very supportive of the recommendations of the Bruce county study, which would have reflected representation by population. What you're suggesting here with this bill is that you would have a stronger voice on council, but it's a weighted voice and not a representation by population, wherein you would have, say, one member on council for every 3,000 residents.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs cannot support this wide a divergence from local governance as is practised in every other county municipality, upper-tier municipality etc throughout the province.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I guess the question would be, why doesn't the ministry respect local decision-making? That indeed is what local government is all about. We have many upper-tier municipalities coming before us, including a bill on Ottawa-Carleton -- and we may have to get into that -- where the mayors have been deposed from the upper tier.

It's very important that local and upper-tier local governments be authorized to deal with their own problems and come up with their own solutions. I commend Bruce county council for working with this. It's not an easy thing. We've supported every bill, I believe, that's come before us with a change in population. Until such time as this government amends the Municipal Act and says there shall be representation by population, which would be a multiple system including very high numbers, far higher than these, or indeed goes to a decimal voting system, I think we must heed the wishes of local people.

I commend you for dealing with your problem because it's not an easy thing. I endorse it fully and I will be voting for it.


Mr Hodgson: I'd like to concur with what Mr Eddy has just remarked. I know, from my experience, that it's very difficult to get a consensus on these issues and it's a long struggle. If the province isn't willing to step in and force amalgamation, and just puts local communities through the aggravation of endless studies and doesn't address the downloading of costs, it's becoming very difficult to run local governments, the way they're presently set up.

I commend you for this exercise. It does address some of the problems of the larger areas not being represented in terms of dollars spent at the county upper-tier level. I'll be voting in favour of it, because it's local decisions trying to address local problems.

Mr Hansen: I'd like to hear from Mr White again. I didn't hear too clearly all the points the ministry was against, if you'd just go over that again. And could you speak up a little bit? Some of them were mumbled.

Mr White: Thank you, Mr Hansen. The issues before us are manifold.

Mr Hansen: Just make it short.

Mr White: First of all, the issue of sponsoring of local municipalities and local measures to deal with representation at either the local lower-tier municipality or the upper-tier county level is one which our government sponsors and supports, but within criteria.

As the member mentioned, one of the criteria of course is representation by population. It is very difficult, with the number of municipalities involved in Bruce county, to have adequate representation by population. The Bruce county study recommended eight lower-tier municipal units, and that would have allowed for representation by population on the council level.

That recommendation was not accepted, as we've already heard. That would have dealt with the issue of representation by population, but representation by population is not the same thing as a weighted voting. If, for example, on this committee we respected the wisdom and integrity of the member for Bruce and said that he should automatically have 16 votes, we would then wonder what the rest of us are doing here representing our areas.

Rather, what we're looking at with representation by population is that for every 2,000 or, for example, 3,000, as in the Bruce county study recommendation -- in that recommendation every 3,000 residents would be able to send a representative to the county council, as opposed to Amabel township, which has about 8,000 residents, having one representative only, but that representative would have 16 votes.

A weighted vote is not the same thing as representation by population. It's not possible for one individual to represent the diversity of their community and to adequately reflect that population. That's why we have representation by population as one of the very strongest guiding principles around county reform, around municipal structuring.

Mr Hansen: That's fine. I just wanted to go over that again because we've had a quite a few of these before the committee before, from the Kingston area, I believe, and Frontenac, and there were changes made there. I just wanted to go over it again, because I didn't hear every point you made the first time.

Mr Eddy: The stance of the ministry causes me great problems. If we want representation by population in the upper tiers, then we'd damn well better do it for all municipalities and we'd better say, "From now on, that's the rule," because we haven't been dealing with that. In fact, in the case of Ottawa-Carleton the proposal of the mayors to come up with a system of multiple voting which would be closely aligned to rep by pop was refused. The Minister of Municipal Affairs stood in the House and said, "We can't have that, because some people would have a lot more votes than others." Well, of course you're going to have that if you have a multiple voting system. You cannot avoid it.

I would like to ask whether the Bruce county people considered various systems of voting, including the alternatives presently in the Municipal Act, which are far too restrictive, and whether, in their opinion, this is the best solution to the problem of voting on county council by the representations of the constituent local municipalities in the county of Bruce. Do you strongly support this and feel this is the answer at this time for the county of Bruce?

Mr McIver: At this time, honourable member, it's the only way for us, because we attempted the other method, in the restructuring report, and failed.

Mr Eddy: But you did look at other systems.

Mr McIver: We looked at other systems, and to us this is the only system we can come up with that's going to adequately address the inequities in our present system.

Mr Eddy: Again, I think it's terrific that you've looked at your own problem and have come forward with a solution which is a far better system than that provided in the Municipal Act at the present time. Thank you. I fully support it. Let's get on with it.

Mr Elston: I'm extremely disappointed, first of all, in the attitude of the ministry. Basically, you're saying that because Bruce county refused to do the restructuring, you're going to punish them to prevent them from carrying out a restructuring of their voting? I think that is absolutely reprehensible. That is in fact what the parliamentary assistant said. He said, "If you guys had gone to eight lower-tier units, you'd have gotten a virtual population voting pattern."

I can't, for the life of me, understand why it is that some people here in the city of Toronto in the ministry's head offices believe they should prevent 65,000 people, through their elected representatives, from finding an alternative which more fairly reflects the way they want their upper-tier county voting to be carried out.

I know you're quite happy to be sitting there -- and I've been watching you with some degree of interest as this discussion has been going on -- laughing and being very smug about the fact --

The Chair: Mr Elston, I'm sorry. As Chair I do have to keep some semblance of order, and I think that is inappropriate.

Mr Elston: I apologize, but I'll tell you, the ministry has exercised a veto on my upper-tier government. These people have sat for months, they went through a tremendous amount of activity, and what they've basically been told by the parliamentary assistant is: "If you'd gone to the eight, you wouldn't have this problem. You chose the wrong option, and as a result, we are not going to support it." I, for the life of me, can't understand why the ministry wants our people to go through this again. Why won't you let them take this one step?

What is happening in this municipality, the upper-tier municipality of Bruce county, is the fact that there has been -- and we were here in front of this committee some very few weeks ago with permissive legislation to allow Huron township and the village of Ripley to come together to reduce from 31 to 30 the number of municipalities. People are taking their steps and they're making the changes that are necessary to manage their own affairs. I just can't believe the ministry wants to exercise its veto in this regard.

This legislation will permit this exact type of voting pattern to occur. It is, it seems to me, the will of 65,000 people that it occur this way. It's been discussed to death, and now we come to Toronto asking for your forbearance and for your permission to do what we want to do, thinking that the democratic process has worked very well for us. And now the ministry is putting its foot down and saying: "Aha, if you'd only gone for the eight lower-tier municipalities, you'd have had what you wanted. You chose the wrong one, and we're going to stop you."

I think that is reprehensible, I think it is problematic for upper-tier governments everywhere, and I really ask the people who represent areas similar to ours, who are going through some of the same types of difficult internal discussions, which cause so much agony, to help us get on with restructuring our county and letting us vote in a pattern that will represent the people who have settled there. It's a simple request. I don't understand why the ministry is being so difficult.


The Chair: Mr Elston, I think you know you have to convince the members who sit around this table.

Mr Elston: But the ministry sits and says, "We don't want it, so don't do it."

The Chair: I appreciate your comments, and obviously the members are listening with interest because there are many people who wish to ask questions and comment. The next person on my list is Mr Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson: I have a question for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. How did you ever expect this to happen? Local governments have gone through the exercise of restructuring and people have had a lot of experience seeing what the results are when they hit the communities. You have 31 local entities. In my opinion, these are steps towards have more efficient local government and more towards the principles of representation by population. But these are first steps. This weighted vote only applies to money matters.

When you get into a discussion on restructuring, go out and listen to what the discussion is about. Somebody who has a small tax base but has representation for their people to bring their historic needs to the table -- they don't really care that it costs more money for that service delivery. Yet the province is downloading and saying: "Take a look at restructuring. Take a look at delivering your service more efficiently." Well, how do you do that unless you get the voting at the upper tier in some relationship to the costs of it?

This is a weighted vote on money matters. With all due respect, it's not what Mr White talked about, representing cultural or historical needs of one person, one vote, of equal across county table. They'll still have that. All 31, on anything outside of money, will still have their traditional voting. This applies to money matters. If you have one town that's paying three to four times the costs, or 25% or 30% of the cost of the upper-tier government, and he gets the same vote as somebody who is paying 0.05%, you're never going to get restructuring, if that's what the ministry's objective here is. This is a first step towards that.

Mr White: To respond first to the issue Mr Elston brought up, when Mr Elston made the remark about laughter, I was certainly not laughing. I didn't observe the counsel laughing; it's certainly not behaviour that's typical of counsel. I must admit that I found that remark surprising, particularly from you, sir.

The issue of the Bruce county study I brought up on my initiative, simply because I was attempting to illustrate that there may be other mechanisms to address the issue of representation by population. I didn't personally take any part in that study, nor was I the parliamentary assistant at that time.

The effort, that is very genuine, to find a better mechanism to represent the population of Bruce county I'm sure will go on. I'm simply saying that there may be other mechanisms to achieve that representation by population and that weighted voting is not the same as representation by population.

Mr Hansen: Thinking of some of the other bills that have come through in the past from different counties, could the ministry staff give an idea of the restructuring that's gone on in a few other ones? I think they went the other way; I'm not sure. I haven't got any notes here from what we did before and I don't want to start changing the pattern we've had for the restructuring that's going on. Can you give us an indication?

Mr Satish Dhar: I'm Satish Dhar from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. I've got a few examples of other representational changes that have been made. For instance, the Essex county council now has weighted voting and the maximum is two votes. There's one from Hastings; the maximum is four votes per member. This is by far the largest disparity we have encountered in all our experience in terms of changes to the representational schemes that have come forward to the ministry.

Mr Hansen: So four is the most, yet we're looking at 15 here.

Mr Dhar: Sixteen.

Mrs Ellen MacKinnon (Lambton): What in the world have you got in Amabel that would cause this type of voting to take place, 15 or 16, whatever it is?

Mr Ferris: Population.

Mrs MacKinnon: I know it's population, but what have you got that makes the population? Have you got factories, or what in the world? I've never even heard of this place, by the way.

Mr Ferris: You've probably heard of Sauble Beach.

Mrs MacKinnon: Yes.

Mr Ferris: That's Amabel township, plus a number of other communities.

Mrs MacKinnon: Okay. It just seems like a lot of votes for one municipality.

Mr Ferris: We have 20 times as much assessment and population as the smallest municipality in the county.

Mrs MacKinnon: How are you going to ever get any "fairness" in the voting at county council? It appears to me that Amabel and Port Elgin could almost outvote everybody else.

Mr Ferris: Not quite.

Mrs MacKinnon: They could make a good stab at it.

Mr Ferris: There are six municipalities that are much larger than the rest. We have a situation in Bruce county where we have a lot of villages, nine villages, and a lot of towns that are smaller than they were when they were incorporated. They still sit on county council as town and villages where they only have a very small population, as low as 500-and-some electors in some cases. We have towns that have less than 2,000 electors, but they sit on county council as urban municipalities and receive highway rebates, and have voting powers that are as much as or exceed those of the larger municipalities.

You have a system whereby you get one vote per 1,000 electors but you get two votes if you have 1,002 electors. We have municipalities with four votes that are only a very small fraction of the size of municipalities such as ourselves. You can have four votes on county council with a little over 3,000 electors, but you can have a million electors and you'll still never have any more than four votes. You can have any number of electors but still never get more than four votes.

The whole system is getting worse and worse, because villages are maybe picking up a few electors and getting a multiple vote, or getting two where they had one before, or three where they had two. But the larger municipalities such as Port Elgin, Huron township, ourselves, are sitting there gaining population much quicker than the small municipalities but still getting no more votes.

Mrs MacKinnon: Thank you. I'm still a bit confused about how in the world you're going to balance it out.

Mr Eddy: I appreciate the question of the member for Lambton because I do worry about the Lambton-Sarnia situation. If the government were to bring in rep by pop in Sarnia-Lambton, I wonder if the member knows what would happen. You would have one municipality ruling the roost. It would carry every vote. On upper tiers, you don't allow situations like that.

Even in the case of Hamilton-Wentworth, where the city of Hamilton is over 300,000 and the rest of the county was under 100,000, you have safeguards. You have more representation from the smaller municipalities, and you safeguard the situation by saying there has to be, at any vote, representation from more than two municipalities.

I'm pleased here that no one municipality can carry the vote without support. Indeed, I think you've pointed out that no two municipalities can, so it has to be more than two. So there are some safeguards.

I feel very strongly that we should grant the application of the county of Bruce and try it, and in the meantime we'll give the ministry the opportunity to look at the Municipal Act and indeed come in with a bill proposing rep by pop on upper-tier governments across and see how it fares. In other words, treat everybody equally and see what happens.

I think this is the route to go at this time. Let's try it.


Mr Fletcher: I don't quite agree with you, Mr Eddy, and rep by pop isn't something we can look at easily. I understand that restructuring is part of the process and is something we all have to go through at some point in time. Is there any way the counties and Municipal Affairs can work together and come back to this committee with a proposal after they've worked it out together, rather than us sitting here going back and forth saying, "This is what I want," and "No, this is what you're going to get"?

Mr Hansen: There are some other examples in Ontario.

Mr Fletcher: Yes. There has to be other examples. Instead of this antagonism, I think there is an opportunity here to work together with Municipal Affairs, come back to this committee and have a demonstration of some cooperation in terms of trying to iron out a problem that has been around, presumably, for a long time. I don't think it's something about which we as a committee can just say, "Yes, let's do it and let the chips fall where they may."

Along with Ms MacKinnon, I have some concerns in terms of the different mosaic that goes through Bruce county, especially when you get up into the Bruce Peninsula -- dry counties -- and there is a possibility of being outvoted on something someone in the Bruce Peninsula may not want.

There has to be some give and take and there has to be a way of working this out. I'm asking: Is there a way or is there any opportunity for the counties and Municipal Affairs to get together, come back with a good plan and bring it back to this committee? If we could do it today, it would be fine. If we cannot do it within the allotted time today, perhaps in another week or two.

Mr McIver: Maybe Mr Fletcher could give us some idea of where he's coming from with his proposal. We have tried to work with Municipal Affairs in the past, and we've been told it's been too busy with other legislation, so I would like to have some indication what his proposal would be.

Mr Fletcher: They are probably busy, but I think a recommendation from this committee that they do get involved would carry some weight. Perhaps Municipal Affairs could in the short term take a look at a possible recourse to what is going on rather than what is going on here today. This is not productive today.

Mr White: I'm wondering if Mr Dhar, who is the senior policy adviser, could illustrate for the committee what the process has been with Bruce county.

Mr Dhar: We haven't really had an opportunity to work with Bruce county. Certainly we'd be prepared to work with them on this issue and come out with something in the future.

Mr Elston: I'm sorry, but we went through the restructuring stuff. It started some time ago. Ministry officials were in the county for some time. It may be that Mr Dhar has not put any time into this because he wasn't associated with the restructuring study. He maybe wasn't able to participate in all the discussions and all the anguish the local representatives went through, but the ministry has been involved in this county and has been involved very deeply in this county for a long, long time. If Mr Dhar has something that he believes is a proposal the ministry would accept, maybe it should be put on the table for us right here.

You have said this is a deviation from the current circumstances. What is the problem with the deviation? Is it because Bruce county is going to have something that is too different? The representatives elected by the ratepayers up in Bruce county have come together and said: "Let's try it this way to show that we care about large municipalities and small municipalities. We think this will be a much better-balanced situation." And basically the ministry is saying: "No. We think you people are all wrong. We're going to protect you from yourselves. We don't think this is a proper variance." Can you tell us if 15 or 16 is too many? What is it that you think would be the right mix for Bruce county that obviously the elected officials have been unable to think of when they've gone through all this stuff?

Mr Dhar: The concern is what Mr White mentioned, which is the extreme disparities of representation by voting on county council. The concern is the confusion it might create with one member having 16 votes and another member having one vote. Basically, this is the concern. The maximum that I'm aware of so far is one member having four votes. This is not even five or six or seven or eight; it's 16, four times as much. This diverges considerably from present practice, and that is a concern.

Mr Elston: But what can be so confusing? If I represent Hepworth, I may have one vote. If I represent Amabel, I have 16. What's confusing? I don't understand your concern. Do you think the local people don't understand what their weighted voting is going to be?

Mr Dhar: The extremes here can cause confusion. Here it's not a quantitative difference, it's a qualitative difference in terms of what we are talking about: four times as much as exists elsewhere. That is the main concern.

Mr Elston: But the upper level of government has come together in Bruce county, the people who manage a unit of about 65,000 people, and growing faster in some parts than the others, saying, "This is how we want our upper tier to work," and you're saying, "No, no; this shouldn't work for Bruce county because it's different than for people in Essex."

Essex has one village, I'm told, and the village of St Clair Beach has a population that's larger than a lot of other towns in the area, but that's the one that you used as an example.

So tell me, why is it that the ministry believes the upper level of government can't set its own voting patterns in a way which reflects, in their view, as elected representatives, the patterns they want to have addressed at their upper level of voting?

Mr Dhar: It's felt that the voting system is so extreme in terms of its disparities that it could be considered inequitable.

Mr Elston: By whom? By you.

Mr Dhar: Yes, generally, in terms of the public interest in this matter.

Mr Eddy: It's not in the public interest. It's up to the elected representatives to decide how --

The Chair: Mr Eddy, order, please. You have an opportunity in a few minutes to state your opinion.

Mr Elston: But both the people who are with me today are members of county council, and the county council itself has voted, with the voting levels they currently have, to move to this new system. Doesn't that tell you something about what the people in Bruce county would like to try and make work? I don't understand why Municipal Affairs says, "The people in Bruce county don't know what's good for them, so we're going to save you from yourselves." Please explain it.

Mr Dhar: Maybe I can repeat what the minister has written in his letter, which is, "The degree of inequity that will exist among members concerns me, and I'm unable to support your private bill application."

The Chair: Mr Elston, we have other members who wish to proceed through questioning. That's not to suggest that you don't have a valid point to make, but they in turn, as people who are going to be voting on this bill, should also have an opportunity to ask their questions.

Mr Elston: I just want to leave one more remark and then I'll be quiet. A group of 31 representatives in a county council in Walkerton, Ontario, through several years, has gone through all kinds of attempts to look at what might be done to revamp their way of administering the upper level of government; put a lot of time into it, a fair number of resources. They don't want to have eight lower-tier municipalities, but they have opted for a more fair voting structure. Now those 31 men and women, having voted under the old voting system to go to this new voting system, are being told by Municipal Affairs, "We don't think you people know what you're doing, so we're going to save you from the disparity you've voted to implement."

So tell me, what is the point of these 31 men and women coming together to discuss local problems if really what they should be doing is accepting what the Municipal Affairs people are telling us?

The Chair: Mr Elston, I think you also know what the job of the Chair is. The job of the Chair is to remain as neutral as possible under the circumstances, and if I have to vote, I only vote in the case of a tie. At this point, it is my obligation to say to you that I think everyone in this room recognizes that your county council has worked very hard to try to come to a conclusion. I'm going to turn to Mr Hansen.


Mr Hansen: I could go with the suggestion of Mr Fletcher to sit down to talk to Municipal Affairs, defer it for a week or two, fast-track it and come back. Otherwise, I know how I'll be voting the way the bill is presently: I'll be voting no.

Mr Eddy: One of the rules I follow as an elected representative is that I say it's not for me to decide what form of local government you are going to have; it's for you to decide and it's for me to support that. I may have some views and I'd like to have some opinions about it, but it's for the people of the area to decide on workable solutions to their problems. Where we find that things don't work is when local representatives are not willing to face their problems and come in with a solution.

The ministry officials have mentioned that the highest voting power in an upper tier that they know about is four, but I want to inform you that in the happy days before regional governments in the province, there were some problems in the counties, particularly Peel county.

The township of Toronto, which formed the basis for the city of Mississauga with a number of other municipalities like Toronto, Gore township, Port Credit, Streetsville etc etc, paid 65% of the county rate, and they said: "We're not going to be part of this. We have" -- what was it? Two votes each? They had the maximum number of votes. They dealt with their problem before Peel region was formed, and it saved Peel county. They came in with a bill which the government I think was pleased to accept and approve, and that added extra representatives on Peel county council for Toronto township and it gave extra voting power; I recall it was six or eight votes each. It recognized the problems of the day.

I'd also make the point that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has had the opportunity for input. I've been advised by the representatives of Bruce county that they did talk to the ministry, and they are very busy and they probably have much more important things to deal with than imposing their will on the locally elected representatives in Bruce county, who I respect and commend again.

I think we should pass the bill, but maybe the ministry could monitor. If some municipality comes forward with a complaint, it's simply a private bill; it can be amended and it could be replaced, it could be rescinded. Let's see if the solution proposed by the Bruce county representatives will work and is workable and is acceptable. A municipal election, I understand, is coming up this year. Unfortunately, I won't have the opportunity be involved in it. But let's recognize what the Bruce county people want and let's see if it works. If there's a complaint in this next term, we'll have to face it. The ministry will, I'm sure, come forward with something.

Mr Hodgson: I have a clarification for the ministry officials. I was a warden of a county that has a greater discrepancy in weighted voting than this proposal gives. I was the reeve of a municipality that had almost 25% of the total weighted vote at county council. I was also the warden last year. This is not uncommon in rural Ontario for county structures. There are 140 votes in total on their schedule; the maximum number is 15. It doesn't come near some of the weighted votes when you just stick to the four. I had four votes out of 21 and some had four votes out of 17. This is 15 votes out of 140. This is in line with what goes on in the rest of Ontario. That's one point.

The second point is a follow-up to Mr Eddy's. This is a private bill, and we're looking for solutions; that's what politics is about. These people are accountable to their electorate. As a province, we should look at this test case and say, "Does this meet the needs?"

The problems associated with restructuring are twofold: One is the historical community sense of values that are identified in each one of these 31 municipalities, but the second is the provincial structure of grants. They lose money, these smaller areas: They get a higher road subsidy than they would at the upper tier or at the larger municipalities. So let's take advantage of test cases we're presented with. This is a private bill. Let's take a look at it for a couple of years. It's not out of line with what goes on in the rest of the province.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): It seems to me that what we're talking about here is the business of trying to on one hand respect the age-old principle of rep by pop while at the same time trying to protect though the interest of those who in that kind of system oftentimes get snowed under or have no voice. I'm sure any of us who represent regions where smaller municipalities interact with larger municipalities around the dissemination of resources and that kind of thing understand what this is about and understand the difficulties inherent in it.

I'd be very interested in knowing -- and I don't see any of it here today; maybe I'm just missing it -- how the smaller communities in Bruce county feel about this. Are they in support of this change? All I see is one presentation here from the township of Amabel. I don't see letters from the numerous other smaller communities, and I'm wondering how they're feeling about this particular piece of work. I would find that helpful in determining my response to this, given that they stand to lose in this exercise, and I think in looking at the fairness of this we should be considering their concerns. That would be my concern, personally, trying to respect the rep by pop principle, as we do in a modern progressive society, while at the same time protecting the interest of the smaller group, those who may not have the kind of say they need to protect their interest.

Mr Dhar: Mr White's asked me to read the recommendations of the Bruce county study. I'll just read the first four.

"(1) The study committee recommends a restructuring proposal for Bruce county that will consist of eight lower-tier municipal units. The restructuring option proposes that urban and rural be combined in the same municipal unit.

"(2) The study committee recommends that all eight municipalities be represented on county council.

"(3) The study committee recommends that county council composition be based on one representative for every 3,000 electors or population, whichever is greater, with a variance of up to 50%.

"(4) The study committee recommends that the principle of representation by population extend to all lower-tier municipalities with respect to the configuration of local council."

These are recommendations on representational issues.

Mr Elston: What does that have to do with this proposal?

Mr White: The member was asking a question about representation by population and the representation on council of the local municipalities. Those items were certainly dealt with in the Bruce county study. The Bruce county study, as you know, Mr Elston, involved almost full-time work from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in conjunction with the local council, extensive and long-term work on this issue. So the idea of coming to a resolution at this point in time or being able to defer an issue for a couple of weeks when this issue took such a long time to process, I'm not sure is realistic.

The Chair: Mr McIver, I believe you want to also answer Mr Martin's question.

Mr McIver: You were asking if there was any objection from the smaller municipalities. This bill was circulated to all municipalities and there were no objections to this proposal. Just to comment --

The Chair: Mr McIver, we still have a couple of other members to speak. We have other business to conclude as well today, so I'm going to try to move along to a vote shortly.


Mr Elston: Madam Chair, he had a couple of responses. Mr McIver was actually the chairman of the restructuring study group in the county, and he's now the warden. I think you might want to hear some of his --

The Chair: Could I get the other questions that are being put forward. If there is something he can add at that point, we can get a number of things taken care of, okay?

Mrs MacKinnon: I would like to pursue a bit further what Mr Eddy said a few minutes ago, maybe just clarification or something. You said to let them have this particular request, monitor it for a year, two years, whatever. My question is, are we going to open the floodgates? If so, are we prepared to deal with that? Will we not have counties all over this province coming in and saying, "You've done it for" -- what is this, Huron county?

The Chair: Bruce.

Mrs MacKinnon: Bruce. Pardon me. Sorry, Murray.

Mr Hansen: No laughing, Murray.

Mrs MacKinnon: If we do it for this, as I said, are we going to open the floodgates?

Mr Eddy: I'd like to respond to that at some time.

Mrs MacKinnon: Bear in mind that I have no problem with your suggestion; I just want to pursue it a bit more, that's all.

Mr Fletcher: Again, I believe there could be some accommodation made, and I don't think it can be made right here and right now. As to the comments about coming to Toronto and Toronto is saying no, that's not what is happening.

Mr Elston: What is happening?

Mr Fletcher: I think the ministry was quite clear in its position that this is out of the ordinary and it needs some work, and right now there is an opportunity for there to be some work done with Municipal Affairs to get a good resolution to the situation. It's not a problem. I think there are solutions, and the solutions can be dealt with. I don't think it can be dealt with in the bickering that's going on back and forth the way it is right now.

Mr Elston: So what are they?

The Chair: Mr McIver, I will give you an opportunity to answer some of the concerns that you feel were raised here.

Mr McIver: Thank you, Madam Chair. I'd like to sum up by agreeing with some of the statements Mr Hodgson made.

For people who don't understand counties -- they're a little difficult, maybe, for some to understand. But there are 26 counties in the province, so we're not that unique. We went through the restructuring exercise and we had ministry staff and the whole business, and we took a lot of time to try and sort this thing out, but it didn't work for us with regards to the amalgamation aspect of things. One thing we do know in Bruce county is that we're not ready for eight municipalities, the people are not ready for eight municipalities. But what the county council realized is that there are serious inequities within the system. There are members of county council, as Murray as indicated, who are working towards smaller amalgamations, but there are still inequities, and these inequities, we feel, have to be addressed by this private bill we've put forward here. We would just hope this committee here would give us some consideration to try and correct that situation.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr McIver. Are the members at this point ready to vote?

Mr Eddy: No. I'd like the opportunity to just answer the member from Lambton on her questions that were directed to me.

The Chair: Briefly, if you could.

Mr Eddy: Yes, very briefly. The answer to the question is that I don't think we'll see a flood of counties coming forward. Many counties are happy with the present provisions in the Municipal Act, which provides a reeve and a deputy reeve and votes based on 1,000 electors. It's not the best system.

Several counties have gone to the alternatives in the Municipal Act, the first being changing the representation on county council from votes based on 1,000 electors to votes based on 2,500, which of course results in many counties having deputy reeves locally who do not sit on county councils. You're familiar with that. Many other counties have gone to the system of reeves only where the voting power is based on 1,000 electors, but that is the same problem.

Then there are quite a few other counties, and I would expect it's approaching approximately a dozen, who have come forward and have private bills which deal with the number of representatives on county council and the voting power thereof, and there are various systems in place on those. They're already in place. That's what they wanted; that's what they got. The ministry may know the number, but it's between eight and 12 that have gone that route. They've tailored it, have done much like Bruce county council: They've looked at their local problems -- as you know, areas are unique -- and they've come up with a workable solution, it's come forward, and it's been approved. I don't know of any complaints about that or any petitions to change the system.

The whole solution is for the ministry to change the Municipal Act and say that representation voting power on county council shall be such system as the county council shall determine in cooperation with and with the approval of local municipalities. That's really the answer to the whole thing, to let the local people figure it out.

The answer is no, there will not be a flood, because (1) of the two alternatives presently in the Municipal Act and (2) of the several counties who have private bills tailored to their individual needs, like Bruce county would like to.

The final point is that rep by pop is a guideline but we really don't use it provincially. As members sitting here, we're not really sitting here representing population on an equal basis. I realize there's a system for that and it has to be.

Mr White: You're ahead. It's to your advantage.

Mr Eddy: Well, I don't know. I actually maybe represent fewer people than you do, parliamentary assistant, and some people would not consider that fair, especially when I have so much to say about some issues.

The Chair: I won't get into that for anything.

We have gone round the table several times, and at this point I'm going to put forward the question. Are members prepared to vote? Agreed.

Mr Eddy: Unless there's a deferral motion.

The Chair: So we will be voting on Bill Pr115, An Act respecting the County of Bruce.

Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? May I see hands? Shall sections 1 through 4 carry? Those in favour? Those against?

Mrs MacKinnon, you are going to have to vote.

Mrs MacKinnon: I can't find the bill. I want to know what I'm voting on.


The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Eddy. Those against? I'm sorry. Mrs MacKinnon didn't show. Those against?

Mr Eddy: She voted for it, as I saw.

The Chair: Thank you. Those sections are defeated. I would suggest that, under those circumstances, trying to deal with the bill and what have you would probably be -- well, I'll ask the question.

Shall the preamble carry? Again, would you please show? Those in favour?

Mr Hansen: Same vote.

The Chair: Shall the title carry?

Mr Hansen: Same vote.

The Chair: Same vote.

Shall the bill carry? Same vote.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Same vote.

Mr Eddy: We'd like to assure the representatives from Bruce county that a new government will be more receptive to them.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Eddy, for your editorial comment. Under the circumstances, I think it's appropriate to thank the members from Bruce county for their time and effort.

Order. If you want to hold conversations, I would ask members to go out into the hall.



Consideration of Bill Pr79, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

The Chair: The next order of business is Bill Pr79, An Act respecting the City of Toronto. Would Mrs Akande, as the sponsor, and the applicants please come forward. Please introduce the applicants and make any opening remarks you would like.

Maybe you'd better give it another minute, Mrs Akande, and wait for the noise level to go down.

Ms Akande: I am pleased to introduce to the committee Bill Pr79, a proposed amendment to the City of Toronto Act to provide the city of Toronto with the power to require proprietors of licensed premises to prominently post and maintain one or more signs warning that health risks are associated with drinking alcohol. The legislation as proposed would be an important component of the city's health promotion strategies which promote public awareness about the health risks associated with drinking alcohol.

I want to introduce you to those present here: Toronto city councillor Kay Gardner, city solicitor Dennis Perlin, and I believe Peter Tabuns.

Ms Kay Gardner: I'm sorry, Peter just left. It's Dr Perry Kendall, medical officer of health.

Ms Akande: You've got to tell me about these things.

The Chair: The noise in this room does strange things. I would ask all members and observers to kindly keep that in mind.

Ms Gardner, please let us know who the gentleman on your far right in fact is. I must admit I didn't hear his name.

Ms Gardner: I'm sorry, Madam Chair, that we didn't tell Ms Akande that it is Dr Perry Kendall, our medical officer of health for the city of Toronto. Peter Tabuns is the chairman of the board of health and just had to go back to the office, so he is not present. I'm here instead.

The Chair: We're very happy to see you. You may choose among yourselves who will be making the initial presentation, and then we'll open it up to questions.

Ms Gardner: I will make a very brief presentation and then perhaps your committee would like to ask the city solicitor and the medical officer of health any questions you so wish.

Madam Chair and members of the committee, Mayor Rowlands was not able to attend this committee today and in her absence has asked that I provide the committee with an overview of the legislation being proposed by the city of Toronto respecting the posting of signs warning that health risks are associated with drinking alcohol.

The council of the city of Toronto is providing significant leadership in its health promotion and public awareness campaign to raise community awareness regarding alcohol and health, including an increased emphasis on alcohol in school and community education programs conducted by city staff. City staff have also worked with the board of health subcommittee on substance abuse, health professionals, the Addiction Research Foundation and similar organizations to promote public awareness of health, social and fiscal costs of alcohol abuse.

The main purpose of this legislation is to enable the city to require the proprietors of licensed premises to prominently post and maintain one or more signs warning that health risks are associated with drinking alcohol. The proposed legislation, if enacted, will also allow the city to prescribe the location, size, wording and details of the sign which the proprietor is required to post.

It is my understanding that the city of Richmond, British Columbia, and many cities and states in the United States, including the state of New York, the city of Los Angeles and of course the city of New York and Palm Beach county in Florida, have similar legislation.

The city of Toronto believes this legislation is necessary to enable the city to continue its leadership role in the developing of alcohol abuse prevention strategies. I therefore would respectfully request that this committee support this legislation as it is proposed.

I would like to now ask our city solicitor, Dennis Perlin, to provide you with some background material on Bill Pr79.

Mr Perlin: Assisting Councillor Gardner is the chair of the city's neighbourhoods committee in presenting the technical nature of the bill. With me is the medical officer of health, Dr Kendall, and he would obviously be better able to elaborate on the health prevention and promotion strategies involved with respect to what is being proposed.

We're here this time, as I was here a previous time, really seeking clarity of our powers. Section 102 of the Municipal Act does allow for municipalities to pass bylaws regarding the health, safety, morality and welfare of the inhabitants of the municipality, if not dealt with in the Municipal Act or dealt with otherwise. The issue for us is whether there is any doubt as to the city's power to require the signs, by virtue of the Liquor Control Act or by virtue of the Liquor Licence Act, regarding the sale and distribution of alcohol. Those acts are silent with respect to the issue of the posting of signs, so one might infer that because there is no dealing with this matter elsewhere in legislation that we already have the power to require the posting of signs by virtue of the Municipal Act.

But we wanted to clarify the legislation because we are so regulated by very strict confines of the Municipal Act, so we've come forward with this particular bill. I know you've been here already a great deal, so I won't go on any longer. The bill is fairly self-explanatory. I would only suggest to you that there will be some amendments that are being proposed, as I understand it, and the city is in agreement with those amendments. They will help clarify how the posting of signs will be done. We wanted to let you know that we are in agreement with those, and of course we would ask you to approve the bill and report it to the House for passage.

The Chair: Thank you. Dr Kendall, did you have one or two comments to make?

Dr Perry Kendall: Yes. Madam Chair, committee members, I'd appreciate the opportunity to give some background to the health reasons for this bill.

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Ontario and its abuse is one of the most serious preventable threats to the health of the people of this province. In terms of adverse health effects, alcohol abuse is second only to smoking. A Ministry of Health report, Partners in Action: Ontario's Substance Abuse Strategy, notes that alcohol plays a part in a long list of society's most serious problems, from spousal and child abuse to traffic and accidental deaths, health problems, lost work time, violence and crime.

A further report states, "The problems stemming from alcohol use burden not only the health system but also the social services system, the legal system, employees, families, social relationships and individuals themselves."

The document notes that 50% of all Ontario traffic fatalities are related to alcohol; 30% of all falls, drownings and fires in Ontario are related to alcohol, which would amount to about 1,000 deaths per year; 10% of all Ontario cancer deaths are related to alcohol, which amounts to over 1,500 deaths per year; 5% of deaths due to heart disease and stroke are related to alcohol, which amounts to over 1,500 deaths per year.

Heavy alcohol use is also the primary cause of liver cirrhosis, alcohol psychosis and alcohol dependence syndrome. We also know it is the commonest preventable cause of mental retardation in newborns. And contrary to popular belief, these alcohol-related problems are not limited to the 10% of problem drinkers that we all know about. Research clearly shows that the harm from alcohol increases as the amount society drinks increases.


The Addiction Research Foundation's fact sheet estimates the social costs due to alcohol use in Ontario at about $5.8 billion, which I would ask you to contrast with the estimated provincial revenue of $1.4 billion. There is absolutely no doubt that a reduction in overall alcohol consumption would reduce not only the cost of providing health care in this province but also the costs of many of our social programs. Achieving that reduction is one of the major public health challenges.

It would be naïve to believe that the public is aware of all the problems that alcohol can cause or that these will be solved without a massive change in attitude in the combined efforts of government and health professionals.

We have evidence that warning signs are an important and useful way of raising awareness of alcohol use. We have a lot of evidence, which I think the ARF could introduce, that where alcohol beverage labelling or warning signs have been introduced, that awareness has risen. We know from New York state that when they introduced warnings on foetal alcohol syndrome, the mothers' awareness of this increased by a significant 13% in one year. Other studies show a greater increase in awareness and intention to reduce drinking.

Given the importance of this and the support for this from the public, I would just like to say that our existing signs have been well received by the public. Compliance by the business community has been excellent. It's only one part of the city's comprehensive strategy to promote low-risk alcohol use. Its other strategies include public and school-based education, workplace policies, server interventions and support for advertising and pricing policies.

I'd like to thank you for your time and just close with one quote, if I could:

"Alcohol is not just another consumer product. A substance associated with so many serious health, social and economic problems, affecting all levels of society and all age groups, deserves special attention and regulation. This is one of the central premises on which the provincial substance abuse strategy is based."

I would ask you therefore to support the enabling legislation and help reduce the serious problems caused by alcohol abuse. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Dr Kendall. Just to let all visitors know what the usual procedure is, we try to get all interested parties on either side of the question to make their presentations first and then open it up to comments from the parliamentary assistant and then to the members.

At this point I would ask the following people, who I understand would like to make a presentation: the Ontario Restaurant Association, I believe Mr Oliver, Jan Westcott of the Brewers of Ontario, Ms Cimicata of Bacchus Canada and the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association, Diane Stefaniak. Since that's, I think, enough for the microphones that we have available for the moment, I would ask you all, realizing that this committee normally ends around 12, to keep your remarks in that time frame.

Mr Oliver, if you would like to begin, please.

Mr Paul Oliver: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Ontario Restaurant Association, I am pleased to appear before you today in order to provide you with our views and our comments on private member's Bill Pr79.

Generally, as a course of practice, the ORA has traditionally not appeared before this committee regarding private members' legislation, as this type of legislation is generally of a regulatory or technical nature and does not set government policy. However, the association felt compelled to appear here before you today because we see Bill Pr79 as much broader than a simple regulatory issue.

We believe that it is fundamentally changing the relationship and the clear delineation of responsibility between the municipal government and the province of Ontario. In particular, we are concerned that the legislation is undermining the authority of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and creating a costly, patchwork, regulatory environment in Ontario through which the hospitality industry must operate and by which consumers are impacted.

Bill Pr79 will enable the city of Toronto to require all licensed establishments and locations where adult beverages are sold to require the posting of mandatory signs warning of the health risks of drinking beer, wine and spirits. Currently in the city of Toronto, the city has required mandatory signs warning that drinking beer, wine or spirits during pregnancy can harm the baby.

This sign has been up for several months within the city of Toronto and the city has now come forward to the province asking for the enabling legislation which would allow them to actually have the sign posted. This type of mandatory sign is presently outside, or our belief is it's outside, of the regulatory parameters of municipal governments.

It is further our understanding that officials within the government of Ontario have raised significant concerns regarding the wording of the existing sign which has been placed in Toronto establishments because of its tendency to single out certain members of our society.

As a result, Bill Pr79 has been amended to eliminate the reference to pregnancy or foetal alcohol syndrome and instead would not allow the singling out of one member of our society or one ailment created possibly by beverage alcohol.

This is one of the areas where our concern arises. We believe that this type of regulatory activity is clearly within the responsibility of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Health. We do not see a need for the city of Toronto to intervene in an area of legislation already clearly within the responsibility of the province of Ontario.

In particular, we are concerned that if the government of Ontario gives this responsibility to the city of Toronto, then it is in fact abandoning its responsibility to regulate beverage alcohol in Ontario. If this is the case, we see this as an undermining of the responsibilities of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and in fact diminishing its role as a regulatory body in Ontario.

We, therefore, do not believe that the city of Toronto should be intervening in areas which are already clearly within the scope of the provincial government.

Secondly, we are concerned about the patchwork and the regulatory burden placed on operators, in particular foodservice operators that operate in various municipalities throughout Ontario.

One of the reasons that this health promotion responsibility regarding regulation of beverage alcohol is at the provincial level is to ensure that a consistent message is delivered across Ontario in all municipalities, in all licensed establishments and all locations where adult beverages are sold.

By allowing municipalities to intervene into the regulatory area rather than the promotion area, we will not only undermine this consistent and regulatory message, but we will also add a regulatory barrier or burden on small businesses that operate in several different municipalities.

This creates a situation where, on one side of the street, an operator is required to post signs whereas, on the other side of the street, they may not be required to post a sign or, in the future, will be required to place a different sign with a different message in a different location.

For businesses operating in Ontario, this adds substantial cost to the cost of doing business. For consumers it's extremely confusing, and this in turn may reduce the effectiveness of provincial educational programs already under way as well as reduce the impact of municipal educational programs.

We believe it is imperative that as much responsibility as possible be maintained at the provincial level to ensure a consistent regulatory environment throughout Ontario and to ensure that the public receives a consistent message, regardless of whether they reside in Toronto, Oshawa, St Catharines, Windsor or anywhere throughout Ontario.

For an operator operating in two municipalities, if he or she knows that they have to place a sign but it's provincially mandated, they will know what the sign is, where the sign is to go, and the rules are consistent. But if you have various municipalities adopting a patchwork quilt of legislation, various signs, various rules, this creates a huge regulatory burden for small operators.

We are trying to move away from this in the area of food- handling regulations within our industry by working with the Ontario Ministry of Health to develop more commonly accepted interpretations of food-handling regulations.

Unfortunately this regulation or Bill Pr79 on adult beverage signage moves in the opposite direction. Everyone in this room, I'm sure, shares the belief that we need to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden placed on small business as well as the cost of government in general.

Regretfully, by shifting regulatory and legislative responsibility from the provincial level to the municipal level, we are undermining these initiatives and in fact are developing additional regulatory burdens and additional costs for taxpayers, and it's only one taxpayer.

Therefore, because of the cost placed on small business, because of the regulatory burden of having patchwork legislation all across Ontario and the strong possibility that the public will receive conflicting and different messages, we would encourage this committee to reject Bill Pr79 and maintain regulatory and legislative responsibility at the provincial level.


In addition to the arguments already set out, we are concerned that Bill 79 will create costly duplication which will impact taxpayers. By allowing municipalities to enter into a field which has traditionally been reserved for provincial regulatory agencies, we fear that there will be duplication and this in turn will place a substantial cost on taxpayers who will end up paying for the same service delivered by two different levels of government.

The ORA believes it is important that there is a clear delineation between the federal, provincial and municipal responsibility when it comes to regulating adult beverages so as to ensure that scarce tax dollars are not wasted through the costly duplication of services by different levels of government.

If the province were to bring out signs in the future, how would this impact on municipalities that already have signs? Once again we would have to go back and revisit this legislation, undertake a review of it or create a duplicate regulatory structure. This will place an additional cost on taxpayers or mean resources from other more important projects will have to be cut or diverted towards this project.

As a taxpayer I'm quite concerned when I see municipal governments intervening in provincial issues or the province intervening in municipal levels. I believe that as taxpayers we get the most value by having clear responsibilities and not having one level of government intervening in the regulatory area of another.

The licensing and regulating of adult beverages in the province of Ontario is clearly a provincial matter. Therefore, the Ontario Restaurant Association believes that it should continue to remain within the scope of the government of Ontario. For this reason, I would once again encourage this committee to reject Bill 79 and continue to maintain regulatory responsibility for licensed establishments and retailers of beverage alcohol at the provincial level.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Oliver. I reiterate the fact that we do have some constraints of time. I would also like to advise members that you've received some correspondence from some different associations that are not represented this morning as well as from some other constituents who wish to express their opinion. The clerk has distributed them for your perusal and information. I would ask Jan Westcott to make his presentation.

Mr Jan Westcott: I'm Jan Westcott. I'm the executive director of the Brewers of Ontario, an industry trade association that represents all of the licensed brewers in the province of Ontario. I also represent and speak for Brewers Retail Inc, which is a private company that operates 432 retail stores as well as a province-wide wholesale distribution system that services bars, restaurants and hotels for beer. It's commonly known as the Beer Store. I'm sure many of you have been there.

I've asked to appear today to oppose the bill and the application by the city of Toronto. I have four reasons -- some of which Paul has touched on, but I'll be brief -- why Ontario brewers believe this legislation should not proceed.

Beverage alcohol policy and all of its aspects is the absolute purview of each provincial government. It's a jurisdiction and a responsibility that has been very actively guarded and very jealously guarded for almost 65 years, since the end of Prohibition.

When the federal government passed the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act in 1927 or 1928, it started a process going that said provincial governments are responsible. Provincial governments for a number of reasons, social, health, revenue, environmental, have guarded that responsibility very jealously, and in fact there have been many, many fights with the federal government of Canada over who has constitutional authority in this area.

Over the time this has taken place, Ontario has evolved a very strict set of rules governing virtually every aspect of the beverage alcohol business from manufacturing to sale to promotion and advertising. I used to work in the nuclear industry. I thought that was a heavily regulated industry. I was kidding myself. Compared to alcohol, compared to beer, wine and spirits, there is no other industry that has the extent of government involvement in its business on a day-to-day basis in every single aspect. They tell us what we can make, how we can make it, where we can sell it, who we can sell it to, and on and on and on and on. And the fact is, the Ontario public has come to accept that and has come to respect that.

We have what is considered among the most comprehensive regulatory framework that exists anywhere. It's overseen by two very large provincial agencies, the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which report to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, which, I am surprised, given that we're talking about changing alcohol policy fundamentally in Ontario, isn't represented and isn't playing a part. Both of these organizations play a very active role in examining, modifying and shaping public policy on alcohol and ensure that Ontario policies reflect both current concerns and new developments.

We think it's completely inappropriate to further delegate the authority resident in these two bodies to the city of Toronto, which has neither the background nor the experience to adequately address these policy issues. At a time when governments are having considerable difficulty meeting their existing mandates, including the city of Toronto, we are perplexed as to why this duplication of responsibility and jurisdiction is being proposed.

This all started with the city wanting to do something on FAS. Our experience with the city over the last two or three years indicates that in considering such issues as foetal alcohol syndrome and other issues related to alcohol abuse, the city hasn't always been guided by facts and science. In fact, in many cases it seems to be just plain politics.

I'm going to talk a little bit about FAS. I know that the legislation has now been broadened and I'm going to talk about FAS, because that's where this started. It's a fact that research conducted in August 1991 among women in Toronto demonstrated that an astounding 92% of them were aware of the risks of drinking while pregnant and did not need science to inform them.

Moreover, when they were asked where they could get reliable information about health issues around drinking while they were pregnant or otherwise, 42% said that they could get it from their doctors, another 41% said that a national education campaign would be instructive, but only 2% said that warning signs might provide this information.

It's a fact that when the city proposed to do this, and many groups came forward to speak to this, several groups that worked directly with women most at risk in respect of FAS told the city that signs weren't the answer. Specific programs targeted at risk communities were what was needed, and that's where the attention and the resources needed to be focused.

It's a fact, or it was stated repeatedly, that a lot of the people who are most at risk from things like FAS in fact don't speak English. There were pockets in the community of various people with different cultural backgrounds, so putting up signs was literally a wasted effort. There was also some comment that many of the people that were potentially at risk from this were not literate and that targeted programs that would address these people at risk needed to be developed.

The Chair: Mr Westcott, we have probably six more groups. You've taken over five minutes now. We are running within time constraints.

Mr Westcott: That's fine. I'm getting to the end.

It's also true that some women's organizations came forward and said that they opposed the approach that was being taken by the city. What I'm trying to point out is that these are complex issues. They're not dealt with simply, they are very prone to local politics, and the value of having a provincial authority look at this and determine policy has become quite evident to us. We think it would in fact be very retrogressive if the policy were now to be determined by local politics as opposed to study, facts and science.

The most disturbing part, and why we object to this -- and Paul alluded to it -- is the fragmentation that's going to take place across the province. Toronto wants to do it. Thunder Bay will want to do something else. We'll have this competition out there where everybody tries to outdo each other. That adds cost; it adds complexity.

I'd only leave you with one thing: When the six million people who drink beer in this province responsibly, legally, intelligently and for valid and legitimate reasons go into a beer store, 50% of what they pay, in large part thanks to the taxes imposed by the government of Ontario, is tax. I can't explain to that consumer why that price should go up to support something that isn't going to do the job.

The last point that I want to make, and I brought some materials with me, is that in 1990 our industry recognized some of the difficulties and some of the dangers responsible in FAS. It can be drinking and driving. The beer industry has been doing work for 25 years aggressively to get the message out. We have a big stake in people using our products responsibly.


In 1990 we started a program with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and I'll pass it around. We put information in doctors' offices so that women would have legitimate information when they needed it, where they needed it, at a credible and a reliable source. We did this, we paid for it, we think it's the right approach; it's a targeted approach. It doesn't offer something for everybody; it addresses where specific problems are.

One of the areas -- I recognize the sensitivity -- one of the areas that has recently, I guess over the last couple of years, come forward as an area that needed some work was the native community. Two months ago the beer industry in Canada, together with the native physicians association of Canada, launched a campaign to get the message to people about responsible consumption and what drinking is and what it should be and what it shouldn't be.

This is the approach that needs to be taken; not general signs that do not -- I'm particularly impressed with the amendment which says you can't actually address any of the specific problems that are out there.

The Chair: Mr Westcott, are you done? As I said before, we have six other groups who would like to come forward, and we do have some time constraints.

Mr Westcott: Okay, I'll stop there. Thank you.

The Chair: We have Carmi Cimicata next.

Ms Carmi Cimicata: I'm grateful for the opportunity to address this committee on Bill 79. As the executive director of Bacchus Canada, a national alcohol awareness organization that works exclusively with university and college students based in Toronto, I have a personal interest in this city's alcohol policies. In fact, I've been an active member of the city of Toronto's alcohol advisory committee since its inception. I think a lot of people don't even know that the city of Toronto has an alcohol advisory committee and most of the people at this table and the people who are speaking after us are also members of that committee.

My opposition to this bylaw is twofold. Firstly, alcohol warning signs have never been clearly proven to be effective and therefore I feel that they would be a waste of taxpayers' dollars, which could be redirected to better and more effective prevention efforts.

Last year the city of Toronto passed a bylaw mandating that signs be posted in all licensed premises, warning about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. In the wake of the ensuing controversy over this bylaw, city council formed the Toronto Alcohol Advisory Committee. It was my understanding when I joined this committee that the city was genuinely interested in addressing alcohol issues and would use the committee's work as a guide for future policy.

After one year, and no new alcohol initiatives yet from the city, we now have this bill before you. It's interesting that the city is here but the city's alcohol advisory committee is not. Instead of just one warning sign, city council is now asking the province for the power to force licensed establishments to post one or more signs warning about the health risks associated with alcohol.

My organization has done a considerable amount of review and reading on the issue of alcohol warning signs and labels. Our position at the time of city council's original FAS warning sign debate, and one we are even more convinced of today, was that alcohol warning signs are not an effective way to combat alcohol abuse.

The 1989 National Alcohol and Other Drug Use in Ontario survey, conducted by the staff from the Addiction Research Foundation, reported that drinking in bars, taverns or restaurants accounts for only 28% of total drinking in this province. The majority of drinking takes place in private settings. Unless the city next decides to mandate warning signs on the doors of everybody's house, it's highly unlikely that the messages will ever reach the majority of the people in the city.

Perhaps more importantly, I'm against making the hospitality industry, particularly licensed establishments, responsible for educating people about health risks. Why aren't we legislating the medical profession before the hospitality industry?

At a lecture on foetal alcohol syndrome at the University of Toronto last year, we asked Dr Ernest Abel, generally regarded as the world's foremost expert on FAS, to give a detailed overview of the FAS and discuss prevention strategy. This is what he had to say about warning labels:

"The more messages we are bombarded with, the more likely we are to ignore them. There are messages out there for everything, the dangers of bubble baths to the dangers of smoking to the dangers of X, Y or Z. After a while people stop paying attention."

Just as smokers are not affected by the warnings on a package of cigarettes, the problem drinker or alcoholic will not be deterred by a warning sign. It does not make any sense then for city council to direct any more funds towards signage.

As an educator, I'm constantly hearing people say, "If we just save one life," and the question I'm constantly responding with is, "What if you're hurting others?" In particular, I wish the Hospital for Sick Children was here, because after the FAS sign went up in Toronto bars, the Hospital for Sick Children's mother-risk line was inundated with calls from women who are now worried about their pregnancy and the risk to their unborn child because of the sign they had seen.

I guess with Dr Abel's lecture in my mind, I'm not against warning signs, I'm against signs that don't work. The issue of signage is not whether it's good or bad in itself. If you're doing something, do it right, but do not expect too much from the signage. If you have limited resources, don't spend them that way on the signage because they won't work.

We know that the city of Toronto's financial resources are indeed limited. That's why, as an alcohol education organization, Bacchus cannot support the city of Toronto spending tax revenue on more warning signs when there are so many other more effective prevention alternatives out there. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Cimicata. I would ask if the three people who have presented so far could relinquish their seats. We have Jane Meldrum from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Margaret Sprenger, Fetal Alcohol Support Network and Norman Giesbrecht from the Addiction Research Foundation. I'm going to be ruthless at this point with time.

I am going to make sure that the microphones are cut off after two minutes, because we have a few other members who wish to speak. We still have three members at this point who wish to ask questions of a rather large group of people. I know there's going to be slippage as far as time, but in order to get this done in a reasonable manner, I'm sorry, I'm going to have to impose some limits.

Ms Stefaniak, if you would please start.

Ms Diane Stefaniak: Thank you for giving me the opportunity of sharing with you the concerns of our members and how this proposal will affect their business. I am Diane Stefaniak, executive director of the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association. We represent licensed operators, the majority of whom are small businesses throughout the province of Ontario.

Our members recognize the need for responsible service of alcoholic beverages. We did not wait to be told that we had to have mandatory service training programs. OHMA took the lead and introduced a responsible server training program back in the 1980s, and today we are working with our colleagues in the hospitality industry to produce an even better program. I'm going to take Jan's lead and pass this newsletter out that will give you an idea of what we are doing to help this responsible service.

The hospitality industry creates jobs. I'm sorry, am I interrupting conversations or should I wait?

The Chair: No, we're not paying appropriate attention; that's our fault, not yours.

Ms Stefaniak: Thank you. The hospitality industry creates jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and, of course, service.

We argued against the placement of the signs warning pregnant women about drinking alcoholic beverages. This was because we felt that the program was not properly targeted and that the signs would not solve problems. I'd like to know today if there are statistics available on the success of these signs, and those statistics are in Toronto. I feel that awareness does not prove that they were effective.

I also should comment on Carmi's comment about the calls to the hospital. Those calls were from women that were pregnant who had taken only one drink and were contemplating abortion because they were afraid that they had one drink and they were going to hurt the baby. This is why we felt that it put undue worry into the minds of these people.

The Chair: At that point, Ms Stefaniak, I'm going to have to stop.

Ms Stefaniak: Is that with the interruptions that I have to stop?

The Chair: Actually, yes.


Ms Stefaniak: I would just like to say I strongly oppose it. I have to add, I've sat in on meetings and I have found committees very rude. I have found that when we speak in opposition, we're cut short. When we speak in favour, we're allowed to speak.

The Chair: Ms Stefaniak, if I may respond to that briefly, so far the presenters for your side of the equation have had as much time, in fact more time, than will probably be allowed for the other people at this point. So I don't think that comment is in fact appropriate.

Mr O'Neil: Madam Chair --

The Chair: Mr O'Neil, I'm sorry, we do have some other presenters.

Mr O'Neil: On a point of order: This is an important issue, and I think that we have to listen to some of these people. Could we not sit past 12 o'clock?

The Chair: We will be, Mr O'Neil. There is no doubt that we will be. If the members are unanimous to sit here until l:30, that is, of course, another matter. But I suspect that you have some calls to make -- I know I do -- as well as other orders of business that have to be taken care of. Under the circumstances I think it is wise to try to stick as closely to the allotted time for the committee as is possible. I suspect you agree.

Mr O'Neil: But the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association is a very important tourism group. We're going to have some of these other people who are either going to be for it or against it, and I'd like to see a little leeway given to give some of these people on both sides a little more time. I know, as a committee member, I'm prepared to sit here a little longer if we have to.

I realize the job you have in trying to keep within time limits, but why don't you put it and see if the rest of the members are willing to -- you know, to cut somebody off after a couple of minutes is not really fair, an organization like theirs. Other people are going to be listening too.

The Chair: We have another five groups to listen to as well as asking questions and you are one of the questioners. We're trying to give everyone a fair bit of time.

I would ask Mrs Meldrum to make her presentation.

Mr O'Neil: Madam Chair, you haven't really answered my question. I don't believe that --

The Chair: It's now almost seven minutes to 12 and we have five other groups to go through, plus your questions.

Mr O'Neil: Can we extend the time that we're here?

The Chair: We will be here past 12. There is no doubt that we will be here past 12. It depends on your questions and how much time the members take up as to how much longer past 12 we will be sitting here.

Mr O'Neil: Well, I don't believe it's being quite fair.

The Chair: Mrs Meldrum, if you would please --

Mrs Jane Meldrum: I have to agree with you, Mr O'Neil, and also object to all of a sudden a two-minute limit being put on speakers where other speakers were allowed. While you did bring up the fact that there was a time limit, no time limit was mentioned nor the length the time limit would be.

The Chair: In fact the clerk informs me she has informed a number of the people who will be making presentations that the presentations were to be brief and were to take up to about two minutes. I interrupted previous speakers and asked them to conclude their remarks. They took longer.

I apologize to all of you. I probably should have shut off their microphones sooner. But the reality is, under normal circumstances, we would be leaving at 12 o'clock, and under the circumstances, we will be sitting longer.

I would ask everyone, keeping the concerns of time uppermost in their minds, if we could keep the remarks on point, brief, so that we could get to the questions and get to the vote and move forward. So, Ms Meldrum, if you would please make your remarks.

Mrs Meldrum: Thank you. My name is Mrs Meldrum and I'm from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I'm quite intimidated being here as a speaker because I'm not a public speaker. But I come here with perhaps a side that has never been presented to you, and that is the personal tragedy of drinking. Our families are the victims of drunk drivers, as you know. I would like to tell you two personal stories that start off the trauma of a family hit by the alcohol causation.

A father is told that his son and wife have just been killed by a drunk driver. He goes to a small local Ontario hospital to identify the bodies. The morgue in a small Ontario hospital does not meet TV standards. Those bodies have been wheeled into a small side room.

When they arrived there, there was an instant rush and the nurses said, "Give us a few minutes to wipe away the blood to make the bodies more presentable." When they got into the room, the blood was wiped away, but what they could not wipe away was the look of horror on those two young people's faces as they must have seen this car coming and killing them both instantly.

I was saved the horror of having to identify our son's body, but when I went to the hospital it was to overhear a nurse saying to our son's co-worker that we would have to be prepared for what we were going to see in that room. We asked Graham's co-worker if he would take on the task of identifying Graham and he volunteered to do that. They asked us if this was all right with us because they thought we shouldn't see our son's body, and we never did say goodbye to our son.

Three years later we did get the autopsy report and when we read it, it was to learn that Graham died with massive head injuries, broken ribs, broken arms, liver and spleen ruptured, legs broken, a crime so violent against another human being by a criminal who was impaired and driving a car.

There is such a personal side to this, and I'm asking you, as representatives of citizens of this country, to please do something. If it's a sign in a bar, for God's sake let us to do it. Since I left home this morning, another Canadian family has been put through the hell of one of their members being killed by a drunk driver.

This is the only statistic I give to you today, and I plead with you that if this will somehow stop not only the drinking and driving, the foetal alcohol syndrome, the wife battering, the husband battering, all the social ills that are connected with alcoholism, please pass this bill.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Meldrum. You are an excellent public speaker. Mrs Sprenger.

Mrs Margaret Sprenger: I represent the Fetal Alcohol Support Network. I speak from the front lines. I speak for the parents who have adopted these children. I speak for birth parents.

Our mandate is, first of all, to prevent alcohol-related birth defects; our second is to raise awareness of the damage suffered by persons in our society which is brain damage. It is lifelong. There is no pill that anyone can take to restore them to normal. We do not count our tragedies in deaths. We count our tragedies in a lessened quality of life.

This knowledge is in the hands of researchers and members of the health care professions. This knowledge must be gotten out to the general public. It is not fair that a certain segment of our society should possess this knowledge. Signs in public are one of the means of getting this knowledge to the public.

You might say that people can find these facts out from their doctors, but the women and girls most in danger probably will not see a doctor until the later months of their pregnancy. Therefore, the only means they have of getting this knowledge is through public signs or labels on bottles.

The cost of maintaining a person with full-blown foetal alcohol syndrome for its lifetime is $1 million. Considering the rate at which the children are being born and growing up to adulthood, we cannot afford it.

If signs were not effective, we would pull down all our traffic warnings and all our advertising. We know signs are effective. Alcohol-caused health and social problems warrant the posting of signs.


The Chair: At this point, perhaps I could ask the two presenters who have made their presentation to relinquish their seats for Susan Bondy. Is she going to join you, Mr Giesbrecht?

Mr Norman Giesbrecht: I'm going to make the presentation.

The Chair: For both of you? Then I would ask Dr Korn from the Donwood to come forward as well. Mr Giesbrecht, possibly you could start making your presentation while we await Dr Korn.

Mr Hansen: Point of order, Madam Chair: It's 12 o'clock.

The Chair: I understand.

Mr Hansen: Do we have permission from the House leaders to sit beyond 12?

The Chair: I would ask for unanimous consent on behalf of the members.

Mr Eddy: Unanimous consent agreed. I'll speak for the Tories too; they're not here.

The Chair: Thank you, members. Please continue.

Mr Giesbrecht: Thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of enabling legislation regarding the posting of alcohol warning signs in places that sell or serve alcohol. I believe you have a copy of the text of our remarks in front of you.

The Addiction Research Foundation, by the way, is an organization of about 500 employees across the province of Ontario. It is committed to reducing the harm caused by alcohol through dissemination of our research findings, providing advice and guidance in community offices throughout Ontario, offering support for policy initiatives such as this one, and in general, making the public more aware of the hazards of alcohol.

In light of the damage caused by inappropriate and excessive drinking in our society, this is both innovative and important legislation and we congratulate our policymakers for proposing the same.

Although the majority of adults in Ontario occasionally drink alcohol, we all know that alcohol is not a benign substance. It is not like bread or milk or breakfast cereal. It is a toxin that can cause problems, for example, even in small amounts, to the foetus, or to the inexperienced teenaged drinker taking too much, too quickly, or to the adult who drinks regularly and is unaware of the increased tolerance or possible health risks.

Currently, there is a dramatic imbalance. If we consider, for example, our experiences over the last week, we could ask, how many advertisements did we see or hear encouraging drinking, whether they were specific beverage ads on TV or radio, in magazines or on billboards, or promotional notices on sponsored events? Now consider for the same period, how many messages did we see or hear which warned us about the risks associated with alcohol use? Clearly, the relatively few signs or warnings that are available are visually and numerically overwhelmed by effective promotional messages.

We recommend, therefore, that getting information to drinkers at the point of purchase of alcohol is an important information strategy as part of an overall prevention program.

To further support this legislation, we would like to present six additional key points:

(1) Many members of the general public are not well informed about the risks of drinking.

(2) The public has a right to know about the risks of drinking alcohol, which has been shown to be associated with a wide range of serious traumatic and chronic health conditions.

(3) Clearly, women's health issues are not the only cause for concern. In 1989, there were about 7,000 deaths overall in Ontario directly or indirectly attributed to alcohol consumption, with about twice as many attributed to men as women.

(4) A few studies in the United States focusing on warning posters and warning signs indicate that they effectively communicate information to viewers, particularly if the message is clearly displayed and enhanced by colours or icons. Some of this research also points to the increase in knowledge about the risks as the result of such signs, including among heavier drinkers, and with the intention to change behaviour.

(5) A large-scale U.S. national survey of about 4,000 cases reported last year by Lee Kaskutas and Karen Graves, focusing on warning labels, warning signs and media advertisements about drinking-related risks associated with pregnancy, found that those exposed to multiple messages were more likely to talk about the issues, and those exposed to all three types of messages were twice as likely to report reducing their drinking due to health concerns.

(6) In Ontario, surveys from 1989 onwards show that there is high support for increasing public awareness about the risks of alcohol: 72% supported this -- warning labels, for example -- in 1989, and 86% in 1992 and 79% in 1993.

In conclusion, therefore, we strongly support the legislation that increases public awareness about the risks of a range of alcohol-related safety and health hazards. We would hope that such legislation could be seen as complementing other approaches, including community action programs, increased law enforcement, other education programs and public-health-oriented alcohol policy.

The Addiction Research Foundation supports this legislation and sees it as one important step among many that need to be discussed and taken.

The Chair: I would now ask Dr Korn from the Donwood Institute to make some brief remarks.

Dr David Korn: I'll make three brief points. May I introduce myself first. I'm David Korn. I'm a public health physician and the CEO at the Donwood Institute, a provincial resource for the prevention and treatment of alcohol and other drug-related problems, and I'm the former chief medical officer of health for the province of Ontario.

As indicated, alcohol is a prevalent substance that's part of the fabric of our society, but it is also, on the other hand, a major cause of both illness and disease in our province. I am supportive of the enabling legislation for the following three reasons.

I believe it is responsible. The city of Toronto is taking a responsible public health strategy to increase awareness of the risks associated with alcohol use. Fundamentally, what we all hope to do, I believe, is to assist people to have the information in order that they may make informed choices.

Secondly, this legislation, I believe, is compatible with the province's strategy for substance abuse and health in general. There are numerous pieces of legislation and policy initiatives over the past number of years in Ontario under the umbrella of a healthy public policy. Alcohol is a high priority of the Premier's Council. The provincial substance abuse strategy ranks alcohol high and, as well, the efforts have shifted towards prevention, health promotion and community decision-making.

Thirdly, I believe this is an appropriate piece of legislation because it in fact does empower local communities and municipalities, the city of Toronto, to take action. Public health has historically been a local issue in Ontario, so I think this is quite compatible with public health policy historically and currently within the province.

In conclusion, the city of Toronto has been and continues to be a leader in public health in North America. The proposal enables the city to proceed in a multidimensional local alcohol strategy and I hope you will support this effort. It is a complex issue, but I believe that on balance, by supporting this legislation, you will do more good than harm.

The Chair: Thank you, Dr Korn. On another committee we had a chance to visit your institution and were suitably impressed. At this point I am going to turn to Mr White for any comments on behalf of the relevant ministries.

Mr White: I have a number of comments from differing ministries. I will go over them, and then to the summary. Let me state clearly that while I have a personal position on this, which I will speak to later if I have the opportunity, my position is not reflected here.

Firstly, the Minister of Health recommended that this act be amended so that it reflects a general applicability, that the issue of pregnancy alone should not be targeted, and I am certainly pleased to see that is the case, that the general health issues were addressed in the legislation as opposed to the specific foetal alcohol syndrome alone.

The Attorney General's concerns were dealt with.

The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, to whom both the LLBO and LCBO report, does not object.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs is neutral and the Ministry of Health -- as I mentioned, I have two representatives from that ministry -- is not concerned with the issues that were brought up before.


Mr White: No. Basically, the Ministry of Health is supportive of the legislation. As a government, we are either neutral or, in the case of the Ministry of Health, supportive of the legislation.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a question. I'd like to find out from the parliamentary assistant whether the various ministries had discussions with the city, either with Kay Gardner, who is still here I think, or with Dennis Perlin or the chief officer of health. Has there been some discussion, especially in terms of the letter by the Minister of Health?

Mr White: I believe there was some discussion and there has been some dialogue with the city. One comment I should make: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation I believe should have been informed, but there is no comment here from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation. The Ontario Restaurant Association and the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association put forth views which are very considered concerns for how that would affect their industry.

The Chair: I just want to point out to other members who may not have gotten quite to the end of their package that there is a letter there from the Minister of Health in support of the legislation. If you would like to peruse your documents, you will see it there.

Mr Ruprecht: That was precisely one of my points. I'm going to vote in favour of this, but I'm trying to determine -- the minister's letter says here that it should be expanded. Perhaps I can get the solicitor from the city of Toronto to answer that if he can. Maybe Drummond can answer that. The Minister of Health says she would support this legislation if it would be expanded. There are warning signs I see here, both from the city of Richmond and the city of Toronto: solely the question within the jurisdiction of pregnancy and harm to babies. Has that been expanded now or is that a problem for you?

Mr Perlin: That's not a problem for the city. We would be happy with the bill being amended to provide for a larger program than just aiming at FAS.

Mr Ruprecht: There's no problem with that?

Mr Perlin: No.

Mr Ruprecht: If that's the case, let me just make a brief comment on this, or can I get a chance later? That was one of the questions. Go ahead and I'll get on it later.

Mr O'Neil: Of course, the contradiction in this whole issue is that we're talking about the evils of drink and all these other things related to it, yet the federal government, the provincial governments, the municipal governments and in this case the city of Toronto are all for bringing in any fees or any income that will help the coffers of whatever particular government they're dealing with.

Although I support anything that is going to deter people from drinking and keep healthier lifestyles -- that's a great thing and likely the intent of the city of Toronto is towards that area -- I would not support this particular bill, because I don't think the city of Toronto should be involved in this particular case, in the putting up of these signs. You're going to be into the signs, you're going to be into inspectors, you're going to be into justices of the peace enforcing them. You get into all of these things.

As far as I'm concerned, the next thing that happens is it goes from the city of Toronto to every other municipality in the province of Ontario. Other cities and towns and villages get into the same act. They've all got to enact legislation. They've all got to have people who are going to enforce it, check it out and all these other things.

As has been mentioned by some of the people in the tourism industry, I think it would be better if you gave it to somebody like the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, which would set a uniform policy throughout the rest of the province and would say, "For every liquor establishment or every establishment serving drinks, these are the things you should do." For some of these groups that made presentations today, I think those presentations should be made to the liquor licence board or the liquor control board, and have a uniform policy throughout the rest of the province.

We're just getting into more red tape, maybe some political avenues on this. I don't think the city of Toronto and other municipalities should be in it. Let somebody like the province of Ontario, through the liquor licence board -- I'm very surprised that no one from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, which looks after the liquor licence board or the Liquor Control Act, made recommendations and said, "We will listen to these groups," or, "We'll listen to the presentations or the suggestions from the city of Toronto or other municipalities as to how they would like to see this regulated -- signs going up in washrooms or in liquor establishments." Let them handle it. You're going to get into so much red tape and confusion and the whole works.

I'm afraid that although I support the intent of this bill, I personally will not support it because I think it should have been dealt with, and I'm very disappointed at the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations for not saying, "We have agencies and boards set up to handle this and we'll listen to these groups and we'll go ahead and do this."

I should ask Mrs Gardner, did you make any presentations to the liquor licence board or go to it and say, "Could you handle this for us?"

Ms Gardner: No, we did not, because the role of the board of health is actually to promote health issues. I'm a member of the board of health. Our medical officer of health is here and perhaps he can answer this too. But our role is to promote health issues in the city of Toronto and we've been engaged in doing that.

Mr O'Neil: I don't disagree with that, but again what I'm saying to you is, rather than get into the red tape with every municipality throughout the province of Ontario, maybe make that presentation to the liquor licence board or the liquor control board, get them to bring in the legislation that will make this, rather than just benefitting the people in the city of Toronto, benefit, really, all the citizens of the province of Ontario.

Ms Gardner: That's our role as a department of health at the city of Toronto.

Mr O'Neil: Right, but again, if you were to make that recommendation to the liquor licence board or the liquor control board, you would benefit not only the people of the city of Toronto but also the people of the rest of the province of Ontario. That's the way I think it should be handled.

Ms Akande: There are a couple of things I'd like to say. Number one is that this legislation in no way decreases the provincial responsibility at all. It just simply adds to it. I think that cities or municipalities enact or initiate legislation as they see it required according to the situation with the population they serve. With the initiation of this, from Toronto's perspective, it's obvious that there is an identification that this information is necessary in this particular city. I don't know whether this is something we brag about but it's certainly a reality of our situation.

I'm quite happy to indicate, although they'll be moved by my colleague, that the amendments also speak to the fact that no one particular group is focused on. The presentation that was made by, I believe, Mr Westcott -- the poster is most attractive and certainly would attract the attention of the particular community group, but so would it set a stereotype. A stereotype is implied that if the poster focuses on a particular community, then that community is a group of people for whom alcoholism is a particular problem and it doesn't relate to other people, and certainly a wider point of view is necessary and is also true.

I was also interested in your comment that many of the alcoholics are foreign and can't read English. I didn't know that there was a positive equation between foreign birth and illiteracy and alcoholism, and I would hasten to say that it isn't one that we would want to communicate.

The other thing that I'm most concerned about is that one of the pieces of information is that too many signs don't get the message across, that people ignore them, and yet the very fact that those women called in, even if it was only to say, "Look, I've had two drinks and what's the problem?" indicates that they didn't have enough information from their doctors or whomever to tell them that one or two drinks wasn't something about which they should be very concerned.

I'm very supportive of this legislation. Anything that emphasizes a message that most of us cannot hear too often is a good thing, and that's something for which I and I know my colleagues and my neighbours would be quite happy to pay additional taxes.


Mr Gary Wilson (Kingston and The Islands): Actually, Mrs Akande said a lot of things that I would say to this. I guess I would like to say to my colleague from eastern Ontario, Mr O'Neil, that I don't see how this impedes other communities being involved, or why, if it's been identified in Toronto, we should delay this kind of legislation in Toronto to wait for other communities to come forward and get the momentum for provincial legislation.

Mr O'Neil: On a point of clarification: I mentioned that I thought it was a job that the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario or the Liquor Control Board of Ontario could coordinate this throughout the rest of the province and bring in these health aspects and improvements in health by having it coordinated by them, and not having it spotted here and there and everything else and go to all the work.

Mr Gary Wilson: The point I was trying to make is that the people of Toronto, the health board, has identified this as an issue they'd like to move on, and I think that by your approach it would delay it for them.

The Chair: I have Mr Ruprecht on the list again. Mr Ruprecht, and may I remind you to be closer to your mike.

Mr Ruprecht: Yes. Thank you, Madam Chair. I think what Mr O'Neil is looking at -- and I think he's got a point -- I'll support this legislation, but let's clarify this here, and that is the abrogation of the Ministry of Health and other ministries in their responsibilities here.

In terms of process, Madam Chair, it's very easy to see that we've got to have an overall provincial strategy, and what's happening, especially in this committee, Mr Wilson, is we're going to have other municipalities coming and bothering you every second day of the week, saying, "We've got to come through here and ask for new legislation." Obviously it's going to be increased red tape, and I think that this whole business, this whole issue, should have been dealt with probably in a different way, and still can be done this way.

I would appreciate very much if each ministry that is responsible, even to some degree only, comes up with a strategy and coordinates it so that we don't have, as in every other case, different municipalities coming up here and requesting the same issues, taking up the committee's time. So I agree with Mr O'Neil on this.

The point was made by Mrs Akande already, that whenever we are able to increase the awareness of the dangers -- I mean, that ought to be supported, obviously -- and finally, let me speak to this issue of the compatibility that the person from the Donwood Institute indicated. Sure, there is a dovetailing of activity, but again, what this indicates to me is a lack of responsibility by the Ministry of Health, and that is, on the one hand, they have left the issue of awareness to be shifted to the municipalities, saying, "Well, if you want to handle this, okay, you go ahead."

That means that what the Ministry of Health has done previously, instead of coming up with a plan to coordinate this -- and I'm not being partisan here; this really speaks to it, okay? -- is to destroy the coordination we've had previously. Now, you've had the whole drug coordination, the drug secretariat that was established, which was in fact designed to come to grips with the problem throughout each ministry and to coordinate that activity, and what has happened here? That coordinated activity was destroyed, and so now each ministry is now bumbling along in its own fashion to come to grips with this awareness, and that's precisely been the problem.

So while I will be supporting this with this government, obviously, I'd like in addition to recommend to this committee, and to anybody else who is willing to listen to this, that the coordination must be placed back where it was, that there's got to be a body here in the province to establish once and for all that we need to discuss this in a way that makes sense throughout all ministries and not just to one ministry and another ministry and whenever there's a crisis coming up, we're going to leave it to the municipalities. That obviously cannot be our policy.

So while I will be supporting this in the city of Toronto, I would request that various ministries get back on track and maintain an overall strategy and policy where we can coordinate it, either within a secretariat or within one ministry.

The Chair: Thank you. You're obviously going to generate a whole lot more conversation.

Mr White: First off, I would like to make a comment in regard to the provincial government's role in substance abuse, which is strong, which is keen. The Ministry of Health is the lead ministry in regard to the substance abuse strategy. We have, in the past, dealt with these issues in a number of different ways. Certainly both the Ministry of Health and public health units at a local or regional level have all taken part in that. I won't go into great detail about the Ministry of Health's cabinet-informed agenda; however, what I would like to suggest is that I don't think it is in the purview of this committee to take the Ministry of Health to task about the quality or the nature of their strategy. What we're dealing with is a private member's bill with the city of Toronto.

We have had a lengthy discussion with our last presentation about how important it is to allow municipalities to make up their minds about programs they want to put into place. The Ministry of Health finds this program to be not dissonant with its own but in fact consonant with it. They have no objections, and they actively support it. The other ministries have no difficulties with it, including the LCBO, the LLBO and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

We understand, as a government, how this legislation, this private member's bill that the city of Toronto, not the Ministry of Health or the province of Ontario, is putting into place will affect this local area. We understand that it will have an effect for the tourism industry. However, this is something which the city of Toronto is asking for, not the Ministry of Health or the province of Ontario, and I think it is certainly consonant with the remarks that we have previously had at this committee and as part of our discussion at Municipal Affairs, to allow municipalities to move ahead with their local policies as long as they're not dissonant with our province's.

We have seen that these policies are not dissonant with the policies of the province; they are consonant with them and in fact have the support of the Health ministry, so I see no reason to continue to debate about who should or should not be continuing with the posting of signs.

Mrs MacKinnon: You'd better chalk this one up, Mr O'Neil, because I happen to agree with you: I support the intent of the bill, but I feel that we are not the people to say, "You will put up signs," or "You won't put up signs."

Let's go back further than the liquor control board -- which I think is good; they should be in on this act, too -- but let's go back further and let the manufacturers, like we're asking the tobacco people to do, put the warning sign on those various bottles, cartons or whatever. Let them do it. I think that they need to be part and parcel of this.

I also happen to believe and know full well that when it comes to pregnancy, the health of the child starts long, long before conception, and the father has to be involved as well as the mother. It's not just the health of the one but the health of all of them. It's got to go back further than that.

But as I said, I agree with you: Let the liquor control board be the coordinators, but let's get back to the manufacturers and tell them to put the warning labels on.

Mr Hansen: I have to agree with Mr O'Neil.

Mr Eddy: We'll soon have enough votes.

Mr Hansen: But then I disagree with Mr Ruprecht, to the point that he could have brought in a private member's bill in the House which all members of the assembly would have supported.

Mr Gary Wilson: You just lost my support, Hugh.

Mr Ruprecht: What are you saying? You destroyed the anti-drug secretariat. You dismantled it.

The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Ruprecht: It was in place.

Mr Gary Wilson: You've lost the support.

The Chair: Mr Wilson and Mr Ruprecht, please. Let Mr Hansen put his comments on the floor.

Mr Hansen: I know the Minister of Health had sent a letter to the city of Toronto, and it said the city would be offering significant leadership and be in the forefront of change with regard to municipal alcohol policies in Ontario and perhaps in Canada.


Sitting on this committee for three years, I've seen the city of Toronto come forward with a lot of good pieces of legislation that can be used in the other parts of Ontario. I think we have to applaud the work that the city of Toronto has done in all different areas. If we are able to have a pilot project here in Toronto, let's let them work out all the little faults rather than the provincial government all at once across the province of Ontario. So on a smaller scale, let's call this a pilot project, let's vote yes and get on with it.

The Chair: Ms Akande, the wrapup and we will then, I think, turn to a vote.

Ms Akande: Thank you.

Mr O'Neil: Did you agree with me or not?

Ms Akande: He's learned to speak parliamentary talk. This is it.


The Chair: Order.

Ms Akande: I'm sorry.

The Chair: I think we'd like to get this wrapped up.

Ms Akande: Thank you, Madam Chair. They say that one's objectivity --


Ms Akande: Mr Ruprecht, please, I have the floor. They say that one's objectivity increases with their distance from the fray. So does one's righteousness increase with their distance from the fray.

I want you to recall that we are not reducing any of the responsibilities of the province. We are --

Mr Ruprecht: You've destroyed the anti-drug secretariat. How can you say this?

The Chair: Mr Ruprecht.

Mr Ruprecht: She can't go on talking like that.

The Chair: Mr Ruprecht, order, please. She has the floor.

Mr Ruprecht: She can't talk like this.

The Chair: She has the floor.

Ms Akande: We are not recommending that the province be less involved or less coordinating. In effect, I'm applauding the city, perhaps because I live here, for the fact that it is locally responsive to what it has identified as a real need in this city. How unwieldy it would be if a local municipality or a city found that it had a problem and had to wait until the province coordinated something which might add the additional resources that were necessary in the city. Not only would it be unwieldy, it would be ridiculous and then truly an additional cost. I ask that you support this.

The Chair: I am going to put the question. Are members prepared to vote?

Mr O'Neil: Could I make one suggestion? That is that, having listened to some of the comments that have been made by the members, and recalling what I said, if it were seen that this was brought forward as a bill by the city of Toronto sort of as a pilot project to see how it works and we get some feedback from some of the organizations that are here after it's been in effect for a certain while, I would be prepared to support it.

If it is successful in the city of Toronto, then the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations should have discussions among many of the people who are here in the room today and the different groups to see whether the liquor licensing board or the liquor control board could look at those results and see about coordinating it throughout the rest of the province.

The Chair: Now just a moment, please. I want some clarity. Are you objecting to a vote on this? Do you want to see it deferred?

Mr O'Neil: No, I'm not. I'm saying that I think the move is a good one. I don't like the way it's been done; I think it could have been coordinated differently by the ministries, but I think it's a move in the right direction and I will be prepared to support it. Hopefully, if it goes into effect, if it is passed, I would ask that the ministries monitor it to see whether it could be used throughout the rest of the province, coordinated by the liquor licensing board or the liquor control board.

Mr Ruprecht: I have an amendment to add, Madam Chair. Is this the appropriate time or not?

The Chair: No, it isn't. As we are going through the vote, it is. I think, Mr Ruprecht, you know that, having been part of this committee for some time.

At this point, since I did not hear a clear yes, I am going to put the question again. Are members prepared to vote? Agreed. So we are voting on Bill Pr79, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

Shall section 1 carry? Okay. While we did have a no vote, we do have a majority in favour.

Shall section 2 carry? No, we have an amendment.

Mr Gary Wilson: I move that section 2 of the bill be amended by adding the following clause:

"(a.1) for prescribing a program governing the posting of the signs."

The Chair: All those in favour? Agreed.

I believe that you have another one.

Mr Gary Wilson: I move that section 2 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:


"(2) A bylaw under subsection (1) shall not permit signs that warn of only one health risk, or of health risks to only one class of persons, unless such signs are part of a program that uses different signs, each warning of one or more health risks or of health risks to one or more classes of persons."

Mr Eddy: I have to ask a question about that. I don't know how that affects the bill. Does that not change the application?

The Chair: I would ask one of the bureaucrats from the Ministry of Health, or Mr Perlin, either way.

Mr Eddy: Yes, that would be helpful, if you could explain to me, does this change the bill substantially?

Mr Perlin: We've indicated previously that we have no problem with the bill being amended for a broader program of the health signs. As I indicated, you note the original application was strictly dealing with pregnancy. The suggestion back was that our sign program could be larger than that. The city is quite prepared to proceed in that way with our health education program.

The Chair: I will put the question again, then. Members have heard the proposed amendment. All those in favour of the amendment as read? Carried.

Shall section 2, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall section 3 carry? Carried.

I believe there is an amendment to section 4.

Mr Gary Wilson: I move that section 4 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"4. A bylaw passed under section 2 may provide that no person may hinder or obstruct an inspector lawfully carrying out the enforcement of any bylaw passed under that section."

The Chair: All those in favour, please? Carried.

Shall section 4, as amended, carry? Carried.

The amendment for section 5, please.

Mr Gary Wilson: Subsection 5(2): I move that subsection 5(2) of the bill be amended by striking out "by force, if necessary" in the fifth and sixth lines.

The Chair: All those in favour? Carried.

Shall section 5, as amended, carry? Carried.

Shall sections 6 and 7 carry? Carried.

Shall the preamble carry? Carried.

Shall the title carry? Carried.

Shall the bill carry?

Mrs MacKinnon: No.

The Chair: We still have a majority. That's carried.

Shall I report the bill to the House? Agreed.

Thank you to all the participants. It has been, I know, a longer meeting than usual and I appreciate your indulgence and your patience. Thank you to the city of Toronto.

The committee adjourned at 1238.