Wednesday 3 September 1997

Workers' Compensation Reform Act, 1996, Bill 99, Mrs Witmer /

Loi de 1996 portant réforme de la Loi sur les accidents du travail,

projet de loi 99, Mme Witmer


Chair / Présidente

Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph PC)

Vice-Chair / Vice-Président

Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa PC)

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East / -Est L)

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre / -Centre ND)

Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North / -Nord PC)

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale ND)

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North / -Nord L)

Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph PC)

Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland PC)

Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale PC)

Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent L)

Mr W. Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew PC)

Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls PC)

Mr John R. O'Toole (Durham East / -Est PC)

Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa PC)

Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton North / -Nord PC)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington PC)

Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce PC)

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre / -Centre L)

Mr. R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough PC)

Also taking part /Autres participants et participantes

Mr Bart Maves, parliamentary assistant to Minister of Labour

Ms Marguerite Rappolt, director, prevention and compensation policy branch, LAB

Mr Stan Bucci, senior adviser, prevention and compensation policy branch, LAB

Ms Sherry Cohen, solicitor, legal services branch, LAB

Clerk / Greffière

Ms Donna Bryce

Staff / Personnel

Mr Russell Yurkow, legislative counsel

The committee met at 1549 in committee room 1.


Consideration of Bill 99, An Act to secure the financial stability of the compensation system for injured workers, to promote the prevention of injury and disease in Ontario workplaces and to revise the Workers' Compensation Act and make related amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 99, Loi assurant la stabilité financière du régime d'indemnisation des travailleurs blessés, favorisant la prévention des lésions et des maladies dans les lieux de travail en Ontario et révisant la Loi sur les accidents du travail et apportant des modifications connexes à d'autres lois.

The Chair (Mrs Brenda Elliott): Good afternoon, everyone. The standing committee on resources development is called to order for the purpose of clause-by-clause examination of Bill 99. For the ease of understanding what amendment we're working from and speaking to, I would just suggest to the members that the packet of amendments is arranged in order by number on the top right-hand corner. This is probably the easiest for all of us to follow, since there are so many amendments.

We'll begin on page 1, French-version title change. It's a government amendment.

Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): It might be incumbent upon me, for the benefit of Hansard, to introduce who is at the table with me. Sherry Cohen is legal counsel to the Ministry of Labour. Marg Rappolt is from the policy directorate of the Ministry of Labour. Stan Bucci is a senior adviser on workers' compensation in the Ministry of Labour.

I move that the French version of the bill be amended by striking out "Loi de 1996 sur la sécurité et l'assurance des travailleurs" wherever it appears and substituting in each case "Loi de 1997 sur la sécurité professionnelle et l'assurance contre les accidents du travail."

The amendment is consequential to the French translation of the change in the names of the act, the board and the appeals tribunal.

The Chair: Any comments or questions?

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): Just one question: Since this opens the discussion on the change of name of the board, could I ask who made a presentation or a suggestion during the public hearings that the name of the board be changed?

Mr Maves: It was the government's intention that we're changing the focus of the work of the board to a workplace insurance and safety agency with the new focus on preventing injury and a focus on education as well as compensation. We think that name change reflects that. I can't recall off the top of my head if presenters talked about that at the hearings.

Mr Christopherson: I would just note for the record that we'll have a broader discussion under the fourth motion so it's clear what we're talking about, but I would mention to the parliamentary assistant and members of the committee that there were references made during the public hearings, and every one of them that I can recall, unless you can show to the contrary, was opposition by injured workers, workers and their representatives. Changing the name takes away from the focus of compensating injured workers and fits more into your ideological agenda than anything to do with helping injured workers.

The Chair: Further discussion or questions? All right, shall the motion carry? All those in favour? Opposed? The motion carries.

Mr Christopherson: Can I have a recorded vote?

The Chair: You have to ask for that before we take the vote, as soon as I say, "Shall the motion carry?"

Mr Christopherson: Then I would like to ask for every one to be recorded from here on in.

The Chair: Fine.

All right, moving to page 2, please, a government amendment as well.

Mr Maves: I move that the bill be amended by striking out "Commission de la sécurité et de l'assurance des travailleurs" wherever it appears and substituting in each case "Commission de la sécurité professionnelle et de l'assurance contre les accidents du travail."

It's a similar rationale to the previous amendment, that it's consequential to the French translation of the change in the names of the act, the board and the appeals tribunal.

The Chair: Any comments or questions? I put the question: Shall the motion carry? Recorded vote.


Arnott, Fisher, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: The motion carries.

Turning to page 3, also a government amendment.

Mr Maves: I move that the bill be amended by striking out "Tribunal d'appel de la sécurité et de l'assurance des travailleurs" wherever it appears and substituting in each case "Tribunal d'appel de la sécurité professionnelle et de l'assurance contre les accidents du travail."

Again, this amendment is consequential to the French translation of the change in the names of the act, the board and the appeals tribunal.

The Chair: Questions or comments? I put the question: Shall the amendment carry? Recorded vote.


Arnott, Fisher, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: The motion carries.

Moving on to section 1, no amendments. Any debate? Shall the section carry?

One moment for clarification; my apologies.

Mr Christopherson: Where have you got us right now?

The Chair: We're at the end of the third amendment, page 3. Those are general amendments affecting the whole bill, not to any one section specifically. So now we're moving to the top of page 4, section 1. No, I'm sorry; I'll get it yet. We're moving to section 1, which does not have an amendment, so there is not one in your book. I apologize for leading you astray. So there is section 1 with no amendments and my question is, shall section 1 carry?

Mr Christopherson: Are you taking comments?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: You're referring to the entire section 1, the name of the act?

The Chair: Your question is to --

Mr Christopherson: It's to you right now. I just want to make sure that we're on all of section 1 and that refers to the name change. The amendments we've done have referred to name changes throughout?

The Chair: Just one moment. We'll have to look at section 1 in its entirety.

Section 1 hasn't to do with the title, as its purpose is to enact schedule A.

Mr Christopherson: Schedule A, of course, for those who are here, deals with the bulk of the changes that are being made. I want to say at the outset that there's absolutely nothing in this entire bill that does anything for injured workers. As we'll point out, in every amendment and every clause that's in here the whole intent is to take money away from injured workers, give it back to the employers who are supposed to pay for this, all of this under the guise of dealing with the unfunded liability, which is a crock.

If it was that much of a crisis, you wouldn't be able to afford to give back $6 billion of the revenue that employers are supposed to pay. Also, you leave the impression consistently wherever we go and whenever you talk about WCB that somehow the debt and deficit are part of the taxpayer debt. The reality is taxpayers don't owe this money; employers owe this money.

Everywhere else you make changes -- and again we'll come to that in the specifics, but since we're voting on the broader section now, I want to comment on it -- everywhere you're making changes to eligibility, it's not to let more injuries to be recognized, it's to allow fewer injuries to be recognized. At the end of the day what you're going to do is say that injuries are down just because your stats are down. Well, your stats are down because you've disqualified so many people from legitimate claims.

What you've really done is push those injured workers back on to their own sick and accident plan, if they have one, and if not, on to the OHIP system, and ultimately, for far too many, on to the social assistance program. That's where it's going to show. That's where those injured workers are going to end up.


Further, you talk a lot about education and accident prevention and health and safety, yet other than a quick, cursory comment in the preamble you do virtually nothing to provide safer workplaces. In fact, if anything, by watering it down employers are going to feel less inclined to support the act. When this goes in tandem with what you're doing with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Employment Standards Act and the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the fact of the matter is that workers in this province have lost on every front. It's just becoming so disgusting to sit here in hearing after hearing and day after day in the House and all you do is attack working people. You make titles of laws that say you're improving them. You stand up and make speeches that you're making it better, and then you go out and you attack the very rights that workers have. You all ought to be bloody well ashamed of yourselves.

Madam Chair, I also ask, request, suggest that we allow this section to stand down until such time as we've dealt with schedule A and the amendments to it, because this is an overriding, arching section. By passing this, the amendments to the schedule become less important. I think that to do it properly, we should deal with the amendments to schedule A first and then come back to section 1.

The Chair: Okay, then we would require unanimous consent to stand down the section before moving on to another. Do we have unanimous consent to deal with this schedule A?

Mr Christopherson: No, of course not.

The Chair: No, there is not unanimous consent. All right, then, we'll return to section 1. Any further questions or comments on section 1? I then put the question.

Shall section 1 carry? All those in favour? A recorded vote.


Arnott, Fisher, Jordan, Maves, Ouellette, O'Toole, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: Carried.

Moving now to section 2, please, which is on page 4. This is an NDP motion.

Mr Christopherson: Subsection 2(2) of the Workers' Compensation Reform Act, 1997: I move that the definition of "certified member" in subsection 1(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act as set out in subsection 2(2) of the bill be amended by striking out "Workplace Safety and Insurance Board" in the second and third lines and substituting "Workers' Compensation Board."

If I could speak to this one and the next motion, another NDP motion, both deal with leaving the name of the board as it is, the Workers' Compensation Board. What's so insulting about the new name is, first, you're going to spend $1 million to change the name. If you're so worried about expenditures and costs and waste, why are you throwing away $1 million to change the name of an act when nobody else asked for it to be changed except some of your backroom strategists?

What people find insulting is, with your new name, you're removing the words "worker" and "compensation." That's what this is supposed to be about. It's ensuring that workers are compensated. Remember the historic compromise of 1914-15? You want to forget that. You want to pretend it never happened. You want to give back employers their half of the bargain and deny workers the half that they already had, which was the right to fair compensation. We're going to come to the word "fair" pretty damn soon too and we're going to have something to say about that.

I don't know how you can defend -- and I would ask the parliamentary assistant, through the Chair, how he defends -- the fact that this system was set up for workers. It deals with employers and it brings the government into it, but it came about because of the deaths that were occurring at the turn of the century in workplaces, and they weren't being compensated. Rather than being sued in the courts, the employers agreed with a royal commission that workers would give up the right to sue but employers would pay into a fund that makes sure they get fair compensation. You're taking out the word "fair," and in the name you're taking out the word "compensation."

Parliamentary Assistant, on behalf of this government, how do you justify taking out the words "worker" and "compensation," when that's why it was bloody well brought in in the first place?

Mr Maves: As I said earlier to this question in regard to a name change, we believe the name change demonstrates the reorientation of the board to a new responsibility for workplace safety and it reorients the board to an insurance system for people who are injured on the job. We had that discussion before.

Mr Christopherson: And we're going to have it again.

Mr Maves: I'm sure we will.

Mr Christopherson: You said it's reoriented towards safety. What exactly in this bill is going to make the workplace any safer, other than your preamble, which is just a throwaway?

Mr Maves: We don't think the preamble, part I, is a throwaway at all, because it's an overarching and guiding principle for the new agency.

Mr Christopherson: But I'd like something concrete that you're doing in this act.

Mr Maves: It sets out that the whole purpose is to promote health and safety in workplaces and to facilitate the return to work. I think that's more than just words; I think it's an overarching direction to the agency and its responsibilities. We're also having the board take over research. We're having the board take over and better coordinate the safe workplace agencies and so on. It's a whole reorientation of the system to prevent injuries and facilitate the return to work.

Mr Christopherson: I'm sorry, that's not good enough, not by a long shot. You keep saying in all your speeches and in every community, the few that we got to, and you said it again today, that you're reorienting to provide more focus on making the workplace safer. I can point out to you where you are attacking the rights of injured workers under Bill 99 in a great deal of detail, and plan to do so throughout the balance of these hearings. What I want to hear from you is, what concretely have you put into Bill 99 that tells the injured workers who are here today and everywhere else across the province that you really mean it?

Mr Maves: Part II is also with regard to injury prevention and the new functions of the board. The board's functions include "to promote public awareness of occupational health and safety, to educate employers, workers and other persons about occupational health and safety, to foster a commitment to occupational health and safety among employers" and so on. Again, it's a reorientation of the agency to do those things.

Mr Christopherson: It doesn't wash. No, no, it doesn't wash. The only reason you've got those words in there is because you killed the independent Workplace Health and Safety Agency, which was set up to deal with preventing injuries because the WCB didn't do it for 50 years. So those references don't wash. That doesn't cut it. What have you got in Bill 99 that forces employers to make their workplace safer? You said it, now prove it.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Maves: You asked me about the Workplace Health and Safety Agency and its new responsibilities, its new focus. I've told you that, under its functions and purpose, it has a new focus to educate and promote public awareness. Under its umbrella, it will look after the safe workplace associations and the training centres, and it'll better coordinate the entire system.

Mr Christopherson: Again, it's all words. Go ahead, finish.

Mr Maves: I think you're looking for me to tell you maybe the amount of money that we spend or something. You wouldn't do that in a bill. The only thing I can say to that is that quite some time ago, as you would know, the minister announced that with regard to occupational health research and education, they were going to have the board commit additional moneys to that. That's something concrete that's been done that wouldn't be done in a bill. That has been announced already.

Mr Christopherson: You know as well as I do, if it's not in the law, it ain't going to happen. The fact of the matter is, there's nothing in this law. You're making law the denial of occupational stress. That's law. You got that right in here. Boy, those workers are not going to get those legitimate claims. I'm asking you to tell me and tell everyone here today what concretely in law will force employers to make the workplace safer.


The Chair: Order, please.


Mr Maves: I was just checking to see if there's anything additional that I need to add to things I've already stated. I think I've answered the question, that the board's got a new focus, a reorientation, to promote health and safety and prevent injuries in the workplace.

Mr Christopherson: I'm not going to let you off the hook on this, because it's just so crucial. I right now have a moment to put this government on the line through you, as the parliamentary assistant. When you make the claim that workplaces are going to get safer, what are you doing in this law to make it safer? You talk about the Workplace Health and Safety Agency and what you're doing. The reality is, it was made an independent agency because it didn't do its job for 50 years. The reality is, you didn't like the fact that workers had half the seats on that agency, because you've already taken away half the seats on the board that we gave injured workers under our reform to the compensation. So it's an ideological thing. That's the point here. That's why you can't say anything concrete about how this makes a safer workplace, because it's not there.

That's not what this is about. It's about denying injured workers' claims, this is about giving money back to your corporate pals, and it's about watering down the rights of injured workers, just like every other bloody piece of legislation you've passed in this place.


The Chair: Order, please. Sir, order. There are a great number of amendments to go through that require thought and consideration, and we have to be able to hear. I ask for your cooperation in this regard. Mr O'Toole, please.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): I just want members to be reminded that the minister is taking action, and I'll respond to a press release dated June 18:

"The ministry has hired 20 more health and safety inspectors last fall, and will hire an additional 26 this fall.

"In the fiscal year 1996-97 performed 39% more health and safety inspections of the workplaces than in 1994-95...."

That's a 40% increase in inspection. Inspection and prevention and early intervention is in fact the thrust of this bill. That is a change, a philosophical difference. There is more information with respect to the incidence and the investigations. Indeed I could refer you to the enforcement campaign in the Windsor area, where more than 800 orders were issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act following a recent Ministry of Labour drive to target Windsor area manufacturing companies.

I could go on, but the evidence and the information is not, Mr Christopherson, referenced in the bill except in the overarching change in the methodology and philosophy. I challenge you that the 39% increase not only in the front-line inspectors but in the enforcement of orders is evidence in my mind that the board has got the message, and the change, I believe, is a direct result of the intervention of this minister.

Mr Christopherson: Can I respond? He mentioned my name. I'd like to respond.

The Chair: Yes, Mr Christopherson. Mr Maves, we'll go to Mr Christopherson.

Mr Christopherson: Since you're again willing to wade into these waters, I'll ask you. This is your chance to become a parliamentary assistant. You tell me what the hell is in Bill 99, in law concretely. Never mind the rest of the spin, John. What's in 99? Because I can point out to you, and will throughout these hearings, where you're taking away injured workers' rights. We can prove it. It's here. You tell me concretely what's in this bill that's going to make workplaces safer because you're forcing employers to do something different. What's in here?

Mr O'Toole: Well, I could refer --

The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Christopherson. No, order, please.

Mr O'Toole: This isn't a debate. I recognize that.

The Chair: I ask that you please direct your questions through the Chair.

Mr Christopherson: Through you, I ask that.

The Chair: Mr Maves.

Mr Maves: Of course, as I said before, you don't put dollar amounts and so on in bills. You don't say we are going to increase inspections by 50% in bills. Those are usually operational policies. Mr O'Toole talked about the fact that inspections in workplaces had gone up by 40-odd per cent. The actual numbers are in for the past fiscal year and they actually increased by 51%. So I did want to correct the record on that. Some 120 convictions were obtained, resulting in total fines of $2.3 million, which is also a large increase, better than 40%.

Again, I wanted to say that the main answer to this is that the board has a reorientation and a new focus on promoting public awareness of occupational health and safety, on educating employers, on fostering commitment to occupational health and safety. It is going to as an umbrella look after developing standards for the accreditation of employers who adopt health and safety policies and operate successful health and safety programs.

I know Mr Christopherson feels they are just words, but two of the concrete things we talked about were increased money for occupational health research, and Mr O'Toole has pointed out the increase in inspections already. I would say the ministry and WCB have already set a target for a 30% reduction in lost-time injuries, which is a commendable goal.

Mr Christopherson: The parliamentary assistant keeps raising new issues under this, so I consider it fair game. You talk about new money into research. Then why the hell are you shutting down and folding up the Occupational Disease Panel, with a proven track record? Everybody who came out, other than a few key employer groups which you are listening to, like the Ontario Mining Association, has said "Keep it." Experts from around the world have said, "Keep it." If you really cared about preventing diseases and illness, why are you killing the very body that has a world-renowned reputation for identifying where and when illness and disease is caused in the workplace?

On top of that, while you are thinking about that, earlier one of your colleagues talked workplace prevention and training. Then why are you cutting so much money from the worker training centres? Why are they having to lay off staff? Why are they being cut back so much? Is it because they are run by workers for workers? Does that not fit your ideological theme of how the world ought to work?

Mr Maves: Actually, funding has remained constant since 1995.

Mr Christopherson: There have been some cuts to those centres. Are you making a commitment now that permanent funding is going to continue?

Mr Maves: You've said it has been cut. I am correcting you that it has been kept at 1995 levels.

With regard to the Occupational Disease Panel, again this is refocusing the board to have responsibility for occupational disease research. They have already set up a task force on research which includes the Ministry of Labour, WCB, Institute for Work and Health and university researchers, and they have already begun the process of developing research strategies. Their goal is to advise on the development of a comprehensive, integrated provincial research strategy in workplace injury, illness and compensation. This is something that is already ongoing. The research agenda is to cover a broad spectrum of topics, including occupational disease; ergonomics and job design; epidemiology; diagnosis, treatment, and compensation of workplace injuries and illnesses; and best practices in return-to-work and health and safety management.

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): Just on that issue, if that's all happening now without this bill having gone through, then why change it?

Mr Maves: As we announced, the increased amount of money that is going to be available for this research is going to be found through savings from the board, and some of that is through efficiencies that are found by bringing occupational disease into the board.

Mr Patten: You had overwhelming evidence and testimony through the hearings and in writing that led to the acknowledgement of the fine work of the panel.

So that everybody knows, the panel wasn't running off on its own. It did make recommendations for the areas to research that were of import, and they had to justify the reason for their particular area of study. The results were quite phenomenal. It saved the province millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars and saved a lot of lives into the bargain.

With all of that testimony, was there anybody who recommended the recommendations that you are putting forward?

Mr Maves: Yes, I think there were several people who did say that in their briefs.


Mr Patten: The only two were the Ontario Mining Association and Inco -- maybe Falconbridge -- as far as I can recall. There were no others that I can recall. In fact, they proposed that it remain with the degree of independence that it has now. And we know why Falconbridge has --

Mr Maves: I think there were some others beyond those two.

Mr Christopherson: I want to suggest to the parliamentary assistant that when he talks about money being stable since 1995, he is doing that because it's my understanding that immediately after the election, you cut the funding to the workers' health and safety centres and the health and safety delivery organizations and then stabilized it at that rate. The amount of money that was being provided before the election was lowered after the election.

Mr Maves: That's not my understanding.

Mr Christopherson: All right. We'll check that and talk about it at the next meeting. I'll come back to you on that one.

But I still want to leave it with you that you are not getting it. You're just not getting it. The things that you're doing are exactly the things that were put in place, in terms of removing them from the responsibility of the WCB, because they weren't being done.

The Occupational Disease Panel was struck because the job wasn't being done the way it ought to be. The independence of it is what made it so unique. That's what gave it the credibility around the world. I have read to you the letters in the House from experts -- not partisans, not employers or employees or their representatives, but academics, scientists, other people who couldn't care less about the politics we deal with but who only care about workplace disease and illness. They are the ones who said: "Don't kill it. Don't kill the independence. Don't put it back in."

The same with the Workplace Health and Safety Agency. The reason it was made an independent agency was because for 50 years the board wasn't doing the job, so that responsibility was taken out and it was set up as an independent entity.

What we are trying to get through to you and the government is that you're not fixing anything by doing this. You're taking us back to the dark days when the job wasn't being done. You're killing the very tools that were finally starting to have an impact. That's what you're doing, and you don't seem to get it.

Mr Maves: Again, as I said, one of the main ideas is to bring to the research and some coordination of the research into the board. There is a reduction in duplication of governance which provides some savings that can go back into research. In the announcement, we talked about a focus on enlisting existing expertise through different universities and others that are out there. It is just a better coordination of the research with what the board is finding on a day-to-day basis.

Mr Christopherson: Let's get the picture straight here. Let's go back to Bill 15. In Bill 15 you denied workers the 50% of the seats on the board that we gave them, which quite frankly they were decades overdue in getting. If you accept the fact that the historic compromise of 1914-15 can only be properly reflected if you give half the seats on the board of directors to employers and their representatives and to workers and their representatives, then you have to believe that the idea of an independent agency with a 50-50 split and an independent Occupational Disease Panel enhances their work.

What you've done with Bill 15 is you've eliminated those worker representatives. You fired the labour reps that were on there. Now you are going to load it up with your pals. You're going to talk about stakeholders; I know it. Just save your breath. The fact of the matter is, they're all going to be linked to employers, employer groups, Mike Harris, the Common Sense Revolution and the whole right-wing ideology. They're now going to be a majority on the board.

The board will now decide what studies will be done, which used to be decided by an independent Occupational Disease Panel, and they'll decide what kind of training ultimately is going to be done, that used to be decided by the Workplace Health and Safety Agency. By eliminating these things, eliminating the workers off the board and giving yourself control of the WCB, you effectively kill any real progressive changes in the prevention of workplace health and safety disease. That's what you're doing. You want to deny it. You can deny it until you're blue in the face but that's exactly what you're doing and that will be the end result.

So don't give me any hogwash about all this new research that's going to happen and you're working with universities. All that was being done. In fact, it was being done so well you're going to kill it. That's why you're going to kill it: because you want to take care of your employer friends, the very people who now have control of the WCB and will make every decision that affects injured workers and preventing new injured workers. That's your agenda, that's what's going on here.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Patten: I'd like to address one of the points the parliamentary assistant gave as a rationale for why you would fold in the panel. I would agree with my colleague David Christopherson in terms of his arguments.

Fundamentally the panel is saying, and they've been supported by other scientific bodies, that they want the nature of their research to be based upon scientific data and scientific information and not on the basis of political choices; that it's actually based on data and for that they need some independence.

You said that this was going to be done in order to coordinate research that may be done elsewhere, to not duplicate or that kind of thing. Anybody who knows anything about scientific research knows that the very first thing you do in making your case to propose a research project is a literature search, and you study it, because that's the very first question that's going to be asked of you if you're proposing a research project. You're asked, and you say, there may be some correlative research, there may be some that relates to the body of research you want to do and there may be some supportive indications. You gather all of that and that's part of your presentation. I believe that's what -- I'm sorry, I'm sure you can't listen to two people at the same time.

Mr Maves: Go ahead.

Mr Patten: That's what is done now. The panel proposes to the board, but it's based on scientific foundations. It's not based on trying to support a particular owner of a mining company or something of that nature. It's based upon researching possible diseases or possible threats to the safety and health of workers. That's their job and they are internationally renowned for that. The depositions have come forward overwhelmingly to support the independence -- a degree of independence, because they're not totally independent now.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Maves: Again, we've touched on a lot of issues outside the motion. I guess I would say Ontario is the only jurisdiction which has an independent agency devoted to occupational disease. Other provinces conduct and fund research through their respective WCBs and we're doing that.

As I've said several times now, we remain committed to occupational disease research. We've made that commitment public and we're doing more. We've committed to prevention of injuries and can show that by the amount of inspections that have occurred in the workplace. It is not our agenda whatsoever to do less research. We're clear that we want to do more. I guess no matter how much I try to convince the members opposite that our agenda is not what they espouse it to be, I won't be able to convince them.

The Chair: In an attempt to be quite fair about this, we have had a fair amount of discussion on this particular motion. I sense there's disagreement. Through further discussion will we come to agreement? I suspect not. Do we continue with further discussion?


Mr Christopherson: No. The fact that we disagree with them doesn't mean I'm going to shut up. Unless the rules prohibit me from speaking further to this motion, I'm asking for the floor again.

The Chair: I'm just mindful that we have a number of amendments to speak to and to discuss.

Mr Christopherson: We've got a number of things we want to talk about too. The fact of the matter is, at the end of the day this bully government's going to use its majority here in this committee and in the House to ram through whatever the hell it wants. We've got very little opportunity to say our piece, but this is one of them.

You mentioned the fact that this is the only province that has an independent Occupational Disease Panel. I would say to you, we were also, to the best of my knowledge, the only province that had an employee wage protection plan, which you're killing under Bill 136 after you took a stab at it in Bill 7. Let me ask you, why do you feel it necessary to take this province to the lowest common denominator? What happened to the days when, as the largest province both by population and economic strength, we used to lead the way? Everybody else looked to Ontario to see what could be done and how it's been done in a way that's effective.

My question to you is, why do you think it's okay to take away these rights and to kill this panel just because we're the only ones who do it? Why don't you look at it the other way around and stand up and be proud of the fact that we're a province that has international support and credibility for the work done here at the Occupational Disease Panel? Why do you insist on racing us to the bottom in terms of all the standards that affect workers?

Mr Maves: I didn't say that was the reason we were doing it; I said that was an additional reason why we're folding responsibility for the Occupational Disease Panel into the board, for research. That was just another comment I made, a rationale for doing it. I take exception; I think Ontario now more than ever in the past is leading the rest of North America in job creation and economic growth. I hardly think that is a race to the bottom, which is maybe where we were headed a few years ago.

Mr Christopherson: That's a lot of nonsense. Go talk to the youth of this province and ask them where their jobs are, where their future is. Ask any of the people here who have young people. Ask some injured workers who were looking to you to keep your word when you said you were going to improve things under Bill 99. Instead, you attacked everything they have. That's what's going on.

I want to ask you another question about the Occupational Disease Panel. Obviously, I was a parliamentary assistant before I became a minister, the same as you are one now, and I had to do a lot of study of why things came to be. Why do you think the Occupational Disease Panel was created from the responsibility of the WCB? Why do you think it was taken out and created in the first place? If it's such a lousy idea that you want to change now, why do you think it was done in the first place?


Mr Christopherson: Yes, by a Conservative government.


The Chair: Order, please.


The Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, I would remind you that you're in a committee of the Legislature of the province of Ontario. Kindly have regard for the institution. Please allow people to conduct their business.


The Chair: Madam, if you wish to stay, please follow the rules.

Mr Maves, did you wish to respond?

Mr Maves: At the time, occupational disease research was an area of changing technology. Knowledge in the medical field was expanding and they thought they needed more research in that area, so they established the panel to do that. We don't disagree that there needs to be more research; in fact we've said we're going to make sure there is more research continued; it's just going to be within the board and it's going to be coordinated.

Mr Christopherson: Why don't you believe in the independence of this panel? Why do you think that's such a bad thing, when that 's one of the things that people around the world hold up as an example of the way it ought to be?

Mr Maves: I guess we believe, like other governments across the country, that it can be done in a coordinated approach within the board, as the board takes on the role of being responsible for education and prevention.

Mr Christopherson: Do you realize how idiotic that answer is overall?

The Chair: Mr Christopherson, I don't think that's parliamentary. Could you withdraw it?

Mr Christopherson: I withdraw the unparliamentary remark. Back to an earlier question -- we got a little sidetracked -- you still didn't tell me why you've taken "worker" and "compensation" out of the name.

Mr Maves: As I said --

Mr Christopherson: No, you've told me why you want to change the name. I want to know why your new name doesn't include "workers" and "compensation."

Mr Maves: The change in the name is to reflect the new focus of the board.

Mr Christopherson: And how much is it going to cost to change the name?


The Chair: Order, please. Excuse me, if the outbursts continue, I'll be forced to call a recess.

Mr Christopherson: Chair, perhaps we could get the minister in and things would go more quickly. The parliamentary assistant obviously doesn't have all the answers. Maybe we need to bring in Minister Witmer and let her answer these questions.

The Chair: I hardly think that's possible at this short notice. We can certainly make that request.


Mr Christopherson: I would like to request -- the parliamentary assistant obviously is having some trouble with details. Let's get the minister in here --


The Chair: Excuse me, I cannot hear. I'm sorry, Mr Christopherson. Please, I would like to hear you.

Mr Christopherson: The parliamentary assistant is not the minister, in fairness. We are entitled to answers, prompt answers, thorough answers, accurate answers. If they're causing that much trouble for the parliamentary assistant, I'd like to request that this committee call on the minister to be here and account for herself in person.

Mr Maves: Mr Christopherson has asked the same question several times. I've given him an answer that he obviously disagrees with. When I confer with people at the table, I'm trying to see if they can come up with an answer that -- maybe I'm leaving something out -- will satisfy Mr Christopherson. But as I said about 25 minutes ago, I don't think there's anything I'm going to say today or probably any other day that's going to satisfy Mr Christopherson.

He's also jumping around on quite a few issues. We've not just spoken about the amendment; we've spoken about a whole bunch of different things. It requires me to refer to my notes and talk about different issues all the time. If we were focused on the amendment, it might be a lot easier.

Again, I give the same answer; I know that he doesn't like that answer or want to discuss that answer, and that's fine. But I have been giving the same answer most of the time.

The Chair: I think Mr Maves is telling you he feels he has answered the question to the best of his ability, Mr Christopherson.

Mr Christopherson: With respect, I can appreciate having to consult with notes and experts. I don't have a problem with that at all. It's just that it seemed to be happening so often. These are political decisions made at the cabinet table. You're not there and neither are your colleagues. We know how the system works. The minister's the one who accounts -- as long as they're colleagues. That wasn't meant to be a slight against you. It was more to point out the fact that these things are ideological, they're not technical.

Mr Maves: The minister has given the same answers that I would give.


Mr Christopherson: I still didn't hear the answer. What is the answer? This is your story, if I've got it right: You want to change the name because you are reorienting a whole bunch of stuff. So you want to create a new name. My question to you is, if you felt so compelled to change the name, why did you drop the words "workers" and "compensation," when that is at the very heart of why and how the WCB came to be?

Mr Maves: I think the new name, "workplace safety," is very relevant to the new focus of the board and the purpose of the act, of promoting safety in the workplace. Who is workplace safety for workers? I don't think talking about workplace safety is a negative on workers.

Mr Christopherson: Why do you use the word "insurance" instead of "compensation"? "Compensation" was specifically and deliberately used when the historic compromise was made, when the report was written, as I recall. "Compensation" was clearly the word, and it has a different connotation from "insurance." Why do you feel compelled to exchange the word "compensation" for "insurance"? It wouldn't have anything to do with privatization, would it?

Mr Maves: No. If the government were intent on privatizing, I don't know why we would have brought in the bill. We wouldn't have gone through the entire process of bringing in the bill if we were going to privatize the system. That's clearly not our intention. Even Minister Jackson, in his report, said that he didn't believe in privatizing the system.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Christopherson: I want to say to you, Parliamentary Assistant, I think the reason you put "insurance" in there is this is meant to be a two- or three-step process and at the end of the day your friends in the insurance industry will control and be making a profit on WCB. Everybody in this room knows that's what your agenda is and that's why you made the word change.

The Chair: Mr Maves, I just want to indicate to you and remind you that if you wish any of the staff to answer any question for you, that is perfectly all right as well.

Mr Maves: I understand that, but I think I have answered the question the same way several times. If staff at any time needs to try it themselves, they can, but I don't think that --

Mr Christopherson: All you've got is the mantra. All you've got is the spin, the phrases that are there on the sheets. The reality is you can't answer those kinds of pointed questions because at the end of the day it would point out that all of your spin-doctoring is just that and that there really is a right-wing employer agenda at play and you're just their handmaiden, you're just carrying this out for them.

I want to ask you about the name change. Is it true that the cost of the name change is $1 million?

Mr Maves: I don't have those numbers.

Ms Marguerite Rappolt: That is the estimate given to us by the board. I can't tell you all the assumptions that it's based on. That's a rough estimate we have been given, yes.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you. Parliamentary Assistant, let me ask you then, if it costs $1 million, given the needs of injured workers, given the concern and emphasis that you have placed on the unfunded liability, do you really think you can justify that the most important place to spend $1 million is a new name?

Mr Maves: I guess in my opinion the reorientation is safety and prevention of workplace injuries, and if we can reduce workplace injuries by 30% and if "workplace safety" helps with everyone understanding that new focus on prevention, then yes, it would be worth $1 million.

Mr Christopherson: Do you think it's more important than perhaps putting that money into more research? You talk so much about research. Do you think it's more important to change the name than to put $1 million into a research project?

Mr Maves: I just answered that question.

Mr Christopherson: You think that's more important, more than --

Mr Maves: If it helps prevent workplace injuries, it's important.

Mr Christopherson: How is the name going to help do that?

Mr Maves: If people understand within the system the need for prevention, the need for more focus on prevention and education and it prevents injuries, and that's part of the change and the refocus, then yes, I think it's worth it.

Mr Christopherson: I don't understand why that would require a name change. That's what the Workplace Health and Safety Agency was doing. That was their mandate, to do just that. The Occupational Disease Panel was carrying out its functions along that line, and better than you're going to. That does not in any way justify spending $1 million on a name change, especially when that name change doesn't include the word "workers'" or "compensation."

Mr Maves: It includes "workplace safety," which we think is very relevant.

Mr Christopherson: That's the best you've got?

Mr Maves: I gave you the answer twice already.

Mr Christopherson: It almost pains me to have to do this to an individual, but it's that your answers don't hold up when one gets a chance to push you on them, when it's not just the minister standing up in the House and giving a one-minute response and sitting down, or running away from a scrum when she is being pushed on it. You're showing very clearly for everybody here and anybody who reads the Hansard that you cannot justify the changes you're making along the lines that you say. Your words are one thing and your actions are another, and the name change and $1 million wasted on a name change is just evidence of that exact fact.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Maves: I could probably look back and find things that your government changed, name changes, caused changes in costs, or building some new buildings that cost millions and millions of dollars that maybe could have been used somewhere else too. You can go back and forth forever about that.

Mr Christopherson: We can, but it doesn't go away. The Hansard is there. I am prepared to stand by my argument up against the lame excuse that you have to deliver here on behalf of the government any day you want and anywhere you want.

Let me ask you another question: What is the cost of the Occupational Disease Panel, since you have raised that? What is the annual budget? Maybe your staff can assist.

Mr Maves: It's $1 million right now.

Mr Christopherson: It's $1 million, and what was the cost of the name change?

Mr Maves: It's $1 million, but we're spending more money on --

Mr Christopherson: So the $1 million you are spending on the name change would keep the Occupational Disease Panel going for a full year or it would allow them, for 12 months, to arguably double the output in terms of research they are doing. You make like $1 million doesn't matter much in a name change, but then you talk about the fact that the independence of the Occupational Disease Panel has to be killed because it's so valuable to save this $1 million. It doesn't square.

Mr Maves: I've given you my answer several times.

Marg, did you want to try?

Ms Rappolt: I was just going to confirm that the parliamentary assistant had noted that the $1 million on occupational disease research will continue to be spent. It's part of the base research funding that the board is committed to, and the minister has suggested there will be an additional $7 million allocated towards health and safety and compensation research.. Just to be clear, the $1 million associated with the panel is predominantly a research base which will be continued under the board's research strategy.

Mr Christopherson: One of the key benefits of the Occupational Disease Panel is its independence, the fact that it's independent. Who will make the decisions now about what research projects go or do not go? Who, or what entity, at the end of the day makes that decision, instead of an independent body at arm's length from all politics?

Ms Rappolt: The Workers' Compensation Board is now developing its comprehensive research strategy. One element of that is to have increased stakeholder involvement in the setting of the research agenda. They have not, to my knowledge, released publicly details of the research strategy, but the minister did release some information on the basic parameters of that strategy during the public hearings process in June.

Mr Christopherson: I'd like to know from the parliamentary assistant how that's better than what we have now. How is that better, since you claim everything you are doing is to make it better, that you have to start over with your research strategy and your terms of reference and input from stakeholders, when you have already got an independent Occupational Disease Panel that's world renowned?

Mr Maves: I think I have answered that several times already.


Mr Christopherson: No, I've asked you why you think it's going to be better. Why is it better to have to redo all the work and have the board of directors, which is now loaded up with your cronies, making the decisions rather than an independent group, particularly when it was a former Tory government that brought out the concept in the first place?

Mr Maves: Again, it's a reorientation of the main focus of the board and the functions and the purpose of the board. The board can better coordinate the research and education with control of the different agencies.

Mr Patten: The committee had requested that legislative research request a copy of the document that was identified by the United Steelworkers of America in Sudbury which contained reference to over 1,500 letters or other forms of writing in support for the panel. The committee, as far as I know -- I haven't seen it -- has yet to receive that information from the minister's office. How come it takes so long to get copies of some of those letters that were written, and that the committee hasn't been able to do that? I think just the volume alone, never mind the source, has to tell you something, let alone the testimony that was very strong throughout almost everywhere we went in terms of that panel. How come we haven't yet received any information from the minister's office on that?

Ms Rappolt: I'll commit to get back on that. I know certainly through the minister's office we had looked into that information, so if it has not come through to the Chair, we will ensure that happens prior to the next day of clause-by-clause review.

The Chair: Will you send it to the clerk, please.

Mr Patten: This affects how we perceive addressing amendments to the bill, presumably for everybody. I think every member who would see the volume and the source and the content of some of these letters -- it may, I say "may," sway their judgement about the importance of the independence of this particular panel when they see the credibility of the sources. When we proceed so quickly, we have extreme difficulty. We only had about four days to put together our amendments, which is not easy. We don't have the same resources in the opposition as you have as the government side, that's for sure. You need to base your judgements and your amendments on hearings, on testimony, on depositions, on scientific data etc.

I'm not happy with that and I fail to see why we're not able to get that kind of information, which is germane to the particular issue we're talking about right now.

Ms Rappolt: We'll get that information as soon as we can.

Mr Christopherson: Further on the independence issue versus being the responsibility of the board, on June 23, I believe, in Toronto, we had hearings here and Nickie Carlan, who's the chair of the Occupational Disease Panel, made a presentation. I have a copy of the Hansard. She was asked:

"I guess it really makes one wonder what the WCB would do if they had the sole responsibility for occupational health and diseases.

"Ms Carlan: I think the answer is quite clear. They haven't done very much. In the annual report, which I have provided to you, there's a time line of the diseases that were recognized prior to the inception of the Occupational Disease Panel and the WCB did virtually nothing for 70 years. Since 1985 there have been over 19 recommendations about diseases for which compensation should be payable and in the previous 50 years I think there were three conditions."

With that kind of track record, how can anyone make the claim that there will be more productivity in terms of research with the independence gone than the current stats would say?

Ms Rappolt: First of all, I'd note, as the parliamentary assistant has, that in the research strategy that the board is developing, it's committed to relying on independent, university-based centres of excellence for the conducting of research. There has been an announcement on their commitment to that approach to retain the credibility and independence. That is recognized as an integral factor.

In terms of your comment about the increase in occupational disease research, I think the government would say that's very applaudable and a commitment that they want to continue to focus on. They just want occupational disease research integrated into a more dedicated, comprehensive research strategy that doesn't just look at occupational disease research on its own but looks at it in the context of a much broader range of health and safety research, with a broader umbrella funding base, a funding base that will be up to $13 million by the year 2000.

Mr Christopherson: I'm sorry, all the independent experts and evidence that we have suggests it's the independence of the panel that is so crucial to its success, and that's the part you're snuffing out. I would say to the parliamentary assistant, it's great that you're announcing more money into research. Why don't you take that money and put it into the Occupational Disease Panel and then no one would be able to criticize you. All you'd get is applause for finally doing something for injured workers instead of against them.

Mr Maves: Again, it's the same answer that I've given you several times.

Mr Christopherson: That doesn't make it acceptable.

Mr Maves: I understand that.

Mr Christopherson: So you're just going to shrug your shoulders. I don't know. I keep trying --

Mr Maves: I have to the same answers. We aren't even on the Occupational Disease Panel right now in the amendment, I might note.

Mr Christopherson: Well, you did raise it as part of your answer to the amendment that we're on.

Mr Maves: No. You raised it initially, as you did several other issues.

Mr Christopherson: But it's coming up again.

Mr Maves: I understand that.

Mr Christopherson: You'll get another round. Don't worry.

The Chair: Shall I put the question on this, the amendment on subsection 2(2)? All right. I call the question on the amendment on page 4. Shall the amendment carry? Recorded vote.


Christopher, Hoy, Patten.


Fisher, Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.

The Chair: The motion is lost.


The Chair: Order, please.

Moving now to the amendment, an NDP motion on page 5. Mr Christopherson, do you wish to speak to this?

Mr Christopherson: If I could for the record just point out that my colleague Shelley Martel was here but, as she's not a formal member of this committee, can't cast a vote. I can assure you, had she had one, she'd have been in favour of that amendment.

The Chair: Would you read out the amendment, please.

Mr Christopherson: I will. I move that subsection 2(4) of the bill be amended by striking out "Workplace Safety and Insurance Board" at the end and substituting "Workers' Compensation Board."

I would ask the parliamentary assistant, I would ask members of the committee to think about voting in favour of this. If you want to feel what it's like to have an injured worker say thank you, vote in favour of this and then we'll pass another motion that recommends the million dollars saved would be put into the budget of the Occupational Disease Panel. Why don't you do that and show these injured workers that you really do care and you're not just here following the dictates of what they told you out of the whip's and Premier's offices?


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Christopherson: None of you are jumping, obviously. None of you, in my opinion and in my view, will ever have the legitimacy to say that you care about waste and fat in the system when you're prepared to spend a million dollars on a name change at a time when you say the unfunded liability is what's driving you to do these awful things. There's no justification.

Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce): Pathetic, David.

Mr Christopherson: Well, defend yourself. Take the mike. Come on. Don't heckle; debate me.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Christopherson: I'm ready, let's go.

The Chair:. Mr Christopherson, kindly direct your comments through the Chair, please.

Further questions and comments? Seeing none, I call the vote then. Shall the amendment carry? Recorded vote. All those in favour?


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: All those opposed?


The Chair: Order.


Fisher, Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.

The Chair: Order. The motion is lost.

Shall section 2 carry? All those in favour? Recorded vote.


Fisher, Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: Section 2 carries.

Now I think we can look at sections 3 through 8. Any questions or comments?


Mr Christopherson: I'd like the parliamentary assistant to explain to us how this section is going to help injured workers.

The Chair: Specifically which section did you want to --

Mr Christopherson: The whole section.

The Chair: I suggested sections 3 through 8, since no amendments were tabled on those sections.

Mr Christopherson: Right, and I'm asking -- you said section 3, correct?

The Chair: Sections 3 through 8.

Mr Christopherson: I realize that. Then as part of this overall, I'm asking what the benefit to injured workers is as a result of section 3. What does section 3 do for injured workers?

Mr Maves: Sections 3 through 8 are all just consequential amendments to reflect the change in the name of the legislation from the Workers' Compensation Act to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Mr Christopherson: So this is all just part of the million-dollar waste.

Mr Maves: This is part of making sure that the act complies with other acts that mention the Workers' Compensation Board or act.

Mr Christopherson: That's part of the million dollars, though.

Ms Rappolt: If I may, the consequential amendment reflects the change in the name of the act, the legislation, just as any piece of legislation passed by any government would also have consequential amendments.

Mr Christopherson: I understand that. But I also understand that you then have to give effect to the law that we pass, which means you've got to go back, and if you don't actually change the laws, you've got to provide the legal reference that shows that the names have been changed. That takes legal time, which has absolutely nothing to do with injured workers. My only point was that passing this section is part of the million dollars that it costs to change the name.

Mr Maves: Any time you change legislation, you change other pieces of legislation if that legislation refers to other pieces of legislation. This is no different.

Mr Christopherson: I understand, but you're having to change some pieces of legislation just because you changed the name. There are other things you'd have to change if you had only amendments, but the fact that you changed the name means anywhere in government where "Workers' Compensation Board" appears, you've got to make a legal change to it. That's part of the million dollars you're wasting.

Mr Maves: That's correct.

The Chair: Further questions or comments? Seeing none, shall sections 3 through 8 carry? Recorded vote.


Fisher, Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: The sections carry.

Moving then to section 9, page 6. This is a government amendment. Mr Maves.

Mr Maves: I move that subsection 9(2) of the bill be amended by striking out "subsection 30(6)" in the second-last line and substituting "subsection 29(10)".

The amendment simply corrects a drafting error which inadvertently substituted subsection 30(6) for subsection 29(10), which is the correct reference.

Mr Christopherson: Just for clarification, what you're doing is fixing a mistake that you made in the bill.

Mr Maves: That's right.

Mr Christopherson: The bill that you didn't have any input from anybody on in the first place. Your perfect little piece of legislation, you've already got to fix it.

Mr Maves: In almost every single piece of legislation I've ever been involved with there are drafting errors, there are translation errors. This was one of the drafting errors.

Mr Christopherson: I think it's fair to say that if other people besides your pals had had a chance to see this, some of the mistakes may have been caught. No guarantee, but you certainly deny one more opportunity for corrections to be noted when you only share it with your friends and then drop it upon the world.

Mr Maves: I think any stakeholder would see the legislation, once it was drafted, when it's introduced, not before.

The Chair: Further questions and comments? Seeing none, I put the question. Shall this amendment carry? Recorded vote.


Fisher, Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: The motion is carried.

Moving now to the amendment on page 7, this is also a government amendment.

Mr Maves: I move that section 9 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsections:

"(4) Subsection 267.8(15) of the act is amended by striking out 'Workers' Compensation Act' in the third line and substituting 'Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.'

"(5) Subsection 267.8(16) of the act is repealed.

"(6) Subsection 267.8(19) of the act is amended by striking out 'Workers' Compensation Board' in the first line and in the fourth and fifth lines and substituting, in each instance, 'Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.'"

Again, this is a consequential amendment to the Insurance Act to reflect the change of the name of the board in the act and it repeals subsection 267.8(16) of the Insurance Act. This provision is no longer necessary because the board will be permitted to include the value of any collateral benefits that have been or will be received by the worker in the amount of the worker's judgement or settlement.

Mr Christopherson: Subsection (5) says, " Subsection 267.8(16) of the act is repealed." I don't know whether that is what you were referring to, but even if you were, would you say it in plainer English, please?

The Chair: Do you want a --

Mr Christopherson: I just want an explanation of what it is, and if he says, "I just explained it," then I need him to explain it in language I can understand.

The Chair: Which would mean 267.8(16). Do you want that read out?

Mr Christopherson: No. I want to know from him what it means. It is being repealed. You're repealing that subsection. To cut through it, I just want to know what it is you're doing here.

Mr Maves: We're making this in harmony with Bill 59, the Insurance Act, which is there to prevent double recovery by a worker in a tort action.

Mr Christopherson: How does that change from what we have now?

Mr Maves: I believe this is because -- and Stan, you might want to help with this -- of the changes that were made under Bill 59.

Mr Stan Bucci: If I could add something, there is a motion to amend subsection 29(11), number 57 on your list. The two motions harmonize the operation of the Insurance Act with workers' compensation. It's a long-standing rule that a person who is entitled to benefits should not collect from multiple sources for the same injury. This rule already exists in the Insurance Act, and because of Bill 59 changes to the Insurance Act, there is a change required to Workers' Compensation Act to continue this harmonization, and that is 29(11). As a result, the section which prohibits double recovery in the Insurance Act is not necessary, and that is what 267.8 refers to.

Mr Christopherson: Does it affect anything in terms of the income of an injured worker, any of the claims, anything at all, or is it putting any new restrictions?

Mr Bucci: No, it does not.

Mr Christopherson: When you say you are just harmonizing, have we moved the line at all?

Mr Bucci: Not to my knowledge. It simply permits collateral sources to be taken into account by the board in determining if any additional benefits are going to be paid to workers who have a right of action when they come back to the board for potential differences.

Mr Christopherson: What do they do now? How does it differ? That is what I am not clear on.

Mr Bucci: I think it works the same way except that the provision is in 267.8 of the Insurance Act. Because of the changes in the Insurance Act, Bill 59, a lot of the provisions were repealed, and this is one that should have been repealed.

Mr Christopherson: It should have been or should not?

Mr Bucci: That's my understanding, that it should have been repealed, yes.

Mr Christopherson: Oh, when you did Bill 59 you should have made the reference to WCB?

Mr Bucci: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: Another Tory mistake.

Mr Bucci: I didn't do Bill 59.

The Chair: Further questions or comments? Seeing none, I'll put the question. Shall the amendment carry? Recorded vote.


Fisher, Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: Section 9, as amended, carries.

Moving now to sections 10 through 17. Questions or comments, please.


Mr Christopherson: Again, an explanation by the parliamentary assistant as to what these sections do.

Mr Maves: I'm sorry, Chair. Are we on section 10?

The Chair: It was section 10 through 17, inclusive. Are you asking about one specific section, Mr Christopherson?

Mr Christopherson: You can start right at the first section.

The Chair: Section 10.

Mr Maves: The same consequential amendments as affect the Legislative Assembly Act reflect a change. That is 10(1), and 10(2) is a consequential amendment that affects the Legislative Assembly Act and reflects a change in the name of the legislation. And 11.

Mr Christopherson: Wait a minute. Again, 10 is a result of the $1 million wasted on the name change.

Mr Maves: It's a result of bringing in a new piece of legislation and having to change other acts to make them conform.

Mr Christopherson: But it's reflecting the name change. It's not just consequential in terms of clause, subclause. If you brought in amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act that didn't include changing the name, some of these amendments wouldn't have to be made because the reference they're changing is the name of the act. Is that correct?

Mr Maves: That's correct.

Mr Christopherson: So it is part of the $1 million you are wasting.

Mr Maves: Yes.

Mr Christopherson: You're actually getting clearer in your thinking. You've now admitted twice it's wasted money.

The Chair: Further questions and comments? Seeing none, I put the question. Shall sections 10 through 17 carry? All those in favour?

Mr Christopherson: Wait a minute. That was section 10. Now I want to hear about 11.

The Chair: Okay.

Mr Maves: It's the same one, Madam Chair. Change consequential to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, reflects a change in the name of the legislation from Workers' Compensation Act to Workplace Safety Insurance Act.

Mr Christopherson: That's part of the wasted $1 million too?

Mr Maves: Part of changing the act, yes.

Mr Christopherson: And 12?

Mr Maves: Yes, I just answered the question.

Mr Christopherson: I'd like you to refer to it.

Mr Maves: It's a consequential amendment as --

Mr Christopherson: What does it refer to? Come on, you can do this. I have a right to have a question. I'm asking what is section 12?

Mr Maves: I've answered.

Mr Christopherson: You're giving a generic answer. I'm asking what section 12 specifically changes.

The Chair: Please allow time for an answer.

Mr Maves: A consequential amendment, I'll say it again, as it affects the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act to reflect a change in the name of a legislation from Workers' Compensation Act to Workplace Safety Insurance Act.

Mr Christopherson: I don't think so. Unless the compendium that was sent out is wrong, I think that's section 11. We're on section 12.

Mr Maves: No, we're on section 11 because you stopped and made me go back to 11.

Mr Christopherson: All right. Do 12.

The Chair: Order, please. For clarification: You are asking a question on section 11?

Mr Christopherson: I'd like each one. He already answered once about the municipality because section 10 was the Legislative Assembly Act.

The Chair: Okay. We're on 11.

Mr Maves: All right, now I answered the one on the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.

Mr Christopherson: Right. I heard that answer twice. But fine, 12.

Mr Maves: Chair, are we moving to section 12?

The Chair: Mr Christopherson, again I ask you to direct your questions through the Chair, and if you would do each one specifically, then we will have no confusion. My understanding is that you're asking for clarification on section 12.

Mr Christopherson: Yes. It comes right after 11.

Mr Maves: The change is the consequential effect on the Police Services Act to reflect the change in the name of the legislation from Workers' Compensation Act to Workplace Safety Insurance Act.

Mr Christopherson: Part of the $1 million you are wasting.

The Chair: Section 13.

Mr Christopherson: Yes, 13 please. Every one of them.

The Chair: Same question, I believe, with regard to section 13, Mr Maves.

Mr Maves: Consequential amendment as it affects the Power Corporation Act to reflect the change in the name of the legislation from Workers' Compensation Act to Workplace Safety Insurance Act; and the new language of the bill, such as the change from "assessments" to "premiums."

Mr Christopherson: And 14 is the Proceedings against the Crown Act? That's the law that's changed?

Mr Maves: That's correct.

Mr Christopherson: And 15 would be the Regional Municipalities Act?

Mr Maves: That's correct.

Mr Christopherson: And 16 would be the Retail Sales Tax Act?

Mr Maves: That's correct.

Mr Christopherson: And 17 would be the War Veterans Burial Act?

Mr Maves: That's correct.

Mr Christopherson: And those changes are only necessary because you changed the name; there's no other part of the law that's a consequence of changing a procedure, a formula, any other reference. Every one of those costs is directly attributed to your changing the name.

Mr Maves: It's directly attributable to Bill 99.

Mr Christopherson: I've looked at these carefully, Parliamentary Assistant. I'm being very careful in what I ask. I'm asking you to confirm my understanding that all these changes are only necessary because you decided to change the name, not because you changed anything else. If you hadn't changed the name of the Workers' Compensation Act, you wouldn't have to make these changes.

Ms Sherry Cohen: The Workers' Compensation Act is being repealed, and all subsequent amendments since the 1990 consolidation to the Workers' Compensation Act are also being repealed. The new act is being given a new name. But if it had been drafted just as a new act with the Workers' Compensation Act, these references wouldn't have had to be changed.

You have to understand that it isn't just the name of the act; it's also the repeal of the act. So this is the repeal of the act and a new name being given to the new act; it is necessary to change all references in existing laws to the new act.

Mr Christopherson: It underscores the fact that you aren't just making minor amendments that injured workers need to understand. You're replacing the entire act; in fact, you're making it longer than it was before.

Ms Cohen: We are replacing the act; it is a new act.

Mr Christopherson: A whole new act, not amendments.

Ms Cohen: No, it's an entirely new act.

Mr Christopherson: Just like the Ontario Labour Relations Act is a whole new act -- not just amending Bill 40 and the issue of scabs. This is the same thing. You brought in a whole new piece of legislation.

Mr Maves: If the act was one page, I believe we'd still have to make the same consequential amendments to the other acts.

Ms Cohen: If you were simply introducing a new act and renaming the act, then you still would have to make the consequential amendments to other laws that refer to an old act that no longer is going to exist.

Mr Christopherson: What I want to do is underscore the fact that it is a whole new act -- not just a few amendments here and there; it's a whole new act. Is it longer than the previous one?

Ms Rappolt: I'll just say that the proposed act adds a new section in duties and responsibilities for the board of directors, so there is in effect a new part, but there has been significant modernization and clarification in the redrafting.

Mr Christopherson: But you've made it a bigger piece of legislation.

Ms Rappolt: We can confirm for you that the proposed act has 180 sections; the existing Workers' Compensation Act has 164 sections.

Mr Christopherson: Let me get this straight. When you're dealing with environmental protection, you cut the laws and cut the regulations because you believe in cutting red tape and getting government out of the face of business, blah, blah, blah. But when it comes to injured workers, you increase the amount of legislation that controls them by virtue of denying them claims they otherwise would be entitled to. So you have one set of rules when you're dealing with your political agenda around the environment and a different set of rules when you deal with your political agenda around workers.

Mr Maves: There are new sections in this, for instance, the return-to-work obligations which weren't in there before. Part II, the injury and disease prevention, is a new part also.

The Chair: Further questions and comments? Seeing none, I then put the question. Shall sections 10 through 17, inclusive, carry?


Galt, Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Ouellette, Spina, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: The sections carry.

Moving to section 18, on the top --


The Chair: Madam, kindly respect the committee's attendance to business.

Moving to page 8, please, section 18. This is a government amendment.


Mr Maves: I move that section 18 of the bill be amended by adding the following paragraph:

"10. Subsections 72(1) and (2) of the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996."

Ms Cohen: The Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act contained two amendments: one to the Workers' Compensation Act and one to Bill 99 if and when it became law. That amendment deleted a reference to support responsibility officers to issue garnishment orders. The effect of that amendment was to leave the authority to issue garnishment orders in court. Because we have included those amendments in the government motions to Bill 99 in schedule A, we are repealing these sections in the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act to be no longer necessary.

Mr Christopherson: This would of course be the infamous Attorney General's family support plan. That was your bungle of last year when you had literally tens of thousands, mostly women and children, who weren't receiving money, spouse support payments that spouses had already paid into the system. But because you shut down all the offices to help pay for your tax cut, all that money was backed up and never distributed. Would that be the same plan?

Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton North): It is not germane to the motion.

Mr Maves: My understanding is that more people right now are receiving payments than ever have before in the history of the support plan.

Mr Christopherson: Do you know how many people were put through the wringer as a result of what you guys did?

The Chair: We're dealing with the Workers' Compensation Act, please.

Mr Christopherson: You were told ahead of time that was going to happen to those women and children and you ignored it and did it anyway.

The Chair: Let's return to the act, please. Further questions and comments? Seeing none, I put the question. Shall the amendment carry?


Jordan, Maves, O'Toole, Spina, Stewart.


Christopherson, Galt, Hoy, Ouellette, Patten.

The Chair: Mr Hastings, were you voting in favour of or opposed to this motion, or abstaining?

Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): I'm abstaining because I wasn't here to vote on the amendment.

The Chair: Shall section 18, as amended, carry? Recorded vote, please.


Galt, Hastings, Jordan, Maves, Ouellette, O'Toole, Spina, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: Moving then to section 19, page 9, a government motion, please.

Mr Maves: I move that section 19 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"19(1) This act, except for subsection 2(11), comes into force on January 1, 1998.


"(2) Subsection 2(11) shall be deemed to have come into force on April 1, 1997."

The amendment is a consequential change to reflect the expected new in-force date of the act, January 1, 1998, and clarifies that the amendment to section 22 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which removes the cap on the level of funding, comes into force on April 1, 1997.

Mr Christopherson: On the second question, would you just expand on that a little in terms of what that does?

Mr Maves: Currently the board collects moneys from employers to pay for administration of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. There's a cap on the amount of money they can collect, I believe it's $4 million, and then there's a percentage increase that can occur each year. This removes that cap so that the board can collect the full amount from employers for administration of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Mr Christopherson: The change to the enforcement, what was the original enforcement date in the bill you tabled?

Mr Maves: July 1, 1997; now it's January 1, 1998.

Mr Christopherson: How did you think you were going to get the bill done in that length of time and still do public hearings when you originally tabled it? How were you going to do that?

Mr Maves: I would have to comment that it was the House leaders in negotiation with the ministry at the time. They had drafted it back in November and they picked that as the commencement date. I wasn't part of that process where they came up with that date or why they drafted that date.

Mr Christopherson: The fact was that you were going to try and ram it through even quicker than you are. The injured workers and the opposition in the House forced you to delay your dirty work, and that's the only reason we managed to stave off the implementation of this awful bill.

Mr Maves: That's your opinion.

Mr Christopherson: You're damn right it is.

The Chair: Further questions and comments? Seeing none, I put the question. Shall the amendment carry?


Galt, Hastings, Jordan, Maves, Ouellette, O'Toole, Spina, Stewart.


Christopherson, Hoy, Patten.

The Chair: The motion carries.

Moving now to the amendment on page 10, this is an NDP motion.

Mr Christopherson: I move that section 19 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:


"19. This act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor as a royal commission has carried out a full public consultation into the workers' compensation system and submitted its final report."


The Chair: Excuse me, Mr Christopherson. Madam, please, it's very difficult to hear in this room. These have to be read out carefully. We have to be able to hear them for Hansard. Kindly do not speak in the room when others are speaking.


The Chair: Madam, I will have to ask you to leave if this continues. Please, Mr Christopherson, go forward.


The Chair: Order, please. Mr Christopherson has the floor.

Mr Christopherson: I would point out that after we made our request of legal counsel for this change, I'm not sure that "as" is the correct word. I think that should be either "not before" --


Mr Christopherson: We didn't draft it.

Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): When we got it, this was --

Mr Christopherson: We didn't draft it. Do you want to see my original submission? I believe that they should have put "after a royal commission has carried out a full public consultation of the workers' compensation system and submitted its final report." I have my draft notes, the notes that were submitted to legal counsel of the Leg Assembly. That's what that should be. It doesn't make sense the way it is.

The Chair: One moment. Colleagues, just so you know, because of the time allocation motion there cannot be amendments to amendments. However, in the situation where it appears that it is a clerical error, we can accept the change if it is done by unanimous consent and the legislative counsel believes it is a clerical error.

Mr Christopherson: I'd probably be a lot more worried about it if I thought it had any chance of surviving. None the less, if we can make the record straight, I'll take it.

The Chair: All right.


The Chair: There is unanimous consent then for that --

Mr Maves: Madam Chair, could I ask a question about this?

The Chair: Yes, certainly.

Mr Maves: So then the ruling from yourself is that amendments -- even for instance often in clause-by-clause analysis we talk about friendly amendments and so on -- are out of order. This amendment is in order because it's a clerical error?

The Chair: Yes, friendly amendments would be out of order. This is in order because legislative counsel is acknowledging that this is a clerical error through legislative counsel.

Mr Maves: Okay.

Mr Christopherson: We're talking about a drafting error. It's like an input error. It's not even that they drafted it wrong, because if you read it, it doesn't work with that word.

Mr Maves: I just want to be clear on how that would proceed. Thank you.


The Chair: We'll be very clear on whether amendments are allowed. That change will be noted in Hansard, Mr Christopherson.

Mr Christopherson: I'd like to speak to it.

The Chair: Speak to it, please.

Mr Christopherson: I want to point out that what we're suggesting with this motion is that the government recognize that they were wrong in killing the royal commission. We, like every other government, have acknowledged that the system wasn't perfect. This government continues to use as their justification for killing things and making them worse for the people they're trying to help that because it wasn't perfect, this was necessary, which is just a lot of garbage. There's a world of difference between changing something and making it better and changing something and making it worse, but just changing it is not in and of itself a positive thing, yet you will continuously say that.

The reality is that more work needed to be done beyond what we were able to do. The royal commission was struck for that very reason. The royal commission was public, it was transparent, it was most of the way through its work but not completed. I don't believe you had any justification or any right in killing that royal commission and handing that work off to Cam Jackson and then he disappeared with it and held his private, secret meetings with God knows whom. We never did see a list in its totality of whom he met with or what they said to them, more importantly. That was the first act that you did.

The second thing is, it talks about full public consultation. As every one of you knows, there's not an injured worker in this province who accepts that your measly six days on the road constituted any kind of full public consultation, absolutely none, and the Kingston resolution that the injured workers passed speaks more to the kind of consultation that should have happened. If you admit you were wrong, pull back on 99, reconstitute the royal commission to do their work in public transparently, and only when that job is finished and after you've had full public consultation, only then, in our opinion, will you have the moral right. You may have the legal one but then you'd have the moral right to implement changes.

You have no moral right to make these kinds of draconian changes that affect injured workers and their quality of life with only six days of consultations when we had hundreds and thousands of people who still had something to say. This is the last chance you're going to have to do the right thing, and I would urge you to reflect on everything you've heard and realize that you have no right to ram 99 through. The people deserve to be heard.

The Chair: Further questions or comments? Seeing none, I put the question. Shall the amendment carry?

Mr Maves: It is our belief there's been quite a bit of public consultation around the workers' compensation system for some time. It's an area that all three past governments have made changes to. The previous government made changes to the system prior to a royal commission, so if it was morally right for them to do it before a royal commission, I don't understand Mr Christopherson's contention that all of a sudden it's morally wrong for us to make changes before a royal commission --


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Maves: Mr Jackson did a study on the system. He talked to over 150 workers and received over 200 submissions. He issued a paper on that. We issued the bill in November last year. We had four days of debate in the House. We had seven cities that we visited and we feel there was quite a bit of consultation. The ministry also did some of its own consultations in-house. We feel that quite a bit of consultation has gone into this and that's why I would recommend to vote against this amendment.

Mr O'Toole: I just want to respond to the comments of the amount of consultation and the need for reform. We heard from one of the participants in the public process, Ellen Fegan, and I'm just going to read directly from her document dated August 12.

"The case for reform is undeniable. The WCB's unfunded liability has increased by 470% between 1983 and 1994.... Correspondingly, accident rates dropped 33%," -- in that period -- "while employer assessment rates rose 46%."

She goes on to state, and I think it's worth all of us listening to the need for reform, "One has only to look at the royal commission reports of 1950 issued by Justice Roach and of 1967 by Justice McGillivray."

I'll summarize briefly, if I may, Madam Chair, "It is interesting to note that Justice McGillivray reiterated in his royal commission report that Justice Roach's comments were still valid" today. Bills 101, 162 and 165 had only continued to distort a broken system.

So there's clearly input from a non-participant who was there in terms of just a person appearing without any other agenda saying that the system needed to be fixed. There had been studies --


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr O'Toole: I think this bill is badly needed. As much as we talk about public consultation, there has been a lot of public consultation.

Mr Christopherson: I told you the argument was going to come, and there it is: "There have to be changes; therefore we're justified in what we're doing." The fact that you're making horrible changes and making it worse for the most vulnerable in our province doesn't seem to come into it for you.


The Chair: Order.

Mr Christopherson: You're doing the same thing to our education system, to our health care system, to our social service system, to other labour legislation. Every time you stand up and say, "There's a problem; therefore we're going to kill it," you put the lie to the argument that you're making anything better, because that's not what you're doing with Bill 99.

Let me also say that it's interesting that Mr O'Toole doesn't think we need more consultation. I was standing beside him when he did a radio interview at the end of the Kingston hearings, and I couldn't believe I heard him say it, and he did -- and you said it publicly, so I consider it proper to use it, public consumption. He said, "Yes, I wish we could have gone to Ottawa too." Yet every time I asked for unanimous consent to allow a motion that would extend these hearings, you were part of the gaggle that voted to shut that down. So you've got a lot of nerve.


The Chair: Order, please. Order. Ladies and gentlemen, This committee stands recessed for 10 minutes.

The committee recessed from 1738 to 1749.

The Chair: Colleagues, the standing committee is adjourned. We will reconvene at our next appointed date.

The committee adjourned at 1750.