The House met at 2 p.m.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton East with a point of privilege.
Mr. Mackenzie: In the House last night, Mr. Speaker, there was a rather unfortunate fall in the public gallery. I understand it’s not the first one. It involved my constituency secretary, from my riding office, who is in some considerable pain today as a result of that fall. I had asked her to come over to the House last night.
I have spent some time up in the gallery this morning, going up and down the stairs where the fall occurred, checking the steps, checking the lighting and checking the railings. There is certainly, especially at night, inadequate lighting in those galleries and certainly a need for some light right at the stair level because of the different floor levels. There is a need for a railing of some kind at either end where one comes down. The lady suffered a rather severe cut on her wrist because there are almost razor sharp edges on the brass leaves on the metalwork at either end of the gallery.
It would seem to me that it would be in order for the Speaker to take a look at the safety measures in the gallery. It seems to me that if we had a safety inspector check it we’d be in real trouble in this House. I would request your office to take a look at the safety measures in the public galleries.
Mr. Speaker: In brief response, we are having a look at all these matters which the hon. member has raised and we certainly assure you that we will take whatever action it would appear necessary to improve the situation. They are dangerous steps to begin with, but I think we are very fortunate that we haven’t had more mishaps.
ZAMBIA HIGH COMMISSIONER
Mr. Speaker: I would like to draw to the attention of the hon. members, a distinguished guest whom we have in our Speaker’s gallery today in the person of His Excellency, Wilson Mofya Chakulya, the High Commissioner of Zambia to Canada.
OLYMPIC SKI TEAM
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce to the House this afternoon, the members of Canada’s Olympic ski team, who are seated in Mr. Speaker’s gallery.
I am sure we are all pleased to welcome back again our gold medal winner, Kathy Kreiner, along with her sister Laurie, accompanied by Ken Read and Rob Safrata, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin and Jim Hunter; I’m sorry that Dave Murray isn’t able to be with them.
They are accompanied by coaches Scott Henderson and Lyn MacIntosh along with Keith Nesbitt, Luc Dubois and Ed Champagne from the Canadian National Alpine Ski Association.
As a group, they are bringing special honour to Ontario and Canada and on behalf of all of us, may I assure them of the appreciation for all that they do on behalf of the people of Ontario and Canada.
Mr. Lewis: You will be taxing their equipment tonight.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
MOOSONEE FORCES BASE
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce that the Moosonee Development Area Board has entered into negotiations with the federal Department of Public Works to accept the assets of the Canadian Forces Station in Moosonee.
Members will recall that on Jan. 17, 1975, the federal Department of National Defence announced the closing of the base effective Aug. 1, 1975. Immediately following the announcement, a committee of local citizens from Moosonee and Moose Factory, including representatives of the native people and the white community, was established to determine the best uses for the base assets.
As a result of some months of deliberation, it was determined a major component use would be the development of a secondary school complex utilizing some of the buildings on the base. The concept was approved by the Minister of Education on Oct. 1, 1975, and a principal was hired on Nov. 25, 1975.
On Feb. 1, 1976, the James Bay Lowlands Secondary School District was formed, with the board to take office on April 1, 1976.
Disposal of other assets is proceeding, with 25 houses to be transferred to Moose Factory island and 50 houses to be assigned to the Ontario rural and native housing programme.
Mr. Speaker, I believe the best possible use is being made of the assets of the base in providing housing for people and in developing a secondary school complex on that site.
INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I would like to add to my remarks in reply to a question asked on March 17, concerning investment funds at Seneca College.
Prior to 1971, there was no need and very little opportunity for a college to accumulate a reserve. Funding was done on a budget-review basis, similar to the Management Board/ministries process. When funds were required by a college to replace equipment or to meet various needs as they arose, these were requested of the ministry and allowed or disallowed, depending upon the relative merits of the situation.
In 1971, the decision was taken to place the colleges on a funding basis similar to that of the universities -- essentially a BIU approach keyed to student enrolment. This change placed an extra responsibility on the individual boards of governors to husband their available funds carefully. Instead of just meeting routine operating expenses as they occurred, they now had to plan and budget to provide for equipment replacement, contingencies relating to wage and salary adjustments or arbitration awards, inflation, enrolment fluctuations, etc. It was made clear to the boards of governors that they could not expect any additional assistance from the government to meet deficits on operations.
Consequently, the boards undertook to set aside reserves to meet perceived needs and contingencies to the extent they were able to do so. The anticipated needs and the capability to set aside funds varied from college to college depending upon many factors some of which were: The age and condition of plant and equipment; the cost of servicing the respective community; the particular impact of the near-moratorium on capital.
In addition, in 1974, the colleges were advised by the ministry to set aside an appropriate amount against an anticipated wage and salary arbitration award. In 1975, they were again advised to set aside an appropriate amount against the next settlement. Indeed, a preliminary survey indicates that at the end of the 1975-1976 fiscal year, the amount available for short-term investments is reduced by $17 million, largely because of implementing salary and wage settlements.
These reserves in the college system have, for the most part, been in the form of short-term paper. The general level of reserves and surpluses across the whole system is not held to be inappropriate but reflects responsible management on the part of the boards of governors.
Some shortcomings were identified in an approach to CAAT funding based on student enrolment and in the spring of 1975 the Council of Regents was requested to recommend a better approach.
A special task force was organized, consisting of the members of the Council of Regents, two college presidents, two members of the boards of governors and ministry staff. Subsequently, the Council of Regents recommended a new formula approach to the minister in December, 1975, which was accepted and is now being implemented for the first time.
Concurrent with this work, the consulting firm of Woods Gordon was engaged to review the practices relating to reserves set aside by the colleges and to recommend guidelines. This report and another report prepared by an ad hoc committee of presidents on surpluses and reserves are now being considered in the context of the new formula approach. It is understood that the Council of Regents will be considering a draft set of guidelines on reserves and surpluses at its April meeting and, assuming that these meet with my approval, it is probable that the colleges will receive definitive guidelines on reserves and surpluses by May of this year.
In the meantime it is prudent for colleges to carry reasonable working balances to meet the expenditures they expect to incur. These balances are described in the colleges’ financial statements as either operating surplus or deficit, or reserves for specific purposes such as the replacement of equipment.
Mr. Lewis: Such as what?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Such as replacement of equipment. The total of such balances in the college system at March 31, 1975, was approximately $25 million or nine per cent of the total college expenditure in 1974-1975.
In addition, the college financial statements include among the reserves a sum calculated to meet specific unavoidable expenditures; these expenditures, as reported at March 31, 1975, include such items as retroactive salary increases and accrued sick leave credits which would become payable at any time. Finally, it is obviously necessary to have funds available to pay the day-to-day bills due to the colleges’ creditors. These liabilities reach a combined total of $36 million in the college system.
Since it is prudent to carry reasonable funds in excess of immediate needs, it is equally prudent to invest them. At March 31, 1975, a total of $58 million was invested by the colleges. Effectively it consists of two packages: All the $25 million in working balance is invested; $23 million of the funds required to meet the $36 million liability is invested because not all of the liability is immediately payable.
Reference has been made in the press to college investment portfolios. These are not portfolios as ordinarily understood; it is merely the result of keeping money in interest-bearing deposits until it is actually needed. The personal equivalent is putting one’s money into a savings account which one transfers into a chequing account when one wants to spend it.
Turning specifically to Seneca College, the college’s own investment schedule at March 31, 1975, shows a total of $3,026,000. This was available because: 1. The college’s surplus and reserves amounted to eight per cent of the year’s expenditure compared with the nine per cent average of all colleges, and that amount was $1.6 million.
2. There was a time lag between the college receiving its revenues and the actual payment of $2.3 million liabilities anticipated on its March 31, 1975, balance sheet. This permitted the college to maximize its reserve by investing cash not immediately paid out, amounting to $1.4 million.
Further to my reply to the initial inquiry about Seneca’s investments, I reiterate that the present level of reserves is quite acceptable. As I said in the House on March 17, 1976, I would like to stress that I would not want to criticize a community college for building a reserve if this can be achieved through good management. There is every reason for such funds to be used appropriately for purposes for which they were designated.
However, I must express my concern over the nature of the investments chosen by Seneca for its reserves. I have been assured that the other colleges have invested their reserve funds in short-term notes. Seneca College, however, holds a combination of short-term notes and long-term bonds. I disagree with the college maintaining its reserves in long-term bonds. Consequently, I have directed Seneca College’s board of governors to provide me, before the end of this month, with an acceptable plan for bringing Seneca College’s investments into line with those of other colleges.
Once again referring to the overall college system, I would repeat that the general level of reserves maintained across the system is not inappropriate. However, we are aware that one of the smaller colleges has accumulated a level of reserves disproportionate to its needs. The new formula will permit us to correct this anomaly and the new investment guidelines will prevent its recurrence.
I will also forward to the critics of the parties opposite the details of the investment funds of all 22 community colleges.
Mr. Bullbrook: On a point of privilege, I hope appropriately so, if we are not televising is it necessary that we have the additional lights?
Mr. Lewis: We are televising. It is most important.
Mr. Bullbrook: Is that right? I’m glad I made it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: There is the cameraman up there.
Mr. Deans: Is the member for Hastings-Peterborough the dealer?
Mr. Reid: What time does the game start?
Mr. Martel: It’s even blue.
An hon. member: Tory blue at that.
Mr. Cassidy: Are you selling those?
Mr. Rollins: A dollar and a quarter.
Mr. Lewis: You just saw “California Split,” did you, and it turned you on? I’m glad something does.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Mr. Lewis: May I address a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities? First, do universities, as distinct from community colleges, have public money -- not private endowments but public moneys -- which they use for the investment purposes, short- and long-term, that he just outlined for community colleges?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: As the member is well aware, the universities have quite a different responsibility in reporting those funds from that of the community colleges. I do not have those details here but there are funds in the system --
Mr. Lewis: Public funds?
Mr. MacDonald: Surplus from our grants?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Similar to the kinds of funds any institution, any business, would need whether it’s for cash flow or payment of debt. Those types of funds obviously are there and are required in short-term investments. Now whether they have similar long-term investments I can’t answer, but I will.
Mr. Lewis: Thank you. By way of supplementary, can the minister give a broader rationale or can he explain the appropriateness of what amounts to a channelling of public money to private boards in the community college system to invest in the long term? How does the minister justify that use of public money?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It was a long statement, but I tried to say very clearly that I disagree with long-term investments of public funds.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Sarnia.
Mr. Bullbrook: I’m wondering, relevant to the statement that was made, could the minister disclose the name of the community college which now has, in his opinion disproportionate reserves?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: One of the smaller colleges, Lambton, has a very large number of dollars relative to its budget.
Mr. Bullbrook: One additional supplementary: Could the minister tell me what the reserve position of Lambton is at the present time and where its investments are made?
An hon. member: Because Lorne’s from there.
Mr. Bullbrook: That’s exactly the college I thought it was. My college.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I can give the hon. member the number of dollars. I cannot tell him at this precise moment, although that information is readily available, where the investments are made. The combined surplus is $2,102,000; the short-term investments were larger than that, $2.3 million. However, I’m advised that because of some of the requirements for settlements, as I suggested in my statement, that reserve is reduced now to some degree. I would also repeat that we intend to establish guidelines, that the new funding method will take into full account that this reserve is in excess and that we will deal with that problem in the future years of funding.
Mr. Bullbrook: If I might be permitted one final supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please, I think the hon. member has had two.
Mr. Bullbrook: One more, Mr. Speaker. You recognize it is my community college --
Mr. Speaker: Sorry. I do appreciate that.
Mr. Bullbrook: -- and it is their obscene reserves I’ve been talking about over the years.
Mr. Foulds: I thought it was Lorne Henderson’s community college.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member may ask another question in a moment.
Mr. Lewis: I have a further supplementary. In the light of what the minister is revealing today, with some obvious discomfort, is it not time to end the practice of these accumulated reserves, other than the short-term cash flow requirements, which we all understand? Isn’t it time to end the situation where $25 million of public money builds up, perhaps inappropriately invested in Ontario this way?
An hon. member: Give Lorne a sabbatical
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Again, I refer back to my statement where I say that we are establishing guidelines, and by May of this year we will --
Mr. Lewis: We don’t need guidelines; just end it.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I agree; I’m not disagreeing with that position at all, but we have these two studies and we intend to consider them. Prior to this date, the Council of Regents were asked by this ministry to advise on that matter; and as soon as their April meeting is over I hope they will be able to do so.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member for Sarnia wish to ask a further supplementary?
Mr. Bullbrook: I just want to ask if the minister would agree with my characterization, made over the years, of the reserve position of Lambton College, especially in the context of the need of restraint, totally as far as the government is concerned, that those reserves are obscene.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Oh I would caution the members of this House to use one community college out of 22 to draw conclusions that are unjustified against the other 21.
Mr. Bullbrook: But they’re under your ministry!
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I agree with the member opposite that the investment dollars of one college were in excess and we intend to do something about it.
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary on this question; the member for Kitchener-Wilmot.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response to the original question on Seneca, but may I ask the minister if he would give some direction to the Council of Regents to take into consideration the complaints of the faculty and the students that in fact that reserve fund was built up because annual operating needs were not being met? Their claim is that, in fact, equipment purchases in the last two years have not been made -- not just replacements, but new equipment. That’s one of the things we’re against. Would the minister give such direction?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would think the member would expect that the board of governors would use their funds in the most appropriate fashion, not only to renew the facility itself but indeed to keep the educational process at a very adequate level. I believe that institution is doing that, and this year’s funding mechanism recognizes that there are, indeed two components to the system: one, the plant operation; and two, for lack of a better word at the moment, the educational process. We recognize that was perhaps a weakness in the previous funding method. This year was the first attempt, and it will be improved. There is a review mechanism established in that process for the various colleges and we think, given another year’s experience, that the member’s request will be honoured.
STUDY OF ONTARIO PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS
Mr. Lewis: A question to the acting Minister of Health if I may. Back on Jan. 20 I wrote to the Minister of Health asking for the rationalization study of the psychiatric hospitals in Ontario and have raised it since. Is it possible for the acting minister to table that study in response to the question?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the study. I shall find out if it is possible to do so.
ASBESTOS PROBLEM AT HEDMAN MINES LTD.
Mr. Lewis: A separate question, Mr. Speaker: Back on Mar. 4 I wrote to Dr. Fitch, the assistant director of the occupational health protection branch, about a problem at Hedman Mines Ltd. around asbestos, revealed from the ministry’s own information. Nothing was forthcoming. I wrote again on Mar. 26 and nothing is forthcoming. Can the minister get a reply for me?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall try.
Mr. Lewis: One further question for the acting Minister of Health: What caused her to say that there was no link between asbestos and stomach or gastro-intestinal cancer?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I think the remark I made was that there is no positive correlation presently factually understood between asbestos and gastro-intestinal cancer. There is some incidence correlation which has been reported by certain workers, but this has not been borne out in other investigations. It is certainly something which is under study at the moment, but there is not a positive correlation.
Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, the minister surely realizes that Dr. Charles Stewart, at the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and Dr. Ritchie, pathologist at the University of Toronto, are at this very moment about to produce a paper, through her as the minister I guess, to demonstrate whether or not there is this link, and isn’t it a bit premature to make these judgements in advance?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I was not making a judgement, I was simply reporting on current medical knowledge in this area. That paper has not, as yet, been produced. I shall be interested to see it, sir, when it is.
Mr. Foulds: Is the minister making a distinction between medical and scientific evidence? I ask that in view of the research done by Pontefract and Cunningham with regard to cancers caused by asbestos in experimental animals like rats and baboons.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I was really talking about medical scientific research and reports, and there is a difference. There are certainly some differences in sensitivity between certain laboratory animals and human beings.
DON BERE HOMES LTD.
Mr. Lewis: One last question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations if I may: Is the minister aware of the Don Bere development on Admiral Rd. in London and the problems the tenants in that development -- Fairhaven is the name it goes under -- have experienced since rent control legislation was introduced?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: To the best of my recollection I haven’t heard about that particular situation, no.
Mr. Lewis: I believe correspondence has gone to the minister. Could I, by way of supplementary, ask him to look at it? Apparently there is a major conversion under way to sell all the properties, with considerable problems for the tenants involved, and I wondered whether the minister could respond to their anxiety?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of situations of that nature, and I will certainly search out the correspondence which the Leader of the Opposition mentions and give him a reply as quickly as possible.
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Housing: Could the minister explain why one of his officials, Mr. White, in the Hamilton Housing Authority, has confirmed that tenants there are being asked to sign leases three months in advance of the commencement of the lease and, in fact, for rents in excess of the eight per cent increase? Apparently Mr. White feels these are instructions he received from OHC.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment on that. I will certainly look into the matter and get the information for the hon. member. I think, though, I should point out that it may be an official of the Hamilton Housing Authority, not an official of the ministry, who is making this statement. I will certainly look into that for the member.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Has the minister spoken to those people in his ministry who indicated to us they do give instructions to the Hamilton Housing Authority? Can he tell us whether he has instructed the housing authorities to inform tenants fully of their rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the housing authorities have been advised that the Ministry of Housing, or Ontario Housing Corp. rather, will abide by the regulations laid out in the rent review legislation. We are not to be treated any differently nor are the tenants to be treated any differently from any other tenant in any accommodation in this province. If those directions are not being followed, we will certainly see that they are.
Mr. S. Smith: Thank you. That’s the situation in Hamilton and I will be grateful to the minister if he will look into it.
Mr. S. Smith: To the Minister of Transportation and Communications: In view of the traffic blockade by some Detroit teamsters at the Windsor border, which has piled up 50 trucks on this side and caused quite a problem for Ontario business people, particularly the farming industry, what action has the minister taken to ensure that Ontario goods can move freely at the border? Has he been in contact with the Michigan government or does he intend to do anything about it?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of this problem but I will certainly look into it.
ANAESTHETIC SYSTEM INSTALLATION
Mr. S. Smith: To the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: As a follow-up to my question of March 16, I wonder if the minister has had some time to think about the regulation of hospital anaesthetic systems, which at that time he promised to look into, regarding its inclusion in the Ontario Building Code? Has he looked into it and can he now report to us on that situation?
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I don’t have all of the details at my fingertips but I have looked into it and we find that there was not only consultation but almost complete direction from the Ministry of Health in the establishment of the standards. The hospitals were also involved in providing input and we understand that the situation is very well in hand. They are all accepting these and the coroner’s report gave a great deal of guidance as to the method of installation of this kind of equipment.
Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Is the minister aware that although the regulations are excellent, the difficulty is in their application -- which presently falls under the Ontario Building Code and consequently is a municipal responsibility -- in this highly specialized and dangerous area? Would the minister consider, for administration, bringing it under a provincial body which could have one expert who could look after the whole province instead of leaving it to chance in each municipality? That’s what we are worried about -- that there not be a repetition of the Sudbury problem.
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly prepared to consider any suggestion which would improve the service and I would be quite ready to take it under advisement.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has the answer to a question which was asked previously, I believe.
LICENSING OF LAY PREACHER TO PERFORM MARRIAGES
Hon. Mr. Handleman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Monday, March 29, the member for Fort William (Mr. Angus) asked me a question regarding the licensing of a lay preacher, Mr. Sanadius Fiddler, to perform marriages in native communities in northwestern Ontario.
I would like to inform the member and the House that I have now written to the chairman of the personnel committee of the Cambrian Presbytery of the United Church of Canada informing him that registration is being granted to Mr. Fiddler.
Mr. Speaker: Questions. The hon. member for Wentworth.
WENTWORTH TEACHERS’ NEGOTIATIONS
Mr. Deans: Thank you, I am sorry; I was dreaming. I have a question for the Minister of Education.
Is the Minister of Education aware that the negotiations between the Wentworth Board of Education and its secondary school teachers have reached an impasse and that there has been little if any negotiation taking place in the last short while? Is he also aware that there have been two mediators involved now and there has not been any real progress made; and that the Wentworth county board has refused to negotiate with the elementary teachers until after the secondary school contracts are completed?
Will the minister personally review the situation with regard to the Wentworth county’s attitude toward its teachers and its responsibility to the public; and whether or no the teachers’ requests are reasonable or otherwise; and use whatever influence he might have to try to avoid what will ultimately be a strike?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, of course I would be very happy to become as familiar as my friend is with exactly what’s happening in Wentworth. I might point out to him that -- I am sure the teachers in that area know it -- that if they feel the board is not negotiating in good faith they can make such a charge before the Education Relations Commission which will be happy to hold a hearing and attempt to bring whichever party is not negotiating in good faith back to the bargaining table to do so. I’d be happy to find out exactly what’s happening. I know things aren’t moving as smoothly in the Wentworth secondary bargaining situation as they should on, but we’re always hopeful.
Mr. Deans: One supplementary question, if I may: Does the minister feel it proper that the board should refuse to negotiate with elementary panel representatives simply because it has been unable to reach an agreement with the secondary school teacher representatives? Does the minister not feel there is something terribly wrong with that board?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have learned from long experience in these matters that I’d like to familiarize myself completely with the details of what’s happening before I make any comment on a statement such as the hon. member has made. Not that I doubt what he’s saying but I’d like to know exactly what both sides feel.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, given that the date in the school year is somewhat late and the public school teachers are also working without a contract -- if think it’s the only board in Ontario which has neither a contract for the public school teachers or the secondary school teachers -- would the minister be willing to intervene personally this week so that a strike could be avoided?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think I indicated a few minutes ago that certainly if what the previous hon. member indicated is correct -- that the board refuses to negotiate with the elementary school teachers because it has not got a contract with the secondary school teachers -- I think those elementary school teachers should now or should have a few weeks ago put a case of bad-faith bargaining before the Education Relations Commission. Certainly that is the place that should go and the commission should make some determination.
Mr. Foulds: Could the minister indicate how many charges of bad-faith bargaining have been laid before the Education Relations Commission and the disposition of those charges?
Hon. Mr. Wells: From memory, as I recall, there was a charge of bad-faith bargaining made against us by the provincial school teachers and I believe the commission’s finding was that we were not bargaining in had faith.
There is a charge of bad-faith bargaining, I think, on the table regarding the Central Algoma situation, which has not been heard and which is presently part of the total process which is going on to try to bring that dispute to some finalization.
I think there have been some other charges -- I think there was one in Peel -- but I think they were withdrawn before any hearings were held.
Mr. Moffatt: Somebody intervened.
CLEANING CONTRACTS AT QUEEN’S PARK
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Labour, if I may. With all of her duties, is the minister aware of the problems surrounding the Portuguese women cleaning under contract at Queen’s Park?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am.
Mrs. Campbell: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: If that is the case, does she not believe she should ensure that such contracts incorporate scrupulous adherence to the provisions of the Employment Standards Act legislation on prohibition of sex discrimination by job classification?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I was under the strong impression that sex discrimination by job classification was, if not totally eliminated, almost completely so at this time.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, that not being the case, I wonder if the minister would look into the matter? Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Solicitor General has the answer to a question asked previously.
POLICE USE OF PSYCHIATRIC PATIENTS’ FILES
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On April 2 of this year, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) asked me a question concerning police investigation of psychiatric unit records at Toronto Western Hospital.
On Thursday, Dec. 11, 1975, two members of the Metropolitan Toronto Police proceeded to the Toronto Western Hospital psychiatric unit. They sought information as to what patients, if any, were absent from the unit during the evening of Nov. 7, 1975. This information was being sought as part of the investigation into the murder of Marion Peters. The officers were informed that this information would only be provided under the authority of a search warrant. On Friday, Dec. 12, 1975, the officers, armed with a search warrant, returned to the hospital. As a result, they were provided with the names of seven persons who were absent from the psychiatric unit on Nov. 7, 1975. The officers subsequently sought information as to whether or not the patients in question would be capable of committing such an act. The reply was in the negative.
I understand that the officers had no further contact with the staff of the psychiatric unit of the Toronto Western Hospital, no files were seized or examined by the officers. I have a report from the Metropolitan Toronto Police and I would like to table that, Mr. Speaker, if I may. It’s a little fuller.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: The minister is saying quite definitively that they did not look at the files at all. They were simply looking at attendance. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: That is my understanding from the report I have received.
Mr. Breaugh: How do we balance the statement of the man who supposedly ran that unit, who said they did have the files, with the report the minister just read to us now which says they really didn’t look at files at all, that they simply wanted to know whether the people were there or not? There seems to be quite a conflict there.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I can’t account for any conflict of that nature. There might be. I have tabled a fuller report, and I suggest the hon. member for Oshawa should look that over and then, if he wants further information, I’ll try to get it for him.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSES’ NEGOTIATIONS
Ms. Sandeman: A question for the Minister of Labour and/or the acting Minister of Health: Could the minister please report on the progress of negotiations with 35 groups of public health nurses across the province? At least one of these groups has been without a contract since June of last year and many of them without contracts since Jan. of this year.
Hon. B. Stephenson: In company with the deputy ministers of both Labour and Health, I met about two weeks ago with the Ontario Nurses’ Association, representing the public health nurses and two groups of VON nurses. Last week we met with the representatives of the association of boards of health for the Province of Ontario. I am pleased to report that I think for the first time we made some progress and, hopefully within the next two weeks, I shall have further news to report about this situation.
Mr. Good: Supplementary: Could the minister inform the House whether or not a complaint of not bargaining in good faith has been laid by the nurses in the Peterborough area, where I believe there have been words to that effect bandied about?
Hon. B. Stephenson: To my knowledge, no such complaint has been laid before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Mr. Reed: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Does the minister consider there is sufficient storage to hold sludge from sewage treatment plants in Ontario during the months the contractors are unable to spread it on the land, and does he consider the standards for that storage to be sufficient?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I think the hon. member is talking about a disposal site in his own riding, not too far from his farm, as a matter of fact where there is an abandoned --
Mr. Reid: How does he get it to his farm?
An hon. member: Oh, he wouldn’t be asking about that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Tell us it is not true.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- an abandoned quarry, I believe, that is being used by the contractor hauling sludge. There is no question that right about now the quarry is filling up, and as the warm weather comes along they will be able to get rid of that sludge, including at the hon. members own farm, which I’m sure is one of the recipients. I have had that request this morning from the mayor of Halton Hills and I promised him I would look into it. Hopefully we can get rid of the problems as far as that neighbourhood is concerned very shortly.
Mr. Reed: I wonder if the minister could tell us what standards his ministry has for those holding basins? Is he aware that the particular storage facility in question is not a quarry but an old sand pit, which is quite porous and open?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The hon. member is right, it is a pit; but I believe there were certain pouring operations there a few years ago. We have to satisfy ourselves that the site is safe from the point of view of contamination of the water tables and that has been done. The man has a permit to dump the sludge there; and from that point of view it is satisfactory. However, from the neighbourhood point of view, at this point it isn’t satisfactory, and the hon. member knows why.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: This will be the final supplementary.
Mr. Reed: What standards does the ministry impose before granting a licence to hold that sludge?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: As I indicated, it must be environmentally safe in every way. It should be located in an area where it won’t be a nuisance to the neighbourhood, to the people adjoining the pit, for example, or the site. There should be a reasonable distance so that the smell, particularly, won’t aggravate the neighbourhood. That is the main reason. As to the question of traffic to that site, spillage is a problem, for example. These are all the things we look at.
Hon. W. Newman: It grows good crops, though.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy has the answer to a question asked previously.
PICKERING NUCLEAR GENERATING STATION
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) and the hon. member for Sudbury (Mr. Germa) asked me questions on Friday following my statement on the Pickering No. 4 unit. I can now give some additional information in response to those questions and inform the House of the current status in this regard.
Unit 4 at Ontario Hydro’s Pickering nuclear generating station will be back in service within one week if repairs which are now in progress prove to be successful. Hydro has been able to plug a hole in the damaged generator conductor and is now in the process of replacing the insulation which is around it.
If, however, tests prove the work to be unsuccessful, the unit is not likely to return to operation for up to several months. Hydro will then be forced to dismantle a large section of the generator in order to gain full access to the damaged area.
The total cost of repairs will not be known until the unit returns to full power. The cost of replacing energy from the No. 4 unit with electricity produced in fossil-fired plants has been estimated by Hydro at up to an additional $5,000 per hour.
The damaged conductor is a very large hollow piece of copper. It is cooled by circulating water and it is located in the conventional or non-nuclear section of the unit.
The work was done under Ontario Hydro’s supervision, partly by its own forces and partly by workers from the generator manufacturer, Howden-Parsons.
At this time it appears that it will be almost impossible to determine who left the threading tool in the unit.
ACCOMMODATION FOR CARLETON FRENCH-LANGUAGE STUDENTS
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Education: Is the minister aware of the urgent need for a statement from his ministry regarding accommodation for 900 francophone students under the Carleton board’s jurisdiction? Is the minister aware of an urgent request from the advisory committee to the Carleton board for a meeting with the minister before April 12, when they have to make a decision?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, just as background, perhaps I might tell the hon. member that I met on Feb. 23 with both the Carleton board and the Ottawa board about this problem and asked our regional director to work with the boards. The Carleton board would like the Ottawa board to sell them or lease them one of its schools. The Ottawa board is not so inclined.
The Ottawa board is providing the education for those francophone students from the Carleton board at the present time, and I saw no indication that the education being provided was in any way inferior. The Carleton board, however, has indicated it would like to have those students under its own jurisdiction in its own school, which is a commendable thing. But I think it has to be also pointed out we could find no indication that the education that those francophone students are receiving is in any way inferior.
I have asked our regional director to work with the two boards to see if we can’t help them come up with some solution.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Is the minister saying no, he will not meet with the advisory committee to the Carleton board? Is that my understanding? Am I correct?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I might say that my friend, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) has been in touch with me daily about this particular problem --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Including Sundays.
Mr. Foulds: Even while you were away in Florida?
Mr. Yakabuski: He has been on top of the problem from the beginning.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Wells: In fact, he has made some suggestions to me about how we should handle the matter --
Mr. Lewis: I am sure.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- but they are not really acceptable to some of the Ottawa people. We do have a problem here; but if the advisory committee would like to meet with me some time, along with the boards, this could be arranged. I just want to assure them that I’m very much aware of the situation and the problem. At this point in time, if they would meet with our regional people there, I think that’s the way we can try to get some solution to the problem.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the Carleton board will be meeting on April 12 to decide what accommodation they will have next year for 900 francophones and that it is very urgent for that board and the francophone advisory committee to know the provincial stand when it holds that meeting and takes decisions at that meeting?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I haven’t had any indication from the Carleton board, although I understand they were talking to some people last week; but if they’d like us to indicate some particular stand we have on this matter, I think I can give it to them by April 12. I have to tell them also, though, that there is not any money available for the building of new schools at the present time.
Mr. Cassidy: In the same vein, Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the minister: What steps is the minister prepared to take in order to ensure the commitment to provide a French secondary school, which was made by the Essex County Board of Education, will be fulfilled --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not a supplementary to this question.
Mr. Cassidy: Very much so, Mr. Speaker.
RADIOACTIVITY AT PORT HOPE
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, a question to the acting Minister of Health: Is she prepared to assure this House that the results of the testing going on in Port Hope for radon gas levels will be made public?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the testing going on at the moment is being carried out both by the Ministry of Health, on occasion and by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada. If it is possible to get all of the results from the Atomic Energy Control Board, I think we might seriously consider announcing to those individuals who are affected directly, and to those individuals who are living in areas close to the areas where there has been radiation, the specific levels which relate to their particular domicile.
Mr. S. Smith: Why the secrecy?
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: Could the minister tell me why this information will not be made public for general consumption so that all the people in the town and other citizens of this province know of the potential problems in this kind of a situation? Why the secrecy in this matter?
Hon. B. Stephenson: There isn’t any real secrecy in that I think the reports have been made public; all of the tests that have been done very recently have shown marked improvement except, I think, in one or two specific areas. We will be discussing this with the people from the Port Hope area very shortly, and I really would like to consult with them about their feelings about whether all of the report should be made public or not.
Mr. Moffatt: Supplementary: I would like to ask the minister, since she said in her original response, “if the information is forthcoming from the Atomic Energy Control Board,” is there some reason to suspect the Atomic Energy Control Board would not give information to the Ontario Ministry of Health?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I’m sorry if I misled the House with that remark. There is no such doubt.
DESIGN FOR ONTARIO LAND-USE PLAN
Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Is the firm of Hedlin Menzies on an ongoing contract for consulting work with the ministry or with the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development? If not, what payment was made to that firm for the production of the draft statement of policy on agricultural land use?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Roger Schwass was retained by my ministry to do some work about three weeks ago. He’s a man with a great agricultural background, in case the hon. member didn’t know that
Mr. Lewis: It was a last-minute appointment.
Hon. W. Newman: He worked on “The Challenge of Abundance” as research director for 2 1/2 years. He’s had 20 years’ experience in the agricultural field. He’s done work on the Lambton-Sarnia --
Mr. Lewis: Three weeks before the final report.
Mr. MacDonald: And he is willing to produce the kind of political document you want.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. W. Newman: He knows more about agriculture than the hon. member will ever know, I tell him that right now.
Mr. Lewis: Certainly more than I’ll ever know.
Hon. W. Newman: As far as doing ongoing work is concerned, yes, he has done work for other ministries, and I know he has for this ministry in the past too.
Mr. Good: When in doubt, shout.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. W. Newman: But as far as I’m concerned, since I became minister, this is the first time we had the opportunity and pleasure of having him do some work for us, a little bit of work for us.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. W. Newman: His total cost will be somewhere around $4,000.
Mr. Lewis: For that statement?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Lewis: That’s $200 a page.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Rainy River with a supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Just a minute, please. We’ve had a very good question period up to now, I think everyone will agree, so let’s keep it that way.
Mr. Reid: Do you think I should sit down, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Yakabuski: Don’t blow up.
Mr. Mancini: The Minister of Agriculture and Food spoiled it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are wasting valuable time by these interjections. The hon. member for York South may have a supplementary.
Mr. MacDonald: I would agree that Roger Schwass may know more than I do, and certainly than the minister, on agriculture. However, will the minister answer my question?
Hon. Mr. Davis: About you there is no doubt.
Mr. MacDonald: Right, equally no doubt. My question is, was that $4,000, paid three weeks prior to the production of the statement on agricultural land use, for that statement alone?
Hon. W. Newman: He hasn’t even been paid yet.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Rainy River, a final supplementary.
Mr. Reid: I would like to ask the minister how he justifies, in these days of restraint, paying an outside consultant for a study when he has people in the Resources Development Secretariat --
Mr. MacDonald: They wouldn’t give the right answer.
Mr. Reid: -- and TEIGA, and also in his own Ministry of Agriculture and Food? How does he justify an outside contract like that?
Mr. MacDonald: He provided the right answer.
Hon. W. Newman: I justify it very easily. I have been working with our own staff for some time on the preservation of agricultural land.
Mr. Cassidy: You blew it.
Hon. W. Newman: No, we had all the facts and figures together on a lot of it.
Mr. Reid: Why did the ministry pay somebody $4,000 then?
Hon. W. Newman: Does the member want an answer or doesn’t he?
Mr. Reid: I am not getting one. If the minister had the facts and figures, why did he hire him?
Hon. W. Newman: If the member wants an answer, he should sit there and listen.
An hon. member: They don’t want to hear the answer.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister take his seat? We want fewer interjections.
Mr. Cassidy: Who is “we”?
Mr. Reid: We want more answers.
Mr. Speaker: I think I am speaking on behalf of the assembly generally. The hon. minister may complete his answer.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Roger Schwass was brought in some time ago to do some preliminary work for us on this. I’d just like to tell members one thing, that the final copy, which will be dealt with at the appropriate time, was not even seen by Roger Schwass or Hedlin Menzies. It was done by myself and my own staff working late at nights.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I announced that as a final supplementary. The member for Quinte.
Mr. Lewis: This one isn’t over yet, not yet.
Hon. W. Newman: You bet it isn’t.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Quinte wishes to ask a question.
Mr. Lewis: It was $4,000; just three weeks before the design plan for Ontario --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. O’Neil: Could the acting Minister of Health tell the House why officials of the Belleville General Hospital have been unable to get a rationale for cuts ordered by the ministry in their hospital and why they have been unable to receive supporting information on how this decision to cut approximately $564,000 from their budget was made?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The officials of those hospitals in which cuts have been recommended or requested have been given information by the ministry. They have also been informed that if they have questions about this they may appeal to the ministry for a discussion, and in almost all instances in which there is question about the cutting of hospital beds or the decrease in budget, that kind of discussion is taking place. If the Belleville hospital wants to have this kind of consultation with the Ministry of Health, it is at perfect liberty to request it.
Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary: I don’t believe that information has been supplied for the Belleville General Hospital; I would ask that if it hasn’t it now be conveyed. I would also like to ask were not mathematical calculations made to determine the nature and severity of cuts in the hospital; and is the ministry able to provide this information to members of this Legislature?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The regression analysis was most certainly made available to all of the hospitals involved in this programme.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Did the minister know that her regression analysis is in every instance wrong?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would question that, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lewis: Okay.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Very definitely.
KIRKLAND LAKE AREA BUILDING FREEZE
Mr. Bain: In the absence of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier), I would like to direct a question to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development and to the Premier (Mr. Davis).
Is the government aware that a building freeze, administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and in effect since 1962 in the Kirkland Lake area in the townships of Lebel, Pacaud, Otto, Marquis, McElroy, Boston and Master, is causing the people of these communities a great deal of difficulty? Is it aware that originally when the freeze was put on, people were told it was going to be temporary and that the government would introduce a development plan that would allow for reasonable and rational development in these townships? What and where is that development programme and when can we expect it?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the actual plan that the member is speaking about but I will certainly draw the matter to the attention of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) and he Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) who, I believe, would be the people who would be involved in such a plan.
Mr. Bain: Supplementary: The plan I referred to was described as a development plan to replace the blanket freeze. I was wondering if the provincial secretary could also inquire within the Ministry of Natural Resources about a promise that was made to set up a committee on which would be local people to investigate what would replace the freeze. Could the provincial secretary also report on the status of that committee and when it is to be set up?
Hon. Mr. Irvine: Mr. Speaker, I will undertake to bring it to the attention of the Minister of Natural Resources and to the other two ministers, as I said before.
Mr. Givens: I would like to ask the Minister of Housing what has been the tempo of construction of rental residential accommodation in the urban areas of Ontario since the imposition of rent controls?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the hon. member any figures on that. As the hon. member I think knows, there have been tender calls put out for proposals to provide rental accommodation. When they terminate we will be able to have some general idea as to what sort of reaction we are getting from the builders as to the possibility of what rental construction will be carried on this year.
Mr. Givens: Supplementary: I am not talking about low-rental housing. I am talking about the general market. Is it not a fact that construction of rental accommodation has come to a virtual standstill in this province?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I don’t believe I can properly answer that, to say it has come to a virtual standstill. I have had indications that the building industry is backing away -- yes, indeed -- from the construction of rental accommodation. But I would like to have an opportunity to attempt to get the correct figures to present to the hon. member.
Mr. Lewis: They were not building any units before the legislation.
Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that commencing Wednesday, April 21, and until further orders the House will not sit in the chamber on Wednesdays.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this motion carry? Carried.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a comment on that motion before it carries, before it is considered by --
Mr. Speaker: The motion has already been carried.
An. hon. member: Sit down.
Mr. Cassidy: I was rising to my feet.
Mr. Speaker: I didn’t hear any objections.
Mr. Cassidy: I did and I was rising to my feet.
Mr. Speaker: Then I will withdraw the carrying for a moment and I will hear the hon. member.
Mr. Cassidy: I don’t want to indulge in a long debate, I just want to say that the question of Wednesday sittings of the House is something which has been under study by the select committee of the Legislature studying the fourth and fifth reports of the Camp commission. For those members of all parties who are from the vicinity of Toronto, they are probably aware from discussions with their own caucuses of the disparities, one might say, between out-of-town members who cannot return to their ridings on Wednesdays, and who therefore find it difficult to spend an idle Wednesday here in Toronto -- not completely idle --
Mr. Reid: You should try researching your speeches.
Mr. Cassidy: -- as opposed to those members within commuting distance of Toronto who return to the ridings in order to do some constituency work. There are real difficulties, which I know we will discuss later on when the select committee’s report comes forward, which are caused by that difference in condition between the out-of-town members and those closer to town.
It is my understanding from what members of cabinet have said that in fact the cabinet does most of its business on Wednesday mornings, and therefore the Wednesday sittings are not required to be vacated because of the cabinet’s own work. I just don’t think the motion should pass without that being remarked, although the question is going to come up later in time. I don’t think it should he accepted that all members of the House are happy with the fact that for the past three years, at the whim of the cabinet, we have not been sitting on Wednesdays.
Mr. Deans: Just a comment on this matter. I agreed with the House leader of the government that this motion would be put, and that it should say “until further notice.” I assume now, as I did then, that that means at some future date we will discuss it again. We were waiting for the report of the committee in order to do that. Though my colleagues and many other people may feel some change should be made, it can’t be made until we fully understand the implications of the committee’s deliberations.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s the best lecture you’ve given.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Introduction of bills.
ELECTION FINANCES REFORM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Johnson moved first reading of bill intituled, An Act to amend the Election Finances Reform Act.
Motion agreed to; first reading of the bill.
Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, this bill would permit weekly newspapers that go to press on Tuesday, which constitute a majority, to accept election advertisements. The wording of the present section creates many unfortunate difficulties.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
ARBITRATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved second reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend the Arbitrations Act.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly on Bill 1, An Act to amend the Arbitrations Act. It was introduced by the hon. minister on the opening of the assembly as a bill with a minor amendment. I simply want to say to the minister that the amendment would in fact contradict an amendment which was made to the bill at a recent time.
In 1973, schedule B to the bill was replaced by a provision providing that the Lieutenant Governor in Council could establish maximum and minimum fees which could be charged under the provisions of the Arbitrations Act. Consistent with that, the bill, as it was then drafted, provided for a maximum fee. it provided, of course, that the parties to a submission could agree otherwise, but it put an upper limit on the maximum amount which an arbitrator could charge for his services.
I simply want to say to the minister that the provision which was amended in 1973 states quite categorically that the Lieutenant Governor in Council can make regulations prescribing the maximum and minimum fees chargeable by arbitrators under the Act. It seems to me to be totally and quite inconsistent. It’ll provide, by this amendment, that the parties to a submission to an arbitration could agree to provide higher fees than are permitted under the statute by regulation.
I would draw to the attention of the minister that the fees are by no means negligible. For each day’s sitting, consisting of at least six hours, there is a minimum fee of not less than $150 and a maximum fee of $250. If, for any reason, a sitting takes place but there’s no actual reference proceeded with but it’s simply for the purposes of a postponement, the minimum fee is $40 and the maximum fee is $80. Then, for additional hours that are spent, there is a minimum of $20 and a maximum of $30.
I’m simply saying to the minister that he cannot now so amend the bill, by this amendment, to provide that the parties to a submission can agree to a higher fee than is fixed in accordance with the statute by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as the maximum as well as the minimum that may be chargeable under the Act. For that reason, simply because the bill is inaccurate, we would have grave reservations about supporting it.
Mr. Breithaupt: The comments made by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) are, I think, quite complete. I would appreciate hearing from the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) as to the reasoning behind this circumstance which apparently would now allow the rates which had otherwise been agreed upon to be changed after the Lieutenant Governor in Council may have fixed certain figures.
While this bill was used as the traditional minor situation upon which to allow the procedure of the House to develop after the bringing in of the Speech from the Throne, it would appear that a somewhat more important principle flows out of this bill than is normally the case with the usual Bill 1 which we’ve seen in the various legislative sessions. If the Attorney General could give some explanation as to this matter it might complete our remarks on this; otherwise, of course, it could go to committee for further detail back and forth.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, perhaps to recapitulate what my colleague has said in this regard -- in any event, to straighten out the matter as I understand it so we’ll get clarity in the wording. By chapter 2, section 2, in 1973, an amendment was made to section 18 of the Arbitrations Act. Taking that particular amendment, which knocked out the words “that provided by schedule B” in the seventh and eighth lines and substituted “the maximum prescribed therefor,” the section, with the new amendment being proposed here today, would read as follows:
“The parties to a submission may agree by writings signed by them or by making such agreement a part of the submission to pay to the arbitrator or to the arbitrators, if more than one, such fees for such day’s attendance or such gross sum for taking upon themselves the burden of the reference and making the award, as the parties see fit. And no arbitrator shall take or receive from either party to a submission any greater fee than that agreed upon or, in default of agreement, the maximums prescribed therefor and the receipt of any greater fee may be regarded as a misconduct justifying the setting aside of the award.”
My question comes down to the situation -- without sending it into committee I don’t think -- if the minister removes the reference to schedule B but nevertheless retains the wording of “the maximum prescribed therefor,” where is the prescription set out? What reference is made within the statute as to where this may be found?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the amendment which has been proposed in Bill 1 is, in my view, simply to rectify an omission that occurred in 1970 with respect to the revision of the statutes. My information, in looking into the history of this, is that this was simply a printer’s error; in other words, it is to conform with the way the section read in 1960.
It’s true that obviously there are fees prescribed in the regulations but in certain instances -- these may very well be relatively few instances -- the parties to a dispute simply cannot persuade or obtain the services of an arbitrator in a matter which is of a highly complex nature.
As a matter of fact, it would appear that section 22 of the bill as amended in 1973 confirms by implication that the omission was not intentional. For example, it provides that the taxing officer shall not tax fees higher than is prescribed by the regulations and then come the words, “except as provided in section 18.” It is my view that this is a reference to the omitted words. Furthermore, it’s quite obvious that for very valid reasons the Act provides a penalty or indicates that receipt of any greater fee may be regarded as misconduct justifying the setting aside of the award.
It’s my information that many parties to disputes -- I can’t give particulars -- have regarded the 1970 revision as an omission and certainly have been conducting themselves according to the principle that was laid down in the 1960 bill; namely, that the parties to the dispute could agree to a larger fee than that prescribed. As I’ve already said, in certain arbitrations where a great deal of expertise is required, in this day and age one simply cannot get an arbitrator for the maximum fee of $250, as difficult as that might appear to many people.
We’re also concerned that this amendment should be made retroactive to protect past awards as there is a possibility that there may very well have been a technical contravention of section 18. When one looks at the history of the legislation and how the section read in 1960, I’m firmly of the view and totally satisfied that what we are attempting to do is simply to rectify what was, in effect, a printer’s omission.
With great respect I don’t see any contradiction to the amendment as provided in 1973. I don’t see that it is inconsistent, namely, that although the fees are those as prescribed by regulation, the parties can, in certain circumstances in special cases, agree to a higher fee. Not to amend the legislation, in my view, might make it very difficult for parties to complex disputes to obtain the type of arbitration which is not only in the best interests of the parties but, of course, in the best interest of the public who are often affected by these disputes.
I don’t think there is really anything further I could say to assist my hon. friends other than what I’ve just outlined.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?
Mr. Renwick: To committee.
Mr. Speaker: It is so ordered? We will turn it over to the committee of the whole House?
REPRESENTATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Welch moved second reading of Bill 3, An Act to amend the Representation Act, 1975.
Mr. Young: Mr. Speaker, as far as we are concerned we feel that this is a good move. I think both members concerned are willing that this should be done and are anxious that these name changes take place, and we are quite willing to pass it as far as this reading is concerned and have it referred directly to third reading.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, it has been a traditional ability of members of the House to involve themselves if the name of the riding they represent may be changed from time to time because of particular local circumstances. It is a courtesy which is afforded to the members, and certainly if it is the decision of the members and of the areas they represent that they wish to have the names of these two ridings changed to make them more acceptable and more factual in the areas which they represent, then we certainly agree with it and would acknowledge that this bill can immediately go to third reading.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, as the member representing one of the ridings I rise to support this bill. The change will give recognition to the facts as they exist, that the riding of Welland is now comprised totally and solely of the cities of Thorold and Welland. It recognizes that Thorold has been, in fact, elevated to a city as of last July 1, and therefore has a new prestige and a new prominence in the Niagara Peninsula. I just point out, too, that of course Thorold plays a key part in the Niagara Peninsula. For instance, St. Catharines and Brock riding get many of their facilities from our area, including their water system and they take our sewage away from us. So I have to say that we look down from Thorold a little bit on St. Catharines and I think we should recognize, in our riding name, being a bit above that municipality.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this bill, and I want to say that I do appreciate the efforts on behalf of my own government and all the members in the House to let this legislation come forward at this time. As you know, about half of my riding is in the regional municipality of Durham, half of my riding is in the regional municipality of York, and, of course, when it was named Durham North the residents in the York part of the region felt that they had been neglected by not having it called Durham-York and I rise to support this bill to rename the riding Durham-York.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I have only one comment. I want to know whether the minister understands that the name Gwillimbury was the maiden name of Lady Simcoe?
Mr. Speaker: Is there any further discussion on second reading of the bill?
The motion is for second reading of Bill 3.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 3, An Act to amend the Representation Act, 1975.
PUBLIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Welch, in the absence of Hon. Mr. Snow, moved second reading of Bill 4, An Act to amend the Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, is it wise to proceed with a bill that has been the subject of controversy --
Hon. Mr. Welch: He is coming.
Mr. Renwick: Oh, he is coming? Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: I understand the minister is coming immediately.
Mr. Sargent: Come on, Jim, you are holding up progress.
Mr. Speaker: Does the minister have any statement on second reading or shall we proceed with the debate?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I would just like to say, before we start the debate on Bill 4, that it is my proposal that after second reading this bill be referred to the appropriate standing committee of the House so that we could have the opportunity of having different segments of the industry which are interested, and the public as well, make their points known on this bill.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the minister’s statement that it will be referred to committee is a welcome statement and we feel that such an action is appropriate. The amendments in 1973 to the Public Commercial Vehicles Act have aroused a certain amount of concern among those in the business and it is only right that the people be given an opportunity to express these concerns and have these points of view heard and examined.
We support the principle of the regulation of leasing. The member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) has brought the need for regulation to the attention of this government on a number of occasions and for a number of years. Those legitimate business operators in the business, I am sure, have also brought their concerns about the need for some form of regulation to the attention of the minister.
It is regrettable that the government has waited so long to bring about some form of regulation. We, on the other hand, have a number of anxieties about the bill. It appears to tar all the leasing truckers with the same brush. The bill appears to us to be somewhat simplistic and we look forward to the deliberations. Thank you.
Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat surprised at the reaction of my colleague who just spoke on behalf of the NDP. I gather from his remarks that, in effect, they are supporting the government on this bill and will vote in favour of the bill in second reading.
Mr. Philip: That is not what I said.
Mr. Reid: I find that somewhat surprising but I guess they have to do what they think is best. This party is going to move an amendment; in effect, I believe it is what we generally refer to in the House as a hoist motion. Members will find it on the notice paper and I would like to read it into the record. Our reasoned amendment reads:
“That Bill 4, An Act to amend the Public Commercial Vehicles Act, be not now read a second time but be read a second time two months hence and that during the interval the subject matter of the bill be considered by the standing committee on resources development and that the committee report by May 31, 1976.”
We don’t believe in the principle of this bill as stated and outlined in Bill 4.
The effect of the bill obviously will be to put a number of people in the leasing business and the trucking industry in the Province of Ontario out of business. The effect of our amendment will give everyone involved in the trucking business in the Province of Ontario time to prepare briefs and submissions to the committee which will be looking into the matter.
My friend from the NDP indicated that he thought those people operating under PCV licences were legitimate operators. I assume he meant by that that those who didn’t have PCV licences were illegitimate. This party does not hold with that stand and I find the NDP twisting and turning on this particular issue somewhat strange to say the least. Obviously they’re not supporting these small independent people in the province who are trying to make a living.
Mr. Wildman: That’s not what he said.
Mr. Reid: We feel that the OTA has indicated that there are up to 15,000 people in the leasing business in the Province of Ontario. The minister has indicated that there are a fair number; we don’t know exactly how many. The effect of this bill, if passed through second and third reading by this House in the next little while, would be to put very many of these people out of business.
The bill provides, as members know, in section 3(a) that, in effect, a leased truck could only go one way and would have to return empty in many cases. In other words, if one leases a truck in Toronto for a trip to Windsor, the truck would have to be returned empty from Windsor to Toronto.
It’s obvious in the transportation business that one cannot operate efficiently or economically that way and the effect of the legislation is to put these people out of business. We can’t agree with that.
The Liberal Party represents the individual in this Province of Ontario and we can’t see that happen to small entrepreneurs who are trying to make a living. The minister has indicated that there are perhaps some illegalities in the present situation. If so, this bill is not going to do anything really but put a lot of hard-working people out of business.
Perhaps if there are amendments to be made they should be made under section 2 of the Act, dealing with leases, if there is something there which doesn’t meet with the minister’s approval. To bring in a bill which, in effect, says one can continue in business as long as one continues to drive standing on one’s head and with one’s hands tied behind one, does not make sense to this party.
The OTA has indicated that it is losing a great deal of business to the independent truckers in the province but I think it’s a case which hasn’t really been proved. If there are problems, and we agree there are problems with the public Commercial Vehicles Act as now constituted, this kind of ad hoc-ery or patching up is really not going to solve the fundamental problems involved. It is not going to solve the situation and we can’t support the bill. We feel it’s bad legislation. I would be interested to hear the remarks of the member for Riverdale, who is very good on this sort of thing, and hear what he has to say as to the efficacy of this particular bill.
What our amendment will do is to give people time. That’s what we want to do primarily -- to buy time for these people who are directly affected so that they can at least continue to operate and to give their legal staffs or themselves time to prepare submissions and briefs to the board.
I think it’s high time that the whole Act, the Public Commercial Vehicles Act, was looked at in total. A lot of the independent truckers are in business and have operated under the Act in the way they have because they could neither afford the time nor the money nor the expensive lawyers to go before the Highway Transport Board and prove public convenience and necessity. So many of them have gone the other route into the leasing line because they couldn’t afford it or were turned down for one of many reasons by the Highway Transport Board. I don’t think anyone who knows anything about the trucking industry wouldn’t agree that when somebody applies for a PCV licence all the others in the industry are there to oppose anybody else getting into the business.
Their rates, which are filed under the Act, are somewhat similar and one wonders where the element of competition is. The OTA and those people who operate under the PCV Act do have a point in that they are much more regulated than the people under lease. All the people whom I have talked to who operate leased trucks are quite willing to accept any regulations which are reasonable from the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Surely, to put them all out of business -- or 95 per cent of them -- to put out people who have operated legitimate businesses for a number of years -- by one piece of legislation to put them out of business overnight -- is just not fair. I would think it’s not even anything approaching natural justice.
Again, we admit there are problems. This bill is not going to solve them. We would ask the NDP to join with us in supporting our notice of motion which we think will go some way in giving people time to make their submissions, both the people who operate under the PCV licences and those who operate under lease. We’re not against the OTA or the organized truckers -- they have a valid point of view -- but we do not feel that this bill is going to solve any of the problems related to the present Act and we would ask the minister to reconsider. We would hope the bill would go to committee without passing second reading in the House and that the committee can redraft the bill so that it will be fair and equitable to all.
Mr. Young: The minister will be answering later on I guess. I am rather interested in the speaker who has just brought his bit of wisdom to us, because it is not very many weeks ago that we had the dump truck industry facing a problem. At that tune we united in order to bring the dump truck industry under regulation. To bring them, as a matter of fact --
Mr. Reid: But you aren’t putting anybody out of business, which is what this bill does.
Mr. Young: We brought them under a regulation which had existed before 1966 --
Mr. Reid: It will be debated.
Mr. Young: -- and we all voted that they should apply for entry into the business. In other words, we limited the number of dump truck owners who could come into the dump truck industry.
We are now facing a problem of whether or not we are going to have the same kind of philosophy applied in continuity to the whole transport industry.
Mr. Bullbrook: You are putting guys out of business.
Mr. Young: We already have the regulations for the transport industry.
Mr. Bullbrook: That’s not correct.
Mr. Reid: That’s not right.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member rises on a point of order.
Mr. Mancini: I would ask you to ask the members of this House, since this is such an important piece of legislation and since it concerns so many jobs for so many people, to try to keep their remarks on the bill please.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Yorkview was doing a little historical background pertaining to the second reading and the principle of the bill. Would the hon. member for Yorkview continue and keep his remarks to that?
Mr. Young: I might quote from the letter, which I think all of us received, signed by Cecil Green, chairman, committee on policy, the Organization of Independent Truckers. He says: “It will be supported by every person who still believes in free enterprise and unrestricted competition.”
I think nobody, literally nobody, in this House believes in unrestricted competition and complete free enterprise. We give these phrases a lot of lip service, but years ago I think civilization came to the place where they realized that unfettered free enterprise, unfettered competition, only resulted in chaos, and so in industry after industry after industry and profession after profession, through the whole facet on our civilization, we have brought in regulation.
I don’t need, here today, to go over the industries that we have regulated in this way; the doctors, the lawyers, you name it. In industry after industry, we have found that unfettered free enterprise and unbridled competition Just did not pay, and as a civilization, to bring order out of chaos, we have had to bring in regulation.
This happened with the trucking industry years and years ago -- a couple of generations ago as a matter of fact -- and gradually out of the chaos that industry found itself in, the PCV Act resulted. So those who wanted to get into the industry had to submit to certain rules and regulations. We wanted to make sure that we had a living for those who were in it and we had to regulate as far as distance is concerned, and we had trade unions who organized the drivers and other employees, and we had certain rules and regulations about safety of trucks, about loading and overloading, and all these things came under regulations.
I think, most of the people in the transport industry accepted the necessity of the thing, including the dump truck industry at that time. So class F licences were issued, but then in the mid 1960s the dump truck operators, for some reason or other, wanted to get out from under and this Legislature did agree that the dump truck operators should be exempt from the regulation. We know the chaos that resulted there. Finally, after all kinds of disruption and demonstrations, a commission was appointed. Mr. Rapoport made his report and at least some modicum of regulation was reintroduced into the dump truck industry, and we have that now. it is being modified a bit, as the minister announced the other day, but the fact is that we had to bring back regulations into that industry.
As far as the transport industry is concerned, I might indicate that there are I suppose four modes by which goods are transported. First of all, many companies own their own fleets of transports -- Eaton’s, Simpsons, these people. As far as I am concerned, they own their own delivery trucks and so on. They operate those, they hire their own drivers, they maintain the fleet, they have mechanics, shops and so on. A great many industries do it that way and they are not concerned as far as the PCV is concerned but, of course, the Teamsters and other unions do organize their drivers and their workers in certain respects.
Then we have the leasing firms, firms which own equipment. They own the rigs and they will hire out those rigs to certain people and certain industries who want to transport their own goods in the same way. In other words, the business decides that it doesn’t want to maintain the mechanics, the machine shop and all this, so it goes out and hires the rigs from the company which owns them and which maintains them and it pays them a fee for that kind of service.
In addition to that, we have the whole transport industry with which we are concerned here today, the industry which owns rigs, sometimes single individuals and sometimes fleets. That industry has over the years transported goods from one place to another across this country and particularly across this Province of Ontario. That’s what our concern is right now. Those industries, those single-driver industries or multi-rig industries, come under the PCV Act.
They have to establish a need; they have to establish that by entering this industry they are not going to create havoc in the industry. They have to buy their licences. They have to abide by the regulations as to where they can transport, whether it is from Toronto to Montreal, Toronto to Hamilton or Windsor or wherever it may be, clear across the province. It is wide open but within certain limits. They have to make sure that the goods are insured, their rigs are insured and their drivers are properly looked after, and all of this kind of thing is there. These are the people who come under the PCV licence.
But in later years there have been people, owners of single rigs and companies, some of which are very large companies, that have sort of operated in the province without the PCV licence. They go to a company that may want goods transported from here to Windsor and they say: “Because we operate more cheaply, we don’t have to come under the PCV Act and our expenses aren’t as large, we can give you a better rate.” So they give a better rate and they transport the goods for those people. Many business firms do it this way.
Mr. Reid: There’s a little more to it than that.
Mr. Young: Well, this is fundamentally what happens. They are escaping the rules and regulations of the PCV Act. The result is that we are simply saying that there must be regulations if these people are going to operate, if they are needed -- and I am willing to grant that since there is such a big demand for this kind of service perhaps the so-called regular trucking industry is not providing all the services that should be there. I don’t know, but this is what we can look into when this bill is referred to the standing committee where we can hear representations from all people who are concerned with this whole deal. But the fact is, if we are going to have an industry which is viable, it must be an industry which comes under the regulations, which obeys the law and which from time to time has to be looked at.
Now these people who operate outside the regulations are people who many of us have looked at for a long time; there’s been a lot of concern about it. I just want to say that the statement here is hardly correct. That is, these people are not all little guys and the regular transport industry is not all big guys. Out of the 2,000 or so regular transport firms and individuals, we have, according to my figures, something like 827 single owners in that group out of the 2,000. It’s not quite half, but very close to it. The average holding is about four rigs per company.
On the other hand, among the pseudo-leasers or whatever you want to term them, you have some very large companies. Some very large American companies have come in and are pounding our roads here in Ontario without the benefit of regulation. They go where they wish; they simply move where they want to go. They are not restricted as far as rates are concerned and many of their rigs are operating without cargo insurance because many of them can’t get it. Some of these, of course, have been brought before the courts on many occasions because they are in violation of the law of Ontario.
So it seems to me that if we are going to believe in a society of law we must say that all the people who are operating in business or as individuals should be brought under the rule of law. That’s all we’re saying here today.
Mr. Bullbrook: The bill doesn’t do that, that’s the very point.
Mr. Young: All right, we have no objection to that happening. And so if these people are willing to get their licence and come --
Mr. Bullbrook: It’s a dishonest piece of legislation.
Mr. Young: -- under the law or if, on the other hand, we should amend the legislation so that there’s more latitude for this kind of operator --
Mr. Reid: That’s not what the bill does.
Mr. Young: -- then that’s the kind of thing --
Mr. Bullbrook: The principle of the bill doesn’t say that.
Mr. Young: All right. This is the fundamental thing which we are looking toward. I think all of us have to recognize there is something wrong here and that the operators of trucks pounding the roads in this way are operating outside the present regulations and the present legislation.
That’s why we’re willing to support this legislation. We’d like to see it come to the standing committee so that everybody can make his representation, then we’d come back to the House and perhaps there will be amendments at that time which should be considered and considered seriously.
Mr. Cunningham: I’d like to speak briefly in favour of our reasoned amendment to hoist this legislation.
To say as the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) did just recently, that this legislation was somewhat simplistic is really an understatement from my point of view. Clearly, to me what it does is legitimize what I perceive to be some direction by some senior civil servants who feel that this is in fact an illegal activity. I would ask if they could justify this by demonstrating to me whether all these people who are going to be affected -- in fact put out of business -- have in fact been placed before the courts at any time.
What I see this legislation doing in essence is putting a large number of small independent truckers out of business and very quickly -- overnight in fact -- into bankruptcy. The ramifications of this, at least from my point of view, I’d like to share with the members of the Legislature, through you, Mr. Speaker.
I think, first of all, thousands of gallons of fuel are going to be wasted because people are going to have to return these large trucks from their place of business emptly. To run any kind of business that way, especially when we are suffering fuel shortages, to me is ludicrous.
Mr. Bain: Footnote your sources.
Mr. Cunningham: I would, as well, like to point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that the higher transportation costs for the people of Ontario would be inflationary. The first people to scream whenever the Consumer Price Index increases are my friends in the NDP. I would ask them at this time what effect they think this is going to have on the cost of goods if, in fact, people are going to have to transport their goods and be subject -- the manufacturers of Ontario at least -- to the mercy of the Ontario Trucking Association, which is, they are quite right, uniform and non-competitive.
The service aspect is another point I would raise in favour of not putting the legitimate -- I repeat, legitimate -- leasing operations out of business. Many of these people operate in very close muon with various manufacturers throughout Ontario, and they have a kind of relationship that our Ontario Trucking Association and the established companies which fall under the purview of the PCV Act, do not enjoy and cannot facilitate.
I find this type of legislation to be ex post facto in nature; I find it to be arbitrary; I find it to be unfair; and, to tell the truth, I don’t find it particularly typical of a party that would espouse the essence and the principle of free enterprise. We are not only going to affect all the people -- the families, the people who drive these trucks, the people who hold mortgages on them, many of which I am sure are secured by their houses and personal chattels -- but also a number of companies that rely on these companies for lower transportation rates so that in fact they can stay competitive.
Increased fuel costs, increased hydro rates and increased wages in Ontario are slowly putting many companies in this country either out of business or in a non-competitive position as it would relate to the United States or to other companies. I think that to further increase the cost of their business is not only inflationary, but it’s going to cause severe dislocation, it’s going to put people out of their jobs and I think it’s going to be excessively unfair.
Very briefly, Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with you a few remarks here put forth in a letter to all of us by Mr. John F. Bulloch, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. On April 2, 1976, in a release to us, he strongly urged that the members of the Legislature oppose Bill 4 when it is presented to the Legislature for second reading on Tuesday, April 6. Mr. Bulloch said:
“The purpose of this bill, in our judgement, is to put private truck-leasing companies out of business by preventing return-lease arrangements. If this legislation is passed, a small manufacturer in, say, Windsor, leasing a truck for a trip to Toronto, would have to return the truck empty. This would increase the cost of leasing substantially and waste scarce fuel. At present, the truck can be left in Toronto at a depot and a separate lease agreement can be made by the lessor with another small business.
“One-way leasing is very adaptable to the needs of small firms, since it provides a degree of speed, flexibility and, more importantly, economy that large trucking firms cannot provide. Bill 4 is an example of big government working closely with big business to the disadvantage of the consumer and the small business community.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business represents 32,000 Canadian owner- managers, 16,000 of whom are located in Ontario.
In addition to the support of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the independent truckers also enjoy the support of the Canadian Manufacturers Association, the Canadian Industrial Traffic League, the lumber companies of our north, more recently the Ontario Lumber Manufacturers Association and obviously -- by the participation today of the member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid) and myself as well as, of course, the other members of my party -- the Liberal Party in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker, through you I would suggest, possibly to the minister, that we might take a more universal approach to what I perceive to be a real problem in Ontario -- and I don’t think there is anybody in the Legislature who would argue against it -- and that is, transportation and the relationship of it to the trucking industry in Ontario. I would say to the minister that possibly the time has come when we should have a select committee, not only to examine the possible ramifications of Bill 4 in terms of putting people out of business in this particular industry, but to examine the entire industry across Ontario.
Maybe there are, as the hon. member pointed out, violations in the area of insurance; and certainly there are some members of the lease-holding operation who clearly aren’t operating in good faith and could be termed to be pirates. But again, to use this shotgun effect, in essence to put a number of people out of business overnight like this, is grossly unfair.
The hon. member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) indicated it was a dishonest piece of legislation. I think I must share his point of view in that I don’t think the government is being straightforward with these people. I don’t think they have made any attempt, before introducing this legislation, to solicit some meaningful feedback from that community and the community that is affected by it. In essence, I think if the minister wants to put these people out of business, why doesn’t he just table a piece of legislation to say “We want you out of business”. To fool around in this way and say they can go only one way and regulate it by poundage I think is fallacious and, at the very least, dishonest.
In concluding, I would ask that the members of the Legislature not only in the Liberal Party but all members of the Legislature who favour private enterprise and who would be inclined to support the little man in Ontario who is trying to make an honest buck -- certainly I think that for the most part, that would be most of the people who are involved in the independent truckers’ association -- I would ask the NDP and other members who would look upon this in a favourable, fair and compassionate way to support our reasoned amendment.
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in the words of the last speaker, I want to look at it in a very compassionate way. I want to look at it in terms of the little man. I want to talk in terms of the man who, for 20 or 25 years in this province, has probably had to carry a heavier burden of technological change, economic change and social change on his back than anybody else. That is the line driver for a regular truck company. Let me just add to that; let me talk about some of the unsung people. Let me talk about the men who go down and work on the loading docks at night and load those trucks.
They have been working a long time in this province. They haven’t asked anything from anybody. They organized themselves a union. They got themselves the right so that they didn’t have to drive all day and all night and on the loading docks they won for themselves the right so that they didn’t have to do this or that and get a NSF cheque. I love these free enterprisers with their independent businessmen, I really do.
I want to talk about those so-called little men and I want to say something about compassion. It’s all very well for a Legislature to come in and to take a look at legislation and say, in the light of 1976, to bring some immediate or short-term or even weekend benefits to a certain segment of business, therefore we will cut away the standards, the rights and the conditions that other people have had to work for 25 or 30 years to obtain.
Mr. McEwen: And control.
Mr. Drea: I very seriously question the concept that this is the legislation which will help the little man. The little man, after all, goes to work at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning and he doesn’t expect anything more than that he will be paid the prescribed hourly rates and that his cheque will be cashed.
Mr. Cunningham: He is going to lose his job.
Mr. Drea: He also asks one more thing and I don’t really think it’s very much in terms of our society today. That is that when he leaves work on Friday, he can be reasonably assured that there is a job on Monday. I realize that there are a great number of --
Mr. Cunningham: Not with you guys.
Mr. Reid: Not if he works in a hospital, he can’t have that assurance.
Mr. Cunningham: Not if he is a social worker.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.
Mr. Drea: I don’t really think it is very much for a man to ask and it may not be much in terms of all the free enterprisers. It may not be very much in terms of all those who have never worked and I don’t think it is very much for this Legislature to recognize that there are people who have a very solid requirement for their job. They went to work under certain terms or conditions, they have done those and now it turns out, because of economic or social or technological conditions, that we are about to say, because it benefits one segment of the industry -- we stand here and we beat our breasts on behalf of free enterprise and the little man. I will tell members that far too often today, the only reason the little man in free enterprise gets started is because he’s trying to undercut the pensions or the conditions or something else that the working man has fought a long time for.
Mr. Cunningham: You don’t know what you are talking about.
Mr. Sweeney: In other words, close the door for anyone else to start.
Mr. Drea: I say that very seriously, and maybe they should take a look at it.
Mr. Cunningham: You are not even talking to the bill. You are not even speaking about the bill. I’d like to know where you think you have licence to ramble on like this. You are not even speaking to the principle of the bill.
Mr. Drea: I am talking to the bill. You raised it with your compassion. You raised it -- your compassion, your little man, your independent man, but I am setting the record straight.
An hon. member: Don’t get mad. Keep your cool.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the bill. I think it is high time we try to rationalize many of the innovations that are coming into highway transport. I think it is high time we took a look at the companies that have pioneered transport across this province. It is high time we looked at the people who have paid wages, who have developed road routes, who have developed traffic patterns in this province. I suggest that nobody gets a more friendly reception in this House than somebody who is talking for small business. But I suggest this is the first time that Mr. Bulloch -- and I received exactly the same thing as the members did and I looked at it more in sadness than anything else --
Mr. Cunningham: Did you read it?
Mr. Reid: Did you have somebody read it to you?
Mr. Drea: He has been massively misadvised. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, a vote against this bill --
Mr. Riddell: That has nothing to do with the bill.
Mr. Drea: -- is a vote to turn trucking and highway transport, and all the ancillary services that are with it, back to where they were before the war.
Mr. Cunningham: That’s nonsense.
Mr. Drea: I suggest very seriously that members who want to vote against this should think of the little man. It’s about time they thought of the little man’s pension, the little man’s job security, the things the little man has been able to bring home to his family through a combination of his own efforts to organize and the regulation of this industry in the province.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill although I have some reservations, as had the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), and I am glad that the bill will be referred to committee so that we can hear the representations of the people involved.
Mr. Reid: That is not what you are voting for. Do you understand the parliamentary system?
Mr. Foulds: You people should talk about understanding the parliamentary system and process.
Mr. Reid: The principle of the bill is not to debate it in committee. The principle of the bill is putting people out of work.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member from Algoma will continue.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, the gentlemen beside us here want to put this whole thing off and we are going to face more chaos in the system if we continue to put it off. We will have more and more people coming into the business unregulated.
Mr. MacDonald: The Liberals are always in favour of unregulating things.
Mr. Wildman: They bring out this red herring of free enterprise and helping the little man -- and I agree with the last speaker, what about the little man who has been under the PCV and has been working under this? They are not helping him any when they say let’s put it off and let more of those operators come in unregulated.
Mr. Cunningham: How does this relate to the bill?
Mr. Wildman: I don’t know.
Mr. Nixon: You are voting for it.
Mr. Wildman: I don’t know that this is the answer, but to put off any control of these people for four months or two months is not going to solve anything. Why not get it into committee, hear the representations of everybody and get it solved as quickly as possible?
Mr. Bullbrook: Because you can’t amend the principle of the bill then.
Mr. Wildman: How can we, as they are suggesting, support the principle that we have unfettered competition? That’s ridiculous. None of the truckers wants that.
Mr. Reid: That’s not what the bill says. Have you read the bill?
Mr. Wildman: Yes, I have read the bill.
Mr. Reid: Did you understand it?
Mr. Wildman: This bill will not allow for two-way leases, right?
Mr. Reid: And what’s the effect of that?
Mr. Wildman: These people here want to allow pseudo lessors to come into this business and take business away from legitimate operators who have been operating under regulation for so long, because they don’t want to control these kinds of leases. I can’t support their reasoned amendment because I think it is just going to continue a chaotic system. I think we should pass this bill and control the entry into the industry, as has been suggested by many speakers previously, both on this side and on that side of the House.
Mr. Reid: The reasoned amendment doesn’t say that either.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, we are opposed to the bill as it stands now because of the basic principle of this bill. We are not sure what the intent of the government was in bringing it forward. In the short time I’ve been in this Legislature, I have disagreed with bills the government has put forward but at least their intent was clear.
I have to agree with two of my colleagues who have said that this is basically a dishonest bill. The government surely knows that what will happen if this bill goes through is that upwards of 5,000 independent truckers will be put out of business. It can’t be any other way.
Mr. Wildman: Why don’t they apply for PCVs?
Mr. Sweeney: In 1973, only three years ago, this Legislature -- I have to assume with the support of the entire House -- passed another piece of legislation which, in effect, said to these same 5,000 truck owners, “Yes, go out. What you’re doing is legitimate. There is enough room in this province for different ways of serving the people.”
Even the member of the NDP earlier stated that there are different needs for the transportation business in this province and that different forms of transportation have arisen to meet those needs. If we believe the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea), we have closed the door forever. We are now fixed forever -- in this day of change, surely not -- and no new methods can come forward. Everything that is now fixed is going to be fixed forever and we’re not supposed to touch it because of the people who are already in it.
Mr. Wildman: Let them apply for a PCV.
Mr. Sweeney: Surely, we can’t do that. What we’re saying here in effect -- and what I think the government is saying -- is that over the last three years the government has realized there are some problems with what’s happening here. Okay, we can agree to that but what, in effect, the government is doing is saying that because there are some problems with some lessor-owners, it is going to crucify all of them.
Mr. Mancini: That’s what you’re doing.
Mr. Sweeney: That’s the same thing as saying that because some people who walk into a bank will rob it, the government is going to convict everyone who walks into a bank -- because someone might rob it. That’s what we’re against. We’re against the overriding principle of this bill which will, in effect, destroy small businessmen who are meeting a recognized need.
Mr. Wildman: If there’s a need for them.
Mr. Sweeney: If the government can demonstrate that there are specific problems with the way this is operating now, let us deal with those -- but not with this. This isn’t dealing with the problem; this is crucifixion. There are other truckers in this province who have difficulties, too.
As my colleague has said, let’s look at the industry but don’t let’s destroy a piece of it. Let’s not cut off one of its arms. That’s what we’re opposed to and that’s what the principle of this bill is. That’s why we must oppose it in principle. That’s why we must bring through a reasoned amendment.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to speak for a few minutes about the bill because it’s obviously a difficult one from the comments which have been made on both sides of the House. I don’t pretend for a moment to be able to speak with the emotional depth of feeling with which my colleague, the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) or, on this particular occasion, the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea), spoke about the problems which are involved in a bill such as this.
I’d take this bill to be the addition to an already complex section of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act of a couple of additional items which, if found to be the case, will invalidate what would otherwise be construed or could be construed as a valid lease of a commercial vehicle for the carriage of goods.
I think the reason we would support the bill -- particularly when the minister has indicated, as we wished him to indicate, that it would go to the standing committee on resources development for serious consideration -- is that we support the proposition that the business of the common carriage of goods on the highways of Ontario must be subject to regulation and licensing -- in the interests of the public, the interests of the drivers and in the interests of the owners of the vehicles.
Mr. Bullbrook: That’s very meritorious but this bill doesn’t do it.
Mr. Renwick: If we do not support the principle of the addition of these particular items to the section of the bill which is being amended -- it’s the addition of two items to a very long list of items -- then we are, in substance, saying that we most allow a method by which persons can engage in the common carriage of goods on the highways of Ontario without a licence. It’s just that simple.
What we are saying to the minister, and saying very clearly, is we do support the bill. We think it is essential that what has become a very awkward section of the bill, section 3 of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act, has got to have a hard look taken at it to see whether or not there is room for what will be construed as illegal activities to be brought within a legal framework. It would be our hope that somewhere out there in the committee, with the representations and comments which are made, a different method can be devised that will not make illegal what many people probably consider to be, from their own point of view, a legal method of carrying on business. I think that’s what we’ve got to search for and that’s what we’ve got to find.
The problem was placed very simply in a number of cases; and of course the ministry, to uphold the principle of the common carriage of goods in the province, had to do something to deal with the legal cases that were coming before the courts by way of prosecution under the Public Commercial Vehicles Act. I want to refer briefly to the one which came before the courts in 1972 and which led, the following year, to the amendments we made to sections 2 and 3 of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act to try to deal with the problem.
In retrospect, I think it’s fair to say that if we had all known at that time of the difficulties that this was going to occasion, it may well have been that at that time it would have been wise to have had the matter thrashed out and dealt with in a standing committee of the Legislature or in some other proper form so that we could have arrived at a better solution.
In any event, in the case to which I want to refer, Regina vs Tobias, it’s quite a simple case; it’s very clear as to what took place. Mr. Tobias owned a tractor and several trailers. He was picked up one day on the highway in the city of Windsor when he was driving the vehicles described in the charge; that is, a tractor unit and several trailers. He was then charged with operating without a licence under the Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
The actual factual situation was not difficult. The vehicles were carrying steel, which had been picked up at Hamilton from the Steel Co. of Canada and was consigned to Namasco, a company doing business in Windsor. Namasco was the owner of the steel listed as consignee on the bills of lading which were produced when the vehicle was stopped. It is clear that a commercial vehicle was being operated. The question is, was the accused the operator?
At that point, I want to make this distinction: It was again stated very early in the history of this particular form of licensing of common carriers, that the interest and purpose of the Act is to regulate the use of a commercial vehicle in the business of transporting, for compensation, goods for the public generally. I think that’s a fair statement of the principle of the common carriage of goods.
The Act in no sense was to affect a vehicle used exclusively for the transportation of the goods or materials of the owner of the vehicle. It was very clear that if a person owned his own vehicle and he carried his own goods in it, it was never the intention of the Legislature to license that vehicle. On the other hand, if he was not the owner of the vehicle in which his goods were being transported, it was the intention of the legislature to license the vehicle for the common carriage of that person’s goods as a member of the public generally.
That was the situation which the county court judge, His Honour, Judge Zuber, was faced with in the Tobias case, and he put it very simply. He said:
“Now in general terms if the accused, Mr. Tobias, operated as a carrier and carried the goods of Namasco, he would have to be licensed under the Public Commercial Vehicles Act. If, on the other hand, Namasco was simply carrying its own goods, using its own trucks, I think it’s equally obvious it did not have to be licensed as a public commercial vehicle.”
The defence which Mr. Tobias gave, of course, was to produce an agreement which purported to be a lease of the vehicles to Namasco on a net basis so that, for all practical purposes, while he went through the form of leasing the vehicles, all the substance of the obligations remained on Mr. Tobias. The result was that the court simply said that that was not a valid lease and it was a sham.
In 1973, we tried to deal with it in the Legislature by stating very clearly that, if certain incidents occurred in an arrangement between the owner of goods and the owner of a vehicle, it could not be supported as a valid lease and would be ruled out. We listed a series of them -- I think eight altogether -- which would invalidate and require a court to hold that it was not a valid arrangement for the leasing of the vehicle to an owner to escape the responsibility of having a public commercial vehicle licence.
It was quite interesting to look back at that debate which took place in June, 1973. With varying degrees of misgivings, the members of all the parties in the House agreed with the passage of the bill, including the member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid). I think the member for at that time Essex-Kent (Mr. Ruston) spoke on the bill. Certainly my colleague, the member for Sudbury (Mr. Germa), spoke at some length on the bill. I made a couple of, as usual, irrelevant and innocuous comments about the bill.
Mr. Nixon: Just like today.
Mr. Renwick: That’s quite true.
Mr. Reid: You are consistent anyway.
Mr. Renwick: When I read what I said in 1973, I chose those particular adjectives quite appropriately. They were quite innocuous and quite irrelevant. They seemed to have caught the attention of the House on that occasion. I am trying to make amends on this particular occasion for my lack of knowledge of the depth of the problem.
If the problem, which had been created by the series of court cases in the legitimate effort of the government to regulate the common carriage trade in the Province of Ontario, had been raised at that time, we might have made a lot of progress because the various items which rule out an arrangement as being a valid lease are now already lengthy and there is nothing to indicate that the arrangements which are covered by these additional items wouldn’t also have been ruled out under the existing provisions that are set out in section 3 of the bill.
For reasons which are obvious to the ministry and to us, it appears that these relatively large tractors and trailers were driving their way through the statute and upsetting and disrupting the very sound principle of the regulation by government in the public interest of these engaged in the common carriage of goods.
So we support the bill because we support that principle, but we are very much concerned that the actual details, as presently set out in the existing Public Commercial Vehicles Act in sections 2 and 3, to which this present bill simply adds one or two additional items and an additional section, require very serious and careful consideration to see if there isn’t some other way in which it would be possible to bring within the ambit of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act a number of persons who likely consider that their operation is legitimate and that they are just subject to unnecessary harassment by the Ontario Provincial Police to enforce the provisions of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
The amendments which we passed in 1973, while they touched upon some of the problem, did not really come to grips with it, and I do hope that at this particular time, when the bill goes to the committee, we will come to grips with it. I want perhaps to labour it slightly by pointing out, so that the record will at least show it, the kind of difficult problem that we have got ourselves into in trying to itemize at great length the kind of arrangements which are not to be considered valid arrangements.
Section 3 of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act, as presently worded, in substance says that, subject to subsection 2:
“Where a commercial vehicle is used for the transportation on a highway of goods that are owned by a person other than the owner or lessee of the vehicle and are being transported pursuant to any arrangement or agreement between the owner or lessee of the vehicle and such other person under which the owner or lessee directly or indirectly receives compensation or consideration of any kind for the use of the vehicle, the goods shall be deemed to be transported in the vehicle by the owner or lessee of the vehicle unless such arrangement or agreement constitutes a valid lease of his vehicle to such other person by the owner or lessee of the vehicle.”
In subsection 2, we went on to list a series of items which, if they are contained in a particular agreement, shall deem that agreement not to be a valid lease. We provide that it must be in writing, that it must have exclusive possession, it must provide for the payment directly of the driver of the vehicle, and a number of these other items, which makes it for practical purposes a legal conundrum to decide in any particular instance whether an agreement made between the owner of a vehicle for the lease of that vehicle to a person who wants to use that vehicle for the carriage of goods is or is not the kind of an agreement which would be upheld as a valid lease and, therefore, not require the provision of a public commercial vehicle licence, or, on the other hand, that it is not a valid lease. It is our wish in this party -- while continuing as we always will to support the principle of regulation of the common carriage of goods trade on the highways, through the device and mechanism of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act and the correlative federal statute under which joint jurisdiction is exercised by the Ontario Highway Transport Board -- to see whether or not we can’t get away from this extremely legalistic way of dealing with this problem and yet, at the same time, preserve the inherent and essential ingredients of the common carrier principle of such common carriage trade being subject to provincial regulation.
Therefore, we in this party see no need to support the recent amendment put forward by the Liberal Party. We will not support that. We rest assured that when the bill does go out to the standing committee we will have an opportunity to come up with a much more adequate, reasonable, sensible and satisfactory solution than that which is presently incorporated in the legislation, regardless of the additional items which are being added by this particular bill.
Mr. Nixon: The member for Riverdale is anything but ill-informed or irrelevant. As usual, his comments have added a good deal to the understanding on all sides of what’s been said. I don’t agree with his conclusion, and I am sure, under other circumstances, he could convince himself as readily that in the circumstances of this bill it is essential that before approving it in principle we have a much more thorough examination of the alternatives available to us. We are all aware that whenever the power of this Legislature, the administration of government, is used to regulate commerce or business, then there are those who are meeting all of the requirements, playing by all the rules, obeying all of the regulations, each one of which costs time and money, and who are reasonably well satisfied. We might say they are the ones who are in. Whatever the business or the commerce, if it is lucrative and if there’s a profit in it, if it is a good way of life and if it is possible to make money at it, there will be those who want in. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the highway trucking business, the common carriers, the licensing of premises that sell alcoholic beverages, the right to be a milk producer or a tobacco grower, or whatever it is, there are those who are in and who have paid the price, who have applied for the licences and who abide by the rules, and those who either want in or want to take advantage of loopholes in the regulation.
Because of the statutes which we have passed and amended year by year -- which have been described in some detail, particularly the more recent and applicable amendments, by the member for Riverdale -- there has grown up a leasing business and it’s described by those on the “in” -- that is, those people who are using all of the applicable regulations for an orderly trucking business -- as pirates, among other things. Maybe they are, in the particular viewpoint of those directly affected, but as far as I know they have not broken laws or, in fact, they could have been regulated by the laws which we already have.
Under the provisions for leasing there has sprung up a business; and however we regard it, it’s got to be considered a legal business, otherwise there would have been some procedure to regulate it or keep it down for the benefit of an orderly trucking business. According to my colleague, there are about 5,000 people involved in this business. Whether they’re little men or not may be of importance, but certainly the passage of this bill, according to those people -- and they’re the ones who are deeply concerned about it -- will put them out of business.
When we are discussing this -- and we have discussed it among ourselves of course -- we looked at the point that this is not an extensive amendment to the legislation. There is really only one significant part to it; that is, if you have a leasing contract, the truck must be leased to the return point from which the truck began. In other words, you’ve got to go back empty. The minister shakes his head, and I know what he is referring to, but it simply says in the explanatory notes that the lessee does not have to return the vehicle to the place where he receives it from the lessor as an exclusion. Now he’s indicating that there is some further information that would be available, but on reading the bill it appears that if a truck is leased then the carriage will take place to the distant point with the load on it, and in most cases there will not be a load from the same company to return in the same truck.
This, of course, is a matter, that can be cleared up, but from the information available to us from the independent truckers and others it is very clearly a way either to increase the costs of that carriage or perhaps -- and this is what I expect -- to force a large number of those people out of this competitive business. Many people feel they should come directly under the PCV requirements -- and that may be so. But, in my opinion, for the bill to receive approval in principle -- in fact, the principle as I view it is simply to put these independent truckers in their place, which is out of business; that’s really all it is. For that to get approval in principle and then to go to committee, well, I don’t know what we’re supposed to do. Sure, we can hear submissions from all sides, but if in fact we were to decide not to report the bill, it would mean that the principle of the bill had been negated and this House would have already approved the principle. Maybe we would think they could drive halfway back or three-quarters of the way, but under those circumstances I don’t see that additional clauses to amend the principle, which is a very simple one here as I understand it, would be forthcoming.
In a House composed as this one is, surely it is possible to make use of the rules as the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid) has attempted. It appears that it will not be successful, Mr. Speaker, but I simply bring it to your attention that while we in this party understand the development of the PCV regulations and we believe in regulated highway commerce, we think that this is essential for an orderly trucking business. We have heard all the arguments from individual truckers; we’ve heard the debates in this House; and we’ve heard from the Ontario Trucking Association, the very able people representing that group, on many occasions.
We know how important it is to have a regulated trucking business, and it is possible through regulation to build at least some competition in it. We have observed with care the findings of the Ontario Highway Transport Board, and certainly there have been very few valid criticisms of what they have done. But we in this Legislature are the ones who, through our enactments, have opened up the trucking business, at least to some extent, to the legal leasing business as it has been construed.
For the minister to bring in this bill, and with the provisions in subsection 3(a), according to those people directly affected, it is going to have a tremendously bad influence on their business. Maybe they’re exaggerating when they say they’re all going to be forced out of business, but certainly that is the position they have taken. We in this party feel that is a remedy for a situation that we cannot and should not support. We do, however, believe in a regulated trucking business; and we believe it is possible to come up with a statute, if not a regulation, which will meet the requirements for all people concerned. We believe this can be done before the bill is approved in principle because we suspect this remedy is not the best nor the only one. We don’t believe we can support it in principle and that’s why we moved that the bill be not read a second time but be read a second time before this House rises for the summer recess sometime in June.
We say that in the intermediate time the whole matter should be put before a committee of this House so those people directly affected can appear before that committee and express their objections in the presence of the other side. That’s the only way, surely, to get at the truth. We can retain as much expertise as we wish; we can even hear the experts who sit under the gallery and wonder sometimes at the efficacy of the arguments put before them here. We can even hear their views which, I think, would be useful.
Surely, this could be done before we approve this little wee section, this 3(a) section, in principle, because according to the people who have come to us it is a very serious principle indeed. It is one way to correct what the government may feel was a mistake made back in 1973 but we are not prepared to be a party to it. We believe that, on the face of it at least, it is unfair and to approve it in principle and expect it all to be repaired in committee is a very naive approach to the democratic process indeed.
Mr. Bullbrook: It can’t be done.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have listened with great interest to all the points made by the hon. members. I think we all realize from the discussion that there are some problems in the trucking industry and I assure members that since I became responsible for this ministry, no area of responsibility which is mine has received as much attention and time as the trucking industry.
The hon. member for Rainy River has stated that I am trying to put all the lessors of trucks out of business. I emphatically say that this is absolutely wrong.
Mr. Reid: I didn’t say all.
Hon. Mr. Snow: This is not my intention at all. I feel the truck lessors are playing a very important role in their way of supplying truck transportation to the industries and the public of Ontario but I do feel that we have to define further the role of the trucking company in the business of for hire trucking.
There is no need, as has been stated -- I know in principle this will happen -- for leased trucks to be returning empty. I think someone quoted to me -- and I won’t vouch for the figure -- that 40 per cent of the licensed carriers return empty in many cases -- I guess in all cases -- because there are no appropriate loads for them on their return trip.
Mr. Nixon: That is a different thing. We don’t want government restriction.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The Liberals seem to think it’s all right for the licensed carrier to return empty but not the lessee.
Mr. Reid: What about LTL loads and all the rest of it? It all balances out.
Mr. Bullbrook: Don’t you realize that is why their rates are so high?
Mr. Good: It is time you changed your policy to reverse it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Everyone has had an opportunity to participate in the debate. The hon. minister has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I listened very intently to their discussions and I didn’t interrupt them once.
I assure members that the committee will have ample time. It is my understanding that the committee hasn’t any other items before it at this time. I would hope that the resources committee, if that is the appropriate committee for this bill to go to, would take ample time to hear the views of the different associations.
I have met with the Canadian Industrial Traffic League, with the Ontario Manufacturers Association, and with the independent truckers, with the OTA, and I know they all have a viewpoint to put forward. My officials and I feel this will assist greatly in defining a solid black line dividing for-hire trucking from leasing. I want to bring about more order and more stability in the trucking industry, both for the lessors and for the licensed carriers. To do that we have to have a very clearly defined and distinguishable separation between leasing and for-hire trucking.
I don’t think there is any doubt as to the area between private trucking which has been so ably explained by the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) during his contribution to the debate. That is the purpose of this amendment. It may be that during deliberation in the committee after hearing the input which I’m sure I have heard a lot of privately and a lot of which will be repeated -- and there will be a lot more come forward to the committee -- that we may get some very excellent alternative recommendations or viewpoints come forward in the committee.
Mr. Reid: But the principle of the bill can’t be changed in committee.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The principle of the bill is that we have a licensed trucking industry in this province.
Mr. Reid: It’s in the Act. You have that right here. It is not in the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Snow: We’re dealing, as far as I am concerned, with an amendment to the Public Commercial Vehicles Act. The Public Commercial Vehicles Act is the Act that controls the trucking industry. I think we would all agree there has to be some control in the trucking industry, as there does with the Public Vehicles Act in dealing with buses and as we have under federal regulation in dealing with the licensing of air carriers, the railways and other communications facilities.
I think this is one of those industries which would be complete chaos without regulation. With this new type of transportation that has come about in the last number of years, we need amendments to the Act to define and to separate the duties and the area of business to be covered by the private carrier, the licensed carrier and the lessor. I’m sure when this bill is referred to committee, given full study and reported back here, that it will serve that purpose.
Mr. Cunningham: Would the minister entertain some questions?
Mr. Speaker: As I understand it, it will be referred to a committee and there will be opportunity for questions then, unless it is a very brief question that the hon. minister might reply to.
Mr. Cunningham: Very briefly, Mr. Speaker, I just wondered if the minister would indicate to us, and through us to the truckers, just how many leasing operations would be allowed to exist and what form of leasing endeavour would be allowed to exist should this legislation be passed.
Mr. Speaker: The question would be more appropriately put at the appropriate time.
The House divided on the motion that Bill 4 be now read a second time, which was approved on the following vote:
Clerk of the House: Mr. Speaker, the “ayes” are 60, the “nays” are 31.
Mr. Speaker: I declare the motion carried.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: I understand the bill is to be (Haldimand-Norfolk) ordered to the appropriate standing committee.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The standing committee on resources development, please, Mr. Speaker.
PUBLIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved second reading of Bill 39, An Act to amend the Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 39, An Act to amend the Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
COMMODITY BOARD MEMBERS ACT
Hon. W. Newman moved second reading of Bill 5, An Act respecting Members of Commodity Boards.
Mr. MacDonald: There were some facetious interjections across the floor of the House a moment ago drawing a parallel between marketing boards and the legislation we have just debated. As a matter of fact, they are not quite facetious. There is more truth in them than fiction.
One of the problems when one decides to achieve more orderly administration of any sector of human activity is that you have to lay down rules and regulations. The principle of this bill is coming to grips with something which has become a bit perplexing in the area of commodity boards, namely certain people on occasion -- strange as it may seem even people who happen to be on the board
-- who do not live by the regulations that presumably they are obligated to respect and to share in their administration.
As I understand this bill, unless there is some sleeper in it that the minister will enlighten us about so that we can be clearly aware as we pass it, the purpose of this bill is merely to cope with the kind of situation that the minister found himself faced with in the instance of the egg board, where we had two or three members of the board who were in violation of the quota regulations in connection with the board and yet presumed to continue in that conflict of interest in pursuit of their responsibilities as members of the board. The minister was faced with the rather strange and Draconian act of abolishing the whole board and then reappointing those who were willing to live up to their obligations.
I presume that the minister hopes, through this amendment, to correct that kind of situation so that henceforth any member of the board who doesn’t live up to the regulations laid down by the board through their collective action, will immediately sort of disqualify himself or at least they will empower the minister to see that he is removed. Obviously this is not only necessary, it is sensible. Indeed, what flows from it is the added addendum to the principle, namely that anybody within that commodity group, if there has been a majority decision made in accordance with acceptable procedures in order to achieve orderly marketing, they too, have to live by the rules, at least until those rules are changed by agreement.
I think this is a bit of tidying up of an Act which perhaps had an unwitting flaw in it, and as far as we can see the purpose of the Act, we are in support of it.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, as was just indicated by the former speaker, the purpose of the bill is really to give the Farm Products Marketing Board some authority to dismiss members of commodity boards who in any way act in contravention of the various commodity plans or the Farm Products Marketing Act.
This probably came about because of the problem that existed in the Egg Producers Marketing Board last year, which resulted in the dismissal by the minister of the entire board and then the reappointing of those members who were prepared to live up to the legislation. I am just wondering if perhaps this bill goes far enough, or if we should be taking a look at some of the board members who do have a conflict of interest. Going back to that Egg Producers Marketing Board, we know full well that one member on that board was not only a large producer but he also made quite an income in marketing eggs, and not just those eggs which he produced himself. It is my feeling that this particular board member had a conflict of interest, and to my way of thinking he should not have been permitted to sit on the board in the first place. I can’t see that this bill in any way does not permit such a member to sit on a board.
I would appreciate the minister’s comments on this, but certainly we support this amendment. The Farm Products Marketing Board is an agency of government, so therefore we feel that the minister, through the Farm Products Marketing Board, should have some authority to dismiss elected members who in some way are acting in contravention of the legislation.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I naturally support what the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) said in that we will support the principle of the bill, but I did want to raise with the minister on second reading a couple of matters in the bill which are of concern to me so that when the bill goes to committee, as we propose that it would, the minister might have an opportunity to give consideration to it.
Basically, the bill provides two prohibitions or creates two possibilities under which a member of any of the local boards under either the Milk Act or the Farm Products Marketing Act can be disqualified. My concern is that even though a person is sitting on one of the local boards and the commodity board may have knowledge come to it which would lead it to believe that a contravention of the Act had occurred, nevertheless if it doesn’t act within six weeks after it receives the knowledge about a person, even though the person after that date continues to sit on the board, it is precluded from dealing with any application which may be made to determine whether or not the person should or should not be disqualified.
I would have assumed that that six-week period during which an application must be commenced would have extended to the six weeks at least up to and including six weeks after the person ceased to be a member of the particular board. Otherwise, we would have the anomaly of a producer or the board being in possession of knowledge which would lead them, on reasonable grounds, to believe that there may possibly have been a contravention of the prohibitions set out in the Act, and yet no application could be brought because the six-week period would have elapsed and the person would continue on, even though there had been an undetermined issue of whether or not there had been a contravention of the Act. That’s the first point and it does seem to me that the Act is unduly restrictive with respect to the duration of that six-week period.
The other matter which concerns me is the $300 and the conditions under which it can be returned by the tribunal. We have the strange provision that a person might very well be found to have been in contravention of the Act but in one of the circumstances, if it turns out that that contravention is inadvertent and, therefore, the person is not disqualified by the tribunal, nevertheless the person who had put up the $300 would have that $300 forfeited because there would not have been a disqualification.
It would seem to me to be appropriate, rather than penalizing the producer in such a situation as that -- I would assume he would have acted in a bona fide way in bringing the application given the prospect of forfeiture of the deposit up to $300 that he may be required to make -- that the tribunal should, when it makes its decision, have the alternative option not simply of returning it in one case and forfeiting it to the government of Ontario in the other case, but should have the option to exercise its discretion if it has found a contravention, even though inadvertent. It would seem to me that the producer should not be penalized and lose the $300 he’s had to put up in order to bring the application in the first place.
I simply make the two points and hope that before the bill comes to the committee the minister might have an opportunity to consider whether or not some flexibility couldn’t be introduced in the Act in those two respects.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other hon. member wish to take part in the debate? The hon. minister.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill, as was outlined by both the member for York South and the other member, it is quite true is to allow, under legislation, the Farm Products Marketing Board or the Milk Commission to hear cases of violation against the regulations of the local boards. There is a judicial appeal, of course, from this decision if necessary.
I must say that I had occasion to call all the boards around the province to a meeting at which we discussed the principles and the ideals of the bill. Since the bill has been tabled in the House, I think I’d be safe in saying that the various marketing boards of the Province of Ontario concur with the contents of the bill.
Mr. Nixon: Why wouldn’t they?
Hon. W. Newman: They are very honest people. What we’re saying, coming down to the six weeks which was brought up by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), under section 4(1), is this is merely to say an accuser must, in six weeks, make up his mind on whether or not he wants to start proceedings. He must make up his mind in six weeks.
The other thing, on the $300 deposit, it says up to $300. This is to stop vexatious or frivolous appeals. That would be the maximum deposit they would have to make. That’s the reason it was put in there and I doubt very much, if it was a sincere effort that it would have to be that; that’s up to a maximum of $300.
Somebody talked about a conflict of interest. I suppose we might say that all commodity boards are producer boards. There are occasions when producer boards are price-setting entities and one might suggest they might be in conflict of interest but, by and large, they have to answer for their various commodities, their operating costs and the total costs of their commodities.
I think the point one member brought out about any specific person is covered in one of the sections. I believe it is section 2 sub (1), in which a prohibition applies to somebody who is a senior officer of or has a controlling interest in any particular company from sitting on the board.
Really, as was said, this is a tidying-up piece of legislation. I think, after talking to the various boards, if the members wish it to go to committee of the whole House, I’m quite agreeable, but certainly the boards have had a chance to go over it in detail. Their legal people have and I feel it’s a good piece of legislation.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be referred to committee or ordered for third reading?
Mr. Renwick: Committee.
Mr. Speaker: Committee of the whole house?
DRAINAGE ACT AMENDMENT
Hon. W. Newman moved second reading of Bill 6, An Act to amend the Drainage Act, 1975.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, this is even more so just a housekeeping bill, as I understand it; indeed, the explanatory note in section 1 states that it simply removes a section of the bill so as to make it conform with what is the regular practice. Again, I’m always hesitant on these housekeeping bills in case there is a little sleeper in there. On more than one embarrassing occasion in the past we have had bills go through which were presented as housekeeping bills; but it seems to be rather an innocent tidying effort and, unless I’m being deceived, is worthy of support.
Mr. Laughren: You wouldn’t deceive us, would you, Bill?
Mr. Worton: Not unintentionally.
Mr. Riddell: In connection with Bill 6. I must say that at first I didn’t understand the intent of the amendment and I tried to have this matter cleared up by the Minister of Agriculture and Food some time last week. Strange as it may seem, at that time he wasn’t too sure what the intent of the bill was. He thought the purpose of the bill was to prevent the type of situation in which one member of joint ownership of property could prevent the others from signing so that a project could go ahead. That’s really not the intent of the amendment as it was explained to me. The amendment will simply clear up an infringement on what has been common law in the past.
The Drainage Act states that only one such person may sign the petition but the law has always been that in cases of ownership of property, all owners must sign and rightfully so. In other words, if there happens to be four owners of a property, I would think, if they’re joint owners of that property, they should all be required to sign before any decision is made as to what is going to happen.
We’re talking about drainage and I would think that all four owners should be required or obliged to sign a petition for, let’s say, a municipal drain to go through or any kind of a tile drainage programme.
The phrase was originally included because the government wanted to count all concerned owners as one property but adding the phrase “only one such person may sign the petition” went against common law which, of course, has applied through the years. Really, it’s a case that now all owners of joint property have to sign a petition. The nice part of Bill 75, of course, is that the properties are taken into consideration, not the owners of a property, so when all four owners sign it is really considered as one signature. It pertains to that particular property and it doesn’t involve other properties, so if 50 per cent of the representatives of the people want the project to go through, it will do so -- the others can’t stop it -- or 60 per cent of a land area will permit a project to go through.
Really we support the amendment. I will say again that it was certainly vague when I first tried to understand what the intent of it was, but now that it’s been explained by the legal adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Food --
Mr. Nixon: That’s the member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson).
Mr. Riddell: -- I’m sure that both the minister and I are now enlightened on this particular amendment, as is the member for Lambton, who didn’t seem to know what it was all about, either, when I first approached him.
Mr. Nixon: Surely not, after all the money we’ve spent educating him.
Mr. Ferrier: I would like to say a word on behalf of this bill and to say that I am sure the member for Lambton knows very well what this amendment is all about.
Mr. Ruston: No, he didn’t.
Mr. Ferrier: The select committee recommended that only one such person should be able to sign a petition; I think this was an effort to expedite a petition and to cut down in the delays that sometimes prevail in getting all the owners together to sign a petition to represent their property.
I wonder if we are perhaps catering a bit too much to the lawyers at the expense of the average farm person. It seems to me that a husband or a wife could very well sign without both having to sign the petition. I am not so sure that it is much of an advance. I think the select committee, in proposing the legislation that was there, perhaps was more representative of the general feeling of the farm community than is this amendment.
I notice the second amendment allows a practising solicitor to become the drainage referee, rather than requiring that the referee should be a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the county court. I don’t know whether there is much significance in that or not. I suppose, if a lawyer is well qualified in drainage legislation and drainage practice, that he could perform the role just as satisfactorily as the judge. I don’t object very much to that, but in the other matter I think maybe we are playing too much into the hands of the lawyers and not sufficiently considering the average farming citizen.
Mr. Renwick: My colleague has just played into my hands. I think, as a matter of fact, that the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) was quite right before he consulted the ministry, and thereafter I think he was as confused as the ministry is. I think that the recommendation of the drainage committee was the correct one and that this amendment shouldn’t be made. But that’s by the by.
The point that concerns me is the point that my colleague has just raised about a barrister of 10 years’ standing being appointed as a referee under the Act. I don’t object to that; it looks to me like a lucrative field of practice.
Mr. Nixon: Look into it.
Mr. MacDonald: The judges are already overburdened anyway.
Mr. Renwick: But what I am concerned about, and I ask the minister to seriously look into it, is that there is a prohibition in that Act which says “that no referee or acting referee shall practise as a solicitor or barrister in any matter arising under the Act or act as legal agent or adviser in any such matter.”
I take that to mean that that prohibition only applies during the period of time under which he is either a referee or an acting referee. I think that is much too wide open to abuse by a bar which may very well have a certain expertise in the system. One day they are acting as a referee and another day they are acting and practising before another referee or advising in connection with matters arising under the Act.
I think it is quite wrong that there is not some prohibition that if a barrister chooses to be appointed as a referee or as an acting referee, that when his appointment ceases he should be precluded for a definite period of time thereafter from practising in that particular field and giving the kind of advice which is required under the Act.
I say this quite advisedly, because if the minister will look at the very important powers which a referee has by way of original jurisdiction under section 105 of the Drainage Act, he will see that the function to be performed by the referee is a significant and important function and carries with it immense powers.
If it turns out as I said -- and I repeat myself -- that the particular banister wants to accept this appointment to be a referee or an acting referee he should be precluded for some period of time after he ceases to be a referee or an acting referee from practising in that so-called field of this Drainage Act. It’s extremely important.
Anyone can see by the listing of the various items set out in section 105 that the referee performs a most important judicial function. To have him one day acting as referee and the day afterwards not acting as a referee, or one day acting as an acting referee, and when that particular job for which he has been appointed acting referee ceases to find that he can immediately step back into the practice involved in this whole procedure which has been set up, to me is quite wrong. I would ask the minister when the bill is in committee seriously to consider adding some further restriction to that provision.
Mr. Eaton: I just wanted to mention as a member of that committee that in section 1 one of the other members of the committee mentioned he didn’t feel we were carrying out the intent. We are carrying out the intent of the committee report. The intent was that, no matter how many owners there were of the property, that property would only be considered as one when it came to petitioning, and that was carried out when we brought in the new Act. This amendment still maintains it that way, except that if there are four owners, they must all sign for that property even though it represents one on the petition because there might be disagreement amongst those four owners and one of the owners could bind the other three to something they didn’t agree with. So they must all agree and sign to represent that property, and it does carry out the intent of the report of the select committee.
Mr. Breithaupt: I just wanted to comment upon what was said by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). As I recall, the small claims courts, formerly the division court system, had in their operation the opportunity for the county court judge to appoint from among members of the bar that had 10 years experience someone to act as his deputy and to sit in the division court from time to time. This practice has continued and, I suppose, is of use when a barrister of some experience is available to sit in for a county court judge who, because of the pressures of other activities, perhaps in an area that has only one or two judges available to it, requires this kind of assistance. As a result, I presume that’s how the 10-year standing term came into this legislation, since that appears to be the basis for this kind of an approach.
What the member for Riverdale has said, I think, bears some serious concern, because it would appear that, while one might sit in division court -- or now in the small claims court -- as a judge and then return to it and appear before that court the next month or so, very little harm may have been done. There are a great variety of cases that might come forward; and to sit in judgement on one’s fellow man or woman, I suppose, is something that a barrister might like to do at least on some occasions before he or she considers seriously whether this is the way of life that they might more permanently enjoy.
However, in this circumstance, as has been pointed out, we are dealing with a particularly narrow expertise which may only involve a small number of banisters within the province. As a result, it could well be that a barrister sitting as a referee on one occasion with, shall we say three other lawyers appearing before that tribunal situation, might the next week around find the same four people involved but some one of the others might be the referee in that case. Indeed it might become rather difficult to draw the line between the person sitting as referee and the people who are involved before the courts. This difference of decision-making and presentation to the system might indeed become somewhat smudged and blurred if persons are moving back and forth almost on a weekly or monthly basis.
I would agree that some consideration should be given to requiring a choice to be made, if not for a lifetime situation at least perhaps for six months or for a year, so that it would be clearly understood that during that time the person involved was available to be a referee but would stand aside from the actual presentation of cases before other situations.
I think the point raised has some merit, and hope the minister will consider some kind of a pattern so that this possibility of difficulty could be avoided.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to say now that I have the experimental farm of Ottawa in my riding I feel qualified, as I wasn’t qualified before, to talk about agricultural problems. I don’t want you to forget that I have some of the most valuable farmland in all of Canada in the middle of my riding.
Mr. Renwick: They grow marijuana too, don’t they?
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right, it’s also got the best marijuana plants in the country and we have other specialities there as well. If anybody wishes samples I’ll make private arrangements.
Mr. Renwick: That’s right.
Mr. Cassidy: I just want to say that it has come to my attention that there are some serious potential problems arising with the cost of some of the land drainage schemes which are taking place in my region of the province, and perhaps elsewhere as well.
I am tabling, in a couple of days, written questions on this matter with the minister, which I hope he and his department take the trouble to answer. The allegations, which I believe will stand up, are that a large number of land drainage projects being proposed in rural townships are coming in very substantially over the estimated costs; both the cost of the consultant’s fees and also the cost of the projects themselves. As a consequence, the people who agreed to these drainage schemes are being put, not just to inconvenience, but to obviously severe financial loss. If they knew in advance what the ultimate cost would be, I suspect in many cases they would not go forward with the scheme, or they would reconsider the scheme and look for something that was more modest and more within their means.
So long as there is provincial funding given to these schemes in the form of low-interest loans and other kinds of subsidies, it seems to me the province has a direct interest, as well as its indirect interest in ensuring that the farming community is not abused by city slickers who come out and sell them a bill of goods. If these allegations prove to be correct, I would hope the minister would agree to take early action in order to stop it and in order to ensure that people in the townships are fairly treated.
The problem is that if there is a serious cost overrun, as has happened in a number of cases, it only happens once or twice in a particular township over two or three or four years, and then it goes somewhere else. So people don’t detect a pattern, and don’t realize that it wasn’t an accident but that it was more by design. Not realizing the pattern, they don’t take action and, therefore, it’s possible for this abuse to continue. I hope the minister will look into that situation.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, dealing with section 1, in order that I can explain it to you, prior to this amendment, if there were four joint owners on a particular piece of property they all counted in the petition, so that actually a majority of owners could actually control a majority of the land. What I’m saying under this amendment is that each parcel of land, no matter how many owners are on that particular parcel of land, would be dealt with on an individual basis, so that we couldn’t have four owners signing here and only one over here. We would look at it from a property point of view -- 50 per cent of the owners or 60 per cent of the acreage. One of the problems in the past was that one individual could sign and represent 100 acres, while four individuals could sign and have the same amount of representation on 100 acres. This is to clear this up.
There were a couple of other points brought up under section 1. I think the member over there brought up the matter of the husband and wife. I’d just like to clarify this point. Where there is joint ownership of property, in many cases in the past the husband has signed on the drainage situation and the wife has not signed and that’s gone through. Members know the law as well as I know the common law, and if there is joint ownership of the property they both have a responsibility.
In most cases the husband has signed -- I have done so myself -- in anticipation that there is no problem. Certainly, when there is joint ownership one can’t have one person signing away the rights of another. I want to make that point very clear to the House.
Talking about section 2, members were talking about the referee. The reason for this amendment to the bill is that we have had difficulties in getting a judge who is knowledgeable in this field to act as a referee. The one we had, who is deceased, did an excellent job for many years; he was appointed. We have a judge appointed on a temporary basis now but it is the practice and has been the practice for many years that when a referee is appointed he is appointed and acts in that capacity for many years; as this one judge acted in that capacity for many years.
Mr. Nixon: Was that Judge Clunis? Who was that?
Hon. W. Newman: That’s right, and he did an excellent job. What we are asking for here is the right to appoint a senior lawyer, who is properly knowledgeable, as a referee; who would act as a referee for a period of time -- assuming a long-term period of time would be our intention -- providing he is prepared to act in that capacity. I suppose, when he is not acting in that capacity at some time in the future, it’s possible he could be acting in the courts. I think it’s very important to note --
Mr. Breithaupt: The minister wouldn’t preclude that person from acting during the term of his being a referee? In other words, so long as he is serving as a referee for two years or five years or whatever, he would not be able to appear in matters such as this. Is that correct?
Hon. V. Newman: Yes, that is my understanding. That’s correct.
Mr. Renwick: And for one year thereafter?
Hon. W. Newman: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Renwick: And for one year thereafter?
Hon. W. Newman: No, I don’t think that’s in the bill.
Mr. Renwick: It’s not in the bill but I am just asking.
Hon. W. Newman: No. Certainly, as long as he is acting as a referee he would not be able to act in any other capacity on drainage.
The member mentioned the cost of drainage and I am looking forward to his giving me some information on the problems to which he has referred with drainage. I assume he is talking about drainage contractors, I don’t know, but certainly I will look forward --
Mr. Cassidy: And engineers.
Hon. W. Newman: If there is anything wrong anywhere in the Drainage Act, we are only too glad to look at the situation. I look forward to the member’s statistical material. I think I have covered --
Mr. Cassidy: I want the minister to get the material and look into the allegations which the member is prepared to bring forward.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Committee of the whole House.
Mr. Speaker: Committee of the whole House.
TERRITORIAL DIVISION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 7, An Act to amend the Territorial Division Act.
Mr. Young: Mr. Speaker, this bill is, as far as I can see, a housekeeping matter, bringing the terminology up-to-date and extending boundaries. As far as we are concerned we agree with the bill and are willing for it to go to third reading.
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, we are agreed on the need for this bill in that since no townships exist any longer in the area covered from Toronto to Hamilton, under regional government, the boundaries of the former townships which formerly went out to the international boundary now have to be referred to as existing boundaries in other municipal structures. We have no objection to this bill.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 7, An Act to amend the Territorial Division Act.
LOCAL IMPROVEMENT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Norton, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 8, An Act to amend the Local Improvement Act.
Mr. Renwick: Perhaps the parliamentary assistant would give us a word of explanation. We can see no reason for not supporting the bill, but we would like a word of explanation about it.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the amendment that is proposed in this bill is directed particularly at the situation where municipalities would be dealing with local improvements along boundary lines or boundary roads and where they might enter into joint undertakings. It allows for the introduction of greater flexibility in terms of the options available to the municipality under those circumstances so that they might, within a given municipality, opt either to permit the residents to pick up their share on the basis of local improvement or, as a municipality, to pick up the residents’ share. It merely allows that additional option to be introduced under those circumstances.
Mr. Good: Mr. Speaker, I think one matter that should be mentioned about this bill is that it now eliminates the age-old problem involving a boundary between two municipalities that wanted to have some local improvements and the other municipality wanted to pay it out of the general revenue.
Now, as I understand it, according to this amendment, one municipality can make the application for the local improvement and look after the complete procedure; then, by agreement with the other municipality, it can collect their portion directly from that municipality. It eliminates the red tape involved in two municipalities co-operating on one project. One can look after it and, simply by mutual agreement, collect the fee from the other one; and the other one then can get it as they see fit, either from their general revenue or by charging their taxpayers. It’s supposed to streamline the procedure considerably, according to municipal officials.
Mr. Cassidy: I’ve got a comment here, Mr. Speaker. Since the statement was so ably supplemented by the member for Waterloo North, we could certainly support the bill. It obviously does induce added flexibility and it makes sense.
Mr. Speaker: Is there any further discussion? Does the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands wish to respond?
Mr. Norton: No, I think I have nothing to add, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cassidy: You have passed that baptism of fire.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?
The following bill was given third reading upon motion:
Bill 8, An Act to amend the Local Improvement Act.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.