The House resumed at 8 p.m.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 87, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to any section of the bill and, if so, to which section?
Mr. Foulds: Yes, Mr. Chairman, section 1, subsection 1.
On section 1:
Mr. Foulds: I don’t think there would be any comments before that, unless somebody has some comments on the preamble, which would question Her Majesty’s right to enact legislation.
I would like, first of all, to ask the minister the simple question why he is moving this to the regulations from the legislation. I think that in terms of a matter of principle it is always better to have things spelled out as clearly as possible in legislation. Although the formula is a complicated one that is outlined in the legislation, it does at least give a natural reference point for boards to work from. If we remove it from the legislation in its entirety, it does seem to me that we may be giving once again the executive branch of government authority which could be abused I would like the minister’s response quickly to that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: This amendment really means that by legislation we would set the method for computing average daily enrolment. We are suggesting this change because this is a technical matter which we think would be more appropriate to the grant regulations.
My friend knows and the members of this House know that each year under the authority of the Education Act grant regulations are formulated which deal with the distribution of the moneys that we voted by estimates. They outline the way in which this money will be passed on to the school boards. As part of the operation of those grant regulations there is a need to know what the average daily enrolment for a board is.
At the present time, the average daily enrolment is as outlined in this interpretation section of the Education Act. It means that at the time of framing the grant regulations if, say, in our consultation process with school boards and teachers and from the input we get from them it was to be pointed out that there were better ways, for instance, of defining or deciding on the average daily enrolment, it would not be possible to change that particular part of the grant regulations. Since it seems to us it’s all part of the technical making of the regulations it would be more appropriate to have them in that form rather than as part of the legislation.
I might say that there’s no intention at this point in time to change the method of calculating average daily enrolment although we do have on hand several submissions from different groups suggesting it should be calculated in a different manner. We really have no intention at this point in time of changing that method of calculation.
However, we’re in the midst of an input session with various groups about next year’s grant rates and it could be that this will be one of the things which will be suggested to us sometime between now and the making of the regulations in the early fall -- and I subscribe to the thesis that we should have the regulations ready as soon as possible -- it would be impossible to change the method of calculation of the average daily enrolment as long as it stays in the Act as it is now.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, in response I move an amendment.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Foulds moves that section 1, subsection 1, be amended by adding the words “which grant regulations shall be published no later than Nov. 10 of each year” at the end of line six.
Mr. Foulds: The section would now read:
“Paragraph 2 of subsection 1 of section 1 of the Education Act, 1974, being chapter 109, is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“‘2. “Average daily enrolment” for a calendar year means the average daily enrolment calculated in accordance with the regulations, which grant regulations shall be published no later than Nov. 10 of each year.’”
I think this would meet a number of objections we have had in the past about grant regulations being delayed. It would give the minister the flexibility he is seeking in the base, yet it would mean that the public and the boards would know the grant formula well in advance.
I think that’s one thing which is extremely important because a lot of the dissatisfaction we’ve heard expressed in the province over the last number of years has had to do with the late publication of the grant, not knowing how much money they are going to have available and the basis on which that will be calculated.
Mr. Nixon: Where did Nov. 10 come from?
Mr. Foulds: That’s a very good question. It came because as you look at the Act, the average daily enrolment is calculated on a couple of dates -- the last school day in the months of January, April and September. It would seem to me that a six-week period after the end of September is sufficient time to get the material in and calculate the base on which the regulations will be founded.
Mr. Nixon: Why isn’t it Nov. 15 then?
Mr. Foulds: I thought Nov. 10 had -- it’s an arbitrary date.
Mr. Nixon: It had a nice ring to it. It really sounds like something which should be in the regulations, really.
Mr. Foulds: Ideally, of course, I’m opposed to putting matters in regulations but I think there is some argument for technical matters being there as long as publication is made well in advance of implementation and the boards have that knowledge. I’m quite willing to accept Nov. 15 if that will ensure the support of the members of the Liberal caucus.
Mr. Nixon: I think it is a confidence issue.
Mr. Foulds: I’m quite willing to move it to Oct. 15 if that would ensure acceptance by the minister but it seems to me that is a fair period of time on which to base the amendment.
Mr. Ferris: I very much agree with the point the NDP member is trying to make here. In our comments on second reading we did make reference to the fact that more and more things were going into regulations. But I would be content if the minister is prepared in his comments to assure us that he isn’t really intending to use this as a yearly changing function and that it is not foreseen as that now.
It could very well become that, but I don’t think there is anything to be gained by saying Nov. 1. We have a very basic philosophy that we are trying to get the minister to bring out grant regulations and bring out all of the information so that boards can adequately plan. I don’t think this would necessarily add anything to it because of this one enrolment figure. I would suggest for flexibility probably that although they are not in front of us regulations may be the reasonable route to take.
Mr. Foulds: Could I just comment quickly on that? The amendment actually says “which grant regulations shall be published by Nov. 10” which would include all of the grant regulations, assuming that the word “regulations” in this amendment means grant regulations.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the hon. minister wish to respond?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, I think my friend is wrong really. This word here doesn’t necessarily mean grant regulations. In my discussion of this a few minutes ago, I was talking about the grant regulations and that it would be possible to enunciate it in the grant regulations, but it wouldn’t necessarily follow that that would be the way. It could be that special regulations could be devised for the calculation of average daily enrolment. I think it could be rather confusing to add the phrase, “which grant regulations shall be published by Nov. 10.”
While we all subscribe to publication of the grant regulations as early as possible and all want to make this information available as quickly as possible, from where I sit sometimes situations arise which make that well-nigh impossible. I think that kind of rigidity in a regulation would be very difficult to live with. I really couldn’t accept that amendment, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any discussion on that amendment?
Mr. Foulds: I make the point again on the amendment that it may be difficult to live with but it is a difficulty that any government should be prepared to live with. Otherwise, I say with all forcefulness, we as a Legislature are then allowing more and more power to be centralized in executive ministerial control. I do not think that that is a particularly healthy thing for a Legislature to do. Therefore, I would call upon all members of the House to support the amendment.
Mr. Sweeney: I have two questions. I am very sympathetic with the comment about getting the grant regulations out earlier. Having had to deal with them myself, it does become quite difficult. The first question is, can the minister give us one or two very good reasons why they do take so long? I know a number of people I have worked with in the past couldn’t quite figure it out. It just seemed to be unduly long.
The second question: The minister in responding a few minutes ago said that he is thinking of making some changes possibly. Could he give us some indication of the direction in which his thinking is going -- it doesn’t have to be specific but just the direction -- because a fundamental change could be serious?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Answering the questions in reverse order, I really can’t think of any examples. It just comes to my mind that several groups have suggested there would be better ways of calculating average daily enrolments. Some don’t like the idea of taking the enrolment on Sept. 30, Jan. 30 and April 30, I think it is, and averaging it. Maybe it should be taken at one time in a year rather than at three; or there should be some other method of doing it.
I don’t have anything fixed in my mind as a better way of doing it It’s just that from time to time in meetings we hear people suggest there might be some way of improving it.
As you know, we used to calculate it very specifically on average daily attendance; it was based on attendance every day and a day missed could actually be detrimental to the amount of grants a board received. Of course, that’s when we got into the whole business of having to protect boards against closing for snowstorms, transportation, and everything else, which doesn’t really matter that much anymore.
No, I don’t really have any suggestions, nor could I indicate to you that anybody is even looking at it. It’s just that in consultation with groups there may arise out of those meetings some idea of a better way of handling it that would be agreeable, particularly to the trustees. That is what we were thinking of there.
In answer to your first question, I’ll tell you a very simple reason why the grant regulations are very often late in coming out. The grant regulations, as we were discussing this afternoon, involved the transfer of many millions of dollars of provincial revenue to a local body. Certainly up until this past year the designation of the amount of money to be transferred has not been made until well after the beginning of the new year.
In other words, it has become a very major part of the Treasurer’s budget projections and his budget calculations, and basically we haven’t been given that part of the information that we need until the Treasurer has been pretty close to delivering his budget.
What that really says to me, and I guess it says it to all of us, is that it’s the differences in fiscal years really that cause the biggest problem. I mean, the province’s fiscal year ends on March 31 and we basically have a new budget and new estimates for a fiscal year beginning on April 1. Yet the fiscal year of the local agency to which we are transferring the money begins on Jan. 1. So we are devising regulations to transfer money, a lot of it coming out of our budget which we don’t strike and which we don’t have ready until well into the new year. That is really what causes most of the problem in so far as getting grant regulations out in time is concerned.
This year, of course, we worked in an opposite way and while no one was ecstatically happy about having the information, and some of them continued to maintain that they didn’t have enough information, I think in reality most boards had information about most parts of the grant regulations earlier this year than they had ever had. Although they didn’t have the complete grant regulations they had information much earlier than they have ever had it. Back on Dec. 18 they had information which had never been available in the past five or six years until on in February.
The only thing they didn’t have was the average assessment per pupil, which of course is necessary in order to do your calculations; we didn’t have this, again, until on into the new year. If you are going to operate on current year assessment figures it is very difficult to get that information. We were still trying to get that information this year to get the final grant regs -- or to even get the notices out that we sent out. When did we send them out? They went out some time in February or early March, but by that time it was fairly late and yet we were still trying to get that information.
So really it boils down to the financial information that we have to get as part of the total Treasurer’s budget, and also the assessment information which is necessary in order to work out the equalization factors built into the grant regs.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Foulds has moved that section 1, subsection 1, be amended by adding the words “which grant regulations shall be published no later than Nov. 10 of each year.” This would be in line six.
All those in favour of Mr. Foulds’ amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “nays” have it.
Mr. Foulds: We will stack it.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: You agree to stack this?
Is there any further discussion on any further section of the bill?
On section 2:
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I have a question on section 2, subsection 1. Does this addition to the ministerial power, which gives you power to purchase and distribute textbooks, in other words materials used in schools, indicate a return to the traditional conditional textbook grants that we have had in Ontario in the past, and if not, what does it provide for?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, Mr. Chairman, this section gives us the authority to operate what we call the book purchase plan, which is a plan whereby the ministry buys and circulates sample copies of all new textbooks that appear on Circular 14 -- basically one copy to each school, although it doesn’t work exactly that way. We have been up until now sending out a form with Circular 14 indicating all the new books that were never on Circular 14 before; the principals mark on it the books they want and then they are sent out by us to the boards.
Now, this is part of the programme that was worked out arising out of the royal commission on book publishing. It is basically to help the hook publishers and assist them with sampling. It’s one of the several techniques that we have adopted to help book publishers, and that was what it was put in for. It provides copies of books to school boards and I think we have spent something like $1 million a year on it.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I feel very ambivalent about that whole textbook question, but you are obviously not intending to go as far as some of the book publishers would like you to do in returning to the specific textbook grant. But would you agree that this amendment actually does give you that power, should you decide to do so?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think that not only this section, but the grant section would allow us to. I mean it allows us to make a regulation on grants, and I guess we could revert to specific designated grants for a whole variety of things if we wanted. But we really, as a general policy, don’t see that as a good thing. I mean it’s fine, and I can understand the textbook publishers’ real concern to have us return so there will be a definitely allotted block of money there that they will be able to draw upon. However, that suggests we would then move into a whole lot of other areas and the whole education grant would be broken up into areas and designated. That is the opposite to what we have arrived at, which is the unconditional grant. The school board now sets its priorities within that amount of money, which everybody is talking about for municipalities now, trying to arrive at that kind of unconditional grants to the municipalities. We have it at the school boards and they set their priorities within it. We really aren’t considering changing that at this point in time.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any other discussion on any subsection in section 2? Does section 2 carry?
Mr. Ferris: Section 2, Mr. Chairman, subsection (x) on the French language immersion programmes.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Subsection (x).
Mr. Ferris: There is just a certain concern I have, Mr. Minister. I believe this will solve some of the problems and sort out some of the details of the sections on which the immersion programmes are actually being set up. Does the ministry have any plans for increasing the availability of French teachers, or that school board teachers could qualify to teach French? I can see as more boards get into the immersion programmes, there may be a definite lack of qualified teachers to cope with this situation. Are there any plans at present to enlarge those facilities, or try to put an emphasis on them?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Chairman, that’s one of the areas that probably needs the most attention, that the teachers that are available for these programmes are in short supply. You very often find a group starting up a programme and taking a teacher away from another area that’s got a programme going, and that really doesn’t help the situation at all. We’ve got a summer course for teachers for immersion programmes such as this. It has been going for a number of years in Compton, Que., and is being given again this year. We are constantly attempting to arrange exchange programmes with teachers from Quebec and even with teachers from France, if we can obtain them. There is an emphasis and a thrust on programmes to provide teachers for these particular programmes.
Mr. Sweeney: One question please. I raised it briefly this afternoon and the minister did not have time to respond.
Is there any intent on the part of this ministry to send out some sort of a guideline to the boards assisting them to identify those students who may have a detrimental experience by being involved in primary division immersion programmes? Does the ministry have any intention along that line at all or is it going to leave it totally up to the local boards to decide?
Hon. Mr. Wells: We haven’t anything in mind in that regard but it is certainly something to which we could give consideration. I don’t know whether the hon. member was here the other day when I talked about this. There is certainly no intention of suggesting that immersion programmes should be instituted for every child in Ontario; that is not the intention. This is being put in here in this Act to give a section to legitimize, if you will, the kind of programmes that are being offered for anglophone children now, the varying programmes in immersion.
There has been nothing in the Education Act that gave the authority to operate those programmes. They were being operated loosely under the French-language school section of the Act which really was not put there for that particular purpose. That is what this is in here for. Documents, such as the research studies out of the Ottawa school board programme, are the kinds of things that will be passed on to other boards that wish to embark on these programmes. We have people in the ministry who spend a lot of time working with schools which have immersion programmes that can be of help to school boards. I think the suggestion the member has made is a worthwhile one too so that school boards will be aware that they should be careful in the selection of people who take these programmes.
Mr. Sweeney: The thrust of my comment, having been out there fairly recently, is that when the Ministry of Education makes such a statement and it becomes public knowledge, it is interpreted by some people, whether that is the ministry’s intent or not, as being a form of endorsation. If you had a group of parents who desire this for their children, even though in certain specific cases it might not be the best thing for them, a board can come under a fair bit of pressure.
The board I was referring to this afternoon was, coincidentally enough, Etobicoke once again. When they were going into this they were wise enough to take the steps to identify those kinds of youngsters who would not benefit from it, for whom it would be detrimental. As I understand it, they are making quite an effort to be sure that parents understand that it would be better for certain youngsters not to go into this programme. But we may not have all boards in this province having that kind of foresight. That is more or less the thrust of my argument. I don’t think it needs any more response; that is the point I’m trying to make.
Mr. Ferris: I have another question, because we didn’t get to it in estimates, and it kind of relates a little bit here, and the minister might make an observation. The Languages of Instruction Commission’s budget in this year’s estimates is about half of what it was last year. Is there a relationship between that cut, or do you see a different thrust in languages instruction that is causing it to be cut in half?
Hon. Mr. Wells: The Languages of Instruction Commission does not enter into this particular field. They are not concerned with immersion programmes.
Mr. Ferris: Can I clarify that, Mr. Chairman? Is it a fact that a lot of their work was caused by duplication or getting into hassles because they were trying to set up immersion schools and using the rules that these people in the Languages of Instruction Commission cover? Does the minister see any of that getting away from it and that being part of the cost-saving?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t think a lot of their work is caused because of that particular problem. Perhaps in one or two cases, such as London and so forth, there was an overlap but basically their work has been in the conflicts between the French Language Advisory Committee and the school board on basically French language schools. As with all the groups, we have urged them to keep their budget as low as possible and I guess the work they see cut out for them does not necessitate any larger budget. We’re very happy if they can come in with a budget which is cut.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall section 2(x) carry?
Sections 2 to 4 inclusive agreed to.
On section 5:
Mr. Foulds: We will oppose this section but we will tie in our objections mainly to section 9. This is a cross-reference to it because it has to do, as I understand it, with the new subsection which discriminates against immigrants.
Mr. Ferris: I haven’t any comment at this time as it is hooked in with the other section.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of section 5 forming part of the bill will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “nays” have it.
Shall this be stacked? It is stacked then.
Is there any further comment on any other section of the bill and, if so, on which section?
Mr. Foulds: Section 8 is the next one I have a question on. Is there anything before section 8?
Sections 6 and 7 agreed to.
On section 8:
Mr. Foulds: A question of the minister: Does this mean you’ve added a section which allows wards of training schools to receive free education, essentially the same as the wards of the Children’s Aid Society, I believe?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Which section is that?
Mr. Foulds: It’s section 8.
Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s right, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Foulds: We certainly support that -- that’s moving in the right direction -- but what facilities are we providing at the local level so that these children can profit from education in the community? What kind of extra counselling is being provided to these children who would have gone to training schools -- and to some extent still are going to training schools? What kind of provisions are we making to ensure that the experience is a profitable one for the children involved and for the children in the regular school setting?
In the past we’ve taken these children out of our school system because they’ve caused disturbances of some kind and put them away in training schools. I think the move back into the community setting is a healthy and n good one but I think it does point up once again the support services we are going to need. Are you going to get that kind of funding from the Ministry of Correctional Services whose responsibility it no longer is?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t believe we’re going to get any funding from the Ministry of Correctional Services but, of course, there are presently provisions for school boards to provide the necessary services for these types of children. It will be up to them to provide for these children who come into their school system.
There is, of course, the provision in the weighting factors concerning the grants, which will make it possible for the board, if it increases its services because it has a heavy influx of this type of child into its system, to get more provincial grant. I think they will be able to handle it. We’ve found that they’ve been able to do it for the Children’s Aid Society. In actual fact we are paying the cost for these children. The boards will work out the appropriate services that are necessary and then we, in fact, will pay the total cost to the boards for the education of these children, in this particular case.
Mr. Foulds: The ministry will reimburse the boards in total for the cost of educating these children?
Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s the way it works, yes.
Mr. Foulds: I’m a little confused. That contradicts your earlier statement that there was a weighting factor in the regular --
Hon. Mr. Wells: I was confused myself at that time. Actually, the boards have an option here. They can handle it in one of two ways: They can count them as regular pupils in certain instances and count them in for average daily enrolment and then they get the weighting factor and so forth, or they can count them for just the total cost of the education of those children, work it out and we pay them totally for that cost.
It’s a rather complicated arrangement to decide which way best suits the boards. But, in fact, we really are encouraging the board to take these children in to provide a full and adequate programme and we are assuming the cost We are not suggesting that these children be taken into the school system where they happen to be because they are in a group home, and that they be a charge on the local ratepayers in that particular area. We are trying to take that disincentive away from the boards and have it so that they can be taken in by that board and given the full programme and we support it financially.
Mr. Foulds: It is probably an unfair question to ask this minister, but are you aware what kind of counselling support I suppose Correctional Services must provide for the children when they are out in the community? I suppose that doesn’t come directly within your purview.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t know what they are planning to provide. This will all tie in with the proclamation of section 8 and the kind of support that Correctional Services decides to put in.
There is no question that there are going to have to be special services here because you could carry this on in kind of a complete circle fashion. Some of the children who might find themselves in these group homes would be ones who for some reason or another were in the school system but perennial absenteeism and other problems have led them to end up in a training school. Then suddenly they find themselves back in a group home and back in a school. In some cases, they might even be back in the same school where they were before. That probably could work very well, but there will have to be special facilities or special counselling, probably by Correctional Services.
I understand Correctional Services is going to maintain a connection with these children. Correctional Services is the guardian of these children. They will be the guardians so they will be providing some special services.
Section 8 agreed to.
On section 9:
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I would ask if we could take section 9 paragraph by paragraph -- I guess that is the way we would describe it, although it’s really describing other subsections in the main Act -- because we would like to oppose paragraph 6 as it is outlined in the bill. We can do it in one of two ways technically, Mr. Chairman. We can make a motion to delete that paragraph, or if you take it paragraph by paragraph we can simply vote against that. I would like, if I might, to give the reasons.
I think I outlined them briefly in the lead-off and I don’t want to take an unduly long period of time here, but I think it is important that we recognize this section for what it is. This particular section is a mandatory section that requires the school board to charge fees to a student who may be in this country on a student visa and resident with an uncle or aunt or relative who has no other children going through the school system and who is paying property tax.
I find this section offensive because subparagraph 5 above gives the board the discretionary power, as it has at the present time if I understand correctly, to levy a fee in such cases. This section ties in with what seems to me to be an extremely unhealthy attitude which the present government is fostering. It expresses itself through the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) when he extends from five to 10 years the requirement for immigrants to become eligible for GAINS. It expresses itself in the statement of the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott) when he increases the fees for foreign students. It expresses itself, I think, in an unhealthy way.
I think there is no doubt -- I have heard of cases -- that people jet in, enrol their kids in a private school and then put them in the public school system although they can well afford to pay. Those are the people, if you like, in the jet set. It seems to me that paragraph 5 gives the board the discretion to charge those fees and that should be all that is necessary to plug that particular loophole.
What subsection 6 does is make it absolutely mandatory for boards to charge these fees. Surely, in a society as rich and plentiful as Ontario is -- even in this day of restraint -- we can afford, for the betterment of our own community as well as the betterment of the world community, to educate some children who have relatives here, at the expense of this province. The relatives here, as I said when I started, who may not have children going through the school system are still paying property tax and Ontario taxes which support the school system.
I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about this. There is an argument to be made in terms of free education. There is an argument to be made in terms of generosity. There’s an argument to be made in terms of Ontario taking its responsibility as a member of the world community.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps before the hon. member for London South (Mr. Ferris) speaks to the suggestions by the hon. member for Port Arthur, the Chair might clarify a point. When the hon. member suggests paragraph by paragraph, you are referring to subsection by subsection?
Mr. Foulds: It is difficult, Mr. Chairman, because if you read the Bill, “subsections 1, 2 and 5 of section 46 of the said Act are repealed and the following substituted therefor.” The numbering is actually the numbering in section 46 of the main Act. What I am referring to is at the bottom of page 4 of the bill, the paragraph at the bottom which is numbered 6. That is a new section which will be added as subsection 6 of section 46 of the main Act but it is that item I am speaking on. I would like you to take 1, 2, 5 and 6 separately. There’s no 3 and 4 because they remain as part of the original Act.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is this agreed with the committee?
Mr. Ferris: It is only 6 we are addressing. We can just go past those and address ourselves to 6, if you want.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is it agreed with the committee that subsections 1, 2 and 5 carry?
Subsection 6, the member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Foulds: I’ve just spoken to that particular subsection, Mr. Chairman, and when the vote comes for it, we will simply vote against it. We are opposed to it. I could make a motion to delete, but I think that would be redundant.
Mr. Ferris: We’ve got a problem here, of course, which the NDP member has alluded to. If you truly believe in local autonomy, as most of us choose to do, one would say that the amendment should be deleted and the option should be left entirely with the boards. However, we are looking at a situation -- and unfortunately, it’s a very difficult situation to word.
I think when the minister was talking about it in second reading he said that it was a duty to protect the local taxpayers. I choose to believe that the board, in exercising local autonomy, has that prerogative as to whether it can charge the people. The taxpayers we are talking about here are really the ones that the ministry’s portion is paying for -- and that’s really what the essence of it is.
However, I do think that it would be difficult to oppose this simply because it relates only to those people on student visas. My understanding is that we’re talking about approximately 1,000 people who are coming here specifically for an education. And because we don’t have reciprocal systems with most of the places they would be coming from, then I think it would only be fair to the citizens of Ontario that their money be spent in this manner and that these students should be charged a fee.
Mr. Good: On this section, I’d like to say a few words regarding a local situation. I’m wondering what, if anything, there might be in this section that might resolve the problem of a student who is willing to pay the complete fee so that the taxpayers would not suffer, but the school board refuses to grant the student admission to grade 13 because she is not here as a landed immigrant.
I think the minister is aware of the back and forth play that goes on between the school board and immigration officials. Immigration people say, “If you show us an acceptance by a school that will take you, we will give you a student visa.” School board officials say, “You show me a student visa and we have to accept you as a student.”
I have never dealt with a problem that has been kicked back and forth as long as this particular problem. This particular student completed grade 12 in a private school and paid the full fee. Unfortunately, private schools in our area do not give grade 13, so she tried to get admission through both the public and the separate school boards.
I feel, personally, if there is room in the school and the student is willing to pay the whole fee, there should be no reason why the school board should not accept the student. The school board, of course, has its regulations and has simply said it will not admit students unless they are here on a student visa, Of course, immigration officials say, “We have to see your acceptance in a school before we can give you a student visa.
I think it’s a terrible situation, Mr. Chairman, and one that I think should be corrected in some manner. I think the whole problem is simply that they’re afraid it would open a floodgate for admission of any number of foreign students, whose families are quite capable of paying the full fee.
Mr. Chairman, I contend if the school board has 12 places in a particular grade, they should accept 12 students who are capable and willing to pay that fee. They should not have to provide additional services for everyone who wants to come in to Canada and pay the fee, but surely these are the conditions that one would think would be suitable to all school boards. But for some reason certain school boards in the province use the immigration argument, the immigration people use the requirement for acceptance in the school, and the student has no redress whatsoever and just can’t find a place in grade 13.
Could the minister suggest anything that would help eliminate this particular problem?
Mr. Bounsall: I would like to address myself to this point directly to the minister. I come from a border town, as you know, and we have certain problems that arise there which this section would pick up in a peculiar way.
Over the course of the years, grandparents in Windsor may have had their family in Windsor but that family gets dispersed to Detroit. You have half of the married children living in Detroit and the other half living in Windsor. Should there be a marriage breakup in that family living in Detroit they go through a period -- some of which periods are rather elongated -- where the most appropriate place for the children of that now broken-up marriage, until the parents sort themselves around to some other position, is back with either their grandparents in Windsor or one of their aunts and uncles in Windsor.
If that is going to take place over an elongated period of time they need a student visa, as any person born in the United States needs. They are living with their grandparents who are paying school taxes in Windsor, or they are living with their aunt or their uncle who are paying school taxes in Windsor, and they are completely caught by this subsection 6.
On that basis alone, I think it is quite discriminatory. The board in its wisdom may decide, if it was given discretion as the member for Port Arthur says, whether or not to charge the fee. But here the board must charge that fee, and this is going to be discriminatory against quite a handful of families in the Windsor area where the most appropriate place for that child -- and it is usually on a temporary basis; maybe a few months, but most times not more than two years -- would be back with his or her aunts or uncles or grandparents in Windsor. In order to do that, as far as I know, to take up residence there, they would be required to have a visa.
The easiest visa to obtain under those sorts of circumstances, which start out to be temporary and may become somewhat more than temporary, is, in fact, a student visa. They don’t usually go for the landed immigrant visa. These are children who are born in the United States and therefore need a visa of some kind to be resident with their relatives back in Windsor.
I would hope this clause could become subject to approval by the board and I would hope that the Windsor board would never charge for it because there are just as many situations now going in the reverse in Windsor -- in fact, even more so because of the imbalance in population between Detroit and Windsor. Certainly Windsor, on balance, would tend to be ahead of the game in the situation in terms of having fewer students in the Windsor system I am talking about, as opposed to the numbers that would be in the Detroit system.
I hate very much to see this situation arise where you have to go through some fancy finagling to get around it, where one has to establish the grandparent as the legal guardian or the aunt or uncle as the legal guardian, and go through all the paper work in an agreement by both parents of a separated situation for that sort of permanent guardianship to be granted.
I would hope the Windsor board would never charge the fee but now it must charge it. I would hope that discretion would be left to that board, and that in the case of Windsor that board would never charge that fee, under those circumstances.
I fully realize the type of person the minister has in mind under this section -- the one who is fully trained in a foreign country, usually Hong Kong, and who wants to get into a Canadian university and finds the best route to do this is to spend one year in grade 13 in Ontario and establish his or her grade 13 marks, in order that one gets entrance to university on the same basis as if he or she were a Canadian student as it affects grants and so on. I know that that is the one category which I think the minister is aiming at in this, but by so doing he creates problems in other categories which would be taken to be normal family situations if you come from a border situation where both cities on both sides of the border are relatively large.
Mr. Sweeney: I have just a very brief question of the minister. You have said on several occasions, both in the introduction of this bill and in the Education estimates, that you place great stock in the autonomy of the local boards. Yet when you spoke to this earlier, unless I interpreted you incorrectly, you said you were not prepared to leave it to the discretion of the local boards to make this decision. I will go one step further. It has been my experience that there are certain situations, and the previous speaker alluded to them, where the local board is in a much better position to know the peculiarities of the particular problem and may really wish to decide in a different way. I guess really what I am trying to get at is the inconsistency or the apparent contradiction between your strong support for local autonomy in decision-making in most other issues and in this very specific one where you seemingly feel you just aren’t prepared to leave it up to the local board to make this decision. On the surface, it appears like a contradiction anyway. My understanding is that the local board does have the power right now to charge it if it so wishes.
Mr. Warner: I am quite puzzled by the inclusion of this particular subsection. I am wondering if the minister can reflect back to the time when he was a trustee on the board of education for Scarborough. In fact, I believe he was chairman of the board at one time. I am wondering if he can recall any moments where compassion did not prevail in the case of a person from another country who was seeking to obtain some education in Scarborough -- if there were moments where the board did not use its discretionary powers in a fair and just way in determining whether or not the fee should be charged; if there were times where the board did not levy the fee when it felt it should; if the board did ever abuse its powers or privileges as have existed under the Education Act for some time.
I think I know the answer to all of those, and I now ask who on earth drafted this thing we have in front of us? I can’t for a moment dream that it’s the Minister of Education. It’s a poor section. I would appreciate some explanation for it, as to where it came from and whether or not the minister can draw from his past experience to say that this section absolutely must be, that the boards of education for the various municipalities cannot make the determination fairly and justly, each case on its own merit.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I spoke at length about this on the second reading of this bill. For instance, taking the situation that was referred to concerning the Waterloo area, it’s my understanding from some of the officials of our ministry that really the Waterloo board doesn’t want to take in any of these students. It is a bit of a subterfuge perhaps to suggest that they get a visa. They really do not want them. They may not want them because they know that they are not going to pay anything. I don’t know whether the Waterloo board collects or not.
It could be argued that this section will really reinforce what my friend is asking for, that the board, if they have space, will be pleased to take these students because they will know they have to charge. There is no way that the students are going then to be able to come and say, “Now that we are here, we don’t want to pay any fee,” which maybe is what’s holding the Waterloo board. I don’t know.
Mr. Good: They won’t take them under any conditions. The students have offered to pay, but they won’t take them. That’s the problem.
Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s another problem. Of course, it is the right of a local board to say it hasn’t any room and, therefore, it can’t take any more pupils. That could apply to pupils coming from another bordering county. There are lots of times when people would like to have their children educated in another jurisdiction but the board won’t accept them because it says there isn’t space.
Mr. Good: But they have the space.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I understand what some of the hon. members have said. There may be some grey area cases here and I would give you my assurance that if we find some grey area cases in these border areas which would necessitate some changes to this legislation, those can be made to accommodate them if we can find some way to write in those changes.
What we’re really saying is that the schools of Ontario, given the fact they have the room, are very happy to accept students from anywhere. All they’re saying is that they will have to pay a fee and the fee will be very well known. There will be no ifs, ands or buts about it. There will be a fee to attend school just as there is a fee to attend Upper Canada College or St. Andrews or any other place to which a student from anywhere in the world may wish to come.
In a matter of compassion, I could ask myself if I were a person in Scarborough and someone came and asked me for compassion to let someone in and not pay a fee, there may be people in Scarborough who would like to have completely free education for their child and ask to be relieved of all their education tax because of their circumstances.
Mr. Warner: You would make those decisions though.
Hon. Mr. Wells: We certainly would not -- would you suggest we give the boards that kind of discretion to waive fees for students living in Ontario to attend schools? We don’t have any discretion there. Everyone pays, although not directly as a charge, to attend the school. They pay through their municipal and provincial taxes and federal taxes in some regard.
What we’re really saying is that if a student wishes to come to the schools in this province there is a fee and it’s very clearly designated. There are no ifs, and’s or buts. The federal government issues student visas and if a person comes on a student visa, that’s the fee for attending the school.
It’s a very simple amendment and, really, that’s all it does, as I’m suggesting, although I am giving the assurance that if certain problems arise in the border areas, such as Windsor -- and I haven’t really had any of these brought to my attention until the debate tonight -- we could look at some adjustment to take care of those if they did happen to present a problem.
Mr. Warner: What about Sault Ste. Marie?
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, the way the minister has just articulated his statement indicates to me a very unhealthy principle which is being introduced into our attitude toward paying for education in Ontario. What the minister is edging toward is a statement that those who use the system should pay for it.
In Ontario, we have assumed that education should be universal, it should be free and the community as a whole should pay for it. With his reference to taxpayers and tying that to a use of the system, I think he is coming dangerously close to articulating what his friend, the hon. Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), likes to talk about -- the reprivatisation of the system. I’m worried about that. I know that this section doesn’t have all those implications but it’s the beginning of it and it worries me profoundly.
It worries me profoundly because using the minister’s arguments and taking them another logical step, it means that we will have to start relieving those people who do not have children in the school system of their education tax. I know that’s a step the minister is not prepared to take at this time, the Legislature is not prepared to take and the government’s not prepared to take. But it’s the other side of the coin of the argument that the minister has just put to us.
I plead with the House not to pass the section. The discretionary power available presently in the Act and, as it is re-enacted in paragraph 5 in this section before us, is sufficient to cover the loopholes and cover the abuse that the ministry wishes to cover.
Mr. Bounsall: Could I say to the minister that he seemed in his reply rather partial to the idea of perhaps making some adjustments for those persons in border towns, if such problems arose. It’s often not just a grandmother or an aunt or uncle. In some instances, it’s the parent who moves back to Canada but all the children of that parent were born in Detroit and that child is an immigrant back in Canada. If there’s a custody fight going on, there’s no landed immigrant status obtained for that child. If that child, for example, joins the mother who has now returned to her family bosom and birthplace back in Windsor, the type of visa that student who is back staying with the mother would be on, until custody is determined at least, would be a student visa.
Is the minister saying he would be willing to add to this clause at the end some words that say except where that student is living with a close relative such as a parent, grandparents, aunts or uncles? That would, by and large, clear up that particular family cross-border situation between two large cities which occurs in our area. Is the minister saying he would put that in the bill in order to accommodate that very real situation that occurs in our border area?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, what I’m saying is that I think we’ll take a look at that as this comes into effect. If there was a marriage breakdown and the mother came into Windsor on an employment visa and the child came with the mother, there would be no problem. The child would be there with the mother and not on a student visa. The mother would be a resident of Windsor and the child would be eligible to go to school. It could depend on the closeness of the relative. I’m also informed that a child born in the United States of Canadian parents has dual citizenship.
Mr. Bounsall: Only if registered upon birth within so many days do they have that dual citizenship. My oldest daughter has dual citizenship, having been born in the States of Canadian parents.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Anyway, that’s another variable in the situation. I’d also be interested in knowing what the United States of America does insofar as the reverse situation is concerned.
Mr. Bounsall: I’m kind of surprised that the minister and the officials don’t know at this point what rules pertain in the three or four states of the United States which touch Ontario with respect to this matter. There isn’t all that many of them. What’s the matter with the research there? Can they not tell us directly what happens in New York?
Hon. Mr. Wells: They charge.
Mr. Bounsall: They all charge? New York, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota all charge, do they?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Most of them charge.
Mr. Bounsall: Most of them charge. Does Michigan charge?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, they don’t.
Mr. Bounsall: They don’t. We’ve got exactly the problem in Windsor that I’ve been talking about right here, where Michigan doesn’t but we do, and I would like that cleared up, if you can determine that here. How close do you want the tie? A cousin could be rather distant, even though they might be rather friendly in having met them and communicated with them over the years, but surely an aunt or an uncle or a grandparent is a different story. That to me would be close. It would be a close relative and one might even confine it to that.
You can imagine the frustration of people who are of grandparent age, perhaps themselves retired -- in most cases retired -- who haven’t had children in the Ontario school system for years but are still being required to pay education taxes. Now if one of their grandchildren comes to live with them under the situation I have described that grandchild I must pay an additional fee. You can imagine the frustration felt by those grandparents on the sort of system we have in Ontario which causes them to pay school taxes when they haven’t had children in the school for years yet when a grandchild comes to live with them because of a marital breakdown an additional fee must be charged.
You can understand the feeling of frustration about what the government is up to and what the government is doing that this could be set up. How can we correct it in this bill so that doesn’t occur?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me say this to you. I think you make enough of a point that I will take this back and before we pass this section we will find out about the Windsor situation because certainly that is something we don’t want to happen. I would like to look at that and I would like to know what Michigan does.
If we want to set this section over until I have a chance to get that information I would be prepared to look at some adjustment in this section as it pertains to these border situations. I am not willing to change it as it pertains to foreign students generally coming into this province on student visas.
Mr. Warner: Now that we are beginning on the research which should have been done before the bill was introduced, will you also check out Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and Soo, Minis.; Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls; and Cornwall and Massena so that we have checked every border town? Could we also have some information on Ottawa/Hull and any other border towns which exist?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, Ottawa-Hull is a little different. We don’t check there. We don’t treat Quebec as a foreign country.
Mr. Warner: I see, that’s refreshing. We don’t want to get into that.
Hon. J. R. Smith: It is not a border town.
Mr. Warner: You have really opened up a can of fish, perhaps, since the minister will admit that research is lacking and we are finding the same kind of situation --
Mr. Renwick: Don’t use that simile.
Mr. Warner: Yes, there are certainly poisoned fish in this province. We are finding out that there is the same lack of research as when the Minister of Colleges and Universities decided to land with both feet on immigrants. I take it we are probably also talking about 1,000 students; is that an approximate number to use?
Mr. Shore: Within 1,000.
Mr. Warner: It really is quite incredible. If you are willing to set this particular section aside until you actually get the data required, fine, but while you are setting it aside perhaps you would actually consider the possibility of withdrawing it. It really is not particularly good for our multicultural society whatsoever.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I am not going to withdraw it and I am not giving any consideration to withdrawing it because it has nothing to do with our multicultural society nor with education for our immigrant population, our new Canadians or anything of that nature.
Your friend, the House leader for your party, took me to task for even alluding that he might have been thinking of something like that when he was criticizing me earlier about the bill. He said, “I am not criticizing you on that particular ground.” This section has nothing to do with that and I think we should put that out of our minds.
This section is purely and simply talking about charging fees to people who are coming here purely and solely to go to school in this province and return to their own country. As I indicated earlier, if this country of Canada wants to assist those students we should do it through a student assistance programme -- a national student assistance programme -- which is there for everybody to see and which can report to the people on what is being done and how many are being assisted and so forth. It should not be done by the school system. The school board should charge and the assistance should come through the federal government through a student assistance programme -- I would welcome it and that’s the way it should work.
What we are talking about now is a situation at those border points which may present hardships and problems to relatives of students who want to come back and live with those relatives for various reasons not particularly connected directly with just the fact that they want to go to school. That’s what I am going to take a look at in the next few days.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the committee agree to set section 9(6) aside to be dealt with later?
On section 10:
Hon. Mr. Wells: With the unanimous consent of the House, I’d like to enter an amendment to section 10 concerning changed representation on the Peel Board of Education.
Mr. Foulds: Would that become subsection 2 of section 10 of the bill?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Well, I’ll read the section --
Mr. Foulds: Because I have a question on section 10 as it stands. Perhaps you could put the amendment first.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Wells moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section 10:
“Clause (b) of subsection 6 of section 57 of the said Act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“‘(b) of the county or district, municipalities shall be the number of members determined under subsection 4 less the total number of members determined under clause (a) for the city or cities, if any, but in no case shall the number of members to be elected under this clause be fewer than (1) or (2) where the school division comprises a regional municipality in which there are fewer than four municipalities’”
and that the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly.
Mr. Foulds: Can I just ask, as a question of the chairman I guess, this is an entirely new section 10 and the section 10 that is in the bill as it is printed is to become section 11?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, it becomes section 11.
Mr. Foulds: All right. I hope you are aware of what’s just happened, Mr. Chairman. All the numbers in the bill are now getting bumped on one.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The Chair is slightly confused at this moment.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, the amendment that I have just moved really creates a new section 10. That is why I said that with unanimous consent the House agreed to put in a new section 10 and, as per the last line of my amendment, the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly. Section 10 becomes section 11 and they all go down one, right down the whole list, for the rest of the bill.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the hon. member for London South wish to comment on the minister’s amendment?
Mr. Ferris: No, not on the amendment, Mr. Chairman. There was one question on section 22, if we’re at that level.
Mr. Foulds: I’ve got something before that.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall the minister’s amendment carry?
Motion agreed to.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
On section 11:
Mr. Foulds: On section 11, old section 10, at the top of the page. Just why this amendment?
Hon. Mr. Wells: This section is being taken out. In other words, the very stringent provision that’s in there now is being taken out to permit more flexibility in the provision of schools where, for example, (a) a new mine or a new mill opens, people move to an area which is not in a school district, a new municipality is formed and it is our wish to make the school and municipal boundaries coterminous. An example is the improvement district of Pickle Lake. The present requirement can lend to delays of up to 18 months and provide for new areas to commence in January when often what is wanted is a school to commence in September.
Mr. Foulds: Do I understand correctly that this does not affect any of the county or regional boards; it only affects those small boards in northern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes.
Ms. Foulds: So that what this might enable to come about is that a school could be operative in September in some cases rather than in the January 18 months later.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, that’s right. It’s not meant to indicate that somebody is going to go around adjusting things without giving people notice, or anything like that. It’s to allow the flexibility of dates in setting it up.
Mr. Foulds: I don’t have an amendment to anything, I would just like to leave with the minister the thought that it would be helpful if there could be a six-month notice period. Particularly if you are incorporating part of an unorganized territory into a school district, I think that it is possible, under this section, that a portion of an unorganized territory could come under a new district board; those taxpayers should have six months’ notice for that. That seems to me to be fair, if that is possible.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I have an amendment to this section, in order to tidy it up properly.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Wells moves that section 11 -- the former section 10 of the bill -- be amended by adding thereto the following subsection 2; subsection 4 of the said section 60 is repealed; and that the present section 11 of the bill be renumbered as subsection 1 of section 11.
Hon. Mr. Wells: All the 10s in that should be changed to 11s.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any further discussion on the minister’s amendment?
Hon. Mr. Wells: That amendment is to catch another part of that section 60 that refers to the same thing, and it should have been in the amendment in the first place. Besides changing subsection 1, subsection 4 isn’t necessary any more.
Mr. Foulds: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, I believe by repealing subsection 4 of section 60 in the original bill, or in the bill as it now stands -- let me just read subsection 4 of section 60:
“Notwithstanding subsection 2, the formation or alteration of the district school area thereunder shall for all purposes relating to the election of a board be deemed to be effective on the 1st day of July in the year of such formation or alteration.”
What provision have you then made for the election of the school boards thus created or altered?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Section 63.
Mr. Foulds: Right, except in section 63 the reference is to elections in December and the board beginning in January. Presumably the amendment you are making here allows for an unorganized territory to become part of the school district for the beginning of September, should a school be required in that area. What I’m trying to really pin down is when the new area that is incorporated into a school board gets representation on that board, or whether that’s left then until the December date and they have no representation, say, for half a year.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Does subsection 4 of section 63 not take care of it?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any further discussion on the minister’s amendment to section 11? Shall the amendment carry? Carried.
Section 11, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any further discussion on any of the new sections from 12 on?
Mr. Foulds: I have something on section 19 which becomes new section 20.
Sections 12 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 20:
Mr. Foulds: If you will just bear with me for a moment until I rearrange my notes here; once again, it seems to me we’re moving a section into regulations from the Act directly. Am I correct there? You’re adding a new section 103 and it’s in regulations. It seems to me that this should be public as soon as possible and it should be spelled out as clearly as possible in legislation. Or is this the parallel amendment to the one that we’ve just discussed for separate school boards?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t follow where you mean we’re putting it into regulations. Where does this section indicate we’re putting something into regulations?
Mr. Foulds: In section 20, subsection 103(a) on page 7 of the bill, subsection 2 of your new 103(a), it says:
“The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, exempt the district combined separate school board from the provisions of subsections 2 to 18 of section 110 and provide for the number of trustees to be elected to the board and the city [and so on].”
In other words, by regulation you can have the Lieutenant Governor in Council, that is you determine the number of trustees to be elected to this particular kind of board, a district, combined, separate school board.
Hon. Mr. Wells: You have to go back through the Act to understand this too. I’m just looking at it.
Mr. Foulds: What you’re doing is you’re suspending in effect section 110, subsections 2 to 18, which are the sections which outline the steps that need to be taken to elect a district combined separate school board.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Excuse me.
Mr. Foulds: Sure. We should probably have an arrangement, as we do for estimates, that when it comes to legislation details officials are allowed on the floor.
Hon. Mr. Wells: There are so many sections here and it gets so complicated.
Mr. Foulds: Right.
Hon. Mr. Wells: This provision is all being done for the North of Superior Roman Catholic Separate School Board and some problems they had up there.
Mr. Foulds: Is that the reason? That new expanded school board?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes.
Mr. Foulds: Why didn’t you say that in the first place? Do these provisions apply only in that case at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes.
Mr. Foulds: Okay, I will accept that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: It is my fault. That should have been in the explanation really because you could have spent hours wondering what we were meaning with that Peel amendment. Once you say it’s to put an extra member on the Peel county board, it all fits into place. This is to accommodate the North of Superior Roman Catholic Separate School Board which the combined districts are trying to put together up there.
Mr. Foulds: Now I understand what you are talking about. Okay.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The new section 20 will carry then?
Section 20 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any further discussion on any of the new sections?
Section 21 agreed to.
On section 22.
Mr. Foulds: I simply want to say that we support the new section 22 wholeheartedly. I think it’s a very positive move in the right direction. I think I said enough in my lead-off to the estimates that what we need now is to -- I think we should take that a step further, if it’s at all possible, because what you are doing here is really demanding the reasons from local boards for children of compulsory school age not being in school. I think I would like to see us as a government and as a Legislature take the further step of actually guaranteeing all children of compulsory school age an education in Ontario which we do not do at the present time. We should, if you like -- perhaps in this section -- develop a bill of rights for all those children with various handicaps who are presently excluded from the school system whether they have a learning disability or are mentally retarded or physically handicapped, all of which children occasionally, even in this day and age, lit 1976 in Ontario, do get excluded from our school system. This is one small step forward which we certainly support.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall the new section 22 carry?
Section 22 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any other discussion on any other section of the bill?
Mr. Foulds: New section 24.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Anything before the new section 24?
On section 23:
Mr. Ferris: Just a clarification on what would now be 23: In the ministry’s view, does this not stop any board from entering into a computer arrangement with another board? I think we have talked about this. There has been a problem in certain areas. A computer facility can be rented from one system to another without any problems or services can be sold from one board to another?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, this provides for that but it doesn’t provide for a board -- in effect, it plugs what might have been an open loophole whereby boards could set up computer capabilities and sell them commercially. They are really not supposed to do that.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does new section 23 carry?
Section 23 agreed to.
On section 24:
Mr. Foulds: If I understand this section, you are including the words “and equipment” so that you are encouraging the use of the sharing of equipment between boards as well as facilities. If that’s the case, it’s once again a very positive step in the right direction. I think one of the things we have to do is redistribute some of the equipment, some of the wealth, we have in the school system so that it can be made full use of by neighbouring boards and, if you like, by separate and public boards and, in some cases, high school and elementary boards which may not be exactly coterminous.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think your sentiments are very good and it’s certainly something I’ve supported. This really goes hand in hand with the previous amendment which allows a board to purchase a computer and enter into an agreement to provide computer services. By adding the word “equipment” here, we also then make it very clear that the board which is on the receiving end can enter into agreements, for instance, for a computer which is part of equipment, and they can use that.
Mr. Foulds: It says “accommodation and equipment”, so there is other equipment.
Hon. Mr. Wells: We’re not saying just computer, but that’s one of the reasons why we’re making the change here, to include computers for administrative purposes, but it could be any other type of equipment that a board wished to share.
Section 24 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any other comments, questions or amendments to any other section of the bill? The hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: New section 26, unless there’s something prior to that.
Section 25 agreed to.
On section 26:
Mr. Warner: I would like an explanation for clause (c) which reads:
“A child over two years of age who may, under the regulations, be admitted to a programme for hearing-handicapped children.”
I’m wondering why it doesn’t read “three years of age or less.” There’s a great distinction, certainly, for those who are working in programmes designed to help hearing-handicapped children. They are in fact trying to work with children who are less than two years of age. Could the minister explain the reason for the wording as it’s now on the page in front of me?
Hon. Mr. Wells: This is to permit a board to provide transportation for these hearing handicapped children who will be admitted under the new proposed regulation that we have to programme for such children. The proposed regulation would read:
“Subject to section 31, a hearing-handicapped child who has attained the age of two years may be admitted to a special education programme for hearing-handicapped children.”
These are the new regulations on special education that are coming in which provide for two years of age. This goes hand in hand with that and gives the board the right to provide transportation for those children.
Mr. Warner: My point was, though, why is it not worded such that it would allow for children who are three years of age or less rather than putting it the way you’ve put it that they must be two years of age? Perhaps the minister’s aware of the programme for hearing-handicapped children in Metropolitan Toronto where they are working with children of three years of age or less. Through the Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital they are trying to begin working with children who are six months of age. it would be of assistance to them, I’m sure, if you drafted legislation that read “three years of age or less” rather than starting at two and working your way up.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think my friend knows that the present regulation 191 even says that there may be classes for deaf children who have reached two years of age. There isn’t provision for school boards to have classes for children under two years of age at the present time, so this section of the Act is corresponding with what is presently in regulation 191.
Mr. Warner: I am suggesting you should change it, that it should read “three years of age or less.”
Hon. Mr. Wells: That may be valid for a future time but at the present time the regulation reads “two years.” I think we have to keep the Act in concert with the regulations.
Mr. Warner: And not be progressive?
Mr. Ferris: It’s the other way around.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall new section 26 carry?
Section 26 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any other comments, questions or amendments on any other of the new sections of the bill?
Mr. Foulds: New section 31.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Anything prior to new section 31?
Sections 27 to 30, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 31:
Mr. Foulds: As I understand it, the reference in new section 31 to section 207 of the Act, and the subsequent new section 32 which refers to section 208 of the Act, enables us to discuss the whole matter of school board financing. Section 207 of the Act is the section which provides for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make the regulations which are, in fact, the school grant regulations. Section 208 of the Act is the section which makes it mandatory for municipalities to levy and collect the taxes for the boards.
Some of the frustrations we expressed this afternoon in not being able to deal with this whole question need not have arisen had we realized this at that time, because this, it seems to me, allows us to talk about the Morrisburgs of this world. Am I correct, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think we should speak just to the changes that are made in the bill and not to anything pertaining to the ministerial estimates.
Mr. Foulds: No, Mr. Chairman, I am asking you to look seriously at the original Act, and if you don’t happen to have a copy in front of you, my colleague from Welland (Mr. Swart) will temporarily lend you his copy. Section 207 says: “The Lieutenant Governor in Council will make regulations providing for the apportionment of the funds.” What we are doing here is adding a new subsection to the list. Maybe I could start by asking the minister why we are adding this section, then?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First let me say, Mr. Chairman, that we make the grant rates under the authority of section 10, subsection 3, not section 207 as the member indicated. Actually, sections 207 and 208 have to do with the apportioning of the levies and once the school board has arrived at the municipal portion of its taxes --
Mr. Foulds: That’s exactly what I want to talk about.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I knew we would give you an opening somewhere. But the grant rate is made under section 10, subsection 3.
Mr. Foulds: But we can’t talk about the local levy?
Hon. Mr. Wells: This section here, in very simple terms -- and I must say I find it very difficult to explain it to you in simple language because my friend the member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman) said he would be here in order that he could support this and explain it to you -- but it is another one of those amendments that is being put in for that Carleton area, basically the Ottawa area. It is being put in, as I understand it, to prevent the municipality of Vanier from going to the divisional court to quash apportionments, which is what they have been doing.
Mr. Foulds: While we are on this whole subject of taxation and local levies, what is the minister’s comment about Morrisburg? It seems to me that under either 207 or 208 Morrisburg doesn’t have a leg to stand on when it says the school board has to sue it for the local levy that it should be getting. If you are going to make a specific provision with regard to Vanier, does that not open up the whole question of local levies to debate? Mr. Chairman?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Are you asking me?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I think I indicated earlier that I would hear what the member had to say. I can’t prejudge what your comments are going to be.
Mr. Foulds: My comments are going to be about local levies.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps I might draw to the hon. member’s attention that in the work of the committee and the work of the Legislature there are some constraints in the essence of completing the business of the House. I would ask the members of the committee to adhere to these endeavours to keep the debate as limited as possible.
Mr. Foulds: Local levies, I think, are an important and crucial issue and if we can’t take estimates time to debate it, I could take legislative time to debate it. I would appreciate it because we are amending section 207 which is the apportionment section. We are amending section 208 of the Act which perhaps is where I could snake my comments more fundamentally because the key to 208 is “The council of each municipality and school division in each year shall levy and collect upon all property ratable for public school purposes,” etc. In other words, they shall collect these taxes. I want to talk about the burden placed on those municipalities and on the local school boards.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The Chair fails to agree that we should debate the minister’s estimates at this time. However, if the hon. member wants to ask a brief question as to how the section might affect a local area I’m sure the committee would concur. However, the Chair does not feel that we should be debating the ministerial estimates at this time.
Mr. Foulds: How about if I let section 31 go and have a go at section 32?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall section 31 carry?
Section 31 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: New section 32, any comments, criticisms or amendments?
On section 32:
Mr. Foulds: I have a brief question, Mr. Chairman.
Why is this subsection necessary?
Hon. Mr. Wells: This section makes the provisions referred to apply to the James Bay Lowland Secondary School Board and to any secondary school board which may be established in the future.
Mr. Foulds: Is it the only secondary school board? It will be the only -- it has a unique definition?
Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s right.
Mr. Foulds: May I ask, as a matter of curiosity, why that wasn’t included in the interpretation section of the Act? Was it easier to put it in this section? It would have seemed to me to make more sense to put it in the interpretation section of the Act.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’ll get the lawyer’s opinion on this but really this is a substantive amendment. It’s a substantive thing and it really should be in the Act somewhere, not in an interpretation section. It’s really saying that for this particular board, if it’s a secondary school board sitting all alone on its own -- and this the only one at the present time -- all those things in the Act that pertain to secondary school boards which are part of divisional boards -- that is, the secondary school panel -- apply. It is to be substantive, and if you just put it in the interpretation section it wouldn’t be enough.
Mr. Foulds: Does it not require a correlative mention in the interpretation section?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think there already is a section in there that applies to secondary schools, is there not?
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Minister, while you are dealing with that, I would like to go back to a reference you made earlier. I thought I heard you say -- I can’t remember when, but recently -- that there already was a public school board here. And if we are addling a secondary school panel to it, why do we need two distinct boards? Why can’t we just have a board of education? I’m not quite sure I understand the distinction.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Really, it is a transitional situation. It may be that at some given time in the future they will combine together, but it appeared in consultation with the local people that it was better to set up a separated secondary school board which serves the pupils from both the public school and the separate school board in the area. I think the attempt is to let it get going and then, perhaps, after it gets going and established, it can then look towards possibly developing in the board of education format.
As far as I know, this was the wish of the local people in the area, as determined by that study that was done. People were consulted up there.
The other thing is that this secondary school board covers a larger area than public school boards cover. It covers both the island and the mainland.
There are actually two public and one separate school boards up there now. There’s one public school board for the island and one on the mainland, and a separate school board on the mainland. And this secondary school board covers the whole island mainland.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Minister, looking at the interpretation on page 14 of the bill, it says: “And to any secondary school board that may be established in the future.”
I gather what you are saying is that if this type of situation occurs again, that we are covered now. Is that the correct way to interpret that? I can’t imagine where else it would be.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Neither can I at the moment, but when you read the section you find that the section doesn’t specifically mention the James Bay Lowlands Secondary School Board, therefore we are trying to be very factual in the explanatory notes. It could apply to another secondary school board if it was established. It’s an all-encompassing amendment. If another one were created, this would then apply to it.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Did the hon. minister wish to reply to the question of the hon. member for Port Arthur dealing with new subsection 32? Was there a question that wasn’t answered? Or is the section carried?
Mr. Foulds: I think it was satisfactory answer.
Section 32 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any other comments, questions or criticisms on any other section of the bill?
Shall the remaining sections carry?
Sections 33 to 38, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the division be taken at this point?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I am at your disposal, Mr. Chairman, as to the procedure you wish to follow. There is the one section that we are going to look over and bring back perhaps tomorrow, at an appropriate tune. Now, would it be better to set the whole thing down and have the divisions later, or to have the divisions now and then leave the bill in committee?
Mr. Foulds: I think it would be better not to have the divisions now, because the major division is on the clause that we have set aside, section 9(6). And that might, in fact, influence our vote on that matter.
Hon. Mr. Wells: If that is agreeable then, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that we set the bill down, leave it in committee, and leave the divisions. I think three of them are outstanding. When we come back to this bill in committee, I will report on my studies on that particular section and then we can then proceed with the divisions, if that is agreeable.
Mr. Ferris: Mr. Chairman, that would be agreeable with us. I think, if possible, if it is going to be a matter of a couple of days, the minister might entertain the thought of reprinting with the renumbering included, if it is possible. There was a fair bit of juggling took place as we went through there tonight.
Hon. Mr. Wells: That is an excellent idea and we’ll have the Clerk of the House take that in hand.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the bill be stood down?
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 54, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton has an amendment to section 8. Are there comments, criticisms or amendments to any section prior to section 8?
Mr. Swart: I would first like to ask a question of the member for Kingston and the Islands.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Would you indicate which section you are speaking to?
Mr. Swart: I’m making a general question first and then I would like to speak to section 2.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: It would be more in order for you to speak to a specific section, and I assume it is section 2. Perhaps you can involve your comments in the form of a question to section 2?
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, upon your suggestion, I will do it in that manner.
Section 1 agreed to.
On section 2:
Mr. Swart: I have some reservations about section 2, but I’d like to have the answer to the question from the parliamentary assistant.
I’m wondering, first of all, what discussion he’s had with the city of Metropolitan Toronto with regard to section 2 and with regard to the other sections of this Act. Specifically with regard to section 2, would he give the reason for the introduction of that amendment to section 2, which is subsection 3 of section 22 of the Act presently, which reads that an auditor may only audit the books of the regional corporation if he has not provided any service to the regional municipality, or any of its member municipalities, except as an auditor, and this is being changed to include professional services.
It would seem to me that this would permit an auditor who had been employed as a finance officer of the region or one of the area municipalities, in the following year to audit the books of that municipality. In fact, it would then mean there could be some conflict of interest which wouldn’t exist at the present time. Therefore, I’d like the member to give us the reasons for introducing this amendment and reply to that issue.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I think the question that’s raised is a very good question to raise with respect to this section. What is contemplated here is the situation which arises in some cases, perhaps more frequently in smaller communities. As you may recall from your reading of the other legislation which either has been or will be before the House this session, this particular amendment is proposed for the regional municipalities as well.
The situation that it contemplated was where an auditor or an accountant during the course of a year might have worked as a consultant or might be with a firm that had acted as a consulting firm with the municipality and at the end of the present legislation would be precluded from acting as auditor. Our consultation with both the professional associations and with some of the municipalities that had been affected by this type of thing indicated there was very little likelihood of a conflict of interest.
In any event, I should think in the kind of situation that you contemplate there would be some responsibility upon the municipality or the elected officials of that municipality to consider carefully the kind of situation where a previous employee of the corporation might subsequently come back to act as auditor covering a period in which he was a financial officer. That surely is something the elected officials of the municipality should consider very carefully. The intent of the amendment is not to preclude someone under those circumstances from acting as officer and to eliminate what is at present automatically an implied conflict of interest under the legislation.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, if I may, on that point, unless my colleague from Welland-Thorold thinks we should do so, I think it is not our intention to divide on it.
I think there are two protections. One, as I understand it -- and perhaps the parliamentary assistant would confirm it for me -- before anyone can be appointed as an auditor in any event, they have to be on an approved list which is with the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs. It’s a list of persons who are qualified to conduct that kind of audit. It does seem to me that in one sense that is a protection with respect to the qualifications of persons who might be auditors.
It does seem to me that there is merit in having as a firm of auditors a firm which might, during the time when it is auditors, be asked to and be permitted to carry out a special project not in its capacity as auditors hot in its capacity as qualified accountants. There may be a special purpose project which should be carried on. It did seem to me that not only if that special project work antedated its appointment as auditors, unless we had this provision it would preclude that auditing firm from being re-appointed in a subsequent year if, coincident with its role as auditor, it did take on a special project in a particular year which was of financial significance to the municipality itself.
Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Chairman, if I may add to my earlier comments, the observations of the member for Riverdale are correct. Apparently, it is a requirement of the Association of Chartered Accountants that the Ministry of Treasury, Economies and Intergovernmental Affairs license such people. I would also point out that this provision is not original, in the sense that it’s already a provision which exists in the Municipal Act and has existed in the province.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall section 2 carry?
Section 2 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any other comments, questions or amendments to any section prior to section 8?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, just so that the record will show that we are here, we have no particular comments on sections 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, subsection 1, 16 and 17, all of which deal with this question of the interest to be charged and the level of interest. It appears to us that not only are those very appropriate provisions but in our communications with the area municipalities and with the Metropolitan council we have had no comment about those.
Of course at the appropriate time the parliamentary assistant is going to withdraw section 10.
We have no comment at the moment on 3, 4 and 5.
Sections 3 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 6:
Mr. Renwick: Would the minister comment on the significance of section 6? I understand what the section proposes and I understand the explanatory note. What is the reason for this? From where did the impetus come that led to this proposal to provide for special lanes for taxicabs and private motor vehicles?
Mr. Norton: It’s my understanding that this request originated with Metropolitan Toronto. The reason for it is to allow them greater flexibility in attempting to find more effective or more efficient ways of handling the volume of traffic on the streets which come under their jurisdiction. You’ll note that the provisions in some respects are very similar to recent amendments in the Highway Traffic Act. The one particular provision here that gives them some added authority is that which deals with vehicles with specified numbers of occupants. There have been such provisions implemented on a trial basis in other jurisdictions in North America. This particular one was added here to allow them to try out such provisions, should they choose to, in Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Renwick: Do I take it that the provision related to the number of passengers applies also to the taxicabs?
Mr. Norton: My reading of that would be that it would apply to private motor vehicles as opposed to taxicabs. I stand to be corrected by legislative counsel but my interpretation -- and it is indicated to me by a nod of the head that that is the interpretation of legislative counsel -- is that that would apply only to the private motor vehicles. The taxicabs would not necessarily be permitted in those lanes on the basis of number of occupants.
Mrs. Campbell: We have not had any particular disagreement with parts of this bill. One of the things I would like to say right off the bat, however, is that I cannot understand why this government insists on bringing in amendments to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act in the light of the Robarts commission. You seem to be prepared to bring in all sorts of amendments without waiting for the determination of that commission. Then in other cases you won’t bring them in because you are awaiting that determination.
In this case, however, I am puzzled. Unlike the interpretation of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), where it says “taxicabs and motor vehicles carrying such number of passengers,” I interpret the number of persons as being applied to the private motor vehicles. However, when you read it in its punctuation form, there is grave doubt as to what you’re talking about. I don’t suppose we should be that picayune about trying an experiment that may control some traffic problems. But I would suggest that it is rather loosely worded to make complete sense.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I gather that sections 6 and 7 are carried?
Mr. Warner: No, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: On section 6, do I take it that this section would also apply to the Don Valley Parkway -- the setting aside of an express lane?
Mr. Norton: I don’t believe that the Don Valley Parkway is a road under Metro jurisdiction.
Mrs. Campbell: It is a Metro road.
Mr. Norton: I can’t be certain whether it’s under Metro jurisdiction or whether it’s a provincial highway.
Mrs. Campbell: It is under Metro jurisdiction for that portion in Metro.
Mr. Stong: Metro does the repairs on it.
Mrs. Campbell: Metro built it.
Mr. Norton: If it is under Metro jurisdiction then it would apply, yes.
Mr. Warner: You see, Mr. Chairman, we in Scarborough have had a very serious problem for a long time with respect to transportation, not the least of which has been the Don Valley Parkway, in some respects positive, in some respects negative. But what we lack is an overall transportation plan to get people to and from their places of work, both within the borough or outside Scarborough.
The Toronto Transit Commission had an experimental express bus for use on the Don Valley Parkway. They were dependent upon some provincial funding to run that express bus. Part of the difficulty, and part of the reason, I take it, for terminating the experiment, was the fact that the bus could not negotiate the traffic. I’m wondering if this particular section is supposed to be part of the answer to that. Are we now to have an express lane on the Don Valley Parkway for the exclusive use of buses, taxicabs and other vehicles carrying as many people as you choose to specify? Does this now fit into some grander scheme you have in mind so we can once and for all clean up the transportation problems that we have in Scarborough?
Now I take it from your earlier answers that perhaps you’re not operating on very much information. I don’t know; I’m very puzzled by the previous remarks. You weren’t sure whether it was a Metro road or a provincial road, and I take it from there that you really haven’t had very much direction or very much information from Metro Toronto. I’d just like to know where we’re going with all of this; and in particular with this section. What are we looking at? What can people in Scarborough expect from the changes proposed here?
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I’d know that Scarborough is part of Metropolitan Toronto.
Mrs. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Norton: I would like to suggest to the hon. member that this is permissive legislation. I don’t think that it is necessary, in having background information for a particular piece of legislation, that one be able to detail every road within Metropolitan Toronto that happens to come under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Toronto.
The problems which he cites are problems which Metropolitan Toronto has been attempting to deal with. This legislation is permissive legislation which we would hope -- and I presume they hope as well -- would allow them to attempt to deal with the kind of problem that he suggests. I’m sure that metropolitan council, on which Scarborough is represented, is well aware of the transportation problems faced by Scarborough. I shouldn’t be surprised at all if that is, partly at least, why Metropolitan Toronto requested such permissive legislation.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I take it from your comments that you have had input from the Metropolitan Toronto council in the discussion which led to the formulation of this particular bill. Did you have significant input or any input from the Toronto Transit Commission; and if so can you tell us what particular kind of thing they were looking for?
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I wouldn’t want to mislead the House. I have not specifically had discussions about this section with the Metropolitan Toronto council, and I didn’t say that. I said it was my understanding that the request had originated there. Nor have I had any specific discussions with the Toronto Transit Commission.
Mrs. Campbell: There’s just one thing I would like to express. Over the years, Yonge St. has been probably one of the greatest bones of contention we have seen. Yonge St. is, for the information of the parliamentary assistant, a metropolitan road.
Mr. Norton: I was aware of that one.
Mrs. Campbell: Sure he knows that. I have, of course, some concerns as to what Metro ray do with this insofar as that road is concerned, because they have consistently tried to block any parking, for example, on Yonge St. within the city of Toronto. They don’t have that proscription outside Toronto.
If, again, they have the right to close off one lane -- we don’t have all that many lanes
-- there is, I would think, a great danger in bringing forward something which might involve the widening of this road at a time of restraint, since Metro doesn’t seem to be governed by the restraints that others are, particularly when it gets to ball stadiums and so on.
Have you anything to tell us about any kind of discussion there may have been? Do you know of any discussion there has been with reference to Yonge St. itself because, with the position of your government vis-à-vis Spadina, we haven’t seen any kind of real assurance given by this government in that area. The metropolitan council, as it is presently composed, and prior to any decision by the Robarts commission could very well put the whole city and the province in a very embarrassing position should they really wish to limit the use of one lane on Yonge St. on either side.
Since streets have a tendency to run in two directions I presume it means you have two lanes running for this special purpose. It could then mean pressure back on you again to withdraw from your guarantees on Spadina. I would like to have something from you on this and I recognize what a very rotten thing it is that we have someone here before us who is not the author of the bill and who, perhaps, is not as familiar with the problems in the city as the Treasurer certainly ought to be.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, in response to the specific concern raised by the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell), it would seem to me that it is at least equally arguable that the passing of such a provision as this is likely to work to relieve the pressure upon such streets as Yonge St. One surely doesn’t have to read much between the lines to understand what the reference is to the number of occupants of a vehicle. Surely the intent there would be ultimately to encourage the use of car pools in private vehicles. It would seem to me that if that can be encouraged, if that is the objective of Metro, it would have to work to reduce the pressure upon Metro’s streets and thereby retard the pressure she fears on such things as the Spadina expressway.
I would see this as working in reverse with respect to the widening of streets, and the way in which she expressed concern.
With regard to whether I can give her any specific undertakings -- no, I can’t. I think that at some point in time we have to recognize the responsibility of local government and the responsibilities that lie there.
Mrs. Campbell: This isn’t a local government.
Mr. Norton: In my terms of reference, I think of metropolitan or area governments as part of municipal governments in this province. They have certain responsibilities to discharge with regard to traffic control and I think we ought to give them, wherever possible, the opportunity to deal with those in the most imaginative ways they can. I don’t see the need for the fear that she expresses with regard to these specific provisions.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I think it is unfortunate that perhaps, again, the member has not met the traffic commissioner for Metro or he wouldn’t be quite so sanguine as he is about the imaginative processes of this particular adviser to Metro.
Would you at least answer my query which I made in my opening remarks here? Why is this before us now? Why aren’t we just leaving this kind of planning process, this kind of traffic control process, to the Robarts commission? Why bring this in at this time when it could create very serious problems in this area?
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I suppose we could use the Robarts commission as an excuse for doing nothing in Metro until the commission reports.
Mrs. Campbell: You have, where the local governments want you to do something -- you’ve used it as an excuse.
Mr. Norton: I don’t specifically know what the member is referring to.
Mrs. Campbell: No.
Mr. Norton: I think that where there are areas in which we can assist, during the interim period, to deal with the problems that are faced by the Metropolitan Toronto government and the area governments, we should act and not use the Robarts commission as an excuse for delaying. I think there are certain areas where the effects could be irrevocable and much longer-lasting, and I would say yes, in those cases we would be well advised to wait for the Robarts commission report, to see where it fits into the overall structure and recommendations. But I would not see delaying this -- which is primarily permissive in an experimental way and has nothing to do with the widening of specific streets -- as necessary or desirable at this time.
Section 6 agreed to.
On section 7:
Mr. Renwick: I’ve got a great deal of confidence in the Toronto Transit Commission now that they have a new general manager.
On section 7, I’m concerned that the qualification that the persons who may be lessees or licensees should be the owners or occupants of the adjoining property is going to be deleted from this section. I’m particularly concerned about that deletion when you take into account that it’s going to be extended to cover sidewalks. It does seem to me that, generally speaking, the persons who are the owners and occupants of the adjoining property have the best right to a lease or license of the sidewalks or that untraveled portion of the metropolitan roads.
I don’t quite understand what the intention of the municipal council would be in requesting this amendment. I don’t know whether the parliamentary assistant has any specific knowledge about it, but it does seem odd that the sidewalk outside a particular establishment could be leased by the metropolitan council to someone who was not the owner or the occupant of the immediately adjoining property.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I would hope that metropolitan council would share the kind of concern that was just expressed by the member for Riverdale. I think what is contemplated here, though, is to remove what was a rather restrictive provision and to allow greater flexibility for the type of thing that one might observe, for example I suppose, on parts of Yonge St. where certain vendors might be licensed to sell at the discretion of the local municipality in areas where they would not own adjacent land. The present provisions would appear to preclude licensing under those circumstances. I would hope that the same sensitivity would be expressed by the local municipalities, but it does not restrict them as much as the present provisions.
Section 7 agreed to.
On section 8:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Norton moves that section 8 of the bill be struck out and that the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly.
Mr. Swart: I realize that the motion calls for this to be struck out. May I ask is this to be struck out indefinitely or rather it is regrouping for introduction in a different form? Our concern with respect to this section is over transferring of power from the area municipality to a higher level and taking it further away from the people, Bill 55 in many respects seems to do this, too. Could you tell me whether it is an indefinite decision?
Mr. Norton: My powers of vision into the future are somewhat limited. It is my feeling that this is a matter which would be better referred to the Robarts commission for consideration, considering the implications of these provisions. It would be my intention to ask the commissioner to take into consideration these matters.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mrs. Campbell moves that section 8 not be struck out but be amended to read as follows:
“Section 90 of the said Act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“’(1) The metropolitan council has, with respect to all land lying within a distance of 150 feet from any limit of a metropolitan road, all the powers conferred on the council of a local municipality by section 35 of the Planning Act, but prior to exercising any or all of the powers provided by this section affecting land within the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto the metropolitan council shall give notice of the proposed exercise of such powers to the council of the local municipality wherein the land is affected and may therefore exercise such powers with respect to land in the area by agreement of the council of the local municipality and not otherwise.’”
Mrs. Campbell: The effect of that particular section is not only to repeal what you have here but to substitute a change in the present Planning Act as it pertains to regional municipalities.
We feel if you are going so far as to produce to us an amendment of this kind, which I in the normal course agree ought to go to the Robarts commission, then we should ensure that, for whatever purposes, the metropolitan council, which already has the right in effect under the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act, shall have limited application of those powers. Since it is proposed by us that the regional bills to follow would read in the same form, it would give uniformity to the regional bills as well as to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto bill.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Noting the hour, perhaps we can continue discussions at the next sitting of the committee.
Hon. Mr. Wells moves that the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Speaker, the committee of the whole House begs to report progress and asks for leave to sit again.
Report agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we will deal with legislation both in the afternoon and in the evening. I understand that the order agreed upon is that we will go into committee, start with Bill 64 and then go back to Bill 54, followed by Bill 55; and then proceed to second reading of Bills 84, 90 and 96.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved the adjournment of the House.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.