The House met at 10 am.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, several members of the Legislature have asked if my ministry could take any action against the news-stand sale of a publication by the name of High Times.
On November 9 I stated in the House that the federal Department of Justice had been contacted regarding this publication, as it appeared to be a drug-related matter. I have received a response from the federal authorities indicating that although it is a drug-related matter, it is in their view a matter that could be better handled by provincial authorities under The Criminal Code. Accordingly, they do not intend to take any action.
There is no doubt but that a number of people had been offended by this drug-oriented publication and the situation, therefore, obviously warrants a full investigation followed by whatever action is warranted under the law.
Upon receiving this response from the federal authorities, I directed counsel in my ministry to view the past four months’ issues of this publication in order to determine what action might be taken to prevent the continued distribution of this publication in Ontario. To assist in this task, we asked the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an investigation with respect to the distribution and sale of this publication in Ontario. We indicated that there was urgency in this matter, and I can now advise that the initial stages of the investigation have been completed.
I would like to emphasize that in order for the Crown to establish criminality, it is imperative to rigorously analyse the contents of the magazine, to ascertain the principals involved in the distribution of the publication, and to relate that information to the appropriate sections of The Criminal Code.
A search warrant has been issued by a justice of the peace and has been executed by the police. Further search warrants may be necessary and the police will be reviewing the results of the execution of the search warrants with counsel in my ministry. A decision on charges should be made within a matter of days.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With the first announcement of the memorandum of understanding between the government of Ontario and Reed Paper, it was made clear that a full review of the environmental impact of the proposed project would be considered under the provisions of The Environmental Assessment Act, 1975. In subsequent discussions I indicated that, for this particular hearing, I would seek a chairman with judicial experience, whose general background and reputation would be assuring to all who might be involved or concerned with the matter.
I am pleased to announce to the House this morning that Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt has agreed to undertake this assignment. Mr. Hartt, as many members will know, has had an outstanding career as a lawyer and judge and has recently returned to the Supreme Court of Ontario following an interim term as chairman of the Law Reform Commission of Canada.
The role which Mr. Justice Hartt will discharge as chairman of The Environmental Assessment Act inquiry will be broad and inclusive. As members will understand, the powers under The Environmental Assessment Act are much broader and all-encompassing than those associated with a royal commission. While part III of The Public Inquiries Act authorizes a commission to appoint an investigator who might for example, seek a search warrant from a judge to obtain access to certain documents or places, the power of a provincial officer under section 26(1) of The Environmental Assessment Act is wider and more appropriate for evaluation of environmental implications. For example, a provincial officer can make, under the provisions of this Act, “such surveys, examinations, investigations, tests and inquiries as he considers necessary” on public or private property and make or remove samples, copies or extracts subject to the provisions of the Act.
I want to take a moment to make reference to my discussions and that of my government with Chief Andrew Rickard of Treaty No. 9. I have had the opportunity to discuss this appointment with him as well as the general concerns which we both share for an absolutely all-encompassing assessment of all the implications to our native citizens of any proposed forest development.
We have agreed that the power to cross- examine, take testimony under oath, and subpoena, and the capacity to examine broad social, cultural, economic and sociological concerns of the native community as well as a full assessment of any impact on historic hunting, fishing and trapping rights of our native people, will greatly enhance the ultimate opportunity, which the inquiry under the Act will have, to reach an equitable and fair determination. It was further agreed that the chairman of the inquiry will be free to hold hearings of a community nature on reservations and a technical hearing or hearings in Thunder Bay.
All Ontarians have every right to share a common faith in the capacity of Justice Hartt to pursue that equity and fairness with a sense of commitment and a standard of excellence which have been the hallmarks of a magnificent career at the law.
Our province is indeed fortunate to have the services of this gentleman as we seek to pursue our common commitment to fairness, equity and prosperity for all our northern citizens.
OTTAWA LAND SALE
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, in reply to questions in the Legislature raised by the leader of the third party and the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) earlier this week -- or I guess the end of last week -- regarding the Ottawa Citizen article alleging conflict of interest against Mr. Aubrey Moodie, there is no record of any request being made to the ministry in 1974 for assistance, advice or intervention into the alleged conflict of interest. The matter at that time was covered by the media and is on public record, so that members of my staff were generally aware of the situation.
Since The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act provides for judicial review of conflict of interest situations, it would not normally be appropriate for the ministry to intervene unless asked for assistance. The Act specifically provides for action to be initiated by local ratepayers, who are most likely to be aware of conflict of interest. The Act also provides time limitations for actions to be initiated.
The ministry’s involvement at this time was initiated by an oral request from a Citizen reporter to our regional director to review certain documents relating to the alleged conflict of interest to determine whether any action should be taken against Mr. Moodie.
These documents, personally delivered by the reporter, were reviewed by the staff of the regional office. Most of the documents related to a review of the situation by the township solicitor in late 1974, who expressed the opinion -- clearly indicating that this was not to be interpreted as a judgement -- that it had not been established that Councillor Moodie had either a direct or indirect pecuniary interest so as to create a conflict of interest. One more recent document was a copy of a bill of sale of the land in June 1976, over which the 1974 allegations of conflict of interest were made.
I might read into the record a telegram which I have received from Mr. Moodie. It reads as follows:
“The purpose of this wire is to set out my position in relation to the conflict of interest charges which have been so suitably timed to embarrass me prior to the election in Nepean. In today’s Ottawa Citizen under the heading ‘Publish and Be Damned,’ the author, Russell Mills, in his capacity of executive editor, reveals the details of this ill-timed attack on my reputation. Despite earlier stories, the Citizen now admits the story was based on a telephone call on the basis that the caller’s name would be withheld. The article further admits that it was a political attack.
“Based on the Citizen articles of December 1 and 2 in which my reputation was attacked, I would ask that you make the following statement on my behalf when you reply to the question of the opposition in the Legislature:
“‘I, Aubrey Moodie, support the conduct of a full inquiry requested by the Ottawa Citizen into my possible conflict of interest. Further, I ask that the terms of reference be broadened to include all plans and arrangements concerning the development of the Barrhaven area, especially the past, present and future plans as developed by the township of Nepean.’
“I would also appreciate if you include in your statement that I request this inquiry to clear my name and reputation with the people of Ontario. I am prepared to stand on my record.
“As this issue has been used locally, I intend to release copies of this wire to the media. D. Aubrey Moodie.”
This issue, when it was raised in 1974, could have been dealt with under The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act passed by this Legislature.
Indeed, the question was raised at that time and the municipality, acting on the advice of its solicitor, did not proceed to take action. Nor did any taxpayer, although I understand the issue was a matter of public knowledge.
I have yet to receive the file from the Ottawa office of Treasury but I am advised that my staff, who have given the matter careful review, will not be recommending that a public inquiry be held.
Subject to confirmation when I receive the documents, I am satisfied the public interest would not be served by pursuing this matter further by way of an inquiry.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier with regard to the statement about the appointment of Justice Patrick Hartt: Are the terms of reference restricted to the 19,000 square miles currently being requested by Reed, or is there a possibility they might be extended to allow Justice Hartt to review and to attempt to establish some policy direction for northwestern Ontario and the industry in that area?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As to the function of the board and Mr. Hartt and whoever may be serving with him, we’ve reached no conclusion as to whether there would be two, three or four other people who would serve with him on the board; that is something that will be discussed with Mr. Justice Hartt when he has some opportunity to get further into the situation.
The hearing will be confined to the Reed application or the memorandum of understanding. In my discussions with Chief Rickard we did discuss the request or suggestion that Treaty No. 9 had made for a form of inquiry for everything north of the 50th parallel. If memory serves me correctly, in our discussions I suggested some form of development plan might be considered; some study whereby the government would be involved and others who are associated in that community. I discussed this with Chief Rickard. We have agreed to meet again in the latter part of January to pursue that aspect of it in some greater detail.
But I think, to be very realistic and practical this hearing will be confined to the one potential operation of Reed Paper in that particular area. The broader plan, the development plan -- and I was very encouraged in my conversations with Chief Rickard that they are interested in development; he made that quite clear in our conversations -- that would be a separate approach and one that I think would take a somewhat longer period of time.
Mr. Deans: Can the Premier explain why, or if it’s true, that the hearings are to be restricted to the reserves and to Thunder Bay, or are those simply the focal points and the justice will be enabled to go wherever he pleases to hold hearings?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sorry. I had hoped my statement made that clear. There will be no confining of the board as to where they can hold their hearings. What Chief Rickard asked me as we were discussing this was whether the technical hearings -- I think the hearings will be very broad; there will be discussions of many aspects -- he suggested and asked whether the straight technological evaluation of the proposed plant or mill site or whatever, could be held in Thunder Bay as opposed to, say, having it here in Toronto, since that would be more convenient. And I said certainly, from our standpoint, yes.
It is my expectation -- and I mentioned this in my statement -- that there would be hearings within the actual geographic area. There would be nothing to preclude hearings perhaps here in Toronto. There is nothing to prevent the chairman of the board having hearings anywhere. I think he probably will be confined to the province of Ontario, but I don’t think there is anything at all that restricts it. It was just a suggestion that the straight technical aspects of it be dealt with in Thunder Bay, if possible, rather than having a number of people coming here, I think, to Toronto to do it.
Mr. Deans: One additional supplementary, if I may: Can I assume from the Premier’s statement that Treaty No. 9 are now prepared to participate in the hearing process and that the conversations that the Premier has had are an indication that Chief Rickard and others are now going to take part fully in the evaluation?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it’s something that Chief Rickard will be discussing with the other chiefs in the Treaty No. 9 area. I explained to him, as fully as I was able to, the functioning of the Act; the right to examine under oath, which was one of his concerns; and the right to subpoena. I did speak to him about the possible appointment of Mr. Justice Hartt before I approached Mr. Justice Hartt himself.
I don’t think it would be fair at this point to say that Chief Richard can commit all of the chiefs in Treaty No. 9. He will be discussing this with them. I am confirming this by Telex this morning or this afternoon -- at the first opportunity. He will be discussing this with them in the early part of January, and I would not want in any way to give my impressions to the House of what the attitude of Treaty No. 9 will be.
I can say I was encouraged during the meeting. It was a very positive one, a very constructive one, but I am sure the hon. deputy leader of the official opposition will understand that Chief Rickard has his constituency to deal with, to discuss this with, and he will be doing this, he tells me, in the early part of January.
Mr. Renwick: A supplementary question: Could the Premier tell us whether the investigation or study by Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt will extend to a consideration of the terms and conditions of Treaty No. 9 as such, to which, for practical purposes, the government of the province of Ontario was a party years ago and continues to be a party?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am being asked now, maybe, for partially a legal opinion. I am not sure exactly what the law might or might not say. In my discussions with Mr. Justice Hartt and Chief Rickard, I made it abundantly clear that whether or not there were one or two grey areas in the legislation we were anxious that discussion of the rights of the native people as they relate to their traditional hunting and fishing and rights flowing from any treaties in that particular area could be and should be part of the board’s consideration. As I say, no statute, I guess, will ever completely cover everything in specific terms if this turns out to be something of a grey area. The chairman knows my views and there is no doubt in my mind that that aspect of the question raised by the member for Riverdale will be covered in the hearings.
Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary on this.
Mr. Cassidy: Is it correct from the Premier’s statement that the government’s intention is to allow the representatives of Treaty No. 9 to cross-examine witnesses who appear before the hearing, in addition to presenting testimony on their own?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I hope I made it fairly clear -- the member for Ottawa Centre, I’m sure, understands how these activities work with the expectation or hope that Treaty No. 9 people will participate in this hearing. I would assume the normal course for them to follow, if they decide to participate, would be to retain counsel who, on their behalf, would cross-examine witnesses who are before the hearing, as will anybody else be able to cross-examine.
Mr. Deans: I have another question of the Premier. Is it the intention of the government, given that there is rapid escalation in the cost of energy, to make any representation before the Energy Board with regard to the more recent increase request by the natural gas companies in the province of Ontario? Is there any intention on the part of the government to try to develop a more integrated energy policy, taking into account the costs and the availability of the various sources of energy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think that question could be more definitively answered -- I have to be very careful of that phrase, I guess -- by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell). I would say, in general terms, we would like to see “a more integrated energy policy.” I am sure that’s the objective of every government.
If the deputy leader of the official opposition is saying we can totally relate the increase in costs for the various forms of energy supply, I think that would be a shade unrealistic. In terms of whether or not we will be appearing before the National Energy Board on any request for rate application increase, I will check that with the minister and although I won’t be here Monday I will have an answer for the hon. member.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, could the Premier tell us whether he intends to proceed with Bill 109 on this particular matter or whether he has some other way of determining how Ontario’s consumers and taxpayers are to share in whatever development, exploration and transmission policies might be thought suitable for the future of our energy supply?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think that’s a question that should be properly put to the Minister of Energy. He may be here before the question period is over; if he isn’t I will get an answer for the hon. member on Monday.
Mr. Peterson: Has the Premier given any consideration to the Ontario Energy Board taking a role in the hearings both before the National Energy Board with respect to rate basing or taking a position in that consortium for the pipeline? Has he given that any thought and what is his conclusion?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I must confess to the member for London Centre I have not personally given that any thought. It is quite possible the Minister of Energy may have given that suggestion some personal thought. I will check his personal thoughts and make sure they’re conveyed to the member for London Centre.
Mr. Peterson: With his Christmas card?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I will get him to do it on his Christmas card.
LEVEL OF BENEFITS
Mr. Deans: I have a question I would like the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) and the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Taylor) to listen to while I direct it to the Minister of Labour. Is it the intention of the ministries that I’ve mentioned to bring in any legislation or to change the benefit levels in the Workmen’s Compensation Board, the minimum wage, GAINS or The Family Benefits Act, in order to bring them into line with the more realistic figure required to cope with the rising cost of living?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the one bright feature of living in Canada in this year is that indeed the cost of living rise has slowed down reasonably dramatically.
Mr. S. Smith: Thanks to the feds.
Mr. Warner: No thanks to you.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have explained to this House on numerous occasions previously that the joint consultative committee which we appointed to provide external consideration of Workmen’s Compensation Board problems has been viewing and reviewing the various levels of benefits of the board. It is, I gather, going to make its report to the board this coming week, the week beginning December 13.
Mr. Haggerty: Promises, promises.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That report will be conveyed to me once the board has considered it. As soon as that is done then we shall seriously consider whatever recommendations come from that committee and from the board. We are indeed continuing to review one specific area of problem within the minimum wage field and as yet, as the result of the incompleteness of our review, have not been able to move in that direction.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary question: Is there any co-ordination among the three ministries, given that they provide a supplement in some instances and the entire amount of income in other instances to many thousands of people across the province? Is there any co-ordination being undertaken in these three ministries to try to bring all of the benefits that are being paid by the province of Ontario to many people in need across this province, up to a level that would be satisfactory?
Hon. B. Stephenson: There is a great deal of co-ordination through both the policy field for resources development and the social policy field, and there is a great deal of input from the other ministries in the development of policies.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Would the minister assure this House that when the minimum wage is increased there will be no increase in the differential between that normal rate and the rate for tipped employees, and that the differential may, in fact, decrease?
Mr. Speaker: I didn’t recall the matter of minimum wage being mentioned.
Mr. Bounsall: Yes it was.
An hon. member: Sure it was.
Mr. Speaker: Okay. That was one of the many that I guess I missed.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall most certainly take into serious consideration the suggestion of the hon. member.
Mr. Deans: One final question for the Premier, going back to the Reed Paper matter: Could he explain to the House how the funding will be arranged with regard to groups and interested parties who might want to make representation to the board with regard to the Reed Paper application? Will they be able to take advantage of the Legal Aid Plan, for example, in order to be represented? Or will they be able to get any kind of funding from the province of Ontario to ensure their representation will be full and complete?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think there’s been some indication that the federal government would be interested in assisting the native people; in fact, as my memory goes, I think this government said it would be prepared to assist the native people in any participation they might have.
We have not considered extending this to other groups who may or may not wish to appear. That has not been discussed, but it has with respect to the native people.
OHTB BUS LICENCE
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications: I wonder if the minister could tell us, for the sake of accuracy, whether he meant to tell this House that a number of bus runs which he commented on yesterday during the debate really represent excellent competition -- namely, those between Hearst and Thunder Bay, Toronto and London, Oshawa and Toronto, and North Bay and Toronto? Did he really mean to say there was good competition on those runs?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, the different licences covering those duplications of services vary as to restrictions, but those routes which I mentioned during the debate yesterday are routes on which there is parallel service run by more than one company.
Mr. Nixon: Competitive overruns.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, let’s take them one at a time. The minister said that between Hearst and Thunder Bay, Grey Goose and Greyhound are in good competition. Is he aware that Grey Goose and Greyhound run every other day and consequently never compete with each other? Does that strike him as good competition?
Hon. Mr. Snow: It is an example, I believe, although I have not reviewed the licences personally, of that being a Greyhound licensed route. Grey Goose made application and was granted the right to run over that route.
Mr. Burr: Is the minister aware that a van owner who was driving about a dozen commuters from Kitchener to Toronto was refused a licence by the Ontario Transport Board for the reason that it would offer competition to Gray Coach Lines?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have met with, I believe, two people who are interested in running commuter vans and these were both, I believe, involved in coming from the Kitchener-Waterloo area to Toronto.
This service used to be supplied, I believe, by way of a station wagon and it was ruled by my predecessor that that did not fall under the requirements of licensing. The operator moved to a van, a small bus, I believe, with 12 or 15 seats and because he was offering a public transportation service for hire he was technically operating a bus service without a public vehicle licence. I am not sure if there was ever an application to the board for a public vehicle licence in that case.
The whole matter of car pools and van pools is one I have initiated a study on within my ministry because I think it’s very important for economic purposes, for conservation of energy, that there should be a clarification as to what rules apply to a co-operative group wanting to run a commuter van or enter into car pool arrangements. I expect to have that study completed early in the new year.
If possible or necessary we may have to bring in regulations or even alter legislation to clarify the situation on how van pools or van operators running small commuter services will be handled, whether they will be licensed by the Highway Transport Board or be exempt. Right now there’s no definite clarification on this.
Mr. MacDonald: You might have to state a policy, you know.
Mr. S. Smith: Getting back to the original point, Mr. Speaker, I call the attention of the House to a number of these routes on which there is alleged to be competition. Did the minister mean to say he cannot understand why Gray Coach cannot live with competition? He gave as an example North Bay and Toronto which, he said, are covered by both Gray Coach and Ontario Northland. Is the minister not aware that there is only one licence -- a Gray Coach licence -- and that it is a pooled service that Ontario Northland can be thrown off any time? Is he not aware that it happens to be a pooled service, not a competitive one?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I must say, if that is a pooled service I was not aware of that. It is my understanding Ontario Northland --
Mr. R. S. Smith: It is under your ministry.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I understand Ontario Northland does have running rights from Timmins through to Toronto.
Mr. Nixon: It is not an independent licence.
Mr. Warner: Why doesn’t the minister resign? He’s bungled it from beginning to end.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll make this a new question. When the minister mentions there is “good competition” in a similar situation between Toronto and London, and he mentions that Charterways, Gray Coach and Greyhound are “in competition”, is he not aware that Charterways runs a very expensive VIP service, totally different from any of the others; that Gray Coach runs a milk run on one particular route Toronto --
Hon. Mr. Davis: An now, don’t bring the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) into this.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and that Greyhound runs a totally different express run on the QEW and 401 by a completely different route and, therefore, is in no competition whatsoever? Doesn’t the minister know that?
Hon. B. Stephenson: What do you define as competition?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I am totally aware of those three licences --
Mr. Nixon: Not on the same route.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- but, as I stated yesterday, that is an example of where there are three different companies operating a public bus service between London and Toronto.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: When the minister mentions “between Oshawa and Toronto both Gray Coach and Voyageur travel the same route,” and he says, “I suppose nobody rides between Oshawa and Toronto,” is he not aware that in fact nobody does ride between Oshawa and Toronto on the Voyageur because they are not allowed to take people from Toronto to Oshawa, or Oshawa to Toronto? They go through Oshawa to points distant.
Mr. Nixon: Didn’t know about that, eh?
Hon. Mr. Snow: That is an almost duplicate comparison to the route of Greyhound and Gray Coach that is under consideration.
Mr. S. Smith: You can’t get off in Oshawa.
Hon. B. Stephenson: But that’s what the Greyhound application is all about.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Under what the hon. member would like to propose, all the passengers would have to get off Voyageur at Oshawa and get on to Gray Coach.
Hon. Mr. Snow: This is an area which is very similar to the Greyhound-Gray Coach situation between Sudbury --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Voyageur picks up passengers all through eastern Ontario and brings them right to Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. S. Smith: But not from Oshawa.
Hon. Mr. Snow: And they overrun Gray Coach lines from Oshawa in. That is almost an exact parallel to having Greyhound --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That’s right, the same as Sudbury.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s what Greyhound is applying for.
Hon. Mr. Snow: That is almost an exact parallel to having the Greyhound service bringing their passengers that they pick up in northwestern Ontario right through to Toronto over the same run.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Okay. The Quebec liberals have got a problem understanding Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: You are dead wrong, John.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are away out in left field.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is beginning --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are getting a rehash of what I understand was discussed pretty thoroughly yesterday.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister should stick to what he knows, if he can find it.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order. The question period, I think, could be improved by not rehashing everything that was said yesterday and debating it.
Mr. Sweeney: But it was all wrong.
Mr. Speaker: That is a matter of opinion. Order, please. You wonder about the deterioration of the question period. Let’s have questions that are of urgent public importance and which we haven’t dealt with yesterday -- or too often at least, I guess I shouldn’t just say yesterday.
Does the hon. member for Durham East have a supplementary that we would allow?
Mr. Moffatt: Yes. I would like to ask the minister, if a person wished to take a bus from Oshawa to Toronto, would he have a choice between Gray Coach and Voyageur to get from Oshawa to Toronto?
Mr. S. Smith: Of course they don’t.
Mr. Nixon: They would have to go by Kingston.
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, they do not, but the people who get on the bus --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The people who get on the bus at Port Hope, Kingston, Belleville or Peterborough --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- do not have to get off the bus at Oshawa and get on to a Gray Coach bus, and that is what we are talking about.
Mr. S. Smith: I’m going to carry this on because this matter is before cabinet; and if that’s a sign of the kind of understanding the cabinet has of this matter --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ve spent 10 minutes on this now. If you wish to continue, it’s your time.
Mr. S. Smith: Let me ask another question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: If the cabinet does in fact overturn the decision of the Highway Transport Board on appeal, does the minister intend to make up to Gray Coach the revenue which they are presently losing because he refuses to take Greyhound off the runs in question? Will the minister make up the loss in revenue?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: This is to the Minister of Housing -- hopefully he may know more about this matter than he does about transport.
Can the minister tell us if he has any plans to increase the amount of rental housing available in Hamilton, in view of the recent report and recent motion passed by the city council there? And is he planning to use some of the land which has been banked by OHC, on the mountain in Hamilton, to get some low-priced rental housing, which is very much needed in Hamilton?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member asked last week that I put some material together for him concerning the land in Hamilton Mountain. That’s in the process of being done.
I’m a little surprised at the indication of the shortage. The information that I had was that one of the higher vacancy rates exists in the Hamilton area; around 3.8 per cent is the vacancy rate there. But if there’s a need for rental housing certainly the land can be made available to develop rental housing, providing the municipal council will approve the zoning that’s required to build the necessary facilities.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of that answer, and in view of the concern that the minister has expressed from time to time --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. What does this have to do with housing in Hamilton?
Mr. Cassidy: It relates, Mr. Speaker, to the general --
Mr. Speaker: Well, I haven’t heard it yet. I’ll hear the member out, but it doesn’t seem to be related.
Mr. Cassidy: Could the minister explain in general why less than 20 per cent of his budget has been devoted to rental housing and 80 per cent to private dwellings?
Mr. Speaker: That is completely away from the original question.
TAX REBATE ON CONDOMINIUMS
Mr. S. Smith: One final question, to the Minister of Revenue:
In view of the situation last fall when it was decided that condominium owners had been unjustly over-assessed, relative to other forms of owner-occupied housing from 1971 until 1975, can the minister tell the House whether he might reconsider his decision to permit a property tax rebate only to those unit owners who appealed their assessments, from those years in question, to both the assessment review court and to the county court? Could he widen this and permit all the condominium owners to recover, in some way, the taxes which they were unjustly charged?
Hon. Mr. Meen: As I have explained on a number of occasions, to the maximum extent I can -- and for that matter where there is any justification for allowing any adjustment in these taxes -- I have already acted. We amended The Assessment Act last year by Bill 8 to accommodate an adjustment in the assessment for the year 1976 and following.
With respect to every last appeal that was then outstanding and for which, therefore, the assessment rolls for the municipalities were not closed, and for which consequently one could assume the municipalities had some sort of reserve set aside to take care of any such adjustments that might be made in the courts, I instructed my people, in appearing on behalf of the municipalities in effect, concerning those assessment appeals, to adjust the assessments for those years -- in some instances 1971 through 1975, the majority of instances -- to adjust those on the basis of the principle contained in Bill 8.
I don’t propose to amend The Assessment Act to open up all assessment appeals, all assessments of condominiums; those are owner-occupied properties like anything else. To do that would cast an additional burden on all other homes in the municipalities, would throw their finances into turmoil -- finances relating back to years when there have been sales of the properties, and of course those moneys would have to be recovered out of current revenues. Therefore, I have not been proposing that any such adjustment be made to The Assessment Act, nor for that matter am I suggesting to the Treasurer that he should amend The Municipal Act.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, could the minister not consider some mechanism such as a tax credit, which could be taking place over the next five or even 10 years, by which this money could be recovered by these condominium owners, since they were unjustly taxed in the first place, and yet not overly burden the public Treasury or put a hardship on the municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Meen: I think that question might more properly be directed to the Treasurer.
Mr. S. Smith: I would redirect it then. Would the Treasurer consider a form of tax rebate over the next five or 10 years to assist these condominium owners?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: For the same reasons that the Minister of Revenue has given, no.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister report on the progress of settling the 30,000 appeals that were established and will he table in the House details of the number which have been settled and from which date?
Hon. Mr. Meen: I think I can give some of that information. I believe the vast majority of the 30,000 appeals that were outstanding about this time last year, if not all of them, have now been settled, and that either the municipalities have made rebates to the owners or have credited the property owners with the degree of rebate therefor applicable against their 1976 tax bills.
To the extent that my ministry have details of that, I would be pleased to get the information, provided that it’s not privileged, which would preclude its production.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Solicitor General has the answer to a question which was asked previously.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: The Legislature will recall that in recent weeks several questions have been raised concerning a racial disturbance which occurred on Weston Road. I am now in a position to report to the House on the matter. An East Indian religious and cultural festival was the catalyst of this unfortunate incident. While members of the group participated in the ceremony, a number of people gathered outside the hall, throwing rotten vegetables and shouting racial slurs. A confrontation was inevitable.
The investigation of the case by Metropolitan Toronto police has been thorough. Everyone known to be present was interviewed. However, there is considerable conflict in the statements made to police by the witnesses. Positive identification of those allegedly committing offences has for the most part been unsuccessful, although one charge has been laid. In spite of this, an investigator from the Citizens’ Complaint Bureau is continuing his work on the case. When he has gathered all the facts available, he intends to consult with a Crown attorney concerning the possibility of further charges.
The police do not enjoy their role as referees in neighbourhood bitterness. I can assure the House, however, that they are endeavouring to perform their task as impartially as possible. The member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), in whose riding this incident occurred, has also expressed concern over the matter and has met with me, police officials and with members of the local community. He has achieved some success in reconciling differences and in reaching community understanding.
While I’m on my feet, I have the answer to another question.
Hon. Mr. MacBeth: The Legislature will recall that on Tuesday the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba) asked why the Ontario Government Protective Service does not provide security for the Ministry of Revenue offices at 77 Bloor Street West. Intercon Security provides security at that location.
At the time the question was asked, I didn’t realize the building was privately owned. The occupants include the Ministries of Revenue and Culture and Recreation as well as private tenants. The owner of the building, Cadillac-Fairview Corporation, arranges and provides for security on its property.
I was asked about a particular employee of Intercon, Mr. Richard Grange. As some members may be aware, Mr. Grange was once involved with Canadian Driver Pool. However, I am informed that Mr. Grange is employed by Intercon solely as an account executive.
NUCLEAR GENERATING STATIONS
Mr. Moffatt: My question is of the Minister of the Environment. I would like to ask the minister if it is getting to be the policy of this government that all nuclear generating stations are going to be exempt from The Environmental Assessment Act or simply the Darlington generating station?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the Darlington generating station is not exempt from The Environmental Assessment Act. It is still under the umbrella of that Act and I would assume that future stations will take the same course.
Mr. Moffatt: A supplementary: Would the minister care to advise the House, and through the House the municipality of the town of Newcastle and the region of Durham, when procedures will be put in place so that the proper review can take place? Both the municipal and regional governments have asked for such a review before any construction takes place. It is my opinion that Ontario Hydro wishes to get to work on that site at some time in the next year.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: At the present time, Hydro is conducting two studies. One is an impact study and another is an assessment of the whole project. I believe one is available now and one will be available some time before the end of this year.
The Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell), of course, will be making a statement on those reports when they’re both available. At that time it will be decided whether or not those studies are sufficient or whether there should be public hearings.
At that time as well, I would assume that any consideration of an exemption for that particular station would also be made. I’m aware that both the town of Newcastle and the region of Durham have asked for public hearings.
FLOOD PROTECTION STANDARDS FOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Housing. Is the minister aware that the unnecessarily restrictive flood protection standards in the Little River and the Turkey Creek areas are delaying the development of approximately 800 building lots in the city of Windsor, which would provide housing for approximately 2,000 people? Would he look into this and consult with his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier), and expedite these studies so that the construction could start if it is warranted?
Mr. Peterson: You spend a lot of time talking to officials. Tell us what you know about Turkey Creek.
Mr. Nixon: It was named after him.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’ve seen some turkeys in my day but you’ve got to be the best, I’ll tell you.
I am aware this is causing a delay. I have discussed it with my colleague but, quite frankly, it’s a matter on which the local conservation authority has taken a very firm position. It is causing delay, there’s no question about it.
Mr. Mancini: They shouldn’t have that right.
Mr. B. Newman: Is the minister aware the studies are not completed? We’re asking for an acceleration of the studies so that the housing, if it is warranted, could commence.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I certainly have no objection whatsoever to accelerating the development of the housing the hon. member refers to. We have been in discussion with the local conservation authority. I have seen some of the reports and we are being delayed by the present standards which it is standing by. It insists that this is a flood-prone area but I’m inclined to feel that it could ease those restrictions and the housing could be built.
LIE DETECTOR TESTS
Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Attorney General: Is the minister aware that some companies, specifically the firm of Johnson, Matthey and Mallory in the borough of York, are insisting, in current negotiations with their employees, that the employees must accept the use of what are now euphemistically referred to as psychological strain evaluators -- namely lie detector machines -- in their relations with employees? Is the minister aware of that and does he approve of this kind of procedure?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m not aware of it and from the limited information given to me this morning, I would say that I would have some grave concern about that practice. Certainly there’s no suggestion that it offends any law, but as members know our ministry, as I think I’ve indicated to the House, is considering or developing a policy proposal with respect to the use of polygraph machines in employer-employee relationships. I’ve discussed the matter with the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) and she is also very interested in the proposal.
Mr. MacDonald: A supplementary: Would the minister or his ministry clarify the position with the union involved because it has been told by somebody in the ministry that this isn’t illegal? It may be that it isn’t illegal but would the minister clarify that while it may not be illegal, he has concerns about it and is studying the issue?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I will.
Mr. B. Newman: A supplementary: When will the minister provide the House with the study he mentioned he would undertake on behalf of the city of Windsor concerning the use of the lie detector, a question which I raised in the House some months ago?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t undertake or agree to undertake a study on behalf of the city of Windsor. I indicated that I thought this was or should be a matter of some concern to all the people in Ontario and that a specific policy proposal is being developed. I can’t state that with the few days remaining in this session it’s likely to be introduced to the House but certainly I would think it would be very early in the next session.
HYDRO POWER REDUCTION
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to direct a question to the Premier.
In view of the question I raised on the floor -- time wouldn’t allow a supplementary -- it’s very urgent and important business when Hydro, through cutbacks and power interruptions, causes the loss of some 50 jobs in my area; in an interview last night the Minister of Energy agreed that it might not only be 50, but maybe 100 throughout the province. I had also interjected in that question the --
Some hon. members: Question.
Mr. Kerrio: -- concern that there were industries in the Niagara area now considering moving into the United States. My supplementary, which is now in the form of a question, is that with the concerns I have, would he ask the Minister of Energy if in this province we could not have higher priorities for industry and those people who are going to invest in our economy, and keep the jobs here in Ontario?
Mr. Peterson: Don’t ask him, tell him.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sure the hon. member realizes that has always been the thrust of the government of this province. That’s why we’ve been able to have the kind of economic development which has been so much a part of the growth of Ontario. If the opposition doesn’t interfere too much, Ontario Hydro will be able to continue to pursue that direction.
Mr. Peterson: We’re behind the rest of Canada.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We run into difficulty from time to time, I would say to the hon. member, when some people opposite decide that Ontario Hydro is going a little too far a little too fast, and we have to cut back the dough; we can’t build anything more; there are problems over transmission lines, and so on. All that is somewhat inhibiting for the development of the economy of this province. I’m just delighted the member for Niagara Falls recognizes this.
Mr. Nixon: Do you think Darcy made a mistake when he cut them back by $1 billion?
Mr. S. Smith: Your restraint programme is gone.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s true, I certainly agree with the member for Niagara Falls. Even though it was not in the form of a question, I also agree that he wants to get this position he takes back to his constituency so they recognize he’s taking a very active interest. If he wants to say the Premier is also concerned, he can quote me directly as of this morning.
Mr. Speaker: We’ll hear a supplementary from the member for Niagara Falls first of all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Without being provocative.
Mr. Kerrio: My question was would the Premier consider talking to the Minister of Energy and getting Hydro to be more efficient with the power we’re generating now?
Hon. W. Newman: That’s what he said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I thought that’s exactly what I said. I’d be delighted to talk to the Minister of Energy further but I thought that’s really what I said in reply to the speech the member made just a few moments ago.
Mr. Speaker: Order please. A final supplementary, the member for York South.
Mr. MacDonald: When the Premier talks with the Minister of Energy, would he clarify with him whether there’s been any change in the position of AMPGO -- the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario -- namely, that they were in favour of interruptible contracts as a means of reducing the size of the system and therefore reducing rates?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would be delighted to discuss that with the Minister of Energy. I guess I would doubt that they have changed their position. That doesn’t get away from the point I was making: That the people opposite have had a great deal to say about Hydro and its growth. All I’m saying is that part of the problem is --
Mr. Renwick: We get it.
An hon. member: We get the message.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- we must continue to have growth in Hydro right across the province so we can continue with economic development. The sooner everybody realizes it the better.
Mr. Renwick: Your members, too.
Mr. Speaker: Order; order please.
Mr. MacDonald: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would draw to your attention, and through you to the Premier, that the report of the select committee on Hydro was a unanimous report and included his members too.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In reply to that point of order, I will say to all members in this House -- and I don’t want to be provocative on a Friday morning -- that one of the great reasons for the success of the economy in this province has been Ontario Hydro.
Mr. MacDonald: Who is making speeches now?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was replying to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I don’t want to make a speech.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have already made the point; just don’t inhibit them too much.
Mr. Speaker: The question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. McKeough tabled the annual report of the Ontario Land Corporation for the period prior to April 1, 1976.
Mr. Speaker: Motions.
Introduction of bills.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF HAMILTON-WENTWORTH AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 187, An Act to amend the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth Act, 1973.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The measure I am introducing today is designed to facilitate public transportation facilities in the Hamilton-Wentworth region by placing the responsibility for delivering transportation services in the hands of the regional municipality. The Act provides for the acquisition of the shares of the Hamilton Street Railway Company by the regional corporation of Hamilton-Wentworth.
USE OF CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS IN AEROSOL SPRAY CANS ACT
Mr. Bain moved first reading of Bill 188, An Act to ban the Use of Chlorofluorocarbons in Aerosol Spray Cans.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Bain: The bill provides for banning, in aerosol spray cans, the use of restricted chlorofluorocarbons, which are contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer and thereby will contribute indirectly to increasing incidences of skin cancer.
ANSWERS TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS
Hon. Mr. Welch: Before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 127, 128, 129 and 130 standing on the notice paper.
Mr. Speaker: Orders of the day.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLEMENTARY SUPPLY
Resolutions for supplementary supply for the following offices were concurred in by the House:
Office of the Assembly;
Office of the Ombudsman;
Office of the Provincial Auditor.
House in committee of the whole.
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 170, An Act to amend The Retail Sales Tax Act.
Mr. Chairman: Any comments or discussion of any section of Bill 170?
Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 6:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Peterson moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:
“Section 6: Not later than January 1, 1978, the minister shall cause a review to be made respecting the impact on public revenues on job creation, unemployment, investment and growth in the productive sector of Ontario, resulting from the operation of the exemptions created by paragraphs 38 and 38(a) of section 5(1) of The Retail Sales Tax Act, as enacted by section 3 of this Act; and shall lay a report setting out the results of the review before the assembly, if it is in session, and if it is not at the commencement of the next ensuing session.”
And that sections 6 and 7 of the bill be renumbered as sections 7 and 8 respectively.
Mr. Peterson: Very briefly --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Before the member speaks to the amendment, I’m wondering if he might change the wording. The reference to minister in The Retail Sales Tax Act is to the Minister of Revenue and I think probably this is a review that, if it is to be done, should be done by Treasury. I’m wondering if he would be agreeable to changing the words “the minister” to the full title “the Treasurer of Ontario and Minister of Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs.”
Mr. Chairman: In the second line?
Mr. Peterson: I’ll happily do that.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In the second line. If he will so agree I will accept the amendment.
Ms. Bryden: I just wanted to say that our party intends to support this amendment. We’ve been asking for studies of this sort for a considerable time. In fact it should be part of an ongoing review of any exemption to monitor the effects of it.
We really think that the forthcoming exemption should be tied to performance. The ministerial discretion which is there, which we’ve mentioned in the second reading debate, could possibly be used to withdraw the exemption from companies which do not perform in the sense of providing additional investments and additional jobs. Certainly that’s something the minister should be looking at.
In addition we would also hope there will be a study of the current programme, which is due to expire December 31, 1976, as to its effect and whether the $410 million that has been spent on it has actually produced any increase in jobs in this province.
Motion agreed to.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 7 and 8, as amended, agreed to.
Bill 170, as amended, reported.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Bill 139.
Clerk of the House: Bill 139, An Act respecting Employees’ Health and Safety.
Mr. Chairman: We are dealing with Bill 139. Can we have a Minister of Labour?
Mr. Deans: Or anybody else who cares to talk on it?
Mr. Swart: We’ll lend you some.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, if the committee would just give me a few minutes -- I think the Minister of Labour felt there was going to be a little more time spent on the retail sales tax exemption. We have now sent for her. We can have a brief musical interlude or whatever else you might want to do.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We could sing.
Mr. Deans: Oh no, you can’t, I heard you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: White Christmas, Jingle Bells.
Hon. Mr. Welch: We could, if you thought we’d the time, move out of committee and give Bill 170 third reading as the Treasurer won’t be here next week.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved the committee rise and report.
Motion agreed to.
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved third reading of Bill 170, An Act to amend The Retail Sales Tax Act.
The House divided on the motion for third reading of Bill 170, which was approved on the following vote:
Worton -- 55.
Ziemba -- 25.
Ayes 55; nays 25.
House in committee of the whole.
EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT (CONTINUED)
House in committee on Bill 139, An Act respecting Employees’ Health and Safety.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: When we were last discussing this bill, the hon. member for Nickel Belt had the floor.
An hon. member: Which labour critic do we have today from that great party?
Ms. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, when we adjourned this debate on Tuesday last, we were debating section 1 of the bill.
Mr. Chairman: Could we have some order please?
Mr. Laughren: Could we have some sound, too? When we were debating section 1 of the bill, we had a prolonged debate on section 1(b). At that time, I intended to move other amendments to section 1 as well but after discussing them with a number of people who were most helpful in working out some of the legal niceties of the bill, I have reduced some of our intended amendments because we felt they were either not necessary or redundant.
In section 1(b) of the bill we still wish to move an amendment. Since we had considerable debate on it on Tuesday last, I would ask the Chairman’s direction as to whether or not he wishes me to move it again, although it has been moved once.
Ms. Chairman: If the language has been changed I think you should move it again.
Mr. Laughren: I will move it again then, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that clause (b) of section 1 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“Employer includes a person, firm, association, body, corporation or manager as defined in Part IX of The Mining Act, who or which has, in connection with the operation of a place of employment, one or more employees in his or its service.”
Do you want to read all of the amendments to (b), (c), (d), and (g) at the same time?
Mr. Laughren: Perhaps I should send you another copy of the amendments. The only other amendment to section 1 is two additions -- (h) and (i), to section 1.
Mr. Chairman: We have that.
Mr. Laughren: You have that? I shall move that now if you wish.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that the said section 1 be amended by adding thereto the following clauses: (h) Occupational health means, subclause (i) the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers; subclause (ii) the prevention among workers of ill-health caused by their working conditions; subclause (iii) the protection of workers in their employment from factors adverse to health; subclause (iv) the placing and maintenance of workers in an occupational environment adapted to their physiological and psychological conditions.
“Clause (i) Health and safety representative means a health and safety representative selected by employees he represents.”
Mr. Mancini: I believe we discussed section 1(b) the other day. My colleague the member for Sarnia (Mr. Bullbrook) put forward a very strong case on why we should not accept section 1(b) as amended by the member for Nickel Belt and we are not going to support this section.
While I am up, I would like to speak to the new section 1(h).
My colleague the member for Nickel Belt goes into a long definition and a long explanation of occupational health. I was really quite interested to see in section 1(h)(iv) the placing and maintenance of workers in an occupational environment adapted to their physiological and psychological condition. Really he’d probably have to have the workers take psychological tests to have something like this carried out. He goes just too far. He makes the whole bill unworkable, if we are going to have something as Utopia-like as this.
He goes on to talk about the prevention among workers of ill-health caused by their working conditions. It already states in the bill that if the worker feels that a certain piece of machinery or work place will not benefit his health, he has the power not to continue to work and to bring this to the attention of his union steward and also the management. He also has appeals from their decision. I believe once again we are seeing words and amendments just for the sake of being placed.
Mr. Laughren: I will not continue the debate on clause (b) because we did cover that the other night. But on clause (h), I was not merely trying to put in amendments just for the sake of adding words but rather to establish just what we mean by occupational health.
It is agreed this is a bill affecting employees’ health and safety, yet there is no definition in the bill as to what is really meant by occupational health and safety. I understand the minister feels that would be more appropriate when the omnibus legislation comes in.
All I am saying is let’s establish right now what occupational health means. Would the member who just spoke for the Liberals or the minister have any objection to that kind of goal for the work place? No one is suggesting in this amendment there is a contravention of the Act if they don’t strike it right on, if that doesn’t happen. I don’t think it’s Utopian at all. I see nothing wrong with establishing those kinds of goals for workers in the work place.
What is wrong with saying there should be a maximum of physical, mental and social well-being for the workers in the work place? Maybe that is what we all are striving for. It is not just a case of determining the maximum output, but rather the maintenance and the well-being of the workers in the work place. Increasingly we know that the factors that affect workers’ health are not necessarily physical but could be psychological, or could be mental and physiological as well.
Certainly any legislation that is striving to improve health and safety conditions in the work place should have in its content this kind of clause which says this is what we are striving for and that the people in the work place responsible for occupational health, namely the employers, the employees and any government inspectors who might intervene at some stage, should be aware of what we mean by occupational health in the work place. For that reason we have introduced this amendment.
Clause (i) has been added primarily because the health and safety representative is not defined and yet it is discussed in other parts of the bill. We felt it should be in the definition section of the bill to indicate that what we mean by a health and safety representative is simply a worker selected by the employees. I don’t think there was any other intent in the minister’s bill, but this does set it out as a definition of what a health and safety representative is.
Mr. Mancini: I have to disagree with the hon. member for Nickel Belt. It states very clearly in section 2 of the bill, and I quote: “Where an employee in a work place has reasonable cause to believe that a machine, device or thing is unsafe for him to use or operate or a place in or about a work place is unsafe for him to work in,” and so on. I think it states very clearly what the intent of the bill is. It’s to give the employee the right to refuse work which he considers to be dangerous to his health or his safety. I really don’t think we have to go into the area of pipe dreams where the member for Nickel Belt talks of the psychological conditions --
Mr. Davidson: Are you saying the safety of the worker is a pipe dream?
Mr. McClellan: Since when is occupational health a pipe dream?
Mr. Davidson: Would you repeat that?
Mr. Mancini: It is stated very clearly in section 2; and really, I think this part of the bill, amended as suggested, will make it totally unworkable. However, Mr. Chairman, I believe that we are ready to accept section 1(i) of the bill, and only that portion.
Mr. Germa: Mr. Chairman, it is quite obvious that the member for Essex South really doesn’t understand what the member for Nickel Belt is trying to accomplish. Maybe he might understand this -- when we are talking about social well-being we are not talking about the roof caving in on your head. We know that part is in the bill, to protect you from physical damage; but there are other things in the work place --
Mr. Mancini: You guys want to introduce all those fancy words and it is just not going to work.
Mr. Germa: There are other things in the work place which are a hazard to workers, and I suppose it’s because of your lack of experience that you don’t really understand what you are talking about.
Let me just give you a small instance of a situation, and I hope the minister is listening intently to this.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh always, Mr. Germa.
Mr. Germa: I know you received my advice very readily on former occasions; now listen to this.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I hear it.
Mr. Breithaupt: She receives it but she may not accept it.
Mr. Germa: I wish the House leader wouldn’t interrupt the minister; I’ve asked her to pay attention to what I’m going to tell her. I ask her to listen. I cannot force her to listen, of course, but I have requested.
On Monday last, Mr. Chairman, I had occasion to meet with some people who work in the smelter at Falconbridge Nickel Mines. They were complaining about the noise in the work place and said the only place they could get any respite from the noise was in the lunch room, which wasn’t very much respite anyway. I asked them what the noise level in the lunch room was and they told me it was 89 decibels. This is where people go to get out of the noise. They go into a room at 89 decibels, when we know that 90 decibels is the damage point.
So there is what the member for Nickel Belt is talking about, the social well-being of the workers. We’re not talking about the machine which is unsafe to operate. That’s only part of the hazards. There are greater hazards than the physical hazards, the psychological hazards, the hazards to hearing.
How can a person properly have his lunch; how does his digestive system function in a noise level of 89 decibels? That’s part of the strain. How much strain can the human body take? Eight hours of noise in excess of 90 decibels, and then you have to have a lunch room with a noise level at 89 decibels.
That’s why it is necessary for clause (h) to be in there, to take into consideration the total human being; not only his broken arms and his broken legs, but all of those other things that go to make up a person’s anatomy, including protection from noise.
Mr. Chairman: Does any other member wish to speak to the amendment? The hon. Minister.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Chairman, while I can listen with sympathy and a certain degree of concern to the statements made by the hon. members for Sudbury and Nickel Belt, on reading the definition of occupational health under clause (h) I would have to tell you that these indeed are the goals of the Ministry of Labour in proposing this kind of bill. However, as the hon. member for Nickel Belt has suggested, we believe it is inappropriate to introduce this section at this time, because this is much more appropriate for the omnibus health and safety legislation.
The purpose of this bill is an important first step, as I have said on at least three or four occasions. What we are attempting to do with this bill is to ensure the right of the worker, in using his good judgement, to refuse to do work which he considers to be unsafe for him; to ensure that in exercising that good judgement he will not be unduly penalized; to ensure that there will be some representation of workers in the development of programmes for occupational health and safety through health and safety committees in the work place or the appointments of health and safety representatives.
It is our intent -- and we are working on the omnibus legislation right now -- to introduce a comprehensive bill which will incorporate some of the goals that have been stated here. As they are presently stated in the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Nickel Belt, I would have to have some concern about some of the wording.
I do not believe it is the intent of this House at this time to delay this piece of legislation while we concern ourselves unduly with semantics. I believe it’s important that we pass this piece of legislation at this time in order to ensure that the kinds of moves we wish to make to protect the health and safety of workers will be enacted and that we can get on with the careful examination, in the drafting of the omnibus legislation, of the very useful suggestions made by the hon. member for Nickel Belt.
Regarding amendment number one, which is clause (b) of section 1 of the bill, it is really unnecessary to define employer. The employer is already defined in The Construction Safety Act and The Industrial Safety Act. We have specifically added in our proposed Act a reference to the manager as defined within The Mining Act in order to ensure that that individual with direct responsibility for a mining establishment will be included in the responsibilities of these Acts. But “employer” is also defined in common law, and to encumber this Act with a whole series of words which do not necessarily mean anything specifically related to this Act, I think is also inappropriate at this time.
I don’t have any question about accepting the health and safety representative definition, although in the amendment we are proposing for that specific section, I think the definition is clearly delineated so that there won’t be any question about who the health and safety representative is as far as the Act is concerned. If the House feels it’s necessary to include the definition of health and safety representative, I would only ask that they accept my suggestion that “a health and safety representative selected by the employees that he or she represents” would be a very good idea. I am not particularly enamoured of this definition, because I don’t think it adds anything to the Act. If it’s the wish of this House to add that specifically, then I would hope that the members of the House would also accept my amendment regarding the role of the safety and health representative as we have set it out in section 4, I believe it is. But I really feel very strongly that we do not at this time require the kinds of fairly extensive definitions which are set out in clause (h) regarding occupational health.
I agree with the goals. I agree that they are the goals to which we should be striving. But I would warn the House that at this time we do not have the mechanisms nor the sophisticated capability to do all of the things which are suggested here. This is the goal to which we are working. This is the philosophy of the ministry. Whether you have to have that philosophy defined specifically at the beginning of an Act is something which I question.
Mr. Warner: If I understand the process correctly, when we are working in the committee stage our essential goal is to try and create some good legislation. We are looking at the clauses, we are looking at the suggestions that are put forward and we are trying to work them the best way we can to end up with a good bill. I should say, by the way, that quite frankly I have found the committee work to be a little better outside of the chamber when it takes place in the committee rooms; somehow we don’t end up in the same kind of divisions that appear to be developing here.
I take the minister’s comment to mean that what is embodied in our proposal for clause (h) to be in general terms acceptable to her as goals and aims or objectives of what her ministry is trying to do and, in fact, what the ministry is presently working on for the omnibus bill, which I understand is to come forth in the spring some time. Or at least that is the target that you have set out for yourself. Then is it not reasonable to say that if you are not entirely satisfied with the way we have worded this particular section that you could come back at some point during our discussion of this bill with your own particular wording, your own suggestion, that also aims at the goals that are expressed here?
As far as I am concerned we have some particular goals. They have been expressed, and if we haven’t expressed them entirely in the precise language that you would like to see, then I would be interested in seeing your suggestion and how you would like to see it work. Then perhaps we can end up incorporating what I think is a very important principle in that section into the bill now and perhaps in some way save you the difficulty of having to work it into your omnibus bill or perhaps strengthening what starts out here.
You mentioned earlier that this Bill 139 is a beginning, in some sense. It is a beginning to something. The omnibus bill I take it will follow up some of the things that we do in Bill 139. Does it make sense then to incorporate the essence of clause (h) in this bill now, and then follow it up in the omnibus bill that appears in the spring?
In conclusion I would ask the minister if she could consider taking the essence of clause (h), putting forward some of her own wording and let us have a look at it as we go through the committee stage. Perhaps we could stand down this section, if that is agreeable to the critics, and wait for the minister to come back with her own particular response. Let us take it from there, and see if we can develop this bill the way it should be done, without political divisions, and see if we can end up with a good piece of legislation for the workers in the province of Ontario.
Hon. B. Stephenson: In response to that suggestion I would have to say that although I would be very willing to attempt to spend some time to devise some delineation of the goal for occupational health I would have to say that it would probably take much more than the next 10 days to two weeks to do it in a way which is rational, which can be enforced and which can in fact be described accurately for the benefit of all of the people who are going to be concerned with this bill.
For about five years all of those individuals concerned about health worked with the World Health Organization to define health for that organization. That was done approximately 12 years ago, and there still is no agreement that that goal is the proper one for that definition and that activity. What I am saying is that I really don’t know how one could at this time say that we are going to, as a result of this specific Act -- which has nothing to do with the placing of workers, with the maintenance of workers in an occupational environment adapted to their physiological and psychological condition. This simply does not apply to this interim bill. If indeed we can do something -- if we can devise testing, if we can devise programmes which can reach these goals, and I am not at all sure that we are able to do that at this time, although that may be our ultimate goal.
It seems to me that it would be entirely inappropriate to include in this bill those sections to which they are not directly relevant. I believe they are reasonably relevant to the development of the omnibus bill, which I have said repeatedly will be developed in major consultation with the groups which are going to be affected by it.
I’m not simply talking about employers or employees, I am talking as well about health professionals of various kinds, industrial hygienists, occupational health nurses, physicians who have had some experience in this area, psychologists and all sorts of people. With their expert advice, I think we probably can develop for the omnibus bill this kind of definition which will be rational and which we can indeed live with -- all of us. But I would urge you right now to consider holding the definition set out here until the omnibus bill is introduced, because we simply do not have the means and the mechanism, the technical expertise nor the professional expertise to accomplish all of them at this time. As I said, I really don’t think they are relevant to this specific legislation.
Mr. Mancini: I would like to say again that we are still under the opinion that clause (h) and the definition are just not workable. We cannot accept them in their present form. I would like to say that we will be supporting clause (i) because we feel it’s necessary. Just as a toss back to the member for Sudbury, who is very concerned about my experience, I’ve noticed in the House on many many occasions members of his particular party who have not worked in steel mills stand up to speak on labour legislation and labour matters.
Mr. Mackenzie: I am encouraged that the minister makes the point that this is the direction or one of the aims of her omnibus bill.
Mr. Mancini: Section 2 will tell you that.
Mr. Mackenzie: You see the merit, even though you may not agree with all the wording, and the direction we are trying to take. That’s encouraging. What is not encouraging is to have members in this House refer to this kind of direction for the safety and health of workers as a pipe dream.
Mr. Mancini: On a point of order.
Mr. Chairman: There is no point of order.
Mr. Mackenzie: What I do want you to consider is that, as you said, it has taken five years -- without reaching agreement -- for the World Health Organization to define the word health. One of the things that sometimes forces some action and some agreement, if this is a sound direction -- and we feel it is and that it should be in the bill -- and one of the ways you get the expertise is by doing.
One of the things that has bothered us is the length of time it seems to take to make any positive moves in this whole field. It is a question of months and years. I am wondering how long we would be debating those same sections, even in the omnibus bill. I happen to feel that necessity sometimes means some pretty positive action.
If we now lack the expertise or the machinery, if we put that into legislation -- and certainly there’s agreement at least that it’s the direction to go -- then we’ll get that kind of expertise. This is a crucial bill and it is before us now. I’m not sure what’s going to happen over the next few months. I think there has to be some action in this particular session.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I beg your indulgence for some direction. May I ask the member for Nickel Belt to classify something?
Mr. Chairman: Yes.
Mr. Sweeney: I haven’t seen these amendments before. I believe I can understand what is intended by the first three parts of clause (h), but I must confess I am somewhat at a loss to understand the long-range implication of the fourth subclause of clause (h). If the member could please explain whether or not he himself has thought through the long-range consequences and implications of it and if they are workable, I would appreciate that information because I can’t quite fathom it myself.
Mr. Laughren: I don’t see any separation in principle of subclause (iv) from the first three subclauses. It has just been broadened out a bit to include the physiological conditions. I might say that putting this kind of definition in the bill does not, as the minister implied, attach any encumbrance to the bill. It does not make the bill any less workable. It does not make any contraventions of the Act more difficult to deal with.
It is simply stating in the bill what occupational health means to those of us who made it law in the province of Ontario. I think that by adding subclause (iv), wherein we say that occupational health means placing and keeping workers under environmental and occupational conditions which are adapted to their particular psychological and physiological conditions, we are merely saying that should be one of the goals.
On the weekend I saw the Charlie Chaplin film called “Modern Times,” I don’t know whether or not other members have ever seen that but --
Mr. Drea: It was about your party. Your biography.
Mr. Davidson: And you were the star.
Mr. Laughren: -- in the film, it was like subclause (iv), Mr. Chairman. The star, Charlie Chaplin, was having enormous difficulty on an assembly line. The workmen said the management kept speeding it up on them and, without exaggerating, there was nothing unsafe about the speeding up of the assembly line but it sure didn’t do Charlie’s psychological and physiological condition any good, I’ll tell you. While that was a parody on it, nevertheless it spoke directly to the kind of conditions we’re trying to delineate in subclause (iv).
Mr. Mancini: Who’s going to enforce it?
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, there really is nothing in the remaining part of the bill that requires enforcement. What we are saying is let’s establish the principle of occupational health. The minister agreed. The only part where we disagree, I think, is that she is saying, “We’re going to have omnibus legislation. Let’s not get into all that now. Let’s wait and go through the consultant process and then we’ll build these into the omnibus legislation.” That’s what I hear her saying. All we’re saying is in view of the fact that this bill will be brought into the omnibus legislation anyway, let’s get it in there now. You and I don’t know what’s going to happen between now and the time that legislation is before this chamber. There’s a great deal of water to pass under the bridge before then.
For those reasons we have put things such as this in the bill not because it’s going to necessarily -- it won’t make it any more difficult to administer. Putting in the goals of occupational health and what occupational health is all about has nothing to do with making the bill easy or hard to administer. It has nothing to do with the penalty section of the bill.
It’s simply saying to the workers of this province and to the employers of this province -- this is what we mean by occupational health. If they ask us what in the world are we trying to do down there in Queen’s Park with all this publicity on occupational health, we’ll say to them that’s what we mean by occupational health in the province of Ontario. Let’s make the work place a better place to live, a better place to work for the workers of Ontario. It’s as simple as that.
Mr. Sweeney: If I could very briefly review it, it seems to me that clause (h), subclauses (i) to (iii), do fit, in some way, with the bill. I can follow that but subclause (iv) has a number of -- what shall I say? -- judgemental terms which leave it wide open to interpretation. That’s my concern.
If I may explain -- take the words placing workers; immediately I’m concerned about who is going to do this placing. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the intent but that’s one of the interpretations which comes out and it’s fraught with danger. For example, I can see a centralized placement agency which would take an awful lot of freedom away from workers to decide for themselves where they want to work. That may not be the member’s intent but that’s one of the judgemental decisions which could be made there.
Take the word adapted. Adapted in what way? Does it have to be adapted every day, every hour, every month when someone feels it should be adapted? On a complex industrial site the kinds of adaptation which may be required over a short period of time may be totally impossible.
Take such words as the worker’s psychological condition. Psychological condition at what point in time and based upon whose judgement?
An hon. member: The morning after.
Mr. Sweeney: I mean, let’s really stretch it and say that a worker had a serious marital problem at home just before he left for work, and he comes in obviously very psychologically upset, extremely so.
Mr. Laughren: Traumatized even.
Mr. Sweeney: Yes, that could be. What do we do when he gets to work? How do we decide whether he’s fit to work or not, and what adaptations do we have to make in the work place to enable it? It’s for these kinds of reasons, Mr. Chairman, that I see subclause (iv) fraught with many dangers. It’s for this reason, not for the intent that I think the member has, and a very valid intent, but the way in which it’s worded here, the way in which this could be misinterpreted, the way in which it’s almost impossible to apply is what would concern me. I would most certainly be open to discussing other ways of getting at the same thing, but I certainly think it would be dangerous to take this subclause (iv) the way it is now with that wide range of misinterpretation open. I just don’t think that’s good legislation to write in something that is going to be so impossible of application. I guess maybe that’s all I can say.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The intent of legislation, as I understand it, is to provide a framework within which the people of this province can function in order to ensure that the laws of the province are maintained and that their well-being is protected. The purpose of this piece of legislation is to ensure that certain actions will be taken at this time to provide for a greater input from each and every individual worker in this province into the development of programmes of occupational health and safety, and a measure of exercise of judgement on behalf of each of those workers to ensure that he or she makes rational decisions regarding their own work place and that their rights are protected in this area.
The hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot has raised a very interesting point related to clause (h) (iv). Exactly the same point may be raised with clause (h) (i), because who, for example, is the individual who is to make the judgement about what the highest degree of mental and social well-being of each worker is outside of the worker?
These are laudatory goals. They are goals that we should all be looking at with a great deal of concern and the hope of establishing that kind of programme, but it seems to me that the addition of this kind of definition, if you like, or broad outline, or view of the goals which we should all have in this are is not appropriate at this time in this piece of legislation.
I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that I really have concerns about the necessity of including clause (b) as it is modified or proposed to be modified by the official opposition. It is not necessary. Those definitions are already present in law and it is unnecessary to encumber this bill with excessive wordiness.
I say to you that clause (h) is inappropriate at this time because it does not relate directly to the purpose of the bill which is being presented but is something which I shall look at with great interest and with gratitude in the development of the omnibus legislation. I say to you as well that clause (i) is, again, unnecessary because that is defined in other parts of the Act.
I really don’t think that we should enact legislation which is so burdened with excessive verbiage that no one really is going to pay any attention to definitions. I think it’s important that we get on with this business right now and do away with this long drawn-out discussion of specific added sections which would be much more appropriately discussed in the consultation process in the development of the omnibus legislation which has already begun.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak on the proposed amendments of clause (h) and subclause (iv), I guess it is, on the psychological effect on employees. The member for Nickel Belt is concerned about this problem, and it pretty well gives it to you in detail in the report of the royal commission on the health and safety of workers in mines on page 251. Perhaps this is what he’s concerned about. It says:
“Within the province responsibility for the health and safety of workers is divided between The Mining Act, The Industrial Safety Act, The Construction Safety Act, and certain other pieces of legislation. In each of the foregoing major Acts responsibility for compliance is placed upon the employer, whose operations are subject to inspection by government inspectors. The administration of The Mining Act (part IX) by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the mines engineering branch” -- and he goes on to say that the Ministry of Labour administers The industrial Safety Act and The Construction Safety Act.
On page 252 he says: “In the commission’s view the existing occupational health protection branch in the Ministry of Health has conducted critically important studies with inadequate resources and has been forced to work in a crisis-to-crisis atmosphere which is not conducive to the development of public understanding of the complexities of occupational health and safety. The commission believes that the priority given to the branch reflects the absence of a legal mandate as well the massive preoccupation of the provincial health care system with disease and diagnosis…”
“Few mining companies provide their workers with the services of a resident or consulting physician experienced in occupational medicine, and in the industry there are a few active specialists in industrial hygiene.”
I think that’s what the member for Nickel Belt is trying to get through in this amendment. I think the amendment perhaps is premature. The minister has indicated that there is an omnibus bill that will follow this. To continue quoting the report on the health and safety of workers in mines, on page 254, I think this is what the minister is trying to get at: “That a Health and Safety in Mines and Plants Act, separate from The Mining Act, be prepared to replace part IX and the relevant sections of part XI of The Mining Act and be administered within an Occupational Health and Safety Authority established in the Ministry of Labour.”
I think that’s the point that the minister is trying to convey to all of us here and I would have to agree with her that the omnibus bill will go into more detail, giving a better understanding of the rights of employees in the industry in Ontario.
I cannot support the amendment regarding clause (h)(iv), I believe it is. I think the omnibus bill will cover this in more detail, and it is perhaps going to be the governing factor in occupational health for every employee in Ontario.
The key thing is that this bill here gets the show on the road, gives each employee the right to have input in safety matters concerning any industry in Ontario. I believe this is the first bill. The second bill will come back a lot sooner than has been predicted here, and I hope it will be one of the first pieces of legislation in the new session of Parliament.
It is the key, I think, to the matter concerning a number of employees in Ontario. It’s going to give improvement in occupational health and safety, and improved hygienic conditions in every place of employment in Ontario. I don’t like to see the filibustering of this particular bill -- perhaps I shouldn’t say that -- but I think we should get on with it, and amendments can follow after this bill is passed in the Ontario Legislature. I think we should get on with it now.
Mr. Chairman: Ready for the question?
All those in favour of Mr. Laughren’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Can we stack this one?
Mr. Laughren: Stack, please.
Mr. Chairman: Stack.
On section 2 of the bill, I understand there is a further amendment.
On section 2:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Laughren moves that section 2 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“Where an employee in a work place has reasonable cause to believe that a machine, device or thing is unsafe for him to use or operate, or may cause a hazard for another employee, or a place in or about a work place is unsafe for him to work in, or a place where hazardous emissions are above the allowable standards or a work practice may cause his work to be unsafe, or the machine, device, thing or place is in contravention of The Industrial Safety Act, 1971, The Construction Safety Act, 1973, or part IX of The Mining Act, or any regulations thereunder as the case may be, the employee may refuse to use or operate the machine, device or thing or work in the place.”
Mr. Laughren: This is one of the two sections of the bill about which we feel so very strongly. We find it unthinkable that a government would bring in a piece of legislation like this, in which it gives the worker the right to say “That place of work is unsafe for me,” without building into the section of the bill as well the right, indeed, the obligation to say, “If that place of work is unsafe for my fellow employee I also must have the right to refuse to work under those conditions.”
It is unthinkable that an employee would be allowed to say “I shall not work because it will hurt me, but if it hurts a fellow employee I do not have the right to refuse to work.” There are many examples which could be used to bolster the argument.
I attended the same meeting my colleague from Sudbury was talking about with the Falconbridge workers and an inspector from the Ministry of Natural Resources. The workers were describing problems of working with blast furnaces and how the blast furnaces were inadequately protected by fire jackets or boiler jackets, as they call them.
It seems to me that if the workers who are directly involved with that blast furnace see that it is not safe and that if it blew up it would hurt not just those people around them but people in the whole area, the immediate vicinity and even beyond the immediate vicinity, they would have an obligation to say, “That is an unsafe practice.” If a worker is operating a machine at point A and 50 feet, 100 feet or 200 feet down the plant there is an emission coming out of the machine which the worker is operating at point A, that worker should also have an obligation, not just a privilege, to say, “I will not operate this machine because of what it is doing to my brother down the line.”
Surely that is something which is terribly important. The minister, having gone so far as to say it is the right of workers to refuse to work under unsafe conditions, should take that one extra step and say that of course it includes dangerous conditions for a fellow employee as well.
By the way, in there we have added the term work practice because we felt it goes beyond a work condition. One of the things which triggered our putting in the term work practice was the construction pushers we heard about during the submission part of the bill when it was in committee. This is when a construction employee pushes the other construction workers on the job. We feel that is or certainly could be an unsafe work practice and we wish to implement it in the bill -- that it is considered a work practice which could be dangerous to a fellow employee.
I do not think the argument should be used that something like this could be built into the omnibus legislation. It’s a particular section of a bill. It’s one of the key principles of the whole bill and we are not saying change the principle of the bill but add to it the protection of fellow employees.
While I am on my feet, I must say I resent the inference of the minister that because we bring in some amendments to a bill to improve it in the way we think it should be improved -- we don’t expect the minister to agree with them all -- we are somehow delaying the legislative process and endangering the possibility of having this legislation passed. It is grossly unfair to impute that motive to us.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You said it.
Mr. Laughren: No, the minister said it as well. This morning the minister said that.
Mr. McClellan: Look at the tape.
Mr. Laughren: That is not our intention. We have waited a long time for this legislation. We want this legislation through in the next day or so and we will do everything we can to ensure that it is passed in this session.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, as I asked you the last time, I’d like the opportunity to get clarification from the member who has just spoken. I can certainly see the sense of not asking one worker to do something which is going to cause injury to another worker but, if I understand it correctly, the way the amendment reads, could it not also be interpreted to mean that if you are at a safe work place and a fellow worker, as you say, a couple of hundred yards down the line is at an unsafe work place you would have the right of not working because his working condition is unsafe? I’m just asking if you won’t reread what I thought I heard you say. That’s the way it could be interpreted to me and I don’t think that’s your intent.
Mr. Laughren: May I respond to that, Mr. Chairman? That’s certainly not our intention and it’s not in our amendment. It says, “that is unsafe for him to use or operate or may cause a hazard for another employee.” If you start making a judgement on some other employee’s work place, it’s a judgement of what he or she is doing that would affect the work place of a fellow employee. There’s a big difference, and the words “may cause a hazard” are the key to understanding the point raised by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot.
Mr. McClellan: I think the argument around the protection of fellow employees from harm that a worker might cause to them has been well explained by the member for Nickel Belt. I wanted just to stress again the remarks that he made around the rationale for inclusion of the phrase “work practice.” I’ve talked on a couple of occasions about pushers in the construction industry and I don’t want to go into the details again. It is my very strong opinion that the existing legislation does not give construction workers adequate redress against the actions of pushers on construction sites. That there are a number of ways and means that construction employers have had traditionally to deal with employees who are attempting to assert their rights under The Construction Safety Act, and we heard very clearly during the hearings that one of those is simply reassignment to a job which is of a one-day duration and then the employee is terminated. So, of course, no employees are fired by virtue of claiming their rights under The Construction Safety Act to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.
The only redress that we can see is in a very tough right to refuse to work and we think that this bill can provide it. I think it’s important that that particular phenomenon be covered in this bill, even though you may argue that The Construction Safety Act prohibits the enforcement by management of unsafe work operations.
There isn’t sufficient redress in that bill. I don’t think that every single contingency can be covered specifically, although the attempt has to be made and the attempt has been made in The Construction Safety Act with I think 325 specific safe work requirements through the legislation.
Nevertheless, we know there are still problems in enforcement and more importantly problems in workers securing their rights to safety in construction. I feel that it has to do with the structure of the construction industry on the job site and of the practice of using pushers to drive people to ever increasing heights of productivity regardless of the consequences in terms of health and safety.
For this reason we have included the phrase “work practice.” It simply gives an additional redress to construction workers to refuse to work in situations where they are being driven, and harried and harassed to perform their work duties unsafely, and I would hope that the minister would accept our amendment in the spirit it is offered.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The purpose of this section of the bill is to provide each individual worker the opportunity to exercise his or her individual judgement about the place in which he or she works, related directly to the kind of work which that individual does. If a task being undertaken by a worker were obviously unsafe for other workers, then in the judgement of that worker he has a responsibility to refuse to do it or to carry it out. I do not believe that that specific extrapolation of the statement needs to be made in this Act because I believe all workers are sufficiently concerned about their fellow workers to use and exercise their judgement responsibly.
I have some suspicion that such expansion would provide the legal beagles who might be examining this Act with a field day in terms of the kinds of arguments they might devise in order to oppose certain activities on behalf of certain workers. I would think it would be much wiser to leave section 2 exactly as it is at this time. If it is found in the short period of time in which this interim bill will be functioning not to cover all the matters and all the exigencies it should cover, then of course this bill is not etched in stone. That modification can be made at the time the omnibus bill is introduced, but I think it would be much more rational to leave it in this form at this time and proceed in that direction.
Mr. Laughren: For that very argument, I would use the argument the other way, that because this is interim legislation it will be welded in with the omnibus legislation and therefore it’s an ideal opportunity to accept this amendment. Believe me, I would be the last one to encourage any more field days for the legal profession. I think they have a perpetual field day. I would do nothing that I thought would increase the possibility of that.
Mr. Breithaupt: There is no question about that at all.
Mr. Laughren: I am glad the member for Kitchener agrees with me. I think it’s an ideal opportunity to accept the amendment. If there is a problem with it, by the time the omnibus legislation is being dealt with we will know about it, I can hear the arguments now. When we get to the omnibus legislation, the argument will be this isn’t some kind of individual bill we are dealing with any more. This is the legislation we are going to have to live with in the province of Ontario. You won’t be willing to accept an amendment such as this at that time.
I would suggest that this amendment be accepted. I don’t think that it’s contrary to the spirit of the bill. I believe the minister means it when she says that the employees have a sense of responsibility to fellow workers, which implies that they would refuse to work anyway. All I am suggesting is, let’s not leave that open to debate because I can hear the legal beagles already making a decision without this amendment being added to the bill. For those reasons, I would urge this assembly to accept the amendment. I think it’s a reasonable amendment. I don’t think it does anything that is contrary to the principle of the bill and to the minister’s comments.
Mr. Mackenzie: This is one of the two most important sections of the bill as far as we are concerned. I think it’s just as ludicrous to argue that we will protect the worker’s right to refuse that job and not at the same time and in the same bill protect his right to refuse to do a job if it does mean a danger to one of his fellow employees. I would hate to leave that up to a judgement, particularly if it ever got in the hands of lawyers, and I don’t think that’s the intent. It’s a problem enough if you have to go through an arbitration case with it.
The minister knows, if I can use an example, that we are this coming week dealing with the fourth and final step of a particular grievance at Stelco with the crane operation, which I have raised in this House. I would point out that some of the new heavy cranes now are pretty well bounce-free and it might very well be argued that there was no hazard to the employee operating that crane if a load should drop. But, let me tell you, if there are defective claws on that crane and he knows the dropping of that load could kill some employees down below, then I would sure like to see him have the protection in this particular bill. I think it’s essential that that amendment be in this particular clause of the bill.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, through you to the minister and indirectly to the member who is proposing the amendment --
Mr. Drea: Don’t you ever get bored?
Mr. Sweeney: Madam Minister, would it make a difference to you, in terms of the argument you just gave, if the word “may” were replaced with “will”? It seems to be much stronger there, and I am not sure if I completely followed your argument before. Would that make a difference? That is simply a matter of question.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There are a number of problems with the amendment as proposed by the hon. member for Nickel Belt. Substituting “will” for “may” is not a solution, if I may say, because indeed “will” simply ensures the worker must make a decision about the relationship between his actions and the health and safety of other workers. That may, in fact, be imposing a responsibility which the worker is at this time either not willing to accept or perhaps even incapable of accepting. It is possible if it were written in this way that indeed an individual worker who did not do this could be charged under this Act, and I have some concern that this might happen.
In addition to that there are other factors within this section which I find troublesome at this time. There are allowable standards for a number of potentially toxic materials, but not all of them have been defined at this time, and not all of them do have standards set for them. To say that where hazardous emissions are above the allowable standards I guess would limit it to those which we have standards for at this time and may have in the future, but we don’t know that that is going to happen.
“Hazardous” is a word which is difficult to define. It could mean almost anything in terms of the potential effect on a human being. There are also some difficulties with the words “work practice” and “may cause” because I think that introduces a possibility which may not in fact be reasonable. These kinds of loose definitions, I am afraid, are those which could cause potential trouble with the application of the purpose of this section during the interim period in which this Act is due to function. It would be much better to see whether, in fact, this is adequate and whether we need to move further than to say we must go that far and then have to move back again. It would be better, I think, to be perhaps caught on the horns of the dilemma of omission rather than commission which is proved to be wrong in the factual instance of making the legislation apply.
Mr. Laughren: If I may, Mr. Chairman, just very briefly. It is inconsistent for the minister to argue that one moment we have excess verbiage in our amendment and the next to complain because we have left the definitions too loose. I see no problem at all with --
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, the word is difficult to define.
Mr. Laughren: -- the point that the minister raised about standards. Surely that is covered already, because we have already placed the whole matter in the judgement of the employee? That has already been established in principle. It is the judgement of the employee. That is what caused a lot of those groups that came before the committee to be so upset; the thought that we as legislators would give employees in the province of Ontario credit for having good judgement, and for not worrying too much about the possibility of abuses to the bill. I would suggest that there is no problem, that the opportunity for abuse or the possibility of abuse is too narrow that we should not concern ourselves with it.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I would like to direct the minister’s attention to just one sentence in the submission of the Ontario Federation of Labour. This is why I asked the question about changing “may” to “will”. The sentence reads: “Where an employee has reasonable grounds to believe that the unsafe conditions will cause injury to another employee, the employee must have the right to refuse to continue to work until the hazard is removed.” Madam Minister, I am just asking, for further clarification, what can an employee do in a situation like that when he, in fact, is doing something he has reasonable cause to believe will cause harm to someone else? Can you show me some place in this bill where he has the right to refuse to do that? If you can, then I can support you; but if you can’t, I think something has to be put in somewhere to give that right. It does seem like a valid point to me and I can’t see where the bill covers it. If you can I’d appreciate knowing it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Chairman, it is not specifically included in the Act as it is at the present time. It was my strong feeling that the right to refuse to do unsafe work has already been enshrined in The Industrial Safety Act and in The Construction Safety Act. I can read the section of The Construction Safety Act -- it’s on page 13, section 18(3) -- “No workman shall conduct himself so that he is likely to endanger himself or other persons.”
It seemed to me that this was already covered in The Industrial Safety Act and The Construction Safety Act --
Mr. Laughren: What about The Mining Act?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The Mining Act? The introduction of this specific section was to ensure that the same kind of right would be extended to workers within The Mining Act. Because the Barrett committee is presently examining all sections of part IX of The Mining Act and is coming forward with recommendations which will be included in the omnibus bill but has not yet completed its deliberations, we felt this was a good step forward for those workers in mines. The responsibility not to do things unsafe for other workers is presently enshrined in The Construction Safety Act and The Industrial Safety Act.
Mr. Laughren: But not the mines.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sure the recommendations to The Mining Act will include some area of this sort.
Mr. Laughren: You don’t know that.
Mr. Davidson: You can’t guarantee that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I don’t know that as a matter of fact at this time, but we felt that the workers in mines should have the right now to refuse to do work which is unsafe for them. Knowing the spirit within most mines, which is very good, those workers would, if they felt it to be unsafe for themselves, refuse to do work which they felt was unsafe for themselves and for their fellow workers.
Mr. McClellan: Put it in the bill.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would ensure that the concerns expressed within this proposed amendment will be examined very carefully when we are introducing the omnibus legislation specifically related to mines. I know that this is one area which has been examined carefully by the Barrett committee but we have not yet had its recommendations. As the members of this House know, that committee is made up of half employers and half employees within the mining area. I am sure they will have considered this kind of activity very carefully.
I do believe that we should receive the benefit of their long deliberations about the problems related to mines specifically. Therefore I would hope that the members of the House would accept section 2 as it is presently written, knowing that under The Industrial Safety Act and The Construction Safety Act the worker is specifically precluded from functioning in an area in which he is going to harm a fellow worker.
Mr. Mackenzie: Why not extend it?
Hon. B. Stephenson: In The Mining Act, we will look after this section when the Barrett committee report is received so that we can include it in the omnibus legislation.
Mr. Mackenzie: You give no reason for not doing it now.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I don’t know what their recommendation is.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, through you to the minister; I noted that the section referred to does cover what I’m concerned about. I also noticed that immediately following is the word “new,” which implies this is something which has been very recently introduced.
Hon. B. Stephenson: In 1973.
Mr. Sweeney: I am thinking in terms of recent referring to the printing of this Act. It wasn’t something that’s been in for a long time; it’s a new amendment.
At that particular point in time your ministry -- for which you were not responsible at that time -- surely the ministry as it existed felt that that had to be put in? There was some new way of viewing the situation if that kind of wording needed to be put in. If that were the case, and I understand from what you said it’s also in The Industrial Safety Act, although I don’t know where, how can you feel that it should be in here too? It seems to be inconsistent. I hope I’m not repeating the situation but I think it needs to be done.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Chairman, it was felt that because it was included already in The Construction Safety Act -- and that Act still applies in spite of this, as you very well know -- the responsibilities of employers and employees in construction safety and industrial safety are not in any way diluted by the passage of this Act. All we’re doing really is strengthening certain areas, particularly the right of the employee to refuse without concern for loss of his job or loss of his status within his place of employment.
My specific concern about including it here means that it would apply really only to those people who come under The Mining Act, and what I’m trying to tell you is that the employers and the employees in the area of mine safety have been involved for nine months now in a very careful deliberation of all the necessary modifications to The Mine Safety Act which should be included in a revision of that Act, which of course will now be indeed the omnibus health and safety legislation.
I would like to have the benefit of the deliberations which that very-well-informed committee has been carrying out before we expand anything further for mine safety at this point. Giving the individual worker the responsibility and the right to refuse, it seems to me, is an important and initial first step for mine safety. We don’t have to worry about the other areas because indeed it’s already there. I do think we should hear what the Barrett committee has to say in order to include its deliberations as the expanded section in the omnibus health and safety Act.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Chairman, if I could respond. On the basis of the very arguments that the minister uses, I would ask that other members in the chamber think about this matter for a moment. Right now, under The Construction Safety Act and Industrial Safety Act, all those workers are covered. They can refuse to work if working will endanger another employee. Workers in the mines, where we’ve had probably the most problems in the province of Ontario, are not covered.
For the minister to stand in her place and say that the Barrett committee is now studying The Mining Act and may very well bring in that recommendation is -- and I’ll choose my words carefully here -- if all that is meant to imply that that means the legislation will be changed, you know full well that the Barrett committee will merely make recommendations to the ministry. The Barrett committee is not writing legislation. They are a joint committee of management and labour studying The Mining Act. They will make recommendations for revisions of The Mining Act. There is nothing in their mandate that says they can change legislation, and for us to leave the miners of Ontario out from under the protection that other workers already enjoy is totally unacceptable to us.
Mr. Sweeney: Madam Minister, I understood one of the main thrusts of this new legislation, and one which we strongly support, is to begin to draw together a lot of loose ends. Somewhere in the legislation it says certain sections of The Mining Act and certain sections from the Ministry of Health are now going to come under your ministry. We applaud that. In that spirit, can we not also say that if The Construction Safety Act protects a group of workers in a way, The Industrial Safety Act protects another group of workers in a way in which we’re discussing here, that in the spirit of this new legislation, we should not also protect the people in the mining industry in the same way?
I fail to see how we can argue not to do that. If we believe it is important here and it’s important there, and we’re trying to consolidate, trying to pull together, how can we justify leaving out one group?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We are not leaving one group out.
Mr. Sweeney: I’m sorry, Mr. Chairman, it seems to go against the very spirit of the legislation. That’s what I’m trying to argue for. If I’m misunderstanding it, I would appreciate your understanding.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Chairman, I didn’t think we were leaving one group out at all. I am not sure about the content of part IX of The Mining Act. I do not know whether that kind of section is in that Act or not. I would have to ask those who are expert. That is why I have been hopefully awaiting the report of the Barrett committee because I felt they were the experts in this field who could give us the kind of information which was necessary.
I must tell you I have less concern with that specific phrase, “may cause a hazard for another employee,” except for the word “hazard”, than I have about the section that has been added later on, which at this time is one which we cannot really include in this Act. If it is indeed felt strongly that we must include for the workers in mines a phrase similar to that which is within The Construction Safety Act which makes the workman responsible -- in fact, he can be charged if he conducts himself in such a way that he is likely to endanger another person or himself -- then I would be very willing to add that kind of section.
I am not sure the wording of this amendment as presently before us accomplishes that in the same way that it does within The Industrial Safety Act.
Mr. Germa: Why do you hate miners?
Mr. Laughren: Question.
Mr. Chairman: There seems to be no more discussion on it. I hesitate to put the question unless the House wants to divide. If I put the question and the House divides, it means you have to resolve it.
There seems to be some agreement and a wish by the committee that clause (i) of Mr. Laughren’s amendment to section 1 be put by the Chair separately from the main amendment. With that consensus, I will do so now.
Mr. Laughren moved that section 1 be amended by adding thereto the following clause: “(i) ‘Health and safety representative’ means health and safety representative selected by employees he represents.”
Motion agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Laughren’s further amendment to section 1, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 20; nays 46.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Before I put Mr. Laughren’s amendment to section 2, I understand there is some consensus that if the amendment is defeated, it won’t carry this section because I understand the minister is prepared to bring in an amendment to section 2. Normally, if I put the amendment and the amendment is lost, it carries this section. Do I have general agreement from the committee?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Chairman: It is agreed.
The committee divided on Mr. Laughren’s amendment to section 2, which was negatived on the same vote.
Mr. Chairman: It is understood that the section does not carry.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, may I indicate that on Monday we will be back in committee of the whole House to continue our consideration of this and other legislation in committee. There will of course, be the private members’ hour on Monday afternoon between 5 and 6. For the information of members in organizing their time next week, the House will sit Monday evening, Tuesday evening and Thursday evening next week. So we’ll have three evenings next week, rather than the usual two.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 1:08 p.m.