30th Parliament, 4th Session

L001 - Tue 29 Mar 1977 / Mar 29 mar 1977

Tuesday, March 29, 1977, being the first day of the fourth session of the 30th Parliament of the province of Ontario for the dispatch of business pursuant to a proclamation of the Hon. P. M. McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of the province.

The House met at 3 p.m.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, having entered the House and being seated upon the throne, was pleased to open the session with the following gracious speech.


Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker and members of the legislative assembly:

Monsieur le président, mesdames et messieurs les membres de l’assemblée législative:

I welcome you to the fourth session of the 30th Parliament of Ontario, in this the Silver Jubilee Year of our beloved sovereign.

Les vingt-cinq années depuis l’accession au trône de la Reine Elizabeth II ont été marqués par de nombreux changements en technologie de même que dans le développement économique et social. Au Canada, comme en Ontario, ces changements ont transformé notre mode et notre rythme de vie.

The faith and optimism which Ontarians share with respect to Canadian Confederation emerge from a deep conviction about Canada and about Ontario’s place and role within Canada. It is not enough, however, for Canadians to face the challenges posed by Confederation simply with faith and hope. There must be a concrete programme in place which sustains national identity, broadens national dialogue and cements the ties of nationhood.

By sponsoring a forum on Canadian destiny in June, the government of Ontario will provide Canadians from all corners of our country an opportunity for constructive interchange and dialogue which, if pursued, should lead to greater understanding and sharing among regions and language groups.

The government will also take steps to increase the number of student and teacher exchanges that now take place between Ontario and the other provinces of this country. We feel that this type of person-to-person contact and communication has tremendous value in furthering understanding. We shall therefore seek the co-operation of industry and organized labour to develop similar exchanges for people in other walks of Canadian life.

At the same time, my ministers will continue to co-operate with the federal government and with the other provinces in every way to ensure that no needless division separates us in seeking the common goal of national unity and reconciliation.

A citizen’s faith in, and commitment to, his or her community and country remain the most important elements in building a nation. They are qualities that can make a national crisis manageable and temporary. But faith and commitment, if they are to be sustained, require that there be equitable distribution of economic opportunity.

It remains the government’s conviction that, in light of the level of unemployment across the country and the presence of a strong provincial government in Quebec that is committed to the partition of our country, all federalists who hold fiscal responsibilities must do what they can to keep our economy on a path of honest and strong growth. Economic arguments may not dissuade the hard-core romantics of separatism but economic results are vital to the survival of this country.

Unfair concentration of economic power in the hands of a few, and denial of opportunity to some, through no fault of their own, represent a potential danger to the people of Ontario and to national unity. It is a threat against which the government must be prepared to act if the fundamental fairness that binds our nation together is to remain part of the self-view of all Canadians.

In this respect, it is important that Ontario should hold out to Canada and Canadians an example of the stability and fairness that typify the best of democratic society. We must offer an example of a province where personal success is attainable by all who are willing to make a fair contribution. We must ensure, as the province of opportunity, that each citizen can participate fully in all aspects of life in Ontario, because we recognize equality of opportunity as the springboard to significant achievement.


This government firmly believes that the national anti-inflation programme should continue until the federal government and the provinces have developed a clear strategy to moderate inflation after the controls are lifted. Toward this goal, Ontario will set in motion a series of steps that will build upon the initiative begun with the recent Partnership for Prosperity conference. This exercise, so crucial to our future well-being, will involve extensive consultation with and the full co-operation of industry, labour and all segments of Ontario society -- an example now also being pursued by the federal government.

Joint government-private sector relations cannot go very far, however, if our 11 senior governments are going off in as many different directions. Thus, we must re-establish a sense of shared national purpose, for without common national goals there cannot be confidence, and without confidence there cannot be growth.

Ontario’s commitment to the AIB is also coupled with a commitment to ensure basic protections from unacceptable high costs for the citizens of our province. The rent control programme, initiated in 1975, will be continued until the scheduled end of the anti-inflation programme, and legislation to this effect will be presented to the House. Further, the government will present various policy options for continuing protection for tenants, to be implemented after the termination of the anti-inflation programme.

It is clear, however, that beyond the positive protection that it offers for tenants, rent control acts as a negative force in the drive to create new rental units in significant numbers. Only when more rental accommodation is available can market forces again take over and rent controls be eliminated. The Ministry of Housing will therefore introduce a specific programme to stimulate rental construction in areas of low vacancy. It is the government’s belief that this incentive will markedly increase rental supply, thereby easing the pressure on rents in the future.

Further, working in close co-operation with federal and municipal governments, my government will continue to increase the amount of rental housing for senior citizens and families of low income. Such efforts in the rental field will complement the recently announced federal-provincial AHOP-HOME programme, which now places home ownership within the reach of families of very moderate income.

As well, a series of legislative measures will be introduced to improve and secure the rights of condominium owners, both as purchasers and as residents.

To ensure full opportunity and a bright future for our people we need to expand the job-creating sectors of the Ontario and national economies. Concerted and intensive efforts must be made to reverse current high levels of unemployment.

To this end, it is hoped that significant assistance will be furnished though the federal budget to be presented on March 31. In turn, Ontario will complement federal actions intended to create employment, and develop our own fiscal policy to stimulate the economy and expand the province’s work force.

An additional stimulus to the provision of employment expansion opportunities is the continuing success of this province in restraining government spending. This limits government demand on private capital which can be directed toward the generation of jobs and growth.

The particular unfairness of national unemployment, to young people especially, and to our population as a whole, requires a specific government response.

Special funding to create jobs in both the private and public sectors will be a feature of the new Ontario budget. This initiative will place particular emphasis on the needs of young people who bear an unbalanced proportion of overall unemployment in Canada.

In its commitment to equality of economic opportunity for all Ontarians, the government will focus special attention on northern and eastern areas of the province.

Legislation will be presented to confirm the establishment of the new Ministry of Northern Affairs which will deal with the economic and social development of Ontario’s northern regions.

The fundamental aim of the government’s overall northern programme is to continue to increase the standard of living of northern residents. This government opposes any view that would commit the people of northern Ontario to economic disadvantage though an unreasonable and unthinking rejection of economic development. My government believes accommodations can and must be made to protect our recreational and natural heritage without condemning part of our population to economic inequality.

In this vein, the government will present amendments to The Environmental Assessment Act, as recommended by Mr. Justice Hartt, to assist in his examination into the feasibility of a major forest development in northwestern Ontario. This review will pay particular attention to native, environmental and social considerations. At the same time, steps will be taken by my government to examine and report on such development potential as might reasonably and responsibly be explored to the benefit not only of the people of the north, but of all of Ontario.

Increased efforts to reforest Crown lands, wherever licensed harvesting is permitted, will ensure the perpetual availability of renewable timber resources and continued economic prosperity in the north.

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission will assume a new role in the development of tourism in northern Ontario. ONTC and the Ministry of Industry and Tourism will plan and promote new recreational attractions in conjunction with those of established tourism interests, local councils and local business. The commission’s acquisition of four modern unit trains and delivery of a seventh aircraft to norOntair this spring are expected to figure largely in these efforts.

The impetus for effective economic development east of Metropolitan Toronto and in eastern Ontario will be provided by locating significant government operations in selected areas. Details will be presented to the House early in the session.

In recent years, my government has undertaken various measures to establish a more open and responsive relationship with the people of Ontario. In accepting the recommendations of the select committee of the Legislature on the Camp commission, the government has paved the way for the most open and balanced legislative forum in Canada. It is a forum whose expanded workload and openness require particular co-operation from all sides of the House. Sittings of the assembly are already televised and filmed by the media. The Ombudsman’s access to documentation on behalf of the citizens of our province is an example of openness unprecedented in Canadian parliamentary institutions.

In order that further progress might be made in broadening the processes of government and information-sharing and in order that this progress might be pursued with a proper concern for personal privacy, a commission on freedom of information and individual privacy will be named to study and recommend to the Legislature during this session appropriate means of ensuring both.

As further evidence of the government’s intention to follow this direction, a new Audit Act will be introduced giving the Provincial Auditor extensive new powers in serving the public interest through greater scrutiny of government expenditures and by ensuring internal efficiency and economy. The recommendations of a committee on customer service, which have already been made public, will be acted on through a special task force of senior government officials and the appointment of a new customer service co-ordinator. The major objectives of this programme are the simplification of government procedures and the improvement of public service sensitivity to the citizens of Ontario.

As citizens have a right to open and responsive government, they have also a right to due process of law and effective administration of justice. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) will present The Courts Administration Act to initiate a new approach to judicial administration. The Act will give appropriate recognition to the fundamental principles of judicial independence and ministerial accountability to the public. Family law legislation brought forward initially during the last session will be reintroduced.

You will be asked to consider amendments to The Police Act. This step follows considerable consultation with police commissions, police forces and representatives of various groups, and is intended to establish a code of behaviour and complaint procedures that will protect both the general citizenry and members of our police forces.

The Ministry of Education will launch three significant initiatives related to language instruction. The first will improve opportunities for young people to learn French as a second language. To achieve this, school boards will be offered increased financial incentives to encourage them to improve and extend French language instruction programmes in elementary schools across Ontario.

Ontario’s French language education system now serves, in 369 French language schools, 106,000 students whose first language is French. The government reaffirms its commitment to this system, and will introduce special legislation to guarantee establishment of a French language secondary school in Essex county.

Increased emphasis on language opportunities will be reflected in innovations that recognize the multicultural nature of our population. More resources will be available for intensive English language instruction for children of recent immigrants.

At the same time, while recognizing that French and English are the languages of instruction in Ontario’s schools, a heritage language programme will be supported, as a continuing education offering, to help Ontario’s many ethnic groups retain a knowledge of their mother tongues and continuing appreciation of their cultural backgrounds. The government accepts and values the multicultural character of our province, and believes that encouraging children to understand the language and culture of their parents contributes to the quality of both education and family life.

In the past decade, Ontario has seen a rapid growth of special services for children and youth. This province stands second to none in the number, variety and quality of services that now exist.

The government intends to unify these programmes so that the needs of individual children will be better served. More effective co-ordination will be achieved through legislation to consolidate provincial services for children with special needs within a single, integrated organization in the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Special education services will continue to be provided by the Ministry of Education and school boards.

In addition, provision will be made for common licensing requirements, operating standards, and funding arrangements for group homes, youth residences, children’s institutions and related services.

My government reaffirms that it is a primary responsibility of parents to care for their children, who should remain in their own homes wherever possible. To this end, the new children’s division will encourage the development of family support services. It thus follows that the responsibility for developing appropriate services for the care of children with special needs should rest with local communities. Accordingly, legislation will be introduced to give local governments the authority and resources to ensure the provision of special services for their own children.

The health and safety of working men and women in Ontario remain important priorities for my government. New legislation will be introduced, incorporating all occupational health and safety matters in one statute. The Ministry of Labour will hold consultations with interested parties with the aim of accommodating in the legislation the needs and concerns of the entire community.


The aspect of prevention in other health and safety programmes cannot be overstated. Our seatbelt and speed limit regulations have saved many lives, prevented thousands of serious injuries and saved society much grief and millions of dollars in lost work and hospitalization. Avoiding death and carnage on the highways is a continuing concern of the government and one which all Ontarians share.

During the session legislation will be introduced to establish a probationary period for new drivers, regardless of age. Further changes will await the report of the select committee on highway safety.

Because the evidence is clear that the most effective health programmes are those that place their emphasis on prevention, my government will take steps, through the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, to introduce a province-wide physical fitness programme designed to encourage Ontarians to care about their health and well-being and to avoid, through that care, unnecessary hospitalization, illness and hardship.

My government’s continuing commitment to clean air and water and a healthy environment will be advanced through amendments to The Environmental Protection Act, The Ontario Water Resources Act and The Pesticides Act.

A central unit will be established for monitoring, research and control of hazardous chemicals, such as PCBs, mercury and lead.

An inventory of all abandoned or inactive mine operations which are sources of contamination will be compiled, and responsibility for cleanup will be determined and pursued. Where ownership or responsibility cannot be established, provincial funds will be used for the cleanup.

The government will provide assistance with respect to the increasing cost of municipal services to meet environmental needs. A particular priority, concurrent with my government’s commitment to the east and the north, will be afforded through servicing assistance to these areas, Amendments to legislation will provide municipalities with provincial financing and assistance for alternatives to traditional treatment systems, particularly in smaller communities.

Ontarians can take pride and satisfaction from the development of nuclear power in our province, a source on which we will be increasingly dependent in the short term. The Pickering generating station is one of the safest, most efficient and cost-effective energy producing facilities in the world. The Bruce generating plant, now under construction, is among the additional nuclear projects already contributing to our energy supply.

However, it is clear that in the long term it will be increasingly difficult to rely solely on nuclear energy or fossil fuels for our total energy requirements. A planning process is needed now for the transition to other energy sources. A report will be placed before the House indicating the types of changes envisioned. Greater emphasis will be placed on research, development and demonstration of renewable forms of energy.

The government is committed to a war on waste at every level of energy utilization, from large scale activities such as those related to transportation, industrial and community use, to daily use by the individual home or apartment dweller. The ability to provide improved standards of living for an expanding population will depend on the degree to which the people of Ontario share in this commitment.

While my government has shown an ongoing interest in the growth and prosperity of small businesses, it is recognized that further special efforts are required. For this reason, an Ontario advisory committee on small business will be established to serve as a forum for small business interests and to make recommendations on improving their management, financial and marketing capabilities.

In addition, the government will launch a small business management development programme, and will work with universities involved in the small business assistance programme to offer consulting help on a year-round basis.

[Editor’s note: Copy within brackets was not read but is contained in the formal Throne Speech.]

[The Ontario Development Corporation will expand its assistance to small business firms by lowering its lending rate to up to two per cent below the basic rate for loans up to $200,000, and by raising the current loan limits.

Protections for franchise holders, which will help encourage investment in small business will form part of a new Franchise Act.

A new Securities Act will simplify securities regulations and provide better information and more protection for public investors.

The Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations will undertake a major educational programme. This will include the establishment of a consumer education resource centre, a series of consumer information programmes through the facilities of TV Ontario, and increased emphasis on consumer information material.]

Tourism, a major earner of foreign currency for Canada, employs over 200,000 people in Ontario’s hospitality industry. To help redress the national tourism balance of payments deficit that has recently developed, greater emphasis will be placed on promotional activities for vacations in Ontario.

The government will determine the feasibility of a hospitality institute which would seek to improve standards, level of services and management within the 15,000 small businesses in Ontario’s tourism industry.

Economic growth and industrial stability are interdependent. The Ministry of Labour will promote new initiatives in labour-management co-operation, including improvements in conciliation and mediation services, and the appointment of a representative committee to advise on collective bargaining matters and other issues of common concern.

The real guarantee of economic security and advancement for the unionized and other working men and women of Ontario remains in the vitality and dynamism of a well functioning free enterprise economy, stimulated by investment, confidence and faith in the stability and fairness of Ontario’s society and institutions.

Legislation will be reintroduced for province-wide, single-trade bargaining in certain sectors of the construction industry. This reform, which will reduce the number of bargaining situations from over 200 to about 20, should do much to promote stability in this vital sector of the economy.

A financial review of the operations of the Workmen’s Compensation Board and an analysis of the benefit levels are currently in progress. Once they are completed, the government will introduce legislation to adjust benefits to meet inflationary stresses and the legitimate needs of disabled workmen and others who benefit now from one of the most generous and comprehensive compensation schemes in the free world.

The land we live on is a fundamental and finite resource, a fact that makes the responsibility of government to protect and husband its use a matter of paramount importance. Measures will, therefore, be taken to provide a clear focus and strong co-ordinating function for the development of land use policies, including the protection of our agricultural food lands.

The Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) will be given a strengthened mandate to co-ordinate the land use policies of ministries and to expedite the resolution of land use issues. Administrative responsibilities will remain with respective ministries and with municipalities but central assessment and co-ordination at the provincial level will assure the best uses for our land through an overview of individual, community and provincial interests which will be implemented through the process of official plan approvals.

In particular, the government will resist pressures to prejudice the land equity of the farming community. Within the context of the food land guidelines brought down by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, which serve to protect, by definition, the food land needs of Ontario, farmers cannot be singled out as the target of any unfair land freeze schemes. My government firmly believes that the present and future needs for food lands can be met in Ontario without inequitably prejudicing the farming community.

In this session, the government will reinforce its programmes to increase agricultural productivity with legislation to limit topsoil removal from prime agricultural lands, and with plans to return significant acreages to full production.

The maintenance of valuable food lands in agricultural production merits an accompanying and increased consumer loyalty toward Ontario food products. Marketing strategies and a promotional campaign for Ontario foods will be pursued in both domestic and export markets to stimulate purchases of high quality Ontario agricultural produce.

Ontario has enjoyed massive increases in per acre production over the last 10 years -- increases which have produced a greater security of food supply than has ever been achieved in such a highly urbanized society. Initiatives under the Young Farmer programme, Venture Capital programme and others will enhance the profitability of farming in Ontario and underline the government’s endorsement of the role of free enterprise, sound management and personal initiative in the economic structure of family farming in Ontario.

Many current concerns about future economic security centre on private and public pension plans, their administration and the use being made of these resources.

The government will appoint a royal commission on pension plans to make an in-depth review and assessment of pension plan administration throughout Ontario. This step will be taken with a view to necessary changes or other approaches to ensure that contributors receive fair benefit and protection.

The question of pensions is but one aspect of the concern of our society for citizens in their retirement years. My ministry will continue to give high priority to the needs of the aging population and will increase the number of assessment and placement services to ensure that senior citizens receive care appropriate to their needs.

In particular, more funds will be designated for home care and home support services so that more of our senior citizens may remain in their own homes and avoid unnecessary institutionalization. Efforts will be made to link these funds to involvement by young people in senior service programme initiatives, thus providing them with employment and service opportunities while adding to the security and well-being of older members of our society.

In all, the wide-ranging programme placed before this assembly is directed at building a sense of promise and of national pride in Ontarians stemming from a fair and balanced society and from the opportunities we have within that society. It is a programme of confidence in the future of our province and nation. It seeks economic stability and the protection of our natural and human resources. It is geared toward achieving growth and generating employment. It is a programme aimed at distributing economic opportunity fairly throughout Ontario. With dependable legislative co-operation, it can be achieved by this assembly by the end of this present year.

My government’s programme provides for every Ontarian the opportunity to live in freedom, work in peace and attain self-fulfillment and satisfaction. It assures our people that their Ontario, our Ontario, affords them the capacity to shape their own particular and unique part of the Canadian dream in confidence, security and freedom.

Honourable members, I now leave you to the discharge of your duties. May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.

God bless the Queen and Canada.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was then pleased to retire from the chamber.


Mr. Speaker: To prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy of Her Honour’s speech, which I will now read.

(Reading dispensed with.)


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend The Trustee Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved first reading of Bill 2, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Maeck moved first reading of Bill 3, An Act respecting the Withholding or Withdrawal of Treatment where Death is Inevitable.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Lawlor moved first reading of Bill 4, An Act to provide for Freedom of Information.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to provide members of the public with access to government information. The bill is designed to allow maximum accessibility to government documents while, at the same time, recognizing that it is in the public interest that certain types of information not be disclosed. Where a disagreement arises as to whether or not certain information should be disclosed, the bill provides a mechanism for resolving the dispute and as an addendum it is a spur to this spurious commission that the government has appointed.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor to this House be taken into consideration on Friday next.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Welch moved that tomorrow, Wednesday, the House will not sit in the chamber but will sit on Wednesday, April 6; and that on succeeding Wednesdays, subject to further order, the House will not sit in the chamber.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Davis moved that an humble address be presented to Her Majesty, the Queen, in the following words:

“To the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty:

“Most Gracious Sovereign:

“We, Your Majesty’s loyal and dutiful subjects, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, now in session, beg to extend to Your Majesty, on the completion of the 25th year of your reign, our most sincere congratulations, and reaffirm to Your Majesty the continuing warm respect and affection in which you are held by your subjects in Ontario.

“A l’occasion des visites de Votre Majesté et des autres membres de la famille royale, nous avons eu l’insigne privilège de vous souhaiter la bienvenue dans votre province de l’Ontario et n’avons jamais manqué de bénéficier de vos gracieux conseils et du charme de votre présence.

“May Divine Providence sustain Your Majesty in health and happiness during a long and glorious reign to the benefit of your people.”

That the said address be engrossed and presented by Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the assembly, to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor for transmission to Her Majesty.

Mr. Lewis: Je me lève avec grand plaisir pour seconder cette déclaration de loyauté et respect envers Sa Majesté la Reine.

I do so with particular enthusiasm because it gives those of us on this side of the House the opportunity to affirm that exquisite phrase Her Majesty’s loyal opposition.

I will readily admit that those of us in the New Democratic Party are not so widely recognized as extroverted monarchists, but we do have deep and abiding loyalties, with some history as well. I thought I might point out to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of the House that we probably have in this caucus the only sitting member of the assembly who was indeed present at the place of the coronation some 25 years ago. Our honourable colleague, the member for Peterborough (Ms. Sandeman), then a young girl at school in London, was there on the sidewalk of the processional route in the driving rain for 18 hours, huddled under her sleeping bag, waiting to catch a glimpse of the procession and the ultimate coronation.

I simply bring this to your attention, Mr. Speaker, to demonstrate that for more than a quarter of a century there has been this inextinguishable bond between socialism and royalty. I therefore second the address with great enthusiasm.

Mr. S. Smith: Monsieur l’orateur, je veux prendre l’occasion moi aussi pour parler de la part de mes collègues ici dans notre parti pour donner notre appui à cette résolution.

I would like to say as well on this occasion that, although he was not there as a school girl or as a school boy, our young member, the hon. member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton), while mayor of Guelph was present at that same happy occasion. Whether he was indeed huddled on a blanket or a sleeping bag is not recorded, at least in the annals in Guelph, but he did find himself on the sidewalk in one form or another.


On a more serious note, Mr. Speaker, I think that at a time when our country is beset with regional interests, with people beginning to draw inward and wonder about the dedication that exists in the country -- a dedication that I think all of us in Ontario are very confident about; a dedication to a great country from sea to sea -- surely we must realize that the monarchy is, indeed, one of the genuine unifying influences that this country has. I think that in wartime and in peace, both the institution of the monarchy and the person of the Sovereign have been a great inspiration to all of us and may they long continue to be.

We are very happy to join with both other parties in giving our support to this excellent motion.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Speaker then led the House in singing God Save the Queen.

Mr. Speaker: I have made arrangements to be received by the Lieutenant Governor tomorrow morning to present this address to Her Honour for transmission to Her Majesty the Queen. Her Honour has asked me to extend to all members and their spouses, and the media, a welcome to this brief ceremony which will be held in the music room of the Lieutenant Governor’s suite at 11 a.m.

I have asked that the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Morrow) and the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) accompany me, since they are the only members in the House who were members at the time of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Davis, the House adjourned at 4:03 p.m.