30th Parliament, 4th Session

L005 - Tue 5 Apr 1977 / Mar 5 avr 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Speaker: Just before we begin the business of the House for the afternoon, I beg to inform the House that the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has received a reply from Her Majesty the Queen to the message of congratulation ordered by the House on Tuesday, March 29. Her Majesty’s message reads as follows:

“I warmly thank the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for their kind message of loyalty and congratulations on the 25th anniversary of my accession to the Throne. It gives me much pleasure to receive this message, which I greatly appreciate.

“Elizabeth R.”

Statements by the ministry.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, this year we are providing some extra money to help our larger museums such as Black Creek Pioneer Village, the Wellington County Museum and the London Museum to pay for special programmes which attract large numbers of visitors.

This assistance, to a maximum of $60,000 per institution, will be paid in addition to our regular museum grants and will be calculated at 10 per cent of their annual revenue in excess of $60,000.

I will be writing to the chairmen of the larger museums this week to explain the programme so that they can take it into consideration in planning their activities for the coming year.

I think we all recognize that our museums play a unique role in the preservation and appreciation of the cultural and social heritage of Ontario communities. In order to make visitors aware of the richness and variety of our past, some of the larger museums have developed very comprehensive programmes which attract large numbers with a resulting increase in their costs. This assistance, which could add up to $200,000 to our museum grant programme, recognizes our responsibility to encourage and support this local initiative.


Hon. Mr. McKeough: The members will recall that last week the Speech from the Throne referred to the government’s intention to pursue new regional development initiatives. In particular, it referred to the relocation of significant government operations. Today I would like to announce on behalf of the government, details of this new initiative, which will significantly increase employment outside Metropolitan Toronto. This and other steps which we are taking will reinforce the government’s belief that all regions of this province should fully participate in our economic growth.

Before outlining these new initiatives, and to place them in a broader context, I would like to review briefly for the members, the highlights of the government’s regional development initiatives in eastern and northern Ontario. Last December 15, I tabled our regional priority budget for 1977-78. As you know, Mr. Speaker, this budget provides for expenditures over and above normal ministry programmes, which will significantly contribute to developing regional economic potential.

During the last four years we have committed almost $100 million in regional priority projects, some of which are partially funded by DREE. This has included investments of some $70 million in northwestern Ontario, which has supported the commitments made by the government in the northwestern Ontario development strategy published some six years ago. This year the regional priority budget will put increased emphasis on projects for northeastern and eastern Ontario as well as continuing our strong commitments to the northwest. In northeastern Ontario we have committed new priority investments totalling $30 million, of which $6.8 million will be spent in 1977-78.

I am proud to say to the members that in this time of tough fiscal restraint the government has been able to expand dramatically its commitment to the less developed regions of the province. This has been made possible by our determined policy of prudent financial management which has held overall spending in check. In addition to the enrichment of the regional priority budget in the north, I might draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the landmark step which the government recently took in establishing the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

Mr. Nixon: You took that step a few years ago too. I guess it is the third time you have taken that step.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It will contribute to developing a strong --

Mr. Nixon: And give the minister something to do.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- economic future in the north as well as provide for closer involvement of northern citizens in the governmental process. The new Ministry of Northern Affairs will co-ordinate the government’s activities in the north and ensure that the unique needs and circumstances of the area are reflected in provincial policies and programmes. To support this overall objective the ministry will administer the northern portion of the regional priority budget currently set at $53 million for 1977-78.

At the same time, the government in consultation with interested groups has been reviewing the economic and social prospects of the north with a view to identifying viable and progressive development strategies. A draft regional strategy for northeastern Ontario was tabled in this Legislature last April. Since that time the strategy has been thoroughly reviewed at public meetings convened by the northeastern municipal advisory committee. Taking the results of this dialogue into account, the government in conjunction with the Northeastern Municipal Advisory Committee will be developing a refined economic strategy for northeastern Ontario.

Mr. Martel: You have been doing that for five years.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We are also updating the northwestern Ontario strategy in conjunction with the municipal advisory committee for that region. The government supports the growth and expansion of our resource base in order to promote further northern development. At the same time, we are fully aware that development must take into consideration the desires of our native population and necessities of preserving environmental balance. For these reasons, as members know, we established the Hartt commission which will examine a major forest development proposal in the north. We will also be undertaking a review of other development issues in the far north.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to turn to this government’s Go East policy.

Mr. Breithaupt: Go west, young man. Go west.

Mr. Bullbrook: Did Michael Gee write that? Is that to Mecca?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please. The hon. minister has the floor.

Mr. Roy: Are you really serious, Darcy?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We continue to be committed to two major objectives, which are the encouragement of growth in the eastern part of the Toronto-centred region, and the strong encouragement of economic development initiatives in the eastern Ontario region. To support this policy we have taken a significant number of initiatives in the past year. I have already mentioned our actions under the regional priority budget. Another important step which we have undertaken involves the location of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation experimental test track near Kingston. This will involve some $50 million in capital expenditures and will inject $7 million in local pay cheques alone over a three-year period.

At this point I might also mention a number of discussions which we have been having with the federal government concerning eastern Ontario. Some of the members may be aware of the stand I took on the proposed move of Parks Canada from Cornwall to Guelph. I opposed the move and have also suggested that if Parks Canada has to be relocated, that it remain in eastern Ontario.

I have also submitted the case to the federal government that eastern Ontario be made eligible for assistance under The Regional Development Incentives Act (RDIA). Currently only the northern part of Renfrew County is eligible for this assistance. We hope that the federal government will respond positively to this idea.

One additional matter concerns The Agriculture and Rural Development Act (ARDA). Since 1962, the province has negotiated four ARDA agreements with the federal government. This has resulted in $153 million going toward rural development, about half of which went to eastern Ontario. In the near future my staff, and that of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, will be involved with federal officials in a joint evaluation of the ARDA programme. At this point, I might say that I hope this programme, which has done so much for rural eastern Ontario, will continue on a long-term basis.

Mr. Cassidy: You haven’t said anything yet.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I should also refer to the announcement made last Thursday by the hon. Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman). This concerns the relocation of some 100 jobs to the new warehousing facilities of the Liquor Control Board in the regional municipality of Durham. In addition, the province is providing in Durham special industrial development assistance amounting to some $1.7 million for the further development of industrial land.

On behalf of the government, I would now like to announce two new initiatives which will further promote our Go East objectives:

First, we intend to relocate the head office of the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan, OHIP, to Kingston. This will involve the movement of over 900 jobs to Kingston.

Mr. Kerrio: Nice going, Keith. Nice going.

Mr. Breithaupt: You will need about 28 acres for all the civil servants.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please. Order. The hon. minister.

Mr. Breithaupt: This will be a bigger warehouse than the liquor board gets.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Second, with the exception of the office of the minister, the deputy minister, a small central staff and staff needed to take care of essential taxpayers’ services in Toronto, the head office of the Ontario Ministry of Revenue will be relocated to Oshawa. This will involve some 750 jobs.

Mr. Breithaupt: Would you make it 751?

Mr. Lewis: Why don’t you consider taking the minister too?

Mr. Roy: Have you told Oshawa?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.

Mr. Nixon: That gets Margaret out of your hair.

Mr. Lewis: Could you please take the minister too?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, these moves represent new policy initiatives for this province. They involve the relocation of head-office --

Mr. Sargent: Election strategy.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- province-wide functions outside of Metropolitan Toronto.

Mrs. Campbell: That’s Liberal policy.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The government is very much aware that such actions may create some difficult human and administrative problems and we do not underestimate them. At the same time, the government is convinced that these steps should be taken in order to advance vital economic and regional development objectives which will benefit all citizens of the province.

Mr. Lewis: You are not initiating jobs. You are shifting jobs.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The relocation of the Ministry of Revenue head office and the LCBO facility will provide a major stimulus to the future development of the Durham region.


Mr. Nixon: And the local member’s sagging popularity.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Similarly, the location of OHIP in Kingston will provide a substantial and needed impetus to the economy of eastern Ontario. In addition to providing direct economic benefits, we hope that our policy will provide direction and leadership to the private sector to follow a similar path to decentralization. I might note that we have come to this decision after an extensive review of potential candidates for relocation.

Mr. Sargent: You are quite a comedian.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: After our experience with these moves, other Toronto-based government activities will also be considered for relocation. In this era of modern communication and transportation, there is no reason why a number of other government office functions traditionally located in Toronto cannot be administratively efficient if they located elsewhere.

We intend to make every effort to ensure a smooth transition of staff and functions with respect to these moves. The Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld), the Minister of Government Services (Mr. J. R. Smith) and myself, along with the Ministers of Health (Mr. Timbrell), Revenue (Mrs. Scrivener) and Consumer and Commercial Relations, are working to effect this transition over a four-year period. This will involve full consultation with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the LCBO/LLBO Employees Association concerning the relocation of staff. It will also include the development of appropriate policies for employees who cannot or do not wish to relocate. In addition, the Chairman of Management Board will undertake a thorough review of existing relocation policies to assess their applicability to a move of this magnitude.

Our staff have already reviewed the potential impact of these moves on the communities and their industries, and this has been taken into account in our decision. I want to emphasize very strongly that we intend to consult closely with the affected local governments both with respect to the location of the facilities and to ensure that adequate housing and services are available. It is our firm and continuing policy that all people in Ontario shall participate to the fullest extent possible in the growth and prosperity of this province. The measures that I have outlined today represent a bold new step in forwarding this policy.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, if I may, Mr. Speaker, new rule No. 8 indicates that after any policy statement or introduction of a government bill the government shall table a compendium of background information. In view of what the minister said, will there be such background information tabled with the statement?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I apologize. On the way over here today I recalled that rule. There are papers. This is the first time I think it might have been appropriate since the House opened. There will be papers.

Mr. Roy: How about Liberal policy?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It won’t be a very big paper, I’ll tell you, if it is the Liberal policy.

Mr. Sargent: You couldn’t wait to tell us.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We certainly haven’t got 125 copies. We will be bringing them together and tabling them as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is statements by the ministry and the interjections are inappropriate as well as rude.

Mr. Sargent: Grow up.

Mr. Speaker: That would be good advice.


Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: As part of a major programme of the Ministry of Revenue to achieve maximum possible simplification in tax legislation and administrative procedures, I am pleased to announce two new important steps towards achieving this goal in the area of corporation tax.

First, beginning immediately, we have put in place a new formal advance tax ruling service for businessmen, providing them with information on how their new investments and ventures will be taxed. These rulings, which will be binding upon my ministry, will materially improve the certainty which goes hand in hand with sound business decision-making. This effort gives further strength to this government’s major commitment to the expansion of the Ontario economy and the creation of new jobs in this province.

Secondly, the corporation tax branch has further strengthened its communications effort by instituting two new series of the regularly published tax bulletins which will keep businessmen up to date on the law and the administrative practices of the branch. Along with these bulletins, we have published a directory of ministry staff available to assist in answering questions concerning the Act.

As set down in the Speech from the Throne, these initiatives give form to this government’s priorities for ensuring public access to government and “a more open and responsive relationship with the people of Ontario.” I am particularly pleased to say that I have had the benefit of expert advice from the private sector in designing these new corporation tax measures.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Later today I will be introducing The Commodity Futures Act, 1977.

The bill implements, with limited modifications, the recommendations of the report of the inter-ministerial committee on commodity futures trading which I tabled in the House in April 1975.

That committee reported increased participation by unsophisticated speculators in this area of high volatility and considerable risk. The report noted the potential for abuse of the marketplace and the proliferation of commodity-related contracts, involving non-existent or deficient disclosure of costs and risks, misrepresentation of profits and instances of fraud.

The primary purpose of the bill is to regulate, under the Ontario Securities Commission, trading in commodity futures contracts and, in those commodity futures, options on which performance is guaranteed by recognized commodity futures exchanges or their clearing houses. Dealers, advisers and salesmen will be registered.

Bona fide hedging transactions by those who deal in, produce or use the commodity will be exempted. With this exception, under The Commodity Futures Act, only contracts and options entered into on a commodity futures exchange -- registered with, or recognized by the Ontario Securities Commission and the form of which has been accepted by the director of the OSC -- will be permitted to be traded in Ontario.

The Act further provides a regulatory framework within which any commodity futures exchange that might be established in Ontario would be supervised.

Commodity futures options not traded on an exchange recognized or registered by the OSC under The Commodities Act will be dealt with as securities under The Securities Act. Legitimate commodity hedgers would again be exempted.

The public must be served by honest, competent and financially sound dealers and advisers. We feel that this Act will help to eliminate speculative and manipulative abuses while benefiting both the small investor and the securities industry generally.


Hon. Mr. Handleman: Today I will be introducing a new Securities Act as well as complementary amendments to The Business Corporations Act.

This legislation was initially tabled in 1972 for public comment. My predecessor, John Clement, reintroduced it in 1974 in a substantially revised format, again for the purpose of eliciting public comment. Over 50 briefs were received and on the basis of this input further revisions were incorporated into Bill 98 which I introduced in 1975.

Extensive additions, deletions and changes have been made to protect the small investor and strengthen the securities industry at the same time.

I would like to repeat the four basic objectives of the proposed Act as first set out by my predecessor:

1. A systematic ordering of amendments that have been made since the passing of the present Act in 1966;

2. Implementation of the major recommendations of the 1969 report of the Canadian Committee on Mutual Funds and Investment Contracts, the 1970 Ontario Securities Commission report on problems of disclosure arising from mergers, and the 1973 report of the select committee on company law regarding mergers and amalgamations;

3. The development of uniform provincial securities legislation acceptable to other provinces and making redundant the federal draft legislation designed to implement the 1969 mutual funds report; and

4. Development of further protections for individual investors in the securities market.

The Act I will place before this House today will introduce statutory regulations of the mutual funds industry. It will improve the continuous disclosure system by introducing statutory timely disclosure and quarterly financial disclosure. It will define with more precision when securities may be traded without a prospectus. It will revise the takeover bid provisions and it will enhance and define minority shareholders’ position in takeovers.

Circumstances in which takeover bid provisions of the Act do not apply have been limited to those takeovers carried out through the facilities of a recognized stock exchange, and bids for the shares of private companies.

Disclosure similar to that called for in takeover bids will be required where an issuer makes an offer to buy its own securities.

The new Act expands insider trading liability to cover all those who buy or sell securities on the basis of insider information.

The new Act will expand on the principle that financial institutions wishing to engage in the securities business as dealers must obtain registration and comply with the appropriate conditions. However, where the transaction is the simple transmission of unsolicited orders for execution through a registrant, banks and trust companies will continue to be exempt from the obligation to register, as will banks acting as underwriters on government or municipal issues.

On the principle that The Securities Act should be the primary vehicle for investor disclosure, matters such as proxy solicitations, which are generally regarded as corporate law, are removed from The Securities Act where they pertain to Ontario incorporated companies. By parallel amendments to The Business Corporations Act, also to be introduced today, matters of investor disclosure are consolidated in The Securities Act.

Because of the introduction of The Commodity Futures Act, this bill specifically differentiates between the types of contracts which fall under the two pieces of legislation.

This legislation reflects the government’s adherence to the philosophy of investor protection through full disclosure. It has been long awaited by the other provinces and the investment community.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, may I direct an opening question to the Premier? Can the Premier explain or defend the position being taken by his Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) and, therefore, we assume, the government, on the recommendations of Mr. Justice Morand in his royal commission and the many submissions presented to him that citizens’ complaints against the police should be investigated by an independent citizens’ tribunal or through that avenue, that that procedure has been repudiated by the Solicitor General in favour of the old position that the police shall investigate the police?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, there was a statement in the Throne Speech that the Solicitor General would be introducing a bill. I think the appropriate time to discuss that would be on second reading, when he can share with members of the House the advice, the number of meetings that he’s had with the various groups affected, including the police associations, the police chiefs and others.

It’s a very complex area; it’s a matter of judgement. I think the Solicitor General is anxious to have a bill that would be workable in terms of setting up the structure, and I think that rather than my getting into an explanation or a debate, it would be more appropriately discussed when the bill is introduced and we can do so on second reading.

There are various facets to it that I think the House would like to hear. Certainly, if the Leader of the Opposition has contrary points of view, that would be an appropriate time to state them.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary: Since the Solicitor General’s public position now is a quite striking reversal of his public position of just a few months ago, could the Premier request of him a statement before the Legislature, let us say tomorrow, so that in advance of the legislation whenever it may come -- it may be several weeks or months down the road -- we will have some sense of what caused this quite surprising and largely unacceptable reversal on his part?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think before the Leader of the Opposition says it’s unacceptable -- he’s a fair-minded individual who looks at these things very objectively and I’m sure he’s as interested as we are in establishing a structure that will work -- I would suggest that perhaps he might restrain his observations until there is some discussion. My own recollection -- I’m only going by memory -- is that the bill will be here fairly soon and we’ll have an opportunity to debate it. The Solicitor General is at a funeral this afternoon, and I’ll speak to him about it; but I really think the Leader of the Opposition might exercise a little patience and restraint --

Mr. Lewis: Why? I didn’t reverse the policy.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m not going to get into an argument with the Leader of the Opposition because I’m not sure that I ever recall his stating previous to this exactly what his position was in any detailed sort of form.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: As I say, I don’t recall it. He may have.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, may I say that we have always taken the position that the police should not investigate the police in that fashion, and that’s been held on both sides of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Singer: Supplementary: Mr. Speaker, wouldn’t the Premier agree that it’s highly unusual when one of his cabinet ministers reverses, in an outside announcement, a policy that’s already been clearly stated? In order to avoid the kind of confrontation that’s obviously about to arise because the government is going to depart from the recommendations of Mr. Justice Morand, shouldn’t it be the course of wisdom and better action to clear this up before the bill is brought in? Bearing in mind that everyone has been extolling the wonders of minority government, if the Premier wants it to continue he had better make peace in advance on this.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member has placed his question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m always delighted to make peace in advance; I’m delighted to make peace any time that I can. It is one of my objectives in life, unlike the member for Wilson Heights.

Mr. Deans: You are kind of alike.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t think there are too many parallels one can draw, even with the member for Wentworth. However, to get back to the point, I am not sure just what form any statement took that the Solicitor General is reported to have said. I have seen no statement in any personal sense being prepared by the Solicitor General.

We are anxious as a government to have the right answer to this important but complex problem. A great deal of attention is centred on Mr. Justice Morand’s report, which is understandable. I think the member for Wilson Heights would also recall that the Solicitor General referred to Mr. Maloney’s report when he did something of an investigation -- I guess it was for Metro. I don’t recall the exact circumstances.

There have been extensive meetings with the police associations, the police chiefs, the police commissions, etc., trying to get the best advice we can as a government to introduce a bill that is going to be workable. It is as simple as that. As I say, we will have ample opportunity here to discuss it at great length.

Mr. MacDonald: You got the best advice from Morand.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is not a debate.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member for York South, by way of a supplementary, has said --

Mr. Speaker: No, he did not ask a supplementary.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, I thought it was a supplementary.


Mr. Breithaupt: A supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ve had several supplementaries, all getting nearly the same answer. Is this a different supplementary?

Mr. MacDonald: Better not try to answer that.

Mr. Breithaupt: Since the Premier’s in a peaceful mood, will he suggest to the Solicitor General that when the bill is brought forward the Solicitor General will undertake that the bill will go to standing committee so that further public input will allow us to have the best legislation that the Premier is looking forward to having?

Mr. Lewis: You can call Mr. Justice Morand before the committee.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The House leader for the third party is, I am sure, familiar with the new rules that we have agreed to in this House. That procedure now is relatively simple. He doesn’t need my commitment to have this done, as I understand the rules.

Mr. Breithaupt: It would be nice to have it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: If he isn’t confident about the new rules or isn’t fully familiar with them, then I would remind him of them and tell him that I’ll abide by the rules of this House and that as a result it will go to the standing committee.


Mr. Lewis: Would the Minister of Labour direct or instruct the senior officials of the Workmen’s Compensation Board to convene the meeting that was promised a year ago to my colleagues from the Sudbury basin and never held on the question of industrial deafness to discuss the levels of payment made for claims, to discuss why so much of the testing must take place in Toronto, and to explain why there is not a facility in Sudbury and why the board is making it so difficult on this question?

Hon. B. Stephenson: To my knowledge there is a facility in Sudbury. It most certainly can be used, provided the staff there is capable of using the machines that are used for audiometric testing. It was my understanding that the Ministry of Health had cooperated with the Workmen’s Compensation Board to ensure that that testing could be done. Specific testing for permanent pensions frequently has to be done within specific facilities. As yet there have not been facilities established outside of those which are available in Toronto for a very small number of those with hearing loss.

However, I shall investigate the correspondence which was carried out between Mr. Starr and the hon. member for Sudbury East. I shall remind myself not to read the last lines of any of those letters since they are somewhat disconcerting in their content. It would seem that the use of the English language is something that might be exercised by some of the correspondents. At any rate, I shall peruse those letters and we shall do whatever we can to facilitate such a meeting.

Mr. Conway: Do you recognize the language, Bette?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Do I recognize what?

Mr. Conway: The language.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary: I am concerned about the minister’s concern over my language. But doesn’t the minister think it’s time -- after a year of promising that a meeting would be held among the Ministry of Health officials, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Labour and the Workmen’s Compensation Board where decisions could be reached -- that that meeting, which was promised by Michael Starr, should take place, so that the decisions affecting the lives of the workers who are now industrially deaf could be enhanced in such areas as the testing occurring in northern Ontario and rehabilitation in terms of speech therapy and so on? In northern Ontario there are no facilities for the 800 men who are presently industrially deaf in the Sudbury area.

Hon. B. Stephenson: There are facilities. Mr. Speaker, I have not seen a copy of any letter which promised that such a meeting would be held. I have seen copies of correspondence from Mr. Starr asking that Dr. McCracken be in touch with the hon. member for Sudbury East to discuss the matter.

Mr. Lewis: That’s nice.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware that indeed those discussions did take place and that the hon. member was fully informed about the activities which the board was carrying out in that area. But I shall most certainly look for a letter which promises such a meeting, because I haven’t seen that.

Mr. Martel: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I think the minister has got her facts wrong again, because the meeting did not occur. Dr. McCracken did not contact me and the agreement was not in writing. The agreement was as a result of a meeting we held here in Toronto that decided a second meeting would be held after Dr. McCracken went to Sudbury to size up the situation. And maybe the minister should get informed on the facts and worry less about my language and more about the workers.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I do worry about your language, Elie. It’s pretty filthy.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Peterson: What did he say, Bette?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I could give it to you.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Breithaupt: Question of the Minister of Community and Social Services, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the results of a recent inquest into the unfortunate death in a group home of James Gray, a 15-year-old boy from Cambridge.

Since that inquest uncovered very lax inspection and enforcement of The Children’s Boarding Homes Act, what steps has his ministry taken to improve the inspection and enforcement of legislation governing the group homes, pending the reform that the minister has promised, and can he assure us that homes licensed under the Act now conform to its regulations governing fire and safety?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Speaker, following the incident that is referred to being brought to my attention, within the ministry we immediately ensured that the procedure for inspection, particularly with respect to fire inspection, was changed. In fact I learned that it had already been changed prior to that.

At the time that that particular group home had been inspected the procedure that was followed -- I’m not sure of the date, but I think that was some two or three years ago at least, if not further back than that -- the procedure that had been followed was that a letter was sent out to the local fire chief with the request that the inspection be made and the certificate given that the house met certain standards. The procedure followed at that time was that if the letter was worded such that if there was no response it was assumed to be a positive response.

That has been changed, and before any certification is given there must be a positive response from the local fire chief or inspectors on that particular issue.

Further to that, we have instituted a complete review and, in fact, I have proposals before me now, under consideration, for new levels of fire safety standards to be implemented without delay, as soon as they have been approved, that would apply to group homes across the Province of Ontario --

Mr. Good: Talk to the fire marshals first.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- so that we would hopefully be able to eliminate any recurrence of that tragic incident.

Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How many inspectors does the minister have available to him to cover the 19 charitable institutions, the 45 children’s institutions, and the 128 children’s boarding homes, and does he feel the number he has is sufficient to do the job?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I can’t answer that specific question, but I will certainly undertake to get that information for the member.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Could the minister tell this House exactly how many of the 70-odd group homes operating outside The Children’s Boarding Homes Act with four or fewer children do not conform with local fire, health and safety regulations, or those fire, health and safety regulations stipulated in The Children’s Boarding Homes Act?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sure the hon. member can understand I don’t have that information at my fingertips at the moment either, but I will try to find out what information I can and respond to the hon. member as soon as possible.


Mr. Breithaupt: To the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker: Following the appointment of the Hon. Arthur Kelly as the commissioner to inquire into grievance arbitrations, which was announced last December, is the minister aware that Mr. Kelly is not prepared to hold public hearings on these grievance procedures, and does she agree with that opinion?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the commissioner appointed under The Labour Relations Act in such capacity has the power to decide in which way he or she will carry out the investigation. It is my understanding that the Hon. Mr. Kelly has suggested that his initial foray into this matter will be via letter requesting information and opinion from the relevant groups within Ontario, and that if as a result of that information gathering system he finds that he requires further investigation there are other methods which he will seek to use. I don’t think his mind is closed at the moment, but he is not beginning with open hearings. That is my understanding.

Mr. Bullbrook: That makes for a great dialogue.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, since the recent inquiries into bargaining patterns by Don Franks and by David Johnston into hospital bargaining units both involved substantial public involvement and travelling to areas that were convenient for the parties involved, would the minister not think that public hearings would allow a proper dialogue between the interested parties and the commissioner and therefore come to a resolution of the problems more easily once those problems were more clearly and adequately stated?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the former justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario has had a great deal of experience in collecting information for use in making judgements about certain situations, and I would most certainly respect his judgement. I would concur with the opinion expressed by my hon. colleague: it may not be the opinion of the Hon. Mr. Kelly, however, and I would most certainly consider his opinion to be important in this situation. If he asks for advice in this matter we shall most certainly give that kind of advice. Otherwise, I think we shall rely upon the judgement of the Hon. Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Bullbrook: May I ask by way of supplementary, do I understand the minister to say that it has been the historical precedent of Mr. Justice Kelly to come to his judgements as a result of correspondence?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, that isn’t what I said at all.

Mr. Bullbrook: I hope she didn’t say that. He normally would come to his judgements on the basis of evidence and dialogue before him, isn’t that correct?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I am very grateful to the hon. member for the lesson in law and courtroom procedures, but the Hon. Mr. Justice Kelly has had a good deal of experience in this area in other kinds of examinations than those within the courtroom.

Mr. Roy: So has the member for Sarnia.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am not suggesting that he should use one method or another, but rather that he has made the judgement upon the basis of his own experience, which I think is considerable and considerably more than my hon. colleague’s.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the hon. member have a final supplementary?

Mr. Bullbrook: Yes, I want to know why the minister has to be provocative to me.

Mr. Roy: And he has his cc.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: May I ask, by way of final supplementary, seriously if I may, does the minister consider it outside her prerogative to advise the Hon. Mr. Justice Kelly that it has been really the modus operandi of her department in other inquiries under The Labour Relations Act to have public hearings?


Mr. MacDonald: But it hasn’t been; that’s the point.

Mr. Bullbrook: Oh, it has been.

Mr. MacDonald: Oh, no.

Mr. Bullbrook: Well, we could argue --

Mr. Speaker: Order. Side debates are out of order. Is there an answer to that from the hon. Minister of Labour?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as I think I said earlier, I am most willing to hear Mr. Justice Kelly’s reasons for carrying out the initial procedure in the way in which he has decided. I shall certainly be interested in discussing this with him if he feels it is an incomplete method for finding the information which he feels should be necessary.


Mr. Cassidy: A question of the Treasurer. I understand he is quite proud to be able to announce something for eastern and northeastern Ontario, and in particular to be announcing a concrete statement of decentralization only 11 years after the government announced that --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member get to his question?

Mr. Cassidy: I want to ask how many head offices and how many ministries or major government agencies have been located outside the boundaries of Metropolitan Toronto in the past 34 years?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think the member knows the answer to that question.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Is there a supplementary?

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, the answer the Treasurer didn’t give is that none has been located outside the Metropolitan Toronto boundary.

Mr. Speaker: That is not a supplementary question.

Mr. Cassidy: My supplementary is this: As far as I can gather from the minister’s statement, the impact this year of his announcement is $6 million to $6.5 million of spending in northeastern Ontario. But the unemployment rate is 9.5 per cent and planning for two buildings in Oshawa and in Kingston --

Mr. Speaker: Now, your question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s a great programme.

Mr. Speaker: Question?

Mr. Cassidy: How many jobs will be created this year in Kingston and in Durham from these initiatives and when does he anticipate that employees from the two ministries will actually begin to be transferred?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member would read the statement instead of babbling he would find out we said this would take place within four years.


Mr. Speaker: Order. We are wasting valuable time here.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is supposed to be a question period and not a debate. Please keep that in mind in your questions. Now we will hear a supplementary question from the member for Grey-Bruce. Does the member for Grey-Bruce have a supplementary?

Mr. Sargent: Yes, I do. If this is going to take four years to do, why in hell do you announce it right now?

Mr. Speaker: Is there an answer to that? No. All right.


Mr. Nixon: We didn’t get an answer. No answer?

Mr. Sargent: Where is the answer?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

An hon. member: You’ll get it in four years.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Carleton East with a final supplementary on this question.

Ms. Gigantes: I wonder if the Treasurer would consider asking the Minister of Government Services to make sure that the tendering for moving firms goes to firms from eastern Ontario, since this will be the prime area of creation of new jobs in all his announcements?

An hon. member: You are just transferring jobs, not creating jobs.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Ms. Gigantes: Give our truckers a chance.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The Minister of Government Services isn’t here but it is my understanding that the decision as to which moving firm is used is a decision made by an employee in the Ontario service and I don’t think that’s something we would lay down.


Mrs. Campbell: My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Will the minister confirm that the government was on the verge of granting some form of financial relief for municipalities faced with increasing costs related to court-ordered group home placements, but the minister backed off, and his statement yesterday only further postponed the solution to the question?

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, there is no truth in the implication that underlies the hon. member’s question, and I think any statement on the question of what assistance may or may not be available would be a matter for the Treasurer to respond to.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Notwithstanding that answer, does the minister himself not realize that the cost to municipalities of court-ordered placements has increased 200 to 300 per cent in some areas during one year alone? In Peel such costs have gone from $79,000 in 1974 to more than $1.2 million this year. When is the minister going to address himself to this critical problem?

Mr. Sweeney: Is it expensive to live in Peel?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Once again, I would like to assure the hon. member that I’m well aware of the problem, that I have been engaged in discussions with my colleagues about the problem and possible solutions to it. I can only reiterate what I said before, that in terms of any interim solution to the problem, to which I think the hon. member is directing herself at this point, the Treasurer would be the proper minister to direct the question to.

On the question of a longer-term solution I think that, as indicated in the announcement yesterday, the funding arrangements with respect to the local committees, and the authority of the local committees in purchase, assessment and placement, will provide the solution to that problem. Again, any further announcement with respect to the interim solution will not be forthcoming from me but from either the Premier or the Treasurer.

Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, since I have an invitation to address that question to the Premier, could the Premier answer the question?

Mr. Speaker: Did the hon. minister refer this to the Treasurer?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. Treasurer have an answer for that?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Don’t you mean me?

Mrs. Campbell: It was the Premier to whom the minister referred me, I think, and I’m quite prepared --

Mr. Speaker: It sounded like the Treasurer to me.

Mrs. Campbell: He said the Treasurer the first time and the Premier the second.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much. We’ll allow either one to answer.

Hon. Mr. Davis: As a matter of fact, to keep the record straight, he said the Treasurer the first time and he said the Treasurer or the Premier the second time. He gave the hon. member an alternative, and I’m very pleased that --

Mr. Good: What is the right pecking order?

Mr. Ruston: Where is that? Where is Peel?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Is the member for Waterloo talking about pecking order? I’ve got to tell him that he is obviously well down in his party.

Mr. Ruston: Darcy is well down the pecking order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is there an answer?

Hon. Mr. Davis: The government is quite aware of these difficulties. In my capacity as the member for Brampton I have had some lengthy discussions with the chairman of the great region of Peel as they related to their financial difficulties. This is being discussed by the government and I expect some sort of decision will be coming forward very shortly.


Mr. Grossman: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. I have a copy of a letter dated April 5, addressed to the minister, from those persons who have resigned from the lead cleanup committee. Specifically, after they complain about the use of lottery funds to accomplish the cleanup --

An hon. member: Question.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Grossman: -- they go on to request a meeting with the minister.

An hon. member: Question.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Grossman: My question then is, firstly, can the minister assure those of my constituents who just want their areas and lands cleaned up regardless of where the money is coming from, that the cleanup will once again continue and not in any way be held up by this bickering? Secondly, how will the minister respond to their request that they meet the minister and Mr. Cockburn shortly and that the meeting be held in other than a provincial government office?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I haven’t received a copy of that letter. It’s dated today apparently, so I haven’t as yet received a copy of that letter. To answer the hon. member’s question, yes, the cleanup will go ahead and, yes, I would be happy to meet with the correspondent of that letter, but I really can’t understand why it should be outside a provincial government office.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that there’s some suggestion of using lottery funds for the cleanup, could the minister take a page from the Minister of Culture and Recreation’s brochure that says “try us”? Would the minister try us in this Legislature to see if we’ll pass legislation to make the polluter pay?

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, we have legislation on the books now that will make the polluter pay.

Mr. Sweeney: Like Dow Chemical?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It requires taking court action in all instances, sometimes lengthy involved court action, and we’re not always assured of success.

Mr. Nixon: So far you have just used it for political purposes.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: In this particular case, as I’ve indicated before, there are three or four companies involved. The amount of money is not large here. They are making --

Mr. Singer: You certainly are a masochist.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- an undertaking that they will contribute towards the cost of this cleanup. None of the studies or hearings has established that they are solely responsible for this contamination and therefore, under those circumstances, it’s reasonable to consider this type of an arrangement.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is the same question that was asked the other day and the same answer given, so that’s the last supplementary.

Mr. Warner: A non-answer.


Mr. McClellan: This is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Given that neither the omnibus children’s bill nor the local children’s services committee was adequately defined or adequately described yesterday, and given that they are both essential to his proposed solution to the problems in child-care services, may I ask the minister when we can expect from his ministry a precise statement of details of the role, authority, composition, mode of selection, resources, terms of funding accorded to these local children’s services committees, together with their precise relationship to local government and to existing agencies, none of which things were provided yesterday?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, I can’t give the member a precise date on that because a number of the matters that he cites are going to be the subject of discussions that will be taking place with local governments across this province over the next two or three months. The new staff from the ministry under the new associate deputy minister is working on these matters at the present time. I will be engaging shortly in ongoing discussions with municipal leaders working on such questions as the composition of the boards and the precise relationship that they will have with local governments across the province. As soon as those decisions are arrived at, then I would be quite happy to inform the member as the information becomes available to me.

Mr. McClellan: Do I understand then, by way of supplementary, that at this point the minister does not know what the details are and he is, in fact, flying by the seat of his pants?

Hon. Mr. Norton: That’s not true at all. I think that --

Mr. Martel: Well, it sounds that way.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: We have a very clear idea of what it is we are doing in terms of a policy and the direction in which we are going in children and youth services in this province. In terms of the details, the hon. member can be sure they will be sound and they will be developed in consultation with local governments across this province. They will not be imposed arbitrarily, as perhaps the member on the opposite side would choose to do.

Mr. Breithaupt: It is like consulting with Oshawa now that you have already announced you are going to move the Ministry of Revenue.

Mr. Peterson: Is Darcy writing that junk?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Speaker: Final question. Is there a supplementary? The member for Kitchener-Wilmot.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Martel: They trust you, George.

Mr. Sweeney: Will the minister’s new legislation continue to include funding through the rehabilitation branch for children with serious learning disabilities? Or is that going to be transferred to the Minister of Education where it rightfully belongs?

An hon. member: He told you that yesterday.


Hon. Mr. Norton: There are discussions that have been taking place between my ministry and the Ministry of Education with respect to the question of special education for children under those circumstances, and the matter has not been entirely resolved yet to the best of my knowledge. As soon as it is, I will be happy to inform the House.



Mr. Cunningham: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Now that he has admitted that a foreign commercial agent has been used by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation in its efforts to secure a contract in Venezuela, will he tell the House whether an agent will be used in the Israeli deal, or any other deals that the UTDC is contemplating?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know that the word “admitted” as used by the hon. member is appropriate. In reply to a question by him I confirmed that the consortium, which includes UTDC and the Hawker Siddeley company, did use the services of a commercial representative as required by the government of Venezuela in the submission of the tender to that government. As to the use of that commercial agent or the knowledge that there was a commercial agent involved, I was aware of it, the directors of the corporation were aware of it, the government was aware of it, and the terms of the contract with the commercial agent were within the terms of reference of the guidelines established by the government of Canada for commercial agents in foreign dealings.

Mr. Sargent: That’s no recommendation.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You’d better believe it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Speaker: Right.

Hon. Mr. Snow: That’s your party, Eddie.

With regard to what the hon. member mentioned about Israel, I am not aware of any proposal being put forth by UTDC in Israel.

Mr. Peterson: Eddie would do it for you.

Mr. Cunningham: Would the minister table the guidelines under which these agents he referred to are operating and which he said the federal government had tabled and provide this House with a statement of their activities on the basis of their participation, just how we compensate them and what the arrangements were in the proposed Caracas deal?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I will be pleased to do that. In fact, I’ve asked for copies of all that information and I expect I’ll have it in a day or so.


Mr. di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Housing. Last January, the Minister of National Defence announced that part of the Downsview airport site will be released, and since there is an atmosphere of secrecy around the deal, could the minister please tell us who is making the decision on the location of the site and at what level, and what is the involvement of the provincial government? Would he also tell us if there is any indication of how the site will be used, and assure the House that the provincial government will request of the other parties that the site be used for housing, disregarding other extravagant solutions like the one of an industrial showplace proposed by the mayor of North York?

Mr. Sweeney: If you are reading my press releases, give me credit.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You are too modest.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I give them both credit; one for writing it and one for reading it.

The involvement of the provincial government, as a result of the announcement by Mr. Danson, is to have been asked, or invited if you will, to sit on a committee that is made up of representatives from the borough, from Metro, from the federal government and from my ministry. We are, of course, interested in what sort of planning will go on in the area. It is certainly our desire that that area will be used for housing and that is the sort of input that we are putting into this committee, that it should be developed as a housing area. We certainly have not been approached -- at least I haven’t; nothing has come back to me requesting that it be used as an industrial park or industrial showplace. The information I have is that we are considering it only as a housing development.

Mr. di Santo: Since there is an understandable concern on the part of the residents, would the minister ensure that his ministry will request the committee that future meetings will be open to the interested residents in the area?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, Mr. Speaker. I think this committee is working on a technical level. We go all through this little hoop-jumping every time something like this happens. We’re not working entirely in a fish bowl. There’s a lot of technical discussion going on. When it comes time to develop that site, I’m sure the hon. member is aware that it will be required to be aired in the borough council, it will be required to have a subdivider’s agreement approved, if there is a sale of land involved that will have to be approved, and all of that will be public. They may well have to rezone the land or perhaps even change the official plan.

It seems to me there are all kinds of opportunities for public input but certainly not at this particular point.

Mr. Singer: I wonder if the minister can at this stage make sure that the members representing the area in which the airport is located are kept advised as to what the Ontario government is saying, apparently on behalf of all of us, because of the great secrecy with which these discussions are being carried on and because of the impossibility of getting information from the former Tory candidate in Armourdale, now the mayor of North York, or from other people who are involved in this.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I trust the hon. member is aware, and I am sure he is, that the land is presently owned by the federal government. The land is located within the borough and the mayor and council do have some control over that. Our involvement would be as it would be on any other development, that is, interested in the type of planning that will go on, and the type of development that will go there. I don’t think we have any secret information other than what has been announced in the press and of which we are certainly aware. We have sat in on meetings discussing the housing development but there are no secret meetings.

Mr. Singer: That is the only secret information you have. You go to secret meetings, yes.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: There are no secret meetings at all.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I wish to respond again. Just because the hon. member is not there does not necessarily make it secret. It possibly makes it a lot more orderly.

Mr. Sargent: Why doesn’t the minister admit that his policy will continue to be that no man will be allowed to build the type of housing he can afford?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That’s not really supplementary to the original question. Does the minister have a quick, short answer?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I don’t have any policy as the hon. member is referring to.

However, having read some brochures that he sent to me, I can understand why he leans that way.


Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. In view of the fact that we have some of the finest fishing streams in Ontario in my riding and in view of the fact that the Long Point Conservation Authority’s put-and-take trout catch for 1976 was reduced by approximately 50 per cent, I wonder if the minister would look at bringing this up to the same level as before or perhaps higher.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I will be glad to look at the problem.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: What is the capacity for the hatching of put-and-take trout for Ontario and, secondly, what is the capacity for fish hatcheries in Ontario? Have they increased over the past years or are things normal? Because of the fact that there is pressure for fishing has there been any increase?

Hon. F. S. Miller: We have a major hatchery in the planning stages which I understand will just about double the total production of hatchery fish in the province. I think the easiest answer on the production of hatchery fish is there are not enough. We are not producing as many as are being caught, particularly in the species such as trout where we haven’t been able to achieve natural regeneration of fishery stock. I guess in the Great Lakes our emphasis has changed from put-and-take fishing to trying to improve the natural regeneration of fish without having to use hatchery stock. Unless that succeeds, I don’t think we will ever be able to afford to keep on supplying fish for one-shot fishing.

Mr. Reid: Will the minister indicate where this hatchery is going to be built, what kind of fry or eggs or whatever it is going to supply and where they will be earmarked to go?

Hon. F. S. Miller: My understanding is that the hatchery that is proposed is at Bath, Ontario. Insofar as being able to tell the member the kind of fish that would be proposed there, I really can’t tell him that.

Mr. Reid: Isn’t the minister embarrassed at his fish propagation?

Hon. F. S. Miller: My fish propagation?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I do better than the hon. member does.

Mr. Reid: That is true but that’s not saying much.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: In fact, isn’t it accurate to say that the programme within the ministry so far has been a failure in that less than one-half of one per cent of hatchery fish reach maturity?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I think if one analysed the number of fish in any natural reproduction system you’d find a very low percentage of fish reaching maturity. I used to teach elementary biology --


Hon. F. S. Miller: -- and I can only say that one of the basic reasons fish have lots of eggs is because the success rate is low.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Minister of Labour.


Mr. Speaker: The member for Algoma only, please.

Mr. Wildman: In view of the fatality which occurred at number four blast furnace at Algoma Steel this morning --

Mr. Deans: The Minister of Natural Resources has finally found his calling.

Mr. Speaker: We can’t hear the member for Algoma because of the interjections. Thank you.

Mr. Wildman: In view of the fatality that occurred at number four blast furnace at Algoma Steel this morning, which tragically demonstrates the importance of hearing the views of Sault residents on worker health and safety, and the fact that the members of the executive of Local 2251 to whom the minister spoke last Friday did not understand her to say that she would consider having a hearing in Sault Ste. Marie, as the minister said yesterday in the House, will she now set a definite date for a public hearing on the omnibus legislation to be held in Sault Ste. Marie?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I will not, because although the leaders of the union in the Sault may not have understood what I said, I did say that if they had difficulty in travelling to either Toronto or Thunder Bay to make their views known, we would seriously consider holding a hearing in the Sault. That I promised to do; that I will do.

Mr. Mackenzie: How come you’re the only one who understood this?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Because I was the only one asked.


Mr. O’Neil: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. If the minister intends to reduce the volume of waste resulting from non-returnable soft drink containers, can he tell us why he is permitting non-returnable cans to stay on the market indefinitely while harming non-returnable bottles as of April 1, 1978, which will result in the loss of at least 200 jobs at the Consumers Glass plant in Etobicoke, which I toured this morning, and many other jobs in other Canadian-owned plants and their suppliers in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The decision is now to ban the non-returnable bottle as of April 1978. As I indicated, one of the reasons why we’ve done this is because there is a returnable bottle on the market; it is available now and has been available for some time. It seems unnecessary, and even ludicrous, that we should also have two forms of glass.

In order to reduce litter, solid waste and the cost of energy we’ve decided to prohibit the non-returnable glass bottle. As far as the can is concerned, if it was possible, for example, to have such a thing as a refillable can or a returnable can, we would ban the non-refillable cans. However, if the hon. member is worried about employment, I am sure he realizes that it would compound the situation if we banned the can at this time. The option is at this point to put a tax on cans, thereby levelling off or reducing the sale of pop in can containers.

Mr. O’Neil: A supplementary: In the meeting which the minister plans to have with the glass industry next week, will he be in a position to consider a policy which will end government indecision and ambiguity on this subject, treat both non-returnable glass and metal containers fairly and allow sufficient lead time for both the industries and workers to adjust to needed changes to protect the environment?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you opposed to banning non-returnable bottles?

Mr. Singer: Which lobby is the strongest?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Come on. Let’s hear you say it.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. minister has the floor.


Hon. Mr. Davis: You’re chicken.

Mr. Roy: He is calling us chicken.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: To answer the hon. member’s question, I think he will agree that there has been sufficient lead time. We have been talking about this subject for years --

Mr. Peterson: It’s just that nobody takes you seriously, George.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The question of the possibility of banning the non-returnable bottle has been debated in this House for at least five years. The regulation that was announced a month or so ago gives the industry more than a year’s lead time; I would think that is sufficient.

To answer the first part of the hon. member’s question, I am prepared, as he has indicated, to meet with the glass workers and to deal with them fairly. Certainly I can’t make any commitment that there will be any changes in what we have done or the regulations that exist now.


Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary. The hon. member for Lakeshore.

Mr. Lawlor: What disposition, if any, has the hon. minister made of the 1,000 signatures which were handed him on this subject last week?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I am going through them one by one.

An hon. member: A supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: No, that was the final supplementary. A new question.


Mr. Martel: A question for the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that the number of cases where workers are having difficulty getting their benefits paid is worsening, and what does she intend to do to improve the resolution of these claims quickly and effectively?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there have been some workers who have had delays in receiving their initial compensation cheques after injury. I am aware that the board is attempting to resolve this as rapidly as possible and has made considerable headway. I am not sure of the delays, precisely, to which the hon. member for Sudbury East refers.

Mr. Martel: A supplementary: Is the minister aware that yesterday alone I had 15 workers in my office? It’s a daily occurrence of four, five and six workers with compensation claims not being processed, and the length of time is anywhere from six to 10 weeks.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that any large number requires that period of time. Indeed, 91 per cent of all claims which are submitted to the board in one year are dealt with expeditiously, as rapidly as possible, and to the full satisfaction of those people laying claims.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Final supplementary.

Mr. Lewis: You have been reading your own speeches.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Deal with the facts.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: Is the minister aware, despite promises from senior officials at the board that workers would no longer have their benefits reduced without prior notification, that this is going on as much as ever, if not more?

Mr. Reid: It sure is.

Mr. Laughren: And further, that workers’ benefits are being cut off without medical evidence to substantiate that being done.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of that, and if the hon. member has any cases of that, if he will please let me know the names I shall be pleased to investigate them.

Mr. Reid: Oh, it’s going on all the time.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I don’t how it would be possible for me to know about it unless, indeed, I am informed of the names and the claims --

Mr. Lewis: You could go to the hearings at the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

Mr. Roy: It’s not fair. You are only the minister; you wouldn’t know that.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I would suggest to the hon. member for Sudbury East, he might have been here yesterday.

Mr. Sargent: That wasn’t very nice.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That was a final supplementary. Point of privilege?

Mr. Martel: When the minister says I should have been here yesterday, I have a son who is a page and who had an eye appointment with a specialist which was of long standing. I took him there yesterday, for her edification.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I didn’t say you “should have been,” I said you might have been --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Correctional Institutions. As a result of the five tragic deaths in the fire at Stratford jail, what has the ministry done in implementing the 13 recommendations of the coroner’s inquest calling for improved training in regard to fire drills and the use of emergency equipment? In light of the events leading up to those tragic deaths, do the ministry and the minister agree that it is time to initiate a public inquiry into the wholly arbitrary use of solitary confinement cells and their non-compliance with health and safety regulations, security requirements and emergency procedures?

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, I issued a quite comprehensive statement to the media back in late February or early March -- I’ve forgotten the exact date -- in which I indicated that we adopted 12 of the 13 recommendations of the jury. The 13th of those recommendations is one which is not within my ministry’s competence to adopt, inasmuch as it relates to another branch of government altogether, namely at the municipal level.

I think, though, it would be helpful to all members were I to bring to this House -- and I would tell the hon. member for York Centre that I would propose to do that very shortly -- a comprehensive update on the actions that we have taken with respect to fire training of all our correctional officers, and the other steps which flow from this coroner’s jury bank of recommendations, with all of which I found myself in basic concurrence. And, of course, we’re all anxious to see that that kind of problem does not and just will not arise again.

Mr. Stong: Supplementary: The minister has not answered my question. I’m wondering what the minister’s attitude is towards a public inquiry into the use of the solitary confinement cell and its non-compliance with the health and safety regulations, emergency procedures and security requirements?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I’m sorry, I thought I had directed a comment to that, Mr. Speaker. The fact of the matter is that we do require solitary confinement cells to meet, and they do meet, health requirements. To the extent that in any sense they do not, of course, that kind of situation would be remedied. We have to have solitary confinement cells for disciplinary purposes and otherwise.

Mr. Sargent: Tear those jails down. Burn them down.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary: What does the minister propose to do with those jails that are so old and so rotten that there is absolutely nothing that can be done in regard to bringing them up to any reasonable level of fire protection; particularly, for instance, in Fort Frances?

Hon. Mr. Meen: I understand that there will be an ultimate replacement of the facility at Fort Frances --

Mr. Reid: We’ve heard that for 10 years.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- but so far as fire protection is concerned, additional air packs are being provided and other firefighting facilities also provided. Training drills are being worked out with staff. All new correctional officers taken on board receive full firefighting training within the first 30 days, and generally everything is being done with respect to the older jails, which this province assumed in 1968 when it took over the responsibility from the municipalities. Of course, where it is impossible to adequately update the jails the province is directing, as quickly as it economically can do so, its attention to replacement of those jails with modern detention centres.

Mr. Sargent: That’s a joke, that isn’t true.

Mr. Peterson: I have a two-pronged supplementary, because I’m afraid you’ll only allow me one, Mr. Speaker. As the minister is aware one of the very serious problems, and probably one of the principal reasons for the deaths, is that many of his ministerial and departmental memos were ignored in the past. The first part of my supplementary is: How does he know that his present memos and directives are being followed in all of the institutions? Secondly, in one particular case there was a message from one of the inmates to his lawyer. The urgency of that memo was not conveyed to the lawyer and there’s a possibility, had that situation been different -- had the facts been different -- one particular person would not have died; and in fact all five may not have died. My question is: What changes has the minister made in terms of communications out of the jails?

Hon. Mr. Meen: Mr. Speaker, with respect to directives from head office, shall we say, out to the various jails and detention centres, we have instituted a form of acknowledgement of the contents of receipt of the directive --

Mr. Conway: In triplicate, I hope.

Hon. Mr. Meen: -- and my staff advise me that with respect to anything of this sort they are also making sure that there is personal contact to make sure that the directive is understood. It was not a question of that particular directive to which the hon. member refers not ever having been received. It was in fact received, but it would appear that its import may have been misunderstood. At least that was the tenor of the testimony given at the inquest.

Now with respect to the lawyer for the one inmate, to which the hon. member refers, I don’t have before me the actual chronology of the communication times on that fateful day. But if memory serves me, it seems that around 12:30 or so in the afternoon the message was conveyed to the law firm and the person at the jail was advised that the lawyer was not there.

Mr. Peterson: That was 9:50 in the morning --

Hon. Mr. Meen: Well it may have been earlier -- 9:55 perhaps? In any event, the lawyer was not there. The message was subsequently, I am told, relayed to the lawyer’s wife. But the lawyer did not return home or back to his office until roughly 4:30 that afternoon, at which time I understand he got the message and evidently attended at the jail shortly after. But by that time the fire was underway and he was unable to get in. From what I have been able to determine, in that respect, the information was passed along without delay, and my officers did discharge their responsibility to communicate the information in the form in which it was given to them, in the form in which the inmate wrote the message to his lawyer; it was conveyed to the lawyer’s law firm by telephone quite promptly after it had been picked up from within the jail complex.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: No. Order, please. The oral question period has expired.

Mr. Peterson: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Your point of order is what?

Mr. Peterson: May I have your indulgence on this particular issue? It is a matter, in my opinion and in various people’s judgement, of very --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think if the hon. member wishes further information he might deal directly with the minister on a personal basis.

The oral question period has expired.

Mr. Martel: Point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Point of order?

Mr. Martel: In view of the answer I received from the Minister of Labour, and the fact I am dissatisfied with that answer, I would like to indicate to the Speaker that I would like to continue that debate this evening on the late show.

Mr. Speaker: So noted.


Hon. W. Newman presented the report of the financial protection task force.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the committees of the House be authorized to meet concurrently with the House, as the committees may determine, for the balance of this Parliament.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 19, An Act to regulate Trading in Commodity Futures Contracts.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 20, The Securities Act, 1977.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 21, An Act to amend The Business Corporations Act.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. Haggerty moved first reading of Bill 22, An Act to amend The Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Haggerty: The purpose of the bill is to provide a mechanism whereby the minister can order parties to a strike or lockout to end the strike or lockout for a period of 60 days during which time the parties try to reach a settlement.


Mr. Stong moved first reading of Bill 23, An Act to amend The Education Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, this bill defines compulsory school age and special education and it guarantees every child of compulsory school age a right to an education. The bill also transfers the establishing of special education programmes from the discretion to the duty of school boards throughout Ontario.

Mr. Speaker: Just before the orders of the day, I should announce to the House in accordance with the provisions of standing order 27(g) and provisional order 4, the hon. member for Nickel Belt has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the response of the Minister of Labour concerning the refusal of the Workmen’s Compensation Board to recognize laryngeal cancer as a compensable disease. The question was raised on Monday, April 4. The matter will be debated at 10:30 this evening.

Also, we are aware that the member for Sudbury East indicated orally his dissatisfaction with the answer given by the Minister of Labour, and provided he completes the rest of the requirement -- which he has done -- then this matter will also be debated at the close of business tonight.

Orders of the day.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton West.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Hasn’t he spoken yet?

Mr. S. Smith: Can you imagine what is going to happen after I speak?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Change your mind?

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in the Throne Speech debate, and I think to begin I would like to state what I have already stated outside this House. That is, that on balance we feel that the government’s proposed programmes as laid out in the Throne Speech, one of the longest Throne Speeches on record, seems to us constructive and is, basically speaking, acceptable to the Liberal Party.

We will, of course, want to examine very carefully each piece of legislation as proposed to ensure that in fact the legislation itself comes before us and is carrying out the purpose that is alleged to be the intention.

To a large extent I think we all agree that the Throne Speech has been a tribute to the effectiveness of this minority Legislature. We believe that minority government has been working in the last year. We agree with the government in its belief that minority government can work and has been doing so. I’d like to say I believe that the Liberal caucus has played an important role in making minority government work. We have made accommodation without sacrificing principle. It’s our caucus, as you know, Mr. Speaker, which has originated many of the proposals which form the substance of the Throne Speech.

Mr. MacDonald: The enthusiasm is a little strained.

Mr. S. Smith: In the last session we forced a substantial rewrite of the farm income bill. I think you know, Mr. Speaker, that we voted against the bill as originally presented and insisted that it be taken back. In some centres, our behaviour in so doing and then voting confidence in the government so that it could carry on through the summer was somewhat misunderstood. But we’re proud of the action we took. In fact, the net result was a farm bill that far from being the sham that was brought before us the first time, with about $3 million or so, became a bill which was possibly going to be worth $50 million or thereabouts to the farming people of this province.

Mr. MacDonald: You borrowed the Minister of Agriculture and Food’s (Mr. W. Newman’s) line.

Mr. S. Smith: We triggered major improvements in education and we’re very pleased at the constructive role we played in bringing about improvements in the province’s educational system. We fought for and we obtained a re-examination of a decision that could bankrupt the publicly-owned Gray Coach Line. We also initiated and in many ways forced the government to act on the audit of the home buyer’s grant, in which millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money have been given out to persons not entitled.

In the Throne Speech the government has indicated that it will be making further moves on issues that we care deeply about. The Throne Speech mentions the assisting of small business, the continuation of rent review for the life of the Anti-Inflation Board, revamping the system of child care and youth services, improving services for the elderly and extending second language instruction in the schools. I think all fair-minded persons know these are issues in which the Liberal Party has spoken decisively and with courage. I’m pleased to see that the government is moving in these directions. We want to do the best we can to assist a constructive resolution of some of these problems.

There is one main concern which we feel is not adequately dealt with in the Throne Speech, and I’ve mentioned this outside the House, and that’s the matter of job creation. More jobs plainly are needed for all Ontarians but there’s a particular urgency for young people. We believe government initiatives are urgently required to alleviate what is now a 15 per cent unemployment rate among our youth. It’s simply unacceptable to the Ontario Liberal Party that unemployment generally in this province of opportunity should be nearing seven per cent and still rising.

Mr. Cassidy: It wasn’t unacceptable to Donald Macdonald.

Mr. S. Smith: We’re looking for substantial job-creating measures in the provincial budget next month.

Mr. Cassidy: After a federal election, eh?

Mr. S. Smith: I think you know, Mr. Speaker, we have been critical of the federal budget and we hope for something better from the provincial budget. Just as we have prompted action in other areas of government in the last year, we intend action in this important matter of job creation that might be our next contribution to the effective functioning of minority government; we would like to make constructive suggestions along these lines in the hope that we can be helpful to the government in its deliberations.

Many of the serious issues we encounter today are issues to which we believe Liberalism offers a unique and a working alternative to both the Conservative and socialist options. The decisions facing us today will determine possibly for all time the nature of the land and the society that we bequeath to succeeding generations, and decide we must in many of these areas, particularly the areas of industrialization, urbanization, waste management, wealth distribution, energy dependency and the process of government itself.

It’s so difficult to make decisions nowadays. We have a flood of information available. Experts will show us how everything is pretty well related to everything else, and there tends to be a temptation to procrastinate, to become somewhat paralyzed, to wait for the problems to become overwhelming and then suddenly to act impulsively. In these circumstances, it seems to me that one needs a philosophy, a moral and intellectual yardstick against which to measure each choice.

The fundamental principle of Liberalism is the belief in the dignity and the worth of the individual. We see the state as the creation of man to protect and to serve him, and not the reverse.

Mr. Reed: That’s why I ran as a Liberal.

Mr. S. Smith: Liberalism in today’s context seeks to give individuals a feeling of importance, a genuine stake in society, the ability to regulate and conduct their own lives and make their own decisions as close to home and as close to family as is humanly possible.

In thinking about this, we must ask ourselves, however, just what it is that challenges and in some ways causes difficulty for individuals and for individualism today. There was a time, in the early days of Liberal philosophy, when I think it was easy to recognize that there was a tyrant that needed to be opposed, that people needed protection as individuals against a tyrant. Then, as time went by, it became more a matter of protecting the individual against a possible tyrannical majority, if we think particularly of the writings of Mill and his contemporaries. Then, through the early part of this century, accumulations of capital in the hands of a few tended to tyrannize and obstruct the possibility of individual development for so many citizens it was necessary for government to move, and government to move strongly and decisively, in support both of the creation of labour unions and also by utilizing the power of government itself to regulate and control the very great accumulations of capital.

Now the matter is even more complex. Now if we stand back and ask ourselves for the last quarter of this century just where the threat to the individual is emerging from, I think most of us would have to agree that it’s a much more complex matter. The individual today is finding himself with a feeling of alienation, a feeling of being removed somehow from the ability to control his own destiny and his own future. His own development as an individual is hampered on a number of sides.

First of all, I’d suggest that power and money have been centralized both geographically and functionally in large industrial complexes, and we have, to cope with those, large unions and large governmental bureaucracies; and in this, somehow, individuals have to be guaranteed a personal stake in the economy and in the democratic system. People are coming to feel that the organizations in which they labour, in which they live, in which they vote, are too impersonal, are too alien, unconcerned with and unresponsive to them as individuals.

We are experiencing a decline in the traditional values of hard work, striving for excellence, risk taking and voluntarism. These are clearly in decline at the moment, and we believe the answer lies in the decentralization of decision-making, a commitment to smaller units of government, a genuine commitment to small business, to a school system which is challenging to the individual, to minority rights and a belief in the humanization of the work place. I’ll have some comments to make on a number of these aspects during the course of my address in this chamber.


When you talk about individuals it’s terribly important to look at the general make-up of our population and to recognize some of the important trends that face us in society. Perhaps more than anything else, the most striking trend is the increase in the number of elderly persons in our society. The ranks of the elderly, I guess, are increasing as a proportion of our society all the time; and this will continue for at least the next two decades. I suppose that all of us, if we have not already joined that particular group, hope to some day.


Mr. Nixon: There’s nothing you can do about it, Bill; Grecian Formula won’t do it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: My mother is 83 or 84; and I will tell you she would make you feel it.

Mr. Reid: Your hair is as grey as your suit these days.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I worry about you people; that is why it is so grey.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. S. Smith: I can assure you I am completely mystified as to why the Premier has suddenly sprung to life on this particular subject of the elderly but I’m delighted none the less.

Mr. Reid: He thought you said infirmed.

Mr. Nixon: It’s nice to have you drop in, Bill.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Your own members were asleep and I thought I’d help you out. The member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) was having a snooze.

Mr. S. Smith: I certainly don’t need the Premier’s assistance in falling asleep, although he has assisted me in this way during some of his speeches.

Hon. Mr. Davis: If you would listen to more of them you wouldn’t have the problems you have.

Mr. S. Smith: The large proportion of elderly persons that constitute our population -- surely, it’s important for us to take cognizance of that and to arrange our services accordingly. Transportation services, for instance, continue to be developed with very little regard for the number of elderly and handicapped among us. Home care services have not been reasonably expanded in keeping with the need for such services.

Let me remind you, according to a recent article, the percentage of institutionalized elderly people in Ontario is approximately nine per cent and that compares with a figure of about five per cent in the United States and the United Kingdom, and an overall figure for Canada of seven per cent. Of course, that figure itself is, to some extent, raised by Ontario’s contribution.

Institutionalization of our elderly is a very short-sighted, very cruel and very mean way of dealing with this increase in that proportion of the population. Surely, we need to show a little more imagination in obtaining and creating home care services, visiting services, shopping services and cleaning services so that the elderly can stay in their own home or in the homes of their families.

The tendency in our province, and of course in North America generally, has been for families to form up in their early days of procreation and then go off to live by themselves. The children, in this way, are in many instances denied the benefits of another generation at home -- aunts, uncles and grandparents. This doesn’t serve either the older people or the children very well. The continuity in life tends to be lost.

One of the reasons for the feeling of alienation that I’ve noticed in some of my work before entering this realm of politics, has been the feeling that somehow the individual does not see himself, or herself, against the whole background of the life cycle. I would think, therefore, there are many things we should be doing with a view to getting families to stay together longer if possible. I would think that tax credits for those people who take care of their elderly relatives at home, rather than institutionalizing them, would make a great deal of sense.

I would ask, in a very constructive way, that the government give very serious consideration, both at the provincial and the federal level, to that type of scheme. People find, as some of my constituents find, that they want to keep an elderly relative at home but they don’t know what to do when it comes time for a vacation. They want to go away for a couple of weeks and they have nobody to leave the relative with, or they feel that it’s a burden if they have to be there all the time and they just can’t ever get away.

It seems to me with a little more money, with a little consideration, with the availability of the types of home care services that I have spoken of, it would be possible to have people come in, as it were to baby sit -- not to use the term disparagingly -- to take care of the elderly person at home.

I feel our society has this youth orientation, which is most unfortunate. We are developing in the community colleges thousands of people who are so-called child care workers. While I do not disparage that particular group of professionals or para-professionals, surely the emphasis should be on developing geriatric care workers. That is the population proportion that is increasing. The number of youngsters is actually decreasing as a percentage of our population. The same goes in the medical schools. We do not have the geriatric specialist, whereas we are still producing pediatricians at a ludicrous rate, given the declining birth rate in the province and in the country.

Many of these things are not the fault of the province and I am not listing them here in order to lay blame or point the finger of blame in any way, but simply to say that we as a Legislature, particularly in a minority situation, can work together to remedy some of these situations, some of these great difficulties, if only the will were there to do so.

Let me say a few words, Mr. Speaker, on the subject of food lands. I think it is well understood by those who have studied the matter that there is really no immediate crisis, in the usual sense of the word, as far as food lands are concerned. There is no danger of starvation in Ontario for now or for the foreseeable future. In fact, even if we didn’t have any food land here, I suspect we could import food at a price not utterly outrageous. That is not the point.

The point is that the future demands that we keep available this excellent resource we have -- our food land and our productive farmer -- that we keep that available for future use. When I say we must keep it available for future use, I have in mind, Mr. Speaker, the fact that any decline in the average temperature, just as an example, could radically change the productivity of our food lands in this province. I have in mind the fact that any change in the price of fertilizer could make very big economic changes in terms of the use of our food lands in this province. I have in mind the fact that food may well be a very important export for this province 20 years from now.

I know that at the moment it is difficult to think of exporting food to the third world and so on because of the fact that they don’t have money to pay for it and all the difficulties in transportation, but these may pale in significance 20 years from now. We may well find that food is for us, in a sense -- to be a little over simplistic about it -- what oil is to the OPEC nations. Why we should therefore squander and waste the resource we have, the best arable land in the province of Ontario, why we should waste that is beyond me.

Let me put one more fact before you and it was touched on in the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) yesterday. We should realize, Mr. Speaker, that energy crops may well turn out to be the most important use of so-called food land 20 or 25 years from now or maybe even sooner than that.

Not only wood and milkweed, which are well known energy crops, but many other types of crops produce hydrocarbons which are almost competitive this very day with commercially available gasoline. It’s terribly important therefore that we recognize that the energy crops, just as any other crops, will grow best and most productively on the best land.

So long as other land is available it does not make sense to use our prime agricultural land for the purpose of urbanization or for its use by other public agencies for highways, airports, Hydro corridors, waste disposal sites and so on. I think therefore that it’s extremely important that we develop a real policy in this Legislature to the preservation of our best food land.

I know that the land is still there despite many types of rural non-farm use. I am well aware of the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough’s) point of view that the rain still falls on the land and the wind is blowing on it and so on. I have heard all that.

Mr. Wildman: A little hot air.

Mr. S. Smith: But in fact when you start dividing up the land with the corridors and with the roads and with buildings here and there, the chances of those small parcels of land ever coming back into proper production are very remote. I think we have to face the realities, therefore, that it’s terribly important that we emphasize the preservation of the agricultural land that we have.

I feel that we have to have, first of all, an inventory of all food lands. I think that has been called for in the past and it’s shocking that we don’t have it now. And that must include not just soil classifications of many years ago; it must include such matters as heat units, proximity to market, the amount of sunshine and so on. And this must designate not just food lands but recreational forest lands and other special types of lands that are available -- wet lands and so on.

Hon. W. Newman: I am glad you are reading from my report.

Mr. S. Smith: We must have an immediate inventory, but in addition to that it seems to me that we require mandatory designation of the most significant food lands. This mandatory designation should be available to be appealed to a tribunal with expertise, but no appeal should be permitted unless it has rigorously been proved that no alternative is available for the particular project or use that is recommended, that no alternative is available on non-food land. In other words, the burden of proof must be on the municipality that wants to make a change in its official plan to prove that it has to use that farmland, that food land, and that no alternative is available. It seems to me that we have to be very strict about this.

I do not, at this moment, favour a rigid freeze, but I do feel that we should have a very strict, mandatory designation. I feel that it’s very important, once we arrive at a plan which takes into account the preservation of these lands, for the regions, the counties, the municipalities, to have a fair amount of autonomy within the plan to make the kinds of changes that at the present time they have to go to the OMB about.

I think we need a special policy with regard to urban fringe areas; a buffer zone so to speak, between the urban and the rural. I feel that there is an important role as well, of course, for the federal government; and I feel that tariffs to protect our food growers are essential.

The present government has, from time to time, spoken of an interest in these matters, but let’s look at some of the examples of their behaviour. Because, you know, by their deeds shall they be known, not by their green papers.

When you look at Niagara and you take the regional planners in that area and the work that they were doing: I’ve spoken to these planners; I’ve gone over with them on their diagrams, acre by acre, the land that was included in former urban boundaries, the land that they were suggesting be included in the new urban boundaries. In each instance when I asked them what guidance they had from the government during the planning process the answer was “zero.”

When they wanted to know from the government whether the government really felt that the municipal sewage treatment plants had to have the number of houses originally projected in order to make those things viable, they got no answer. When they wanted to know whether or not the Queen Elizabeth Highway would be expanded right in the middle of the northern part of the peninsula where the best land was, they got no answer. When they wanted to know what kind of help they could get in order to redirect growth onto some of the less desirable, less productive lands, they were given no assistance; no dollar figures were mentioned.

They had nothing that they could use as a weapon in their discussions with the small municipalities. They would go as planners to the small municipalities of Niagara, and the people in the small municipalities would insist that they needed some growth to pay for the sewage plant or whatever. They had nothing they could use as a weapon against those people because the provincial government gave no guidance and no support.

Look at the parkway belt exemption. Look at 900 acres of class 1 agricultural land east of Milton, 500 or 600 acres of that already zoned for agriculture and exempted from the parkway belt -- these are owned by the Shipp Corporation -- exempted from the parkway belt on the basis of hardship to the company.


We have the example of Barrie. If you watched Global television last night you know, Mr. Speaker, that the government -- the Ontario Municipal Board to be more accurate -- is hearing an application by Barrie to annex some land in Innisfil township. I think you know that included in that land are about 7,000 acres of class 1 land, the best in Ontario. I think you know that that land is south of Barrie and development there will therefore force additional pressure on that excellent agricultural land yet farther to the south. And more development pressure between Barrie and Toronto is bound to result from this. I think you know that that is where some of our best land is located.

You are aware, Mr. Speaker, that the Treasurer has sent a letter or two to the Ontario Municipal Board -- and my colleague the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Good) has already asked about that particular letter -- suggesting that 125,000 people is the population the government desires for Barrie. It is government policy to have that population there. I think you know that the Ontario Municipal Board has now stopped its hearings while it discusses the propriety of that letter. I don’t intend to discuss that because I understand it’s before the courts.

I think you are also aware, Mr. Speaker, that Innisfil township has recommended another parcel of land which would spare a good many thousands of acres of class 1 farm land and which would direct the growth for Barrie onto other land, some of which is much less productive. It would also permit Innisfil to continue as a viable township, whereas if they lose all the land from the middle of the township, as in the present plan, the annexation proposal, I think you know that Innisfil would then be non-viable and either a form of regional government or a total annexation would be forced on the area in the Barrie region.

I feel it is really a very unfortunate day for Ontario that 7,000 acres of class 1 land should be proposed for annexation and for urbanization when there is a very reasonable alternative available. I am not accusing anybody of wrongdoing, I want to be very clear about that; I am, however, less than convinced by the Barrie annexation proposal, in particular because of the fact that the planners who developed that proposal were also the consulting engineers on the proposal for the precise parcel of land submitted by the chief developers in the area who stand to gain by the annexation proposals.

The diagrams for land use that were drawn for the South Simcoe Estates proposal to Innisfil township are very similar to the diagrams for land use drawn in the Barrie annexation proposal. Personally, I was rather surprised to find in the Barrie annexation proposal a passage which says that one of the reasons that particular land should be annexed and should be developed is because it is in the hands of developers and because, as the proposal says, developers usually take the time and trouble to do a study to find out which is the best land for development. When you consider, Mr. Speaker, that it was the same people who said this who were the consulting engineers for the developers, it is an interesting form of praise.

I am not going to go into the list, which you have probably heard before, Mr. Speaker, as to how the matter is being argued in front of the OMB. Let me just say that I am shocked by what’s going on there. I think the government should be standing up to save that farm land, not intervening to try to permit its rape. In fact, I await with interest the letter promised me by the Minister of Agriculture and Food, a letter sent from his own food lands division to the Treasury protesting the proposal for annexation.

Mr. Cassidy: Does the Liberal Party agree with you on that?

Mr. Nixon: I’ll bet the Treasurer slapped the minister’s’ wrist about that letter.

Mr. Cassidy: Didn’t your party vote against protecting farm lands just a month ago at the provincial convention?

Mr. Roy: Did the member for Ottawa Centre just wake up?

Mr. Ruston: How is his house? Is he still renting it out?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Let’s have some order, please. The member for Hamilton West has the floor.

Mr. S. Smith: I want to turn now to what is probably the most important matter facing us in Ontario, and that’s the state of the Ontario economy.

Ontario’s economy is sick. We suffer from high unemployment, high inflation, underutilization in our manufacturing industries, stagnation in our mining industry and widespread lack of confidence among consumers and businessmen alike.

Things are not getting better in Ontario, If one looks at our manufacturing sector, one realizes that we are not competitive with the rest of the world. And it’s not going to get better. One also must recognize that as the west makes more economic demands on Canada, on Confederation generally, that most of these economic demands in one form or another, either in the form of high energy prices, changes in transportation rates or a shifting of the manufacturing sector out there, one way or another, ultimately are going to hurt our manufacturing sector.

The negotiations on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, just about to go on, are not going to help Ontario one iota. It’s evident that more and more pressure will come on Ontario from the third world, from developing nations, to permit access of their manufactured goods into our country and our province. We are facing a real crisis -- a crisis in confidence and a crisis in reality.

Last week’s issue of Ontario Finances provides perhaps the clearest indication of the extent to which our economy is underperforming. Because of unemployment and underemployment, personal income tax revenues are $172 million below the budget. As a result of lack of consumer confidence, retail sales tax revenues are $107 million below the budget. The crisis in our mines is reflected in mining profit taxes that yielded only 42 per cent of what they were budgeted for. And the weak markets, high costs and general uncertainty which have plagued our businessmen have resulted in a shortfall of $95 million in corporate income tax revenues for the province.

A fifth of our capacity in manufacturing stands idle. Our economy is in trouble, and there is not the slightest sign of improvement. Businessmen still lack confidence. Of 1,212 Ontario businessmen questioned recently by the Bank of Montreal, 46 per cent planned less capital spending this year than last, 81 per cent expected business would not improve this year. Consumer confidence is also low: Gallup reported that 54 per cent of its Ontario respondents believe that their standard of living is either stagnant or declining.

Despite this bleak economic outlook and despite the fact that we brought all these matters to the attention of the Treasurer during the debate on his so-called mini-budget, the Treasurer persists in his claim that Ontario’s economy will experience real growth of five per cent in 1977. If he believes that figure, then he is fooling himself. If he does not, then it’s time that we saw an honest figure. The Conference Board in Canada has revised its prediction to a more realistic growth rate of 2.9 per cent.

We believe in the Liberal Party that the most important challenge facing us is to repair our economy. The government and the Treasurer must acknowledge the extent of the problems that we face and then take decisive steps to spur economic growth to take up this slack. It’s a sad comment on this government’s fiscal mismanagement and lack of foresight that at this time of slow economic growth and high unemployment, the government is trapped by a series of record-breaking deficits and expensive spending habits. In this so-called year of restraint, government spending is up by almost 12 per cent and the budget has been overspent by $55 million. A prudent government, a government which had cut back spending and deficits during times of prosperity, would not now be so limited in its ability to overcome an economic slowdown.

Mr. Cassidy: Like the federal Liberals, eh?

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, absolutely right.

There is no manoeuvring room left. The per capita net debt in Ontario has mushroomed from $185 in 1970, the last year of Mr. Robarts, to $708 in 1977.

Some hon. members: Shame.

Mr. S. Smith: Spending has climbed at an average annual rate of 15.8 per cent from 1970, from $4.3 billion to $11.8 billion. The people of Ontario pay $2.4 million every day just for interest on the provincial debt.

By constant overspending and extraordinary deficits, this government has foolishly restricted the manoeuvring room that it needs now to foster economic growth and reduce unemployment. The inflation which the government spending practices have reinforced has eroded consumer confidence in purchasing power, contributed to high interest rates, and in that way depressed the housing industry and raised corporate borrowing costs. It has created illusory inventory profits on which businesses have had to pay very real taxes.

This party, especially under my predecessor, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), has consistently warned of the dangers of high government spending, but the government has not heeded our warning and Ontario’s 316,000 unemployed are now paying the price.

No concern is greater than the urgent need for new job creation in Ontario. Eight per cent of our work force is unemployed. Three hundred and sixteen thousand men and women cannot find jobs in the province of opportunity. Our free enterprise system cannot exist without opportunities for individual enterprise and achievement, and those opportunities begin with a job. To me it is inconsistent with our beliefs to suggest that eight per cent unemployment is an acceptable price to pay in the fight against inflation. To me it is neither acceptable nor necessary. Every willing and able citizen in our province has a right to employment, a right which has been abridged by the inadequate economic policies of our provincial and federal governments.

Mr. Speaker, let me put it to you this way: Free enterprise is something I believe in very deeply, but that system cannot survive if we bring up a generation of young people who are not given the opportunity to work, who are discouraged from hard work, from investing their time and effort and enthusiasm in using their educations and their talents to produce and to accomplish things. And if young people who are working can’t look forward to the purchase of their own home, which for most people is the only stake they have in our economy, how can free enterprise survive?

Surely the need for more challenge in our schools, the need to emphasize hard work and risk taking and competitiveness is all important, but certainly the opportunity to work has to come before anything else. If people are not working, and if all industry is in the hands of just a few large companies, and if people don’t sense they have that feeling of opportunity, it isn’t going to matter to them a hoot whether those large companies have shares traded on the stock exchange or are owned by the government. It won’t mean anything to them, and free enterprise has no chance of survival under those circumstances. Jobs for our young people are essential and the health of the small business sector is essential as well, and I will get to that in a moment.

Mr. Martel: Darcy, you are destroying free enterprise.

Mr. S. Smith: You are right. That is the first true word you have said in some time.

Mr. Martel: Hurray. I congratulate the minister.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Wedding bells, wedding bells.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: How come you are not supporting him?

Mr. Breaugh: It is downright subversive.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue.

Mr. S. Smith: Since the beginning of this year we have experienced layoffs and cutbacks across this province, including: the Ford Motor Company in Talbotville laid off 2,500 workers in January; American Motors in Brampton, 1,200 workers in January; Wabasso in Dunnville cut back its towel plant to 57 per cent capacity and laid off 60 workers; Willroy Mines announced closure of the Manitouwadge mine, eliminating 176 jobs; B.F. Goodrich closing its cellular products plant in Bramalea, laying off 100.

Today there are more unemployed workers in Ontario than the combined total populations of Brampton and Chatham and Oakville and Sault Ste. Marie and Brockville and Kenora. Presently Ontario’s unemployment rate is rising faster than is the case in other parts of Canada. Between January and February of this year alone the number of unemployed in Ontario rose by six per cent compared to an increase of 4.2 per cent in the rest of Canada. In the past year the number unemployed in Ontario has grown by 20.6 per cent compared with 14.5 per cent in the rest of Canada. In the last half of 1976, our vacancy rate was lower than the national rate.

We are lagging behind the rest of Canada in the critical fight against unemployment; city by city, as was outlined by the Leader of the Opposition -- unemployment in Hamilton, 7.3 per cent; London, 7.4 per cent; Sudbury, 7.7 per cent; Ottawa, 9.8 per cent; and, Windsor, 10 per cent.



Mr. S. Smith: In the construction industry, workers face the grim paradox of record high unemployment and record low residential vacancy rates. In Toronto, unemployment in the construction industry is .34 per cent, yet the desperate need for new construction is obvious from an apartment vacancy rate of 1.0 per cent. In Sault Ste. Marie nearly 80 per cent of the construction workers are unemployed while the apartment vacancy rate rests at 0.2 per cent.

Mr. Wildman: That is what the Minister of Housing has done for his own riding.

Mr. S. Smith: As with the economy generally, the Treasurer has so far refused to recognize the extent of Ontario’s unemployment problem. In defiance of all the evidence he clings to his prediction of six per cent unemployment for 1977. The Conference Board in Canada has more realistically predicted seven per cent.

More fundamentally, the Treasurer has indicated that he seems prepared to overlook the frustration, the bitterness, the disillusionment and the shocking waste of human resources represented by the unemployed. On behalf of the 316,000 men and women in Ontario who are this afternoon knocking at the doors of factories and offices but finding no work, I urge the Treasurer to reconsider and to recognize that we urgently need new job opportunities in Ontario.

Particularly, as I said earlier the need is great among young people. Our unemployment rate among workers under 25 years of age is 14.8 per cent. Those under 20 -- 19 per cent are unemployed; 143,000 young Ontarians, more than the combined populations of Brampton and Chatham, cannot find work.

Mr. Bullbrook: That really hits home.

Mr. S. Smith: In my own constituency office I have people with all levels of education -- grade nine, grade 13, MAs, PhDs -- unable to find work. The bitterness, the hopelessness, the frustration which these people indicate to me is something which is simply intolerable.

I get the feeling that we have broken faith with our young people. We push them through high school and nurse them through various educational opportunities and then we dump them on the labour market to rot like so many surplus vegetables. This is a time when they should be achieving a measure of independence and one in five of our workers under 20 cannot find a job.

We cannot abandon them. The Treasurer, in his budget, must offer hope and jobs to counteract the despair, the fear and the disillusionment of 143,000 jobless young people.

Now let me be clear. There are a few things that we probably should not do. Massive government spending increases would ultimately be counterproductive by once again overheating the economy. Our objective must be to pick up the slack in our economy, not add to the inflationary pressure.

Investment incentives do not make much sense to me at a time of only 81 per cent utilization in our manufacturing industries, because I fear that they will not be used for expansion and new job creation but rather for so-called modernization which, in the short to medium run -- and maybe even in the long run -- will simply replace more workers with machines. The Treasurer should consider a cut in personal income taxes to stimulate consumer spending, to restore consumer confidence and to reduce pressure for wage increases as we begin to phase out controls. The tax decrease should be restricted to those under $15,000 annually, those who are under the greatest pressure and who will spend that money.

Steps should be taken to speed up the Ontario Municipal Board hearings on Toronto’s downtown plan. Mr. Speaker, you know I’ve spoken on this in the House, I’ve asked some questions of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). It is absolutely inconceivable to me that the Ontario Municipal Board should be meeting in Toronto on the downtown plan of Toronto, with tens of millions of dollars of construction projects ready to go, with 34 per cent unemployment in the construction industry; and if this board should be meeting six hours a day, four days a week, should be taking off the month of July for holidays, should be taking off a week at Easter -- this is absolutely inconceivable. This is a time of emergency. Surely more commissioners can be appointed. Surely they can sit longer hours. Surely they can sit five- or five-and-a-half-day weeks. This is a very crucial time in our economy and surely we can get the red tape moving more swiftly.

I feel the government should, through its own channels and through the federal government, be pressing the United States to restore tax deductions for Americans attending conventions in Canada. Six major conventions cancelled their plans to meet in Toronto in the first two months of this year because of the elimination of the tax deduction. Each convention delegate would bring an average of $250 to spend in our economy. They create largely unskilled jobs in hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities, and these are very necessary.

In addition to obtaining that change, and I would imagine that the United States might be well disposed toward such representations, the government should also facilitate the construction of a new convention centre in downtown Toronto. A convention centre committee established by Metro Chairman Godfrey is to report this week on means of financing such a centre and on alternative sites in downtown Toronto. The Ontario government should not let that report gather dust like so many others do. In the short term we need the construction jobs; in a longer term our hotels and our tourist industry require a boost.

Several significant job creation moves can be taken without significant spending increases. For young people, special measures and new approaches are required. I’m convinced that we must institute dramatic structural changes to our economy. But to confront the immediate problems I urge the government to consider the establishment of an Ontario youth service, with the objective of spurring employment for young people in both the public and private sectors. To create jobs for young people in the public sector, the Ontario youth service would supplement unemployment insurance benefits now received by unemployed youth. The federal government has already shown interest in greater flexibility for UIC funds and is now participating in a job creation project in Newfoundland, which Ontario should study very carefully. A supplement of $10 per week would create 100,000 jobs for only $50 million. That’s no more than the over-expenditure in the Treasurer’s own ministry this year.

In order to implement the youth service as quickly as possible, public sector jobs should initially be created in provision of in-home services for elderly people in our society, which as I said earlier would allow them to continue leading independent lives outside institutions. The potential government cost saving is enormous. Ontario youth services could also assist, of course, with home maintenance, cleaning, meal preparation and so on.

There must be a new approach to apprenticeship in the province of Ontario. The government must move forward to encompass many of our unemployed youth in a new form of apprenticeship so that they can get on-the-job training and so that they can come off the unemployment rolls.

The overwhelming majority of our young people want to work and it’s up to us in the Legislature to give them that opportunity.

Let’s turn to some other aspects of our economy, Mr. Speaker. The Conservative government has neglected our natural resources in such a shocking and shameful manner that you could hardly believe that they pride themselves on the so-called protection of the wealth-creating part of our economy.

It is inconceivable but true that our fishing industry is now virtually dead; it is certainly dying. In forestry we have the terrible neglect of reforestation, which has threatened our entire forest industry by the year 2010. And in mining there has not been a new mine opened up this year and there is nothing on the drawing board whatsoever.

Mr. Haggerty: That’s for the last couple of years.

Mr. S. Smith: We have the Throne Speech promising to increase reforestation. It’s just not believable. Consider: In March 1973 the Throne Speech stated, “The House will be asked to approve a programme designed to increase my government’s activity in forest management. This expanded programme includes the regeneration of cut-over land.” That was in March 1973.

Again, in November 1975 the Minister of Natural Resources stated: “Our forest management efforts must be greatly intensified.” But no programme was introduced. Finally, in August 1976 the Ontario Professional Foresters Association held a conference “to present information on the rapid depletion of Ontario’s forests and the urgent need for improved management and resources renewal.” In 1972 the area of cut-over Crown land was approximately 345,000 acres, of which 178,000 acres were left unregenerated. They were the same kind of figures in 1973. The 1974 figures show 170,000 acres, and in 1975 there were 65,000 acres left unreforested. The industry that has been so important to Ontario, the forestry industry -- the pulp and paper industry -- is dying because of neglect by the government.

Look at the mining industry. Let me quote from the Northern Miner 10 days ago: “Ontario mining is heading for an eventual decline unless there is a marked change in the province’s investment climate and policy towards high-risk exploration ventures.” We have asked over and over again in the House when the government plans to move to change the Ontario Securities Commission regulations to allow exploration moneys to be found. We still are waiting for such changes to be brought in, despite the many promises.

Why doesn’t the government go and do airborne geophysical survey work in the way it was done in Quebec, because that then provides a spur and a basis on which individual prospectors and small companies can establish themselves and go over the claim areas which are found to be promising from the airborne surveys? Basically, the Natural Resources ministry has been a very weak spot and we hope that the new minister will do better.

Mr. Lawlor: Why not a Crown corporation?

Mr. Cassidy: They don’t believe in that.

Mr. Lawlor: That is not free enterprise.

Mr. S. Smith: With regard to small business -- and I really hope that those people in the Conservative government who say they care about free enterprise will understand -- small business has an enormous job-creating capacity. It can create jobs immediately; unlike large industries which require quite a long lead time before they can create work, the small business sector can create jobs right away. It has been estimated that small firms can create jobs for approximately a cost of $5,000 per work place, whereas in the larger industries it may require anywhere from $70,000 to several hundred thousand dollars for each work place, depending on the industry.

At present, Ontario’s small businesses suffer from a lack of adequate financing. Sources of equity capital are few, often because the rate of return does not justify the risk. Debt financing is hard to obtain. The government must therefore address itself to these problems -- not by regulation and control, of which there’s already too much, but by measures aimed at self-sufficiency of small business.

Why has this government not declared very simply and plainly that the government will obligate itself to purchase a certain percentage of all its goods and services from the small, owner-managed sector of Ontario’s economy? Why has this government not instituted a policy whereby any contract it enters into with large corporations has as a clause the subcontracting of a certain percentage of that work to benefit the small business sector of this province, the owner-managed enterprises of Ontario? That has been done in the United States. It could be done here. Those people, the small business people, can create jobs more rapidly and in a more decentralized manner, particularly in the smaller centres of Ontario.

The government has other measures to take. I urge the Treasurer to consider paying the payroll taxes for each additional worker employed by a firm, in a given year, up to a net gain in manpower of 10 persons for a three-year period.


The matter of housing: I think you know, Mr. Speaker, that Liberals believe that every person in this province who has worked for a reasonable period of time should have the opportunity of purchasing his own home on the open market. Where is this government’s commitment to affordable housing? Where, for that matter, is its commitment to any kind of housing?

Housing starts in Ontario declined from 110,000 in 1973 to 79,900 in 1975. Preliminary statistics for 1976 indicate that the total housing starts in urban Ontario in 1976 increased only four per cent over the previous year; while total housing starts in urban Canada, as a whole, increased 15 per cent. We’re lagging behind in every sector of our economy.

In 1961, Mr. Speaker, 69 per cent of all Ontario families could finance the purchase of an average Ontario resale home, sold through a real estate broker, and still spend less than the recommended one-quarter of their gross income for principal and interest payments -- even in those days when incomes were much lower. In 1971, 58 per cent of families could still finance the average resale house. By 1974, only 24 per cent of families could afford to do so, and that figure is even lower today.

Now we have the wonderful programme that the Hon. Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) has announced, in which the AHOP and HOME programmes are going to be combined. He announced yet another programme of this kind -- where the programme applies only to new housing selling below a modest amount established by the federal government. This ranges from a maximum of $47,000 in Toronto to a maximum of $34,000 in many other municipalities. I think you know that under this programme all purchasers receive a loan reducing the effective mortgage interest rate to eight per cent, which loan must be repaid at the beginning of the seventh year.

The rare purchaser who qualifies for the maximum subsidy in the first year will receive a rude awakening when he must repay the loan. One senior trust company executive has calculated that mortgage payments would jump from $160 per month to $440 a month a few years later, leading to difficulties in obtaining mortgages under the plan due to fear of foreclosure. We have not seen that refuted. In fact, it’s interesting that the provincial government hasn’t shown any long-term payment schedule that would allow the new programme to be judged intelligently.

The former Treasurer, John White, announced that a provincial plan was being prepared in 1974. We’re still waiting for it. No overall provincial plan has yet been released. This lack of provincial leadership has encouraged uncertainty and speculation and has, I submit to you, been one of the factors in the growing cost of housing and the restriction of the production of housing in Ontario.

What about the great land banking scheme? My heavens, those schemes in themselves ought to be enough to bring down a government under any normal circumstances. After years of criticism by Liberal MPPs, the Minister of Housing has admitted that much of the criticism of the massive land banking programme was valid. He has stated that the remaining 23,000 acres held by the ministry will now be sold at market value, according to the Globe and Mail of March 8.

We agree that the minister should abandon this ill-conceived and ill-administered programme; however, the Liberals would ensure that the land needed for housing would be sold below market value as quickly as possible in order to reduce the price of serviced lots generally; and land not required for housing would be sold to farmers in order that it be put to its most productive agricultural use.

You know we have a situation like this in Hamilton, Mr. Speaker -- and I have spoken on this before. We have in the Saltfleet area and in the mountain area thousands of acres owned by the government, directly or indirectly. They allow these housing lots to come on the market in dribs and drabs, one at a time, just as the most proficient speculator in Ontario would do. They set it at market value, or very close to market value -- and there are some instances where the government actually led the market value. In that way those who would build houses for any of the assisted home ownership programmes find that they are restricted to building houses of inferior quality in order that the total price, given the arbitrarily set price for the land and the price for the house put on the land, be within the limit set by whatever the assisted home programme happens to be.

If the government would have the heart, the decency and the intelligence to flood the market with serviced land, and arbitrarily set the price lower, depress the price of the lots used on these assisted home programmes, a better house could be built for the same purchase price. These things would not then turn into slums, as is a risk some years from now, but would in fact be the best quality housing available.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: What about the private construction industry?

Mr. Breithaupt: You are not helping it.

Mr. S. Smith: The Minister of the Environment has roused himself to ask me about the private building industry. The private building industry is quite happy to build high quality homes on those lots, but they are forced to put up a house worth, for instance, $19,000, because the lot itself is valued, for instance, at $20,000 and the total price can only be $39,000 or $40,000.

If the government would value the lot at $15,000, they could put on a house worth $24,000 in terms of building and sell it to the owner and the owner would get much better value for that; but this government is so frightened that the poor fellow who buys that house will make some type of windfall profit. I wish it would show the same fear about windfall profits in the Barrie area where tens of millions of dollars are going to be made by certain individuals.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: How do you know?

Mr. S. Smith: What is the government worried about? A few thousand dollars of house value that might accrue to a poor person who buys an assisted home in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Amalgamation doesn’t mean urbanization.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: That’s the new man.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Peterson: You have got all your heavy hecklers over there I see.

Mr. Breithaupt: Just one.

Mr. S. Smith: A Liberal government would encourage reasonable expansion of existing communities instead of building expensive new towns on productive farm land.

I would like now, Mr. Speaker, to address just a few remarks on the matter of children’s services, particularly in various non-institutional placements which we might collectively refer to as group homes. I think you know that starting back in May of last year we on this side, and I in particular, went after the report of the ministry that we knew was in existence and turns out to have been in existence for about two years now -- a report documenting the chaos and the shambles in the children’s mental health services and the children’s group home services generally.

Finally we are getting a little bit of action from the government. We are pleased to see that. There are three good things that the government is doing. One is the appointment of Judge Thomson, and we certainly applaud that appointment. He is an excellent person and we certainly wish him well in his new duties.

The second reasonable thing is to bring all the group homes under one ministry, and we have been recommending that since last May or June.

The other good thing is that committees are being set up to take care of assessment and placement co-ordination in each community. We think that’s a good idea, depending on how the local agencies are involved in the make-up of these committees.

There still are a number of questions, however. Firstly, will the local government still be expected to pay an ever-increasing amount of money toward the cost of court-ordered children’s boarding home placement? The local communities have had to pick up an extra tab in this regard, while the province has escaped from certain of its own responsibilities.

We also want to know whether there will be a case audit, so that we have some idea of the children presently in our vast facilities, whether they really need to be there and whether they are obtaining the kinds of services best suited to their particular problem. The report admits very clearly that there has been neither rhyme nor reason in many of these placements.

I also feel that the government has not dealt with, and I hope they will, the matter of labour conditions among the workers in the field of child care. Many of these people are among the most underpaid, overworked people in Ontario, and surely they deserve better consideration.

In our own policy paper, which we draw to the government’s attention, entitled Care and Treatment of Disturbed and Troubled Children in Ontario -- Proposal for Change and Reform, we make some recommendations in this regard.

We also feel it’s necessary for the provincial government to come to grips with the matter of zoning for group homes. Many areas in built-up municipalities are resisting group home operation because they feel that other areas are not taking their fair share, and that certain areas are being loaded down with excessive numbers of group homes. Whatever the reasons for these objections, the provincial government has a role to play by calling together all the municipal organizations, the municipal governments, and seeing to it that each municipality takes its share of non-institutional placements.

A few words on education: I feel very proud of the contribution that we made in the Liberal Party on the subject of education, and I am pleased to see that there have been some movements in the direction that we have outlined. I feel that the tragic destruction of any form of stiff challenge, the destruction of a sense of hard work and competitiveness in our system, which I must lay right at the feet of the Premier during his days as Minister of Education; that all that has been a tragic loss to Ontario.

But we are still waiting to hear from the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) just when he is going to start to introduce standards of measurement, standards by which you can measure attainment. Pupils need to have a periodic basis of measuring their development, and parents need to have realistic views on the ability and progress of their children. Teachers need to know about the success or otherwise of their teaching methods; administrators and taxpayers need to know about how their system is doing.

We are still waiting for province-wide standards -- and dare I use the word examination -- so that in fact there can be structure put into the curriculum of our public schools; structure which is very much necessary and which at the moment is available only, apparently, in certain school boards and in some of the private schools and some of the separate schools of this province. We await movement in that regard.

I would like to draw my remarks to a close by taking a few moments to discuss the matter of national unity, the crisis in Confederation. Back on December 16 I had the honour to address this Legislature and to make a number of remarks which stand and which, unfortunately in many ways, proved to be rather prophetic. In fact I am very troubled about what I see in front of us, although I must tell you that deep down I remain optimistic that our country can survive this crisis as a stronger and more unified country.

I must tell you that I do not have a conception of Canada which would be nine unilingual English provinces and one unilingual French one. That is not a conception of Canada that means very much to me. I would consider that an admission of total failure on a world scale.

I feel that it’s important, first of all, that I make it clear that I ally myself and my party with the statement made yesterday by the Premier on the question of the proposed Quebec language charter. I agree also with the leader of the New Democratic Party when he noted in his remarks yesterday that it is important on such a major issue as that proposed charter that we try to speak with one voice.


The proposed charter is a very disturbing document for those of us who believe in a united, bilingual country. Surely what we are all seeking in Canada today is not an abridgment of official language rights, but rather a widening and extension of rights and services.

It seems to me that there are some major issues that we need to address. The first is to ensure that, as I have been saying over the past few months, our own house is in order regarding the provision of official minority language rights. The second is to make clear to Mr. Levesque and his colleagues that he cannot have his cake and eat it too. I do not believe that he should be permitted to beguile the Quebec population into believing he can take Quebec out of Confederation and yet continue to reap all the economic advantages which Confederation brings.

Recently I spoke in Quebec, at the invitation of a French-speaking service club, and I would like to relate to the hon. members some remarks I made about what Ontario is doing, and to underline the further steps that the Liberal Party believes we should take.

I noted when I was there that during the course of my recent travels across the province of Ontario, Ontarians were asking what they can do provincially, on a provincial level, to help the cause of unity. My reply was and is that there are two things: The first is to show understanding of Quebec and an openness toward the French fact in this country. Secondly, I believe we should seek to ensure that all French-speaking Canadians feel first-class outside as well as inside Quebec.

In my view, Ontarians are responding positively to these approaches. I told my Quebec audience that it was important for them to realize that much has been accomplished in the last decade to improve the provision of bilingual government services throughout Ontario. While I was not satisfied that the progress was as great as it could have been, still there were today, at both the federal and provincial levels, a far greater range of bilingual services than those of 10 or 15 years ago.

Finally, I stated that I will strongly support the Premier on any initiatives his government undertakes to expand and improve the provision of bilingual services. By dealing fairly and justly with our respective language minorities in each province, I stated, we would demonstrate a tolerance and decency which would set an example for the world.

I want to congratulate the Premier, Mr. Speaker, on continuing to move up the level of Franco-Ontarian rights and services in Ontario, even though there is provocative action in the form of the white paper by the Parti Quebecois in Quebec to move their minority rights in a downward direction. It takes courage not to respond to that kind of provocation from the Quebec government; it takes courage. And it is prudent to remember that the government there is not speaking for the average Quebecker when it curtails the rights of the English-speaking minority. It is being, I think, deliberately provocative, and I am pleased that the Premier has shown the courage to continue the movement in Ontario toward more minority rights, not fewer.

I think it’s important that we move very swiftly; and as I’ve said before, it is important that we come up at least to the level of what the anglophones in Quebec enjoy. I think it is very important to recognize that rights are rights; and I agree with the Premier that they should not be limited by what some other province happens to be doing for its minority.

Rights should be expanded because they should be expanded, not simply because of what is happening elsewhere. But it is important politically that we bring our own francophone Ontario minority up very quickly, so that Mr. Levesque cannot use the excuse that certain rights and services are absent in Ontario as an excuse for taking them away in Quebec.

I think Mr. Levesque has gone even further with his white paper.

I agree with the Premier entirely that even though we may lack certain services and certain rights in Ontario, at least a francophone family from Quebec can send their children to a French school. Certainly English schools should be available, as the Premier said, to Canadians who move into Quebec from other provinces. There’s no question about that.

I think it’s also important that the people in Ontario should understand that we still do have a fair amount of catching up to do. With all the publicity given to the white paper -- a paper which I deplore -- people may believe that in fact we already have a very high level of service and rights available to our francophone population. It’s important that we admit that we still have a way to go, but that we’re working hard on catching up.

I appreciate the government has done a great deal at the elementary and secondary levels of education. I appreciate they’re going to try to resolve the Essex county situation. I think, however, that we must move with more dispatch on French-language post-secondary education. When you consider the post-secondary opportunities in the French language that are available in Ontario, they certainly need improvement. Also French-language health and related services and French-language court services all must be expanded as rapidly as possible.

Believe me, Mr. Speaker, the Premier will find both opposition parties are ready to respond affirmatively to solid initiatives in these areas. I can assure the Premier, and I hope that somehow or other he does hear of these remarks today, that he will have my wholehearted co-operation in his efforts to remain determined to expand the rights and the services to our Franco-Ontarian population and to expand the teaching of French to those in the English-speaking community in Ontario. We believe it should start at least in grade one, and we hope he’ll move in that direction.

In summary, Mr. Speaker, we feel the Speech from the Throne contains many positive indications of movement in the right direction. We feel minority government has been working reasonably well for the people of Ontario.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s not what your speech said.

Mr. Mancini: Go back to sleep, Michael.

Mr. S. Smith: We feel the government deserves to have its opportunity to bring in a budget, a budget which must address itself to the fact that Ontario’s economy is very sick, is really ailing, and there is a desperate need to provide jobs, particularly for the young people of Ontario.

We will support any reasonable initiative of this government towards those ends. We have tried to be constructive right from the start. We intend to continue being constructive, and we hope the government of Ontario will take those actions necessary to ensure that Ontario remains a genuine province of opportunity.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member for Leeds.

Mr. Bullbrook: What a let-down this is going to be.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Thank the opposition for the applause, Jim.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I must say I thought I would have stopped the applause more rapidly than that.

Mr. Kerrio: Take it any way you can get it, eh?

Hon. Mr. Auld: However, I thank you and begin by congratulating the hon. members for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. Johnson) and London North (Mr. Shore) for their excellent contributions to this debate.

In the Speech from the Throne, Her Honour outlined the many important programmes which the government will be undertaking.

Mr. Sargent: Important?

Hon. Mr. Add: I should like to take a few minutes at this time to describe how the work of the Management Board will assist in carrying out those programmes. The primary objective of the Management Board in coordinating the implementation of government programmes is to ensure all the necessary budgetary personnel and administrative systems are in place so that all programmes can be carried out in the most efficient and effective manner.

Mr. Sargent: What is your name?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Let me begin by describing the role of the Management Board in controlling government spending. The special issue of Ontario Finances released last week, effective March 31, reporting on the fourth quarter performance of the 1976 budget, indicates we have been successful in our efforts to keep expenditures within the original budget plans. The revised outlook of $12,565 million is in fact $11 million less than the original budget plan of $12,576 million.

Mr. Cassidy: That is what Darcy said, too, but your budgetary spending is up. This is misleading.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Management Board was able to achieve this goal primarily as a result of the government’s firm resolve to control expenditures within the spending levels announced by the Treasurer in the 1976 budget.

Mr. Cassidy: You are dissembling and camouflaging --

Mr. Sargent: That is the same speech you gave last year.

Hon. Mr. Auld: The hon. member should read what I said.

Mr. Cassidy: He didn’t see the speech until he got up in the House.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. There are altogether too many conversations being carried on.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Our task was made somewhat simpler by the commitment of all ministers and deputies to the control of expenditures --


Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. members give the courtesy of listening to the hon. member for Leeds? There are too many conversations going on in the Legislature at this time.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: You are always demanding more spending, so what are you criticizing him for?

Mr. Cassidy: Your budgetary spending is out by --

Hon. Mr. Kerr: More and more.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: You are doing cartwheels and somersaults to try to say no.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Our task was made somewhat simpler by the commitment of all ministers and deputies to the control of expenditures --

Mr. Sargent: You are giving your budget-debate speech. This is your Throne-debate speech.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- and their co-operation in the reallocation of resources to meet unforeseen spending increases. I mentioned earlier that it was the board’s responsibility to see that the necessary systems were in place to ensure efficient administration. For this reason, we introduced a new budget control system in 1976-77, consisting of, first, a commitment control system for capital expenditures and certain operating transfer payments; second, an intense monitoring of expenditures, and third, an early in-year review of open-ended programmes to identify signs of expenditure increase.

The increased emphasis on expenditure control has meant that within the revised expenditure outlook for 1976-77 of $12,565 million, Management Board has been able to accommodate a total of $372 million in unanticipated additional spending, without increasing the government’s total spending level of $12,576 million as announced in the 1976 budget. Most of the additional expenditures resulted from increased requirements for the operations of hospitals and senior citizens’ facilities, for firefighting, community arenas, home renewal grants and various other programmes.

The improved expenditure controls, in place this year, permitted Management Board to fund these increases through offsetting constraints totalling $383 million, which affected almost every ministry. I am pleased to be able to assure this House that it is with a similarly firm resolve we intend to continue our efforts in the coming year to control expenditures and to keep in-year spending increases to a minimum.

While on the topic of expenditure control I should like to resolve any misunderstandings that may exist with respect to the appropriate distribution of expenditures within the fiscal year. The Provincial Auditor’s report on 1975-76 includes an analysis of total government expenditure by ministry and by month. Overall, 13 per cent of the province’s spending took place in March 1976, the last month of our fiscal year. In some ministries higher percentages were experienced, up to 30.7 per cent in one instance. It is unfortunate if such statistics are interpreted as having some sinister connotation. Governments have been depicted as engaging in year-end spending sprees in an attempt to use up unspent allocations.

Mr. Conway: To say nothing about an election.

Hon. Mr. Auld: The facts clearly show that substantially all of these apparently heavy March expenditures are nothing more than reflections of events in the normal course of government business and of the government’s accounting system. In fact, the comments appended to the Provincial Auditor’s table describe some of these factors both in general and for specific ministries. None of his comments implies that a less than responsible approach was taken to year-end spending.


The relegation of a larger proportion of the year’s expenditure to the month of March as opposed to other months arises from three basic features which are built into Ontario’s system. First, under The Financial Administration Act, payments made in April which pertain to goods and services received by the government in March of the preceding fiscal year are to be recorded as expenditures of the last month of the preceding fiscal year -- March. This obviously is an addition to expenditures normally processed and paid within the month of March. Thus, the normal month’s expenditures are for about 30 calendar days of business. However, in contrast, March expenditures represent up to two months spending for goods and services provided or rendered up to March 31 of that year.

Mr. Conway: He’s sounding like Marvin Shore.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Second, consistent with the first point, the first provincial payroll in April normally includes pay in respect to the previous month and is thus charged to March expenditures. This results in the March salary cost including three payrolls rather than the normal two and could add as much as $42 million to the month’s salary expenditures. And, of course, it has a similar contra effect in April.

These first two features would suggest that the expenditures for the month of March should be somewhat higher than average and that those for the month of April should be lower than the average monthly expenditure. This is indeed the case, and is borne out by the statistics presented in the Provincial Auditor’s report. It shows that for the month of March 1976, 13 per cent of the provincial spending took place, while only 5.8 per cent took place in April 1975, the first month of the fiscal year ending March 31, 1976.

Finally, certain expenditures, including some transfer payments, by custom or by formula tend to be heavier in March than other months of the year. For example, the government’s 1975-76 payment of $24.7 million in respect of unfunded liability was made to the public service superannuation fund in March 1976. In addition, almost one half of the $32.5 million farm tax reduction programme for 1975-76 was recorded as March 1976 expenditure.

It seems clear that given these three factors the expenditures in March of any fiscal year are bound to be higher than those of other months. This is a totally normal situation, implies no mismanagement and is consistent with official government accounting policies.

The continuing emphasis on spending constraint has meant that the overall increase in government expenditures has barely kept pace with the rate of inflation. Given the ever-growing number of people who must be served by existing programmes, this has presented Management Board and the operating ministries with a severe challenge. On top of this, the board has had the additional problem of finding the resources to implement new programmes. Inevitably, this has led us to employ innovative management techniques which relate benefits to cost and measure the efficiency with which results are obtained.

As I told this House before, the Management Board is increasingly using management by results, or MBR, as the basis upon which we make decisions about the resources required to operate programmes and monitors how these resources are used. The key elements in MBR are accountability and control. Under MBR, ministries are required to quantify the results which they expect to achieve from their programmes. After the board and the ministry have agreed on an appropriate level of funding and results for a particular programme, the ministry is held responsible to make periodic progress reports to the board. I am pleased to report to the House at this time that more than half of the government’s 1977-78 estimates are on the management-by-results programme and the ministries have firm plans to increase this substantially during this next year.

Now let me comment briefly on the issues raised in the report of the Auditor General of Canada as far as the government of Canada is concerned. Members will recall that he was severely critical of the federal government’s system of financial management and control and that the Auditor General called for the creation of a Controller General of Canada to restore good resource management in that government. In light of the publicity which this criticism has received, I want to assure this House that a similar situation emphatically does not exist in Ontario. Through the introduction of MBR the government has already taken action to ensure that there is no danger of its losing control over the public purse.

I mentioned Management Board’s interest in improving the processes for the allocation and control of public funds. I want to refer specifically to one which appears to offer great promise. I’m speaking of zero base budgeting. Under this approach, very briefly, programmes are described in terms of the different levels of output and funding at which they can be operated, and the budget is established by ranking these units in order of priority. This technique was developed less than 10 years ago in the United States and since that time has received increasing attention by businesses and governments throughout North America. It has apparently been adopted by 11 state governments in the US and will soon be introduced, we are told, within the US federal government. In addition, hundreds of businesses in Canada and the US have recognized the benefits of this approach to budgeting and have implemented this system.

Zero base budgeting makes particular sense in Ontario since it is a logical extension of MBR. It ensures that all programmes receive systematic scrutiny and that decisions on funding priority are made in terms of defined results to be achieved. Several pilot ministries have been selected to actually test the feasibility of zero base budgeting. During the next year, ministries will he asked to cooperate with the board in refining the technique with a view to introducing it as the basis for the preparation of the 1979-80 estimates.

Let me assure hon. members that the management systems within the Ontario government are under constant review by the Management Board. This review extends to the actual operations of all ministries. In fact, regular cyclical operational reviews are undertaken in ministries and agencies for the purpose of evaluating operating efficiency, management controls and compliance with administrative policy. Management Board will continue to emphasize and upgrade its operational review programme. We in the Management Board have, I believe, made a special effort ourselves to provide an example of an efficient, lean government organization. All of the expenditure-control-related activities I have just touched on, and more, are carried out by a total staff of only 81 people in the Management Board secretariat.

Let me spend a few minutes on the management of the public service. I would particularly like to bring to the attention of this House some of the changes that have occurred in the last short while concerning the employees who serve the province of Ontario, the Ontario civil servants. The main thrust of the management of the civil service over the last few years has been to provide each ministry with the authority to make decisions affecting employees in keeping with good personnel management practices. In this regard, a systematic delegation of responsibility to ministries for classification and staffing is continuing. The commission continues to provide broad guidelines for application by all ministries, and will continue to monitor the application and practices. We believe this is in keeping with the accountability of all resources with which ministries are charged.

In previous addresses, my colleague, the Treasurer, and I have announced a series of staffing restraints. During the fiscal year 1974-75, complement was held to zero growth. The first cut in the complement of the Ontario civil service -- that was a cut of 1,500 -- was made on April 1, 1975. This was followed by a further cut of 1,741 announced on July 1, 1975, and a further cut of 1,000 complement effective April 1, 1976. This total complement cut covered in these measures was 4,241.

In terms of actual civil servants, there were on staff as of March 1, 1975, 65,108 civil servants. On March 1, 1976, these were reduced to 63,883, and by December 31, 1976, to 63,210. The net reduction in civil servants within the period March 1, 1975, and December 1, 1976, has been about 1,900. The difference between the complement cut and the actual classified strength reduction is accounted for in the elimination of vacant complement in the ministries.

Much credit is to be given to the employees of the Ontario government for not only managing this programme of reduction so successfully, but also for being able to cope with increasing demands with fewer people and fewer dollars. In order to achieve the government objectives, tighter controls were placed on staffing actions, not only for civil servants but also for the unclassified staff. In my statement to the House of April 13, 1976, I outlined additional control measures which were implemented by the government to control the size of the unclassified staff. This additional control has been effective. The unclassified staff of March 1, 1976, was 15,039. On December 31, 1976, it was 14,811. And on February 28, the latest date for which I have figures, it stood at 13,744.

The staffing controls on both the classified and unclassified service implemented by this government have encouraged a greater internal mobility so that the reductions have been made at minimal disruption to the people and to the programmes involved. In recounting these restraints, I want to re-emphasize that these reductions have not been a mere reduction of staff level. They have been combined with a comparable control over the salaries and wages appropriations. This action was taken to ensure that staff reductions would take place and that any monies saved would not be used for other purposes.

I might also point out that the salaries of our senior civil servants were frozen for the period October 1974, to January 1977, and only then were increases granted and these were within the AIB guidelines. In addition, the senior management structure, which includes directors, executive directors, assistant deputy ministers and deputy ministers, was reduced by 65 positions.

In the continuing effort to make use of fewer and fewer employees, the government has reviewed its system of staffing with a view to eliminating credentialism -- that is, requiring educational credentials that are not absolutely essential to the functioning of the job. This, combined with increased emphasis on staff training and development, and the staffing controls referred to earlier, has contributed to the general mobility and flexibility of our civil service. Efforts in this area have only begun and further reviews of our staffing system will take place along with increased emphasis on staff training and development.

One example of our desire to fully utilize existing human resources has been the progress of the affirmative action programme for women Crown employees. Working in close co-operation with the chairman, commissioners and staff of the Civil Service Commission, the executive co-ordinator of women’s programmes and the women Crown employees’ office moved closer to consolidating effective career programmes for women through a series of seminars, courses and policy proposals.

The second annual report of the executive co-ordinator, women’s programmes, which I expect to table in this House on Thursday, outlines in detail the many activities which took place during 1975-76. This momentum was continued during 1976-77 with a number of initiatives such as the introduction of women into management courses, the publication of a bridge job guide and further research into employment issues of concern to women employees.


In co-operation with senior appointments and compensation, the executive co-ordinator of women’s programmes undertook a series of in-depth career interviews with over 88 women who had been identified as having the interest and immediate potential for movement into senior management. These interviews will help to ensure that these women are actively considered as senior vacancies occur and that they will form the basis of special developmental programmes in the future.

Following the resolution of several equal-pay-for-equal-work complaints, the commission, the women Crown employees office and the employment standards branch of the Ministry of Labour ran three equal-pay seminars for regional supervisors. Several women took advantage of the commission’s part-time project, whereby management positions may be converted from a full-time to a regular part-time basis.

Following the April 1976 joint union- management conference on women in the Ontario public service, the commission studied and responded to the recommendations in the conference report. The introduction of the commission’s career counselling centre replaced the WCEO career counselling service for women. During the year, the WCEO published a career planning workbook which is being used by the commission and is in general distribution to women employees.

I am confident that the coming year will prove even more productive. In order to ensure continued commitment to and momentum of the affirmative action programme, Management Board recently approved an updated directive on affirmative action which all ministries and Crown agencies will be expected to implement. I shall provide hon. members with more details on the directive on Thursday, when I table the executive coordinator’s second annual report.

While I have so far stressed the work we’ve done in terms of overall management of the civil service, I want to be very clear about the importance with which we hold our relationship with our employees. In this regard, the staff relations programme will continue to work towards the objective of maintaining good relations between the government and its employees. The harmonious trend of relations during the past several months augurs well for the coming year. For example, once the problems associated with the first round of bargaining under wage and price guidelines were behind us, our relationship with the union improved considerably.

Public servants gave virtually no support to the October 14 day of protest. Only 15 of some 54,000 bargaining unit employees are known to have been off work without satisfactory reason on that day. All 18 salary contracts were settled in direct negotiations within the guidelines and before the expiry date of the agreement in all cases. Our day- to-day dealings with the union have usually been without rancour. The chairman of the Civil Service Commission and the executive director, staff relations division, have held periodic meetings with the president of the union and senior officials to discuss subjects of mutual interest, and here again the atmosphere has been mutually supportive. In fact, I joined them in a meeting with the president and one of his staff this afternoon on a matter which I think we’ve resolved satisfactorily.

During the latter part of 1976 and the early part of 1977, the union expressed grave concern over the transfer of responsibility for certain public services from the Crown to community-based boards or agencies. They were concerned about the possibility of loss of salary and benefits by the public servants who were transferred and also about the fact that they faced the prospect of a significant loss of members. A number of meetings have been held with the union on this subject, several of which involved me. Assurances were given to the union that the needs of the employees would be given full consideration in any future transfers.

In December, 1976, OPSEU submitted a brief to the Premier asking for a number of changes in The Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act. Among the changes requested -- in fact the union referred to it as the most urgent change -- was the addition of a successor rights section which would provide some measure of protection for the employees and the union in transfers of public services to private sector employers.

After discussing this particular request with my colleagues in cabinet, I advised the union that legislation would be introduced in the current session of the Legislature to provide successor rights similar to those provided by the Ontario Labour Relations Act for private-sector employees. A draft bill has been discussed with the union and will be introduced early in the session. And this, I can assure the House, is considered a major development by the union.

While I am satisfied that the public service of Ontario is generally efficient and effective, I also believe we should always be on the lookout for ways and means of improving our effectiveness.

Interestingly enough to me, some organizations have achieved notable success in this regard by involving employees to a greater extent in the determination of their own work practices and procedures. The end result has been a better quality of service and a more highly motivated work force.

With this objective in mind, we have initiated discussions with union officials to consider the idea of a number of pilot projects to test out the merits of this approach. I shall of course be pleased to report to the House on our progress in this experiment.

I hope that this brief outline of the work of Management Board will provide this House with an understanding of our commitment to continually improving the administration of government operations.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Oshawa.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to participate in this debate. I would relish the opportunity to chase a few more things around than what I actually shall, but I think it important that we deal in specifics in this debate and I want to confine myself to the area of housing in general. I want to do so because I think it’s an important matter that is receiving less and less of a priority from this government. I think it is one where they have attempted a great number of programmes and policies and attempted to do things and in fact spent a great deal of money, and never really have been successful in finding very many answers to anybody’s problems in the field.

I want to deal with it too because it has many aspects to it. Housing originally, I suppose, was or could be confined to the concept that if someone -- a person or a family -- needs shelter, they ought to have a decent place to live. We could talk about affordable housing, we could talk about decent housing for ordinary people, we could talk about the needs of an ordinary working man and his family or a working woman and her family to have a place to live -- some kind of proper shelter.

That’s true and that’s probably the single most important factor in thinking about what you should do with the housing programme. But I think there are few people involved who really limit it to that kind of a thing. That may be their priority item but there are a number of other things that are involved in the whole housing field. Not the least of these is the number of jobs that are produced by building a house, because the house means a number of things related to that. It means goods and services provided to the people who live there. It means a sidewalk in front of it and somebody to do the lawn and somebody to pave the road and somebody to build the furniture. In fact it has a massive effect on the economy as a whole.

Not to be simplistic about it though, there really is that fundamental part of the economy that is governed by what happens in the housing field. It has a wide variety of services, and right now we might look at the building trades people, who are in desperate need of jobs, and part of the solution to their problems would be some incentives in the housing field -- some effective way to have those people go to work building houses. This seems quite a logical thing to do with plumbers and electricians and masons.

There is in the local economy a rather large effect on taxation, particularly if you have spent some time in the municipal field as many of us have. You will realize the kind of funny irregularities that flow with massive housing starts in an area. The initial flow is probably quite good because there is some influx into the local economy of building, of investment, of some jobs that are there. One also realizes that the taxation problem is not quite that simple, that if we allow massive housing starts in any given community in any given year we pay for that in subsequent years because there are associated costs in massive development.

There is the entire field of a kind of associated production, because if one goes to most housing sites today one will see that what goes into a house is not necessarily built on that site. A lot of it is trucked in -- from beams that are put together in some other production facility to the carpeting, the electrical appliances, the light bulbs and such installations, the painting and decorating and the furniture that’s brought in afterwards. A lot of our production industry, as well, is strongly tied to whatever happens in housing. If we stop building houses we dry up a lot of production facilities throughout Ontario.

Another major aspect is this whole concept of how we use our land: what’s suitable for housing; what should be retained for farm land; what should be retained for recreation land. To run that the other way: A very important thing is that when there are more people living in housing in a given area, their need for the use of farm land in terms of producing food, or for recreation land for the things they do outside their working hours, becomes of increasing importance. In a small, rural community people might not have thought very much of a need for park land; it might not have been a priority item, because all around them were fields, woods and farms -- the kinds of things that urban dwellers don’t see. But if we increase the housing activity in that rather small rural area, we find that people immediately begin to think, “There isn’t as much farm land around here any more. There isn’t the recreation land that we need. We’ve got to have some park land.”

There are all kinds of problems related to land use. There are also all kinds of problems related to transportation, which one can see around the entire Metro area, where there has been a greater emphasis on housing in those regions surrounding Metropolitan Toronto but that has not been followed by a very powerful transportation programme. That leads us into great disputes about whether people should use cars, GO trains or buses to get to work in the city, because in economic terms they’ve been forced to buy a house that is well outside the city limits. So transportation becomes an increasing problem.

All of these things are related to that one particular field we could call housing. All of them are very serious and, unfortunately, I’m afraid they’re all areas in which this government has not exactly distinguished itself over the past decade.

I think we should investigate some of the traditional Tory approaches to the field of housing. Essentially, over the last number of years they have dealt with kinds of incentive or “carrot” programmes, mostly aimed at builders and developers and, to be a little more specific about it, mostly aimed at selling off existing stock. That may or may not be such a terrible thing if it were put into the context of a rather complete housing programme. But in isolation, and as a prime tool, it’s not been a very successful thing.

For starters, when it is a sales programme, a gimmick to get rid of existing stock, that denies the question entirely as to (a) whether the existing stock was necessary in the first instance or (b) desirable and (c) what happens when the sales gimmick runs out, as we’ve seen a number of times. They haven’t exactly been wonderful programmes in terms of getting people into houses, though they have been reasonably successful at draining an existing stock.

What we have yet to see from that particular approach, though, is what happens four, five or seven years down the road, when someone who got into a house by the skin of his teeth -- maybe by a government grant -- finds he is in a house put up by a builder who has cut corners in every area. We begin to see what happens when that house moves into its second generation of owner, and what happens when a rather flimsy thing is put up, when the people who bought it in the first instance, and who may not have been able to afford it without the government grant, may not have been able to maintain the premises as well as someone else might have. There are some difficulties with that, and we’ve yet to see all of the ramifications involved in that.

This government for a number of years has had a stranglehold, and still does, on all of the plan processing for houses, because whenever you want to build a house in Ontario you soon find that you have to go through the planning process. Normally there is about 16 to 18 months of rather serious confusion, and there is a lot of red tape involved. It’s a rather obtuse situation where no one is quite sure why they’re doing these activities; they simply know that’s the law of the province of Ontario; that’s the regulations in the province of Ontario; that’s the way things go.


The interesting thing is, although a large amount of that is done at the municipal level, the final signature, the control of all that, remains here at Queen’s Park with the Minister of Housing. We have seen, in a few of the plans, some price agreements. This seems rather strange, since most people, both buyers in the housing market and those who are builders and sellers in the housing market, agree that the emphasis on the problem in housing today is not essentially that there are not a lot of houses to buy, but essentially that the price is too high. That one area seems to have received the smallest amount of attention from this government.

Those few forays into price agreements have been dramatic ones, and they have been kind of high-profile public relations programmes consisting of large blue signs in front of a project with the trillium on it and a minister or some dignitary coming down to cut the ribbon and making sure that everyone understands that the Premier has sent the cheque and signed it. They received a lot of publicity. They have not had a major impact on the market, that’s for sure.

What we’ve seen, though, when the House was not in session, is a complete dismantling of whatever programmes might have been in existence and, in their place, not very much. Maybe this was just a simple assessment of what they had going for them. There are some embarrassing things. Government, having at one time convinced itself that land banking was a sensible proposition, promptly proceeded to display an amazing ignorance of what land banking is all about. It promptly proceeded to buy thousands of acres in the wrong place and bought it without knowing what it intended doing with it. Now it has the land, and doesn’t know how to get out of that situation. It prepares lists to be put out to builders and developers, but is not terribly sure that that actually is the list and is not terribly sure that it’s prepared to make concrete proposals.

The minister, I noted in one press release, said he was going to send it all back to the private industry, and promptly retreated, “Well, we’re not going to put it all back. We’ll put parts of it back. It will be some kind of a blend.” So very unsure of themselves. And yet it is true, undeniably true, that in Ontario today the government of Ontario owns a substantial piece of real estate, in many forms, through many ministries, not the least of which is the Ministry of Housing, but simply can’t decide how to go through with that.

It’s also true that it had a Home Ownership Made Easy plan, which was a workable notion, which had some administrative problems, to be sure, which never really did quite fulfil its potential, but had elements in there to actually make an impact on the market. There are those who would say -- and I guess I would be one of them -- that the reason the entire programme was abandoned is that it was on the verge of making an impact.

We looked at the little list that was released last week of property that the government not only owns but the Ministry of Housing bought precisely for the purpose of land banking, or for the HOME programme. We could see that the government of Ontario actually owns sizable pieces of real estate in almost every area of Ontario where there is a housing price crisis. That land undeniably could have been used to build homes for people with lower incomes.

But two things are now missing. One is a willingness on the part of the government to actually do that, and it’s strange that, having acquired the property in those crucial areas, it now decides to abandon that particular programme. The second thing that’s gone, of course, is any mechanism to get that on the market, to build and develop actual houses on those actual sites.

In its place we are left with one last, rather tenuous programme, something called an AHOP-HOME programme. There are some funny requirements about this, not the least of which is the minister did not see fit to put a substantial amount of money in that, suggesting in his first press releases that he was prepared to allocate something like $2 million as a budget for this particular programme. There may well be more at a subsequent date, but $2 million to this government is not a great emphasis on any particular programme.

One of the odd things about the federal programme that this government has decided to tie into is that although it has a minimum income restriction, it doesn’t have a maximum income restriction. So that same game that we have seen time and time before where millionaires apply for first-time home owner grants can apply in this situation as well, because there is no upper limit. There is no assurance that this programme will actually go to those people who are having financial difficulties. This programme, in fact, could be utilized by anybody who wants to go and buy a house and sees the sign and signs the agreement. There is a minimum restriction, but there’s not a maximum restriction.

It’s odd that if this is the last, sole remaining programme in place to help people who need financial assistance in acquiring a home of their own, it would not at least attempt to deal with that problem alone, and not put out another open-ended programme. It’s a strange piece of business.

Another strange thing was the government’s admission that the Ontario Housing Corporation was not exactly beating the world down with success -- that it’s had a number of problems, not the least of which was probably a conceptual problem initially. It, I think, recognized quite simply that it never had performed in a way that was satisfactory to the needs of Ontario, that it never really had been an effective thing. The odd thing though is that instead of beefing up the operation, instead of cleaning up the act, the minister chose to shuffle it all off to the municipalities.

Now there is an argument to be made that the municipalities are there locally and probably can acquire property, develop it, and actually get the units up much better than OHC ever could. The stumbling block, of course, is money. Where do the municipalities, with problems with their own tax bases now, get the funds to actually carry out these programmes?

And, of course, the claim usually is that the municipalities are not willing to do that. But it’s my experience that that is simply not true. The municipalities are quite concerned about housing problems in their own area. I know that mine is. They are quite anxious to participate in the building and developing of new housing types for people with lower incomes who need assistance.

The problem is, of course, that the municipal tax base is rather strained right now as it is and it’s going to be difficult to see much of an emphasis coming from the municipalities. The government can argue that it does assist municipalities to do that. I suppose it might be considered to be simply a matter of degree.

But, you know, Mr. Speaker, when you’re looking at a mill rate and your people are yelling and screaming about the price of water and the price of sewers these days, it’s going to be very difficult to convince people on a municipal tax base that they ought to get themselves involved in programmes which have traditionally been carried out by the government of the province of Ontario.

The low-income programmes that were previously in place to assist people on rather fixed incomes or who receive smaller amounts of money have been by and large dropped. And this may prove to be some difficulty.

When the minister announced this new federal-provincial programme, he really said that people earning between $5,000 and $9,000 could now realistically expect to buy some kind of a housing unit. I’ve looked at the details of the programme and it strikes me that it aims at that mark, but I think it misses it substantially.

For one thing, the expectation is that in four or five years’ time when those programmes run out, the people will have raised their economic level to such a height that they will be able to carry it on themselves without any real difficulty. I’m not convinced that that’s a realistic expectation.

It would be my estimation that somebody who needs that financial assistance now and is in that wage bracket is, largely, unorganized. It would be my estimation that his income has not changed dramatically over the last five or 10 years, and that it’s highly unlikely that it will change enough over the next five or 10 years to allow him to carry that particular thing.

In short, I think that there are going to be a substantial number of people who win the opportunity to participate in this particular programme and who, five years from now, will find themselves in great financial difficulty. I am concerned that they will be buying units which are not by any stretch of the imagination top quality units, that they will have maintenance problems with them afterwards and that they will have income problems when these bonus programmes from the federal and provincial governments run out.

One area that really has not been particularly explosive in Ontario is that of things like limited dividends. Federal funding is a little on the short side and I haven’t heard the province of Ontario even speak to that problem for some time now. Municipalities such as the city of Windsor, which wants to do this kind of thing, finds that, yes, it can be done but it’s terribly difficult and the funds are extremely limited. It would have been an area, I would have thought, where if the government was going to turn these things over to the municipalities it would have been extremely anxious to see that they had a fighting chance from day one.

I would have thought too that the government would have looked at the whole idea of co-operative housing, of alternatives, of letting people use their own human personal resources as well as financial resources, to provide themselves with housing. Again, there are funding problems. The amounts allocated by the federal government are restricted. There is a great problem in having people who are trying to put together a co-operative project get any assistance from either the federal or the provincial level of government.

There is no ministry in the province of Ontario which is set up to deal specifically with that problem. There is no expertise in terms of planning, in terms of financing provided to people who want to put together a co-operative project. There is no offer of provincial land held by the province of Ontario for someone to put together a cooperative project.

One would have thought, having acquired the great socialist notion of the land bank, that the government would have been quite prepared to move to the great socialist notion of a co-operative, and that in fact it would be quite prepared, if it doesn’t know what to do with all that land that it has acquired, to make it available to groups to provide co-operative housing.

Let me move to the whole area of a new phenomenon in Ontario that is a growing problem in specific areas; that is condominiums. Their share of the market in certain parts of the province of Ontario is rather substantial. Something like 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the market for resales or new sales in Metropolitan Toronto, I am told, are condominiums. That is a lot. That is an impact. The province of Ontario reacted by setting up a task force to investigate this problem. I want to speak very briefly and probably a little miserably about the task force.

First of all, I think there is the basic problem that those people who set up and designed the laws and regulations governing condominiums in Ontario very specifically have been asked to say that they were wrong, they made mistakes and they didn’t do the right thing. That is a very difficult thing for any civil servant to do. That is tough. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is probably an unfair thing to do.

Mr. Moffatt: It is tough for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to do.

Mr. Breaugh: Let me put to you, Mr. Speaker, another problem which I found rather unique. I went to one of their hearings where I suggested we were having some difficulties. I presented them to the committee from a member’s point of view. I said: “One of the things you ought to do is you ought to come to the region of Durham and talk to those people, those individuals -- not the corporations, not the associations, but the individual buyers of condominiums. Talk to them and hear their problems.”

I got a most peculiar answer. Yes, they said, they would. Then they wouldn’t. Then they would and then they wouldn’t. Finally it was left at that, that they wouldn’t. Why wouldn’t they want to? Logically, if they were investigating problems with condominiums, it strikes me at some point in time they would want to talk to somebody who actually bought one of those things, maybe somebody who wasn’t involved in a great corporation or association, just a poor little individual fellow or woman who bought a condominium. They said: “No, we are sorry, we don’t have time to do that. We have to write this report. We don’t have time to listen to people. If we do that for you, we will have to go all over the place.”

Hon. Mr. Handleman: That is nonsense and you know it. They spoke to thousands.

Mr. Breaugh: You should talk to your parliamentary assistant, the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea).

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Ottawa only has the floor. Order.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Stick to the facts.

Mr. Warner: That committee is a disaster.

Mr. Breaugh: If you want to throw him out, Mr. Speaker, I’d help you.

Since we have had an interjection, let us move to that part of the market that deals with rental accommodation, a substantial one. Roughly a third of the people living in Metropolitan Toronto live in some form of rental accommodation. I think it only fitting that we deal with this whole matter of rent review. And, of course, we won’t call it rent control, we will call it rent review because we don’t want to offend anybody. We certainly wouldn’t want to prevent the extension of it. But let me offer some ideas to the government.

This government has said repeatedly that it is in love with, firmly committed for ever and ever to, the federal anti-inflation programme. If its connection is so strong why doesn’t it take the little six per cent number that is supposed to pop out in year 2 and apply it to its rent review programme? It seems to me to be an extremely logical extension of its previous position. If the government thought eight per cent was fair, for whatever reason, in the first year, but mostly I am told because it came from the federal anti-inflation programme, it strikes me that it ought at least try for once in its life to be a little more consistent and take the six per cent number that pops out in the second year.

Let me ask why, very legitimately I think. Why doesn’t the government even look at the problems that are in the administration? Why doesn’t it address itself to this problem of allowing for some form of group bargaining? Whether or not it wants to go the whole route and say the tenants can actually bargain a rent with a landlord, which might be a frightening thing, at least it could go to the sensible idea that we really don’t need to have 95 hearings on the 95 units. Maybe we could find some other mechanism that might get there.

Let us look too, because it is closely allied to the rent review programme, at the changes that we made in The Landlord and Tenant Act which are quite good. There is only one hiccup in the process; that is, what happens when the law has been violated? What do you do? Do you call the cops? Well, no, they don’t want to see you. Do you get yourself a lawyer? That is hardly an appropriate mechanism for most tenants. There isn’t anything there. Should there be some form of local rental officer, landlord and tenant officer or bureau to which tenants can turn when the law has obviously been violated?

From my point of view, from my perspective, that seems to be one major flaw that is there. The law is fine; the basic problem has at least been addressed in some measure by the government, the mechanism to make it work has not been.


The kind of problems that emerge are little threatening letters and notices from landlords, little problems, a little browbeating, little withdrawal of services -- a number of things which are, in fact, illegal. How does the poor tenant living on the fifth floor on Spadina get his or her rights enforced under the law? Well, that’s another matter, isn’t it? That’s something like Reed Paper or Dow Chemical or a number of other people to whom certain laws apply in certain areas and laws in other areas not apply.

In my experience, in those areas where there is some form of a tenants’ federation or tenants’ association, the law is being followed. It has some problems in it -- but it is roughly being followed. For those who don’t have that support of a group, though, the law is not being followed. That’s where real problems emerge.

Let me go to some of the traditions of the government of Ontario in dealing with housing. It has traditionally reacted to problems. It has not ever established a tradition of leadership. We really don’t have any firm policies on the use of land, any really firm policies on the provision of services. There is one set of rules if you are doing normal servicing for a housing development. There is another set of rules that the government of Ontario decides on -- as it did under its Ontario Housing Action programme. You have little government civil servants trying to convince members of local council that they ought to spend a lot of money; and they not only ought to spend it; they are told, “Here’s the cheque to do it. All you have to do is set aside your normal planning process.”

Never mind the objections from some other minister. Never mind the local conservation authority. “In this instance, and for this purpose, you set it aside. And the reason you do that, of course, is that here is the cheque from the minister.” A very difficult thing to try to justify. Different sets of rules for different folks. The initiative has clearly been to the private sector, not to the public sector. And, Mr. Speaker, if you ask people in municipal governments, who are trying to provide some form of housing, you will see that there may, in fact, be a programme but it is not a very active one. There really are no incentives or initiatives given to local municipalities to provide things.

I am constantly amazed that almost all forms of housing agreements deal with everything else except price agreement. On those few occasions when we’ve got into those things, we haven’t done it. That’s the basic problem -- the basic problem that has been ignored ever since this government was in power. It is probably the most important single factor in determining whether or not someone can or can’t get into a house. They like landscaping, they like paved driveways and they want a fireplace and they want a second bathroom and all that, but it always comes down to the one thing -- can they afford it? Can they get into that? Can they qualify for the mortgage? That seems to be the one that receives the least attention -- oddly. I can’t really understand that particular position at all.

The end result from that entire programme, though, is that for both the buyer who wants to get into a house and for the builder who wants to sell the house, that is a crucial item. It’s the one that has received the least attention -- except when there happens to be a surplus or a glut on the market, or when there happens to be a crisis situation. The third occasion is when there is an election imminent.

The production of time agreements is a matter of some difficulty too. Under the Ontario Housing Action programme there were some agreements struck with developers to produce certain units at certain prices within certain time frames. But we really are dealing with reaction time in large measures. We really don’t assess what the needs of a particular community are, what is available. We don’t address ourselves to the concept of whether or not there ought to be rental accommodation put up, whether we should go heavily into condominiums, whether we should associate ourselves with federal and provincial programmes.

Now, the argument I suppose from the government’s side of the House would simply be that you do that through the local municipality. And that’s probably true to a degree. But what we are talking about here is, certainly, at least a shared responsibility; and, if we are talking about a shared responsibility, we would want to say that the province of Ontario, itself, ought to be the top dog in that shared agreement. And that means not only just calling the shots, as it does now, but funding the thing, providing the programmes, providing leadership instead of reaction. It doesn’t do that.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this government spends so much money on reports, on needs, on forecasting and then refuses to do that. When it has all that information at its beck and call, it promptly decides to dismantle its entire system, and does so systematically and rather brutally. I guess, though, that the problem is a philosophical one as well as a political one; that there is that point in time, you know, when the government does a number of things and gets to the point where it can actually make an impact, when the public sector could actually have some substantial influence.

That, of course, poses a problem on the other side of the coin that there may be those in the private sector who aren’t too happy with that. But I think the government did clearly arrive at that point, probably in the last three years, when it could have, had it chosen to, made an impact on the price of a house in almost all parts of Ontario. It decided at some point in time I guess that that really isn’t a good thing to do -- it had to get out of that. I don’t know why.

I’m amazed too at how this government has not been reluctant at all to intervene in the marketplace. In fact, Mr. Speaker, if you talk to those people who are marketing houses, building them, developing them, plans of subdivision and whatnot, they’ll give you an earful about government intervention.

So this government has not hesitated to intervene in the private sector at all. In fact it’s been very busy there. But it seems to have been busy in all the wrong places. It seems to have put its great emphasis on the insignificant. It seems to have concentrated on building up a non-functioning bureaucracy of sorts. In all of the areas that you can think of where government intervention has taken place, particularly in the planning process, it’s there all right, but it really isn’t doing anybody any good.

You can talk about building codes; of course, there are inspectors who go around, but if one looks at the code itself it’s surely insufficient for the needs of most people who want to buy a house. Particularly if they want to keep it and use it for some time.

So the concept of intervention is clearly accepted. There’s no problem with that. It just seems to be insignificant intervention, useless intervention, counterproductive intervention. You talk about sales incentives being good things -- and that kind of programme we’ve run around here for the last four or five years. Those are surely thorough interventions into the market. I mean the government is not really doing anything for anybody, except perhaps mailing out a cheque just before the election to see that they understand the public relations value of that kind of thing. And it has concentrated again on dumping existing stock, on buying out problems, of saving developers. There really are no bargains in that kind of an approach for anybody. Not for those who buy and not for those who sell.

In rental accommodation which is another aspect of where the government is going to intervene and what it’s going to do -- it talks in administrative terms of how the rent review programme was set up initially, how it functions now and will function in the future. The government sees that there is a lot of difficulty there and goes back to how it was set up by an outside personnel agency over a short period of time, specifically saying that it was not to be an ongoing programme but is for a specific time frame, and that it sees some difficulties in how it was set up. I for one would like to hear the minister responsible, whoever it might be at that particular time, address himself at least to that when he provides for the extension of rent review.

I want to discuss too this notion that rent review ought to be attached to a time period. Surely that’s a nonsensical thing. Surely we ought to be talking about tying it to something like a vacancy rate. Surely we ought to say that if two years from now or 18 months from now or 24 months from now, the vacancy rate in Metropolitan Toronto is as bad as it was before rent review began, the rent review is going to have to be there.

That is accepted right across the entire industry. You can’t talk to a developer, somebody who is renting the units, a real estate person, or a tenant, who doesn’t admit that. It has got nothing to do with what day it is; it has to do with the vacancy rate. So if the amendment is moving to target areas, if it’s moving to some form of discussing an extension of rent review in the province of Ontario and it is saying that at some point in time the rent review process will flick off, then it ought to take itself out of existence when the problem is cured. And the problem will not be cured by time alone. If there are not sufficient apartments for rent, if the government believes in that free market economy routine, and it says that it ought to just let the thing roll, then it has to recognize that the problem is vacancy rates. If it is going to say, “At the end of a particular period of time we’ll end rent review,” that makes no sense at all. If you say, “We will end at a particular point, when we have hit a target rate of five per cent vacancy in Toronto, or 3.5, or four, or 4.5 or 4.2 or 2.9” or whatever it wants to do --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: When has it ever been 3.5 per cent in Metro -- ever?

Mr. Germa: You are condemning yourself. You are responsible.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I can’t take credit or fault for past sins of this government. But if the government wants to do something sensible it’ll address itself to the problem and not to the matter of political survival. I’m not really putting it down for trying to survive politically, but at least it ought to recognize what the problem is.

Mr. Breaugh: Perhaps they ought to address themselves as well to this whole idea of putting approval powers at one level where it can be effectively done. In fact, municipalities do the work now and the minister simply approves. The minister ought to give some thought to that, as he has, without question, and as he has made proposals to the region of Niagara, to the region of Durham, to hand over to them approval powers, retaining some rights, of course, to have OMB hearings or to have the minister formally sign the document or whatever, but he has never done it. I think again it’s a case where the government knows what to do but is unwilling to do it. I think there should be a considerable monitoring of the supply and demand situation that is at work in the economy. But it doesn’t do that.

I think the minister ought to look at the very realistic problems of The Landlord and Tenant Act, and he ought to see that there are a number of rights that are left unprotected, that it is an adversary struggle and that very often those people who are tenants, they’re not at the top of the economic scale, they very often have a number of related problems, they’re not really in a position to insist on their rights. They’re not really set up, either economically or socially, or in some cases they can’t even speak the language, to go to battle with the landlord.

They depend on some form of protection from the government, and though the law might be there that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to get the protection of that law. I’ve talked to people even just in the last few weeks who didn’t have a language problem and didn’t particularly have an economic problem, but certainly had that problem that they were afraid to insist that the law be obeyed.

That’s an unusual concept in Ontario, but I have to say that in the field of rent review, in the field of problems with The Landlord and Tenant Act, it’s true, undeniably true. If there is an association there or a little muscle behind them, they can get it -- sometimes. Not as easily as they should and perhaps not in the way that they should, but it’s feasible for them. If that’s not true, if it’s one lonely tenant dealing with one landlord -- and sometimes it’s the other way around, a landlord dealing with someone else -- there is no mechanism to see that the law is obeyed in that particular field.

In the field of condominiums, I understand there will be presented to this House in this session a review of that condominium legislation and some changes proposed there. I want to just very quickly run over some of the areas where I would anticipate some substantial change.

I think, without question, the government must deal with this matter of whether to register a unit before it goes to sale, because if one reads the signs it does say unequivocally “Condominium for sale” and if we understand the process, it may or may not be a condominium for sale. It may be a condominium project that one can buy into and when the project is registered, one can actually execute the sales agreement, but that may be a long way down the road. In between time, buyers pay something called -- and this is a rather lovely name -- “occupancy fees.” People think they’re paying rent. They find out it’s not subject to rent control. That’s another interesting thing. They see that it’s an Assisted Home Ownership Plan, probably with a HOME programme tied into it, and they think, “My, that’s very good, and I can certainly afford that.” They move in and they find out that doesn’t start until the project is registered and in the interim they pay occupancy fees, bless them all, and they can be set, of course, by whoever owns the project. It’s not subject to rent control. It can last for as long as it takes to get the project registered.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It is. Occupancy fees are rent.

Mr. Breaugh: It’s an interesting little wrinkle that people who think they will be able to buy into a condominium probably at $100, or $150, or $200 a month, find out when they move in that they are subject to occupancy fees of whatever rate there might be.

I see, Mr. Speaker, it is 6 of the clock. Would you like me to adjourn and resume at 8?

Mr. Speaker: If the hon. member has further comments to make we’ll just recognize the clock now.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.