30th Parliament, 4th Session

L026 - Fri 29 Apr 1977 / Ven 29 avr 1977

The House met at 10 am.




Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I want to announce my ministry’s programme to expand and decentralize provincial court facilities in Metropolitan Toronto.

The purpose of the programme is to speed up the judicial process by avoiding unnecessary delays and to bring the court system closer to the people. The programme will cost approximately $2.6 million.

We are currently developing new court facilities in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough. We will be locating 246 people, including judges, Crown attorneys and support staff, in these facilities.

In addition, I’m announcing today the appointment of a deputy Crown attorney for each of these three boroughs. Each deputy Crown attorney will direct the work of the Crown attorneys assigned to his jurisdiction. This will enable the Crown attorneys to provide more continuity in cases and enable them to spend more time interviewing witnesses and police officers, screening charges and preparing cases for trial. This will enable the Crown attorneys to generally provide better and more convenient service to the public.

With this programme, a Crown attorney assigned to a serious case, for example, will follow that case from start to finish. This procedure will enable the Crown attorney to more readily engage in pre-trial disclosure and discussion with defence counsel to the benefit of all concerned. This should result in cases being expedited to the trial stage and the actual trial, in many cases, being shortened. It should, of course, result in substantial cost savings for both the Crown and the defence and, most of all, the public.

This decentralization programme will ease pressure at the old city hall courts in downtown Toronto. The increase in the case load of the provincial courts criminal division in Metropolitan Toronto in recent years has been extraordinary. For example, in 1968, the case load was 830,467. By 1975 it had grown to 1,375,678, an increase of 66 per cent.

All categories except liquor charges have increased, but of particular concern and importance is the increase in cases under The Criminal Code and other federal statutes. In 1968, The Criminal Code dispositions in Metropolitan Toronto totalled 26,990. By 1975 this had grown to 82,640, an increase of 206 per cent in seven years.

The growing case load and the nature of existing facilities has resulted in a number of inconveniences for those involved as cases have been moved from one court location to another. For example, impaired driving cases from Scarborough are heard at the old city hall downtown. The Highway Traffic Act cases from Scarborough are heard in North York. This programme will therefore enable most cases to be heard in the area in which they arise.

In Etobicoke, we are locating new court facilities at 80 The East Mall. This will include five new criminal courtrooms. One family courtroom will be maintained at 16 Silverhill Avenue. These facilities will have a staff of 73 persons and are scheduled to open in August.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Norman C. Matusiak, QC, as deputy Crown attorney for Etobicoke. Mr. Matusiak first joined the Crown attorney’s office in 1964 and he has lived in the Etobicoke area for the last 15 years.

In North York, we will be providing six new courtrooms for a total of nine in the borough. The main facility will be at 1000 Finch Avenue West. The existing traffic court at 47 Sheppard Avenue East will be maintained. The courts staff in the borough, including judges and Crown attorneys, will total 73. The new facilities should be available for use by October.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Robert Bruce McGee as deputy Crown attorney for North York. Mr. McGee first joined the Crown attorney’s office in 1967.

In Scarborough, we will be providing a total of 11 courtrooms, including three new criminal courtrooms, four new traffic courtrooms and one new courtroom for family matters. This major new Scarborough facility will be located at 1911 Eglinton Avenue East and will have a staff of 90. It should be available for use in November.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Michael McKenzie Lynch as deputy Crown attorney for Scarborough. Mr. Lynch joined the Crown attorney’s office in 1968 and has lived in the Scarborough area for seven years.

In summary, I am confident that this programme will provide the necessary improvements to court facilities in Metropolitan Toronto and at the same time provide more convenient access to the courts system by the public as a whole.

Mr. Bain: What about Sudbury?



Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, may I pick up with the Minister of Agriculture and Food where he left off yesterday in his exchange with the leader of the Liberal Party? Can he indicate to the House if his ministry as part of its normal processes in the food lands branch provided specific commentary to TEIGA on the intended or proposed Barrie annexation with particular reference to the way in which the ministry viewed the use of that potential agricultural land for development? Is there in fact such a document in the normal processes of your ministry?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on every plan that comes before either TEIGA or Housing, whether it is an official plan amendment or a plan of subdivision, there are always internal memos that go from my ministry which I do not see because there are so many of them. They comment on the due process. I know our people probably commented to the Simcoe-Georgian area task force. They probably commented on any other subdivision plan in the province of Ontario. I wrote the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) an official letter outlining our position on the land situation in the area, which letter was tabled in the House, I believe, by the hon. George McCague on a Friday morning.

Mr. Lewis: Perhaps the member for Dufferin-Simcoe is honourable but he hasn’t yet acquired the title.

Hon. W. Newman: Sorry.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Is the minister prepared to provide publicly -- obviously not in this legislative forum, but publicly within the next few days -- the actual document which issued from his ministry, critical of the intended annexation and its use of prime agricultural land in that part of the province? Or is he determined to keep the document secret?

Hon. W. Newman: Internal documents in my ministry -- comments go back and forth to the various ministries about the preservation of agricultural land -- I don’t see all those. I would like to have a look at what the member is talking about to see exactly what our people have done. Certainly I’m not prepared at this point in time, until I have had a chance to go over it, to say what I’m prepared to do.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Was the letter that the minister wrote to the provincial Treasurer -- and which was tabled in the House a week ago Friday by the parliamentary assistant to TEIGA -- an accurate reflection of the comment that was made by the food land development branch, or a watered-down version of it, to conform with the provincial Treasurer’s approach?

Hon. W. Newman: Every letter that I write to the Treasurer or any other minister in this government expresses the view of the ministry, especially of the minister, of how he views the situation anywhere in the province of Ontario.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I would draw to your attention that the minister didn’t answer my question. My question was: Was his letter a watered-down version of the commentary of the food land development branch or was it an accurate reflection of that branch’s views?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the letter that I wrote to the Treasurer outlined our position very loud and clear, and as far as I’m concerned it wasn’t watered-down. The letter indicated exactly how we felt about the proposed annexation up there, and I made it very clear in the letter.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Since the letter that the minister wrote to the Treasurer was in the year 1976, and since the staff report from the food land division is dated August 1975, can he explain to this House precisely what category of secrecy requirement it is that’s preventing him from letting us see the actual document that his food land branch has prepared? What is the reason for the secrecy, just so that we can understand it? Is it just to prevent embarrassment to the Treasurer?

Hon. W. Newman: It is not to prevent embarrassment to anyone. As I’ve said, we have comments going out on a daily basis to all ministries which I don’t even see because they’re internal documents. When a matter comes to my attention and I’m asked to comment on it directly, which I did in the letter to the Treasurer on the situation -- I think one thing the member is forgetting is that we have issued food land guidelines for this province -- and don’t look like that because you read right from my speech when you talked about your agricultural policy. Don’t look like that.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order.

Mr. Breithaupt: Who is looking like what?

Hon. W. Newman: We don’t know what your policy really is.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. S. Smith: I can appreciate that the Premier (Mr. Davis) doesn’t like it if I criticize his policies, but just for looking that way?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. S. Smith: What more am I supposed to do to avoid an election?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Get another pair of glasses.

Mr. Sweeney: What did you have for breakfast, Bill?

Mr. Lewis: If the Premier didn’t have an issue before, the appearance of the leader of the Liberal Party is sufficient to justify the call.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware of the really quite deplorable state of vocational and medical rehabilitation services for workmen’s compensation recipients right throughout northwestern Ontario, provoking great and open expressions of community concern? Can she indicate to us whether she is prepared to respond to this in an urgent fashion?


Hon. B. Stephenson: The Workmen’s Compensation Board is in the process right now of hiring more well-trained staff specifically for medical and vocational rehabilitation. For vocational rehabilitation the vast majority of the new staff will be distributed throughout the province. Northwestern Ontario is one of the areas that is being concentrated upon.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the level of medical rehabilitation being offered to injured workers in northwestern Ontario compares very badly with those services being offered to people who come to Downsview, as opposed to having medical rehabilitation in the Thunder Bay area?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware that in northwestern Ontario there is an excellent health facility in Thunder Bay.

An hon. member: It’s overcrowded.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The hospitals are used by the Workmen’s Compensation Board throughout the northwest as well as they are throughout the rest of the province. Not everyone is required to come to Toronto or to go to any other specific place, but the rehabilitation hospital is in Downsview. There have been some explorations of duplication of that service. These are ongoing and I am not sure when the recommendations will be forthcoming from that kind of review.

At the moment, in order to provide the excellent rehabilitation service for which the Workmen’s Compensation Board of Ontario is well known, the individual injured workmen would be required to come to the Downsview hospital. The medical rehabilitation is carried out within the local hospital system and in most instances is excellent. The staff of the hospital in Thunder Bay are very well-trained, very good people who are very concerned. They do, in fact, serve the injured workers in that area very well on behalf of the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

Mr. Laughren: Is the minister aware that for workers who are disabled in northwestern Ontario and have a partial disability, there is virtually no vocational rehabilitation services being offered those people whatsoever in that entire part of the province?

Mr. di Santo: Excellent.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I just said that the concentration of effort on the part of the vocational rehabilitation branch of the Workmen’s Compensation Board is to be decentralized as a result of the new employment of trained vocational rehabilitation officers.

Mr. Lewis: How many?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The number is something close to 30 of those who are going to be outside Toronto.

Mr. Lewis: How many in the north?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am not exactly sure of the number which are going to the north. All I know is that the areas in which there have been problems in terms of recruiting vocational rehabilitation officers are those upon which the board is concentrating at this point.

Mr. Mancini: I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Labour. In view of the fact that she is now suggesting that she is going to send out more help as far as staff is concerned for the injured workers of Ontario, would she consider sending out more workmen advisers, so that when the injured workers go before the appeal boards at least they have a chance of winning their case?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes. The workers’ advisers have been of great service, I think, to the injured workers, and this is an area which is being examined. We are trying to find appropriate people to do this. They are very special and dedicated human beings.

Mr. Speaker: May I just point out that the last question wasn’t really supplementary because the main question had to do with the conditions in northwestern Ontario, not the general question of the province. Is this a supplementary on that question?

Mr. Angus: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it is. Would the minister out consider having the Workmen’s Compensation Board consider the construction of a new wing on to the Westmount Rehabilitation Hospital in Thunder Bay with adequate physiotherapy and occupational rehabilitation facilities so that the injured workers and others no longer have to be cramped 31 into a rehab room for group therapy?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s an interesting suggestion which I shall consider. Thank you.


Mr. S. Smith: I have a question also for the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware of some of the very unfortunate practices whereby illegal immigrants residing in Ontario are employed and are either paid less than their wages would normally be expected to cover or else are exploited in some other way, by being asked to give gifts to their employers or something else as a way of keeping their jobs? Is the minister aware of these practices and could she tell us what her ministry is doing to look into these matters?

Hon. B. Stephenson: The ministry can, of course, investigate such situations when a complaint is lodged with the ministry. If the hon. member does have information about this, the ministry would be grateful to have it. Indeed, we have examined several such situations. The employment standards division is the branch of the ministry which is responsible for insuring that workers are not exploited and action has been taken in some cases. Indeed, illegal immigrants have been assisted through the Department of Immigration, as a result of the assistance provided by the employment standards branch.

But if there are instances of this which any hon. member is aware of, it would be of great help to the Ministry of Labour if we were informed about them so that we could, indeed, act.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Since the minister, I’m sure, is aware of the sensitivity of the issue, inasmuch as the exploited person is fearful for the loss of his job and is unlikely to come forward to report such things, is the employment standards branch of her ministry taking steps to do spot checks once in a while, taking steps to do any form of inspection or investigation, and, in particular, following up some of the recent articles in the newspaper? Is she certain that no companies doing subcontracting work for the government of Ontario engage in this practice?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I could not say at this point that I am certain this does not happen. I do not believe that it happens because, indeed, the employment standards branch has been active in that specific area. Also, employment standards officers do inspect those companies which have perhaps had a bad reputation in the past for certain types of exploitation. But I would repeat that it would be of great help to the Ministry of Labour if any member of this House knows of any case, or knows of any company, in which this is happening, because it would assist us in our investigation.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Treasurer: Is he aware of the preliminary data released by CMHC which indicates that urban housing starts in Ontario were 44 per cent lower in March of this year than a year earlier; and that the data also indicates a trend for the period from January to March showing an annual decline in urban starts of 32 per cent in Ontario, compared to the national decline of 18 per cent?

In view of this, is the Treasurer prepared to explain why there is nothing in his budget to encourage the construction of more housing, particularly at the affordable level? We are lagging behind the rest of the country.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I’m not aware of the data. I’ll be glad to have a look at it. I indicated in the budget that I think the log jam in housing starts, if I can put it that way, is created, in part, in two ways -- and this is true across Canada as well as in Ontario.

The year 1976 turned out to be a stronger year than anybody expected. In the budget a year ago, I think we indicated that we thought starts would be somewhere around 80,000 units. We felt that we were being awfully optimistic and so did the Minister of Housing. But as it turned out, there were something like 85,000 starts in Ontario in 1976. I’ve forgotten the Canadian figures but they were far, far higher than anyone had anticipated.

That, naturally, has spilled over into 1977; and what you see here in Toronto has also been true in a number of other municipalities where there have been a great number of unsold units. I think the figures for January-February indicated that there were something like 20,000 unsold units in the Metro area, which was an all-time high. We’ve been encouraged, and the Minister of Housing has been encouraged, that those units have started to move in the last month and a half and the housing market is brisk. This is, I think, a catch-up from the rather more intense activity of last year and also reflects, of course, the fall in mortgage interest rates from over 12 per cent, in some instances, down to very close to 10 per cent.

There is some feeling I think, too, that interest rates may go lower, perhaps below 10 per cent and there may be some reluctance, therefore, on the part of buyers or builders to proceed too quickly. But with improving sales and an increase in the housing market generally across the province in terms of clearing out some of the inventory of unsold homes, then it would be my expectation that starts would follow that. It would be a rather bold builder, large or small, I think, who would be plunging in and taking out building permits today or a month ago with the number of unsold units there were in this area particularly. And that is true in a number of other areas across the province. However, I will be glad to examine the data in question.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, in view of the Treasurer’s answer, am I correct in assuming that most of the unsold houses to which he refers are in what one might call the middle or upper price range, whereas the need for housing starts would be in the affordable range? I would like the figures on that.

The other aspect of my supplementary question is with respect to the Comay report which the government commissioned and which said that 100,000 starts were needed annually for 10 years to avert a crisis. Does the Treasurer still feel that that particular figure is a correct target, in which case the seasonally adjusted figure this year aims at only 42,000? If the trend continues, how does he expect it to work out?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think that is a question that should properly be put to the Minister of Housing. My own personal view is, yes, it is too high in terms of somewhat lesser expectations in terms of population growth --

Mr. Lewis: Except for Barrie.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- and in terms of a decline in interest rates which hasn’t moved housing as much as one might have expected from a year ago. I would suspect probably that Mr. Comay’s figure was a little high. But perhaps the member might like to redirect that to the Minister of Housing.

Ms. Bryden: A supplementary to the Treasurer: Is he aware that at the Ontario Economic Council conference last Monday Mr. Rene de Cotret of the Conference Board predicted there would be a 14 per cent drop in housing starts in Ontario and not more than 74,000 units started? Does he accept this prediction?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: We said in the budget we thought that there would be about 80,000 starts. That is our number. As I said last year, we estimated 80,000 starts and it turned out to be 85,000 starts. I will be very surprised if the number of starts this year are bang on our prediction.

Mr. Deans: I will be surprised if anything is bang on your prediction.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think that is something that we will have to wait and see. But Mr. Rene de Cotret may be right. I think his number is a little low.


Ms. Gigantes: A question of the Minister of Education: As the public is under the impression that the much-touted new core curriculum guidelines would be in place for the school year 1977-78, could the minister specify for us the dates of mandatory implementation of the new core curriculum guidelines, particularly those for mathematics?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The mathematics core curriculum guidelines will be phased in over the next couple of years.

Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Does that mean they will not be mandatory come this fall or indeed even the fall of 1978?

Hon. Mr. Wells: That is correct. In working with the mathematics teachers of this province and in allowing for a feedback from the teachers on the new curriculum, which represents some major changes because there have been no changes in the mathematics guidelines for quite a number of years, in working with the teachers’ federation and the teachers, we devised a process that would allow a phasing in and validation period, which I think is to the benefit of students, teachers and all concerned.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, if there is a validation period to which the minister refers, can he tell us what form of standardized, province-wide test procedure will be used in the validation procedure for the new mathematics guidelines?

Hon. Mr. Wells: As my friend knows we are awaiting the report of a task force on evaluation and reporting. When I get that report from that group, I will then know what kind of suggestions have been made in this area. They will then be considered and any change or any new directions in that area will be announced at that time.

Mr. S. Smith: That is a validation period with no means of measuring it.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I suggest the member talk to all the math teachers of the province and they will tell him the kind of validation they are going to carry on.

Mr. S. Smith: You are the minister, you talk to them.

Ms. Gigantes: I would like to ask the minister if it isn’t true that this process we are going through right now is not one whit faster than the process that was under way before he announced the new core curriculum guidelines last fall, and that the new core math guidelines will not be in place one month faster than they would have been had you not made his announcement last fall.


Hon. Mr. Wells: That is not correct at all. In fact, that is absolutely wrong. If I hadn’t made my announcement last fall there wouldn’t have been anybody working on new math guidelines.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is this a supplementary or is this a new question?

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary first and then a new question later.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Are we going to have a social contract this morning?

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: If, as I understood the minister’s direction from last fall, mathematics are now going to be compulsory for at least grade nine students and he is not going to have the new guidelines in place, what is going to be compulsory? What is the content of the compulsory course?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The school boards have been sent a memo indicating the guidelines that are in effect. These list the compulsory math subjects for grade nine and 10 that they can use for next year. They will begin an implementation process and a melding of the two guidelines together throughout the year.

My friend knows that the one thing we have always done in this ministry is work in co-operation with those people who have to deliver the service.

Mrs. Campbell: You sure do.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We are moving ahead with guidelines faster than we ever have in this ministry, but more time is being taken on these guidelines than some of the guidelines that took two and three years to prepare, because teachers and other writers have spent a very concentrated time working on them.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Wells: In working with -- now that is not right.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Wells: That is absolutely not right.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister ignore the interjections.

Hon. Mr. Wells: If my friend can show me where the mathematics --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- guideline committee was put in place before we made our announcement I would like her to show it, because these new guideline committees -- the intermediate guidelines in the mandatory subject areas -- were set up after my statement was made.


Mr. Sweeney: I have a question of the Minister of Health dealing with the Psi Mind Development Institute. Firstly, what does his ministry know about this institute? And secondly, what is he planning to do, given the kinds of dangerous practices which they are engaging in?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, through his staff, has taken a look at this particular organization as it pertains -- I forget the exact legislation that pertains to them. The matter has only just been referred to us, I think in the last 36 hours, from Consumer and Commercial Relations to see if we feel we have a role to play in it. I might say I have started some discussions with my staff about it.

But in addition to some concerns I might have over the reports about this particular organization, I have some concern about where you draw the line in establishing the kind of control that I think my hon. friend is referring to -- the kind of control over organizations, be they religious or otherwise, that deal supposedly with the development of one’s mind.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: My supplementary has to do with actual fact. Does the minister’s report include the information that there are three young people from the city of Kitchener who have been “processed” by this institute through the use of illegal hypnosis and verbal and physical abuse to the extent they have ended up in the London Psychiatric Institute and we have been advised they will be there for at least four or five months? That’s dangerous. That’s a health problem. What is the minister going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have asked for reports on those three young people. I am not trying to arrive at a conclusion one way or the other yet, but I think what the member is trying to say is that those three young people would not have had a problem except for Psi. I don’t know that yet. Certainly if it can be shown to be, then we have to see what we can do about it. The Hypnosis Act is perhaps available to us, although I am told that it has never been used before.

Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary: When the minister is pursuing this particular matter, will he and his staff ensure that there are procedures developed by the ministry with respect to these various mind development courses so that the courses from a health point of view are conducted not only in an ethical manner but taught by qualified personnel?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is a matter of concern to me, Mr. Speaker, because of personal experiences over the years with former students of mine who had become involved with various organizations. The difficulty -- and I think the hon. member will appreciate this -- is that many of these organizations purport to operate as a religious cult. I have some difficulty -- I think we all do -- in trying to define the line of demarcation between what in fact is a legitimate religious experience and what in fact is something that could be harmful to the individual. That obviously has to be of concern to all of us and it is a matter which I am taking up, initially because of this one but in a general sense.


Mr. G. E. Smith: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister aware of the local criticism that the recommendations of the Willard report as they apply to the Huronia Regional Centre are not being implemented, particularly the recommendation for an increase in staff ratio between the professional staff and the residents? Perhaps the minister would comment.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The concern that the hon. member has expressed is not based upon fact, Mr. Speaker. To date, substantial progress has been made with regard to implementation of the recommendations in the report of Dr. Willard. My recollection from my most recent checking on the progress is that well over half of the recommendations have now been implemented or are substantially towards full implementation. The balance of the recommendations are under active study and I am being kept abreast of the progress there.

With respect specifically to the question of staff ratio, the hon. member may recall the recommendation of Dr. Willard was that we move towards the 1971 revised standards for staffing of the American Association on Mental Deficiency. We are moving in that direction, although we have not yet achieved the 1971 standards. The way in which we are approaching it, as the hon. member knows, is that we are working towards the reduction of the number of residents in Huronia and, as the number of residents is reduced, we are trying to maintain staff; so through that process the staff ratio is constantly improving. I’m pleased to report that the progress since Dr. Willard’s report has been very substantial.

Mr. G. E. Smith: Supplementary: Could the minister then explain why 76 employees of the Huronia Regional Centre have been laid off recently and no longer work there?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Although I’m not familiar with each of the individual cases the hon. member raises, it’s my understanding that the persons who have been laid off are not persons generally who are involved in direct care within the facility. Certain programmes in the facility have been phased out -- for example, the farm operation has been phased out and so on -- so that a number of staff reductions that have taken place involved persons who have been employed in those programmes that no longer exist. They are not professional staff who have been removed. In many cases they were not full-time staff but were staff who were on a temporary contract basis.

Ms. Sandeman: Supplementary: Could the minister then tie in for us the number of residents of Huronia who have been relocated and make some comparisons with the number of staff who have been let go and the final staff-patient ratio at the moment?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t have the specific figures that the hon. member asks for at this point. I would be quite happy to undertake to get those to her immediately after the House rises today. The present number of residents at Huronia, I believe, is just under 1,200. That, I think, is substantial progress if one considers that a few years ago the population there at one time was, I believe, in excess of 2,600.

Mr. Lewis: You have a great voice. Lousy answers but a great voice.


Mr. McClellan: I have a new question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Has the minister’s staff brought to his attention the remarks of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) in the estimates debates on Monday, April 25, with respect to the three cases from the Peel Children’s Aid Society described in the application brief for a judicial inquiry into the administration of The Child Welfare Act? Has the minister seen her remarks?

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, Mr. Speaker, I haven’t.

Mr. McClellan: The minister has some staff!

The provincial secretary said, and I quote: “I’m very concerned, for example, about the three case histories that you spoke about. I personally have read them. Like you, I have read all the documentation too, and I feel heartsick that in this day and age in the province of Ontario any child is subjected to that kind of treatment who needs the protection.” In view of those remarks, let me ask the minister, does he intend to establish a judicial inquiry or not?

Hon. Mr. Norton: As I told the hon. member not long ago in the House, the matter is under investigation by my ministry. I have not yet received the report from my staff --

Mr. McClellan: I’m not surprised at that.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- on the specifics of the cases to which the hon. member referred. But I concur entirely with the views of the provincial secretary, as he related them. As soon as I have that report and have an opportunity to evaluate that, along with the information which I have now received from the last meeting with Mr. Wilson, I believe, then I will give it my immediate attention. I hope to have that report, if not today, then Monday.


Mr. B. Newman: I too have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister considering the minimizing of the time lapse between the application and the granting of FBA, family benefits? Will he also consider making the family benefits applicable from the date of the application rather than from the date of the approval as it is at present, in the light of the fact that it imposes a tremendous burden on the municipalities where they have to provide welfare during that lapsed period of time?

Hon. Mr. Norton: With respect to the first part of that question, I have asked my staff to do everything possible to expedite the applications for family benefits. With regard to the second part of the question, I will pursue that with the staff to find out whether at this point we could do something to improve that situation as well.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: In an effort to expedite the problem, is the minister considering decentralizing the decision-making?

Hon. Mr. Norton: At the moment, there is a pilot project under way involving the installation of four computer terminals in four selected municipalities within the province to try to speed up the information exchange and to expedite the processing. I can say quite frankly to the hon. member that one of the matters that I discussed as recently as this week with senior management in my staff was the question of ways in which we might proceed to further decentralization of the decision-making process. That was discussed on a very preliminary basis. I have asked that it be brought back so that we can continue to pursue that as a possible way of improving the service.

Mr. Lewis: You can always go on an open-line show. You have a really good voice.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Minister of Labour has the answer to some questions.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have the answers to three questions, Mr. Speaker, and they’re not particularly long. Could I give all three at this time?

Mr. Speaker: It depends on how long they are. We try to divide the time as fairly as possible.


Hon. B. Stephenson: First, the hon. member for Cambridge (Mr. Davidson) asked me yesterday about medical examinations of employees in a plant in Cambridge. I was in error, Mr. Speaker. I confused the name of that plant with another which is, in fact, involved in similar kinds of activities in which medical examinations have, indeed, been carried out. I am aware that there was an inspection of that plant in December 1976. I have not had a report on the follow-up to that inspection as yet, and shall so inform the member who is unfortunately not here.



Hon. B. Stephenson: On April 25, I believe it was, the hon. member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) inquired about the activities of the Ministry of Labour on behalf of the employees of The Ontario Malleable Iron Company. The Ministry of Labour has been in touch on several occasions with the federal agency responsible for UIC and in spite of somewhat supplicant questions, the Unemployment Insurance Commission has decided that this group does not qualify for an extension. There are certain grounds for extension but a strike or lock-out is not one of them and, therefore, they are unwilling to grant an exemption in this case.

However, the hon. member also asked me whether the Ministry of Labour was involved in other activities; and, indeed, since the announcement made by the company the ministry has been in constant contact with both the union and the company in an attempt to establish an MAIA, an assistance programme for the employees of that plant. The company has accepted -- at first they did not agree with, and would not accept, the programme -- but now we’re having a little difficulty with the union. But both the federal Department of Manpower and the Ministry of Labour of the province of Ontario stand ready to assist the employees in finding employment adjustment in that area.

The other question is rather longer, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I think we’ll leave that until the next time around, then. Thank you very much.


Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Treasurer: The mayor of Toronto asked, as far back as November 1975, for the Treasurer to comment on the regional impact of the proposed alternative uses for the Toronto Island Airport, including a possible STOL port. In view of the fact that the Treasurer replied on November 7, 1975, that he had instructed his staff, and I quote, “... to review the results of the Toronto Island Airport study as they appear from time to time, and supply the working group with any relevant comments on the implications of these results for the province’s regional planning programme,” could the Treasurer tell us when he is going to provide these comments, now that the study is completed and a public meeting on it is scheduled for May 13 and 14?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I received that letter from his worship the mayor a day or so ago and I haven’t seen my staff’s comments on it. But I think there has been some misunderstanding. We have made whatever viewpoint we have known to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and, as I understand it, will not be supplying any direct input.

Ms. Bryden: Well then, the people attending the public meeting on May 13 and 14 will not know what the Treasurer’s comments are or what he feels, and how this affects his regional planning programme.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I wouldn’t say that. I think that what we have to say is brief enough and will be expressed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.


Mr. Mancini: I have a question for the Treasurer: The Treasurer’s statement concerning the public inquiry into the affairs of the township of Malden states on page four that the first and second recommendations, which I consider to be the main thrust of the report, are going to be left up to the council for their implementation. Does the Treasurer not feel that the same type of report could have been rendered by an inquiry of the ministry? In this way, the direct costs of the inquiry would not have to be borne solely by the taxpayers of Malden township.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am saying that I am content to leave action on these two recommendations to that council at this time. Obviously, if they don’t take action on it, then it may be necessary for us to do so. The matter of cost is something we have under consideration.

Mr. Mancini: Could the Treasurer inform the House of the exact cost of the inquiry and could he also inform the House if the same type of inquiry could have been carried under the title as an inquiry of the ministry, as was suggested by some people?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am sorry, I can’t indicate what the costs are. I don’t know if they’re known yet -- definitively. I wouldn’t agree that it would necessarily have been appropriate to have a provincially-initiated inquiry of a different sort -- a royal commission or a commission under The Public Inquiries Act. I think we have generally handled these matters in the way we handled the Malden inquiry and I see no reason to change that.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: Is there any possibility that the province may be able to assist the taxpayers of Malden in the payment of this inquiry?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Not until I know what the costs are. I’ve thought about it, as I said, and this is something that is under consideration.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Labour may give a final answer.


Hon. B. Stephenson: On April 18 the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville inquired of me about the closing of the Rockwell International plant in Windsor. As a result of investigations, I have discovered that there were, apparently, in the company’s mind, valid reasons for closing this plant. The shutdown, I gather, is permanent, the reason being that the wage rates of the United States competitors were significantly lower than those paid to employees in Windsor. In addition to that, the company was having great difficulty since it produced cold rolled and stainless steel wheel covers, competing with the changing preferences to plastic and aluminum wheel covers. The company, therefore, feels that this plant is no longer a viable institution and must be closed.

An employment adjustment programme was established with both the company and the union. The Ministry of Labour and the Department of Manpower and Immigration are involved in this activity and the committee will be offering assistance to all of the employees of the plants.

The pension rights do not really fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour. They’re really under the jurisdiction of the pension commission, but there are certain provisions made under The Pension Benefits Act to provide protection to employees’ benefits in situations like this when a company closes and the existing pension plan is terminated. Arrangements that the company makes with their employees regarding the pension plan really is subject to approval of the pension commission.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Did the minister ask the company to prove their figures when they made mention to her that they could manufacture the product cheaper in the United States than they could in Canada, or did she simply accept their word?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, it was not simply a matter of the cost of production being higher in Canada. It was also a very rapidly decreasing market and that was the major problem actually.


Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Attorney General dealing with the matter of crime in the city of Hamilton. I wonder if he would care to explain to the House what action he might take in response to some matters which I raised with the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) and the following response? And it’s not the full response, obviously, because of the time.

The Solicitor General said: “Some difficulties have been encountered in coping with the activities of gangs. In many cases, persons who have been victimized by gang members are reluctant to lay charges or give evidence in court. When members are arrested, they are invariably released within a very short period of time to await trial, sometimes months. The courts have shown a tendency to be very sceptical about imposing a term of imprisonment when such persons have been convicted.”

The Solicitor General is of the opinion that some action should be taken by the Attorney General and the federal government in order to bring about a satisfactory resolution to what is becoming a severe problem for citizens in the Hamilton area.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We have been in touch with the Crown attorney, Mr. Takach, in Hamilton. Some six weeks ago, he had a meeting with some of the --

Mr. Conway: Spit it out.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- family court judges to indicate the seriousness of the situation insofar as the matter relates to juveniles and to express the general concern of the community.

Mr. Deans: Not only juveniles.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I’m just dealing first of all with the juvenile aspect of it. With respect to people who will be appearing in the adult court as adults, the Crown attorney is very determined to prosecute these cases very vigorously. As a matter of fact, Mr. Harvey McCulloch, who, as the member will recall, is a long-time Crown attorney in the Hamilton area, has been given specific responsibility in this area.

Furthermore, in one case -- I believe it had to do with an obstruction of justice conviction -- where an allegation of interfering with a witness was proved, a sentence of 30 days was given. In our view this was wholly inappropriate and we have appealed that sentence, so I can assure the hon. member that so far as the Crown attorney’s office is concerned, we are going to act as aggressively as possible.

In relation to the matter of bail and these people released on bail, under The Bail Reform Act there is a very heavy onus on the Crown that must be satisfied to deny an individual bail. I would think in general terms the member would agree with the principles behind that legislation, but it does make it very difficult to deny bail to an offender and, as I say, in most cases for very good reasons, so it would be up to the federal government, of course, to amend The Bail Reform Act.

My own personal view is that it would not serve a useful purpose to amend what is generally good legislation in order to allow you to be tougher against a select group of people. I mean it would not be in the interests of the whole community. It’s a matter that we are continually reviewing, and of course I think the police themselves have to be prepared to allocate sufficient resources to investigations and the obtaining of evidence upon which we can convict people.

It is not just a question of keeping people in jail pending their trial. It is a question of convicting them at the trial. I am confident that the local Crown attorney’s office, together with the police, are totally aware of the seriousness of the situation and will do everything within the law to discourage this type of activity.

Mr. Deans: A supplementary question: What would the Attorney General and the Solicitor General do, what kind of action can we expect from either or both of them, in view of statements such as, “In many cases persons who have been victimized by gang members are reluctant to lay charges or give evidence in court”? What kind of protection can we afford citizens to guarantee them that they are not going to be victimized outside the courtroom, or in their homes, or on the street by others related to the gang members or other gang members who simply want to exact retribution?

What possible excuse can there be for one law officer of the Crown saying to me about the system of another that the courts have shown a tendency to be sceptical about imposing a term of imprisonment when such persons have been convicted? I mean that’s nothing to do with the Crown attorney, I admit. It may have nothing to do with the police but, good God, it has got something to do with the courts and protecting people.

Mr. Mancini: Save that for the campaign.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know whether the hon. member opposite is just sort of launching some sort of attack on the judiciary in that area, because as he knows --

Mr. Lewis: We just want law and order.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Just pay attention.

Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I am not launching an attack on anyone. I am reading from a letter written to me by the Solicitor General.

Mr. Singer: That is not a point of order at all.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It certainly sounds like an attack.

Mr. Lewis: Is the Solicitor General launching an attack on the judiciary?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am confident that the judiciary in that area --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

An hon. member: Sit down.

Mr. Germa: Don’t you know the rules of the House? Smarten up.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. Attorney General have a further answer to the question?

An hon. member: A serious one.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am confident that the judiciary in the Hamilton-Wentworth area are well aware of the seriousness of the situation and that the concerns of the community will be reflected in the disposition of the cases that come before them.

Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Given that several members of the Hamilton-Wentworth police force have, in fact, themselves been victimized by this gang and have been beaten up, would the minister not agree that this particular situation is out of control?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Is it true that land is being offered for sale to the farmers from the South Cayuga townsite?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I have no idea, Mr. Speaker. I do not handle the sale of land nor have I any responsibility for the South Cayuga site.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: Does the minister have any plans for the use of land on the South Cayuga townsite? Will the region have input into these plans?

One further question: Will there be long-term leases if it continues to be used for agriculture -- say up to 20 years as the term of the lease?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is having some difficulty hearing what I said. I do not have the responsibility for the South Cayuga land so I cannot tell him what it’s going to be used for.

Mr. S. Smith: Redirect it, smart aleck.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’m not being a smart aleck, and if anybody recognizes one and should attempt to be smart, it’s you. You’ve got a great deal of difficulty, I’ll tell you.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I certainly wouldn’t spend my last day in this House sitting there acting like that.

Mr. S. Smith: Redirect the question, that’s all.

Mr. Speaker: Is there a further answer?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I understand that in fact we are extending long-term leases to the farmers in the area on that land. I say to the hon. member, and not in a smart-alecky manner, that he could direct his question perhaps to the Treasurer who has responsibility for that land.

Mr. S. Smith: You could have said that in the first place.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I said it in the first place. I hope you come up, Stuart. I really do.

Mr. Speaker: Is there a supplementary to that? Did the hon. minister redirect the question? The hon. member cannot do it. Does the hon. minister redirect the question?

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, he did.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. minister redirect the question to another minister?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I certainly will redirect the question.

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. Treasurer have any elucidation to this?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, if the question is, are we selling some land: not to my knowledge.


Mr. MacDonald: Question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: In view of the growing range of attacks on farm marketing boards, and of the official interpretation of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture that the new Competition Act is going to render some if not all of the activities of the farm marketing boards illegal, what is this government going to do to stand up and be counted in a very vigorous way in support of farm marketing boards and in support of the principle of national marketing agencies to coordinate the work of those provincial boards?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that question because we already have acted. I suggest the member listen to CFRB on Sunday morning to hear my comments about the competition bill --

Mr. Deans: Why should he listen to the radio to get your answers?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. W. Newman: Let me finish. Nobody is more concerned about the competition bill that’s been introduced in Ottawa than I am. I have come on very strong and I’ve always supported our marketing boards --

Mr. MacDonald: You always come on strong.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. W. Newman: I have always supported our marketing boards in this province, and I will be personally leading a delegation, even if it’s during a certain campaign that may come --


Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Statement of fact.

Hon. W. Newman: -- I shall be leading a personal delegation to the committee to put forward our concerns about the competition bill, because that’s one of the cases where the federal Minister of Agriculture and I stand foursquare -- to support marketing boards in this province.

Mr. Singer: Did you have shouting practice this morning before campaigning?

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Does the government here support the minister like the government in Ottawa supports Gene Whalen?

Hon. W. Newman: The member will find out in the fullness of time.

Mr. Lewis: Even if the minister loses, we should have him back as House mascot.


Mr. Kerrio: I have a question of the Treasurer: Would the minister recall a visit by the Premier to the Niagara Peninsula right after the severe snowstorms that we had there? If he would recall, the Premier had a meeting behind closed doors and excluded the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) and myself from attending this meeting --

An hon. member: Shame, shame. Shame on you guys.

Hon. Mr. Welch: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. That is not true. That meeting was in the hands of the region, and the region made the determination as to how that meeting was run. The member knows that.

Mr. S. Smith: Who appointed the regional chairman? The regional chairman is a well-known Tory, and you know that.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: What a way to go down.

Mr. Ruston: Got all your Wintario cheques ready to go in the campaign, Bob? It will be $45 million.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Is this going to be another whisper campaign?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Niagara Falls will continue his question.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, apologies seem to be in order. I’m sorry, it may not have been the Premier that excluded us, it may have been regional government. Be that as it may --

Hon. Mr. Welch: There is a difference.

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member just place his question?

Mr. Kerrio: Does the minister recall that such a meeting took place, and my question now is --

Mr. Good: Probably the member for Brock (Mr. Welch) was there.

Mr. Kerrio: The member for Brock was included, yes, sure.

Mr. S. Smith: He is special because he signs letters so well.

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member just ask his question, please?

Mr. Kerrio: My question to the Treasurer is: In view of the severe costs that the Peninsula were put to during this emergency, has he reached a resolution -- and will he tell this House what that resolution is -- in the matter of some help in funding that very severe problem?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, that’s a question that should be put to my colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), who, as I recall, announced in this House the decision as to how we would help; I believe to a maximum of something like $5 million.

So to ask whether we have reached a resolution, the answer is yes, and it was announced and the municipalities have been informed, and I suppose are making claims. Perhaps money has been paid by now. However, having said that, I should point out that the member for Brock has been on the doorsteps of both the Minister of Transportation and Communications and myself --

Mr. Kerrio: The media were not allowed in; the press was not allowed in.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- not behind closed doors, he has come to us openly and said, “Would you have another look at this?” The Minister of Transportation and Communications and I -- and the Premier -- are preparing to take another look at it; and we, in fact, are going to be meeting with the regional chairman and I believe five of the mayors.

Mr. Conway: And with the member for Brock?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the question has been answered.

Mr. Kerrio: A supplementary: In view of this kind of fiasco, isn’t it time that we had some kind of special legislation? Would the Treasurer consider legislation like they have in the United States of America where in such emergencies there is a vehicle in place to handle them without the people coming begging to the government?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, there very definitely are vehicles in place, if that’s the term, and assistance has been provided and is provided; but we don’t want some sort of a rigid formula, and some sort of rigid legislation which is not going to allow us to give assistance in particular circumstances.

Mr. S. Smith: Just a Conservative Party card.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Obviously our assistance and the assistance of the government of Canada --

Mr. Warner: What a disaster.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- will vary in form and type, and in my view it would be wrong to put some sort of inflexible, rigid legislation in place, which would not serve the interests of the people well -- recognizing, of course, that the Liberal Party likes rigidity and inflexibility.

Mr. S. Smith: Your party likes charity.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.

Mr. Singer: It expired before it started.

Mr. Lewis: It looks like the Treasurer has practically expired.

Mr. Speaker: Petitions.

Mr. Godfrey: Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition to the Premier asking that he hold a commission of inquiry into the effectiveness, cost benefits and problems of regional government --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If this is a petition to the Premier it is not a petition to the House per se.

Mr. Breithaupt: Give it to the Premier.

Mr. Speaker: Is it a petition to the House? How is it worded?

Mr. Godfrey: -- a commission of inquiry into the effectiveness, cost benefits and problems of regional government in Durham, with approximately 1,000 names appended.

Mr. Speaker: It seems to me, from the member’s earlier words, that it is not a petition to the House if it is addressed to the Premier.

Mr. Breithaupt: So send it to the Premier.

Mr. Speaker: If the hon. members would check into the regulations concerning petitions, we shouldn’t have a recurrence of this. You may deliver that directly to the Premier, if you so wish, but it doesn’t seem to be in order.


Mr. Deans, on behalf of Mr. Renwick from the standing administration of justice committee, presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the Perfume and Cosmetics Bars Limited.

Mr. Gaunt from the standing general government committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:

Bill Pr8, An Act respecting the Borough of Scarborough.

Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the Borough of North York.

Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a report.

Mr. Ruston: Swan song.

Mr. Grossman: Can you believe it?

Mr. Gregory: I’ll be back.

Mr. Grossman: You’re damn right he will.

Mr. Gregory: I’m sorry I won’t see you though.

Mr. Grossman: Half of you guys will too, don’t worry.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Mississauga East has the floor.

Mr. Gregory: You’re going to find out.

Mr. Grossman: Ask your candidate in Mississauga, whoever he is.

Mr. Lewis: Who are you?

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s Jules Morin.

An hon. member: That’s Bob Johnston.

Mr. Grossman: Your candidate hasn’t heard of himself. Look how hard he works.

Mr. Speaker: I will recognize the member for Mississauga East to present a report.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s not nearly as heavy as the Singer report.

Mr. Grossman: Yes, but he’s not a lawyer.

Mr. Gregory presented the final report of the select committee on highway transportation of goods in Ontario.

Mr. Gregory: The terms of reference and the time limits assigned by the Legislative Assembly to this select committee posed a substantial challenge to members and staff. The members of the committee approached the task with vigour and a sense of purpose that enabled them to complete and table an interim report, both on time and with unanimity. This final report is quite extensive and presents an in-depth investigation into the highway transportation of goods in accordance with our terms of reference.

The committee was fortunate in having the services of a very competent staff whose names are listed in the report. I would like in particular to commend our counsel, Mr. Max Rapoport, QC, and our director of research, Mr. Brian Caldwell. It was because of the work of these two gentlemen that the committee was able to cope with such a complex subject. Mr. David Callfas, assistant clerk of the Legislative Assembly, assumed enormous responsibilities not only in scheduling the many hearings across the province and abroad, but also in taking care of the physical arrangements for the committee.

I congratulate the members for their ability to work well together and thank them for making the position of chairman a very rewarding experience.

Mr. Speaker: Motions.



Mr. Bounsall moved first reading of Bill 74, An Act to amend The Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Bounsall: The purpose of this bill is to reduce from 48 to 40 hours in the week as the time beyond which overtime becomes voluntary. In addition, it would require employers to pay overtime for work done in excess of 40 hours per week rather than the present 44. The bill also ensures that these provisions cover those persons who are employed in the growing of flowers for the retail and wholesale trade and persons performing home work.

Mr. Breithaupt: Do you mean students?


Mr. Bounsall moved first reading of Bill 75, An Act to amend The Labour Relations Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Bounsall: The purpose of this bill is to provide four criteria for the reopening of a contract during its lifetime. These provisions are:

1. The making, giving or issuing of an order, direction or notice against any employer under any Act for health and safety reasons;

2. The changing or proposed changing of production standards at the place of employment;

3. The introduction or proposed introduction of technological change at the place of employment; and

4. The contracting out to other persons of work which would ordinarily be carried out by the employees of that employer.


Mr. Riddell moved first reading of Bill 76, An Act to prohibit the Use of Non-Returnable Beverage Containers.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Riddell: The purpose of this bill is to provide an alternative to the government’s recently announced five-cent tax on cans, which will simply subject people to yet another financial hardship and will not resolve the pollution problem. This bill will require sellers to refund a deposit when containers are returned, which does provide an incentive to the people of Ontario to keep our province beautiful and free of pollution.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s what you call a proper bill.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: Wait a minute. He is an auctioneer. He will take care of our people.

Mr. Speaker: Order, the hon. minister and the hon. member for Sarnia, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: I’m sorry about that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Singer: The minister isn’t sorry.


Mr. Bain moved first reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend The Territorial Division Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Bain: This bill transfers the townships of Black, Benoit, Melba, Bisley, Clifford, Ben Nevis and Pontiac from the district of Cochrane to the district of Timiskaming, in keeping with the wishes of the people of those townships. It is unfortunate they were not originally consulted when they were transferred to the district of Cochrane, and this would rectify that situation.


Mr. Angus moved first reading of Bill 78, An Act to amend The Ontario Human Rights Code.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Angus: The purpose of this bill is to prevent discrimination in employment on the basis of a physical disability. In order that a person with such a problem -- particularly with reference to an individual who may have had a work-related injury -- this bill will prohibit the asking of a job applicant if he or she has had a workmen’s compensation claim. We have found in our task force of the NDP that too many employers automatically refuse work to an injured worker once they become aware that he or she has either made a claim to the board or is actually on compensation.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We just need the principle of the bill. We do not back it up with information.

Mr. Angus: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and barring the Premier doing something foolish it will be debated on May 26. Thank you.



Mr. Drea moved second reading of Bill Pr8, An Act respecting The Borough of Scarborough.

Motion agreed to.

The bill was also given third reading on motion.


Mr. Williams moved second reading of Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the Borough of North York.

Motion agreed to.

The bill was also given third reading on motion.


Mr. Breithaupt, on behalf of Mr. Peterson, moved second reading of Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the Perfume and Cosmetic Bars Limited.

Motion agreed to.

The bill was also given third reading on motion.


Resumption of the adjourned debate in committee of the whole House on Bill 28, An Act to amend The Residential Premises Rent Review Act, 1975 (second session).

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, before we continue our review of this legislation, I thought we might indicate to the committee that following consultations it has been agreed that we stack the voting as far as amendments are concerned. Once we’ve gone through the bill and discussed all the amendments we shall have one bell at the end.

Mr. Chairman: Agreed? It is understood that there is a 10-minute bell for stacked amendments?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Renwick: That’s fine with us.

Mr. Breithaupt: I believe we are agreed, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: The orders of the House require that it be a 10-minute bell on stacked amendments.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That would no doubt influence the committee as to when the bell starts then, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: We are dealing with section 1 of Bill 28. Any further comment?

On section 1:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Breaugh moves that subsection 7 of section 1 of Bill 28 be amended to read as follows: Subsection 11 of the said section 5 is amended to read as follows: “prior to giving written notice of hearing to the landlord and the tenant under subsection 8, the rent review officer (a) shall order the landlord to file applications for settlement of rents to be charged during the 12-month period following the date of filing of the application under subsection 8 of all residential premises in the building or project for which tenancy agreements terminate at any time within that period, if and when such residential premises are re-let or renewed within that period and (b) shall fix a common date for the hearing of all such applications.”

Mr. Breaugh: Very briefly, Mr. Chairman, this amendment makes provision for the annual building or project hearing. It reflects, I think, a growing consensus among both tenants and landlords that they don’t object particularly to the rent review process. But it certainly is an obnoxious thing when essentially you have to go back to do the same thing sometimes four, five and six times during the course of a year.

There was provision in the current legislation for this to happen, and this simply makes it a little easier. It would streamline the rent review process significantly, cutting down the number of hearing dates in the cases that would be covered under this amendment and you would be looking at the same set of statistics provided by the landlord and essentially the same set of arguments presented by the tenants. What it would do would be to facilitate, and, we would anticipate, probably improve the quality of the arguments that are made, and even give both sides who want to present their cases fairly before the rent review officer a chance to prepare a better case -- to make it more significant -- and to have that hearing done once each year for each project for each building.

In our discussions with both tenant groups who are dealing with the rent review process itself, they indicate that this would be a significant advancement toward them, not just in making the rent review process more streamlined because there would simply be fewer hearings involved, but it would allow them to do a better job, more preparation and would solve a lot of the anxieties that happen when there are continual rent review hearings being held for the same building.

From the landlord’s point of view, from those who have made their view known to me or to other colleagues in my caucus, they indicate that one of their frustrations is having to go back before a rent review officer with essentially the same papers in hand, telling essentially the same story, and that it becomes an obnoxious thing from their point of view because it’s the same argument sideways for another unit in the same building. It does cause some difficulties when there are different hearings on different dates for different units in the same project or building and this particular amendment would solve some of those anxieties and some of those problems.

One of the side effects would be, of course, a rather substantial reduction in the number of hearings that had to be held. What might turn out to be the case is that the hearings have considerably more substance than they have now, that it would give the rent review officer more of an opportunity to review the cases in detail, and we would anticipate that the cases would be presented in a somewhat more substantive manner than they might be now.

We sense a consensus on both sides of the rent review process, both the landlord and the tenant, that this would solve a number of problems and seems to be a rather practical approach to it. It is not a major change from the process as it now stands, but would, in our view at any rate, make the process work much better and make both parties much happier with the process itself.


Mr. Edighoffer: Previously I had submitted an amendment to the same section setting out a different time period to fix a common date for a hearing. I think probably the best thing to do at this time is for me to present a subamendment and then I think we could consider the two of them together.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Edighoffer moves an amendment to Mr. Breaugh’s amendment, striking out in the sixth line the word “12” and inserting in lieu therefor “four.”

Mr. Edighoffer: I agree sort of in principle with the amendment but I feel that by replacing the 12-month period with a four-month period it could be a much fairer type of hearing for both the landlord and the tenant. We must remember that if rents and costs are automatically increasing, probably the 12-month period would be beneficial to the tenant. However, some things, such as interest, are decreasing now. I feel that if every unit in a building that came due over the next 12-month period had to be reviewed, it may not be beneficial, particularly to the tenant, if that lease was running out in 11 months. For this reason, I feel that by amending the amendment from 12 to four months, it would probably reduce some of the administration costs and time and would serve the same purpose.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The proposal to conduct review on a building basis rather than unit by unit has been made almost ever since the original conception of the process. I suppose the suggestion was made by Professor Bucknall in his famous critique of the process. I just want to say that once again we’re seeing a hasty, superficial and theoretical analysis of the problems. I just want to lay out the reasons why the government objects to going to this.

Mr. Renwick: Tell us. Give us the reasons, not the rhetoric.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We have considered it and rejected it because obviously if it made sense and if it became more efficient to do it, that’s what we want. I’m sure all members of the House want more efficiency. There is a little problem. Landlords do not always increase rents of all units within a four-month period or a 12-month period. You would be taking people into rent review who are not now hauled into rent review, and I mean tenants.

Mr. Renwick: Name one that does.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Many building rents are increased on a unit-by-unit basis depending on the size of the unit. A one-bedroom or a two-bedroom apartment may very well get a higher increase than a three or a four-bedroom because the three- or four-bedroom is in plentiful supply. In many buildings in Ontario landlords are selective in applying their rent increases.

Just note that the wording of the amendment talks about the rents to be charged. It doesn’t talk about increased rents being given to tenants. For whatever reason, because of friendliness with the landlord or they’ve known them for a long time or they’re in dire financial straits, some tenants may not get an increase for one or two years. Why should they be hauled into the rent review process?

At the present time, the rent review officer has the option of doing this where, in his opinion, it will be more efficient, and I think he’s just as interested in efficiency as any member in this House. They can look at it. They can be selective and they can say: “Yes, this is a building that I think has to be done,” or, as happened in the case of the Ottawa landlord, a project which has to be done. But I would leave that decision in the hands of the rent review officer on the basis of the applications which come before him.

Aside from the logical arguments, there are some legal difficulties again with this section which apparently suffers from sloppy drafting. I would just like to say, first of all, there is no filing of any application which is required under subsection 8. Maybe the hon. member should be talking about applications referred to in subsection 8 because they’re not required. If there is no increase, there’s no requirement for any applications. And what are you going to do about that?

We’re looking at this question of when these things become effective. I have an example before me of an application which was filed on June 1, 1977. That rent is to take effect three months down the road. Then you would have a hearing for all of the units in that apartment, regardless of whether there is a rent increase or not, and some 18 months later there would be a rent review officer’s order to take effect, long before you knew the situation with regard to fuel or interest costs.

The member for Perth says you’re trying to go way down the road long before you know anything about the situation. We don’t have his crystal ball and our rent review officers don’t have it. Therefore, I feel we must object to this amendment.

Mr. Good: I would like to say that I personally don’t think it would be a good thing to have rents fixed at hearings with a percentage of increase that would apply to all rents for that particular building for the next 12-month period. As mentioned by the member for Perth, this may be to the advantage of tenants in a situation where the inflation rate is increasing. Tenants may gather some benefit there, but in a situation where the inflation rate is decreasing, tenants then could be put in a less favourable position by having to accept a larger increase than was agreed to, say, 10 months ago, that would apply to a lease which was coming up at the particular date later on in time.

As an example, I would like to suggest that the way mortgage interest rates have fallen in the past eight months is a very good example of the difference that could result in a rent review officer hearing today compared with a hearing last July. Last summer mortgages were being renewed at 12 per cent rates and up. Presently the rate could be 10¼ and up. A difference of 1.75 per cent in a mortgage renewal on a $14,000 mortgage per unit would result in a saving to the tenants at today’s date of about $20 a month. I am sure this would have a direct application and a direct hearing made in a rent review officer’s order today compared with eight or 10 months ago.

I would hate to see tenants put in an awkward situation where they would be obliged to accept an increase given today, even though their tenancy agreement would not expire for 10 or 11 months in the future. If we are convinced -- and many of us feel that the economy is cooling off somewhat -- that the inflation rate is being controlled to some extent, this will reflect in lower increases being given at a later date.

I would hope that the member for Oshawa would agree with me that his particular amendment could in fact and is more likely to cause hardships to tenants from here on than it would have previously. For that reason I don’t think it would be in the best interests of tenants to be locked into a 12-month rent review period automatically as this would suggest.

I agree that there is some administrative advantage to having all units that will be coming up for review within the near future dealt with at a particular time. The minister will say there is that prerogative presently of the rent review officer to act. If proposed hearings in the next four months, even six months, could be consolidated into one hearing, I don’t see that there would be that many administrative problems.

Surely the landlord will know what rents are coming up within the next four months or even six months that he is intending to adjust. They must certainly work that far ahead. If he is planning an increase over the allowable limits, he would have to apply for a hearing. I would think it would be advantageous in the interests of cutting down hearings if the minister were to accept some change in the Act, albeit maybe not through this particular amendment or through the amendment to this amendment, whereby landlords would be required to present to the rent review officer all contemplated applications for increase within the next few months. Some rent review officers under present circumstances may ask for those; others may not. It would, at least, put landlords on their toes where they would have to ascertain a few months ahead -- more than just the 90 days’ notice -- which ones they expect to have a hearing on.

I would invite the minister’s response. I think this problem could be worked out to the satisfaction of both landlords and the tenants if he could show us where some consolidation of hearings could be held where there would be some compulsion on the part of the landlords to get their hearings together into groups so that it could simplify the administration of the Act.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I certainly appreciate the comments of the member for Waterloo North and I agree with them entirely. I don’t think there’s any problem here at all because in the administration of the Act the rent review officer now has the power to ask for a list of all of the rents. If he gets one application in the building, it requires the landlord to submit a list of all of the rents in those premises.

The problem that we have with the amendment is that we’re not talking about rent increases. It talks about rents charged. That would mean that everybody in the building would be drawn in or, in the case of the Liberal subamendment, one-third of the tenants, whether or not the rents were going to be increased, drawn into a rent review process and they would have to receive notice of the fact. This obviously is disruptive, I think, to the tenant. At the present time, with that kind of a situation the rent review officer normally does not order the landlord to file orders unless there are going to be rent increases. He can do that now and he does do it.

We have some grave reservations about the amendment. There is no problem with the intent. It is to increase efficiency and it’s the kind of thing we’re very interested in. But, for example, it does not take into account periodic tenancies, monthly tenancies, which are becoming more and more the vogue, particularly in urban areas. That would mean that a tenant who was on a monthly tenancy obviously would have to be notified every time there was a rent review application coming up. Under the NDP amendment, theirs would be coming up every month. These would cause rent review. Under the Liberal amendment, they would be notified three times a year of a rent review hearing which they may or may not have an interest in. I would rather leave it to the experience which has been gained by the rent review officers to determine when it’s feasible and when it’s more efficient to consolidate hearings, which they’ve been doing.

Again, I go back to my own constituency where I really have only one major landlord who has about three major projects. We have done those most expeditiously. One of them, I think, takes into account something like 3,000 rental units, almost 10,000 people. It was done in one set of hearings. The same thing was done with one called Parkwood Hills and Heron Gate. These things were done and they were consolidated. I think that has been the practice everywhere in the province where it is seen to be efficient, but where it’s not seen to be efficient, I think we should leave it to the discretion of the officer to make those orders.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further questions? We will vote on the amendment to the amendment moved by Mr. Edighoffer.

All those in favour of the amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “nays” have it. I declare the amendment to the amendment lost.

Amendment stacked.

Are you ready for a vote on the amendment by Mr. Breaugh?

All those in favour of Mr. Breaugh’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “nays” have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Hodgson: One, two, three, four, five.

Mr. Renwick: Do you remember you had exactly 20 yesterday?

Mr. Chairman: Any further comment on any other section of the bill?

Section 2 agreed to.


On section 3:

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Handleman moves that subsection 1 of section 3 of the bill be struck out.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: If I might explain the purpose of this amendment, Mr. Chairman, the original drafting of the bill made it optional as to whether or not written reasons would be given for a decision of the rent review officer unless he was requested to do so. In retrospect, and with calmer minds having been brought to bear on this, we felt that if a request was not made at the outset of a hearing, it could very well lead the rent review officer to assume that he would never have to explain his decision and might possibly lead to some sloppiness in dealing with the evidence. So we have continued the mandatory requirement for written reasons on a rent review officer’s order.

Mr. Breaugh: We accept the public apology for sloppiness in drafting and silly simplistic notions, Mr. Chairman, and, in an effort to make minority government work, we will support the government’s amendment.

Mr. Edighoffer: We have looked at it very carefully and we will support the amendment.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Breaugh moves that subsection 2 of section 3 be amended to read as follows:

“The said section 7 is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“‘3(a) At or prior to the commencement of any hearing the rent review officer shall satisfy himself about the sufficiency of any notices under subsection 1 of section 115 of The Landlord and Tenant Act or under section 6 of this Act, and no order of the rent review officer shall be effective unless the notices as required are sufficient.’”

Mr. Breaugh: Very briefly, it strikes us as being incredibly logical that the first thing the rent review officer does is ask whether sufficient notice has been given. It doesn’t strike me that it will be an incredible bureaucracy to administer if you remind him to ask the pertinent question before things get under way, and it will solve the problem once and for all.

We cannot see why the tenant, who in most instances is not going to turn out to be a professional person in appearing at hearings, ought to lose the rights encased in the previous Act and enforced under this one because he forgets to ask the right question. It strikes us that the professional involved is the rent review officer and that it is not a great burden on his job to ask the question, “Has proper notice been given?”

Mr. Edighoffer: This amendment seems reasonable to me. It seems logical that that should be the first question of the rent review officer and we, in this party, will support the amendment.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It’s so reasonable that, in fact, that is what the law is now. No matter what the rent review officer may do to satisfy himself as to the sufficiency of notice, if the notice is insufficient, it’s insufficient; and that’s the problem we have faced right up to the judicial reviews that we have undergone. The rent review officer in every hearing asks whether proper notice has been given. He is given certain information and certain evidence. He satisfies himself -- he is not a judge; he is not a lawyer in many cases -- that notice has been sufficient. The suggestion that no order of a rent review officer shall be effective unless notice as required is sufficient seems to be a little bit redundant. It is quite obvious that if they are not sufficient the order is ineffective. I don’t understand why on earth we would pass redundant legislation when this is exactly what the law says now and it is the way the courts have interpreted it. But certainly we have no objection if you want to write into law that the rent review officer shall do this, because he is doing it now and always has done it. That doesn’t mean the notice is sufficient. Simply because the rent review officer is satisfied it is, the courts may not be -- and that has been our problem all along.

We’re concerned, of course, that somebody brings it up at a stage far down, challenging the sufficiency of the notice, and then goes to review in a situation that might very well have been determined at the original hearing. If there’s a question of notice there it should be brought up, not after the whole process has been completed, then the courts are hauled into it.

Mr. Good: Perhaps the minister can explain one thing to me. Your amendment in the bill under that section now would appear to say that unless the tenant has objected to the sufficiency of the notice -- in other words, the onus is on the tenant to show that there is proper notice. Under section 3(a) that’s the way it appears to me; the onus is on the tenant to prove that the notices had been given and everything was in proper order before the proceeding starts. We don’t think that that onus should be on the tenant. That onus should be on the rent review officer, to make sure that everything is in order before the proceeding starts.

What are you going to do about that 3(a) that you have in there now? Could we have just a little discussion with the minister on this?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, if I can, as briefly as possible, say that, yes, the rent review officer is required to say to all the parties, “Are you satisfied? Show me. If there’s any question at all about the sufficiency of notice I would like to know about it.” All he’s got, of course, are the forms which have been filed. He’s asking people, “Have you, in fact, received notice?” If they say no, that protects their rights to appeal, there’s no question about it. If they say, “We’re satisfied with it,” the rent review officer still has to satisfy himself, and he may say “Look, I see some flaws in this notice and I’m drawing it to your attention now.” That’s all that has to be done to protect the person’s right of appeal, whether it’s a landlord or a tenant.

All we’re saying is that if everybody sits there and accepts that the notice has in fact been sufficient, both at the rent review officer hearing, the rent review board -- which is a hearing de novo, where you have an opportunity to bring in all the new evidence you want -- then after all these processes are gone through, a person goes to judicial review and says, “I forgot to do it there and I forgot to do it there, and here I’m doing it.” I think they are really abusing the privilege of going to court. You can’t have three hearings de novo, and I defer to some of our legal friends, but that’s what we seem to be saying. You can bring in all the evidence you want whenever you want to throw any decision of the rent review officer out. We just think that there has to be some finality to this thing.

Mr. Chairman: Ready for the question? All those in favour of Mr. Breaugh’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.

Amendment stacked.

Any comment on any other section of the bill? If so, what section?

Sections 4 and 5 agreed to.

On section 6:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Breaugh moves that section 6 of the bill be amended to read as follows: “The said Act is amended by adding thereto the following section: 11a. On or before July 1, 1977, each landlord shall furnish to the rent review officer, in prescribed form and thereafter maintain up to date particulars of rent charged in relation to the premises, services and facilities provided under any tenancy agreement on or after January 1, 1977, for each unit of residential premises leased by the landlord in the area in which the rent review officer has jurisdiction, and the rent review officer shall prepare and maintain a public register of the particulars.”

Mr. Breaugh: It’s not a very complicated motion but it would be useful from several points of view to establish a public register of what the rents are for a particular building. That would give us information on all of the buildings within the rent review officer’s jurisdiction.

This is used in establishing the rental decision the review officer might make in most instances now and it would provide us with information that would be useful in a number of other areas. It is not a complicated idea. This is information that is known to a number of people but is not now in one place at one time. It could be a rather authoritative and comprehensive list. It is not a complicated thing nor would it be a time-consuming thing to administer, since you would do that when the landlord comes in and the landlord certainly has that information. It would be of considerable assistance, I would think, to the rent review officer in the first instance, and to landlords in a given area in the second instance to know what the going rate is exactly for particular units in projects throughout that particular community and to tenants when they are coming in to prepare their own case for the rent review officer.

Mr. Edighoffer: Speaking to the amendment, I would, first of all, have to say that I am sure that this would create a tremendous increase in bureaucracy. I really feel that an amendment such as this probably wouldn’t give the information to the tenants regarding increases prior to January, 1971. As I said previously, I agree to some extent that there should be some type of registration but I think that we would be hiring more bureaucrats. We would be sending more notices out by July 1977 to make sure that all this information is put into a public register.

I feel we can’t support this particular amendment. However, Mr. Chairman, I did send you a notice of an amendment I wish to make. I would like to ask you if we could vote on this one first, and then I could put my amendment to the same section afterwards.

Mr. Chairman: We are stacking votes. I would assume all these votes will be dealt with in consecutive order. I would say yes, subject to stacking.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I just wanted to comment on the amendment. I am pleased to hear the Liberal spokesman recognizes the tremendous amount of paperwork that would be involved in this. Coming from a member who so forcefully criticized the amount of paper work in the programme now, it just boggles the mind.

It says each landlord. I assume that means each landlord in the province of Ontario. I don’t know where they are, or who they are. They come to us through the rent review process, and that’s one way of finding out. We will register that two million -- I don’t know why we don’t register every person in the province and say what he does, what he charges for his services and everything else. That would make it very convenient for the NDP some day.

Mr. Martel: You get more immature every day.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: But at the present time, as a tenant in the city of Toronto, I think I would dislike the fact that there is going to be a public register of what I am paying for rent.

Mr. Martel: You are not for real.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: That’s a contract between me and the landlord. I think this is an invasion of privacy.

Mr. Martel: What about the lists that your friend gives out from T and C?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: At the present time, a tenant can obtain information about his own unit by the simple process of applying for a rent review. All he has to do is to make out a simple little form and he can get all the information. Landlords applying for rent review must list the complete rental history of the unit back to January 1, 1974. We’ve had a lot of complaints about that, but it is necessary for the rent review officer to have that information. Under section 5(10) of the Act the landlord must also file a list of the rents of all the other premises in the building or in the project, as determined by the officer.

We are saying that this would be impossible to administer, impossible to enforce and just a little difficult to keep it current.

Mr. Renwick: I just want to make one brief comment about the comment of the minister, that ridiculous statement he made about an invasion of privacy. If the method of assessment proposed by the government goes into force, you are going to have a public record of the fair market value of all properties. You are going to have a public knowledge of the taxes which are paid. You’re going to have, under the amendment which we propose, public knowledge of information with respect to the rentals charged by landlords for premises, in order that the tenants will have an opportunity to iron out the inequities which presently exist throughout the rental accommodation in Toronto.

[12: 00]

I’m talking about variations in rent of significant amounts for identical accommodation, simply because, when there’s a shortage of rental housing, the tenant has no bargaining position whatsoever; he has no basis on which he can make any association with his fellow tenants for the purpose of destroying the inequities of the present system. And for someone to indicate in this House that the publication of the rent charged by landlords for units and facilities and services is an invasion of privacy of the tenant reflects a total misconception by the minister of the position of the tenant in the developer-landlord dominated area such as the city of Toronto.

Mr. Mackenzie: We’ll talk to the minister about it.

Mr. Good: This matter is of concern to us, mainly to act as a protection for tenants moving into buildings for the first time and not being sure of the previous rent for that unit. As the rent review orders apply to the unit rather than the tenant, it is important that the previous rental charge for that unit be known to the new tenant moving in.

I concur with the member for Perth and do not think that a public record of all the rents charged in the province is necessary. Surely every landlord of every duplex, triplex, fourplex and small units should not have to file his rent to some public body. What an accumulation of useless statistics that would be.

However, there are important situations where it is imperative that a tenant know what the rent was in that unit prior to his moving in. And that is the crux of this whole problem.

Mr. Breaugh: How can you accomplish that?

Mr. Good: Now to accomplish that I don’t think it’s necessary to have public lists in the hall of the apartment --

Mr. Breaugh: How are they going to get it in time?

Mr. Good: -- or lists filed in stack upon stack upon stack of filing cabinets or microfilm in the rent review office. I think there must be some way this can be accomplished. To begin with, I don’t think that information, if it were filed with the rent review officers, would be given out necessarily over the phone. I think the tenant is going to have to go down and make an application to get that rent from the rent review officer.

Mr. Breaugh: Where are they going to get it -- in the washroom?

Mr. Good: Section 6 of the bill now states under 11(a) that the rent review officer in respect of any pending application under this Act may request in writing that the landlord furnish him with written particulars as are available to the landlord for all the rent schedules back to 1974. So that means that where there has been a rent review hearing, this information will be on file with the rent review officer. Well, we think that’s fine.

Mr. Breaugh: Stacks and stacks of paper.

Mr. Good: So then we have to get to the situation where a tenant is moving into a building where there has previously been no rent review hearing, so there will be no information on file. And that’s the situation which concerns me: that the landlord be required to say to his tenant something more than, “Yes, that’s what I charged the last tenant and that’s what I’m charging you.” I don’t think that is good enough.

This is permitted under the present bill. If the tenant goes down and says, “I want to know what the rent was for apartment 427 in such and such a building,” the rent review officer says, “Well I don’t have that. There’s never been a hearing on that building, I don’t have it.” But the tenant says, “All right, I’ll fill out a form 5A,” which would trigger a justification of rent increase under section -- I think it’s 4 or sub 4 of 5 of the bill.

Mr. Martel: More files than people.

Mr. Good: The legislation says that the rent review officer may request this information. He may or may not. Suppose the rent review officer says, “Oh yes, we know that outfit, they’re fairly reliable. If they told you that’s what the rent was, well that’s what it was.” Well, I don’t think that’s good enough, either. I think the rent review officer has to be required in this legislation to get that information as quickly as possible for the tenant when the tenant requests it. He is going to have to request it in writing the way the bill is now, by filling out a form -- I think it is 5A. That form, when filled out by a tenant, is for a justification of rent increase.

Mr. Minister, your rent review officer in my area and your people have told me that form 5, a form for justification of rent increase, can also be used by a new tenant for a justification of rent. If that is so I can maybe go along with that, but I am just not sure if that is what the bill says, because a rent review officer could very well say, “There has been no increase applied for here, so I don’t know if we have jurisdiction or not.” That is the only thing that worries me in this whole situation.

First of all, I think the rent review officer has got to be required to get that information. No “may” get it if he sees fit or if he wants to, he has to be required to get that information. I see no great advantage in having all this voluminous amount of material on file. I think if you get it when it is requested that would be quite okay, as far as I am concerned, but I think something has got to be done to make it compulsory that the rent review officer get that information at the request of a tenant.

As far as I am concerned the tenant should have to make that request in writing, and the way the Act is now he would make that request by filing a form 5A, which I am told does not necessarily trigger a rent review hearing. It just triggers a rent review officer requiring a justification of that rent, which may or may not be a hearing. I would like to hear the minister’s response, and I hope what he tells me is exactly the way the book reads and what his people are doing when they enforce this legislation.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, I would be glad to respond to the member for Waterloo North on this. The information he has received is exactly correct. A tenant who wishes to find out what the rent is in a new unit, having moved in, where that unit has not been under review previously, simply makes out what we call an application for rent review which is treated, when it comes from the tenant under those circumstances, as a request for information. The rent review officer under this section would then go to the landlord and say. “We want to have that history back to 1974.”

Our concern is with the word “shall” in here. I think if the hon. member will read the wording of the section -- and this was made wide for a reason -- what the word “shall” would do would result in the rent review officer having to ask for the particulars of every premise rented by that landlord whether it was in that building, whether it was in Timbuctoo, North Bay or wherever. This was made broad for a reason. Our rent review officers quite often must insist on a wide range of information to ensure that we are not getting into the situation of robbing Peter to pay Paul somewhere else, and that has to be available to him. It doesn’t apply just in this case -- it was also meant to cover the kind of case that the hon. member has outlined.

I think the word “shall” in there would really destroy what we are trying to do, which is to give the officer the right to get that information for the individual tenant but not require him to get information which is completely irrelevant to the position that has been put to him. We recognize the situation where we have not been able to get information, where there has been no application and a new tenant comes in, and that was put in there for that reason.

Under our new 11a the officer can demand the information. Under the new 17(1) it would be an offence not to file the information or to file false information. Again, to force the officer to demand all of the information whether it is relevant or not really would be imposing an administrative difficulty, if not an impossibility, to enforce, and remove from the rent review officer that kind of selectivity I think he has to have in exercising this kind of power. It is tremendous power that is being given to him under this section.

Mr. Good: What would you do then if a rent review officer did say to a tenant, “The Act doesn’t say I have to get that information. You will just have to take my word that that is the same rent that he was charging before”? I just don’t think that is good enough, Mr. Minister.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: First of all, I think you are attributing a degree of insensitivity to the rent review officer that I don’t think is there. Certainly what I would say is that we have issued instructions to our rent review officers. They know what they are supposed to do.

We get a lot of complaints from people saying you are removing their discretion from them. But I think they have to follow certain procedures and this is one of them. We’re saying this is what the section is designed to do, without burdening the rent review officer and the landlord in supplying a great deal of information which is completely irrelevant to the particular request which is before the officer.

I am sure, as minister, if I were to hear of a situation where a rent review officer cavalierly dismissed a request of that nature, we would probably write him a letter from the executive director of the programme telling him to pull up his socks.

Mr. Chairman: Any further discussion on Mr. Breaugh’s amendment?

Mr. Edighoffer: Mr. Chairman, from the comments the minister has made, I am not completely satisfied that section 11a shouldn’t be made mandatory, and I would like to move an amendment to that section.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Edighoffer moves that section 11a of the Act as set out in section 6 of the bill be amended by striking out “may” in the second line and inserting in lieu therefor “shall.”

Mr. Breaugh: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I wonder if we might have a vote on our amendment and then we would be quite prepared to deal with this amendment. Would that be a proper way to proceed, as we’ve done it all morning long?

Mr. Chairman: It was the Chair’s intention to deal with amendment 4, your amendment, and then deal with Mr. Edighoffer’s.

Are you ready for the question on Mr. Breaugh’s amendment to section 6?

All those in favour of Mr. Breaugh’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “nays” have it.

Amendment stacked.

We will now deal with Mr. Edighoffer’s amendment to section 11a of the Act.

Does the hon. member for Perth wish to comment further?

Mr. Edighoffer: Just briefly, Mr. Chairman. I think this has already been discussed but I am not completely satisfied that it would, if left as it is, bring the result expected. I personally feel that this information should be on record and, of course, therefore it should be mandatory to collect it.

While I am on my feet, I question also three other words in the section and I wonder if the minister could clarify why the words in the third line “as are available” are still left in there. I feel they should be deleted. I wonder if the minister could explain to me why those three words are in the legislation?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I think, without trying to take the place of any of the judges who may be called upon to adjudicate this, I think law has to be reasonable. I don’t know how you can ask somebody to supply information which is not available to him -- you know, reasonably available. You certainly can’t ask people to go out and do detective work. We’ve had situations where it is not available. The landlord has bought a building, and when he’s asked for the records, somebody says “Oh, I burned those a couple of years ago. I haven’t got any records.” It’s very difficult.

I’m not saying he can’t possibly do the detective work that might bring him to the position where he could supply the information. But you are talking about January 1, 1974, over three years ago, and it’s pretty difficult for him to find out in many cases what the situation was. But if it is available, it has to be supplied. The failure to supply it is an offence under the Act.

But with regard to the hon. member’s suggested amendment, again I just want to point out that while we are talking here about any pending application that could be a landlord who has one apartment which he has applied for rent review, forgetting about the tenant’s side of it. He doesn’t intend to apply for any of the others. Under the amendment, he would have to then supply to the rent review officer information about every unit that he has, anywhere, because it doesn’t talk about that specific unit which is under application.


If you wanted to do that, I would have no objection to forcing the rent review officer to obtain information about an application for a unit which is under review; but not anything else, because I think you’re adding to the paper work without really accomplishing anything at all.

Mr. Good: How do you accomplish that?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It’s your amendment, but make it workable.

Mr. Breaugh: I think we will support this amendment as proposed by the Liberal Party. Frankly, I don’t even pretend to understand how the paper that is used to keep these records is going to be any thinner under this amendment that it would have been under ours. I don’t understand how the people who write the numbers down are going to cost less under this amendment than under ours. I don’t pretend to understand how you are going to get that information, unless it’s a matter of public information, any easier under this than under ours; but then it isn’t our job to understand that party’s political philosophy, we are just trying to get the best shake we can for the tenants.

Mr. Sweeney: Take it on faith.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I am going to have to ask the indulgence of the Chair on this one then. If you could defer the vote, I would like to have our people put their heads to accomplishing what I think the proposer of the amendment wants without imposing on us that kind of work. The member for Oshawa is almost correct, but not quite, because this does not apply to all landlords. It only applies to all units of every landlord who makes an application. There is a difference between the two. This one is only less desirable by degree than your own amendment. I would like, if possible, to defer the vote until we can propose other wording.

Mr. Warner: Defer it till Monday?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: No.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the committee agree that we stand this down and deal with it later?


Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further comments, questions or amendments to any other section of the bill?

Mr. Breaugh: I think the minister has some.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: On section 9, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Anything prior to section 9?

On section 7:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Edighoffer moves that section 13(1a) of the Act, as set out in section 7 of the bill, be amended by striking out, in the fourth, fifth and sixth lines, the words, “where the person establishes that he was unable to attend in person or by agent at the hearing as a result of circumstances beyond his control.”

Mr. Edighoffer: This has been discussed a number of times in the House; I think it would just be best if he could have any reasonable excuse and make that to the rent review officer.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I don’t suppose we have any objection to the intention of the amendment, but the results of it could be obvious. If everybody who is dissatisfied with the result of the decision of the board is going to say: “I have reasonable cause for a new hearing,” the board will be rehearing not only its hearings but its rehearings. I think there have to be some finite boundaries to the reasons that can be given.

I’m told by our legal advisers there is a good body of law which would restrict, but not unduly restrict, the right of a person to a rehearing under this section as we have worded it. If you take those reasons out, you would have everyone who said: “I didn’t feel like going that night” or “I had a headache” using that as an excuse for a rehearing.

I think we simply must try to restrict it in some way. We said during the original debate, way back, we would try to prevent frivolous appeals, and I think this is all we are trying to do, while at the same time opening up the possibility of a rehearing, which doesn’t exist under the present legislation at all. We’ve had some problems with that, where people quite obviously should have a rehearing and we weren’t able to give it to them. This opens up the door without opening it wide.

Mrs. Campbell: I’m somewhat puzzled by the minister’s response to this particular amendment. What it says, in effect, is that where someone did not attend, then that person may ask for this right of hearing. Then at the discretion of the rent review officer or the board the person may be permitted to appeal on terms and conditions. Surely, it is enough that those terms and conditions are sufficient and we should not leave it to the result of circumstances beyond a person’s control, that is too heavy an onus, I would think. One could distort what is beyond control to make it almost impossible for a person to get this form of relief. I see nothing wrong with the suggestion in this particular case, and I would urge the minister to reconsider his position on this one.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The purpose of the amendment in the bill in the first place is to make it possible for a rehearing to be convened.

Mrs. Campbell: That’s right.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: It was suggested by the board itself, so that they could do this. I would like to have heard some of the circumstances which would not be beyond the control of the party which might, at the discretion of the board, have enabled them to rehear the case or permit them to appeal. In drafting this, we were trying to find reasons that would enable the board to allow an appeal. It was felt that some of the cases, such as sickness, such as being away on vacation at the time the appeal was held, were circumstances beyond the person’s control or --

Mrs. Campbell: How is it beyond their control to be on vacation?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: -- having to work when it was on, having to take time off and lose pay; those things would be considered circumstances beyond the person’s control. There have to be some reasons, because if it is discretionary, I think we would probably have to double the panels of the board simply to hear these so-called leaves to appeal, which is what they would be. Almost anybody who didn’t like the decision of the rent review officer would feel they had a right to go before the panel and seek leave to appeal. Obviously the panel which hears that will not be the one to hear the eventual appeal; so we’re really going to have to do something like this. As I say, our purpose was to open it up. I don’t think we want to unduly restrict it, but we do have some concerns about how wide it is opened. Never forget, of course, the kind of pressure that comes from intervention in what is a really judicial process. For people to say give those people a hearing, but they don’t have to give any reasons for it, just give them a hearing even though they may not be entitled to it; I would be very concerned about that kind of pressure being brought to bear on political persons who might have some control over the board.

Mrs. Campbell: It’s interesting to me that the minister gave an example which had occurred to me, and which I would say has traditionally been disallowed as a reason by the courts, that is that they would have to take time off work and lose pay. That has never been the concern of the courts to any great extent. I would certainly submit to the minister, through you, Mr. Chairman, that if that is the sort of thing, then you’d have to get into the rather miserable position of giving for instances, and I think that should be avoided. But to say that because somebody had to lose a day’s pay, that it was, in effect, beyond his control, I do not think that would wash. I notice that the House leader (Mr. Welch) who is a lawyer recognizes -- I don’t know whether he agrees with me -- but I think he would recognize that the courts have not considered that losing a day’s pay is something beyond the control of an applicant. He is nodding at me, I think, so I would suggest that this is a very serious matter.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: All I can say is, I defer to the hon. member’s legal experience and simply say that I have to assume the board would have to consider all the circumstances before them and make a decision. I think I would certainly want them to err on the side of being less restrictive rather than over-restrictive in dealing with these reasons.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are you ready for the question on Mr. Edighoffer’s amendment?

Those in favour will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further amendments, comments or questions prior to section 9?

Section 8 agreed to.

On section 9:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Handleman moves that clause (b) of subsection 1 of section 16 of the Act, as set out in section 9 of the bill, be amended by striking out “quit or” in the fifth line and inserting in lieu thereof “apparently.”

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I think this is simply an improvement in drafting. There was some concern about whether there would be any definite knowledge as to whether or not the tenant has quit, so the idea was to make it possible to act in the case of an apparent abandonment of the premises.

Mr. Breaugh: Once again, in a last-ditch effort to make minority government work, and accepting the second public apology for sloppiness of drafting and inappropriate use of the English language --

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Don’t attack the civil service.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. The hon. member for Perth.

Mr. Breaugh: -- to keep this country together, we will support this amendment.

Mr. Edighoffer: This is not an earth-shaking event. We will support it too.

An hon. member: Levesque will agree with that. He will be happy with that.

An hon. member: It will keep the country together.

Motion agreed to.

Section 9, as amended, agreed to.

Section 10 agreed to.

On section 11:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Breaugh moves that section 11 of the bill be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“Section 20 of the said Act is amended by striking out ‘and is repealed on August 1, 1977.’”

Mr. Breaugh: This obviously speaks to the matter of whether, by some great crystal ball -- obviously we don’t have it, because the minister has it this morning -- he has decided that by a particular date the problems with the rental accommodation in the province of Ontario will be overcome substantially, totally, by this proposal.

We think that is a ludicrous notion. We think it is a false premise on which to operate and it is the heart and soul of essentially what is wrong with rent review in Ontario: It’s a patchwork, temporary programme, and that fearful premise runs through the entire process. We think it necessary to remove that.

We had some initial criticism when we suggested that the minister might be prepared to make a judgement on simple things like tying it to a vacancy rate. If he’s at all uneasy about a vacancy rate, he might consult with his colleague, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), who has a magic number and publishes it. He can do that if he wants to do it that way. But we would be quite happy to leave this legislation in place as a permanent piece of legislation until the rental accommodation problem is solved, at which time you could repeal the Act.

Mr. Warner: That’s reasonable.


Mr. Edighoffer: This amendment is one that we cannot support, of course, because we have already said on many occasions that this legislation must be tied to the AIB guidelines, which we expect will be finished on December 31, 1978.

Also, the amendment really doesn’t leave any incentive for the private sector to produce more units, which we’ve heard so many times in this Legislature. This has been referred to, and of course if we have an end to this legislation we can start planning for the decontrol period following the legislation. So, as I said earlier, we in this party cannot support this amendment.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. minister.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, of course this amendment goes to the very heart of whether or not this is temporary legislation. I must say that after the hon. member’s party last night voted to tie it to the AIB, in opposition to this side of the House --

Mr. Ruston: They are not sure.

Mr. Wildman: Will this be tied to the AIB on third reading?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: -- I wonder how he now rationalizes the fact he doesn’t want to tie it to anything.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are you ready for the question?

All those in favour of Mr. Breaugh’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “nays” have it.

Amendment stacked.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any other comments, questions or amendments to any other section of the bill?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, there was a section stood down.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Yes, I was going to comment on that.

The hon. member for Perth moved an amendment which was stood down. I’ll reread the amendment to refresh your minds:

“That section 11(a) of the Act, as set out in section 6 of the bill, be amended by striking out ‘may’ in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof ‘shall.’”

Does the hon. minister wish to comment?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Yes, I have sent to the hon. member for Perth a wording which he might wish to incorporate in his amendment. We’re quite satisfied with the section as it stands before you in the bill, but it might be advisable if the hon. member for Perth would speak to his amendment further.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the hon. member for Perth wish to comment?

Mr. Edighoffer: Yes, we’ve checked the wording as it’s been sent over and we are certainly in agreement with it. It will take me a moment or two to write it out, though, to present it to the House.

Mr. Renwick: Read it to us first so we can ponder on it.

Mr. Edighoffer: All right. We’ll add to that amendment, “after the word ‘premises’ in the sixth line, the words ‘in the building relating to each application’; and striking out the words ‘rented by the landlord.’”

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, speaking for the government, with some reluctance we would accept that as written down, so the House will not divide.

Mr. Renwick: What’s the meaning of it? What do you think it means?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Chairman, I think it means that what we were trying to accomplish is that the rent review officer shall, as I understand the wording of the amendment, require in the case of any application before him full information back to January 1, 1974, on all units within that building within which the units subject to that application are located. I think that would give the tenant seeking information about the building in his own unit all the information he needs, and would give to the rent review officer the information he normally requires anyway.

Mr. Renwick: I understand that.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Perhaps the hon. member for Perth will send the written amendment as soon as possible so we can place it before the committee.

Mr. Edighoffer: I think I’m ready. I’ll read the whole amendment now:

“That section 11(a) of the Act, as set out in section 6 of the bill, be amended by striking out ‘may’ in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof ‘shall’; and further striking out the words ‘rented by the landlord’ in the sixth line and inserting therefor ‘in the building relating to each application.’”

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any further discussion on the amendment?

All those in favour of Mr. Edighoffer’s amendment will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.


The committee divided on Mr. Breaugh’s amendment to subsection 7 of section 1, which was negatived on the following vote:

Ayes 27; nays 61.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

The committee divided on Mr. Breaugh’s amendment to subsection 2 of section 3, which was approved on the following vote:

Ayes 46; nays 42.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

The committee divided on Mr. Breaugh’s amendment to section 6, which was negatived on the following vote.

Ayes 27; nays 61.

Section 6 agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Chairman, could I ask the Chair to give me the count on the first vote, sir -- I’m sorry -- the second vote?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: It was 46 to 42, as I recall it.

The committee divided on Mr. Edighoffer’s amendment to section 7, which was approved on the following vote:

Ayes 46; nays 42.

Section 7, as amended, agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: May we have a count please, sir; a head count on that vote?

Mr. Breithaupt: We just did.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, we did not. He took the original count on the second vote. I would like to have a head count on this side of the House please.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: All right. We will retake the count.

Mr. Breithaupt: John has two heads.

Mr. Nixon: How about the best three out of five?

Mr. Good: A $200 fine for that.

Clerk Assistant: Mr. Chairman, the “ayes” are 46; the “nays” 42.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Now that we have established that the clerks can count correctly --

Mr. Conway: The Minister of Housing can’t.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: -- we will continue to deal with Mr. Breaugh’s amendment.

The committee divided on Mr. Breaugh’s amendment to section 11, which was negatived on the same vote as the first vote.

Section 11 agreed to.

Bill 28, as amended, reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.


Bill 28, An Act to amend The Residential Premises Rent Review Act, 1975 (second session).

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, Her Honour will now come in for royal assent if the House will stand by.


The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.


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

Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.

Clerk Assistant: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:

Bill 28, An Act to amend The Residential Premises Rent Review Act, 1975.

Bill Pr8, An Act respecting the Borough of Scarborough.

Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the Borough of North York.

Bill Pr27, An Act respecting the Perfume and Cosmetics Bars Limited.

Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 1:05 p.m.